Wednesday, May 25, 2011
After the high octane action of the previous episode, I've been chomping at the bit all week to tear into episode 6. And now it has finally arrived. So let's . . . get 'er done!
But before we do, please take a moment to check out my reactions to the previous episodes by clicking the appropriate links below:
Episode 1: "Winter is Coming."
Episode 2: "The Kingsroad."
Episode 3: "Lord Snow."
Episode 4: "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things."
Episode 5: "The Wolf and the Lion."
And now, let us begin the show!
A GOLDEN CROWN
Recap of last week's episode here. Only thing of import to recall is that Catelyn Stark has brought Tyrion Lannister to her sister at The Eyrie so that he may be judged and held accountable for killing Jon Arryn and being behind the attempted assassination of Cat's son, Bran.
Also, who can forget the epic showdown between Eddard Stark and Jaime Lannister? I certainly can't! That shit was OFF DA HOOK! Jaime left Ned bleeding to death in the streets of King's Landing, with only a fleeting warning to have his little brother released from captivity and returned OR ELSE!
Yeah, things are really getting poppin now!
Nothing new to report on the opening sequence map front. Same as last week's. I will note, however, that we get a new credit to the teleplay this episode -- veteran genre tv writer, Jane Espenson. Holy crap! Also, the show's creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss lend a hand behind the pen as well. So now we're all but guaranteed a thoroughly kicking ass episode ahead of us.
I can't wait!
Oh, and we finally get a different director this week: Daniel Minahan, taking the reins from Brian Kirk who helmed the last three episodes. I'm interested to see what he can do with the full tapestry of multi-hued threads at his disposal now.
Ned awakens in bed all groggy looking after his run in with Jaime Lannister, and -- OH SHIT! The queen is all up in his grill, yo! Talk about a rude awakening! I almost screamed out loud. That's not what I would want to wake up to, no siree!
Wait, who am I kidding? Who the hell wouldn't want to awake to Lena Headey's gorgeousness gazing back at them? Sign me up!
But Cersei? Yeah, she's CREEPY! And it seems to run in the family, as King Robert is quick to point out. Yeah, he's in the room, too. You'd think he's there to get straight down to the bottom of all the bullshit going on around him. But you'd think wrong. No, fat boy just doesn't want to hear any of it. He's not that kind of dude, you see?
Cersei: "I took you for a king!"
Robert: "Hold your tongue."
Cersei: "I should wear the armor, and you the gown."
Robert turns and glares at her. What did the five fingers say to the face? Yup, that's right -- SLAP!!!
Shit, I saw that coming ten miles away! Whoo! That was a good, meaty slap too! Now, I'm not one to advocate domestic abuse. Trust me, I'm not. But damn if she didn't have that coming!
Cersei tries to brush it off. "I shall wear this like a badge of honor."
Robert: "Wear it in silence, or I'll honor you again."
Yeah, BOYEEEE! That's right, Robert. Show her who's king of this castle. Oh, wait. Yeah, you ARE the king of this castle. Oh well . . .
Robert of course does nothing about the situation concerning the Lannister boys. He tells Ned he's still his Hand, and that he better handle this beef between himself and "those yellow-haired shits" on his own dime. He wants no part of it.
Robert throws the Hand's clasp at Ned.
"Put on the badge. And if you ever take it off again, I swear to the Mother I'll pin the damn thing on Jaime Lannister!"
Robert Van Winkle--aka, Vanilla Ice--walks in with his baseball cap twisted to the side and big-ass mike to his mouth and says: "Word to your Mother, yo!"
Yeah, way to passive-aggressively rule your kingdom, homeboy. Hope that works out for ya!
Oh snap -- finally! We're back in Vaes Dothrak after going an entire freaking episode with nary a glimpse at what's been going on with those horse fucke--I mean, fine equestrian folk, the Dothraki. But now we get ourselves a Dany scene! For some unexplained reason, she suddenly decides now's a good time to toss one of those petrified dragon's eggs into a fiery brazier. Maybe she's hungry. Or maybe she's just bored and does it for shits and giggles. It's not like they have, er, HBO in the tent or anything.
The egg roasts for a good while, before Dany reaches in to grab it. One of her handmaidens, Irri, spies her in the process and rushes over to snatch the sizzling egg out of her hands. The maid screams and reveals red welts on her own palms for all her trouble . . . but Dany doesn't feel pain at all, and her hands are as creamy white as ever before.
What does it all MEAN???
Oh, please. They're not exactly being subtle about it! But I won't say anything (shhhh!).
Ooh, we're back at Winterfell. Bran's having his weird 3-eyed crow dream again. Except, this time he manages to follow the bird just a little farther into the crypts before being jostled out of dreamland by -- HODOR!
Oh man, I missed this dude! He's grinning from ear to ear as he presents to Bran the specialized saddle Tyrion the dwarf had designed for him. Aww! The only thing that would make this scene golden in my book is if Hodor had exclaimed in his usual fashion: HODOR!
Hmmm, why didn't they? What the fuck, dudes in charge? You keep missing these prime examples to make certain scenes way more awesomer.
Speaking of which . . . WHAT THE FUCK! Bran gets attacked by wildlings down from the Far North while he's riding on his special saddle, and nowhere is his direwolf to be seen! Why oh why is Summer not around to tear these barbarian scum new assholes? He was there in the book, so why not here?
Seven HELLS! What is WRONG with the people running this show?
Anyway, the wildlings all die when Robb Stark and Theon Greyjoy show up to save the day, except for one scraggly looking she-devil. This should be Osha, but she's not named here. Still, she's going to be a fairly important character, so I'm sure we'll see her again.
Holy SHIT SNACKS! Tyrion is asleep in one of those dreaded Sky Cell dungeons at the Eyrie -- and damn near rolls off the ledge! Jeez, he must be a heavy sleeper. I can damn well assure you that I would sleep with my back pressed firmly into the farthest corner from that fucking ledge! If I'd get any sleep at all!
LOL! Mord comes running into the cell with his favorite billy club of doom, smacking the living hells out of poor Tyrion.
"Dwarf man making noise!"
HAHA! I love this! You can't help but laugh at how ridiculous this all looks. But, damn, they captured Mord perfectly!
Tyrion, of course, tries to use his wits against this oaf. Too bad for him oafs are, by their very nature, not too bright and therefore immune to circuitous logic. Kind of the opposite rule of the Jedi Mind Trick, when you think about it. Guess despite his familiar size, Tyrion is not in fact Yoda.
Still, he tries to convince his gaoler that his family is very rich. He can offer him lots of gold.
LOL! Oh man, Mord is so DUMB! He immediately searches Tyrion, then slaps him again with the billy club.
Mord: "No gold!"
Tyrion: "Well I don't have it HERE!"
That earns him another smack, LOL! This scene is priceless, and I can only imagine we have Jane Espenson to thank for that. She's good at writing comedy, she is.
YEAH! Okay, I don't care what happens after this scene -- this episode is officially the BEST EPISODE EVAR. Syrio has entered the building again!
Yup, that's right! You read it here first. If an episode has Syrio in it, it's officially the best show up to that point. I don't care what else happens. The next 55 minutes could be of nothing but King Robert taking a massive, hernia-inducing DUMP while squatting atop a very small chamber pot . . . and the episode would still be pure gold because Syrio fucking Forel was in it!
It is known.
Aww, poor Arya doesn't want to train. She's sadden because Jory got the world's worst eye exam last episode, and because her father is injured. But Syrio explains this is the best time to train, when you are troubled. He asks her if she prays. Arya replies she prays to both the old and the new gods.
Syrio: "There is only one god . . .and his name is DEATH. And there is only one thing we say to Death: Not today!"
Ho-HO! That shit is deep! Yeah, boy! I love Syrio!!!
Oh. My. God.
I think I just wandered into the Dothraki version of Fear Factor, because Daenerys has to eat a whole stallion's heart--raw!--before Khal Drogo and his assembled dosh khaleen.
I almost hurled just watching her almost hurl! Ewwwww!
She has to eat the whole heart and keep it down in order to ensure that her baby will be a strong boy, and not female or malformed should she fail. Yeah. I've talked about it before, but clearly gender equality has quite an uphill battle in this world.
Eventually Joe Rogan runs out into the middle of the tent and proclaims: "Obviously fear is not a factor for you, Dany." Khal Drogo beams at his khaleesi under what looks like a pound of eye makeup, and some creepy chanting woman proclaims that their son will be the fabled "Stallion who Mounts the World."
No Rocky references this time, sorry.
Dany names her not-yet-born child "Rhaego" -- partly in honor of the last true Targaryen "dragon prince," her dead brother Rhaegar; and partly in honor of her husband the Khal. It's a good name, but I guess the Dothraki don't believe in the superstition against naming your children before they're even born . . .
Viserys does not seem pleased by this turn of events. He sees the Dothraki showering his little sister with praise and affection, whereas they treat him like the little bitch he truly is.
So what does he do? LOL, he runs off to Dany's tent to steal her dragon's eggs. Yup, you guessed it -- just like a little bitch! But Ser Jorah Mormont is there to stop him. He pretty much gives Viserys his walking papers if he is unhappy with his lot.
Hmmm, something tells me Viserys is not going to be the one to slip away meekly in the night. No, methinks someone has "awaken the dragon."
I don't know about you, but I think I've had enough of this punk. Somebody off him already, please?
HAHA, of course you should realize I'm playing devil's advocate here. I know exactly what's supposed to happen, but I guess we have a few more scenes to go before that . . .
Ah, and here we are again -- back in the Sky Cells at the Eyrie! Tyrion tries again to work his charms on Mord, who finally sways to the dwarf's sweet-talking schemes.
"Have you ever heard the phrase: 'rich as a Lannister?' Or course you have . . . you're a SMART man!"
LOL! I love this dude. He's so frickin KEWLZ!!!
All Tyrion wants is an audience with that crazy psycho hose beast, Lysa Arryn, to "confess" his crimes. He educates his gaoler on another famous motto of his family: "A Lannister always pays his debts. I will owe you GOLD!"
Damn, this scene is BRILLIANT! I love the way Tyrion's mind--and, let's not forget, his tongue--gets him out of any sticky situation. More of that in the very next scene.
Back in the High Hall we see Lysa again, with Robin by her side as always. Thankfully no body parts are exposed which shouldn't be this time. Phew! And even the brat is subdued . . . for now.
OMG, Tyrion is so fucking HILARIOUS! This part is not in the book, so once again we have the writers of the ep to thank for this little bit of humor. The dwarf confesses his "crimes" in a contrite tone, except these are not the offenses for which he has been brought to the Eyrie to answer for. In fact, the litany of offenses he rattles off next are enough to make even the most seasoned whore blush bright red. Genius!
"I close my eyes, I can still see her tits bouncing . . ."
"When I was 10, I stuffed my uncle's boots with goat shit . . ."
"When I was 12, I milked my eel into a pot of turtle stew. I flogged the one-eyed snake, I skinned my sausage. I made the bald man cry! Into the turtle stew, which I do believe my sister ate -- at least I hope she did."
Oh man, I'm damn near in tears right now. This is some funny shit right here, especially thanks to Peter Dinklage's awesome pantomiming of this singular act. LOL! The amused titters and astonished cries from the audience of nobles and servants alike in the chamber just adds to the awesome comedic effect of this entire sequence.
Damn, I love this show!
Tyrion: "I once brought a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel--"
Robin: "What happened next?"
Oh . . . GAWDS! I can't BREATHE!!! Watch the vid clip below to see this delightfully wicked scene yourselves:
Lysa has heard enough. Tyrion maintains his innocence to the murder of Jon Arryn and behind the attempt on Bran's life, and so he's introduced to the way things are done around these here parts:
Lysa: "Open the Moon Door!"
Ah, so we finally get to see just what the hell that contraption in the center of the hall is used for. Apparently it's the express route to the bottom of the mountain, sans stairs or road! Robin claps his hands and damn near pisses himself.
"Make the bad man FLY!!!"
Hmm, I still want to punch this kid in the face. Sorry if that makes me a bad person.
Tyrion demands a trial by combat, which everyone finds funny. But see, Tyrion knows the common folk assembled will not allow him to go without a proper trial. And in this world, silly as it may be, the accused does have the legal right to such recourse as an armed fight to prove his innocence.
Now to find someone who will champion him . . .
Ding, ding, ding! Why, if it isn't Bronn the sellsword! Remember him, kids? Why yes, he's the one Tyrion had struck a fast friendship with on the road leading to the Eyrie in last week's episode. No one really knows the exact reason why Bronn decides to risk his neck for the Imp here. But you can be damn sure it has to do with the fact that Tyrion is indeed "rich as a Lannister!"
Bronn's opponent is Ser Vardis Egan, a knight of the Vale who is loyal to House Arryn. He fights according to the true chivalric code, being a proper noble knight and all. Problem is, Bronn is not a knight. No, he's a street fighter. He enters combat dressed lightly and armed only with a sword. Ser Vardis, on the other hand, is encumbered by heavy armor and a large shield. And in an enclosed space, no less!
Oh, I think we all know how this is going to turn out!
King Robert is out hunting boar with his brother, Renly; the Commander of the Kingsguard, Ser Barristan Selmy; and his squire, Lancel Lannister. The boy constantly offers the King wine, and of course Robert never refuses more of the vino. In fact, he's getting more and more drunk the deeper into the forest they travel.
Damn, it's clear the others in attendance are not as amused by Robert's "good ole days" speeches as he himself is. They're probably thinking what a lewd fat-ass he's become.
Robert says to Renly: "[This isn't] as exhilarating as those balls and masquerades you like to throw!"
I swear, is it just me or does Robert put particular emphasis on "balls" here? LOL, just food for thought, eh?
This scene might not seem like it's adding much to the overall story, but I think I see what they're doing here. And, no, this was not in the book.
Beyond that, I dare not say anymore . . .
Ugh! I hate scenes like this. Littlefinger is clearly goading Ned on as the King's Hand listens to complaints from some peasants about a monstrous brute of a knight who's been terrorizing their farms in the Riverlands -- Catelyn Stark's ancestral home. This knight is so huge, that he took off a horse's head with a single swipe of his sword.
Littlefinger: "That sounds like someone we know." Yessir! The Mountain That Rides, Ser Gregor Clegane!
It seems the Mountain calls Lord Tywin Lannister master these days, and that this might be in retaliation for Cat having taken Tywin's son, Tyrion, hostage.
Ned is so keen to see justice done, that he does not stop to think about the politics at play behind the scenes. And Littlefinger just keeps on manipulating . . .
Ned: "In the name of Robert of the House Baratheon, the first of his name. King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm. I charge you to bring the King's Justice to the false knight, Gregor Clegane, and all those who shared in his crimes. I denounce him, and attaint him . . . and sentence him to death."
Ned then orders a summons to go out for Lord Tywin himself to appear at court and answer for his bannerman. He needs to show up within a month or be branded a traitor to the Crown.
Littlefinger questions Ned on this, stating the obvious: that Tywin Lannister is the richest man in all the Seven Kingdoms.
Littlefinger: "Gold wins wars, not soldiers."
Ned: "Then how come Robert is king, and not Tywin Lannister?"
Arrrgh! Even if I hadn't read the books, I would know that this is not a good move by Ned. Not good at all!
Yes. Fight! Fight! FIGHT!!!
Bronn and Ser Vardis go at it, mano a gauntlet, in the High Hall of the Eyrie. Bronn uses guerrilla tactics against the knight, making use of his surroundings, outpacing his opponent, and generally taking advantage of the other's weaknesses and heavy armor.
Once he tires him down, Bronn strikes him in a strategic location just under his armor plate beneath his armpit. Next he hamstrings him above the knee. Finally, maneuvering just within reach of the Moon Door, Bronn delivers the coup-de-grace -- a strike straight through the opening in the knight's neck just above his breastplate!
Ewww! Now THAT'S what you call a bloodbath! Wow! I think I might have mentioned this before, but I'm absolutely loving all the gore on this show. It was why I was so happy to hear that HBO was taking this series on. I'm not a sadist or anything, but this is actually tame compared to the books.
Oh, and of course we all knew Vardis was destined to exit the hall by way of that Moon Door. Not quite the outcome that everyone in the chamber expected, but thems the breaks kids!
Lysa is shocked! "You don't fight with honor."
Bronn: "No" and points down at the Moon Door. "He did!"
LOL! That's a metaphor for the show right there! I won't say how exactly, because we're not at the end of season 1 yet. But some of you might have some inkling already.
Oh, and Tyrion is so smooth!
Robin: "Can I make the little man fly now?"
Tyrion: "Not this little man. This little man is going home."
He bows sardonically to all, tosses Mord his promised bag of gold, and leaves the proper way out of the Eyrie with Bronn in tow.
Oh man, that was a DAMN GOOD fight! And an awesome scene all 'round.
This episode is ACES so far. Aces, I tell ya!
Oh god, I always speak too soon. Not only do we get a bitchy Sansa being bitchy scene . . . but we get Joffrey as well!
Excuse me while I finally go hurl horse heart chunks now.
Joffrey apologizes for being such an ass all this time and gifts Sansa with a charm necklace much like the one his mother wears. He tells her "you're my lady now" and promises her that he'll never be cruel again. He spouts off some more sappy shit, and then kisses her.
Heh, I think Septa Mordane is going to be sick right along with me!
I will say this, though: the lighting in this scene is freakin BEAUTIFUL!!! The silhouette shot reminds me of the beginning of The Princess Bride, when Westley leaves Buttercup to find his fortune overseas. Too bad it's ruined on these two fucktards!
Ugh! Another useless scene. Except, unlike the boar hunting one with King Robert, this one is even less serving as a setup. The only point of this is to show that the hardest working whore in all the North--Ros--is leaving Winterfell for King's Landing by way of a turnip cart.
Uh, who cares? More to the point: this is nowhere in the book!
Theon Greyjoy is pissed that his favorite human cock sock is ditching his ass for the bright lights of the big city. He throws her a coin to get one last glimpse of what he'll be missing, and she obliges.
You know, I'm not one to begrudge HBO a nudey scene or two. Especially not on this show. But that . . . that was just unnecessary.
There. I said it!
Moving on . . .
Back at King's Landing, in the Tower of the Hand, Ned breaks the news to his daughters that he's sending them back to Winterfell for their own safety.
Uh, dude, what the hell? You do know what's between you and Winterfell, right? A bunch of angry Lannister men! Not to mention Jaime is nowhere to be found.
Dumb, Ned. Really dumb!
Of course, the girls are none to happy to be leaving. Arya has her sword lessons, and Sansa prefers the court life and being near to her special beloved.
Arya: "Can't we take Syrio back with us?"
Sansa: "Who cares about your stupid dancing teacher, I can't go. I'm supposed to marry prince Joffrey. I love him, and I'm meant to be his queen and have his babies!"
Arya: "Seven hells."
LOL! Oh my god, Arya just said the exact same thing I yelled out to the tv. Seven hells, indeed! I'm so so so happy my wife was more like Arya and not like Sansa when we first met.
Ned: "I'll make you a match with someone who's worthy of you. Someone who's brave, and gentle, and strong--"
Sansa: "I don't want someone 'brave, and gentle, and strong' -- I want him!"
LOL! Arya smirks at this, and I love that you see Ned smirk too. He doesn't want to, but that shit is too damn funny! Yeah, Joffrey is none of those things. None, sweetheart.
Sansa tries hard to sell her beloved's virtues, though:
"He'll be the greatest king that ever was. A golden lion! And I'll give him sons with beautiful blonde hair . . ."
Ned stops smirking and snaps his head back at full attention, like he's Gregory House who's just hit the 48 minute "Eureka!" mark on that show. He's figured it out!
Arya drives home the obvious even more. "The lion's not his sigil, idiot! He's a stag like his father."
Sansa: "He is not! He's nothing like that old drunk king."
Ned's girls have just unwittingly unlocked the whole bloody affair for him! The secret he's been trying to crack for going on 4 episodes now. The truth that Jon Arryn died for.
He goes back to that big ass dusty book he took from Maester Pycelle and skips ahead to the Baratheon family lineage section. Hmm, seems the Baratheons are all "black of hair". Even when in the past they married fair haired spouses, the product has always been of dark hair. Just like all of Robert's bastards have proven to be.
But what of his legitimate children? His first born, Joffrey, is blonde!
Uh-oh. Someone who's name begins with "Cer" and ends with "sei" has a lot of 'splainin to do!
Across the Narrow Sea back at Vaes Dothrak, Viserys shows up piss-off-his-ass drunk at his sister's baby shower. You know, several months have gone by now. Shouldn't Daenerys be more visibly pregnant? Just a little nitpick of mine.
Viserys--that prick!--starts up a big commotion demanding some respect from everyone. But when he draws his sword and points it at his sister's belly, the DJ suddenly stops spinning his "drum beat remix" off the fur-lined iPod in the back and now everyone's watching. See, blades are forbidden to be drawn in sacred Vaes Dothrak. No blood is to be spilled there.
Also, that's the Khal's seed he's threatening. Is this guy really that fucking stupid?
Viserys demands the crown promised to him. And as we all know: be careful what you wish for . . .
Ouch! That was one of the most gruesome, horrific ways to die I've ever seen on television. Never mind that that wood fire was well below the melting point of gold. And also let's ignore the editing that made it seem like it happened in just seconds, compared to the ten minutes or so in the book. That's still one helluva note to end on. He certainly got his "crown," that's for sure! The image of Viserys' "crazy eyes" will stay with me for some time, I think.
And double wow at Dany's proclamation after watching her crazy bro die so horribly:
"He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill . . . a dragon."
Well, that was the best episode yet! Maybe not as action-packed as last week's, but you should know by now I don't care as much for that as I do a good, well-written and directed story. And we got that in spades this week!
Also, did you all catch the double entendre behind the episode's title? "A Golden Crown." Get it?
Yup, the golden crown of hair for the Lannister children, and the painfully literal golden crown for Viserys.
Damn it all! I'm--pardon the pun--all fired up now! There's so much I want to say, but most of it would be spoilers for next week's episode, so I can't!
Suffice to say, though, that things start to spiral downward for a lot of the major parties involved in this show. I mean, it gets pretty bad, folks. I'm not going to lie. Although I'm excited to see the reactions of those who have been closely following this show along but who have not read the books. You're in for one helluva shit storm!
And, seven hells! Can we PLEASE get a freaking Jon Snow at the Wall scene? It's been two solid weeks now!
Also, I'm still mad at the lack of direwolves. They had very key appearances in the book, and we're seeing virtually none of that so far this season. The scene with Bran being attacked by wildlings was a big one in which Summer came to the rescue. And yet, no sign of Bran's wolf here. Grrrr!
Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed the heck out of this week's showing. Please let me know what you thought of it in the comments section below.
And join me next week when I bring you my reactions to Ep. 7: "You Win or You Die."