‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5, Episode 4: “Sons of the Harpy” Reaction

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As I attempt to suppress the dread I feel at the prospect of Grey Worm suffering a fatal wound at the hand of those repugnant and cowardly slavers, I’ll do my best to record a few more thoughts on what I thought was a really solid episode. Of all the great material this week, the highlight has to be that gorgeously moving scene between Stannis and his daughter Shireen. It’s the clearest glimpse we’ve had of the human side of one of the most austere and least compassionate figures in the series. This scene did a lot to highlight why I think Stephen Dillane was such a perfect choice to play Stannis in the first place because he’s got this underlying warmth under all the coldness he exudes. It was a great humanizing moment for his character and an exceptionally well-played scene.  Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5, Episode 3: “High Sparrow” Reaction

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Game of Thrones shares something with Lost in that every episode is required viewing for a follower of the show, not necessarily because of plot developments, but because of character. To be sure, each episode of Game of Thrones features plot developments, as was the case with most Lost episodes, but the heart of the series in both cases is the various ways those developments affect the characters. Plot is meaningless without character in any case, but especially on series like these with ensembles this extensive. My point here is that with shows like these, there are no throwaway episodes; every installment is compulsory viewing if one is going to follow and experience the show in the most optimal way possible.  Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5, Episode 2: “The House of Black and White” Reaction

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Game of Thrones has been so good for so long now that I routinely forget how poorly made this series could have easily been or could be in the hands of lesser showrunners or in the face of greater network opposition to structuring the narrative of the series as closely to the style of the books as they do. The fearlessness with which Benioff, Weiss, and the other writers continually expand the universe on screen is really astounding. The narrative of the series moves constantly and consistently; they may stay in one place for a time, so to speak, as in “Blackwater” or “The Watchers On The Wall,” but it’s only because that’s where they need to stay at that point in time to move the narrative forward. The narrative always moves forward unceasingly, leaving the viewer no time to mourn the deceased but somehow just enough time to reflect on what’s happened.  Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5, Episode 1: “The Wars to Come” Reaction

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Great athletes on the level of a Michael Jordan in his prime sometimes reach a point in their careers where they begin to dictate the terms of the competition; they’ve ascended to such a level of unprecedented greatness that the execution of their endeavor consists of them continually raising the bar they have set for themselves and their competition. I believe that from a narrative standpoint, Game of Thrones may have reached that level of greatness and proves it by continually raising the bar for what a series can do on television. It really cannot be overstated how spectacular an achievement it is to adapt and sharpen such a sprawling, complex narrative and juggle that many characters for a televisual format and manage to not be tedious, confusing, or even remotely boring.  Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4, Episode 8: “The Mountain and the Viper” Reaction

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The narrative acumen of the Game of Thrones show runners and their crew was on full display this episode. The opening sequence was masterful and cinematic, setting the perfect tone for the entire episode, which has to be the most well-structured, evenly-paced, and deftly executed installment of the season up to this point. All the transitions were narratively and thematically coherent; there was no filler in the episode, even if there was a small amount of fat in isolated instances.  Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4, Episode 7: “Mockingbird” Reaction

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I missed a week in terms posting, but that’s okay for our purposes here because the last two episodes make a really logical pair tonally and thematically, especially in terms of Tyrion’s arc. That brings me directly to Tyrion’s scene with Oberyn, which is now one of my favorite scenes of the series so far. Peter Dinklage is consistently great on the show and in his career in general, but he’s really great here, in my opinion, and for a specific reason. People are quick to rightfully praise things such as his speeches, witty retorts, and comic timing. I, however, believe the real brilliance in his performance is to be found in the way he listens and reacts. This is a particular skill he happens to share with Maisie Williams. Their reaction shots and the specific ways in which they listen on camera are continually astounding to me.

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4, Episode 5: “First of His Name” Reaction

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Weiss and Benioff earned their money on this one. This episode is a prime example of why you actually write the teleplays instead of just sitting there with the books cutting and pasting together an episode. Consider how much we as an audience gained from the “Craster’s Keep” deviation over the course of the last two episodes (so, credit to Bryan Cogman as well) and culminating in the climax of “First of His Name.” We have a wonderfully gory action sequence that provides a punctuation to an episode that despite its overall quality felt a bit stationary.  Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4, Episode 3: “Breaker of Chains” Reaction

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Let’s just get right into it. I always try not to read other pieces on Game of Thrones before finishing my own, but I couldn’t hide from the amount of stuff written about Jaime’s rape of Cersei. Before I begin in earnest, let me be very clear up front that I am not defending rape, the depiction of rape or the use of it as a narrative tool by media-arts producers. As for the latter, I reserve the right, as any viewer does, to question and deride whatsoever I please within any piece of work. I will not do so, however, for the sake of propriety, personal preference, or moral outrage. The works I find to be morally outrageous are those which are wantonly intellectually dishonest or somehow produced in bad faith; I do not find Game of Thrones the television series in particular or A Song of Ice In Fire in general to be such works. Continue reading