I am so late on putting this up that it is not even funny. But I did it! This will be long because I still haven’t yet fully absorbed the concept of brevity.
Theon, you horrible bastard of a person. This storyline is unfolding beautifully, in the sense that it is horrifying to watch Theon unravel and lose control to the point that the only way he can get anything done is through violence. That ending scene was brilliantly done and so visceral. Maester Luwin’s reactions to the bodies? Heartbreaking. I will say that I am *so glad* I know how it all works out, otherwise I would have been throwing things at my laptop.
Sansa actually gets significant scene time! And plot development, kind of. Sansa and Shae’s relationship has actually started to grow on me, which is definitely a 180 from my opinion on it in the last episode. Just overall, I’ve really grown to like the Shae in the show as opposed to the Shae in the book. She actually feels like a character with thoughts and motivations outside those of Tyrion and other people, and it’s touching to see how much she’s come to care for Sansa that she’d willingly fight or kill to protect her. On the other hand, Shae and Tyrion’s storylines seem largely divorced from each other, and I wonder what implications that’ll have later on, given certain developments in A Storm of Swords.
However, it did feel like Sansa’s big scene with Cersei felt more about the former than the latter because in Cersei giving her the advice about how loving people makes you weak so you should only love your children, it felt like it was more revealing about Cersei’s character and Sansa was just the convenient person to tell this information to. That being said, I am really liking Cersei’s character development and think that so far, this season has done a good job showing the many sides that make up Cersei Lannister. She’s conniving, power-hungry, and ruthless, but she also loves her children with all her heart and wants so much to be the son she feels she was meant to be rather than the daughter she is. I *loved* the scene with her and Tyrion where Cersei’s growing fragility is on full display, as well as her growing acceptance of the fact that she’s failed spectacularly by letting Joffrey grow to be the monster that he is. Add her growing doubt over sleeping with Jaime in the first place and her fears of potential madness and divine retribution for doing so, and you get an absolutely brilliant scene where it’s almost as though Tyrion is seeing Cersei for the first time.
I’ve hardly commented on Tyrion throughout this current season and as of now, I think I know why. I was reading this post about the King’s Landing mob scene in A Clash of Kings and was reminded of the fact that Bronn tells Tyrion that the anger of the mob was largely directed not at Joffrey, but at Tyrion because they think that he’s the one pulling the King’s strings and is therefore the source of all the suffering the common people are experiencing. And this made me remember that Tyrion’s main goal in this book, and what it should be in this series, is for him to prove himself capable of assisting his family, leading a kingdom, and showing how powerful and necessary he is despite his stature and lack of physical abilities in a land that prizes strength and military might above all else in men. In the show, that’s not coming through at all. Yeah sure, there’s that one scene where a couple of guys appear to be getting religion and the speaker blames Tyrion for the land’s ills, but compared to everything else that’s happened in King’s Landing since then, it’s hardly noteworthy. This also means that Tyrion is a lot less interesting in the show than he could be because he’s not struggling with those internal demons and doing his job largely out of selfish reasons. Instead, he’s the “good” guy, trying to restore order to King’s Landing, beat Stannis’ fleet, and control Joffrey. All seemingly good things, or at least not egregious, but it definitely makes him more one-note.
I’m starting to understand the Arya/Tywin scenes a bit better now that they’ve had a chance to relax around each other. I love how both of them have now made clear to each other the game they’re playing, and have made clear to each other why they’ll let it continue. More than that, I love how Tywin’s enjoying it as an amusement and Arya’s getting practice for later down the line. I will say I was cringing a bit when Arya responds to Tywin’s inquiry about whether she shouldn’t be more interested in pretty things like most girls with a “Most girls are idiots.” It’s more of a meta problem because its Arya who’s saying this and Arya’s probably the most popular female character *because* she isn’t feminine, so that statement appears more OK coming out of her mouth than another character’s.
Ygritte and Jon, oh my god, those two are incorrigible. I enjoyed Ygritte’s snarky taunting about Jon’s sex life, though I thought it went on longer than was probably necessary. My favorite part was the argument about the difference between the Wildlings and those South of the Wall, just because it establishes her as a member of her own people who should be worth Jon’s consideration and respect instead of his disregard for them as enemies and a threat.
Jaime. Jaime, Jaime, Jaime. His escape attempt was definitely valiant, if completely unsuccessful. I hadn’t realized how much I missed him until he started cutting away at Alton Lannister and then at Catelyn. I will say I am extremely surprised that the show is having her release him now rather than closer to the end. I realize that one likely reason is so they can get a head start on events in A Storm of Swords. However, the placement of it in relation to Cat’s timeline feels off. In the books, she releases him out of one last hope of getting her daughters back. In the show, there’s no forethought to this decision, it just looks like an emotional outburst. And I don’t think she’s even heard about what “happened” to Bran and Rickon yet. I don’t know, I don’t care for the way they’ve ordered this sequence.
And then there’s Dany’s storyline. Which has been completely upturned and revised in a way I can’t comprehend. I mean, I’m ok with Xaro Xoan Dhaxos wanting to stick it to the other Qarthians and take over, especially if he as the resources and ambition to do so. But… it all feels forced. I mean, slaying almost the entire ruling body of Qarth and completely altering the political landscape is a huge deal! I give up even trying to understand the way this storyline is playing out, I just… gah. Do. Not. Get.
Things! They are happening! And so we inch ever closer to the end of this season.