|You're telling me I gotta do what?|
[Tangent: Bronn is, without question, the most changed character from books to show. In the books, he was a secondary character of interest solely to Tirion and, once his bit was done in the latter half of A Storm of Swords, he disappeared. But Jerome Flynn turned him into such a fan favorite that not only did he wander off into storylines that didn't occur in the books (Dorne; not Sunspear, just Dorne (no, I'll never forget.)) but now he's being introduced into those that did (the siege of Riverrun.) It remains to be seen whether GRRM will return him to relevance in the same way that he promised to have more for Osha to do because of Natalia Tena's superlative performance, but it wouldn't surprise me. /tangent]
|I'd really rather be with my dead girlfriend and, yet, here I am pleading with you on behalf of another ginger.|
|Septa Aella, the Implacable|
On the other hand, this episode was also an opportunity for a lot of characters to revel in some blunt talk that said some things that most people (fans and characters alike) have been thinking for quite some time, so life isn't always a trial. Olenna dressing down Cersei for her rash and stupid decisions involving the faith was about the most richly deserved moment in the history of the show, to date. Plus, one gets to read about all kinds of historical parallels involving current events, if you're so inclined. Meanwhile, Brynden Tully's obvious disdain for both those he considers beneath him (the Freys) and simply beneath contempt (Jaime) was a great reintroduction of the Blackfish. Furthermore, the scene between Asha and Theon was a genuinely great moment for the two actors. Alfie Allen has continued to do yeoman's work as Theon, but Gemma Whelan really hit every note on key as she berated her brother to stand up for himself while showing real emotion and concern on her face for his well-being. It's a fine line to tread without appearing either "weak" to the Ironborn or too harsh for Theon's fragile condition. Speaking of appearing weak, I guess it's kind of appropriate in Iron Islands culture for a female captain to enjoy screwing women like the rest of her crew, but it strikes me as D&D/Cogman being a bit obvious in terms of bending to expected sexual perceptions in which the woman plays the nominally weaker role (the one imposed upon instead of doing the imposing.) In the books, GRRM avoided that since Asha is quite the sexual being, but does so with men and leaves no question as to who is fucking whom. I think I would have been more comfortable with her showing that her role reversal (a woman in charge of Ironborn) is complete in all facets of her life.
|Yeah, that look of consternation was on my face, too.|
While I understand the technique, I have to say that the alternate cuts between scenes are getting kind of annoying. It used to be that an extended scene would be cut into parts and the episode would move around between three or four storylines before returning to the second or third part of the long bit. In recent seasons, we've seen a lot more direct swapping and tonight's episode did a lot of that, in which we switched back and forth between, say, Riverrun and the Hound multiple times, while events progressed in each. While that does allow for easy transitions between events of actual significance, it starts to feel like a cheat. They didn't have to show (or pay for) the church community getting slaughtered by the Brotherhood because they switched to Braavos for the shocker moment and then back to Clegane to just show the aftermath. It's not like we need to see more people getting cut to pieces (and, as noted, it costs a lot of money to shoot those battle scenes, pay for FX, pay for extras and stuntmen in action, etc.), but it does tend to set up stereotypical moments like the end of this episode, where we see Clegane grabbing his axe before storming off camera. We could have gotten the same effect if he'd seen the carnage happen or, honestly, if he'd walked in and we closed out with him looking at the hanged priest. But we needed a moment of IMPACT after the cut to Braavos and so we get the obvious churning jaw of impending vengeance. It could be writer, director, editor or any combination of the three but, as I said, it's been happening more frequently in the last couple seasons and it's starting to feel cheap.
|"Lemme tellya about that cocksu-!"|
|"Go on. Try and tell me about what I don't know."|
Just as a minor technical note, where exactly did Sansa come up with a Stark stamp for her letter to a benefactor that Jon doesn't know about? Has she been carrying it with her all the way from Winterfell?
Lines of the week:
"I think some of them are a bit afraid of you."
"I'm used to it."
"There's a reason you're still here."
"There's a reason: I'm a big fucker and I'm tough to kill."
There's nothing like the Hound to cut things down to their very essence. (Pun alert.)
"Congress does not require desire on the woman's part. Only patience."
So, uh, yeah... Here's the thing about that... The Sparrow later suggesting that "Sometimes the true path is hard to find" was a softball just waiting to be put over the fence.
"We're not clever like you southerners. We say we'll do something, we do it."
Tormund with the guilt trip and jab.
"You've lost, Cersei. It's the only joy I can find in all this misery."
I am so going to miss Dianna Rigg when her role is finally wrapped up. I hope this wasn't it.
"You have better instincts than anyone in the Lannister army."
"That's like saying I got the biggest cock in the Unsullied army."
"Good thing we're friends or we'd be fucking you in the ass right now."
This is why you keep Jerome Flynn around.
"Your 'honor'... Bargaining with oathbreakers is like building on quicksand."
A little over the top. He's right, though: Sieges are dull. In medieval times, you had about as much chance of dying of disease (or boredom) as the besiegers as anyone inside did of starvation.
"Nothing on the Iron Islands has an ass like that."
That's why everyone's looking for saltwives, presumably...
"We'll get you justice!"
"If I got justice, my burnt body would hang over the gates of Winterfell."
Seriously, Alfie Allen is still great.
"We weren't animals. Animals are true to their nature... and we'd betrayed ours."
Al pontificating on the idea that humans aren't inherently savage. That's a loaded question.
and the winner:
|Because the Hound's always the winner.|
"You don't cure it by dying, either."