Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Gabbing About Game of Thrones, S03E01: Valar Dohaeris

In this week's edition of Gabbing About Game of Thrones, Steven of Race for the Iron Throne and I discuss the differences between capes and cloaks, what the Avengers must have been like in high school, and which 70s horror movie the creepy little girl reminds us of.  Oh and we might have also covered the Season 3 premiere of Game of Thrones.


Entertained Organizer:
Season 3, Episode 1: Valar Dohaeris
In which Sam somehow survives but disappoints the Lord Commander,  Jon Snow curtseys to a king and giants are really tall, Bronn wants a bite to eat but gets interrupted, Tyrion and Cersei discuss his safety and their father, Bronn and Tyrion discuss lifestyles and the finer points of salary negotiations, Davos doesn’t look good but gets by with a little help from his friend, Robb takes Harrenhal and locks up his mom, Tyrion’s quality time with Tywin doesn’t go well, Shae plays with Sansa and is warned by Roz, Dragons are bigger and Dothraki get sea sick, Davos prosecutes his case and then gets locked up, Joffrey is Joffrey and Margaery does some PR, dinner with the inlaws is just as awkward in Westeros as anywhere else, people speaking foreign languages apparently really are mocking you, and Dany discusses the merits of slavery then makes a new friend.
Race for the Iron Throne:
...and we're back. It's been a long 10 months. Year. Whatevs.
Entertained Organizer:
time is complicated
Race for the Iron Throne:
And possibly an illusion. So we open with Sam running away from a blizzard.
Entertained Organizer:
well to be fair we did leave him being confronted by an undead army marshaled by White Walkers
Race for the Iron Throne:
True.
Although I'm not so sure they were confronting him, so much as he was confrontation-adjacent.
Entertained Organizer:
well it's all about location, location, location
Race for the Iron Throne:
And choosing clothing well. Because in addition to not having a hat, Sam's cloak is about twice as long as he is, which is a real hindrance in a race.
Entertained Organizer:
counterpoint: it's never slowed down Batman
Race for the Iron Throne:
That cloak is high-tech, Sam's working a wool-and-fur combo that looks very heavy.
Entertained Organizer:
it doubles as a blanket?
Race for the Iron Throne:
Useful certainly, but not in a footrace. Anyway, Sam stumbles upon a Brother of the Night's Watch...who isn't moving.
Entertained Organizer:
and then he does!
Race for the Iron Throne:
No, he stays still, because he's busy holding his head in his hands...and not in the usual way. The moving fella is a wildling.
Entertained Organizer:
still dead though, well assuming you count undead as a kind of dead
Race for the Iron Throne:
I love the horror-movie aesthetic in this scene. The way that stillness and movement create different kinds of fear, etc.
Entertained Organizer:
I continue to feel bad for Sam, he has a near death experience and then the Lord Commander yells at him. It's just not a good day
Race for the Iron Throne:
To be fair, the Lord Commander does set a WIGHT ON FIRE. After Ghost, who's hanging out with the Night's Watch because he's a grown-up direwolf who does what he wants, JON, takes the wildling down.
Entertained Organizer:
ya, why didn't Ghost go with Jon?
Race for the Iron Throne:
Look at this part, we're so off the books with Jon that I'm not bothering. Might as well ask why Ghost didn't show Jon the way back to Quorin, or help him fight the Wildlings, or fight Quorin. But I think I know why: SPOILER.
Entertained Organizer:
DUN DUN DUN
Race for the Iron Throne:
So: Sam forgot to release the ravens. Which isn't that different from the books, where he got them out, but forgot to attach a message to their legs. So book fans should cool their jets.
Entertained Organizer:
basically in all continuities Sam is kind of pathetically bad at his job with disastrous results
Race for the Iron Throne:
So Jeor Mormont gives them their new marching orders and we cut to credits.
Entertained Organizer:
ruined Winterfell is awesome
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. And sad. I like Astapor. Looks cool.
Entertained Organizer:
I want a clockwork world playset, the good people at lego should make that happen
Race for the Iron Throne:
Or the guy who did the lego version of season 1.
Entertained Organizer:
wait, what?
Race for the Iron Throne:

Entertained Organizer:
woah
Race for the Iron Throne:
The second one is my favorite.
Entertained Organizer:
crazy people with too much time on their hands are awesome
Race for the Iron Throne:
And many, many legos.
Entertained Organizer:
the legos go hand in hand with the being crazy and having too much free time, anyway, next we meet our second mythical race
Race for the Iron Throne:
As we enter Mance's camp. Notably, it's very chaotic, people have built tents wherever they want, there's lots of hides and bones everywhere, people are staring at Jon, and BOOM GIANT.

I love this giant.
Entertained Organizer:
he is very tall
Race for the Iron Throne:
And very tactile. He makes things shake when he walks, his breath gives off steam, he hammers things into the ground with his hand.
Entertained Organizer:
he is also shy, and when he feels shy it makes him angry
Race for the Iron Throne:
Like the Hulk if the Hulk was a teenager.
Entertained Organizer:
I would watch a show that was about Hulk as a teenager
Race for the Iron Throne:
NO ONE UNDERSTAND HULK! HULK SMASH EMOTIONS WITH ANGRY MUSIC AND BAD POETRY!
Entertained Organizer:
Captain America would be a jock, Iron Man would be an autoshop greaser, and Samuel L Jackson could be the principal. DONE
Race for the Iron Throne:
But a very preppy greaser.
Entertained Organizer:
call me Disney, let's make this happen
Race for the Iron Throne:
Actually, I see Cap as a track-and-field class president, hall monitor type. Thor's the true jock with the beer and partying. Who shall be known as T-Dogg.
Entertained Organizer:
this is nothing but good ideas
Race for the Iron Throne:
So then a bunch of kids chuck rocks at Jon Snow, who's mentally writing in his livejournal.  While Ygritte does some of the most violent flirting I've ever seen.
Entertained Organizer:
clearly you need to go on more dates in rebel army camps
Race for the Iron Throne:
Sure. It's an important phase in a young man's life.
Entertained Organizer:
I think if there's one thing that Game of Thrones teaches us, it's that you never know where you'll find love: a whore house, a family reunion, could be anywhere really
Race for the Iron Throne:

So Jon enters Mance's tent, going through a symbolic entryway into a new world. To deal with a man who's got an army. This is important for later.
Entertained Organizer:
I really liked the King Beyond the Wall
Race for the Iron Throne:
Likewise.
Entertained Organizer:
just a very well acted scene
Race for the Iron Throne:
The always-excellent Ciaran Hinds.
Entertained Organizer:
and I didn't even hate Jon Snow in it, which I think might be a first
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes, Jon Snow showed unexpected grit and intelligence. Which knock on wood will continue as a trend this season. After the disaster that was season 2. for Jon. It was awesome for other people.
Entertained Organizer:
he's definitely set up for an interesting arc, I mean what the Lord Commander did was pretty legitimately horrifying
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. I liked that change.
Although I think they'll bring in the original rationale about being a bastard because that's important
Entertained Organizer:
Bronn just can't catch a break
Race for the Iron Throne:
Wait a sec. We still need to talk about the awesomeness that is Tormund Giantbane. Also, the thematic importance of the Wildling Camp as the place where they don't kneel to anyone, ever.
Entertained Organizer:
....I don't really know what more to say about either of those things now that you've said it though
Race for the Iron Throne:
Ok, the crazy-looking redbearded man Jon mistakes for Mance. Because the secret of Mance is that, like Napoleon, he's an unimpressive-looking man who inspires excellence in everyone around him. His name is Tormund Giantsbane. And he is an amazing character. Up there with Dolorous Edd. HAR!
Entertained Organizer:
Hodor?
Race for the Iron Throne:
The other thing - just pay attention for later. Tormund:HAR::Hodor:Hodor, I miss those on the SATs.
Entertained Organizer:
not that I disagree, but that is the geekiest thing I've ever heard you say
Race for the Iron Throne:
Wow. That's some fierce competition.
Entertained Organizer:
and you run a blog analyzing a series of fantasy books
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yeah. So Bronn. Having a good time. Discussing his imagination.
Entertained Organizer:
is there actually any point to this scene beyond the fact we haven't seen any breasts yet 15 minutes into the premiere?
Race for the Iron Throne:
I'm sure there's an element of the fandom who are really into the thought of Jerome Flynn undoing a thong with his mouth.
Entertained Organizer:
I'm taking that as a "no"
Race for the Iron Throne:
Nope. Still it's over quickly. And we learn that Bronn is now Ser Bronn of the Blackwater. So apparently social mobility exists in Westeros. You just have to kill thousands and thousands of people with incendiary devices.
Entertained Organizer:
well and be best friends with the king's uncle
Race for the Iron Throne:
So, we switch to Tyrion in his chambers looking into a mirror - which is a shot that I didn't feel added much. But I LOVED the bit where he's looking at his sister through the bars.
Entertained Organizer:
he's at a low point, some self reflection is to be expected
Race for the Iron Throne:
...good point. He's got every reason to be afraid that his sister is about to murder him, given that she just tried to murder him via the Kingsguard and he's alone and she's got two kingsguard.
Entertained Organizer:
true, though I'm not really sure I buy that Cersei would go in person just to kill him, that seems like something you delegate
Race for the Iron Throne:
Well, to kill most people, no. But for Tyrion, yes.
Entertained Organizer:
fair enough
Race for the Iron Throne:
And it's amazing how even at his low point, Tyrion can still run verbal rings around Cersei.
Entertained Organizer:
Peter Dinklage continues to be my favorite part of this show
Race for the Iron Throne:
Give him all of the Emmys. All of them. Seriously, if they don't give him Best Actor, I say we call the banners and burn the Emmys to the ground.
Entertained Organizer:
I mean he really sells that he both is upset that his father doesn't love him enough to visit him AND still of course has an ulterior motive for wanting to see him
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. And how both of them are ultimately terrified of the invisible DADDY in the room. And how Tyrion and his family are ultimately all about opposing truths.
Entertained Organizer:
I also completely buy them as siblings
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes.
Entertained Organizer:
really really messed up siblings
Race for the Iron Throne:
In part because Lena Heady and Peter Dinklage are close friends. They roomed together on location, for example.
Entertained Organizer:
Did not know that
Race for the Iron Throne:
I'm sure morning bathroom fights provided a good foundation for this scene.
Entertained Organizer:
so was Bronn's plan to murder the two kings guards if they didn't let him through?
Race for the Iron Throne:
Sure. Via knife to the throat. Which I don't think we've seen him use yet.
Entertained Organizer:
I feel there would have been some rather severe consequences to that
Race for the Iron Throne:
I'm looking forward to that. Bronn's more of a Zen type. Lives in the now.
Entertained Organizer:
well, and he's a good friend to Tyrion, even if he does gouge him in the next scene
Race for the Iron Throne:
To be fair, when you get your Knighthood, it's a bit like picking up an MA. You should get a wage bump. I'm pretty sure the Amalgamated Sellswords, Cutthroats, and Thugs King's Landing Local has a wage scale that covers this.
Entertained Organizer:
well, "you don't even know how much you're paying me, so what do you care if I get a raise" is a pretty damn good argument
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yep. Did you notice the reconstruction work? I thought that was a nice detail.
Entertained Organizer:
they always nail the details, including Davos being coated in seagull droppings
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. And peeling quite badly from his head….Like...an onion.
Entertained Organizer:
you couldn't resist that
Race for the Iron Throne:
Not for a million golden dragons.
Entertained Organizer:
I do like that even with his life on the line he stayed loyal
Race for the Iron Throne:
That's Davos through and thru. Our one working-class protagonist. And Westeros' most honest man.
Entertained Organizer:
what about Bronn?
Race for the Iron Throne:
Bronn's not a protagonist in the book. I'm talking POVs.
Entertained Organizer:
Ah, then ya
Race for the Iron Throne:
And props to Liam Cunningham for selling Davos as a man half-crazed with grief and exposure.
Entertained Organizer:
you're assuming he didn't go all method and kill his son and strand himself on an a rock for a week before filming
Race for the Iron Throne:
The latter, maybe. He was rocking one hell of a tan.
Entertained Organizer:
I'm pretty sure you can't actually call a second degree burn a "tan"
Race for the Iron Throne:
Have you seen John Boehner? Thankyew, thankyew. I'll be here all winter, folks!
Entertained Organizer:
there is a lot of talk about friendship in this episode
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. And service. Which is appropriate. Since the ep title means: "All Men Must Serve"
Entertained Organizer:
and it's nice that Salador does actually deliver Davos home despite all his protestations
Race for the Iron Throne:
Of course. When a friend complains that much about doing a favor, you know they're just making the internal gear shift. It's when they just say "no" that you're screwed.
Entertained Organizer:
so many life lessons with this show
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yep. So now Harrenhal?
Entertained Organizer:
I didn't really see the point of this scene
Race for the Iron Throne:
Ok, let me go all theory for a second. So we learn that the Lannisters are playing rope-a-dope, running away from battle, and forcing the Starks to wear themselves down from marching. Which is hurting morale. Then we see that the Mountain, who was left with a skeleton crew to guard Harrenhal, has left, and left them a welcoming present of massacred Northmen and Riverlanders. Here's my theory about that. Last season, Robb sent his best horsemen after Jaime when he escaped. My guess is that Gregor ambushed them, piled their bodies on carts, and then left them there as psychological warfare. And we learn some more things:
1. Bolton is chummying up with Karstark.
2. Bolton's best hunter is after Jaime.
3. Qyburn is the lone "survivor."
4. Robb is still really angry at his mother, as we see the tension between family and his duty as a king.

But I agree, it felt like there were at least a few lines on the cutting room floor that would have made this scene make sense. Theory over.
Entertained Organizer:
haha, well I got like half those things, so I'm comfortable blaming the show's editing
Race for the Iron Throne:
So am I. A rare misstep in an otherwise excellent episode.
Entertained Organizer:
BUT, next we get Tyrion and Tywin in the same room again
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes.
Entertained Organizer:
I think I would watch a show that was just them in that room alone together forever
Race for the Iron Throne:
Wait, what do you mean same room again?
Entertained Organizer:
they were in a tent room together on a battlefield sometime last season, or maybe it was season 1. It was season 1
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes, but this is the Hand's chambers. Tyrion was sitting on the other side of the same desk when he was chatting with Varys and Bronn. And Tywin's redecorated.
Entertained Organizer:
really I just mean it's been a season and a half since the last time we got to see these guys play off each other
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. And god, this is devastating. All Tyrion really wants is for his dad to love him as his son.
Entertained Organizer:
Ya, also to inherit the wealthiest kingdom in the land
Race for the Iron Throne:
Right, but that's more of a test of his father's love. Casterly Rock = acceptance as a Lannister and his father's son.
Entertained Organizer:
agreed
Race for the Iron Throne:
And here we see Tywin's truth (See, I was getting at something).
Entertained Organizer:
it's like you had a whole point and everything
Race for the Iron Throne:
Tyrion's truth is: "I saved the city, organized it's defenses. I am by right of blood your heir." Which is oddly reminiscent of Stannis.
Entertained Organizer:
that is probably the only thing they have in common
Race for the Iron Throne:
Tywin's truth is: "You brought a whore into my bed. You killed your mother; you are as close to no son of mine as I can allow." Yep. "What do I want? A little bloody gratitude would be a start." "Jugglers and singers require applause. You are a Lannister." The hypocrisy of a man who just rode in on a white horse to get the Hand of the King pinned to his chest.
Entertained Organizer:
eh, ceremony serves a purpose
Race for the Iron Throne:
I'm just saying, he's a hypocrite.
Entertained Organizer:
they can't recognize Tyrion without tearing down Joffrey
Race for the Iron Throne:
Good point. One line I want to pull out: "I would let myself be consumed by maggots before mocking the family name by making your heir to Casterly Rock." So Tywin gives Tyrion accomodations, a position, and the promise of a wife.
Entertained Organizer:
it's like a Westerosi allowance
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yah. Backstory on why Tywin is so fixated on the whore thing. When Tywin was a young man, his weak but warm father took a commonborn mistress (who Tywin considered a whore), who he let wear Tywin’s mother’s gowns and jewels, order around the servants and bannermen, and rule in his absence, basically a wife in all but name. In a very Freudian act, when his father died, Tywin threw her out of the house, and forced her to walk naked through the streets of Lannisport for two weeks telling everyone she met that she was a thief and a whore.
Entertained Organizer:
wouldn't it be more Freudian if he slept with his stepmom?
Race for the Iron Throne:
And now we get a brief moment of Sansa being happy.
Entertained Organizer:
and dishing out folksy wisdom: "the truth is always terrible or boring"
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yep. Shae's being a bit of a wet blanket. Which given what her mistress is going through, you think she could crack a few jokes. She is after all Shae the funny whore.
Entertained Organizer:
that's an awkward business card
Race for the Iron Throne:
Not half as awkward as-LITTLEFINGER BE CREEPIN. God he's so slimy in this episode.
Entertained Organizer:
this scene supports my theory that Roz is actually the central character of the piece, she's been there since the beginning
Race for the Iron Throne:
I actually liked her in this scene. But I hate your theory.
Entertained Organizer:
...because you can't deal with how much you love my theory?
Race for the Iron Throne:
Anyway. I liked Shae and Roz's chat, and Roz playing the double-agent. Be happy with that. Littlefinger's Irish was coming out this episode. Not sure how I feel about excising the Ser Dontos plotline. Especially after they cast him. I'm wondering if they cast the guy based on the look, and then realized he couldn't really act.
Entertained Organizer:
or he's going to show up later
Race for the Iron Throne:
I somehow doubt it. AND NOW: DRAGONS



Entertained Organizer:
now you're making me hungry
Race for the Iron Throne:
There we go, all done. On to the plot. Dany wants an army. Jorah is recommending the Unsullied on Yelp. And being quite sassy. The Dothraki aren't good sailors.
Entertained Organizer:
that's because they haven't found Aquaman's giant seahorse yet

Race for the Iron Throne:
Those look awfully Disney for Hanna-Barbara.
Entertained Organizer:
his name is Storm.......NEW THEORY: Dany STORMborn will lead the Dothraki HORSEmen to Westeros riding giant seahorses
Race for the Iron Throne:
noooope
Entertained Organizer:
we'll see
Race for the Iron Throne:
So Davos finds Stannis in a real funk.
Entertained Organizer:
and he is rather unkempt
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yep. Needs a shave. But I love how nonchalant he was about Davos. "Heard you were dead." sounded a lot like "you took your time getting a fresh six-pack."
Entertained Organizer:
in many cultures those phrases are interchangeable
Race for the Iron Throne:
Davos looks a little loopy in this scene.
Entertained Organizer:
well, he almost died and now the man he's dedicated his life to has pretty clearly lost his mind, it does a number on a guy
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yeah. Melisandre kind of schools him. Her go-to move, the ear whisper, is quite effective.
Entertained Organizer:
if by that you mean she shoves his dead son in his face and then has him throne in jail, then yes
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yep
Entertained Organizer:
Joffrey has not grown a spine in the off season
Race for the Iron Throne:
Nope, It's impressive how much sticking him in a box and giving him a scented hanky to hold under his nose makes him even more of an ass than he was before.
Entertained Organizer:
Impossible, Joffrey is peak asshole at all times
Race for the Iron Throne:
And yet somehow, impossibly, he tops himself. Like a non-Euclidian object.
Entertained Organizer:
Escher would be proud of Joffrey, no one else ever will be
Race for the Iron Throne:
Margaery, however, is seriously channeling some Lady Di here. Slumming it in the slums. Handing out toys and food to orphans. Winning over poor people in an instant. Whereas Joffrey is trapped in a cage like a zoo exhibit. Completely incapable of understanding his people
Entertained Organizer:
we then get one of the most awkward family dinners ever
Race for the Iron Throne:
Which I loved. Cersei is giving epic hatefest. And Margaery is like Mohammed Ali fighting Joe Frazier. Can't touch her. Insinuate she's a slut, she'll use that to play up her libido to Joffrey while implying your dress is ugly.
Entertained Organizer:
float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Race for the Iron Throne:
Try to frighten her with your insistence that the lower orders are violent scum, she uses that to rebound off of Joffrey, who calls his mother old. Not a great episode for mothers, btw.
Entertained Organizer:
are there any good episodes for mothers in this show?
Race for the Iron Throne:
The one where Cersei wins the throne? Dany getting her dragons back?
Entertained Organizer:
....so episodes with high death tolls are good for mothers?
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yep. It's the whole life/death, mother/crone thing.
Entertained Organizer:
I'm sure you could make a chart
Race for the Iron Throne:
How amazing was that shot of Astapor, btw? Gorgeous painting.
Entertained Organizer:
Peter Dinklage should give one of the infinite Emmys he rightfully deserves to the set and costume design people
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yes. Along with the Best Casting Director emmy. So...reaching all the way back to the beginning...Dany goes through an imposing door to meet a man who has an army. But whereas Mance's army was an army dedicated to freedom, this is a slave army. Literally inhuman/dehumanied order vs. lively chaos.
Entertained Organizer:
I just want to know where I can get one of those cool scorpion balls
Race for the Iron Throne:
Hang on a sec. First we get this amazing scene where this three-fold conversation is going on. There's the conversation that Missandei the translator and Kraznyz the slavemaster are having. The edited conversation Kraznyz and Dany have through Missandei. And the real conversation where Dany and Jorah both speak Valyrian and can understand every insult.
Entertained Organizer:
awkward
Race for the Iron Throne:
Yep. And if the tagline for the Free Folk is that they kneel to no one, the tagline for the Unsullied is that they fear nothing, because they are not men. Which brings us to NIPPLES.
Entertained Organizer:
I feel like there were probably easier ways to prove that point
Race for the Iron Throne:
Like killing a baby or eight thousand?
Entertained Organizer:
or maybe just cutting his arm or something
Race for the Iron Throne:
Not as frightening. There's something peculiarly squicky about cutting parts of people off. As we are going to SPOILERS. So now we get an interesting conversation between Dany the former slave and Jorah the advocate of enlightened slavemastery. And now the scorpion ball.
Entertained Organizer:
I'm just saying, it didn't look hollow and then it had a scorpion in it
Race for the Iron Throne:
MAGIC!
Entertained Organizer:
creepy Rosemary's Baby girl magic
Race for the Iron Throne:
And while I love that Dany's being more active this season, why couldn't she see she's dealing with a creepier version of the girl(s) from the Shining?
Entertained Organizer:
Reader's Poll: Rosemary's Baby or The Shining?
Race for the Iron Throne:
And Dany gets saved from the Manticore by...Obi Wan Kenobi! I mean, Ser Barristan Selmy!
Entertained Organizer:
how do we know that Selmy isn't Kenobi? I've never seen them in the same place at the same time
Race for the Iron Throne:
True. So now Jorah's got competition in the suave older knight category. And he doesn't look happy.
Entertained Organizer:
he looked more awed to me, also confused
Race for the Iron Throne:
Chacun son gout. Ok, I think that's a rap, yah?
Entertained Organizer:
chacun son gout?
Race for the Iron Throne:
Each to their own taste.
Entertained Organizer:
and on that note I think we're done, until next week everybody

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