Reviewed By: Jack Dawson
Image Credit: Game of Thrones Wikia
I’m actually struggling to think of a single moment that dragged or felt unwieldy in this episode, it’s got some of the tightest writing and best character moments we’ve seen yet. Now it’s just a matter of seeing how everything pays off (or if it will pay off at all). Either way, I cannot wait for the climax of Episode 9 this season.
The only other thing I can say for certain is that this show has said goodbye to the continuity of the books, and is borrowing and referencing what it likes to tell its own story.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Cersei really is a fascinating character, she’s intelligent and cunning, but supremely ignorant in many ways. While she effectively dismantles Margarey’s power base in Westeros and scores a major win, she’s doing so by destroying the status quo which she herself relies on. While the newfound fanaticism of the Sparrows seems to come out of nowhere, I will give these scenes credit for demonstrating why the timid Tommen isn’t an effective King under the wrong conditions, especially with his Mother dominating his life. Nonetheless, I don’t expect that Cersei will emerge from this season as the winner.
While Tyrion spends most of his time on screen gagged and travelling to Mireen to see Daenerys, the Sass quotient of this show (a very important component) is filled by Jaimie and Bronn, who are on a diplomatic mission to Dorne, where they certainly won’t be retrieving any Princesses, my word no. We get some fun banter and a cool fight scene, and we get a close look at their dynamic.
But that’s not the only scene we get in Dorne, we also get to see Ellaria Sand confer with several of Oberyn’s bastard Daughters, and decide how to best respond to Oberyn’s death (Here’s a hint, it involves the careful employment of berserker violence).
Up at the Wall, Stannis is still there. I swear this man must be one of the greatest procrastinators in Westeros, he’s like the Bizarro version of characters who spend entire seasons travelling to different locations. But I find that easy to forgive here, as there are some great scenes involving his travelling Court. Kerry Ingram is especially great as Shireen Baratheon, hitting all the beats that she needs to. And Jon’s newfound duties and obligations as Lord Commander result in fantastic story beats, and are easily the most interesting aspect of his character now. Seeing him grapple with his oaths and responsibilities is thrilling, and he becomes his power well.
Sansa and Littlefinger have another creepy scene together, though Sansa is ostensibly placed in a win-win situation. Whether Stannis’ planned attack works or not, Sansa could very well emerge on top, though being married to a man who enjoys eating Sausages due to how they mirror his personal hobbies surely presents its own dangers. Though at this point it’s hard to say whether Littlefinger or the Boltons are the most dangerous element in Sansa’s life. Again, I think we’ll return to Sansa in episode 9 of this season, and I can’t wait to see how she ends the season.
And finally we check in with Dany, who seems to close out most of these episodes. There’s a really sweet moment with Barristen Selmy, and then she’s asked once again to reopen the Fighting pits. Unfortunately for Dany, her attempt at Justice last episode has backfired in a truly spectacular manner, and now the Sons of the Harpy arrive to prove their worthy of having an episode named after them. It’s an explosive climax, which provides a great hook for next week’s episode.
From what I do know of the books, Game of Thrones has well and truly set sail for its’ own course. And judging by the tepid pace of last season, that might be for the best. This season ahs been going from strength to strength, and though I can guess at what the conflict of Episode 9 will be, for the first time since this series began I have absolutely no idea what the outcome is going to be.