This is a break in your regular SFF Tournament programming.
Lest you fear that we’ve been so caught up in our tournament matches to consume new episodes… here are some of my reactions to the most recent GoT episode (#5.2).
Part-review, part-running-inner-dialogue, part-screen-cap-mania… (and, yes, I focus a lot on how pretty set locations are—get over it).
Aria is in Braavos!!! And she had to travel between a man’s legs to arrive!! Men. Statues. I have complicated feelings about most statues (I mean, for Iowa City denizens, remember those beefed up, masculine versions of Herky on parade??? #neverforget) and not to go all cliche, but, they’re often just so damn phallic. I wanted to look under this one’s armored skirt and see if they included a big ol’ dick when they were sculpting this bad boy. Anyways. I also thought I was hearing touristy Italian music while she was being row-row-rowed along the canals. It felt like Venice to me!And, ermigawd, we’d seen what it would look like, but the House of Black and White is gorgeous in the final shots, in my opinion. I like how stark it is—seeming to thrust out of the sea and it’s so square and man-made, nothing very natural about it. Look how tiny she is walking up to the house! This exterior shot comes from the area of Split in Croatia. Because I’m always interested in the appearances and visual aspects, I think it’s interesting (and, obviously, it wastes a lot of time) to find out where they shoot scenes and how they do it. (Check out this video if you’re interested in the production.)
Sansa, Littlefinger, Podrick, and Brienne
Meh. Not too interested in Brienne and Podrick right now. Sansa is still interesting, but, yeah. Although, I did notice and appreciate the woodwork and booths in the tavern where they meet. Horse race. Horse down. Dead people. That is all.
Continuing her trend of dominating any scene, Cersei has some great moments. She takes Jaime by the balls for being mostly worthless in terms of her and their children. When she really dominates, though, is when she meets with the new council. She enters the room (and, this set piece is also gorgeous) and immediately has to deal with her annoying uncle. He’s all, what, are you the Hand?? And she gives this little knowing smirk and assures him (tone dripping sugary sarcasm more and more) that, of course, she wouldn’t be the Hand because it would undoubtedly be ridiculous to even imagine having a (gasp) woman serve in such a capacity.
Her uncle, the ass, responds: “You are the Queen Mother. Nothing More.”
[insert six thousand articles, dissertations, and books on the long history of royal mothers, power, authority, etc. etc.]
Jaime and Cersei get a little memento from the Sandsnakes. It was kind of funny when he opens the container and kind of jumps back. Was this snake supposed to be real? Or like stuffed? Or a statue? Anyways, he plans to do a little adventuring of his own! I’m excited about this. First, because I think Cersei and Jaime are both more exciting when they are interacting with other characters. It seems to allow their snark to shine more and I like seeing how they relate to and interact with other people. Jaime, who is played as a sweetheart in the show in my opinion, is at his most charming when he meets up with Bronn. And, Bronn!!! He says it all: “Jaime fucking Lannister.” Yes. Yes, it is. I feel like they’re going to have a buddy-cop-style adventure! (#roadtrip) I hope there are plenty of shenanigans and bonding moments (perhaps about Tyrion)?!
Also, for some reason, Jaime reminded me of young Harrison Ford in Star Wars. Maybe I just have Star Wars on the mind since the new preview debuted? And, of course, there’s another gratuitous landscape shot that made me weak in the knees. The Sandsnakes
Again with the visuals! So lush! Who needs story lines when you have these amazing views?? The Water Gardens are opulent (and filmed in the Royal Alcazars of Seville—which has its own fascinating history that I spent an inordinate amount of time reading about last night…but I shall try to stay on topic). I know they are trying to play up the differences but I did feel like they had Princess Myrcella dressed like a ridiculous barbie doll. Have we ever seen people in pastel pink in this GoT world?? Was this an extra costume left over from some other show? I don’t know. And, despite my crippling aversion to snakes, Ellaria is rocking some fierce jewelry. In conclusion, YUM. I can’t wait to see more of the Sandsnakes. Daenerys
(This is one of my favorite sets… those carved/lattice style doors always look so gorgeous.) So, we have Daenerys in Meereen dealing with more unrest. Daenerys is alternately inept and adept, as per usual. She’s bloodthirsty until she’s reminded about the risk of becoming crazy, yadayadayada, then she’s all “the law is the law,” which is a rather bullshit and problematic notion. “The law” is the law as created by one group of people, enforced by another group, interpreted by others, etc. “The law” is never a separate entity.
Moving on. I liked how they filmed the execution, crowd, and near-mob scene. I felt overwhelmed for her and imagined the sense of claustrophobia one might feel in a situation like that—both adoration and demonstrations would be overwhelming.
Plus, the senses of fear and betrayal were a nice contrast to her former crowd-surfing-Coachella-style of interaction with her child-like-freed-slaves.
When half the audience hissed in reaction, ohhhhh, shivers!!! Such an evocative reaction! I think we should all hiss in unison at politicians more often! And we end with her brief interaction with her dragon. It was a nice touch that reinforced the maternal tropes we’ve always had surrounding Daenerys and the difficulties of maintaining a position as a maternal/loving figure and a war-leader/law-enforcer. Plus, in some ways, she’s also had to confront becoming a potential “empty-nester,” dealing with her children/dragons who have grown up and are not under her thumb anymore.
Tyrion’s in a traveling caravan with the Spider. They waxed philosophical about the futility of life, leadership, and boxes.
Jon Snow & Sam
Apparently Sam discovered his inner orator. Was that in line with his character’s personality as we have seen so far? Whatever. Nice work. Way to force more responsibility on your friend.
Okay. Phew. That’s it! Or my version of it!