Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gabbing About Game of Thrones, S02E03: What Is Dead May Never Die

This week, Steven of Race for the Iron Throne and I discuss Episode 3, new categories for the Emmy's, subverting fantasy tropes, and we have our first ever Reader Contest (winner gets a free Race for the Iron Throne teeshirt)!  All that and more inside this week's Gabbing About Game of Thrones:


Race for the Iron Throne:
Let's do this.
Entertained Organizer:
ok, but first I have a little apology present for our readers for being late on this, which is technically your fault (I am the awesome one who gives you all presents)


Race for the Iron Throne:
I have some presents as well.
Entertained Organizer:
(fine, he's awesome too)
Race for the Iron Throne:
Here's me being interviewed for Streaming Garage, with Bryan Cogman (who wrote tonight's episode) I come in at minute 51.
Entertained Organizer:
that is.....way cooler than my thing
Race for the Iron Throne:
I also did part one of an essay series for Tower of the Hand on Hands of the King past, present, and future. And we have "A Person, Not a Goat" shirts for all you Westerosi feminists out there. So, like the Magi, I come bearing three gifts.
Entertained Organizer:
while like the lost fourth magi, I brought a Simpsons clip (he's been forgotten since it was from one of the really bad seasons in the middle)
Race for the Iron Throne:
The fourth magi, like the fifth Beatle.
Entertained Organizer:
story of my life. ok, now lets do this
Entertained Organizer:
Episode 3: What is Dead May Never Die:
In which Jon Snow learns the price of friendship North of the Wall, Sam gives a gift, Bran has another wolf dream and learns about the nonexistence of magic, Loras loses a fight to a girl and Brienne joins a Kingsguard, Theon experiences basically every kind of child abuse, Shae goes job hunting and gets a weird compliment, Sansa learns that dinner with your future inlaws is always awkward and then gives some on the job training, Tyrion is Tyrion, Renly is told to perform his husbandly duties and Margary knows how to play the game, Cersei acts like a mother and makes some threats, Theon comes this close to doing the right thing and then gets baptized, Tyrion and Littlefinger discuss crushes and kingslayers, Pycelle gets a shave, Varys becomes the Riddler, and Yoren tells Arya a bedtime story before being a badass.
Race for the Iron Throne:
I love your summaries.
Entertained Organizer:
thank you, I feel like I really missed out not being born in Victorian London, though it would have made blogging mildly more difficult
Race for the Iron Throne:
So let's start with Casa Craster, the incestiest place in an incesty land.
Entertained Organizer:
sounds good. At some point I still want to figure out what the incest theme actually means, you know, beyond the fact if GRRM has any sisters they should probably be scared
Race for the Iron Throne:
That life in medieval Europe/libertarian paradise is fucked up if you're not a rich white straight abled man who knows how to fight.
Entertained Organizer:
even then it's still pretty messed up
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yeah. It's Hobbes in a nutshell - life is nasty, brutish, and short.
Entertained Organizer:
and full of incest
Race for the Iron Throne:
So Craster brings back Jon, but he ain't so pretty now!
Entertained Organizer:
I think it's kind of adorable that Jon is shocked that Commander Mormont knew that Craster was sacrificing his sons
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. Here's a question: Did you think Mormont knew he was sacrificing them to White Walkers as opposed to gods? Because that's a big controversy on the tubes.
Entertained Organizer:
I thought he did, I mean it explains why the Walkers have slaughtered everyone else in the area and made creepy body part crop circles out of them, but Craster and his daughter-wives are left alone
Race for the Iron Throne:
See, I didn't. Because that would be more than just pragmatic, that would be abandoning the Night's Watch's mission. I think he just thought he was sacrificing them in religious/blood magic rituals.
Entertained Organizer:
see, I think it's still pragmatic. He said it straight out, Craster means the difference between life and death for a lot of rangers
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yeah, but there's some lines you don't cross.
Entertained Organizer:
even if he's made a proverbial deal with the devil, what other choice does the watch have exactly?
Race for the Iron Throne:
Kill him and fortify the keep like Fist of the First Men.
Entertained Organizer:
and what happens to the daughter-wives?
Race for the Iron Throne:
They become vassals of the Night's Watch.
Entertained Organizer:
that just sounds like it almost immediately ends in horrifically bad things: a bunch of rangers cut off in the North, away from the command structure surrounded by horrifically traumatized women who were sex slaves
Race for the Iron Throne:
At least it wouldn't be incestuous.
Entertained Organizer:
I guess that's a silver lining?
Race for the Iron Throne:
So what did you think of Sam giving Gilly his mom's thimble? Sweet or saccharine?
Entertained Organizer:
can I vote both? I mean it was ridiculously over the top, but it's Sam, he has absolutely no idea what he's doing
Race for the Iron Throne:
It felt appropriate to the character, especially since this is probably the longest he's ever talked to a woman he's not related to.
Entertained Organizer:
exactly
Race for the Iron Throne:
So now we go to Winterfell and another wolf dream. And a cool inception moment where Bran sees himself wake up.
Entertained Organizer:
also we get another Hodor from Hodor, which I feel like we should have been counting
Race for the Iron Throne:
Shouldn't be too hard to go back.
Entertained Organizer:
hahaha, you heard it here first, Steven is going to count all the Hodor's from Hodor so far in the series for our next Gabbing about Game of Thrones
Race for the Iron Throne:
I'll swear an oath on it.
Entertained Organizer:
I sadly have absolutely zero doubt about you following through on this
Race for the Iron Throne:
I love that he was talking to the wolf. Do you think he knows?
Entertained Organizer:
well the mentally handicapped have a long and storied history of having special powers
Race for the Iron Throne:
I loved that they kept the bit with Luwin showing him the Valaryian steel link on his Maester's chain.
Entertained Organizer:
Yes, and I did like Luwin brutally dismissing the entire fantasy genre
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. "What boy doesn't wish for hidden powers to lift him out of his dull life." I thought it was actually quite bittersweet. Ironically, Luwin's quite logical but horribly wrong.
Entertained Organizer:
I actually prefer to think that magic actually has been dead for thousands of years but is only coming back right now. I guess hundreds because the Targaryans had dragons
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. But he's biased because he's a maester....I can't say anything more.
Entertained Organizer:
dun dun dun
Race for the Iron Throne:
Ok. Brienne.
Entertained Organizer:
and now the Knight of Flowers gets beat up by a girl
Race for the Iron Throne:
Brienne goes to town. And is it me or was Margaery a little turned on watching them fight?
Entertained Organizer:
at the very least she is very very competitive
Race for the Iron Throne:
I thought this was amazingly acted - it showed Renly and Margaery are both good at popular politics, but that Margaery makes him really awkward even when she's wearing clothing. For a given value of clothing.
Entertained Organizer:
ya, I thought she was fantastic
Race for the Iron Throne:
And Brienne was perfect casting. Seriously, there needs to be a Best Casting Director award category. She was MASSIVE!
Entertained Organizer:
ok, that actually needs to be a thing. I think I like Best Casting Director more than my idea for a Best of the Decade Oscars
Race for the Iron Throne:
I noticed they excised the Rainbow Guard as a bit too on the nose.
Entertained Organizer:
I don't know if it's gone, or if it just hasn't been mentioned yet
Race for the Iron Throne:
No, they're calling them his Kingsguard.
Entertained Organizer:
probably a good decision, less confusing when the term gets tossed out maybe once an episode anyway
Race for the Iron Throne:
On the other hand, we lose the opportunity for some great Power Rangers/Captain Planet jokes.
Entertained Organizer:
sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the greater good. Power Rangers and Captain Planet taught me that
Race for the Iron Throne:
So Catelyn shows up and it's interesting...Renly and Margaery are doing their thing, but Loras is getting pissy about gender roles. Kind of gutsy for someone who's not the most macho knight in the land.
Entertained Organizer:
well I think a big part of it too is that of the three of them, Loras is the least secure in his position: Renly is king, Margaery is Queen and vitally important in that she is what really gives Renly her father's forces and any chance at the Iron Throne, and Loras is the king's gay lover who needs to be kept secret(ish) and at this point doesn't really bring anything to the table except his fighting prowess
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yeah. And as the royal fluffer. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Entertained Organizer:
I know it's jumping ahead in the episode, but we might as well discuss it now, because that scene was fantastic
Race for the Iron Throne:
One quick thing - Michelle Fairly was really hitting it out of the park in that scene. But yes.
Entertained Organizer:
really established Margaery as a power player right out of the gate
Race for the Iron Throne:
A very liberated power player. As someone else put it, "most understanding beard ever."
Entertained Organizer:
I think more pragmatic than anything else
Race for the Iron Throne:
I dunno, I think she was into it a bit.
Entertained Organizer:
which again gets us back to the incest theme, eventually everything comes back to it
Race for the Iron Throne:
Not technically incest. Although as someone put it on a podcast, she and Loras would be Eskimo brother and sister.
Entertained Organizer:
I'm pretty sure proposing a three way with your brother counts as incest
Race for the Iron Throne:
She's not actually touching him in that scenario.
Entertained Organizer:
I think that's starting to get waaaaay more technical and specific than strictly necessary
Race for the Iron Throne:
On a show with this much incest, I think we need to be careful
Entertained Organizer:
anyway, my point is that I have a stronger understanding of Margaery's character after these two scenes than I've gotten from all of the books
Race for the Iron Throne:
Well, she's a more interesting character here. In the books, it's all from little scraps of context.
Entertained Organizer:
true
Race for the Iron Throne:
By the way, Gethin Anthony (Renly) is straight. And an AMAZING actor. Because he had to really look disgusted by a naked Natalie Dormer, and that ain't easy.
Entertained Organizer:
I'm definitely getting more of the Anne Boleyn vibe than I did in the books, which does make sense given Dormer's resume
Race for the Iron Throne:
I asked about that on the thing I did tonight. Apparently they went that way before they cast her.
Entertained Organizer:
interesting
Race for the Iron Throne:
Another point to the casting director.
Entertained Organizer:
I dunno if I'll give the casting director that one. Casting Anne Boleyn after the writers tell you they're looking for Anne Boleyn isn't actually that amazing a feat
Race for the Iron Throne:
Someone had to get her before she got snapped up. That would have been a coup, given interest from other projects.
Entertained Organizer:
fair enough
Race for the Iron Throne:
Do you have any thoughts about Brienne before we get back to Pyke?
Entertained Organizer:
Brienne. um...we haven't seen a lot yet of her yet but it seems like excellent casting? she certainly looks the part
Race for the Iron Throne:
I liked the "I'm no lady." A nice parallel to Arya. I'd really like them to meet, btw.
Entertained Organizer:
we shall see
Race for the Iron Throne:
So...Pyke.
Entertained Organizer:
ok, the guy playing Theon is an excellent actor
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. I had not been so keen last season, but god he brought it.
Entertained Organizer:
I actually felt bad for the guy
Race for the Iron Throne:
Me too, and I HATE Theon.
Entertained Organizer:
Exactly, I mean by the end of the episode I go back to hating him, but I'm pretty sure that's exactly what the writers wanted me to do
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yeah. They really heightened the emasculation with the 30 ships vs 1. And then he got slapped for...actually talking sense to his crazy Confederate father. Jefferson Greyjoy/Balon Davis.
Entertained Organizer:
and we have a future essay thesis for Race for the Iron Throne
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yep.
Race for the Iron Throne:
I thought the scene with the letter was amazing. One of the most amazing visuals they've ever done.
Entertained Organizer:
he was so close to doing the right thing and failed, as only Theon can
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yeah. Bad choice. And he's just going to keep compounding it. I liked that they reinforced the Born Again parallel. The Drowned God as an evil Jesus.
Entertained Organizer:
ya, I mean that was pretty obvious in the books, but amazingly explicit in the episode: evil christian Vikings, and you wonder why the Greyjoys are popular
Race for the Iron Throne:
Evil Christian Cthulhu Vikings.
Entertained Organizer:
even better
Race for the Iron Throne:
So Tyrion! Such an amazing episode for him.
Entertained Organizer:
which has been true of every episode he's been in so far, but yes
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yeah, but this is his nessun dorma.
Entertained Organizer:
I'm not even going to pretend I get that reference
Race for the Iron Throne:
...I'm shocked. West Wing, Season 1. Mandy's intro scene.
Entertained Organizer:
....but I hate both Mandy and that scene
Race for the Iron Throne:
But it should have traumatized you.
Entertained Organizer:
I am very confused now
Race for the Iron Throne:
Dessun dorma is an aria. It's the big moment for the diva, her chance to really cut loose.
Entertained Organizer:
ok, then yes: Tyrion gets his scheme on
Race for the Iron Throne:
But first he has to deal with Shae. Who I'm really not feeling this episode.
Entertained Organizer:
I dunno, I kind of sympathized. Tyrion told her he was going to defy his father and bring her to court and then he locks her up in his room and tells her she's going to need to scrub pots. Bit of a bait and switch
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yeah, but I think we need to see her seductive side more. So far all we're seeing is her whining.
Entertained Organizer:
Eh, agree to disagree
Race for the Iron Throne:
So, Sansa's epic awkward dinner. Cersei is so disappointed her children aren't emotional sadists.
Entertained Organizer:
I don't think anyone has ever claimed that she should win mother of the year awards. Frankly I find it amazing that the youngest two incest-kids have turned out as well as they have
Race for the Iron Throne:
Her kids are so lucky that she only paid attention to Joffrey. Benign neglect.
Entertained Organizer:
Tommen and Marcella: the only kids to ever benefit from neglect
Race for the Iron Throne:
I did like the Shae/Sansa scene - an interesting mix of class and gender inequality clashing.
Entertained Organizer:
ya, it does remind you that even if her life is a living nightmare, Sansa is still pretty lucky compared to basically everyone else living in Westeros
Race for the Iron Throne:
But very much a gilded cage thing. And now we get one of my favorite scenes in the book. "One, two, three."
Entertained Organizer:
don't get me wrong, it's Tyrion at his craftiest, but was Theon really the best lie he could come up with for Varys?
Race for the Iron Throne:
Watch the video - Cogman explains that they wanted to stick with three offers for Myrcella (in the book, Varys is told something about Tommen), and they didn't have another house we'd heard of.
Entertained Organizer:
I dunno, Dorne wasn't exactly a prominent part of the Story so far
Race for the Iron Throne:
Right, but they have to start getting it in people's minds. Like they did with Greyjoy last season.
Entertained Organizer:
I guess, and I don't really have a better option, but that one just seemed like the obvious odd man out and he tried to sell it to the savviest of the three
Race for the Iron Throne:
I think that was the point. Varys saw through it right away, so now Tyrion knows he's on-side and smarter than Littlefinger.
Entertained Organizer:
ok, and speaking of Littlefinger, his rage was kind of amazing
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. And it was great payback for Tyrion. He found Littlefinger’s levers and tugged them.
Entertained Organizer:
and Littlefinger does NOT like that
Race for the Iron Throne:
I loved how they cut this into one scene. And Chekov's laxative. Where do you think that's going to go?
Entertained Organizer:
I am a little terrified to find out
Race for the Iron Throne:
So now we fast-forward to Cersei and Tyrion and she really blows up. Worse than we've ever seen
Entertained Organizer:
I had absolutely no clue she actually cared about Marcella
Race for the Iron Throne:
I think that was about her. And her own experience as a young girl.
Entertained Organizer:
ya, except she even admitted in the last season that she was initially excited about marrying Robert
Race for the Iron Throne:
I thought that was a bit of a misstep.
Entertained Organizer:
it wasn't until she realized that she could never compete with a dead woman that she got bitter
Race for the Iron Throne:
She was excited to be married to Rhaegar, then Aerys turned her down. In the book.
Entertained Organizer:
ya, but in the world of the show, this outburst just seemed really out of nowhere if it was about her
Race for the Iron Throne:
It's also about losing control over her surroundings.
Entertained Organizer:
ok, that makes more sense
Race for the Iron Throne:
I mean, she pulls the line about the paper, but Tyrion has grabbed almost all the power.
Entertained Organizer:
ya, he's basically gotten rid of the entire small council now
Race for the Iron Throne:
Except the part that's loyal to him. And that he can share a drink with.
Entertained Organizer:
actually wait, who is left?
Race for the Iron Throne:
Littlefinger, Varys, Cersei, whoever the Master of Laws and Master of Ships is.
Entertained Organizer:
Stannis was master of ships, so unless they've replaced him off screen pretty sure that seats open
Race for the Iron Throne:
Right, but they filled those vacancies.
Entertained Organizer:
and he's sending Littlefinger away, at least for a while
Race for the Iron Throne:
True. It's almost a one-man show now.
Entertained Organizer:
that is actually potentially dangerous for Tyrion
Race for the Iron Throne:
How so?
Entertained Organizer:
well, it's always good to have a fall guy or two if things go bad
Race for the Iron Throne:
If things go bad, he's going to die, so, eh.
Entertained Organizer:
hahaha, there are degrees of bad
Race for the Iron Throne:
And after a long day's scheming, Tyrion and Varys have a drink. BTW, I think Tyrion had like 6 drinks in this episode alone.
Entertained Organizer:
haha, I will leave you to do the running count
Race for the Iron Throne:
That would be a fun drinking game: Match Tyrion drink for drink.
Entertained Organizer:
I am not nearly enough of a man to do that, I think I would die
Race for the Iron Throne:
Per episode, I think 6 drinks...wouldn't kill you. Smashed, sure.
Entertained Organizer:
I'd survive this episode, but there are others...Yoren time?
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. Apparently this was Dan and Dave.
Entertained Organizer:
?
Race for the Iron Throne:
They wrote this scene, not Cogman.
Entertained Organizer:
ah
Race for the Iron Throne:
I loved that they had Yoren give Arya the idea for her list.
Entertained Organizer:
that was inspired
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yep.
Entertained Organizer:
as was the line about crossbows
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. He was such a badass. He killed four men with a crossbow bolt in him.
Entertained Organizer:
I do love how this show likes to give you the false hope that something completely ridiculous is going to happen. For half a second I thought Yoren was actually going to kill all those guys with a crossbow bolt in him
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yeah. That doesn't happen.
Entertained Organizer:
but of course, no, that's impossible
Race for the Iron Throne:
Realistically, you shouldn't be able to move that much. The shock of having something transfixing your body normally would make it very hard to move at all.
Entertained Organizer:
he was wearing leather armor, I just assumed it didn't actually penetrate him that deeply
Race for the Iron Throne:
That went in deep. Short range, yeesh. That would have gone through plate.
Entertained Organizer:
anyway, I had the same feeling last season when Arya was trying to get to her dad before he was executed
Race for the Iron Throne:
I felt the exact same way.
Entertained Organizer:
even though I knew what was going to happen, for half a second I thought some crazy Three Muskateers style action sequence was going to let them escape
Race for the Iron Throne:
Some nice grace notes - how lazy Amory Lorch was, that Yoren wouldn't fall over even when he was dead.
Entertained Organizer:
oh ya, and I like that the show alludes to what would happen in a "traditional fantasy show", but than sticks to reality
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yep. So Arya loses her sword, we meet the Tickler, I think. Either him or Polliver.
Entertained Organizer:
I'm sure we'll be finding out soon
Race for the Iron Throne:
And so dies Lommy Greenhands. That was uncomfortable to watch.
Entertained Organizer:
and I just want to say thank god Arya was smart enough to say the dead kid was Gendry instead of trying to pull some kind of "I am Spartacus" moment
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yep. Him grabbing the helmet was lucky.
Entertained Organizer:
though I'm pretty sure those soldiers should/would just kill them all anyway
Race for the Iron Throne:
They need to interrogate them, and use them as slaves. You have to hit all the evil bases. If you overload on murder and don't tick the torture and degredation boxes, you lose points with the judges.
Entertained Organizer:
I just spent way too long trying to come up with a joke about the Eastern European judges, so just imagine I came up with a good one and it was funny
Race for the Iron Throne:
Something about the Soviet judge saying he's seen five year olds torture a human being better.
Entertained Organizer:
ya, there's definitely something there, but I'm too tired to come up with it
Entertained Organizer:
READER CONTEST: make the joke for us in the comments
Race for the Iron Throne:
Good idea.
Entertained Organizer:
Best joke gets a free Race for the Iron Throne Teeshirt?
Race for the Iron Throne:
That works
Entertained Organizer:
Alright, comment to this post before the next episode airs, and we’ll announce the winner next week.  I guess leave an email address too so we can get in contact with the winner.
Race for the Iron Throne:
So...final thoughts: Best episode of the season.
Entertained Organizer:
most definitely…until next week

2 comments:

  1. I'm no good at jokes, but to be a classic, it should obviously begin with 'In Soviet Russia-" and continue in the vein of "you don't torture child, child torture you"

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's actually not bad!

    ReplyDelete