The Westeros Watch Part Seventeen

The repercussions of the Red Wedding continue, but for now, let’s see what Game of Thrones newcomer Jimmy and veteran Tom have to say about the season four episodes “Breaker of Chains” and “Oathkeeper”.

tomk:  I gotta give it to Game of Thrones. They don’t keep mysteries hidden for long.

jimmy:  In a world where there is no internet, TV, radio, or phones, yet everyone knows everything that everyone is doing at any time, is it really that surprising?

tomk:  Well, we know who the great heroes are who killed Joffrey.

Not everyone knows that.

jimmy:  Littlefinger told Ned from day one not to trust him.

tomk:  He also admitted many times over he loved Cat. Revenge for the Red Wedding was an obvious motive.

jimmy:  Also true. And now he’s got himself a kitten.

tomk:  A kitten. Good analogy.

A kitten that looks like her mom.

jimmy:  Oh, I’m sure that plays a part. Though the whole age difference thing is a bit creepy.

tomk:  So Littlefinger was somehow an acceptable human being up to this point?

jimmy:  Of course he…ah I can’t even finish that joke.

tomk:  We’ll just add “lusting for a teenager” to the list of “Things That Make Littlefinger Worse Than Watson”.

jimmy:  It’s a short list.

tomk:  As long as Ryan and Jenny don’t die under mysterious circumstances, the list exists.

jimmy:  Give it time.

His accomplice was equally motivated and not all that surprising once revealed.

tomk:  She’s called the Queen of Thorns for a reason.

jimmy:  Probably not her first assassination.

tomk:  No, but she did get a bit misty-eyed remembering her dead husband despite calling him an idiot. That’s some fine acting from Dame Diana Rigg.

jimmy:  I think she thinks most everyone is an idiot. But yes, she is awesome.

tomk:  She seems to think Margaery knows what she’s doing.

Interesting to note, the Tyrells are a much bigger family in the books. Here the only kids are Margaery and Loras. The books mention an older brother living back in Highgarden as the potential spouse for Sansa. Olenna describes him as having a bit of stutter but not that bad.

jimmy:  Sansa was pretty taken with Loras. Not that it matters now.

tomk:  Yes. Besides, as noted, Sansa had the worst gaydar in Westeros.

Though truth be told, she’d be better off with the person described as a sword-swallower right about now.

jimmy:  What? She can’t trust Littlefinger?

tomk:  Would you? He’s already framed her for murder. Sort of.

jimmy:  I haven’t trusted him since episode one or whenever it is he first appeared.

tomk:  You knew he’s been secretly financing the White Walkers this whole time?

jimmy:  No spoilers!

tomk:  Why? Even I didn’t know that!

jimmy:  It wouldn’t surprise me though.

tomk:  Hey, resurrecting the dead and dealing with babies costs money.

jimmy:  The army of the dead is probably just on their way to Braavos to pay on its loans.

tomk:  Someone needs to. Even the White Walkers wouldn’t welch on the Iron Bank of Braavos.

jimmy:  Back to Sansa, she’s pretty clever to figure out the majority of Littlefinger’s plan, though not who his “new friends” are. (That we know of.)

tomk:  Well, yeah, but maybe Littlefinger wants her to figure things out so she can be his new protege.

jimmy:  Ugh. I hope not. And he’s always several steps ahead, so probably was prepared for her accusations.

tomk:  Hey, what if she learns to be better than he is?

jimmy:  Who wants to see that? Sansa has her faults, but no one wants to see her become the slime that Littlefinger is.

tomk:  What if she became a better plotter but without the slime?

jimmy:  I guess it depends on what she’s plotting to do. But if anything then she’d be a good strategist if she wasn’t backstabbing everyone and only looking out for herself.

tomk:  We’ll have to see if her Inner Stark is stronger than that.

jimmy:  Ok. We are nearing a subject change here anyway, so I need a history lesson/reminder. How long has it been since there were any dragons?

tomk:  A couple centuries at least. And the last few were the size of a small dog.

jimmy:  What killed them off and why were there no more?

tomk:  They just started shrinking and stopped reproducing.

jimmy:  Ok. Since we’re on the topic of dragons, is there any stopping Dany?

tomk:  Sure. She’s mortal.

jimmy:  Oh, you’re so literal.

tomk:  Daario would have killed her easily if she wasn’t something of a babe.

jimmy:  Like he killed the so called “champion” of Meereen.

tomk:  Or his partners when he had a different face.

jimmy:  Maybe he’s from Braavos.

tomk:  He’s on the right continent for it.

jimmy:  True. Dany is living up to her name as the Breaker of Chains.

tomk:  She can just add that title to the pile.

jimmy:  How do you feel about her crucifixion of the Masters?

tomk:  She maybe should have listened to Ser Barriston, or at least held a trial to make sure she only killed the guilty ones.

jimmy:  That’s what I was thinking too. Does being a Master automatically make you evil or in need of killing? I understand what she is doing and the example she is trying to make, but it’s a slippery slope.

tomk:  We’ll see how this works out for her.

jimmy:  We shall. And Dany is three for three with freeing slaves and conquering cities.

tomk:  But what about ruling what she’s captured?

jimmy:  Hard to rule when she isn’t there, nor leaves any emissaries.

tomk:  True…

Who said she was leaving right away? Those people need her.

jimmy:  Well, she already left Astapor and Yunkai.

tomk:  Those are close together. Dany doesn’t really know how to rule. That’s much harder than conquering.

jimmy:  Yes. Something she will have to learn though if she wants to sit on the Iron Throne.

tomk:  Well, good. We agree.

jimmy:  I think that covers Dany for these episodes. Let’s talk about something that stood out to me as a little odd, and apparently has been quite controversial since it aired.

tomk:  Podrick was given a sharp implement?

jimmy:  Very controversial.

tomk:  I am assuming you mean the sexual encounter by a certain corpse.

jimmy:  That would be it.

tomk:  Both the book version and the episode’s director didn’t describe that moment as a rape. And yet…

jimmy:  I never knew about the controversy until doing some reading after the fact, but it sure seemed like rape to me. The small clue was when she said “no” like 15 times in a row.

tomk:  It’s much more mutual in Martin’s book, and after the work done to rehabilitate Jaime, it’s rough and hard to watch.

jimmy:  Yes. It seems completely random and out of character. Like pushing a boy out a window.

That said. I understand how he feels ostracized since he’s been back. Especially by Cersei.

tomk:  That’s not really an excuse for that.

jimmy:  Agreed. But can see how maybe it pushing him over an edge. But defenders of the scene point out how it is never mentioned again, and that if it really was intended to be rape it would have been a subplot of some kind.

tomk:  Maybe. I could counter that Dany was raped by Drogo, and the show doesn’t really bring that up.

jimmy:  And it’s not like rape isn’t a common occurrence on the show.

tomk:  Not every sexual encounter goes as well as it does when Oberyn Martel and Elaria Sand are involved.

jimmy:  They have what we call a VERY open relationship.

tomk:  Canyon wide open.

jimmy:  You could drive one of these through there.

tomk:  The Dornish don’t have many sexual hang-ups. They don’t disrespect their bastards. And they let women inherit titles.

jimmy:  Yet I’m sure they are seen as less civilized than their more Western “friends”.

tomk:  Maybe. Dorne is the southernmost of the Seven Kingdoms…and the only one the Targaryens never defeated.

Yes, they resisted dragons.

jimmy:  Any idea how?

tomk:  Not really. They just came to a peaceful accord. Keep in mind Rhaegar was married to Oberyn’s sister, so Dorne is probably a pretty powerful place.

jimmy:  And this probably won’t get mentioned again nor play a part in upcoming episodes but Oberyn hates the Mountain and the Lannisters.

tomk:  Yeah, something like that is bound to be a narrative dead end.

jimmy:  And then Tywin does Tywin things by offering him a seat on the Small Council in a blatant “friends close, enemies closer” move.

tomk:  It is good politics, and a good way to get on the good side of a potentially powerful enemy.

jimmy:  And one, as you said, may have knowledge to help beat that pesky little girl with her dragons that doesn’t seem to be going away.

tomk:  Or coming any closer.

jimmy:  Building an army and getting to Westeros takes many seasons.

tomk:  Yeah, so…yeah!

But speaking of making alliances…Jaime and Brienne.

jimmy:  People must be “shipping” those two, though it’s obviously not going to happen.

tomk:  Cersei did ask her about that point blank, possibly while drunk. Drunk Cersei is such an entertaining Cersei.

jimmy:  Which is most of the time.

tomk:  Yeah, well, she is related to Tyrion.

jimmy:  Does he drink a lot? I never noticed.

tomk:  Only when he feels overwhelmed and under appreciated

jimmy:  So rarely.

But back to Jaime and Brienne. There he goes being all noble again. And giving away valuable swords. And tasking Brienne with the protection of the Stark girls from his own sister.

tomk:  The sword has a name now. A very appropriate one for Brienne.

jimmy:  Starkbeheader!

tomk:  That was Joffrey’s back-up name.

jimmy:  He probably would have liked that one. The little $#@%.

tomk:  He was compensating for something.

But you mention Jaime dispatching Brienne to protect the Stark girls from Cersei. That isn’t the only person Brienne needs to maybe protect from Cersei.

jimmy:  Pod?

tomk:  Pod stood by Tyrion. His life was in danger. Tyrion and Jaime both realized that.

jimmy:  Damn noble Jaime.

tomk:  Damn noble Pod. Pod’s honesty and unwillingness to lie about Tyrion is what got him into that spot to begin with.

jimmy:  There’s never been a better squire.

tomk:  When you consider all the talents Pod has…

jimmy:  Talents that would likely be lost on Brienne.

tomk:  Sadly, yes.

But we’ve seen two of Tyrion’s former associates paired off with other characters. Bronn and Jaime?

That’s a change over from the books, where Jaime’s new trainer is Ser Ilyn Paine, the tongueless executioner who couldn’t tell anyone what Jaime was doing if he wanted to. Ser Ilyn was essentially forgotten on the show because the actor playing him was diagnosed with a terminal cancer. And though we won’t hear the weird wheezing sound that Martin described as Payne’s laughter (often at Jaime’s expense), I like that Bronn gets to keep hanging around, so it’s a fair trade-off.

And yes, Ilyn is supposed to be an uncle or something to Podrick.

jimmy:  Interesting. Having someone that couldn’t squeal on Jaime is a nice touch. But Jaime and Bronn are a great “dynamic duo”.

tomk:  Plus, it keeps Bronn visible. He doesn’t exactly disappear in the books, but we only hear about him rather than see him.

jimmy:  And we like Bronn.

tomk:  Everyone likes Bronn…except apparently Lena Headey. Those two don’t like each other and won’t appear together on-set.

jimmy:  What? Really?

tomk:  I think I read they used to date, like, a decade ago.

jimmy:  Ah

tomk:  But hey, we got Bronn with Jaime, and that creates a different dynamic.

jimmy:  And Bronn is probably one of the few in King’s Landing that’s not afraid to knock Jaime on his ass.

tomk:  Also true.

And do so without trying to be vengeful about it. Probably a lot of people who would want to knock the Kingslayer over in a way that would maybe keep him from getting up again.

jimmy:  Which probably wouldn’t last long. Jaime has a few powerful friends.

tomk:  True, if they still like him.

That’d probably kill Tywin, who still thinks Jaime should break his Kingsguard oaths and go back to have kids at Casterly Rock.

jimmy:  Tywin wants what’s best for Tywin.

tomk:  Tywin’s getting upset!

jimmy:  He might be upset, but wasting no time attempting to groom Tommen.

tomk:  Tommen, besides being a name my autocorrect hates, is a good kid.

He’s also a different kid from the one we saw in seasons one and two.

jimmy:  But of course. But not as obvious a casting change as others because, really, who paid attention to Tommen?

tomk:  It’s an older kid, which helps.

jimmy:  I figured that was likely the reasoning.

tomk:  Though this actor was also one of the boys Lord Karstark killed.

Book Tommen, for what it’s worth, is described as a sweet little boy who just loves playing with his three cats, here reduced to one to avoid having to pay the high price of feline actors.

jimmy:  Ser Pounce!

tomk:  Ser Pounce! My final pick in the season seven death pool! He never even appears on screen after this episode!

jimmy:  Spoilers, Tom!

And not surprising that he never appears again. Tommen looks like he’s going to be much more interested in playing with Maergery’s, uh, cat.

tomk:  Um, yes.

Well, that got uncomfortable.

jimmy:  Blame the Tyrells. They move almost as fast as Tywin.

tomk:  Still, we have Bran, Jon, and other weird sights up North.

jimmy:  We’re not going to talk more about Maergery seducing a…what…ten year old?

tomk:  He’s clearly hit puberty. So, no.

jimmy:  They grow up so fast.

tomk:  And if you think Tommen grew up fast, wait until you see his sister.

jimmy:  Heh. So, weird sights up North. That’s new.

tomk:  Yes. Like, creepy Night’s Watch traitors drinking from a dead Lord Commander’s skull, or Locke being sociable and friendly.

Oh, and the White Walkers Day Care program.

jimmy:  Grr. I hate those traitors and especially Locke. I’m surprised no one sees through his little charade.

And that White Walker scene with the baby was super creepy.

tomk:  Why would anyone see through Locke’s charade? His story mostly checks out.

jimmy:  Because he’s just so slimy. And maybe it’s just because I know the truth and want him to get a sword in the face.

tomk:  Besides, Jon has enough problems. Thorne only OK’d his mission to try and get him killed, and Locke probably wants the same thing.

Plus, those traitors have Ghost. And Bran and friends. Poor Hodor.

jimmy:  If only Hodor had a brain to match his brawn.

tomk:  Yeah, well, I got one thing to say to that.

Hodor.

jimmy:  Hodor indeed.

tomk:  But Jon is coming for those traitors.

jimmy:  Reuniting the Stark boys?

tomk:  Well, Bran doesn’t really want to go back. Will Jon let him? It’s dangerous above the Wall right now.

jimmy:  It’s dangerous everywhere. Especially for Starks.

tomk:  Or a Craster son.

jimmy:  So, there has to be other placing providing babies to the Walkers? And they don’t seem like the type to make deals, but I guess not just overtaking Craster keeps the supply chain running.

tomk:  Well, there’s a lot we don’t know about the Walkers. That scene was mostly just hinted at in Martin’s novels, but the scene did introduce the Night King.

jimmy:  Yeah. He’s not so scary.

tomk:  Well, there’s a story about him in Martin’s works.

It seems that according to Old Nan, the Night King was a Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch in the days before the Wall was built. While out riding on patrol, he saw a beautiful creature, a female White Walker (Martin describes the Walkers as ethereally beautiful like an icy version of Tolkien’s elves), and fell in love. He took it home and became the Night King. There was a lot of dark magic involved, and the men of the Night’s Watch were corrupted. It took the combined forces of a King in the North (an ancient Stark) and a King Beyond The Wall (when there was no Wall) to defeat the Night King and drive the White Walkers off.

After that, the King in the North, Bran the Builder, ordered the construction of the Wall.

Or something.

jimmy:  There’s always an ice woman involved.

tomk:  I may be wrong on the details on the Wall.

jimmy:  I’d never know. 🙂

tomk:  But it is worth noting when the show does some kind of origin for the Night King, it isn’t anything like that.

jimmy:  So I don’t know if we talked much about Tyrion directly but he spends the two episodes in a dungeon. He at least has Jaime on his side now.

tomk:  For as much good as that does him, yes. Jaime can’t do anything aside from get Pod out of the city.

jimmy:  Hopefully that works out better than Sam getting Gilly out of Castle Black. That whole situation seemed doomed from the start.

tomk:  Why? You think there’s a problem sticking a young, single mother far from home in a whorehouse?

jimmy:  It’s just a feeling I have. Maybe I’m wrong.

tomk:  Maybe.

I mean, it’s not like trying to make the Hound a houseguest.

jimmy:  That’s where I was going next. He sure paid back that family in kind.

tomk:  That was just to remind you Sandor Clegane is not a misunderstood saint.

jimmy:  It works, as I think viewers and Arya have been growing more sympathetic towards him.

tomk:  Or at least less wary. He’s still a violent man.

jimmy:  And he loves it.

tomk:  Well, he doesn’t hate it.

But what about you, Jimmy? What do you love about Westeros?

jimmy:  There are a lot of good stories being told. Many involving massive amounts of blood being spilled. Oh, and boobs.

tomk:  Yeah, probably makes it a terrible place to live in, though.

jimmy:  I would have died somewhere between the cold open and opening credits of episode one.

tomk:  But then you might have come back as a White Walker. Those must be common sights in some part of your country.

jimmy:  That’s…not far from the truth.

Have we sufficiently covered the goings on in Westeros for this installment?

tomk:  I think so.

And so our Watch continues.  Be back soon for the episodes “First of his Name” and “The Laws of Gods and Men”.

tomk74

Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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