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!