A bear there was. A bear, a bear; all black and brown and covered with hair. It was “the big one” this week, i.e. the episode written by George R. R. Martin himself. Odd, I thought, considering episode nine is usually his realm (reminisce on Baelor and Blackwater). Either way, my expectations were instantly set to considerably high when I found out the Master of Books had penned this week’s episode of Game of Thrones. That doesn’t, however, suggest these expectations were necessarily met. If you read on you’ll find out why! I’m not going to tell you in the opening paragraph. This is all just a ruse to subtlely compel you into clicking on that link down there; the one aptly named “Read More”.
While we’re on the subject of the wildlings, and the books to some extent, I thought I ought to mention Tormund Giantsbane. He started out as an overly aggressive, belittling character, but I think Tormund (Kristofer Hijvu) has been undergoing a subtle and prolonged transformation from ‘TV Tormund’ to ‘Book Tormund’, i.e. his character is developing to something akin to the Tormund in A Storm of Swords rather than what he was initially introduced as in the show. The banter between Jon and him this week put a smile on my face, and his ‘relationship advice’ to Jon was most memorable; “Don’t jam it in like you’re spearing a pig! HA!”
There was some interestingly executed camera work during the scene in the Iron Throne room, I don’t know if you noticed? If not, watch it again and you’ll realise that scene alone establishes Tywin as the real power behind the Seven Kingdoms, and it was all achieved through him walking up some steps and talking down to his grandson with some well-thought cinematography; brilliantly done. It might also have something to do with Charles Dance himself. I need not elaborate on that point.
I hope they elaborate on Theon’s situation soon. If we’re just going to watch him lose another body part for five minutes each week, I’m not going to care much for his plight after a while. They should at least reveal who “Boy” is at some point soon, or if not that, then at least where they are. Although like I said last week, the clues are all quite obvious if you know your Game of Thrones lore.
Given where we’re at now in the show, I have to say I’m impressed at how the character of Dany has managed to evolve since season one. It amazes me how in the space of eighteen months she’s gone from an almost-mute girl, to a Dothraki sex doll (for want of a better way of putting it), to a kleptomaniacal queen. What’s happened to her? Ever since her dragons hatched she’s had the Targaryen setting whacked up to full, and now she’s just blasting around eastern Essos trying to take over every city she passes through. Each to their own though, to be honest I’ve inadvertently stopped paying much attention to these scenes now; I’ve just ended up watching them for Emilia Clarke, who, -asides from simply being enjoyable to behold-, does have a certain knack for portraying the exile queen and has really come into her own since that whole “Qarth thing” in season two. I think I’ve said all this before…
Either way, while we’re on the subject of Dany and her dragons, it seems Game of Thrones has upped the ante in the special effects department. I’ve always said you can judge the show’s budget by how good the dragons look, and how often you actually see them. This week must be the first time Drogon’s been treated to a close-up of his own, without Dany/people-on-fire getting in the way. It’s partly a means of showing the might of Daenerys Targaryen, obviously, but it’s also partly the editors just flailing their arms around and shouting “Look! Look what we can do with dragons now!” My only worry, however, is that by the time the three of them grow to full strength (the dragons, not the editors) there won’t be any money left for the rest of the show…
And Arya’s starting to get on my nerves a little bit now. Its fair enough that all of her friends have abandoned her/been sold off to red priestesses, but that’s no excuse to suddenly start acting like a little girl again (she is a little girl, I know, but still). Arya used to be cool. In season one she may have just been the “weird” Stark, but in season two she was plain awesome. Now, I don’t know what’s happened to her; she spends all of her on-screen time winging to whomever will listen, and nothing gets done. Bring back the old Arya, the one that tried to stab Tywin Lannister with a steak knife. Well, she thought about it at least.
Considering George himself was the chap who wrote this week’s episode, it still felt a little weak to me. The dialogue was definitely a lot punchier however, and the characters felt more alive than usual, but there just wasn’t much story being driven besides the closure on Jaime and Brienne. Thinking back on the episode there honestly isn’t anything that strikes out as being particularly memorable, besides Dany’s scene and the ending. I can only hope the action is stepped up a notch in the final few episodes; we’ve had quite enough of ladies crying, lords arguing, and kings slipping into depression.
There is one question I’ll continue to ask myself, and that is why has George decided to write this episode, and not episode nine? – The Rains of Castermere. The title alone sends alarm bells ringing.