Directed by: Alik Sakharov
Written by: David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in the thought process that I would watch an entire show dedicated specifically to Tyrion Lannister. The amount of fondness I have for his character knows no bounds and seems to only further grow each passing week with Peter Dinklage’s superb acting skills. I was thrilled by the amount of screen time he got this episode and all of the intense jail cell scenes that it resulted in.
The first of these was a bonding moment between him and Jaime. While my affection for the Kingslayer seemed to wane slightly during the rape scene a few episodes back, each and every conversation he holds with Tyrion has me feeling an array of different things. I feel like the two of them are the only Lannisters that actually have a “normal” family dynamic.
This was also the first time we’ve heard Jaime actually admit to a member of his family that he is not the man he once was, that he is no longer invincible and that he is not worthy of holding the title of a Champion. It’s a slightly heartbreaking notion considering that’s how he’s defined himself since his first appearance.
“Aye, I’m your friend. But when have you ever risked your life for me?”
From his first scene, Bronn has always been one of my favorite characters. He isn’t tied down by societal expectations; he doesn’t bow and cower in the name of someone with higher status than him. He says what needs to be said in that moment and then moves on to the next opportunity. His scene with Tyrion tonight was probably one of my favorite scenes of the episode.
A part of me largely expected, and was slightly relieved, that he turned down the request to fight the Mountain. It was true to his character. Despite his loyalty to Tyrion, he will always be more loyal to himself as most of Westeros is. It’s what makes his character so real.
“’That’s not a monster’, I told Cersei, ‘that’s just a baby.’”
How is it that a stranger, one who has had such little interaction with Tyrion, is the only one he encounters that actually sees him for what he is; just a man? Prince Oberyn’s story pretty much guaranteed him an ally in Tyrion, only further spurned by the fact that they want the exact same thing even if the motives are vastly different. Out of all the characters, Oberyn is probably my favorite choice for Tyrion’s champion, if only because his own motives of revenge will probably make him unstoppable.
And while Tyrion spends the episode searching for someone to do him justice, the Queen Regent doesn’t seem to give her own decision nearly as much emotional consideration. The imagery of Cersei stepping carelessly, without even bothering to lift her skirts, over the entrails of the victims she sent to die for her own cause was one that perfectly reflects her character arc this season. All she cares about is revenge, regardless of who is damaged in the wake, and her choosing the Mountain, a character impossible to gain even the smallest level of affection for, as her Champion only further proves that fact. It should be an interesting battle, to say the least.
“He on your little list?”
As I’ve said before, the dynamic between the Hound and Arya Stark is probably one of my favorite ones to watch. The two just seem to play so beautifully off one another that each scene captivates me and leaves me wishing for more than the short glimpses we’re afforded of their journey.
The Hound’s effect on Arya is glaringly obvious at this point. The young girl barely flinches when confronted with murder, as if it has become such a normal event in her life that it’s worth no more energy than gathering water or finding something to eat. I think it’s a necessary survival tactic, one that will benefit her as she continues to make her way through the series. And while a small part of me mourns the little girl who was so excited for a wolf pup and wanted nothing more than to be treated like her brother’s were, I’m proud of the way she’s grown. It’s the only way she’ll continue to survive when the price on every Stark’s head seems to be growing larger and larger with each passing episode.
The effect that Arya has on the Hound is much more subtle. It’s something we only see small glimpses of, like how he offered a dying man water before taking away his pain and how he opened up about his past and the way it’s damaged him far more than the scars on his face. Regardless of how small these little changes are, I think the two have learned to complement each other, to take pieces of their companion into themselves and use it to their benefit to survive in a world where they have no one else to rely on.
“Do what you do best…take off your clothes.”
Can we just talk for a minute about how fantastic it is that Daenerys has changed from an uncomfortable, abused child who had no concept of her own sexuality to a confident woman who has the strength to demand what she wants in every area of her life. We began to see this small change when she embraced her relationship with Khal Drogo but after his death, Dany seemed to focus more on conquering her enemies than her own pleasure.
While I’m still very skeptical about Daario because he has yet to give me any reason to think he deserves the Mother of Dragons, I love seeing her as she continues to grow into herself with no sign of fear.
Despite that, I was more taken with the scene she shared with Jorah than her interaction with her sellsword. Jorah is her morality. Daenerys is passionate in each and every area of her life, as shown through the last few seasons, but her passion can often blind her from what the correct decision might be. Jorah, through his love and devotion for her, is able to show her that sometimes her first instinct needs pause for a greater endgame.
“I’ve only loved one woman – your sister.”
We get a unique look into the innocence that Sansa somehow manages to cling to with the snow castle she builds of Winterfell, one that is brutally destroyed by an arrogant little boy in a direct reflection of how the true Winterfell was demolished.
Most of us saw the skewed motives Baelish has towards Sansa from the first scene the two shared together. He has transferred his love for Catelyn Stark to her oldest daughter and will stop at nothing to possess her in a way he was never able to her mother. This was proven with the expected murder of Lysa, who in her jealousy was sure to kill Sansa.
The scene was pretty anti-climatic for me, as I saw it coming from the moment they entered the Eyrie but I’m still happy with the result. Lysa wasn’t a very likeable character, she’s actually in close running with Stannis as the character who’s presence seems to irritate me the most, and I think her death will be far more intriguing than her living presence ever was.
With each episode, I look for the common thread that subtly ties each scene with its various settings and characters together. This episode seemed to focus on the choosing of allies for our pivotal characters, especially those that are unexpected and seem to come completely out of left field. These alliances however, will prove to provide endless entertainment for us as we get to witness the interesting dynamics that will develop.
A lot of it seemed to focus on setting the stage of the trial by combat which will hopefully be airing next week, as one can assume by the preview below, but it served its ultimate purpose of a monumental build up to the final three episodes of the season.
Game of Thrones returns in two weeks on 6/1 with “The Viper and the Mountain”. Here’s a preview: