Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 3 “High Sparrow”

Monday, 10 December, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

The Wall: Stannis makes another overture to Jon, to accept the legitimised title of Lord Stark and rule the North, but Jon rejects him again, quoting his vows to the Night’s Watch. Jon asks how much longer Stannis is staying at Castle Black, and Stannis comments on the subtlety or lack thereof of Jon’s question. But then he says he will march on Winterfell within the fortnight. Jon tells him that the wildlings will never follow him, so Stannis tells Jon that it’s up to him what to do with them, as the new Lord Commander of the the Watch.

At dinner, Jon is seated at the commander’s position on the high table. The seat next to him is empty, and he asks where Maester Aemon is, to be told that he is ill. Jon then makes some announcements to the men. He starts by declaring that a new latrine needs to be dug, so he is appointing someone to lead the work crew. The camera lingers on Ser Alliser, looking sullen and petulant, and gives the impression that Jon is about to assign him this filthy task. But no, he appoints one of the men, who takes it good-naturedly amongst the laughs of his comrades. Jon then mentions Alliser’s valuable service to the Watch, and appoints him as First Ranger, which takes Alliser by surprise.

Next, he orders Janos Slynt to travel to some other castle (presumably along the Wall a bit) and restore it to service. Slynt refuses and calls Jon a pretender, and that he should order someone who cast their vote for him. Jon calls him to order, but Slynt ups the ante with insults. Jon responds by ordering Slynt held and taken outside, and asks for his sword. One presumes the penalty for blatant insubordination in the Watch is execution. Slynt is placed on the execution block. He panics and begs for mercy, saying how afraid he is, and that he’s always been afraid. Jon hesitates briefly, then swings his sword, beheading Slynt. Stannis looks on approvingly from a balcony.

Okay, so Stannis is going to try to take Winterfell back. That should be interesting, especially given what’s happening there (see next section). Maester Aemon’s illness must be foreshadowing, possibly of the old man’s death, otherwise there’s no plot reason for him to miss the dinner. Aemon cast the deciding vote, so if he dies soon one could see Alliser mount an argument that Jon’s appointment is less than valid. Although Alliser has also lost a supporter in Slynt, so Jon would still win the vote. Jon presumably wants to set a mark for upholding the rules and not taking any flak, thus his swift justice against Slynt. Presumably Slynt figured Jon wouldn’t have the gumption to go through with an execution, otherwise why stand up to him so stupidly? Especially given what a coward he is. Unless something else odd is going on here.

And now Stannis is leaving, but the hints of plot involving Jon and Melisandre, and Gilly and Stannis’s daughter haven’t led to anything yet. So maybe there’ll be more development of those before Stannis leaves.

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Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 2 “The House of Black and White”

Tuesday, 4 December, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

The Wall: Stannis’s daughter is teaching Gilly how to read. She hasn’t made much progress, as Gilly struggles to recognise the letter S. Gilly starts asking the girl about the scaly deformity on her face, implying that it’s some sort of known affliction that usually spreads, and wondering how it was stopped. I don’t remember what the answer was. Anyway, the girl’s mother (Stannis’s wife) arrives and breaks up the fun.

Stannis tells Jon off for showing mercy to Mance Rayder, by killing him with an arrow while he was being burnt alive. But then he offers Jon the chance to swear allegiance to him. In return, Stannis will declare him a legitimate son of Ned Stark, thus granting him the title of Lord of Winterfell, and will help him rebuild it and claim rulership of the north – as a vassal to Stannis the King. Jon turns down the offer, saying he’s already sworn his loyalty to the Night’s Watch, and if he’s not good for his word, what good is he as a lord?

That evening, there is a vote to see who will become the new Lord Commander of Castle Black. This is a bit odd – I’d always assumed that Ser Alliser would simply take over, seeing as he seemed ot be the next in the chain of command after the previous commander got killed. And because he’s antagonistic to Jon, so of course making him the commander would provide the maximum drama. But I guess the Night’s Watch is a democracy, not an autocracy!

People get a chance to speak in favour of various candidates. Janos Slynt, the weasely guy who hid in a room with Gilly during the battle, speaks for Ser Alliser, and it seems essentially settled already. Another man talks up another candidate, but you can he’s not going to win. Maester Aemon is about to call the vote, when Sam steps up and makes a speech about Jon, much to Jon’s obvious embarrassment as he tries to wave Sam off. Sam mentions how Jon essentially single-handedly saved the fort from the attack, and a bunch of other cool stuff. Alliser rebuts, saying all that may well be true, but calling into question Jon’s loyalty, as he has spent a lot of time in the company of wildlings.

The vote happens, everyone casting a shaped chip into a jug, which is smashed open to spill the contents, which are placed on wooden spikes through the holes in the middle to tally them. Alliser and Jon are equal first. But Maester Aemons has the deciding vote, and drops his chip on Jon’s tally, making Jon the new Lord Commander! Alliser casts him a black look as Jon manages to break a smile.

Well, as soon as Sam started speaking I knew this would be the result, but prior to that this was completely unexpected. As Commander, Jon has new responsibilities, and Stannis will find it harder to pull him away. But this primes Alliser to do something nasty to get even. He really seems to hate the wildlings, so I doubt he’ll do a full on betrayal, but he may well stab Jon in the back at some point – either figuratively or perhaps literally.

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Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 1 “The Wars to Come”

Tuesday, 27 November, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

And here we are into Season 5!

King’s Landing: We start with an unfamiliar scene, with two girls I don’t recognise walking through a forest. They come across a hut and go inside, the blonde one urging the reluctant brunette girl on. Inside is a woman – and at first I think it’s Osha, who we haven’t seen for a long time after she took Rickon and parted ways with Bran Stark. So I’m a little confused for a minute, because it turns out this isn’t Osha at all, it’s some witch. Blonde girl accuses her of being able to foretell the future, and asks what it holds for her – specifically will she marry “the prince”? Not-Osha says no, but she will marry a king.

At this point I have an inkling who this blonde girl is. Blonde-girl asks about children, and the not-Osha witch says the king will have 20 children, but she will only have three. Yep, that clinches it. It’s young Cersei. Blonde-girl says that children thing makes no sense. Not-Osha tells blonde-girl she will be queen, but a more beautiful queen will rise to take her place…

And Cersei snaps out of a flashback dream. She’s riding in a litter to the Sept, where her father Tywin lies in state (after Tyrion shot him last episode). Someone tells her that the visiting dignitaries are waiting to pay their respects, but Cersei snaps that they can keep waiting and goes in alone, to find Jaime inside. They argue, she accusing him of letting Tyrion go.

Later Cersei runs into a Lannister cousin, who seems to have taken some sort of monkish vows. He tries to preach his new faith to her, but she is grumpy and dismissive. He asks for forgiveness for “their adulterous affair” (Cersei and this guy? Really??) and for giving Robert Baratheon wine before his fatal encounter with a wild boar on his last hunting trip. Cersei seems disinclined to chat further and storms off.

Loras is enjoying the company of another young male in his bedroom, when his sister Margaery walks in. She dismisses the paramour, telling him that the King is expecting to see Loras and he doesn’t want to keep the King waiting. Margaery admonishes Loras for being so indiscreet. he says it doesn’t matter because (a) everyone in King’s Landing knows everyone else’s secrets anyway, and (b) he doesn’t need to worry about Cersei because now that Tywin’s dead she’ll cancel their engagement, so he has nothing to worry about. He reckons this is bad news for Margaery though, since now he won’t be taking Cersei away to Highgarden, so Cersei can stay in King’s Landing and mess up Margaery’s plans to manipulate King Tommen. Margaery ominously says she’s got a plan to handle that…

So. The witch’s prophecy about Cersei has come true so far… all except being deposed by another queen. Who could that be… Margaery or Daenerys? Well, I guess we’ll see. This new Lannister cousin is a bit odd. I presume he’ll have something to do with the story coming up, otherwise why introduce him here? Maybe he’ll convince Cersei to adopt his religion and become a nun? Ha ha! Good one. And finally Margaery. What Loras tells her is true, but what devious plan does Margaery have to deal with Cersei? This all looks good for palace intrigue in the near future.

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Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 10 “The Children”

Monday, 19 November, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

It’s the end of season 4, and hopefully that means exciting things for this episode!

The Wall: Jon walks north out of the tunnel, picking up directly where the previous episode left off. He passes the scattered bodies of dozens of wildlings who fell in their assault on The Wall. Jon approaches the camp of Mance Rayder, and surrenders himself. He speaks with Mance, telling him that he’s here to talk terms. Mance is interested to chat a bit, and say that all he wants is for his people to get south of the Wall before winter sets in. If Jon will open the tunnel and let them through, Mance promises not to kill anyone on the way. Jon doesn’t seem to think this is an option. And fair enough, because I suspect that even if Mance kept his word and didn’t kill anyone at Castle Black, I doubt he’s just going to have his thousands of followers find some nice empty farmland and settle down peacefully. They’d almost certainly have to raid or conquer existing settlements to find enough food, so Jon’s reluctance makes sense.

Mance asks Jon about Ygritte, and he replies that she’s dead. Mance pours a drink and they toast her memory. Jon is a bit wary, but Mance says that of all the ways he would kill Jon, poison is the very last of them. Mance asks about the giant who entered the tunnel and didn’t come out. Jon tells him he’s dead, and he killed his friend Grenn in the battle. Mance toasts Grenn and the giant.

It almost looks like they’re getting chummy, but Mance suddenly spots a gleam in Jon’s eye as Jon contemplates taking his chance to grab a knife and kill Mance. Mance says oh, so that’s why you came here. There is a moment of tension as we wonder what Mance will do with Jon now…

And suddenly there is the sound of horns and horses! In a wide overhead shot we see hundreds of horsemen pincering Mance’s camp, and battle is joined. It’s confusing and I don’t know who is attacking. I suppose if I recognised the banners I could have worked it out, but I don’t know this one. In a brief battle the mystery attackers win and capture Mance. The leader appears… It’s Stannis! And Davos with him. Wow. I didn’t expect them to show up here of all places. I mean, north of the Wall? What are they even thinking coming here?

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Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 9 “The Watchers on the Wall”

Monday, 12 November, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Well, I’d been hoping to see whether Tyrion is executed or manages to escape this fate. But that will have to wait for next time, because this episode takes place entirely at…

The Wall: We open with Jon and Sam standing atop the wall, on watch for attacks from Mance Rayder’s wildling army. Sam asks Jon what it was like, being with Ygritte in an intimate fashion. Jon stammers out some lame metaphors for how it felt, then exclaims, “I’m no poet!” Sam sagely nods in agreement, “No, you’re not.” Jon asks Sam if he didn’t … have experience with Gilly. Sam says of course not, but implies he might be interested. When Jon mentions the vows of the Night’s Watch, Sam points out that they forbid marrying, and fathering children, but not any other sort of activity with females.

Sam leaves Jon and heads down the Wall to Castle Black. He goes to the library and meets Maester Aemon, lamenting that his actions led Gilly and her baby to their deaths. Aemon comments that Sam is obviously in love with her, which Sam denies, but Aemon knows from the way he spoke about her earlier. Aemon says he too was once a young man, Aemon Targaryen, and he could have had a very different life to the one he ended up with.

There is a cut scene to the party of wildlings who attacked Moles Town, with the leader talking to Ygritte. He questions her loyalty, but she says all she wants to do is kill Crows (Night’s Watch men). She thinks Jon is probably dead, but if she met him she wouldn’t hesitate to put an arrow through him. Uh huh.

There’s a knock on the gate of Castle Black. It’s Gilly! The guard doesn’t want to let anyone in, but Sam pulls out some swear words, which astonishes the guard so much that he opens the gate to let Gilly and her baby in. Sam leads them into safety and they have a moment of reunion, in which he kisses her. Horns sound – the Wall is under attack from Mance’s army to the north! Sam says he has to go defend the Castle; Gilly doesn’t want him to leave her. He promises he won’t get killed and will return. That’s a pretty bold promise in Westeros!

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Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 8 “The Mountain and the Viper”

Monday, 5 November, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Meereen: Grey Worm is bathing in a river with some of the other Unsullied, when he spots a group of women bathing further up the stream, including Daenerys’s translator Missandei. She catches him staring at her naked body. Later she mentions this to Daenerys, and she is surprised because the Unsullied are castrated, so should have no interest in women. Missandei says he was definitely interested. Daenerys wonders just how much is removed in the castration. A bt later still, Grey Worm approaches Missandei to apologise for staring at her. She kind if says it’s okay, she likes him. He says he likes her too, then takes his leave and wanders off, leaving Missandei thoughtful.

This is a weird development. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere unless it’s foreshadowing for some development of a relationship between these two later on. Just how that can happen if he’s been castrated is an interesting question. Maybe as Daenerys wonders, the castration wasn’t as complete as when they do it back in Westeros. This is an odd bit of plot, and I’m wondering where this is going.

A small boy approaches Ser Barristan with a sealed scroll. He asks where it came from but the boy runs off without answering. The wax is sealed with a hand sigil – the Hand of the King. Barristan reads it and approaches Jorah Mormont, who is peering at a strategic map, probably planning how to invade Westeros. He shows Jorah the letter, which is a royal pardon signed by Robert Baratheon, in exchange for spying on Daenerys (and her brother back when he was alive) and sending information back to King’s Landing. It’s not explained here why Jorah needed a pardon – presumably he committed some crime against Robert, but I don’t remember what that might have been.

Daenerys calls Jorah to account for himself. He admits he was sending information to Robert, but since then he’s been loyal and served well and… he loves her. Daenerys is disgusted and exiles him, because she doesn’t want his dead body around to pollute her presence. Jorah tries to reason with her, but shuts up and takes his medicine, riding away from Meereen.

I think this is a bad move by Daenerys. Okay, sure, she thinks he betrayed her, but given how he’s behaved recently I can’t see Jorah actually betraying her any more. He’s served her interests well, and it’s obvious that he has a sweet spot for her. By now, he is actually her loyal servant, but alas someone – who?? – has thrown a spanner in the works. Maybe it was Tywin. He’s the current Hand of the King, so has the seal necessary to forge the letter. And I recall that he said something an episode or two ago about fetching his quill and some parchment to write a letter to someone, but I can’t remember the details, and I didn’t think it was important enough at the time to write about it. If this is the case, the only real question is why did Tywin wait so long to sow discord in Daenerys’s retinue?

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Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 7 “Mockingbird”

Monday, 29 October, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Meereen: Daenerys returns to her quarters in the huge pyramid, presumably exhausted after another day of listening to petitioners. Daario is there! She asks how he got in with the doors guarded; he says the windows are not guarded. They exchange flirtatious banter and she orders him to remove his clothes…

Later, Daario leaves, just as Jorah arrives. Daario says Daenerys is “in a good mood”, and Jorah gives him a lingering glare. Daenerys tells Jorah she has ordered Daario to take his men to Yunkai and recapture the city, and execute the Masters of the city. Jorah argues that the punishment is too harsh, and will only show the freed slaves that violence is an acceptable means to an end. Daenerys is initially firm, but relents, ordering Jorah to tell Daario that the Masters should be given the choice of submitting to her rule or facing execution. She also tells him to tell Daario that he convinced her to change her mind.

It’s pretty clear that Jorah has fancied Daenerys from afar for a long time, and now Daario has stepped straight into her bed in front of him. Jorah seems level-headed enough to deal with this at the moment, but who knows how this will play out in the future. I think given a chance to find an excuse to get rid of Daario, Jorah would leap at it.

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Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 6 “The Laws of Gods and Men”

Monday, 22 October, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

It’s been a long time since the last episode. I’ve had a lot less free time since we got our puppy, Scully, and TV was one of the things to fall by the wayside. But things are returning to normality now and we had time to watch a new episode.

Meereen: A goatherd is herding goats, when a huge dragon appears and scorches his flock, carrying a burning goat off for tea. Later Daenerys is holding court for supplicants inside a grand pyramid. Ruling like a Queen, as she stated last time we saw her.

The goatherd approaches humbly, choosing his words carefully. He says he really, really likes dragons, but now that one has eaten his goats he has nothing and his family will starve. Daenerys generously says she will repay three times the value of the goats. The goatherd backs out in a flurry of genuflection and thank yous.

Next is a noble, one of the sons of the former city rulers. He begs to be able to take down the corpse of his father from the crucifixion stakes, where it is rotting in the sun, and give it a decent burial. Daenerys is defiant, saying that the rulers crucified children and let them rot in the sun, so they deserve no better. But the guy is the right mixture of flattering, humble, and appealing to her mercy, and says his father was actually against killing the children. Daenerys relents and lets him go bury his father. Daenerys, tired of seeing supplicants, asks how many more, and is told over 200. She sighs and calls for the next one.

Not much to be gleaned from this scene, except that this new noble might be catching Daenerys’s eye. Also perhaps Daenerys might get bored of ruling like a queen and decide sooner or later that she should go do some more conquering.

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Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 5 “First of His Name”

Monday, 7 May, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

King’s Landing: Tommen is crowned king in a ceremony in the Great Sept. Margaery looks on from one side and when she catches Tommen’s eye, she gives him a secretive, mischievous sort of smile, which he responds to. Her plan is clearly working and Tommen is developing a crush on her. But Cersei also sees her, and walks over for a friendly chat. I thought at first that Cersei would be confrontational, but no, she is all sweetness and light. She notes that Margaery is still wearing mourning clothes for Joffrey. Margaery puts on her “devoted to Joffrey” act, but Cersei says straight out that Joffrey would have destroyed her.

Then follows a very frank discussion. Cersei says that Joffrey would have been a terrible king, but Tommen may be the first decent king Westeros has had for a long time, but he will need someone strong to help him, and that she presumes Margaery would still like to be queen. Margaery replies appropriately humbly, while indicating that that would be an honour. Cersei is favourably inclined, and says she will see about starting the arrangements for Tommen to marry Margaery. Margaery, perhaps a little too relaxed, drops a joke about an abundance of weddings – referring to the fact that Cersei is still betrothed to her brother Loras, and says she doesn’t know whether to call Cersei mother or sister. I thought this might trigger a harsh response, but Cersei takes it all in her stride. Well, Cersei is one cool customer all right. I imagine she has some plan in the back of her mind, which requires sucking up to Margaery for the time being.

Cersei meets Tywin and suggests the marriage. Tywin asks how soon. Cersei says after an appropriate period for her to mourn her son and Margaery her husband. Tywin says, A fortnight, then?” and Cersei happily agrees. He says her marriage to Loras should not be delayed much longer either, and suggests holding it a fortnight later. Tywin says they need a strong alliance with the Tyrells to support their current financial problems. He reveals that the Lannister gold mines have been worked out, and the family is in massive debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos, which is news to Cersei. This is significant news, as it foreshadows problems when the Lannisters need to raise an army – their victory in any coming war now seems much less assured.

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Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 4 “Oathkeeper”

Sunday, 29 April, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Meereen: Apparently the slaves of Meereen don’t immediately rebel and overwhelm their masters, because the episode opens in the night, so several hours must have passed since Daenerys catapulted the broken slave collars of Astapor and Yunkai into Meereen. The opening scene is Grey Worm and Daenerys’s translator Missandei inside a tent. She is teaching him to read and speak the Westeros language. During this, their hands almost touch, but she draws away shyly. Clearly this is setting up either romance or rejection between these two.

Daenerys interrupts and says “It’s time”. Grey Worm exits to lead an infiltration of Meereen via a sewer, with several troops dressed as slaves, complete with collars, lifting the sewer gates and spreading throughout the city. They come across a meeting of slaves, where one of the Meereen slaves is urging the others to rise up in revolt, but most of the other slaves are unconvinced, saying they can’t fight, or that they’ve already seen too many failed uprisings, and they’d rather live a slave than die. Grey Worm says he has come to help them revolt. The naysayers complain they have no weapons or fighting skill. Grey Worm’s followers dump sacks of swords and knives and other weapons on the ground.

This does the trick. Next thing we see hordes of armed slaves attacking masters in the streets of the city. The scene then cuts to the next day, when the slaves are freed and chanting “Mhysa” (“mother”) as Daenerys walks through them to a position on the walls where she can speak. She asks how many children the masters nailed to mile posts along the way to Meereen. The answer is 163. Knowing what she is thinking, Ser Barristan advises Daenerys that sometimes injustice is best answered with mercy. Daenerys says that she will answer injustice with justice, and orders 163 of the former masters nailed to posts to die in agony.

Well. She’s conquered Astapor, Yunkai, and now Meereen without encountering any real obstacle, and now has a vast army of loyal followers. What’s the next step? Following the Rule of Three, it seems she should now be ready to launch her assault on Westeros. We haven’t seen the dragons for a while – I’m guessing this is so that next time we see them they will have grown impressively large. Can anything stop her?

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