Tag Archives: hbo game of thrones

Don’t Eat the Help: Game of Thrones, s6 e2-3, Review & Recap

Spoilers

images-8

When I first learned that show-runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would be working from an outline provided by author George R. R. Martin, who did not complete the highly anticipated 6th novel in his best-selling fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, the basis for HBO’s award-winning drama, Game of Thrones, I assumed that it would be a good thing. Since Hollywood rarely sticks strictly to any books it uses as source material — it is a different artistic medium, after all — I thought the outline would give them some broad strokes to follow while giving them the freedom to explore the characters’ stories in their own way.

Unfortunately, the outline might have overwhelmed writers Benioff and Weiss. Instead of giving us the new storylines of some characters each week, alternating stories weekly since there are so many characters, they’ve attempted to give us a bit of each character every single week.

There’s simply not enough time in any one episode to present each character in Game of Thrones, especially when the writers are also introducing new characters, or younger versions of existing characters. Viewers have, instead, been given so many short scenes, attempting to bring everyone up to speed with each character’s story, that the result is a confusing mish-mash where not much actually happens in any individual episode.

I’m writing from the perspective of one who has read all the books in the series, which I found mighty confusing as the books progressed due to all the minor characters and their extended families. I had to keep looking up the title of the chapter I was reading, which was the name of the character whose perspective was being presented, in order to recall whom that chapter was about.

One of the things I’ve always liked about the dramatic adaptation Game of Thrones is that the number of characters was reduced, making the stories easier to follow, and the characters were given faces in the form of the actors, also making it easier to follow the interweaving stories. Along with the consistently well-written transitions, which clearly lead from one character’s story to another’s, it hasn’t been too difficult to follow Game of Thrones during the first five seasons.

Not so with season 6, I fear. I know who all the characters are. I know what their past storylines are. I know how they’re related to each other, and, often, to the quest for the Iron Throne.

What I don’t know is why so many of the characters spend so much time talk-talk-talking without anything happening in their story.

Have the creator-writers Benioff and Weiss simply become overwhelmed with the material? I don’t know, but I do realize that I am not confused: I just don’t see that much happening in the show. I doubt I’m the only one, since several other reviewers have taken to writing about episodes which have not yet aired (Independent), writing about all of season 6 (Vanity Fair), or ruminating on what might happen in the sixth season based on what’s happened in the books in the past (Vox and Washington Post). That would seem to indicate that reviewers do not have too much to write about thus far in season 6.

Still, I’ll attempt to recap what’s happened in the second and third episodes: “Home” and “Oathbreaker.”

Jon Snow
(aka the Stark bastard)

images-1

The stories of the members of the House Stark have become the pre-eminent storylines in Game of Thrones, if only because it has the most surviving family members. Last week, Melisandre (Carice van Houten) attempted to bring the murdered Jon Snow (Kit Harington) back to life. To her surprise, she succeeded.

images-2

She now thinks Jon might be the “King” of her visions, since the defeated and dead Stannis  clearly was not. Jon, however, does not know what he has been brought back for. Telling Davos that he saw nothing, heard nothing, felt nothing on “the other side” of life, Jon struggles to figure out why he’s alive. Again.

images-4

After appearing to the startled Men of the Night’s Watch and to the Wildlings who have gathered at Castle Black, Jon then executes the men who rebelled and killed him.

Unknown-2

Then he hands over his Cloak as Lord Commander and leaves Castle Black.

I suppose he’s searching for his destiny, now that he’s dead.

I mean, now that he’s alive after death.

And not as a White Walker.

Or as a Wight.

Whatever…

Bran Stark

images

Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright, above L), who’s grown mighty tall since the first season of Game of Thrones, has found the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow, above R), who keeps teasing Bran with partial visions of things in the past. I’m really not sure why this is happening. If Bran has the gift of sight, why use it to see the past, which has already happened and cannot be changed?

Matthew Yglesias, of Vox, thinks Bran’s flashbacks are to “re-interpret” family history, specifically, the story of his half-brother Jon Snow’s parentage. I won’t go into all Yglesias’ theories — you can read the article yourself — but his article had me plenty confused. Even more confused than I was by the flashbacks. I thought they were just an excuse for action scenes and sword fights, but I could be wrong.

I certainly hope I’m wrong.

I guess this is one part of the story I’m just going to have to see played out before I can hope to follow all its labyrinthine passageways.

Arya Stark

Unknown-4

Formerly abandoned on the streets as a blind beggar, Arya (Maisie Williams) was reunited with her nemesis from the House of Black and White, the Waif (Faye Marsay, below L). images-10Teaching the blind Arya to fight with sticks, the Waif transformed into Jaqen H’gar (Tom Wlaschiha, below R) last week, taking Arya back to the Temple. There, she has continued her training with the Waif, mostly getting beat in the process, and being repeatedly interrogated as to her identity and as to the names on her list: those she wants to kill for revenge.

images-5

Because Arya seems to have accepted that she is no longer the Arya who was seeking revenge, Jaqen lets her drink from the fountain at the House of Black and White. Though that water has been shown killing people who have come to the Temple, it does not kill Arya. Instead, it restores her sight.

Now, we’ll see what Arya, as one of the Faceless Men, will do with her life.

Rickon Stark

images-6

The youngest member of the House Stark, Rickon (Art Parkinson, above R), who was running south with the Wildling Osha (Natalia Tena, above L), was captured last night and turned over to Ramsay Bolton as a prisoner. His wolf was beheaded, and its head presented as proof of Rickon’s identity.

Sansa Stark

images-9

Sansa (Sophie Turner) was last seen in the woods with Lady Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and her squire Pod (Daniel Portman). Theon (Alfie Allen), who helped Sansa escape from her husband-rapist Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), informed Sansa that he would not be continuing with them, but would be returning to his home in the Iron Islands.

And that’s all we know about Sansa so far…

Cersei and Jaime Lannisterimages-7

As the mother and uncle of the King who sits on the Iron Throne, Cersei (Lena Headey, above L) and Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, above L) should have some major roles in the sixth season. So far, not much has happened. There have been quite a few scenes where one or the other is talking to King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), but not much action. 

King Tommen did confront the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce, below) last night, attempting to obtain the release of his wife, Margery (Natalie Dormer), and to obtain permission for his mother Cersei to see the grave of her daughter Myrcella, but to no avail.

Game-of-Thrones-6x3-220x185

After all, the High Sparrow is a politically powerful man, and Tommen is a manipulated little boy.

No contest.

Tyrion Lannister images-20

Though Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) consistently has some of the most amusing lines, including the one that became the title of this post — “Don’t eat the help,” which he addressed to the dragons before freeing them — he and Varys (Conleth Hill) don’t really have much to do in Mereen. Varys is attempting to discover who controls the Sons of the Harpy, and Tyrion is reduced to playing “drinking games” with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), neither of whom drink.

I’m anxiously awaiting the episodes where Tyrion becomes a major player in the action again, rather than a talking bystander.

Daenerys Targaryen

Unknown

Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), a prisoner of the Widows Dothraki, hasn’t appeared much in the last two episodes. Or in season 6 itself, for that matter. So I’m not sure what’s happened to her quest for the Iron Throne. At the moment, it’s been derailed, taking her back to the storyline that was in season one.

Only without her having any power.

Or nemesis, like her brother, agitating for power.

Sure, she’s technically the Mother of Dragons, but where are the mythical beasts now that she needs them?

The Tyrells

images-4

Represented by the grandmother Olenna (Diana Rigg), the Tyrells are attempting to retain what little power they have while Queen Margery (Natalie Dormer) is imprisoned by the High Sparrow.

Though Olenna managed to annoy Cersei and Jaime by refusing the let them sit on the Small Council, then leaving when they sat down at the table, the Tyrells have not done much so far this season.

The Boltons

images-17

After betraying Robb Stark and becoming Warden of the North in season 5, Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) was killed by his sadistic son Ramsay (Iwan Rheon). His wife and newborn son were then killed by Ramsay’s dogs.

images-14

Last night, Ramsay was presented with the hostage, Rickon Stark.

So much for being in power, eh?

The Greyjoys

images-37

Father Balon (Patrick Malahide, above) and daughter Yara (Gemma Whelan, below)

images-36

argued about getting Theon back. From Theon’s scene with Sansa, we know he’s headed home.

Other than that, nothing has happened with the Greyjoys.

No one seems to care.

Sam & Gilly & Baby

images-10

Sam Tarley (John Bradley) says he’s going to the Citadel to become a Maester to help Lord Commander Jon Snow at the Wall. Sam doesn’t know that Jon’s been killed, resurrected, and given up his post as Lord Commander. Gilly (Hannah Murray) says she’s going to Oldtown, till Sam tells her it’s not safe, and he wants her and the baby to go to his family home.

Where his mother, at the very least, will be nice to them.

Unknown

I don’t know what’s happened to the quest for the Iron Throne, which is, ostensibly, what Game of Thrones is all about.

I don’t know what’s happened to the dragons, who were last seen, unchained but still in the stone prison, technically freed by Tyrion.

I don’t know what happened to the two men who love Daenerys, Ser Jorah and Daario Naharis, who are supposedly searching for her.

I don’t know what’s happened to all the Wildlings who were heading south to save themselves from the army of White Walkers and Wights.

I don’t know how creator-writers Benioff and Weiss can pull up this nose-dive and get the show flying again.

But I certainly hope they can do it, and soon.

Because  Game of Thrones is just too good a drama to let it collapse now.

Related Posts

The Red Woman and the Crone:
Game of Thrones, Season 6 Premiere

Winter is Coming:
My Game of Thrones Posts,
Seasons 1-5

Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under Actors, Authors, Books, Game of Thrones, Movies/Television, Recap, Review

The Red Woman and the Crone: GAME OF THRONES, season 6 ep 1, Review & Recap

Spoilers,
Dark & Terror-ful

GOT5_120314_HS__DSC2842.0

Though episode 1 of Season 6 of HBO’s award-winning series Game of Thrones was called “The Red Woman,” the red-haired, red-garbed witch Melisandre (Carice van Houten) had a relatively small role in the premiere. Instead, creator-writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss took viewers on a tour of all the remaining characters, reminding us of who had died in the Season 5 finale, and who was left to deal with the grief.

No longer relying on one of the novels from George R. R. Martin’s best-selling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, show-runners Benioff and Weiss had, instead, an outline for the unfinished sixth book, provided by author Martin. Still, it was clear that Benioff and Weiss were in charge of last night’s episode, if only because they managed to work in the storylines of all the characters left in the story, whether they are competing for the Iron Throne or not.

The Starks

images-14

With the death of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) at the hands of his fellow Men of the Night’s Watch at the end of season 5, the House Stark has taken prominence in the series Game of Thrones. To the dismay of all actor Harington’s fans, Jon Snow is undeniably dead. Alas, he is deader than the proverbial doornail.

images-6

After his friends gathered up his body, they and Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) locked themselves in a room with it, trying to decide what to do. Though Davos formerly despised the black magic of Melisandre — the Red Woman — he actually mentioned her as a way to restore Jon. I don’t know if she can help him or not, but the trailers for the show indicate that if Jon does come back to life, he very well may be one of the dreaded Night Walkers.

Unknown

Jon’s sister Sansa (Sophie Turner), has been blindly following the advice of the manipulative Lord Petyr Baelish (Aiden Gillen), getting herself into a marriage with the sadistic Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), who raped her on their wedding night, and turning down the help of the valorous and honorable Knight, Lady Brienne.

images-17

After Ramsay’s victim — Sansa’s “brother” —  Theon (Alfie Allen, above L) helped Sansa escape from Winterfell at the finale of Season 5, the two of them were seen desperately running through the snow-filled woods, attempting to escape Bolton’s hounds.

images-9

I felt actual joy at the arrival of Lady Brienne (Gwendline Christie, above R), one of the most consistently delightful characters of the series. She and her squire, Podrick (Daniel Portman, above L), fought and defeated Bolton’s men. Then Brienne renewed her oath to protect Sansa. This time, Sansa accepted her protection. Thank the gods.

images-5

Arya (Maisie Williams) disobeyed the rules of the House of Black and White in the Season 5 finale, taking one of the faces of the Many Faced God to get personal revenge. For her punishment, she has lost her sight. We first saw Arya on the streets, begging for her survival. Later in the S6 premiere, one of her fellows from the Temple arrived, carrying big sticks.

images-10The blonde girl has become the master in the master-student relationship, it seems, as she was teaching Arya how to fight and defend herself. Arya needs it. She doesn’t seem to be able to do anything on her own except kill people who have hurt her or members of her family.

images-33

She has a lot to learn if she is going to become one of the Faceless Men, as was her former mentor Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha), who drank poison, because “only death can pay for a death,” after Arya killed for revenge, rather than for someone’s else’s honor or justice.

Brothers Bran and Rickon Stark were not in last night’s episode.

The Lannisters

images-11

One of the slower moments in last night’s episode was the reunion of twins Jaimie (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei (Lena Headey) who were mourning the death of their daughter Myrcella, poisoned by the Dornish Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma, below) as revenge for the death of her brother-lover Oberon.

rs_560x415-150617134102-1024-9game-thrones.ls.61715

Though Cersei told Jaime that the two of them need to take revenge on all the world, the scene itself didn’t reveal anything new about their characters nor add anything to the plot, since viewers already knew that their daughter was dead. Viewers also knew about the witch who had predicted Cersei’s mournful fate and the loss of her children, though Jaime, apparently, did not.

images-3

Brother Tyrion Lannister’s (Peter Dinklage) story was also a bit slow last night, as he and Varys (Conleth Hill) roamed around the streets of Mereen pretending to be inconspicuous. Since one of them is a dwarf and the other is a bald eunuch, they’re hardly unremarkable in the dirty streets of a city populated by ex-slaves and beggars. New York Times critic Jeremy Enger stated that “maybe one day Tyrion and Varys can make [us] care about Mereen,” but, unfortunately, it wasn’t in last night’s episode. Their appearance was more of a reminder that they’re still in the story rather than anything more exciting.

Daenerys Targaryen

She may be the Mother of Dragons with a whole bunch of other titles, but Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) was nothing but a white-haired slave to the Dothroki horse-lords who captured her after she walked away from her dragon Drogon.

images-4In an ironic twist, she herself was taken into slavery and brought to the new Horse-lord, who not only didn’t care that she was the conqueror of Mereen who had freed all the slaves, but decided that as the widow of Khal Drogo, she needed to go with all the other widows of the dead Khals.

I think that means that she either goes into isolated mourning for the rest of her life, or she dies on a pyre, I can’t recall exactly what they told her in season 1.

images-13

I’m sure Daenerys, clever young woman that she usually is, will manage to talk her way out of her intended fate. And her being a widow of a Khal protected her from rape at the very least.

Unknown

Meanwhile, Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glenn), her former advisor who is now stricken with the deadly Grey Scale, and her lover Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) have teamed up to find her. They discovered her dropped pearl ring, and recognized the tracks of the Dothroki.images-1

The Tyrells

Instead of torturing Queen Mother-Dpwager Queen Cersei,  who has already “atoned” through her “walk of shame,” Septa Unella (Hannah Waddingham, standing, below) was torturing Queen Margery (Natalie Dormer), of the House Tyrell, who kept asking to see her imprisoned brother or her husband, King Tommen. When the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) came in, he commented that Septa Unella “can be overzealous at times.”

images-12What an understatement. Unella reminded me of all the nuns who taught school and tortured us kids when we were young, so I just wanted to slap her. (I still don’t know how Cersei didn’t break Unella’s nose during her  walk of shame last season, chanting “Shame” and ringing that bell all the way behind the nude and shorn Cersei.)

Margery held to her innocence last night, not admitting her guilt in anything or her knowledge of anything illicit that might have occurred on her brother’s Loras’ behalf. Unfortunately, that didn’t win her a Get Out of Jail card with the High Sparrow, who’s apparently more power-hungry than spiritual.

The Martells

images-8

Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma, above R) of Dorne not only wants revenge for the death of her brother-lover Oberon, she wants war against the Lannisters. She poisoned Cersei’s daughter Myrcella in the finale of S5, and last night, she had her nephew Trystane murdered, while she herself killed her brother Prince Doran. Does she also want the Iron Throne for herself? That remains to be seen.

And The Red Woman Is…

Unknown

Though the Red Woman (Carice van Houten) was hardly in last night’s titular episode, she provided the biggest shock of the evening. After discussing the Red Woman, Davos seemed convinced that she could do something for the murdered Jon Snow. After she touched Jon Snow’s corpse, saying rather mournfully that she “saw him fighting at Winterfell” —  an indication that it was yet another of her fire-visions gone awry  — we saw a sad-looking Melisandre undressing alone in her chambers. She undid her gown, as she often has in the series, though usually it’s been when she’s seducing or attempting to seduce one of the powerful men in her world. Standing there, nude, she then took off her famed red-jeweled necklace.

images-16

And… instead of the sultry Red Woman, an aged crone was in her place.

Wowza!

Melisandre has a lot more secrets than we imagined. She’s apparently not the young sexy seductress of men in power that she seems, but an ancient crone who’s using much of her magic to appear young.

What a shocker.

And yet another indication that Melisandre is as power-hungry as most of the rest of the characters.

images-5

Yes, Game of Thrones returned with a big Bang! in the premiere for season 6, slowed down only in a couple of spots when the storylines didn’t have time to take off and actually go anywhere (Cersei and Jaime, Tyrion and Varys). Otherwise, it was a splendid opening to the show’s sixth season, which show-runners Benioff and Weiss claim will be one of its last.

Share

2 Comments

Filed under Actors, Game of Thrones, Recap, Review

The Summer of our Discontent: GAME OF THRONES, Season 2, Review

No S2 Spoilers

Unknown copy

Created and (mostly) written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and based roughly on A Storm of Swords Book 2 in George R. R. Martin’s best-selling series of novels A Song of Ice and Fire, HBO’s critically acclaimed and award-winning Game of Thrones continues its exploration of power, politics, family obligations, love, and betrayal, in the second season. As the battle for the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms of the civilized world erupts once more, everyone now knows that “Winter is coming.

Season Two

video.yahoofinance.com@f9fb0c14-157f-3413-b905-514aea287859_FULL

The surviving members of the three major families — Lannister, Stark, and Targaryen — continue the quest for survival and power, this time amidst rebellions, uprisings, and war. They are joined and betrayed by members of various other Houses.

The Lannisters

Unknown

Now that Cersei’s son Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is King, and her twin brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is a hostage of the Starks,

images-20

Queen-Regent Cersei (Lena Headey) fights harder than ever to retain her power.

images-13

Ostensibly, she is fighting for her son, but Joffrey seems to have no problem “ruling” without her. His actions have caused some of his subjects to rebel, and the family Patriarch, Tywin (Charles Dance) is fighting the War.

images-26

Since Tywin is leading the War effort, he cannot serve as The King’s Hand. He appoints his youngest son, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage, in a Golden Globe and Emmy winning role) to act as his proxy.

images-33

Now, with political power himself, and protected physically by his sellsword Bronn (Jerome Flynn),

images-13

Tyrion becomes a more adequate foil for his sister, Queen Cersei.

images-22

Which of the Lannisters will become King of the Hill?

The Starks

After Lord Eddard’s (Sean Bean, above) death, Bran’s accident, and Jon’s (Kit Harington, below) assignment to the Men of the Night’s Watch on The Wall,

images-12

the remaining members of House Stark are fractured in their loyalties.

Sansa (Sophie Turner) is still the betrothed of King Joffrey, though it is clear she is emotionally ravaged and frightened of her fiancé.

images-9

Arya (Maisie Williams) was taken into protection at the execution of her father, and is hiding among prisoners and outlaws while both the Starks and the Lannisters search for her.

images-1

Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright, below, piggyback), crippled, serves as Lord Stark, and protects his younger brother Rickon (Art Parkinson), with the help of the dim-witted but loyal servant Hodor (Kristian Nairn, below, R),

images-4

and the Wildling slave Osha (Natalia Tena).

images-31

Their mother, Lady Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley),

images
supports her eldest son Robb (Richard Madden, below R) in his War against the Lannisters.

images-17

Which of the House Stark will survive?

The Targaryens

images-19

Now the “Mother of Dragons,” Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) leads what remains of her late husband’s Dothroki horse-tribe across the Red Waste, searching for a new homeland from which to launch her return to Westeros, where she plans to reclaim her father’s Iron Throne for herself. Can she become queen?

images-32

The Baratheons

After the death (murder?) of King Robert, his younger brothers Stannis (Stephen Dillane, above) and Renly (Gethin Anthony, below, center), each raise an army and declare themselves King of Westeros.

images-3

Stannis has the help of a sorcerer, Melisandre (Carice van Houten) who scares people by threatening to “offer them to the One God” (i.e., death by fire).

images-10

The Baratheons clash with each other as well as with the Starks and the Lannisters. Will magic help the Baratheons win the battle for the Iron Throne?

The Greyjoys

images-2

Despite swearing allegiance to Robb, former Stark hostage and ward Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) returns to his home in the Iron Islands. Prompted to rebellion by his father and younger sister, Theon must decide who he really is — Stark or Greyjoy — and if he wants to follow a King, or be one in his own right.

The Tyrells

images-8

The wife of King Renly, Margery (Natalie Dormer) of House Tyrell, and her brother Loras, both want power, whether it is through Renly, or through another King. Margery and Loras have fluid loyalties to others, but strong loyalty to each other. They want power and revenge, and are willing to do anything to get both.

The Men of the Night’s Watch
and The Wall

images-26

The Men of the Night’s Watch, among them illegitimate Stark son Jon Snow (Kit Harington, above L) are guarding The Wall that protects the  Seven Kingdoms from The Wildlings, who are acting suspiciously. Some of the Rangers go further North, “beyond the Wall,” searching for the missing ranger — Jon’s uncle — Benjen Stark, as well as for an answer to the Wildlings’ strange behavior. What do the Wildlings want? Should the Men of the Night’s Watch fear them?

images-11

Initially, Season Two is a little more confusing than Season One, if only because there are more families to learn and characters to remember. Once you figure out the historical and political connections of all the Houses, however, you’ll find yourself caught up in the compelling storyline and complex, fascinating characters.

Game of Thrones Season 2 is available for purchase for $19.99 from Amazon (or free with a 30-day HBO trial), for $28.99 from GooglePlay, and for $38.99 from iTunes. The season is always available free of charge for HBO subscribers.

Rated Very Mature for Graphic Violence, Explicit Sexual Situations, Nudity, Adult Content, and Adult Language.

Related Posts

Love and Betrayal amidst Swordplay,
Dragons, and White Walkers:
Game of Thrones, Season 1

What Crawls Out of Nightmares:
Game of Thrones, Season 3

The Dead Can’t Hear Us:
Game of Thrones, Season 4

The Last Thing You See Before You Die:
Game of Thrones, Season 5

Share

2 Comments

Filed under Actors, Books, Game of Thrones, Movies/Television, Review, Videos