Sunday, May 19, 2013

Game Of Thrones "Second Sons" Review

Game of Thrones is a terrific series. The A Song of Ice and Fire series is epic in scope, populated by seemingly endless amounts of characters, with different, intricate storylines. Some characters get a scene every two episodes, but the strength of the material, as well as the strength and skill of Benioff and Weiss' adaptation helps the material land for the viewer. The Sam the Slayer scene could've been shorter. Benioff and Weiss could've cut in as Gilly, her unnamed son, and Sam, camp out, only to be interrupted by a white walker. Instead of quickly cutting in and then cutting straight to the action as Melisandre does with Gendry, the scene is allowed to breathe, grow, whatever you want to call it. Sam and Gilly talk about the baby's possible name, which reveals Gilly's extremely limited worldview as well as Sam's relationship with his father Randyll. Gilly criticizes his fancy talk; she thinks he's speaking fancy purposefully. Sam's not, though. Sam is who he is in the scenes we've seen. He's not malicious, deceptive, sneaky; he's one of the few honestly good men in Westeros. He's been the outcast of the Night's Watch, been called piggy, and could barely walk the rest of the way to Craster's earlier in the season. His men wanted to leave him to die, but Commander Mormont wouldn't allow it. He escaped the Night's Watch mutiny and wandered around the dangerous northern woods where the dead walk. All of Sam's history matters. Gilly's perception of him matters because if it doesn't then his slaying of the white walker doesn't mean anything. Sam's had about seven scenes this entire season. The scene lands as terrifically as it does because of the writing.

Tyrion and Sansa's wedding is another example of the series' terrific writing and its terrific understanding of their characters and the world. Their marriage is one of circumstance. Tywin won't allow the Tyrells to gain more power than the Lannisters in the Seven Kingdoms. The wedding's wildly depressing for the participants. Tyrion's piss-drunk by the reception, and Sansa's looks close to vomiting in each of her shots. The wedding scenes don't solely emphasize the dispositions of Sansa and Tyrion; the scenes also re-emphasizes Cersei's cold and cruel bitchiness and Joffrey's cruel prodding of Sansa and Tyrion. Cersei hasn't behaved as cruelly as she did in season one. I thought the writers forgot about her stinger. No, indeed, the writers did not. Margaery sweetly calls her sister, and Cersei responds with threats of strangulation. Loras weakly attempts to converse with his bride-to-be and Cersei blows him off, leaving Loras looking more awkward than he looked in the scene's beginning.

Joffrey's an insufferable bastard throughout the wedding scenes. He embarrasses Tyrion at the service. At the reception, he threatens to rape Sansa after Tyrion's done with her. He tries to force the bedding ceremony, which leads to Tyrion putting his drunken foot down. Tyrion threatens to cut off his nephew's penis should he continue his bullying. Tywin dispenses with the bedding ceremony and reminds his grandson that his uncle is drunk and making bad jokes. Tyrion's drunkenness is amusing and sad. He's a pawn now. Sansa won't kneel for him without him asking. She's sick to her stomach every waking moment with her. Tyrion stops her from undressing because he won't share her bed until she wants him to, and Sansa may never want to share her bed. Tyrion's denied happiness when he earns it, denied accolades when he deserves it, and is made a mockery of throughout the wedding. Sansa would be wise to remember Littlefinger's words about life as a song but only realize she's not the only person miserable. Of course, she is just 14.

Across the Narrow sea, near Yunkai, Dany attempts to enlist sellswords, known as the second sons, to her cause. Among the sellsword captains is Daario Nahaaris, who turns on his other two captains after being ordered to kill Dany, for he is taken by her beauty and wishes to fight for her. The episode takes its title from the sellswords. Daario's a fascinating character. He's neither rough nor brutish like his fellow captains. His eyes seem to pierce Dany's. Dany's not afraid of him after he brings her the heads of men who wished her dead. Indeed, she rises from her bath tub, nude, staring her new friend and captain in the eyes. Daario doesn't look away. for her beauty is unparalleled. Dany has 10,000 men strong, three dragons, along with Jorah and Barristan. I'd say the girl is doing well in Essos.

Stannis does not include Dany in his three curses of usurpers after he drops the leeches carrying Gendry's blood into a fire. Dany may be his biggest threat. Robb's strength hinges on a wedding with an irascible old man. Joffrey's busy being a piece of shit. Tywin's marrying his children off. With the Tyrlls, the Lannisters are in good shape. They'd dismiss Stannis because Stannis is reliant on a half-bastard born son of King Robert. Stannis and Melisandre plan to sacrifice the boy to the Lord of Light. Stannis informs Davos of a vision he had in which he fought a great battle in winter, which is designed to show Davos that gods aren't make-believe. Davos feels Stannis freed him from his cell because he felt conflicted over the sacrifice of Gendry. Gendry has Baratheon blood in him. R'hllor demands a sacrifice, though. A sacrifice seems inevitable. When do the powerless ever overcome the powerful in the Seven Kingdoms? Gendry's not in Essos where slaves are freed.

Season 3's showed a more layered Stannis than season 2 did. Stannis' family was introduced, he did go to Davos for restraint, and he reveals in this episode that he never wanted to be king until it was foreseen. Stannis hasn't always been blinded by power. During the chaos after Robert's death, Stannis remained in Dragonstone. Visions by a red priestess, seen in fire, signs from a god, led him to commit fratricide, to turn on his closest friend, Davos Seaworth, and to contemplate sacrificing the life of innocent Gendry. Stephen Dillane's figured out the character. I think Stannis' story needed deepening this season. Season 2 highlighted the essentials, but the details of Stannis, revealed this season, are crucial.

Other Thoughts:

-How about that: the Hound is taking Arya to the Twins so he can get ransom money from Robb and Cat. Arya expected way worse as the audience must have as well. They had one scene. Well, then. Onto the wedding next week (or two weeks. Indeed, two weeks).

-Cersei provided exposition for the Rains of Castamere, a song in the books from which the next episode takes its title.

-David Benioff & D.B. Weiss wrote the episode. Michelle MacLaren directed her second episode in a row.


1 comment:

Colin said...

Big fan of your description of Joffrey. What an a-hole

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