Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What I’m Watching: Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 9 “Baelor” (B+)

This episode isn’t quite as well put-together and awe-inspiring as a few of the episodes that came before it, for one reason in particular. Very often, it’s the build-up to the explosion of the conflict that’s most exciting rather than the climax itself. Now that the war has finally broken out, there’s less opportunity for individual character development and more chances for bloodshed and general mayhem. That’s not true, of course, of one Tyrion Lannister, who decides it’s a good idea to play a soul-searching drinking game on the eve of battle and guess the life stories of his companions. The dark story of Tyrion’s first time proved very effective, and the mood seriously dramatic thanks to the strong use of music. I enjoyed Tyrion being told that he was sleeping through the war, and then having him fall down and get trampled within moments, essentially being unconscious throughout most of the war. The episode’s ending is considerably more difficult to bear, with Arya watching her father being brought out to trial. It’s hard to watch Ned admit that Joffrey is the rightful heir to the throne, and one million times more shocking to see Joffrey not listen to both his mother and his bride-to-be, ordering Ned to be executed. This show is nothing if not incredibly brave, killing off the second main character in just a few weeks. No one is safe if even Ned can’t survive, and things definitely aren’t looking bright for the good guys. Next week is the season one finale, and hopefully it should be a doozy.

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