I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s really hard to review something you love so much, considering that Saturday night’s episode of Game of Thrones – “A Man Without Honor” aired almost a week ago. On the plus side, that means less than 24 hours til another weekly helping! During my review of episode 5, The Ghost of Harrenhal, I watched the episode at least 3 times and it still took me 4 days before I could sit down and discuss the magic. First things first, though. Listen to this. Keep in mind that this vid is NSFW (Effin Game of Thrones!) but if you’re at work, you shouldn’t be watching YouTube videos anyway. Carry on.
Congratulations! You will now sing this song every time you watch the opening credits. You’re welcome.
Following suit with my inability to review Game of Thrones properly, episode 7 had me so enthralled that when I went back to my notes for this review, there were literally 4 sentences. And not full sentences, mind you. Broken phrases were scribbled in a 12 year old’s illegible attempt at cursive so as not to miss anything on screen. Whereas last episode gave us beating, beheading, and bloodlust, HBO’s writers have toned it down a bit and given their actors a chance to flex their emotional range rather than their sword arm.
The episode starts on Winterfell’s self-proclaimed Lord By Conquest, Theon Greyjoy, who is taking a lesson from the Direwolves as he unsuccessfully tries to use pack mentality to his advantage and pull rank in his never ending quest to become a respected Alpha. Who let the She-Bitch Osha run off with the rest of the pack while he napped on fur. Theon, how are you an Alpha if you have no pack? Though he only shows up to open and close the episode, Theon’s line, “It’s only a game,” shows that the central theme of this episode is about growth.
Over in Harrenhal, where nightmares are forged by Hitler, Arya Stark is channeling her inner Trent Reznor and becoming a little too cocky in her lies. Tywin, of course, sees right through them. Who could miss that Arya is educated, quick and well spoken, coupled with being found posing as a boy makes Tywin all the more intrigued, and he totally calls her out on all these things and more. Arya doesn’t bat an eye as Tywin recounts the history of Harrenhal and she corrects him on his knowledge of the Targaryen lineage, pointing out that Aegon I didn’t conqueror Westeros all by his lonesome. Arya mimics Tywin by giving him a lesson in the might of warrior women, specifically the two sister-wives Rhaenys and Visenya. Tywin takes this as a bit of an insult and is quick to fire back Arya’s way, mentioning that if she is going to pose as a lowborn or anyone else, she should play the part more convincingly, which is definitely a bit of epic foreshadowing for future events. The characters have a mutual respect for each other and their scenes are clearly headed into a father/daughter dynamic, with Tywin even going so far as to say Arya reminds him of his own offspring Cersei. It’s very intriguing as this is new territory that wasn’t included in the original story and makes me wonder how they will eventually part ways.
Now, lot of book purists will disagree with my claim that changing minute details is not all that bad. Yes, in the books Arya is actually Roose Bolton’s cupbearer rather than Tywin’s. Yes, Sansa had nameless handmaids, Shae never brushed Sansa’s hair, Lady Talisa is not supposed to be a battlefield medic but in actuality Jeyne Westerling, Syrio Forel was actually bald and HARRY POTTER’S EYES ARE GREEN! Honestly though – who cares? Maisie Williams is nowhere near as “horsefaced” as Arya is described in the text. Does it make her performance any less brilliant when she does not have every single attribute her written character possesses? Take a deep breath, because the simple fact of the matter is that these details are interchangeable, and fans, we will never have a direct adaption because sometimes things that play out beautifully in text just don’t translate well to screen. And I say, the less Roose Bolton we see, the better!
He may be a Sworn Brother of the Night’s Watch, but Jon Snow certainly did consent to being Ygritte’s big spoon awfully quickly. Jon and his Wilding have a verbal sparring match about seeing the world from a different point of view, with both being too stubborn to make an attempt. And a lot of emphasis is placed on Jon’s virginity, which Ygritte seems to find as hilarious as I do. Though Jon is adamant about “knowing how to do it,” he was unable to hide his blush and bone at every remark Ygritte threw his way, not only drawing his attention away from tracking his Brothers, but also making it all to easy for the Wildlings to spot him and hand him over to their King-Beyond-The-Wall, Mance Rayder, who we finally get to meet next episode. And I may or may not have done a little flail spasm and spilled my drink when Ygritte finally uttered her famous line, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” Seriously, chills.
Poor Sansa. A lot of emphasis has been placed on her flowering since season one and as she awakens from one nightmare, she is thrust into the reality of another, as she is now deemed fit to bear children for her beloved, King Joffrey. Life as a prisoner in King’s Landing does not quite have quite the romanticism that Sansa was expecting, and the Fertility Song definitely hits a sour note for her. I am filled with a mixture of pity, revulsion and understanding at Sansa’s reaction. Shae comes in to check on the situation and understand passes between them with a look. I absolutely love the dynamic between Sansa and Shae, most especially because though they is a large social gap between them, they can both recognize how similar their situations are. And all of the Sandor and Sansa (or San/San) shippers out there will squee in delight at their screentime together, though I can’t decide who looked the most uncomfortable upon Shae’s return from threatening the other prissy handmaiden with A DAMN BUTTERKNIFE. Shae, you are one hardcore lady.
Sandor does his sworn duty to tell the Queen Regent all the messy details of Sansa’s reproductive activities, resulting in an awkward “Your future husband beats brothel wenches but he’s my son so lets have a heart-to-heart!” type situation. Cersei’s lesson to Sansa in hardening her heart is a bit ironic considering most of her power play tactics in the Game have been based on whims of emotion that happen to suit her at the time. But for all of Lena Heady’s bad acting during the riot in King’s Landing, she really shines in these touching moments with Sansa and also later in the episode with Tyrion. Lena gives Cersei a believably hard exterior, yet glimpses at her inner vulnerability when admitting she cannot control the madness of Joffrey. It’s a side of Cersei we’ve never seen before, and kudos to Heady for giving the viewer something to empathize with, because damned if we’ve had much thus far.
North of the Red Waste, HBO continues to fall short on their promise of a dragon-filled season 2, as Daenerys’ babies are still missing. Her manservant Jorah Mormont once again tries to give her unwanted advice, and she doesn’t need Queen Cersei to convince her that trust will get you nowhere. With the Khaleesi questioning who to trust, Mormont begs to know how he can gain it and she dismisses him to the tune of finding her dragons. During Mormont’s search, he runs into the lovechild of Lady Gaga, Quinthe, who will reveal the dragon’s location if Mormont swears never to betray Dany again. AGAIN. Keep that in mind, kids, it will come in handy at the end of the season. Meanwhile, Dany interrupts the Qarth Coup as she witnesses The Thirteen become The One via Pyat Pree’s magical assassin trick, which will force her into the House of The Undying. Frightened though she may be, we know that next episode we will see Dany rage quit Qarth. Hopefully the Mother of Dragons will Dracarys that mother down, and HBO will live up to their word.
All of these things, however, fall short in comparison to the climax of the episode. Jaime Lannister. I was under the impression the writers finally decided to show us a few more dimensions to Jaime’s character, given the events that are about to unfold, but NAY! Jaime has been desperately seeking an escape route out of the Stark’s camp, and a soultion arrives in the form of his cousin, Ser Alton Lannister, who holds Jaime on a pedestal and wets himself whenever Jaime looks at him in that special way. Alton’s admiration is clear on his face, though Jaime’s brutality was unexpected and left me a bit shocked. I suppose you always have to have a clear cut villian when dealing with visual storylines, but the thing I love most about George R. R. Martin’s world is that it is entirely constructed in this moral grey area, where you can identify with almost everyone given the right incentive. Still, Jaime is a prisoner in an enemy camp with war going on, a sister who misses him up her skirts and a nephew-son thing left to terrorize the Capitol. Also, his captor’s bannermen want to kill him for murdering a Karstark. He’s really running out of options at this point. Catelyn’s lines were delived with such venom that you almost want to recoil away from the TV in fear, but their conversation about semantics proves to be my favorite of the episode. And by all accounts, he does have points. How is it fair to be branded a Kingslayer when the king he slayed was roasting her Father-in-law alive in his armor? We can see in her face that Catelyn has a plan, though it’s a little bit of a transparent attempt at a cliffhanger, considering Catlyn wouldn’t go to so much trouble to save Jaime from the Karstarks just to have the satisfaction of doing it herself.
Even more heart wrenching than dragon filled cries of the episode 6 finale, “A Man Without Honor” jumps back to where it began and shows the depths a Greyjoy will sink to in order to get the respect they feel they deserve. While Theon may believe that cruelty will frighten his foes into swearing him fealty, he does not consider the actions of burning those two little boys and what will rain down on him when word spreads from Winterfell. Though knowing where the story is ultimately headed, I’m sure we will see much worse than brunt children in all the closing credits from here on out.
Beautifully crafted dialogue that was smartly delivered by each actor.
The history of the Targaryen women!
Cersei’s maternal instincts show a little bit of the human side under the veneer. Also, candlelight is Lena Heady’s best light.
NO GLIMPSE OF JOFFREY!
“…I went to Willem Frey’s wedding?!”
Not a fan of any deviation that makes Jaime less likable.
Less Tyrion means less one liners from Bronn. And while we’re on it, no Gendry or Jaqen this episode. :[
Still no dragons!
Four out of five Arya smirks!
Kimmie Britt is a Red Lantern in the making and better known by her intergalactic smuggler alias, killerrqueen. Pint sized and full of sarcasm, when this hardcore gaming addict and metal music fiend is not hanging out with her puppy BFF, the aptly named Luke Skywalker, you can usually find her yelling in front of some form of electronic. From acting to designing to video editing, Kimmie has a wide range of tools in her arsenal and is never afraid to use them. As if that isn’t cool enough, Kimmie is the co-founder and head of badassness at IHOGeek.com, Media Manager and gamer model for Charisma + 2, and also a budding Khaleesi. Me nem nessa.