Another week of waiting paid off once again with another great episode of Game of Thrones. The episode itself wasn’t as exciting as the past two, though there are plenty of interesting characters introduced that new fans and book fans alike will enjoy. Even if there wasn’t much action, many things were set up in this episode that will make future ones some of your favorites.
Thankfully much of the episode focused on Jon Snow (Hence the episode name) and the Night’s Watch. I find Jon to be one of the more interesting characters of the series. He’s a Stark, just not by blood, and he is far separated from all of the politics and backstabbing that the other characters are exposed to whether it be Lannister or Stark. Tyrion is nearly the same as John, he is a Lannister, but being a dwarf sets him apart from the family in many people’s eyes. The two of them are a prime example that a Stark and a Lannister can get along when they aren’t in the middle of the game of thrones that is going on.
John had the misconception that he would be serving in a knighthood when he joined the Night’s Watch, not a mixture of honorable men and criminals as Tyrion pointed out to him last episode. When John begins training he is far superior to any of the other recruits because he has already had training and this earns him plenty of animosity from them until Tyrion intervenes. After understanding a little more about the other recruits, it is not long before John is on their good side, helping them improve to be better fighters.
Also on the Wall portions of the episode we get introduced to Lord Jeor Mormont (His son is Jorah Mormont, traveling with the Targaryens.) a Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and Yoren who is definitely portrayed perfectly. Yoren is a recruiter for the Night’s Watch, going to King’s Landing and taking prisoners he sees as fit for the Wall and taking volunteers too. There’s a great scene in the episode with Yoren and Tyrion drinking that reminds you again of why you like Tyrion so much. He’s the noble who would have an ale with anyone, regardless of status.
Tyrion takes his leave of the Wall in this episode, bidding farewell to Jon after fulfilling his promise to “piss” from the highest point in the realm. Benjen Stark also leaves the Wall to patrol beyond it, hearing more and more stories about the white walkers. It would appear that they might be a little more than stories.
On the more political side of things, the plot indeed thickens. The King and the Starks arrive at King’s Landing, with Ned immediately called to meet with the small council. Here we are introduced to Lord Petyr Baelish (Aka Littlefinger) who is a childhood friend of Catelyn Stark and the master of coin. As master of coin he informs Ned that Robert has the crown in debt pretty badly with the Lannisters. Good thing he married one. Littlefinger is played brilliantly by Aidan Gillen and makes the viewers who’ve never read the books whether or not he is friend or foe. He seems eager enough help in solving the mystery of Bran’s twice attempted murder and helps hide Catelyn as she arrives to tell Ned of everything that has happened since he left Winterfell.
Arya played a nice little part in the episode and Maisie Williams couldn’t play her any better than I could have imagined her from the novels. The scene between her and Ned Stark were incredibly genuine making you believe that they are a true father and daughter. It wasn’t said directly in the episode as it was explained in the book, but Ned arranges for Arya to be trained with the sword by a famous Bravossi swordsman named Syrio Forel. That scene was another favorite of mine as Syrio sparred with Arya as Ned watched on as the sounds of swords clashing grew in his mind. Perfect ending to the episode.
Daenerys was once again not given a whole lot to do in this episode, but don’t worry her time is coming. She is starting to grow into her role of Khaleesee, finding out she is pregnant and being happy about it and even being genuinely loving with Drogo. Probably the best scene with her is the one where Viserys has an outburst and threatens Daenerys with a sword. That doesn’t go over too well as the little punk is forced to walk after being strangled by a whip. Daenerys is starting to overshadow her brother and he is truly frightened by it, hence his hostility.
I give this episode a 4.5 out of 5 grizzlies, not because there wasn’t a whole lot of action. I actually liked all of the character development and expanding plotlines, it made the episode seem like it lasted longer than the hour unlike the last one which was great but flew by. The only reason it lost a half point was because of the scenes that were not in the book. The first being Ned and Jaime’s exchange in the throne room and next Robert’s exchange of war stories with Jaime and Barristan Selmy. I enjoyed the scenes and I understand the purpose they serve: A lot of things are explained in the books through a character’s point of view as they think to themselves. So some things have to be fit in through character interactions or people won’t know the backstory, such as what happened the Aerys Targaryen and Ned’s father. The scenes themselves seemed a little bit stale when they happened, not because of any fault of the actors but because it didn’t flow with the story that has already been laid out. But overall it is better that they added the scenes to get a better feel for certain characters instead of drawing our own conclusions.
Next week’s episode looks to be another great one, with the jousting tourney to honor Ned’s appointment to Hand of the King occurring. Looks like we’ll be getting a glimpse at a couple more fan favorite characters including Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers and Gregor Clegane, the Mountain that Rides. It shall be awesome.
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