Game of Thrones 608 No-one

The antipenultimate episode of the season! And, gosh, it was quite good. It really has been a season of Stuff Happening. And that Stuff all ends of feeling rather meaningful as it’s been earned with oh-so-many hours of sod all happening week after week. Well, we have suffered, but season six is our prize, yay! So, what did happen?

Varys is off on some secret mission. One assumes either to murder Kevan Lannister or find that Targeryen prince who secretly wasn’t murdered BUT MAYBE the show has decided to go somewhere that didn’t have me banging my head against the pages of a book that could kill a thousand cockroaches and still prop up a caravan. Maybe.

“I choose violence.” Violence is bad. Irl violence, as a rule, is a ghastly awful terrible thing, which I’m sure you all know, but I just want you to know that *I* know that. Irl, I am a woolly pacifist, okay? So, bearing that in mind, when Cersei said that line, I jumped out of me seat and made flaily gestures of support at her. Because DAMN IT, she deserves some vengeful vengeance on the High Sparrow and his fanatics. And, politically, OF COURSE I’m on their side, but fictionally? I hope Cersei torches the Sept.

The Brienne and Jaime meet up was definitely one of those moments that was loaded with feelings and meaning that it couldn’t possibly have if we and they hadn’t endured a bloody year of them travelling together. SO WORTH IT FOR TWO MINUTES OF BANTER. Jaimie was actually chilling here, threatening Edmure. The fact that he admits what he does abt Cersei makes me think he’s being honest, and though he might yearn to be regarded as honourable, this is the kind of man he is at heart. (Though it’s not hard to argue it other ways – his vicious threats did mean that no-one on either side had to die, and as far as we know, the only one who *did* die was the Blackfish.)

And Tobias Menzies had lines at last! That was nice. Though what was the point of this Riverrun escapade? Was it just to get Jaime out of King’s Landing so Cersei was alone? I shouldn’t complain, it got Bronn lines. I like Bronn.

May have cheered as the Masters ships approached Meereen, thus proving Tyrion to have been horribly horribly wrong and Missandei and Grey Worm right. Less cheery, obviously, is that there’s a massive fleet of ships owned by enraged slavers attacking Meereen. But I’m sure it’ll be find as Dany has arrived and probably brings dragons with her so she’ll sort them right out, surely. Yes. Good.

Thoros of Myr! I didn’t even have to look it up, I watch this show too much. And…that dude! That he keeps bringing back to life! I can’t remember his name alas. Also, much guilt, but rly the Hound negotiating for how many of his friends’ murderers he gets to execute was lols, and also his annoyance that torture was right out.

And the big moment of the ep belongs to Arya. After a few scenes straight out of Terminator 2, she emerges triumphant and leaves behind her assassin training with the most cheering words of the season so far: “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I’m going home.” There may have been a tear, shusht.

I don’t know whether this season has felt so exceedingly proper because I’m writing about each ep, so more aware of what’s going on, or it really is just smashing. Anyway, next it’s to the battles! Exciting.

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Game of Thrones 607 The Broken Man

Lovejoy! LOVEJOY’S IN THIS EPISODE! Ah, is there anything Ian McShane can’t do? Mostly I’m quite sad at him being this nice guy in this nice community and then they all die. One might possibly argue that I should have suspected Imminent Death given they were decent people who just turned up, but no, I was misled because who would ever want to kill Lovejoy? Apart from all those antiques thieves, obviously. (Hilarious joke if you watched British telly in the eighties. HILARIOUS.)

But the Hound! Alive! I always suspected, cause there was no body. But that was a lovely genuine surprise that the Interwebs hadn’t ruined for me, thank you so much, lovely Interwebs! Ilu. I like to think he picked up that axe at the end so he can go and take up woodcutting, a noble profession that will surely bring him the spirtual peace and contentment he’s obviously looking for.

What else? Ooh, recruitment in the North. That was marvellous, loved those scenes. Tim McInnerny! More of him please. And two thumbs up for Lady Mormount. I love the breadth of women we get in this show, but one thing it hadn’t yet touched on was female children holding the reins of political power (a pretty rare situation in the real world – there was, IIRC, a young teenage woman who was regent of the Eastern Roman Empire, and Mary Queen of Scots was monarch at six days old). They really did a smashing job here. I love how much characterisation we got of Lady Mormount in minutes: her lack of tolerance for the niceties, her anger, her sense of responsibility, the way she called upon her advisors, her rejection of Sansa’s flattery, and Jon’s arguments, but she listened to Davos. And it’s just the one scene, but that conclusion of Davos convincing her is nicely set up, in that she responds to honesty, practicality and straightforward talking.

Huge yay at the episode for every scene with Diana Rigg. By gum, I love how much use they’re making of her character! Just splendid stuff with Dormer, wonderfully nuanced. Then the massive sigh of relief (from me, anyway) at the hidden handing over of the Tyrell rose doodle, and the pain of that hug where Marjaery slips for a moment when her face is hidden. Then that smashing follow-up scene with Rigg and Lena Headey. GORGEOUS. The Queen of Thorns’ contempt was magnificent, and I cheered her assessment of Cersei, for tis true. (I’ve said it before, but I love that Cersei is nowhere near as politically adept as she thinks she is. One might argue that’s problematic if she were the only example of a woman with political power in the show, but she’s not. There’re tons of them, so that means some of them can be crap and instead of feeling like a slap in the face, it means the writers can actually work with a broader palette of characteristics and have deeper characters because no one woman is standing for all “women’s ability to rule”.)

Is this the first time Bronn’s turned up this season? I can’t remember. Anyway, he is wonderful. MORE BRONN. “Lannisters always-” “Don’t says it. Don’t fucking say it.” ILU BRONN. Also two thumbs up for the casting of the Blackfish. I don’t recognise the actor, but he certainly did well with very little. SUPERB scene when the gormless Freys threatened to hang his nephew. I think, maybe, he shouldn’t have actually spoken, and that could’ve made it more effective? But, yeah, that was a really nice illustration of the difference between the letter and the spirit of power, and how numbers and law and tradition can all bend to the influence of a personality. Also, lols, two episodes and poor Tobias Menzies still has no lines. Excellent eye acting though!

The one other big cheer this ep came with more Yara scenes. And nice to see another queer woman! That’s Yara and Indira Varma, and neither of them are dead. And based on ALL OF TELLY the past few months, I am V NERVOUS. But it was some top Yara. Not to say that she can’t lie or be duplicitious, because clearly she can, but she’s got a sort of bluff honesty and straightforwardness to her style of leadership that we see fair amount in male characters, but offhand I can’t think of any female character to compare her to. Very down-in-the-trenches sort, and excellent contrast to the other female leaders. One of the most nifty things about the show is I can see why people would follow Yara, or Sansa, or Dany, but the reasons why and the emotional resonance for each feels so different.

And Arya dies! …oh, no, she’s okay, just bleeding…a lot. To death. I mean obviously she can’t die yet, she was just about to get out of the boring stick-hitting city. And probably that knife totally missed her liver (it repairs itself anyway, right? she’ll be fine) and all other vital organs after she got stabbed half a dozen times. Yes. ALL FINE AND GOOD.

I do like how I don’t actually have to wait to find out what happens next. Next episode!

 

Game of Thrones 606 Blood of my Blood

I’m a LITTLE bit behind in Game of Thrones, and this is actually the last episode I’ve seen. I may have caught a glimpse of a trailer for last week’s though and OMG. But, yes, cast your mind back Some Weeks Ago to an episode that couldn’t help but be a little bit of a comedown after all that Hold The Door magnificence:

First off, so much hurrah at Arya doing something that doesn’t involve getting hit with sticks! And how marvellous that compassion won out (and I assume it wasn’t coincidence that the woman she was supposed to kill bore more than a little resemblance to her mother) and she made a choice that gave me feelings of hope and joy. I fully expect something dreadful to happen, of course, but the general grimness of Arya’s story does make even the glimmerings of light sparkle like crazy.

Benjen! I totally cheatingly called it before we saw his face because forever ago I read an Internet theory about how a certain character in the book was Benjen Stark. And it was a little cheering, even if it lacked serious emotional resonance cause it’s been how long since he ‘died’? And he was only in it for about fifteen seconds anyway. Still, two happy things in the same episode, go show! Also, nice to see Tobias Menzies again, maybe he will get some lines next week?

And maybe three happy things? Marjaery has scenes again, yay! And I ASSUME that this alliance with the High Sparrow was her marvellously cunning plan for getting out of prison and keeping her queenly mystique intact in order ro exact VENGEFUL VENGEANCE when she realised that Diana Rigg had failed her (which did stretch my suspension of disbelief a bit – Diana Rigg would never fail anyone.)

Dany’s speech was QUITE GOOD as she was on a DRAGON, but I’m relatively certain we’ve had that particular story beat once or twice per season before. It sounds really extra convincing this time (dragon!) and lots of STUFF has happened this season so I’m optimistic that the final ep is them setting off or landing, and I’m not Charlie Brown with the football, no.

My favourite part though was actually Sam’s story. I’m not a great fan of Sam – I think the actor’s smashing, but the character makes me argh in a “I do not like” rather than a “this is badly written” kind of way. Anyway, Sam, and his family. And his father, who is an awful awful person, BUT in what I thought was an extremely neat thing, especially for a bit part, his awfulness is pretty nuanced. He and his wife look to have one of the better marriages in Westeros: she feels confident and secure enough in her position to challenge him pretty directly on his behaviour at dinner and walks out, and there’s no anger from him to her for it – in fact, his first response after she’s gone is to tell his son how much he respects her. And there’s no question of him *not* taking the baby and Gilly and looking after them, he’s quite willing to do that. BUT he really hates his son. In a very nasty, vicious way. And the non-horrible bits don’t make the horrible bits okay. But it’s a much more interesting sort of nastiness than the Boltons or Lord Frey. And has an ugly knot of realism in it: ghastly people are generally not ghastly to *everyone*. And that is how we get the stories about how x would never do a thing like that, he was so nice to me etc.

All right, onwards! Got to catch up before Monday!