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Game of Thrones



Episode 10 - Mhysa

18 June 2013

Credit HBO

Synopsis: Bran runs into Sam and Gilly as they cross paths at the Wall. Sam makes it to Castle Black and warns Maester Aemon about the White Walkers. Ygritte catches up to Jon and shoots him with several arrows but he makes it home too. Lord Bolton's bastars son continues to torture Theon. Balon disowns him but Yara insists on attempting a rescue. Arya and the Hound kill some of Walder Frey's men. Ser Davos helps Gendry escape and only the message from the Nights Watch convinces Melissandre to spare him. Jaime makes it to Kings Landing for an emotional reunion with Cersei. Joffrey continues to be frustrated by Tywin, Tyrion leaves Sansa to her tears and Varys asks Shae to leave for Tyrion's sake. The people of Yunkai accept Daenerys as their mother.

The Good: This couldn't help but feel a little underwhelming on the plot front but there were a number of scenes with emotive power.

Probably chief among them was Arya killing her first man and using a combination of reckless determination and cunning which we fully expect to be her future at this point. The Hound as her reluctant protector is a natural fit. The coin given to her by Jaqen H'ghar also comes into play and I can still think of nothing more satisfying than Arya changing her face and killing without the Lannisters knowing who she is until it's too late.

Speaking of the Lannisters we got another preview of things to come when Joffrey screams at Tywin during a Small Council meeting. Once again Tywin stands his ground and Joffrey leaves in a huff but how many times can that situation be repeated? Tyrion gets crushed once more by his father and very wisely leaves Sansa to her grief, just as they were beginning to get along. The brief scene with Jaime and Cersei was deeply tantalising and I thought both actors played the emotion of the moment really well. It was helped by Cersei's humanising reminiscence about baby Joffrey being a joy. I was also quite moved by Varys' plea to Shae to leave for the good of Tyrion and the realm. There are few men left who think in such terms. Although to give him credit Tywin does his best to make the utilitarian case for the Red Wedding. He certainly wasn't gloating or mocking the Starks.

Unlike Walder Frey and Roose Bolton whose scene was deliciously set up by Bran's story about how the God's punish those who betray their duties as host. We can only hope whichever Gods are watching over Westeros remember the Rat Cook. I have to say Bolton's mocking epithet for Robb - "Forever young!" was a beautifully scripted taunt. The suggestion from Tyrion that Walder Frey will be blamed for the murders, rather than Tywin, was hopefully a telling comment.

There were several fun moments throughout the episode. Tyrion's stern instruction to Pod that "It's not easy being drunk all the time" was funny as was Sam telling blind Aemon that Gilly's baby was "not what it looks like."

The Bad: Nothing as such but let's talk about some other things...

The Unknown: What happened to Mance Rayder?

Bran's group heading north of the Wall was fine although the suggestion that their mission must be connected to saving Westeros from the White Walkers surprised me. I suppose you could see a connection between the two events given their magical connection but I don't remember it being brought up before. The acknowledgement that the daggers from the Fist of the First Men are made of Dragon Glass certainly fits with my understanding of where the battle will be fought between Ice and Fire. It would be interesting to know what Dragon Glass is exactly or maybe I should say how is it created?

It was interesting to hear Stannis point out that dragons are magic and therefore he is justified in whatever method he uses to claim the Iron Throne. Even more intriguingly Melissandre instantly acknowledges the importance of the White Walkers and agrees with Davos that he will be needed to lead Stannis' armies. I really did enjoy the Davos scenes and his selfless defence of what he thinks is right is of course very likeable. But the Stannis stories always suffer from brevity. It seemed flippant that Davos was made Hand again without anyone watching him and for Gendry to escape makes Stannis' men look utterly unprofessional. After all that executing Davos would have at least restored some order but instead he is forgiven, again, and left with a powerful position. We don't know exactly what Melissandre is up to but Davos has now escaped multiple life threatening situations in ways which have been far from convincing.

We finally had it confirmed that the Bolton's are the worst prison guards in Westeros and had to suffer through more Theon torture. Yara's decision to save him was given a rousing tone but we still don't have much information on how the Greyjoy occupation is panning out.

Ygritte's peppering of Jon with arrows felt underwhelming. He came off as something of a jerk for not offering more of an apology but his wounds seemed like the kind he will recover from with no permanent damage.

Finally to Dany. In her combined role as Spartacus, Simba and Moses she once more played the part just fine. The idea of a Queen who will set all the slaves free made for an arresting visual image and underscores the goodness which she seems to represent at this moment. But I have a couple of issues with this.

One is the silence on her part about her plans. Both at Astapor and Yunkai she never revealed to us why she was staying in Essos to free slaves. If she needs a bigger army or wants a safe port or just believes in freedom it would be nice to hear more about it. The reason I would like that is to provide context for her actions. It's hard to feel an emotional connection to a project if you don't know what the goal is.

The second sees this moment connected to the Red Wedding. Everything for Dany has been easy since she left Qarth. It was interesting to see the poor masses walking out of the gates of Yunkai in front of Dany's powerful army in a mirror image to her bedraggled remnants lined up outside wealthy Qarth. She has come a long way and seems like she is the answer to everything. She will defeat the White Walkers, she will topple the Lannisters, if need be she could crush Frey, Bolton and all the others who need squashing. But her fairytale story feels so easy that I am left not knowing how to feel about it. If she is destined to be the answer to every question that would feel a bit simple wouldn't it? And we just learnt at the Twins that Game of Thrones is about turning tropes on their head and slitting their throats. So either something horrible needs to happen to Dany or her victory could feel like a giant anticlimax.

Again I say this to explain my emotional reaction to our season ending on this happy scene. I don't have a problem with the plotting so far. And I know that we have a long way to go. The way her Khalasar fell to pieces at the end of Season One suggests the writing is perfectly capable of throwing us logical curve balls. But I need more details to become fully absorbed in her story. I need to know what could go right and could go wrong if I am going to cheer for her to win. Right now things seem easy on Essos and that doesn't match the horribly hard reality on Westeros.

Best Moment: People have sung Maisie Williams' praises for a long time now and yet she hasn't had much to do this season. Here she earned her cheers as she gave Arya the dead eyed lies needed to lull the Frey man into offering his neck.

Conclusion: It's a Game of Thrones cliché, but nonetheless true, that there were a lot of pieces being moved around the chess board here. Clearly this will allow Season 4 to kick off with everyone where they need to be but it made for a mildly disappointing finale. That's fine though I await next season very eagerly.

So far Game of Thrones has actually been a very consistent viewing experience. Each season has started full of promise with a few moments that really sucked me in. At some point I always become frustrated by the lack of context or missing details. This season had the Red Wedding though, an event which my scoring system struggled to comprehend. My hope is that it will benefit the show going forward by adding to the sense that anything really can happen. However I'm not convinced by that yet. The tonal inconsistency remains and leaves me unsure of exactly what I'm watching. But I will be watching it, whatever it is.



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  • I think you did nit get the purpose of the Theon scenes in seson 3: they were to flesh out the guy in front of him. We know that he's a sadist but it's more than that. He gives Theon hope and destroys it. He pretends to say or do one thing then either does the opposite or he follows through rather arbitrarily, all in an effort to mess Theon's head up and to humiliate and degrade him until he moves on to take Theon's identoty from him. I understand that you'd rther not have seen this but considering where Theon ends up in season 4 (and presumably 5) one has to wonder whether showing this instead of constant exposition in what were only 3 appearances in season 4 would not have served the story well. Show, don't tell. It also answered the mystery of who burned down Winterfell, which you had specifically asked be answered back in season 2.


    Posted by Great Eagle, 29/03/2015 9:52am (4 years ago)

  • Do you remember where that was? I will pass it on to Roberto...

    Posted by The TV Critic, 17/06/2013 11:11am (5 years ago)

  • Just want to input that I read an interviews with the show runners that they are planning to go for at least 8 seasons with the show.

    Yeah I agree, a suspension is the probably fairest way to go. Well, you'll be hearing again a year from now. Cheers.

    Posted by Dave, 17/06/2013 3:31am (5 years ago)

  • Dave - I really have no problem with your comments nor consider them nit picks. Nor is this a forum for only positivity as people tell me all the time :-)

    See how you feel in a year, it's a long time away. We agreed with you on the podcast that Shireen's hair is definitely blonde! :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 13/06/2013 11:47am (6 years ago)

  • I posted this yesterday, but it didn't came through. Either I had browser issue once again or you decide not to post it. If it's the latter, I don't blame you since once again, I'm being a downer. I'll post it again, the comment that I posted was:

    Hi Robin, I appreciate your kind words. I have been thinking about it and I made the decision that it's best if I restrict myself from commenting on the website. Looking back on that I should have made the decision myself instead of laying it out to you, since it will look bad for you if you said "yes, I don't want you to comment here anymore". That's my bad. Now it's not anything you did, I just feel like I'm distraction and it's unfair to you and other commenters that my comments takes up space in the podcasts. Reflecting back at my comments, most of the time I bring a lot of negativity or bring up points that some might consider nitpicks i.e. hair color, bird attack, etc. when the podcasts suppose to encourage more uplifting discussions about the show and what you mention on your review. I don't blame if anyone thinks that reading my comments are a downer and ruins their enjoyment of the show. Thanks for you and Roberto reading out my comments in the podcasts, I really appreciate it. Looking forward to reading your Breaking Bad and Dexter reviews.

    Posted by Dave, 13/06/2013 2:59am (6 years ago)

  • Sorry for being so sensitive Swift. Sadly at this point I'm worries that The Walking Dead may never recover to the level it was at before.

    Whereas I have a lot of faith in Game of Thrones to deliver on the big moments and the major characters. I am definitely a fan.

    But I think the books' existence add an unusual dimension to the show. If I didn't know there was a book I would think Stannis Baratheon was a very poorly written and fairly minor character because that's how he's come across. But I assume he is more than that because of the vibes that come off from book readers (together with the Shadow Baby obviously :-).

    And he is just one example. The Brotherhood without Banners did very little this season and I still don't know much about them. If this were a TV show I would assume they will play an important role down the road. But given what happened at the Red Wedding or north of the Wall, they could all end up dead next week and not mean much as a movement.

    It's not the best example but I continue to feel like context is missing and strains in the adaption make it hard for me to be as emotionally engaged as I should be. I've felt that across all 3 seasons, despite all the good stuff.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 12/06/2013 3:10pm (6 years ago)

  • Robin please note I do not say what I say in order to pick a fight. I say these things because I am a fan. I have been reading and listening to your reviews for a couple of years a fan I can tell when you are very enthusiastic about a show. I can also tell when you're not. even on Bad episodes of "The Walking Dead" there is the feeling that this subpar episode was an aberration, and you expect the next episode to return to the usual high standards.

    in contrast, on Game of Thrones you seem to expect average nothing extraordinary. Game of Thrones like all sci-fi fantasy is is built on the premise that people are people. As such, the viewer/ reader shouldn't have to make A large logical leap to understand or infer the motives of the characters. the writers of this series have generally I believe been successful at this goal. That you don't see the obvious connections and motivations of the characters is sometimes troubling to me, a loyal reader. I don't want you to start reading the books in order to understand. Moreover I don't want you 2 need to take notes to understand either. what I would like is for you to have faith that you're in good hands until proven otherwise.

    I am a fan of the author Michael Crichton, some of my favorite books were written by him. When I finished reading the book timeline I could have almost taught a class in quantum mechanics. When the movie came out I was amazed that a book with such intelligence, sophistication and amazing attention to detail could be transformed into A basic Paul Walker action flick. in Game of Thrones they strive not to make this mistake. So far they have been successful in the endeavor. while there will be characters which are blended together and scenes which will be skipped ,the show mostly stays true to the original concepts themes and storyline. Book readers are privy to the inner monologues of the characters but TV viewers are blessed with the visual spectacle, and incredible characterizations performed by world class actors.

    Posted by Swift, 12/06/2013 3:01pm (6 years ago)

  • A week after the fact, I find myself still thinking about the Red Wedding and, more specifically, about the mass attention and discussion it got, becoming a phenomenon. As brutal as the scene was, we have seen more brutal. While it was surprising and shocking, we lost no favorite characters. It’s not easy to reconcile the fact that while in a grand sense we view the Lannisters as the bad guys and the Starks as the good guys, that, on the other hand, I don’t know anyone who liked Catelyn, Robb and Talisa more than Tyrion and Jamie.

    I wonder about the lasting effect of the Red Wedding. There was a certain cruel logic to Tywin’s query to Tyrion, “What makes killing thousands on a battlefield more noble than a dozen at dinner?” (a similar logic used by Melisandre when discussing the importance of the sacrifice of Gendry). This is a show with realistic consequences and, the truth is, Robb’s march on King’s Landing by way of Casterly Rock would probably have failed and it is true that his failure could have had even more extreme consequences if we are going by death toll. I’m sure that the segue between Bran’s story of the Rat Cook to Walder Frey wasn’t an accident and it seems fairly clear that Frey will get his day of reckoning.

    I view Game of Thrones not just as a story of a battle between families, but also smaller battles of individuals, often versus the families they are either a part of or supposed to be supporting.

    While I do not have the Starks to root for, at least not in the near future, I root for those whose moral compass appears to be in – or headed in – the right direction. I root for Sam and Jon, I root for Davos (I’m trying to root for Stannis, but he’s not making it easy), I root for The Hound and Arya, I root for Tyrion and Sansa. I’m not sure yet whether I root for Dany, as she seems to be ascending to even a higher place than merely the Iron Throne. She is becoming more God-like than a Queen.

    I have always felt that the quickest way to world peace would be an alien invasion. This is very well what the Kingdom of Westeros may soon be experiencing, a war that was inevitable from the opening prologue of the series. This season finale didn’t just continue to move the chess pieces, it is also establishing that the game we have been watching may not even be the actual game. The war for the Iron Throne could soon seem trivial in the face of what’s to come.

    Viewer score: 67 / 100

    Posted by Jeff, 11/06/2013 10:51pm (6 years ago)

  • I need to start proofreading my posts. I write them so quickly and without much second thought that I always find myself coming back later on...reading them...and being disgusted at the errors and typos galore. And clearly I like to shift between past, present and sometimes future tense all in the same sentence! :P

    Posted by Brando, 11/06/2013 5:02pm (6 years ago)

  • Dave - I'm sorry, I really have no grudge. Nor did I want to imply that by there being a "fundamental issue" between book readers and those watching that that is a bitter or antagonistic relationship.

    The reason I brought you into the discussion is because like Swift you have questioned comments I've made based on an issue of knowledge.

    Brando makes the point in a different way below. I think it's very hard for someone who knows more about the story than I do to appreciate where I'm coming from when I question a story. Not only do you know what happens to Jon Snow next but you also hear his thoughts and see his decision making where I am left with a much vaguer sense of that.

    I meant no hostility toward you at all. It's part of the problem of the written word rather than the spoken.

    I am being defensive in regards to Swift's suggestion of favouritism but not trying to pick a fight with book readers. I am genuinely grateful to you for your contributions this season.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 11/06/2013 4:36pm (6 years ago)

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