While this episode all built up to Oberyn's big moment, the part that stood out to me was Sansa's scene. In fairness, that's because I already knew what happened in Oberyn's scene. Sansa's? That was new, and it spoke directly to what we've been talking about here. It even explained my question about her hair from a few weeks ago. (Well, from the writers' perspective. From Littlefinger's and Sansa's, it still doesn't make much sense that they didn't dye her hair before they made it to the Vale.)
But this is huge: this is Sansa starting to play the game. The books have hinted that's going to happen at some point, but this is the first we've ever SEEN it, in books or show. And, moreover, the books have suggested that Littlefinger's going to teach her how -- but this episode has Sansa showing her own initiative. He may have told her what to say -- she sticks to his suicide story, though we don't know what else is his suggestion and which is her decision -- but it's clear from their scene later that we're meant to take this as a moment where she takes her own destiny into her hands. She's lied to protect herself before, but it's always been meek and transparent, never this brazen. And in the books, she doesn't go around telling lords and ladies who she is. That's part of what's so expert about this -- her story is almost entirely true, which is what makes it such a good damn lie. The kid's a natural.
The bit with Robin is new too, and a good idea as it's going to give him, Littlefinger, and Sansa something to do next season.
The scene with Arya and the Hound was new too, and though brief I thought it was great.
Also, the bit in the beginning where the people at the brothel request The Rains of Castamere and then The Bear and the Maiden Fair? Even the show itself is starting to make fun of how there are only two songs in Westeros.
A brief weird moment: Daenerys refers to Robert as "the man who killed my father and stole my brother's throne". Shouldn't it be the other way around? I mean, I guess he waged a war against her father that LED to his death, and took the throne that WOULD have been her brother's if he hadn't killed him, but...while it kind of works metaphorically, "killed my brother and stole my father's throne" would be a whole lot more accurate.
Oh, and Tyrion's scene was great too. That search for meaning, the futile hope that somehow everything makes sense if you just try hard enough to understand it -- that's not only an essential part of Tyrion's character, it's an essential part of why he's the only modern man in this fantasy world. The latest goddamn mass shooting (something the show couldn't have predicted would be in the news right before it aired -- or, sadly, probably could have) is one more reminder of the senseless violence in the world and our tendency to try and construct some sort of narrative around it, to make it make sense. Because things just happening for no reason, people just doing evil things for their own sake -- THAT'S what's horrifying.
Martin's very measured in his creation of evil characters with no motivations -- even Joffrey is tragic and pitiable, after his own fashion. (As I've said before, he's probably got some bad genes but he's a product of his environment too -- a distant, alcoholic, occasionally violent father, and a mother who won't give him any boundaries of any sort and actively encourages his belief that everyone else is his plaything. He's a child given an immense amount of power and no guidance on how to use it -- there are plenty of indications he might just be a psychopath, but it's also possible that if he'd been raised differently he would have become a different person.) I would say there are really only two characters in the series who are just straight-up sadists with no redeeming or extenuating qualities -- and they both have big moments in this episode.
Responding to thread: Yeah, the Grey Worm subplot is a welcome change. And I like how it contrasts with Varys asserting in the previous episode that he was asexual even before he was castrated.
zaratustra wrote:Also from the wiki I see that Jorah's plot was hurried along at the end - in the books he's just a Nice Guy for so long Dani gets sick of it and sends him packing.
No, she finds out he's a spy
in the books too.
Refresh my memory -- did the show give us the prophecy about Daenerys's three betrayals, or not? In the books, she's told she'll be betrayed once for money, once for love, and once for blood. She assumes this was the betrayal for money, but given that fantasy prophecies tend to come with a healthy dose of dramatic irony, I'm inclined to think she's wrong.