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\\¦
- Damn. Decapitating a horse?! If that\\™s how The Mountain treats his household pets, how\\™d you like to be his page?
- Death by shield, a la Tyrion Lannister, is freakin\\™ awesome. The Imp\\™s witty comeback afterward all the moreso.
- 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.\\