Game of Thrones S2E7 Review
|REVIEWS - TV|
Murder and pillaging. It's common practice now, isn't it?...
"A man without honour"
Thank the old gods and the new, the Kingslayer hath returned! As I’ve said for the last three weeks, his absence has been sorely felt and it was a massive relief to see him back this week. As much as people love Tyrion, I often find myself laughing a great deal more when Jaime’s on screen than his shorter sibling and tonight was no exception.
The anecdotes with his cousin Alton gave us a bit of insight into the young idealistic knight he once was, but the sudden manner of murdering Alton in order to turn the situation to his advantage and escape showed just how far he’s strayed from the green boy he might once have been. His anecdote about Barristan Selmy might have been entirely false, but we know from an episode in season one that it was true…though of course in the books he squired for someone else, Barristan Selmy was at least there. The best part came when Catelyn confronted him in his cell, though with Brienne in tow. From the get go he was on fire, “Is that a woman?” and “Where did you find this beast?” being the only lines in the episode to register a laugh out loud moment for me. Not only was the comedy great, the drama was everything I’d hoped it would be. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is superb as Jaime, the embodiment of the character, in the the same way that Charles Dance is Tywin; and I know I’m going against the grain in saying this, but it’s those two I look forward to every week more than Tyrion.
"Arya and Tywin…you know what, I don’t want Arya to ever leave Harrenhal because it will mean the end of this awesome partnership. I want an Arya and Tywin buddy cop show"
If tonight’s episode had a theme, it was certainly honour – even the title says as much. Catelyn is readily picking apart Jaime’s lack of chivalry, but he is satisfyingly deft in his riposte, pointing out without hesitation how even the most honourable man in the kingdoms, Cat’s dead husband sired a bastard out of wedlock while Jaime has never been unfaithful to Cersei. As sick and wrong as you might wanna call the twincest, there’s no denying Jamie’s loyalty to his sister and the love he feels for her. And then there’s the vows that Jaime deftly deconstructs as he points out the gaping contradictions in the oaths men take. The Seven Kingdoms revolted against a tyrant that killed his own people, mad with power, yet when Jaime killed that tyrant everyone hated him for it and branded him honourless instead of a hero, all because he said a few words that promised to protect the king with his life. Barristan Selmy swore the same vow only to bend the knee to Robert Baratheon when entering King’s Landing victorious and no one ever even thought to question his honour – he was even permitted to stay on as head of the new Kingsguard. Yet Jaime is now the most reviled man in the land. The look on his face when Catelyn took Brienne’s sword was unmistakable relief, even joy – when faced with the prospect of his own death, Jaime faces it readily…though one suspects his disappointment of it being at the hands of a woman as he sits bound in chains.
Far north, Jon Snow is faced with similar concerns regarding duty, honour, loyalty and the weight of a few words. Ygritte certainly makes a good case for being part of the free folk as opposed to the Night’s Watch. Last week even Qhorin himself told Jon that serving among the Watch was a thankless job, and here Ygritte cuts through the intangible notions, the empty life that the men of the Watch lead in a few biting moments. She all but throws herself at Jon and the only one telling him not to do it is himself. Despite his own obvious want, maybe even need, he chooses yet again to live with the “honourable” choice and as Ygritte points out, it’s no wonder he’s one morose bastard. Jon is still locked into his childlish convictions about nobility, stuck in a silent pact with himself to do right his entire life, as if by doing so he can redeem being born on the wrong side of the sheets – something he adamantly refuses to acknowledge he had no control over. Ygritte’s delivery was perfect and exact – “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
Arya and Tywin…you know what, I don’t want Arya to ever leave Harrenhal because it will mean the end of this awesome partnership. I want an Arya and Tywin buddy cop show. I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense, just do it, do it now. These two are so much fun to watch together I am dreading the inevitable separation that’s coming. You could even have a show where Arya is forced to work with Tywin each and every week while dreaming up some scheme to slit his throat only to fail each time – endless possibilities.
Dany’s storyline continued to be less than intruiging, even though we got to see the smug pious shit called the Spice King get his throat slit along with ten of his fellows by the Voldemort clone. So we know who stole her dragons and it wasn’t much of a surprise. Xaro now stands unchallenged as the King of Qarth and his motivations are a good deal clearer than before. It shouldn’t surprise us that Dany is still too dumb to realise that without her dragons she is less than nothing, but as she continues to challenge Ser Jorah – again, the only one she should be listening to – it’s plain to see that she’s flying blind. I hope her storyline picks up momentum either before the end of the season or in the next, as it’s beginning to flag heavily compared to the events in Westeros.
Theon has really lost his way now, going so far as to butcher the two boys Bran sent to the farm and claim they are Robb’s heirs, but it seems he now follows the maxim of “it’s better to be cruel than weak”…well, I’m sure fans of the books felt a certain degree of irony in that statement.
As the season draws to a close I’m begging to reflect on what people will remember most about it. In many ways this season has defied expectations. I went into it expecting it to be very much Tyrion’s season, and yet despite being in every episode I feel as though Tyrion has been a passenger on the ship called King’s Landing, acting as little more than a ride-along despite being the Hand of The King. There hasn’t been a great deal of time spent inside his head or understanding what makes him tick, something which became more present than ever in the books.
To that end, I have to admit I’m disappointed by the screen time Tyrion’s had – I want him to reach out and grab the world by the balls, instead he’s being guided by Joffrey and Cersei. These days Tyrion is the closest thing we have to a main character but he isn’t being utilised as such. With only three episodes left of the season, I hope the dwarf begins to cast a very large shadow before his time in the spotlight fades out – and no, that is not a spoiler.
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