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Monday, April 2, 2012

Game of Thrones 2x1 - "The North Remembers"

Season premieres for a sprawling saga like Game of Thrones are always a bit weird because of the need to check in with everyone and re-establish where they are and what they're up to. At first watch, you're just in a "Wow, it's great to see you (Arya, Robb, Jon), you (Daenerys, Sansa, Jaime) and YOU (Tyrion) again (but not you, Joffrey)!" mode. Upon second watch, I was deeply impressed by how much story was handled in the episode, setting up the dozen or so major events to come.

Best Tyrion zingers to Cercei: "You love your children. It's your one redeeming quality. That and your cheekbones." and "How does it feel to be the disappointing child?"

The sequence with the Night's Watch beyond the Wall was probably my favorite, and now that I've seen episode 2, "The Night Lands", the set up for everything, all the little details were tremendous: The mystery of why Craster was able to exist in his Wildling village while all the other Wildlings disappeared, "If he marries his daughters, what happened to all his sons?", etc. Man, Craster is an asshole. It amazes me how every corner of Westeros our beloved characters can travel to has an appalling scumbag there waiting to be met. And there's Gilly too, whom I keep thinking is Ygritte every time she appears.

As I recall from the books, Jaime was left in a dungeon in a Stark/Tully loyal castle (I forget which one. Harrenhaal? But then, I think every castle in Westeros is called Harrenhaal) and not dragged around from camp to camp. But we get the scene with Robb and Jaime specifically addressing why Jaime is being dragged from camp to camp and not left in a castle, with a rather logical explanation of Robb not trusting his bannermen not to succumb to a Tywin Lannister bribe. But the real reason is, Jaime is too awesome and important a character not to have on the show at every opportunity. Even beaten up and chained up, he's incredibly rude and funny. One day, Jaime and Tyrion should travel around Westeros and do the Lannister Brothers Comedy Act.

One thing I don't quite recall from the book, and maybe someone can clarify, is whether in the book Catelyn volunteered for the mission to go to the Stormlands and negotiate with Renly, or if Robb sent her as the episode depicted. Because in the episode, Catelyn finally expressed a proper motherly desire to return to Winterfell and see Bran and Rickon, which I don't remember her expressing in the book (one of the reasons I hate her). No seriously, I hate Cercei less than I hate Catelyn, for different reasons. I'm not sure what that says about them or me.

One thing I can't fault Catelyn for: not trusting Balon Greyjoy. Or trusting Theon to be able to pull off his plan to get his father to join Robb and loan him their Iron ships to assault King's Landing, defeat Joffrey, and rescue his sisters. What a fanciful plan that is! In some other fantasy story, such an exciting gambit would work! But this is Game of Thrones, where no one's plans ever turn out like they want, if even.

My other favorite scene was Stannis rewriting the letter that would be sent out via ravens to all the lords in Westeros exposing the incest between Cercei and Jaime. "My beloved brother? I didn't love him and he didn't love me." "Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer. Make it Ser Jaime Lannister. Whatever he may be, he's still a knight." I appreciate Stannis' thoroughness as an editor.

Grey Wind is huge. I couldn't help note how big his head is. Why mention that? No reason. Come back in a couple of years, around season 4.

Oh, and I love the red comet in the sky. That's an omen for Bad Shit is Gonna Go Down in Westeros.