Seven hells, this is dark. I mean literally, dark. And while we’re on darkness, we get to see the ultimate purpose of Melisandre’s demon shadow baby/man/creature! I read the book, at least to this point, so I knew it was coming, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I felt quite stabbed in the heart myself. I’m going to miss Renly, as he was the refreshingly Sassy Gay Friend of Westeros, along with Loras.
Actually, Loras’ face might have torn me up more than Renly’s demise. He certainly loved the power and the prestige of being a member of Renly’s Kingsguard (and guarding Renly’s member), but he did truly love Renly. He truly believed in Renly’s ability to be a king.
And so did Brienne. I have to say, I love that they’ve not sexed up Brienne yet. With HBO’s transgressions on the part of Cat’s character, I’m surprised they haven’t tried to do such a thing yet to Brienne, but maybe I can retain at least a little of my faith in the writers. For now. They did handle their scene later on spectacularly, I will say. I love it in the book, and it was beautiful in the show. Though all this talk of the shadow demon being shaped like Stannis brings back all of the CSI: Westeros that’s been going on from the beginning. Amateur geneticists are all over the Seven Kingdoms.
The most I’ll waste on Petyr Baelish in this space is: Petyr, you should have chosen a toad, or a slug, or something similarly slimy as your self-made sigil. (I’d say a snake, but my Slytherin loyalty shudders at being associated with Littlefinger.)
Beyond the Wall
Jon Snow! Is Kit Harrington the best Jon? No, not really. I don’t mind staring at his angsty open-mouthed pout, and his pretty hair. I’m sure that his internal monologue just consists of, “Why in seven hells did I come this far north, the wind and snow are RUINING my hair.”
Here’s a bad ASOIAF fan confession: I have to work to really enjoy anything to do with the Wall and beyond. I can’t figure out why. I want to like it, I really do, but I just don’t feel the payoff here. They keep talking about the wights, and White Walkers, and my theory is that we’re not staying interested because we’ve been shown what they are. It’s a middle ground that isn’t at all effective. The Reavers worked so well in Firefly because we heard all the talk about them, and got glimpses of what they did, but the rest was left to the viewer’s imagination.
And yes, I realize this is how GRRM wrote it. GRRM isn’t necessarily a good writer.
But I stick with everything beyond the Wall because of Sam Tarly. Sam is my raison d’être in this otherwise bleak and disappointing north. He reads about things in books! And he’s right most of the time. I’d bet money on the fact that he’s one of the few people left if this series ever reaches completion.
Well, okay, speaking of people who will be left when all is said and done, I’d also put money on Bronn and Tyrion. Bronn, mostly. I’m glad to finally see the wildfire come into play. It was at this point that my boyfriend remarked upon the sudden influx of supernatural influence in the show, or as he said, “Now there’s dragons and shadow monsters and shit.” And I agree! The sorcery part of sword and sorcery is coming into play. It’s changing up the dynamic, and has added a new facet to the overall theme of Trust No One.
Also? For a second I thought the alchemist said Jell-O rather than tarrow. Last week I heard someone say duck sauce, this week someone says Jell-O. Someone feed the poor writers. They’re clearly having some godawful munchies.
There’s not much in this episode in the way of Theon and the rest of House Greyjoy, but it’s setting up even more treachery, conflict, and general “Theon why do you even exist?” He’s like a barnacle, honestly: unsightly, useless, and generally unpleasant. But you can’t get rid of him!
The rest of the Greyjoys, though? I love them. I adore Yara/Asha (sorry, book-reading and all that) because, as Balon said, she knows who she is. My problem with Theon is that he doesn’t know who he is, and rather than be interesting or complex about it, he’s just kind of a whiny git. I have little patience for whiny gits.
I wish we spent more time on Bran, because he’s got so much going on and this is the supernatural aspect that I actually enjoy. Bran is a facilitator of sorts with his dreams, a catalyst, a boy who is growing up and coming into his own without being able to fit the conventions of this war-focused society. I just want us to see more, is what I’m saying.
So while I try to figure out if they’ve changed the names of Dany’s dragons on this show, or if she and Doreah are just saying something else entirely to get this dragon to eat (by the way, this one is Drogon if I recall correctly), let’s also try to figure out if they’re keeping the dragons to a minimum because of budget constraints. I’d actually like to see more dragons, thanks.
I don’t even have much to say here, which is disappointing, because I am the biggest Daenerys fangirl you will ever find. I want to love everything she does, but right now I can’t get behind anything she’s doing. She found herself, but now I feel as if she’s losing herself, and it’s a sad thing to watch.
However, Daxos (who is forever Duck Sauce) knows exactly how to win her over, so that’ll be fun. And how to plant the idea in her head that Jorah’s entirely motivated by love and/or lust. This is not entirely false, granted, but Jorah also has much better advice for Dany than any of the Qartheen. They all need to have a come to Jesus meeting, or a come to R’hllor meeting, whatever.
And now! The segment of the show that gives me Feelings! I have feelings about Arya, about Tywin, about Jaqen H’gar, and about Gendry. (Most of my feelings about the latter two are admittedly in the pants area.)
Arya is still a badass. Brash, and treading close to Stark Stupid, but a badass nonetheless. She threatened Tywin Lannister to his face, for God’s sake, and you can tell that he respects her even more for it.
And then! Arya gets her chance at revenge when Jaqen H’gar offers up any three deaths she wishes to name. Does anyone else think she wasted it a bit on the Tickler?
And speaking of men who give me tingly feelings, quick cut to Gendry, in the quintessential fanservice shot. Arya agrees with the rest of us.
So! We’ve been damn near everywhere in this episode, and the frenetic pacing is starting to wear down on me. Anyone else feel this way? Anyone else wish we could just slow down for a second and spend more than two minutes on any particular character? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
Spoilers note: as before, anything from the first book or TV series is not a spoiler. Please use spoiler tags for anything else using the [*spoiler*] and [/*spoiler*] tags. (Remove the asterisks to make the tags.)
All images courtesy of homeofthenutty.com