Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Stormy Weather

This week's Game Of Thrones is entitled "Home." Not quite sure why. Sure, Theon says he's going home, and Bran mentions he was home, but it's still pretty generic--every episode of this show is about people either in their ancestral home, or who want to get back there.  The title would have fit better for this week's Silicon Valley, where people are worried about how they fit into their new space, and where a lead character explains as long as his skeleton is in his body, he knows he's home. A better title would be "Stormy Weather" since we cut from place to place and everywhere we go it's overcast.  But it's just a title.  What matters is the show, and it was pretty good.

We start with Bran (remember him?) and the Three-Eyed Raven (who's a guy, not a raven), underground, touching roots, but attached to the whole world and its history.  The Raven takes Bran to Winterfell, back when his dad and Uncle Benjen and Aunt Lyanna were children.  We even see a young, talking Hodor (named Wylis then). This bodes well for the show--the Bran plot threatened to be dull training, but now we can see anything anywhere, and we'll no doubt learn the answers to a lot of mysteries, especially Jon Snow's birth.

The Raven takes him back to the present, though Bran would like to stay longer.  You can look, but don't get too involved.  Meera is still around, and stir crazy.  Based on how grown up Bran is, they've been there a while.  She wonders what's the point of hanging around in a cave while he has visions (what does she do?--no friends, nothing to read, etc.), but then one of the Children Of The Forest explains he'll need her when he eventually leaves (going where?).

Back at Castle Black it's night and Aliser Thorne is tired of waiting for Davos to open the door.  Davos and his gang get ready to fight as Thorne's man starts to knock down the wall, and then, just in time, Dolorous Edd comes back with the Wildlings.  It's not much of a fight--they outnumber the paltry Night's Watch forces and have a giant, who slams a guy against a wall who shot an arrow at him. (Of all the magic in the show, I like the giants the least.  Dragons, witches, White Walkers, sure, whatever, but giants make no sense to me.) The men in Black lay down their arms.  Good thing Thorne pointlessly waited all day to knock the door down, giving Edd plenty of time to get reinforcements.

At King's Landing, a no-name guy salaciously mocks Cersei.  That's what happens when you go on the Walk Of Shame.  But soon after, that guy has his head slammed against a wall by Robert Strong, aka Frank n Mountain, who doesn't take well to cheap jokes about the Queen.  So the guy goes from no name to no head.  This show is filled by big guys killing little guys by slamming them against a wall.

The Queen, around this time, hopes to attend Myrcella's funeral, but Tommen won't let her (and she isn't ready to let Robert Strong take on the King's Guard).  Myrcella lies in state in the Sept, with Tommen and Jaime watching (it's actually nice not to have overbearing Tywin or Cersei around to tell Tommen what to do). Tommen is conflicted.  He thinks his mom probably killed Trystane (Jaime knows better), but he loves her and wants both her and wife Margaery to be free from the Faith Militant. He's the King, but can't seem to get anything done.

The High Sparrow walks in and lets Tommen know that no one can see Maggie until she confesses. Jaime convinces Tommy to go to mom while the men talk.  Jaime--who has done enough awful things that he should be in a dungeon like his sister was--could kill the Sparrow right here, with just his left hand.  But there are a bunch of other fanatics nearby, and Jaime couldn't kill them all.  This is how, the High Sparrow explains, a bunch of humble people can take over an empire.  I'm aware of the battles between Church and Crown in real history, but come on--doesn't the King have huge armies that could wipe out these guys--at least keep them out of town?  Maybe we'll find out this season.

In Cersei's chambers Tommen apologizes for all he's done--keeping her there and failing to rescue her earlier.  He promises to be tougher.  Boy, he came to the right place.

In Meereen, Tyrion, Varys, Missandei and Grey Worm hang out in the pyramid, discussing strategy (as they should have in the first episode, rather than walking around the dangerous city).  The fleet is burned and Slaver's Bay--except for Meereen--is back in the hands of slavers.  But what about the dragons? Tyrion knows (or so he's read) they don't do well in captivity.  He asks Missandei if they ever harmed her.  Nope. That's because they're smart, and know their friends.  I figured the Imp was going to send her down to the dungeon, but for some reason, he, with Varys, goes there.  Tyrion walks right up to the dragons and takes off their chains.  They leave him alone.  I guess they do know their friends--it could have been another giant smashing a little guy against a wall.

In Braavos, the Waif shows up on the street and gives Arya her daily beating.  Then Jaqen shows up offering her anything if she'll mention her name, but Arya insists she is no one. (She wants to be one of the faceless, but she's Arya, an important person from a major family who's got plenty to do.  I don't want her to be no one.)  Jaqen has her follow him--presumably to a nice place to sleep in the House of Black and White.  Her beggar days are over.  Pretty soon, one assumes, she'll be a killing machine.

At Winterfell, Roose talks about the implications of Sansa's escape.  Lord Karstark, son of the dead traitor beheaded by Robb, is there, siding with the Boltons.  Ramsay wants tough tactics, of course, such as taking Castle Black and killing the Lord Commander (they don't know he's dead) to get her back.  Roose considers this foolhardy.  Just then the master comes in and notes Lady Walda has given birth to a son.  Ramsay comes up to his dad, congratulates him, then stabs him dead.  This was pretty shocking. We knew there was tension, but I didn't think this was issue was going to be resolved so soon.  Especially considering Roose, who's been with us almost from the start, is, after Littlefinger, the wiliest character.  Next, Ramsay sends for Lady Walda and son, and sets the dogs on them at the kennel--those critters have been eating pretty well this season.  So now there's no one to control Ramsay.  He's King Joffrey, only more ruthless and sadistic.  Will he remember his dad, before he killed him, warned him if he acts like a mad dog he'll be taken out as a mad dog.  No, he won't.

In the nearby woods, Sansa and company set up camp as well as possible.  Brienne explains that she saw Arya, but the girl got away.  Soon after, we discover (anyway, I didn't know) that Sansa is aware Theon didn't kill Bran and Rickon.  So not too long ago she figured all her siblings were dead, except for Jon Snow (the one who actually was dead).  She seems to have forgiven Theon--it's touching how he's become a figure of pathos--and he'd see her to Castle Black (is that really the place to go, considering they must know Ramsay is expecting that move?), except he'd be executed by Snow the moment he got there.  He has other things to attend to, so he's going back home, to Pyke (or is it Winterfell where he has unfinished business?), where we haven't been in a while.

And we're back in the Iron Islands, where sister Yara and dad Balon are having a talk. (I just realized Yara and Arya have the same letters) We haven't seen Yara in a while, and Balon in even longer.  They don't seem to be getting along, discussing (Yara Yara Yara) her failed mission to get back Theon and other problems.  Balon demands she obey and then walks out.  As he's crossing the shaky bridge connecting towers, he meets his long-lost brother Euron, though the way the guy acts it's more like he's a ghost.  Spectre or not, he throws Balon down to the rocky shores--we haven't seen the king in years, then two scenes and he's out.  Tough gig for the actor.  Still, about time--the others from the War of Five Kings are dead, and, besides, the Red Woman did some blood-magic that was supposed to kill him.

Now that he's dead, the Islands will have a Kingsmoot to pick a new leader. Yara hopes to be the first woman to handle the job--and why not?--this show delights in powerful women.  Or will Theon ride in?  Or Euron in the flesh make his case?  More important, who cares?  Maybe the Iron Islands figure big in the books, but not in the TV show.  Now there's a whole plot about them? Maybe it'll work out as everyone converges toward King's Landing, and fights White Walkers, but let's hope they get moving--otherwise, it'll just be just a cold, wet Dorne.

At Castle Black, Davos comes into the Red Woman's room.  Former opponents, both are now at loose ends now with Stannis gone.  But they seem ready to rally around Snow.  Melisandre, however, is defeated--humility becomes her, actually.  She's more interesting than usual.  He asks if she can help bring people back from the dead.  She hasn't done it, but has seen the handiwork of Thoros, so she knows about it.  That's good enough--let's give it a shot.  Hey, how much harder is this than giving birth to a shadow baby?

So she goes into the room with Snow laid out on a table, while Davos, Tormund and others watch.  She washes him, cuts some hair, speaks a little Valyrian and hopes for the best.  Nothing.  Everyone files out.  Then Jon Snow gasps.  End of episode.

This is supposed to be a big moment, but I think everyone was expecting it.  Roose's death was far more shocking.  Let's put it this way--the show could either have this ceremony to no effect and everyone would be more annoyed than ever, or have Jon Snow wake up with the promise of more fun in future episodes.  Not much of a choice.  And, okay, Jon Snow was dead, as the producers promised, but he isn't any more.

A good episode.  A fair amount of death--one of the Night's Watch traitors, No-Name Guy, Roose Bolton, Lady Walda and her baby boy, Balon Greyjoy--am I missing anyone?  At the same time, one dead guy comes back.  No Dany (the biggest story line they dropped), no Daario and Jorah, no Margaery, no Olenna, no Sand Snakes (some of whom may be in King's Landing) and still no Samwell, Bronn or Littlefinger.  But plenty to talk about.


Blogger New England Guy said...

Nights Watch guys got struck down- one by Tormund and one by Wun Wun the giant.

So it was beyond the pale to show Brienne dispatching vicious attacking dogs last week but its OK to depict dogs ripping a helpless fat girl and her infant apart. This reminds of the particular GOT morality that got all concerned about the nature of consent between incestuous co-murderers.

From this point though, I guess Cersei has swum under the shark so to speak and will become a new heroine. (Actually I like that GOT characters are human and easily slip between good and evil and whatever but the chatter sometimes gets annoying).

Though as a former paper boy, no love for barking lunging dogs.

Here's hoping Westeros many years hence enjoys a long peaceful reign under Good King Ramsay after being shown the error of his ways by the High Sparrow (not really but it would be worth the howls)

6:04 AM, May 03, 2016  
Blogger LAGuy said...

They didn't depict dogs ripping apart anything, they just implied it. Still, it was one of the uglier deaths on GOT because of the tension leading up to it, and Lady Walda being fully aware of what was about to happen.

Roose had it easier, being killed all of a sudden. Some have complained Roose should have known what was about to happen. These people should understand he's a character in the show, not a viewer of the show. He knew Ramsay was a problem that had to be handled, and was probably thinking he might even have to kill him one day, but as a son Ramsay had always sought his approval and never spoken against him, so a sudden psychotic stabbing probably didn't seem likely.

9:01 AM, May 03, 2016  

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