Monthly Archives: May 2012

Game of Thrones: Inside The Episode “Blackwater” (S02E09)

Game of Thrones Review/Recap: “Blackwater” Season 2 Episode 9 (Episode 19)

Written by George R.R. Martin, author of A Song of Ice and Fire series, Blackwater is a masterful combination of suspense, action and storytelling.  If there’s a flaw in how the Battle of Blackwater Bay plays out in the book, is that some readers find it confusing and hard to follow.  On the television series, George R.R. Martin gets a second chance to refine the story, giving breath to line after line of razor-sharp dialogue and unrelenting tension.  This episode greatly benefitted from focusing entirely on the characters in Kings Landing; building upon the urgency and intensity of each scene while never allowing the viewer to escape to and get distracted by unrelated events in other parts of Westeros or Qarth.

The bulk of the second season budget was reserved for this episode and it showed from the incredible green wildfire explosion that destroyed Stannis’ fleet to the massive battle outside the Mudgate. The TV series typically has only shown the initial assault or aftermath of battles. This is primarily because action packed battles are very expensive, time-consuming and complex to film and often not crucial to the overall story or a character’s development. The battle of Blackwater needed to be on-screen to viscerally depict the brutality of war, show the cost to attain/maintain the Iron Throne and to bring resolution to the events building up in the previous eight episodes.

As much as the shock and awe visuals will be lauded, the sound effects and music also added to the atmosphere, suspense and realism. The sound of the creaking ships sailing against the tide, the flaming arrows zipping across the night sky, the ominous drums pounding, and church bells ringing all helped create an immersive tension filled experience. The orchestral score by composer Ramin Djawadi is another highlight of the episode, especially the variations of the Game of Thrones title theme music.  For the fans of the book, it was a welcome surprise hearing Bronn and other soldiers singing the Rains of Castamere, a song about the Lannisters victory over House Reyne of Castamere.

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Game of Thrones: Inside The Episode “Prince Of Winterfell” (S02E08)

Game of Thrones Review/Recap: “Prince Of Winterfell” Season 2 Episode 8 (Episode 18)

The primary storylines that have been building up through-out this season have come to a breaking point in ‘Prince of Winterfell’ which should make for a very exciting final two episodes. Daenerys decides to go the mystical House of Undying to rescue her dragons against the advice of Jorah, Tyrion prepares for the imminent invasion on King’s Landing by Stannis Baratheon, under Robb Stark’s orders the bastard son of Lord Bolton is to retake Winterfell from Theon Greyjoy and Jon Snow’s fate will be determined by Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall.  This was a bit of an underwhelming episode (on first viewing) because we are left waiting for a resolution to these plots points after months of set up and characters are still explaining their back story at this point in the season.

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Game of Thrones: Inside The Episode “A Man Without Honor” (S02E07)

Game of Thrones Review/Reaction: “A Man Without Honor” Season 2 Episode 7 (Episode 17)

It’s hard to believe there’s only three more episodes left in the season. I’m gonna savor every moment because its gonna be a year-long wait for Season 3, which I’m trying not to think about.  “A Man Without Honor” is another jam-packed episode with many character moments and memorable dialogue, so I’ll just give my thoughts and reactions to certain scenes.

Ygritte’s verbal assault was playful, hilarious and picked apart at Jon’s insecurities, cutting deep into his manliness and the choices he has made. “You got sheep at the wall?”  Ygritte is not only toying with him, she’s also challenging everything Jon believes in including his oath to the Night’s Watch. “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” The expression on actor Kit Harrington’s face shows Jon sees the truth in her words, at least about a life of freedom. Although her hands were tied up by the rope held by Jon, it seems like he was the prisoner led by Ygritte; a prisoner to his own life and way of thinking. As a result of being captured by the wildling, Jon’s loyalties will be tested. Ygritte mentioned last episode, the wildling would allow him to join them. Will Jon choose to a be member of the wildling – the free people who plan to cross the Wall or keep his vows to the Night’s Watch? “It don’t have teeth.” I wonder what a conversation between Ygritte, Tyrion and Bronn would sound like?

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Game of Thrones: Inside The Episode “The Old Gods And The New” (S02E06)

Game of Thrones Review/Reaction: “The Old Gods And The New” Season 2 Episode 6 (Episode 16)

Here are some recommended Game of Thrones reviews (with links to the full article) that I’ve been following:

Huffington Post Review by Maureen Ryan: ‘Game of Thrones’ Recap: It All Hits The Fan In Westeros (And Beyond)’

“The first eight minutes of “The Old Gods” was a masterfully choreographed sequence of tension, chaos and dawning horror, which involved not just the nightmare of Ser Rodrik Cassel’s brutal death, but Theon’s realization that he was the kind of man who would — who could — behead a trusted family retainer in public, in front of children

The entire sequence was shot through with a genuine sense of menace and dread; we didn’t see the taking of Winterfell, but we didn’t need to, because we saw its aftereffects on the resident’s faces, their grim worry and sickening fear. Kudos to the editor of the episode as well, for the fluid, judicious pacing of this sequence, which, amid all the chaos, took time for a quiet yet powerful scene between Bran and Theon, and later, intercut a series of shots that perfectly illustrated Theon’s rapidly shifting emotions about killing Cassel.”

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Game of Thrones: Inside The Episode “The Ghost of Harrenhal” (S02E05)

Game of Thrones Review/Reaction: “The Ghost of Harrenhal” Season 2 Episode 5 (Episode 15)

The balance of power swiftly shifted to Stannis in a single death blow after the shadow demon kills Renly. I really wish more time was spent developing Renly and explaining why Brienne was so infatuated with him. Other than the one scene where Renly names Brienne to his Kingsguard, we never saw the two interact or talk to each other. Brienne is absolutely devastated when Renly dies, even more so than Loras, but its hard to sympathize with her because her loss has no context. Renly had a good heart and a sense of humor; however, we never cared for him like we did with Ned Stark.

One of the question this shows asks is what kind of person makes for a good leader. And behind every good leader is often a trusted advisor.  So who do you think is the best advisor or right-hand man? Davos tells Stannis to leave Melissandre behind when they attack King’s Landing. Since Melissandre can see visions of the future in the flames it might be a big mistake not to utilize her powers. If Stannis thinks that having the largest fleet and army guarantees victory he should remember what just happened to Renly. King’s landing is not going to surrender without a fight.  Stannis also won’t be aware that Tyrion has discovered wildfire, a flammable substance that can burn through anything. In Qarth, Xaro proposes to Dany and offers just about everything she needs to travel to Westeros. Its very tempting; however, Jorah advises her that she only needs one ship and the support of the Westeri people. Dany is now aware that Jorah is in love her which makes their relationship a bit awkward and more complicated. Did Jorah give her terrible advice? Her journey to the Iron Throne will be more difficult without Xaro’s support and finances. Unlike Stannis who is now the front runner because of powerful black magic, Dany will need to learn how to be a formidable leader, make tough decisions, and earn a place in the hearts of Westeri to rightfully become their Queen. Or unleash the dragons when they are big enough!

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