(Credit: Winter is Coming)
In the season's strongest episode, Ned takes over the duties of an absent king, Danys becomes a Queen and Tyrion gets up to his nifty tricks.
I need to quickly get this out of the way - this review has been the easiest for me to write and you'll find out why now. It's taken a few weeks for "Game of Thrones" to find it's footing and if it hadn't by this episode I'd begin to have bigger problems, but thankfully we were treated to a fantastic episode that really showed the depth of the world George R. R. Martin has created. We've been dished a lot of information in the last five episodes and it has the potential to make it difficult for audiences to connect with the characters and this world if they are slayed each week with an encyclopaedia's worth of information.
In saying that, this was an episode that was so damn easy to digest, we weren't totalled with crazy amounts of backstory and what backstory we were given ended up progressing everyone's stories very well. This episode blended the action and politics eloquently and I think we've finally got a turning point for everyone here. This also was an episode where people asserted their positions. Ned, to the people of King's Landing in the absence of the King, Danys to her brother, to herself and her husband and Tyrion to the people of the Vale.
In particular, Danys finally asserted her position as the Queen by killing her brother Viserys in quite a stunning way. She's now a Queen looking to begin laying waste and what did she do to prove it? She finally kills her brother after he tries to threaten her and Drogo into giving him the army he's been hungering for these past few episodes. In the end Viserys idiotic belief that he would no doubt acquire the power he's wanted ended up with a crown of melted gold seared into his head. Interesting death? You betcha. And the final reveal of Danys being the descendant of dragons before the credits rolled? The best reveal so far.
Meanwhile, with an absent King, the duties fell to the Hand of the King, Ned dealing with an attack on a village and the repercussions of his battle with Jaime last week. Ned is recovering and at this point in time the arrow is pointed at war between the Stark and Lannister family. With the King away, Ned makes the decision to gun for the eldest of the Lannister family - Tywin and in the process makes a stern judgement to revoke him of all his rights and knighthoods just to see him thrown in the can. It's a delicious strike at the Lannister family and will make for a fantastic little showdown between the powerhouse families of Westeros.
Speaking of the Lannister's, Tyrion does a wicked job as usual. Using his strengths as a bit of a joker, he calls for a trial in the court of the Eyrie and plays on it brilliantly confessing to the court exactly the opposite of what Catelyn wants to hear. Instead we were treated to some funny stories about Tyrions rather, funky behaviour. In the end, his smokescreen allowed him to summon the aid of Catelyn's mercenary she called upon a few weeks ago and in the long run allowed him to walk free after winning the duel through Bronn.
I must say, shout out to Jane Espenson for penning such a great episode. Her writing credits kick the ass of all geeks out there. Firefly, Buffy, Battlestar Galactica anyone? Yeah, she's everywhere and it's awesome and her history and strengths within the genre's really shines through in this.
The best so far? Indeed - a fantastic episode. All of the stories here worked, there were some great developments from everyone involved, Jon Snow is still missing, but it's forgiven here with a very enjoyable slice of fun.