Monday, June 13, 2011

I BELIEVE, BUT: So, Game of Thrones. What can one say without spoiling?

I think the lesson of Episode 9 is that all of the craftiest political manipulation can set some serious stuff in motion, but once it gets going, the motion feeds itself. One whisperer colludes with another, and there's a plan in place. But it takes just a moment of tactical inspiration by one teenager, or a moment of petulant idiocy by another, and the plan can veer wildly off course. To the panic, of course, of the people who thought they were the ones pushing the chess pieces.

And that ending, of course: when I read it in the books, I had to read it again and again because I just didn't believe it.

One episode to go in this season, and it's starting to feel like a season of The Wire or Lost -- this show started slowly, as it introduced the characters and built tension, but as we hit the end of the season, it's total chaos. I can't wait for next week, and then next year.


  1. Duvall9:38 AM

    I can't help wondering how the viewing audience will react to a series that killed off what appeared to be its main character after nine episodes, and will remain cagey about who its main characters are for some time.

  2. The Other Kate10:08 AM

    I haven't read the books, but anyone watching the season unfold had to know this was inevitable. Or at least hope for it, in a perverse way, because Ned surving would have been a cheat. But I was still shocked at the swiftness by which it went down. Like the floor dropping out. Like a nightmare.

  3. Yes, thank you!  Everyone flipping out about this: Have you not watched HBO shows before?!  Or a movie with Sean Bean?  Ned was a noble man, but a stupid man, and this was inevitable.  Plus Joffrey showed how unaware of potential consequences he was when Cersei was going over hypotheticals with him a few episodes ago.  RIP Ned Stark, but this was not a huge shock.  

    I actually thought this episode was sort of a step back from the last few, but A) It was still really good and B) Still so excited for the finale.

  4. The Pathetic Earthling11:31 AM

    Whatever else, I'll be ordering HBO for next season.  I caught Episode 1 on a moment of free HBO and figured it was time to read the book.  I caught Episode 8 and 9 this weekend on another free HBO thing, which coincided nicely with where I was in the book.   It's brilliantly done and I'm amazed by how well it tracks the book in both scope and feel.

    By the way, did they do the deed with Ice?

  5. Andrew11:33 AM

    Having read the books and knowing how long Ned would be the central character made Sean Bean's casting feel especially perfect, given Boromir's fate. Bean does epic fantasy, but I hope his agent knows that he only likes the beginnings of things. 

    It takes giant balls to be able to make a show where you kill off your lead character in the penultimate episode of the first season. 

  6. Even knowing it was coming, it was tough to watch.  My hubby still experiences TV as a standalone medium (no blogs, reviews, write-ups, etc...), and his comment was "Wow, really thought he'd last longer." 

    Great show, can't wait for next week.

  7. Alyssa2:58 PM

    I loved how Ned spotted Arya in the crowd and told Yoren (the black brother who held her at the end, also the same guy traveling with Tyrion who rushed to tell Ned when Cat captured him).  In the books, the whole scene was from Arya's point of view and you never get a sense of anyone really noticing her.  Having Ned see her made Yoren finding her make a lot more sense, and definitely more poignant.  Loved it.

  8. Alyssa2:59 PM

    Yes, that was Ice!

  9. Ned Stark = Stringer Bell

  10. spacewoman4:18 PM

    Yes -- like a floor dropping out.  It kind of reminded me of a certain elevator shaft opening up.

  11. spacewoman4:22 PM

    Also, it didn't seem that inevitable given that he was the main character.  The conversation at our house went like this:

    Me: "No way, are they going to kill Ned Stark??"

    isaac: "Of course not; he's the star of the whole show."


    isaac: I lied.

  12. Matt B8:16 PM

    I'd like to think Bean just has bad luck<span> </span>

  13. Funny; all I could discern before belatedly watching tonight was that some major character would die (and I saw someone tweet "Fucking Lannisters.")  I had it 50-50 between Tyrion and Ned.  Jebus.

  14. Joseph J. Finn11:19 PM

    That might actually have been two short.  Also, Regarding Episode 9.

  15. Joseph J. Finn11:19 PM

    Damn it, "too."

  16. via Grantland:

    <span>The only show in television history that we can remember actually attempting such a crazy move midstream is a mostly forgotten program that also dealt with the complicated internal dynamics of a family structure: the sitcom that began life on NBC 25 years ago as Valerie. In it, the titular Valerie was head of a tight-knit clan that lived in a frozen city far from the seat of national power (in this case, Chicago). Like Ned, she, too, had a heartthrob elder son, desperate to prove himself, and two other boys: one precocious, the other kind of a bastard. When lead Valerie Harper quit at the end of the second season, few thought her eponymous show could continue — and yet it did, rebranding itself first as Valerie’s Family and, later, as The Hogan Family. Rather than ignoring her absence, the producers seized the potential, killing the Valerie character off in a car accident (the modern equivalent of a Khal falling off his horse) and replacing her, again like Ned, almost instantly with an insufferable blonde imp. With the stakes raised and the status quo rattled, The Hogan Family thrived <span>on the iron throne</span> on network TV for another four seasons.</span>

  17. Season Four of The Wire was almost the same thing.  WIRE SPOILER ALERT.  

    String was gone, Avon was in jail and Jimmy was playing house the entire season.  They introduced four new characters and gave us way more of both Marlo and his crew and Prez, and it is probably the best season of the best show.   

  18. my poor husband is tired of me saying what I always say when I see Sean Bean (whom I love) in something:

    Once again, Sean Bean gets the shaft.

    Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, National Treasure, GoldenEye, Patriot Games.... always getting the shaft.