I’m Finally Watching: Game of Thrones – Thoughts on Season 1, Episode 4

Such a handsome man. (Funny, too.)

It didn’t really occur to me until I actually saw Petyr Baelish in his all-black outfit at the start of episode 4 but, goddamn, that man is fine. Cuts quite a striking figure. Has a smirk befitting a god. Yes, I like him, I like him very much.

Ned Stark is off balance once again.

Poor man. He looked so uncomfortable after the conversation with Littlefinger – in which Petyr happily shows Ned some of the Spider’s, Cersei’s, and his own spies – that it made me sad. It was starting to feel like he had kinda sorta found his footing in King’s Landing and I did not like seeing the rug being tugged out from under him once more. Things took a turn for the better when he sat down to talk to Arya (I love all of the Arya-Ned interactions; they’re such an adorable father-daughter team). And then promptly took a turn for the worse when he went to visit Gendry. Why, Ned, why? I understand his need to get to the truth but this. is. not. going. to. end. well.

Ugh. That episode is going to suck.

Sam

I like Sam. I like him a lot. John Bradley is yet another excellent casting choice. He’s convincingly terrified, plays the coward’s role well, and his helpless honesty is beautifully disarming. He knows – or thinks he knows – who and what he is and has sort of helplessly resigned himself to his lot in life. I especially loved seeing the first moments of his budding bromance with Jon; Samwell currently holds the record for the number of times a person has made Jon smile in a single episode. (Previous record holder was Arya with a whopping total of one.) Good shit, I like this, more Sam pls.

More Tyrion also, pls

I really feel like this episode didn’t have enough Tyrion. I understand why. I don’t have to be happy about it. That is all, carry on.

I did not like the tournament at all

Not one bit. Yes, we saw the Mountain for the first time and he is satisfyingly mountainous. But the whole setup was so … eh. They probably didn’t have the budget to manage a Colosseum-type situation but the whole thing was just so horribly underwhelming. There was one joust with copious bleeding, Cersei took off to threaten Ned, nothing really happened with Joffrey and Sansa – the tournament it it’s entirety was so meh. The only thing of note that happened was the little background that we got on Sandor and Gregor Clegane, courtesy Littlefinger. Wasted opportunity, so very wasted, and I am very sad about it.

Viserys gets his ass handed to him again

GO DANY. That was good stuff. Dany’s making good progress in the right direction, but her sudden attachment to the Dothraki is somewhat alarming. I think it sort of speaks to how lonely she’s been all her life and how ill-treated she has been that she’s basically adopted the entire Khalasar.

I also like that she stood up to Viserys twice – first for her adopted people and then for herself – but the more I pay attention the more tragic her journey seems, and her conversation with Jorah after she ‘wakes the dragon’ really does speak to the depth of that tragedy. Her whole life, she never really had a home. Illyrio’s place wasn’t it; that was always a temporary situation until Viserys retook his throne. She had her head filled with stories of the rightful king and the people waiting for him and singing songs and weaving banners – when really not very many people back home could give so much as a rat’s ass. She keeps talking about ‘home’ but home is this imaginary place that the people scheming to unseat Robert and reinstate the Targaryen line have made up to keep Viserys and Dany focused on the end-game. It sort of hit me that Dany is on this path probably because she doesn’t realise that there may be another way, other choices, so it’s kinda sad to see all of her dreams built on a foundation of complete and utter fiction. I wonder, by the end of this thing, if she’ll ever find the home she seems to be looking for. I hope she does.

It’s also worth mentioning that when Viserys is talking about his childhood is the only time in the last four episodes that I feel he came across as lucid and sane. Granted, the illusion didn’t last long but you could see a man there nonetheless – and his tragedy is largely the same as Dany’s. Perhaps worse because he actually remembers home. And because of people like Illyrio – and the Spider and others – he’s held on to the memory of a place that no longer exists. And has gone a bit mad in his desperation to reclaim it.

The inn at the crossroads

That scene was easily one of my favourites from the book and Michelle Fairley does a glorious job of bringing that particular moment to life, straight off the page. I knew what was coming, but to see a dozen men draw their swords and scowl threateningly at Tyrion was equal parts breathtaking and intimidating.

Onward to episode 5!

Trevor Coelho

Owner, writer, content janitor at Lizard Lounge
Writes things. Occasionally pokes head out a door or window. Looks around. Gets a bit scared. Then goes inside where it's nice and safe, and writes more things.
Trevor Coelho

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