is the theme of this episode. I admittedly did not realise it until I was trying to get a good image for the top of the article. But Viserys throttles Daenerys. One of the Bloodriders (was he one of Drogo’s Bloodriders?) throttles Viserys. Ned throttles Littlefinger. People are choking each other out all over the episode. It is a clear sign of blood and death to come.
I wasn’t sure if she’d make an appearance in the show but she has, huzzah! Replete with creepy stories and mildly ominous face, she’s exactly how I pictured her from the books. Can we have a Game of Thrones spin-off with Old Nan telling stories? Just that. There don’t need to be other actors. Just her, on a chair, by the fireplace, telling stories, with the occasional screen or two of crude animation in case anyone from HBO wants visual relief on screen. Old Nan spin-off, pls -and remember that you heard it here first.
The Dothraki have no sense of personal space
Dothraki handmaid-type person: *reaches up and squeezes Khaleesi’s right boob*
Khaleesi: Helo excuse me wat r u doin
Handmaid: Do u hav bun in oven
Bad jokes aside, I really liked the exchange because Emilia Clarke reacted to the whole scene so beautifully. Very realistic – both the handmaid reaching out because she didn’t really think about it once let alone twice, and Dany being – understandably – uncomfortable with the exchange. Admittedly, having seen Emilia Clarke in a lot of promotional material outside of the show itself (before I started watching) I couldn’t quite understand why people loved her so much in such a pivotal role. Now I get it. Goddamn, that woman can act.
The Throttling of Viserys Targaryen
This is another one of those things that I had forgotten happens in the books so it was terribly exciting to see on the screen. When Dany wandered off into the tall grass and someone came up behind her, I was legit expecting it to be Jorah.
Overall, though, I really like the way this scene was done. First, we really see Viserys beginning to realise that that he isn’t quite getting what he bargained for and that for all the stories in his head of rightful kings and stolen thrones, his blood counts for nothing on this side of the sea. Second, Dany’s slowly starting to turn into the badass Dragon Queen that she will eventually become. I’m very, very in awe of Emilia Clarke’s performance in the show so far and in this scene in particular – the physical and mental effort it took for her to go from pleading for her brother’s life to demanding (albeit not as sternly as she will become later) that he be spared was masterfully executed.
“You’re a funny man. A very funny man.”
For all my worry that Ned was going to have a rough go of it at King’s Landing (because, y’know, he does), it’s a joy to see that as unprepared for politicking as he is, King’s Landing is also not prepared for him. Two scenes really stood out – Ned’s brief conversation with Jamie and his throttling of Littlefinger were both spectacular simply because it looked like neither of them really had Ned’s measure. Jamie was expecting to be able to rattle him and it didn’t work; Littlefinger was, admittedly, being thoroughly honest but was simply not equipped to handle the ball of ice and fury that is our beloved Lord Eddard Stark.
Cersei is terrifying
Her indulgence of Joffrey, although not unexpected, is quite uncomfortable to watch. The kid needs to be properly humbled but Cersei’s apparent fondness for egging him on and filling his head with dreams of thrones and whispers of enemies everywhere probably contribute in no small way to his growing lunacy. Having her brother’s children was perhaps her first big mistake (and ‘mistake’ is understating things a bit); slowly making (at least one of) them paranoid and mad is her second.
Jamie is also crazy
I don’t remember if his talk about killing everyone in the world until there’s no one left but him and Cersei is from the books or not but, um, wow. Dude’s nuts. Straight up bonkers. I don’t quite remember him like this from the books – perhaps he wasn’t or perhaps my memory is flawed – but he was downright scary here. He came across as more than a little unhinged, a step further down from a man bonkers enough to be impregnating his sister. He doesn’t come across as someone likely to be redeemed over the course of the story arc, and far more likely to meet an ugly death than anything else. So now I’m really looking forward to Brienne showing up.
This was the scene that stuck with me the most, simply because it feels like a whole new perspective on the Robert Baratheon I remember reading about. Onscreen Robert seems just terribly, terribly lonely. A man who took a throne because he didn’t have a choice, who sits uncomfortably in it, who lost the woman he loved and married another for political reasons, who is trapped and perhaps afraid and very much alone and was therefore left with no choice but to travel to almost the edge of the world and ask the last man he trusts for help.
Mind you, the dude’s still an ass. I’m not saying he isn’t. I’m just saying that he looks like an animal that has been caged for so long that the light in its eyes has gone out and it makes me really sad.
Onward to episode 4.