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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
While last week’s episode, The North Remembers, was primarily a successful attempt to catch viewers up in the goings-on of the world of Westeros, this week’s episode, The Night Lands, is a far more brooding tale. There are several story lines here where not is at all what it seems, and each one is interesting in its own way, though a few threaten to become stale unless something big happens soon. In a ten episode season, it stands to reason that something shocking needs to happen every three or so episodes. I’m holding out hope for something great to happen then next week. But until then, we’ll continue to be introduced to new characters and get inside the heads of a few of our already-established characters as well. And that’s fine for a second episode.
In what has thus far been the most boring plot line (though I’m sure this will change soon), Daenerys is still facing the dreaded task of crossing a vast desert with her people. Everyone is parched and exhausted, but she has not yet given up. One of her horses returns to camp, and it is revealed the rider was killed by another tribe of Dothraki, but Daenerys is not fazed; she is only concerned with retribution for those who would slaughter her people. Though they don’t make an appearance here, her dragons are likely to reap some sort of revenge by season’s end. I hope Daenerys finds her way out of the desert soon before this plot grows stale, as it is already threatening to do.
Up north beyond the wall, Jon Snow continues to bide his time and wait with the rest of the Night’s Watch. Along with his naive friend Sam, Jon runs afoul of a pregnant woman who fears that her baby, if born a male, will be cast aside to die by the sinister wildling patriarch Craster. It is now clear what he does with his male heirs (though honestly it was pretty much always clear). Jon’s story line at this point is probably the most frustrating, because the creatures beyond the wall are supposed to present a clear threat to the world of Westeros, but we’ve seen little of their suggested mass carnage. I am hoping that Snow will get basically the entirety of an episode dedicated to him in the next few weeks to get this plot moving forward more rapidly.
The most interesting development is perhaps Theon’s homecoming, which was not what he was expecting by far. As the last male heir of Lord Balon Greyjoy, Theon was expecting a welcoming homecoming. After a dressing down by his father, Theon seemed quite unsettled and unsure of what to do next. Theon has long been a troubling character on this show, for good and for bad. He seemed to be more than dedicated to the Starks, Lord Stark particularly, but I’ve long had problems with how he has treated women. He has oft been depicted as something of a creepy, molesting monster. I’m not sure that I trust him as a viewer. In fact, I don’t really trust Theon’s intentions at all. Nonetheless, his homecoming affords the viewer the opportunity to finally see the Iron Islands, and that was totally worth it. The sets on this show are just so great.
Little is made of Robb Stark and his battle against the Lannisters (in fact Robb Stark doesn’t even appear), but we are treated to a great scene between Tyrion and Cersei Lannister. Tyrion also ousts previous head of the city guard Janos in favor of highly underrated character Bronn, which was a fantastic scene. In a few brief scenes we get more into the psyche of Stannis Barratheon as well, but this plot is also in danger of becoming boring. Stannis is going to have to make a big move here soon. Lastly, we learn more about Gendry, the blacksmith who joined the Night’s Watch (and also one of the many Barratheon bastards). His relationship with Arya Stark is certainly compelling and I’m hoping the show continues to feature this pairing in the future.
Here’s to next week!