Episode Reviews Feature Reviews

Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT Season 4 Episode 4

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.


The Eye of Newb (Return of the Newb)
Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 4: Oathkeeper

“The Kingslayer Brothers.  Do you like it?  I like it.”- Tyrion Lannister



So-o, Dear Readers, yer man here, one Faithful Newb, enters this evening’s viewing steeped in hope.  Hopefully there will be no more forcible rape of siblings beneath stained glass.  Hopefully there will be less Tarley and more Baelish, as well.  Lastly, and over all, I sincerely hope that some of the lovely plates arrayed around the table in last week’s episode might, just might, bear consumable fruit this week.  Oh, and less Tarley.  Not being redundant, merely emphatic.

Least the plate-harvesting (again, hopefully) commence… off we go!

  • Fire!  We begin with fire.  Somewhere, Beavis is cackling.  And right and now, Grey Worm is haltingly learning a new language under the kind but insistent tutelage of Dany’s handmaiden.  No, that’s not a metaphor.  He also appears to have huge righteous indignation and manslaughter issues – woe to the Masters.
  • Speaking of the lovely Dany, she arrives for a quick QC check and ominously declares it to be time.  Time for what?
  • Time for nocturnal subterfuge and insurgency-feeding is what!  Well played, Danaerys.  Very well played.  Arm the slaves of Meereen, avoid losses and build buy-in for a fetching, blonde new ruler.  Most importantly, create acres of shared culpability for revolt and murder.  You’re getting very good at this game, young lady.
  • Bummer of an evening to be a Master of Meereen, though.  Kinda of a dove-in-the-wedding-pie feeling, if you catch my drift.
  • Yet again, our lovely Dany is worhsipped as a liberator, and by my count she hasn’t been forced into nudity to gain an advantage or prove a point once this season.  That’s progress, even for a wandering queen.
  • Whoa.  Public crucifixion for the Masters, eh?  We’re going old school.  Nice.  A lingering question, for the Newb anyway, is whether this is the first flare-up of the condition known as Baratheon’s Disease… great warrior, legendary liberator, skilled leader and atrociously inept ruler.  In any case, Plate Number One is down.
  • We slip away across the Narrow Sea to the One-Handed Wonder and Bronn sparring on the schtupp-me balcony once more.  Jaime seems to be improving, but still unable to spot the golden knockout punch coming.  Heh.
  • A bit of steel sparring begets a bit of verbal sparring and births one major hanging question… will Jaime indeed fight for his imprisoned little brother against the wishes of his Lover-Sister?  No joy on Plate Number Two… only more questions.
  • Off to the dungeons and Jaime actually visiting Tyrion.  That’s a good start.  Maybe Plate Number Two was just delayed?  Oooooh… so the incestuous nature of the deceased King Junior Sadist is now out in the open, at least among one generation of the Lannisters.  Line of the night to Tyrion.
  • Dear God, Jaime, we’re all somebody important.  We’re all gentle snowflakes.  Are you really this thick?  The Imp may be a (sob) dead man without your help.  Don’t let pesky things like your title and treason stand in the way.
  • And we close with a very quizzical insight from Tyrion about Sansa not being a killer – yet.  Foreshadowing?  Perhaps, but Plate Number Two remains stubbornly set.
  • I guess we’ll find out about Sansa, as we shoot back waterward to that selfsame Poor, Poor, Pitiful One aboard Baelish’s ship.  Sad, dear thing – shuffled from one captivity to another.  At least Littlefinger’s plan does promise her greater safety than within a thousand yards in any direction of Cersei.
  • Aha!!  Littlefinger admits his role in killing Joffrey!  My suspicions were totally wrong.  I pegged Dame Tyrell for that deed.  Something about that wedding speech was just too heavy-handed.  Alas, Plate Number Three is down,  but down the wrong tube.  I choked a bit on that one.
  • Nice line from Baelish – almost the line of the Night, Friends: “A man with no motive is a man no one suspects.”  I suspect he has that embroidered on something dear to his heart.  Perhaps the corpse of the first small animal he killed.
  • Damn!  And there it is.  The Tyrell connection.  Baelish may have killed Joffrey, but he did so for his new reasonable and predictable ‘friends’.  My suspicions were well-founded anyway, if errant.
  • Yes!!  Sorry – the scene is the Ladies Tyrell chatting in the garden at King’s Landing.  The ‘Yes!!’ is because I WAS right about Dame Tyrell!  She did kill Joffrey, and in his inimitable way, Baelish enabled the crime.  And it only took 4 or 5 viewings of his death to figure it out.
  • Got lost in my triumph there, Friends, the other key reveal in the senior Tyrell’s prattling is that she was an OG – Original Gold-digger – and she’s trained her daughter to be even better at it than she was.  These two are hell on wheels when it comes to poor, unsuspecting royals.  In short, her newly de-Queened daughter has a new way forward to the throne – straight through sweet little Tommen.  That boy won’t know what hit him.
  • Of, course, per my prior rantings, this means I have to give big hugs to Dame Tyrell and Littlefinger.  And then check my back for daggers, and move on.  Plate Number Three well and truly down, and oh, so satisfying.  Gonna need my stretchy viewing pants in a minute here.
  • A hard cut follows… back north to Castle Black and more swordplay.  Sno-Tep is in his element, training men to fight honorably and effectively against duel-wielding savages.  At least there’s minimal guttural dialogue.
  • Wait a minute.  That rat-faced dude over there is Bolton’s Pet Rat, the one sent ot find and eliminate Bran, Rickon and possibly Sno-Tep himself.  Not good.
  • It is nice to see that despite the shifting fates in Westeros, some things are constant.  Thorne still sports a hard-on for our beloved cardboard cutout.  Jon has grown a bit more mature, at least, as evidenced by his non-pouty stepping away from this challenge.
  • As he does so, Thorne and his right-hand man plot and scheme, convincing each other that maybe Karl and the rest of the Craster Corral Mutineers might solve the Jon Snow problem for them.
  • Eeesh.  It’s all 31 flavors of slimy and awful to watch Locke, Bolton’s Pet Rat, sidle up Jon like a buddy.  It makes me want to yell at the TV and I don’t even like that Nedly Bastard.
  • Cut away to Cersei and her ever-present glass of Bordeaux… and her Brother-Lover-Rapist (?).  The referential titles are getting all swimmy and disorienting now.
  • These two Lannister sibs sure are all formal and testy tonight, and for once I can’t quite bring myself to blame Cersei.  (Gah!  That last sub-clause seared my soul to utter, if I’m honest.)
  • Yeah, that’s better.  Calling Sansa a “murdering little bitch” melts away any and all inklings of sympathy I may or may not admit to having felt for the former Queen Regent.  She sure has turned her legendary chilliness on her Sibling-With-Benefits-Perpetrator.  (Nah, that title’s even worse.)
  • Switch to Tommen’s darkened bedchamber and the younger of the Tyrell OGs sneaking in to ply him with sweet nothings.  Or just talk.  In a caring and sincere way.  So, that was much less sickening than it could have been – and in the end, Tommen is completely smitten.  Yet another Plate is set.
  • We cut away to Jaime and Brienne considering that infernal book with such a short entry about the Kingslayer we saw earlier in the season.  Brienne brings so much honor and gravitas to just about any scene she’s end.  Listen to the Newb, right?  I think I may the smitten one.  Whatever, I’m all in for this scene already.
  • Wow.  Just wow.  Gifting Brienne not only his Valyrian blade but a completely awesome new set of plate armor is a great start to redemption and a bigger entry in the book, in my view.  So is following both up with a quest to find and defend Poor, Poor, Pitiful Sansa – in direct contravention of the earlier order dispensed by his Familial-Snugglebunny.  (Pah!  Blech!  Spit that one out and throw it away, Friends.  The term ‘snuggle’ should, never, ever be associated with Cersei.)
  • Whaaat?  One final gift, and a perfect one, at that.  Pod and Breinne will ride out together, thereby keeping Pod safe on the quest to keep Sansa safe.  Not to mention the image of supreme Loyalty and devout Honor riding side-by-side.  The final gift, courtesy of the Imp, puts a fine point on it all.
  • And that backwards glance confirms that, on some level, Brienne does love Jaime.  It’s a damn shame that his sister corrupted him first.
  • Ergh.  Away to… The Tarley.  Damn you, Producers.  Damn you.
  • And courtesy of the Tarley and his amplified bewilderment, Locke now knows where Bran and Rickon might be – which leads him, of course, to pop up as a volunteer when Sno-Tep is oh, so generously given leave to mount a sortie to the Craster Corral.  Yet another Plate set for future consumption.
  • Off to a skull, and Newman!  Sorry, no, I meant Karl!  Oh, no he didn’t.  That prick just quaffed from Lord Mormont’s dead skull.  And he’s authorized the mass rape of Craster’s remaining daughters, as well?  Needs. To. Die.  In a pool of his own intestines.
  • The daughters herald the arrival and anticipated dispatch of Craster’s last son.  I have come to see that babies, in particular, have it extremely rough in this here patch of Westeros.  Poor little dude.
  • Karl’s harangued henchman wanders out to abandon the bawling infant and feed the caged direwolf – I think it’s Sno-Tep’s wolf… Winter, maybe?  Don’t tease the huge canine death machine, you idiot!  No, wait – do.  Tease him until he rips your damn throat out.  Or perhaps the Walkers will get you first, given the rapidly freezing puddle and the cawing.
  • Cut to Bran, Hodor and the rest of the ‘Lil Rascals gathered around yet another fire.  Lotta fires in this episode, I’m noticing.  Winter is coming, I suppose.
  • Uh-oh.  That same baby’s cries reach the ‘Lil Rascals lair.  They are clearly very close to Casa de Craster.  This random and troubling stimulus lead Bran to feed his addiction and warg straight into Summer for a quick peek.  And lead the direwolf directly into a trap , but not before she spies Ghost in a cage.  Yep, these kids are danger close to Karl and Mutineers (M, u, t… T?  A drink with jam and bread… i, n, e… ‘E is a right bastard that one…e, r, s… S? Hmm, can’t quite make that work.  Worth a try, tho.)
  • Bran, oh, Bran.  Why must you be damn Nedly?  You’ve led your whole merry bad into a trap.  Hodor is being stabbed like a dancing bear, and Karl is alternately fondling and slapping children.  Not at all cool.
  • Of course, suffering from an advanced case of Nedliness, Bran reveals his identity to save his traveling companions.  And the main course is now well and truly set.  I wonder what accident might befall Karl when Sno-Tep gets here.  No I don’t.  Broadsword through the throat is my first guess.  The question is, after that’s done, will the dense and largely unperceptive cardboard cutout realize that his semi-sibling is still in mortal danger from the Pet Rat?
  • But that’s for later.  For now, we sweep away to the snowy plains, a gruesomely undead mare, and our little lost babe-in-the-literal-woods.  He’s now wrapped in the crackly arms of a Walker (the White variety, not the flesh-frenzied zombie kind… but you knew that already).
  • Wait, wait, wait just a freakin’ minute.  What is this place?  Where’s the ghost of Jor-El?  Why is Darth Maul’s uglier – and much paler – brother touching infants inappropriately and making their brown eyes blue?  I thought only Crystal Gale was capable of such dark witchcraft.  Basically, W. T. F.?!?
  • I am so confused and rattled at this point, I have no choice but to hang for next week.  Thus, I remain your Faithful – and slightly fetal after that last bit – Newb.


Episode Reviews Feature Reviews

Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT Season 4 Episode 3

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.


The Eye of Newb (Return of the Newb)
Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 3: Breaker of Chains

“Your father lacks an appreciation of the finer points of bad behavior.” – Ser Davos



Still reeling a bit from the bloody demise of my beloved Ros’ killer, Friends.  Hee, hee, hee… did I mention that Joffrey’s dead?  Did I mention how I laughed?

Thus, it’s fair to say that your faithful Newb may… how you say… struggle a bit to stay present and pay attention through this next installment.  But… for you, for you, Dear Readers, I will (albeit briefly) cease and desist rewinding and re-watching the President of the Westeros Junior Sadists’ League agonizingly throttle on his own sputum while mewling for his psychotic mommy.

More stuff, apparently, has happened in Westeros of late.  So-o, armed with trusty notepad and fortified with a perfectly chilled Dark Horse Special Black, I will soldier on.  And off we go!

  • We return to Cersei’s rage and Tywin’s loss of certainty and control.  Yummy.  Can’t get enough.
  • But are quickly whisked away to answer the riddle of where, precisely, the Human Wine Cask is spiriting Poor, Poor, Pitiful Sansa.  Up and alley, down an alley, into a dinghy and out of a dinghy, to scale the trim hulk of a ship in what I assume must be the Blackwater, hidden in swirling mists.  Aboard said vessel lurks none other than Tommy Carcetti, er, Littlefinger!
  • Of course Baelish had to be here.  New rule, to swipe unceremoniously from Bill Maher… If someone, anyone, dies under mysterious circumstances anywhere in Westeros, henceforward the Newb will simply attribute some level of de facto a priori involvement and malfeasance to Littlefinger.  Period. Amen. Crack-a-dew.
  • Oh, Dontos, you truly gifted fool, don’t wait for your pay!  GTFO while you still ca… never mind.  There it is.  Shot in the face for your troubles.  This is Petyr Baelish’s world my sad, sodden little  man, and you merely die in it.  Lord, how I’ve missed Littlefinger.
  • The only downside i that my whole whodunnit theory just got set on fire, sunken in the swamp and otherwise obliterated.  To this point, I’d believed, after multiple viewings of the prior episode, that Dame Tyrell was the murderer.  That little speech about killing a man at a wedding was too juicy a clue.  I thought she and she alone must be the one to whom I owed the biggest ever hug to.  But now… now I am forced to revise my thinking.  Baelish, you beautiful bastard – YOU did it.  Didn’t you?
  • With no clear answer either way, we’re dashing off coastward to the aforementioned Dame Tyrell and her lovely not-quite-Queen daughter conferring at some length about dead, doughy lumps and other things as well.  Prattle, prattle, prattle, and your basic reveal that these two are the living, if fictional, embodiment of “operators”.  Nice.  And thus seemed so sweetly shrewd.
  • Cut to Joffrey’s body… giggle… I enjoy that particular juxtaposition of referential nouns no end.  Cersei and Tommen are brooding here.  Maybe even grieving.  At least Tommen may be capable of grief.  I doubt Cersei is capable of such a nuanced emotion in her deep, dark bag of bitchy superiority.
  • Sheesh, not for nothing, but those little eye pebbles Joffrey is sporting are creepy.  Not crying, hallucinogenic fauna creepy, mind.  But still and all… creepy.
  • Oh, goody, Tywin’s here, too, and he’s blowharding.  Since when does he care what makes a “good” king?  The term “good” can hardly be applied to him, or any, save one, of his progeny.  Interesting guessing game, though, and quite the tour of past crazy seated on the throne.
  • Oooohh… I see where this is going now.  Tommen, dear boy, listen to me, your Hand, and your council or you’ll be just as dead as all of those other idiots.  Tywin, you may not be good, per se, but you’re good at this whole completely evil and manipulative f**ker deal.  I do love the slap at Joffrey right in front of his corpse and his mommy.  I love Cersei’s smothered outrage even more.  Lena Headey is killing it with her expressions tonight.  They run the full gamut from homicidal to outright psycho.
  • The fact that Tywin starts in on the birds and the bees just as UncleDaddy Jaime wanders in is also rich.  Chuckle.
  • So Cersei wants Jaime to kill Tyrion and avoid a trial altogether.  And good on Jaime, he refuses.  This new Kingslayer-with-a-conscience is appealing… but…

… What in the (bleepity bleep motherbleeping bleep in the name all that’s bleeping holy) was THAT?!  Did this just turn from sitting shiva to a ‘smack my bitch up’ video?  The Newb feels a tad violated, in all candor.  Cersei is a hateful woman, and I pity Jaime his love for her, but forcible rape on the chapel floor is more than a few steps beyond.

  • Thankfully, we fade to Arya (yes, Arya!!) and the Hound under a bridge.  Sandor Clegane calmly contemplates a future as a sell-sword across the narrow sea.  Seems logical.  But then, what ho…
  • Along comes Dennis the Farmer – help, help, he’s probably been repressed – and Arya covers their presence on Dennis’ land with a rapid lie and a wonderful guess as to loyalties.  This girl is quick-witted, Friends.  Full stop.  And that’s not even in the top three things I most admire about her.
  • Thanks to the successful guesswork, we cut to a most unappetizing scene of prayer and stew-guzzling.  Dennis the Formerly Repressed Farmer and the Hound reach a quizzical agreement.  I’ve never pictured any Clegane as a farmhand.  But I also understand that there is no good reason for a man not keep at least a dram of ale in his house.  None at all.
  • The next morning, we awake with Arya to cries of alarm, and find that Clegane the Farmhand was never to be.  Also, apparently that whole “Hound with a Code” only applies to people that the Hound believes will live long enough to miss the items stolen.  Dammit!  (Brief aside, Friends… as a big guy myself, with some hand-to-hand combat skills, courtesy of kind senseis and a bit of a checkered career path, this turn of events really irks me.  I was coming around to truly liking this new Hound, but now I’m, well… what was that word my dear mother used to wield like a rapier?  Ah, yes.  Disappointed.  Very disappointed.)
  • He does raise a valid point, though, even in the midst of disappointing me.  Arya has to come to terms with the rules of engagement of the sh*theap in which she lives, before it costs her her own head.
  • Cut to the Wall – Castle Black to be precise – and, aw God, no.  The Tarley.  Time to get another beer.  This storyline is just… So. Damn. Tiresome.  Someone wake me when this slubbering, whiny blob figure life out.  I do feel sorry for Gilly, though.  While The Tarley did save her and her baby’s lives, caring for someone as clueless as Blob Boy here has got to be frustrating as hell.
  • Snip to the Chamber of the Wacked-out Baratheon Table.  Stannis is somehow convinced that leeches led to Joffrey’s death.  Poor, dense bastard.  It pains me to watch The Onion try to reason with the Emotionless One about the efficacy of infantry over flame-broiled annelids.  Davos is clearly feeling some pressure to solve the problem of troops, and by extension gold.
  • This pressure does not prevent him from attending a reading lesson with the daughter Baratheon, who thankfully survived last week’s encounter with Melisandre.  And this scene produces both the line of the night, as well as the runner-up.  “If you see the word ‘knight’ and say ‘ker-nig-it’…”  Hahahahahaaa!  Somewhere Graham Chapman is laughing just as hard as I am.  I’d swear it.
  • Aaaand, the encounter produces a spark of illumination for Davos, as well.  Something to do with the Iron Bank of Bravos.  I’m sure there’ll be more on this later.
  • Oh, crap.  Cut to The Tarley again.  Gilly, dear girl.  Listen to my words, please?  Find someone new.  This boy is a round mound of confounded.  By literally everything.  Yawn.

So-o, Producers?  Yeah, you clowns.  Lean in close, please, so’s I can yell a bit in your ear.  It was someone’s high artistic concept to jump me, your trusting viewer, from The Tarley to an orgy?!  Seriously?  Very, extremely not cool.  It’s gonna take several rounds of high-test, some therapy and possibly a sweat lodge or two to wash that off my synapses.  Don’t.  Ever again.  Just don’t.

  • Moving on.  Oberyn and his dusky companion are, um, sampling the wares a bit, it seems.  I wonder how much Baelish is clearing on this binge.  Hey, who’s the busty redhead with the sweet caboose… oh, sorry.  Got distracted.  I miss Ros.  I really do.
  • Tywin joins the party, at least metaphorically, as in Tywin walks into the room where the party is occurring.  And he has accusations a-brimming.  Very interesting reveal about Oberyn’s expertise in poison, as well.  As such, he is invited by the senior Lannister to join Tyrion’s trial jury.  Even offered a Small Council seat.  Because…?  Newb is confused.
  • Aha!  Tywin is playing the long game here.  I did not know that Dorne successfully resisted the Targaryens and their aerial, flame-spewing iguanas.  Besides, that verbal sparring was easily the strongest scene of the night, so far.
  • And off to the dungeons again.  That means Impness!  Yay!  Pod pays a visit, and Tyrion pays tribute and farewell to Pod very fittingly.  A thing of immense beauty and vulnerability.  Tyrion, you Are. Not.  Allowed.  To  Die.  Got it?  Good.
  • Pod provides a single juicy clue – Joffrey (allegedly) was killed by a poison named “the strangler”.  Seems an apt description, given Joffrey’s denouement.
  • Condemned, imprisoned and all, The Imp still asks for his big brother Jaime.  Huh.
  • Cut to a brook and a village and some blokes discussing potatoes.  See, these, here, are the Newb’s people.  And they’re getting killed.  Stupid freakin’ monosyllabic cannibals.  And Ygritte, too.  They send one newly-minted orphan off the warn the Crows, at…
  • Castle Black it is.  And Bubba Sno-Tep, the walking cardboard cutout, holding court.  At least he displays common sense in this instance.  It appears (shudder) that Jon Snow may know more than nothing after all.  Both not chasing the cannibals and marching of to kill the mutinous Crows keep are good, sound strategic calls.  Someone does need to kill Karl dead.  Hopped up little sh*t.  He never should have killed Mormont.
  • Sharp swing to across the narrow sea and Sweet Dany outside the walls of Mereen.  And, oh joy… Novartis.  At least the dull prettyboy can hurl a knife.  I do love the catapulted slave chains – nice move, Danaerys.  Plus, this means more blood and violence.

Hmmm… a full hour of irksome things, loathsome things and table-setting.  At least I had the afterglow of Joffrey’s strangled demise to ride it out with.  ‘Til next time, Friends, I remain your faithful, if deadline-challenged, Newb.


Episode Reviews Feature Reviews

Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT Season 4 Episode 2


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


The Eye of Newb (Return of the Newb)
Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 2: “The Lion and The Rose”

“Now go drink until it feels like you did the right thing.” – Bronn

You thought it, didn’t you?  Come onnnnnn…. you know you did.  Admit it.  You thought something along these lines: ‘That bastard!  He went and ran out on us again. He’s somewhere near a drink right now, giggling, as we quietly resent his cruel Newb-ish ass.’

Not so fast, Dear Readers!  Newb ain’t going anywhere – yet.  Suffice it to say that I have an interesting relationship with time.  I’m generally aware of it, and yet in no way constrained by it.  If that frustrates you, Friends, you must talk to the lovely Mrs. Newb.  She’s got you beat on the old frustrat-o-meter, of that I am dead certain.

Thus, I would encourage each and all (3 or so, by my reckoning) of you to think of this column as definitionally ‘episodic’ more like ‘he’ll get around to it in between his recurring episodes’ and less like ‘there’ll be a new post after every episode of Game of Thrones’.  It’s a character flaw which I have simply come to accept.  It makes the coping so much easier.  Besides there’s been the waves of giddy joy to contend with (more on that toward the end).

In any case, off we go!

  • We open in the woods with bows and arrows… Hunger Games much?  I bet Ramsay would kill it in the Arena, frankly.  And who is this poor slip of a lass being hunted like prey?  Does it matter?  More importantly, with Little Red Shooting Hood, Ramsay’s heartless but skilled co-huntress?  Never mind.  All of those questions pale at the sight of Theon/Reek’s while the hounds tear the wounded quarry apart.  If that was the whole message of this scene, I think I, for one, get that he’s a broken wretch already.  Certainly hope that it meant something more to you Overachieving Book-Readers out there among you.
  • Cut to King’s Landing…  Clever segue from Greyjoy to a big, fat sausage – nyuk, nyuk,  Jaime and Tyrion having lunch.  Witty repartee, spilt wine, and a hired swordplay trainer for the one-handed Wonderboy.  Hmmm.  Jaime’s ego and self-pity meet Bronn’s legendary low BS tolerance.  This oughta be interesting.
  • Add one scream-drowning oceanside balcony, a brace of sparring swords and it is!  Smack him around, Bronn – just for the hell of it.  That one-armed sympathy junkie could use it – for his own good.
  • Off to a gray highway, some horsemen (with a flag!  Where’s Eddie Izzard when the joke is just laying there, helpless?), and a castle.  What ho?  I keep waiting to hear “it’s only a model.”
  • Ah, I see.  Roose Bolton returns home to his bastard.  I bet that smarts if you’re the new Senior Flaying Minister of the Junior Sadists’ League who only wants to just like daddy.  Roose wants naught to do with this wild-eyed whackjob, and I can’t say I blame him, especially after the girl-meets-dog action at the open. Also, apparently bringing forth Reek from Theon complicated life for Roose with the Ironborn. Bad move, Ramsay (a.k.a. Captain Freakshow) Snow.
  • Egads, the lathering and the shaving and the twitching and the grimacing.  Once, Friends, I wished to see the Egoholic Airhead, Mr. Theon Greyjoy, brought low.  But this?  Painful to watch, even though I do love the twist of the knife from Ramsay regarding the death of Robb Snow.  Sick bastard.  The conversation does serve to let us know that the Bolton clan (there are too many Snows in Westeros to reasonably track them all)  now knows of the continued breathing status of two Stark males, namely Bran and Rickon.  So, Roose sends his “pet rat” after the Stark boys and shoves captain Freakshow off the a run-in with the Ironborn – one which I sincerely believe he hopes will be Ramsay’s last.
  • Back to King’s Landing we go, and thankfully to the Imp and the Spider.  There hasn’t been enough Varys so far this season, in my view.  The Imp learns that Shae’s presence and significance are now known by Cersei, thus will be known shortly by a vengeful Tywin, and that he cannot rely on his usual coterie of friends with his father in the game.
  • We slide from the Spider and the Imp to the President and Premier of the Junior Sadists’ League himself – One Joffrey Baratheon.  It seems that, as he is soon to wed, Joffrey is receiving gifts from special subjects.  In doing so, he is surprisingly gracious to his diminutive uncle, despite his obvious disdain for the book Tyrion has given.  This graciousness will never do in this particular relationship.  Never.
  • Aaannd, there it is.  Joffrey, enamored of his new Valyrian steel sword (thanks, Ned!), chops his uncle’s book asunder with glee.  Asshat.
  • Oh, noes!  Shae and Tyrion.  This must be the big and horrible goodbye.  Wow, it is, and can the Imp ever be a total prick when he wants to be.  It doesn’t suit him, even if it is pretense out of concern for Shae’s life.  Nonetheless, I can’t help but think that the “woman scorned” angle may come back to haunt the Imp.
  • Cut to a dark, dank, firelit beach at midnight… ah, scenic Greenland.  No, wait, it’s only Melisandre torching some nobodies for science, er, sorry, The Lord of Light or something.  This sorceress beeyotch can die any time now.  How about a date in a delightful sylvan glen with Ramsay and his pooches?  At least Ser Davos brighten the scene a bit.  The Onion has grown into one of my favorite characters.
  • Jeebus, but dinner conversations in the Baratheon household are about as lively as a deceased flounder on a county highway… flat, weird and gravelly.  Although, Stannis the Emotionless does, it seems, have a weak spot – his daughter.  So, of course, Melisandre must go and see her.  Crap.  This show is murder on sweet, intelligent kids.  The conversation does reveal that Melisandre believes that she is living in hell already.  Thta explains her taste in clothes, at least.
  • Whoosh!  Hard cut to snowy woods.  Must be the North.  In a dream.  With a wolf.  Yoiks!  HoDeer was a horror show, Dear Readers.  Less of that, please?  Or at least warn a brother that he needs a stiffer drink first.
  • So, Bran is now a wolf-dream and HoDeer junkie.  Better than heroin, I guess.  And another thing… why is everyone so bloody serious in the North?  Somebody get these fur-clad downers a snowmobile, for chrissakes.
  • Oh, dammit, no!!  Not another one of those creepy weeping trees.  I AM going to need stronger drink for this episode, Friends.  Hopefully it’ll improve my writing.  Probably not.  Expectation management, Friends, is an under-appreciated art form.
  • Okay, what the hell was all of that tree-touching Oliver Stone weirdness?!  And why no naked Indian?  Seriously.  That little sequence was probably all 31 flavors of red meat for the Book-Reading Overachievers out there, but it’s an overly-large slice of deep fried WTF to the Newb.  A crazy dream sequence just to tell our stone-faced little band of wanderers to keep going the same direction that they were already headed?  It’s like the hideous love child of GPS and LSD.  GPLSD.  Heh, that could be fun.  Until it recalculated.  Where was this metaphor going, anyway?  Oh, right… South.
  • To King’s Landing and a royal wedding already in progress.  I don’t even like these damn things in England.  Why would I care about one in this place?  Blah, blah, dearly beloved… blah, blah, pledge this and that.  Where’s Peter Cook when you really, really need him?  “Wu-uv.  Twoo wuv.”  Now that was a wedding.
  • Cut to outside, and Tywin and the Grand Dame Tyrell on their way to the wedding feast.  Just a quick, walking reminder that the gold-sh*tting Ones require the funding of the rosy Ones awhile longer.
  • And lots of jump-cutting, this time to Tyrion and the Imp entering the wedding feast itself.  Bronn confirms that Shae reached her boat and any followers which he may or may not have had in the process almost certainly did not exist or least have ceased to by now.  Well. there goes my “woman scorned” theory.  Heh. And Bronn gets the line of the night.
  • Also, I cannot be the only one who lapped up Pod’s backward glance at the… ahem… acrobat.
  • Ah, Dame Tyrell.  Interesting speech within earshot of the King and the Hand.  Foreshadowing?  Someone is going to die at the wedding feast?  All the jumping about is certainly ratcheting up the tension.  Intrigued is the Newb.
  • Freakin’ bards, man.  I gave my love a cherry and suchlike… Now you know by now, Friends, that I am not in the Joffrey fan club, but he did play that little bit perfectly.  Take your filthy lucre and get the hell gone, bard.”
  • Aaand, Loras seems to… ahem… ‘know’ Oberyn.  OMG, OMG, OMG… Shocker!
  • Wow, lots of blend cuts to other conversation around where the Director really wants us to look.  Jaime and Loras.  Threats.  Jealous much, O Brother-Lover of the Queen Regent?  Jaime is an honest jealous lover, though.  Cersei WOULD murder Loras in his sleep without batting a lash.
  • Yep, definitely escalating now.  Brienne’s congratulation and blessing is the punctuation.  That much good, honorable and right can only signal the nascency of something truly horrible.
  • No, wait, it’s only Cersei (again!) Brienne’s time and stories with Jaime seem to have stoked her jealousy.  Bad for Jaime.  Good for me, though. I enjoy watching Cersei rage and squirm.
  • Predictably, another blend cut, wherein, also predictably, Cersei takes out her inner turmoil on Pycelle and the poor.
  • Jump to Ser Dontos, who wasn’t kidding about being a literal fool.  He takes some target practice from the wrong end, and then we shift to…
  • Oberyn.  Will he be the author of tonight’s badness?  No, but he does get full credit for shutting up smug Cersei with exactly the right riposte regarding her daughter’s safety.
  • Cut to Joffrey being his usual pompous, whiny self.  A special amusement?  No!  He isn’t really going to bring out Robb’s cooked head for Sansa’s humiliation, is he?  (Quick soliloquy, Friends… It may just be all the rapid cuts and suspense-building talking, but I’m actually feeling a bit of tension and anticipation tonight)
  • Worse.  It’s dwarf-tossing and a joust AND a huge, tasteless swipe at pretty much everyone present.  This new “King” is a, well, there are special words, terrifically inappropriate words, reserved specifically for him.  Even Tywin and Cersei are not amused, and poor, poor pitiful Sansa must relive her personal horrors again.
  • Oh, Joffrey, you complete ass.  Calling out the Imp in public again.  This will not end well.  Look, Producers, I don’t care how this ends, but know that if you take Tyrion from me, I will never watch your show again.  I will rent and buy DVDs just to set them ablaze and dance around them.  I will extinguish their guttering flames with a stream of my own urine.  Just so we’re clear on this.
  • Ah, the old wine-on-the-head gag.  This is truly escalating quickly now, and Cersei’s smirk is icily priceless.  The new Queen tries to reel in the crazy, yet again, to some avail.  Tyrion is demoted to cup-bearer, and Joffrey just can’t stop himself.  Good for the Imp!  Refusing to kneel.  Please, Producers… understand that… oh, look – pie!!
  • Damn.  It truly sucks to be a dove in a pie when there’s Valyrian steel flying about.
  • And, Joffrey fires up the crazy again, calling Tyrion back despite the latter’s wine-saturated state.  Once more with the cup.  This is getting to be a bit of a let-down.  We all know Joffrey’s an ass and that he hates his uncle.  So what?
  • Wait, wait… whaaaaaaat?!  No!  Can it be?!  Oh, bliss.  Oh, rapture.  Oh, sweetness and light!!  Joffrey’s dying slowly and in agony.  How I laugh!!
  • But, no… Sansa’s disappearing with Dontos, and the Imp just drew the short, sharp end of Cersei’s “momma-bear in torment” wrath.
  • Crap.  But also, Woo-hoo!!  And crap.  All over, again.

No matter, Joffrey has shuffled off the mortal coil in a painful and bloody fashion.  Now the Newb just has to watch it about six more time until I figure out whodunnit.  Until next week – or some future point in time chosen totally at random – I remain your faithful Newb.


Episode Reviews Feature Reviews

Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT Season 4 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


The Eye of Newb (Return of the Newb)
Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 1: “Two Swords”

“Something wrong with your leg, boy?” – Arya Stark


 So-o, how ya been?  It\\™s been a year and a half (or roughly 39 significant deaths in Westeros).  I know, I know.  It\\™s me.  Not you.  The Newb ran off mid-season somewhere back in the mists of time.  But, let\\™s not quibble and argue over who killed who and who ran off leaving who holding what bag. 

Life, Friends\\¦ (at least the three of you who have a faint notion, once in a half-remembered fever nightmare, of who I am).  Life, she can be a bitch, at least as it relates to having time to actually, y\\™know, do things.  Things one loves.  That elusive target known as \\disposable\\ or \\discretionary\\ whatever.  Income.  Time.  Insert your noun of choice.  Suffice it to say that somewhere along the way about halfway through Season Two, my employer decided that I had become too stable and sedentary in life and to cure that condition, I should be encouraged to take my show on the road.  Travel as remedy.  Business travel.  I would not recommend it as balm or salve to anyone, or at least anyone I liked.  Possibly some that I loathed, just out of common decency.

Anyhoo\\¦ enough of my kvetching.  The Newb is returned (triumphantly?) upon request and strong suggestion of the ever-forgiving Landlord.  Bygones, we shall let them be bygones, and know this only, Friends.  In the sage words of Bob Mould:  I apologize. (If you, Dear Reader, were born after 1990, have been culturally starved, perhaps buried beneath an oversized boulder, or consider the CMAs \\˜quality entertainment\\™\\¦ {shudder}\\¦ please look him up \\“ you won\\™t regret it. And if you do regret it, you were probably a lost cause anyway.)

In the interest of a smooth re-entry, especially mindful that while we are about to become good Friends, some of you may have never been here before, are curious how you got here, why you should stay, and/or how you might escape this raving lunatic as expeditiously as possible, I will spend approximately 5-6\\ of virtual ink on who and what I am and am not:

  •  Am I a writer?  Perhaps.  You\\™re the one reading \\“ you be the judge.
  • Am I a critic? No, just inherently grumpy and cynical.
  • Am I an animal, vegetable or mineral? Most would say animal, some vegetable, and no takers yet on mineral\\¦ but I\\™m willing to learn.
  • How would I describe myself, in four sentences or less? 

Fair question. You\\™re good at this, Dear Reader.  You may have a future in investigative journalism.

Here goes:

  • I am a casual writer and voracious reader, husband, father and generally harmless weirdo.
  • A very fortunate friend of the Landlord, one Mr. P.G. Holyfield, I\\™ve read a fraction of a single George R. R. Martin book, and was cajoled \\“ okay, okay, went willingly\\¦ after a few drinks \\“ into writing a recap and reaction column to Game of Thrones from the perspective of a neophyte to Westeros.  Thus, well, all of this, here.
  • I am not much of a pure fantasy fan, tending more toward David Drake, Joe Haldeman and Elmore Leonard than anything involving elves, wargs or L. Ron Hubbard.
  • Have I been a regular viewer of Game of Thrones?  Not so much.  The word I\\™d choose would be \\semi\\.  I watched religiously through the end of Season Two, and then dropped out, only to binge my way through Season Three over the last week or so.  Up to and including the beautiful, blood-drenched atrocity that was the Tully-Frey nuptials.
  • Am I sane?  Highly unlikely, but then I\\™m not really qualified to make that assessment.

So, there you have it.  The Newb in a nutshell.  And with that, we\\™re off!

So, fittingly enough, ‘Two Swords’ starts with a sword.  Apparently a big-ass broadsword.  Nice!  That appeals to my darker proclivities.  But, but, now Tywin is handing it off to someone who chooses to break and melt it.  Dammit! What is with this dour-faced, demanding schemer and his penchant to mess up everyone right and good in this (albeit fictional) world?

Ah, yes, of course.  Now I see.  The wolf pelt being cast upon the flames makes clear that old Tywin is smugly erasing all signs of Ned Stark and (in his limited knowledge – wink, wink) the last remaining vestiges of Family Stark.  Oh, you poor, sweet, deluded Machiavelli wannabe.  I’ve no doubt you’ll get yours soon enough.  I mean, c’mon, even this green-as-grass fool knows what Mr. Martin does to those who get that smug and certain.  If only there were some Stark boys still alive to avenge their brother… oh, wait…

And roll title sequence.  Very nice, a new city – Mereen.  I’m assuming, based solely on map location that it will play into Dany’s story line, but then, I’ve never been the sharpest tool in the shed, and this series has been full of surprises thus far.

Back to King’s Landing.  What the hell?!  Jaime’s all clean-cut and whatnot.  Is he interviewing?  Did Daddy force him to get a haircut and a real job?  Well, he gets a new sword, anyway (thanks, Ned), but will have to use it left-handed from here on out.  Let the Inigo Montoya jokes fly, Friends!  Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue… Oh, wait!  I, too, would like to see Joffrey’s head on a pike, Jaime, and I’m not even from your fair city.  Could we make that happen this season, maybe, so I can move on to loathing someone new?  Interesting.  It appears that, of all the Lannister clan, Jaime is the only one who can actually pull off saying no to Daddykins without being yelled down or forcefully belittled.  Instead, the best Tywin can manage is some backhanded mutterings about one-handed men with no families.  No families?  Whatevs, Tywin.  You won’t disown Jaime now that you’ve asked everyone else about him non-stop for like an entire season.  Just give it up you sad, scowling man.

Off to some wooded glen, and Imp!!  Yes, bring on the Tyrion and Bronn show.  Captain Dour and the One-Handed Golden Boy were getting old.  Okay, now just when I figured out who all of the characters were, and could even spell most of their names right (sorry, Ygritte), they bring in some new prince on me.  The Prince of Dorne?  I thought they only made wine in Dorne.  Ah, well.  New season, new corpse, I always say.

Heh. Bronn needs a sigil.  I can see it now, but I shy away from describing it, because I think too many genitalia references may get me in trouble with the Landlord.  But in my mind, it’s funny as hell, I assure you, Friends.  Maybe that’s the Landlord’s next poll, right there – If you could design Bronn’s sigil, what would it be?  I’ll show you mine, if…

Apparently, despite his masterful ambassadorial skills, nobody in Dorne gives a crap about Tyrion either.  Their loss.  The more they overlook him now, the sweeter it will be when he crushes them beneath his teeny feet.  So, this Prince Oberyn,,, I need to know more.  Clearly the Imp has a bad feeling about this.

Aaaannd, requisite nudity 15 minutes into the new season.  Prince Oberyn the Swarthy and Brooding (what, producers, Sno-Tep wasn’t enough?) enjoys himself a whorehouse or two, and apparently so does his lady friend.  It appears that Oberyn combines al the worst parts of Jon Snow and that idiot Greyjoy kid (the young one, who still has all his, ahem, faculties).  He’s mysterious and frowny while swaggering and a bit of a boor all at the same time.  Yeah, I think I’ll enjoy watching him die.  it appears that he is sexually demanding, somewhat ambivalent about the gender upon which he places the demands and also randomly violent.  He’ll fit right in.

Heh, heh… Bronn’s on a roll tonight.  First, the sigil, then “Killed the right people, I guess.” and lastly the exaggerated nod in counterpoint to Tyrion’s flat ‘no’ to the offer of more girls.  I love this sell-sword.  Have I mentioned that?

After a quick alleyway chat between the new boy and the Imp, I/we (well, those of us who haven’t read ahead – frickin’ overachievers) learn that Oberyn has a bit of a hard-on for Tywin, and not the good, clean fun kind either.  So-o, maybe this new pompous brooder will put an end to Captain Dour and his alleged gold-sh*tting ways.  One can only hope so, and then for a quick, painful, bloody death for the new boy.  I don’t ask for much, right?

Off to somewhere we go… and, what ho, them dragons got all big all of a sudden.  I understand why, when even Mama Dany can’t get in the way of mealtime.  Seems a relatively pointless scene, aside from establishing Daenerys’ continued respiration, and the size of her army, by way of a gratuitous Spielberg shot.  Dany has amassed herself quite an impressive battalion, and even secured an extra couple of tools to fight for her, Gray Worm and some new guy inclusive.  Tools.  To the back of the line with you!  Yawn.

Fortunately, we’re back to King’s Landing with some haste, and straight to poor, poor, pitiful Sansa, the new Mrs. Imp.  If anyone, and I mean anyone, in all of Westeros deserves a happy ending more than this sad girl, I’d like to meet them.  And kill them.  Just to ensure that Sansa gets the happiest ending of all.

Her new husband tries very hard to calm her tears and anger, but it does feel as if Tyrion has spent most of his screen time saying some version of “I wasn’t there” or I don’t know” or “It’s not my fault”.  Sad, really – I want Impen barbs, dammit!  Witticisms!  Snark!  Disappointment, thy name is a chastened Imp.

And now, to the bed-chamber and a delicious Shae-in-waiting, who, despite moistened digitalia and hefted hems will not get her man today.  Shae is angered, and Tyrion is in pain.  This scene sucks, all the way around.  Ah, but to whom does this Princess Leia-esuqe spy belong?  Some mystery and intrigue at last!

Cut to Jaime and Cersei.  It appears that Cersei has gift for Brother-Lover.  A, new golden arm.  Bypassing the obvious heroin joke, aside from Bronn’s antics, Jaime and his little Queen Elizabeth wave bring me the first chuckle of the evening.  Until the fight begins.  I mean, Good Lord, friends, I thought a jealous mistress was bad enough in the last scene, but a jealous Sister-wife, especially turned up to full ear-bleeding Cersei, is the worst.  But, oh-ho… Leia belongs to Cersei!  This could get interesting.

Snip to Ygritte and the Wilding army somewhere south of the Wall.  Friends, I am happy to say that I’ve never had cause to use the “how many arrows did she shoot into my battered body” scale to determine whether she loved me or loved me not.  Well, not yet anyway.  {Shudder}.  Mmmmm… monosyllabic scarred cannibals, dramatically presented.  That was all grunty, disgusting and useless.

Cut to Castle Black and, Oh Gawd, Nooooo!  Bubba Sno-Tep engaged in dialogue with Tub O’ Goo Tarley, who still fires up my rage zones even after being the first to actually kill a White Walker.  He’s just so bulbous, simpering and whiny.  Gaahh!   Make it stop!

At least there’s Maester Aemon to liven the festivities.  “The wall would be manned by headless men.”  Heh, heh, heh.  And I’m forced to observe, yet again, that unless Martin has a strange sense of justice, Jon Snow is just too damn honorable, dull and all-round Nedly to live much longer.

In contrast to that grinder of scene, we shoot back to King’s Landing, and the joyous Dame Tyrell gettin’ down with her jewelry-hurling self.  Love it.  And cap that scene off with the sheer presence of Brienne relaying what she saw in Renly’s tent to the new Queen-to-be, who appears to no longer care.  Her eyes are on the real prize now, even though that sparrow-headed sadist Joffrey comes with it.

Effing Joffrey.  Junior Sadist League President and Founding Member.  Punk who killed my sweet and sultry Ros.  Dumbass.  Can we put him in a pit with Ramsay?  Like now?  If anyone deserved a dose of his own medicine at the hands (and knives) of someone much, much sicker, it’s Joffrey.  And now the little prick has managed to offend every single member of his family, even his dear Uncle Jaime, who seems awash in remorse and self-doubt upon reading his entry in the Book of the Brotherhood.  Maybe there’s still hope for Jaime – if he lives long enough.

Back to the Middle of Nowhere, population one big-ass army and three dragons.  Ooooh!  The bearded tool is a new Daario Novartis, or whatever that guy’s name is.  Just got that.  Not that the Newb is the sharpest fork in the drawer by any stretch.  Ah, well… onward.  Daario sure does like him some perty flowers.  Nothing like a boring prettyboy to put me off my lunch.  Yawn.

Oh, yippee, and there’s a whole bunch of dead slave kids.  Well, one actually.  And apparently 162 more where that came from.  So, 163 new reasons for Dany to get all pissy and righteously indignant before she takes it out on Mereen.

Back to King’s Landing we swing, and to an interesting thrust and parry between Brienne and Jaime over the future of poor, poor pitiful Sansa.  It does bring me some glee to watch forceful character in the body of Brienne meet headlong on fields of verbal battle with simpering quibbles and half-hearted shirking borne forth by Jaime.  And all of that pales in comparison to the next little ‘The Shining comes to RenFest’ sequence with the ambulatory Wine-Flask and Sansa.  At least the Wine-Flask Who Lived presents Sansa with a gift and a moment of joy and self-worth.  But the suspicious, cynical side of me can’t help but feel that she’s been marked with that necklace.  Somehow.  there will be no happy ending for this sweet girl, will there?  (No, don’t tell me!  Dammit.)

And we’re off to somewhere wooded.  The Hound and Arya (Yes! Arya!) are off to the Shire or some such place.  Finally a wildly interesting story line.  The Hound, it seems, despite all outward appearances, has himself a ‘Code’.  All else being equal, I’d like a Hound with a Code on my side in a war, Friends.

Heh, heh, he, heh… “What the f*ck’s a Lommy?”  That said, if I did have a Hound with a Code on my side, I’d probably charge into a random inn full of killers, too – just like Arya.  Especially if one of those little, bald killers had iced my friend Lommy with my sword.  That little, bald cockney man is going to die… and I’m going to watch… and how I will laugh!

“You’re a talker…”  Words you never, ever want to hear emanate forth in your direction from a 7-foot tall, 350-pound wall of meat and murder like Sandor Clegane.  And, here we go!

“Something wrong with your leg, boy?”  I am yours, Arya.  Body, mind and spirit, you have captured the Newb.  That is the best revenge killing I have seen this side of Fredo Corleone.  I will follow you, and your new horse, anywhere.

Well, Friends, it was touch and go tonight – the Daario and Dany show damn near lost me a couple of times – but leave it to a pint-sized Stark with murder in her eyes, ice in her veins and Needle in her hand to bring it home for good.  I’m in, and will be here next week with the next installment.  As always, I remain your faithful Newb.


Episode Reviews Reviews

Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT: Season 2 Episode 6

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.

The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Season 2 Episode 6: \\The Old Gods and The New\\
By: Matt Lynch

“I told you to never trust a Greyjoy!” – Catelyn Stark

Well, Good People, The Newb is hangin’ on by the thread of his Jaqen H’ghar on this one. I had to psyche myself up to watch the this episode. No lie. Mayhap I’ve spent too much time reading about actual cruelty in different times and places, aided only by the magic of antisocial mindsets and chemistry. Perchance my brain is dog-tired and I can’t invest the necessary cerebral space to track the twists and turns. Or it may just be that the introduction of actual magic has jaded me against a series that is predicated on a world of pure fantasy. Contrariwise, it might just have something to do with the fact that the writers, in their infinite duncery, insist on letting Joffrey breathe. In the end, I am forced to utter, with deep conviction, mind you, and swaddled in the dulcet tones of my best Karl Pilkington… “Dunno.” It is, as they say, what it is. So here your Faithful Newb sits, hoping the land of Westeros and its inhabitants will wow me tonight and return me to last season’s awe and wonder.

For the time being, however, settle in and off we go…

Part the first, wherein a crow flies south, and the Ego King sacks his old homestead.

  • When I think of Theon, I swear the first words that leap to mind are “preening” followed by “idiot”. I can’t help it. I’ve tried everything.
  • Threaten the poor crippled boy, Theon. Y’know, the one whom you used to treat like your very own brother.
  • Hey wait… “steaming sack of sh*t” has a ring to it. I think that might be more apt than “preening idiot.”
  • Good Lord, no one will do what Theon commands the first time he commands it. Even the Maester. Can’t SSoS Greyjoy take a hint.
  • Nice try, Osha. Even if Nymphadora Tonks makes for a strange kitchen wench-turned killer.
  • Oh, no. The SSoS is now going to kill Rodrick, but not before he gets a good gobber in.
  • What’s with Johnny Scarface the Henchman here, ensuring the Ser Rodrick will part with his dome? That’s the worst form of enabling. Encourage an incompetent bag of excrement to rash acts against brave and noble men.
  • The enduring lesson of this season is that despite honor, glory in battle and the respect of your bannermen, it will always suck to be a Stark.
  • Oof. That decapitation was gruesomely satisfying on multiple levels. First, there’s the perfect sound effects. Second, blood spatter is nearly always inherently good. Third, and best of all, Good ‘Ole Iron Island SSoS can’t even cut a man’s head off without at least two practice hacks. Wuss.

Part the second, wherein we venture into the Great White North (eh?) and Snow-Tep once again shows his lack of mental agility and killer instinct.

  • Half Hand lets loose his inner cynic for a bit. This old dude is seriously jaded, and he wants Jon to join him in the abyss. Snow-Tep could use a tad more hard-heartedness.

Part the third, wherein Tywin reveals one reason for Rob Starks” battlefield success, and Arya (methinks) gets ‘fingered’.

  • Damn. Surrounded and confounded by dolts is our poor Tywin. Sending the battle plans to the enemy ain’t exactly a winning recipe. No wonder he’s so pissy all the time.
  • Oh, crap. Littlefinger’s here, and he knows what Arya looks like. The tension-o-meter ramps up a bit.
  • Arya is doing her best to both listen and hide, and the game of cat and mouse is riveting.
  • Baelish is once again his very best slippery bastard. He’d play all ends of a circle against the middle if it turned him a profit or secured him more power.
  • Uh-oh. Arya’s made. This little visit will come back to haunt her.

Part the fourth, wherein yet another make character meets a confounding redhead, and I begin to grudgingly like Snow-Tep, despite his squeamish and fundamental stupidity.

  • The MIB are sneaking up on some Inuits, and then all Hell breaks loose for five minutes. Yes! Battle!
  • Well, that was short-lived. This season is so heavy on the jaw-jaw. Couldn’t we, pray, have one good slobberknocker? Sigh.
  • Oh for the love of all that’s holy… ANOTHER redhead?! Does George R. R. Martin have a thing for the ginger temptresses or what? (Editor’s Note: You must remember that Ros is a creation of the show… maybe Benioff and Weiss have it for redheads too.)
  • Poor Jon is so befuddled by this turn of events, you can practically see the twin brain cells behind that caveman crown gasping for oxygen as they struggle to form the word “girl.”
  • Half-Hand doesn’t seem to care much about gender distinctions.
  • Egrid? Mysterious and dangerous that name, like a Norwegian stewardess. (Editor’s Note: Ygritte… but still a good stewardess, um… flight attendant name.)
  • Hundreds and thousands of Free Folk lie beyond the pass? Hmmm… and the Black has roughly four. I don’t think that math works in the favor of the MIB. The upside? Snow could be dead soon. The downside? Fewer eye-popping glacial expanses. (Editor’s Note: You must remember the GoT numerology system, Matt. 40,000 Dothraki = 30 on horseback. Four MIB might be able to turn back hundreds of thousands, right?)
  • Jon can’t bring himself to kill a woman. I’ll give him that. What is this strange sentiment creeping up my spine? I’m starting to actually admire this dimwit? This feels all wierd and wrong somehow. I know that Patman will take delight in it, and yet the glee of my nemesis can’t stop the sensation of growing respect for one Bubba Snow-Tep.
  • Yep, and the confounding redhead is off like a rabbit. Saw that coming.
  • And now you’re lost, Snow. Dumbass.

Part the fifth, wherein a princess sets sail, and the Hound saves a poor lost waif.

  • Does the chanting priest in the segue remind anyone else of Otho from Beetlejuice?
  • Jeebus Christmas, Cersei. No wonder your son is obsessed with dealing in pain. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
  • Valiant effort, my sweet, sad Sansa, but trying to convince a sociopath like Joffrey that emotions are a normal part of life is akin to preaching truth to a flying buttress.
  • T’would appear that Joffrey is unpopular in regions apart from my couch. Like his whole city.
  • Kill them all? Really, Joff? At least the Hound shows a lick of sense.
  • Bye, Otho.
  • I’ve got a better idea, o random guardsman… don’t protect the king. Think of all the suffering you’ll prevent.
  • Oh, crap, again. Sansa’s been herded away from the main group down a dark alley by what to my eyes appear to be peasant rapists. Not Sansa. I may just give up if greater indignity and pain is heaped on that poor girl.
  • Joffrey, don’t tell the Imp what he can and can’t do. He’ll bitch-slap you either way.
  • Oh, no… I literally can’t watch Sansa get hurt any more… thank you, Sandor.

Part the sixth, wherein Dany gets impatient and Baron Harkonnen goes all ‘never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.’

  • I tire of this whole story arc. I mean it. It takes willpower to watch the happenings in Q’arth. The only thing it has going for it is the dragons. Dragons = fire and death. Fire and death = a lot less jaw-jaw. A lot less jaw-jaw = just what this season needs. Well, that and more Tyrion, Brienne and Jaqen.
  • Yes, yes, Daenerys, you’re being put upon again. Do what you do. Get pouty. Blech.
  • Get that man an antigravity suit. Stat.
  • Blah, blah, blah… Something happen soon. Please? Anything? Anything at all?
  • Gawd Ahmighty, if I wanted this much pointed banter I’d watch Masterpiece Theater’s production of Wuthering Heights. The Newb is getting all twitchy and is fighting the urge to break things. Things of value. Gaaaahhhh… make it stop.

Part the seventh, wherein, mercifully, there’s no more Q’arth, and Arya pulls her second marker.

  • Arya, Tywin’s so onto your little peasant act.
  • I do like the “loyalty killed my father” line. Nicely played.
  • This truly is an interesting and redeeming story arc for the night and the series. Tywin’s children (well, grandchild, really) kills Ned Stark and then Tywin unwittingly turns to Ned’s daughter as a sort of private consul. Beautiful twist. Plus, there’s Jaqen here.
  • Whoops. Arya stole herself a message, and it’s about what the Lannisters plan to do to her brother.
  • Oh, crap the third. The wide-eyed waif is caught red-handed. I know what that means… a second name is about to be given to a certain man.
  • Yes! The old fall through the door with a poison dart in the neck routine. Sweet.

Part the eighth, wherein Robb falls further in love, and the realities of arranged marriages rear their ugly heads.

  • Oh, Rob’s feeling all courtship-y, and just then Mom shows up. Dangit.
  • Oh, goody. SSoS’s dirty deeds have come to light. This will seriously piss Rob off, and hopefully end with Theon’s overlarge head screwed securely to a spike. A Newb can dream, right?

Part the ninth, wherein Bubba Snow-Tep spoons with a devious ginger cave girl, and is sorely tempted for his choice.

  • Oh, this Egrid is dangerous and strangely arousing in a noble savage sort of way.

Part the tenth, wherein Rob Stark gets mightily peeved, and promises death for the SSoS.

  • Oh, thank god. SSoS’s days are officially numbered.

Part the eleventh, wherein it feels as if the scenes are getting extremely choppy and quick, and Oshadora Tonks goes half-frontal.

  • Oh, SSoS, your other brain will be your undoing. Somehow fitting, that.

Part the twelfth, wherein Sansa comes to terms with her status courtesy of Shae, and the scenes get even choppier and shorter.

Part the thirteenth, wherein womanly wiles and a quarter-wit “hard man” save two small boys and a giant.

  • Aha! Oshadora’s plan has come to fruition, as she slips naked from the horror that must be SSoS’s bedchamber.
  • Snore on, Theon. Snore on.
  • Oh, you silly Iron Islander. When a wilding girl offers herself to you as a gift, just know that it will end with your throat slit. You’re an idiot, just like your leader. But at least you won’t pollute the gene pool anymore.

Part the ultimate, wherein we venture back to the doldrums of Q’arth and some lizards get lifted.

  • Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….snrk.! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. So painfully tired of Dany in Exile.
  • What ho? That’s a lot of dead guys. I’m up. I’m up!
  • Dead Dothraki? Now that’s an accomplishment.
  • The dragons are gone, apparently in the wicker backpack of a strange hooded figure. Finally, some drama in Q’arth.

Okay, The Newb ends tonight’s fare extremely conflicted. I’m beginning to like the zombified troglodyte of the North, one Mr. Jon Snow. And sweet Dany is beginning to utterly bore me. Her dragons, on the other hand, show promise. Joffrey’s still breathing, shows no sign of stopping any time soon, and this angers me. There wasn’t nearly enough Imp or Jaqen, but what there was of them was priceless, as always. My viewership hangs in the balance, HBO, if you’re listening (as if). I expect more Imply mischief, less Q’arth, and much more war-war than jaw-jaw before this season comes to a close, dammit!

Until next week, Friends, I remain your Faithful Newb.

Episode Reviews Reviews

Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT: Season 2 Episode 5

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.

The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Season 2 Episode 5: \\Ghost of Harrenhal\\
By: Matt Lynch

“A man has said.” – Jaqen H’ghar

Well, after the end of the last episode, the Newb got to thinking. I’m not sure how invested I can be in this new twist the series has taken. I was fine in an imagined world containing zombies, white walkers, even fire-breathing lizards, but no real magic. Smog monsters belching forth from strange vaginas, however, changed all that. It feels too hokey and strange. Contrived and out of nowhere, actually. Not sure I’m into this new phase, but I’ll buckle up and take the ride one more time, just be sure.

Part the First, wherein Cat attempts to forge an alliance, and bad weirdness comes to a head.

  • Okay, so Cat has her truce, but I’m not sure how the new King of the Nortth will take to all the strings that come with it.
  • Destroy my brother in the morning… end this war in a fortnight. These are words of fatal hubris. It’s too clean and neat…
  • Ah, there we are… Melisandre’s progeny from last week comes steaming into the tent and screws with Renly’s reality and my desire to go on watching this contrived tale any longer. Sigh. I can see it now: ‘We need a twist – I know, a smoky ninja killer thing born of a witch in a cave enters his tent and…’ Bah!!
  • At least Brienne’s murderous grief is real. That woman is something else. She almost makes up for the pathetic wackiness.
  • Cat, ever the sensible one, gets the two ladies, each formidable in their own ways, clear of this ugly situation.

Part the Second, wherein man love begets man-grief, and

  • Loras Tyrell, say what you will about him, makes one hell of a wronged and vengeful lover.
  • And revenge is Littlefinger’s specialty. They make a nice pair.
  • This Tyrell sister, while she has a gorgeous body and entrancing eyes, is getting a mite whelpy and annoying.
  • Interesting differentiation, a queen versus The Queen.

Part the Second, wherein Cersei gets drunk and uppity, and Tyrion learns that the city’s defense has been left to a young sadist.

  • ‘Schemes and plots are the same thing.’ Heh. Awesome.
  • Cersei genuinely despises her dwarven brother, and her pettiness shows forth beautifully in this scene.

Part the Third, wherein Lancel coughs up the secret weapon, and Bronn gets a new assignment.

  • Tons of Impness to start the show this evening.  This is inherently a good thing.
  • Interesting mini-man carriage they’re meeting in here.
  • I love how Tyrion keeps using the sexual relationship with Cersei as a bludgeon against this poor little lost pretty boy.
  • ‘I don’t care about your life.’ ‘Tell my friend Bronn to please kill you if anything should happen to me.’ The Imp is getting so many rich one-liners tonight it’s sinful.

Part the Fourth, wherein a loyal underling demands and does not receive an explanation, and portent is assigned to the presence of a witch.

  • Stannis doesn’t care a whit about his brother, and he doesn’t want to know what happened in the cave, dude.
  • At least the Tyrells got away clean. More vengeance and mayhem awaits. Yay!
  • Stannis is a tad overconfident, methinks.
  • So Melisandre is the weak link and the source of victory for Stannis, yet he won’t be taking her to King’s Landing. Stannis is gonna lose. Ten bucks on that right now.

Part the Fifth, wherein we meet the guild of Alchemists, or at least one of them, and the Imp learns how greatly he’s despised by the common folk.

  • No, no. No snakes or fruit, thank you.
  • The banter between Bronn and Tyrion is priceless.
  • Sweet! A street preacher!
  • At last Tyrion admits admits that Joffrey is a lost cause.
  • Demon Monkey. What a great band name!

Part the Sixth, wherein the Ego King meets his adoring crew and hatches a foul plan.

  • Look, Theon, if you’re captaining a ship called the Sea Bitch, you’re probably not going to get the cream of the crop for a crew. Deal with it, you overblown ass.
  • Hopefully this fat man will kill Ego-boy at sea. Please?
  • No, that’d be too easy.
  • At least he’s got a seasoned first mate. Never doubt that an effective force runs on its NCOs.
  • Uh-oh, Ego King’s got himself a plan… hope he chokes on it.

Part the Seventh, wherein Arya almost betrays her roots and Tywin smacks down his family. Again.

  • This is war. No one’s content. What a beautiful line, and at the very least he now gives Robb his due.
  • Alas, poor Reginald, never show weakness in front of Tywin Lannister.
  • Oh, crap. Arya, don’t lie to this man.
  • Oh, good. At least she picked a home she knew this time.
  • Ooo… holding the gaze of Tywin while stating plainly that anyone can be killed. Sweet!

Part the Eighth, wherein the best new character in the series finally reveals a little more about himself, and Arya picks a man to die.

  • Hmmm… there’s a helmet on the cistern.
  • Jaqen certainly has a cryptic way of referring to boys and girls and men and such. This Jaqen H’ghar is getting to be the most fascinating character since I first met Tyrion Lannister in season one.
  • Yeah, Arya, why is one of us given the leave to become someone she is not, and part of the Lannister retinue, and yet anyone else who does it is somehow wrong for doing so?
  • The Red God, now? That’s like the thirty-seventh god in Westeros! Can a brother get a deity map or something?!
  • Oh, sweet. Arya freed herself a master assassin, and has left him in her debt. Three names he offers. Yoda, suddenly am I. No matter, she’s got a whole list. This is so gonna kick ass.
  • What?! Arya wastes her first name on Captain Rat Patrol? Dammit.

Part the Ninth, wherein the legend of the Half-hand is discussed, and the Fist of the First Men is revealed.

  • Oh, sweet Jeebus! Someone shut Tarley up before he makes a love-sick fool of himself again.
  • Yeah, Samwell. Stop talking. Please?
  • Well, Snow’s got half a brain. This fortress is no place to defend.
  • Apparently, the Black Watch has little use for those uppity reader-types.

Part the  Tenth, wherein I notice that the scenes are a little short and jumpy so far in this episode, and Tyrion finds all hell contained beneath King’s Landing.

  • Of course the subject of melting flesh has to come up.
  • Bronn doesn’t necessarily believe in the efficacy of wildfire. Nor do I, especially given his accuracy at flinging things and burning cities.
  • Holy crap, that’s a lot of flammable stuff buried under the keep of King’s Landing. Hope there are a few fire exits.
  • The Imp has his own wildfire supplier. Nice!

Part the Eleventh, wherein a dragon hosts a barbie, and Isaac Hayes gives Dany a dress.

  • Dragons like their t-bones rare. That’s a sign of a quality individual in my book.
  • That’s a whole lot of squabbling over a slip of fabric, if you ask me.
  • Oh dear god. A cocktail party. What a special little ring of hell.
  • And can we stop the Klingon, fer Chrissakes?!
  • Oh, and enough of the creepy old men who corner you after a few drinks and play screwball sleight of hand tricks. This really is a cocktail party from Hell.
  • House of the Undying? Interesting…
  • Hey, it’s Isaac Hayes again! Cool.
  • And a woman in a strange mask offers statements of portent. Shame she’s dressed as the Gimp. It’s a real Pulp Fiction kind of season here in Westeros.

Part the Twelfth, wherein Brienne makes an overly ceremonial vow of loyalty, and it just about steals the whole show.

  • Brienne’s gonna get Stannis, if it’s the last thing she does.
  • Cat is such a doting Mom it’s sickening.
  • Brienne is a rather intense giantess. and Catelyn plans to use this to Robb’s advantage. Smart. very smart.
  • Now that is one elaborate vow of fealty, and the Newb is completely gripped through the entire sequence. If I’m ever in a foxhole, I think I’d feel very comfortable with Brienne at my side.

Part the Thirteenth, wherein Bran does the dirty business of governing, Rikon bashes nuts, and we learn that the Ego King has made his move.

  • Sheep? There’s a war on, and we’re talking about sheep?
  • Nymphadora Tonks ain’t much of a counselor. But she is fixating and beautiful. Especially in close-up.

Part the Fourteenth, wherein we finally meet the Half-hand, and Iceland hulks gorgeous in the background.

  • Half-hand is boring old drone. Fire, Mance Rayder…. zzzzz… snrk!
  • Now why would Tarley step up and give Bubba Snow-Tep the opening to march north into the swirling white? Summat will come of this, I’m sure.

Part the Fifteenth, wherein Isaac Hayes proposes marriage, and Dany learns that Jorah Mormont is interested in more than just being friends.

  • Is this dude seriously named ‘Duck Sauce’?
  • That’s a big-ass safe, Good People.
  • Oh, Jorah, shut up while you’re ahead. You’re a bad liar, even if you do see through Daenearys to see her kind heart under all that silken-haired khaleesi BS.

Part the Ultimate, wherein Gendry gets a lesson in swordplay, and a man makes good on his word.

  • Jaqen, despite the the bad craziness and hokey religion of last week’s cave, you’ve restored my faith. I’m in it to see what becomes of you. The little single finger-to-the-eye gesture alone is worth it.

Okay, Friends, I’m not gonna lie. This whole series almost lost me with the vaginal smog monster, but I’m in it for one more week to see how the character of Jaqen H’ghar is developed.

Until next time, I remain your faithful and immensely penitent Newb.

Episode Reviews Reviews

Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT: Season 2 Episode 4

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.
Over the next three days we’ll be releasing episode recaps for episodes 3, 4, and 5. Enjoy!

The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Season 2 Episode 4: \\Garden of Bones\\
By: Matt Lynch

“Careful now. We don’t want to get blood all over your pretty white cloak” – Bronn


Part the First, wherein farts (as always) are still funny, and a wolf swings by the stable for a nibble.

  • These fellas aren’t exactly the sharpest forks in the drawer, are they?
  • A direwolf in your siege line certainly helps your cause.
  • So Rob is opposed to torture. Good for him. He’s definitely ahed of his time.
  • Aagh, The Newb is suddenly glad to have both legs intact.
  • And poof, like that, our man Stark is in love. That’s a bad sign for the Frey wedding that got him this far south. Then again, if brothers and sisters and brothers and sisters and husbands are a-okay, who knows? It could work.
  • Plan, schman. Just kill Joffrey and all will be well.

Speaking of the little sadist, Part the Second, wherein Joffrey is, well, Joffrey, and Tyrion  saves a damsel in distress.

  • Joffrey must die.
  • Fortunately, the Imp makes a perfectly timed entrance, and does not shy away from a toe-to-toe with either Joffrey or his Guard.
  • And the line of the night goes to Bronn.
  • Honor? Joffrey? Are you serious, Tyrion?
  • The Imp defies the king, and the king stews. As satisfying as this is in the moment, I think it presages bad things.
  • The exchange between Sansa and Tyrion is a thing of beauty, as you can literally see Tyrion’s esteem for her courage grow.No words are necessary.
  • Bronn has what seems to be a solid theory, but I don’t think sex will cure a sadist, my good sell-sword.

Part the Third, wherein Joffrey proves me right, and Ros is forced into bad craziness, yet again, thanks to the Boy King. It’s turning into a bad season to be Ros.

  • Hee, hee…Joffrey is actually scared of the prospect presented by a name-day gift from his uncle Tyrion.
  • So Joffrey’s got a thing for lesbians, does he?
  • Hit her? Oh, this is about to go bad wrong. And it’s about to go worse wrong for Miss Haystack Hall.
  • Having trouble watching this, in all honesty, Good People.
  • Oh, Jeebus Christmas, Joffrey found his favorite crossbow, and he’s threatening Ros. Bronn was right. There really is no cure for being a c–t.

Part the Fourth, wherein a whoremonger venture northeast, and Littlefinger gets verbally bitch-slapped by the royal incubatrix.

  • It’s clear that Renly doesn’t think much of Baelish, and that’s probably deserved.
  • “I give priority to my head.” Ha! Finally Littlefinger gets a quality one-liner. By my count , that’s two this season.
  • We cut to Renly’s “queen” and Baelish in the camp.
  • Not ‘our’ tent? After the joking of the guards at the Lannister camp and Littlefinger’s jibes, I’m beginning to think that the only person in Westeros who doesn’t clearly believe that Renly is gay is… well, no one, really. And yet they flock to him. So, why the pretense? Why all the “queen” business? No pun intended. Well, maybe a little. Sue me.
  • Not often we get to see Baelish put in his place, but the little speech on not knowing how marriages worked was exactly that, and a beauty.

Part the Fifth, wherein we’re on Saturn and a new name gets thrown about.

  • Well at least this blood rider came back with his head.
  • Yeah. Klingon again. Blech.
  • Qarth? Okay, that’ll be in the opening credits next week. And it sounds as if they have a lovely garden

Part the Sixth, wherein we see the wretched wonder that is Harrenhal, and meet and get an up-close glimpse of medieval shell-shock.

  • Gendry, my man, the dragons aren’t all dead. Take my word for it.
  • Not only is Harrenhal hideous, but it has the bouquet of dead people, and enough war-torn crazies to stock a whole Mad Max film.
  • That woman is gone. Just gone. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
  • Okay, am I the only one who wondered aloud watching Arya follow Yoren’s last advice in a barren cell with a skylight: how is she going to conceal her need to pee sitting down in these quarters? Can’t be.
  • That recitation of names is flat-out creepy. Like, she’s going to kill them all level creepy. Arya: portrait of young vengeful psycho. That has a certain ring to it.

Part the Seventh, wherein Baelish steps over the line, and Ned Stark takes a little trip.

  • ‘False reports’? Petyr, Petyr, Petyr… that’s the line you’re going with?
  • Really?! Dude, don’t try to rekindle love after you’ve effectively killed the last man.
  • Aha, THAT’s the Littlefinger I know. Using threats against family and treachery to win advantage, even over those he deeply, desperately desires.
  • At least he had the decency, or perhaps Tyrion had the decency, to bring Ned back to his own people. That’s classy.
  • Petyr. Leave. Now. You lost your chance.

Part the Eighth, wherein we meet a couple of sick bastards who torture folks with rats, and Arya runs through her ‘death list’ again.

  • That whole rat in a bucket technique makes my innards crawl.
  • Arya has seen more horror in her twelve or so years than any child should have to. Again, this is a world that should compel me?

Part the Ninth, wherein two brothers disagree, and a sinister redhead makes another veiled threat.

  • Stannis has his own banner. Huh!
  • Again with the Lord of Light? Could someone please explain this whole religion thing to me, in words of one syllable?
  • ‘Now I see why you’ve found religion in your old age.’ Heh.
  • Cat does try to play the wise mother figure, to no avail.
  • Renly states the obvious. No one likes Stannis, despite his sultry redhead fire goddess.
  • The night is dark and full of terrors. This woman in deliciously eeeevil. And at least she’s only obsessed with a single nocturn, not with any season that might follow autumn. I’ll give her that.

Part the Tenth, wherein we return to the Red Wastes and some sort of Harkonnen family reunion outside the gates of Qarth. Ooo… too much sci-fi? Deal with it, suckas.

  • Odd sort of welcome. Soldiers behind shields very rarely mean ‘come on in and make yourself at home.’
  • Who is this freak with the long and difficult to pronounce name? He sure does want to see him some dragons.
  • Apparently no one told the Q’arthans that 13 is a decidedly unlucky number. I don’t see this city being around very long, but maybe I’ll lose another bet on that one, as well.
  • Uh-oh. Dany’s getting turned out to the garden district.
  • Whoa…. good battle speech, Dany. Good enough for Isaac Hayes to save you by slicing up his hand. Awesome, and a slightly hokey twist.

Part the Eleventh, wherein hope is restored by a Lannister saving a Baratheon?!

  • Nothin’ says lovin’ like a head on a spike. Outstanding opening.
  • Oh, crap. Gendry’s up for Rat Patrol.
  • We’ve seen how this bit plays out. It puts the rat in the bucket or it gets the hose again…. but wait…
  • It’s Tywin. Unannounced and early. This won’t end well for the guards.
  • Yep. He goes all ‘where my slaves at?’ on ’em.
  • Tywin also is quick to realize the obvious, that there’s no way that wide-eyed waif can be a boy. Wait, somebody said that once. Oh, who was it… yeah, that’s right… the Newb.
  • Whoa. Arya is to be the cup-bearer for the head of the Lannister clan? Shame he’s not on her list.

Part the Twelfth, wherein there is much Impness, and not-so-veiled threats beget a Lannister spy.

  • When the Imp invites you in for mulled wine, run, Lancel. It will not end well for you.
  • Lancel is an impudent boy. And he’s about to be cut down to size.
  • Ahhh… that Impen grin. Nice!
  • There it is. Tyrion knows that Lancel and Cersei are bumping uglies, and now he’s using it to make the impudent boy grovel. This scene is delicious. Simply delicious.
  • ‘Save it for Joffrey! He loves a good grovel!’ Ha!
  • And there’s the hook hidden in the bait. Now Tyrion has a spy who sleeps with his sister. Well-played, Imp, well-played.
  • Looks like Pycelle is off the council, and apparently has a few harmed hairs.

Part the Ultimate, wherein a smuggler is gob-smacked, and a whole lot of what the f— is unleashed on this poor viewer.

  • Freaky deer heads do not set a nice nautical theme, Stannis. Can’t you even get your symbolism right? No wonder nobody likes you.
  • The good act does not wash out the bad. Stannis truly is a self-righteous tool.
  • Any shore, any night. I love this guy and all his missing fingers. It’s a shame that I’m pretty sure he’s a red-shirt in this season.
  • Umm… why is a red-headed witch being smuggled ashore?
  • Okay, so I begin to see where the attraction is between Stannis and Melisandre (for apparently, that is her name. Thank you, Anonymous Reader for the tip). Her concept of black and white goodness must appeal to him.
  • Melisandre has a pretty high opinion of herself and a fairly low opinion of what our good smuggler wants.
  • Oops, they barred the tunnel. So much for smuggling.
  • WTF? Pregnant in two days time?! Bad weirdness is about to ensue…
  • Seriously, I’m now officially lost and confused. The woman is belching forth a demonic smog monster from her pink parts. That right there is completely f’ed up. Period. Amen.

So, uh, yeah… what to say? I’m in for next week just to see what insane freakishness Melisandre and her belly are capable of.

Episode Reviews Reviews

Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT: Season 2 Episode 3

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.
Over the next three days we’ll be releasing episode recaps for episodes 3, 4, and 5. Enjoy!

Listen closely, Friends… hear that gentle shuffling scrape barely discernible above the pounding rage in yours ears? Yeah. That. Swoosh, swoosh, swooshthat would be the Newb’s forehead brushing the floor as he sways, repentant, nay penitent, groveling before Your kindness and gentle mercy. Before that oil-sheened blade of Yours meets the base of my medulla oblongata with a satisfying, yet coolly lethal crunch, I plead with you, Dear Readers… perhaps Reader by this point… hear my plea!

A paper intervened. A 20-page monster, in fact. Big, hairy monster. With fangs and talons, and a 50% impact on my final grade.


An old friend came in from out of town?
My suit was at the cleaners?
A terrible plague? Locusts?!
Crap. How about a heartfelt ‘I’m sorry’? Thank you, Sweet Intercessors! I will write for Thee, and in abundance…

All kidding and pretense firmly aside, the Newb extends his humble apologies for the substantial delay in posting the column. i had to dive into some obscure books and mount a case revolving around French anarchism and origins of a school of thought. it was immensely fun and enriching, but demanded substantially more time than i thought it would when i began. You, Good People suffered for that loss of time.  but now I offer you my amends in the form of a three-episode super cobo pack of snakry derision, thorough confusion and other horrors too numerous to name.  Get some tea, or perhaps something stronger. make sure you can reach the toilet paper, depending on where you choose to partake. You’ll be here a while.

The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Season 2 Episode 3: \\What is Dead May Never Die\\

By: Matt Lynch

“Every man who has tasted my cooking has told me what a good whore I am.” – Shae

Part the First, wherein the Black is sent packing and Jon Snow finally proves he’s human – unless the undead bleed in Westeros.

  • Old Craster seems a might peeved that his nighttime Yeti feeding was observed, and Lord Mormont equally so that Jon went and dropped his sword again.
  • Oh, dear me… the moon-faced git has truly fallen hard for Gilly the Sister Wife. He’s handing out his dear Mum’s jewelry now. Those two might just make some ugly kids one day.

Part the Second, wherein incessant off-camera panting reigns, and Bran is informed that he’s not so special after all and may just need better drugs.

  • What is it with Bran and freaky animist dreams?  I really wish that these little vignettes would be, oh, I dunno, maybe explained somehow.
  • The old Maester reminds very much of Terrence Stamp, which makes me think of The Limey. I liked that movie.  A lot. Oh wait, the show’s still on…
  • Apparently Westeros don’t need no stinkin’ magic, and Bran should just get the silly notion that any exists out of his head.  Okay, sure.  That explains the live dragons.

Part the Third, wherein we meet Brienne, the first truly interesting non-Imply character in months, and dueling redheads steal the show.

  • Ser Loras got smoked. And not in the good, tender, loving way, either.
  • Damn! That is a formidable and frightening woman. I like her already.
  • So, now Renly’s got himself his own Dog, or Bitch, or something. Brienne is one hell of a bodyguard, that’s for sure.
  • Cat can’t catch a break. Loras mocks her, the “queen” disdains her, and Renly treats her like a much dumber woman than she is.
  • Oh Gawdamighty! Winter again?!  Somebody put these people in touch with a decent meteorologist for the love of all that’s holy – well, that and for my sanity.
  • On the upside, I like Brienne even more watching her scoff at any feminine title. She promises to be a storyline worth following.

Part the Fourth, wherein high and mighty Ego King gets insolent. and pissy…. again, and is given a commission worthy of his stature.

  • I’m not kidding. That is one wicked-ass fireplace.
  • Ah, the love of siblings long separated.
  • But Daddy… but, but, you never loved me… you gave me away.  Someone please slap  Theon again, please? The flat smacking against his scruffy little cheek does my heart good.

Part the Fifth, wherein Impness finally lends some worth to the broadcast, and Shay brags about her domestic skills.

  • Shae’s going a little stir crazy. Poor thing.
  • Tyrion as a protective lover? Now that’s a new twist.
  • That scene was way too short.  I only hope for more Imp to come.

Part the Sixth, wherein Sansa projects that special desolate fealty of which only she is capable, and gets a new stylist in the bargain.

  • I don’t know the actress who plays Sansa, but I’m pretty sure that if she keeps up this revealing emotion without words bit for the entire season, she may deserve an award as nice as Peter Dinklage’s.
  • I’d lay a fair wager that Cersei is bereft of a conscience.
  • Hmmm… Shae will be serving as Sansa’s handmaiden. Well played, Tyrion. Well played.
  • Uh-oh, loads of suppressed rage pilling forth from poor Sansa, all with such a fragile edge of loneliness.

Part the Seventh, wherein the Imp hatches a bit of skulduggery, and we learn that even in Westeros, they still sell Milk of Magnesia.

  • Tyrion is on a spy-hunt. What a glorious game of ‘Who’s the Rat?’ My money’s on Littllefinger.
  • Can I also say that watching the interplay between between the Imp and Baelish is the most fun I’ve had all night? This means not only that both Aidan Gillen and Dinklage are superb actors, but also that there hasn’t been nearly enough killing going on.
  • Baelish is beginning to see that he actually has a worthy adversary in the Imp. This does not bode well for Tyrion. That Baelish is a slippery bastard.

Part the Eighth, wherein we witness a heaping pile of uncomfortable man-love, and we learn that by the yardstick of royal bedchamber behavior, maybe the Lannisters aren’t the most twisted after all.

  • Eeesh.  I’m an enlightened, open-minded modern man of he world and all, but I really didn’t need, well, pretty much all of that.
  • Apparently, Loras is a little pouty about the whole “Brienne of the Kingsguard” deal. Guess we know who the wife is.
  • Things are looking up, based solely on the new boudoir companion and her choice in vestments, but this has got to be the most awkward love scene ever.
  • Ha! Only a confirmed gay king would open the pillow talk to his fetching bride with “Love your gown.” Just saying’.
  • Shut up and kiss her, Renly. That’s how this dance goes.
  • Gah! Did she just say that it’s perfectly alright for her brother to come in and help? Okay, really, this scene is like the Ving Rhames basement scene in Pulp Fiction. It cannot end fast enough.

Part the Ninth, wherein Cersei (yes!) feels pain.

  • Tyrion tries desperately to explain the world of entangling alliances to his cruel sister, and she just goes all “I’ll rip up your little piece of paper, too” on him. Stay classy, Cersei.

Part the Tenth, wherein Ego-boy finally picks a side, and another bizarre seaside ritual unfolds.

  • Careful with that candle, Theon. You might singe your classic Shaggy van dyke.
  • The Drowned God, now?! How many freakin’ gods are there in Westeros? By my count we’re somewhere around twelve now – in a landmass that seems to be roughly the size of Connecticut. I’m gonna need like a flowchart or something before all this is over, aren’t I?

Part the Eleventh, wherein someone finally gets away with calling Tyrion a dwarf, and the Imp unearths a mole.

  • Bronn is awesome.
  • Pycelle is a rat of high quality. He turned on Varys faster than Eagles fans turned on Ricky Watters.
  • What’s with the beard? think I’m missing something again.
  • Off to jail goes the Maester, as Tyrion shows the kind heart hiding beneath that small and deceitful chest of his.

Part the Twelfth, wherein a Spider and an Imp imbibe, and the runner-up line of the night is spoken.

  • Yeah, yeah, Varys, a priest a rabbi and a sherpa walk into a pedicure joint… your point?
  • “Power resides where men believe it resides.” So true, that. Varys is like an incessantly prattling Silent Bob.

Part the Ultimate: Alas poor Yoren. We knew him well. He was a crafty old bastard who was good with a blade.

  • Wow, so a march to the wall feels a lot like a cub scout campout. Dead-tired boys snoring everywhere.
  • Oh, no… I feel very bad about Yoren chances. My experience with this series is that a big, heart-warming and connective reveal like the speech about killing Willem is a sure harbinger of death.
  • Yep. There it is. Dammit. I liked Yoren.
  • Funny how poorly all these supposed gutter rats run from a fight and can’t seem to obey warnings, isn’t it? Just like their leader.
  • That crossbow scene was flat-out awesome. More like that, please.
  • Hmmm. So Arya saved Jaqen’s life. That feels significant somehow. We’re down a Yoren, but have gained a Jaqen. Fair trade.
  • Oh, crap. Arya’s lot just keeps getting worse. Now she’s in Lannister hands. At least Gendry’s safe now. Poor blonde kid. The penalty for stealing the wrong helmet is death, fool.

Okay, so better than last week, and the introduction of at least two new characters with promise will keep me in for next.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Newb review for Episode 4, “Garden of Bones.”

Beyond The Wall Episode Reviews Podcast Reviews

Beyond The Wall – Season 2 – Ep. 3

Reminder… this show is NOT safe for work… just like Game of Thrones.

Episode 3 – What Is Dead May Never Die

Chooch Schubert moderates this week’s panel discussion with Vivid Muse, Christiana and Nutty.

P.G. Holyfield (author of Murder at Avedon Hill and SFM Founder
Nuchtchas (Host of Nutty Bites Podcast)
Chooch (Into the Blender Podcast Co-Host, and bassist of Ditched By Kate)
Vivid Muse (Into the Blender Podcast Co-Host), Girls’ Rules Podcast Host)
Christiana Ellis (too many podcasts to list here 😉 but you can check out all things Christiana at her site.

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Episode Reviews Reviews

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

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 2: \\The Night Lands\\
By: Matt Lynch

“There are no goats, Half-man.” – Shagga

Welcome back, Friends!  The late, great St. Douglas Adams once declared with authority his abiding love of deadlines, especially the little whooshing sound they made as they flew by.  A sage, a visionary and a speaker of great truths was he. ‘Nuff said.

Buckle up and ingest the snark, my gentle snowflakes…


Part the First, wherein a waterway is soiled and a Kingsman is very nearly circumcised on horseback.


  • We open with a gentle pastoral creek, the tinkling of flowing water our sole companion.  So relaxing… Albeit not for a wary, even jumpy, Arya.  Wait, wait, that’s not water! It is tinkling, though.
  • Jaquen holds promise, as opposed to his two ‘scared straight’-inspired cage inhabitants.
  • I might pay to see someone shave a spider’s arse. Call it a character flaw.
  • What you couldn’t pay me enough to be right about now is this: Gendry.  Seems he is now relying on a den of greedy snakes for his own safety.

Part the second, wherein an arachnid pays a social call, and dietary habits provide an amusing allegory.

  • Woot! The whistling wee man greets the ears… Impness!
  • “Something tells me that Lord Varys doesn’t like fish pie…” Indeed! Snicker.
  • Love the menace fairly dripping from Varys’ jowls as he compliments his own confidentiality.
  • Only to be topped by Tyrion’s “where your friends are concerned.”
  • The fangs truly come out in the exchange at the door.  “…the big fish eat the little fish and I just keep on paddling…” – a definite runner-up for line of the night.

Part the Third, wherein Cersei shows her rending skills yet again and another threat of cold winds or some such rears its ugly head.

  • Cersei is a world-class bitch with an aching heart.
  • Woot! Zombies at the wall! Oh never mind, this scene is all talk-talk, not burn-burn.

Part the Fourth, wherein farts (as always) are funny, and Samwell Tarley is (as always) a moon-faced git.

  • Wrestling with Violet, eh? So that’s what the kids are calling it these days.
  • Uh-oh, Moon-face has fallen for the toothy damsel in distress.
  • What does happen to the boys? I wonder. Could this be, oh what’s the word… foreshadowing. Bah.
  • I will give Sam credit for clearly stating that you can’t steal a person. He does offer the most human perspective this series has to offer, even if he is a soft and whiny moron.

Part the Fifth, wherein we all feel a mite thirsty and the latest Red Waste christmas toy is revealed – hey, Kids, it the one and only Head In A Saddlebag!

  • Props to the acting in the segue.  I actually felt somewhat parched in my own family room.
  • Yeek. Justice is swift and harsh in the Waste. Imagine if all the locals carried Colt Peacemakers.  Why, it’d be… Arizona.
  • Klingon again?! Make them stop. Please?

Part the Sixth, wherein Theon partakes in a little shipboard nasty, and has sex as well.

  • Well, old Theon’s a bit full of himself, and the “hard men” line was groan-worthy.
  • Okay, so I’ve bitched and moaned about Bubba Snow-Tep for a while now, but honestly I’d watch a full hour of that stiff, sullen bastard rather than put up with ten more seconds of the Ego King, here.

Part the Seventh, wherein the cutscene is absolutely priceless and sausage drippings steal the show.

  • For some reason, Elvis Costello leaps to mind, although detectives works much better than perverts, phonetically.
  • Not sure whether to cringe or giggle at the wiping and kissing. Perhaps both.
  • “Poorly handled.” Bwahahahaaa!
  • Okay, so Joffrey made Ros cry, and now Littlefinger is threatening to sell her into horror and death. The one must die, and the other must not remain long in this world if he makes good on his veiled threat.

Part the Eighth, wherein Bronn gets a promotion and the Imp culls the Queen Regent’s herd.

  • Dinklage. Award. Stat. Seriously.
  • Never, ever, ever call Tyrion a dwarf. Good to know.
  • Good old Bronn’s coming up in the world, despite his complete lack of scruples.

Part the Ninth, wherein genitalia and urination feature prominently, and Gendry reveals that he is at least as observant as we are.

  • No way that wide-eyed waif is a gutter rat. Or a boy. Sorry.
  • Well, the companions are officially co-conspirators now.  ‘Bout time.
  • Ha! Gendry is a fairly chivalrous joker.

Part the Tenth, wherein the Ego King gets his comeuppance, Iron style, and a mystery woman makes her entrance.

  • Awww… guess you’re not all that, are you Theon? You’re so loved that no one cares that you’ve returned.
  • See, this old guy here on the docks is the closest to my people I’ve seen thus far in the series. If only he’d spat on Theon’s shoes, the scene would’ve been complete.
  • But wait, who’s this young lady fan from nowhere? Fishy.
  • Theon literally can’t help himself, can he? Even when he’s so clearly being tested. I mean, there’s swagger and then there’s idiocy.
  • Holy crap! That’s a fireplace.  Release the Kraken!
  • Queue tender reunion between a dad and his boy. Can I have one, just one, reason to give a single s–t about any of these people?
  • Oh, so THAT’s what “I just unwittingly fingered my own sister” face looks like. Eewww.
  • Discord, and another self-declared king. Goody. Can we get back to the murder and mayhem again?

Part the Eleventh, which has pirates! Well, okay, pirate. Just the one really. But he has got a sweet accent, and is walking proof that Westeros is multi-cultural after all.

  • I like this pirate’s aspirations, and his general demeanor… and his take on religion. This dude’s got potential.
  • Oh, great, sonny boy is a proselytizer.

Part the Twelfth, wherein the Lannisters have a wee spat, we learn that Joffrey is a psycho, and Cersei reveals the source and depth of her hatred for Tyrion.

  • Ouch.  I mean, really. Ouch.
  • What is this stirring in me? Sympathy? For Cersei? I’ll need a wash after this.

Part the Thirteenth, wherein Stannis plays with toys and a wicked redhead toys with Stannis.

  • Who does this evil witch want burned?
  • Apparently freaky sorceresses want babies, too. Huh.
  • If I had to pick a place for a roll in the hay, an iron table filled with action figures would not be high on the list.

Part the Last, wherein another infant meets a grim fate, and Bubba Snow-Tep meets a blow to the head.

  • No. Don’t go into the woods alone, Snow, you dumbass! Haven’t you seen a single horror flick, or are you really that dense?
  • A baby-snatching Yeti? Wait a minute… maybe I could get back into this series after all.

Well, the Newb has never been one to waltz around the wisteria or otherwise call it differently than he sees it, Dear Friends. That episode? Not much there there, if you catch my drift. I suppose we’re still firmly hitched to the old Exposition Express for another couple of weeks.  Despite my better judgement, I guess I’ll take that ride.


Cheers, All!