GAME OF THRONES Gets Dark

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Episode 22 “Dark Wings, Dark Words”

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This episode of Game of Thrones reminded me of why I watch this show in the first place. I mean, there are lots of reasons, like boobs, blood, villains that live, heroes that die, and did I mention boobs and blood? Those are all respectable reasons to enjoy this show, but what makes it exceptional, truly exceptional, are the performances. We had some great ones this week. Let’s get on with it.

First with the opening. I like to track what they show, because I think the opening is so clever and important, so this week we see King’s Landing, of course, then Dragonstone, Harrenhall, Winterfell (still rising from ashes and smoke), then The Wall, and finally Astopor. And off we go.

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Bran Stark dreams of trying to kill the three-eyed crow that’s been pestering him since season one. He’s grown since last season. I’d have thought three years have passed. I guess that’s the trouble with having kids on a series like this. I’m not sure how much time has passed since the end of last season, but not enough to have grown quite that much. What, six inches? More? Ah well. Back to my suspension of disbelief. Bran is met in his dream by a stranger, who tells him he’s pretty much wasting his time, because the Raven, apparently, is actually Bran himself. Paging Dr. Freud.

Robb is being his grim self, while his new bride tries to cheer him up. It works for a minute before Lord Bolton shows up with news. Bad news, of course. Catelyn’s father Hoster Tully is dead, and Winterfell has been burned, which we already knew, but they didn’t apparently. Bran and Rickon remain missing, the general consensus being that Theon Greyjoy has taken them back to the Iron Islands as hostages. Well, that’s one theory anyway.

Theon wishes he’d bothered with some hostages, as he is strapped to a St. Andrew’s cross, a lovely device used to restrain a victim while various torture devices are applied, like, oh I don’t know, little spikes under the fingernails. This is only the beginning of Theon’s adventure in pain.

Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth are traveling through thicket and field to attempt to avoid detection as they make their way to King’s Landing to secure the release of Sansa Stark. Jaime is apparently going to spend the entire trip trying to get under Brienne’s skin, and he’s doing a fantastic job of it. They encounter a merchant of some type, who evidently sells bundles of grass, and Brienne lets him go. Jaime is quick to point out that that might have been a very costly decision.

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King Joffrey is being fitted for his wedding outfit and talking with his mother, Cersie about his feelings for Margaery, but we all know that Joffrey has only three feelings; hate, rage, and smug satisfaction. I think when Margaery is around he’s a little horny, but I can’t really tell if that’s how he feels or how I feel. Likely it’s just me.

Shae is dressing Sansa, readying her for her meeting with the Queen of Roses that she doesn’t yet know she’s going to have. Sansa is puzzling over Little Finger’s new interest in her. Her romantic little brain working overtime. Shae has the sense to remind Sansa that all men’s interest begin and end with sex. I’ll allow that, but as a man, I can assure you that we also like….other stuff….I’m sure.

Sansa walks with Ser Loras Tyrell, on the way to lunch with Margaery, and her grandmother. Sansa’s crush on Loras is slightly dashed as she realizes he has no memory of their previous meeting. Margaery introduces Sansa to her grandmother, who is saucy. Oh so very saucy. Don’t you just love the elderly when they are curmudgeonly sassy and full of honest opinions that younger people can’t really express? I know I do. I realized that nearly everyone in the show to this point is operating out of fear except for one Lady Olenna. It should be noted that Diana Rigg plays Olenna. That’s right, THE Diana Rigg. She’s the new Golden Girl now that Bea Arthur has passed. Olenna and Margaery eventually get Sansa to admit that Joffrey is a prick, and Margaery smiles her crooked smile.

On the way to Riverrun, Lord Karstark whines about the unnecessary distraction of Robb’s granddad’s funeral, but Robb reminds him that it’s an opportunity to garner more forces. That shut Karstark up toot sweet.

Catelyn has a GLORIOUS monologue about why she hates Jon Snow. So we get it now.

Speaking of Jon Snow, Manse Raider makes it clear that Jon’s not off the hook yet, but since everybody in Manse’s army hates each other, it’s cool. We subsequently get to understand a little about Wargs. Wargs are people, like Brann for instance, that can inhabit the bodies of animals and see what they see while being in complete control. Manse’s warg let’s us know that there are a lot of dead Night’s Watch out there. Crows he calls them. See, they wear black. Crows are black too. See what he did there?

Samwell is fat, but at least he has value to the Lord Commander. Otherwise they’d just leave him to die.

Bran meets the kid from his dreams, and finds out he’s a warg. So that’s cool. I guess that kid’s gonna be his Yoda and teach him the ways of the Force or whatever.

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Aria and friends are lost, and get discovered by the Brotherhood Without Banners. They are taken to a pub and interrogated, then released, but before they can get out the door, the Hound recognizes Aria. If it weren’t for bad luck, etc.

Shae meets Tyrion in his new quarters. Tyrion admonishes her for disobeying his instructions, but then acquiesces once he realizes he’s gonna get laid. Which by the way, is an excellent way to apologize in my estimation. I’m curious about Sibel Kilkelli, the actress playing Shae. Everyone on set has to know about her….former…um….profession, shall we say. So I wonder if the cast is cool with her. I mean, she’s a great actor, so it shouldn’t matter, but sometimes people with colorful pasts have difficulty removing that particular chip on their shoulder.  Personally, I think it’s awesome that she’s crossed over into a more….legitimate, I suppose is the word, form of performance.

Margaery pays a visit to Joffrey, and uses the new information about his cruelty to let him know that she gets it, and doesn’t mind it. Joffrey’s a little focused on his new crossbow though. I think he’s compensating for something. Margaery spills the beans about Renley’s homosexuality as well. Joffrey reminds us though, at the end of the scene, that he is the creepiest little bugger in the seven kingdoms. *shudder*

Theon is still getting tortured for information, but rescue is eminent. He’s just gotta HANG out a while. hehehehehe.

After Brienne kicks the crap out of Jaime, they are discovered by men from house Bolten. Then Brienne’s chickens come home to roost as the trader they let live identifies Jaime. They are taken into custody, and that’s where we sit at the end.

A lot happened this week. A lot is going to happen next week. Stay tuned, gang. The fun is about to start.

Mr. Smith

[Official Show Site at HBO]      [Previous Recap: “Valar Dohaeris”]

Curtis Smith

Curtis Smith, a native of Curtistan, is an actor, whip maker, and musician.

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