Category: Reviews

Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT: Season 2 Episode 1

Editor’s Note: “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers. Enjoy!

 

The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Season 2 Episode 1: \\The North Remembers\\
By: Matt Lynch

“You love your children. It’s your one redeeming quality. That and your cheekbones.” – Tyrion Lannister

So, Good People, it appears that, despite your fervent hopes and murmured prayers, last season’s poll and The Landlord have spoken. The Newb returns to opine amongst You. I’m grateful to be welcomed back and fortunate enough to have spent the viewing of Episode One amidst a cavalcade of wicked interesting and very nice folk Chooch, Viv, Scott, Hizzoner, and the inimitable Molly were my companions for ‘The North Remembers’.

Before I launch into my initial tirade (for this year) regarding the natural inferiority of the pure fantasy form, I feel a due diligence apology is in order. The Newb will have some, shall we say, “time management” challenges during the first few weeks of the second season. No alibis, but I am not only humbly submitting this screed for your collective derision and/or approval, but also completing a rather important (to the tune of 50% of final grade) research paper. Mea culpa is all I can offer.  S’better than a stick in the eye, though, yeah?

Onward…

Part the First, wherein Geoffrey is a prissy, bloodthirsty twit (again), and a bag of chips is breached with dramatic flair by Chooch.

  • Seriously. Joffrey = Twit. Hopefully the writers off him quickly and mercilessly.
  • I’ve never cared much for wine, but I daresay the bumbling Ser Dontas the Red cares for it even less than I having drunk it by the cask. At least sweet, clever, if pitifully morose Sansa uses his misfortune to save his sodden life.
  • Sweet!! His Impness arrives armed with Insults Copious! Suddenly, the show is redeemed, I remember why I made it through the first season, and Bronn is awarded the first great one-liner of the night.
  • Joffrey has no idea what’s coming. Hee, hee, hee.

Part the Second, wherein Cersei is ferociously gob-smacked, and the first of many allusions to the season following Autumn is uttered. (At 6:50 into the season?! Really?!! It’s a natural cycle, fictional persons! Perspective!)

  • Double-yay! Baelish. More than a five-year cold snap = fewer peasants. Snicker.
  • Cersei… still a bitchy ice queen. Consistency is nice.
  • The whistling offstage heralds but one (small) man.
  • Hmmm.. that’s quite a portent-filled glance between Baelish and Tyrion. It bodes well for a season of Imply magic in King’s Landing.
  • Awesome. Cersei is literally irate at Tyrion’s new assignment. This makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.  Well, okay, the Gaelic Ale is arguably helping some, too. Still…
  • Line of the night at 9:36.  (that and your cheekbones). Almost makes up for all the sturm and drang about the snowy season.

Part the Third, wherein Bran gets testy and strange dreams occur without the freakishness of a three-eyed bird.

  • Not much to say here, except that that is one of the cheesiest comet trails I’ve ever seen and Nymphadora Tonks has turned into some sort of sylvan astro-herpetologist. Amazing what Ye Olde Serving Wenches Academy is turning out these days.

Part the Fourth, wherein Sweet Dany does her best Moses and Hi-yo Silver bites it in the the Red Waste.

  • Aww, poor horsey. You’re dragon din-din, now.
  • Gibberish with subtitles again? What is this? Star Trek?

Part the Fifth, wherein we meet the Sister Wives and learn that the North is no place, even for Wildings.

  • This Mance Rayder seems an interesting fellow. Could be a fun thread to go exploring this season.
  • BTW, what, O Sage Readers, is it with all of the smallholder freakazoids who have nothing better to do than schtup their own offspring? This is your idea of a compelling world where one would want to spend some time? Bah.
  • Sage advice from Mormont to Bubba Snow Tep, though. Jon is an uppity, overconfident and brooding bastard who could use a lesson or two in following orders.

Part the Sixth, wherein we learn to never trust redheads in ceremonial cloaks burning effigies, and finally meet Stannis Baratheon.

  • Hmmm… esoteric seaside ceremony revolving around fire and incantations… where the vestal virgins at?
  • How (yawn) Arthurian. Pull the blade from the pyre and speak the words of destiny.  Snnk…zzzzzzzzz…urk.. wha?
  • This old monk is not long for the world. I’m calling it right now, dead within five minutes.
  • I do like Stannis’ personality, I must say. The kind descriptor would be something along the lines of ‘direct’.
  • Lord of Light? WTF?
  • Bend the knee or I will destroy them. I like the sound of that.
  • Yep. Dead monk. RIght on cue.
  • This new redhead is eeee-vil. Awesome.

Part the Seventh, wherein, oh never mind. Nice doggie. Nice doggie. Rip off the Kingslayer’s face now… go on… that’s a GOOD doggie… no wait. Dammit. Bad doggie.

Part the Eighth, wherein we learn that Shay can smell cum from a balcony and is an equal-opportunity geographical copulator.

  • Peter Dinklage needs another award. Stat.

Part the Ninth, wherein Cersei gives us all a lesson in power and a pause button is grudgingly depressed.

  • This wordplay between Littlefinger and the Queen Regent is riveting. Seriously.
  • Apparently knowledge isn’t power – four armed men who cater to your every crazy whim unquestioningly are. Well played, Cersei. The Newb loathes you, but must concede stellar intimidation technique.

Part the Tenth, wherein some dull stuff happens and I lose interest.

  • Just can’t get into murmured threats and bargaining in torchlit tents. Too much setup. Drowning in it. Glub.
  • Oh, well. A boy should trust his mother, I guess.
  • And speaking of the Stark girls, I wonder how young Arya is faring these days. Anything but this. Anything. no more tents and torchlight.

Part the Eleventh, wherein Joffrey redecorates and mewls like the bitch he is.

  • Whoa. I wouldn’t go pissing off yer mum, there blondie-pants. She may love you, as the Imp established earlier, but she’s also got four well-armed men at her beck and call.
  • Nice! The little whimper as he’s slapped only stokes my revulsion for the new “King”.

Part the Twelfth, or rather Part the Ros, because she’s too superlative to be enumerated.

  • Ha! “Ease into it.” Seeing Ros walk the new young talent through the same indoctrination she got at the elbow of Littlefinger is priceless.
  • Haystack Hall? Seriously? Didn’t they film Medieval Hee-Haw there?
  • So, so happy Ros is back.
  • No. Must look away. Can’t look away. That dude just gutted a baby.
  • Crap. I know this feeling. I’m hooked again.
  • Rounding up and snuffing out the royal bastards seem to be the order of the day. That makes Arya’s lot a tad more dangerous, given the company she kept at the end of Season One.
  • Yep. There it is.

 

Well, Friends, it was touch and go for parts of Episode One, but between Ros and the eviscerated infant, The Newb is indubitably committed for at least one more week. Thanks for your ongoing patience, and…

Cheers!

Feature – The Eye of Newb – HBO’s GoT Ep. 10

Editor’s Note: “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers. Enjoy!

 

The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Season One Finale: \\Fire and Blood\\
By: Matt Lynch

\\Do you lie awake at night fearing my gash?\\\\“ Varys the Spider

 

Well, Good People, nothing like opening on a crimson-stained cutlass to get the old blood pumping. After the pace, punch and depth of last week, it felt almost as if the finale was, in fact, a compelling epilogue.

But before we venture thataway, Friends, the Newb must relay some well-deserved and grateful thanks, and a brief poll.

First, the thanks:

Dear Landlord, thank you for pushing me to contribute, for lending me the canvas to fill, and for being an all-around righteous dude.

Good People, thank you for granting me your orbs, your thoughts, and your kind comments. I sincerely mean my appreciation of your reading, ingesting, responding, and even (lookin\\™ at you Patman\\¦) editing where needed. While I most often write for an audience of one, it has been my distinct privilege and honor to have you all along for this particular ride. Gracias.

Mr. Martin, thank you for a hell of a tale into which to sink my fangs.

And lastly, but certainly not the least, to my Lovely Missus, thank you for your patience and support \\“ watching and re-watching episode after episode all while your beloved tap-taps on the old laptop down the couch can get a bit tiresome. I thank you, Love, for graciously encouraging said tiresomeness.

Now, the poll:

As all good things must come to their eventual end, so must this season of Game of Thrones. After watching the full season largely on a dare alone, the Newb finds himself extremely tempted to pick up the books and begin to read. It may be the only way I can sustain myself for the full year until the show picks up again! I mean\\¦Spring 2012?! That\\™s just cruel.

But, as I know my role, I will humbly submit my fate to a vote of the viewing public. If you have read and enjoyed my scrabblings over the course of this season\\™s run, would like me to abstain from the books and continue my neophyte reviewer status into spring of 2012, please leave a comment below with an AYE vote somewhere in its body. If, contrariwise, you have not enjoyed, found value in, or otherwise cared one whit about this drivel (and that\\™s perfectly fine, BTW), please drop a comment below with a NAY in the body. Majority rules, and the polls will stay open until the Landlord kicks your ass out. Gracias, again, Friends.

 

So, where were we before I so rudely interrupted myself? Ah, yes\\¦ a crimson-stained sword, and the curtain falling for Game of Thrones, season one. But a curtain that is woven with such marvelous beauty!

Fer\\™instance, how about Ros and Grand Maester Pycelle? Holy crap, Good People! That was ingenious. The scene at first seemed superfluous and a mite icky, but after it all played out, it made two very salient points crystal clear and further illuminated a third known fact, as well.

Point One: The clever old bastard has been feeding Baelish the daft and doddering line for years through regular visits with Littlefinger\\™s whores/spies.

Point Two: The calisthenics, and especially the last-minute adjustments in posture, reveal that the Grand Measter is far spryer than he would have the Council or the Court believe. He\\™s every bit the fake that Baelish is, and one hell of a canny survivor. In fact, while Varys may have been the one brought up among actors, Pycelle could probably give him a good run for the money.

Fact Three: Ros has a superlative posterior. Just sayin\\™.

And how about Tyrion as King\\™s Hand?! This sets up a tricksters\\™ Battle Royale among the Imp, Cersei, Baelish and Varys, with an unhinged, immature Joffrey as the downcard disruptor. How freakin\\™ cool is that?!

And of course, there\\™s the smokin\\™ hot (literally), empowered and oh, so very naked Dany, replete with her new pets\\¦ but we\\™ll get to that in a bit.

For now, on to other thoughts\\¦

  • I knew that Arya\\™s constantly being mistaken for a boy would creep back into the narrative, but didn\\™t see \\˜Arry the Orphan in her future. Yoren is rough but kindly protective, and as the braggadocio about killing fat boys reveals, the young Miss Stark should be fine. I\\™d still like to read her story.
  • Okay, this damn three-eyed crow is really starting to piss me off. That said, at least it had a contiguous role in the plot this time, and a dream guide.
  • And the wolf in the dungeon almost made me crap my breeches on the couch.  Something that fearsome really shouldn\\™t be named Shaggydog.
  • What is it with this youngest Stark kid, hanging around in the shadows and issuing cryptic (no pun intended) and bleak statements seemingly from nowhere? Kid needs therapy.
  • Poor, poor Catelyn. No time to grieve, as much as she may need to.
  • And Robb, my boy, it just got real.
  • The bard scene seemed truly superfluous. If anyone doesn\\™t know by now that Joffrey is a cruel and inhuman prick who thinks nothing of maiming those who only joke about him and his family, they haven\\™t been paying attention. Assigning the deed to Ser Ilyn was a particularly sadistic touch.
  • Push him, Sansa! Push him! Dammit, Hound. Let her push him! Let\\™s hope that Robb does give Sansa this little (long string of expletives deleted for propriety\\™s sake)\\™s head. Hatred is too weak a feeling to adequately cover Joffrey.
  • Then again, if Sansa had just left when Ned told her to\\¦
  • It\\™s captain blowhard again, and this time he\\™s so enamored of Robb that he declares fealty to the new King of the North. A little time alone with a direwolf changes a man, I guess.
  • Love the exchange between Robb and Theon Greyjoy, tho. Very Braveheart.
  • What is it with the Lannisters and their perfect villainhood? \\Widowhood becomes you.\\ The perfect monologue to inspire enmity. One gets the sense that Jaime really doesn\\™t mind dying\\¦ is perhaps anticipating it with fervor. He does have a high opinion of himself, doesn\\™t he?
  • But even with such grandeur, the Kingslayer can\\™t bring himself to tell Catelyn the whole truth of Bran\\™s fall. Interesting.
  • Oh my God! Cersei really is a nightmare. She a serial relative-bedder with very poor taste in men.
  • I bet Tyrion would\\™ve appreciated half the passion that his father showed at Jaime\\™s capture regarding his own imprisonment.
  • Imp at King\\™s Landing\\¦ to rule! Marvelous! I\\™m in. And good old Dad has a new appreciation for Tyrion\\™s skill and wisdom. But he just can\\™t help himself from issuing one final intolerable rule \\“ no Shea the Whore in Court.
  • Dany doesn\\™t look so hot, and sure enough, Bruce Campbell the Wise was right about the unborn and black magic being a bad mix. The kid sounds hideous.
  • If Dany doesn\\™t look so hot, next to Drogo she looks like the after shot in as antihistamine ad, all bright-eyed and perky. The Khal has no tribe and he looks like death warmed over. A fate worse than death.
  • Not for nothing, but I told you not to trust the Godswife bitch, Daenerys. Ah well, you live, you lose a husband and a baby to dark incantations, you learn.
  • While I do not approve of the witch woman\\™s methods, I understand her motives.
  • Oh, dammit. It\\™s Snow. Again. Just when he got all interesting and human, all of a sudden he\\™s the bad-ass deserter. Yawn. Good for Samwell, however, as it seems he\\™s gestating a prehensile spine under those XXXL furs of his.
  • Good for Tyrion for defying daddy dearest and bringing along Shea the funny whore\\¦ but I\\™m guessing it will all end in tears. See, that story from last episode is the very definition of foreshadowing.
  • Samwell, despite shrieking like a small girl when unhorsed, does make a compelling recruiting officer, together with his mates. And another bit of foreshadowing as Jon Snow clutches his wolf-bedecked blade and looks every bit the leader I hope he becomes. I\\™d watch that and not be bored.
  • Ugh. Two weeks is all it takes to go from being the most feared warrior on two continents to twitching in death spasms beneath a pillow? Oh, Drogo, I am sorry. But Dany just had to be free, you see, so we had to write you off the soap opera. From awesome to pointless in 14 days. What a waste.
  • Pycelle is a damn genius, and Ros is incendiary. Simply brilliant. Especially the final transformation\\¦ visions of Ferris Bueller dance through my head.
  • The Pycelle scene is so good (IMO anyway) that it almost causes the verbal dueling between Baelish and Varys in the throne room to pale by comparison, but the allusion to playing their roles and serving a new king speaks volumes.
  • So, \\˜Arry the Orphan and the bastard Baratheon blacksmith are thrown in together on the way to the Wall, eh? Yeah, that\\™s definitely a story I\\™d read in its own right. Except for the \\˜winter is coming\\™ bit. Sheesh. Enough, already.
  • Oo! Oo! Lord Snow is armed with old steel and off to confront the zombies, the White Walkers and united Wilding tribes. Now this story is compelling and I want to know more\\¦ in the series freakin\\™ finale.
  • Are you telling me that all of those dragging, Ho-Tep bits were just there to feed the mother of all cliffhangers? You bastards. You cold, unfeeling bastards.
  • Okay, so forget the mother of all cliffhangers. Dany\\™s got your cliffhanger right here\\¦ behind her perfect breast, the idyllic, feminine curve of her shoulder, and\\¦ a baby dragon or three. Outstanding! I knew those eggs would be a factor, just not this big a factor. The balance of power has thoroughly shifted. Forget a Dothraki army. The last scion of House Targaryen has got herself some genuine dragons. I literally am blown away by this ending. How long is it until Spring 2012, again?

And\\¦ Fin. Ende. Again, Friends, my heartfelt thanks for your time and attention. I hope I have provided at least some delight, and until we meet again, I remain your faithful Newb.

 

Feature – The Eye of Newb – HBO’s GoT Ep. 9

Editor’s Note: “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers. Enjoy!

 

The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Episode 9: \\Baelor\\
By: Matt Lynch

\\Surely there are ways to get me killed that will be less detrimental to the war effort.\\\\“ Tyrion Lannister

 

So much meat, so little time, Good People. I was justified in hoping that last week was a middle stanza. This episode was outstanding. Just plain outstanding.

First off\\¦ no blame must be cast the way of the Landlord for this week\\™s delay. That is all upon me, your chastened Newb. I could offer rationales, alibis, excuses, the whole lot, but it would serve no purpose but to exacerbate my guilt. I missed my deadline, and can only draw comfort from the sage words of one Douglas Adams: \\I love deadlines. I love the sound they make as they fly by.\\

Secondly, dammit!! Not about the whole Ned losing his head in the Sept of Baelor thing. Dammit about being forced to watch Lord Stark make the hardest, most desperate choice of his life \\“ abandoning his deeply-cherished honor in pursuit of some illusory peace for his children \\“ all to have it come to the same end the Newb suspected it would at the beginning.

Joffrey now requires a bloody, writhing, interminable death. An epic death. One that will be used to dissuade arrogant, malicious young products of incest everywhere from stealing their fathers\\™ crowns. He doesn\\™t merely deserve statistic status, or even a footnote. I want him to have a full explanatory page in the text. Bastard.

Outstanding build and ending, though. Nicely played, HBO.

On the topic of Ned\\™s carefully discarding the one thing he held most dear, can we talk about Varys for a moment? O literati, I must inquire if Varys ever plays the first-person narrator in the books. I simply must get in this cat\\™s head and poke around a bit. He says earnestly that he wants peace for the realm while simultaneously plotting to invade it with a Dothraki army. He clearly enjoys sparring with Baelish, but to what end is unclear. He is adept, duplicitous, sincere and feared by nearly all. Fascinating.

And, lastly, in the topline at least, what of the horror show Truth or Drink round in the Imp\\™s tent? I mean, that was all 31 flavors of awesome. I must\\™ve rewound and viewed every wrinkle and crinkle of Peter Dinklage\\™s tortured and drunken visage at least six times as he relates the scarring, defining episode of his character\\™s young life. Someone give this man an Emmy. Now. Not figuratively. Literally. Emmy. Now.

What an astounding and awful tale of emotional abuse at his father\\™s hand! The young maid, his first love, who turns out to be a whore, bought and paid for by his father out of pity, and in the end who turns a tidy profit by servicing Tywin\\™s entire guard. All while Tyrion is forced to spectate. Guh.

I begin to see how deep Tyrion\\™s loathing of his father runs, and in turn how he can continue to hold a fire of love for his evil freak show of a brother, Jaime. As well, it becomes intensely clearer why the Imp is both a well-known pervert and lush, all while unable to ever truly sustain love for a woman. Truly a phenomenal scene.

And all that in just the header, Friends. Now, on to other thoughts, some less magnificent, some downright loony\\¦

 

  • Varys. Need more data from behind this eunuch\\™s eyes. No doubt about it. Still creeping through the dungeons and offering water and difficult counsel to Ned. \\˜Swallow your pride\\™ is not a message Lord Stark hears well. Loved Ned\\™s line about the value of a life.
  • I must admit a giggle at the raven being shot down while leaving the castle of Argus Filch\\¦ er , Walder Frey. Nice camera work.
  • Speaking of Filch/Frey, yeek\\¦ what a piece of work. Perhaps, just perhaps, this lascivious old scumbag should stop procreating. At the very least, he should stop fondling the highly discomfited 15-year-old\\™s butt. Poor Robb, to have to marry into this vile band of backwoods bridge keepers. And worse, he must choose amongst bridal candidates that even his Mom can\\™t say a nice word about. Oh, well. Maybe he\\™ll die in battle.
  • Bubba Snow-Tep is actually starting to get interesting\\¦ after EIGHT freakin\\™ weeks! Sorry. That was out loud again, wasn\\™t it? In this episode, he intimately entwined with no less than two very delectable reveals.
  • Reveal the first \\“ Jorah the Andal, it turns out, is Lord Mormont\\™s forsaken son. Man, did he ever give up a sweet piece of Valyrian steel to go wander through horse country with some hot Targaryen waif. Why do I smell dragons\\™ flames holding back the comin\\™ winter as a theme for future stories, along with some sort of heart-warming reunion amongst bearded men of action?
  • Reveal the second \\“ Speaking of Targaryens, it appears that Maester Aemon is the son of the Mad King. Not totally relevant to the story at present, beyond driving home the solemnity of Jon\\™s pledge to the Watch, but still a cool little factoid. The Wall holds all kinds of secrets.
  • Wounds fester quickly across the Narrow Sea. I knew that cut would come to no good.
  • Okay, this whole storyline is just turning bizarre. If a witch woman can\\™t heal a simple cut, why oh why, dear sweet Dany, would you entrust her to perform dark magic to bring your Khal back from the dead at stated cost of another life?! I mean WTF?
  • Oh, and by the way, the Newb is supposed to just blindly accept that an entire tribe of horse people leaves their home on a march to the sea with not a single decent veterinarian in tow? Some single capable soul who can dress a wound or recognize and treat a fever? Really?!
  • I recognize that this is all leading to a likely death for Khal Drogo and the liberation of Daenerys and her son from their roles as part of the Dothraki Horde, but seriously, how dumb do these writers and directors think I am? Can you say contrived? C\\™mon\\¦ say it with me.
  • Oh, crap. There\\™s dark magic afoot in the Khal\\™s tent and someone has the bright idea to bring a pregnant woman in? Again, one halfway competent vet would solve all this. And not for nothing, but even the mighty Bruce Campbell would tell you that black magic and babies really don\\™t mix.
  • I do enjoy these little talks between Tyrion and Tywin. Both the tension and the disdain are palpable. This volatile mix births some of the very best lines of the series. Evidenced by this column\\™s header quote. Priceless.
  • One other thing I should\\™ve called out above, but failed to (again, way too much meat in this episode, Good People) was that the march to war scene was the perfect combination of the Imp and combat \\“ one errant hammer to the head before the fighting starts, a groggy sleep, and a \\Did we win?\\ Beautiful. Shame they didn\\™t have the budget for a full-scale battle, though. Battles are good.
  • Once it\\™s established that the Lannisters did indeed win, and handily, further that Shagga son of Dolf earned those axes he likes so much, it quickly becomes clear that the Newb\\™s prediction of a tactical swerve by Robb Stark has come to pass.
  • And Robb got Jaime! Alive! Sweet! Spike. Head. Now. Oh, no, wait, I guess the Kingslayer is more valuable alive after all. Crap. Maybe next week.
  • Ahh. The brilliant and already revealed ending arrives. While I dealt with it in some detail above, a few closing notes of sympathy:
  • Poor Ned \\“ all honor abandoned, and headless anyway.
  • Poor Sansa \\“ It\\™s the first time I\\™ve felt any sympathy for her since they killed her wolf. But, if you gonna lay down with vipers, girlie, you gonna occasionally get bit.
  • Poor, poor Arya \\“ She\\™s now in for a world of pain. It\\™s a damn good thing she had all those \\˜dancing lessons\\™. It is nice to see Yoren, BenJen\\™s other brother, rise to Ned\\™s plea of assistance and care for the youngest Stark daughter as best he can. Where she goes from here will be fascinating. I\\™d read that book by itself.
  • Poor Cersei?! \\“ Yep. Poor Cersei just got sideswiped by her beloved, snot-nosed megalomaniac. She never saw it coming. Joffrey\\™s ridiculous and sadistic move has just devastated all hope of negotiations with the North. And all this before she even finds out about her dear BrotherLover\\™s capture. Cersei\\™s in for a few rough nights.
  • F— Joffrey \\“ That\\™s right. Period. Amen. Someone needs to eviscerate this evil little twit, sharpish. Although, the one bright spot is this: based on the calculus in play so far in this series, again, by his selfish action, Joffrey has pretty much guaranteed woe to himself in the not-too-distant future. It just can\\™t come soon enough.

 

Oh, sweet tap-dancing jeebus, Friends, but did last week\\™s middle stanza deliver one hell of a payoff payload in this week\\™s show. With the exception of the Dothraki storyline, and of course Baelish\\™s woeful absence, a marvelous outing. You can officially mark me down in the \\˜Breathlessly Awaiting the Finale\\™ column. \\˜Til again we meet, the Newb abides, expectantly.

 

Feature – The Eye of Newb – HBO’s GoT Ep. 8

Editor’s Note: “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers. Enjoy!

The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Episode 8: “The Pointy End”
By: Matt Lynch

\\…but no one ever trusts the eunuch\\\\“ Varys

 

Well, good People, after the last two robust and satisfying episodes, the Newb cannot be blamed if he felt this most recent offering fell a tad on the let-down side. It carried the weight of a trilogy\\™s middle stanza, I guess. It was, effectively, the proverbial small, winding road somewhere, but not exactly amidships of, Wherever the Hell Here Is and Where We\\™re Planning to End Up.

In general, this episode left me in a similar place as said road. There were minimal stand-out scenes or moments of particular pull that demanded a top-line callout\\¦ with the cringe-worthy exception of Hodor\\™s ashen third leg flapping in the breeze for no apparent reason. That was a bit much. In fact, I think I can almost sum up my take on the entire show in three words: Meh. What\\™s next?

Almost, for the Newb\\™s prayers were answered by the Imp\\™s return! Tyrion\\™s interplay with Shagga Son of Dolf, the hill tribe leader, and then later with his steely-eyed father, were nice releases from the otherwise plodding pace. And Varys is really beginning to intrigue me. Sneaking about the dungeon in a guard\\™s garb? Providing sustenance and murky counsel to an imprisoned Ned? Why? And what realm does he serve exactly? Unclear, but I retract my early quick leap to assume he was in the pocket of the Targaryens. Now, I just don\\™t know.

Oo! And the zombies! It\\™s never a bad day that involves murderous zombies which only die via immolation. Never. Although, the burning them deal just feels a bit trite and obvious. It really took all of Samwell\\™s oft-touted brainpower to come up with fire? I continue to be disappointed in Samwell. Not quite enough to kill him on a hunt to deny him a place in the will, but still\\¦

Ah, well. Despite a general lack of structure and impact inherent in this chapter, it deserves its full depiction, lest some key facet of the story be lost, so onward\\¦

 

  • Syrio is outstanding, and always a welcome addition to any episode. Taking on a full contingent of Lannister guards with naught but a wooden kendo blade and winning is in perfect harmony with the \\first sword of Braavos.\\ Unfortunately, once said practice blade is cracked asunder by the captain of the guard, I believe, sadly, that Syrio might also have slipped the mortal coil and joined the choir invisible. Sigh. And I so wanted to hear \\I want my father back you son of a..\\
  • At least he\\™ll have Septa for company. Poor Septa.
  • I did like Arya scampering down the hallways murmuring the answer to Death. Makes me miss Syrio all over again, though. Wherever\\™s he\\™s going, he\\™d be proud to know that his star pupil just got first blood on her hands during her escape.
  • Leave it to Cersei to send the one man that Sansa fears more than any other to \\retrieve\\ her. Sandor is an ugly, ugly cat, by the way. Knowing the backstory, I can\\™t help but feel sorry for the big lug, tho.
  • Poor Ned. Too good for his own good, and now he\\™s captive in a dank, dark dungeon. I can\\™t shake the (slightly modified) Fishbone lyrics running through my head throughout his scene with Varys: \\Neddy\\™s dead! Another jughead plan\\¦\\
  • And while he dashes Ned\\™s hope of a prisoner exchange for Tyrion, at least Varys leaves Lord Stark with the ray of hope that Arya has escaped and is now so well hidden that even The Spider\\™s own \\˜little birds\\™ can\\™t locate her.
  • Those Night\\™s Watchmen don\\™t look good. Not good at all. Sorta popsicle-ish. I smell undead\\¦ and Samwell\\™s nose confirms it. Yay! Undead!
  • And they\\™re inviting the undead in for a little research and maybe a light dinner. Awesome!
  • It\\™s never a good sign when your boss offers you a drink and tells you to sit down. So now Jon Snow is contemplating bloody murder at the thought of his father trapped by Lannisters in a King\\™s Landing dungeon and falsely accused of treason. Lord Mormont, you mean well, but I\\™ll bet you fifty right now that Jon\\™s going to do something stupid before our hour together is up.
  • Sansa being raked over the coals by Cersei and the Hand-less Counsel is just painful to watch. You can practically see the rivulets of frozen blood dribble from the corners of the Queen\\™s maw as she passes the quill to Sansa. The poor girl is forced to write her own ransom note, all the while thinking it\\™ll help her dad. Now, that, Ladies, Gents and Others, is co-old.
  • Good for you, Robb. Call the banners. Cry havoc! All that rot. Besides, that\\™s an ass-ton of ravens. Ned and Catelyn must be well liked.
  • Lysa Arryn\\¦ not only insane and dangerously overprotective, but a short-sighted bitch as well. Can someone please make the famished, Oedipal and otherwise irritating Robin fly? Sorry \\“ I know that\\™s child murder and all, but c\\™mon. If it\\™s possible to feel squeamish rage, then that is the feeling the brat induces in me.
  • At least I\\™m fairly certain that Lysa and the entire Eyrie will likely pay for their failure to march.
  • Imp sign! Imp sign! Excellent. Tyrion is frank and candid in both his assessment of his woodsman\\™s skills, or lack thereof, and his ability to procure golden women for Bronn. Almost the quote of the day: whatever their price, I\\™ll beat it. I like living.\\
  • Shagga son of Dolf has himself an impressive set of horns, and his wits are sharper than the average murderous and opportunistic hillbilly. But, I digress for a moment from my larger point. Does it capture anyone else\\™s fascination that this is something like the third instance of Tyrion cheating death through wit, word and hard currency. The Halfman has a true gift. That may be why I love this character so much. He\\™s like a tiny Han Solo trapped at the renaissance faire.
  • Mr. Renton, I\\™ll take my fifty now. Bubba Snow-Tep trying to murder an icy-veined, arrogant cannibal like Thorne with a kitchen knife is officially registering on the old stupid meter. It\\™s a high reading, too.
  • Zombies! Fire! Wolves! Steel! Combat! Splendor! But far too short an interlude with the undead. Just long enough to prove to the world that Sam Tarley\\™s got a nose on him, and zombies burn. Both valuable pieces of information, I guess.
  • Wow. Sucks to be a shepherd, eh, Good People? I will say that Dany growing in power and confidence has been and continues to be fun to watch. She pushed it far enough to cause Khal Drogo to need to kill for her decision this time, though. That might be foreboding of bad things to come. Well, that, and that nasty chest wound. Someone needs to teach the Khal to lean away from the sharp side, not into it.
  • Then again, if every time I leaned into the sharp side, I got to de-tongue my dying opponent with my bare hands, I might try it more often. That was fierce, brutal and very sweet.
  • See\\¦ I knew that wound would cause problems. Despite the Lamb Peoples\\™ Godswife and her best efforts, I think this will come back to haunt both Drogo and Dany.
  • Who the hell is this blowhard? Oh, yeah, the one with three fingers left on his off hand. Nice direwolf. Good boy.
  • Robb Stark is following in Dany\\™s footsteps. He\\™s growing in will and confidence as well. He wears leadership well, so far. The Newb will withhold judgment until seeing how the junior Stark fares on field of battle. I think his father would be proud, again, so far.
  • There\\™s a Stark younger than Bran? WTF? Where did he come from, and why\\™s he such a flippin\\™ pessimist?
  • Nymphadora Tonks is back, and giving Bran lectures on naturalist religions.
  • Ah! Ah! Creepy crying tree! Where\\™s my Ketel One?
  • And again with the cold winds rising and winter comin\\™ Good God, people, it\\™s called seasonal change. There\\™s a rhythm to it. It\\™s inevitable. Let. It. Go. Interesting point Tonks makes about the distraction that is battle to the South when all the swords are needed at the Wall.
  • Speaking of which, Tub o\\™ Goo Tarley offers a chilling assessment of what happens when the White Walkers (who we still have no direct knowledge of, but now know somehow make zombies \\“ what a marvelous hobby) wake up.
  • It seems Senor Blowhard has buried the hatchet with Robb. It was nice of him to shoo away all the warriors to allow Catelyn a moment of simple love and joy at seeing her son.
  • Now the whole Stark clan knows that Arya is not a consideration in their fight with the Lannisters. Although it appears Catelyn draws a different conclusion about the youngster\\™s disposition than the one Varys clued Ned into.
  • I love the way Catleyn lays out the stakes for Robb. Lose or capitulate and the Starks all die. Talk about your no retreat, no surrender conditions. Nice. It appeals to my inner Viking. Oh, and further proof the Tywin Lannister is ensconced in the high order of the Right Honorable Bastards.
  • As aforementioned, the interplay between Tyrion and Tywin is fantastic, even over something as simple as a ewer of wine.
  • Bronn, son of You Wouldn\\™t Know Him. Well played, Bronn.
  • The only interesting revelations in the dialogue between father and son Lannister are that it would appear that the Imp does not care much for his sister, and that Tywin does not think much of Robb Stark.
  • Oh, and that it will be amusing and interesting to see Tyrion lead an actual charge. Well played, Shagga Son of Dolf.
  • I wonder\\¦ if Robb let the spy go to tell Tywin that he\\™s coming (apparently so\\™s winter \\“ again) to crush him, what\\™s to stop him from the strategic end-around against the Kingslayer? Nothing, I suppose. Hmmm\\¦ smart kid ya got there, Ned.
  • Blowhard got backed down without losing fingers to a wolf this time. Maybe he\\™s learned a lesson. Maybe not.
  • Okay, okay, Dear Landlord, I take it back about Barristan Selmy. Quality cat, there. I especially enjoyed the whole \\melt it down and add it to the others\\ move with his sword. That condescension is earned and valid. Wonder where he\\™ll go now, if not to a hall to die in?
  • Joffrey needs to die. He is despicable, entitled, and helpless without his mommy.
  • Nice move by Sansa, but I don\\™t think it ended the way she saw it ending in her head. I still think Ned\\™s dead. The questions is, what does that mean for Joffrey and Sansa?

Okay, I\\™m totally still in for next week, as You All know by now. This despite a generally lackluster middle bridge in the latest offering. Hopefully next week brings more blood, twists, Imp and Baelish. Til then, Friends, bide ye well. I remain, as ever, your faithful Newb…

 

Feature – The Eye of Newb – HBO’s GoT Ep. 7

Editor’s Note: The Newb “episode report” for the Game of Thrones was late this time because of me, not because of my “tenant.”
“The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers. Enjoy!

The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Episode 7:
\\You Win or You Die\\

By: Matt Lynch

\\What we don\\™t know is usually what gets us killed.” \\“ Petyr Baelish

Aloha, Friends! Whew\\¦ what an episode. Glad I\\™m converted now, or I would have kicked myself for not wasting an hour so productively. Enough blather, there\\™s a lot of meat in this one, so let\\™s get to it.

Alas, poor Ned. We hardly knew ye. I somehow knew it would come to this. He was just too good, too just and honorable, for life in the big city, much less life among such courtesan piranha as these. Admittedly, I knew the what, but did not see the how coming. And it came exquisitely and whisper-like, as a stiletto might cross one\\™s nape. How fitting it was that at the other end of that stiletto we\\˜d find Lord Baelish, in all his primal, vengeful glee.

It pained me nonetheless, given the wonderful execution of the betrayal, to watch Cersei and that effete waste of life, Joffrey, seemingly win. I can only hold out hope that Littlefinger will play them as he did Eddard Stark, and leave them at the wrong end of a blade someday soon.

Speaking of the wrong end of a blade, er, tusk\\¦ Robert. Again, I assumed that his lovable, porcine Mark Addy-ness was going to meet a fatal accident, and I guessed right about the wine-slinging page boy, but did not see him falling to another pig. The hunt was a wonderful swerve in the story. Leaves me a with a little more investment in Barristan, as well, especially given the blanch at the end, when Cersei so cavalierly shreds the words of the King passed in favor of her own law and her own \\king\\.

So that\\™s two nice twists Mr. Martin has treated the Newb to this week, and kudos to him. The third was head-smackingly obvious once it played out last week and was affirmed by Queen Cersei in this episode. All the little blonde-headed Baratheons scampering about were sired by their UnclePapa Jaime and thus had no clear claim to the throne! The Landlord (post-reveal, natch) shared that many avid readers of the books thought HBO was just hammering this plot point into blinding obviousness, but I missed it until they intended it to become plain as day. In order to understand this miss, literati, you must first be aware of some salient points about the Newb:

  1. I am pale-skinned, tall and blonde. I\\™d blend in well in, say, Dusseldorf or Oslo. Rome or Istanbul, not so much.
  2. My Lovely Missus is olive-skinned, dark brunette, lithe and wondrous to behold. (I may be biased, but I swear this is all true and may get me some tonight.)
  3. Our amazing little offspring (hereinafter referred to as The Newblings) are pale-skinned, tall and blonde.

Thus, while I can\\™t explain it beyond obtuse theories involving Viking and Celtic bloodlines, you can see how Genetics 101 \\“ a la Lannister and Baratheon \\“ as a basis for an obvious plot point really wouldn\\™t connect deep within the reaches of my cerebral mass. So, where does that leave us, Friends?

I find myself surprised and delighted by the deceit of Littlefinger, morose at the known fact that Ned Stark is a dead man, pleasantly shocked that wild fauna brought down one of their own in King Robert, and now thoroughly up-to-speed on the illegitimate claimant to the Iron Throne that is Joffrey Lannister\\¦ oh, and his sneering Mommy Dearest. In short, this is gettin\\™ good!

The best interlude, by far, however, in this week\\™s offering was the soul-baring monologue from Littlefinger himself, and not just because of the lovely couch-dressing behind him, although Ros is still a wonder to behold and my heart leapt at the thought of her continued presence. I now, as they say, get it. His motivation is simple, lethal and elegant, much like his dagger. He plans to screw over everyone who has power in order to claim true power for himself. He has no need for crowns or thrones. He craves only control of everything within and without the Seven Kingdoms, and will deploy every faculty of duplicity and underhanded scheming he has to secure it. That doesn\\™t just appear to be a deep, dark chasm of greedy desire in the place where his soul should reside \\“ it is one! And all because he was too weak and small to get the girl in the \\honorable\\ way. What a character. What a perfect antagonist. I think I love him.

But no, not really. In fact, the only real downside to this episode is that even this newfound connection with Baelish cannot make up for what was so sorely lacking. Where\\™s my Imp?! I\\™m not sure I can go as long as a whole broadcast \\“ even one packed with as much wonder and delight as this was \\“ without Tyrion\\™s whimsical badassery. Please, HBO, don\\™t let that happen again.

On to other thoughts\\¦

  • It\\™s nice to finally meet Tywin Lannister (correction by editor, 😉 ), financier of the House Baratheon and arguably the most powerful man in the Seven Kingdoms. Yep, he\\™s an arrogant bit of excrement, although apparently a skilled cleaner and dresser of meat. Gutting and skinning a stag while on the topic of unseating and replacing the Baratheons with a thousand-year dynasty was a beautiful, sarcastic touch.
  • Is it me, or did Jaime seem oddly cowed in the presence of his father. Clearly some \\˜daddy issues\\™ there, but it\\™s hard for me to extend any sympathy. Sympathy is not congruous with wanting his head on a spike. All this despite his defense of not killing Ned after the poor man was speared through the leg by a Lannister guard. Head on a spike, baby. Not changing my mind on that one any time soon.
  • Lastly, 30,000 troops to get the Imp? The Imp\\™s just fine, and freed himself without your lousy 30,000 troops. Don\\™t patronize or underestimate the little man, Tywin. Think him the \\lowest\\ of the Lannisters at your own peril, old man. Still, it\\™s nice to know you care.
  • Ned, Ned, Ned\\¦ Quit being so forthright and earnest. Cersei doesn\\™t care about doing the right thing or following appropriate rules of succession. Cersei only cares about Cersei and maybe her little pile of puke son.
  • Interesting side note about Ned Stark not claiming the Iron Throne when he had the chance.
  • The aforementioned Baelish monologue of greatness. And for double plus awesomeness, he tells Ros: \\Go ahead\\¦ ease into it.\\ Yummy.
  • What is it with Theon and this obsession with status and title? It\\™s getting annoying whatever it is.
  • And Nymphadora Tonks just had to bring up the long night coming, didn\\™t she? Blech.  At least it wasn\\™t winter this time.
  • BenJen\\™s dead? Wow. If whatever resides north of the Wall can whack a Very Serious Dude like that, what will they do to old Tub o\\™ Goo Tarley? Then again, if the horse is still alive, they didn\\™t kill for food, and there\\™s no body. Maybe BenJen\\™s just missing. Watch me now\\¦ after all the head-spinners in this episode, I\\™m adopting a wait and see posture.
  • Well, Robert Baratheon occasionally calls one right \\“ he was never meant to be a father, or a king, really, for that matter.
  • LOVE how Ned pauses and writes \\heir\\ instead of \\son\\ during the King\\™s dictation of succession. It says everything about Lord Eddard Stark. He can\\™t even bring himself to lie in a document that will only ever be read by a handful of people.
  • Leave it to Varys to be the one to point out the obvious \\“ that the much-abused Lannister page boy might just have something to do with the King\\™s little tusking accident.
  • And hang on a minute, I thought Varys showed himself to be a Targaryen loyalist after last week in the dungeons, but it appears he\\™s already arranged for Sweet Dany and her unborn Dothraki horde-leader to be capped. What gives?
  • It appears that Khal Drogo don\\™t need no stinkin\\™ thrones, whatever \\˜dirts\\™ they might be in. Just a man and his horse\\¦
  • Did anyone else see Jorah the Andal make an anguished choice when his royal pardon showed up? That was pretty cool, and tingly with foreboding.
  • So, rather than a pardon, a poisoning and a trip home to possible glory, Jorah chooses a rescue and a furtherance of the quest to reinstall a Targaryen to the rule of Westeros. Interesting. Very interesting. Dany, herself appears to learn yet another valuable lesson in human duplicity and her own status as a permanent target.
  • Okay, even I, of the continuous and contemptuous Bubba Ho-Tep references, must admit that I\\™m intrigued by the idea of Jon Snow as a steward instead of a ranger. Especially the steward of Mr. Renton\\¦ er, Mormont. (Sorry, I can\\™t quite fit my head around James Cosmo in this role \\“ he\\™s Mr. Renton from Trainspotting, fergawdssakes.)
  • Oh, and for the record, Samwell didn\\™t entirely piss me off this week. Just mostly. Again, his character better be going somewhere. At least he\\™s clean and well-spoken.
  • And Renly makes his move. It\\™s not a bad move, actually. But Ned won\\™t make it, because he\\™s just too Ned-ly. Wonder what happens when Stannis gets that letter?
  • Wow, Baelish is a fantastic operator. And Ned is in a sorry position when he must trust Littlefinger to deliver a surreptitious and necessary requirement. Mo surprise now, given the intro to this screed, but Ned\\™s just planted the petard that on which he will be hoisted.
  • Eesh. That crying tree was creepy. Less of that going forward, please. Or stronger drinks. Whichever.
  • Now whose hand could that be? Does it even matter? One thing too many this week.
  • Whoa\\¦ I bet Robert would be glad he\\™s dying now that his attempt on Danaerys has failed and a very impressive Khal Drogo is all bloodlusty and such. And for the record, you couldn\\™t pay me enough gold dragons to switch places with that wine merchant.
  • The Landlord\\™s going to be upset about how they treated Renly again this week. What a weak-kneed chump. Propose a plot and then run off with your tail between your legs. To steal Robert Baratheon\\™s turn of phrase: That was not kingly.
  • Oh, crap. Drogo was serious about that? He appears to be riding to the sea with a naked wine merchant jogging glumly behind his wife\\™s horse. Sweet! Not about the naked, glum wine merchant. About the possibility of large-scale cavalry warfare in the near future.
  • Oh, poor honorable Ned. You were never a match for Littlefinger. The Newb is only sad to see Cersei benefit by it.

Ah, Friends. I\\™m all twisted out for one week, and lonesome for my beloved Imp. Til next time, I remain your faithful Newb…

 

Feature – The Eye of Newb – HBO’s GoT Ep. 6

Editor’s Note: The Newb “episode report” for the Game of Thrones was late this time because of me, not because of my “tenant.”
“The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers. Enjoy!
… Oh, one last thing: since Episode 7 is already out there for viewing, I don’t feel bad commenting on some of my tenant’s observations…

 

The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Episode 6:
\\A Golden Crown\\

By: Matt Lynch

 

\\I once brought a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel…\\ \\“ Tyrion Lannister

There is a God, Good People! Viserys Targaryen reaps the whirlwind, in a glittering bling beanie! Oh wondrous beauty, oh thing of grandeur. The Newb is so-o very happy he has persisted long enough to get hooked on this saga, for that stylishly brutal end is all the payback I need to forge on. Dear Landlord, I retract most of the bad things I\\™ve said about and to you\\¦ but not all, as for some inexplicable reason, Jaime Lannister still lives, retaining his head and missing a giant bloody spike extending therefrom. Ah, well. It\\™s only episode six. Viserys snuffing it beneath his well-earned chapeaux will sustain me for a few more viewings at least.

Well, that, and the roundhouse Cersei took in the opening minutes. Robert will pay for that slap. Dearly. I feel no sympathy for his impending doom, but even so, that head-spinner couldn\\™t have happened to a nicer gal.

And those, Friends, were only the second and third best moments of this week\\™s episode, respectively. The best moment, running away from the field, was the Imp\\™s confession. I\\™ve said it before and I\\™ll say it again: I love\\¦nay, adore, Peter Dinklage. Watching him pull off sheer terror before the turnkey Mord and then condescending adherence to form while listing his litany of totally spurious \\crimes\\ was a sheer delight. So many flavors of awesome\\¦except, of course, turtle stew.

So, in my own (free from all condescension) adherence to form, on we go to other events and impressions from this week\\™s broadcast.

  • Interesting cover story the Lannisters have spread about the whole spear-through-the-leg incident. Oh, and Robert, honor Cersei again. Please?
  • I\\™d hate to be Ned Stark right now. He\\™s the Hand again, and I predict will die as such, either from his injuries or from unforeseen deception. He\\™s set a pattern as a straightforward man of the North who has been played too many times. Mark my words, Ned Stark will not leave King\\™s Landing alive. I don\\™t know why or how his death will come to pass, but I\\™m sure it will. Soon.
  • Ooh! Not only can Dany withstand the searing pain of rough rear entry, but it appears she\\™s inflammable, too. Not a bad trait to have. Worked out well for Hellboy. And is it me, or is this stubborn urge she feels to place petrified dragon eggs in hot places foreshadowing? I hope so. Very rarely is a story ruined by the addition of enormous, flame-spewing lizards. Well, except for poor Tokyo. Just sayin\\™.
  • Okay, literati, or just those who\\™ve read this particular book\\¦ what the hell gives with the three-eyed crow, already? These dream sequences seem to go nowhere, and frankly they\\™re just confusing the rest of us. Stop it! ed. note – yeah, bad use of the three eyed crow. In the book, Bran begins seeing the three-eyed crow during his coma. And it talks. And it represents something. Right now it’s just a placeholder… “oh yeah, sometimes I forget this is a fantasy world… glad they put this crow with three eyes in here.”
  • While I don\\™t fully understand the significance of the conversation between Theon Greyjoy and Robb Stark in the woods either, I love the sheer joy of Bran on horseback. Apparently, war\\™s still comin\\™, though.
  • What in the name of all things Rowling is Nymphadora Tonks doing in the woods stealing silver and horses from small boys?! Oh how the mighty have fallen.
  • Theon appears to possess the requisite amount of bloodlust, recklessness, cool calculation and marksmanship to be a factor in the aforementioned comin\\™ war. It\\™ll be interesting to see if he fights for or against house Stark, given the families\\™ history.
  • Whoa! Back to the Eyrie, and arguably the harshest alarm clock in Westeros. A thousand yards straight down will certainly peel the old eyelids back. If not, Mord yelling \\No gold!\\™ ought to do the trick.
  • There is only one thing we say to Death: \\Not today.\\ Syrio is like the Silent Bob of this particular feature. He doesn\\™t say much, but the words he speaks carry weight.
  • Ugh. Horse heart. Is no orifice safe for poor Dany. If it\\™s not engorged meat going in one way, it\\™s bloody engorged meat going in another. I pity this poor girl, and I wish I hadn\\™t eaten dinner before watching. On the upside, there\\™s a messy, wet smooch waiting for Khal Drogo at the end of this, and maybe a long ride. Lord knows Dany\\™s had her protein for the day. She should be full of energy.
  • Viserys is getting desperate. And he\\™s losing his bondsman. So happy. So very happy. As he runs out of allies, he becomes a riper and riper target for the axe.
  • The Imp has gold and a plan, but his persistence in following said plan, despite being thwarted by a slow-witted man with a leather club, is a humorous thing to behold. \\You\\™re a smart man.\\ I think Mord\\™s train left the smart station a wee bit prematurely.
  • Oh, I could watch this confession and trial over and over. Lather, rinse, repeat. I haven\\™t laughed this hard at a dwarf in medieval garb, well, ever. And I do love the reaction of Tyrion\\™s eventual champion, as well as Robin, the coddled, half-wit prince. Awesome.
  • The page seems awfully interested in dispensing wine to Robert. The question is, when the King is good and drunk, or perhaps drunker, who will step up to kill him? Barristan? You’d better take that back. Never Barristan.
  • Oh, and good for Renly for standing up to his sodden and boorish brother. The old days certainly don\\™t seem all that good, unless you miss constant combat. I\\™d bet that Robert does miss just that.
  • Wow! Ned\\™s gone and pissed off the richest man in Westeros, on behalf of poor river men and in the name of the King. Sweet! Now I\\™m positive he\\™s a dead man. And Baelish is beautiful in this scene. I mean ultra-slimy Bib Fortuna beautiful. Not quite Salacious Crumb beautiful, but, well, you know what I mean.
  • Quite an excellent combat scene, and The Imp is freed by his cunning and his funding yet again.
  • Side note: I want a moon door. In my family room. Better yet, in my foyer. For the looks alone on the faces of door-to-door salesmen when I say \\step inside.\\
  • Speaking of moon doors and trials, did it seem to anyone else that throwing Ser Vardis out the door in the floor after his carotid was cut through seem to be gilding the lily? It did delight young Robin, though.
  • Sansa can be as bitchy as Cersei, especially where the help is concerned. Poor Septa. And Joffrey is a simpering and shifty little bastard who, despite his wide-eyed earnestness, simply cannot be believed.
  • Alas, poor Theon. His beloved Ros is off to greener pastures, and without title, there\\™s nothing he can do about it. Frankly, I\\™ll miss that lovely libertine redhead terribly, as well. Some parts of her especially so.
  • When poor Ned tells his daughters to pack for a trip home, for their own safety, mind\\¦Yeah, that scene makes me very happy I don\\™t have daughters. I quote: \\I don\\™t want brave and gentle and strong! I want him!\\ Yep. No daughters. Whew! (No offense, Dear Landlord.) Bite me. I’ll have that moon-door by the time one of your sons tries to date one of my daughters.
  • And the reference to blond-haired babies is what we might call a lightbulb moment. I finally get why the existence, and especially appearance, of all of Robert\\™s bastard children matters as much as the Incestuous Lannister Freakshow. It\\™s a chicken and egg situation, betrayed by Joffrey\\™s lustrous locks. Eeesh. That\\™s nasty to contemplate, but it does leave one with an appreciation for Joffrey\\™s high-functioning state, given his lineage. He could be a drooling wretch. Come to think of it, why couldn\\™t he be a drooling wretch? I think I\\™d like him better that way.
  • Oh, sweet heavenly jeebus, that closing scene was just pure poetry. The metallic thud of Viserys\\™ newly-plated noggin meeting the dirt floor will live on in my memory as a high point of this series so far, as well as his screams of agony during the \\˜coronation.\\™ Mmm-mm-MMM!! Tasty.

Oh, Good People. Pure Fantasy geeks of the world. You have won me over. Infected me with your dread disease. Hell, I\\™d join your zombie army willingly at this point, contagion coursing through my fevered veins or no. In truth, the Newb is feeling like a comic book junky on the 3rd of the month\\¦ I actually can\\™t wait for the next episode. \\˜Til next week, Friends, peace, prosperity, and a word of counsel: Don\\™t eat the turtle stew.

 

Feature – The Eye of Newb – HBO’s GoT Ep. 5

Editor’s Note: This will be a weekly report posted after each episode of Game of Thrones (except that this is obviously two weeks’ worth of fun). “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode, obviously, but from the perspective of someone that has not read the books. Enjoy!


The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Episode 5:
\\The Wolf and the Lion\\

By: Matt Lynch

 

\\Brothels make a much better investment than ships, I\\™ve found. Whores rarely sink.\\ \\“ Littlefinger

An abbreviated and delayed review this week, Friends. Had the great pleasure of an initial viewing of this week\\™s show with The Landlord himself. Despite this early and enjoyable start, life had much planned for me this week: A confirmation, two days of offsite \\˜retreat\\™ at work, planning training for early next week, and the mandatory etcetera.  None of this should be viewed as or afforded the stature of an alibi. It\\™s merely informational.

A few standouts right off the bat\\¦

  1. Damn. Decapitating a horse?! If that\\™s how The Mountain treats his household pets, how\\™d you like to be his page?
  2. Death by shield, a la Tyrion Lannister, is freakin\\™ awesome.  The Imp\\™s witty comeback afterward all the moreso.
  3. Lysa Arryn\\™s Eyrie reeks of madness. Not good, wholesome Hunter S. Thompson madness, but creepy and cringe-worthy delusion of the highest order. Oh, and they\\™ve got a killer prison block. It ain\\™t often you see Tyrion truly frightened.

Those three moments alone made this week\\™s show entirely worthwhile, along with Ros the whore\\™s little side-nod at coital conclusion with Theon Greyjoy.  Kind of a little \\˜well, that\\™s over\\™ moment. Laughed my head off at both that and Ros\\™ canny extrication from the fight that followed.

For a change, in this episode, though rife with the kind of sex and violence I enjoy, the very best parts were deeply entwined in the dialogue. This is both good and bad\\¦ much interesting revelation, but plenty of brooding close-ups, murmurs and panoramic cutaways loaded with implied import. So, with a longing glance and much alluded portent, onward we go to other thoughts on episode 5 from behind the eyes of a Newb:

  • I bet Mark Addy wishes that the Gazzer had found him that \\fat bastard cream\\ in The Full Monty after all. Might\\™ve eased the whole armor-fitting scene. On the other hand, it wouldn\\™t have given him the excuse to go all Joe Pesci circa GoodFellas on his page boy.
  • \\The Spider\\ Varys has become one of my new favorite characters. I rank him just below Baelish and the Imp. We now know, with some level of certainty, that Jon Arryn was poisoned. I say know as while it\\™s still unclear whether Varys is entirely believable, at least his machinations make some sort of sense. If the conversation overheard by Arya in the dungeons holds true, The Spider is clearly rooting for a Dothraki invasion, and thus one could presume he is a Targaryen loyalist. In any case, he bears careful scrutiny going forward.
  • The Small Council meeting was much more entertaining this week than in past. It felt as if plotlines were finally coming together, and it\\™s fitting that the first true cusp of confrontation between major characters begins here, between Ned Stark and King Robert. Bodes well for next week and beyond. Feels odd for a neophyte to say such, but I think we\\™ve had enough exposition. Time for some conflict! Plus, Baelish\\™s line about being in bed with an ugly woman, following such counsel as preceded it, was priceless.
  • I\\™m guessing that Arya\\™s constantly being mistaken for a boy will be significant at some point in the future. Counting this week, I think we\\™re up to something approaching 40 references. Maybe it just feels that way.
  • Speaking of Baelish, how about him setting up Ned like that? \\Shouldn\\™t take more than an hour\\¦\\ I love this slippery bastard, especially since I still don\\™t see his aims clearly. That longing stare at the iron throne indicates a dark desire, but he hasn\\™t enough (unpaid) people behind him to mount a coup. Hopefully things will become clearer once the fighting starts.
  • Loras Tyrell, the Knight of the Flowers. Love the armor; Fab-u-lous with a lilting twist.  The chest-shaving has to go, though. Really. Guh. Interesting how Loras is working hard on Renly to claim the throne. Maybe I was wrong about the exposition before, but I get the sense that Renly will succumb to Loras\\™ verbal ministrations as thoroughly as his, uh\\¦ other\\¦ ministrations and throw down for a shot at the throne. I\\™m guessing shortly after Robert dies.
  • The scene between Cersei and Robert was the heart of this episode, Good People. It\\™s the first time I\\™ve actually rewound and replayed an extended dialogue in the short history of my Game of Thrones viewing career. It\\™s clear they are both achingly smart and (surprisingly in Cersei\\™s case) human. It seems they both wish that their relationship had more to it than clinical loathing and mistrust, and was strangely enjoyable to see them share a laugh. All the more so, given my suspicions that Cersei is still plotting to kill her nominal husband and enthrone her beloved little brat Joffrey.  And it actually hurt me to see Cersei hurt when Robert affirmed that he never felt for her what she once felt for him.
  • I\\™m still unsure what the lesson of all Robert\\™s bastard children is. Why would that knowledge \\“ that a king well-reputed to be the drunken Steve Garvey of royalty would have so many illegitimate progeny \\“ was worth the life of Jon Arryn? I thought the queen busily and avidly schtupping her own brother was a secret much darker and bloodshed-worthy.
  • Speaking of the queen\\™s brother and death, after Jory\\™s murder, I so want Jaime Lannister\\™s head on a spike. I will give him style points for the dagger through the eye maneuver, though. That was pretty cool.
  • One truly disappointed word about the set design that just totally distracted me from a perfectly good combat sequence, as well, before I close. When men are fighting in a medieval courtyard in a land long ago and far away, I should not be able to see the timber scoring in the dirt.  It doesn\\™t look like laid stones, HBO. It looks like a soundstage. Bah!

It should no longer be in doubt as to whether I am in or out for next week. No drama to be divined from that particular tuber. I\\™m in. I\\™m hooked. At least until Cowboys and Aliens comes out. Then I might get distracted from swordplay for a taste of lasers and sixguns. Ahhhh\\¦ lasers and sixguns. \\˜Til next week, Good People, in the words of Tyrion Lannister: \\I like you.\\


 

Feature – The Eye of Newb – HBO’s GoT Ep. 4

Editor’s Note: This will be a weekly report posted after each episode of Game of Thrones (except that this is obviously two weeks’ worth of fun). “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode, obviously, but from the perspective of someone that has not read the books. Enjoy!

The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Episode 4:
\\Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things\\

By: Matt Lynch

 

\\Distrusting me was the wisest thing you\\™ve done since you climbed off your horse.\\- Petyr Baelish (Lord Littlefinger)

It\\™s not every day, Good People, whereupon one feels compelled to begin a screed of any kind with the utterance \\˜Well, crap.\\™ That said\\¦

Well, crap.

No, wait. Don\\™t go. I can explain.

See, one thing that is stunningly clear after this week\\™s broadcast is that I need far more and deeper data on Lord Littlefinger. Not want. Nor even desire. Need. Viscerally.

For the very first time, I exit viewing position much more than a tad perplexed and frankly a mite angry. Who profits by setting up my beloved Imp?! Seriously? I gots to know!

It was painfully obvious that his \\˜arrest\\™ at the hands of Lady Catelyn and her bondsmen left Tyrion stunned and confused.  Her accusation of his culpability in Bran\\™s attempted murder was thoroughly unanticipated. (Momentary soliloquy alert: Peter Dinklage has one of the most expressive and engaging faces I\\™ve ever seen. I must learn of, find and view whatever else he has appeared in tout de suite.) Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that the Imp had absolutely zero to do with the events of the assassination plot. If not him, who?!

This train of thought leads directly back to his identifier as the owner of last week\\™s suspect dagger \\“ the aforementioned Petyr Baelish. Why would he name Tyrion? To what end or ends? What, I ask you, has the Imp done to deserve this fate? And if naught, what game is Littlefinger playing? And why? Why?!

So, here we all are again\\¦ back at \\˜Well, crap.\\™ It would appear that despite my best efforts to stay above it all \\“ snarkily superior to this lower form of speculative fiction known as pure fantasy with political intrigue \\“ I am now what one might call, not entirely inaccurately, (gulp)\\¦invested. Crap. Epic snark fail. As I type, a small, furious part of my brain is concocting choice words with which I plan to liberally pepper my next chat with The Landlord. Rat bastard.

\\Watch the show,\\ he said.

\\It\\™ll be fun,\\ he said.

Grrrr\\¦

Now that we\\™ve gotten that torturous admission out of the way, on to other thoughts about this week\\™s episode:

  • Part the first: Although it holds more import when viewed through the lens of the \\˜arrest\\™ referred to above, I simply adore the interplay between Tyrion and Bran in the opening sequence. You can literally see the hope ignite in the young lad\\™s eyes when the Imp extends to him the possibility of riding again.
  • Part the second: Samwell Tarley\\¦really? This better lead somewhere. My initial wish is that someone will just grease this simpering tub of goo and be done with it. Possibly eat him as well. I nominate Aliiser Thorne, a man who has clearly developed a taste for snow-bound human. In any case, Sam doesn\\™t help Bubba Ho-Tep hold my attention at all. Zzzzz…snurk\\¦zzzz.
  • Part the third: Eeeww. Did I need to see a naked Viserys Targaryen bathing? No. No, I did not. And his proclivity to buy, sell and use human beings at whim only further convinces me that he\\™s been alive for long enough already.
  • Part the fourth: I must learn to pay more attention to these Small Council meetings, especially if such interesting and infuriating characters as Baelish continue to be introduced in them. It appears that dear, prideful King Robert has opted to disregard the first sensible counsel his new Hand has given him, and is holding his tournament anyway. Cost be damned.
  • Part the fifth: More muttering and lurking. The British fans must be so happy. Ned Stark doesn\\™t fit well discussing royal lineages with a poor imitation of Merlyn.
  • Part the sixth: Lord Stark does fit well in mentoring and doting on his daughter Arya, who is rapidly developing into a fascinating and liberated character. This girl is refreshingly self-aware and destined for big things. Bloody things. I like her.
  • Part the seventh: Gah. Tub of Goo! Simpering! Make it stop. Let Sam freeze to death, Bubba Ho-Tep. Push him off the wall. Something to keep me enthralled. I\\™d be willing to tell Sam Tarley\\™s mother I\\™d killed him in a hunting accident if it would keep him off my TV.
  • Part the eighth: Pure awesomeness. Baelish is fascinating, and so is the disclosure of the prying eyes all about the Hand of the King. On a side note, I\\™m very pleased that Aiden Gillen continues to get great roles after the Carcetti days.
  • Part the ninth: Sir Hugh. Must. Die. Soon. Arrogant prick.
  • Part the tenth: Aha! A bastard child of Robert Baratheon. Probably not first and definitely not the last. Does set up some interesting competition for the throne angles, though, when \\“ not if, but when \\“ Robert meets his untimely end.
  • Part the truly absurd device that needs to end now: As much as I loathe Robert as a ruler, I would bet that Mark Addy is enjoying portraying this large an ass (no pun intended). Part of me still does wonder where Robert Carlyle is. The chat outside the door does reinforce the notion that, despite his pretty-boy ways, Jaime Lannister was once a warrior of some stature. He\\™s also thick enough not to read intelligence delivered to the king he despises by Lord Stark\\™s Captain.
  • Wow! Waking up to a ravening wolf at your throat. Jon Snow may be dull as the Nebraska skyline, but he doesn\\™t lack for stones.
  • Alliser Thorne = Dean Wormer. It\\™s a theory.
  • Oh, sweet Dany, beat that bitch like a rented mule! How I laughed! That was thoroughly enjoyable, and produced the second greatest quote of the whole episode. Frankly, I look forward to a day that Viserys has no hands. Or head. Or lungs. Sorry, lost in thought there for a minute.
  • Oh, sweet tap-dancing jeebus! Enough with the Sam and Jon show already. Although I admire Snow\\™s choices regarding women and future progeny, he bores the hell out of me. Terminally.
  • New theory: Alliser Thorne = Dean Wormer playing a gravelly-voiced Cockney cannibal in summer stock. It\\™s a better theory.
  • It\\™s wonderful to see Daenerys finally coming to terms with the fact that her brother is suited for little more than fertilizer and has rightfully earned the life expectancy of a horsefly. Whack him, Dany. Soon. Please? For me?
  • Yay! Blood, spilled, spewed and spat. And Sir Hugh\\™s blood as well. Now that was satisfying. Plus, methinks the relationship of The Hound and The Mountain is enough foreshadowing to last about a week and a half. It\\™s even better in Baelish\\™s conspiratorial whisper. Not only is he a devious bastard, but he likes to horrify the innocent and entrap them in his schemes.
  • Part the penultimate: Cersei Lannister does not wear \\˜conciliatory\\™ well. Her color wheel tends toward a c range of cruelty, condescension and contempt.
  • Part the last: Well, crap.

I\\™m very much in for next week and beyond, now, Good People. I\\™m not saying I like this turn of events, but it is what it is. Until then, a hearty cheers to all.

 

Feature – The Eye of Newb – HBO’s GoT Eps. 2-3

Editor’s Note: This will be a weekly report posted after each episode of Game of Thrones (except that this is obviously two weeks’ worth of fun). “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode, obviously, but from the perspective of someone that has not read the books. Enjoy!

The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Double Live Bonus Album!
Ep. 2 and 3

By: Matt Lynch

First and foremost, Good People, and my dear Landlord, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and Thyself, respectively. The Newb knows his tardiness, and its accompanying guilt weighs upon him like a metaphorical millstone.

I was unavoidably called away on family business this past week. While the endeavor was hardly an enjoyable one, rife with the detritus of a loved one passed, it has left me with a wealth of new knowledge. My counsels to all of you, garnered through hard experience, are as follows:

  • Don\\™t drive through West Virginia in the springtime. It is a bug-pocalypse, Friends. And while the pangs of regret pass after the 37th butterfly ends its existence pulped on your windshield, the cleanup remains an epic chore.
  • Wisconsin staples, while yummy as all get out, do not reside in the healthy zone of any nutritional shape you choose, least of all a food pyramid.
  • Deciding which memory and item that still doesn\\™t truly feel as if it belongs to you will make the return trip in your vehicle, and which will stay in its attic, basement or closet of origin is not\\¦ how you say\\¦ fun. Not fun at all.

But, lessons aside, atone I must! And so, I offer a special Double Live release, featuring reviews of episodes 2 and 3, complete with The Newb\\™s very own stream-of-consciousness viewer commentary. Enter, if you dare\\¦

Epsiode 2: The King\\™s Road

\\I wish to stand on the wall and piss off the edge of the world.\\ – Tyrion Lannister

First off, may I say that I like The Imp immensely? Any man, regardless of stature, who uses dogs as pillows and bitch-slaps uppity royal brats, is a fella I\\™d hang with for a while. His taste for blackened bacon does concern me. Porkbelly breakfast products should be a harmonious mixture of crispy and chewy when properly cooked. Always. It\\™s a simple universal truth. Nonetheless, talk about your fascinating, rakish characters. I may be in for the long haul just to see where his story arc leads

Secondly, Cersei Lannister is a cold, manipulative, seemingly heartless bitch, and her end must involve some small and insatiable creatures bursting forth from her smooth and milky stomach, still chewing viscera as she expires. In short, while her, er, smaller brother is endearing an appealing, Cersei must go. Again, I\\™m in till the end if I can only see her meet a brutal, humiliating and exceedingly painful finale.

Oh, and one key cliffhanger resolved. Bran is still with us, albeit pale and largely motionless.
Jon Snow. Zzzzzzz\\¦ what? Oh, sorry. This storyline is just dull. Dull in that special brooding and sulky way that thankfully only the English have mastered. Going to the Wall, mumble, mumble. Sword, not a toy, hulk, sulk, mumble, pointy end. Blech. Just when I\\™m invested in these other characters, this plotline has to shuffle up from its stodgy but delightfully-appointed crypt and glaze my eyes over. While the possibilities embodied in your coming of age story are immense indeed, Mr. Snow, for now I dub thee Bubba Ho-Tep, the venerable zombie thread of this tangled tale.

The war stories and banter between Robert and Eddard as they wander the Kings Road, thankfully, are delightful. Perhaps it betrays my Y chromosome, but the conversation at table leaves me very curious to see Betsy the wench, and her lovingly described tits. The only drawback to the entire scene is one more utterance of the dirge-like drumbeat that something\\™s comin\\™. If it ain\\™t winter, it\\™s war, or the long dark winter, or battle, or winter or war, or possibly a really lovely autumn, or\\¦ oh, never mind. Could we get back to the blonde sadist and his poor, tortured sister amid the horde, or possibly the Imp? Please?

Aha, as if on cue\\¦ from behind? Again?! I mean, I\\™m not here to judge anyone\\™s preferred sexual position, but the repeated consummation of this Dothraki marriage has about as much romance as a below-average prison rape. The cutaway to the dragon eggs piques some interest, but otherwise that whole scene was completely unnecessary.

Woo-hoo! His Impness returns! And manages to make even Bubba Ho-Tep interesting for three solid minutes! Plus, he provides needed insight into his makeup. Brains before steel, and beholden only to his house. Not, interestingly, to his family, but to his house alone. Therein lies not only piqued interest but true hope for greatness.

Yikes. Catelyn Stark is a devoted and selfless mother, and the irony lies thick in her detesting the wolves, only to have one finish the protection she began. The \\loyal dog\\ tie-in from scene one is also nice, given the identity of Bran\\™s failed assassin.

Again, a largely unnecessary scene involving poor, sweet Daenerys in various flavors of disrobed and pampered. You\\™d think that HBO was just pimping her for the sex appeal or something. Was that out loud? Sorry. I am hopeful that with the former concubine\\™s promised counsel she\\™ll spend less time in \\˜downward dog\\™ in coming episodes.

Okay, finally some members of the House of Stark suspect what we already know, and methinks that distinctive dagger will eventually give someone away. Yay! A solid cliffhanger arises, perhaps two, as who knows if Catelyn will reach Eddard to tell him of her theories?

Erm, in truth I\\™m slightly uncomfortable watching the concubine\\™s \\lessons in love\\ while in the same room with my lovely wife. That\\™s not to say I\\™m not enjoying the lessons, mind, but I thought girl-on-girl was more the trade of Cinemax than HBO. The outcome, however, is priceless. Yes, Good People, the cowgirl position soothes the wild beast and brings the warlike horde into line. How we laughed!

Are all the Lannisters but Tyrion merely sadists separated only by gradients of spine? Seems so, and I revise my prior opinion on Cersei\\™s end \\“ it should involve a wolf. A big, nasty, ravenous, utterly unforgiving lupine.

Well, good morning, Bran! I suppose our next little twist will involve some sort of amnesia caused by head trauma. Doesn\\™t matter. I\\™m still in for the next show, and remain hopeful that Jon Snow isn\\™t. Oh, and that there are several more violent deaths.

 

 

Episode 3: Lord Snow

\\Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah\\¦ you walk.\\ \\“ Jhogo

Alright, so we\\™ve learned that Eddard is a well-rounded no-nonsense man. Simple and direct, even when it comes to wardrobe choices for a big meeting. Further, we now know that the advisors have more pull than King Robert, except when he proceeds irrationally to squander a fortune on bread and circuses. I mean, six million is a big number even for the modern age, much less one lost in the mists of time and legend such as Westeros. And to owe half that sum to as twisted a crew as the Lannisters? Yeek.

Whoa, by the way. What the hell is Tommy Carcetti doing at the Renaissance Faire?! If you don\\™t get the reference, go watch The Wire. If you do get the reference, go watch The Wire again. Best damn drama series on television. Ever. Yes, I\\™m comfortable living in the past. The upholstery\\™s nice and the chairs are comfy. Sorry, what was I saying? Despite my moment of weakness and reverie, Petyr Baelish, much like The Imp, is the kind of character I could enjoy watching operate.

Ah, Cersei and Joffrey. This is sure to turn my stomach. First and foremost, however, how come my mother never said it would be okay for me to sleep with painted whores, if that\\™s what I wanted? Oh, right… scruples. Apparently, as proven in prior episodes, Cersei Lannister is still bereft of those pesky scruple things. And Joffrey is a whiny little puke with more raw aggression than sense. Another name on the painful death list.

Kudos to Mr. Martin and the writers, says I, as the combined efforts of the Imp and the new setting of the Wall and the Watch have even breathed life into Bubba Ho-Tep/Jon Snow. I now care a bit about him, and see a possible noble path to a leader\\™s course for him. A path to redemption and greatness, lain amongst the rabble, that holds the Northlands against the unseen horrors beyond the Wall. More points scored and debts owed to Tyrion as well. Love that Imp.

The harsh contrast between the intimate and real love clearly felt by Ned and Catelyn Stark (who has reached her husband, by way of Lord Baelish, in safety and discovered that The Imp, of all people, is the likely owner of the offending dagger \\“ sweet!), and the ambitious, incestuous horror show that is Cersei and Jaime Lannister is enjoyable, as well. Hopefully this chiaroscuro will continue in future airings. It demands no eyeball turn away, especially mine.

Robert Baratheon is a really lousy king, in case no one has noticed, and I am now convinced that the wine-bearer he scorns today may well cause his downfall soon. The conversation about first kills presents some vital new information, as well. Baratheon was obviously a great warrior in his day, which will likely make his imminent downfall in combat that much more shocking\\¦I\\™m guessing. And what of the mad king\\™s parting words: \\Burn them all!\\ Curious. There\\™s some beautiful backstory hiding there, just beyond the empty wine jar.

Oh, finally! A scene involving sweet Dany that doesn\\™t involve either nudity or forceful entry. It appears she is becoming more confident in her queenly authority since the Cowgirl Incident. Good for her. Okay, momentary side note. Am I the only one who sees Viserys Targaryen in a field of Dothraki grass and immediately thinks of Men Without Hats? I hope not, for that means that all of you, Good People, are too young to get the joke. I know I\\™m not the only one immensely gratified by his slow strangulation and emasculation, forced to walk amongst a tribe of horsemen. Beautiful. More please!

BenJen Stark is one serious dude, People. Like, thousand-yard stare serious. As much as I love The Imp, seeing BenJen take him to task over disdain shown the Night\\™s Watch and his sheltered life warmed my innards a bit. Sometimes it\\™s gratifying to see a rake brought back in line by serious people, but the snarky comments upon the serious person\\™s exit offer double the pleasure.

Ooh\\¦ Dany\\™s got herself a bun in the oven. This changes things markedly, for all the Targaryens, for Drogo and Dany, and for the future course of this storyline. Plus, it appears that downward dog is actually effective for insemination. Who knew? I\\™m in for the ride on this plotline now, as well. Damn you, George R. R. Martin! You\\™ll make me a fantasy geek yet, you clever, ink-stained bastard.

Oh, jeebus! Another darkened room and another old man muttering about winter\\™s infernal approach. Just when I thought I was in, my annoyance pulls me back out. Enough with the grumbling over seasonal change already!

This episode leaves me with greater esteem held for The Imp, his fulfilled desire to piss off the edge of the world and his wise counsel regarding the best starting financial position for the crippled. As well, I am truly intrigued by the new swordswoman that Arya Stark is becoming. This development bodes well for both vengeance and death in the future. Thus… curse The Landlord\\¦I\\™m still in!

Cheers, Good People, and many thanks for both patience and forgiveness.