“The Rains of Castamere” – Game of Thrones

WARNING! The following reviewing contains many fairly large spoilers. Please, DO NOT READ IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW!

red2It’s not often that you see a look of utter betrayal. I saw that look three times before breakfast this morning. Once on Jorah Mormont’s face when he realized Daenerys cared more about Daario than him, once more on Catelyn Stark’s face as she discovered the chainmail onesie on Roose Bolton, and then once more staring back from the mirror as I looked up after the screen silently faded to black.

I knew the Red Wedding was coming, I knew all this would happen, but I still wasn’t prepared. How am I expected to go on with my life now? How can I keep going with this emotional trauma weighing me down? And did they really have to kill another direwolf? That was just the icing on the cake of cruelty that the good people at HBO have shoved down our collective throats.

But then, at least, I did smile once during this new episode.

Remember when Hodor (of House Hodor, first of his Hodor) was freaking out about the thunder and right before Bran warg’d him into a nice deep coma? Not sure if everyone else twigged this but Bran says, and I shit you not, “Hush Hodor, no more Hodoring.” How in seven hells does a child actor keep a straight face while saying that? I mean they verbed him. Comedy gold. Not to mention Walder Frey’s crass (but rather smirk-inducing) monologue relating to the lovely Lady (Queen?) Talisa (Quoteworthy). That said, Continue reading

“Second Sons” – Game of Thrones

game-of-thrones-season-3-sansa-tyrion-weddingTen thousand men is impressive by any standard. So, with two thousand mounted and armored men and eight thousand in light infantry, not to mention three growing dragons, I’m backing Daenerys Stormborn for Queen of Westeros. I mean, I always have been, but now it looks like it could actually happen. It’s a bad time to be from Yunkai.

“Second Sons” wasn’t great in comparison to the rest of the season. Heavy on drama, light on action and only so-so on wit. That said, we did at least get our fix of Tyrion, drunk and furious at his own wedding, noble as always, if a bit reckless. It’s generally not a good idea to threaten castration to your King, even if he is being the world’s most irritating, step stool moving little pissant. But I have to hand it to Peter Dinklage – Tyrion is almost everyone’s favorite character in the series, and how he played the imp in this outing of Game of Thrones is simply phenomenal. It’s not easy to act convincingly drunk, and even harder, I imagine, to act as a drunk, pretending to be even drunker, but I was lost in his scenes, almost forgetting that it’s all fiction. That happens a lot with me and this show.

Now what I did have something of a problem believing (pretty rich coming from a man reviewing a fantasy TV series, huh?) was Sam and his magic dagger. Which he just so happened to be carrying. And it just so happens to be made of White Walker kryptonite. And of course he just has to remember he has it right before the ice-zombie eats his girlfriends’ baby. I hesitate to use the world girlfriend, but she’s a bit more than his friend, or at least Sam wants her to be. Shit, she wanted to name Craster’s boy after Sam’s dad. I actually liked that scene a lot. I think it shows for the first time that Sam and Gilly might have something in common after all. Even if it is just having pricks for fathers.

As for new characters, there are only a couple worth mentioning. First up Continue reading

“The Bear and the Maiden Fair” – Game of Thrones

game-of-thrones-the-bear-and-the-maiden-fairAmazing how 8,000 soldiers and three dragons can transform a slender young woman into one of the most intimidating sights we’ve ever seen on Game of Thrones. And this latest offering to the die-hard fans was more than full of intimidating characters. Tywin, fierce and brutal,staring down the boy-king Joffery. Brienne, fending off a wild beast with nothing more than a wooden waster. Jaime, who, even bereft of limb, is still capable of inducing fear in the hearts of men. In the Seven Kingdoms, such a horrifying universe to start with, fear is what gives men the right to rule. And so we have this week’s theme – fear. Aspiring CEOs could learn so much. Wall Street, here I come. (Just for giggles, try picturing Tywin Lannister as Gordon Gecko.)

Nah, I’d never be able to pull myself away from .gifs of the lovely Rose Leslie. Or my couch. And it was on this couch I sat bleary-eyed yesterday morning, watching GoT and dreading finals (for they are dark, and full of terror), thoroughly enjoying every last second. The things I do for you people. Now I’m more than willing to admit I was horrified, but that was part of the appeal. This show shocks you, makes you twinge and flinch and watch breathlessly from the edge of your seat half the time. It’s like a really awesome soap opera. No, really. Pregnancy scares, backstabbing, forced marriages… all we need is a few comas and GoT turns into Days of Our Lives: Westeros.

But then we all know that this is a serious show, and no amount of dry, witty humor (I’m looking at Jaime and Tyrion) can distract us from the sheer human drama (or occasional animal drama, if you count dragons).

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Continue reading

“The Climb” – Game of Thrones

photo-5-1024x768Things haven’t gone well for Theon Greyjoy, have they? I mean, it’s one thing to be tortured and then tricked into thinking he had escaped, but not knowing the name of his captor? That really is torture. But, like I’ve said for weeks on end, it’s Ramsay fucking Bolton. This proves it, what with the sadism and all. (Retroactive Spoilers!)

I liked this week’s instalment.  Nowhere near as boring as the first of the season and, overall, rather fun. A little action, a little intrigue, and plenty of the kind of human drama we all watch this show for. It’s good to finally see some characters cross into the story arcs of others. Case in point, Melisandre finally showing up and actually doing something. Though what she wants with Gendry escapes me, I suspect that those who’ve read the books will know all too well. I really hope he won’t be raped by those Baratheon soldiers, but we all know that bad things happen to pretty boys deep in the woods. Even though that goatee is really off-putting, at least for me. But, then again, guys aren’t really my target demographic.

Speaking of casual buggery, I’m a bit disappointed at how stereotyped the only gay character left in the show, Loras Tyrell, is. I mean he’s gay, but does he really have to be that gay? The fastidiousness and femininity we saw in this episode seem out of character for Loras. Fine, he’s gay. Let’s not be clichéd about it.

Olenna Redwyne has secured her place as my favourite character after Continue reading

“Kissed by Fire” – Game of Thrones

jon-snow-ygritte-bathWhy don’t sexy, red-headed girls ever steal my most valuable possession and run playfully off into caves for oral sex and skinny dipping with me? Oh, right… I’m not Kit Harington. Still, I was happy just to watch.

There was a little something for everyone, I think, in this week’s episode of Thrones, at least in terms of butts. So many butts. Plus the most moving scene you’ll see this year of two people naked together in a bath. I joke. But, if I’m honest, I can never find fault with the nudity in Game of Thrones. It’s a show where breasts and buttocks are never gratuitous. They’re frequently titillating, but never seem out of step with the feel of the show.

With “Kissed by Fire”, Game of Thrones is back in its element, the pace is picking up, the action is making a return, and we’re going to start seeing A-game stuff from here on. I’m hopeful for next week, and definitely looking forward to seeing this week’s absentee characters. And I love the growing tension between Barristan Selmy and Jorah Mormont, and the implications for Daenerys. It somehow reminds me of the seminal classic Mean Girls. No, seriously. With all the intricate scheming? And the new bestie moving in on Jorah’s/Gretchen’s territory? Come to think of it, isn’t Lindsay Lohan the one kissed by fire?

Tangents aside, I have to say that Continue reading

“And Now His Watch is Ended” – Game of Thrones

varyslady-thumb-550x366-67044A damned good venture from Game of Thrones this week, honestly, and an episode that Weiss and Beinhoff can be proud of. As per usual, some of the storylines have been omitted, and I believe that this will be a constant in weeks to come. Apparently, giving us every story arc every week would be just too much. So what do we have to say about that here at Pond Hopping Girls? Fine. We’re godly people, and we’re willing to forgive the excruciating anticipation so long as we are given, in return, the quality we’ve come to expect from, arguably, the best show on TV. Or the internet. You know, if you’re one of those unscrupulous people. *ahem*

Moving on. It was definitely cool to see more of Varys in this episode. Weirdly, the Spider is one of the few characters I would trust in the show. For all his deceit and trickery, I think his words from way back in Season 1 hold true. When the soon to be headless Ned Stark asked whom he served, Varys claimed, simply, that he serves “the Realm.” Broad enough to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, yes, but he has a point. That side of the eunuch spymaster shows heavily in this episode, particularly in his scenes with Lady Olenna Redwyne (of whom I really want to be the adopted grandson). I’ve said before that I like former Bond Girl Dianna Rigg as the Tyrell matriarch, and I stand by that 100% after this new outing on GoT.

From “And Now His Watch is Ended”, I was hoping to see the Unsullied actually do something other than stand around and be bereft of nipples, and it seems the gods were kind to me. After a real, “Oh, No She Didn’t,” moment from Daenerys Targaryen, we Continue reading

“Walk of Punishment” – Game of Thrones

got-game-of-thrones-34252480-4680-3120This Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones seemed to me to have a central theme: men are cruel. Whether it be the rulers of Astapor, the bannermen of House Bolton, wildling Craster, or even the now presumably black-magic obsessed Stannis Baratheon, we see their tremendous evil. Their callous indifference to the suffering of others.

That said, I enjoyed it. I thought that, overall, “Walk of Punishment” ticked almost every box. Certainly it’s an episode that doesn’t lack humor and, as always with GoT, we were left with some questions. The foremost of which has to be, ‘what’s the deal with Podrick Payne?’ The show infers that either he’s gorgeous, hung like a blue whale, or else he’s Just. That. Good. Either way I want to know. (Also, what’s a Meereenese knot? And is it as fun as it sounds?)

Pod’s tremendous girth aside, we also saw Robb Stark’s, Theon Greyjoy’s, Brienne and Jaime’s, Arya Stark’s and Jon Snow’s storylines advance. No mention of Bran Stark, which upset me a bit. Last week we saw Jojen Reed and his sister Meera introduced to that story arc, and to leave them entirely out of this week’s episode seems a bit of a tease. That said, I’ve half come to accept that of the show.

I liked the scenes with newcomer Brynden “Blackfish” Tully (Clive Russell, Cracker, Sherlock Holmes), a strong character who plays well against Catelyn and Robb Stark. As a guiding, almost fatherly figure to both characters Continue reading

“Dark Wings, Dark Words” – Game of Thrones

s3-gendry-arya-hot-pie-1024x681This new episode of Game of Thrones, “Dark Wings, Dark Words”, left me with a burning question – does Jaime Lannister have Asperger’s? No, wait. It’s not half as crazy as it sounds. It’s already been hinted that he suffers from dyslexia, but he’s so brutally frank, so questioning of the need of social norms, and so good at one specific thing (killing people with swords) that it does seem at least plausible. The only other explanation is that he’s a dick. Now that I think about it, it may be the latter. Oh well, one more hypothesis.

High-functioning autism aside, I loved this episode. It’s the return to form I craved horribly. I’ve gotten my fix, and it feels good. Highlights include the newly introduced Olenna Redwyne (Diana Rigg, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Great Muppet Caper) – the Queen of Thorns, the Matriarch of House Tyrell, and the badass grandma you always wanted. We here at Pond Hopping Girls like a strong female character, and Game of Thrones has provided one in her. Bravo. Her scene with Sansa, a character who usually has little to do but cautiously whimper, shows the eldest Stark girl grow a pair of ovaries and finally show that rage she feels toward Joffrey, which I liked a lot. Hopefully this marks a new era for the she-wolf.

Speaking of strong female characters, there wasn’t so much as a mention of Daenerys Targaryen, who presumably is still in Astapor, buying an army of slaves, and being attacked by wine-stained children. Expect her next week.

Theon of House Greyjoy is back too, getting far worse than he had coming to him and making for some of the most brutal horror we’ve seen in GoT so far. I cringed. Frequently. Iwan Rheon (Misfits) Continue reading

“Valar Dohaeris” – Game of Thrones

Well, the long wait is over. Game of Thrones has come back and I’ve gotten my fix. But I still feel a bit disappointed. Like every junkie, this hit just didn’t satisfy me. I want more. I’m usually the first to defend Game of Thrones, to sing its praises and recommend it to whatever plebeians I find who are still unaware of it. With “Valar Dohaeris”, however, the first episode of the new season has tested my faith.

I believe the episode’s biggest failure is that it feels like filler – an episode written merely to tie up a few loose ends from last season, and push the story on for the next episode, without much in the way of new developments. That is not to say I didn’t enjoy it, but rather to say that I feel a little led on. Oh, D.B. Weiss and David Beinhoff, you cockteases, you. We see nothing, for instance, of Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), a character who’s come to provide a great degree of enjoyment in every scene in which she’s featured.

What did hold my interest during the episode was the appearance of the frankly unsettling Unsullied, an elite group of slave soldiers.  If you’ve read the books, you know they’ll come to have a big part to play. This scene was made all the better by the introduction of Missandei (Natalie Emmanuel, Hollyoaks), an interesting character whose arc should help the show further in episodes to come. The long awaited first appearance of Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds, Rome, Munich) was a welcome sight, but sadly not nearly exiting enough to live up to my expectations. Another trivial debut was that of Thormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju, Manhunt, The Thing), though I expect this may have been an attempt at humor which fell a bit flat.

Overall, while I’m so thrilled to see the show back on air, I just can’t rave about it. So what’s the official verdict on “Valar Dohaeris” here at Pond Hopping Girls? Sadly it’s a B- at best, and we all expect (and hope to see) much more from this show. – J

Quoteworthy: “We have to warn them or, before winter’s done, everyone you’ve ever know will be dead.” – Ser Jeor Mormont, to the men of the Night’s Watch