Tag: Stanza

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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