Wednesday, April 27, 2011

TV: Game of Thrones - The Kingsroad

As always, potential spoilers in here for those who haven't seen the episode.

The houses of Stark and Lannister clash when the children act like children and the parents act like parents, in a solid episode that continues to establish the overall arc of the season.

The Kingsroad was a good second episode, I'm fond of episodes that setup what's to come, some aren't as it's more a "filler" but I find it's good that the creative team are trying to tie up loose ends before the journey begins or ends. At the end of the day, you can consider The Kingsroad to be one of the filler eps.

If you read the pilot review, I mentioned the idea of men and power was prevelant through the whole episode. I also talked about how I wanted to see the women of Westeros begin to bring about their unfound power over the men. That presented itself through this episode and the reaction when the women in each of their respective men's lives begins to threaten the very power they hold dear. Well, we get a glimpse of the women of Westeros begin to assert their control over their men, whether they love them or not.

One character I forgot to mention last week was Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) who played a somewhat pivotal piece in the opening minutes of the episode. His upfront attitude had the rest of the Lannister family scrambling to ensure their secrets, with Cersei and Jaime creating conversation about betrayal for even toying with the thought of incest. Tyrion also backhanded the turd that is heir to the throne, Prince Joffery, which I'll get to in a moment. Tyrion is not just a man who enjoys women, he's extremely intelligent and I'm sure we'll be seeing him utilising that very often in the next few episodes as the lies unfold.

Last week, the final seconds saw Ned's son, Bran, shoved out of a watchtower after catching the Cersei and Jaime making love. This week, Bran lays lifeless in his deathbed, his mother Catelyn at his side and the condolences of many sweeping in. Although the most interesting came from Cersei as a way of assuring Catelyn that everything can work out, but also a directive toward Catelyn to give up hope on the survival of her son.

One problem I had was with Cersei seemingly moving to Catelyn to offer advice and condolences over Bran's ill fate. Although her intentions seem to have an empathetic voice to them, Cersei's underlying character over this and last weeks episode has established her as a bit of a cloak and dagger schemer. I found it hard to empathise with her as she retold her story of her first son to Catelyn. From last week to this week I've noticed the design of Cersei seems to have her as a rather ruthless women that desperately seeks to conceal what has happened in the past and also assert her position within the Kingdom's lineage.

There is a particular moment where Prince Joffery (no spelling mistake) who is part of the Lannister family and a real turd, courts one of the Stark children, Sansa. Finding her tomboy sister Arya duelling the butchers' son at a nearby river. In what is a bit of fun, turns into Joffery showcasing his talents and power over those that are below him. In a bid to show off to Sansa his power over the people, he starts wounding the butchers' son and Arya in all her righteousness defends her friend. However, Joffery quickly defends himself with complete embarrassment after being king hit with Arya's practice stick. In the end, her direwolf ends up axing the Prince after he calls her a "c**t." That's probably why I don't like the guy.

Speaking of dire wolves, they return in this episode with a little more clarity to their purpose, I talked about their foreshadowing of character futures, and to a point they still might be an indication. However we were shown why these wolves are so awesome, they also protect the children in which they are bound. With some very bloody moments where the wolves really get to show their teeth. More of this please, there's a mythos behind the wolves and I'll be interested to see if this is played out any further.

In the end, Bran did survive his watchtower fall, but at a cost of one of the Stark's wolves, which was the twist ending to this week's episode. A twist that wasn't as surprising, but rather heartbreaking, because no-one likes seeing a dog killed because of a turd of an heir to the throne. I really don't like Joffery.

A very solid episode this week, only because I have a soft spot for setup episodes. In this instance, you weren't overloaded with introductory exchanges, but instead invited to travel along with each. There was a good balance of tension between the characters that was coupled with the beginnings of what will be an interesting season - we might not have gone anywhere but it looks like we will be next week.

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