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Monday, April 15, 2013

Game of Thrones Recap: Hilarious Acts of Violence Edition

Posted by Joe Streckert on Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Yeah, we'll get to the ending.

Game of Thrones was pretty genre-bendy last night, with elements of comedy, horror, and horror comedy. Skin was bared. Bread products were given. A very important body part was removed. Then, out of nowhere THAT SONG. Oh god, that song.

Spoilers after the jump.

WHERE THE FUCK IS STRONG BELWAS?!?!
  • WHERE THE FUCK IS STRONG BELWAS?!?!

Riverrun! You know that big castle that figures prominently in books one, two, three, and four? It’s finally in the show now. In season three. Also at Riverrun…

The Blackfish! Caetlyn’s dad has died, and the Tully’s have Viking-esque funerals. In the first mainly silent scene of the show, an archer attempts to ignite the floating bier with a flaming arrow. He misses. And misses again. And again. Awkward shuffling ensues, and there is no awkward more awkward than awkwardness at a funeral (trust me on this). A grizzled, crusty-looking guy shoved the deficient archer out of the way, grabbed the bow, and lit up dead guy with one shot, and didn’t even bother to look. Hi there, Blackfish. That was a damn fine entrance.

Robb: Super effective. Robb’s defining quality is that he’s a good general, and a bad everything else. Last night, as he was berating a subordinate about the war’s overall strategy, he showed off his skill as a military commander. That still doesn’t make him a good king, though.

A game of chairs. Chairs are a lot like thrones, except less fancy, and not made out of swords. In the second big silent scene of the evening Tywin, Varys, Littlefinger, Maester Luwin, and Tyrion all scowled at each other and passive-aggressively worked out who would sit in what chair on the small council. In a nice little “fuck you” to his dad, Tyrion moved his chair from a low spot (being farthest away from the Hand) to a high one (being at one of the table’s heads). Meanwhile, Littlefinger has been assigned to get hitched in the name of politics and diplomacy, and Tyrion is going to be Westeros’ new Ben Bernanke. Tyrion initially complained about being made Master of Coin, but that seems to be a fairly powerful position. Littlefinger has done very well for himself as the kingdom’s chief financial officer, after all. It’s a downgrade from being Hand, but it’s by no means nothing job.

The Bear and the Maiden Fair. The Brotherhood Without Banners was singing that jaunty tune that everyone who’s read the series is all too familiar with. A member of my viewing party said “that fucking song.” That fucking song, indeed.

Arya got a bread wolf! That was cute. Given that the series is often overly dour, seeing glimmers of humor in the adaptation is a welcome change.

The Bear and the Maiden Fair. The Brotherhood Without Banners was singing that jaunty tune that everyone who’s read the series is all too familiar with. A member of my viewing party said “that fucking song.” That fucking song, indeed.

Sam, don’t just walk in on people giving birth. That’s weird. Giving birth is kind of a personal thing. Samwell Tarly got kind of stalker-y last night, just sort of staring at one of Craster’s “wives” birthing a son. Did this bother anyone else? Just walking on in there, staring at some labor pains. Creeper move, dude.

Melissandre and Stannis have a tiff. Game of Thrones has frequently told Song of Ice and Fire’s Subtext “fuck you, subtext- you’re text now.” Stannis and Melissandre have always given off a kind of “are they or aren’t they?” vibe in the books. Last night’s episode chucked out all pretense of ambiguity and made it abundantly clear that not only are Stannis and Melissandre doin’ it, but that Stannis’ “fires burn low.” Ouch.

Daenerys Targaryn: Starting to be cool. Dany did some pretty hard negotiating last night, offering a dragon to some slavers in exchange for an army. Yes. Yes. This is building up to one of the best scenes in the whole series. Don't fuck this up, TV version. Don't fuck it up.

Dead horse art. I guess Damien Hirst lives north of the Wall. Also, why don't Mance Rayder and his guys have hats? They are in a cold place. Hats would be helpful.

Podrick Payne: The number one lover man in his particular postal district. I love Pod. For no real reason that I can pin down, I think the little guy's a hugely endearing minor character. He saves Tyrion, isn't involved in bullshit intrigue, and generally seems to be a good dude. Having him get deflowered by multiple hookers (one of whom was a contortionist) was dumb and gratuitous, but so over the top that it kind of worked. Having Tyrion and Bronn chat him up later about how it went was priceless, and briefly turned one of the bloodiest shows on television into a fun buddy comedy.

Ladies and Gentlemen... THE HOLD STEADY! Jaime Lannister lost his hand last night, kicking off the TV version of one of the best character arcs in A Song of Ice and Fire. We knew it was coming, but not how'd they pull it off. I doubt anyone suspected that A Game of Thrones would portray it like something out of an Evil Dead movie. Jaime laid his hand on the block, a dude chopped it off with a frightening-looking knife, and after a second or two of bloody screaming, Irish-flavored punk music started playing over the credits. It was the Hold Steady, performing a revved-up cover of The Bear and the Maiden Fair.

"What the fuck?" said a member of my viewing party, "that was like something out of a Sam Raimi movie." The sudden violence and peppy music wouldn't have been at all out of place in Evil Dead movie, and apparently that was intentional. Last night on Twitter the Mercury's Bobby Roberts helpfully pointed out that the sudden violence juxtaposed with fun-tastic music was inspired by John Landis' An American Werewolf in London.

Speaking of which:

Has it occurred to anyone else that his arc is the exact same as Spike's from Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Both are evil, handsome blonde dudes with crazy girlfriends, both of them have their source of power neutralized, both have redemptive arcs where they learn to not be total douche-holes, and both of them learn how to de-jerk themselves in large part by hanging out with ladies who could probably kick their ass. Each become lovable bad boys who struggle with their past deeds, and each have to wrangle with their past and be really good looking while doing so.

There you have it: Jaime Lannister is Spike from Buffy. That's my amazing insight for the day. You're welcome. See you next week, and here's the bear song.

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