Thursday, June 13, 2013

Game Over

There's not too much tp say about the final episode of Game Of Thrones this year, except that season 3 was over way too soon.  They really should make 13 episodes, or maybe 20.  As in previous seasons, the show ended with essentially a bunch of cliffhangers, or at least characters in positions where we wonder what their next move will be.  I guess that's what the show is--far-flung characters maneuvering to gain or hold onto power, and some fall by the wayside. I'd hope by the end of the series (and the novels) there can finally be some sense of closure.

A quick recap of the action:

Last week was the "red wedding," so it's time to catch up with everyone we missed. (That's another GOT tradition--the big moment happens in the ninth episode, and the tenth gives you a chance to collect yourself).  We start with the aftermath of the fighting, and dead Robb Stark--with a direwolf's head--is ridden around on his horse in mockery.  Arya and the Hound get to see all this.  Poor Arya.  She saw her father beheaded, had to travel around undercover to avoid being killed, and just as she was about to be reunited had her brothers and mother killed--the only kid with a worse childhood is Sally Draper.

Cynical Tyrion and sweet Sansa seem to be getting along, but his watch isn't going to end any time soon.  Shae, who cares deeply for one and loves the other, wonders where she fits in.  Varys gives her money to flee, but she won't take it. (Varys thinks Tyrion can do a lot to help the realm if he gets a chance.)  King's Landing is a dangerous place--she should get out while she can.

At the Small Council the news has arrived--Robb and Cateyln are dead.  Joffrey, in a dick move even for him, wants to serve Robb's head to Sansa at his wedding.  Tyrion threatens him but Tywin knows how to handle the King, and essentially puts him to bed.  A great scene.  Tywin is the power in King's Landing, but Joffrey is still dangerous, seems to me.  Meanwhile, Tyrion is not willing to bed Sansa. (I wonder how the audience would react if he did).

Bran and company (with Rickon gone) shack up in a haven near the Wall.  At night, who should come in, spookily, but Samwell and Gilly? Sam knows of Bran and is willing to help.  After last week's failed reunions, it's nice to have friendly people finally bump into each other.  Sam is going back to Castle Black, but Bran must go beyond the Wall. Sam shows him the way, and gives him his anti-White Walker weapons.  Not sure where that's going, but Bran obviously has a destiny (though Stark men don't tend to do well on this show).

At the Twins, Walder Frey and Roose Bolton cackle in glee at their evil. A lot of viewers would like their comeuppance. Roose also makes it clear that Theon has been delivered to his crazy bastard son (he's a bastard son who's crazy, not a crazy bastard who's a son) Ramsay, who has been torturing Theon for half the season.  He's now sending Theon's body parts to the Greyjoy family, demanding they leave the North (which is now watched over by Roose).  This plot has been going on too long.  At the end, at least sister Asha is finally making a move to get him back, so maybe we'll get some action in season 4.

The Hound and Arya travel by horse through the woods. They pass Frey's men bragging about what they did to Robb.  Arya jumps off the horse, pretends she's a poor little girl and then kills the guy with the Hound's knife.  The Hound comes by and finishes off the rest.  Arya killed a boy in self-defense earlier, and had dangerous people killed on request, but this is the new Arya, the one who will see a lot of death.  After a season of waiting, she takes Jaqen's coin and is ready to call out. To be continued.

Ygritte catches up with Snow.  They have a nice talk and she shoots three arrows into him before he gets back on horse to Castle Black, barely conscious.  Already there are Samwell and Gilly, who have explained their situation to the Maester.  A bunch of ravens are sent out to inform the Realm of the threat.

At Dragonstone, Davos talks to the imprisoned Gendry. He's sort of like a son to him and Davos isn't pleased that Stannis wants to use blood magic--and Gendry's death--to become king.  Davos, who can now read, receives the raven's message.  He goes to see Stannis, who is celebrating Robb's death with the Red Woman.  Her magic is working, they figure.  Davos speaks up for Gendry but nothing doing.  Fed up, Davos (who is becoming the moral center of the show?) frees Gendry.  Stannis sentences him to death, but then Davos informs him of the White Walkers.  Melisandre looks into the fire and sees Stannis will need Seaworth, so he gets to live.  (She's right about a lot of things, but I still don't like her.) Ha, saved by the religion you mock, says Stannis.

At King's Landing, an unrecognizable Jaime enters the gates along with protector (?) Brienne. Since we've been waiting the entire season for this, it's fairly underplayed.  He quickly gets to the castle and into Cersei's room.  They haven't seen each other since the first season.  Once again, underplayed--little dialogue, little time spent.  Okay, there's a lot to do, but everything about this homecoming is a big deal. Some questions. Is Jaime a changed man?  Can he continue his affair with his sister?  Will Tywin finally crack a smile?  Will he be infuriated that his favorite child has been mutilated?  How will Brienne, sworn to the enemy, be treated?  Will she get to return?  Where?  Will she stick around with Jaime?  I guess the big moments are waiting for the next season.

As almost an afterthought, we cut to Daenerys outside the gates of Yunkai.  How will the "liberated" slaves take to her?  They shout "Mhysa" (the title of the episode), which means "mother," and sweep her away in their arms.  So she's a hit.  End of show.  This isn't really that big a deal, since we saw her conquer the city last week, and take Astapor earlier. She's a great success in Slaver's Bay, but we're still waiting to see how she does when she crosses the Narrow Sea.  Her final moments in seasons 1 and 2 were far more stirring--this season she mostly gained strength and adherents but stayed on the sidelines when it comes to the big fight.

So a whole lot of characters poised to make their next move.  What else is new?  But this time we're not even at the end of a novel, but in the middle of one (the third). And we have to wait till next year to get more episodes. It's almost enough to make one break down and buy the book.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear the books diverge from the series a little bit as time has gone on. I read the first book and watched season 1 last month and found it to be an enjoyable experience- the book adds a lot more background to scenes you have seen and then there are the occasional TV scene that wasn't in the book plus al the visual detail. It didn't seem to matter which I read first. (I didn't really need worry about spoilers since I was watching season 3 when I decided to go back in time and catch up)- Think I'll do the same for season 2 next month.

I am a little disheartened to read somewhere that given Martin's age and the length of time it takes to churn out new books- we may be left hanging or with inferior copycat material to close out the series ....but that's 5-6 years away I hope.

I also hear the later books are much longer and advance the plot much less- which seems to me to be an occupational hazard for writers who develop an alternate world (or any fictional setting I suppose) and over time create a lot more detail and back story.

9:04 AM, June 13, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish the series would diverge more from the books each season so by the end all those smug Martin who post spoilers would be as clueless as the rest of us.

11:22 AM, June 13, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get all the concern with spoilers. Information is power.

Any work depending the emotional manipulation of a surprise so much that it can't be enjoyed without such a cheap thrill can't be worth all that much.

I was surprised by the Red Wedding scene last week - the shock I guess was fun but jarring as it came at the very end -I wouldn't have minded knowing- I could have appreciated the bad musicians and the other foreshadowing a little more.

To each his or her own, I guess although I would point out (SPOILER ALERT), we're all going to die some day.

11:42 AM, June 13, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many reasons to watch a show like Game Of Thrones, but number one has always been the unfolding of the plot. Those who give away big moments destroy a lot of the fun.

12:56 PM, June 13, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you lost interest in Mad Men? Or am I just not paying attention? Is it over also?

4:26 PM, June 13, 2013  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I still watch Mad Men, but I haven't been regularly reviewing MM or Game Of Thrones this season. This was the final episode of GOT so I figured I'd get in my last licks.

It is true that I prefer Game Of Thrones to Mad Men these days. The only other drama I follow as closely right now is Breaking Bad, which will start up again in a couple months.

6:38 PM, June 13, 2013  
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