Monday, May 16, 2011

Game of Thrones 5 "The Wolf and the Lion" (Review)

Spoilers ahoy!

True storyBack when I first started to get into Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, there was this movie.  A really cool one.  The very first Harry Potter flick--and during the quidditch match I found myself hissing at Gryffindor!  Why?  Because their arms as the same as the Lannisters.  The vile, greedy and vicious Lannisters (except for Tyrion of course).

Lannisters (the name comes from the managers of gladitorial games in ancient Rome--the pimps of death) are the lions, just as the Starks are wolves.  This episode is about them both.  For once we don't see the lovely Danaerys or her semi-sociopathic brother.  We hear about them, though.  News arrives at the King's Council that the last Targaryan is pregnant--and King Robert wants her assassinated.  It says a lot about Ned Stark that he resigns as the King's Hand rather than have any part of it.

What's going on with Tyrion says a lot about him--and about his captors.  En route to the Aerie, tall castle of the Vale where Catelyn's sister (and the late Hand Jon Arryn's widow) rules, Tyrion points simply asks what kind of idiot gives a hired assassin his own dagger?  When the party finds itself attacked by brigands, Tyrion ends up saving Catelyn--who cannot help but notice he is making sense.  Plus he issues a warning.  How long since she's seen her sister?  The lady in question as changed...

As in, she's kinda nuts.  In fact Lady Lysa feels insulted Catelyn has brought a Lannister--whom she blames for her husband's death--there.  Think about that for a few seconds.  How much sense does that make?  Add to that the...well...weird detail she's still nursing her son.  Her son who looks at least five years old.  Catelyn publicly notes Tyrion is her prisoner, not to be harmed, which gets the young(ish) Lion tossed into a prison cell.  An impressive one.  One wall is missing, leaving the prisoner exposed to the elements but allowing no escape since there's sheer drop of several hundred feet.

Back in King's Landing, repercussions from Catelyn's capture of a Lannister starts things rolling, albeit not immediately.  Lord Stark still traces the steps of his predecessor (the aforementioned Jon Arryn), visiting the various bastards of King Robert.  His daughter Sansa crushes quite a bit on the Knight of the Flowers at the ongoing tournament, unaware he already has a secret paramour--the King's brother Renly.  In fact he's urging the man to make himself King one day, despite being fourth in line.

Parenthetically, one of many refreshing things about this fantasy is the presence of homosexuals.  Usually this genre ignores them.  More on that later as the story unfolds.

Arya meanwhile--my fave of the Stark daughters and pretty much my favorite Stark period--is learning how to catch cats.  It is to make her quick of hand and foot and mind.  Bet that would work, too.  Down in the dungeons, amidst the skulls of dragons (mentioned by Viserys last week) she hides when hearing voices.  It seems the King's Master of Whispers (i.e. spymaster) is having a conversation with the the very merchant prince who arranged Danaerys' marriage to Khal Drogo!  The wolf and the lion will soon be fighting each other, which may be too soon.  Drogo won't even consider bringing his troops until after his son is born!  Too bad Arya doesn't recognize the speakers, nor memorize their words nor understand enough to tell her father the full gist--although she tries.

A weird and melancholy scene acts out between Robert and his Queen, noting how neither is happy yet both feel an odd comradarie in mutual hate.  He even admits how he cannot recall how his beloved fiancee, Ned's sister, looked--but when she died the hole in his life couldn't even be filled by seven whole kingdoms.  She admits to never having asked, initially out of hurt, then out of spite, and now asks because she feels...nothing.

No wonder these two produced that mini-Caligula Prince Joffrey!

We end this episode with an ambush and an attack.  Jaime Lannister, learning his brother was carried off by Lord Stark's wife, demands Tyrion's return.  He does so with soldiers--and several end up dead, including Jory Cassel who takes a dagger through the eye.  Jaime's dagger.  A broadsword duel between Jaime and Stark is interrupted by one of the former's soldiers stabbing Stark in the leg from behind.  Interstingly, Jaime backhands him for that stunt.  He demands the return of his brother, then rides off leaving the Lord of the North to find medical attention.

All in all, interesting how none of the Lannisters so far have proven quite as vile as they seem--Tyrion to Catelyn, and the rest to the audience.


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