Sunday, May 29, 2011

Review - Game of Thrones Season 1 Episode 7 You Win or You Die

I've started reading A Game of Thrones and while I'm not very far into the book (just past where the first episode ended), this new perspective has given me greater appreciation for what David Benioff and D. B. Weiss had to do. One part of the show that I like is how background information is distributed, doled out over the course of the episodes in the middle of conversation. In the book, however, much of this information is front-loaded, as one would expect, in the opening chapters. In fact there were two pieces of new information in "You Win or You Die" that immediately caught my attention as something I had just read. For the writers to integrate background information into the show without compromising plot integrity or pacing is quite a feat, especially considering how well it all turned out.

As far as how much the show stuck to the book, everything is pretty much the same except for some nonessential scenes. The biggest difference, perhaps, was that one character seemed a lot bitchier in the book than on the show, with far more pointed dialogue than on the show.

I haven't read up to "You Win or You Die" yet, so everything in the episode came as a surprise. It's the episode where things changed due to necessity. Robert unexpected dies in the episode, and the whole thing is played off as a foregone conclusion. I suppose to have a game about a throne, the throne must be vacated first. This sets off a chain of events in which Ned fails to see what is really going on. In the final scene, Ned has Robert's final words spoken aloud, affirming that Ned will be in control until Joffrey is of age. But Cersei, of course, has different ideas and tears up the paper. The final twist brings things even further, Littlefinger putting a knife to Ned's throat.

If this internal strife wasn't enough, Daenerys is almost assassinated and is narrowly saved by Mormont. The result is Khal Drogo venging to do all these things to Westeros. Jason Momoa is damn scary in the scene.

Tywin skinning the stag had lots of significance, as I learned from the book that the animal is the Baratheon symbol. Keeping in line with the ominous foreshadowing, the opening scene is wrought with implications for Jaime.

Score: 9.0/10
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