Sunday, May 12, 2013

Game of Thrones 3.7: The Bear and the Maiden Fair

Daenerys Stormborn: Abe Lincoln of Westeros

I cannot believe there are only three episodes left. I am excited to see how the season is going to end but also incredibly sad because I don’t want to have to wait another year for this show to return. Daenerys returned this episode and I have got to say she is more bad ass than ever. I know I have said this in previous posts, but I am so happy that she is actually going through with her threats and not just screaming at people that she is the Mother of Dragons. I am intrigued by the campaign she is currently on. Though she wants to sail the narrow sea and conquer King’s Landing she does not seem to be in any hurry to get there. She has taken on a different cause: free all the slaves in the slave kingdoms. It is very Abraham Lincoln of her. I will say I liked the speech she gave in Astapor much better than I liked the Gettysburg Address. 

I guess it is only fitting for the episode that airs on Mother’s Day to announce that Robb Stark will become a daddy. I don’t know, but out of all the characters in Game of Thrones, I think Robb has to have the best luck. He manages not to have to marry an ugly Frey daughter without much consequence to himself (his uncle on the other hand is bearing the brunt of the punishment). He also seems to be a very successful General though this is his first time at war. Now he is going to become a daddy. I feel like his luck has to run out soon. Also on a side note, it is weird to see Richard Madden (the actor who portrays Robb Stark) doing a pretty graphic sex scene knowing that he just got cast to play Prince Charming in the Disney readaptation of Cinderella. I have a feeling, the audience of Cinderella was never supposed to picture him like that. Then again if Disney casts an actor from Game of Thrones, they are probably aware of the nudity and sex in the show. I guess they are banking on their target audience not being fans of the series. 

With each week, I begin to love Margaery Tyrell more and more. She is not a naïve character. She knows the situation she is in. She knows of the evil Joffrey can do but she wants to be queen so she will work around it. I loved her comforting Sansa after Sansa laments about her current marriage arrangement. At first, it just seemed like Margaery was doing the required comforting, all of the while not really understanding the situation Sansa is in. Then again, if anyone knows about loveless marriages and marrying for duty it is Margaery. Though Renly was not a mean husband, having your husband prefer your brother over you must not have been easy. Now Margaery is going to marry Satan incarnate. Luckily for her, right now Joffrey is set on making her love him and takes his aggressions out on prostitutes.

Speaking of Joffrey, the scene between him and Lord Tywin was classic. Joffrey tries to get the intimidation factor going by summoning Tywin to the Throne Room, but Tywin cannot be intimidated. He steps right up to the throne, so he towers over Joffrey letting him know who really is in charge. While Cersei and Tyrion have to slap Joffrey to make their point, Tywin can do it with a stare. I wonder when it comes down to it, who really rules the kingdom? Tywin I think forgets how sadistic Joffrey can be so if Joffrey decides to kill his Grandfather, do his guards really obey him or do they obey Tywin. My guess they obey the money and since Tywin is rich and controls the finances of the kingdom, sorry Joffrey but your Grandfather has you beat.
Melissandre delivered a piece of shocking news to Gendry this episode. He finally knows that he is the heir to King’s Landing. He accepts this information as only a person who grew up with nothing could: he says it doesn’t matter he is only a bastard. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Gendry on the throne. I think he would bring a bit of world perspective to ruling. This will never happen. Knowing Melissandre, though she says Gendry can do great things with King’s blood, I think Gendry will be doing things with his King’s blood to make Stannis great. 

The budding romance between Jon Snow and Ygritte continued this episode. This relationship is getting interesting. Jon is beginning to see what the Wildlings have in store for The Wall and I think Ygritte is beginning to suspect that Jon might not be on their side. I do believe they care for each other so it will be interesting to see where their true loyalties lie: with their people or with each other. Jon seems pretty confident that the Wildlings won’t be able to take The Wall. Though he knows his history and that The Wall has never been defeated, I think he forgets that the whole kingdom is currently at war so The Wall does not have the man power it had in the past. 

Finally, Jaime Lannister is my hero. I am sorry, I love his character transformation and who would have thought it would be an ugly woman giving back his honor. I do not know if it is the bond they formed while traveling together or if it is the fact that Brienne represents the ideal knight: the knight he could never be. I do not think it is a romantic attachment but some kind of friendship or bond. He has transformed into the heroic knight that everybody said he wasn’t. Not only did he go back to Harrenhal to make sure she was ok, but he jumped into a bear pit with no sword and only one hand to try and save her. Luckily he is worth more alive than dead so they are both able to get out. Now Jaime with his sharp tongue managed to convince Brienne’s captors to let her go with him to King’s Landing. This could be an interesting union. Though Brienne is nothing but honorable, she will go to King’s Landing and return the Stark girls to Catelyn; however, after she finishes her duty, I see her possibly swearing some sort of oath or loyalty to Jaime. I am definitely glad, we get to see their relationship build over the next view episodes. Until next week….

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Game of Thrones 3.6: The Climb

Lady Tyrell Combats Tywin

Sorry for the delay in this week’s Game of Thrones post. It is finals, so I have gotten a little behind on my television watching. This episode, however, was a much needed distraction from all of the work. It is official, Olenna Tyrell is my favorite Game of Thrones character. I thought the previous week’s confrontation between Tyrion and Lady Tyrell was going to be the ultimate dual of words, but I did not even think about a showdown between Tywin and Lady Tyrell. I think she is the only character that can make him speechless. Perhaps Diana Rigg brought a little bit of her bond girl power to the role allowing her to manipulate Lord Tywin just like she can manipulate James Bond. I was disheartened to see that Tywin did hold the Ace, however, having the power to draft Loras into the King’s Guard and thus ending the Tyrell line. Though he may have won that hand, I do not see Lady Tyrell giving up so easily and giving the heir to the Tyrell name over to Cersei. I don’t think we have seen the last of this sharp tongued granny.

Theon did not have a good time this episode. I thought the ripping off of fingernails was repulsive until seeing his torturer slowly skin his pinkie finger. I was excited to finally figure out who Theon’s captures are but sadly his torturer was not eager to share the details. It is nice to know that the mystery of who has Theon is supposed to be there and not just a plot hole left out of the series but in the books.

I was also surprised this episode of how easily Robb got off for reneging on his betrothal to one of Lord Frey’s daughters. Lord Frey seemed quite forgiving since when we first meet him in Season 1 he seems harsh and would not take betrayal lightly. I guess wars make people more opening to bargaining. Sadly for Robb’s uncle, Edmure Tully, has to bear the brunt of the appeasement and marry one of Lord Frey’s daughters. This scene told a lot about the power Robb has as King in the North. Now his relatives, who when growing up he had to respect and obey, are falling down on their swords to serve him and make up for his missteps.
Melisandre managed to find the Brotherhood without Banners. Arya once again always smart and perceptive knew this woman was trouble. I was surprised with how willing the brotherhood was to give the priestess Gendry. Especially since it seems like Thoros has more connection to the Lord of Light and thus more power than Melisandre (since he has been able to bring back Beric from the dead six times). I also wonder how Melisandre knew about Gendry and where he was. She obviously wants him so she can kill him since he is the only person that stands in the way of Stannis obtaining the Iron Throne. 

Finally, this episode had the heart wrenching scene of Tyrion going to Sansa’s room to explain that they were now going to marry each other. Though the episode did not show Tyrion actually informing Sansa, you could see the pain it caused Tyrion to not only have to be the bearer of bad news for Sansa but also have to tell his secret lover, Shae, at the exact same time. I will say that Tywin forcing his children to wed people they do not want is beginning to form an interesting relationship between Tyrion and Cersei. I do believe that thought these two  are in fact enemies, their present circumstances will bring them to join forces against their father. I cannot wait to see where the rest of this season goes!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Game of Thrones 3.5: Kissed by Fire

Snow Becomes a Man

I cannot believe we are already halfway through the third season of Game of Thrones. Oh I wish this series had a 22 episode run like network television (then again if this was network television this series would not be nearly as good). Once again another event filled episode. Snow and Ygritte finally give into their inner temptations and get down and dirty. In order to make her believe that he has truly forsaken his Night’s Watch vows, she suggests a little afternoon delight. I guess there are worse ways to prove that you are not a spy. Though this in Jon’s first time, he seems pretty knowledgeable with how to please a woman. I thought Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) and Rose Leslie’s romantic chemistry was sizzling but then again the two actors are dating in reality so it must not be too hard transferring that sexual desire onscreen. I am intrigued by this story development because I think becoming romantically involved with a Wildling will make it more difficult for Jon to carry out his task as a spy.

Arya faced a setback this episode. The Hound fought Beric Dondarrion to decide his guilt or innocence. Much to my pleasure (but to Arya’s dismay) the Hound won the battle and was thus set free by the Men Without Banners. This scene gave the viewer more information about the power possessed by the Lord of Light. Though the Hound killed Dondarrion, Dondarrion came back from the dead. Apparently this is not Beric’s first time escaping death but his sixth. The Lord of Light wishes for him to stay alive. I am beginning to wonder about the role of the Lord of Light in this series. Is he supposed to be a mystical representation of the Christian God? Jesus always used the metaphor that he was the light. Also the followers of the Lord of Light in the series refer to him as the only god. They follow him and no one else unlike the old gods that the Starks pray to or the new gods of say the Lannisters. Finally, the Lord of Light works visible miracles such as bringing people back from the dead just like the miracles performed by Jesus in the New Testament. Of course there are many qualities about this god that do not reflect the Christian God such as burning people who do not believe (then again Mary I burned Protestants at the stake so the practice is not unheard of)  or using his powers to create a demon to murder Stannis’ brother, but the Lord of Light bears more resemblance to the Christianity God than the other deities mentioned in the series. 

In this episode, we finally get to meet Stannis’ wife and daughter. Though they both make appearances in the second novel, the series does not show their characters until now. Stannis’ wife is a very understanding woman and is happy that Stannis bed Melisandre and produced a “son.” Once again another biblical reference came to my mind as I watched this scene recalling the story of Abraham and how Sarah sent Abraham to her maid so that he might have a son. I will say that this episode shed some light onto Stannis’ character. In the second book, the reader learns how devoted of a husband Stannis is, never straying from his marriage bed. He holds those vows sacred. In the series, that point is never really addressed until now. In the second season, he takes Melisandre in the heat of passion without much hesitation. Even last episode, he was trying to get in her pants again. This is the first time we see the moral Stannis (at least moral when it comes to marriage vows) making an appearance and apologizing to his wife for his infidelity. We also get to meet Stannis’ daughter this episode. Once again there is a difference between the book and the series. In the book, the daughter is supposed to be severely disfigured and grotesque. I half expected to see Jessica Lange’s daughter from the first season of American Horror Story cast in the role. However, the daughter looked, sounded, and acted normal all except for having half her face scarred. Though she did have this one disfigurement, it was not nearly as horrific as described in the book.

Robb Stark followed in his father’s footsteps this episode and not for the better. Lord Karstark ventured out on his own and killed the two young Lannisters in custody. Robb seeing this as treason kills Lord Karstark causing him to lose the bannermen this lord brought with him. I fear Robb might not survive this series. Eddard lost his head because he was so honorable and just that he could not play the political game and could not let some insolences alone even though their persecution would mean more trouble for him. Robb is making the same mistakes. Both his wife and his mother warn him that by killing this lord he will lose the men the lord brought with him. They advise that he should just hold him as prisoner and use his safety as a wager to make the Karstark bannermen stay and fight. Robb, however, cannot let this treason go and kills Lord Karstark thus losing his men and depleting his army. Eddard was correct to teach his children honor and integrity but Robb also needs to learn political savvy. In order to survive this war he needs to take the lessons he learned from Eddard but learn from Eddard’s mistakes to become an even wiser ruler. 

This episode ended with an awesome twist. Cersei uses Littlefinger to try to figure out what the Tyrells are planning. She discovers that Margaery and the Tyrells are looking to wed Sansa to Ser Loras. Since of course Cersei is out to ruin Sansa’s life, she informs Lord Tywin. I was half expecting for Lord Tywin to marry Sansa to Lord Baelish which would be creepy, but Littlefinger comes off as creepy and semi pedophilic so it would seem to work. In an awesome twist, Lord Tywin decides to have Tyrion wed Sansa. I did not see this coming. Poor Tyrion, who also is appalled at how young she is,  is in love with Shae (which of course his father does not know). The only thing I can say for Sansa is that at least Tyrion has a good heart and will not harm her unlike Jofrrey and she might even have some protection. This scene got even better, however, when Lord Tywin ordered Cersei to marry Ser Loras. She was so happy that she was forcing Tyrion to marry someone he did not love but was completely blindsided by her father’s second request. It was brilliant. Not only does she have to marry someone else (at least he is much better looking that Robert) but it is going to be another loveless marriage because Ser Loras desires other men and no matter how hard Cersei might try she will never be able to please him. I actually love this arrangement not only because I like to see Cersei squirm but I think it might create an unusual alliance between Cersei and Tyrion. I think they might team up to go against their father, but then again he has such a strong psychological hold over all of his children, no matter how much they might dislike his orders, I do not see any of them rebelling. Though if two children were ever going to go against their father it would most definitely be Cersei and Tyrion. Well there are only five more episodes left in this season to find out so until next week….

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Game of Thrones 3.4: And Now His Watch Is Ended

The Spider Catches His Fly

Each week I feel like I always start out these blogs saying, “Wow so much has happened.” This week seemed to be different. The first forty minutes of this episode reflected the episodes of last season, building up exposition and not containing too much action. Though this episode started out slow, the end definitely left me on the edge of my seat. We finally hear the story of how Varys got cut. I actually thought we heard how he became a eunuch a few seasons ago but I guess he always referenced it but never shared the gory details. It was an interesting story involving black magic and a demon voice. Though besides being an intriguing antidote, learning how Varys become who he is offered an insightful look into how he came to be where he is and how he learned the value of information. Even further adding to his character, not only does he know how to gather information and use it to his advantage but he also has the desire for revenge. As he regales Tyrion with his sordid origin tale, Varys slowly opens up a wooden box that we assume he just received. This suspense leading up to the opening of the crate reminded me of the climatic scene from Seven when Brad Pitt keeps yelling "What's in the box?," as Kevin Spacey unveils the end of his sadistic plan. Finally, Varys finishes his story, we get the answer to our "What's in the box?" pleadings. Inside resides the sorcerer who cut him. After all these years, Varys will finally get his revenge and only those who read ahead in the books will know how he exacts it. 

Though Varys seems vindictive in this scene, he redeems himself in a later scene with Olenna Tyrell, Margaery’s grandmother. First, I want to say that Lady Tyrell might be my new favorite character. She is witty and blunt and takes a no hold bars attitude. If anyone can manage to survive in King’s Landing with the Lannisters it will most certainly be her. Moreover, she has a decent heart and is not looking to exact revenge or cause more bloodshed but wants what is best for her relatives. I hope before the season ends, there will be at least one scene between her and Tyrion. I think with these two characters’ witty style they would have an excellent repartee. But to get back to the episode, Varys redeems himself by caring for Sansa. She does not want her to fall prey to Littlefinger or the Lannisters. It shows that even though he may betray some of those that considered him their friend, he does have some kind of moral conscience. I do believe what he said in the first season when talking to Ned Stark after he was imprisoned….Varys serves the realm and will do whatever it takes to make sure the realm survives. 

Jaime Lannister continues to have a really bad day. Not only did he lose his hand last episode but now his captors make him wear the severed limb around his neck. They also allow him to fall from his horse and make him drink horse urine. Leave it to Brienne, however, to put it all into perspective. While Jaime sits by the fire refusing to eat and ready to just let himself die, Brienne yells at him calling the past events a bought of misfortune and Jaime a woman for pouting over them. She reminds him that he has lived a life of privilege and now he is experiencing what most people face…real life. The majority of the characters in this series are some form of royalty or nobility and have all led a life of privilege. We do not get to see the everyday affairs of the commoners. This was a nice reminder that everyday life for most people in this world sucks and that those with money or power do not know what it is really like to struggle. This conversation between Jaime and Brienne also took another turn for we find out that when Jaime saved Brienne last week from rape by saying her family had a lot of money, he was in fact lying. The Sapphire Island from which she comes got its name from the water not the actual gemstones. Jaime once again showed he had a heart by lying in order to save a fellow knight. 

The Night’s Watch took an interesting turn this episode. They are still camped out at Craster’s ranch waiting for their injured to gain strength before returning to The Wall. Old man Craster is stingy with the provisions he gives the Watch and one of their injured ends up dying. This invokes rage within the group and they confront Craster which ends with an all-out fight and Craster and the Lord Commander killed. Sam uses the chaos to his advantage and runs off with Gilly, Craster’s daughter/wife that he fancies. It was nice to see The Night’s Watch act its true nature. This is a band of men made up mostly of criminals and murders who all of the sudden decide to lead a life of virtue and become an upstanding citizen of an army. This scene showed that the rebellious nature in most of these men still exists and that they can use their vast numbers to wreak havoc. This plot point, once again entertaining, exhibited a flaw that I think has been a common theme this season: missing backstory. After the rebellion breaks out, another Night’s Watch brother looks around the compound for Sam but cannot find him. He then says that the little piggy can run but he will eventually find him. I do not understand what Sam did to earn the disdain from this brother. Though he has never been a favorite because of his cowardice and weight problems, these faults do not seem to warrant an all-out manhunt for him. Once again I feel this is another story that the books might elaborate on that the show just expects the viewer to take at face value.

Another interesting turn of events happened with Theon. First he finally took responsibility for what he did. He laments betraying his true father, Ned Stark, and for killing two innocent boys so he could hold onto Winterfell. However, this once again was a confusing storyline that hopefully will be made clear in future episodes. It seems that the person who helped him escape captivity and helped him avoid capture in the woods, was actually one of his original captors and led him back to the very place he was being held. I do not understand why he would go to all of the trouble to help him escape only to have him captured again. Also we still do not know who has Theon or where Theon is. It is an intriguing story but it definitely needs more development.

Finally, and I am saving the best for last, we come to Daenerys. Now I know last episode when she offered to trade one of her dragons for the army of slaves, she had something up her sleeves because the Mother of Dragons would not abandon one of her children. And boy did she ever have a plan. I correctly guessed that once she traded her dragon and gain the allegiance of the Unsullied, she would turn her army on the town and take back her dragon. But that was only part of it. First it turns out that the mysterious language spoken in Astapora is Valyerian. I do not think they ever mentioned which language they were conversing in which required a translator. I think if they divulged the name of the language, the viewers could have surmised that Daenerys spoke Valyerian and did not need a translator and it would have messed up the reveal for when she begins giving commands to the army. I do not know what I enjoyed more: knowing that Daenerys understood every insulting word Kraznys said or her speech instructing her army to kill everyone…I think it was the speech. Once again it is so refreshing this season to see Daenerys take action and make good on her threats and not just scream out that she is the Mother of Dragons. And now the official tally of towns Daenerys has conquered so far is two and I have a feeling that number will be drastically higher by the end of the season. If I had to bet on who will end up on the Iron Throne by the end of the series, my money is on Daenerys. But we will have to continue to watch and see. Till next week…..