I've mentioned in the past where things get lost in the translation of books to TV, yet the reverse is true too. With George Martin's writing style of using POV characters, it wasn't possible to include the conversation between Cersei and Robert Baratheon, unless Arya Stark was hiding beneath a bed the entire time, or if he even planned it. The book paints Robert as a drunkard who makes unwisely decision time and time again, and yet his five or so minutes talking with Cersei revealed more about his character than all of the book did. The figurative language and metaphors used, it was an absolutely brilliant scene! Especially when he said that ruling the seven kingdoms couldn't even replace the void left in him by Lyanna Stark. And the book made Robert look like a foolish king who would be arrogant enough to meet the Dothraki in open battle, and yet he brought reason to him in the TV show.
While the ending of the first episode pretty much gave away all the answers to us as the viewer of Ned Stark's detective story, seeing everything unfold was still entertaining to see. I thought nothing of Ser Hugh of the Vale and thought he was just fodder to be killed by the mountain, but Ned found importance in his role in the grand scheme of things. The relationship between Ser Loras and Renly Baratheon somewhat surprised me; I've seen Game of Thrones before reading it, but that was something I've forgotten. My only complaint for the episode is that if there was Jory's role in the TV show wasn't as magnified in the book, and his death in the book a lot more sad than in the show. Nonetheless, a spectacular episode, and that is despite two of my three favorite characters (Daenerys and Jon Snow) not making an appearance at all, and although there was little of my third favorite (Tyrion Lannister), he had enough smart remarks to bring me a laugh.
"The Wolf and the Lion" continues the trend of okay, yet unspectacular, episodes of Game of Thrones. I still prefer Showtime's middle ages drama The Borgias to this, but the HBO series does have some fine acting and some nice action from time to time that make the show worth watching. This show focuses more on the relationships among these different groups of people than that program does, but more often than not that does not translate to great TV. This was a solid hour, but for that reason I mentioned it really has not lived up to the hype. When there is not a big climatic moment, the episodes tend to be fairly mediocre, like this one was.
The Wolf and the Lion was a perfect episode of Game of Thrones and I really enjoyed watching this episode because it had lots of intrigue, action and character development. The plot thickened as Lady Stark held a Lanister hostage, though he helped her and made her think about his part in her accusation. I also thought King Robert was thinking a little too narrowly though his worries did have some merit. I really like the pace, flow and story lines of this series. I have not read the books, but I sure would knowing that they are probably even better than the series, though the series is outstanding so far! I love the intrigue overincest within the family and how far some of these cover ups go. I look forward to watching the next episode of Game of Thrones!!!!!!!
I'm not one to say that a show requires action scenes to be compelling.. if that were the case, "Mad Men" would be my least favorite show of all time. However, I do like "Mad Men" quite a lot, and while I like me some slow-burning drama and tension, I also like the occasional outburst of action. While the first four episodes were preparations for the rest of the season, this fifth episode of "Game of Thrones" was amazing, giving us everything that's great about drama in fifty minutes.
Last week's cliffhanger is quickly resolved, as Catelynn Stark and a slew of men that she picked up along the way prepare to question Tyrion Lannister for his (supposed) attempted murder of Bran. Tyrion denies it, and soon enough, they're attacked by what I believe is Hill People. Tyrion saves Cat's life, and she allows him to walk with them without being tied up... but for some insane reason, Cat still decides to take Tyrion to Jon Aryn's wife and see what she thinks, even though Jon's wife believes the Lannister's are responsible for killing Jon. Tyrion is thrown in prison.
The only reason I'm so precise in describing what happened here is because Catelynn's actions come to effect Ned's. You see, Ned is already feeling a bit hesitant to stay on as Robert's Hand, mostly because Robert wants to assassinate Daenerys since she is now pregnant with a Doth Raki child (we also don't see any of the blonde-haired queen, which I don't have any complaints about). Ned refuses to do so and resigns from the position. We also learn that Jon Aryn was looking into all of Robert's bastard children before he died and that there are people are already plotting to kill Ned. As a result, when Ned is approached by Jaime Lannister about his brother, Ned admits he had his brother captured, and we get an insanely entertaining fight between Ned and Jaime that would've been even better if Jaime's man hadn't stepped in.
In between these two sections, we get a handful of equally entertaining and revealing scenes. There's a great one between Robert and Cersei where Robert remembers his former lover, Ned's sister. We get a great fight between the Mountain and his brother, the man with the burned face. There's also an interesting scene between one of the Grayjoy kids and the red-haired whore that is frequently mentioned by everybody. I think showing us a Grayjoy randomly and never going back to him is a good sign of what to expect in coming episodes. They wouldn't show him unless he were going to somehow have an impact.
Overall, this was just a great episode of television and perhaps the best Game of Thrones episode to date. I'm not sure I agree with "thefanof" in this case (and normally, I respect what he has to say about shows in general) about the episode not having a climatic moment.. I thought that a small amount of action sequences and some more plot development was more than enough to keep me interested. I didn't feel bored like last week, where it felt like we were being told everything.
If the final five episodes are as good as the first five were, we're in for a real treat this year with "Game of Thrones."
Anyone for a 100% Stark versus Lannister ? Spartacus : Blood and Sand had its The Thing in the Pit, now Game of Thrones has The Wolf and the Lion ! So much violence was almost refreshing and the swordfights were brutal, specially the one with the wicked brothers, and well choreographed. The end was specially shocking considering how much Ned had grown on us in the past episodes. One minute you're the hand of the king, the next you're left for dead in a dark alley. I can't wait to see how they'll respond even if Lady Stark definitely made the wrong move by kidnapping the dwarf ! However it allowed us to discover a whole new side of her life… her mentally disturbed sister ! From the disturbing milking session to the vertiginous dungeon it was reminiscent of epic fantasy productions like Willow and Conan of course ! Let's hope the prisoner isn't a snack for some creepy flying creature ! In general I really enjoyed the confusing way relationships are developed. They're all wicked and I have no idea who are the true friends and who are the evil foes. My only disappointment was that I missed Daenerys but at least the two gay men reminded me of Viserys because of one's resemblance with him. In fact it's interesting that so many sexual aspects are covered : Raw and wild ride with a hot female slave, androgynous characters… There're so many elements to blur the lines and that definitely makes the show even deeper !
Now THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how you pen an episode of television. That was absolutely incredible. There are so many scenes and sequences, both new to the TV show, and drawn from the books that were outstanding that I do not know where to begin. This episode focused chiefly on the events taking place at King's Landing, but it also took some time to follow Catelyn and Tyrion's journey to the Eyrie, and Bran and Theon up at Winterfell. It did not focus on Jon up at the wall, or Dany and Viserys across the Narrow Sea. However, I'm quite certain that our Targaryen siblings will have a LOT to do in the next episode… Winterfell: Bran is seen learning the different house mottos and sigils with Maester Luwin while Theon Greyjoy shoots arrows at a straw target. This scene wasn't so much a lesson as it was on the history of various houses so much as it was an insight into how Bran truly feels about waking up to his entire family being gone. I think it is a testament to Isaac Hempstead-Wright's acting for his ability to convey the burden of knowing that he'll never walk again combined with the lack of immediate support from his family. I'm really growing to like his approach to Bran, a character I'm not particularly fond of in the books. We also get to see Theon (and his penis at a brothel where he is with this 'Roz,' who Tyrion bedded in the previous episode. Her character is new to the TV show, but serves her purpose well, which is to continue Theon's characterization, who was not one of the point of view characters in the novel. New scenes for the sake of characterization seemed to be a strong factor in this episode (and were greatly welcomed by my viewing party). The Eyrie and the Vale of Arryn: As you all know by now, I tend to get a little too excited whenever Tyrion is on screen…and this is precisely why. What could be more exciting than watching him bash his shield into a clansman's face? Although the journey to the Vale was rough, nothing could be stranger than what they find inside: Lysa Arryn and her child, Robin (named Robert in the books) are not well. She is mentally unstable, and he is a sickly little breast-fed eight-year old. I didn't really mind that there weren't too many scenes with Tyrion or Catelyn in this episode, because there was so much happening down in King's Landing that it didn't matter. Besides, Tyrion will have plenty to do soon… I would also like to point out how much I LOVE the look of the Eyrie. It is simply gorgeous. That pan out from Tyrion's face as he looked down the cliff in his cell was one of my favorite camera shots so far in the show. Masterful cinematographers at the top of their craft are at work here. King's Landing: Three new scenes stand out: Varys and Littlefinger by the Iron Throne, Renly and Ser Loras discussing 'politics,' and Queen Cersei and King Robert in their chambers. Varys and Littlefinger exchanged blows in a neat new little scene that helped explain both of their inner machinations. Because neither of them is granted a POV chapter in the book, this scene comes as a welcome relief for two very interesting characters. Personally, I hope that the show will continue to explore their dichotomy in the episodes to come. It is these tensions among various characters that is the heart of a strong story. I find one of the things that makes LOST so wonderful is that the story merely plays a backdrop to the characters and their histories. I'm finding Game of Thrones leaning towards the LOST angle more and more; fantasy and science fiction only work as a plot if we care enough about the characters so that the fanthistorical universe doesn't matter, because they have ambitions and fears. Renly and Ser Loras finally have their relationship, only hinted at in the books, fully realized. Ser Loras plants the idea in Renly's head that should he one day follow in his brother's footsteps and become king, that he should learn qualities that would better suit a kingly leader, such as being used to the sight of blood. I personally enjoyed this scene. To me, it was kind of like when J.K. Rowling announced that Dumbledore was gay Who cares, really? In fact, I'm happy that there are gay people in the GOT universe. Additionally, it plants the seed in Renly's mind that he could one day be king, furthering the episode's theme of the characterization of sub-plot characters. Lastly, the best of all the new scenes was easily that involving Cersei and Robert, in my opinion. It was very satisfying to see the two of them discuss their arranged marriage (though some might say forced). Cersei sat there trying to just reach out to her husband to gain any kind of affection, only to hear that never once did he ever love her. Watching Cersei's reaction to Robert's saying that he was in only ever in love with Lyanna Stark was heart wrenching. The two of them have such strong acting chops, and such wonderful screen chemistry to top it off that new scenes like this are able to soar. Up until this point, Cersei has been portrayed only as a cold-hearted villain who lusts for power for herself and her children. This scene furthers the notion that the characters in Westeros are not one-sided coins. What is the point of a villain who's only character trait is 'cruelty' and 'being bad?' Funny that I should save the most central character until last, but I suppose I wanted to shake things up a little, yea? Eddard and King Robert exchange witty banter in one of the first scenes of the episode. As Robert pointlessly teases Lancel Lannister for no reason, his and Ned's friendship is further emphasized and strengthened. This scene helps very much to pave the way for their eventual argument. Later on, Robert is all gung-ho about murdering Daenerys and her unborn child to prevent the child from leading an army to take back Westeros. He also suggests that Viserys should be killed too, but who cares about him, anyway? Ned is so strongly against the idea of this homicide that he resigns as King's Hand. Their 'breakup scene,' or so to speak, was very dramatic because of the way the characters have been established and fortified. To speak in acting terms, Sean Bean (Ned) has such wonderful beat changes. It all lies in the subtleties. If Sean Bean doesn't win an Emmy, or at least get nominated, I will be very very angry. And then, just as we were ready to take the trip with Ned back to Winterfell, he encounters a vengeful Jaime Lannister who orders Ned's men killed and leaves Ned for dead in the dirt…. How are you newbies feeling about the story? Surprised? Scared? Bored? (If you're bored, you're an idiot.) This episode was filled with a storm of swords (see what I did there?) so get ready for next week, because it's only going to get better! (or worse, if you're one of the incorrect people who is bored.)
I have to admit, the first couple episodes of Game of Thrones weren't that great. There was too much conversation, too little action and most of the scenes seemed rushed. That was understandable, considering you have nearly 30 main characters that need introducing. But now that we're past the intros, and the plot has fallen into place, we're finally getting to the juicer parts of GoT.
This episode, too, has a lot of conversation but you get the sense that the plot is really advancing from each little convo. Unlike the previous episodes, this one doesn't seem rushed but is still more interesting. That is, in part due to the fact that GoT has ditched the scenes at the wall and across the sea and is focusing more on kings landing and Tyrions little adventure. Without these two irrelevant settings (irrelevant to Kings Landing at the current time anyway), the episode has more time to advance the plot at KL.
And the plot is REALLY getting interesting now. Last episode, Catelyn kidnapped Tyrion, a rash move which we knew would affect Ned somehow. As it happens, it did, but not until the end of the episode. For the rest, Ned is still investigating and taking the help and advice of the small council to get information about Jon Arryn. The small council, or Littlefinger and Varis anyways, are a tricky lot, and we get the feeling that they have their own motives for helping Ned, or Varis does anyway. Shortly after Varis reveals that Jon Arryn was poisoned, he's spotted with the Targaryen host under the dungeons by Arya, plotting the hands death. Ned can't give it much thought though, as that moment Yoren walks in and informs him what happened. Ned tries to tell Robert, but the King has problems of his own. Having found out that Daneris is pregnant, he plots to have her killed, and the dishonor of this makes Ned resign as Hand. Clearly, he couldn't have done this at a worst time, as Jamie takes advantage of this to get revenge for his brother, injuring ned and killing his men, including poor jory :(
Separately, Catelyn and Tyrion are headed for the vale, instead of winterfell where Lannister men will be looking for their lord. Smart as this is, Catelyn clearly didn't know that her sister is damn near mad (possibly due to her husbands death) and has made the vale a sort of a freakshow. They send Tyrion into a seriosuly scary cell to await his sentence, which can only mean something really bad, considering Lysa crazy little son is lord of the vale now. Despite all the action, there is plenty of character development and information about the world in general. We get some more insight into Roberts brother Renly, who is with the knight of flowers. An effective scene with Bran helps give us some information about the houses of Westeros. Two very good scenes though, were a) the scene between Varis and Peter and b) Cersei and Robert. Varis and Peter have to be the best characters in the show simply, because we don't know what they are up to at all.
Acting, as usual, is simply amazing. I thought Isaac Hempstead (Bran) did a great job in the one scene he got. Lena Headey, Mark Addy and Aiden Gillen all do very well with their respective characters and Sean Bean and Dinklage are great as usual.
Overall a very strong episode filled with plenty of action. If you weren't hooked by GoT yet, you'll definitely be now.
Just some last thoughts
Im not a homophobe, but the Loras renly scene would probably not sit well with the majority GoT audience (i'd wager 90%+ is male.) What was disturbing though, was that seven year old kid getting breasfed, seriously?
Ned Jamie fight was excellent. I liked how Jamie was the more agressive fighter whereas Ned was a more methodological one, reflecting their personalities.
That's not to say that the previous episodes weren't well put together as well, but this just seemed to be a step above regarding the intensity and importance of the story arch to a number of the main characters. The amount of double speak/act going on by most players was enough to make even the best of us dizzy. Likewise, as an audience, we were given a strong cocktail of drama, mystery, action and even a little smudge of horror (see the scene where we are introduced to Lady Stark's insane sister as she breast feeds her much past infancy son while Tyrion and Lady Stark look on, as probably did most viewers, with their "WTF?" faces). Likewise, the character development of a large section of people is expanded upon, which leaves the viewer with highly poignant thoughts about whether their actions are the result of their ambidextrous personalities which encompass both good and evil, or just the maneuvering of manipulative power hungry men and women? Who knows, perhaps like all things it's a little bit of both. A good example of this would be Cersei Lannister and her defense of Ned Stark to the king. By all logical assumptions she should have been doing dances of joy when she heard that Stark had quit. Yet, she actually defended him which left me wondering if she has bigger plans in store for our supposed protagonist. Another dynamic I enjoyed see play out was the one between the Clegan brothers at the beginning of the episode. Did Sandor act to save the flower knight from his brother because it was the right thing to do, or because the flower knight was connected with one of the other members of the king's council (sorry I can't remember his name-still new to the show) who Sandor himself might work for? Or maybe just because he has baggage against his brother for what he did to his face when he was younger? One way or another, we now know that despite his questionable morals, he is also extremely devoted to the king's rule as he literally stopped in mid fight with one of the most dangerous men in the kingdom, despite the risk that posed to himself since his brother could have just ignored the king's cries and decapitated him. Likewise, it speaks to the king's character (aside from the less than savory way he treats all of his servants) that he allowed Gregor's temper tantrum to go on as long as it did despite the risk it posed to Sandor and the flower knight. Either way I'm now looking forward to seeing more Sandor's character in later episodes. Or how about Jamie Lannister? Is he fighting to get his brother back from the Starks because he honestly loves and cares for him the way a regular brother should (and if so, does that put him at odds with his sister who might be behind framing Tyrion for Bran's fall)? Furthermore, did he not take Ned at the end of the show because the moral ambiguity in his character, despite its far darker nature, won't allow for him to take advantage of an unfairly wounded opponent?
And then of course, on that matter, there were the fight scenes. Obviously it was great to see the Clegan brothers spar, but the real treat was of course Jamie Lannister and his men taking up arms against Ned Stark and his men. Other than the fact that it sucked to see Jori die the way he did, I have to disagree with the previous viewer (despite a great write up) that Ned seemed no match for Jamie since they both seemed fairly evenly matched given that neither landed any serious strikes. That is unless of course Jamie was just holding Ned at bay because he knew if he killed him his brother would also die (given the look of their fight, however, I some how don't think that was the case). Furthmore, as a new fan of the series, I've been continually warned by older fans not to get attached to any of the characters since the author apparently has a habit of killing off the people you least expect to die. As such, since he seems like the natural protagonist of the show, I've been expecting that Ned will die at some point this season, which made the battle between him and Jamie all the more intense. I honestly can't remember the last time I was invested in any character's well being or fate, in this or any other show, and I think that can be attributed to my genuine lack of knowledge about what to expect from one scene to the next.
Anyways, overall this was definitely my favorite episode of GOT yet and hopefully it only continues to get better. After all, if this was only a mid-season episode I can't wait to see what is put together for the season finale. P.S- Tyrion still rocks. Had to love him kicking some a** with only a shield when he could have just decided to hope on a horse and make a run for it. Not only is he a smart/industrious son of *****, but he can also fight like one too. Love it.
We got our fair deal of action this week and saw how many of our beloved characters may come to regret some of the decisions they've made. Catelyn's capturing of Tyrion leads them into Hilltribe territory where a good deal of blood is shed on the way to see her sister. Eddard learns the truth of Jon Arynn's death from a member of the council and we get a closer look into the "politics" of the kingdom. No Jon Snow or Across the Sea scenes this week which felt just fine but we did get a good joust in and learned of another bastard that King Robert has. Ned resigned as the King's Hand after learning that Robert wants to murder Daenerys and her unborn child and I completely understand him wanting to resign especially after hearing that his life is at risk courtesy of eavesdropping Arya Stark who was chasing a cat. The scene taker this week was the showdown between Jaime Lannister and Ned and his posse as they finally engage in battle but it's cut short by an over eager soldier who disables Ned before there can be a clear conclusion. We're really getting to the meat of the story here and hopefully there is much more to come even if all the other episodes aren't as explosive and dynamic as this one is it took a to get this far and now we have a lot further to go with half the season over with so let's sit back and enjoy the ride.
Speechless, this is the word. Game of Thrones delivers each week breathtaking episodes. First of all, I have to spotlight the amazing casting : Sean Bean, Michelle Fairley, Mark Ady, even the young Maisie Williams and Isaac Hempstead-Wright, all of them play their roles with perfection.
So this week's episode, The Wolf and the Lion take us into Ned's Stark difficult life as Hand of the King, surrounded by schemers and perfidious, treacherous people. More and more, Littlefinger sends chills down my spine : there is something wrong with this man. The episode deals also with Catelyn Stark's desire fore revenge, a desire that brings her and her prisonner to the Vale where her sister rules on behalf of her son. Both of them are scary... Ned Stark is tormented with Lord Jon Arryn's death and is determined to find the culprit : but he is surrounded by eyes own by the Queen, Varys the eunuch and Lord Petyr Baelish. He is now sure that Arryn has been poisoned and the death of Ser Hugh of the Vale by the hand of the Mountain is no accident. "Who hold the straws ?". Ned Stark's relationships with the King are getting worse. If both of them seem to get on well up in Winterfell, there is no denying that Robert the Fat King is no longer the young man Ned used to know. And Ned doesn't hold his tongue and shows the king his disapproval with no fear. Then, when Robert tolds Ned he wants to kill Daenerys, who is with child, Ned disagrees and the two starts a words jousting. Eventually, Ned gives up his duties as Hand of the King : wise move ? No.
Indeed, up North, Catelyn's desire for revenge brings her in dangerous field. She holds Tyrion the Imp prisoner and brings him to her sister Lysa, widow of Lord Arryn, who rules the Vale along with her son. The Imp is not a bad man and I like him, actually, pretty much, even if he is a Lannister. When all of them are attacked by brigands, he even save Catelyn's life. But anyway, she is determined that Tyron is behing the attempt on Bran's life. In the Vale, Lysa is not happy to see her sister after five years of parting. She seems to have become mad with grieve and she is overprotecting her son in a disturbing way. His son must be, well, seven or ten, and she still feeds him : is she afraid her son might be poisoned like her late husband ? Anyway, words about Catelyn's deed reach the Lannisters and Ned, who gave up his duties as Hand, is no more protected by his status and the Lion Jaime is well aware of that. When departing one of Littlefinger's brothel, where another bastard of King Robert is, Jaime Lannister and his guards are waiting for the Wolf to arrest him after what happened to his brother. A fight, wolves and lions killed and then Ned faces at last Jaime. I was so tensed. It seems to me, unfortunately, that Ned was no match for Lannister : he has become old and Jaime is still young. Maybe the Lannister guard who sticks his spear into Ned's leg did well : he prevents Jaime from killing Ned and Jaime knows it... And then it ends : Ned, the Wold, wounded and defeated by the Lion, Jaime.
An amazing episode with no flaws but only talented actors who make of Game of Thrones one of the best serie of 2011 so far.
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