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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
As always, here there be spoilers!
Well that certainly helped solved last week’s complaints, did it not? On this week’s Game of Thrones we see no Daenerys, very little Jon Snow, and a helluva lot of fighting, intrigue, and killing in general. We start off where we left off, with Jon Snow having been caught spying on the wicked old Craster north of the wall. As retaliation, Craster kicks the Night’s Watch off his land, leading them to finally venture out into unknown territory (and it only took three episodes!). From here, we are lead to the further trials and tribulations of Theon Greyjoy, Tyrion Lannister, Renly Barratheon, and Arya Stark.
When we last left Theon, he was pretty clearly stuck between his loyalty to Robb Stark and his duty as the heir to the Iron Isles. He makes his choice here, after a bit of prodding from his sister and his father’s continued disgust in him. I liked that Theon stood up to the old man. The scene played well, giving Theon the opportunity to look noble and honorable in calling his father out. Of course Theon then proceeds to betray Robb, making him appear once more like a psychopath. Yes, in the end Theon does choose his father’s side, planning to raid the northern shores and deciding not to warn Robb Stark in advance. I knew he wasn’t too be trusted!
Catelynn Stark, on a democratic mission, finally meets up with Renly Barratheon in an attempt to forge a peace and an alliance between the two houses. Renly has a large army, but Catelynn warns him that winter is coming, implying his men will not be able to stand up to the might of winter as well as competently and ably fight what’s expected to be a long and bloody war. Renly seems to shrug off her warnings, though I find Renly far too intelligent to completely discount Catelynn’s warnings of hardship.
Back in King’s Landing, Tyrion is clearly settling into his role as Hand of the King. After ably dispatching Janos last week, Tyrion cooks up a scheme to test the loyalty of those closest to him. When one fails his test, Tyrion has him thrown into the dungeons. These scenes were great not only for their political intrigue, but also because we see Tyrion becoming more and more ruthless and competent in his job (basically he’s the anti-Nedd Stark), while also being the most level-headed of all the Lannisters. He also calmly suggests a plan with Petyr to save his brother Jamie from Robb Stark’s army. I can’t wait til these plots diverge.
The ending of this week’s episode is absolutely fantastic. Night’s Watch recruiter Yoren gives his life to protect not only Arya Stark, but also the dead king’s bastard Gendry. Yoren gives a tour-de-force speech to Arya, comforting her with a chilling tale of death and revenge. That he then goes out like a champ, viciously murdering corrupt Lannister soldiers with a crossbow bolt in his chest only makes him that much more of a heroic, tragic figure. Yoren has been one of my favorite characters going way back to the beginning of the first season, and he will be missed sorely.
See you next week!