Genre: Historical Fantasy
Watched: Episode 34 – April 27, 2014
Summary: Good stuff
All the best swords have names, and so it is with this episode. This isn’t at first glance a flashy episode full of big events, but it is a pivotal one in which changes set in motion by recent events take clear new turns. As usual, I’ll break down the threads into their sub plots for discussion.
Dany – The translator girl is teaching Grey Worm the common tongue, which is really an excuse for a bit of characterization. And this week’s Dany section is as much about Grey Worm, slavery, and Dany’s relationship to the institution than about her per se. Next, Grey Worm and other Unsullied break into the sewers of Meeren and creep through to ferment a slave rebellion. As usual with huge events like this, it’s told in anemic TV style. Slaves plotting. Grey Worm giving them a speech about freedom. A master being ambushed in the streets, then before we know it, the Masters are in change and Dany is in charge of the city (which looks suspiciously like Dubrovnik again – that Croatian limestone is very obvious). The CGI shots of the ziggurats and the sprawling city are pretty awesome. Dany doesn’t go easy on the Masters either. The scope of these shots elevate the whole thing and help us forget the slapdash fall of the city. As we pan back, a giant dragon banner covers the enormous harpy.
Sansa – Is on the boat with Littlefinger. Apparently, they’re heading toward the Eerie and his upcoming nuptials to crazy Lysa. The show, as I predicted, is MUCH more obvious about the plotting. Littlefinger confesses to his involvement in Joff’s death, discusses the poison necklace and alludes to his allies. But what’s more interesting are the continuing reveals with regard to his cynical political philosophy. His strategy of long sighted planning, risk taking, and unpredictable grand ambition is quite interesting.
Margery – Talks more in that garden we’ve seen a hundred times before (it’s in Trestino Croatia, I’ve been there). In post-modern fashion, Olena jokes about her repetitious strolls – which make sense given that 9/10 times we’ve seen her it’s here. Again, being MUCH more straightforward, Olena all but confesses to murdering Joff. Then she gives Marg more advice about taking control of Tommen. This seems more for the audience’s benefit, as Marg has proven an exceptional handler in the past.
She visits Tommen in the night (how she got around the Kingsguard we’ll never know). Just as her tailored approach worked for Joff, she takes on a new soft style that has Tommen quickly eating out of her hand. For a 32 year-old, they manage to make her engagement to this 10 year-old boy seem only medium perverse.
Plus, Ser Pounce makes his on screen debut!
Jaime – Has the most complex arc this episode (particularly given the title). He is still practicing out by the sea with Bronn, and getting better too. Bronn pulls off one of his most excellent signature moves and uses Jaime’s own gold hand to beat him with. But perhaps even better is how he guilt trips Jaime about his obligations to Tyrion.
So Jaime drags himself down to the dungeon so they can exchange droll remarks. The dialog is first rate as usual. We are reminded about Sansa, so later when Cersei summons Jaime. The points of conflict are clear: Jaime swore an oath to protect Sansa. Cersei loathes the girl and is convinced she helped kill Joff. Jaime thinks Tyrion innocent. Cersei has only blind hated. In this moment, Jaime realizes his old world is dead.
So he brings Brienne in and regifts her the gift worth regifting: his sword made from Ice, and charges her to find Sansa and keep her safe (plus, she gets bonus armor and Pod as her new squire). This rolls into her departure, in what is an emotional scene. They name the sword Oathkeeper (bringing a tear to my geek eye) and part. Both actors do a fabulous job. The complicated love, respect, and vast unsaidness hangs palpably between them.
Jon – Back at Castle Black, Jon is teaching some new recruits. One of them looks a lot like Locke (the dude who chopped off Jaime’s hand), which isn’t a coincidence, as it is Locke, come to ferret out the location of Bran. This is a nice complexity (winding together plots) that isn’t in the books. Jon continues to spar verbally with Thorne and his toady Slynt, but doesn’t rise to the bait. Sam frets about Gilly. But Jon is given permission to recruit for his Craster raid (even if Thorne’s motives are black). This whole adventure isn’t in the books either. He gives a speech, but his charisma is a bit lacking. Even so, his friends (and the evil Locke) join.
Bran – At Craster’s the mutineers are doing a good job proving their vileness. Their leader drinks from Mormont’s skull (poor guy) while his men gang rape Craster’s “wives.” Those poor girls went from the frying pan to the fire. When an old one brings in a baby boy, they go into a religious frenzy about offering him to the gods. The guy isn’t exactly Mother Theresa, so he’s all for it. Somehow, the thugs also captured Ghost, who Jon Snow doesn’t seem to be stressing about. This feels in contrast to the books — and Jon is a Warg after all — so it doesn’t make too much sense.
But Bran’s more up on his Wolf side, because when he hears the baby in the woods (left out as White Walker Snack), he saddles up inside Summer, finds Ghost, and gets the wolf caught. Then himself and his companions. So much for either Meera’s tracking OR fighting skills!
And Bran isn’t exactly a pillar of strength under interrogation because he soon spills his identity to the loathsome group. This whole section is new, but as it also ties together two threads and gives Bran something interesting to do, I’m all for it.
White Walkers – Now what gets really interesting here is the last scene, where a white walker, carrying the baby, brings him out to some kind of frozen citadel and a ring of icicles and an ice altar. There, another walker turns the baby’s eyes blue. What this all means, we have no idea, but it’s the first we’ve seen of the Walkers in some time, and a glimpse into their magics the book never reveals. Hell, I’ve read them three times and the difference between Wraiths, Walkers, and Cold Hands is still totally unclear.
Anyway, I thought it a great episode. The Wall and beyond part was interesting, but the Jaime section was really good. Oathkeeper!
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