Episode Reviews (11)
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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?
The story moves on apace and struggles with what to leave in and out from the books.
The Good? Bran's first experience as a warg, Jon's confrontation with Craster, Theons turncoat moment, Tyrion's scheming to trap Cersei's snitch and Sansa's dismay at her self-made situation are pitched perfectly.
The Bad? Arya's plight is done a real disservice by condensing 3 to 4 of her chapters into 2 scenes. This criticism can be levelled at almost any episode to a degree but in this one Aryas friendship with Hot Pie, Lommy and Gendry is sadly underdeveloped. Also Aryas interaction with Rorge, Biter and Jaqen, which is crucial to their later stories, is pretty much cut completely. Why does this matter if the the story gets told? Well for me Arya is one of the strongest characters in the whole saga. Along with Tyrion, Jon, & Dany she stands out as a character we sympathise with and love to watch (or read about).
The Ugly? (Well not quite but it fits with the title) Briennes intro was excellent. She isn't exactly the masculine brute described in the books so I'm not sure the ridicule she attracts because of her masculine features will be justified but she certainly is a tall woman, towering over Caitlin and most of the men in the show. I was worried about Briennes casting because GRRM is so keen to describe her god awful looks but I think my worries were misplaced.
My only other Ugly issue with the episode is the gay scenes with Renly & Loras. Not very subtle though admittedly more restrained than the hetrosexual scenes. GRRM is noted for being quite graphic in the sex department but he doesn't make this aspect of Renly's sexuality explicit for a reason, it leaves the reader thinking and this should be how the producers treat other sex scenes too. The producers, sadly, overplay the adult aspect of the books to the detriment of the story. I'd rather see more of Arya's story and less rutting, which brings me to Margaery. The casting of Natalie Dormer was only going to result in a bit of bare flesh, which I don't mind as she is an unconventionally beautiful and fine actress but when we get to later seasons and she is a target for Cersei's hatred, we really are not going to believe she could be the virginal queen she insists she is. It doesn't help that she is supposed to be a similar age to Sansa, who lets face it portrays the consummate virgin princess. Margaery, however, reveals that she is not only a sexually avaricious schemer but also into the same level of deviancy as the Lannister twins. I do like Natalie Dormer though and I think she will be a credit to the show.
Overall it was a good episode but unfortunately the restriction of 10 episodes per season means we only get a few scenes per episode for each major character. Some viewers will find this a real disappointment or even a turn off. I sympathise with the producers problem; spend more on the cost of each episode but cap the seasons budget. Lovers of the books will want to see more episodes in line with other major TV dramas but sadly the money is probably never going to be forthcoming.moreless
Tyrion is a sly bugger and gay kings haven't lost quality since the first season
Instantly continuing where we left off, "What Is Dead May Never Die" is calming the audience after a what I thought to be supremely ominous cliffhanger in the previous episode. Jon Snow is alright and Samwell gets to have his romantic moment. Sort of. Meanwhile, we have Catelyn starting her negotiations with the charismatic gay king Renly, a character that I'm very pleased to see again, Tyrion proving that he is a really smart cookie, and Theon having to decide which side of his two families he's on. And last but not least, there is a small but powerful battle scene at the end of the episode involving Arya.
What stands out in this episode is clearly the way Tyrion, the new Hand of the King, detects Cersei's snitch a method thoroughly entertaining to watch if you haven't read the books. Even if so, I'm sure you'll find pleasure in watching Peter Dinklage outshine everyone in the same room with him. I, however, found some flaws in Sansa encountering Shae for the first time, a scene that obviously needed more takes, in my humble opinion. Another con was Theon confronting his father, which didn't felt genuine and quite nondescript to watch. I simply dislike the whole idea of him coming back to Pyke and none of the scenes until this point as well as none of the scenes in the next two episodes (I've already seen them) made change my opinion about that.
In the end, those two things didn't bother me a lot because as usual, the good stuff was predominant and I had great fun with the introduction of Margaery Tyrell in particular. Natalie Dormer is an utterly talented young actress who manages to keep her character interesting not only in a sexual sense (she's still hot, though). Gwendoline Christie does a fine job as Brienne of Tarth yet I have the same issue as with the Theon story part: I don't like the original idea by George R. R. Martin. The other returning cast members, Gethin Anthony and Finn Jones, sustain their good performances from season one while still keeping their relationship juicy.
Altogether, this makes for some entertaining 50 minutes filled with the usual good acting, pretty set design, well-written dialogs, great score, and a final scene just as enthralling as the ones in the first two episodes.moreless
The Buzz Killer
Theon finally sells his brother-in-arms as he aims to the same goal as his father. Elsewhere Not-a-Lady Brianne defeats Sir Loras wining a place in an army that might not be suited for the winter, as Lady Catlyn Stark points out. Renly's problems seem bigger than whether or not he can produce an heir sooner than his brother Stannis, for the time being.
That seems to be a problem the once and future Night's Watch doesn't have, for it has more than proven to be as resilient as the Night's Watch that was, Gendry sleeping close by as Arya cleans her sword & share stories with Yoren (not unlike her father used to do, back when it was Lady Stark the one who slept close to him). Alas, that's the last story the old warrior shared, for Yoren managed to kill 5 of the King's men before the other 15 stabbed him in the back.
Gendry and the kids try their best to avenge their master, up until a moment of fleeting doubt in which it appears Robert's son may be as dead as Lommy, that is until Arya saves his life, by pretending the bastard they came to find was the same child who was already killed, and so the last son of Robert and the last daughter of Ned march together toward an uncertain future.moreless
What is Dead May Never Die
-"Every man who's tasted my cooking has told me what a good whore I am."
-It is really interesting to see Cersei lose control of herself for a moment, and even more interesting (for those who've read the books) to actually see interplay between Renly and Margaery.
-Tyrion's cleverness gets to shine, and Grand Maester Pycelle gets a haircut.
-Arya too gets to exhibit both her cleverness, as well as her loyalty.
What is dead may never die. What an ending? I've never read the books, but S2 is turning out to be very intriguing. It is now quite somber and even more suspenseful making it somewhat more pragmatic for a fantasy tale. The soundtracks at the end I must say are very good, especially on this episode. It was fitting, if you know what I mean. Anyways, two thumbs up for Game of Thrones S2. doing well so far.
Lots of Tyrion + Greyjoy's = great episode
So far, my favorite character in GoT has been Tyrion Lannister, and since he's also the most relevant character to the plot, any episode that has a lot of Tyrion in it is bound to be good. Dinklage once again stars in his role with several good scenes here. At KL, Tyrion is still getting rid of all his enemies to ensure no one betrays him and does in a very clever and brilliant way.
The other scenes we focused on were the ones in Pike, with the Greyjoy's. I felt last episode that the directors were needlessly adding another location and more plotlines by including this family but now I'm glad they did. Seriously, Theon's arc in this episode was awesome. And the baptism by salt water scene was simply great.
Though Catelyn arrived at wherever Renly is, they didn't really converse about anything important, so the scene simply introduced us to more characters. The scene with Sansa and shay was boring but near the end of the episode we did see Arya and Yoren, and how badass was his death? That really made my day tbh.
Anyways, I'd say this was one of the better episodes this season, though I still feel the show needs more politics and war. After all this is a war, and we still haven't even seen Papa Lannister.moreless
A Crazy Little Thing Called Lying
The widening of Westeros continued in finer fashion than last week as Alliance were partially made or entirely destroyed. Catelyn's visit to Renly's camp was awesome as we learned a LOT about the dynamic of Renly's relationship with Loras and Margaery and how his subjects suspect his night time activities which gave us book readers something we never got other than hints from the series. Jon got a snippit after Craster kicks him and the Night's Watch out of his home. Robb is absent but Theon went through a rather harsh phase as he joined his father's ranks to raid the North since Robb Stark has the entire northern army in the riverlands and after writing Robb a warning letter burns it and becomes baptized to the Drowned God. Dany was absent as well. But Renly's camp was the show stealer as we see what all the young "Summer Knights" who are unblooded and eager for war but don't know what they're really in for. Brienne is perfect in her armor and her demeanor. And in the books, it's the Rainbow Guard for Renly, should've kept that. Arya and the other Night's Watch recruits are attacked by Lannister Guards and Yoren (spoiler) gets shot by a crossbow and is given a super badass death but it's always good to see Lannister blood be spilled before yet another good person bites the dust. Tyrion played the game of thrones by finding out who is leaking information to Cersei by promising he will wed Myrcella to a different heir to different kingdoms and Pycelle, who also sold out Ned Stark shockingly. He locks Pycelle up in the Black Cells and shaves his beard off as punishment and Pycelle, as the audience already knows, is much more virile and lively than he comes off as. But it was a much healthier offering to move the story forward and didn't feel quite as scattered as last week's sexposition heavy episode. But seeing Tyrion in power and throwing Cersei for a loop with his games.moreless
What Is Dead May Never Die
What Is Dead May Never Die was an outstanding episode of Game of Thrones and I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of plot development and character depth. It was awesome to see more focus on Theon Greyjoy and Renley Baratheon. There was a little action though nothing too serious but the intriguing drama was thicker than honey. I liked how Theon's father keeps holding to his mantra about the Ironborn and taking what is his along with his plot to take the North as they fight the Lannisters in the South. Gendry and Arya have some great development as the Lannisters men return to find and kill Gendry. This episode seemed to have lots of little details that will come back to add depth to future scenarios. I certainly look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
Theon, Arya, Renly, Loras, Margaery
This episode is a great addition to the books, especially when it explores parts of the story that was originally only implied, but never shown because no POV character was present. In particular, the relationship between the king, his wife, and his wife's brother. It's one of those great love stories, and I've always thought it could have benefitted with much more narrative. Moreover, Margaery was brilliantly played - she's every bit as cunning as in the books, but in the TV adaptation, she also has an air of mystery about her, which is a welcome addition to her character.
There were parts of the book that were done slightly differently, and I somehow ended up loving most of it. I especially enjoyed the internal conflict in the iron prince. I've always believed that his divided loyalty was killing him, and in the TV adaptation, this was perfectly illustrated in the letter burning scene. It is much easier to empathise with this version of the iron prince, and this makes his story much more personal.
Of course, not every part of the adaptation I liked. I would have liked to see Arya more true to her book counterpart. Don't get me wrong, I loved the this version of her too, and the child actress that plays her is absolutely brilliant. But there was one crucial piece missing in her TV characterisation: her anger. Her bottled-up anger was absolutely heart-breaking in the books, and it was what made me love her so much. I wish they'll explore that in the coming episodes!moreless