Whether you watch Game of Thrones or not, by now you’ve heard about what’s become known as “The Red Wedding.” It’s received a significant amount of national media attention; author George R.R. Martin and several prominent cast members have appeared on a variety of talk shows and I’ve lost count of the people who have said that it was the most shocking or violent scene that they’ve ever witnessed on television. As I predicted, the fallout from last week’s episode has been enormous and it altered nearly every perception about where Thrones is heading in future seasons. It may have had an even bigger effect on the last edition of our weekly (minus a few) Thrones power rankings. I know there’s still the season finale this Sunday, but next week I’ll be doing something a little different. Stay tuned.
There comes a point in every fantasy story when we encounter the following scene – our beloved protagonist comes face-to-face with a seemingly insurmountable circumstance while in pursuit of their goal, and enemies are closing in all around them. With no solution or escape in sight, we the audience fear that the hero is about to meet their premature demise, only to watch as they are miraculously saved by an outside force or an extremely fortunate development. No matter what kind of devilry the villains can concoct, the good guys always prevail in the end. Ho hum.
Much like the regular season in competitive sports, most of the episodes in a season of television don’t carry much significance. Sure, there are some memorable performances and powerful moments along the way, but those episodes lack the lasting impact of a season finale or the chapter that leads into it. ‘Game of Thrones’ follows this formula to a tee and if the first two seasons are any indication, then “The Rains of Castamere” is going to be a showcase of epic (and likely bloody) proportions. Having read the books I know what’s in store for us tonight and next week, and so long as they stick to the source material it should be a hell of a stretch run. Yes, my expectations are high, (spoiler alert), but that’s what happens when you kill off Ned Stark one year and then give us the stunning Battle of Blackwater the next.
With the season halfway done, it’s become a bit easier to predict how certain houses will finish this thing up. And yes, it’s been reflected in the rankings.
Wow. Just wow. I really hope you viewed “Kissed by Fire” with your laptop closed and no bathroom breaks, because this was ‘Game of Thrones’ at its best. The visceral thrill of witnessing dragons engulfing foul-mouthed slavers in flame may keep a smile on your face longer, but the gripping tension of watching these characters react to the horrific circumstances that pop up all around them is what makes this show so powerful. In the end, you don’t like ‘Game of Thrones’ because it gives you hope for the future and restores your faith in humanity. You like it because it fills you with angst and dread, and it’s just too damn hard to pull yourself away until you find out which characters made it out of the grinder alive. It’s only fitting that the highest compliment I can give this week’s installment is that it was an unsettling, heartbreaking foray through the roughest parts of Westeros.
The top five saw a rather large shakeup this week, with some houses unable to halt their unfortunate slides and others seizing power that they’ve not had in decades. Let’s get to it, shall we?
My oh my, things escalated quickly this time around, didn’t they? It’s been almost a week since “And Now His Watch Is Ended” aired, and the repercussions of what transpired in its final moments are still rocking the foundation of ‘Game of Thrones’. Seeing Daenerys pull a fast one on Kraznys, who’s been bad mouthing her from the moment she arrived, was the first true power shift of the season and one of the most satisfying sequences of the series. Oh, and the big reveal that Dany does in fact speak Valyrian and understood every single insult that Kraznys threw her way? That was awesome, and it shows how dangerous and methodical Dany has become. Yes she is still in possession of her dragons as well as the Unsullied, but more importantly she’s learned how to beat her enemies at their own game. When men look at her, they see a dumb bimbo who is easily tricked and led astray. And she knows it. By feigning ignorance and decimating the slavers once she gained the advantage (a plan that she kept entirely to herself), Dany proved that she has become a force to be reckoned with. It wasn’t the most honorable way to get what she wanted, but to hell with honor. The only thing honor’s gotten anyone on this show is a one-way ticket to the chopping block.
I really wish I could get my reviews and rankings to you sooner in the week. Unfortunately, life tends to get in the way of that and you have to wait a little bit longer. Look at it this way; you get all week to watch the most recent episode of Thrones more than once, absorb every scene and every little detail, and completely form all of your own thoughts and opinions of what went down. Then when you think you have it all figured out, here come my articles at the end of the week to shake everything up again. You’re welcome.
“If your Gods are merciful, and they are just, why is the world so full of injustice?”
Jaime Lannister uttered that line to Catelyn Stark back in the season 1 finale, and it was at a time when everyone, including yours truly, had the Kingslayer pegged as a villain. Besides his reputation of slaying kings, he committed a number of vile acts over the course of that first season, and at the time there was no reason to believe that Jaime had any redeeming qualities. When he was captured by the Starks and shared that dialogue with Catelyn, we rejoiced because it seemed that this prick was finally going to get what was coming to him.
Welcome to the debut edition of our Game of Thrones Power Rankings. Just like the wide world of sports, there’s a lot of different “teams” pursuing a common goal of ultimate power, some of which are faring much better than others. From first to worst, I’ll analyze each faction’s most recent activities, and whether or not that puts them closer to smashing their enemies than everyone else. This is still a work in progress and I don’t necessarily have my heart set on this format, but we’ll start with this and see what happens from here. Check back each week for the current set of rankings, as well as my review of the most recent episode.