Monday, June 10, 2013

Weekend Review: Game of Thrones S03E10, "Mhysa."

"I don't always orchestrate the brutal slaughter of my enemies, but
when I do, I have it happen at a state wedding and make sure
somebody else takes the blame."
"The Northerners will never forget."

"Good.  Let them remember what happens when they march on the South."

Tywin Lannister is kind of a dick.

After the Red Wedding last week--and the massive cauldron of anticipation that had been bubbling up inside us book-readin' types for weeks--this episode could've easily been nothing more than an examination of the massacre's fallout.  And while it did cover that ground, it also was surprisingly eventful, setting up a few of the big stories that we'll start seeing in the next season.

But first, let's talk about the Lannisters.

There were only a few scenes involving the winning team, but they were all outstanding.  First we had Tyrion and Sansa actually seeming to develop the beginnings of a friendship as they plotted ways to take non-injurious revenge upon a couple of prickish noblemen.  Later, there was a great scene between Tyrion and Cercei that once again let the Lannister lady show that there really is a human being in there, one devoted completely to her children... even if she's slowly come to realize that her eldest is a complete psychopath.  Then there was the brief, almost silent reunion between Cercei and Jaime.  (Thankfully changed dramatically from the book.  Seriously, you do not want to know how it went down.  Don't look it up.  You'll think a lot better of Jaime that way.)

But the show-stealer was the Small Council meeting in which a giddy King Joffrey delivered the news that Robb Stark was dead.  "Killed a few puppies today?" Tyrion asked as he beheld one of the most ghastly sights the show has ever portrayed: Joffrey smiling.

Go home, Joffrey.  You're tired.
There was a lot of great stuff in this, from Grand Maester Pycell's continuing grudge against Tyrion, to Joffrey's insistence that he'd have Robb's head delivered and cooked up for Sansa--I immediately pictured the chilled monkey brains from Temple of Doom--and Tyrion's utterly badass rebuttal.

This was followed up by another blow to Joffrey's ego delivered by Tywin, and for a second there, I really thought the Lannister men might bond over their shared hatred of their king.  Sadly, that was not to be; Tywin, as mentioned previously, is kind of a dick.

Elsewhere in Westeros, Sam and Gilly finally made it to the secret tunnel through the Wall, just in time to meet Bran and company.  Turns out he wasn't a complete idiot for leaving that dragonglass dagger behind after killing the Walker; he had a freaking arsenal of them tucked into his various furs and pouches.  This episode was actually a nice chance for Sam to redeem himself overall, after becoming a wee bit obnoxious and grating during his awkward scenes with Gilly over the last few weeks.  We finally got to see that, as in the books, while Sam might be an absolutely terrible warrior, he's still heroic in his own, nerdy way.  "I am the shield that guards the realms of men.  The realms of men."

Man, I knew there was a reason he was one of my favorite characters in the books.

A bit further south, in the Dreadfort... wait, wait.  Uh, Starks?  Guys?  One of your primary bannermen came from a castle called the Dreadfort and had a flayed man as their sigil.  Seriously, guys.  Is a little genre-awareness too much to ask?

Anyway.  In the Dreadfort, we finally got the reveal that us book people had figured out a few episodes into the season: Evil Frodo is Ramsay Snow, Roose Bolton's bastard son.  The first image we have is of him eating a sausage while the camera zooms in on Theon's newly lonesome crotch.  Yeah, I fell for it, too.  Fortunately, it was just a pork sausage; Theon's porking sausage was somewhere else entirely.

Where?  Why, the Iron Islands, as part of a delivery to his dear old dad.  And it looks like Theon's going to continue driving plots that weren't in the books, as his sister Asha Yara embarks upon a quest to free him from Ramsay's sadistic clutches.  I'm interested to see how this plays out, and man, isn't it funny that all of a sudden it's the Ironborn who are our heroic protagonists while the Warden of the North and his progeny are the wretched villains?  Game of Thrones, everybody.

Arya and the Hound: not the heartwarming
children's movie it sounds like.
Back near the Twins, Arya got another one of those "this little girl is completely badass, but I really shouldn't be rooting for her to be murdering all these dudes because that's really effed up, but seriously, go Arya" moments.  Her relationship with the Hound in the books is a really interesting one; she becomes more and more a ruthless killer like him, while he... well.  Spoilers.

Anyway, you've got to love how he scolded Arya for shanking that dude in the throat.  "Next time you're going to do something like that, tell me first."  Come on, Arya, it's only polite.

In Dragonstone, Sir Davos Seaworth got a pretty decent amount of screentime to prove, once again, that he's a really decent guy with a good sense of the big picture.  Thanks to him--and Melisandre, I suppose--King Stannis will soon be on his way to the Wall to fulfill the destiny prophesied in the flames.  I'm sure this will be totally good news for the Night's Watch, with zero complications arising from having a landed noble (and a king, to boot) setting up shop alongside a military order sworn to strict neutrality.  Yup.

A clip from Game of Thrones: The Musical.
Finally, back over in Yunkai, Daeny once again snagged the final scene of the season finale, in which she was subjected to an entire mob of ex-slaves bombarding her with  Jar Jar Binks impressions.  It was a pretty, impressive-looking scene, but nowhere nearly as impactful a finish as her rebirth in fire, or Sam's encounter with the Army of the Dead.  Of course, that could be considered in keeping with the books.  Daeny's about to start trying to learn how to actually rule a realm, rather than just conquering it.  And ruling is never as exciting as conquering.

And so--to echo a joke the entire internet has already made--our watch begins as we wait for Season Four.  Next year, over ten glorious weeks, we'll get to see another wedding, a knight embarking upon a noble quest, and lots more Ridiculously Photogenic Mercenary Guy.  I can't wait.

Hrm... one problem, though.  With the season over, every show I'm currently watching is on hiatus.  Crap, what am I going to review next week?  If only there were something coming out this week, something I've been watching with dread and not a little revulsion.  Something I already have a lot to say about without having even seen it yet.  Something that takes a beloved franchise and twists it into an unrecognizable mockery, a rejection of everything that made it so appealing and fun, just so its owners can compete in a market that's already oversaturated as it is.

If only... if only...

Oh.  Right.


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