Sorry about the lack of an update last week, I was so shocked at the depths of Theon’s betrayal that I was rendered speechless for a week. Not that Episode 7 will have done anything to return my powers of verbal communication, that final shot will live long in the memory… if all is as it seems.
There’s a popular internet meme on Game of Thrones (unfortunately, I can’t find it to link to) that essentially says: “you know that character you like from Game of Thrones? Well, now he’s dead!”. Depicting in 3 panels the emotional roller coaster the viewer repeatedly goes on throughout the TV series. Bad things happen to good people, as anyone who saw last week’s episode knows only too well, and this week’s episode continues that trend. These last few episodes have moved the story at a rate of knots hitherto unseen this series, and in particular, the last three episodes have ramped up the tension.
We had more evidence that Bran appears to have an ability to see the future, with his dream of episode 5 proving all too prophetic. If anyone doubts that Bran is psychic, I’d like to show them the BIG BLOODY HAMMER that they have used to bang their point home. Problem is, if he and Rickon have been killed, it seems like a waste of a well-fleshed out and popular character.
Jon and Ygritte’s banter kept up unabated, with much teasing and poorly-hidden lust. It became obvious that there was something between them instantly, which I put down to the skill of Kit Harington and Rose Leslie, as the script doesn’t make it obvious until later. It’s times like this, that I have a brief flicker of hope that maybe George R. R. Martin isn’t creating the darkest fantasy world ever, and that there might be a positive end to all these dark deeds.
Tywin Lannister, played by Charles Dance, is undeniably sinister and irredeemable, but yet… but yet he does have a charisma to him. The scenes with him and Arya (clearly some kind of surrogate daughter figure) illustrate this very well, and Arya shows a valuable talent for making friends, whether she means to or not. One thing that continually marks this series out is the complexity of the characters, with only Joffrey displaying outright, unfiltered, uncorrupted, evil. Tywin is ambitious and cruel, but suggests a kinder side in this episode, hinting that he may have got on well with Ned Stark, were they not two sides of completely different political coins. Jaime Lannister, another ‘boo hiss’ character, seems more psychotic than evil in his slow dance with death, his good looks and skill with a sword the only things that salve his tortured soul.
While we’re on the subject of complex characters and Jaime Lannister, how about Catelyn Stark? Yes, she has been a great, strong mother throughout the series, and yes, also a loyal wife to Ned, but nowhere is this commitment to strong characters more evident in her obvious hatred for Jon Snow, something Jaime couldn’t wait to remind her about. Jon is clearly a good man, but as Jaime so gleefully pointed out, is living proof of her beloved husband’s infidelity, and her harshness towards him indicates a (perhaps understandably) flawed character .
This series has a different form of pacing to the first, probably necessitated by the endless procession of characters and story set-up. This is illustrated best by the fact that this series has had more episodes in which some characters have not appeared at all, compared to the first series. The first series also had a strong through-line of tension to it, something that gave urgency to the political manoeuvring and hooked the audience. This series has lacked that, perhaps intentionally at first, but appears to be saving some kind of climactic event for the final episodes (fingers crossed for a big old sword fight!). In the meantime, Throners, we wait with bated breath.