Obligatory Recap – Arya can stand on her toe and is about to start catching cats, Sansa has Teen ‘Tude Face, Jon is building character with Samwell Tarly, Ned begins to put two-and-bastard together, the Tourney begins, there is a lot of blood, we hear the story of the Hound and the Mountain That Rides, for some reason we have to see Viserys in a bathtub, and Tyrion begins to have a Very Bad Day.
I’m about 3/4 through the book in my re-read, so this episode felt Very Slow indeed. It was Plot Point Set Up Central, really – “Here is some dragon mythology!” “Here is a reference to a failed rebellion and why Theon Greyjoy is such a sourpuss!” “Here are a bunch of sigils and How They Were Useful Back In The Day,” “Here is what Winter is like!”
Things I did like? Dany smacking Viserys in the face with a belt.
Things I did not like? A momentarily humanizing scene where Viserys gets some bathtub nookie while waxing (. . .) rhapsodic about dragon skulls. Was this all to set up next week’s scene where Arya, playing in the Red Keep’s dungeons, stumbles into the room with the dragon skulls? If so, ok, but I feel certain we could all have understood that these skulls had something to do with the previous ruling class and their incessant talk of dragons WITHOUT needing to see Viserys all sweaty and tendrily with Sex Tips McGee.
I think we’re starting to get a sense of who the major players and their associates are, names are sticking with faces, and the climate of political intrigue is becoming all too clear. If you’re not mentally telegraphing the Starks to get the eff back to Winterfell, you’re not paying attention. Ned is making slowwww progress on his Who Killed Jon Arryn quest, but this episode was a lot of Minor Character Explains Local Folklore to Major Character and it grated on me a little.
Sigh, I guess the show has to stretch some arcs while condensing others…and since you don’t get the nice sightseeing storytelling narrative backdrop to various scenes and riding-horses-to-places, somebody has to get the foreshadowing wheel rolling re: dragons and winter and throne-gaming. I guess. I continue to like Littlefinger and Jorah Mormont more than I did in the book…and thus far Drogo a little less just because we haven’t heard him speak at all yet.
Where I’m at in the book, he and Dany are that annoying PDA couple with the nicknames – she calls him her Sun and Stars and the Sun of her life, and he calls her the Moon of his life… the Dothraki society is an example of a gender role division where both men and women are honored for their contributions. Due to their lifestyle women have to be tough, all pregnant and bareback, etc, and the wives of the horselords all retire to the Dosh Khaleen, a ruling body of crones, when their husbands die. So that’s kind of cool. Unless you want to fight and have your own bloodriders instead of eating a stallion’s heart while you’re already pregnant and queasy. Whoops, I’m getting ahead of myself.
And to the Googler who hates the actress playing Dany and came to my blog seeking solace…I hope you finally saw some sparks of life in her this week – she was definitely playing Blank Victim for the first 3 episodes, but is finally coming alive. I feel your pain, though.
Any true Game of Thrones fan understands that this series is a marathon, not a sprint. If they wanted to take their time laying out the groundwork in this episode, it’s only the counterweight of the trebuchet swinging up so they can fling us forward when all hell breaks lose, accusations of paternity begin to fly, a hunting trip goes horribly wrong, we meet Catelyn’s sister Lysa, and Tyrion’s Very Bad Day gets a whole lot worse.