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Spoiler Alert Thursday

I don’t know you how you can justify a “monster of the week” episode in a show with just thirteen episodes per season. I refer, of course, to “The Killing.” A whole 62 minutes of complete irrelevancy bookended by some angry Indians (at the start) and ATM video of the dead girl at the Indian casino (at the end). I suppose they did have to wait about twenty-four hours for the warrant. My advice: just skip a god damned day. I’ll tell you another thing: Lenny Brisco would have wrapped this bad-boy up in twenty-two minutes and already passed it along to Jack McCoy. What’s with these half-ass Seattle cops? At least there is only two more incoherent episodes left–but, sadly, this steaming litter box of kaka was renewed for another season. Again, the only upside to all of this episode was the “wigger.” At least he’s hilarious, yo.

Before proceeding to this week’s discussion of “Game of Thrones,” I just wanted to congratulate (1) The Superficial for giving me my Weekly Dinklage and (2) Peter Dinklage himself for finally getting rid of that horrible spiked collar and giving his dog something to wear that doesn’t risk puncturing his skin and causing tracheal damage.

Apparently George R.R. Martin himself wrote this week’s episode (and will write at least one episode per season) of “Game of Thrones.” Other than that the episode was exceptionally fast-paced and chaotic, I’m not sure I noticed any major differences. Whether the pace is attributable to Martin or the structure of the season is not easy to determine. I haven’t made it this far into the novel, so I’m not sure if the action is this fast-paced in the original–but my impression is that nothing happens fast in the novel at all: everything is slow, except, maybe, the dire wolves. Per my ongoing views regarding the future of the series, I note that Tyrion, Jon and Danerys were all central characters this week. I note, in passing, that there are also three dragons… Of the characters introduced thus far, those three seem most likely to emerge out of the war alive. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

This week we saw a number of threads come together: the Lannisters moved on the Stark children. Sansa is being held as a more or less willing hostage because apparently the angelic good looks of the Draco Malfoy of Westeros is just too overpowering. More forgiving people than myself might say that Sansa is behaving exactly as a terrified, starstruck teen might–but I’m not especially forgiving: she must be the most naive and stupid noble in all of Westeros. Arya escapes from Lannister guards with the help of Syrio, who fends off four or five guards and a knight with a wooden sword. Syrio falls, of course, but to nearly take out six men with a wooden practice sword is quite impressive in itself. (Or, at least, this is Arya’s assumption; we don’t actually see the fight between Syrio and the knight–Syrio could easily have armed himself with a proper sword and just as easily dispatched the knight.) It would seem that Arya has explored the hidden passages of King’s Landing in her mission to catch a feral cat with bare hands sufficiently well that even Varys and his “little birds” do not know where she is. Ned is being held is a dark cell in the dungeons without food or water. Presumably he will be executed in the next episode–even if he were to swear fealty to Joffrey (which, as everyone but Sansa knows, he won’t), they’d still have to kill him. The only question is whether Sansa recognizes the Lannisters for what they are or not. At the Wall, Sam proves that he isn’t as useless as he seems–he notices that the corpse isn’t rotting and he’s used his time as steward to Aemon well by researching the White Walkers. Ghost, once again, is pretty awesome. At Winterfell, Robb summons the banners to war against the Lannisters. His authority is challenged by Lord Umber; Grey Wind steps up to the challenge and bits off two of Umber’s fingers. Agreeing that he only pulled out a weapon to cut Robb’s meat, Umber says, “Your meat is… tough.” Everyone laughs and Grey Wind doesn’t have to rip out Umber’s throat. On the topic of throats, we turn to the Dothraki who are making war preparations by capturing slaves to sell for gold and steel–weapons and money–for their invasion of Westeros. Being a former victim of rape, Danerys has suddenly become the champion of abused women. She claims the women of the village as “her daughters” thus pissing off the Dothraki warrior, Mago, who wants his right to rape the women he captures. Mago brings his concern to Drogo and Drogo ultimately decides against him, choosing Danerys’s side. Mago, being a sore loser, picks a fight with Drogo. After a series of great insults, Drogo disarms himself and kills Mago with his own weapon: he cuts Mago’s throat open, sticks his hand in the wound, and pulls out Mago’s tongue. At the Eyrie, Lysa refuses to assist Catelyn by joining the war against the Lannisters. On the battlefield, Robb begins to demonstrate that he might have his father’s warrior spirit, but also be blinded by the same devotion to honor: he let’s a captured Lannister scout go–who has a false, overestimated count of the size of Robb’s army with a threat to give to Tywin, “Winter is coming for you”–he then, it seems, decides to march against Jaime rather than Tywin. Much like myself (apparently), Tywin is very arrogant, certain that the fifteen or sixteen year old Robb will be no match for his overwhelming forces. Lastly, we return to Tyrion and Bronn who are walking through the hills of The Vale as they flee the Eyrie where they are ambushed by a group of uncivilized hillbillies. Again, Tyrion manages to win over his enemies with words. Shagga, son of Dolf and Chieftain of the Storm Crow, asks Tyrion how he’d like to die: (roughly) “In bed at age eighty with a woman’s lips around my dick.” Shagga apparently likes the “half-man’s” fiestyness and decides that Tyrion will be allowed to live–as a dancer in the village for the children. Again Tyrion has to explain the meaning of gold to the barbaric and, to a lesser extent, the meaning of possession. Ultimately, the hillbillies agree to join with Tyrion in exchange for being made the new lords of The Vale when their rebellion succeeds. Together they march to Tywin’s camp where Tyrion promptly demands at least 3000 soldiers and proper weapons and armour for his new retainers. It isn’t clear if Tywin agrees–but it is clear that the hillbillies will keep Tyrion as a hostage in order to ensure compliance on the part of Tywin. Ned’s question to Varys (“Who do you serve?”) along with his answer (“The realm, Lord Stark, the realm”) is worthy of further consideration: of all the characters introduced thus far, it is entirely possible that Varys is the only one in a position who actually can serve the realm: (1) he’s common-born and thus has no necessary connection to any of the noble families; (2) he’s a eunuch and thus has no interest in creating favorable conditions for his children. Of course, last week I hypothesized that Varys was working in the interests of the Targaryens.

In effect, after eight episodes, Westeros has gone from more or less dysfunctional to complete shit. The next two episodes–and however many novels they convert into television–promises extensive carnage and destruction, especially once Danerys finds a way to hatch those dragon eggs. Worse, it is clear that the White Walkers have returned and it seems they have the ability to reanimate corpses–can the Black Watch, severely weakened through neglect and shoddy recruitment practices, hold back two invasions; first by the fleeing Wildings and second by the pursuing White Walkers? And what does the captive Wilding know about the Old Gods and Bran? She is certain that Old Gods listen to him–what are they saying? Odd, I think, that we haven’t seen Stannis yet. And why don’t we get to see Jaime’s invasion of Riverrun?


June 9, 2011 - Posted by | Spoiler Alert Thursdays


  1. Wow, that is one super-long paragraph up there.

    I’ve recently been watching The Peep Show, Pulling, and Downton Abbey. Last night, I watched a couple episodes of Father Ted. I thought about trying to catch up with Treme, but I didn’t. Our Wire rewatching (or just watching for The Girlfriend) project is on hold due to extreme work requirements on The Girlfriend’s part this week.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | June 9, 2011

  2. Baseball largely consumes my television watching during its season. There’s still the DVR, though, for off days or days when I can’t stand to watch the Tigers piss a game away. So we caught up on on NCIS and NCIS:LA. I think we still have to find the season finale of the LA version online, but I have to roll my eyes whenever they try to make Heddy out to be a badass, which it looks like they’re preparing to do.

    As for the original NCIS, I don’t like it when shows make the characters react to a situation out of proportion with what seems realistic because it’s a big deal to the viewers. A group hug for the non-Gibbs team members because Franks was killed just didn’t ring true to me, considering nobody seemed all that affected when nearly an entire NCIS got wiped out the day before.

    The best example for having characters react too much to a situation usually comes in “final episodes”. The Friends finale comes to mind.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | June 9, 2011

  3. I wrote the post on Monday and intended to come back to it on Wednesday for editing. Unfortunately, I never got back to it. As a result, you get more or less stream of consciousness recollections of what I watched the night before.

    Comment by Craig | June 9, 2011

  4. I’ve been watching the repeats of Nikita, which appears to be a cross between 24 and Mean Girls, so that’s quite good.

    Craig, you may be interested to know that the guy who plays the head of the city guard in Game of Thrones previously portrayed a particularly ridiculous bent copper in British soap Coronation Street.

    Comment by voyou | June 9, 2011

  5. I started Season 6 of House. I was going to just watch greatest hits, but the recommendations online peter out after Season 4, Adam encouraged me to watch the whole damn thing, and now I’m just totally into it. I never really enjoyed the procedural thing until now. They solve a problem! Which is fun to watch! Often with deeper themes!

    I actually saw the double-length Franke Potente episode when it aired on the recommendation of a writing teacher. That was a good one. So last night we watched James Earl Jones is a Nasty-Ass Dictator and Goofy-Ass Billionaire Believes in Karma.

    Comment by Josh K-sky | June 9, 2011

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