Monday, April 16, 2012

New Plot, Old Tricks

The latest Game Of Thrones, "What Is Dead May Never Die," moved the plot forward and, I believe, we've finally got all our characters for the season in place.  The show also relied on a some old devices, but in the hands of GOT, they work.

We start with the aftermath of Jon Snow's problems from last week.  The Lord Commander, of course, knows all about what Craster is doing with his baby boys, but explains to Snow that when you fight beyond the wall, you have to accept the odd ways of your allies to defeat an even tougher foe.  Snow is learning, but it's hard.  And I don't think we're done yet with Craster's pregnant wife/daughter.

At Winterfell, Bran is still having dreams, though I'm getting tired of both Bran and his dreams.  Do something or move on.

Meanwhile, Lady Stark has made it to Renly.  Last we saw him, he was ready to run away when Ned Stark wouldn't back him at King's Landing.  He's married Lady Tyrell and joined two great armies, but he's a lover, not a fighter. Though not the kind of lover that will make a baby with his Lady--she knows, in fact, that he'd rather be with her brother, but she's willing to try to make things work.  Meanwhile, Renly's manly lover is beaten by a manlier knight, who happens to be a woman--Brienne. In a very old and tired move, we see her fight, and only then does she remove her visor so we can be shocked that she's a woman.  Usually this is done with a motorcycle helmet, and it never surprises anyone.  Anyway, she's not going to make it the feminine route, and is pleased to become one of the Kingsguard. Game Of Thrones is full of powerful women, though this is the first who's physically as powerful as a man. (The actress who plays her is tall like a man, but though she's supposed to be ugly, she's clearly not, even if they downplay her looks.) So is Renly, a very sweet guy, ready for a true battle?  He'll probably be willing to join forces with Robb and let him be King in the North, but is he an ally worth having?

The Greyjoys are definitely allies worth having, but Theon cannot convince his father or sister to join people who defeated them.  Quite the opposite.  While Robb is away, these iron people plan to take their ships and loot the northern coast. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and soon Theon, rather than informing the Starks, is taking the pledge and becoming a true Greyjoy.  Hard to say how all this will play out (which is the point, of course).

But the main plot has to be Tyrion's.  The Imp's whore, Shae, is unhappy, stuck in the big city with nowhere to go.  If she pops her head out a window, it could be chopped off.  So Tyrion has an inspiration and places her as Sansa's handmaiden.  Sansa herself is not happy with her life as a hostage, but she's learned what she has to do.  Presumably, Sana will be happy she finally has someone to talk to.

The big development is the Imp uses an old strategy to fix a leak. He knows the Council has been deadly to Hands, as of late, so he tells each of his three ministers, Pycelle, Varys and Baelish, that he plans to forge an alliance by marrying off Cercei's daughter Myrcella.  Just one thing--the Queen must not know.  Of course, the Imp mentions a different mate to each, so once the Queen complains, he'll know who has the big mouth.  It's the oldest and for so long the subtlest of the three, Pycelle.  Tyrion has him thrown in a cell.

The Imp also seems ready to use Littlefinger to get Jaime back--he'll go to Lady Stark and offer a trade of Sansa (?). No matter how it plays out, Tyrion, as the Spider explains, is casting a large shadow. (Though with Joffrey around, no one is safe.)

Meanwhile, Arya can't sleep, and talks to Yoren.  He tells a loving story of killing an enemy, and then, as anyone could have predicted, the Gold Cloaks return. Yoren sent them packing, though they're back with the help of Tywin's men, and they mean to taste blood.  hem packing last time), though quicker than expect with help from Tywin's men.  There's general slaughter, and yet another of Arya's mentors dies trying to protect her. It's a tough racket.  The Cloaks are looking for Gendry, and quick Arya--who's also released the worst criminals before they burned to death in their cage (will they help out later?)--lies and says they already killed him.

And that's it.  With all the characters in the show, a bunch didn't show up--no Jaime, Robb, Stannis, Joffrey and others. Above all, no Daenerys.  I think this is the first episode without at least a little Targaryen.  Anyway, a little fighting, a lot of maneuvering this week.  And that's how we like it.


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