Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 2 ("The Kingsroad")

"A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone."

I blogged the first episode of Game of Thrones on 18th September 2015 so... yeah. There won't be quite as long before episode three. Promise.

I'm still getting a handle on the setting; this is a fantasy world with only light fantasy elements- so far we've seen dragon eggs but dragons appear to be semi-mythical, and dire wolves seem not to be overtly supernatural. It's a gritty, realistic mediaeval world which is obviously going to focus on the power games surrounding the eponymous throne, and I've heard that this is based on both the Wars of the Roses and the Anarchy of the twelfth century. But Robert Baratheon is certainly no Henry VI; I'm not sure how strong a king he is but he appears laddish yet weighed down by kingship. I suspect he's not all that long for this world, given the apparent premise of the series.

Daenerys is interesting in the sense that she's getting a lot of screen time and her situation- marital rape in the context of semi-forced marriage- is horrific and surely would not be depicted so prominently if she were not eventually to end up powerful and fortunate in spite of it. Her brother claims Robert's throne. Hmm.

Meanwhile, Robert's only son Joffrey is a right little sod, as his behaviour towards Arya and her poor friend illustrates. Sansa is happy enough to marry him, but then she'll be queen. She's so motivated towards this that she's ready to lie under oath about her sister. But I suppose that being queen- a glorified womb- is the best a woman can hope for in this society. Certainly Arya's tomboyish ways are a fascinating way to explore the theme of what we can't really call feminism.

And then there's Tyrion. He's still a sot and a shagger, but there's a more intellectual side, too; he may be a semi-outcast just because he's a dwarf but, crude and direct though he is, he isn't shallow. And his relationship with the literal bastard Jon Snow (not yet a Channel 4 newsreader) is interesting. Jon, a very naive bastard, is off to devote his entire life to guarding the northern walls from whatever lies beyond, which none of his legitimately born relatives would presumably stoop to. Ned is proud but, when he says That "When we next meet, I'll tell you about your mother" I'm left suspecting that, one way or another, they won't ever meet again. Let's see if I'm right.

Meanwhile Catelyn Stark is keeping watch over the thankfully not-dead Bran but, after being attacked, she's off to tell her husband about her suspicions regarding the Lannisters. And, while she's away, Bran wakes- and he knows too much. Why do I get the feeling that the immediate future of the Stark family is not set to be a happy one?

Absolutely superb telly, this.

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