Game of Thrones Review: “Oathkeeper”

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After something of a hiatus last week, I’m back with a full review of last night’s Game of Thrones. I’m really liking the season so far, even in its divergence from the books. There’s just something about these showrunners where they know just what to cut, what to add and what to leave the same. They don’t get it all right (more on that later), but overall, I’m consistently impressed.

We’re slowly unraveling the full extent of the mystery of Joffrey’s death. Last week we learned that Petyr Baelish was a major player in getting the job done, and now more or less the entire plan has been made explicit. For those of you wanting it even more clearly laid out, Petyr hired Dontos to give Sansa a necklace with poison stones. Olenna Tyrell took a stone from the necklace during the wedding (evidenced by her gesturing with Margaery’s necklace this week) and used it to poison Joffrey’s wine when no one was looking.

The revelation cleared up something that I have been unclear about, even reading the books, that Margaery was not involved, and didn’t know anything about the plan. She knows now, but I didn’t know if she was part of its execution.

It may seem odd for Petyr to betray the Lannisters given how good of friends they are to him, but from his perspective, it makes a lot of sense. Despite all his big talk of risk and danger, there’s very little risk for him at all. He was out of the city during the murder and has no apparent motive for killing the king, therefore he’ll almost never be considered a suspect.

But rather his motive is clear. Joffrey was clearly unstable as shit, so now he has a new, docile Lannister king, Tommen, who will be much easier to deal with and he’s still friends with the Lannisters. Then because of his involvement with killing Joffrey he’s allied with the Tyrells indefinitely, a powerful force in the kingdom given how Margaery is sure to take the role of Queen, yet again. Her scene with Tommen was brilliantly done, and I like how in the show Tommen is a tween able to be charmed by her, rather than a seven year old kid in the books. It makes the relationship a bit more interesting (and less reliant on child actors, mercifully).

The Tyrells have Cersei determined to murder her own brother, so blind by her hate that she doesn’t even see that it’s obviously a set-up. Jaime believes Tyrion, but nothing will stop his sister’s vengeance.

Speaking of Jaime, I didn’t have time last week to address the horrible, terrible misstep the show made by completely misinterpreting the books. They literally had Jaime rape Cersei next to the body of her son, which completely shattered his redemptive arc, and made no sense given the new trajectory of his character. In the book, yes, they had sex by the body and Cersei was reluctant, but it wasn’t outright rape. It was creepy, but it didn’t make Jaime out to be a monster, which is what the show did by botching that scene.

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Now, we have loveable Jaime back, dueling with Bronn, giving Brienne badass armor and weapons to go find and protect Sansa. We’re  just supposed to forget how badly they screwed up with that rape scene last week so he can be allowed to carry on his arc like nothing happened. I guess that’s what we have to do, or else his character literally stops making sense. That was one of the worst mistakes the show has made to date, and hopefully they learned from it.

I suppose I should flash back to the opening where we see Danaerys take yet another slave city, this time in a rebellion spearheaded by Grey Worm. Glad to see him getting more screen time, as I’m getting sick of Daario. I’m a little sad Jorah Mormont doesn’t have anything to do any more, as now Ser Barristan is the old man advisor role. Jorah literally just stands there.

I think this the last slave city of Dany’s docket for now, and now she has to settle in and actually rule as a queen, and figure out what to do with a zillion freed slaves and a bunch of not-dead angry masters elsewhere plotting revenge. I think at this point Dany’s story slows down a bit, but the show always has a way of livening up boring parts of the books.

We spend a fair amount of time up north this episode, and as I said, this is one place where the show is spicing up the book with Bran’s capture and the mutineers at Crasters. So far as I can remember, that didn’t happen in the novels, but it’s far better than simply watching Bran trudge through the snow and warg out periodically. Now there’s some real tension there.

We end the episode seeing an uber-White Walker, one with horns, transforming a Craster baby into one of his blue-eyed creations. I’m not sure if that means he’s literally turning it into a White Walker, or just a zombie soldier, as I believe we’re outside the bounds of the books again. Like, I literally think the show just revealed something that hasn’t even been covered through book five yet. Things are getting strange up in here.

Book Stuff (Spoilers Ahead)

– I’m starting to realize that since I read Storm of Swords more than a year ago, everything is starting to fade and I can’t always tell what did and didn’t happen in the book. I think I’m going to have to re-read it so I can stop being as ignorant in these reviews.

– For example, Roose Bolton’s man Locke, the guy who cut Jaime’s hand off. Did he come up and join the Night’s Watch in the books? I can’t remember that happening, though it makes the eventual betrayal of Jon Snow make more sense.

– Did this entire Craster’s retaking/mutineer thing happen? I know they didn’t kidnap Bran, but I’m having trouble remembering if this was a plotline at all. And who is this mutineer king? I remember him only from the singular episode where Mormont was killed last season, and don’t know who he is in the books (or if he’s in them).

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– I think the explanation of Joffrey’s death was handled better here than it was in the books. Petyr is getting a bit theatrical for my taste though. I’m really looking forward to when they get to the Vale, and how that plan unfolds.

– Seriously, was any of that White Walker baby transformation stuff in the book? That seems like a pretty major development if that’s really how White Walkers are born. I’m reading things that the horns Walker is the “Night’s King,” which I think has only been alluded to in the books so far.

– Bronn sparring with Jaime is infinitely more entertaining than Ilyn Payne sparing with Jaime.

– Again, I’m really liking an older, non-whiny version of Tommen, though it really changes his character. Like, unlike a little child, this Tommen actually seems like he’d be a good king. Book Tommen is just a complete puppet because he’s literally too young to rule. Show Tommen wouldn’t necessarily have to be.

– I was really sad to see Brienne and Jaime part, because I don’t believe they have reunited by the time the  last book’s been written, right? She eventually meets Stoneheart and is about to supposedly be put to death. Jaime and her had such a great dynamic, and it’s always a bummer to see great characters separated because you know that in Game of Thrones, one will probably die or it will be like two seasons before they reunite. Same with Arya and the Hound, who will probably be splitting somewhat soon unless there are some major rewrites. I don’t really want her to go to Braavos by herself.

Alright, more next week. Mark BOOK SPOILERS in the comments when applicable please.