SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you have not yet seen or don’t want to know details from the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
Wow, there is so much to discuss about this meaty episode! Jon Snow (Kit Harington) has cast off his black cloak and joined the Wildlings. He and Ygritte (Rose Leslie- a long way from Downton Abbey) get their (perhaps overly?) romantic scene. Harington is not the strongest actor on the show, but I think Leslie is pitch-perfect in all her scenes.
Arya (emotionally w/ teary eyes): I could be your family.
Gendry (gently pointing out their different classes): You wouldn’t be my family. You would be my lady.
After the fiery battle between The Hound (Rory McCann) and Lord Beric (Richard Dormer), the one-eyed warrior lies bloodied. The Hound chides the men, saying that their god likes him. But in no time, Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye), speaks a prayer to the Lord of Light, and Lord Beric stands tall (alive). Whoa! Arya (Maisie Williams) later asks if her father can be brought back. Thoros says no, sadly. Aww!
Gendry (Joe Dempsie), looking grown-up with his beard and goatee, decides to stay behind and serve the Brotherhood without Banners. He won’t go with her to Riverrun and serve Robb. Arya is very saddened to hear this news. (I believe she looks on him as a dear friend.) The reviewers who saw any hint of romance in this scene are clueless.
Lady Selyse Baratheon: No act done in the service of the Lord of Light can ever be a sin.
Lord Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) goes to see his family, who happen to be under lock and key (in Dragonstone, the castle built by the Targaryens). Stannis’ wife Selyse (Tara Fitzgerald from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Jane Eyre) is a religious fanatic. She knows exactly what went on between Melisandre and her husband. Selyse has preserved the fetuses and little bodies of her sons in large jars- very creepy!
Stannis’ sweet/lovely young daughter, Shireen (Kerry Ingram), suffers from Grayscale. (It looks like one side of her face has a skin disorder, but in time, Grayscale will destroy her entire body.) Stannis doesn’t know how to show her affection- not a big shock! He tells her that Ser Davos is a traitor, so has been put in the dungeons. Shireen seeks out The Onion Knight and wants to teach him to read. Of course, I was very glad to see Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham)!
Lord Rickard Karstark: You’re no king of mine.
The wild-eyed/vengeful Lord Karstark (John Stahl) and a handful of his men break into jail to kill the two Lannister boys. King Robb Stark (Richard Madden) won’t tolerate such acts- he beheads Karstark himself (like his father, Ned, did in the series premiere). In no time, all of Karstark’s 2,000 men ride away. Robb decides to attack Casterly Rock, the Lannister’s ancestral home. But he’ll need Walder Frey’s help. Hmmm…
I just LOVED the costumes worn by Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aiden Gillen) in their plotting scene! They talk about what to do about Sansa and the Tyrells. Lannisters lead primarily with force, but the Tyrells know how to play politics better (as some reviewers noted).
As if there wasn’t enough of a creep factor in this ep, we have a scene between Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Littlefinger. The way it’s set-up, Littlefinger is lower than Sansa, looking up at her (as if in adoration). Sansa thinks of him as an ally and is confused by his demeanor- he wants her to call him Petyr and kisses her hand. Awkward! Sansa will stay behind in King’s Landing while he sails for the Vale.
Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg) shows Lord Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) the importance of numbers… and figs. Her family has contributed much to feed/protect the realm. Tyrion says that the royal wedding expenses are very high. She declares that the Tyrells will pay half the cost. More Diana Rigg!
Littlefinger sends a spy (Oliver) to act as a squire and learn about Ser Loras (Finn Jones). Poor Sansa is still lovestruck.
Ser Jorah Mormont: You’re no lord commander here.
The two exiled knights, Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) and Ser Barristan (Ian McElhinney), have a nice scene where they reminisce, talk politics, and connect. But after a while, they go back to disliking each other. They both want to serve Daenerys (who they trust), but Barristan thinks Jorah won’t be a proper advisor for the future queen because of his reputation as a slaver. Way to play the honor card, Ser Barristan, but I’m on Team Jorah. More Iain Glen, I say!
Lord Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) treats his prisoners decently (it seems so far). He tells Ser Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) the news from the capital (in a quite suspenseful manner). Bolton humbly apologizes to Brienne (Gwendolyn Christie), who is a lady of noble birth under all that toughness. Coster-Waldau steals this ep with the riveting story of why his character killed King Aerys! Brienne is stunned by his words. Worn out, he faints in her arms. (He says he trusts Brienne. They’re becoming friends.)
Cersei: Father, please, don’t make me again!
Not only does a Lannister always pay his debts, he also has a terrible need to control everything (example: Lord Tywin). Tywin (Charles Dance) sits Cersei and Tyrion down and tells them what they’ll do (for the good of the realm). Tyrion is shocked/appalled when he learns that young Sansa Stark has been chosen for him. Cersei starts out all smug/superior, until Tywin declares that she’ll marry Loras. Then, even she elicits some sympathy. (Yup, Tywin scares me!) It’s not just his words, it’s his demeanor, tone- total disregard for anyone else.