Monday, May 9, 2011

Game of Thrones: “Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things”

“Fear cuts deeper than swords” is a good way to describe this episode of Game of Thrones. We see the onset of fear, and the overcoming of fear.

Ned Stark still looks for Jon Arryn’s killer and his children still struggle with their new lives in King’s Landing. 

We’re introduced to Samwell Tarly, oh so lovely called fat Sam; a high-born son of House Tarly shipped to Castle Black so as to not bring further shame to his father’s lineage. Sam is a cowardly figure, and wants nothing more then to not fight. Jon Snow--maybe feeling pity for Sam, or just being righteous, tries to help Sam. Even going as far as to threaten other recruits into not hitting Sam during sparring lessons.  

Samwell is an odd character to empathize with. Yet maybe we’re not supposed to? It’s hard to imagine such a cowardly person…but when faced with the threat of death or living up to someone’s expectations many can crumble under the pressure. Sam is the non-confrontational type thrust into a situation in which he had no choice…well he actually had a choice: Join the Black of the Night’s Watch, or be killed and have it covered up—life sure is hard in the Seven Kingdoms.

Kt Harington is growing into the character of Jon Snow. Jon is a selfless person, and like his father he finds no honor in kicking a man while he’s down. I wasn’t a fan of Harington’s performance up until this episode; he seemed emotionless. Yet his interactions with Sam are very natural and believable—it’s these scenes of humanity and youthfulness that endear Jon Snow to many fans. Jon is the most relatable character in the series I find, making him a person many feel attached to. It’s good to see Harington evolving into Jon Snow.

Fear is something Daenerys seems to lack when faced with her rampaging brother Viserys. Each episode you get a little taste of the person Daenerys will eventually grow into. She’s strong willed, yet still unsure of herself. One thing she is sure of is her brother will never regain his Kingdom, and for that matter she really doesn’t want him to. She’s a khaleesi—the wife of Khal Drogo and no longer takes orders from her older brother.

Daenerys threatens to have her brothers’ hands chopped off the next time he grabs her by the throat. Fear cuts deep, but Daenerys isn’t the one that’s fearful anymore, Viserys is.

The animosity between the Lannisters and Starks is blindingly apparent. Ned Stark still finds little answers to support his claim that Jon Arryn was murdered. And even if Jon Arryn was murdered, why? What had Jon Arryn learned that was worth taking his life over? Ned’s no closer to finding these answers…in his mind. But things are slowly getting pieced together if viewers watch closely they can begin to see some clues pop up. Ned doesn’t quite realize what he’s gotten into, as there’s more to this mystery then even he comprehends.

The scope, or lack there of, is beginning to get bothersome. We see these opening shots of large castles; great plains, huge villages and then we’re thrown into a cramped room or a small walkway. Many of the scenes start with a large establishing shot, and then we are seemingly transported to a different area that feels like a renaissance festival. Everything just feels small. Even the jousting tournament looks unappealingly small and low budget.

Having gripes with the size of the set for a television show seems petty. It’s just hard to get over. Luckily the performances make up for many of the claustrophobic settings.

I particularly love/ hate Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister. She has the look of someone who walks into a room and thinks she’s better than everybody in it. She’s a deliciously evil and spiteful Queen. Ever word she says his like a thrown dagger, and it’s meant to cut deep.

The final scene of this episode has Catelyn taking law into her own hands as she captures Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion just so happens to wonder into the pub that Catelyn is taking refuge in, lucky him. Catelyn won’t have Tyrion squeeze through her grasp, as she steadfastly believes that Tyrion tried to murder her son Bran. The game is a foot! And who is being played? There’s more and more questions being raised in Game of Thrones. Luckily it’s not overwhelming, as many of the actors have found their voice.

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