Game of Thrones 605 The Door

“Liz, by the end of this episode, you will be bawling your eyes out…for Hodor.”

“Do not be ridiculous, Hodor is an undeveloped, one-note character who’s there, sadly, for cheap laughs, and to be The Big Dumb One. It is not a character trope that delights me. And this is not a particualrly interesting interpretation of that trope. So, what? He dies? Meh.”

AARGH. OH THE WRONGNESS OF ME TEN MINUTES BEFORE THIS EPISODE ENDED. I mean, WHAT?! What is this?! Heartbreaking predestination paradox time travel fantasy, that makes the most moving character death Game of Thrones has had so far. Bloody hell. Hodor.

Hodor. Hodor, who’s only ever been able to say one word since he was a kid, and it’s all Bran’s fault. A TIME LOOP. In a fantasy story with ice zombies! It’s horrifying, what Bran does, how he damages Hodor, traumatising him to such an extent that he can only say one word. And, my God, did Hodor *know* what was going to happen? Did he know during his initial fit, or realise at the end as he held the door? HE COULD STILL BE ALIVE. It’s never death until there’s a body, dammit.

But yeah, that was one hell of a gut punch. And a gut punch on top of scenes that were already very nearly the most awesome of the episode. Creepy ice zombie dreams where the zombies can see you! Then hunt you down in real life! Marvellous. Everything about the attack on the tree was just so cool, and creepy, and awesome. And just when you thought it was safe to take another breath….that Hodor thing happened.

Just  a little bit south, more rather awesome things were happening at Castle Black as Littlefinger arrived and Sansa went to meet him and everything about their conversation was just perfect. OH SANSA. You are the best of them, please be queen. Her coldness to him, her calm, her refusal to be manipulated or intimidated, the way she used her humiliation to humiliate him…the only worrying thing was the dig about Jon her *half*-brother – especially when it was coupled with Brienne being all worried about leaving her undefended. DON’T BETRAY SANSA, JON. He wouldn’t though, would he? Would he? *frets* (Did Littlefinger lie about Riverrun? Argh.)

And the first shot we got of Sansa was her sewing, which made me flail a bit, and then it turned out she’d sewn herself a new Stark dress, and Jon a new Stark cloak. OH. ❤ I’ve never been on the Stark side as much as I have this season, and it’s all Sansa’s fault.

Arya meanwhile, is still getting hit with sticks, OH GOOD. But there was also a play, with lots of filth and stupid jokes, so it wasn’t all meh; if you must have filler, make it entertaining filler. And it sounded like her plot got nudged along, but I expect next time we see her, someone will again be hitting her with a bloody stick.

The Iron Islands kingsmoot! I quite liked that, actually – I was expecting to hate it. The fact it took  a few minutes rather than a few hundred pages was a big help, and I loved how Yara, Theon, and Euron were all working their rheotoric to try to swing the crowd their way. They way they used who they were, what they’d done, and what they *weren’t* as tools. And the exquisitely delicate care Yara had to take to not let her claim be shoved aside on the basis of “but you’re a woman”. It’s a tightrope walk made by many medieval women in power (I say, as though society isn’t still quite rotten about women with power: look at the crap thown at Clinton today) – the Empress Matilda came particularly to mind here (she, too, had a brother (well, half-brother) as the main supporter of her cause) – when she took London, and started to act as a monarch needed to, her nascient rule was undermined with the simple accusation that she wasn’t behaving as a woman should.

What else? Ah, Meereen. That was…there. Stuff…happened. I sort of like how the whole Lord of Light thing looks a lot more appealing when one has a god’s eye view of the world and can see there’s a bit of a problem with murderous ice zombies on the horizon. A problem I am UTTERLY CERTAIN Sansa will solve. Yes.

 

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Game of Thrones 604 Book of the Stranger

In my concerted effort to Finish A Thing this week, I managed to forget to write lovely words about last week’s Game of Thrones. It’s Doctor Who all over again! (I will finish writing about last season, I WILL.) Anyway, here we are now. And IIRC correctly – it’s only been a week so I bloody well hope I do – Book of the Stranger was pretty darn nifty. Mostly because of Sansa. OH SANSA. Two whole scenes and it’s entirely possible I was sobbing a bit at both. When the gates of Castle Black opened and – goshdarnit, I’m welling up again, this is silly, stop it, eyes! – she and Jon saw each other and there was hugging and teasing and apologies and reminices, oh, ALL I EVER WANTED AND HOPED FOR. And another person who actually properly cares about her; collect them all, Sansa! And then make a big army and fight for stuff! Which is, marvellously, exactly what she wanted to do. “I’ll do it myself if I have to.” *LOVE*

I’m only *slightly* worried about Petyr sending knights to Castle Black. I like to assume they will turn up, decide Sansa is great, and maybe shove Petyr over the top of the wall. I know that seems terribly optimistic, but so far the Sansa storyline this season is just perfect, and they surely wouldn’t want to ruin that with complications or bad stuff happening, would they?

Speaking of bad stuff, Tonks aka Osha cops it almost exactly as I dreaded, alas. Still, at least she had the knife in her hand and was totally going to kill him. More yayful was Yara and another reunion, less full of hugs, but still. Could have been worse – no-one got stabbed. And when Theon said Yara should rule and he wanted her to take the throne of the Iron Islands (not the Iron Throne, which is in King’s Landing..heh, I see this show could be confusing to new people!) I may have cheered a bit. Obv Yara should be queen. And Sansa can be Queen in the North. And Dany can have the rest of it. EVERYONE’S HAPPY. Well, not everyone. I’d be happy.

But what of Margaery, the current actual queen of something? She’s been stuck in a cell under the care of the High Sparrow all season, but this ep it was less boring and more a little heartbreaking when she got to see her brother, locked up under similar conditions, and turns out he’s not coping at all well. Seeing her hold her brother as though she were trying to impart some of her strength to endure just through the power of touch, gah! Sod my political sympathies, I am REALLY LOOKING FORWARD to some Tyrell and Lannister burning of stuff soon.

Meanwhile, Dany did burn things down, yay! Flames! I do like Dany, and I do quite want her to have the Iron Throne, but the storyline still has the major problem that you really can’t get away from the White Saviour stuff, and heh, now she’s killed all their leaders and everyone in that world is literally bowing down before her! SOME WINCING THERE. While, yeah, I appreciate the character growth we’ve seen over the past six years and her reaction to this situation and there were lots of pretty flames, it’s still very awkward.

What else? Oh, Tyrion. That. Yes. I really very much hope this is being set up as him being too clever for his own good or something like that because otherwise it seems like well dodgy. He’s basically taken Dany’s place in Meereen and thinks he knows and understands the situation better than Missandei and Grey Worm. MARVELLOUS. Maybe it will be fine. So long as he doesn’t get Missandei killed, that would be unforgivable. (It doesn’t seem like anything like that will happen, but of the characters  love, I worry for Missandei the most as she’s very much a supporting character, and extra vulnerable to a sudden, unexpected death.)

And there’s a whole new ep out in the Americas already, I believe! Ours arrives tomorrow, or today actually as it’s technically Monday. (That’s right, I’m up at 1am writing about Game of Thrones. SHUSHT. Great life choice.)

 

Game of Thrones 603 Oathbreaker

Wheeee! So after a spiffy episode last week where there were amusing deaths and I felt seriously pandered to, this week feels a slight drop off. This is isn’t to say it’s a bad episode or sod all happened, but it wasn’t terribly interested in moving along the story of most of my favourites, so I cared less.

However, Season Six has done a magical thing and Made Bran Scenes Interesting! Strange weird feelings of yay are being experienced as soon as I realise it’s Bran time cause I’m loving these flashbacks to young Ned and his family. It’s doing wonderful things in fleshing out and reminding viewers of events that were perhaps only briefly mentioned in the series, and happened long before it started, and it’s making where we are now (though it may have been a long, very slow route) feel rather more meaningful as we’re connecting it to the past. Also, there’s Max Von Sydow in a tree! Marvellous.

Arya can see again! Presumably something interesting will now happen because watching Arya get hit with sticks is really not. And I do like Arya, but having her alone in another city away from all the other main characters. MEH. The payoff had better be shiny. As had whatever they’ve planned for Dany because this getting captured by Dothraki and having all her power stripped away (though she now has pride and confidence, dragons, and, one hopes, A PLAN) has been done already and it’s boring. AND I LOVE DANY. Don’t make her scenes boring show, this is v distressing!

Not boring was Cersei and Jaime being smacked down by their Uncle, Ser Kevan. That was pretty awesome. I LOVE the contrast we saw here between Kevan and Tywin – Tywin would never have left the room (though it seems doubtful Cersei would ever have challenged him like that) but Kevan still effectively retained control and authority, and made his contempt and sheer unimpressedness at Cersei’s antics quite clear, in a way that would be pretty alien to Tywin. Great Lannister character work all round. Also, UNEXPECTED DIANA RIGG. Win.

Less good was Tyrion doing sod all in Meereen. Yay for Missandei, but omg, give them something to DO. Slightly better was the Varys scene, but still. You let the dragons go last week, folks? What’s happening with that? Tell us a dragon story or something, yes?

Ah, the Jon Snow stuff. That was great. I’ve switched back and forth a lot on Jon Snow – I like him in the books, found him emo boy on the telly, but sort of got won over when he started having more interesting people to talk to? Like, it’s really hard for a character to be in a scene with Liam Cunningham and not look better (oh, Ser Davos, so good this week “It’s all fucking mad”). The reveal of Jon Snow being alive and the stupid joke with the wildling whathisname and then him doing his duty and hanging the people who killed him. OH. That was good. Love Thorne was unrepentant, and believed till the end he wasn’t betraying the Night’s Watch, he was doing his duty. And, yeah, he was, in any year that didn’t have a fucking huge army of ice zombies keen to destroy mankind.

Jon walking off at the end and saying his Watch was done? Kind of perfect. He swore to serve till he died, and he did. And I do believe I *almost* said “fuck yeah, Jon Snow!” Almost.

What else was happening? Sam and Gilly. I DON’T CARE. I cared even less when Sam started throwing up. Oh, Tommen had a chat with the High Sparrow, and I flailed slightly cause Tommen said about half a second after I did “That’s what Tywin said!” And, oh, the Church wants to put Cersei on trial after putting her through an ordeal to purify her? WILL THEY NEVER BE SATISFIED. (Actually, give how much I agree with the High Sparrow, it’s nice to be judgey at them because all the characters I love are very much not on their side.)

And Rickon came back, or got dragged back, to Winterfell. I assume we didn’t see him for however many years it’s been because his hiding was even duller than Bran’s. Mostly I shall be a bit distressed if Tonks is back only to be killed horribly next week, and Rickon’s awesome plan isn’t to stab Ramsay Bolton in the face.

Till next week!

Game of Thrones 6.02 Home

One of the most frustrating things about Game of Thrones – books and telly – is as the story goes on, the plotlines multiply to such an extent that a full book/season goes by and you feel like sod all happens. It’s nudge, nudge, nudge, EXPLOSION, nudge – the sort of pacing which, oh, I feel a little dreadful complaining about because have you seen some old Doctor Who stories? And yet…well, yes, I expect a modern telly series to be a smidgen faster than beloved sixties telly.

So this week’s Game of Thrones was MOST CHEERING. It’s just the second episode but STUFF HAS HAPPENED! More deaths! Deaths I can cheer at! And, most excitingly, a death that surprised me! I mean, I assumed that, at some point, Roose Bolton would get it; he’s too minor a character who’s betrayed too many people not to, but that exact moment? Nope! When he gave the mad dog speech, I shook my head sadly, assuming that Lady Bolton and the kid had had it, but like Roose Bolton, I forgot that you probably shouldn’t tell the mad dog you think he’s a mad dog. Just cause you’re mad doesn’t mean you’re stupid, and Ramsay immediately moving to protect his position when he suspected his father was going to off him was a bit great. I mean, it was horrible, but sort of wonderful that you could see Roose plotting away, and Ramsay is like “sod this, I’m getting rid of you RIGHT THIS SECOND.” Well played, show, well played.

The death of Lady Bolton and the wee baby was, thankfully, not as grueseome as it could have been. I expected worse, and having it restricted to snarls and screams was rather nice, even if the images they inspired were not.

Next to be unceremoniously offed was the tedious Lord Greyjoy. Who, actually, was quite all right on the telly. Or, at least, he was seriously less meh as a character because most of his scenes were shared with Yara, who is on my way too long list of People I Want to Be Queen (Regnant) By The End of the Series. I admit, I did actually laugh as he plummeted to his doom, but come on! He wanders out onto a rickety old rope bridge and is stopped by a Mysterious Hooded Stranger who turns out to be his estranged brother and said brother then does a lot of OH DEAR GOD KILL ME speechifying before topplying Lord Greyjoy into the rocks below. That is lolarity.

Add these deaths to Alexander Siddig and his heir last episode, and soon there’ll be few enough characters for the plot to chug into second gear, hurrah!

Sadly, the lolarious death in the Iron Islands was somewhat ruined by the fact that it sounds Quite A  Lot like they’re going to do the whole moot thing to choose their new lord. Which in the books was a very long, very tedious read that left me…dissatisfied with how they ended it, especially with regards to Asha/Yara. Maybe telly will be better, maybe Yara will just kill them all.

Back in King’s Landing, I’m flailing at having my real world sympathies be twisted around. OF COURSE I love that the sept is uniting common people as a force against the corruption of their political leaders, and the way ordinary people are exploited, and slaughtered in a horrifying war not of their making. OF COURSE. And yet…well, I find myself sort of wanting to see Cersei and Jaimie torch the sept (after Tommen’s rescued Margaery obv). Which I do feel a bit guilty about, even though it’s completely fine because it’s fictional (and while some things cannot be excused merely because they’re fictional, I’m reasonably sure wanting to see stuff blown up is not one of them.)

I was wondering how Tommen would fall. Because he’s clearly too dull to be king at the end of all this, and lo, he wants to be a stronger ruler by getting advice from his mother. Miiiiiiiisssstake. Oh, Tommen, have you not been paying attention? Cersei is *terrible* at politics! It’s part of the reason I love her – ineptness at something she thinks she’s quite good at – and slightly ironic because if only Margaery had been free and he’d turned to her instead, it would probably have meant shiny victory parades forever.

What else happened? A Bran scene! And I wasn’t horribly bored, that was awesome. And I think the actor got better too. And there was Max von Sydow, yay! Actually, I found the flashback rather moving – Bran seeing his father, uncle, and aunt as young people, and them all being so happy, untouched by disaster; unaware how cruel the future would be to all of them.

Two high points of the ep – first, Sansa and Brienne. Oh my. I will never get bored of them. And they talked about Arya, and Sansa knowing her sister was most probably still alive and her smiling in genuine happiness, and NOTHING HORRID WILL HAPPEN TO THEM EVER AGAIN. Good. Yes. Second, and my favourite scene, was the once I was waiting for after last week: Ser Davos and Melisandre, and lo, it was perfect. We know Jon Snow’s not dead forever, so that whole him coming back, yes, excellent, glad they didn’t string it out any longer. The important bit was how they got there. I’ve enjoyed Carice van Houten’s performance since she first arrived, but I really loved her here, the way the remains of her faith and pride still clung to her. The way the weight of believing she’d been wrong diminished her without turning her into a pathetic figure. And I loved Davos’s reaction, his pragmatic compassion and straightforwardness. After all he’s seen her do, when he sees her at her lowest, there’s no cruelty in him, nor is there pity, but there’s a great deal of good sense.

And I can’t have been the only one almost sort of wishing the dragon would eat Tyrion? I mean I love Peter Dinklage and he’s obviously tremendous in the role, and I delight in watching him, but wouldn’t it have been the best thing if the dragon had just glomped him down? And by best, I mean, would not the Interwebs have been entertaining?? No? Just me? Alas.

Till next week!