Title: Game of Thrones
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Watched: Episode 13 – April 15, 2012
Title: What is Dead May Never Die
Summary: The wait from week to week is tough
Intros are over (almost) and things are really starting to rock and roll. What is Dead May Never Die is certainly the best episode yet of the new series. No small part to focusing a little more tightly on a few storylines. Robb, Dany, and Stannis are all missing, but we have lots of Tyrion.
The John Snow thread moves just a tiny bit, with resolving last week’s cliffhanger with John a bit too easily. The writers take a scene to setup Gilly and Sam’s relationship and then move on to Winterfell. Bran explains his peculiar dreams to the Maester. I like that the chains come into it, but I wonder how much new viewers will get of this.
Then we finally come to Renly. Seems he has already married the lovely Margaery Tyrell, played by the Tudor’s Natalie Dormer. She’s well cast, even if a few years too old of the book version of her character. And Briene. Wow, that’s some hulk of a woman. What is she, like seven foot? Perfectly cast too. While short, this tourney looked much less dinky than the season 1 version, mostly due to a single establishing shot. Renly puts on a good show, but literarily and figuratively. But Cat is not so easily fooled.
Then Theon confronts his sister and is schooled by his father. Uh oh, seems he needs to make a choice. Old family or new. Things are never easy!
The middle part of the episode shows Tyrion coming into his own and wrestling with the political forces in the capital. But first Shae is restless and he’s putty in her hands, but back in the palace he’s tough as nails. Cersei tortures Sansa a bit more and she is starting to wonder who she is. But when Shae shows up as her new maid, she isn’t exactly showing her best side. In this way, the episode appears to be about choices. Each character is faced questions of loyalty and role.
And so Tyrion tempts each of the three capital conspirators with a different story. Maester Pycelle, Varys, and Littlefinger. The parallel structure of the scene is quite amusing.
Speaking of choices, Renly is in his tent, first with Loras, and then with his sister. Boy or girl? Pleasure or duty? In the earlier scene’s Natalie’s Margaery was a little flat, but here not only is she gorgeous (and we see plenty of her), but when she exposes her awareness of the situation that scheming little smile is perfect. Interesting that Renly is so torn, finding it so difficult to deliver on the practical realities of his responsibilities.
Tyrion does continue to try and talk some sense into Cersei, but she isn’t listening. Which too, is a choice. And Theon. He finally makes his, and we find him baptized to the Drowned God.
Tyrion continues to play his hand deftly. His ruse has flushed out the spy in the council. But perhaps he knew all along. He makes good with Littlefinger and Varys (more or less) and deals with Pycelle. The old man is so annoying one can’t help but enjoy seeing him get a bit of comeuppance. The writers take the time to remind us that Tyrion has a soft spot for whores. Still, the best is Varys’ little speech about power. I love how the show (and the actor) hand this nuanced character. He was great last season and continues the streak.
Finally, we get to Arya, my other favorite. After building up Yoren a bit, the Lannister forces arrive and he too makes his choice, proving to be quite the badass. “I always hated crossbows.” Poor Arya’s guardians don’t have a very good survival rate. The battle that ensues is both well choreographed, graphic, disturbing, and touching. Lorch’s men don’t quite yet have the nasty nasty feel from the book, but they’re getting started. Poor Lommy. A powerful end.