Game of Thrones
Commentary on "Fire and Blood"

Greg Tito | 20 Jun 2011 21:00
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The direwolves received screentime when they could, but I didn't think the beasts were featured enough. Robb's Grey Wind wasn't even named, despite a mention of his ferocity by the Lannister lords in the last episode. We finally did meet Rickon and Shaggydog, but where were they when the WILDLINGS attacked BRAN? I liked when the wolves were seen, but I think they could have been used more.

Tyrion's fortunes in the battle against the North men were glazed over. Worse, from the editing it is possible to infer that he didn't take part in the battle at all, having been knocked out by the swinging hammer of his own men. That's just not what happened at all, Tyrion defeats one knight and takes another hostage in the battle. He is no great warrior, but he holds his own, and I don't think the show really did Tyrion justice.

That said, I think the adaptation had some stellar moments that may not have followed the letter of Martin's books but were still amazing to watch.

The verbal sparring between LITTLEFINGER and VARYS was a sheer pleasure to behold. The two spymasters one-upping each other on what they know the other knows verged on poetry. For that scene to be reprised in "Fire and Blood" was wonderful, and set up perfectly how the machinations of these two will continue in the second season.

My wife loved the old GRAND MAESTER PYCELLE and his many proclamations. This last episode got to see him get a little dirty with the most famous whore in the Seven Kingdoms (more on her later) and I loved seeing him go through his little exercises afterwards. Even better was his effort at stooping his shoulders, hinting that maybe Pycelle is not as feeble as he puts on.

I've said how much I loved the minor characters; they are at the heart of Martin's work serving as well-crafted sounding boards for the main characters. Benihoff and Weiss, the show's writers, kept that spirit by creating one of their own - Roz the red-headed whore. Over the course of season one, she's mentioned by JON SNOW at the Wall, sleeps with THEON GREYJOY before heading to the capital, is present for Littlefinger's thesis statement, and provides a foil for Grand Maester Pycelle to expound about kings. That's a pretty useful character, expertly crafted. Here's hoping she gets scenes in season two - before she suffers a grisly death, of course.

The action, when it was shown, was fun to watch and felt historically accurate. The assassination attempt on Bran Stark felt immediate and the wolf ripping out the killer's throat was visceral. Jaime Lannister versus Ned Stark felt like two careful swordsmen crossing blades in the same style, while SYRIO FOREL waterdancing against better armed and armored men just felt perfect. BRONN killing SER VARDIS EGEN before the court of the EYRIE was an example of quickness overcoming formal training, while Jorah Mormont fighting the Dothraki bloodrider showed how better armor sometimes can be advantageous.

For me, though, I'll always remember season one as a series of dramatic moments. SEPTA MORDANE facing her death at the hand of Lannister guards. Sansa forced to view her father's head on a spike. Eddard Stark sentencing SER GREGOR CLEGANE to death on the IRON THRONE. Jaime Lannister pushing Bran out the window. Tyrion pissing off of the Wall. ROBIN ARRYN sucking at his mother's breast. Viserys Targaryen longing for the love his sister enjoys. Arya Stark telling her father that marriage and babies is not for her. I could go on ...

The season is over, and, as advertised, it covered all of the events of A Game of Thrones and then some. HBO picked up the show for a second season as soon as the first episode aired, and last night teased that we'd see season two in Spring 2012. It's a good thing I have Martin's next book to keep me occupied, but after I swallow that in a week, it will be a long hard wait until I get to travel through Westeros again.

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