Wow, that went by fast. It in no way seems like ten weeks ago that Game of Thrones premiered, but I guess time flies when you’re watching the best show on television.
Though it’s hard to deny it that title, now that we’ve reached the end of the season, it’s time to reflect on if it lived up to the first. We’ll explore that and discuss “Valar Morghulis” itself in the coming review.
Game of Thrones has done this for two seasons now running, where they have a large, climactic event in the second-to-last episode, followed by a kind of wrap-up in the finale that’s generally less exciting. Last season it was Ned Stark’s head rolling, while this year last week we saw the siege of King’s Landing, though no one important actually died there.
“I’m just…trying to give you…a haircut!”
In a way, this season has been a strange one. The siege seemed like the best place for a major character death, something expected by George RR Martin at this point. Book fans have been saying that ANYone is fair game, and he’ll kill characters you love left and right, but that didn’t happen at all this season, as I can’t say I shed a tear for Renly Baratheon, Ser Rodrick or the man we lost this week, old advisor of Winterfell guy. I never did catch his name.
I guess it’s not a necessity per se, but I think many of us who haven’t read the books were holding our collective breaths for someone of relevance to die, a character either beloved or hated. But neither came. Arya, Jon, Tyrion, Dany, etc. are all safe and sound while Joffrey, Cersei and Littlefinger continue to vie for the crown of “who can have the most punchable face.”
While I enjoyed this season, as I could watch 100 hours of this show and never tire of the dialogue or scenery, it seems an awful lot like we’re back where we started after a full ten episodes. Stop me if any of this sounds familiar.
On the road again…
– The Lannisters are in power at King’s Landing, Tyrion is disrespected by his family and Sansa is in danger as the only Stark still there
– Arya is on the run with her rag tag group of friends trying to reunite with her family
– Robb Stark is fighting the Lannisters making moderate forward progress
– Daeneyrs is wandering around with her small Dothraki band in search of a boat with tiny dragons in tow
The most obvious differences would be Jon Snow’s adventures in wilding wonderland up North, and Theon Greyjoy’s betrayal and capture. But really, among many of the major plotlines, it barely feels like we’ve made significant strides forward. Daeneyrs especially could have skipped the Qarth plotline entirely, and nothing of value would have been lost. And really, you thought chaining baby dragons together in a tiny room with their mother was going to turn out well for you? That situation resolved itself rather stupidly. I did like the lesson about the illusion of Qarth’s wealth though.
“Wait, dragons can breath FIRE? I am a lowly sorcerer and do not know such things.”
Up north, Robb Stark didn’t do anything the entire season except just now marry a hot medic, and Jaime Lannister was tied to a stake for about eight of the ten episodes. It was nice to see Arya’s interaction with Tywin, and her roguish assassin friend was a great character (finally we meet the man “who can change his face like others change their clothes”), but now she’s back to where she started. The Lannisters are in an even better spot than they were when the season started having defeated Stannis and gaining Tyrell support, expect of course Tyrion, who is now scarred in addition to being a dwarf. Is he seriously going to have that slash across his face for the rest of the show? That would be a pretty jarring character transformation.
I was wrong last week, as I thought Stannis was captured by the Lannisters. It would have been eventful to have him executed this week, but no, he lives, and his strange subplot as the “lord of Light” still lingers. What exactly did he see in that fire do you think? Bullshit, I presume.
I’m a little unclear as to why Sansa didn’t run away with the Hound when she had the chance, as I figured that would be a main plotline next season. Now Joffrey has ditched her for Lady Tyrell, and Littlefinger is now the one offering her aide. I thought her Stockholm Syndrome was just an act to get close to and eventually kill Joffrey, but now I think she might actually be insane. It’s getting really hard to tell.
Side note: This was amazing.
Even more confusing than that was what happened at Winterfell. I understood Theon’s men betraying him and handing him over to the Northmen, but what the hell happened after that? How exactly did Winterfell get burned down? Who were the dead people everywhere? Civilians? If the city was surrounded and Greyjoy men were supposed to have clear passage if they turned over Theon, how did they get away with burning down all of freaking Winterfell? That made no sense at all to me, and I’d love an explanation from anyone who can offer it.
Jon Snow was a bit perplexing this week as well. I know the plan was to have his Crow brother turn on him to garner him trust with the Wildlings, but was Snow really prepared to kill him? He couldn’t kill a Wildling girl, but he had no problem running through one of his brothers with his sword? Seems a little out of character for him.
Obviously the big finale was the reveal of the White Walkers and their zombie army approaching…what was that? The wall or just a mountain? I couldn’t tell. Knowing this show, it will take them seven episodes of shambling just to reach the wall. And is Sam actually going to live through this zombie walk-by? I thought he was going to be the “beloved” character death at that moment, but the show was very obvious about showing him NOT dying as the White Walker and his horde ignored him in favor of marching onward, so I think we can assume he’s going to be alright. Why exactly they left him be I have no idea.
There goes the CGI budget for next season…
There were very few indicators of what exactly is going to happen next. With many of the plotlines reset completely, it kind of seems like we’re back where we started as the War of Kings rages on. I hear that they didn’t get all the way through the second book in the series, which is perhaps why the season ended on a bit of an anti-climax. And there were so many moments when it looked like someone important was going to die, and then they just…didn’t.
It’s a great show through and through, and I’ve enjoyed practically every minute of it this season. However I do have a problem with ANY show that fails to really move forward in meaningful ways, especially over the course of a whole season, and I can’t give Game of Thrones a free pass when many of the plotlines seem like they’ve remained static. It just seemed like so much happened in season one with kings changing, wars starting and so on, but there were far eventful moments like those this time around.
Nine months until season three, but if you need me before then, take this coin, give it to any blogger and say ” Valar Unrealhulis” and I’ll appear and make some Game of Thrones posts.
Discuss, and once more for the road: no book spoilers.
One unexpectedly tender moment of “awww” for the road.