Game of Thrones: “Lord Snow” – Joe’s rating: B
If the first episode of this season focused on moving the plot, and the second built character, then what does this episode show us. This episode is all about pain. We know our characters, we know (somewhat) what their motivations are, so now we get to see our heroes bleed, both figuratively and mentally. This is something the visual medium does much more efficiently than books. In the show, the world looks colder. I see the north, and my body aches from the cold (I live in Chicago, there are fewer cities where “Winter is Coming” has truer meaning).
Not only is there physical pain, but emotional pain. When we last saw Ned he had killed Sansa’s Direwolf, Lady. Now he has to deal with the emotional repercussions. I think a note that the series has missed is “the fall”. We’ve seen Winterfell at its happiest, and even that isn’t that happy. We know “Winter is Coming” (ie. things are going to shit) so spending a little time showing how happy everyone is could have more impact. This episode really showed how much of a toll “The Game” has on its players, and how the emotion beatings manifest physically.
In the North at the wall Jon is dealing with finding out that being in the Night’s Watch really isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. He thinks he’s better than everyone, his uncle won’t let him go out rangin’, he’s just having a poopy time. Luckily Tyrion is there to give him a bit of a verbal smackdown, and by the end of the episode Jon is getting along swimmingly with his Night’s Watch bretheren, and Tyrion heads south to King’s Landing.
At Winterfell, The newly awake and paralysed Bran gets a story from old Nan, and has to face the truth of his new life.
In King’s Landing, Catelyn makes a surprise appearance, and gets some answers into who tried to kill Bran. With the help of Petyr Baelish, a childhood love interest, Catelyn and Ned find out that the dagger used by the assassin belonged to Tyrion. Cersei begins grooming Joffrey for the throne by showing him that there’s the truth and the “truth”. Ned also finds out that the kingdom is bankrupt and owes 6,000,000 to the Lannisters. Robert gets drunk, shockingly, and trades war stories with Jaime and Ser Barristan Selmy. Finally Arya gets some real training, and learns how to “dance”.
Finnaly, in Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys starts acting like a queen, finds out she is pregnant, and offers her asshole brother a little humility.
-So many good characters were introduced this week, Petyr Baelish, Lord Varys, Renly Baratheon, Yoren, and my favorite, Syrio Forel.
-More Tyrion this week. The entire show should be based around him. I have read the book, and listened to the audiobook recording, and still P-Dink’s performance is my favorite so far.
-Mark Addy continues to suprise me as a really solid Robert.
-This episode should have been titled: “The War for Cersei’s Cunt”
-Foxtrot434 on Reddit recently called me out for saying Sean Bean is wooden in the series so far. I told him that I would take another look at Bean’s performance this week. He still seemed too guarded this week, but I loved that at the end of the episode he let himself smile when he saw Arya “dancing”, but then as the dance progressed he started hearing the sounds of real steel. Then his smile became a look of horror. That was some good acting.
-I think one of the saddest things about the TV show is that we are losing out on all the internal motivation of the characters. Reading the books you get to know the characters and sympathize because their reasoning is laid out in front of you. Not that its a huge disappointment, but while watching the TV show I find myself liking to characters I didn’t like when I read the first book (Jaime).
-A little too much exposition to start this episode off. It was too much talky talk leftover from last week. The stuff with Cersei and Joffrey worked nice, but once again gave away too much and didn’t let his hatred of the Starks simmer. Also the scene with Jaime and Ned in the Throne room and Robert and Jamie seemed redundant.
-Syrio Forel looked a bit like Bob Ross.
-Does anyone else kinda wish Benjen Stark was played by David Wenham or is it just me?
-Finally I found this online, I’m sad there is no official soundtrack yet, but this version of the theme has been stuck in my head all weekend.