Game of Thrones
Commentary on "Lord Snow"

Justin Clouse | 2 May 2011 21:49
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Though she commands her brother to be freed unharmed, he is still told to walk instead of ride. I wish they could have slipped the detailing of what it meant to be in a khalasar but not to ride in the previous explanation dump of Dothraki culture; it misses that glorious bit of extra venom to the sting. Another odd omission was that Deanerys was the one in the novel who gave the order for him to walk, knowing full well the implications of it. This was a great turning point for her when she finally began to see her brother for what he was and started to stand up for herself.

Leaving the lush fields across the Narrow Sea, we find ourselves at its antithesis. Jon rides the slow and creaking elevator to top of the 400-foot (down from 700 feet in the books) tall "Wall" of ice. (According to sources, on set Martin commented that "I made the Wall too tall! It's just too tall!") Arriving at the top, here was another instance where my internal interpretation of the novel diverged from the series. The Wall was said to be wide enough for several riders to ride abreast and I had imagined it more akin to a castle battlements against the edge. What we were shown however was interesting though. I actually kind of enjoyed the bleak and dreary visuals of the top of the wall, with its stark walls. I don't think it was an accident that the creators created something that was very evocative of World War I trenches. This would also serve to increase their blocking and limit how much green screening they would have to employ. We find out that Benjen ( the first ranger) is going to be leaving to range north of the Wall and that Jon is to stay behind, effectively losing his only point of familiarity at Castle Black. Below, Tyrion is laughing, joking and drinking his way through a little more explanation of the Night's Watch's recruiting habits with their recruiter YOREN, who has a minor although somewhat important part in events to come.

Jumping back to the Dothraki, Daenerys is learning their language while one of her hand maidens puts enough details together to realize that she is with child. Here is another area where I think the series might falter a little. While they have done an excellent job of presenting the map and space in the opening, the sense of time is being left by the wayside a bit. You need to be quick to pick up on the detail that Daenerys has missed her moon bleeding (menstruation) for two months now. In another fantasy adaptation, Lord of the Rings was able to largely compress what was actually a very long journey. So I hope the Game of Throne writers will be able to as cleverly dodge the issue or can just as eloquently provide the series with its literary counter-parts timeline. Jorah and the Bloodrider from earlier are discussing the finer points of Dothraki and Westeros's respective battle tactics. Though Jorah is quick to depart upon learning that Daenerys is with child, I remember this being played far more subtlety in the book, but maybe it's just because A Storm of Swords is still relatively fresh in my mind. We also see what I think will be another point of contention with the series: the sudden love and smiles between Daenarys and Drogo. I think there has to be some footage on the cutting room floor showing Drogo's more gentle nature especially when compared to Viserys's cruelty. It's a really shame because I think there are other less important scenes that could have been cut for this important piece of character interaction.

Episode 004 looks promising from the teaser and I am really looking forward to the Tournament of the Hand. Who hasn't been clamoring to see The Mountain that Rides or Thoros of Myr and his sword set aflame? Despite knowing many of the twists and where the plot it going to lead, I can't help but continue to be captivated every week.

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