Monday, May 30, 2011
Game of Thrones 1x7 - "You Win Or You Die"
"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die." - The big line of dialogue from Cercei that sums up the series.
And there we have it. Points of no return for all of the main characters. All of the build up, mysteries, and intrigues, came to a head in flashes of swords, spilled poisoned wine, and declarations of war surrounded by flames.
Without ceremony, Game of Thrones just comes out and has Ned bluntly state his discoveries to Cercei's face: Joffrey and all of her children are indeed Jaime's, not Robert's. Incest between twins begat three abominations. I liked how the scene started with Cercei's golden head blotting out the son with her sounding concerned for Ned: "You're hurt." Cercei has shown brief flashes of compassion (feigned?), but always snaps right back to ruthless form.
We finally met Tywin Lannister and he's different from how you expect him to be. The father of Cercei, Jaime, and Tyrion is shown getting his hands dirty butchering a stag (nice metaphor). But he's more practical and even disappointed in his son Jaime for not acting intelligently (Tyrion, the "lowest of the Lannisters" has the brains) and for wasting all his talents as the "glorified bodyguard for two kings, one a madman, the other a drunk."
Thankfully omitted from the show was Cercei's more graphic explanation for how it feels when her twin brother is fucking her, and the outlandish moment when Cercei comes onto Ned and offers a (sexual) alliance between their houses! Cercei is less willing to prostitute herself on the show. The scene with Tywin and Jaime doesn't exist in the book. Also new on the show is scene between Littlefinger and the whores where Littlefinger essentially narrates his origin story and foretells how he's going to fuck over Ned Stark, which he does. I'm also pretty sure but not positive the scene with Theon and the wildling woman at Winterfell was new. Joffrey being in the room when Robert was dying was also not in the book. Renly openly declaring that he should be king also wasn't in the book.
I love how in Game of Thrones, people make plans, thinking what they're doing is - well, maybe not right but for the best (in their best interests, usually) - but things go horribly wrong and everything turns to shit.
Robert sending assassins after Daenerys eventually forces Khal Drogo to reverse his earlier disinterest in invading Westeros. Instead he makes a bad ass declaration of war against Westeros, and Daenerys looks proud, in love, and pretty turned on. Funny how, considering the way it started, Drogo and Daenerys are probably the most loving man-woman relationship in the series.
So maybe Robert should have listened to Ned about Daenerys, but Ned isn't always right. A lot of people came to Ned urging him to take action against Cercei but Ned is stubborn. Ned also didn't tell Robert about Cercei and Jaime. I like Ned a lot, he's a good, honorable man. Game of Thrones doesn't reward good honor. Ned got good and fucked over. Cercei tearing up Robert's will was cold.
I also really like the debate about line of succession. Who should be king? Stannis Baratheon? No one likes him. But he's rightful heir after Robert - if Joffrey is exposed as a bastard. Then again, as Renly points out, why should that matter? Robert had no right to the throne, he seized it in combat. Who's best for the Iron Throne? There's no right answer. Who's not best for the Iron Throne? Joffrey. We can already see that. Ned Stark looks good and fucked, all right.