Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 8: The Prettiest of Crows

This week they stepped up the action – Walking Dead style – and I can’t say I didn’t love it.

The Good

  • While I might find their reasoning for having Tyrion meet Dany ridiculous at best, years of textual frustration over the fifth book have led me to accept this change with arms wide open. For those wondering what their reasoning was: “Creatively it made sense to us, because we wanted it to happen.” Amazing.
  • The moment Tyrion starts talking to Dany, he tries to manipulate her. He uses the surprisingly effective trick of making Dany feel like she has to impress him and basically ensures that Jorah will live the second he says that the reason the traitor hadn’t come forward was that he didn’t trust Daenerys to be wise enough to forgive him. This Tyrion seems far removed from the bitter Tyrion in recent episodes and hints back to his earlier outlook on life with just a touch more bitterness, though he remains steadily on the playful side of abrasive. Maybe it is the change of scenery and a new desire to live. Maybe it’s shoddy characterization. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Whatever the reason, this Tyrion is much more palatable psychologically than the one in the books and I can’t help but feel we might be missing out, but happy to enjoy the respite.
  • Jon continues to surprise us all with his political acumen. What seems like a very rash declaration that he killed Mance Rayder, is actually a calculated risk that stems from him knowing his audience. He counted on Tormund stepping in to support him and spoke from a position of strength, with no intention to trick them, or defend his actions. Or he just likes being unbelievably dramatic, even if it costs him his life, which is something I can also respect.
  • Karsi was incredible. She was powerful, funny and pragmatic. A character I genuinely loved after only a few minutes of screen time. It would be a shame if something bad happened to her. Oh, wait.
  • Wun-wun spoke to Edd and now I can die happy. I hope they get a procedural spin-off.
  • I have long believed that Valyrian steel is technically dragon steel and on the same level if not better than dragon glass, so tonight was a nice confirmation that added to a scene that was already very satisfying. It also opens some interesting doors now that they have placed a Valyrian sword-wielding Brienne in the North, which may or may not be a random coincidence.
  • Given the ending of the episode and how word travels around within closed communities, it seems highly unrealistic for any of the brothers to still cling to the idea that the Free Folk are their greatest enemy. I’m interested to see how that will play out though I still doubt Jon will get a warm welcome.

The Bad

  • The exclusion of the Martells from the conversation about possible Targaryen supporters is painful. Other big houses were excluded (the Greyjoys have been effectively written out of the show), but the fifth season was supposedly Dorne’s season and the Martells are not only historically a Targaryen ally, but also pretty much hate the Tyrells and Lannisters. Either Tyrion is deliberately keeping things from her, or the name Martell brings up too many painful memories for him. Me, too, buddy.
  • While Sansa does have a violent streak, for the most part it does not go past a malicious thought nor manifest itself physically. That being said, her claiming she would do to Theon what Ramsey had done to him, is out of character and a frightening reminder that her threat does not come from a place of strength if she is liking herself to her abuser.
  • Despite Qyburn pointing out that the Faith doesn’t really care for evidence, the entire situation still seems utterly contrived and frustrating. For someone as paranoid as Cersei to trust in a group of people that hold the witness to some of her greatest crimes goes against everything we know of her and still begs the question as to why this particular deviation happened, since the results are the same in the books, only now Loras is also imprisoned and nothing makes sense.
  • Tormund attacking the Lord of Bones seems like a very Wildling thing to do. As a person living in the 21st century, however, I wish the rampage hadn’t happened right after the implication that performing oral sex makes someone subservient. I’d have much preferred Tormund brushing off his comment by referencing his famed genitalia in some way or another (is a Tormund without dick jokes even Tormund?).
  • Karsi, a formidable fighter, someone who is fighting to protect her children, one of the only women that were given screen time during the battle and the only woman that was developed as a character gives up the moment she sees wight children. She doesn’t run, she doesn’t fight, she doesn’t even freeze up with shock. She just resigns herself to her fate and refuses to fight the children. After such a great build-up, to see her reduced to one of the most misogynistic and boring tropes around is disappointing to say the least. And to anyone saying it wasn’t a sexist trope we’re so used to seeing that we sort of accept it, try replacing her with the Thenn dude and if the scene still makes sense to you peace be with you.
  • When you have a terrifying army of undead soldiers, you don’t stop at the edge of the water and flex your muscles at your retreating enemy. You send your horde into the icy ocean and kill everyone. That’s necromancy 101.

The Worrying

  • Ramsey is going after Stannis and, though I’d like to see him get what’s coming to him, I’m not keeping my hopes up.
  • Sam just told an upset teenager that sometimes you make terrible choices that turn out fine in the end. I smell heap-loads of trouble.
  • Winter is actually coming and it has a spiky crown and a terrifying army no one stands a chance against.

This post is brought to you with help from the lovely Nikki who saved us all from the typos. 

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PS: To the surprise of no one, slavery and the fighting pits were not a topic of discussion. I’m still waiting for them to do what I’ve been saying for weeks.

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