Tag Archives: Game Of Thrones Season 2

Game of Thrones Season 2 Recap: Episodes

GameOfThrones_20110412171451

We are (thankfully) only a few days away from the premiere of season three for HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” While it is mostly impossible that you have forgotten the events of season 2, I have compiled a few refreshers to remind you of where we left off and prepare you for the third season.

Season 2 features the events of A Clash of Kings, the second book of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R. R. Martin. When we left the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, there was a civil war a-brewin’. The Night’s Watch decided to head north of the Wall to investigate the wildlings. In Essos, Daenerys Targaryen hasn’t given up and continues her quest to return to and conquer the Seven Kingdoms.

Here are the episodes of Season 2:

“The North Remembers”

April 1, 2012

To Cersei’s dismay, Tyrion takes up his post as acting Hand at King’s Landing. At Dragonstone, Stannis Baratheon proclaims allegiance to Melisandre’s new god and lays public claim to the Iron Throne, revealing Joffrey’s bastardy. As this news reaches the capital, the Gold Cloaks slaughter Robert’s bastards. Having won three victories, Robb Stark offers the Lannisters peace in exchange for the North’s independence, sending Theon to gain Balon Greyjoy’s support and Catelyn to seek Renly Baratheon’s. Beyond the Wall, the Night’s Watch find shelter with the Wildling Craster and his daughter-wives. In Essos, as her people slowly die in the Red Waste, Daenerys sends out riders to look for help.

“The Night Lands”                          

April 8, 2012

Returning to his home of Pyke after nine years as the Starks’ ward, Theon Greyjoy is reunited with his sister, Yara, and his father, Balon, who despises Theon for his Northern ways and intends to win back his crown by force. Cersei rejects Robb Stark’s terms and Tyrion exiles Janos Slynt, head of the Gold Cloaks, to the Wall, promoting Bronn to commander of the watch. On the road to the Wall, Arya reveals her true identity to Gendry. North of the Wall, Samwell Tarly is approached by one of Craster’s daughters, Gilly, who is pregnant and fears for her unborn child; Jon is reluctant to help her despite Sam’s pleas. In the Red Waste one of the horses returns to Daenerys with the decapitated head of its rider in a pouch, a message from one of her enemies. On Dragonstone, Davos Seaworth recruits the pirate Salladhor Saan to Stannis’s side, and Stannis has sex with Melisandre to obtain the son his wife could not give him. Jon discovers that Craster sacrifices his sons to the White Walkers.

“What Is Dead May Never Die”     

April 15, 2012

Catelyn Stark arrives at King Renly’s camp to negotiate an alliance, and the woman warrior Brienne of Tarth wins the right to join Renly’s guard. Tyrion crafts a plan to find who is in Cercei’s confidence by proposing three different marriages to the members of the Small Council. At Winterfell, Bran Stark needs help to decipher his dreams. On the road to the wall, the band of Night’s Watch recruits are attacked by Lannister soldiers.

“Garden of Bones”                         

April 22, 2012

Catelyn tries to convince the Baratheon brothers to abandon their quarrel and unite against the Lannisters, while Sansa is abused by Joffrey in revenge for her brother’s victories. Tyrion intervenes and in return, Joffrey is cruel to his “gifts”. Arya and Gendry are taken captives to the castle of Harrenhal. After her exhausting journey through the desert, Daenerys arrives at the gates of the prosperous city of Qarth. Melisandre gives birth to a shadow creature.

“The Ghost of Harrenhal”            

April 29, 2012

In Harrenhal, Arya Stark is promised help by the mysterious Jaqen H’ghar, one of the three caged prisoners during her trip to the Wall. After Renly’s sudden death at the hands of Melisandre’s shadowy assassin, Catelyn and Brienne are forced to flee from Renly’s camp. Theon sails from Pyke prepared to prove that he is a true Ironborn, with plans to overtake Winterfell while Robb is out fighting the war. The Night’s Watch arrive at an ancient fortress called the Fist of the First Men, where they intend to make a stand.

“The Old Gods and the New”        

May 6, 2012

Princess Myrcella is sent away from King’s Landing. Theon Greyjoy’s plans to take Winterfell succeed as he continues to try to prove his Ironborn status. Robb reunites with the healer Talisa. At the Fist of the First Men, the ranger Qhorin Halfhand gives Jon Snow the opportunity to prove his worth. While out on patrol, Jon takes prisoner a Wildling named Ygritte. Joffrey incites a riot at King’s Landing. At Qarth, Daenerys tries to procure a ship to take her people to Westeros. Taken in by Tywin Lannister, Arya attempts to hide that she is Ned Stark’s daughter, as Jaqen H’ghar helps her conceal her identity. Robb receives news of Theon’s plans and sends men to retake Winterfell, while inside the city there are plans to get Bran and Rickon out. Daenerys’ dragons are stolen.

“A Man Without Honor”               

May 13, 2012

Theon tries to track Bran and Rickon with hounds. After an assassination attempt, Tywin Lannister begins searching Harrenhal for his potential murderer. Ygritte continues her attempts to seduce Jon and, after a momentary lapse in Jon’s concentration, she escapes and leads him into a trap. Still shaken from the riot, Sansa is horrified when she awakens to find that she has had her first period, and can thus bear Joffrey’s children. In Robb’s camp, a failed escape attempt by Jaime leaves a guard dead, and Catelyn worries about the camp’s desire for retribution. In Qarth, the warlock Pyat Pree reveals to Daenerys that he stole her dragons, but gives her the opportunity to reunite with them before slaughtering the Council of Thirteen and establishing Xaro Xhoan Daxos as king of Qarth.

“The Prince of Winterfell”                      

May 20, 2012

Robb Stark learns that his mother Catelyn has secretly freed Jaime Lannister, now escorted by Brienne of Tarth, in order to ransom her daughters Sansa and Arya; he also enters into a romantic relationship with Talisa. Yara Greyjoy arrives at Winterfell to bring Theon back to Pyke, after his botched attempt to recapture the Stark boys. Tywin Lannister leaves Harrenhal to attack Robb, which leads Arya Stark, Gendry and Hot Pie to attempt an escape with Jaqen H’ghar’s help. In King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister attempts to blackmail Tyrion by abducting the whore, Ros, whom Cersei believes to be his secret lover. The capital prepares for assault by Stannis, who, underway to King’s Landing, promises to make Davos Seaworth his Hand of the King. Beyond the Wall, the Wildling leader “Rattleshirt” leads the captured Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand to his king, Mance Rayder. In Qarth, Jorah Mormont agrees to accompany Daenerys into the House of the Undying to retrieve her dragons.

“Blackwater”                                   

May 27, 2012

Stannis Baratheon’s fleet assaults King’s Landing in the Battle of Blackwater Bay. Leading the defense, Tyrion Lannister destroys many of the attacking craft with an exploding ship full of wildfire, and is forced to lead a counterattack as King Joffrey and his bodyguard Sandor Clegane each desert the battlefield. Stannis’ forces make it inside the castle, but Tyrion leads his men behind the Baratheon forces via underground tunnels and attacks. Meanwhile, Queen Regent Cersei, holed up in the fortress with Sansa Stark and the other ladies of the court, succumbs to wine and despondency as she believes the battle lost. In the nick of time, as she is about to poison her son Tommen, Tywin Lannister’s forces, joined by Loras Tyrell, the lover of Renly Baratheon, arrive to dispatch the attackers.

“Valar Morghulis”                          

June 3, 2012

The aftermath of the Battle of the Blackwater sees Joffrey set Sansa aside in favor of marrying Margaery Tyrell while Tyrion fears for his and Shae’s safety now that his father has replaced him as Hand of the King. Melisandre gives a defeated Stannis a new hope. Brienne runs into trouble while escorting Jaime to King’s Landing. Catelyn tries to convince Robb that his romance with Talisa is dangerous, but he defies her and the two are married. In Qarth, Daenerys ventures into the House of the Undying and successfully retrieves her dragons. She then seals the traitor Xaro Xhoan Daxos inside his own vault and claims his riches for herself to buy a ship. In Winterfell, Theon is betrayed by his own men in the face of an inevitable siege while Winterfell is put to the torch. Osha and Hodor sneak brothers Bran and Rickon away from the smoldering ruins and take them North toward the Wall. Arya, having escaped Harrenhal with Hot Pie and Gendry, receives the gift of a valuable coin from Jaqen. North of the Wall, Qhorin Halfhand forces Jon to kill him to prove his loyalty to the Wildlings and an army of White Walkers surrounds the Fist of the First Men

Games of Thrones Season 2 Recap: Characters

GameOfThrones_20110412171451

We are (thankfully) less than a month away from the premiere of season three for HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” While it is mostly impossible that you have forgotten the events of season 2, I have compiled a few refreshers to remind you of where we left off and prepare you for the third season.

Season 2 features the events of A Clash of Kings, the second book of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R. R. Martin. When we left the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, there was a civil war a-brewin’. The Night’s Watch decided to head north of the Wall to investigate the wildlings. In Essos Daenerys Targaryen hasn’t given up and continues her quest to return to and conquer the Seven Kingdoms.

Let’s take a look at the characters and where they are on the cusp of the third season.

Note: It should go without saying that there are spoilers ahead. This is a recap of Season 2 only and assumes you have watched season 1 and/or season 2.

The Lannisters

Tyrion

Easily one of the most loved characters in the whole series even if he isn’t considered one of the “good” characters. His cunning and underdog mentality has placed him our hearts as one of those who “can make it.” Who can take the Iron Throne and rule the Seven Kingdoms relatively fairly.

When we left Tyrion, he had survived the Battle of Blackwater wounded but alive. Tyrion is betrayed and wounded by Ser Mandon Moore of the Kingsguard during the fighting. He survives thanks to the quick actions of his squire, Pod but not before taking a sword slice to the face. Once he is awakened after the battle, he is informed that he has been removed from his position as Acting Hand of the King. Tyrion remains bedridden while he heals and calls upon his only allies: his BFF Bronn, his squire Pod, and Varys. He learns that Joffrey will not be recognizing the leadership of Tyrion during the battle and that Bronn and the tribesmen have been relieved of duty.

While in a mood of self-depreciation, Varys brings Tyrion’s lover and whore, Shae, to his bed chambers. She professes her love for him, claiming it genuine and begs him to go to Pentos with her. He says that standing up to the bad people in his life, out-talking and out-thinking them, is something that he is good at and enjoys. He chooses to stay in King’s Landing and she agrees to remain with him.

Cersei

Currently acting as Queen Regent of the Seven Kingdoms as Joffrey reigns as boy king. She fears the madness of her son and worries it is her punishment for the incestuous relationship with twin brother Jaime.

During the Battle of Blackwater, Cersei provides safe refuge for the women of the court. In her midst is Sansa Stark who is both terrified and newly flowered. During the seige she drinks heavily and becomes more and more grim about her life and what will happen to the women if the battle overtakes them.

Once the battle becomes more dangerous, Cersei brings Joffrey back to the Red Keep despite protests that the fighters need to see their king among them Joffrey willingly leaves the field but his exit is a blow to the men. Right before she is about to poison Tommen when she fears the battle is over, Lord Tywin shows up and reports that the Lannisters have won. Tyrion’s role in defending the city is not acknowledged and he is left to recover from his wounds, stripped of his power. Rumors circulate that Cersei ordered the attack on Tyrion. No longer considering Tyrion a threat, Cersei releases Ros, the whore she thought was Tyrion’s lover.

After the battle, Cersei frees Sansa from the bonds of betrothal to Joffrey in favor of a more lucrative marriage to Margaery Tyrell which is well recieved by the court seemingly adding House Tyrell as an ally.

Jaime

I want more of the Brienne and Jaime show. PLEASE.

After Jaime is recaptured, Catelyn Stark releases him into the custody of Brienne of Tarth. Jaime continues to assert that even though his vows frequently conflicted with one another as well as his morals. He asserts that he has more honor than some; maintaining that Cersei is the only one he has slept with and reminds Catelyn how her husband Eddard Stark cheated on her and fathered Jon Snow. Brienne is tasked to escort Jaime to King’s Landing to exchange him for her daughters who she believes are both captured there.

Jaime, with his charming ability to dig deep into other people’s core, continually goads Brienne about her appearance, masculinity, her virginity, and her childhood in attempt to duel him for his freedom. However, after he sees her skillfully dispose of three attackers, he begins to have a newfound respect for the brutish soldier woman.

Joffrey

The next in line for the Iron Throne and betrothed to Sansa Stark for most of season 2. During his reign thus far of the Seven Kingdoms, Joffrey continually shows intense anger and ill will  towards everyone and everything. He regularly has Sansa brutalized and humiliated unless stopped by his uncle, Tyrion. He also savagely beats two whores that are bought for him and his “sexual frustration.”

In honor of Battle of Blackwater, he obtains a new sword named Hearteater. He forces Sansa to kiss the blade and wish him luck before the battle. However, when it comes time for the actual battle, he is less that courageous and is visibly relieved when he is summoned by Cersei back to the Red Keep. His cowardly exit damages the morale of the men but Tyrion is able to rally them to protect the gates from a battering ram. After the battle is over, Joffrey and Cersei decide against recognizing Tyrion’s bravery and instead rewards Tywin by naming him Savior of the City and the new Hand of the King.

He also grants a favor to House Tyrell for their aid and Ser Loras asks Joffrey to unite their houses in marriage. Joffrey balks at setting aside his betrothal to Sansa, but is easily convinced by his mother and courtiers and that the marriage to Margaery Tyrell to both wanted and allowed.

The Starks

Catelyn

Spending much of season 2 as an advisor for her son, Robb, Catelyn is both support of his goals but worried about her other children which have gone missing or are being held hostage at King’s Landing.

Catelyn successfully managing to secure an ally out of House Frey by promising a marriage of Robb to one of the Frey’s daughter. With this agreement, the army of the north is also able to gain a strategic location and continue their winning streak against the Lannister’s. However, all is thrown away when Robb decides to marry Talisa while Catelyn is away.

She also makes the decision to free Jaime Lannister and have Brienne of Tarth escort him back to King’s Landing in exchange for her daughters. She assumes both Arya and Sansa are held captive there when in reality it is only Sansa while Arya escaped. Robb is furious that Catelyn acted behind his back and orders her kept under guard. He says that Jaime has played her for a fool and that she has weakened their position.

Robb

Now known as the King of The North with a willing and supportive army, Robb Stark has begun his advancement against the Lannister’s rule. After several high-profile victories across the north, his prison cells are overflowing and Cersei is beginning to worry that they have a real opponent in Robb.

When Ser Alton returns with Cersei’s rejection of his terms he houses him with Jaime. Talisa asks him for help obtaining medical supplies and he invites her to accompany him to negotiate the surrender of the Crag, suggesting that she restock from the castle’s stores. Catelyn sends her sworn sword Brienne of Tarth to exchange Jaime for her captive daughters without consulting Robb which infuriates him as he worries that they have lost their biggest barganing tool. He forces his mother, Catelyn, to remain guarded while he devises a plan to gain more momentum.

Robb confesses his love for Talisa to Catelyn. Catelyn warns against betraying his oath to marry a daughter of House Frey. Robb rejects her counsel, and in a secret ceremony conducted by a Septon of the Faith of the Seven, he and Talisa secretly marry effectively destroying any alliance between the Starks and Freys as Catelyn warns “the Frey’s never forget and never forgive.”

Jon Snow

The bastard son of the Starks has joined the brothers in black at The Wall. However, he has to leave the safety and comfort of the Wall for the land beyond in search of several missing rangers including his uncle Benjen Stark. along with his BFF Samwell Tarly, the brothers in black move out and first come across Craster’s Keep. Where Sam falls in love with one of Craster’s Wife/daughters, Gilly.

From there, Qhorin Halfhand, Jon and the others begin tracking wildlings. After coming across a camp of wildings, a small battle ensues and Jon is faced with killing a young woman with fire-red hair named Ygritte. He hesitates to kill her and Qhorin convinces him take Ygritte captive so she may lead them to Mance Rayder, the king beyond the wall. However, Ygritte escapes and Jon tails her and recaptures her thus isolating him from the others. Throughout their time together, Ygritte makes it known her attraction to Jon and uses her sexuality to try and lower his defenses and sleep with her. He rejects her advances and their conversation becomes more tense as their journey continues.

Jon is later captured by the wildlings and is reunited with Qhorin who tells him he must go undercover in their society to learn the truth of their existence beyond the wall and their plans for conquering the seven kingdoms. Jon is forced to kill Qhorin and then is freed to join the wildlings ranks joined by Ygritte at his side.

Bran

After having Winterfell taken over by Theon Greyjoy, Bran manages to escape his home with Rickon thanks to Hodor and the willing captive , Osha. Theon tracks them briefly but when he loses their scent, he returns to Winterfell with two charred corpses claiming they belong to the young boys. Catelyn hears of this news and believes her sons to be dead.

The group flee for the Wall hoping to meet up with Jon who can protect them while Winterfell is controlled by Theon and Robb is fighting as King of the North.

Sansa

Betrothed to what she thought was her prince charming, Joffrey, Sansa spends much of season 2 held within King’s Landing subjected to the cruelty of the Lannisters. Her only protectors being Tyrion Lannister and the Hound. She also finally flowers becoming a full fledged maiden which she fears means she will have to properly wed Joffrey. Her secret is attempted to be hid by Shae, her handmaiden, however, the Hound catches them and (reluctantly) informs the Queen. Cersei gives Sansa advice on motherhood, reassuring her that she will love her children if not her husband. She tells Sansa that the more people you love, the weaker you are.

After the Battle of Blackwater, Sansa attends the court while Joffrey rewards those who helped them win. When Loras Tyrell requests that Joffrey join their houses by marrying Margaery instead, Sansa is visibly excited at the idea of getting out of King’s Landing and away from Joffrey. Joffrey says that he would be honored to return Margaery’s love, but regrets that he is promised to Sansa. Cersei suggests Joffrey set Sansa aside because of her family’s treachery. Joffrey accepts the betrothal. Joffrey states that he will “Love you from this day, until my last day” – the same endearment he once offered Sansa.

Sansa turns away, feigning sadness but allowing herself laughter once she has privacy. Her revelry is halted by Petyr consoling her; she pretends to be upset. Petyr crushes her hopes of freedom and warns her that her situation has worsened, as she will no longer have the token protection of becoming Joffrey’s queen but will remain his captive. Petyr tells her that she reminds him of her mother and vows to help her return home. Sansa is reluctant to trust him and maintains her facade

Arya

Presumed missing and/or dead by everyone other than those who encounter her, Arya accomplishes quite a lot in season 2 and aids in a war she is barely a participating member. Plus she gets to travel with Gendry which most of us are jealous about. After arriving in Harrenhal, she becomes to cupbearer to Tywin Lannister who does not recognize her as a Lady Stark.

Arguably the best part of Arya story thus far is her involvement with Jaqen H’ghar. He grants her the death of three people in exchange for the lives she saved during the raid on her caravan to the Wall. She uses Jaqen to kill Amory Lorch and the Tickler. However, she names his own name as her third unless he helps her escape. Jaqen complies and kills several guards so that Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie can leave Harrenhal.

Jaqen reveals that he is a Faceless Man and offers to take Arya to train with him in Braavos. he declines, telling him that she needs to find her family first, including Sansa. Jaqen gives Arya a single coin, explaining that should she change her mind, she only needs to give the coin to any man from Braavos and recite the High Valyrian words “Valar Morghulis.” Jaqen changes his face to that of another man and bids a stunned Arya farewell.

OTHERS

Daenerys

In season 2, Dany finds herself in the rich and prosperous city of Qarth. She is still questing for an army that she can overtake the Iron Throne while trying to raise her newly hatched and growing dragons. However, Qarth is more dangerous than it initially appears.

Xaro is constantly vying for her attention and hand in marriage that Dany consistently rebuff. Then when she returns to her room to find that Irri is dead and Doreah and her dragons are missing, she embarks on the equivalent of a spirit quest in the House of the Undying to get the back. In the House it is revealed that the warlock, Pyat Pree stole the dragons and that Xaro intended to seize control of the city.  The warlock uses his magic to murder the rest of the Thirteen. He repeats his invitation to Daenerys, telling her that her children are at the House of the Undying. Having overcome the temptation she finds herself held captive by Pyat Pree. He tells her that he plans to keep her with her dragons because they increase his power. She tells her dragons to breathe flame at him, using the command that she taught them. With the warlock roasted alive, they are able to escape his tower.

Daenerys returns to Xaro’s home to confront him for his treachery and finds him in bed with Doreah. Hurt from the betrayal, Daenerys takes them to his vault, which proves to be empty, and locks them inside to die. She salvages enough valuables to buy a ship from amongst his possessions.

An underlying motif of Dany’s storyline is Jorah’s incredibly obvious love for the young queen. He barely tries to hide his intentions yet Daenerys is careful to pretend they don’t exist or is able to be blissfully unaware.

Peter “Littlefinger” Baelish

Peter’s intentions and his overall game is never fully revealed. He is smart, he is witty, and above all he is cunning. He has his littlefinger in everyones wallet and is able to get (almost) everything he wants. His only rival maybe being Tyion though that is debatable.

In season 2, Littlefinger is effectively trying to gain as much as possible. He is made Lord of Harrenhal after the Battle of Blackwater and takes his interest in Sansa to the next level when her betrothal is broken. He ells her that she reminds him of Catelyn and offers to take her home to Winterfell but she is reluctant to trust him.

Littlefinger is also responsible for setting up the prisoner exchange between Cat and the Lannisters, using his history with her to persuade her that she will get BOTH her daughters back despite knowing that Arya is missing.

Theon Greyjoy

The epitome of daddy issues in an accurate description of Theon. After returning to Pyke and leaving the Starks behind, Theon is putoff to say the least that his sister has become a war leader and more respected by their father.

In an attempt to aid his father’s bid for the Iron Throne, Theon returns to Winterfell where he seizes the castle despite having grown as brothers with the Stark children. He admits that all he truly wanted was a family and that he didn’t fit in with the Starks or the his own family. After he ransacks the castle and loses the Stark boys, Bran and Rickon, Theon hangs two charred bodies and claims them as the boys. This spreads the rumor that the children are dead across the Seven Kingdoms and The Wall.

Maester Luwin says that he knows that Theon is not the ruthless man he has been pretending to be. He suggests that Theon flee to the Wall and join the Night’s Watch to save his life and attempt to redeem himself. Theon refuses to deviate from the course he has set, it is to late he says as he has gone too far down this course for him to ever pretend to be anyone else. He readies his men for glorious death in battle. He gives a rousing speech but is betrayed and knocked out by Dagmer, who plans to turn him over to the northern forces so the rest of them can go home. Luwin attempts to aid Theon but is stabbed in the abdomen by Dagmer, who then has Theon dragged away with his head covered by a cloth bag.

Game of Thrones Season 2 DVD & Blu-Ray Release Date And List of Bonus Features Released

Winter has already came and with it news of the DVD release for season 2 of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Similarly to last year, the second season DVD will be available for purchase one month before the premiere of season 3. Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions of the season will hit store shelves on February 13, 2013.

While the DVD and Blu-ray offering is expensive, sitting at roughly $59.99 and 79.99 respectively, the collections are both beautifully presented and chock full of extras. However, it is wise to note that Amazon currently lists the DVD and Blu-ray for $41.99 and $55.99, respectively.

Both the DVD and Blu-ray will contain audio commentaries for all 10 of season 2′s episodes, featuring observations from the stars, producers, and even A Song of Ice and Fire scribe George R.R. Martin. A half-hour featurette on the effort that went into creating the series-defining Battle of Blackwater Bay will also be included on both versions.

Also, the Blu-ray edition will have a bit more to it when compared to the DVD. Shipping under the HBO Select logo, the Blu-ray of Game of Thrones season 2 will feature an option for in-episode informational pop-ups, an animated history lesson about the continents of Westeros and Essos, a massive battle map tracking the movements of the five armies vying for the Iron Throne, and an apparent plethora of Easter eggs.

The complete list of special features for Game of Thrones season 2 is as follows:

DVD and Blu-Ray Features

  • Creating the Battle of Blackwater Bay: A 30-minute documentary on the trials and tribulations of putting together one of Game of Throne‘s most intense episodes.
  • The Religions of Westeros: George R.R. Martin, author of the novels that inspired Game of Thrones, presides over an explanation of the various faiths that move behind the scenes of the show.
  • Game of Thrones: Inner Circle: Primary Game of Thrones actors participate in a roundtable discussion of what it was like to shoot season 2. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss moderate.
  • Audio Commentaries: All episodes will have an accompanying commentary track by stars such as Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke, producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and George R.R. Martin.

Blu-ray Exclusive Features:

  • War of the Five Kings: An interactive guide to Westeros’s fog of war. Lists the accomplishments, failures, tactics, and key players of the fiver would-be Kings struggling for the soul of the continent.
  • Histories and Lore: A series of animated history lessons that will reveal the great events that have shaped Westeros and the lands beyond the Narrow Sea. Expect detailed explanations of the Nine Free Cities, the Andals and the First Men, and the dragon-riding Freehold of Valyria. Features llustrations from “Game of Thrones” storyboard artist Will Simpson.
  • In-Episode Guide: An option for pop-up information and resources during viewing.
  • Hidden Dragon Eggs: Hidden Easter eggs lead to even more bonus content.

Game of Thrones‘ season 2 will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray on February 13, 2013.

Playing The Game of Thrones With The Season 2 Finale – Review

Episode 10: Season 2 finale, “Valar Morghulis”

Elena: This episode was, I think, on the whole better for those who only watch the show. I don’t know if that has quite happened enough to be called a trend yet, but I think we are beginning to see points where the changes are chapping even the most calloused of book fans’ asses, and those of us who don’t know what was in the books or should have been on screen don’t question what happens or think less of it, because we have no basis for comparison. We only react to what did happen, not what we thought would happen or what we wanted to happen.  Well, the part about what we want may not be totally true—I imagine the internet would have rioted if Tyrion came up with a case of the deads, since we all wanted him to live.  So I guess that seems a good time to ask Rachel what she thought of how HBO handled Tyrion’s fall from grace?

 

Rachel: HBO continues to give Peter Dinklage all the good scenes! But it’s not all jokes. Dinklage is showing Tyrion is one of the more complicated characters in this story. It’s not so fun seeing Tyrion afraid, but waking up after The Blackwater is probably the scariest thing Tyrion’s ever experienced. Ending the season with the cocky Tyrion in a forgotten room, unsure about his health or his future is pretty pitch perfect.

Pycelle is back up, Tyrion is down, and I don’t think any of us know what to think of Shae. I loved that scene between Shae and Tyrion. Shae is the only person Tyrion ever confides his fears in, the person he shows any weakness to, and she in turn always tells him exactly what she thinks. Her dismissal of his “I’m a monster” statement is pretty much how I felt about his injury. POOR BABY. You got a booboo?

I knew they weren’t actually going to chop off his nose and force Dinklage to wear a terrible prosthetic for the rest of the series. I’m hoping they keep it extra juicy and infected looking otherwise, we’re in the same situation I felt when I saw The Phantom of the Opera, and Gerard Butler’s HIDEOUS FACE was really just a handsome dude with a  sunburn….

Not gonna lie, when Tyrion cried I definitely got choked up. What do you think Elena, do you trust Shae with Tyrion’s emotionally scarred heart?

Elena: This was the episode where you feel sorry for Tyrion because he was riding high and thinking he was the big man in King’s Landing only to get brought lower than ever when his dad strolls in and saves the day with the Knight of Fucking Flowers (literally….Loras fucks flowers. Peach blossoms, specifically. Like what I did there?), and suddenly it’s like Tyrion was never in King’s Landing and had nothing to do with saving it.  Joffrey gets to sit there and pretend like he didn’t piss himself on the battlements, Tywinning lets his horse shit all over the throne room, and Tyrion isn’t even allowed to watch the joy of Papa Lannister starting to put his dipshit grandson in his place (because you know if anyone can control King Fucktard the First, it is Tywinning).  Instead Tyrion is in a monk’s cell somewhere with Maester Pycelle cackling over getting revenge for the beard-trimming, while Tyrion is moping and being depressed over the fact that he is now “a monster as well as a dwarf.”  Um, I think that line made more sense in the books.  Having a pretty clean battle scar isn’t quite enough to make someone a monster, especially not in a land where the men in charge are, as The Hound likes to point out, killers and knights themselves.  Probably half the lords in Westeros have battle scars.  They just make a man look like…well, a man.  Welcome to the big boy club, Tyrion.

As to Shae, I am reluctantly impressed with her that she chose to stay with him.  I almost think she means it.  Maybe she still sees him as just the best thing that’s ever happened to her and a better prospect than anything else she could find, but she seemed genuine in her anger on his behalf.  Fuck this place and these people, they don’t respect you so let’s just leave.  Tyrion would be no one across the sea, even if he still had money, so she can’t just be with him because of his being a Lannister.  I might not “get” their relationship but it seems like it’s being built into a real one, maybe not Robb and Talisa style lusty and frantic love but the solid, trusting kind of love.  At this point I trust her not to run out on him…but I don’t trust her not to get herself killed off or imprisoned and then used against him later.

Rachel: The cut from the Tyrion/Shae scene to Robb and Talisa being married was hilarious. Those tricksy writers! Also hilarious? The entire wedding scene.

WUT? That was the cheesiest, stupidest thing I’ve ever seen! Let’s be real…if Talisa is from Volantis, girl doesn’t know any chants about the Seven! They were married under the Seven when Robb is supposed to be the King of the GOD DAMN NORTH?!

This show can be so uneven about details! Robb is also part Tulley, so fine. There’s your argument for the ceremony, and this all would have made perfect sense had he married Jeyne Westerling. But he didn’t. They changed her to Talisa and made up this hugely complicated reason for why she’s even on the continent in the first place, so it would only make sense they be married in the Northern tradition, and I realize this is nitpickery of the highest order but I’m just going to be that person right now.

Cut later to Cat trying to tell Robb what an ASSHOLE he has been to the Freys…too much is being made of how disrespectful Robb was to Cat (duh, he just defied her wishes and married some landless ho, and you think he’s going to apologize?) and not enough about how there is one angry Bridge-having family out there. Robb has mightily offended the Freys and as yet has no siblings to placate them with other marriages. He’s lost Winterfell to Theon.  He’s ignored every piece of advice Roose Bolton has given him.

Robb might be pretty, but he doesn’t even have the family duty that Ned had and so might win the award for Stupidest Main Character of Season 2. Elena, do you agree?

Elena: CONCURMENT ACHIEVED.

Normally I am pro following your heart.  And, Robb, I GET why you want to marry a woman you think is going to be a better queen for you and an inspiration to your people, someone hard and yet gentle, tough and yet compassionate, strong and brave and independent.  The thing is, you are being very un-Stark right now.  Is that your Tully side creeping out?  Are any of Ned’s children proper Starks?  Maybe Jon should count himself lucky he’s Ned’s bastard and not another Tully spawn, since that set of genes is starting to seem overpowering.

Because here’s the problems I have with Robb’s decision making.  First, it’s unnecessary.  Talisa is obviously willing to be kept on the side if you are where her heart is.  Maybe that doesn’t bear up once you’re actually married, but maybe it does.  She seemed like she understood.  Second, it wrecks an allegiance and will piss off your bannermen.  It makes you look kind of…well, not a man of your word.  The reason they are following you is because you were a Stark.  Being a not a man of your word is basically saying you’re a Stark only in name.  How can they trust you now?  Especially when you didn’t ride back to retake Winterfell?  You aren’t keeping your promises to your allies or your own kin…how can any man who rides with you expect you to keep a promise to him now?

The thing about building trust is, it means you keep promises even when it is really inconvenient or hard for you to do that.  You should have kept the bridge.  I hope you don’t regret burning it too much later.  I hope Talisa’s magical hoo-ha is enough to hold your throne.

Yeah.  Good luck with that.

So speaking of Winterfell…shall we swing North for a bit?

Rachel: God, the Winterfell scenes are where I went from a smiley, happy TV-watcher to an increasingly grimacing, pissed-off book person. WHAT IS HAPPENING, YOU GUYS? The majority of the changes make sense to me. They’ve streamlined Theon’s journey (gotten rid of Reek entirely?) and decided that it’s just easier for the Iron Born to hit Theon over the head, burn Winterfell down, and leave.

Right? At this point I kind of don’t know what the heck is happening. I have my theories about how to get to the next stage, but since this is a no-spoil discussion, you guys are just going to have to hit me up on Twitter for them.

Meanwhile Osha, Bran, Rickon, and Hodor emerge from the Winterfell crypts to a devastated and empty, largely bodiless Winterfell. (One can only assume the Iron Born took people with them). The only one left was the dying Maester Luwin. The scene in which he says good bye was rather powerful and drives home that the North is a place of Duty and Honor. Under the Heart Tree he bids Bran go North. We even got to hear Rickon speak like a human being instead of a feral child (I was genuinely shocked when he said something and sounded normal). Super sad. Bran is now on his own. His only adult ally is a wildling woman, plus he has a simpleton and the direwolves (YAY DIREWOLVES! DID YOU SEE THEM? I LUFF THEM). Rickon has mastered speech, which is a definite plus, but I don’t know how much fighting he can do? Give the kid a rock I guess.

Between the Iron Islands being in open revolt, Winterfell burned to the ground and its people killed or scattered, Jon far beyond the Wall, and Robb stuck somewhere in the Riverlands with decreasing options…looks like the Starks are in for a hell of a season 3.

Elena: Okay, am I the only one who had zero doubts about what happened at Winterfell?  Asha took her 500 knights and surrounded it, then went annoying-sister apeshit on her brother.  I figured the men on the inside with him recognized that horn and that’s how they knew to just bonk him on the head and go home.  Then Asha the expert pillager burned a stone keep down.  If anyone can do it without dragons, it’s her.  I mean, self-evident, right?

I heard from Rachel that this was not obvious if you had read the books because you were expecting something else to happen.

You guys: this is why I’m not reading the books until show’s done.  It’s just so much more enjoyable for me to watch, not only when I don’t know what’s coming but also when I don’t expect one thing and get something else.

Anyway, about Maester Luwin’s suggestion to Theon that he run to The Wall.  Luwin had an interesting comment, that he doesn’t serve the family—he serves the place.  I wasn’t sure he meant it until he said all that about the Night’s Watch.  He really did want to save Theon from himself.

Too late.  Theon was all ready to go down in a blaze of glory…only to have his sister take that away from him.  But the sequence just proves all over again that he’s not really getting the Iron Islander ethos.  I cannot imagine any pirate being willing or interested in a martyr’s death when there is a tunnel to escape via.  The fact that Theon was ready to choose death over being seen as a coward is very much a Winterfell thing.  Pirates don’t give a shit about how they are seen. They give a shit about staying alive and getting their plunder.  Why would they die for a shitty keep on a shitty steppe somewhere shitty and not by the sea?  That was Theon’s last gasp of hatred for the Starks.  Guess he really did hate them.  I can tell you why, Robb….

I look forward to seeing what happens to Theon now that he has been pwned by his sister once again.

Shall we speak of happier things?  Tell me what you liked best about this episode.

Rachel: The throne room was my favorite scene in the entire episode. A bunch of powerful liars in a room together being forced to pay homage to a megalomaniac douche. HA HA. It’s amazing. From Tywin refusing to walk anywhere on foot, to the farce of putting Sansa aside in favor of the vast wealth and men of the Tyrells. Hilarious. When Maergery made her speech about having a love for Joffrey take root deep inside her, the only person I felt bad for was Joffrey. He’s the only one in the room who doesn’t seem to understand that everyone is full of shit. A castle full of vipers ready to devour him; the only thing holding them back is tradition and his chaotic behavior.

IT’S GONNA BE GOOD.

Anyone else hear Sansa echo Cersei’s “Enjoy” when Maegaery stepped into the limelight? Stupid Littlefinger had to ruin it by creeping in like he always does with his “you’re not free, yet!” speech. Go creep on Harrenhal, Petyr! I hear it’s LOVELY there!

No, I love Littlefinger. They’ve made him inscrutable in the show by making him tell everyone his plans, all the plans being different. It’s just as effective as book Littlefinger, who mostly keeps everything to himself but the pointing and the laughing. The end result is “creepy fucker who knows too much and says too little of substance,” and that’s all we can really hope for.

Elena: I was laughing my ass off through this entire sequence. From that perfect plop of horse shit (seriously, I think they just made everyone wait while the camera rolled on that horse’s ass until it dropped a load) to Joffrey’s haplessness in the face of grown-ups to Sansa’s amazing acting skills…goodness.  I WANT MORE OF THIS, PLEASE.  Rachel and I talked on one of the podcasts about the lack of courtly flourishes and politicking in the show thus far.  This was the first scene where we really got to see it in full flower, the platitudes and false speaking and posturing and obeisance to the proper form.

I will admit, I was not actually sure Joffrey understood he was allowed to set Sansa aside.  I believed him when he told Margaery he could not break his vow…like I thought he actually meant that.  I thought that because of how confused he looked when Pycelle stepped forward again and said the gods didn’t require him to keep promises to traitors.

I hope he was the only one in the room not acting, because that underscores that the point Littlefinger made to Sansa is also true of Joffrey:  it’s a room full of liars, every one of them better than you.  Joffrey, for all that he has been invested with the powers of the kingship, is still a little boy who wants to be led except when he is throwing a tantrum.  He is weak, malleable, and dangerous only because he is marginally insane.  If he did not have that edge of psychosis…he would be an utter puppet.  Instead he will become a puppet through the manipulation of his weaknesses and ignorance and self-absorption.

I am sooooo interested to see Margaery square off against Cersei.  I think in her Cersei will find an apter pupil than she did in Sansa…and someone who will not overtly compete with her.  The longer I’ve had to think about this, the more convinced I am that Cersei wanted Sansa gone because Sansa threatened her—threatened to expose Cersei for what she is and be an example of what she should have been but isn’t. Sansa was too scared and ignorant to realize that every time she said the perfect thing or showed just that flash of ladylike courage, it made her more and more unacceptable to Cersei.  Sansa would have made a tragic but noble figure as Joffrey’s queen.  She could make someone like The Hound disobey his master for her sake.  She had the ability to inspire pity and pride and loyalty…and it would be loyalty to HER, not to the king.  And since she is the daughter of a man killed as a traitor for being too honest and too honorable, and the sister of a rebel king…a city of people more loyal to her than her husband must have made Cersei’s butthole pucker up with fear.

Margaery, on the other hand, will not overtly compete with Cersei because she will be playing the game of eager queen-to-be learning the game from her mother-in-law.  She understands that it is a game, and overt competition will be the quickest way to lose what she has within her grasp.

Littlefinger’s bit at the end was priceless.  The people at work thought he did it out of kindness, out of love for Cat. Hahahahahaha.  Oh, hell, no.  He might have a weakness for Catelyn Tully Stark in that he still has emotions about her…but I don’t believe for a second he still loves her.  I think he still wants revenge for that rejection.  I was shocked he didn’t offer to marry Sansa just to keep her safe from Joffrey…wouldn’t that be the ultimate in your FACE to his old love?  Marry the daughter who looks just like her but is ten times more submissive, so he not only upgrades to the younger model as an older man but also upgrades it to a personality he can completely control?  Personally, I think that is his goal.

Sansa best watch herself if she stays in King’s Landing.

GIRL, YOU SHOULD HAVE GONE WITH THE HOUND!

Rachel: Can we talk about Stannis now?

My favorite lobster king is having issues with being so thoroughly defeated, but then again who wouldn’t be having a hissy in their high tower table-map room if they just got Tywinned ten seconds before total victory?

I feel for you, Stannis. I feel. And I can understand why a godless man who yearns for greatness, such as yourself, would stare into the ambient lighting and see your inevitable greatness staring back at you. Clearly Stannis hasn’t given up.

Or they’re just crazy.

Even then, I would expect Stannis to talk about his missing, presumed dead, right hand man Ser Onion! NO TEARS FOR YOUR BESTIE? C’mon Stannis!

Look into the flames! Do you smell onions?

Elena: I don’t have much to say about this scene, since, obviously Stannis wasn’t going to give up the war just because he lost the battle, and just as obviously Melisandre is going to make sure she has a firmer hand on the second campaign.  But all I could think watching it was how much he looked like Eric in The Little Mermaid when that evil sea witch has him under her spell.  And then their relationship suddenly made perfect sense, and I felt really sorry for Stannis.

Even more sorry for Davos, who lost his son to that bitch’s shell spell!

Ugh.  Let’s go someplace where the bad guys don’t win!  Like…Jaime and Brienne!

Rachel: Ya know, strictly speaking, book-Brienne wouldn’t have vengefully castrated that guy to kill him. But I think it makes her more interesting when she is more overtly pissed off about how women are treated in Westeros. It’s nice. In a cast of characters that feature plenty of strong and interesting female characters, not many of them are outspoken about the role of women in their society. Cersei complains but acquiesces; Arya is still too young for her rejection of feminine roles to be a social statement. Asha is an interesting case, as she fills in for her father’s absent sons, but the contrast between her and Brienne is that Asha embraces traditionally masculine roles without any regret, while Brienne is far more sensitive. Forced into masculine roles in order to gain agency for herself while at the same time pushed away from feminine roles due to her size and appearance—at time it seems that Brienne had no choice. It was either take control of her life through violence or live life as an unloved,  mocked wife of whatever man offered her father the best deal. Something Asha doesn’t have to contend with – plenty of men find her appealing, and it seems the Greyjoys have no compunctions about women inheriting.

The relationship between perfect manly man/family honor Jaime and imperfect female/imperfect male family rejecting Brienne is, as I have said before, one of the best relationships in the entire series. They make each other more interesting simply by being in each others’ proximity! Not to mention the hilarity of no bullshit Brinne calling out Jaime’s every utterance.

The cast is only going to get bigger as we move into season 3, but I hope to see much more of The Jaime and Brienne Show!

Elena: This sequence.  Oh, my god, this sequence. I think it might have been my favorite moment of the show when Brienne kills those Stark men and we see Jaime’s face in the aftermath.  And he’s basically like, “I…might not be able to beat her.  Holy shit, this woman is FIERCE.”  Like…Brienne is such a badass that she turned Jaime Fucking Kingslayer into a lisping gay man for a couple seconds.  That was amazing.

So can I confess something?  I didn’t realize the bodies were women until they talked about them being she’s.  I thought Brienne was just that respectful at first, which seemed oddly naïve, but one thing I will say about Westeros…there has been a lot of abusing of women but not too much killing of them, at least so far.  So her reaction, even aside from any considerations of latent anger a lady knight might have about the way women are treated by men, made more sense. In fact, WAS it anger on behalf of women (vs men) so much as it was anger on behalf of INNOCENTS (vs ravagers and false knights)?

Either way I’m glad they stopped.  I’m glad we got to see her in action one more time this season, I’m glad Jaime got to see it so maybe he’ll stop mouthing off every five minutes, and I’m glad we got to see the complicating factor of her not working for the Starks but only Catelyn.  That…is going to come back later, I sense.

Rachel:  And in things that just won’t stop coming back…Ros met Varys.

While I LOVE me some quality Varys time…this scene was bull. Like Varys would stroll into Petyr’s whore house in broad daylight to offer his top whore a spying position? HBO is really trying to make Ros happen for us. I won’t deny that she might know her share of juicy bits—isn’t that what Petyr uses her for? I think this scene was just an excuse for the writers to reiterate that while Petyr seems to desire legitimate and public power, the motivations of Varys are still pretty unknown. Sex doesn’t work on him, so Petyr is at a disadvantage when it comes to manipulating his rival (are they rivals?), but Petyr might be in better with the nobility – since HBO sent him on a tour of Westeros this season.

You never know with Varys. All you really know is that he’s a eunuch. HBO seems really fixated on telling us that repeatedly. And we know that whatever Ros decides, no one wants to be stuck between Littlefinger and the Spider.

Elena: This scene just made no sense to me.  I expect Varys is right and Littlefinger is criminally underusing her.  But do we really think Littlefinger doesn’t have a line onto every man (or woman) who walks into his brothel?  Come on.  He’s not going to let his Commader Ros Riker of the whoreship Cunterprize become a spy for his greatest enemy.  Please.

If HBO takes that route and she survives more than two episodes of it, I call bullshit.  Maybe they just wanted a scheme to kill her off?

Oh, and speaking of characters killed off:  Goodbye, Jaqen H’ghar!

Rachel: It’s time for terrible poetry.

 

Goodbye Jaqen H’ghar

we have watched you from afar

kill every man the wolf desired

and part your hair so ’twas two colored.

 

Elena is going to ask me if you ever come back

I will distract her with Syrio flack

a beauteous man if there ever was

a deadly genie, a faceless one.

 

Elena: RIP, Hot Jaqen!  Your new face did NOT amuse me.  But I know why you did it: you didn’t want Arya to regret her choice.  I would not regret that choice after seeing your new mug, so well done.

Also…where the fuck are all these different magical people coming from?  None of them are from the Seven Kingdoms.  What is up with that?  No indigenous magic on the entire fucking continent?  Rachel likes to call the Stark kids wargs and snarl about the fact that HBO is cutting their connection to their wolves and Bran’s prophecy-dreaming, so what else is indigenous to this part of the world that we aren’t learning about?  I mean, across the sea we have the witches like Melisandre, the Faceless Men, the sorcerers of Qarth, the Targaryens and their fire-magic…what happened here?  Why didn’t they have all this shit?  No wonder they were so fucking defenseless when the Targaryens showed up with their dragons.  And if the Targaryens were all that was keeping it off the continent…no wonder all of these new beings are adventuring across the sea now!

Anyway, on the Arya plot front…we now have the Continuing Adventurs of Arya and Hot Pie and Gendry.  Arya wants to find Robb or rescue Sansa.  I love that she finally remembers her sister.  Has Sansa thought about her at all?  She would never have brought Arya up, of course, since that is obviously a subject you just don’t talk about in front of…well, anyone in King’s Landing since they all have egg on their face for Arya escaping without a trace.  But I wonder if she thinks about her.  Surely?  But Arya was the one whom Ned reminded that blood is blood, and when winter comes family will matter more than anything.

Interestingly, given that Starks at least start as the focal point of the series, the action across two seasons so far has been to put as much distance as possible between all of the Stark children.  They are all separated from their family right now.  They all have to make new families…Arya with her boys, Robb with Talisa and his men, Jon with his brother crows and now the Wildlings, Bran and Rickon with Osha.  Sansa…Sansa is the only one truly alone.  Poor little bird.

Dany and the House of the Undying (are all her dothraki back from the dead?):

Rachel: I would probably have made it through the episode in enjoyment despite the Winterfell confusion if not for everything that happens with Dany and Jon (who I will get to in a second).

Ugh… I feel like such a chump! Getting all “Elena, TAKE NOTES WHEN PEOPLE TALK TO DANY IN THE HOUSE OF THE UNDYING”. Um…yea, about that….

WHAT IS FRAGGITY FRACK SHIT HUH?

Can I just say that not ONE of the “visions” Dany saw in that episode occurred in the book? Do I treat them as canon? IN which case – did HBO just spoil the hell out of us by showing us the Iron Throne covered in ash, the ceiling burned away by what we assume would be Dany’s dragon fire?

DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?

And the Drogo thing – I guess it was nice that we got a cameo, but, damn, that fake beard was gross looking! EWWW DON’T TOUCH IT.

So yea, I was hoping for at LEAST the “Three” prophecy since Dany uses it to examine and govern her decisions from here on out. It’s so disappointing to see one of the most important moments in a favorite character’s storyline get completely and utterly cut. Sigh. I’m also going to assume that the dragons succeeded in burning down the house of the Undying? I get it – the fire budget was all used up in “The Blackwater.”

Just…go, Dany. Go buy a ship. Go somewhere. LEAVE QARTH. Leave weirdly and for no reason at all heterosexual Xaro. Leave him and that dumb ho, Doreah, locked up in that empty vault. TAKE the golden peacock! (BTW – raise your hand if you were all, “Where did all of Dany’s Dothraki come from? Weren’t they all dead?)

March onward to your incredibly boring Feast and Dance storylines! ONWARD, I SAY! And this time you don’t even have an idea of what direction to go in because you never heard Quaithe’s “you must go East to go West” prophecy, either!

So…just…go. Go be aimless. Have some temper tantrums. Lose your dragons repeatedly. I don’t even care anymore.

Elena: I was underwhelmed by the House of the Undying itself.  It seemed…well, honestly, here’s what it seemed.  It seemed like that could have been an entire episode by itself—I mean, Labyrinth made a feature film out of the exact same premise—and because it could not be its own episode, the true threat or power of the place was diminished.  I felt like there should have been traps there, or more obvious prophetic type visions…something besides a couple random flashes of other places and a quick jaunt from The Wall to the Nightlands (or wherever Drogo was supposed to be).

That being said…the ending of her sequence, both endings really, was fucking awesome.  When she looked at those chains and then at her dragons and was like…fuck this.  Dragons, take my fury and make it burn. MAKE IT ALL BURN…I think I squealed like a school girl.  That was the best.  And I was just thinking…um, sorcerer?  I know your powers just came back and you’re feeling your oats and everything, but…what part of DRAGONFIRE do you not quite get?

The ending with the empty vault was also fabulous.  I half-jokingly wrote “watch it be empty” in my live blog and then got to feel uber-smart when it turned out to be true.  What a clever man he was!  All he had to do to be the richest man in Qarth was TELL everyone he was the richest man in Qarth so many times they eventually stopped asking for proof! Amazing!  I actually wonder how many of the so-called richest men in Qarth were actually rich at all, or if they all just put their actual wealth into their world-at-hand and kept nothing in reserve but pretended they had ten times more where that came from?  Was Qarth basically the double-mortgaged American gated community of Westeros?  Where everyone drives a Lexus but lives in an unfurnished house and eats nothing but beans and rice because they have no money left to spend?

So Dany has enough for a small ship, and now her dragons have found their fire.  I still don’t think it’s enough for her to go “home” yet.

This is something Rachel mentioned to me in our drunkcast, that Dany sees things in the House of the Undying that shape her decisions from here on.  The fact that she didn’t makes me wonder if she is going to continue to have her agency as an individual undermined by plot events that force her path to turn, versus her choosing to turn onto a different path?  Like will she get shipwrecked instead of choosing to wait to cross the sea until she can do it on the back of a dragon because she saw a vision of herself flying into the Seven Kingdoms for the first time?  That sort of putting her at the mercy of tangential forces rather than making her the centrifuge of her own momentum.  I much prefer characters who both have agency but are forced to react to the world around them.  Even when they make poor choices (cough *Robb* cough), I still prefer the ones who are able to be actors and not simply reactors.

Rachel: Speaking of visions left out of The House of the Undying scene was one which, coupled with a memory/dream of Ned’s that the writers left out of Season 1, is the basis for a theory on Jon’s parentage. But that seems to have been erased from the show, so please GOD don’t bother Googling any algebra equations that solve for J. (Really, don’t. You’ll be spoiled IMMEDIATELY about events because the internet assumes if you are Googling book theories that you have read the books).

And that isn’t even the stuff that had me all mad and yelling in the street (actual. I was yelling in the street). No, see…I’m pissed off about Jon vs. The Halfhand. Because they spent all damn season stretching the storyline beyond the Wall. Spending multiple episodes at Craster’s Keep and digging latrines and chasing girls through the snow, and they didn’t have TEN SECONDS for Qhorin to tell Jon that one pivotal line, “When the time comes, you do what they ask of you.” Because Jon kills the Halfhand UNDER ORDERS. Not because Qhorin spends a bunch of time pushing him and calling his mother a whore – but because Qhorin knows that if the wildlings have captured him they will kill him slowly, OR his death can be used by Jon to gain acceptance into their group as a deserter. Couple that with Jon playing it like he killed the Halfhand because he can and wants to fuck Ygritte – that’s what this scene should have been. Instead it’s a stupid scene. A STUPID SCENE. Is it clear that Jon did not want to kill one of his heroes? Is it clear that Jon is doing this to gain information about the army that Mance Rayder is massing beyond the wall because it is a threat to the realm?

Is Jon just too much of a traditional fantasy hero with a special destiny to make it in the big bad world of HBO dramas? It’s like, “Oh, ya know, Jon is too good. Let’s make him a fucking dick. We can call him stupid for an entire season and then have him kill the old guy at the end for being disrespectful.” Was that a round table discussion or is this a result of over editing?

Ughhhhhh. UGHHHHHHHHHH!!! I’M SO MAD ABOUT IT AHHHHH!

And then there’s the scene at the very end, at what I am assuming is the Fist of the Firstmen? Sam and co (YAY DOLOROUS ED) have been digging latrines for approximately 12 episodes, and they hear the three horn blasts that mean Walkers. So everyone runs back to camp except for Sam, who hides behind a rock and watches the Others come by on their undead horses directing the movement of a whole mess of White Walkers. Remember the Walkers we saw last season when Jon injured his hand? Remember how they were fast and strong and scary as hell?

Now look at these Walkers.

Do they not seem a little…Shaun of the Dead to you?

Whatever. At this point I’m just over here mumbling about the honor of Jon Stark and how Qhorin Halfhald is a HERO!

Elena:  Rachel’s reaction is what happens when HBO tries to be subtle.  The elements of this being a hugely pivotal (except not at all because he was only faking!) role in Jon’s life are there.  We have heard the boys whispering about how that’s Qhorin Halfhand, and I think it was explained to Sam who he is.  We had Qhorin’s comment to Jon LAST episode we saw them, “I hope you can do what needs to be done when the time comes.”

But the way this was staged…weak.  It made Jon look like a little Lord of Winterfell who is lost North of The Wall, not a man of the Night’s Watch who is consciously rejecting that life.

Maybe the show writers wanted to slow down Jon’s growth from an angry youth to a full man, and thought that showing him make that kind of momentous decision less than a year after leaving home was too soon.  Maybe they thought we thought the Wildlings would see more potential in a malleable youth than a man of strong convictions.  Or maybe they really are doing what Rachel suggested and trying to diminish the most admirable sides of the characters it’s easiest to like in the books because HBO doesn’t like its viewers to have easy heroes.

I don’t know what their decision process was.  But I know this:  I was confused about why Qhorin was talking about Jon’s parents.  That Jon could be goaded to kill a man for calling his mother a whore has exactly dick to do with his willingness to join the Wildlings.  Jon has been captured.  It’s not like he’s getting back to The Wall ever anyway, most likely…so it’s not like he could have been thinking (er…if it wasn’t planned that he kill the Halfhand) afterward that “oh, shit, killing the Halfhand means I can’t go back.  Oops, guess I’ll just join the Wildlings then.”  And from the Wildlings point of view, the fact that he killed Qhorin Halfhand in a fit of rage for insulting his mother would just make him look more dangerous a prisoner, but not a more likely prospect for conversion to their cause.  Jon wasn’t fighting for his freedom in their eyes, but from hot emotion.  The fact that he won would have made him look like a badass, sure, but they would have watched that battle, shrugged at the outcome, bound him tighter, and walked on.  They would not have looked at him and said “now you are one of us.”  It. Made. No. Sense.

If Jon and Qhorin had been arguing about loyalty to the Night’s Watch, and not betraying secrets and their brothers, and Jon was like “Fuck the Night’s Watch, I didn’t want to go but I had nowhere else, I’m 17 years old and I’ve never really kissed a girl and the Night’s Watch wants me to die an old man—or a young one—who has never really kissed a girl, so fuck that, and fuck you if you don’t like it.”  HAD THAT BEEN THEIR ARGUMENT THE “HE’S ONE OF US! HUZZAH!” REACTION MAKES PERFECT SENSE.

But, y’all, that was not Jon and Qhorin’s argument.

This is not to mention…there was no retaliation from the Wildlings for him killing their most valuable prisoner?  COME THE FUCK ON.  If they know enough about who Qhorin is to be impressed that Jon killed him, then why on earth would they have let him be killed?  They all just formed up a sparring ring and let them have blades, really?  Because it’s not like King North of The Wall Mance Fucking Raider would have wanted to debrief Qhorin Halfhand or anything.  Not at all.  No chance of that!  The Wildlings reaction was just…unbelievable, when I sat down later and thought it through.

I am also upset over the future interplay between Jon and Ygritte now that the fight was about his whore mother (or was she?) and not his desire to be his own man and have his life back.  Because if he had said “I’m taking my life back” then he would have had to put a move on her.  This way, he can still be all emo and reluctant to bed her until he realizes it’s part of his disguise and mopes about it for an episode first.  I would much rather see him take a positive action to embrace his own sexuality rather than having to be seduced.  Sigh.  As much as I am all in favor of ladies doing it—Talisa style—that doesn’t mean I want MEN to be the ones getting seduced against their will and understanding and moral code.

Actually…looking back at the sex we’ve seen this season…the bulk of it by far has been women seducing men against their better judgment and very much being the sexual aggressors.  And I am quite sad to realize that perhaps the most sexually equitable relationship IN THE ENTIRE FUCKING SHOW so far has been Cersei and Jaime.  You guys, there is something seriously fucked up when the people with the healthiest sexual relationship are the twins doing each other.

I’m actually quite serious about this.  Talisa pulled a romance novel hero on Robb where she was like, “I’m going to seduce you even though morally you are reluctant because you will enjoy it, so just like back (or stand back, whatever) and let me do the rest.”  Fine, so they are probably healthy up after he makes his choice about it, but still, putting your boobs in a man’s face and expecting him to make a morally responsible decision at that moment is…questionable at best.  Cersei is using her power as Queen and Head Bitch Lannister in Charge to use Lancel at her whims.  Margaery is more than a match for poor Renly…or would have been, had he lived.  Melisandre and Stannis?  What black magic did she use to overcome his normally prosaic and plodding moral compass?  Osha having to do nothing to slit Theon’s throat in his sleep (had she so chosen) except drop her robe.

And then in the more traditional roles of men using women we have Craster with his daughters, all the whores who got fucked and abandoned or abused along the season, and Shae, whom Tyrion might love but who is still paid for her work and that puts her in a position of subservience at least until she can make him so in love with her he’ll do anything to keep her (at which point she moves to unhealthy column #1).  Regardless of what is worked out after the wedding, any woman married off for political reasons is, as Cersei put it so elegantly, being “sold like a horse so he could ride me whenever he wanted.”  So…yeah.  Where’s the healthy couple with no power dynamic or discrepancy at play?  The most fucked up relationship of them all.

I had not really thought about this until now.  Just wow.  Possibly most fascinating is that in aggregate this season has had a lot of exploration of female sexuality as a weapon.  Back to Cersei, who seems to just be speaking all the truths, telling Sansa to learn how to use it.  So much for women being helpless…but Margaery Tyrell already proved that being more feminine than most can be much more powerful than Sansa made it seem.

Overall Thoughts on Season 2

Rachel: All in all I found Season 2 to be much more uneven than Season 1. It had some absolutely fantastic episodes and moments, but it also seems to be slipping dangerously close to re-imagining. Season 1 was so true to the novels, and with all the events and characters we’ll see from the Storm of Swords storyline – this show could easily go the way of HBO’s other fantasy series and look upon the books as mere inspiration for the show itself rather than a guide to the storyline.

Maybe that won’t happen. Maybe they’re stretching some revelations in order to up the drama of the Season 3 premiere. Here’s hoping, because as much as I love Tyrion Lannister and all the other baddies of Westeros, it’s the heroes that keep me coming back, and so far HBO seems to be ignoring them.

Elena: I enjoyed Season 2 much more than Season 1, and I think that had to do with my having read the first book (or, mostly).  I do hope Rachel is wrong and the show maintains a decent amount of integrity toward the source material, that they have a plan for all the sideplots they are lopping off or shortening or shifting about.

For Season 3 I am hoping for more of the courtly politics and intrigue, and some more characters to meet up the way Jaime and Brienne have.  For example I think Sam and Bran would become BFF’s if they met.

In the meantime, everyone is in a safe (enough) harbor, and I am content to gestate my anticipation for a full nine months before shadowbabying forward to Season 3.

 

Playing the Game of Thrones With Season 2 Episode 9 “Blackwater” – A Review

“Blackwater”

Rachel: What did you think of the episode overall?

Elena: I loved what HBO did with “The Blackwater.”  I thought it was totally ballsy for them to drop more than half their storylines for an entire episode to focus completely on this siege.  I also felt it was a risk for their production team to get into this level of nitty-gritty detail with the logistics of a battle.

Could they balance the moments of dramatic tension with the action sequences their budget allowed for well enough to keep everything on point and engaging?  Did they have enough of a budget to make a satisfying attack on King’s Landing at all?  Both of which questions they managed to answer with a resounding “yes.”

The attack on King’s Landing had character moments, it had one huge sequence with the wildfire burning half the fleet, it had plot advancement, and it had some pretty nice scenes of battle action.  Even though we didn’t really get a macro shot of the attack on Mud Gate itself, that was fine—the close-up on certain characters’ experiences mirrors how this entire story is told.  Game of Thrones becomes epic via a vast pastiche of minor moments, not because it is heavy on epic moments.  That was how the battle was structured, and it worked for me.

Elena: Stannis just wants to be sure we all know he is a badass, and possibly touched by R’hllor. That’s why he has no helmet.

Rachel: Maybe they didn’t put a helmet on Stannis because they are overly concerned the audience will not recognize a main character. HBO does think the audience is comprised entirely of people who only watch GoT while walking back and forth between the couch and the fridge, who can’t spell their own names let alone read the books and remember who is on which side of whatever battle….

Maybe they just didn’t have any money left in the budget for helmets because they BLEW UP ALL THE MONEY.

Ugh…the bitterness. It flows through me. Excuse me, I have to go be Zen for a moment.

So…we were talking about how Stannis is SO INCREDIBLY BADASS that he doesn’t even need a helmet, because he doesn’t fear death! Stannis knows he is meant to be king and no random peasant is going to lob a rock on HIS destined head, NO SIR!

Maybe Stannis is too busy remembering what it was like to have hair, and standing in the prow of a row boat while cruising along towards his new, way more awesome castle is JUST the place to feel the wind caress his forehead. To feel it lick his temples and noodle in his ears…

I’m getting off track.

But it DOES suck that Stannis came SOOOO CLOSE to winning it all right then and there. Such is your lot, Stannis! Born second. Classic middle child.

Rachel: Varys proves that he hates witches, and that he gives a shit about Westeros: agree, or disagree?

Elena: Agree!  Verily I agree.

I really enjoyed the Varys scenes this episode.  For the first time I actually felt anything for him, or from him, as a character.  He is mildly distasteful in that you know he’s scheming and can’t be trusted (nor can he be trusted to betray you every time! That’s what makes him frustrating to deal with), but I just haven’t known what to make of him up till now.  I still don’t know what his game is, but I finally saw a moment of truth from him when he was talking about the witches like Melisandre.  He hates them and fears them, and he does not want to see them gaining any power in Westeros.  He gives a shit about what happens in Westeros.  I felt like the tears in his eyes when he spoke about that were genuine.

When we were discussing this episode, Rachel pointed out to me that Cersei had a moment of tears with Cat, and perhaps these were equally fake (or maybe-fake), but I think they were real.  Tears can be a weapon, sure, as they speak to an apparent truthfulness, but what was Varys trying to accomplish if he were faking the emotion?  He was talking to Tyrion, and the two of them have obviously allied in some ways.  If Varys wants to protect King’s Landing from Stannis and his red woman, and he believes Tyrion is the only one who can help, then maybe he manipulates him that way…except that Varys has to know Tyrion is already as committed as he could ever be to defending the city.  Tyrion will be shown no mercy by Stannis.  Tyrion is also the sort of person who does what needs to be done no matter what; Varys knows this.  So there is nothing his words will encourage or inspire Tyrion to do that Tyrion wasn’t already going to do, ergo he does not need to use that weapon at that time.

So I think Varys was for one brief scene dropping his masks.  I still don’t understand him, but I am more intrigued by him for the glimpse of humanity.  It was a well-placed moment, as he’s a character who has been a cipher for most of the series so far.  Also, because he is so inscrutable most of the time, his feelings towards the witches are more powerful.  It makes me wonder if Stannis really knows what he’s doing, meddling with a power like that.  It makes me glad Davos was there to talk him into leaving Melisandre behind and taking the city on his own.

…except, with his failure to take the city, will he come back a second time, with her?

Oh my god, y’all, maybe another Shadowbaby will kill Joffrey!  That would be amazing. I would be Team Shadowbaby forevah!

Elena: I say this because (SPOILER ALERT) Joffrey fails at everything except pleasing the viewers by dying ignobly.

Rachel: First Rule of Reading AsoIaF – GRRM wants you to suffer.

Plus he seems to be excelling quite well at being a doucheweasel!

Elena: Talk to me about how much you loved Tyrion in this episode. Was it as much as I did?

Rachel: Of course I loved Tyrion. Everyone loves Tyrion. He’s the only normal person in the entire series. He’s craftier, sadder, more tortured, and more insecure in the novels, but since he’s their Emmy winner – HBO is going to make him mostly funny.

So I’m really happy they allowed Peter to do a little frustration, anger and uncertainty in “The Blackwater.” Mixed with bravado and smartassery – VOILA. Show Tyrion. Loved by all! Who am I kidding, when he casually lopped off that one guy’s leg at the knee…I LOLed.

Sometimes, though, it’s hard for me to ever be truly WORRIED about Tyrion – since he is obviously a stand-in for the audience, and GRRM himself.  Even more so in the show. Not that I really expected HBO to hack Dinklage’s face off…that was never going to happen. Production, makeup, acting. But kudos for pulling an almost Tarantino with that face slash. It made the inside of my face tingly.

Speaking of faces…seems like those of us living in the States can also fear for our facial symmetry.

No. Let’s move on.

Picking up the slack. Being the only USEFUL Lannister. It’s got to be hard for him seeing as he’s daddy’s least favorite child. Cersei is planning on killing herself and Tommen (leaving Myrcella to what, exactly? THINK IT THROUGH, CERSEI). Joffrey is a little baby – himself a product of some whacky parenting in which his “I should have been born a man, I want to fight” mother apparently never thought her eldest son should receive any martial training at all?

Jaime is off being besties with Brienne, which is actually fine. Otherwise he’d be in King’s Landing, swaggering around, his mere presence forcing Tyrion to leave everything to the elder brother. I like take charge Tyrion. The peasants like him too? Maybe they’ll stop calling him a Demon Monkey?

Rachel: But sadly, best in show goes to Bronn, not Tyrion. Bronn is an expert archer, skilled in hand to hand combat, singing Lannister drinking songs (raise your hand if The National’s cover of “The Rains of Castamere” sent you into barely controlled hysterics), and trading quips with the Hound.

Elena: Holy shit, yes, Bronn has proven to be quite the Renaissance man about Westeros!  I actually wondered if he is a Jon Snow of Lannister country (Bronn Stone or whatever they’re called there) who was raised with certain…pretensions.  He knows the Lannister song.  He can sing in perfect pitch even drunk.  He can read.  He knows obscure military tacticians.  He might be a sell-sword, but…where did he learn swordplay?  That’s not how the peasants fight—that’s how lords fight.  Knights and landholders.  Hm.  I have never questioned Bronn’s lowness because mercenaries are so reviled, but now I begin to wonder.

Rachel: Speaking of things we wondered about…WTF was that with Shae at the end?

Elena: Um…. (crickets chirp)

Shae’s last scene befuddled me.  I…don’t know what she meant about saying goodbye.  Either the city doesn’t fall, and life goes on as it has been, and she stays with Tyrion (even if she can’t stay with Sansa now that Cersei has noticed her), or Stannis takes the city and Tyrion dies.  There is no saying goodbye either way.  That line just made no sense. It made no sense if she meant it, and it made no sense for her to give a shit about what Sansa thought or did if she was about to run for a tunnel.

I am confused.  Curious to see if we ever see Shae again, but only mildly.  I never really have gotten into her and Tyrion as a couple.  I know he likes low women, but I have the snobbery of a very well-read woman and think he ought to be with someone who can keep up with him intellectually, not someone who is sweet and just feisty enough to challenge his Lannister pride.  So I’m kind of meh on their whole relationship.  If Cersei succeeded in hurting her, would it hurt him because he really loved her or because he hates to see anyone weaker than himself hurt, especially because of him?  The fact that I ask that question tells me I don’t think he really loves her, not the way I understand the word.  He just considers her his, and he takes care of his own.

Rachel: Can we talk about Cersei now? Can we?

Elena: Cersei.  Cersei, Cersei, Cersei.  Why did you have to be such a raging cunt so many times before this?  I almost like you after this episode.  Sitting there getting drunk, and then getting drunk on telling the truth so you just keep speaking it, because once you say the first uncomfortable truth you realize how good it feels to stop pretending.

I was uncomfortable about how much I related to her in these scenes.  The last place I’d want to be is amidst the crying women (although I wouldn’t want to be swinging a sword…I’d rather be alone, getting drunk by myself, at a time like that).   And I have a knack for polarizing people into those who love me and those who hate me because I am not very good at not speaking truths.  I popped that cork a long time ago.  So I got where she was coming from.

Rachel was spot-on in our Skype to say that she kind of falls apart under pressure, though—she’s not being the strong queen the ladies can be inspired by, even though she knows it’s what they want, what the story they tell themselves is supposed to have.  She does not deal well with the waiting, with the not knowing, with the inaction.  She also does not deal well with what she perceives as an inevitable defeat.

I might actually give her the benefit of the doubt here and suggest that if she were allowed to hold a sword and fight, that she would do it, and bravely, and with no cringing or second thoughts.  I think her problem is that she has a masculine personality in a woman’s body and a woman’s role in life.  Men are generally not good in that kind of situation.  They are fine with the fighting, but the waiting and wondering are hell for them.  They are great in short-term crises but not long-term ones, so good at killing enemies one by one and not so good at sickbeds…or behind walls awaiting an outcome.

But Cersei was apparently never quite brave enough to do what, say, Brienne of Tarth has done and reject basically her family and the life she knows to become what she wants, even if that is a role traditionally reserved for men, and so instead she has been warped and twisted by the constraints of her life.  She is ill-suited for behaving in the ways women are supposed to behave, but she has never taken control of her life to live it the way she wants.  She instead makes petty rebellions, like drinking too much instead of actually inspiring her flock of ladies, or bringing Joffrey in instead of letting him become a king who can inspire his men by leading them in battle.

I found this an interesting contrast to Sansa’s reaction.  Sansa was the one who stepped into the role and tried to be a rock for the other women.  I have no doubt she would have stayed there indefinitely except for Shae’s quite rational point that Stannis Baratheon would show her mercy where Ser Ilyn would not, and that she should not be in the room with him when the city fell and he decided to kill the women so Stannis could not use them against their families. Now, I know not much has been made of Sansa’s storytelling in the show; from book Sansa I know she would do this via the method of acting like a brave queen in an old ballad, but even with that sort of layering of reality with her fantasy role-playing…she is still standing there and not breaking down.  It’s really not that different from the sort of prop all of us use to get through hard times.

Now, the other big Sansa moment was at the end.  Our San-San ship crashing into the hard rocks of reality shoals.  Personally, I don’t know why the girl didn’t run when she had the chance.  Being the Hound’s sex slave for a weeks-long hike to Winterfell (or life) is way better than being married to Joffrey.  I think the problem was that Sansa thought Stannis was going to win.  Cersei inspired the wrong conviction in her breast!  So she was assuming that she would get sent back to Robb or at worst would still be a hostage but at least not one facing imminent marriage to a sociopath.  Win-win.  The Hound’s offer must have seemed like the pimply geek asking her to prom when she was dating the quarterback.

Unfortunately for Sansa, Stannis will not be liberating her any time soon.

I do wonder if Margaery Tyrell might be up for some liberating Sansa, though, since she is determined to be The Queen and Joffrey is really her only viable path at this point.  I bet between Littlefinger and Tywin and Margaery they can find a way around marrying Joffrey to Sansa.  I just hope it doesn’t involve killing the girl.  She has grown on me enough that I don’t want to see the little bird die.

Rachel: Hmmmmm, astute of you. This may or may not be important when it becomes common knowledge that Robb has lost Winterfell to the Greyjoys. Sansa’s worth as a key to the North might come into question at that point, or she might be an excuse to invade the North on behalf of the South. Either way, I’m glad Sansa didn’t take the Hound up on his offer…. could you imagine what would happen to Sansa at her homecoming? Shudder.

Elena: Speaking of dying…. Wildfire! And sad onion knight Ser Davos.

Rachel: Davos is ALWAYS sad. Okay, so this time his son got blowed up and Stannis lost the war and Tywinning handed them their asses…but he’ll always have the night the lights went out in that cave with Melisandre? (Oh yeah…remember Reba? I’m having a moment here…). Oh wait, no, he doesn’t want to remember that ever again. (Me neither.) (But Tremors is amazing.)

Let’s talk about the fuuucking wildfire. THEY BLEW IT UP. THEY FINALLY DID IT! The Hound was all scared, soldiers were on fire, the Maester was giddy with joy. The only thing I missed was the great chain that Tyrion had them secretly build and string across the water to block the ships from escaping the port, so that he could really make sure they ALL burned. Obviously this point was a victim of more streamlining. That’s fine. I think most of Stannis’ ships burned. I guess. I might be on Team Wild Fire.

Let’s talk about those battle scenes:

They were definitely great. For television especially. Not as gruesome as your average episode of True Blood (waves at the dude who got his head all splatted), but I’m okay with that because the more gore, the less serious the situation becomes for the audience. There was certainly reliance on cut shots rather than epic panning because, duh. Shit is expensive. They gave us that one long shot when the boat blew. Beauteous as it was.

I was a little miffed that there were no horses. It makes everything seem a whole lot smaller than it should have felt? Like when Lancel is running back and forth between the battle and Cersei, it’s almost like he is just ducking through the portcullis and running into the throne room and …well, obviously, there’s an entire fucking CITY in between. The same goes for Tyrion skulking through the sewers to come around behind Stannis’ men (also…where did those backup troops of Stannis’ even COME from? Around the corner?!)

Then suddenly Tywinning barges in and we’re expected to instantly recognize Renly’s armor as distinct from Tywin’s (which even I did not immediately notice or comprehend until I saw Loras take the helmet off after, and then I was all…ohhhh Loras wearing Renly’s armor moment). (And yet Stannis didn’t have a helmet? I DON’T UNDERSTAND SOMETIMES.)

Zen.

Anyways what I mean is Loras is the only person in Westeros with a damn horse, and it just happens to be the same horse Tywin has been riding all season?

Get some horses HBO. JUST GET SOME.

Elena: Wait, wasn’t Tywin going for Robb? And how did the Tyrells get involved? Was that where Littlefinger went and what he did? OMG what scheme did he and Tywin concoct for him to offer to the Tyrells!?  How sad is Stannis tonight? What will he do next?

Rachel: Ha haaa…you were fooled! Arya was fooled! Tywin went for King’s Landing instead of Robb. A totally different direction!

Now why would the Tyrells be involved? It’s quite simple. The Tyrells supported Renly. Renly was killed by (no one knows), but they suspect Stannis’ involvement. So they can’t turn around and support Stannis’ claim. But they CAN support the next Baratheon claimant, which would be Joffrey. Catelyn ran off with Brienne, herself a suspect in Renly’s death, so that pretty much killed the Tyrell’s allying with Robb in a Northern/Southern pincher attack. Of course, Margaery wouldn’t be interested in that anyways, since Robb is promised to a bridge and that doesn’t leave many avenues towards Queenhood, other than allying with another House to claim the Iron Throne, since Robb doesn’t want it. That just brings us back to the original Baratheon conflict, and the Tyrells are left with Joffrey again. Mostly because Loras wants himself some vengeance against Stannis for killing Renly. Mostly.

Littlefinger is obviously playing a huge role in this – don’t forget he exists! He has teleportation powers that he has lent to Tywin, in the land of Westeros where distances have no meaning in the narrative. (ZEN).

Anyways, it’s incredibly important because although the Lannisters are not without some serious army, the Tyrells are just as rich as the Lannisters, and they’ve got TONS of men in their army. This is definitely a great move for the Lannisters since Dorne has never loved them, and the Tyrells provide a perfect buffer and protection against the southernmost house that the TV viewers haven’t met yet.

And Robb…well, does Robb even have a bridge anymore? We know he doesn’t have a home. His mother is on the run. He’s lost his Lannister captive and gained a foreign girlfriend.

So…yea. This is going to get interesting.

Playing The Game of Thrones with Season 2 Ep: 8 “The Prince of Winterfell”

Elena: You were ambivalent about the Jaime scenes last week. What did you think of them this time?

Rachel: It may have been a bad call for Cat to release Jaime, and it certainly makes things extremely difficult for Robb – who will need as many people not mad at him as possible – but it has facilitated one of my very favorite side plots in all of Westeros: The Brienne and Jaime Show!

We only got a quick taste of it this episode, but I can ASSURE you that it is awesome. Jaime plays the lovable rogue, and Brienne is his ever-suffering straight man. He quips, she grimaces. He’s so very charming, and she is just…not.  Brinne is touchy about her honor while Jaime is merely stretching his newly freed douche muscles. I’m not sure how smart it is to abandon your horse and get in a canoe with no provisions…but I’m sure SOMETHING will happen. * innocent face *

I’m also glad to just plain see more Brienne and Jaime at all. Jaime has been sadly AWOL for most of the season (it’s not very interesting sitting around in the mud), and Brienne has been relegated to the few scenes it makes sense to put Cat in, and even then she’s just glowering in the background. Brienne is such a fan favorite, I hope that the show-only fans can begin to appreciate the Maid of Tarth.

But with Brienne off escorting Jaime, Cat is alone and clearly no one likes her anymore. I wonder how much clout Cat will have when she finds out Robb is dallying with Talisa? (I think we just need to stop hoping for some more convoluted plot line and admit to ourselves that Jeyne is actually Talisa of Volantis the Noble Nurse Lady…sigh – I actually like the nurse angle I just don’t UNDERSTAND why she is from Volantis.) I’m sure Cat will remind Robb that he made a promise and despite his youthful infatuation…honor should win out. But Robb is mad at mommy right now. THE DRAMZ. It’s why we watch, my friends, it’s why we watch. Cherish your plot movement while it’s happening.

Rachel: Do you concede defeat in the Battle of Lady Talisa’s Heritage as well?

Elena: Sadly, yes, I, too, felt forced to admit that Lady Talisa is, in fact, foreign.  Either that or she is Arya-level of too smart for her own good when it comes to making up stories. Which would just add a whole new layer of kinkiness to Robb’s attraction to her, if she is essentially his sister aged up a decade.  Then again that IS Martin’s romantic-pairing MO….

Anyway, on behalf of all the ladies in the North I am offended that he had to import some foreign flower to entice his peen away from its honorable conquest of The Beautiful Bridge, but aside from that I guess I liked her story. It felt like a realistic reaction without having to be over the top crazy (like, say, Jon Snow’s backstory is…I mean, imagine how that’s going to go when he has to tell Ygritte everything), and while it doesn’t really explain why she’s wandering around random battlefields or where she lives or gets the money to buy supplies and shit, at least she has a reason for what she does.

Robb…I’m not so sure he’s putting too much reason into what he’s doing.  What I found most  interesting was that he’s basically living out Jon Snow’s fantasy of what his parents were—Lord of Winterfell and the noble lady he truly loved but could not marry because of honor and duty.  Robb is creating a Jon Snow for his own son to grow up with, and his Faceless Frey bride to hate forever!  She can take lessons from Cat, who is going to need something to do now that Robb has caught onto the fact that she is worse than useless when it comes to making solid leadership decisions and is keeping her under lock and key.

Rachel: Did I hear you say…Jon Snow?

Elena: Yes! Like Rumplestiltskin he just appears, whenever you say his name.

Oh, man, this was another hilarious episode above The Wall.  I mean, I know there were serious moments and we learn that Jon Snow’s team went after him and two of them died trying to save him, and that’s totally sad, and Coryn Half-hand is basically telling Jon to pull a Snape Kills Dumbledore move on him later to gain the trust of the wildlings so that he can betray them to the Night’s Watch again later, and we should all feel Really Sad And Pensive About These Developments, but…come on.  The whole time you have Ygritte prancing around in the background like “I’m a free woman, who’s the prisoner now?” while eye-fucking Jon Snow, and the sexual tension between them is just…steaming.  Like, one of her arguments for keeping him alive was that she didn’t get to have sex with him yet.  Only Jon Snow can stay emo in the face of that provocation.

Or, as Rachel put it when we were talking about this episode, only a Jon Snow determined to live up to the standard set by his father and brother would be able to stay virginal and self-righteous (and emo).

What was also great was how she basically told him (or at least us) that she had a crush on him, too…basically, “hey, you know that whole ‘all the girls would claw each other’s eyes out over you’ bit?  Yeah, that was totally about me. I would claw a bitch’s eyes out if she came near you.”  I mean, she could have stood there and not cared that the Lord of Bones wanted to kill him.  Instead she saved him, even if she did promise to kill him if he tried to escape.  I am not sure she could do it.  The odds are higher that she could kill Jon Snow than vice versa, but I am not sure she’s actually that hard.  Maybe she is.  The fact that we’re not sure makes her more interesting.  She’s not just dangerous to his worldview; she might be dangerous, period.  That’s exciting.

Elena: “Exciting” was actually kind of a lightning rod buzzword around this episode. What was all this I heard about the interwebs being bored by this one?

Rachel: I’m still defending this episode as awesome. I quite enjoy when characters sit around talking at each other. I LIKE “setup.” It’s not worthless! It’s what makes all the STUFF happen! It’s character development and witty lines and people arching eyebrows (Lena wins at that, btw… she WINS).

Elena: It’s the name. I, too, am quite the master of Imperious Eyebrow Raising.

Rachel:  In my continuing quest to be zen about Game of Thrones the TV show, I have to ask those who said “The Prince of Winterfell” was a throwaway episode…what the fuck do you WANT to happen? The episodes can’t be an endless string of battles (that’s what boring ass history books are for) that reduces the show to American Gladiators. Without careful setup we don’t get beautiful moments like Arya fucking over Jaqen. We don’t get Jaime calling Brienne ugly or Ygritte saying penis a hundred times.  (Beautiful moments, all!)

In a bit I talk about how the upcoming House of the Undying visit will be one of the most important scenes of the series, but we’ve already seen an extremely important scene in THIS episode! Sam finding the dragonglass!

I’m sorry, did finding a cache of magical objects in the mountains BORE YOU?

“That was stupid, who gives a shit about old shit in the shitty fucking shit ground shit?!”

WHO, INDEED!

And yes, purists…the scene was changed from the original. ALL THE SCENES HAVE BEEN CHANGED. It’s part of the Zen thing I was talking about. Just breathe in and remind yourself, it is just a television show adaptation. As one of my friends pointed out, the show does not erase the books. It does not negate them! The book version of events still exist! I have said that the show could eclipse the books canonically by outpacing the novel publishing “schedule,” but that doesn’t mean the book scenes are not valid. No adaptation can or should be exactly like the source material. Different mediums, different goals, different receptions. That doesn’t make the show immune from criticisms, but I think we should just take a step back from immediately disliking something because it didn’t happen that way in the novels. If we’re going to complain about something like that it needs to be legitimate.

It’s the Zen of show watching. Let it go and just enjoy. Get mad about the things that bother you, but give yourself the courtesy of getting mad over more compelling reasons than the majority of the bullshit I see on Twitter and the message boards. The Game of Thrones fandom is too smart to give in to Comic Book Guy-itis.

Which brings me BACK to my point, excuse me while I push my glasses up and gesture excitedly at the pile of dragonglass weapons that Sam found.

LOOK! IT’S GOING TO BE SO IMPORTANT FOR REASONS I CAN NOT DIVULGE! Also, IS THAT A HORN I SAW IN THAT PILE? HOLY CRAAAAAAPPPPPP.

Rachel: Tell me I’m not alone in this!

Elena: I, too, really loved this episode.  I don’t need or want every episode to be packed with action or WTFery. Variety is the spice of life.  I didn’t see how anyone could have had issues with the episode until I got to work Monday.  My coworkers (hi, guys! *waves*) were split as to whether it was awesome or meh.  One of them wanted…more.  An indefinable more he couldn’t articulate any better except to say the episode felt anti-climactic after what had been happening every week.  (And here I was just grateful to be able to draw a full breath!)  But one of the others decided after seeing this ep that he wouldn’t be waiting until later in the week to watch any of the remaining episodes, even if it meant taking his iPad into the bathroom for an hour on Sunday nights.  Which lends an entirely new twist on the specific game of thrones being played, but I digress.  Anyway.  Set up is good.  It is called “creating narrative tension.”

For example…if Jon Snow and Ygritte ever bone, it’s going to be so much more fun to see because it got built up for so long first.  That’s just good storytelling.

Maybe the thing that made people say nothing happened was the ending, which was not really a shock but a kind of somber piece of character development.  I mean, I don’t know about y’all, but the second Osha said Bran can’t know, I knew he was hearing the conversation.  That’s just the way TV works.  But that being the end moment kind of underscored the theme of the episode in terms of character—how do you deal with the deaths that happen because of your actions?  Jon Snow got two of his new brothers killed because he couldn’t kill Ygritte or admit to his superior officer that he couldn’t do it.  Arya caused the deaths of, what, four or five nameless guards who were above and beyond the even exchange of three she owed Jaqen’s “red god” and who had done nothing to her whatsoever except get in her way.  And Bran is facing the reality that his quest to put himself beyond Theon’s power cost two of his tenants and playmates their lives.

Those are important moments, or at least they can be.  The same way Talisa’s defining moment was being shoved aside by the slave who saved her brother, Bran could become defined by the horror of what was done because of him.  Jon will fight Ygritte extra-hard because two men died because he thought she was too pretty to kill.  I liked that we were left to sort of contemplate that…not guilt, exactly, but something uncomfortably close to it, with Bran.  The scene had a quiet power to it, at least for me.

Elena: And in scenes that didn’t have much power…am I the only one who wondered why we didn’t just skip Dany the way we skipped Sansa this week?

Rachel: Remember when I made that bitter joke about plot movement? That’s my segue to talking about Jorah and Dany. Deal with it.

I think I agree with the viewers that have criticized Jorah and Dany’s appearance in this episode. This scene was not needed. The writers/editors don’t want the viewers to forget about Dany in all this excitement about the upcoming battle of awesome, so I understand why the scene was inserted. But it’s just more of the SAME. I thought that adding in this subplot of the dragons being stolen would make Dany’s storyline more interesting, but I think all it’s done is killed the actually interesting (if few) things that actually DO happen to Dany in the novels. They can’t use any of it anymore, because those actions don’t make sense if her dragons were stolen. This alternate universe Dany has to focus entirely on the search for her children. (And come ON, Jorah…she actually DID nurse those dragons. Dany is mom enough.)  So she isn’t forging political connections, she isn’t gaining confidence in her desire to reconquer Westeros. There are no witty but cautious word fights with the elite of Qarth. Instead she has been reduced to stomping around the city demanding people support her cause and now just demanding to get her stuff back. She’s coming off as a totally crazy Targaryen, and the POINT of her is that she is proud but not stupid.

I’m trying to refrain from overly critiquing the Dany storyline until I see what happens in the House of the Undying. It is one of the most important scenes in Clash of Kings, let alone the series as a whole. I want to scream, PAY ATTENTION whenever anyone mentions the place. JUST GO THERE, DANY. BECOME RELEVANT AGAIN!

Is that harsh? Maybe. I feel like HBO was trying to trick me by giving me a little Dany/Jorah tenderness as if in my squeeing I would forget that Dany has nothing to do. Go on your own adventure, Princess, don’t order people to have one for you!

That being said – everything in Essos LOOKS fanfuckingTASTIC. Have I mentioned that before?

Rachel: So do you still love Jaqen H’ghar as much as you did last week? Are you still shipping Jaqen/Arya?

Elena: I love him that much and more!!!

Jaqen is the best!  I also love how game Arya is with this whole killing people/master manipulator thing.  Arya doesn’t give a fuck.  She’s the Honey Badger of Westeros.  She takes what she wants; she just really doesn’t give a shit.

That moment… “The girl has given the man his own name” was fucking priceless.  What made it brilliant was how Jaqen sits there and argues with her with child-logic.  Arya is the one Stark (besides Bam-bam) who is still truly childlike.  Yes, she’s seen horrible things, and she’s even done horrible things, but she’s still got the sort of insouciant stubbornness of a child.  She can understand when she’s in immediate danger, but she doesn’t think enough about the world around her to be truly afraid just in general the way Sansa is.  So she stands there and argues with a serial killer about whether he’ll be killing himself or enough other people to help her escape, and he…lets her.  He lets her manipulate him.  Maybe his god has a child’s simple view of the world as well, so maybe it’s natural.  It was just awesome hearing them bicker like that.  “Unname me.”  “No!”  “Please?”  “Well…only if you kill enough motherfuckers I can escape…” “But that is more than one life.”  “I NAME JAQEN H’GHAR!” “Okay, fine, fine, I’ll kill them.  Now unname me.”  “I unname you…as long as you do what I want!”

And Arya did free the genie like a smart little protagonist.  The genie of death.  I hope we see him again.  But if we don’t, I will picture him from time to time and smile, and hope that Arya gets reports of random murder sprees so that she knows he’s still alive somewhere….

Rachel:  On the subject of staying alive…predictions for how much longer Theon will last?

Elena: Um…probably two episodes into season 3. That’s about the right amount of time for his douche-bagginess to hit the implosion point.  Also long enough to wrap up the major arcs of this season and give Robb some room to find catharsis somewhere other than between Lady Talisa’s thighs.

The scene with Asha was about how I expected her to react, with some bonus emotional blackmail I didn’t really expect from her.  She just rides in and says “Theon, what the fuck are you doing?”  But instead of stopping there she actually takes the time to remind him—or perhaps explain in the first place—the ethos of the Iron Islands, which is they take what they NEED, not what they want.  And they don’t need a castle in the middle of BFE, hundreds of miles from the sea.  The story she told about when he was a baby kind of goes to the point of why we can’t totally mind what Theon did, in going back to his family…blood is thicker than water, and there are certain bonds that you share with siblings that, no matter how far you may drift from them, you will simply never feel for anyone else in the world.  I am sad for Theon that he feels like he needs to prove himself, that he’s going to stick to holding Winterfell just to prove that he isn’t a mess his sister had to come clean up…and he’s going to die for it.

Her plea was so stark, so elegant—“Don’t die so far from the sea.”  It accepts that death is likely in their line of work, that death comes for all men in time, so all you can do is die where you belong, with the people who are your own.

Asha’s words were almost enough to make me care about Theon.  But he’s been such a giant dick lately I just can’t.  I think what I’m empathizing is Asha’s feelings for his inevitable execution.

So far from the sea….

Elena: Tyrion proves yet again to be Martin’s avatar as the show drifts highly meta with a fantasy-name pronunciation roundtable between Bronn, Tyrion, and Varys. Discuss.

Rachel: This episode totally broke out its Tyrion guns. He had a whole bunch of scenes and they were all fantastic. Tyrion, Bronn and Varys bullshitting how to say that old dead guy’s name is the perfect nod to the difficulties of reading fantasy novels. Remember when LOTR came out and we all found out we were saying half of it incorrectly? Or how I felt when I finally read the pronunciation guide for Cherryh’s Foreigner novels… the devastation! Don’t even get me started on Wheel of Time. Invariably while discussing a fantasy novel with a fellow reader there’s always a “how do you say it?” conversation just to see how close we are.

For the record, Bronn wins that round for committing to the pronunciation. Just pretend you know what you’re doing. Varys does. He has NO CLUE…that dude isn’t even FROM Westeros, you think he has the lock down on how to pronounce the names? Hell, no. He is exhibiting Bronn Tactic. We’re on to his game!

Tyrion is also doing well at playing the players! I’m not so sure Cersei is a worthy opponent, but he’s got his shit down. Playing off the whole Ros thing. Well done, sir! Tyrion and Varys are definitely a power couple to watch. But poor Ros….

The episode may be a set up for the upcoming Battle of the Blackwater, but it’s an entertaining and informative set up. Just picturing Joffrey kitted up for war and learning what it is that Jaime and King Robert loved so much is just filling me with glee. Remember when Joff was disarmed by a tiny little girl? Joffrey may be cruel, but he is no fighter. Finally we’re getting a scene in which tons of main characters plot lines come together! And some people complain about set up…what do you think even CAUSES excitement?

I’m down. I’m ready. Bring on episode 9!

Game of Thrones Actress Rose Leslie Talks Ygritte and Jon Snow

Rose Leslie currently plays the willing Ygritte in the powerfully awesome series, “Game of Thrones.” In a recently interview she revealed some information regarding her character’s relationship with Jon Snow as well as her character overall and filming in Iceland.

We have seen her character Ygritte flirting up a storm with the sexy Jon Snow. Leslie confirms that we will definitely see a different side of her and her relationship with Jon Snow.

You start to see a change within the relationship,” she continues. “I think she looks upon him in this episode in a different light, no more like the stupid-but-brave boy, but she’s beginning to see where he’s coming from and kind of sympathizes with him. He takes quite a beating, so she’s beginning to like him also. She softens towards him.”

We can all agree that while the costumes in “Game of Thrones” are incredibly awesome. Leslie describes just how comfortable she felt in her clothes while shooting her scenes.

I was hugely comfortable in my Ygritte costume. I was so nice and warm, and it was furry with many layers on the inside. There was no way I was going to freeze in that costume.”

When she was asked what originally drew her to play the role of Ygritte, Leslie discussed her first impressions of the character.

I love that she was so extremely strong-willed and tough. That really struck a chord with me. I’d pictured her in my mind as ruthless, but she also has a lovely playfulness to her as well when she’s teasing Jon Snow and mocking him to his face. When I was reading the sides, I totally fell in love. I thought, “This girl is brilliant! She’s incredibly intelligent, she can play this guy.”  She’s cocky. She doesn’t necessarily rule the roost, but she doesn’t take orders from anybody unless it’s Mance Rayder [the wilding “King Beyond the Wall”]. She gets on very well with her wilding crew.”

If you haven’t read the books, you have noticed the sexual tension between Ygritte and Jon Snow. Leslie spoke about whether their flirtation is just teasing and strategy or if secretly really does like him.

I think it’s strategy. In that episode, there’s a scene where she seduces Jon and takes his mind off the fact that his hand is on the hilt of his sword. She distracts him and he slackens his hold on the rope, so she’s able to run away. I think it’s very practical. That’s another thing I love about her, that she’s constantly double-playing him. At the moment, all she wants to do is get away and not be his prisoner anymore. She’s aware that her wildling friends are close by, and that’s why she gets away and then he’s captured and snared in a little trap.”

Leslie also divulged into what her character thinks about Jon Snow and why is different than anyone Ygritte has met before.

She’s never come across anybody like Jon Snow before. He’s incredibly honorable, he hasn’t tried to come onto her. There they were, snuggling up on the rock and nothing really happened. He just let her be. I don’t think she’s ever come across that before in her life. I’m patently sure that’s she’s lost her virginity and has gotten pretty far with a man and for him not to try to seduce her, I don’t think she can figure it out. And then later it’s like, “I’m bored of this. You’re phenomenally dull, so I’m going to escape. I’m going to leave you. Bye!”

Off the topics of her relationships with other characters, Leslie also made note of the best and worst parts of filming in Iceland.

I think the best thing has to be the scenery. It’s epic and simply breathtaking. So many times when we were shooting or when there would be a little break, you’d lift your head and look around and think, “I can’t believe that I am here!” It was sensational. I’ve fallen in love with the country. I think the downside, understandably, is that it was very, very, very cold. We were stuck in minus-30 conditions. There wasn’t a lot you could do. You could stand still or huddle like penguins. We got through it. We were all given several layers of thermals in the costume. The wardrobe department was incredible and had these amazing hand warmers that kept you alive out there.

Playing The Game of Thrones With Season 2 Ep: 7 – A Review

“A Man Without Honor”

Elena: Theon is a dick. What the heck is going on in Winterfell?

Rachel: It’s times like these I like to sit back and watch the tweets roll by. “I hate Theon.” “OMG THEON IS AN EPIC DICK.” Etc., etc. It’s like Theon is the new Joffrey. Excuse me while I put my hipster glasses on.

He’s mean to old people, children, crippled children, women… probably his horse.

Alfie continues to play enigmatic douche extremely well. It’s not like Joffrey where you think, “This guy fucking sucks. When will he die.” With Theon it is more complicated. We see and understand his struggle to be accepted. His choices are driven by a pathetic need to become the son he always wanted to be. It’s sad to watch him fail and have stupid ideas.

Until he kills two little boys so he can lie to Maester Luwin, then you don’t feel any pity for him anymore.

What? This is not a spoiler. You knew this. ELENA, YOU FIGURED IT OUT RIGHT? You’ll be fine.

Elena: Yes, it was totally obvious that those were not Bran and Rickon. Because (1) no burned direwolves, (2) no burned simple giant, (3) the only credible eyewitness was sent home, and (4) everyone in Westeros knows you spike heads on the gate for positive identification.  So, yes, WE’RE FINE WITH THIS CONFIRMATION.

Rachel: Actually, having never even met the two little boys, I’m kind of “meh” about it. This just didn’t have the impact it should have had on me. I guess I’m just not a “kid person”?

#TeamTheon ?

Hahahahaha. Kidding.

As to the whereabouts of Hodor and company, well your guess is as good as mine since HBO has gone and changed stuff again. I can make educated guesses.  But I’m not telling YOU.

Elena: Yeah, the killing of the two random peasant boys was more a horror in the abstract than any emotional impact. I actually think HBO might have been better served to show Theon slaughtering them if the aim was an emotional shock, since it was so obvious that wasn’t Bran and Rickon dead.

Yeah, showing him actually cutting down two little boys while their mother looked on and screamed would have caused a reaction, versus a vague disappointment that HBO thought his trick would work on the audience the way it apparently worked on the people of Winterfell.

What I came away wondering was…what’s the point, exactly?  Like I’m not sure what he’s really seeking to get out of this ploy.  Killing the last two Winterfell heirs (since they seem to believe he really did) isn’t exactly going to make the people there more loyal to you, Theon. You think taking Bran and Rickon from them will leave them with nothing to fight for and therefore no will to fight? Hahahahahaha, Theon, Theon, Theon.  This is The North. You just took away the only thing they had to lose and therefore the only thing keeping them in check. You had best start cooking your own meals, son, because Cook’s affection for Bran and Rickon and desire to keep them safe will no longer keep her from dumping as many poisons (or just rotted pieces of meat) into your stewpot as she can find, if she thinks they’re dead by your hand.  And, obviously, his men know it wasn’t really them.

I guess the point was to keep from losing even more face that he’s such an inadequate conqueror he can’t even hold two little boys, one of them a cripple, prisoner?  Ouch.  Okay, maybe I do see why he did it.

Also I figured out why Osha fucked him—it was a preemptive revenge fuck, so that he would look like even more of a wet-behind-the-ears Ethelred the Unready type when it was discovered she banged him to sleep and then walked out…because everyone who hears that story knows she could have killed him in his sleep, but scorned to because she found him such an inadequate foe.

Theon the Inadequate. That is his moniker.

Elena: So speaking of conquerors who are more than adequate…what is going on in Robb’s camp? I find myself agreeing with Catelyn. Is the world ending?

Rachel: Probably. It IS 2012. But as far as Game of Thrones is concerned – Cat is the only person trying to avoid a fight over at Camp Robb. Robb’s gone on some bogus bandage errand with “Talisa” (Level Headed Cat says, “Yea…Talisa, whatever”), and Jaime is killing his relatives and that other random guy who turns out to be a Karstark and now the Karstarks are super pissed.

It’s a shit show, really, and I do not envy her.

Rahcel: But … well, how DO you feel about that Jaime scene? Before I go and crap all over it?

Elena: That Jaime scene was kind of awesome.  In a horrible sort of way.

First, it proved that Joffrey is, truly, his father’s son.  (And his mother’s, since Joffrey is the perfect blend of Jaime’s antisocial psychosis and Cersei’s single-minded selfishness.)  Jaime is an absolute sociopath.  He’s Iago—a man who can smile and smile and be a villain.  I bought his story right along with random Lannister cousin who looks like Gendry.  At first I felt sad that Jaime the Golden didn’t remember the kid, but then he totally seemed to, and they were like bonding and having this great moment in the cage and being proud Lannister men together…and then Jaime cracks his neck for no better purpose than to stretch his legs and take a shit in the woods somewhere.  And I realized that Jaime never remembered the kid, or that day.  He was making shit up.  His first answer, the bemused “I was at her wedding?” was the truth.  He was so sopping drunk he didn’t remember going!  Or winning the tourney, much less his little cousin squire who was probably far, far, far from The Bestest Squire Evah.

But that scene was powerful because it sort of clues you in to just how well Jaime hides his nature.  He can bring you in.  He can make you trust him.  He is an inspiring figure, and he’s right—he does kill people very, very well.  He just pretties up his bloodlust a little better than, say, the Hound and the Mountain do.  I mean, that line, “He was a painter, who painted only in red,” was totally poetic.

I want to see a Jaime/Jaqen H’ghar cage match.  The two men in Westeros who are amazing at killing people but can actually manage to hide that about themselves!

Elena: Okay, so what did YOU think about it, Rachel?

Rachel: As with a lot of the altered but important scenes in the show, I find myself having to decide whether or not I’m OK with what they’ve done. Not that the writing choices haven’t played up the drama and made for riveting television, it’s just that most of the changes they have made come at the expense of established character behavior. That is the root of most of the complaints I’ve heard about the show in general, by the way, that choices were made that do not accurately reflect a character.

So… back to my point. There were absolutely great moments in the Jaime scene. The vow speech was lifted straight from the book, “They make you swear and swear….” Great. Awesome. Fake Gendry Lannister also doesn’t bother me. He serves a purpose the producers deemed a Frey would be too confusing to the audience to fill. FINE. But when Jaime murders his own family (haven’t we heard Tywin lecture extensively on the importance of being a Lannister?), I kind of lost my mind. I knew it was coming, but I just don’t get it. I don’t know where the writers are ultimately taking Jaime’s character, as I am not the writers. I understand and support the idea that in adapting a novel for television that changes must and should be made. Jaime might end up in a place that is different from what I expect. In every way I thought the scene was great, if a bit long, except for the killing of the Lannister cousin. Kind of weird. Jaime is desperate, sure. Jaime is dismissive of his father’s teachings. Jaime is pissed off and figures he’s going to die soon. Jaime just wanted to go for a stroll one last time. Jaime is an asshole. All of these things are true.

So maybe I’ll get over it, and accept that Jaime Lannister just killed another Lannister. I’ll accept it and remember it for later. Because of reasons.

This episode was full of Lannister family time. Cersei has a heart to heart after Sansa (Your Period is Coming) flowers and freaks out at the prospect of actually having to marry the monster, Joffrey. Oh, girl…I feel for you. Looks like the Hound’s words are even MORE pertinent. Shae trying to be a friend was pretty hilarious. As if that maid she unsuccessfully threatened wasn’t running STRAIGHT to the Queen. Moot, since the Hound got there first. Kind of embarrassing having half the castle come into your room to gaze at your menstrual blood. Sansa will have to construct her dignity carefully at this point.

Cersei pretty much admitting that she knows Joffrey is a fucking psychopath was great. “Maybe this is our punishment” she says to Tyrion. While Tyrion thinks, “did you not just threaten to take away all that I love a few days ago? There, there sister. Let me go get Lancel for you because, yes, your son is horrible, and, yes, it is probably your fault. But uh… the other two kids are totally NORMAL.” Also, sad to hear Tyrion compare the children to flipped coins, you know there’s a bit of , “and I got the dwarf coin” mixed in there, but Cersei being as self-absorbed and unfeeling towards others that she is…can only think of her own pain. Don’t fall for it, Tyrion!

Elena: Can I just insert how much I loved the Hound’s comment to Sansa in the hallway?  “You’ll be grateful for the brutal things I do when I am the only thing standing between you and your beloved king.”

TRUTH.  Although I wondered…how, exactly, is the Hound going to be standing between them?  Like is Joffrey going to have The Hound in the bedroom with him while he’s impregnating her?  As if he were an actual dog?  Oh, God, how does Sansa rescue her dignity from THAT?

Also, I love how at this point EVERYONE JUST FUCKING KNOWS that Joffrey is crazy.  When do the assassination plots start?!  I mean, look, I get that Cersei won’t agree to killing him because she loves him, and Tyrion probably wouldn’t sign off on it either, because the kid’s family (but under the right circumstances I think Tyrion could be convinced to kill his beloved brother’s beloved son)…but everyone else in the Red Keep?  Where’s Varys with a death plot when you need him?  Duuuude.  COME ON.  You were Johnny on the spot with sending out that execution hit on Dany.  Surely you can make a little magic happen and get Joffrey out of everyone’s way.  Then the normal one can be named the king, Cersei can be the queen regent for even longer, and no one in King’s Landing will have some horrible, mad child making shit more complicated than it needs to be while, oh yeah, they’re fighting a war against three different insurgents.  Unless, of course, Lysa Arryn shows up with Robin and declares HIM the true and proper king, which…no.  So, yeah, Tommyn For King!

Elena: Speaking of Lannisters, Tywin and Arya named dropped a bunch of people with names I can’t even begin to spell. Who are they and should I be marking the names for later reference?

Rachel: You didn’t like your little history lesson? A clever way of reminding us that when Dany screams at people that she will burn them…WELL, SHE MEANS IT. Just look at Harrenhal, that tower of fun!

Even more exciting than watching Arya prove to Tywin that she is, indeed, a noble girl who could be a very useful hostage if Tywin can ever figure out exactly which Northern house she belongs to (ha): Tywin mentioning Jonquil. At least it was exciting to me. Like the LOTR novels (though…not as lovely) the songs and meta-histories of ASOIAF  have not made it to the screen (I’m still holding out for the Bear and the Maiden Fair…and a certain song about rain). Book reader shout out? MAYBE MORE? We. Shall. See.

Elena:  Like Locke Lamora, Arya has no circumspection.  She’s too smart for her own good, and so convinced of her own cleverness she doesn’t even realize what Tywin means by that.  Yes, she came up with enough of a cover story that he didn’t feel the need to expose her lies…but she has already exposed everything that she is.  She’s educated, she’s secure enough to look Tywin Fucking Lannister in the eye every time she addresses him, confident enough to argue with him and debate with him, and smart enough to keep track of her lies and render plausible scenarios.  All of that adds up to Someone’s daughter.  As Rachel pointed out, Tywin is just keeping her in his pocket until the time he figures out whose daughter she is, at which point he returns her for more favors and gratitude from a Lannister ally or ransoms her/keeps her as a hostage to his enemy’s good behavior.  I am super-excited to see where her story goes from here!

Elena: And in other stories I’m excited about…Jon and Ygritte are up to pretty much the same stuff as last week, except even funnier.

Rachel: This is why I love Ygritte. She just says what you want to say to Jon. She is the tumblr of Westeros. She goes there. Some complaints have been lodged as to how stupid Jon looks with the changes the writers made to compress several events into one. I kind of agree? Jon isn’t THIS dumb. It all depends on how the capture works out, I guess. Can’t really talk about my guess as to how it will work out without spoiling. Sorry! Next week.

Really all I want to say is I almost had a heart attack every time Ygritte said anything because I knew “You know nothing Jon Snow” was coming and I COULD NOT STAND IT. I just wanted to scream it at the TV. I’m sure it won’t be the last time she says it. It better not. Girl says it about 500 times in the book. To the point where it wasn’t even funny anymore. I want the TV viewers to have the phrase jammed into the brains in much the same fashion. It’s only fair!

Elena: I feel so sorry for Jon Snow Who Thinks He Knows Where to Put It.  It’s not fun to get called stupid all the time.  Although in this case Ygritte is just calling him ignorant, which is different.  She just says it in a way that means stupid for not seeing the world.  But…he’s still operating from within the philosophical framework he was raised in.  So is she.  She would be just as lost at Winterfell as he is there North of The Wall.

At the same time I feel bad for a kid still in the process of growing up…I look forward to the day when Jon Snow becomes his own man and breaks out of the thought process of what is expected of him by everyone else…basically when he stops being such a reactionary and becomes agent of his own destiny.  Coming of Age stories are so tedious.  How many times does he have to see the world is not as he always thought it before he extrapolates that maybe he should question EVERYTHING?  At this rate Sansa is learning faster than he is!

Elena: The Twitter swears, they were for the Dany stuff?

Rachel: I…have no idea WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN QARTH! Dany’s dragons stolen? Xaro is King of Qarth? Pyat Pree just murdered the rest of the Thirteen? (SIMULTANEOUSLY? AHHHHH THAT WAS SO CRAZY!)

Fuck if I know. For serious. All I know is this is all leading to the House of the Undying. BRING IT. We can handle it, Elena. Bring. It.

Can I rant a little about Dany? I want to address the Dany haters. I live with one, you see…so it gets to me sometimes.

Yes, it doesn’t really make any sense that Dany shows up in Qarth and starts demanding shit from everyone and generally being a whiny baby. It doesn’t happen in the books. So you got me.

Politics and the realities of getting yourself enough support to even start a war, let alone win it…are boring. I’ve always respected GRRM that he chose to include what many fantasy authors leave out of their epics – the boring sitting around and politicking that MUST occur if you are a poor fugitive trying to reclaim your birthright. Dany isn’t boring. Dany is realistic. As much as you can be when you’re the Mother of Dragons.

Dany’s journey, the confidence she gains in herself, the struggle she has in finding people to trust, the loneliness she feels because she has no actual friends…these are what make Dany interesting.

Having her dragons be kidnapped is a great plot twist. It really is. It works well on TV and gives the viewers something to worry about on a personal level for Dany. But this whole Thirteen business? I have no idea. I don’t really know how Dany is going to get to where she needs to get from here. I’m sure she will. I’m sure it will be plausible considering the events that unfold. Not knowing those events I can’t accurately react to them yet. All I can say is that I hope they keep the politicking in the show. Varys and Littlefinger and Dany are beloved characters BECAUSE they figure things out. Because they do a lot with very little. Because they manipulate everyone around them, including the readers, into loving them a little.

So I’m waiting. But I’m worried.

< /  End Rant >

Elena: Ha, for once the non-readers have the advantage!  Since we don’t know what to expect next or see the plot veering off toward Phoenix when we’re supposed to be going to NYC we don’t get worried wondering how the frak the writers are going to take Dany where she needs to go.

My biggest reactions to this week’s Qarth scenes was a reinforcement of how perfect Quaithe is for me for a Halloween/Ren Faire cosplay model, and that the twelve simultaneous throat-slits would have made a MUCH more impactful episode break point.  So there’s the changes I’d have made to this episode:  show Theon burning out the holding to get those two little-boy bodies and then end with twelve perfect replicas slit twelve conniving throats.  Boom.  Awesome.  Not that I think the show needs much help, but…if they’re going to show us their fantasies of how to make the book better (or better for TV) then I will share mine about what would have made the episode even better for me.

So, um, yeah.  Dany’s dragons are in the House of the Undying.  I think those Qarth magicians better watch themselves.  If Dany remembers she can walk through fire you know she’s just going to have Ser Jorah build a giant bonfire and set the tower aflame.  She and her dragons will be fine, I mean once it’s burning she can just walk in and get them.

Damn.  Where’s a spare bucket of wildfire when you need one?  Maybe Quaithe can point Ser Jorah to one, she knows enough other random shit…why not.

Rachel: Bonus points to this being…what, the second episode in a row with no gratuitous naked brothel scenes? HUZZAH! This is obviously because Petyr is on the road. I’m sure the nakedness will come once Petyr is again doing business from his office.

Elena: Well you know what they say…when the cat’s away, the pussies will play.

Yes, I just went there.

Playing the Game of Thrones With Season 2 Episode 6 – A Review

The Old Gods and the New

Elena: So, Rachel, what was it about this episode that made you say the F word all over Twitter?

Rachel:  Holy Craaaap, Dany’s Dragons were stolen! This shit DOESN’T HAPPEN IN THE BOOKS. I am lost. This scene is such a great representation of how I felt during the entire episode. HBO is finally making changes that put the readers in the dark and now we (get to?) enjoy the show in much the same way as non-readers. Sitting on the edge of our seats, no idea what’s happening next, worrying for our favorite characters.

The changes can’t please everyone, but if they continue on making these sorts of changes, that don’t rewrite entire plotlines, I think it will be great. It is an adaptation, after all, and I don’t think anyone can reasonably expect the writers to follow each book exactly. (Remember when I kind of hated The Hunger Games? Yes. It was because the movie followed the book too closely and lost most of its heart in the process.)

This change for Dany’s storyline ESPECIALLY is definitely the right move for HBO. I love Dany. She is one of my favorite characters, but her storyline can get a little…well, boring. HBO recognized that sitting around in Qarth receiving sycophants and having Jorah make you feel uncomfortable is not enough of a story for Dany. Compare that to what is coming for pretty much any other character, and it is absolutely understandable and expected that HBO would spice it up.  I’m totally fine with it. I’m upset that Irri is dead, but at least she defended the dragons with her life. She was brave.

And the noises the baby dragons were making? Heartbreaking. I cannot wait to see Targaryen Dany Eyes in full force for the entirety of the next episode. Girl is going to lose her mind.

Rachel:  Elena, what did you think as a non-reader?

Elena: It didn’t really stand out to me as being obviously not of the books when I watched it, and so I think the writers did a really great job of integrating in Martin’s trademark “you can see it coming in retrospect but never in advance” sort of solipsistic-character interaction with the world.  Having had Dany’s behavior in Qarth in the book explained to me, I can see why this didn’t happen in the books (read: because she didn’t leave her dragons alone very much), but in the show it was just sort of a duh moment.  Like…the entire city knows you’re there, and that you have dragons, and that you are making house calls on all the rich men, trying to finance Operation: Reclaim the Iron Throne, and that you have a very limited contingent of guards.  Why wouldn’t someone move in to take the one thing of value (sorry, Dany) that you have while you are essentially defenseless?  I know there is a thing about hospitality and guests, but…she’s not the guest of the city but of Xaro. Also, the city is full of rich men. Sure, some of them did it entirely honestly, but as Xaro pointed out, most of them did not—they did things that would make a back-alley whore blush and didn’t blink because it was what needed to be done.  Of course some opportunistic Qarthian is going to try and steal her dragons.

This scene also tied in very well to what is going on with the rest of the show right now.  Part of being a lord in this land is being able to hold what you claim…we are actually seeing that theme play out in macro with the various kings and will they be able to hold their thrones (as indeed Robert was barely able to) and on a micro-scale with individual holdings.  Such as Bran not being able to hold Winterfell against Theon…and Theon in turn probably not being able to hold it long against Robb or anyone Robb sends.  Or his sister, for that matter, when her 500 knights get there (assuming she even sends them). Come on, she’s not going to let her brother use her men to secure what he stole and still call himself Lord of Winterfell.  She’ll steal it from him.  Ha!  Take that, Theon!

Elena: Speaking of Theon…were there more changes from the books in his Winterfell-felling quest?

Rachel:  Oh, Theon. Theon, Theon, Theon, Theon. Having just seen Avengers I am tempted to draw lots and lots of parallels between Theon and Loki. They’re both adopted. They both have older brothers they have a really complicated relationship with. They’re both horrible fucktards. And yes, both are strangely compelling. Although, I think we’ll give Loki the trophy in prettiness, we’ll all agree. (Sorry, Alfie, considered yourself…Loki’d).

But yes, there were more changes in Winterfells scenes. Let’s talk about the things that HBO has done in that I liked:

  1.  THE DETAILS: Bran had a handle hanging above his bed that allowed him to sit up my himself. I loved this detail. Not only because it gives Bran more physicality – we don’t see him only move around with Hodor’s help – but because it also means that Bran has made a turn-around from the depressed child we saw following his accident. Bran has figured out how to go on with daily life.
  2. Yes, I’m totally OK with the fact that they compressed (again) several scenes into one. Namely that instead of Theon killing Mikken (which would have made no sense as he isn’t a character in the show), he killed  Ser Rodrik (who dies a little later in the book, but I can’t tell you details). There is emotional impact since we know this character, plus Theon’s total inability to get through Rodrik’s neck in one or even three blows is just…gugh. Maybe we shouldn’t blame Theon – all that salt air can dull his blade. And since the Greyjoys Do Not Sow, we can’t expect them to have any native blacksmiths around to keep their weapons sharpish. But those of us who’ve read the books know Theon’s worse moments are coming…soon.
  3. Maester Luwin’s performance. What a scene stealer! Isaac (Bran) did an awesome job as well at conveying the frustration of a little boy who can do nothing to stop the inevitable. Not merely due to his handicap but because he has no men and no way to oust Theon from Winterfell. He is feeling the responsibility of keeping his people safe, but it is Maester Luwin that really steps up in his scenes. He is no fool to let a boy shoulder those responsibilities. Also – that opening scene with the ravens. WIN.

I’m going to scoot right on by seeing Tonks naked (Wow, these Harry Potter books got way adult) except to say that she should have just killed him, otherwise why even put yourself through it? She could have skipped boning with Theon and gone straight to offering herself to the guards (arguments against this will include – “but she needed Theon to be asleep!”…Yea…or dead?)

But really I have to love any scene in which Shaggydog makes an appearance.

Rachel: Anyway, there were lots of wtf moments in terms of writing in the Osha escape scene, agree?

Elena: Man, that sequence was just killer.  Tonks Osha is yet another Badass Bitch!  Are there any women in Westeros who are not secret badasses?  No wonder all the men are so terrified of letting them do anything but knit.  I mean, all these warring rapacious assholes have to get the genes from somewhere, and apparently it’s not all from daddy…but I digress.  Right.  Lots of WTF when Osha goes in and has sex with Theon.  The only point to that scene is to continue the narrative confusion of what her game is until the end of the episode.  Because, seriously, there is no reason for her to bang Theon if she isn’t going to kill him!  Gurl.  Your brain is a bit too one-track here.  You have Theon sleeping like a baby in all his self-satisfied glory, no guards in sight, and you…just put your cloak back on and walk out?  Honey, the guard would have been just as certain Theon sent you to warm his night if you had gone to him first.  Did you worry not having the scent of Theon’s balls on your breath might tip your hand?

Rachel: Insert me making a face and saying “Theon’s Balls?” to myself.

Elena: Anyway, Osha’s mad plan to escape with Bran and Rickon was, aside from the 5-minute detour (bc you know that’s all it took) to fuck Theon to sleep, pretty brilliant.  And while I would totally like to claim that I knew she wasn’t really betraying Bran, because she’s Tonks, and she’s too Awesome for that…honestly, I didn’t question her trying to get out of being the Stark’s indentured servant at all.  But the second she slit that guy’s throat I remembered what happened on the day she was caught.  Theon wanted to kill her, and Robb stopped him.  She told Robb, if you spare my life, I am yours.  And she is from the North.  They do not make bullshit vows like the Iron Islanders do.  She meant that.  And Theon was fucking there, and he fucking heard her make that promise, and he doesn’t have a bazillion character motivations to keep track of the way I do.  So how the fuck did he forget that?

So, yeah, Osha is awesome.

Theon is…not awesome.  He totally allowed himself to be bullied into having Ser Rodrick executed, and then he had to be bullied into doing it himself.  I don’t think he has very long to live.  He’s not fooling anyone into thinking he’s real leadership material.  If he weren’t such a hosebeast I might feel sorry for him.  Like, I understand he has conflicting motivations.  And I get that he is young and hasn’t been exposed to having to do these hard things for himself.  But at the same time, if he had a stronger sense of self, he’d have the courage of his convictions.  Instead he has no convictions, just whatever seems necessary at that moment.  He is not thinking ahead, and in the game of thrones if you can’t think five moves ahead you’re going to lose.  Theon can’t even think one move ahead right now.

I just hope Robb gets his wish to be the one to kill him.  I feel like that isn’t going to happen for him, though.  Theon’s just Too Stupid To Live.

Rachel:  So remember when Roose finally wanders over to tell Robb and Cat and Talisa of Theon’s betrayal, and Cat is all, “I TOLD YOU!”?  You were right, Cat. You were riiiight. Robb is basically an idiot if he thought he could rely on Theon as if he were Jon. No way. Everyone forgot that Theon was a PRISONER. Everyone but Cat, because she’s very good at remembering which ones are her children and which ones aren’t.

Ten thousand extra points for Roose’s “Let me send word to my Bastard at the Dreadfort.”  YESSS. SEND ALL THE WORDS. And leaches!

As far as Robb still mooning over Talisa…eh.

Elena:  That was such an awkward mom intrusion.  Robb was just starting to get his mack on, inviting her to have dinner in his tent and all, and then his mom comes up and might as well have pulled him away by his ear.  Ha!  Also Cat is going to get to say I Told You So a second time when Lady Talisa turns out to be not foreign and not Talisa.  The lady part I give her, Robb’s right about that, but otherwise?  I call bullshit on that story.  Cat smells it, too.  She keeps giving that girl the skank eye, like, “Bitch, please, I have a pen pal in every keep in the Riverlands (except Harrenhal, obviously), and I know there ain’t no mothafucking lady named Taleezha running around here with any legitimate purpose.”

Also, having Roose’s inclination to suck fingerbones explained to me, your caption on our first Talisa picture (“Roose, you’re making this [amputation] awkward”) is stunningly hilarious.  Apparently, like the books, OUR VERY COLUMNS can be revisited with greater appreciation once the bigger picture comes clear!

Elena: Right.  So, since I mentioned Harrenhal…what did we think of this week’s episode of As the Wheel Turns: Isengard?

Rachel:  LOL at Littlefinger’s teleportation abilities. Yet another creation of the show that is not in the books. It’s kind of weird. I guess they don’t want to pull a Downton Abbey and put everything in letters for people to read and then pull dramatic faces over – I get it.  Also, I’m going to assume that show-Littlefinger TOTALLY recognized Arya but very handily CHOSE not to. However, I…have no idea why he would do that. If he did recognize her and then told his ally Tywin…they probably would have shipped her back to King’s Landing or arranged a trade to get Jaime back…maybe. But Littlefinger doesn’t give a rip about ol’ horse face, he’s got other fish to fry.

By far the best moment was Jaqen H’ghar’s kill. Again, changes from the book, but the impact and plot movement is the same. Plus, HA! Arya demands, Jaqen delivers. Tywin does…nothing? The fallout (ha) of this kill may actually come back to kick Arya in the butt. Tywin isn’t the type of lord to ignore the fact that one of his men was obviously murdered right in front of him.

Thaffierths!  <———— I’m sorry. I had to.

Jaqen H’ghar strikes (our hearts) again! Let’s here it for team, “More water, sir?”!

Elena:  I don’t know, that guy was getting on Tywin’s nerves.  Maybe he will choose not to look a gift horse in the mouth?

Really the whole sequence convinced me that Jaqen H’ghar is kind of in love with Arya.  Not, like in a creepy sexual way, but in the “I’ll wait for her” guy in love with Hit Girl on Kick-Ass way.  He finds her fiery spirit irresistible.  Also I think he responded to her imperious tone.  She definitely channeled her mother there, with that NO, JAQEN, IT MUST BE NOWWWWWWWWWWWW.  Like even the representative of the red god took a step back and decided not to annoy Her Ladyship further.  Because if Arya uses a Cat tone, you know shit’s about to get real, and he couldn’t stand to see his little bird of death get hurt.

Rachel: A… raven, perhaps? As to Jaqen – representative of R’hllor? You think that? Just because he mentioned him to Arya before? I totally understand why you would think that given the line but take this is a negative head nod from me. Ya know.. FYI. (This has been a message from DarthRachel Omnipotence Corps.)

Elena:  Conclusion:  Stark girls are irresistible to sociopaths.  Or perhaps it’s Tully girls, if Littlefinger’s obsession with Cat is any guideline.  Discuss in the context of Sansa’s arc this week. 

Rachel: The big San/San moment this week! Sandor rescuing Sansa. Not going to lie, my exposure to The Phantom of the Opera as a small child has left me predisposed to liking their dynamic even though IT’S TERRIBLE. It is! He’s an amoral killer with a hate-gig, and she’s a naïve (but learning) prisoner. It’s romantic in a brooding, windswept moor sense, but also horrifying. More San/San!

The riot in King’s Landing might actually be less powerful in the books than it was in the show. In the books they’re on horseback, and everyone is running, and I was not in as much fear for characters’ lives (okay, let’s face it, there aren’t a lot of characters I give a rip about in the scene to start with) as I was in the show. Putting them on the ground not only saved them horse-renting money, it helped put the camera down in the riot instead of horse-back level. Well done!

Elena: I would say…it’s easy to fear for a character’s life even if you actively want to see them dead.  It’s just that fear is perhaps the wrong connotation.  “Actively question their ability to survive” is more tone-neutral, yes?  Because I actively questioned the ability of any of them to survive.  It would be a fitting end for our Good King Joffrey, White Knight of Douchebaggery and High Wizard of Craziness to get trampled in street riot by peasants throwing cow pies.  Better yet, by peasants force-feeding him cow pies.  That would make my life complete…but it was not to be.  Instead the little fuckball left Sansa out to get raped to death in the streets.  He obviously is not turned on by sub’s the way the Hound is.  Maybe he should toss over Sansa for Margaery, I bet she could whip (literally) some sense into him.  But the Hound probably should have let Sansa at least get her little princess hymen snapped by the first of those street roughs; then Joffrey would have thrown her to him like a bone!  Maybe he will anyway if Margaery strolls into King’s Landing with her father’s army and a black leather dress on.  San-San 4evah!

Rachel: I’m laughing at that because I know you, I know you aren’t actually advocating Sansa be raped. You’re making a comment on how fucked up and shitty Joffrey is, YOU HEAR THAT COMMENTORS?

I don’t have much to say about the introduction of Ygritte except that I love her and it was perfect and I demand more Ygritte! So what did you think of Ygritte becausesheismyfavoriteandIreallyhopeyoulikeher?!

Elena: Ygritte was AWESOME!  She is going to test Jon Snow’s knowledge of Where To Put It very quickly, I sense.  Although considering how uncomfortable her wiggling made him, perhaps he really DOES know.

God, I can’t wait to see what all she can manipulate him to do with her feminine wiles.  I mean, Jon Snow is this poor horny virgin who couldn’t even bring himself to bang a Winterfell whore (and the whore was obviously not actively trying to seduce him or she could have talked him out of walking away, so obviously he has NO experience even attempting to resist feminine wiles, because he has never in his life had any directed at him), and here’s this wild thing who calls his bluff when he’s told to kill her and almost escapes him and still fights him the only way she can…yeah.  This is not going to end well for him.  If by end well we mean staying true to his vows at The Wall, that is.  The actual sex will probably end very well.  She will show him the true meaning of a Wild Rumpus (because she’s a wildling, and Jon Snow has run off to Where The Wild Things Are…AKA North Of The Wall).

I kind of expect that she takes Jon to the wildling camp and he finds out that the King Beyond the Wall is actually Uncle Benji.  Because that would be dramatic irony of the type that is totally irresistible for this kind of story (cough *soap opera with swords* cough).  And if the King Beyond the Wall is not a man to whom Jon Snow owes ostensible fealty…then Jon Snow will someone end up the new King Beyond the Wall, because that’s just how things are going to go for the kid.  His destiny is not to become wildling shish kebab or live out his days on The Wall until he is old and impotent and telling stories about how he could have stopped a civil war but didn’t.  No.

But now he won’t have to, because he has met Ygritte, and she is pretty enough to tempt even a Lord of Winterfell, and she is hard enough to impress even a Lord of Winterfell, and yet she is low enough that the Bastard of Winterfell doesn’t feel out of his league as long as he doesn’t lose his fights to her!  Jon Snow, meet Rocked.  As in, your world officially is.  And yes, the romance reader in me will unabashedly ship the one fucking couple of maybe-they-could-hook-up characters on this show for whom it would not be a disaster or betrayal in one way or another to actually hook up.  I mean, yes Jon vowed celibacy, but…come on.  Even Lord Mormont admits they don’t actually expect the men to keep that vow, and anyway Jon’s “brothers” kind of threw him to the wolves on that one with their whole, “you go on and kill her while we walk to the top and wait for you” bit.  There was just no way he was ready for killing a pretty girl without having seen her kill someone first.  So I’m not going to consider it any kind of oathbreaking for him to forget about those assholes (even though Jon will be emo about it for YEARS).  Anyway, my main point was, Yay, Ygritte!

Rachel: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (insert me laughing hysterically and weeping and then laughing again and I will never tell you WHYYYYYYYYY)

Playing The Game of Thrones With Season 2 Episode 5 – A Review

Elena:  Renly died! I CALLED IT! Four episode arc. I WIN!

Rachel: Yes, I barely contained myself when you predicted Renly would last four episodes. Good job! And now that I’ve successfully won my campaign of convincing you magic exists in this world, I expect you to predict lots more!

I’m not sure I think opening with Renly’s death was the best idea? I don’t know. I agree it was a splendid cliffhanger for episode 4, but now that is has lost its momentum, seeing Shadowbaby come in and kill Renly was kind of a “duh” moment. Maybe I’m being harsh because I already know what is going to happen. I did enjoy Brienne’s emotion. I argued with another fan who said that Brienne being so emotional when she hadn’t had any lines up until then was hard to believe, but, frankly, Brienne’s story is not about her being devoted to Renly. Her story begins with Renly’s death.

As for this “controversy” that Loras wasn’t given ENOUGH emotion in his mourning scene…I’m giving you the stank eye, GoT fandom. IT’S HAPPENING. Right now. …… can you feel it? Loras was totally devoid of emotion in that scene with Margaery and Littlefinger! He was empty! The love of his life is dead on a table in front of him, and he is not dealing, you guys. I thought it was a much more powerful choice than to have him beating his chest and yelling, especially on the heels of the scene with Brienne. This way it doesn’t feel like a rehash. Neither steals the glory from the other.

But speaking of that scene…gosh, I heart Margaery! I’m so glad they’ve expanded her for this show, and we get to see her more. Littlefinger is deftly maneuvering as always, while Margaery takes advantage of the only avenue to power left on the table at the moment. It’s a great scene completely filled with all those key events in the future that book readers love. BAM. This is when the show is good. This is when I can walk proudly and say I am a fan of the show as well as the books. More of this, HBO. MORE!

Rachel: Is this what you thought Shadowbaby would amount to? Are you disappointed you didn’t get a zombie army?

Elena: I am not totally surprised that we didn’t end up with a demon army, if only because we’re maybe halfway through book 2 of 7 at this point. So a demon army seems a bit…unlikely at this point in the narrative. I feel like that will happen at the end, that the series comes down to everyone waking up from their petty power play when seven armies of supernatural shit converge. You’ve got White Walkers versus Shadowbaby-demon army and just when the world’s about to get overrun, Dany and her dragons swoop in, burn them all, save Sansa, and claim the Iron Throne.  Can’t wait.  But that’s the end of the series, not book 2 stuff.

That being said, it was kind of anticlimactic that all Shadowbaby did was kill Renly.  I mean, I guess that’s all Shadowbaby needed to do, but the high point of that sequence was definitely Davos’ face during the birth and not the actual outcome of the black magic.

Rachel: Brienne is working for Cat now, this can only go well.

Elena:  That pairing makes a really odd sense (well, wouldn’t have seen it coming but now that it’s done it makes total sense kind of odd sense) to me.  I am not Cat’s biggest fan, but I actually got chills when she gave her vow back to Brienne.  Say what you want about CTS, she has learned the dignity and honor of the north pretty well by this point.  And that is a great place for Brienne, because Brienne actually is an honorable knight.  She has to out-knight the male knights to prove she’s qualified, so while they can run around putting themselves on Arya’s Jaqen H’ghar death list (I’m looking at you, Mountain), she has to play by the formal rules of chivalry and oath and loyalty and honor.

I also think, though, that she and Cat have to be very careful not to bring out the worst in each other when it comes to dealing with people who don’t have something to prove regarding honor and whatnot.  I guess I’m suggesting here that Cat might be in some small way driven by a motivation to prove she IS a true northerner and a proper Lady Stark, which is more important now than ever since Robb isn’t just Lord of Winterfell but King in the North and she is one of his designated proxies.  Anyway, though, one of the hardest things for people who are really good at living by a set code to do is not judge the people who can’t/don’t, or who live by a code they cannot comprehend.  As Rachel suggests, this pairing may go poorly for everyone they come into contact with….

Rachel: What do you think about Bran’s expanding “powers”? And Rickon? Rickon is my favorite character btw. From now on and forever. Rickon for King!!!!

Elena: Rickon?  Who’s Rickon?  Do you mean BAM-BAM?  I know we talked about fake names for characters and how, no, but…that’s what he was doing at the table!  Just banging away like a fucking heathen.  Bam-bam Stark, so say I, so mote it be.  Also because…does Rickon even know his own name at this point?  I think Cat might be a little bit late in getting back to him.  Ser Rodrick and Maester Luwen obviously don’t have a mother’s touch with taming a half-feral possibly autistic child.  Clearly Cat had all the magic there (can you hear my sarcasm—okay, fine, that was so season 1 and now we’ve all forgotten about how she couldn’t do anything for any of her other children when Bran was maybe dying…oh, wait…).

Speaking of Bran, yes, I’m so glad they are getting more into his dreams.  And I hope Theon’s visit to Winterfell will be instructive for Bran when it comes to dream interpretation.  Because what else was the Theta Chi president suggesting with his cryptic “but that would mean—” remark except a pantyraid on Winterfell?

Good thing Bam-bam doesn’t even know what underwear are.  I wish Theon all the luck getting back on his pirate ship once his crew realizes there was nothing at Winterfell to plunder except one wildling female prisoner and the links in Maester Luwen’s chain.

Rachel: Also, Asha is the greatest troll in all of Westeros.

Elena: Speaking of people with one line in the is episode…Quaithe? Is her entire purpose to pop up randomly spouting vague shit I can’t remember?

Rachel:  Ding ding ding ding ding! Oh, Quaithe. Here is the thing about her and the trope she represents – the prophet trope. HOW DO THEY REMEMBER? Not the prophets, because they’re obsessed, and I totally get them remembering it; no, how do the main characters remember? Some whack-a-doo pops up spouting cryptic messages that are LONG and complicated and you’re supposed to be able to remember each of the parts and in which order? No. Sorry, no.

Lots of fans are also pretty mad about Xaro. I don’t see the point in changing him from gay to straight. One of the main reasons Dany refuses Xaro, besides being canny on her own sometimes without Jorah’s council, the fact that Xaro wants one of Dany’s dragons in exchange for the ships (and the marriage, but whatever), is that Dany doesn’t want to marry a gay guy no matter how he can help her regain her throne. This girl has NEEDS, and this girl will not settle for anything less than some more fresh Drogoey meat.  (I say this with the knowledge that Dany and her handmaids often partake in um…stress relieving behavior. Thus proving my point that Dany has NEEDS.) Which is why I get so EMBARASSED for Jorah and his little girl crush. It’s at once kind of romantic and also nauseating. Embarrassing to watch but also juicy? I should stop.

But yes, Quaithe. Did you like her mask? I thought her mask looks like if Spiderman needed a mask but all he had were those little balsa wood chips you make fake shingles for doll houses out of….But then again Pyat Pree looks like a Sith Senator, so I guess Qarth is just a weird city in a land far away, made of dreams and bits of charred meat.

Elena: Qarth is obviously a con.  Also I am totally going to be Quaithe for Halloween and one of my Ren Faire days this fall.  Gotta start memorizing some good prophecies, though. Cause, yo, Rachel’s right, how am I supposed to remember all that shit?

Wait, what are we talking about?

Rachel: Oh right, Tyrion!

Elena: I wasn’t talking about Tyrion.

Rachel: Yes, Tyrion and Bronn and what you have so delightfully dubbed as “their trip to the set of Rome”. Which is the only excuse for that teeny tiny caravan that Tyrion is hanging out in when he utterly pwns Lancel (More wine, sir?). And then he’s strolling the grossest bits of the city sans guards with just Bronn by his side?

I just don’t think that is plausible. He’d be on a HORSE, or something. The Lannisters are not well-liked at this point, not by the peasant class anyways. People are calling him “demon monkey” in broad daylight! Guy needs to be on a horse for his own safety. This is when the show is strange. Not pull your hair out bad or anything, just strange. Was it extras cost double day when they were filming?

Meanwhile Roy Dotrice cameoing as the pyromancer was a stroke of genius. For anyone who doesn’t know, Dotrice narrates the audiobooks though he is also a screen actor. He was just SO excited to be melting flesh like tallow. Isn’t it nice? That George envisions a world where people find meaningful work no matter their destructive impulses? Very enlightened.

Rachel: Cersei – petty or actually retarded?

Elena:  It depends on whether she has really left the defenses of the city to Joffrey (or herself, for that matter), or if she just told that to Tyrion to be a bitch.  I don’t think either of them have the tactical chops to really be the military leader in a time of unrest, you know?

The wildfire solution really does have Cersei’s stamp on in, though, doesn’t it?  Roach on your plate?  Burn the table!  Better yet, burn the whole dining room!  Daddy will buy me a new one!

My concern is this.  You have 7000 barrels plus whatever pyromancer can make in the meantime if he can resist the pissing on it experiment.  How far does that really go against 100,000 men and ships?  Maybe you have enough to burn Stannis’s army to ash.  Fine.  What happens when Robb Stark’s army gets there?  What about the king beyond the wall (cause you know even with Jon Snow Who Knows Where to Put It’s promotion that avalanche ain’t gonna be stopped from rolling down the mountain)?  Seven thousand barrels since the time of mad king Aerys isn’t really all that much of a safeguard if it’s your only defense.

Elena: Anyway.  Going back to beyond the beyond, what the big deal about this Halfhand guy who shows up at the mountain camp and apparently needs no introduction?

Rachel: Qhorin Halfhand! He’s the great ranger of the Night’s Watch is all! Famous South of the wall, well, okay, famous as far South as Winterfell. The way Southerner’s might feel about Barristan Selmy is how Northerner’s feel about the Halfhand. He’s the batman of winter. Jon would obviously jump at the chance to go on a mission with the guy.

Just go with it. He’s a bad ass. He’s only got half a hand.

It was definitely sweet of Sam to automatically take up Jon’s duties because he wants to eliminate all of Jon’s barriers to do what he has always wanted to do. I hate to see Sam and Jon split up for any length of time, but as long as Jon has Ghost, he’ll be fine. Right? I mean, I didn’t see Ghost. I heard he was there. I just imagine they CGI some floaty red eyes in the snow and call it a day.

Elena: Sam is the bestest friend evah!  Also.  Why am I so strangely attracted to Jaqen H’ghar?

Rachel:  If you weren’t I would expect there to be something wrong with you. There’s just something about a weird dude with bad hair who talks about himself in the third person, ya know? Actually … I have no idea. He has this effect in the book as well, so we can’t blame it on the admittedly beauteous casting. I think it’s because guy gets shit DONE. That is attractive in a book full of devious twisty plots. With Jaqen it is simple. The man has a debt. The man pays his debt. The girl and the man are even.

HAHAHAHA AHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHA.  (This is me laughing and pointing and hyperventilating along with all the other theory hounds out there. We are legion.)

Anways, Harrenhal. Place keeps getting better! Actually it does. Jaqen, Shirtless Gendry, and now Arya is on Team More Water, Sir? That scene between Arya and Tywin is pretty amazing. Not afraid dude. NOT AFRAID. Hell yes, Arya. Kick Ass. Take ALL THE NAMES. Remember them. Say them at night. Never forget.