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Game of Thrones



Episode 8 - The Pointy End

20 July 2013


Synopsis: Lannister soldiers slay what remains of the Stark guard and capture Sansa. Arya escapes though with the help of Syrio. Up at the Wall Jon Snow learns of his father's imprisonment. He has bigger problems though when one of the dead bodies he found north of the Wall suddenly comes to life and attacks him. Robb Stark prepares the men of Winterfell for war and has to keep their egos in check. Tyrion and Bronn are captured by the Hill Tribes. He promises them the Vale if they help him return home safely. Sansa begs for mercy for her father and Joffrey agrees if Ned will confess and say that he is the rightful King. Across the Sea Dany asks Drogo to not rape the captured slave women and he agrees.

The Good:
This was strong and impressive stuff. What pleases me most is the pacing. After setting the scene for six and a half episodes, Game of Thrones has suddenly kicked violently into gear and this was all action and consequence. It's so rewarding as a viewer to suddenly have the simmering conflicts come to a boil and have all the characters behaving in believable fashion.

The action picked up instantly with the rest of Ned's men being killed and his daughters being hunted down. The sword fight with Syrio protecting Arya was good but it was soon outmatched by two even better scenes. First Drogo shows why he is master of the horde and puts down one of his lieutenants without using his weapons. The choreography of his movement was excellent and his casting looks even better the more we get to see him do. Then up at the wall we have the Walking Dead as one of the men Jon found north of the Wall turns zombie thanks to the magic of the White Walkers. This was a tremendous turn of events and a good scene for Jon. It finally confirmed to the men of the Nights Watch that the threat they face is real. It also showed us that the Walkers don't need to appear on screen to pose a physical threat. Finally it confirmed to Jon that his new family need him and he can't leave the wall to go help his old one.

Let's jump back to Drogo for a moment and again I thought this week's Dothraki installment was very good. I pointed out last week that rape was part of accepted sacking and pillaging and that Dany would have to deal with that fact. Here she sees this mistreatment firsthand and puts a stop to it. It was very good to have it addressed and it was no surprise that Drogo made a compromise to keep his love happy. However you do have to wonder whether this was just a sop for Dany's conscience. After all there are thousands of Dothraki and she won't be able to keep an eye on them all.

Tyrion was back and once more his wit and intelligence were well presented. I like that he had to bargain something of real value to convince the Hill Tribe to back him. Essentially he committed his House to making war with the Vale and deposing those up at the Eyrie just to save his life. As charming as he is he essentially condemned thousands to die so that he could live. I really like that about this show, they haven't hidden from the selfishness and immorality at the heart of what is going on. We then got the excellent scene where Tyrion returns home and has to tell his father of his dealings (see Best Moment).

We haven't seen much of Robb Stark but now he gets to stand front and centre and show his mettle. Twice he had to face down grumbling about his command and he did well not to blink.

At Kings Landing I liked a lot of what went on. Cersei puts nasty emotional pressure on Sansa to get what she wants but there was also a logic to what was going on. Ser Barristan is furious to have been replaced by Jaime but King Robert's death was a good excuse and he is getting on in years. Similarly Joffrey doesn't condemn Ned to die, he would rather have the rumours about his illegitimacy squashed. In both cases we know these actions are serving the Lannister agenda but at the same time they are hardly illogical requests. Though we don't know whether to trust Varys, he certainly seems to be aiding Ned at this point. I liked his pragmatic response to Ned asking why he did nothing when swords were flying ("When you look at me, do you see a hero?").

The Bad: So much of what happened in this episode felt like good adaptions of what is clearly a more complicated story. The move to war would obviously take weeks as men gathered into one place, ditto Tyrion travelling from the Vale to the Lannister camp. The one moment that felt too sudden was Lord Umber's fingers being bitten off by Robb's Direwolf. Umber gets up and agrees to follow Robb and begins laughing at the incident. Yes I know it is shorthand to show Robb marshalling his father's men and Umber being a hardy northerner but it was just too much. He should have been in too much pain to laugh it off and frankly the other guests should have been panicking that the wrong twitch of their knife and fork might bring more mutilation from this wild animal.

The Unknown: I wonder if Arya's wolf Nymeria (102) has been following her to Kings Landing? It wouldn't surprise me to see a reunion in a nearby forest.

We know that Renly fled and presumably has gone looking for his brother. Is there a House Baratheon with men to call upon? You would think the Starks would be looking to team up with them in any fight with the Lannisters.

Best Moment:
Tyrion enters his father's tent and brings three of the Hill Tribe leaders and Bronn with him. His father has no warmth for his return which tells us all we need to know about the relationship between them over the years. Tyrion, though a little nervous, takes it in good humour saying "Sorry to disappoint you." He introduces all three Tribe leaders with name and father's name. He then comes to Bronn but Tyrion doesn't know his father's name. Hilariously Bronn fills in the gap with "You wouldn't know him."

Tywin makes it more personal by pointing out that Jaime wouldn't have allowed himself to be captured so easily. Again Tyrion is too quick to let it bother him and replies "We have our differences Jaime and I. He is braver, I am better looking." Soon Tyrion explains the promises he has made which Tywin (as Lannisters do) honours. Shagga insists that Tyrion fight with him in the upcoming battles as insurance, a request which Tywin looks like he will accept.

It was such a good scene packing humour and character moments in while also informing us of the battle deployments that will take place next episode.

I'm delighted to say Game of Thrones is getting better and that the hard detail work is now paying off. This was exciting and action packed and sets us up for more of the same.



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  • Hi Milad, thanks for writing. I'm not sure. I assume he doesn't. I assume that because a) you would think incest would be a shocking thing. b) Joffrey seemed sad when Robert was dying.

    I think Joffrey wouldn't want any claim against him to go out into the realm and put doubts in his subjects minds. It's possible that he knows something of the truth and doesn't want to think about it.

    I haven't read the books so I am just piecing it together from what we have seen.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 13/06/2011 7:32pm (7 years ago)

  • Hi Again;
    Still reading your reviews and enjoying them. I have a question : Does Joffrey know that he is a bastard? I ask this question because you mentioned it :
    "Joffrey doesn't condemn Ned to die, he would rather have the rumours about his illegitimacy squashed."

    Posted by Milad, 12/06/2011 8:03pm (7 years ago)

  • Hey Dave, thanks for getting in touch. I will definitely podcast about Season 2. I've been really pressed for time this year. It's nice to hear from you guys and see that people want more audio!

    Posted by The TV Critic, 11/06/2011 10:59am (7 years ago)

  • Hi Robin, not upto date with your schedule or potential new podcasts, but i think they would have been great for this series. Def enjoy your style of reviews and hope, come the end of this series, its worthy enough for you to (even if its for 5 - 10 mins) go back and do what you do best - especially as season 2 got the green light. Have downloaded your last few "misc" poddies so maybe you will discuss G.O.T in these. Cheers for all the work on LOST - listened to every review - didnt always agree lol, but then thats what its all about right?! Dave

    Posted by Dave, 10/06/2011 2:06pm (7 years ago)

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