Game of thrones S2E6 review
|REVIEWS - TV|
Get your spell-checkers out in vain, o Shadowlocked editors, as we re-enter the unspellable world of GoT...
"The Old Gods and the New"
And bang! Theon takes Winterfell almost effortlessly. It was more than a little surprising to see this happen at only just past halfway in the season when in the books it happens near the end. Further surprising is Bran and Rickon’s apparent escape, leaving me to wonder just what they’re going to do with the Stark boys for the remaining four episodes. I have to say I’m a little disappointed we didn’t see the actual assault itself, as it always stands out as one of the best action pieces from the second book. Budget constraints obviously limit the production capabilities, but it would have been nice to see a few grappling hooks flung over walls. Of course that might knock out the element of surprise of Theon walking in and declaring victory right at the episode’s start, but it would have helped it feel a bit more “earned”. Bran (Issac Hempstead-Wright) gave some of the best acting we’ve seen so far from him, and the emotion in his voice actually made me wince a little. Poor little lord.
Beyond the Wall, Jon finally gets a plot-line beyond just being a passenger to observing whatever the Night’s Watch encounters, a more personal arc coming in at last. Jon boldly declaring he’d willingly give his life for the Night’s Watch showed he’s still as green as grass and Qhorin’s rebuke was a pleasure to watch. Jon is still deluded by some misguided sense of honour, something that he’s going to have to confront very soon. I found myself questioning how realistic it would be that Qhorin leave Jon on his own to execute Ygritte. Jon may have killed a wight and earned the Lord Commander’s trust, but leaving him to kill an unarmed woman by himself is another thing entirely and it seemed a little hard to swallow that Qhorin had no qualms about leaving Jon to do the deed unobserved. Now that Ygritte has come into the picture, Jon’s loyalty to the Watch is going be tested in ways his uncle warned him about. Of course Jon never listened, always believing he knew best – we haven’t had Ygritte’s signature line yet – “you know nothing, Jon Snow”, but I get the feeling we’re going to see just how wrong Jon was in short order.
Arya and Tywin continue to be one of the best partnerships on the show, giving Bronn and Tyrion a run for their money. The whole time Littlefinger was there I was actually holding my breath, half-convinced he was going to recognize Arya. It takes skill to make the viewer believe there’s even a chance of this happening when they know full from the books that it doesn’t. Tywin’s story about his father was curiously candid, and had the writers not done a good job at establishing the relationship and dare we say respect he’s collected for his new cup-bearer, it might have seemed out of character for the mighty Lord Lannister to share not one but two anecdotes of his younger days. It was clever writing to put Arya into a position where she had to squander one of her three names and certainly makes more sense as to how Tywin will get to walk away from Harrenhal alive. Jaqen is interesting screen presence but I do wish he had more time to interact with Arya. Much of his signature lines have yet to crop up. Amory Lorch falling flat on his face at Tywin’s door brought a smile to my face.
Joffrey got a turd to the face and an almighty bitch-slap from Tyrion, and though Theon is not far behind him as the winner of the biggest douche-bag in Westeros, Joffrey still takes the prize. Ordering the execution of a whole crowd of starving common folk, leaving Sansa to be raped and generally being a clueless goon have made Joffrey public enemy number one. It’s hard to imagine the people of King’s Landing actually not wanting Stannis or any other King coming to take the Iron Throne. As Tyrion said this, Joffrey is proving to be a vicious idiot and loved the way he casually tossed in the truth about Jaime being his father. There was another instance of being concerned for the fate of the characters here when Sansa was cornered by four men and only a few seconds away from getting raped. It was uncomfortable viewing until The Hound showed up and brutally butchered the lot of them. It’s good to see him being just as much a badass here as he is in the books.
So, who stole Dany’s dragons? The fat pious shit dubbed The Spice King or the Voldemort -impersonator Pyat Pree? The theft of Dany’s dragons is something that never occurred in the novels, but I think I know where my money is. Dany’s scene with The Spice King stood out as the weakest. Patronising might be the intended tone of The Spice King’s delivery, but it was borderline insufferably predictable and twee. Then Dany started shouting, again, about – you guessed it – FIRE. AND BLOOD. She needs to learn to listen to Ser Jorah a she’s rather rapidly getting overconfident. As she’s about to learn, without her dragons she isn’t much of a threat to anyone and instead of barking fiery promises she should be whispering vengeance. Xaro Xhoan Daxos’s speech about making your way and the necessity of getting your hands dirty certainly rings true – Dany needs to stop expecting everyone to fall over at her feet and start doing things the hard way. Also, killing off Irri? That seems kind of harsh – millions of fanboys will be weeping into their pillows now that any chance of the scene where Dany takes Irri to bed has gone out the window. Oh well.
It seems, despite listening three times to the part where Robb asked his new love interest’s name I still managed to get it wrong a couple of episodes back. It’s Lady Talisa, not Melissa! Apologies. His reluctant, soft delivery of “I know, I know” to a returned Catelyn certainly rang true of a mother-son relationship, though. This storyline is still a bit of a non-starter, but Roose Bolton’s delivery of the bad news about Winterfell to Robb saved the scene. Bolton, a little different to his almost whisper-soft way of speaking mentioned in the book, is proving to be quite a vocal man, one not afraid of telling hard truths. His offer of sending his bastard to retake Winterfell from Theon and the Iron Islanders gave me chills though, and fans of the books will doubtless share the anticipation in seeing what the bastard of the Dreadfort will be like. To say more would be spoilerific.
No Stannis, no Mel, no Davos, no Tyrells. But lo! Next week brings the return of Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer himself – and about bloody time too.
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