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Monday, April 16, 2012

Game of Thrones 2x3 - "What Is Dead May Never Die"

"They are the Knights of Summer, and Winter is Coming" - Catelyn Stark to King Renly Baratheon

That episode was unspeakably good. Well, not unspeakably. We will speak of it, in great detail. But you know what I mean. An amazing, amazing episode (and Daenerys wasn't even in it). As masterful a book to screen adaptation as any ever done.

The cliffhanger to last week, when Craster bonked Jon Snow in the noggin after Jon caught Craster giving up one of his infant sons to a White Walker resulted in... Jon having a bonked noggin and the Night's Watch banished from Craster's Keep. All that really happened was some egg on Lord Commander Mormont's face. But there's the revelation that Mormont has known for a long time that Craster has been trading his sons for safety for a long time. Is this how the White Walkers have been regenerating their numbers?  Plus Gilly took a thimble from Sam.

We got to see Bran's wolf vision, seeing the world (and Hodor) through his dire wolf Summer's eyes.  Maester Luwin tried to talk Bran out of the idea that magic still exists in the world, and for his generation it doesn't exist. But magic has been seeping back into Westeros little by little whether the people of Westeros want to believe it or not. Maybe the magic never really left, people just stopped wanting to see it.

There was a pointed effort by the show not to refer to Renly's Kingsguard as the Rainbow Guard as George RR Martin does in the books. But where Martin coyly teased Renly and Loras Tyrell as gay, Game of Thrones just goes all fucking out, doesn't it?  Margaery Tyrell is totally in on who her husband and her brother are.  Renly had trouble wrapping his head around her invitation to have a brother and sister three way with him. And so did I.  Another form of incest.  This show, man. This show.

Brienne the Beauty was perfect. Perfect casting, perfect performance, just perfect. That wench. Looking so forward to all the things she's going to be involved in.

Meanwhile, poor Theon, caught between his loyalty to Robb Stark and his actual blood family who thinks he sucks. I did feel bad for him when he yelled at Balon Greyjoy for giving him away when he was a child.  I guess old Balon didn't hear about the horseback diddling between brother and sister. Or maybe he did.  We Do Not Sow (worldwide trending topic on Twitter).

There's definitely a hardy, swashbuckling aspect to Asha Greyjoy in the books missing so far from Yara Greyjoy. Right now, Yara is mainly being used as a tomboy, "favored son" contrast to Theon. Yara has plenty more to do in the story, though, so we'll see if she gets to show a bit more verve when she's captaining those thirty ships.

It's a wonder Sansa Stark isn't a complete emotional wreck.  Is every dinner conversation with Cercei, Myrcella and Tommen Lannister all about when she's going to marry Joffery and when and how Joffrey will kill her brother?  The fact she can still function is because she's a Stark.  At least she isn't being beaten every day like in the book.  I totally forgot Shae was installed by Varys and Tyrion as Sansa's handmaiden. (Or was she in the book? I just don't remember.)

By the way, for everyone who noted how tall Joffrey has grown since season one, Sansa made Shae look like she was Tyrion.

This was one of the best Tyrion episodes, and that's saying something. The montage of him planting three different "Marrying Myrcella off" stories to Grand Maester Pycelle, Varys, and Littlefinger was brilliantly done. "The Queen mustn't know." Dorne is the real gambit Tyrion planned, so it's ironic(?) Pycelle, who heard the Dorne story, was the one who ratted out to the Queen.

Littlefinger was pissed Tyrion played him and offered him Lordship over the Riverlands and Harrenhal. But then, everyone's been offered Harrenhal. I think even I was offered Harrenhal once or twice.

I love how Bronn really enjoys all the assignments Tyrion gives him, like rousting and imprisoning Pycelle for ratting Tyrion out to Cercei. Plus Shagga is back, and called Tyrion "half man". One thing about that Tyrion Lannister: He's always so good to the whores.

Cercei's reaction to her realization that Tyrion is ultimately right to send Myrcella to Dorne to foster an alliance between their families, rather than risk leaving her in King's Landing to be raped and killed if Robb Stark sacks the city, was probably the most relatable Cercei has been. No matter her many faults, Cercei does love her children. But man, look at those cheekbones.

One thing I do remember from the book: Varys provided the answer to his riddle about The Three Great Men and the Sellsword. The show left it ambiguous. "A very small man can cast a very great shadow."

The origin of Yoren was well done. Like Syrio, Arya loses another very interesting fellow who is briefly her mentor and then dies trying to protect her. Sucks to lose Yoren, he was really great. Like most people in Westeros, his life story of how he ended up on the Wall is bloody and depressing.

Rest in peace, Lommy Greenhands, stuck with Needle's pointy end. We hardly knew ye. In fact, if we only watched the show and didn't read the books, I don't think we'd even know your name. So, thanks to some quick thinking by Arya to protect the real Gendry, we'll just call the late Lommy Gendry 2.

Three great men sit in a room: a king, a priest and a rich man. Between them sits a common sellsword. Each great man bids the sellsword kill the other two. Who lives, who dies?