Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Arts

Last Night’s Watch

Best bad office party ever. Hannah Dunleavy talks episode eight of Game of Thrones. Contains SPOILERS.

Brienne, Podrick and The Blackfish. Appearing at a folk festival near you. Photos: HBO.

Brienne, Podrick and The Blackfish. Appearing at a folk festival near you. Photos: HBO.

“You imagine yourself a decent person”

As you may have guessed, I’ve been a bit lukewarm on GoT for the most of this series. But everything – OK, almost everything – began to come together here.

If ‘The Red Woman’ was about being a woman in Westeros and Essos, then ‘No One’ was about that other lot. And what a weird and Nikolaj Coster-Wonderful selection of manhood was on display. (See also the Hound’s manhood, which, given GoT’s tendencies, might not be good news for its future health.)

The siege of Riverrun was pretty much gold, from the Bron/Podrick bantering, to everything the Blackfish did or said, to Brienne’s “I have failed” and that excellent two-hander between Jaime and Edmure that couldn’t help but make call-backs to those fun-as-fuck scenes from series two when the Kingslayer was tied to the post.

Tobias Menzies is pretty much everywhere and Tully the Worse is such a limited role, I’ve often wondered what was in it for him and/or GoT. But he was great here as Lannister slowly, and rather viciously, ground him down to surrender.

How much of this was true position, bluff or dumb luck is open to interpretation (and also what makes me stick by my claim that Jaime is the most interesting character in GoT).

How much he meant of what he said is also up for grabs. No matter how emphatic that “only Cersei” was, everything else he did seemed to suggest he is capable of other having feelings. I’m not a teenage girl, so I’ve no real aspirations for the romantic future of the Kingslayer and Westeros’s noblest sword swinger. Long may they remain Don and Peggy, or Jack and Liz*. But their meeting was a salient reminder that he admires, he respects her and wants to keep her from harm. Just like the rest of us.

* Also TeamBriennesbane, amiright?

“I killed you once before”

So, I deliberately didn’t mention last week that the McShanetown massacre was something to do with the Brotherhood of Banners because I just didn’t want to think about it. Sweet relief then to find that the much-welcome faces of Richard Dormer and Paul (National Treasure in waiting) Kaye were as pissed off as the rest of us.

“It would seem that Frankenstein’s Mountain would really honk, but yet that doesn’t appear to be so. What foul magic is this?”

After all last week’s negotiations, these men showed everyone how it should be done as they bantered and bargained over how many of the killers each man could take revenge on, what form that would take and whether or not The Hound would join their ranks.

Overall, a splendid return for TV’s most amiably blokey religious zealots, which went some way to building the momentum that is finally growing in this series.

“MORE JOKES!”

I know I’m not Bran, I can’t change the past, but I feel my wish to see Tyrion and Grey Worm on the lash has been partly granted, in a mixed bag trip to Meereen that was great on characterisation/not great on plot.

The stuff between The Spider and “the most famous dwarf in the world” was nicely done and Tyrion, Grey Worm and Missandei at the world’s weirdest office party was a joy to behold. (Jacob Anderson’s delivery of “Rules!” was perfect. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned how great he is in general. Which is remiss.)

HOWEVER, and I am well aware that I am watching a series with dragons, are we really supposed to believe that, with the manpower available to her, Daenerys didn’t have some sort of early warning system in place? And the least said the better about when she flew in at the last moment like a superhero. Dressed as Fred Flintstone.

Still, those spin-sy catapults were fun, yes?

Ain't no Mountain high enough to keep Cersei from court.

Ain’t no Mountain high enough to keep Cersei from court.

“In the Throne Room, at this very moment”

Nice contrast between the pretend Cersei weeping over the death of her son and the real Cersei proudly gazing as her new son, Frankenstein’s Mountain, tore a man’s head off. Shame for her Trial by Combat is out.

Also, first day of the Festival of the Mother. That’s Westeros’ Mother’s Day. Possibly. Probably not. Still, ouch.

Other thoughts:

Is Gendry now the only character whose whereabouts is currently unknown?

It would seem that Frankenstein’s Mountain would really honk, but yet that doesn’t appear to be so. What foul magic is this?

So long The Blackfish. You died off-screen. Which I’m pretty sure is what you would’ve wanted.

Arya remains as changeable a teenager as ever, abandoning the actress plan for the idea of travelling (to the end of the world, no less). Only to decide to go home after all. Maybe she’s got some washing needs doing.

Sevens blessings to you all. Until next week.

Follow Hannah’s week-by-week Game of Thrones blog here

@thatdunleavy

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Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.