Monday, June 13, 2011

Review - Game of Thrones Season 1 Episode 9 Baelor

That was fucking awesome. Despite being spoiled by my brother over a month ago (not that I mind), the final scene held me in rapt attention. Masterfully directed by veteran Alan Taylor, it truly captured the cruel world of Game of Thrones, as Ned is sentenced to death by Joffrey. I knew that would happen, but the scope and enormity of the situation was magnified, each beat getting one step closer to death--Arya finding out about the execution, climbing up on the statue, Ned seeing her, Ned confessing, and finally, Ned, unable to see Arya, bowing his head in defeat. Just like that, someone who seemed to be the main character is dead.

But that wasn't the only shocking thing about the episode. Unlike other shows which would have built an entire episode surrounding the death, if they were to even broach the subject, Game of Thrones rolls right on ahead. Even without the death, it would have been a fantastic episode. In a turn of events, Robb is able to trick the Lannisters, dangling out 2,000 men to lure Tywin while capturing Jaime with the remaining 18,000. It's a nice twist, considering how Jaime seemed near-invincible in previous descriptions, and it greatly enhanced the shock factor of the end. After Jaime is captured, there is a sense that all will be well. Trade Jaime for Ned and the girls, maybe declare peace, and that's that. Instead, Ned is dead and Robb will surely be pissed and quick to make a rash decision.

At the Wall, Robb talks to Master Aemon, who is revealed to be a Targaryen. Beyond this new piece of information,  Aemon has an important message which reflects not only on the immediate situation of the war and Ned's capture, but on Westeros in general. There is duty and there is love, and when the Targaryens were slaughtered, Aemon stuck to duty. That's why those on the Wall cannot have outside relationships. While Robb says that Ned will choose honor, he picks love--I suppose he wanted to live as well--and pays the dear consequence.

We don't get to see any battles, but a considerable amount of time is paid to Tyrion, Bronn, and the prostitute Shae the night before. They talk and we learn quite a bit about Tyrion and how his father was a real monster to him. Before the battle even begins, Tyrion is knocked out and wakes up to find the tribes killing those still remaining, a funny scene among the grimness.

Across the sea, Drogo's wound continues to fester and he is on the verge of death. As Jorah tells Daenerys, Dothraki don't care about blood and will fight for leadership, including killing her baby. With this in mind, Daenerys asserts her power and gets the 'witch' to perform blood magic on Drogo--which involves lots of horse blood and an awful screeching sound. There is some dissent, but after Jorah successfully defends her (armor FTW!), everyone falls in line before Daenerys begins to give birth.

I was dealing with computer problems for the latter half of this week, so I wasn't able to read the book again, but hopefully I'll finish before the season finale.

  What's great about HBO is that they have big budgets and are able to get a big set with tons of people yelling and screaming at Ned. You can't help but think that maybe they deserve what they'll get from Joffrey.

Score: 9.7/10
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