Tag Archives: Emilia Clarke

Game of Thrones Season 2 Episode 4: “Garden of Bones”

OH HEY HI only read this if you a) have seen this week’s Game of Thrones and b) if you don’t mind me alluding to things that happen in the books that are a little spoilery but only vaguely and if you squint. If you want to go away and come back once you’re caught up, that’s fine, I don’t judge. x

Ladies and gentlemen and everything in between, I welcome you to episode 4 of season 2 of Game of Thrones, also known as episode 14 or ‘Garden of Bones’. YES, TIME FOR MORE SWEETNESS AND LIGHT ❤ it’s a packed episode so there’s LOTS of things that they’ve built towards with a few bits that those of us who’ve read ahead most likely weren’t expecting. But the pay-off is good and dudes I am so, so into this episode. It was satisfying. And dark.

This episode is packed with Starks (Bran, Jon Snow, Theon, Jaime and Cersei sit this one out, though the casket containing Ned’s bones gets a cameo) while Joffrey is being a little shit and Melisandre is completely naked again. And other things. Well, you know.

– HARRENHAL. In the opening credits! God it looks GOOD. QARTH! Oh hell I just squee’d.

“Do you hear that?” “No.” Oh hi normal people of Westeros, it’s good to see you being real people. And dying. Well, shit.

– Golly, it’s so good to see Robb again. Missed him more than I thought. What a fabulous opening, effective and cost-saving as well (you just know the Battle of Blackwater is going to kick ass). Battle of Whispering Wood: DONE. Bolton is WONDERFULLY sinister, suggesting torture by referring to his family’s motto – the flayed man. After reading A Dance With Dragons, even his voice sounds dark and shadowy and full of malice. Amazing casting. I hate him.

– “Jeyne Westerling”? Is that you? She has an actual character now! She’s from Volantis! She’s critical of our hero! I approve. Sadly. I approve sadly. What better way to fall in love than over a struggling enemy soldier having his leg hacked off? I love you, Robb. You’d be killer at speed dating. Look at him being all nice and honorable and decent like his dad. Oh just look at him. My heart is so heavy for that boy.

– Oh poor Sansa. “Leave her face! I like her pretty.” She’s being beaten for being Robb’s sister, because this series is all about families and power, and now Sansa has none of either and is suffering for that exact reason. It’s brutal. Sandor Clegane rips his cloak off to cover her! What a detail.

“LADY STARK. YOU MAY SURVIVE US YET,” says Tyrion, wonderingly, as Sansa walks from the room in which her betrothed has had her stripped and beaten in front of the court with her head held high. OH TYRION YES. I love Tyrion’s scenes with everyone, but he’s so good with Sansa. He understands, even if she doesn’t, and even though he feels awful for her, there’s a tinge of awe there as well. How many other teenage girls could have weathered an atrocious scene like that?

“You think dipping his wick will cure what ails him?” “There’s no cure for being a c*nt.” Bronn, you star.

– Joffrey’s a little shit, but we knew that. He is brilliantly dark and menacing though, and Jack Gleeson REALLY deserves some kind of recognition for his acting. He is unsettling and frightening, which is crazy given how young he is. I love hating him, I really do, because in every scene he delivers both by being outrageously and subtly evil.

“My favourite whoremonger” do you know many whoremongers, Renly? I love his loathing for Littlefinger, I’m not sure it’s in the books, but this tv series is just instilling within me a deep love for watching characters who hate each other force themselves to have a polite conversation riddled with barbs and sly insults. It’s SO MUCH FUN.

– WHAT have they put Natalie Dormer in. She’s been swallowed whole by that dress. “The marriage of a wealthy girl always breeds interest, if nothing else.” BURNNN.

– I love the world-building for the series, both book-wise and in the TV series; the details of the world are the best. The Garden of Bones indeed.

– HELLO ARYA AND GENDRY AND HOT PIE AND HARRENHAL oh god Harrenhal is a dump. An amazing dump. “What’s that smell?” “Dead people.” Arya’s already totally at ease with death. And this is clever plotting, having the events in the village with the torture/interrogation happen at Harrenhal. Wonderfully done, again, because EVERTHING IN THIS IS. And Arya’s little prayer, seen from above, as if the gods are watching. But she’s only a little girl, and that list gets longer.

– Oh my god they’ve put Cat and Littlefinger in the same room after his betrayal of Ned in S1 AND SHE’S DRAWN A BLADE ON HIM oh I used to not like Cat much but now I’m all hearts for her. “Both girls are healthy and safe, for now.” We all know he can’t be trusted, even when he’s declaring love for her, because he says crap like that. She knows he can’t be trusted because he misled her husband and Ned died as a result. But oh dear. Oh dear. He hits below the belt by praising Robb, and then even worse by giving her back Ned’s bones, because holy crap that not playing by the rules, that’s playing with her emotions. You bastard, Littlefinger. You’re awesome, but you’re a bastard. I hate how this isn’t Cat’s idea and decision any more; but at the same time, it makes sense, and it’s worth that scene where Cat gets to be angry again and Littlefinger gets to be shady some more.

– Garden of BONES yes very good. Also hello Ned, nice to not see you again, wish it were in better circumstances.

– Oh wow, rats! Steel bucket! Flames! What a torture scene. THANKS GUYS. REALLY. That’s just SO unpleasant.

– YES Renly, Stannis, Melisandre, Davos and Cat having a bit of a chat, this will be all pleasantries and compliments, won’t it! Oh, wait.

– So here’s the issues of families rearing its head again. Cat’s comment about how Renly and Stannis are behaving shows her love for her own family, and her utter trust in the emotional ties between her children – even though she and her sister are so distant from one another, and she’s rejected Jon so completely. “Would you believe,” says Renly, bitterly, “I loved him once.” Which makes next week and the ramifications of what is ultimately weakness on Stannis’ part all the worse. Much as Cat wants to believe otherwise, her family unit isn’t the best, and it definitely isn’t the most secure any more.

– It’s a little thing but Carice van Houten’s delivery of “the night is dark and full of terrors” thrills me every time.

– The Qarth plot I always found very weird in the books so I’m so interested in how this will go down onscreen. At any rate, I am glad as hell that Dany’s wanderings in the desert are over for the time being, because it’s a bit tedious and they’re a bunch of fab actors so they need something to do other than look hungry, stressed and smudged in bright sunlight. And OH GOD loved it, but of course I would, because those Thirteen were freaky cool and Xaro marvellous and the moment where the gates opened to the city was the best moment of special effects in the episode partly because of Dany’s expression of delight and satisfaction and RELIEF. Emilia Clarke does “angry” very well.

– GENDRY. God they actually had me worried for a minute there. Also: Charles Dance does the best Acting From A Horse In Armour. It’s quite splendid. He radiates imperiousness anyway, but on a horse, in armour, he’s unparalleled. Tywin meeting Arya and complimenting her for being smart and meaning it is just… it’s so perfect. And he doesn’t want just anyone for his cup-bearer, he wants the smart girl. Tywin likes people around him to be clever. You can see why Cersei is so determined to be like him, and how massively she’s failing – and you can easily imagine she never got told she was smart, not he just did to a stranger, a little girl in handcuffs. And clever villains are the most terrifying and the best sort of villains to have, really, from a reader/viewer perspective. Clever villains are obviously shit if you’re the hero.

– The complete and utter disgust with which Lancel treats Tyrion is hilarious given they’re cousins, Lancel is shagging Tyrion’s elder sister, and Tyrion is in all ways his superior. Talk about strong family ties. And then that moment of shock as Tyrion gets to the heart of the matter, which he dismisses as trivial because it’s Tyrion, and Tyrion is trivial in Lancel’s eyes. And then the utter panic as Tyrion’s all “dude, I get the jist, quit playin'”. “It’s not my fault!” he bleats, in a scene that is a classic Tyrion take-down and he strops out and has tears in his eyes and GUYS IT’S GLORIOUS. “Wait here,” he deadpans, “His Grace will want to hear this.” You troll, T. Iloveyou. Lancel’s exasperated face as he rubs the bridge of his nose, defeated, recruited, is a marvel.

“I could swear that I have not harmed a single hair on his head, but that, strictly speaking, wouldn’t be true…” TYRION’S LINE OF THE NIGHT

“Cleaner ways don’t win wars.” For all he’s a rigid, humorless ass of a man, Stannis is desperate. He’s all for rules when they work for him but the numbers are against him, so he’s fine with breaking the rules using some dirty tricks. Davos is a genuinely good man doing questionable things for his king, and Liam Cunningham gets his inner conflict dead on. Stannis is insecure, at heart, and so he has no problem doing bad, bad things to make things “right”. The lesser evil, to him, but the greatest thing about this show is how it shows that there’s no one true king, no one true way, no one truth, no one good. The Starks want to kill Lannisters, Lannisters want to kill Starks, Baratheons want to rip each other apart, the Greyjoys are a simmering mass of resentment, Bolton wants to flay a bitch, and Dany just wants to kill everyone – and we end up rooting for all of them in some way (except Bolton, obv). So Stannis thinks he’s right and will do anything he can to do that – even though it’s bad from almost every other perspective. But he’s so sure he’s right. And he’s an ass.

– Melisandre’s darkest moment so far, and it’s so well done I’m full of glee even though it’s, well, a demon birth. Hey, Cat’s a mum to real children, even Cersei’s children are human even if Joff’s a monster, while Mel is mother to the CREEPIEST DEMON SHADOW THING EVER. Obviously good things will happen now. OBVIOUSLY. Because when you give birth to demon shadow babies RAINBOWS AND UNICORNS OCCUR.

Next week is “The Ghost of Harrenhal”. Maybe my prediction of rainbows and unicorns is a bit premature.

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Game of Thrones Season 2 Episode 2: “The Night Lands”

As with last week, here be spoilers, move at your peril. I’ve tried not to be too spoilery looking forward, so, like, yes, okay. If you’ve not read ahead this should be ABSOLUTELY FINE. If you haven’t seen the episode BACK THE HECK UP.

I’ve always been terrible at reviewing television shows and films so, as with last week, here’s some geeky reaction to Game of Thrones that has no logic to it, just RESPONSE. I didn’t mean for this to be a weekly thing but it might as well be because I have FEELINGS and I must THROW MY FEELINGS around like GEEKY CONFETTI of OMG and WHUT. This will totally be the case next week because omfg did you see that teaser for next week? I had FEELINGS from the teaser alone. I’ve added it at the bottom of this post. Dear god I love all this. Never been a better time to be a geek.*

Let’s get this out of the way; welcome to episode 2 (or 12 if you do things properly), which has much less going on than the season opener. It’s solid and totally above-average television in its own right, but in comparison to other episodes, it feels quite slow and weighty, like an over-filled ship limping along and dragging a lot of meaning along without managing the speed it had earlier. It definitely isn’t bad though – it’s one of those episodes so densely packed it’s easy to dismiss as an hour of tv entertainment but once taken apart and examined it proves the skill of the writers, the directors and (obviously) the actors.

So hey, here’s my reactions to each scene, because I’m ill and can’t craft my response into a cohesive whole. (If you want a cohesive whole just imagine me doing a thumbs up while wearing my GoT jumper, that’s pretty much it.)

– Arya peeing. Being a girl. WELCOME BACK ARYA, O ADORABLE ONE.

– JAQEN I love Jaqen. Let him out of that dang cage. So relaxed, so cool, so calm. And then Gendry. GENDRY. ❤ This plays perfectly, the actors are sublime, and I’m completely fine with how it’s been condensed from the book as needed for the sake of simplification. Yoren is kickass, “I could shave a spider’s arse if I wanted to.” Varys has no hair, I wouldn’t worry.

– SPEAKING OF. I love you Tyrion but Varys is sublime. I never pictured him being even slightly as fantastic as this while reading the books the first time round, and this excellent character has become a favourite in my re-read. Also, FISH PIE. Quite possibly the finest exchange of the entire episode. And get a load of the gentle sinister undertones from the eunuch; Varys is king of that. KING. “I am not Ned Stark. I understand the way this game is played.” My favourite scenes are these talky ones where lines are drawn in the sand, not so much about politics, but about their characters. It’s so skillfuly done, and every sentence is about two or three things at once, especially when Varys or Tyrion are in the room. Together they make the best talky scene cocktail and the conversation is so multilayered it would be bewildering with lesser actors or direction. “The big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling.” Yesssss. Long may you swim, Varys.

“You’ve perfected the art of tearing up papers”. No wonder Cersei hates Tyrion so much – no one else other than Jaime makes fun of her. Even her own son, the king, just bypasses her completely and belittles her otherwise. She clearly hates being laughed at. I suppose she also hates that Tyrion doesn’t even want power and yet has been handed it by their father, of all people, and it’s already clear that he’s better with it than she is. There’s a hint of embarrassment around the Council when Cersei asks about Jaime too – brilliantly played.

– Dolorous Edd owns every scene he’s in. OWNS. “We were having a serious discussion.” So glad they kept him in. Definite highlight of the books.

– Cassie from Skins is cast so well here, though she’s not given much to do. I love the echoes of future tensions in the exchange between Sam and Jon. Sam’s marvellous in the show, though I find him quite frustrating to read in the books. As emo as Jon Snow gets I can’t help but fancy Kit Harington because he’s just lovely. Sorry, I have no insights here. Sharpening his sword, indeed.

– I LOVE YOU IAIN GLEN seriously, I had to watch this scene twice the first time because I wasn’t concentrating due to him and his amazingly sexy voice. I have had a lot of sugar today. But ugh the man could just read the phone book out loud and nine months later there’d be babies everywhere, that’s how good his voice is.

– I am so annoyed about Rakharo, so impressed with the Irri actress, and found this scene actually a bit heartbreaking (yes hello welcome to Game of Thrones where people die in every episode and your heart gets broken a bit every time and so each episode can go from “a little heartbreaking” to “quite heartbreaking” to “NOT THE BABY” to “NEDDDDDD!!!!!“). And Emilia Clarke can’t possibly be this awesome all the time. It’s just unfair.

– I feel like I’m the only person who doesn’t mind Ros, she’s a decent enough creation, but it’s incredibly frustrating that they’re clearly going to have her instead of Chataya and Alayaya, the fabulous Summer Islanders. I understand it on the basis of needing to simplify things for screen but they would have been a lovely addition and would have served to flesh out the world a little more (so to speak). And this scene with Littlefinger is a bit useless given that we know he’s a shady type already. TRUST HIM AT YOUR PERIL. Yes, we get it, we got it at the end of the last season, and we got it last week in his Cersei confrontation, so this… doesn’t do very much.

– HELLO PODRICK!

– Might get a t-shirt printed up that just says “TYRION ROCKS”. Suh. Blime. And then there’s Bronn as well. Egads. Another shortcut I’m fine with, giving Bronn a position – I assume Shae’s going to be Sansa’s maid as well, just to further simplify things. It makes sense. “If I told you to murder an infant girl, say, still at her mother’s breast, would you do it without question?” Bronn cheers me up while still being a complete asshole of a sellsword, it’s quite impressive.

“I say we yield!” says Lommy, first thing. OKAY, LOMMY.

– This whole exchange between Arya, Lommy, Hot Pie and Gendry is brilliant, and my favourite of the episode because it’s funny and light and dark as well and OH GENDRY. “You shouldn’t insult people then are bigger than you.” “Then I wouldn’t get to insult anyone!” I’m not too happy about how much this has been condensed down, but it’s something that would have to be judged in the context of the series. It changes Arya’s established relationship with Gendry and happens only when she knows she can trust him – it’s well done here, so well done, but, but. “Well, that was unladylike!” They’re so charming it provides a nice counterpoint to the politicking and grimness elsewhere. Also, Arya/Gendry in ten years, yes yes yes. I ship that so much.

– UGH THEON *spits* Pyke is perfection though. It’s basically Cornwall but savage. Annoyed that they changed Asha to Yara, but okay; more annoyed that they took the knowing humour from her. Instead of taking the piss out of him it looks a bit like she’s just enjoying it, allowing it. I really enjoyed her trolling in the book. Balon is absolutely pitch perfect and yes, I felt a glimmer of sympathy for Theon for being the fish out of water both in the North and the Iron Islands, but good lord that boy is such a tosser. I just spent this scene admiring Balon’s grit and Yara’s smugface.

“What is the world coming to when smugglers must vouch for the honour of kings?” “Sallador Saan is a good name for songs!” I like you, Sallador Saan.

– Pentoshi cheesemongers! Who COULD Davos be referring to? I WONDER.

“Stannis is my king, but he’s only a man.” “Don’t tell him that!”

– Tyrion vs. Cersei, again – only this time she deploys underhand tactics to win the confrontation. The murder of the bastards wrongfoots her and so she retaliates. “I don’t care what you think!” Cersei shouts, when she clearly does. She’s such a horrible person, and I love to hate her, but the person she’s become is weirdly understandable. I feel sympathetic for her even as I loathe her (and Lena Headey is good, so so good, even in a one-to-one with Dinklage she holds her own).

– Wins a prize for the most uncomfortable sex scene (seriously, if you’ve ever stepped on a lego, can you imagine lying on that table?!). Melisandre is kick-ass, and I dislike her and find her mesmerizing at the same time. Stannis is so excellently repressed as well. OH, ACTORS, I LOVE YOU ALL. Even if I imagined Stannis bigger and Mel younger, they’re so perfect I don’t care.

– It feels like they’re ripping through some storylines and moving at a glacial pace (erm, yes) with others. It’s not entirely mysterious as to what’s happening to Craster’s male children, surely? Feels like an abrupt, weird place to end the episode. And oddly out of character for Jon, actually. Did he not listen to Mormont last week? No, clearly he didn’t. Oh wait. “Learn to follow”. Guess he did, then.

Obviously the over-arching themes would be to do with gender and power but that’s ALWAYS there, so I don’t know how these strands are bound together, especially since Sansa and Cat don’t appear – given their positions, they’d fit into that theme perfectly. If it’s about who’s fit to rule, why aren’t Renly, Joffrey and Robb involved? It’s really an installment episode, there to colour things in a bit more, illustrate the characters some more, back up the politics, fractures and factions some. As usual it’s a strong episode with some brilliant lines but it never really manages to escape the pull of its own gravity; on a character-by-character basis it’s great, looks amazing and it satisfies, but as I said above, it doesn’t make for the most amazing entertainment.

I’m dead eager to get to next week because Renly and Loras are making a return and we get more GENDRY ❤ and omfg WHEN IS IT TIME FOR BRIENNE.

* I typed all this wearing my House Stark “Winter Is Coming” hoody. I wore it earlier this week when someone on another tube platform shouted “A LANNISTER ALWAYS PAYS HIS DEBTS” and we shared a thumbs up before a train pulled in and ruined a fine, fine moment of mutual geekery.