Game of Throne is back, and so are we! Although in our case, it wasn’t a year-long wait.
Regarding the budget, one of the most obvious signs of the budget increase in all four of the new episodes is the all the establishing shots and backdrops. I’d previously noted that the show hardly ever used establishing shots in the first four seasons, but we get a lot of cities, castles, etc. (on a minor note, the first scene at the Vale is at Runestone, which goes on the very short list of places we’ve visited in the show but not in the books).
I disagree that Loras is “kind of becoming a one-note gay joke on the show”. That transition happened fully back in season 3. That joke site that recaps all episodes as if they happened on Facebook accurately assessed the situation back then by changing his username to Gay Loras.
Of note, Rhaegel and Viserion finally get names this episode, a mere 31 episodes after their debut (Drogon was named for the first time in passing in episode 410, 30 episodes after his debut). Of all my nitpicks with this show, the dragons’ names constitute the most bizarrely delayed exposition of all, and emblematic of the problems the show had with Dany’s character post-Season 1. It should have been an obvious thing to have a scene in early season 2 where she names the dragons, which is both expository and an important character moment as the dragons’ names are all reflective of major people in her life (or, in Rhaegar’s case, the idea of Rhaegar). But Dany’s characterization so far this season has been an enormous improvement on seasons 2-4.
It’s true it’s been going on for a while, but it’s sad, because Loras is such a rich character in the books.
I thought Dany was pretty good in Seasons 3+4. 2 obviously is a bit of a waste.
For the record, I’m torn about whether to look for the leaked episodes or not…I mean I’m already paying for HBO, but on the other hand it would be great to binge watch…hypothetically if I *did* download them where could it be done?
I don’t know, and please don’t link to them off my blog.
Personally, I would avoid binge-watching, because then you’d have to go a month without new episodes.
Which is exactly what i did
Dany spent the bulk of seasons 3 and 4 in Imposing Queen mode, with no real insights into her emotional state and character development (which was particularly apparent when Jorah’s betrayal was revealed and we didn’t even see her initial reaction; indeed, the whole thing was basically shown from Jorah’s POV).
Dany’s storyline isn’t any easier to take in filmed form than in the books. Makes me want to mash the fast forward button.
Liked Jodhi May’s version of Maggy the Frog. On the subject of the prophecy, I hope you saw Amanda Marcotte’s post on the subject.
The Stone Eyes do get creepier every time don’t they?!? And seeing Cersei and Jaime in the Sept again near another dead body was certainly perturbing. And yeah a perfect time for “Rains of Castamere,” because with Tywin dead everyone smells blood in the water.
The show is definitely enjoying the benefits of an increased budget…which makes me especially anticipatory of certain events/battles to come.
Pretty heartbreaking that all White Rat wanted was to be held and comforted a while.
Happy for the return of Terrorist Cat! I have similar issues at home myself.
Ooh, good point about SR’s training montage following Olly’s…another way of re-iterating how the NW are now the *true* knights of Westeros in a sense. And yeah, the ‘tourney scene’ mimics the Sansa chapter enough to reveal why Martin released it. Martin may not be antagonistic to the showrunners but he’s certainly…possessive.
Fun to have SEK spoiling all of Episode 2 for us!
Lancel looked so different for a moment you almost wondered if he was re-cast. But I must say he looks a LOT better than he did before. And yeah Cersei’s alcohol induced oblivion is a force to behold.
I also thought Varys’s “perfect prince” speech was quite relevant too…but as I heard him describing the qualities he wanted, I found myself wondering if they didn’t apply more to a certain bastard up North than to Dany-because let’s face it, Ms. “I’m not a politician, I’m a Queen,” lacks the qualities of a good administrator-or flexibility. I know Steve doesn’t think Jon will ever sit on the IT, either on his own or co-rule with Dany, but I believe its a real possibility. Agree to disagree and just see how it plays out.
LOVE the idea that Mance is willingly stepping into the flames, to let Jon take his place as Leader of the Wildlings. And I agree with Steve, that since Season 4, Jon’s been an actor not just someone who’s acted on. He’s becoming a leader and Sansa is becoming a Player.
I personally hated the show’s Maggy the Frog scene. Maggy was not either old or creepy enough, they dropped the valonqar part of the prophecy, and worst of all, young Cersei was not nearly mean enough. She actually says something nice to her friend, what an out of character moment. In the book she’ll actually murder the same friend for making eyes at Jamie.
Great FX on the dragons
Overall a great episode. To pick a very minor nit, during Varys’ “perfect prince” speech (and many other times in the show throughout the previous seasons), you hear him talk about “the country,” or “your country” in reference to Westeros. Perhaps I’m misremembering, but I feel like in the books GRRM always used terms like “the realm,” “the land” or “the kingdom(s).” To my ears, “your country” conjures up ideas of a modern nation-state, which Westeros most certainly is not. What are your thoughts on this very minor issue, Stephen? Anachronistic or not? Or is GRRM the anachronistic one with pseudomedieval terms?
Even odder, he used the term “our country,” which is strange because Varys isn’t from Westeros.
Anachronistic….hard to say. These things meant different things at different times, and were often used to create new meanings.
He’s lived there and occupied a Cabinet-level job for 20+ years at this point. If the word “country” was the appropriate word to use, I wouldn’t have any issue with him using it in reference to Westeros.
Whenever Varys says he’s doing something for the realm, i can hear the GOP saying ” It’s for the children!”
It’s for the realm that he plans a dothraki invasion to put Viserys on the throne, or when he helps to keep Joffrey on the throne, because those two are so much better then Robert or Stannis or Renly, right?!
Yeah, the show seems to have taken Varys’s one line to Eddard from season 1, “I serve the Realm, somebody must,” and based his entire characterization/motivation around it. Yet, that line was, like everything Varys, half lie in the books.
The real issue is now the show can’t explain Varys’s behavior with that one motivation. Give Viserys an army of Dothraki to make the realm better? He is betting the health of the kingdom on a woman he only knows through spies, and the Mad King’s daughter? As it is, we know she isn’t doing so hot at the ruling thing.
What’s the point of editing out spoilers if you are not going to edit out ALL of the spoiler??? (I’m listening to the audio version)
Also, you’re not even trying to hide that your downloaded the torrented screeners, are you?
Uh….both Scott and I actually got legit press screeners. Would you like a photo of me with my DVD?
I think mossador actually WAS in the series before, in Season 4 Episode 4, before Dany takes mereen, she convinces the slave to revolt, I think Mossador is in the scene where Grey Worm enters Mereen to try to convince the slaves revolt.
Fair enough, I just hadn’t recognized him.
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