Monday, May 9, 2016

Game of Thrones, Episode 3 - Oathbreaker

Yay, I managed to get through the week without spoiling myself (except for the teaser) and, I know I'm on repeat here, it's such an exhilarating experience to go into a new episode knowing there will be surprises.

I did expect that, after two fairly intense episodes, the third episode would settle into a more relaxed groove, with more talking scenes and less action/shock/drama. I feel I was right about this, especially with council meetings both in King's Landing and Meereen, but I still got the feels many times throughout the episode.

It's also a relief to get some confirmation on things I've wondered about for sixteen fricking years.

The episode, like every GoT episode, suffers of course from having to cram in so many scenes. It will make rewatching the series a treat, though, especially perhaps for people who aren't hardcore Westeros nerds. I mean, to a casual viewer suddenly seeing Kevan Lannister with the Hand brooch, Mace Tyrell again may cause some memory-related issues. Kevan looked great though, in his scene! A shame he's only there for a little while longer. Everybody's complaining about the Starks having a rough time but goddammit look at the Lannisters!

I have to say I thought Kit Harington did a great job in this episode, both in the beginning, coming to terms with his return to life, and at the end, when he - unsurprisingly - realized his watch has ended. I was sad to see Owen Teale go, brilliant actor, but he of course had it coming in so many ways. I was surprised to see Jon just hand over his cloak of office to Dolorous Edd Tollett, I didn't expect that to happen. I did expect Jon to take a time out, of course, because he will now lead the wildlings in the war for the North.

Another (expected) surprise was the reemergence of Osha and Rickon. I half hoped that when he pulled off Rickon's hood, we'd see Gendry flashing a smile. Could be humorous. I am also totally not buying that the Umber lord is a bad guy; there seems to be a plan afoot here, and he's playing it to the hilt to impress Ramsay. Loved the scene, and thought the guy playing Lord Umber did a great job, coming across as both charismatic and nasty at the same time. But he was fun and charismatic enough for me to suspect he's playing Ramsay. How Rickon and Osha play into this, I don't know. In Dance of course we learn there's a plot afoot in the North, and I think HBO are doing it this way.

The most crucial scene for fans would, of course, be the Tower of Joy. It was a cool scene, better than I expected. Casual viewers all around the world probably collectively scratched their heads, wondering what this was all about - but I think they kept it just on the right side of mysterious. Ser Arthur Dayne, in the end, was just a man. Stabbed in the back by Howland Reed. I need to watch this scene again.

The remaining scenes of the episode I felt were slowly dragging characters on, without the same punch. Sam and Gilly was all exposition and vomit, Daenerys...that scene felt tame, although I loved the shot of the horse statues. I liked that Conleth Hill finally got a moment to shine again, which he did very much so. Arya's scene was similar to what we've had before, but when the waif began asking questions about the "funny little list", it became a lot more interesting. I am baffled at Arya drinking from that pool to restore her sight; I thought the pool held poisonous / deadly water.

Tyrion was funny, but suffered from a scene that was essentially about nothing much, really.

The scene between the High Septon/Sparrow and Tommen was fantastic, on the other hand. The way the Sparrow turned Tommen's anger, was very well acted. I was half expecting a dagger, but not sure who would stab who. But it ended peacefully.

Cersei, Jaime and the Mountain invading the Small Council was a good scene; Pycelle was as useless as always, Kevan was all ice, I am not sure why Olenna was back (again)...Qyburn is great, I really appreciate the actor's work with this character. The little birds scene with him was nice, too, showing a different, less necromantic side to Qyburn.

Above all, the episode was blessedly free of Dorne (except being mentioned by Jaime).

I do wish they could incorporate more book material, though; there's still so much unused stuff; stuff that is better than the "original" things GoT presents.

Oh well, it's still pretty solid stuff for a TV show. In fact it is kind of amazing how good it looks by now.

And now to read people's reactions!

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