Spoilers and stuff
Scott: *exasperated deep breath in* GAME OF THRONES!
That’s the thing about this show, my friends. I could sit here and nitpick this episode to death (and I will), but then there are moments like those that closed this weeks episode and none of it really matters. This show is incredible! And as Lord Snow gasped his first re-animated breath of air, I gasped in excitement. I knew this was coming. Both of you knew this was coming. We even predicted just how it was coming (and I was one episode off on the when!) but as the moment played out I still jumped off my couch in excitement, a beaming smile on my face.
Sure, I was a little disappointed that it played out in the most obvious, predictable way. But who cares. Jon Snow is back! Game of FUCKING THRONES.
Also, a bunch of other stuff happened last night, but I’m sure we’ll get to all that in a bit.
Matt: It’s fun being an avid book-reader obsessive, but I envy the latecomers. I envy the people who will be able to buy a Game of Thrones box set in five or ten years, maybe having heard some buzz but hopefully no major spoilers, and plow through the show relatively quickly. I say this because we’ve had five years to not only realize that Jon Stark was probably coming back from the dead, but to generate dissertations on exactly how. The latecomers will not be in this position. They will experience this scene with unadulterated delight and surprise.
This episode was blessedly free of any mention of Dorne, but still stumbled in places. Dialogue felt off. In both the Bran and the Jaime scenes, much is dramatically verbalized, but nothing happens. Of course, one could retort that plenty “happened” in this episode – four major deaths (“three, net,” someone on Reddit quipped), only one of which we expected. You could say that this indicates the show is moving confidently forward into new territory.
What do you think, Gentry?
Gentry: Fellas. Whaaaat just happened!? Okay, not going to lie. For an instant I thought maybe we were witnessing another red priestess epic fail moment, but then boom! Just like that, episode 2, return of Jon Snow, I mean Jon Stark! This answers quite a bit in general, but I feel like it just opened so many more doors to book theory discussion. Excited and nervous all at once!
The show as a whole was one of those “happenings overload” type of episodes. To see both Roose (and his newly created family) AND Balon get taken out so quickly after Prince Doran, I am on the same train in that the show is definitely trimming tons of fat now to push forward to these last few seasons of new story.(cough **Dorne** cough) Roose Bolton being killed off so abruptly, although isn’t unheard of, just seemed a bit off to me. So much time was invested in making him a more Tywin-esque figure to go along with his scheming in the earlier seasons, as well as developing his relationship with Ramsay to forward the plot in the later seasons. I could have seen Ramsay being the one to ultimately do it easily enough (pretty obvious given his past), but it just seemed so rushed. Why not have Walda’s baby be born later on in the season during some pre-next battle high Bolton feasting moment? Attaching this to the drama of finishing off the Bolton/Frey opposing forces would have been a nice twist late season. Thoughts?
On another topic, easily overshadowed by the ending but just as important in my opinion, how amazing was that Tyrion sequence? Wooow please more of this GoT. Personally I’ve been a big fan and supporter of the Tyrion half-Targ theory (which I credit to an essay written years back on Tower of the Hand) and have experienced many book clues to fuel my hopes for it, but I feel like last night’s episode was almost a confirmation that Tyrion is more special than perhaps we realized? Because it was one of my predictions to see him do (and say), so much that was displayed in this scene had me elated and excited.
Scott: You’re totally right on about the Tyrion sequence. The scene ratchets up the tension and for a moment we forget that even in the world of Game of Thrones, Tyrion’s plot armor can probably withstand dragon’s breath. Or at least, that in a crypt under a pyramid is not the place that Tyrion would go out. I wonder if you’re reading too much into it though as far as your crazy book theories. Sure, the scene proved that Tyrion had an affinity with dragons, but that could mean nothing more than just general Tyion badassery and as he said, “drinking and knowing things”.
The Bolton sequence was really great: wonderfully shot and executed perfectly. There’s a moment there with the two Bolton men embrace and get their stab on that you’re genuinely wondering which Bolton just got skewered. They hold this beat just a little longer than necessary and it allowed me to realize that both were just as likely to strike first. I agree that Roose’s exit felt abrupt, but altogether necessary. We need Ramsey free to go full on crazy mode to gather his remaining forces and ride out against the army of a certain freshly reborn Lord. I will say that the Walda Frey part of this week’s story line could have been shortened considerably. I know they’re trying to slowly build up to the moment where Ramsey releases the hounds on the poor lady and her child, but come on. We knew this was coming. Nothing in anything we’ve seen of Ramsey Bolton has led to me to believe he wouldn’t happily feed anyone in his way to the dogs. Just get on with it.
As for our return to the Iron Islands, I cannot for the life of me think of a reason that the Kingsmoot is going to matter at all to any of the other events on the show. I didn’t like any of Greyjoy/Kingsmoot stuff in the books and I don’t like it here. Obviously, this matters in some kind of crucial way and I trust our dear showrunners to point out exactly how, but this was the one moment this week that I caught my attention wavering. Are the Iron Islands going to end up being Dorne 2.0?
Matt: Scott, I think the quality of the incoming Iron Islands plotline will hinge on the show’s version of Euron Greyjoy.
Where Dorne’s Sand Snakes are indistinguishable and entirely devoid of interest and relatability, Euron could serve as an interesting villain. We don’t know much about him, yet. Is he an amalgamation of the Greyjoy brothers in the books? Is he going to have Victarion’s Viking-chic aesthetic? Book-Euron’s enigmatic madman package? Aeron’s religious fanaticism? I’m actually excited to see where things go.
I was also sad to see Roose go, but you have to admit, it’s been a long time coming. You wouldn’t have been surprised to see Ramsay shank him at any time in the last season or so.
As for Tyrion Targaryen – keep the faith, Gentry, but I don’t think we’ll see that reveal. I just don’t think it would even matter, at this point. But if your turn out to be right, feel free to rub it in my face.
Gentry: Very good point, Matt. I agree the culmination of the Greyjoy story will have a lot to do with how they decide to approach Euron’s actions. Kind of strange to get a character that is supposedly a combination of two brothers personalities, one of which vehemently despises the other in every way possible. At the moment, other than to stoke the Lannister conflict fire, I feel Dorne was and remains unnecessary. The Greyjoy story seems to be straddling the line between this random and forced fan service and advancing an old and messy (and one can even say broken?) plot to hopefully (maybe?) give us a decent conclusion and tie in to the bigger picture. If the Greyjoys head South similar to that of the books, I can see a focus on Dorne more so than the Reach so that the new ‘Sand’ regime has something to do. Seeing Euron physically end his brother’s life by throwing him over a rope bridge (even though Balon struck first) tells me he’s mentally going to be all Euron but with Victarions physical stature and fighting prowess; basically a perfect Greyjoy/pirate villain.
Both of you had some good thoughts on Roose getting powned so early this season. I guess I didn’t realize the shot was made to look like either one of them could have been stabbing the other. Pretty genius if that was the case. In my mind I only saw Ramsay stabbing Roose rather than the other way around because Roose would simply never do something as careless as murdering your son in front of your own bannermen and maester, in public, in your own hall. Not only is Roose too cunning and calculated to be this sloppy, but it’s just not his style. So it was rather quickly that I realized Ramsay was pulling his Queen out and going for the kill. Now that I think about it, though, it is rather ironic that Roose got his comeuppance in the exact same fashion as he doled out to Robb Stark, except in this case it was under his his own roof by his own blood. I guess Ramsay took a page out of the ole’ Bolton family treachery book.
Haha, oh I will. I mean honestly, it’s one of many fan theories out there, but one that I personally root for and support. If anything, half Targ or not, I think Tyrion is one of only other strong candidates for fulfilling the “Dragon must have 3 heads” theory besides Jon, and this episode helped his case substantially. Buuuut a lot of that is book theory talk and for the purposes of the show, it could just be that Tyrion, after all the crap he’s been through, figured why not give it a shot. Other than his life which generally hangs by a thread anyway, maybe he went for it thinking he has nothing to lose.
Lastly, latest take on the Faith vs. Lannister/Tyrell development? As crazy as this family is in general, I always appreciate a nice moment between Cersei or Jaime and their children. I think this was a nice set-up episode for how serious and invested the High Sparrow and Faith Militant are in this movement, and just how they are willing to go to get the changes they want.
Also, I can’t get enough of the beautiful set pieces and wide shots we are getting constantly now in Kings Landing. I find a lot of these shots breathtaking and I appreciate that the show has come so far with its limited budget in making these tough decisions.
Scott: Thanks for the input guys. We didn’t even touch on Bran’s journey into the past this week, but judging by the preview for next week’s episode, we’ll be getting a whole lot more Bran then. I’m sure it will be a toweringly joyous. See what I did there?