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!