A Dissertation of Ice & Fire – Episode #6
With Game of Thrones pretty much being hailed as a “hit” television show with ratings increasing every week since the second episode, I shudder to think that the first season is past halfway over now with this being the sixth edition of A Dissertation of Ice and Fire. Having read the books and knowing what is still to come, the buzz around this series is only going to continue to grow. Especially with how the sixth episode, “A Golden Crown,” ended this past Sunday night. Newcomers to the series realize now just how real things are in this series and how high the stakes can be in Westeros. But let us start from the beginning.
The episode kicked off in Kings Landing with Ned awakening in his bed after being attacked by Jaime and his Lannister guards, leaving him with a gaping wound through his thigh. And just like a child who wakes up with his parents standing over him knowing he is in trouble, he faces both King Robert and Queen Cersei. Last we saw Robert he was none too pleased with the former Hand of The King and he didn’t look too damn pleased here either. Neither does Jaime’s sister, The Queen. It’s a great scene with three terrific actors arguing over what happened and what will happen. Neither Ned nor Cersei are pleased with Robert’s decision that the Starks and Lannisters squash this and patch things up. But Cersei goes too far in saying “I should wear the armor. And you the gown!”
Naturally, this doesn’t go over well with Robert who just looks fed up. Now, I do not condone hitting women under any circumstances, but when Robert bitch-slapped her so hard that you could immediately see Cersei’s cheek swell up, I wanted him to hit her again. The next couple of lines will inevitably be my quote of the night (see below) and it was dialogue ripped straight from the book. Masterfully done. My only gripe about the scene would be the scrapping of Ned’s fever dream that provides quite a bit of backstory. But I will refrain from detailing it in case they decide to move it to a later on in season 1. Let’s hope so, as there is already a fan cry out for the missing jewel. This part ends with Robert telling Ned to put the damn King’s Hand pin back on as he leaves King’s Landing to go on a hunt. “Killing things clears my head,” Robert says as he exits. Another terrific scene by Mark Addy who has just nailed this role. Are you paying attention, Hollywood?
For the first time since the fourth episode, we check back in across the Narrow Sea as Daenerys continues to be obsessed with her dragon eggs. She tries to put them on a burning brazier to see if they’ll de-fossilize, to no avail.
Back in Winterfell we see Bran happy once again as he is trying out the new saddle designed by Tyrion to allow him to ride. Nice to see him not being such a sour puss for a minute, isn’t it? We also get some more of Robb Stark and Theon, as the ward tries to talk him into raising the banners and head into war over the death of Jory and the attack on Ned, but Robb isn’t ready to go that far. As they continue to disagree over it, Robb realizes that Bran has ridden out of their sight. We catch up with Bran as three Wildlings have stopped him and are trying to steal his horse. How did they get this far south of The Wall? Eventually, they realize who he is and decide that he will fetch a hefty ransom. Enter Robb who threatens to cut them down if they do not release him. They refuse and attack, but Robb makes short work of him, earning his first kill. The other grabs Bran and puts a knife to his throat as he demands Robb lay down his sword. Robb does so reluctantly. But then an arrow through the Wildling’s back has him dropping his blade. Theon is shown standing a dozen yards away with the bow. The female Wildling, Osha, hits her knees to beg for her life. Theon is having none of it but Robb commands that she be kept alive and taken back to the castle. He is furious with Theon for firing the arrow as he could have accidentally hit Bran.
Not a bad scene, but this is the first time you will hear a total bitch out from me on a change from the novel. I know that not everything can translate from book to screen; I understand small changes are going to be made, but this scene was absolutely massacred. How so, you ask? Two words: Summer & Greywind. In the book, there are Four wildlings. Theon still shoots the one that grabs Bran and Osha is still left alive, but Robb didn’t kill one of them. He fought him off with his sword but the two Stark boys direwolves killed the other two. And it is completely gruesome as George Martin details the two Wildlings being torn to pieces by the protectors. I understand the dogs they got were hard to train and whatnot. However. the direwolves are so essential to this story and they are being phased out almost entirely. To be honest, it ruined my mood for the rest of the episode. It may sound like a nitpick to some non-readers, but it really is a big deal and an integral part of the story. I hope this is something they change in future seasons. If they have to go CGI for the wolves, so be it. But please, PLEASE do not continue to cut key scenes out.
Okay, back on task. Time for some Tyrion! In sticking with the theme of every other scene he has been in, Peter Dinklage does some fine acting as he shows his real strength in this series — his mind. Without lifting a finger, he finds a way to get out of his current predicament. First, he bribes the prison guard, Mord, by offering him gold to go tell Lysa Arryn he is ready to confess his crimes. This turns out to be hilarious, by the way. In something that reminded me of Chunk from The Goonies, he confesses to lying with whores and tossing off in his sister’s soup. But then says he did not conspire to harm Bran Stark and demands a trial by battle. Long story short, the sell sword Bronn decides to champion Tyrion, knowing that he will be paid handsomely. The ensuing fight wasn’t bad, but it could have been better. The ending was terrific as Bronn finished off Ser Vardis and tossed him out The Moon Door. This prompts Lysa to proclaim that Bronn “does not fight with honor.” He replies back, “No….but he did.” This is something that makes this series so great. Nice and honorable men do not always prevail. With this, Tyrion goes free as he and Bronn head to the high road.
Back at King’s Landing we get another terrific scene with Arya and her dancing teacher, Syrio. He can tell that she is troubled over what is going on with her father and the Lannisters. He tells her that being troubled is the best time to train. He also tells her that being troubled on the battlefield will get you killed. When he asks if she has been praying she nods and says she has to both the old Gods and the new. He tells her, “There is only one God and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death… not today.” Brilliant line that fuels a lot of theories the fanboys such as myself have. But you’d have to of read the entire series to know what I’m talking about. So, another time.
Back in Vaes Dothrak we see something rather disgusting: Dany eating a horse heart. As part of a ritual, she much eat the entire heart AND keep it down. When she does, her proud husband Drogo carries her amongst the Dothraki who show their love and compassion for her. This sets Viserys off as he has only ever wanted people to love him but seemingly no one does. He rushes to Dany’s tent and steals the dragon eggs to sell in the market, but Ser Jorah will not allow him to do so. He drops the eggs and hastily runs off.
We cut to Robert, Lancel, Ser Barristan and Renly out hunting in the woods. This is an added scene that is again terrific. As Robert brags about all the women he’s had sex with and all the booze he has drank, while picking on Renly for having formal occasions and balls instead. This pushes Renly over the top as he blatantly calls the King a fool and storms off. Lancel just continues to make sure Robert has enough to drink. Robert, having no problem with that, turns the flask up and chugs it down.
Back in court we see Ned, along with Littlefinger and Lord Varys hearing the complaints and grievances of the townsfolk. They are quite upset at the Lannisters and namely Ser Gregor for their torment and misery. Ned demands that Tywin Lannister, who is Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion’s father, be brought before him within one day or he will be considered an enemy of the state. He also strips Ser Gregor of his knighthood and requests Beric Dondarrion (remember that name) to hunt him down and bring him to justice.
I’m getting long-winded here, so I’ll try to summarize some of the smaller parts. Sansa is a total bitch and she is acting like it big time to Septa Mordane before Joffrey comes in and apologizes for his behavior and says that she is his Lady and they will be married and rule together someday. He kisses her and leaves. A spectacular scene that played out differently than the novel, but essentially did the same thing. This, of course, upsets Sansa when Ned says he is sending her and Arya back to Winterfell for their own protection. Being the brat that she is, she whines about how she doesn’t want to leave. Arya doesn’t want to leave either because of her training with Syrio, but Sansa, still being a major c-word (hey, this a family show!), says WHO CARES?!?!? And it’s all about her. What a bitch. But the scene does serve a purpose,for at the end of her whining she says she wants to stay with Joffrey and give him lots of golden-haired babies. And it finally hits Ned what why Jon Arryn was killed. He heads back to his study and goes over the Baratheon family history and realizes that every one in the family tree has had black hair until Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen. The plot thickens.
For the finale we see Viserys drunkenly stumbling around the Khal’s tent demanding he get what was promised for Daenerys — his crown. He threatens the Khal by holding a sword to Dany’s belly and saying he will cut the baby out of her. Drogo tells him he shall have a golden crown upon his head that men will tremble to behold as he has him seized. He then melts down his golden belt and pours the molten gold on Viserys’ head. And it is VERY graphic and true to the novel. Brilliant, just brilliant. And just like that, newcomers to the series realize just how serious things are in the world of Ice and Fire.
Best Overall Performance – Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
While all of the acting has been top notch on this show, no one is nailing their character from the novel as well as Dinklage. His “confession” in The Eyrie added some terrific comic relief as well as his bargaining with Mord. If this guy doesn’t get at LEAST an Emmy nomination, there should be an investigation. Dinklage IS Tyrion.
Best Quote – Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon
Addy continues to dominate this category with another victory this week. This time with the awesome line, “Wear it in silence or I’ll honor you again,” in reply to Cersei saying that she would wear the bruise his strike would leave her like a “badge of honor.” Again, violence on women is terrible, no doubt. But this was awesome!
Best Visual – The Moon Door at The Eyrie
Another week, another win for The Eyrie. The entire throne room was pretty breathtaking, but The Moon Door was pretty much exactly what I imagined reading the book. It is essentially a doorway built into the floor that leads to a few thousand feet of air before your corpse hits the ground way down below. Just a hint here; this isn’t the last we see of The Moon Door in the series.
All in all, another spectacular episode and a superb follow-up to last week’s brilliance. Sure, I was really bummed out about the direwolf scene being cut, but even that can’t take away from how well done this series is. In both its quality and faithfulness, too. Most adaptations I’ve seen of beloved books have been absolutely butchered. This one has been surprisingly close to the source and I’m grateful for that. Hope it maintains that over the course of its run, however long that may be.
So, what are we looking forward to in Episode 7, titled “You Win or You Die”? I know I say it each week, but this is REALLY where the shit hits the fan. So much has yet to happen that is going to be covered in the final four episodes. How will Ned confront Cersei and King Robert about his discovery? How will Daenerys cope with her brother’s gruesome death? What happens to Tyrion now that he is free from Catelyn’s clutches? Will we finally make it back to The Wall and see how Jon and Sam are doing? Will we finally see some more direwolves? Other than that final question, I feel we may see all of this on Sunday. Check out the preview below.