GAME OF THRONES Recap: “The Lion and the Rose”

by     Posted 4 days ago

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Game of Thrones’ most lasting impression may be its changeability.  No show has perhaps ever been so difficult to predict, even for those who have read the books.  The stories go in ways that are unexpected.  It’s what George R. R. Martin does so well: subverting fantasy tropes.  Last week, the theme was transformation, and it looks like it’s going to be a season-long motif.  “The Lion and The Rose” was also about a world in flux, and Game of Thrones continued to prove that it has the ability to change things up like no one else.  Hit the jump for more on “the dwarf, the cripple, and the mother of madness.”

GAME OF THRONES Season 4 Premiere Recap: “Two Swords”

by     Posted 11 days ago

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There’s a reason why HBO had a twenty-five-minute recap of Game of Thrones third season in preparation for the fourth: the tales have become more varied and twisted than the swords that make up the Iron Throne.  Picking up halfway through A Storm of Swords‘ story (the massive third book of the Song of Ice and Fire series), Game of Thrones‘ new season had a lot to catch up on, and a lot to explain moving forward.  The most powerful and meaningful sequence though was its first: the Lannisters are not just conquering their enemies, they’re gobbling them up and repurposing them.  Hit the jump for more.

GAME OF THRONES Season Finale Recap: “Mhysa”

by     Posted 312 days ago

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After a very tight and narratively cohesive (and soul crushing) penultimate episode, Game of Thrones returned this week in its finale doing what it has done for most of the season: that is, people walking and talking.  There was a lot of both, and some of it was interesting, but perhaps what it told us more than anything was what we least wanted to be confirmed: what happened last week didn’t matter.  Of course it does matter on a number of levels within the show and for viewers, but outside of the Stark family’s misfortunes, it was just another piece of Tywin’s game to control and kingdoms, or alternatively, another score for the Red God.  Either way, most everyone’s reactions to it, minus Joffrey’s, were subdued.  The Young Wolf is no longer a threat?  Great, where as my lemon cakes.  Hit the jump for why it’s really not easy being drunk all of the time.

GAME OF THRONES Recap: “The Rains of Castamere”

by     Posted 319 days ago

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In an interview awhile back, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jamie Lannister, said he was proud to be a Lannister and not a Stark.  He said the Starks were all you ever heard about, because everyone loved them.  From Game of Thrones‘ inception, the Starks were set up as our main protagonists.  There were and are many houses and families in Westeros, and occasionally dragons, but the Starks were bastions of loyalty and honor, and they are a family we spend the most time with.  Even when they were split up, we still followed all of their exploits — Ned, Catelyn, Robb, Jon, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon each had distinct stories and arcs and important roles to play.  That was one reason Ned’s death in the first season hit so hard.  If this show can kill off a main protagonist, is anyone safe?  In the last three seasons the answer has been a resounding no.  Still, Season Three has lulled us into a sense of complacency, which was ripped out from under us in “The Rains of Castamere.”  Hit the jump for more on why George R. R. Martin doesn’t want you to be happy.

GAME OF THRONES Recap: “Second Sons”

by     Posted 333 days ago

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Game of Thrones is juggling a lot of stories, as it always has, but this year it feels different because for the first time I think that viewers are really clearly feeling the stakes.  We know the major characters, we know the major trajectory.  There are zombies to the north and dragons to the east, and a lot of political intrigue in between.  What’s been nice about this season too is that we’ve gotten lots of great character moments, even in the midst of so many stories.  The storytelling has often been fractured though, but what “Second Sons” did a great job with was actually giving us time to pause and really embrace the plots and characters this week — no Jon, no Robb, no Bran, no Jaime and Brienne and no Theon meant lots of time to spend with the others, especially because so many of them for once shared the same screen.  Hit the jump for more on why your brother is now your father-in-law (it is known).

GAME OF THRONES Recap: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”

by     Posted 340 days ago

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I know that I’ve been promising action every week on Game of Thrones for the last few (like Winter, it is coming!), and while “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” delivered some towards the end, the rest of the episode was fraught with rich character building and small payoffs that are certainly propelling us into some interesting situations for the final three episodes (I swear!).  “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” had a lot to do with hard truths, and studied the pairing off of characters for good or ill.  Hit the jump for why “if you waste your time getting people to love you, you’ll be the best liked dead man in town.”

GAME OF THRONES Recap: “The Climb”

by     Posted 347 days ago

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More setup and machinations this week on Game of Thrones, with a few really great little scenes slipped in between the big reveals that should start paying dividends immediately.  Of course, I said that last week, and this week we again got a lot of walking and talking, with people being built up just to be torn down.  We left Dany and Stannis out of things, and shoehorned Theon painfully in (literally), but other than that there were updates from all across the realm, which Littlefinger tells us is little more than a figment of our imaginations.  Varys asks what we are left with if not this shared delusion: chaos?  It’s a pit.  “It’s not a pit,” Littlefinger counters, “it’s a ladder.”  Hit the jump to find out why you should have learned from your position to not overplay your… position.

GAME OF THRONES Recap: “Kissed by Fire”

by     Posted 354 days ago

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Because both HBO and AMC are stingy with screeners, this episode of Game of Thrones has been filtered in my mind through Mad Men.  I’m pretty sure Sally is destined for the Iron Throne.  Back in actual Westeros though, we ignored Bran and three-eyed crows again and bounced all over the realm and beyond with almost everyone else, in an episode that was mostly about setup and a little bit about friendship.  Also a wee bit about pickled babies, but that’s another matter.  Everyone is growing restless in the calm after Stannis’ failed attempt on the capitol late last season, and are back to scheming about relationships and marrying people off, with mixed results.  You know what never gives mixed results?  Figs.  Hit the jump for more.

GAME OF THRONES Recap: “And Now His Watch Is Ended”

by     Posted 361 days ago

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After an episode of Game of Thrones last week that was so visually exceptional, this week went on to match it in terms of action, although with lots and lots of talking (not necessarily a bad thing, though).  The bar has been set really high this season, and so far I think the show has risen to the occasion, being a lot clearer than last season’s sometimes chaotic storytelling.  It’s helped too that we didn’t see everyone in every episode — this week left out Robb, Jon, Stannis  and Davos, four very important characters — because with eleven other stories to tell in an hour, there was simply no room.  What I really liked about “And Now His Watch Has Ended” though was reflected in the title — this episode was all about the ladies (nearly), and it was very well wrought.  Hit the jump for why it burns, burns, burns, the Ring of Fire, the Ring of Fire.

GAME OF THRONES Recap: “Walk of Punishment”

by     Posted 1 year, 3 days ago

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By the light of R’hllor, what a fantastic hour of television — this is Game of Thrones at its best.  So many scenes this week were quietly indicative of character.  We didn’t need to rely on sexposition or chatter to get at the heart of things: a simple dragging of a chair spoke volumes.  Even though the show jumped around again this week and visited almost everyone (giving some, like Jon and Stannis, only a few moments of time), it still felt laid-back, accessible, and not frantic in its pacing.  Time spent at Riverrun and King’s Landing and even in the woods with Brienne and Jaime was slow and thoughtful, and did a lot in the way of character building.  Hit the jump for why horse-part crop circles are all the rage north of the Wall.

GAME OF THRONES Recap: “Dark Wings, Dark Words”

by     Posted 1 year, 10 days ago

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After an exciting premiere, Game of Thrones slowed down a little this week and relied on a lot of exposition (but no trademark sexposition!)  Things jumped around quite a bit, checking in on everyone except for Dany and Stannis, which was fairly mind-boggling.  Adding to that, we met quite a few new people.  It’s at times like these I wonder about you non-book readers.  I’m excited to see the faces of familiar characters, whereas I can only imagine most people watching are thinking, “who’s this new, unwashed bearded guy?  I was just starting to get the other 39 unwashed, bearded guys straight!”  Actually occasionally I feel that way, too.  Anyway, this week we swirled all around the Seven Kingdoms and came out knowing a lot more than we did, without really knowing too much.  Hit the jump, I have lemon cakes!

GAME OF THRONES Season 3 Premiere Recap: “Valar Dohaeris”

by     Posted 1 year, 17 days ago

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Game of Thrones returns — welcome back to Westeros, ladies and hedge knights, wenches and thieves.  You are forgiven for thinking in the episode’s first few minutes that you still had the dial on AMC and had stumbled onto The Walking Dead, but things picked right back up north of the wall where the show left them, with Sam lost in the whiteness and coming across something, well, undead.  In case you had forgotten, Winter is Coming.  In fact, it seems to be here.  And for most of the rest of the hour we checked back in on all of those poor Southren folk who know not what wickedness their way comes.  Hit the jump for more on who we saw (and who we didn’t) in this episode that moved from ice to fire.

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