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Game of Thrones

HBO

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Episode 1 - Two Swords

9 April 2014

Credit HBO

Synopsis: Tywin makes two swords from Valyrian steel. He gives one to Jaime who refuses to head to Casterly Rock. Joffrey mocks him, Cersei won't touch him and Brienne reminds him of his oathe to protect Sansa. Sansa is spending time alone but agrees to wear a necklace given to her by Ser Dontos. Oberyn Martell arrives in Kings Landing with talk of revenge. Arya acts out vengeance of her own in partnership with the Hound. Jon Snow justifies his actions to the Nights Watch while Ygritte nurses her grudge in the company of cannibalistic Thenns. Daenerys watches her dragons grow up while flirting with Daario Naharis. The road to Meereen is paved with dead slaves.

The Good: Arya reenacting the murder of her friend was a suitably dark step on her journey. It also sets up a potential road toward one day cutting Joffrey's head off, although on this show anything we suspect will happen probably won't. The growing trust between Arya and the Hound makes for fun viewing although the fight scene was not particularly compelling. 

Oberyn Martell made a good entrance. Smart, quick and ruthless with a healthy grudge against the Lannisters. That should be interesting. Although I couldn't help look at his girlfriend and wonder if his story will somehow connect to Shae. Perhaps Oberyn's liberated attitude to sexuality will have an effect on Tyrion?

I like the difficult position Jaime is in. He's welcome nowhere and still has Brienne tugging at him to do right by Sansa. Seeing him make difficult decisions should be good. The scene with Joffrey had real tension as it's the first time we've been able to watch father and son properly interact.

I liked the twin scenes where Jon and Ygritte had to justify their behaviour to their superiors. Jon has grown up a bit and is able to stand up to Thorne in a way he couldn't in Season One. It was nice to see Janos Slynt made his way north safely and I loved Maester Aemon's retort that he knows when someone is lying because he grew up in King's Landing.

The Bad: I was slightly frustrated by the lack of new developments in this episode. I can't hold too much against the producers. They know that their story is complicated and many viewers will be grateful for a recap on where everyone is and what they are dealing with. My brain is entirely sympathetic to that situation. But my heart was saying "we know all this already, someone move forward in their story!" Every year I feel like that at some point and every year the show pays off their stories so I will ignore that feeling for now. But I register my desire for a season opener to give us a little bit of action.

Part of my disappointment was the attempt to milk tension from Arya and the Hound chatting with the Lannister soldier. We know what the Hound is like and we know the path Arya is on. There wasn't the slightest chance of them not starting a fight. Once that began I felt the staging was poor. It wasn't clear why Arya didn't get involved until she did. She could have helped him sooner.

The Unknown: It's still Spartacus time over with Daenerys as the Lords of Meereen get in touch with their inner Crassus. I await something of a twist there because so far everything continues to go a bit too smoothly for her. Her growing dragons could be a problem or perhaps the fact that the producers recast Daario Naharis suggests that he will be playing a bigger role soon.

Ser Jorah saying that Dragons can't be tamed sounds like good advice until you consider that the whole reason for the Seven Kingdoms is that they can be. Right?

Has Cercei just discovered Shae and Tyrion's affair? What does Sansa wearing Ser Dontos' necklace mean?

Did Tywin put a wolf on the fire to help make the swords? Or was that just symbolic of House Stark being defeated? Who is the second one for?

Best Moment: Arya remembering the exact words to repeat.

Conclusion: With only ten episodes per season it still irritates me slightly that we have to wait for viewers to recall where all the pieces are on the chess board. But as ever I will swallow my complaints if things kick into gear next week.

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  • You now know who the second sword was for and yes Tywin throwing the wolf pelt into a second fire was symbolic of his defeat of the Starks. The necklace and Shae thing were answered in the show so I won't bother with that and yes, Jorah does not know how dragons work.

    As for Arya, the killing f the Frey soldier in season 3 episode 10 was a big emotional deal for her after witnessing all the horror at the Twins. Killing Polliver is a different kind of murder because she starts smiling when he dies and she goes about it in a very meticulous, precise manner, showing us a different stage of her development. It may just look like Arya killing just some other dude but it happens in a different way and whereas you get the idea that in season 3 people are supposed to understand her anger and frustration, her colness here is meant to be disturbing and we should be embarassed for our support of this moral monster and she's like a child soldier too so there's that also. This is not healthy and I think the show cast it in a different light and the contrast of the credits with what happened brilliantly bring to light that paradox. You also might not have considered that she's hoping that the Hound might die in that fight nd as you now know, by the end of season 4 she has demonstrated that her list is more important than what he has done for her. The reason she didn't get involved was that she was not sure if the Hound was winning or not. Once tht was cler she felt safe to step in but she might have hoped to see him die here, given what we have been shown previously....and later.

    Posted by Great Eagle, 29/03/2015 10:05am (4 years ago)

  • I was the guy who mentioned he didn't like the old Daario. I agree that the previous actor who played Daario was more like in the books and that's why I didn't prefer him because I never liked the character in the books, for reasons Derek mentioned and then some, which I won't say because of spoilers.

    Posted by Dave, 14/04/2014 4:21am (5 years ago)

  • In Season Two, Tyrion has Janos for dinner as a guest of the hand. Tyrion asks if Janos has heard the rumors about Cersei's incestuous relationship with Jaime. Janos claimed that he does not listen to filth. Tyrion insists that those that believe the rumors would consider Robert's bastards better claimants to the throne than Joffrey. Janos asserts his loyalty to Joffrey and says that the rest does not interest him. It's pretty clear Tyrion knows at least since Season 2.

    Posted by Fluids, 11/04/2014 9:43pm (5 years ago)

  • Ah. I knew there was scene like that but I couldn't remember if it was books or show or both. (This is the problem of listening to the audiobooks while intermittently rewatching between seasons)

    Posted by Derek, 11/04/2014 8:18pm (5 years ago)

  • Claire R tweeted me to say "Cersei slapped Tyrion once because he mocked her asking why Jaime and not him."

    Posted by The TV Critic, 11/04/2014 5:51pm (5 years ago)

  • Some corrections or whatever you want to call them about the last podcast.

    It's not one hundred percent confirmed that Tyrion knows about Jaime and Cersei but it's pretty safe to assume. He seems to rather knowing in the second episode of season one (which I think is the only scene he's shared with Jaime) and then again in the season two opener with Cersei. He tells Cersei that Joffrey might have his Uncle Jaime back and puts a significant stress on the word "Uncle".

    Bastards are known by landmarks so middle of Westeros or the Riverlands would be known by Rivers and somewhere like the Vale they go by Stone.

    I forget who exactly said they didn't like Daario so I can't speak to exactly how they feel but as a book reader I prefer new Daario. I didn't find the old actor very talented but it was more their relationship that bothered me. Book Dany is much younger then the one in the show and the fact that she so easily swoons over Daario was annoying but understandable. Last season it just seemed ridiculous how easily Dany let her guard down and wasn't in line with the character they've been building for the past three seasons. They always could have rewritten Daario to me more like the new one so I don't think that's why they recast him but I'm not complaining. Old Daario seemed more interested in puckering his lips and smoldering then delivering his lines.

    Posted by Derek, 11/04/2014 3:30pm (5 years ago)

  • ***Post Podcast Comments***

    Great podcast! It’s wonderful to hear the two of you walk again through the politics of GOT.

    “Then again (outwardly) all those fires raging in the North at episode end scene are probably a result of pillaging the Northerners who served under Stark rule by anyone (including the Lannisters and select members of the king’s army.”

    I goofed a little in my description of the fall out of the War of Five Kings.
    You guys understood me though any way, which is one of the reason I love listening to both of you review GOT. 

    Those that backed the King of the North are suffering the rage of the Baratheon’s of King Crossing (Lannisters). The Riverlands had a lot of Stark supporters through House Tully.

    I love how you both point out the politics displayed in the scene between Brienne and Margaery using Brienne’s confusion to illustrate how the Tyrells of Highgarden are now siding with the Baratheons at King’s Landing (Lannisters) since Renly has been defeated.

    I struggle some times with this show in keeping all alliances with so many players together in my head.

    Posted by Fluids, 11/04/2014 2:22pm (5 years ago)

  • Thanks for clarifying Roberto. That was confusing to me (regarding Fenns instead of Thenns.)

    I am trying to sketch out who is where; who is fighting who and where they are from here (without using any of the books):

    http://www.thetvcritic.org/forums/other-tv-shows/show/180

    Posted by Fluids, 09/04/2014 2:29pm (5 years ago)

  • Really liked this episode the book ends of Stark swords was compelling Neds being melted down and Ayra reclaiming needle.
    Oberyn introduction really established who he is the exposition didn't feel forced.
    The pairings were entertaining first Tyrien and Braun then Jaime and Brien and Ayra and The Hound was exclamation point to the episode.

    Viewer score: 75 / 100

    Posted by Dave Lopez, 09/04/2014 5:19am (5 years ago)

  • Looking forward to our discussion this evening, Robin!

    Just a quick note of clarification: The people who met with the Wildlings are not Fenns, they are Thenns. House Fenn is a house located in The Neck. The Thenns are inhabitants who live north of the wall.

    Posted by Roberto Suarez, 08/04/2014 10:07pm (5 years ago)

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