Review? I was in two minds as to whether to bother writing about this show as I think anything I write about it is going to be a love-in. I guess it balances out my usual criticism of my geek-staple of the moment, ‘Arrow’. This week’s episode was less about moving people into places, but poking at them, letting us see something of where they are at emotionally.
This episode we got to see Jon in Night Watch Commander role. I was unsure how his position was going to play out, whether it would divide the watch, but he proved to be a supported, tactical and assertive leader. I thought he would show mercy against the insubordination he experienced, I thought Jon might be the man to temper the brutal black and white nature of the Night’s Watch, or even Westeros. I really forgot what show I was watching. Yet, despite his brutal justice, it was the right thing to do. In that world people need to know the risk they take in not towing the line–or you’ll end up dead, and this seemed like a pivotal moment for Jon. He has proved himself to the Wildlings in sparing Mance from suffering, and now he has proven himself to the Watch by replacing the old guard. King of the North?
The weakest part of the story, if there was one, was seeing Arya in the house of Black and White, as it’s unclear what is actually going on in that place, what training actually occurs. Yet, watching Arya give up on everything–almost everything–that made up who she is was emotional. I was glad she didn’t give-up everything, but I worry that this will affect the transition that she wants–needs–to make to further her goals.
The hardest to watch was Sansa’s story. From Jofrey to Roose Bolton. I hadn’t expected that. I’m pleased that even my mind, which can be cruel enough towards my own characters, had not considered that possibility. If Sansa truly did have the choice that Baelish gave her, then I wonder if her choosing this alliance with the people that have destroyed her family is a sign that she is going to begin turning her own wheels in the world. Reek is there, and if the house maid is anything to go by, she could have allies in her old home. She could even become a figurehead for the oppressed North. Providing Roose doesn’t flay her or anything… Seeing Stansa with her dark hair and sullen face, you could really see a young Catelyn Stark, and she was certainly a force to be reckoned with. It was interesting that although Baelish has his plan it would seem that he didn’t count on Roose. Will Sansa be able to manipulate and use Roose and become the Lady MacBeth of Westeros?
With the difficult decisions of Arya and Sansa, it was nice that Brienne and Pod are finding something in one another’s company. It was also satisfying to see Marjery play Tommen against Cersei, but Cersei is not someone you toy with. I can’t see Cersei escaping the prophecy of her childhood, but equally I don’t see her giving up without there being blood. Varys and Tyrion gave us some much needed humor, even if it came to how Tyrion’s actions have affected him. Varys has always been the man of shadows insulated from his plans, but now he is in the thick of it, and it would seem that his plan has gone very wrong. It would seem that Tyrion is going to reach Deanerys, but not as an ally, but an offering, and without Tyrion what is Varys now? A player distanced from the board? Hopefully Varys’ quick tongue will be able to rescue Tyrion and salvage his plans.
Something I’ve noticed this series is that it’s not just about the power struggles of the courts, we’re seeing something of the people–sparrows, the slaves, the slavers, the resistance to Daenerys, and I wonder if this season is about the rallying of the people for the various causes, as the houses maneuver with the weakened Lannister throne. If so, it’s a nice change up, and will only deepen the world of Westeros.
Loving it. Even though Monday is day one of two days in my week where it’s work followed by college, this is one thing that helps me through. Good stuff.