Monday, April 30, 2012

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: Right about now, in the thick middle part of this season of Game of Thrones, is where all of the rocks the people kicked in the early part of the season start rolling downhill real fast. Renly wants to treat with Robb Stark, but, despite Catelyn's best efforts, won't make peace with his own brother (and, despite that stubbornness, you get the feeling that Loras is right -- Renly would make a good king). Theon hatches a cockeyed plan to go with his cockeyed face. Magaery, who I think is loosely based on Elizabeth Woodville, shows once again that adaptation is an excellent skill. But nobody else learns any lessons -- Winterfell hasn't learned to trust Bran's dreams; Dany hasn't learned to distrust rich weirdos; the Night's Watch hasn't learned to wear earmuffs when camping on an Arctic cliff. The only one learning anything is that dragon, who can now flambe on command.

Of note: the show is doing a great job of making it clear how utterly nuts Brienne is. Also, and this confused me in the books, too, is wildfire supposed to be magic, or is it just green napalm?

MIA: Robb, Jaime, Joffrey, Sansa.


  1. Jordan11:21 AM

    I got the feeling it's just green napalm.  It feels like they would have spoken about it with a different tone if it were magic.  But I'm sure we'll find out.

    The actress who plays Arya was pretty fantastic in this one, the way she shifted emotions talking about the north and Robb and pivoting to her revenge on the Lannisters.

  2. isaac_spaceman11:25 AM

    Yeah, I agree -- I like Arya in the books, but Maisie Williams is playing the hell out of her in this show. 

  3. Are there birthing classes for smoke monsters, and does Melisandre's know the one on The Island?

  4. This isn't a complaint at all, just a comment:  Going into this episode I was having trouble pinning down the arc of the season -- where it would be leading us by the end.  In some ways, this is a function of it being hard (for me, anyway) to judge time's passage.  Season 1 gave us at least one marker -- Dany's marriage and pregnanacy.  Here, I'm much less sure.  At the end of this episode, I'm left thinking that maybe the season crescendos into a Stark/Baratheon siege of King's Landing, perhaps coupled with moves toward the main action by the Grayjoys and the Dothraki?  Anyway, I don't have substantial thoughts to share -- just musing about where we're going.

  5. Joseph J. Finn11:55 AM

    I'll say this for the filming of the episode; it makes me want to visit Iceland for about, oh, 5 minutes while I admire the snowscape.  Those scenes were wonderfully shot and both beautiful and incredibly miserable looking.

  6. Tosy and Cosh11:59 AM

    Did anyone else lose the thread with the big metal door? At first I thought it was going to be "your dragons can melt this impenetrable door and we can be rich," but then it was just "marry me and we'll be rich together?" What was the point of the door? What did I miss?

    Otherwise another good episode. I love that the shadow killing happend right away; nice use of an unconventional spot for what might normally be an episode-ending bit. Tyrion's little litter is a great piece of visual comedy, and can I put in a vote for the "Tyrion mocks Lancel" spin-off? Also - why does Rickon hate walnuts so?

    Finally, not sure I ever saw Renly as having the makings of a good king--too easily manipulated, too fond of the pomp and pageantry and not the muck. Does raise a question though--who, in the show's view, is the "rightful" or "ideal" king? Robb only wants the North, so he's not the answer. Joffrey's the clear villain, and Stannis seems corrupted by outside forces. Is the show positioning Dany as Westeros' best hope?

  7. bristlesage12:01 PM

    I got the feeling from last night's episode that they're following the books, as far as wildfire's makeup goes--it's not magical.  Magic's been gone for a long time in this world, and though the alchemists (in the books) claim there's some magic involved, it is generally held that they're lying, protecting a trade secret. 

  8. Oh yeah:  And it would be great to end the season with the Night Watch looking at the horizon as a giant effing horde of wildlings/white walkers/whatever appears, charging southward.

  9. bristlesage12:04 PM

    Oh, and if I remember right from a little inventions book I had as a kid, earmuffs weren't invented 'til after the Civil War.  But I suppose we're in a fictional world; they could have earmuffs if they wanted.

  10. Joras Mormont sure seems to think so.

  11. Duvall12:17 PM

    In the books, it is implied that there is some magical component to wildfire - the pyromancers explain that it has become easier to create in recent months, i.e., after the birth of the dragons.

  12. Theon Greyjoy? 

  13. The Pathetic Earthling12:30 PM

    Wildfire is supposed to be sort of napalm plus.  I don't think it's magic, as such, but I seem to recall magic helps it form in the first place (sort of like Valarian Steel is "spell-forged").

  14. The Pathetic Earthling12:35 PM

    I suppose properly, the Night's Watch should all wear Inuit snowgoggles, too, but that would make everyone but Sam look pretty much the same.

  15. The Other Kate1:56 PM

    The series has just about reached the point where I abandoned novel #2 last fall, having concluded this world works better for me onscreen than off. The prospect of once again not knowing what's coming next is ridiculously exciting, even though I am just filled with dread for the youngest Stark boys.

    Three scenes-of-the week for me: (1) Arya and Tywin, mentioned above; (2) the delicate recalibrations with Stannis and Ser Davos (how good are Dillane and Cunningham?); and (3) Brienne's pledge to Cat and its lovely formal acceptance.  I don't see Brienne as especially nuts -- just touchingly young and naively romantic. She's coming off as a mirror to first-season Sansa ... Sansa as her mother last knew her.

  16. Or is it "Jorah"?  Jorah, I think. 

  17. isaac_spaceman2:53 PM

    Ok, then hats.  I know they have those. 

  18. Aimee3:01 PM

    I've never been so happy to have a character MIA as I was with Joffrey this week.  I had enough of him last week to last me a good. long. time.

  19. bristlesage3:23 PM

    Cloaks with hoods!  Blankets wrapped around your heads! 

    I agree; there are solutions.

  20. isaac_spaceman3:49 PM

    Exactly.  Not just like 100 guys standing around with ice in their hair and frostbitten ears looking at Qhorin Halfhand and going "what is that dang thing on his head?  It's like a wool helmet.  That won't stop a battleaxe, ha, ha.  Looks warm, though, wonder where I could get me one of those." 

  21. Nobody else wants to play "How could they end the season on a bang, visually" halfway through the season?  In addition to my "hordes from the North charging at the Wall" idea, above, I could go for the following as ways of matching or topping Dany's Dragons:

    -Robb beheading Joffrey
    -Tyrion killing Joffrey
    -Tyrion welcoming Robb and Co. to King's Landing, and offering his services.
    Dany making landfall on Westeros (or the main island, if "Westeros" encompasses the places she has been).


  22. isaac_spaceman5:31 PM

    I think most of the people reading here have read the books, which is probably why nobody wants to say anything at all, for fear of spoiling. 

  23. isaac_spaceman5:32 PM

    Was thinking more of this.

  24. Jordan5:47 PM

    I'll bite, since I haven't read the books.  By my count, this season set up six characters vowing to be king/queen of something. We're now at five.  By season's end, we'll be down to three (but don't ask me which two get the to speak).  

    Also, and please no one tell me if I'm right, depending how you look at it, the Starks either have five or six kids.  That's a lot.  And that gives me a bad feeling.  

    Final ending prediction: Arya, who is about to overtake Tyrion as my favorite character, ends the season in Liam-Neeson-you-just-kidnapped-my-daughter mode.

  25. Fair point. The game is only open to newbies like me. :)

  26. Duvall7:36 PM

    Two more additions to the drinking game for book readers: SIP any time a character has an ominous conversation with someone that will later to try to kill them; DRINK any time a character has an ominous conversation with someone that will later succeed in killing them.

    (Not prompted by anything in particular this week.) 

  27. bill.7:45 PM

    You want inventions? if The Wall was built more than 8000 years ago, this world hasn’t progressed past a medieval technological level for at 80 centuries. And in many ways, it sounds like they’ve regressed. Sure there’ll be some backsliding and the occasional dark age…but…but 8000 years! Slap some damn motors on those boats, roll out the mechanized infantry, can that new-fangled biplane handle a juvenile dragon?

    You want earmuffs? I want wildfire cannons.

  28. isaac_spaceman7:59 PM

    Arya has a daughter? 

  29. Rebecca10:27 PM

    I'm afraid Robb Stark is very much his father's son and will end up the same way (trying to form alliances with people who just aren't that into you is a pretty good way to get murdered). From a plot standpoint, I feel that if he lived past the second book, people would see him as a protagonist-type, if he doesn't get dead or seriously waylaid soon I think he's being allowed to become too central. I don't know, but whenever I see Robb I have that "don't go in the basement! You're going to die!" feeling.

    Can we end the season with Daenerys and her dragons arriving in Westeros? Or is it still too early in the series for that? I'm really kind of done with her story being so separate and when the Dothraki have their stuff together they know how to put on a good show.

    If anyone gets the pleasure of getting Joffrey killed, I'd like it to be Sansa. 

    Also, I got a little crush on Jon Snow.

  30. Jessica11:24 PM

    That would require me to remember details from the book as I'm watching the tv series.

  31. The nice thing about the show's view -- and certainly I'd say it's being true to Martin's books in this respect -- is that there's no "ideal" king in view.  We're left pretty well short of anything "ideal" in Martin's fiction; hard pressed, in fact, to find anything tidy or predictable, which is a big draw for me.

  32. We should all wear those, just on general principles.  Pretty badass.

  33. sea0tter129:21 AM

    I haven't read past book 2, as I too found that it works for me better onscreen than off. I'd be thrilled if Joffrey were impaled on that staff he had the whore beaten with, as I had originally thought he was going to do to her. (Beating is bad, but where I thought that staff was going was much, much worse in my mind.)