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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Game of Thrones 1x8 - "The Pointy End"

George R.R. Martin wrote "The Pointy End" himself and is the sole credited writer of the episode. This is fitting, I think, because "The Pointy End" marks the beginning of something I've been noting as I read the books (I'm in the midst of A Storm of Swords now): that A Song of Ice and Fire could be renamed "Sansa and Arya Stark Can't Catch a Break". The way the Stark girls are treated, well, it makes me think maybe Martin should have gone on a few more dates in high school. He really has it in for those girls. The worst, and worser, and even worstest is yet to come for Sansa and Arya.

Quite a lot of plot got condensed in this hour, specifically regarding the war now raging between Robb Stark and the Lannisters. There's a good amount of Robb in this episode, which there had to be. Robb has been the least developed of the Stark sons (besides Rickon, and on the show, it's easy to forget there's a Stark son younger than Bran). I think even Theon Greyjoy has had more screen time in the series than Robb. Robb only becomes more and more important as he leads the North to war.

I liked the shot of all of the ravens carrying the call to arms to the Stark bannermen leaving Winterfell.

How lucky are Ned and Catelyn Stark there's no such thing as child protection services in Westeros? And how unlucky are the Stark children of that same fact? Talk about negligent parents; leaving Bran and Rickon alone in Winterfell for months on end. Robb too, as their older brother and legal guardian. Poor kids. Bran should watch Home Alone and boobytrap Winterfell against robbers.

Geography of Westeros becomes important during the war; much of the fighting revolves around the Riverlands area of the Seven Kingdoms in between Winterfell and King's Landing. It gets a little confusing where Riverrun, the Fingers, the Trident, Harrenhall, Casterly Rock, Lannisport, etc. are.

I have to ask how well certain scenes played to non-book readers. For instance, when Sansa was called to meet Cercei, Littlefinger, Varys, and the Meester and told to write the letter to Robb - she was being completely played and manipulated by Cercei.

A major detail missing from the episode: It was Sansa to went to Cercei and told him Ned planned to take her and Arya back to Winterfell, tipping her off that Ned was making his play to install Stannis as King and discredit Joffrey. Sansa's begging for Ned's life at the end was her trying to save her father's life after realizing her role in his being declared a traitor.

Probably the most fun thing in the episode was Tyrion's negotiating skills. Allow the Imp to talk and he can get himself out of just about any kind of trouble.

"How would you like to die?"
"In my own bed, at the age of 80, with a belly full of wine and a woman's mouth around my cock."

I like the way that Imp thinks.

Poor Ned rotting in the dungeon had to account for the very logical question from Varys: "What madness lead you to tell the Queen" about his learning of her children's true parentage? Yeah, really, Ned.

One of the great disappointments of the series is that this is the end of Arya's "dancing" teacher Syrio. What a great character he was, and we didn't get nearly enough of him. Arya gets her first kill with Needle's "pointy end".

I liked how Jon was confined to quarters but it was a voluntary confinement. Apparently, he could and did let himself out at any time. And good that he did since he figured out how to kill that undead Other.

We finally got to see Drogo actually fight and kill like a bad ass, complete with Mortal Kombat-style "finish him!" throat ripping. I wonder if that was Jason Momoa's audition to become the new Conan?