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Game of Thrones S4E3 “Breaker of Chains” [Thirteen Things]
1)It’s interesting to see that with so many plot
lines running they’re using the “previously in” clips as a primer to remind
you of what’s key. What caught my attention in this episode was the brief shot
of Stannis Baratheon throwing three leeches onto the fire. “The usurper Robb
Stark, the usurper Joffrey Baratheon,” etc. So far, they’ve all died in order.
Remember who the third one was? C’mon, people. Keep up.
2)This ep picked up IMMEDIATELY where the last
left off, with Ser Dontos whisking Sansa away into the fog. The image of her
shrouded figure on the run was beautiful and atmospheric and the panic that
pervaded those opening moments with Tywin barking orders to seal the city was
just... YES. The thing is, as good as this episode was, it’s basically a filler ep
by comparison, considering that there are still like SEVEN major things that
need to occur this season. Anyway, I really only have one other word to say:
3)On that note, I loved the way that the
Littlefinger reveal scene leads right into the Tyrell scene with Olenna and
Margaery. Sometimes when you edit so many scenes together with different people
and places you create an unintentional narrative via their sequencing. But,
this is an example of intentional narrative meant to look casually unrelated.
4)Tywin grooming Tommen for leadership. I’m sorry
to all of the other fine actors that’ve been assembled, but Charles Dance
steals the show this week. Between this and his other big scene, he’s as
delightful as Olenna Tyrell (only far more cunning) to watch every time he’s on
screen. The audience is basically left hanging on every single word, as he
instructs Tommen very directly on the wisdom of kings, the folly of many kings
past (including “King Robert,” not “your father”), takes digs at Cersei over
Joffrey’s failings, ensures his own vision of the world vis-à-vis his role as
Hand of The King, and literally snatches Tommen away right out from under
Cersei’s control, right before her eyes. The secret powers always seem to be
just behind the rulers of Westeros. I also think it’s worth noting how similar
Tommen’s clothing is to his Uncle Dad Jaime.
5)The Great Sept of Baelor is another example of
what Game of Thrones excels at, moments of emotional manipulation which have us
conflicted over our relationship with each character. We’ve been conditioned to
applaud Jaime’s redemption and basically hate Cersei as Queen Bitch, but those
get all inverted. You can only feel sad for Cersei, even in spite of her
misdirected anger at Tyrion. Her beloved (if only by her) son is dead, her
power is slipping away from her, she is no longer queen, her dad just stole her other son away from her, Jaime refuses her by
being very apprehensive about killing Tyrion, and then Jaime rapes her (yes,
despite all the online controversy over intentions and interpretations and
editing and blocking and “eventual consent,” despite the consensual nature of
what was originally depicted in the book, what occurred in the show looked like
rape to me). Cersei’s power is slipping away in so many ways, and like most
insecure people, she will continue to overcompensate when she’s feeling
threatened. Power is the most fickle mistress in Westeros.
6)Arya is learning to be quite the little social
chameleon, which is great foreshadowing. Also? Rabbit Stew. Happy Easter!
7)It was very thoughtful of the writers to give a
nod to ASOIAF fandom by actually calling out “The Red Wedding” by name. Will we
see the same for The Purple Wedding?
8)The fate of the farmer that takes in Arya and
The Hound is example #137 of the noble ways dying in Westeros, foreshadowed by
talk of Guest Rights that were obliterated at The Red Wedding. Later, Tyrion’s
conversation with Pod exudes the same, as the poor squire is so loyal he’d
probably die for it, truly a dying sensibility in the land of cold ambition at
all costs. I’ve grown a bit tired of Arya and The Hound wandering The
Riverlands, so efforts to create scenes like this or to include The Hound
giving Arya some tough love are most welcome.
9)Sam struggling to find every which way to say “I
love you” to Gilly without having to say those exact words. He’s pushing her
away to protect her, something Tyrion did with Shae, something Tyrion is now
doing with Podrick. It’s a thematic constant in the show lately. Tyrion
basically breaks Pod’s heart by trying to save his life. He also gets in some
good verbal licks about the ominous “they,” or “the man pulling the strings,”
proof that the language is laced with additional meaning for people paying very
10)Pirates vs. Smugglers.
11)Tywin recruiting Oberyn for The Small Council is
a brilliant example of Papa Lannister playing the long game. He’s a man
concerned with his legacy, his family’s legacy, and he’s able to see the
strategic big picture and not just roll up his sleeves to win the tactical
matches. In his long view of the world, The Martells of Dorne can only be
allies against the open-rebellion Greyjoys, Wildlings advancing on The Wall, or
the little matter of “the Targaryen girl with three dragons.”
12)It’s a great irony that Tywin and Oberyn debate
the poison assassination plot while standing in Littlefinger’s brothel, a fact
that Tywin even mentions in a roundabout way.
13)The show basically makes itself irresistible
with cinematic flourish, this week’s example being Dany picking her champion.
It re-establishes her relationships with Grey Worm, Ser Barristan Selmy, and
Ser Jorah Mormont. It also offers doses of humor and action as Daario Naharis
dispatches the champion of Meereen, even though it’s still just another
mechanism to keep us entertained in spite of the repetitive nature of Dany’s
march through Essos.