There was so much going on in this one, and it was simply phenomenal.
First off, thank you Game of Thrones for giving Alfie Allen his meatiest role yet. Theon Greyjoy finally had his moment to shine this week, and his capture of Winterfell was a fascinating development. Theon’s repressed animosity against the Starks has been a compelling element for a while now, so it’s quite fulfilling to see him implode in such a manner. The sequence in which he kills Ser Rodrick is absolutely brutal, particularly the way in which his sword gets stuck on the first blow, and he ultimately has to resort to kicking the poor old man’s head off. Bran’s horrifying screams coupled with Theon’s hesitance made this a true powerhouse moment, packed with intensity. Theon’s a full-on villain now people!
In King’s Landing, Myrcella’s goodbye culminated in a fantastic and riveting little sequence as the royal family found themselves under siege. Everything about this attack was spot-on, from the disturbing almost gang-rape of Sansa, to Joffrey completely throwing her to the wolves and getting slapped by Tyrion (for the second time since the show’s inception). And the most satisfying moment of it all? The Hound saving Sansa and savagely ripping out her attackers’ guts. Bone-chilling!
But my favorite part of the hour was undoubtedly Arya. Her adventures in Harenhall have far surpassed my expectations, and the writers wisely gave us even more scenes between her and Tywin. This was also an astounding episode for Charles Dance, as he got to reveal hints of Tywin’s backstory (weak father, overcompensating with his own children etc…). We also got a whole lot of thrills as one of Tywin’s lieutenants caught Arya with the note she had stolen, and she had to rush to Jaqen H’Ghar to have him eliminated just in the nick of time (with an epic dart just as he opened Tywin’s door). Suffice to say, I was completely breathless through out.
And then there’s Daenerys. Although her storyline has been somewhat of a slow burn thus far, the ending was exceptional with our Mother of Dragons stumbling on to her slaughtered men and dashing to find her dragons completely gone. It’s a beautifully ominous ending as we cut to a mysterious figure carrying the poor creatures towards an unknown location (The House of the Undying perhaps?). The dragons’ screams provided a haunting note to end the hour on.
However, one storytelling prevented this hour from being truly perfect, and that’s Jon Snow’s ice-capades. Something about this entire subplot just didn’t click with me; maybe it’s because I’m not too attached to Jon Snow, but I was somewhat bored by his adventures as he captured (and kind of fell for) the Wildling Yigritte. Nevertheless, the stunning Icelandic landscapes and the amusing sexual seduction by Ygritte as they “slept” together at the end made the storyline somewhat salvageable.
Bits & Beheadings
– Terrific moment with Bran asking Theon if he always “hated them”. Wow.
– I just loved Arya’s proud smile after Tywin complimented her. And then it all got tense when Littlefinger arrived and almost recognized her (and mentioned her mom too)
– The first time I’ve ever truly hated Cersei: her threatening to kill someone that Tyrion loves. Better watch out Shae!
– I don’t remember if we knew this, but Dany reveals that she had a dream about her eggs hatching in the fire.
– The Spice King sure is a funny man isn’t he? I so hope Dany gets vengeance on him in due time.
– If I have to hear Xaro mention that he’s the richest man in Qarth one more time, I might poke my eye out.
– The mention in which Arya steals Tywin’s letter is brilliant: she distracts him by asking him about his dad.
– Talisa! Good to see you again! Too bad Catelyn isn’t honored to meet you (with you being a peasant and all!)
– Osha is quickly becoming a standout Thrones character. Her cunningness was cleverly exemplified this week as she seduced Theon (knowing full well he fancied her from before), swiftly eliminated one of his guards, and helped Bran, Rickon and Hodor escape Winterfell. Wow!
– I must share the infamous “Where are my dragons” meme. It’s too good. I kind of laughed while watching.
Kings & Quips
Theon: Ser Rodrik, it grieves me that we meet as foes.
Rodrik: It grieves me you’ve less honor than a back alley whore.
Tyrion: (to Joffrey) We’ve had vicious kings and we’ve had idiot kings, but I don’t know if we’ve ever been cursed with a vicious idiot for a king.
Joffrey: You’re talking to a king!
Tyrion: (after slapping him) And now I’ve struck a king.
Daenerys: Thank you, My Lord. You are a gracious host, but there is no servant alive that can bring me what I want.
The Spice King: Oh, she has a talent for drama, this one.
Daenerys: Do you know Illyrio Mopatis, Magister of Pentos?
The Spice King: Yes, we’ve met. A shrewd man.
Daenerys: For my wedding he gave me three petrified dragon eggs. He believed … the world believed … that the ages had turned them to stone. How many centuries has it been since dragons roamed the skies? But I dreamt that if I carried those eggs into a great fire, they would hatch. When I stepped into the fire, my own people thought I was mad. But when the fire burned out, I was unhurt, the Mother of Dragons. Do you understand? I’m no ordinary woman. My dreams come true.
The Spice King: I admire your passion. But in business, I trust in logic, not passion. I’m sorry, little princess.
Daenerys: I am not your little princess. I am Daenerys Stormborn of the blood of old Valyria and I will take what is mine. With fire and blood, I will take it.
The Spice King: Yes, My Lady, but not with my ships.
Tywin: What killed him?
With every storyline moving on in full force, this is one of the strongest hours of the season. If it wasn’t for Jon’s subplot, it would be a perfect hour.