Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Game of Thrones Season 2, Episode 2: Dark Wings, Dark Words

In the North: Bran & Osha
Bran is still dreaming his spooky dreams of being able to see and the raven from Mr. Burns’s nuclear plant flying around. This time Bran decides to try and shoot the raven – and miss. At which point someone arrives – brand new character – to tell him that he can’t kill it, the raven is him.

He wakes up in camp with Osha, Hodor, his little brother Rickon and their giant dire wolves. Osha asks about the dream but quickly tells Bran to stop – they have enough worries without black magic.

Later Bran wakes to Summer (his direwolf) growling and Osha on alert. Osha goes to investigate and Summer becomes more agitated as a figure approaches. Osha holds the boy at spearpoint – but his sister then puts a knife to Osha’s kneck. Osha threatens them with the wolf – but the boy approaches Summer, greets him by name and the wolf calms. The boy introduces himself to Bran – Jojen Reed and his sister Mira (wondered where these 2 got to). They’ve come looking for Brandon.

As they march on, Bran trusts Summer and Shaggydog to look after Rickon when he wanders off and Jojen comments on him being able to see through wolf eyes – and that he’s a worg. He also knows about the 3 eyed raven since he was there in the dream – the raven isn’t a worg thing, it’s a sign of the sight – to see the past future and anywhere in the present. Jojen has the Sight as well and together they both saw Ned’s death. Osha and Mira have their own conversation – Osha questioning whether Jojen is ashamed of needing his sister for protection – and Mira disagreeing that that’s shameful or even that whether someone repeatedly needs help and protection means they’re unworthy of it.

I like her, lot of wisdom here.

Harenhal: Robb’s Army
Robb is brooding, something he’s good at, and Talisa tries to cheer him up. Seeing the possibility of a smile interrupting some perfectly good brooding, Lord Bolton arrives with news – from Riverrun and Winterfel.

The first news he takes to Catelyn the Spunky, her father, Lord Hoster Tulley of Riverrun, is dead. With Catelyn already reeling from bad news, Robb follows up with news of Winterfell, the Iron Born having put the castle to torch, massacred everyone inside and Bran and Rickon missing… Robb hopes
they may have escaped or been taken back to the Iron Isles as hostages. But Catelyn asks if they’ve heard from Theon or received any demands.

Robb takes his army to the funeral, much to the disapproval of Lord Karstark who thinks you shouldn’t really have a time out in the middle of a war. Robb says they need Lord Edmure (that would be the new Lord Tully, Catelyn the Spunky’s brother – and how much does it help to have read the books to be able to keep track of all these?) for his men – but Karstark is not optimistic, even with the Tully army, they’re badly outnumbered by the Lannister forces. He adds that he thinks Robb lost the war the day he married Talisa.

Talisa is goes to see Catelyn who is making some kind of charm to protect her children. She’d made them twice before – one for Bran after his fall and, surprisingly, one for Jon many years before when he became ill. She tells of how, when Ned brought Jon Show home, she’d prayed to the gods to take him away and make him die – and then felt megatons of guilt when he caught the pox, believing herself responsible; then prayed for him to live. She promised to the gods to raise him as her own and to ask Ned to give him his name and make Jon legitimate. A promise she then broke – she blames herself for all the misfortune that befell the family since then –because she couldn’t love a motherless child.

Catelyn has some severe god complex going on here. She blames herself for everything because she couldn’t love Jon? Actually I blame her for a fair amount of it – because she hasn’t got a sensible thought in her head

Unknown: Theon
Theon’s not sending messages because he’s bound to a St. Andrew’s cross by some very unsympathetic men who wants to stab him very painfully in the finger. They want to know why he took Winterfell and have some interestingly unpleasant ways to get answers.

Having being left alone to think for a little while, a man comes down to see him, telling him he’s been sent by Theon’s sister, Yara and that he’ll come back later when everyone’s asleep – he even loosens the vice on Theon’s foot.

On the Way to Kings Landing: Jaime & Brienne
Having been rescued by Catelyn the Spunky in one of her Spunky moments, Jaime is on the way to Kings Landing, whining the whole way, while being lead on a rope by Brienne. He continues to poke at her silence, her dullness and her lack of humour; she continues to treat him with barely veiled contempt. He wonders how Brienne came serve Lady Stark and uncovers her loyalty to Renly – which he then begins to poke with extra homophobia as well, throwing in that Brienne is “far too much a man” for Renly and that it’s “a shame the throne wasn’t made out of cocks, they’d had never got him off it”. When Brienne snaps and grabs his hair he claims he doesn’t blame him – we don’t choose who we love

It’s then that they’re spotted by a passing peasant who goes by after pleasant conversation. Jaime is worried that the man recognises him and subtly suggests Brienne kill him to ensure his silence.  Brienne refuses

Jaime continues to be gloriously annoying and in one of his annoying moment he manages to steal one of Brienne’s swords and cut his rope. She draws the other. They fight but Jaime continues his commentary also questioning what she will do – if she kills him she fails Catelyn but if she doesn’t, Jaime could kill her. But whether, because she’s wearing armour or is particularly exhausted or simply because Brienne is better, she seems to be getting the upper hand (I especially liked the moment he tried to body slam her out the way and she didn’t move and inch and he caromed of her). They’re interrupted by the arrival of House Bolton’s hunter and a squad of men, they got directions from the man Brienne spared.

Kings Landing: Lots of people
Joffrey is being fitted for new clothes (and not being stabbed, alas) watched by Cersei. He objects to flowered cloth and Cersei makes a snide, slut-shaming comment about how he could give it to Margaery for a wedding gown – there should be enough cloth (it’s about the size of a flannel).  Cersei asks Joffrey what he thinks of her and he responds with what he thinks of the Tyrells as allies. Cersei tries to get his opinion on Margaery, warning him that everything she does – from “dressing like a harlot” to caring about the common people, to marrying a “degenerate” like Renly is for political reasons. Joffrey, of course, doesn’t listen to her because that would require thinking.

Shea is helping Sansa dress and is pouring cynicism all over the idea that Baelish is planning to help Sansa out of the goodness of his heart. Shea tells Sansa to tell her should Baelish ask for anything or touch her. Just to show that Baelish may be the least of her worries, Loras arrives to invite her for a walk with Margaery and their grandmother, Lady Olenna. They’re going to eat Sansa alive.

Margaery has a kind word for everyone, Lady Olenna has a sharply astute word for everyone and pulls no punches in her judgements on who is suitable for various roles and who is wise. She was quite happy for the Tyrells to stay out of the whole thing but now they’re in it up to their necks, needs must. Her blunt and harsh summations are awkward for Sansa, especially since she expects the same from her. Sansa begins to say all the nice parroted things that Olenna has no time for – and it’s mention of Sansa’s father that cracks her resolve and makes her speak of some of Joffrey’s cruelty before quickly censoring herself Of course, Sansa’s obvious terror speaks plainly about Joffrey’s nature more than anything else. Reassured by Lady Olenna, Sansa calls Joffrey a monster. Lady Olenna thanks her for the truth.

Lady Olenna may be the most awesome character on the show ever. While it's tempting to sigh over Sansa not being able to keep silent, I think it works because of the emotion for her father who she has never had chance to grieve and her natural compassion for Margaery who she must see as walking into the lion's den.

Tyrion returns to his room to find Shae waiting for him – much to his worry given his father’s threats. Shae is worried about Sansa and Baelish and throws in a bit of jealousy over Roz and Sansa which Tyrion has to dance around. I’m not sure if she’s serious or if she enjoys watching him dance metaphorically.

Joffrey calls Margaery to him and they start with pleasantries – but Joffrey reveals more of his monster nature and tries to make her uncomfortable by talking about Renly as a traitor and asking what she did for him. She clings to the idea that she is politically inept and only wanted to be a wife and provide children. Joffrey asks why she didn’t  and we have another round of homophobia about Renly being a “degenerate” with a side order of Joffrey considering having gay men executed (with Margaery placating and supporting all the way). They then play with Joffrey’s crossbow (not a euphemism) and discuss whether Margaery could bring herself to kill something (HAHAHAHAH! Oh yes I think she could) and how much Joffrey would like to see her do it. See, asking Sansa what kind of man Joffrey was seems more to do with how to manipulate him than warnings.

Past the Wall: Jon Snow
Mance Rayder gives Jon a little insight into how herculean the effort of uniting the Wildlings was, several tribes, 7 different languages and a whole lot of grudges. He untied them by telling them they’d all die if they didn’t reach the south – which he says is the truth. They pause to talk to their Worg scout – a man with his eyes white over, entering the mind of a bird allowing him to scout for them. Ygritte, becoming ever more childish, scorns Jon for never having met one before. Orel returns to his body and tells them he saw dead Nights Watch on the First of the First men.

The Night’s Watch are marching to the Wall and one of them abuses Sam for his weight and surviving while his brother dies – he encourages him to “lie down and rest”. Sam sinks to his knees and stop but Grenn and Ed come back for him to encourage him to stand. He’s convicned he’ll stay back and one of the other men says they should leave him for slowing them down, but Mormont intervenes and forbids Sam from dying – and makes Rast, the man heckling him, responsible for ensuring Sam gets back alive. If Sam doesn’t, Rast doesn’t.

Arya & Co
Gendry, understanding the opportunity Arya had with Jaqen, points out what many of us have being saying – if Arya got to kill any three people why didn’t she say “Joffrey, Tywin and my whiny brother Jon Snow” (ok, the latter is my addition).  They’re trying to make their way to Riverrun but Arya questions their sense of direction. They run into Thoros of Myr and his armed group – the Brotherhood Without Banners. They eventually get taken prisoner for interview after a lot of gratuitous fat jokes about Hot Pie.

At their base the men without banners question them, and poke a little at Arya’s vaunted sword skills but finally agree to let them go after their meal. Which is when they bring in a prisoner – Ser Sandor Clegane, the Hound. Arya tries to sneak Gendry and Hot Pie out – but Clegane recognises her.

Great, the homophobic jokes continue even after they kill Renly off and make Loras support staff for Margaery. But the fanpoodles want me to believe this show is PROGRESSIVE for its gay characters?

And no the “we don’t choose who we love” doesn’t redeem him because this is Jaime who cannot say such a line without linking his own incest and he’s already made a string of jokes attacking Renly for being gay. He may not blame Renly, but he certainly holds him in contempt. And Brienne’s anger is not defending Renly as a gay man, it’s defending Renly against the accusation of being gay. Followed by Margaery and Joffrey and we’re getting far more references to Renly’s sexuality when he’s dead than we had when he was alive – and all of it insulting. Is this a pathetic attempt to milk inclusion cookies out of the dead man? I’m past tired of it. We’ve had more screen time this episode to people making homophobic insults than we’ve had of the one gay character in the past 2 episodes.

I get that Cersei doesn’t like Margaery, I even like the sparring between them for political dominance. They each see the other as a threat and acknowledge each other as such – while dismissing Joffrey. But constantly attacking her for her revealing clothes (or, for that matter, in a show which has continually shown noble ladies wearing full gowns, Margaery wearing them) is sexist, slut-shaming and petty – both women are more politically adept than that. It changes Cersei from a consummate and capable politician, to a jealous and spiteful woman.

I know I said it last episode – but I think we’re still in the re-introduction phase of Game of Thrones. Yes, I know it’s taking 2 episodes but there are SO MANY PEOPLE that we hadn’t even got to Arya or Brienne or Bran or Theon and we’ve still only briefly touched on Robb’s army. There’s so much going on that storylines can only really inch forward, at least until we’re familiar enough with everyone again that storylines can be dropped for a week (like Stannis and Daenerys this week).

And fall down in astonishment people – we had NO BOOBIES AT ALL! Yes an entire episode of Game of Thrones told without one tit (except Joffrey). Could this be a sign of things to come? And with Olenna, Margaery (ok debateable) and Mira we have some women who are not a) evil b) foolish or c) prostitutes. Will wonders never cease?