And you thought the Donner Party had it bad…
Oh great, looks like dear old dad has returned and promptly booted Tyrion out of, well, just about everything. All he’s gotten for his troubles is a nice new scar and a dingy little room. The only consolation received being that Pod and Shae are, at the very least, still on his side. The same, however, can’t be said for Bronn or the Mountain Men. I’m going to miss Shagga wanting to feed everyone’s manhood to the goats. Ah well. Things couldn’t get worse for Tyrion… oh who am I kidding, he’s GRRM’s favorite character. You know how he likes to treat his favorites.
Speaking of his favorites, Dany finally gets her dragons back, proves Xaro a liar, and does what any Khaleesi would have done the first moment they got inside the walls: plunder. I’m not exactly sure why we needed this filler, by all accounts she should have moved on a long time ago. Also, the display of magic here is way over the top and seems even more silly given the rather quick end Pyat meets by way of fire. Only two individuasl in the books, at this point, seems to have even a fraction of the power displayed by Pyat in the show: Melisandre and a certain Faceless Man.
Jaqen is no more, not only in name but also in face. His parting gift to Arya is a coin, and the words Valar Morghulis. I’m kind of sad to see him go, the way he spoke and acted perfectly fit what I had envisioned for the character. At the same time, I’m glad that Arya is back on the move and out of captivity.
Arya is not the only one out of captivity, nor is she alone in having to kill to get that freedom. Poor Jon, I don’t think he understood that Qhorin pulled this stunt to ensure he survived. Qhorin was a dead man anyway, and now Jon can meet the King Beyond The Wall unbound. They are still nothing as I had them pictured in my mind, visually speaking, but maybe that will change next episode.
Speaking of visuals, the Others are pure awesome; half zombie, half ice demon. Seeing a horde of them approaching the Fist of The First Men was definitely the biggest event that happened this episode. We are in for a big battle, maybe even bigger than the one features last episode. I’m betting that it’ll be everything I hoped for.
Another thing I had hoped for was the Ironmen embodying the spirit the books gave them. These are hardened men that only acknowledge authority when it’s more powerful to them or to their direct benefit. Theon, of course, does not fulfill either of these roles. I’m honestly surprised they hadn’t gutted him and left him to die with everyone else. How Winterfell became sacked as it didn’t doesn’t really seem all that well explained in the show, and it seems rather odd for Ramsay and his men to just leave the place burning. Weren’t they there to take back the castle and rescue Bran and Rickon? No word got out about their deaths, due to the ravens being killed and the bodies of the farm boys, seemingly, weren’t shown. Nevertheless, Bran, Rickon, Osha, and Hodor are now headed north. This trip, in the books, had a lot more weight to it due to some characters missing from the show.
While on the subject of missing characters, Robb and Talisa tie the knot, despite the fact that it means crossing the Freys. That was a brilliant idea, right? I mean, we’ve all seen the man that Walder Frey is. I’m sure he’ll laugh it off and it’ll all become water under the bridge. Sorry, that was a bad pun there…
While all of these scenes were pretty cool, some more than others, my favorite dealt with Brienne and Jaime. I love how Jaime, despite his silver tongue and quick wit, never once ruffles Brienne’s feathers. I also love that, after witnessing her combat prowess, he actually shuts up. Yeah dude, that could have been you getting gutted slowly. Brienne is all business, and anyone who messes with that business could very easily meet a quick or slow death. If not for him needing to be in one piece, I think Brienne might been hauling him back in pieces as it would make the job simpler. Brienne is everything a knight should be and the perfect foil for Jaime.
The other scenes, while important to the over all plot, didn’t seem to carry the same amount of weight just yet. This episode is an extra building block in the ever wobbly towers holding up the lives of the characters we follow. One of these towers, or maybe several, could tip at any second and we’ll have another beautiful disaster to watch.
GO Rating: 4/5
Over all this season ran the gamut from things happening somewhat like the books, to events that never took place at all. While I’m fine with a little deviation, especially since not everything could be included verbatim, I found much of the added content to really detract from the over all impact that the book had. I’m really hoping that the low moments this season provided in no way impact things next season. I also have hope that they might learn from this and possibly work harder to more closely follow the already brilliant storytelling laid out by George R. R. Martin. I’m not expecting anything exact, as the episode “Blackwater” managed to carry the same power and weight despite altered events and a smaller scale. I am still most definitely a fan and impatiently awaiting Season 3 as I feel everyone else should be doing.
Overall GO Rating: 3/5