Monday, April 8, 2013

Game of Thrones: season three, episode two – Dark Wings, Dark Words, by Sarah Hughes (THE GUARDIAN)

Game of Thrones … Margaery and Joffrey enjoy some quality time together. Photograph: LFI/Photoshot
Spoiler Alert: This blog is published after Game of Thrones airs on HBO in the US on Sunday at 9pm ET. Do not read on unless you have watched episode two (which airs in the UK on Sky Atlantic on Monday at 9pm). As ever, we are going to (hopefully) avoid book spoilers as well.

Click here for Sarah Hughes' season three, episode one blog

"Everything that's happened since then, all the horror that's come to my family is all because I couldn't love a motherless child"

I loved this episode, which was written by Vanessa Taylor, who also wrote two of my favourite episodes of last season, Garden of Bones and The Old Gods and the New. It had everything that makes Game of Thrones so addictive: the adept juggling of a number of plotlines, subtle character development and brooding hints of trouble to come. It was also an episode largely concerned with alliances: Jaime and Brienne formed a tentative bond based on a mutual love of swordplay, Robb realised that northern loyalty may not be set in stone and Commander Mormont called on the increasingly shaky ties of the Night's Watch to keep Sam alive, literally forbidding him to die. Elsewhere Margaery took the first steps towards breaking Joffrey's bond with Cersei, Bran made some interesting new friends and Arya ran into the Brotherhood without Banners. Best of all, however, was the heart-rending conversation between Catelyn and Talisa, which started by showing us the younger woman's desperate desire to integrate herself with her mother-in-law and ended by revealing the depth of Catelyn's guilt.

"There's no need to be frightened, we're only women here"

Enter Diana Rigg doing her best Countess of Grantham. Olenna Tyrell, aka the Queen of Thorns, is one of my favourite characters in the books and Rigg's spiky, imperious performance was a delight. The Tyrells understand the importance of PR more than most characters playing the game – as Cersei pointedly told Joffrey: "Margaery dresses like a harlot for a reason. She married Renly for a reason" – and their tea party showed how adept they are at hiding behind pretty words. That said it was hard not to feel for poor Sansa as her wide-eyed dream of friendship was crushed by the realisation that it was all just politics, again.


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