Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 3 “Breaker of Chains”

Wednesday, 11 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.

King’s Landing: Joffrey is dead! I almost half expected to see this episode open with Joffrey recovering in bed, and Maester Pycelle explaining how the poison wasn’t entirely fatal, but I suppose that’s a thing best left to The Princess Bride.

So, in my previous conclusion I conjectured on what would happen to the kingship, now that there’s no obvious successor better than Princess Myrcella, Joffrey’s sister. Well, it turns out Joffrey has a brother! Who knew?! I certainly didn’t. His name is Tommen and I definitely don’t recall him ever being introduced or mentioned before, although it’s definitely possible that I overlooked it at the time (there are a lot of details in this show that seem utterly unimportant at the time).

Anyway, we’ll get to Tommen in a bit. Immediately after Joffrey lies dead at his own wedding feast, we see Sansa being led away to safety by the Fool. Lucky for her, because Cersei is on the warpath and not only wants Tyrion arrested for Joffrey’s murder, but Sansa taken as well. Tywin orders the city gates sealed and Sansa captured and brought to them. But she’s already away, and the Fool leads her to a boat and rows out to sea. In the fog, they meet a ship, and the Fool tells Sansa to climb up the ladder first. A hand grabs her arm to help her aboard… it’s Petyr Baelish! Fairly predictable in hindsight, but I hadn’t really pondered who might be behind her rescue until he was revealed.

The Fool asks for his reward of 10,000 coins, and Baelish responds by having him shot with arrows and killed. Sansa protests, but Petyr explains that the Fool was only as loyal as the next person to offer him money or booze, and the best way to keep her safe was to silence him. She ponders this for a second and sees the logic, but is still appalled. Okay, well, Sansa is no doubt safer here than in King’s Landing, but I don’t entirely trust Baelish. He was in love with Cat, who rejected him. I wonder if his motivations with Sansa are entirely well-intentioned, or if lurking in the back of his mind is the possibility that she’ll be a young surrogate for her mother. And where is he going to take her?


Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 2 “The Lion and the Rose”

Monday, 2 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.

North of The Wall: We have some point-of-view camerawork of something wild and savage stalking through the snow. It spots a deer, grazing peacefully on some morsel of vegetation found under the snow. The camera lurks and slowly approaches, behind the cover of trees. It leaps, startling the deer, which tries to flee… but too late. It lies dead on the snow, its throat ripped out.

“Hodor!” Hodor wakes Bran from his dream-borrowing of his wolf’s mind. His wolf, Summer, has been hunting for food. Jojen looks scoldingly at Bran, and warns him not to ride in his wolf’s mind too much, lest he become obsessed with the freedom and ability to move on his own legs, and forget that he is a human. It’s all very reminiscent of Granny Weatherwax from Discworld. Bran doesn’t look convinced, and I feel that maybe the temptation is too much and he is in danger of losing his grip on humanity.

They travel on a bit, and come across a weirwood tree, with its distinctive white trunk and red leaves. Bran wants a close look and asks Hodor to sit him next to it. Bran reaches out to touch the tree near its oddly human face in the bark, and is struck by a series of visions. We see the three-eyed raven, what looks like Ned, his father, moving through the tunnels that I think were under Winterfell, some other stuff that happened too quickly to remember, a huge flock of ravens flying through a forest, and then a voice saying something is hidden under a tree in the North. Bran returns to reality with new purpose and says he knows where they need to go.

So again we have this weird vision associating Ned Stark with those underground tunnels. We’ve seen this before a couple of times. I have a feeling that we have not heard the last of Ned Stark somehow. It really feels like this is foreshadowing some ghostly vision. Perhaps Ned’s spirit will return to give Bran advice on how to become the Lord of Winterfell and restore their lands. That would be cool.


Game of Thrones, Season 4, Ep 1 “Two Swords”

Tuesday, 13 March, 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: The episode opens with a rare pre-credits sequence, showing a sword being melted down and its metal being used to cast… two swords. After the credits, Tywin presents a washed and clean-shaven Jaime with one of them. He admires its Valyrian steel, and asks where it came from, because such steel is apparently very rare. Tywin says he melted down some legendary sword of some sort, which was so stupidly big that he made two swords out of it. But we never see where the second sword goes. Despite the “Two Swords” of the episode title, I don’t think this is the second sword being mentioned. It’s a bit like “The Two Towers”, in that it’s not at all clear which of the five towers in the book are the two towers of the title. Anyway, I think the two swords of import are Jaime’s sword and… well, we’ll get to that.

Tywin tells Jaime to go back to Casterly Rock and take up residence as its lord. Jaime refuses, saying he swore an oath to protect the king, and must remain in King’s Landing. They bicker a bit over Jaime’s lack of sword hand, but Jaime casually says using his left hand will just make things a bit more even for his enemies. Tywin gives up and lets Jaime stay. I think this is the first time anyone has ever defied Tywin’s wishes successfully.

Jaime’s true motives are revealed when he visits his sister Cersei, and attempts to resume their incestuous relationship. Cersei rejects him, however, claiming to be “ill”, and saying she has been having treatments from a Maester. Jaime is surprised that she would let Maester Pycelle touch her, but she says it’s someone else (whose name I didn’t catch). Cersei tells Jaime off for leaving her for so long. He protests that he was captured and escaped as quickly as he could, and it’s not like he wanted to be away from her, but she doesn’t accept this excuse. Cersei seems to have grown bitter in Jaime’s absence. I wonder what her “illness” is… Could it be something significant for the future?

Meanwhile, Tyrion has been sent on an errand, to welcome dignitaries visiting for Joffrey’s wedding in a fortnight. A Prince Oberyn from somewhere in the south arrives, and immediately terrorises a couple of minor Lannister cousins in Littlefinger’s whorehouse. When Tyrion intervenes, Obery openly tells him that he hates Lannisters, and has come to avenge the rape and death of his sister by Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane. Okay… this is clearly foreshadowing for later developments, but I have to wonder why Joffrey or Tywin invited this guy to the wedding. Would you invite a guy to your wedding, if your hired killer had despatched his sister?? Seriously, what were they thinking?


Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 10 “Mhysa”

Sunday, 25 February, 2018

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

Okay, since last time I’ve learnt that the slaughter of Robb, Cat, and the Stark army at Edmure’s wedding at The Twins is in fact the event called the “red wedding”. I was under the impression that “The Red Wedding” was an episode title, but it turns out that was a mistaken assumption from snippets of overheard conversation. All right then, without further ado… onto the Season 3 final episode.

The Twins: Sandor flees the carnage outside The Twins, where Walder Frey’s men are slaughtering Robb’s army. He holds Arya with him on his horse, but she glimpses much of what is happening. Some men ride out of the castle, carrying Robb’s body, with his wolf’s head stitched onto his neck in a grotesque parody.

Later, in the evening, Sandor and Arya come across a group of men camping in the forest. They overhear one man boasting that he was the one who sewed Robb’s wolf’s head onto his body. Before Sandor can stop her, Arya slips off the horse and races over. She approaches the man from behind and pretends to be seeking warmth from the fire. They tell her to get lost. She says she can pay for it, and offers a silver coin, which she drops with a feigned “oops”. As the man reaches for it, she jumps him and starts stabbing him repeatedly with a dagger. The others jump up to intervene, but Sandor appears and despatches them with his sword.

He asks Arya where she got the dagger; she says, “From you,” and hands it back. Sandor is surprised to find she has lifted his dagger without him noticing. He asks if this is the first man she’s killed, and she says yes. Sandor turns to leave. Arya picks up the coin, and whispers “Valar morghulis” over it – it’s the coin from Braavos that Jaqen gave her, last seen in the last episode of the previous season. Will this be a theme, that it comes up in the final episode of every season? And now that Arya has killed someone, will this begin her path of rampaging revenge that we’re so eager to see? Why is Sandor helping her? Is he really a big softy, and not the monster we were led to believe he was? He did save Sansa earlier, so maybe he’s not that bad after all.


Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 9 “The Rains of Castamere”

Monday, 19 February, 2018

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

Wow. What an episode. There was some pretty astonishing stuff in this one. And none of it happened in King’s Landing! In fact, King’s Landing didn’t appear in the episode at all. Let’s get to it!

Yunkai: Daario has a plan to conquer Yunkai. He says that he and his mercenary co-leaders (now dead by his hand) used to enter by a back gate for carousing purposes, and the guards at that gate know and trust him. He’ll sneak in, kill the guards, and then call Jorah and Grey Worm inside, so they can sneak through the city to open the front gate and let Daenerys’s army in. Jorah says he doesn’t trust Daario – it’s obvious why he doesn’t trust him: Daario is putting smooth operations on Daenerys and Daenerys likes his Fabio-like long hair and muscular body, so Jorah is jealous. Daenerys trusts Daario, and asks Grey Worm to cast a deciding vote. He says he trusts Daario too.

They put the plan into action. Daario enters the back gate, then whistles for Jorah and Grey Worm to follow. Daario has dispatched two guards and all is well… until another group of half a dozen or so guards arrive and they have to fight those. They rest and Jorah thinks okay, we managed that, but what if Daario really is setting us up for an ambush? And then even more guards arrive and surround the trio…


Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 8 “Second Sons”

Monday, 12 February, 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 while since I watched an episode, with holidays and travel eating up time recently. But here we go…

Heading North: Arya wakes up in a camp and realises her captor, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, is still asleep. She grabs a rock and sneaks over to bash his head in. Showing the supernatural senses of all good villains, he somehow knows exactly what she’s about to do and says, without opening his eyes, “I’ll give you one chance. Kill me and you’re free. Fail, and I’ll break both your hands.”

Now, I reckon Arya most likely could kill him with a single blow from that rock in her hands, but she wimps out. Geez, a rock that size hitting you in the face – there’s no way you’re going anywhere after that. I’m not sure if it’s through fear of the bloody mess she’ll make of Sandor’s face and brains, or if she lacks confidence in her own ability. Honestly, neither of these reasons seems much like the Arya we know and love. So I’m completely baffled as to why she didn’t smash his brains in.

Later, Clegane is riding and carrying Arya seated on his horse’s neck. She asks where they’re going, and he says to The Twins, where her brother (Robb) and mother (Cat) are. She’s confused on two points: (1) why are Robb and Cat at the Twins, and (2) why is Clegane taking her to them? He explains that Robb and Arya’s uncle is marrying one of the Frey girls, and that Robb will pay a handsome ransom for Arya’s return. Clegane says he’s not all bad, leaving Arya something to ponder.

I hope this is finally the end of Arya’s wilderness wandering, and she is indeed reuinted with Robb and Cat. Her story seems stalled while she’s been wandering around like this. I want her to go and get more training from her swordmaster and then go and kick some serious butt.


Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 7 “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”

Monday, 15 January, 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 North, heading South: So apparently the plan was to climb down the southern side of The Wall. At least I think so, because the group of Wildlings (with Jon Snow and Ygritte) are now walking across a landscape with less snow and more grass on it. There’s no explanation whatsoever of how they got down from The Wall to here. Jon has words with the wildling guy who tried to cut him loose while climbing up The Wall; the wildling retorts that it was pragmatism (though in words of one syllable or less), and Ygritte would have known it and she doesn’t care that he cut the rope. He then proceeds to taunt Jon by saying Ygritte would prefer a real man, i.e. him, over Jon. Ygritte and Jon then have a brief lover’s tiff over their different cultures – he wants to look after her but she doesn’t want looking after – then they fall into each others arms again, while the wildlings in their party roll their eyes and say “get a room”.

Jon warns the group that they have no hope of taking Castle Black, or any other force south of The Wall, because they are so untrained and ill-disciplined. They don’t believe him, smug in the superiority of their barbarian fighting style. I dunno… it’s hard to see where all this is going. Jon’s probably right, they don’t stand a chance against any decent force – but that may just mean that they destroy the first one they come across, in a daring display of disorganised brawling. And Ygritte… I get the sense that she really likes Jon, but is still struggling with their differences, while Jon seems more aloof yet more willing to work at it. Maybe she’ll fall out of love with him at the same time as he starts falling more deeply for her.


Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 6 “The Climb”

Wednesday, 20 December, 2017

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: Tywin can simply order Tyrion to marry Sansa, and Cersei to marry Loras Tyrell, but for the latter he apparently needs to have a “friendly chat” with Loras and Margaery’s grandmother (who is played by Diana Rigg, btw!). This involves him accusing Loras of being gay, which Lady Tyrell parries by casually mentioning the “rumours” about Cersei and Jaime being Joffrey’s parents. Tywin ups the stakes by threatening to make Loras a member of the Kingsguard, which would strip him of the right to marry and carry on the Tyrell name, thus ensuring the end of House Tyrell. Apparently this is enough of a threat, and so Tywin extracts her permission for the marriage. Nobody messes with Tywin.

While this is happening, Sansa and Loras engage in a painfully farcical conversation in which she is trying to flatter and seduce him in her clumsy, naïve way, while he is clearly not at all interested in anything but escaping her company and seeking out some pretty man to be with instead. Sansa remains utterly clueless, the poor girl. If there’s one saving grace to the terrible things happening to Sansa, it’s that often she’s completely oblivious to them.


Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 5 “Kissed by Fire”

Tuesday, 5 December, 2017

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

At the Brotherhood Without Banners: Lord Beric Dondarrion fights Sandor “The Hound” Clegane in trial by combat. This is prefixed by another guy saying prayers to the Lord of Light to ensure the trial goes fairly to determine justice. Then Dondarrion’s sword is lit on fire – it’s not clear if this is a trick of chemicals or some sort of holy magic. But it doesn’t help, as they fight and after trading some advantage Sandor drops a huge blow with his sword and cleaves both Beric’s shield and shoulder! Beric drops to the ground, apparently dead, and Sandor claims victory. Arya goes nuts and rushes at Sandor with a knife, yelling that he’s guilty, but Beric’s men stop her. Go Arya! Then the prayer guy comes over and lays healing hands on Beric, and up he pops, good as new! He releases Sandor, saying he abides by the judgement of the Lord of Light.

A bit later, the Brotherhood say they will take Arya to Riverrun, where her brother Robb is. But Gendry decides to stay with the Brotherhood, which displeases Arya. She wants Gendry to be part of her family, but Gendry is sick of serving Lords and Ladies, and Arya will always be a Lady to him, not family. Arya is upset, but leaves him, and then talks to the praying guy and Beric. He says he’s raised Beric from death six times now, and Beric shows off all the scars from the times he’s died. Interesting. The Lord of Light seems a bit like a proxy for the Christian God, and now we have resurrection stuff to go with it. Hmmm.


Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 4 “And Now His Watch Is Ended”

Sunday, 3 December, 2017

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

Oh, Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa…..

Oh my god, Sansa, what are you doing???

Okay, well, we’ll get to that in a bit. This is a really good episode, with a lot of cool action happening.

The North: The Night Watch men hold a funeral for one of their fallen brothers. Samwell talks to Gilly, the girl who just had a baby. She refuses to give it a name, because she knows Craster will have him killed before long. Tensions rise as some other Watch men complain about having to muck out Craster’s pigsties, and not being given anything to eat, while Craster feasts. Insults start flying and Craster picks up an axe, then all hell breaks loose as a Watch man stabs him, then Commander Mormont returns and gets stabbed as well! An all-in brawl starts, and Samwell rushes to grab Gilly and her baby and flee into the night.