SPOILER WARNING: All events that have occurred in the TV show up to and including yesterday’s episode are fair game. I have read the books but I will not go any further beyond small hints that only fellow book-readers will catch on to. You’ve been warned.
I for one am not a big fan of drawn out cliffhangers, as such the showrunners handled “the sea coming to Winterfell” very well. As was the case with Renly‘s death they gave us the aftermath right at the beginning of the episode, and what an aftermath it was. To quote Ser Rodrik, “Gods help you Theon [punkass] Greyjoy, now you are truly lost.”
There are no heroes or villains in Game of Thrones, no black and white, only shades of grey. You’ve got to give Alfie Allen credit for the way he’s playing Theon, you can see how unsure he is with every double take, quiver in his voice and tear in his eye. It really sets him apart from someone like Lord Tywin, who is so confident in everything he does.
The whole scene, especially Ser Rodrik’s death, was perfectly executed, pun intended. It really showed just how fiercely loyal the people of the North are to the Starks. The man who calls Theon a “steaming sack of shit” insists he serves the Starks, and right before Ser Rodrik is killed he tells Bran, “Hush now child, I’m off to see your father,” which is enough for him. After he says it he puts his head down and grits his teeth, completely ready to die. It takes Theon more than a couple swings to take Rodrik’s head, another impressive symbolic contrast between he and Ned Stark.
Beyond the Wall
Jon has lost his brothers of the Nights Watch and now has only the wildling woman Ygritte, who he could not bring himself to kill, to keep him company. There was a great parallel between Ygritte’s rubbing up against Jon and Osha seducing Theon. Each used their feminine wiles to get what they needed, Ygritte needed to stay alive (and perhaps convince Jon the free folk aren’t so bad) and Osha needed to escape Winterfell and protect the Stark children. In short, wildling chicks do what they gotta do.
The interactions between Arya and Lord Tywin were not in the books, but after seeing the two characters’ (and actors’) chemistry, maybe they should have been. When Tywin jokingly tells Arya she should devise their next battle plan, she gets this little smirk on her face that fades into a look of pure terror the moment it’s announced Littlefinger has arrived. Just another brilliant moment for Maisie Williams, who continues to impress. I’m certain Littlefinger recognized Arya. Always a step ahead of everyone else, he’ll save that little tidbit until it’s most valuable. You know: buy low, sell high.
They’ve actually managed to humanize the cold, calculating Tywin, who’s seemingly the only Lannister save Tyrion who knows what the hell he’s doing. His discussion of teaching Jaime to read was fantastic. It goes to show that Tywin is just another man who loves his family; he’s doing what he can to protect them in the only way he knows how.
While we’re on the subject of incompetent Lannisters, Cersei was her usual bitchy self. She threatened Tyrion for sending Myrcella away, saying, “I want you to know what it’s like to love someone, to truly love someone, before I take her away from you.” All this despite the fact that the princess will be far safer in Dorne than the capital. Sansa’s dilemma showed the dangers of being a noble woman while the common people are starving firsthand. If a bunch of unarmed small folk can wreak such havoc during a riot (they ripped the High Septon limb from limb), imagine what it’d be like with an enemy army knocking on the gates. But then Cersei’s not really one for rationality.
Speaking of the riot, it was another perfectly executed scene. The Hound rescuing Sansa was another great display of the shades of grey. This is the same man who murdered Mycah, the butcher’s boy, in cold blood. But he’s taken a liking to Sansa and was not about to sit idly by as she was raped.
Best of all, Joffrey’s actions in the aftermath of the riot gave Tyrion another opportunity to put that little shit in his place with a number of fantastic lines, and, of course, another slap. After all who doesn’t love to see ol’ King Fuckwad get his bell rung? First, Tyrion said, “We’ve had vicious kings and we’ve had idiot kings, but I don’t know if we’ve ever been cursed with a vicious idiot one.” Then, when Joff insists his uncle can’t talk to him that way, Tyrion slaps him and follows it with, “And now I’ve struck a king, did my hand fall from my wrist?” Finally, when Joff declares he doesn’t care what happens to Sansa, the Imp says, “If she dies you’ll never get your uncle Jaime back. You owe him quite a bit you know.” Of course, Jaime killed the Mad King, which led to Joffrey’s rule, not to mention that “uncle Jaime” is actually Joffrey’s father.
I for one loved the way the Spice King tore into Daenerys. Her sense of entitlement has reminded me more and more of her brother Viserys than the supposedly great leader she believes herself to be. When she claims she’ll “retake the Iron Throne,” the Spice King interrupts her, saying, “Retake? Did you once sit on the Iron Throne?” Boom. Headshot. Let’s be honest here, what has Daenerys actually done other than (arguably) getting lucky with the whole mother of dragons thing? I swear every time she says, “I am Daenerys Stormborn and I will take what is mine with fire and blood,” I lose 50 percent more interest.
As for the whole dragon napping, that’s another huge deviation from the books. Like many of the changes, I thought it was both necessary and clever. Frankly, Dany’s plot line in A Clash of Kings is pretty boring, so I’ve got no problems with the showrunners trying to spice things up by throwing readers a curveball. Now, since the event didn’t happen in the books, I can’t be sure who stole the dragons or why. However, I suspect it’s to motivate her to go a certain special someplace, where the only interesting thing to happen to her in the entire book occurs. The rest of her plot line might be shit, but that scene is going to be awesome.
Tags: Alfie Allen, Arya Stark, Cersei Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones blog, Jaime Lannister, Joffrey Baratheon, Jon Snow, Littlefinger, Maisie Williams, Myrcella Baratheon, Nate Kreichman, Ned Stark, Osha, Petyr Baelish, Renly Baratheon, Rodrik, Rodrik Cassel, Sandor Clegane, Sansa Stark, The Hound, Theon Greyjoy, Tywin Lannister, Ygritte