Monday, April 21, 2014

Breaker of Chains, Filler of Plot Lines

After the excitement of the first two episodes this season, last night's Breaker of Chains was, just as I thought it would be, a filler episode. What I'm happy to say is that for the most part it was a much better filler episode than those they've had in the past. Sadly...that's still not really saying much.

I can't lie, though - one thing I liked about Breaker of Chains stems from my love for Sansa, because the first (and lengthy) scene was of her finally escaping from King's Landing. Though the show ignoring the vast majority of the Sansa/Dontos story line could have caused issues, it ended up being handled pretty darn well. And yes, I loved Dontos' line, "You'll be fine. You're stronger than you know."

Soon enough Sansa was in Littlefinger's arms, and I swear, his voice gets worse every season! He sounded threatening in last night's episode, and while I know that he's not the book version of Petyr Baelish, he seems like nothing more or less than a creeper just now. Seriously, I feel twice as strong about how bad it is for Sansa to be with him now as I did when reading the books.

When I saw the previews for this week's episode, I was a bit confused about the Olenna and Margaery scene, as it sounded like Olenna was taking credit for Joffrey's death while Margaery knew nothing. It seems to me that some of that may be true, but at least it's not as obvious as I worried it would be. Margaery was either doing a great acting job or telling the truth when she expressed her frustration over Joffrey's death, and Olenna's response - "You may not have enjoyed watching him die, but you enjoyed it more than you would have enjoyed being married to him...the next one should be easier" - was pure gold.

I've heard some complaints about Tywin's conversation with Tommen, which they had over Joffrey's dead body with a mourning Cersei listening, a horrified expression on her face. I actually liked what the writers did here, though - we saw more of how Tywin treats his family, even beyond his own children. For instance, despite the fact that he at least knows that Tommen thinks Robert is his father, Tywin states coldly, "Robert...a man who thinks that winning and ruling are the same thing." Ouch, Tywin! Tommen is only...wait, how old is he supposed to be in the show?

Thankfully they lightened the conversation up a bit, with Tywin talking to Tommen about, well, the birds and the bees. Next up on Tywin Lannister's list of children's books: Everyone Poops!

I'm not going to go into much detail regarding what happened next - I already wrote quite a bit about it in my Geekiary article, "We need to talk about Jaime Lannister: Why rape isn't a suitable plot device". I will say that at first it seemed as if they would forgo the scene entirely - at least to me - but unfortunately that only lasted a moment. (And as you can probably tell by the title of the aforementioned article, I'm of the opinion that it would have been better if they hadn't shown Jaime and Cersei's sexual sept scene. Say that five times fast.)

Needless to say, I was more than ready for some amusing Arya/Sandor action, and at first we got just that. I even had a moment where I thought this would be the point where they settle down for a while on their way to the Vale...but no! The show has spent all this time toning Sandor Clegane down, and now all of a sudden he's doing the exact opposite of what Sandor did in Storm of Swords? That is, not actually doing honest work for honest pay, but instead bashing some single father over the head and stealing his money. I get this scene was likely being used as a way to show Arya learning another difficult lesson, but the whole thing was over the top.

The Sam and Gilly stuff also seemed wrong, but for different reasons. Game of Thrones was obviously using these characters to introduce Mole's Town, but these two scenes probably could have been reduced to one to make for a more concise portrayal.

Meanwhile, news of last week's Purple Wedding is spreading all over the kingdom, resulting in an argument between Stannis and Davos. While the Stannis in the novels is stubborn and often honest to the point of rudeness, in the show we see him as simply angry...almost all of the time. Thankfully, the scene immediately following was another sweet Davos/Shireen conversation, though the end of said conversation is wandering into the unbelievable front. Sure, Davos has his amusing moment when he says that Stannis "lacks an appreciation of the finer points of bad behavior" - but then he has a grand idea about the Iron Bank, and enlists a little girl to write the letter for him, in her father the king's name?

Thankfully, the more I see of Oberyn and Ellaria, the more I love them. The Martells are my favorite family in ASOIAF, and I was seriously concerned about the show doing them justice...yet they are! I just hope I'm not speaking too soon. Or jinxing it.

In fact, at first I wasn't quite sure if I liked last night's conversation between Tywin and Oberyn, but by the time it was over I realized that I kind of loved it. It was an awesome portrayal of how Oberyn ends up as a judge at Tyrion's trial, and a great insight into both Tywin and Oberyn's characters for those who haven't read the books.

It looks like we won't be seeing Kevan Lannister for a while (if at all?), as Podrick seems to have taken his place for the time being. I'm a huge Pod fan, so I really have no complaints about this, and it was nice to hear Podrick say that he knew Tyrion didn't kill Joffrey. Though at first I wasn't fond of Tyrion insisting that Pod flee King's Landing - because in the books this is more Podrick's decision and is another notch in his Awesomeness Belt - in the end they set it up for a smooth transition.

How, you ask? Because before telling Podrick to run away, Tyrion asks him to visit Jaime. As next week's episode is titled "Oathkeeper", we can assume that Jaime will be giving Brienne the sword by the same name. And what better way to get Podrick out of the city but keep him on almost the same plot line as he travels in the books? Why, to have him show up to talk to Jaime while Brienne is there as well, of course!

(I'm actually not being sarcastic at all, there. The more I think about the way they handled this, the more I love it.)

Unfortunately, up in the North things didn't go smoothly at all. As far as we know, Gilly was in Mole's Town when the wildlings attacked it in Breaker of Chains - yet we don't catch a single glimpse of her. And honestly, I already understood that Ygritte is on a rampage and the Thenns are awful, but of course this is Game of Thrones, which spent the better part of last season showing Theon being tortured. So they had to pound Ygritte's rage and the Thenns' cannibalism into our heads just a wee bit more.

And although the writers wasted no time on the boy from Mole's Town getting to Castle Black, the entire debate about what the Night's Watch should do confused me - or at least the part about them going to Craster's made no sense. Is Jon Snow going to go by himself? It's such an insanely ridiculous idea that it might very well come to pass; after all, this could be how Jon ends up north of The Wall and in Mance's clutches when Stannis arrives...

...and then finally, finally, we come to the single character and scene that gave Breaker of Chains its episode name. Daenerys has finally reached Meereen, and because the show didn't bother with Strong Belwas, Waario Daario has to be her champion. But what bothered me the most is that the 'fight' between the two champions could have been far more interesting. Who fought for Dany was really less important than the fight itself, but last night it was over far too which point the trebuchets rolled out.

Um...can someone please explain when they started building a bunch of trebuchets?! Was Dany supposed to have always had them, or did I miss some massive trebuchet assembly line popping up along the road to Meereen?

I was honestly so caught up in wondering about the damn trebuchets that I suppose the finer points of Dany bombarding the Meereenese with buckets full of slave collars were lost to me.

And so, while not on the very bottom rung of that Game of Thrones Chaos Ladder, I'm happy to leave Breaker of Chains behind us...and I've got my fingers crossed that next week's Oathkeeper puts at least some things back on track. Pin It

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