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Old 04-09-2012, 07:43 PM   #1459
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Default Re: A Game of Thrones

This is the episode write up from Grantland. I really like the work here, it's usually funny but still appropriately serious. And it's authored without any book knowledge, so it's spoiler free. One of the reason I posted it is because it's interesting to hear someone do this type of analysis and know that he's completely wrong in some spots. It makes me recognize where the storytelling is flawed. I'm gonna put some notes in White that you can read if you're a book guy or just want some more insight.

ďI donít imagine itíll be a story fit for children,Ē the grim, Greta Gerwig-ish warrioress Yara Greyjoy declares, while being Littlefingered by her fancy brother on horseback (I feel obligated to point out that in the book that while she's extremely flirty with Theon and teases him, she does push him away when he gets too handsy, which she doesn't in the show. Her name is Asha in the book, and she's among my favorite characters.). The savage babycide of last week certainly should have made that clear for the viewer and, if not, last nightís glimpse of male birth control measures beyond the wall was an unwelcome reminder: Game of Thrones is most certainly not suitable for all ages. But the dark ďThe Night LandsĒ made me consider Yaraís pronouncement in a different way. Itís not just that children shouldnít watch this story. Itís that itís incredibly hard to be someoneís child within the story as well. Parents in the Seven Kingdoms appear to be as cruel and capricious as kings. Worse, itís a lifetime position.

Ned Stark was the only good father weíve seen, and in return for his self-abasing attempt to protect his children last season, he ended up with his head on a pike. Now his orphans are scattered like so many action figures on Stannisís Great Iron Sex Table. Arya is attempting to hide her second X chromosome by hanging out with the XXX vulgarians en route to the Nightís Watch, but Iím glad her bull-helmeted bastard buddy called her on it because, really, how could she be fooling anyone? Maisie Williamsís peepers are large and luminous enough to be worn as jewelery by that dandy Theon! She looks like sheís trying out for the role of Fantine in the worldís least sanitary production of Les Miserables! Anyway, after the commander chases some royal goons back to Crotch Landing by pointing a sword at their king (or the other way around), Gendry calls Arya on her reverse-Tootsie act. But when he finds out who she really is, heís abashed (he believed her all to quick here). ďAll that about cocks, I should never have said it. Iíve been pissing in front of you and everything.Ē Flirtatious banter! (Fun fact: These same lines of dialogue were spoken by Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses.) But it turns out Gendryís parenting history is no less sad: His bar-wench mom passed on when he was a kid. And though the goons were after him, he has no idea that itís because his father was the wine-drunk, boar-averse King Robert.

Combine these two twisted family trees and you get Jon Snow: His father was Ned Stark, but his mother is as mysterious as whatever huffing-and-puffing snow beast made off with Crasterís latest grandson/son (Uhh ... this may work even better on TV than in the rich deep written narrative). (Early guesses include a Yeti, a Minotaur, or a Nick Nolte.) With such a bad backstory itís no wonder that Jonís unable to act tough in the face of his buddy Samís puppy love for Gilly, one of Crasterís pregnant daughter/wives (played with toothy gravity by the great Skins veteran Hannah Murray). Itís Jonís curiosity about what will happen to Gillyís baby that leads him out of the camp (although, really, is it so hard to figure out?) and what earns him a concussion at the hands of his monstrous host at episodeís end.

Over on the Iron Islands ó picture that on a holiday brochure! ó Theon has an undressed party below the decks for the seasonís first instance of pure sexposition (this term was coined in these articles last year to explain those parts of the show where someone seems to be speaking in exposition, where it really feels like it isn't taken from the text, and has been added at lenghth to help clarify some broad concept in the book. For whatever reason, it seemed to happen frequently over a sex scene last year. Oddly, this one actually is taken almost verbatum from the books, however there was another one in this episode, the one with the spying on the spy in the brothel scene with Littlefinger. Littlefinger also had the first "sexposition" this season, when he confronted Cersie in episode one. Neither one I'm crazy about because they make him seem less underhanded than he does in the books. He's almost too bold and brash here, not quite sneaky enough, but it's a small gripe), , and then is promptly dressed down by his craggy would-be king of a father. Heís been gone nine years in the care/captivity of the Starks, and he doesnít even get complimented on his well-groomed Vandyke, let alone a hug. Balon barely turns from his ornate octopus fireplace to greet his wayward son. Instead, he reintroduces Theon to his riding partner/sister (more multihyphenates on this show than on IMDB, amirite?) and announces, ironically, that it will be Yara leading the Iron ships into battle. Oh, and it seems like theyíll be taking their Kingdom back from the Starks directly, thank you very much, not helping them take Kingís Landing. This is terribly rough for Theon and his dual loyalties (and for us, to be honest: Did his family know he was coming? Or were they really delaying their own battle plans for a little convenient comeuppance?). All parents disparage their kidsí fashion, but there arenít many that allow their sons to almost screw their daughters before screwing them over so completely.
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