Game of Thrones Season 1: Episode 5 – ‘The Wolf and the Lion’

Thank you to all of you who have been following along with our Game of Thrones, Season 1 recaps, with the assistance of our friends at Picktainment.com.

As you probably remember, things started to get VERY interesting in Episode 5. We now sit halfway through the first season. You can read through Adam Spunberg’s FULL EPISODE 5 REVIEW, “The Wolf and the Lion” by clicking HERE!


Now that the essential characters have been established – though we keep getting to know more about them, subtleties and all – the focus has turned to action. And by action, I mean plotting and scheming, cunning maneuvers and fateful crossed-the-Rubicon mistakes. The pot has been stirring to a boil and all those simmering bubbles are colliding against each other in inevitable alliance and conflict. Who is with whom? Who will make the next big move? The fact that so much of this is unclear is a testament to how intelligently wrought the show is and how unpredictable its characters have become; you feel you know them, but you don’t really know them.

One thing we can be sure of: The Starks are the moral epicenter of it all. Not every Stark is as pure as the rest – one gets a bit haughty with a prostitute, for instance, though he is just a ward – but they are the only House with integrity left. Ned Stark is honorable to a fault, even if it means crossing his friend King Robert (and rightfully so – it’s become ever more apparent that Robert is not the admirable monarch he once was). For a while, Ned Stark accepted the King’s shortcomings and sacrificed his dignity in small doses, but when it comes to murdering Daenerys Targaryen and unborn son, he will have no part in it. This moral stand could prove extremely costly, as enemies of his are ripe to pounce on his loss of favor.

And then there’s Lady Stark, who is also “honorable to a fault,” in this case a severe fault. Determined that the dwarf Tyrion Lannister tried to kill her son Bran, she kidnaps him and takes him on a fool’s journey to Eyrie – the place where Jon Arryn resided with her sister. She expects her sister to adhere to her wishes, but instead finds an insane woman breastfeeding a boy far too old for his mother’s milk (one of the more iconic scenes). As Tyrion proves his mettle by saving her life, she is suddenly helpless as her sister throws him in perhaps the most artistic dungeons ever depicted on screen: a cell with wide open windows, all on the edge of a cliff. It is these unusual touches that separate Game of Thrones from the usual fare, hypnotizing its viewers into an escapist realm beyond our own.

Episode 5, The Wolf and The Lion also adds embellishment to some of the more minor characters, converting them into influential ones. Littlefinger is clearly important and up to now, seems on the Starks’ side. At the same time, the eunuch, Lord Varys, is playing multiple sides in a way that can only be sinister. All these schemes and manipulations converge on a final showdown, where the exiled Ned Stark is ambushed by the abominable Jaime Lannister. Our hero, Stark, is reduced to his knees, severely wounded and without his entire regiment of guards – yes, Thrones can be quite brutal, too.

To read the full review at Picktainment.com, go HERE!

Advertisements

Game of Thrones Season 1: Episode 4 – ‘Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things’

We’re now three episodes into our collection of recaps from Season 1. All of these recaps are courtesy of Picktainment.com, as always.

Which means it’s time for the Season 1, Episode 4 review, written by Bryce Van Kooten. You can examine the FULL REVIEW by clicking HERE!

The first few episodes set the perfect stage for the epic quest that’s unfolding — betrayal, lust, passion, murder, mystery — and perfectly molded the cast into the roles we so cleverly wait to turn, morph and entertain us each Sunday night. A role worth nothing this week was the addition of Samwell (John Bradley), the fat, wussy boy sent to guard the Wall along with Snow and his other soldiers. Whether it was his blubbering words or his shaky walk, Bradley added a charm to his blubbering and an instant intrigue in the coldest of places.

Along with Samwell was more from Petyr Baelish — sneaky, pesky, but ever vigilant. Played by The Wire’s Aidan Gillen, Baelish speaks the some truest words of the series after Ned apologizes for not immediately trusting him … “not trusting me immediately was the wisest thing you’ve done since you dismounted your horse here.” It seems that trust, along with the warmth, is fleeting fast.

And one could never forget Daenerys and Viserys — their clash in Vaes Dothrak proving to be a pivotal point in the brother/sister, I’m-Queen-you’re-not struggle for the ages. Literally. Though, something tells me that Daenerys’ right hand man, Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) might have more behind the curtain than in front.

To read the full review at Picktainment.com, go HERE!

Game of Thrones Season 1: Episode 3 – ‘Lord Snow’

So far we’ve given you recaps of Episodes 1 and 2 from Season 1 as we prepare for the start of Season 2. Today, we add another Game of Thrones episode review, provided by our allies at Picktainment.com

Below is an excerpt from the Season 1, Episode 3 review by thefandom.net’s owen Adam Spunberg. These were written immediately after the episodes aired, so you might enjoy the fresh perspective. You can read the FULL REVIEW by clicking HERE!

Picking up right where The Kingsroad (Episode 2) left off, Ned Stark is now at King’s Landing, Jon Snow is training for the Night’s Watch, and the Targaryens continue to move west with their Dothraki horsemen. These three main plot lines are weaved in and out artistically like a Bosch triptych, paced perfectly and transitioned with superlative skill. Because all three focal points are equally enthralling, the suspense roars in triple; the viewer desperately wants to know what will happen in one story arc, but does not mind shifting to another where the same eager feeling pervaded before. To make an analogy, it would be as if a reader pulled out his/her three favorite books and read them at the same time, shuffling from one to the next without disappointment. Thrones has been just THAT good!

There is plenty of scheming going on, with most characters embodying a lighter or shadier color on a gray spectrum, but one heroine has emerged as angelically white as Kate Middleton in a wedding dress: Arya Stark (Maisie Williams). The little, tomboyish daughter represents all of Ned Stark’s best qualities, with a little extra fire and grit. Think of a softer Mattie Ross from True Grit, with a profound understanding of the decaying world around her, and yet she also displays youthful exuberance and a great love for all things good. She does not just fight for good: she is goodness personified, capable of standing up to a sniveling prince and jumping into the arms of her loving, bastard half-brother. She can fight with a sword and make it seem like a “dance,” and then smile like a child who stumbles upon something magical. A wonder to behold, her character is developed in extraordinary fashion.

And then we have Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke), the silver-haired beauty who is now discovering the perks of her ill-begotten marriage. Her despicable brother may have forced her to wed the leader of the Dothraki, but she is finally finding her inner voice. We still don’t know what will come of her newfound influence, but her transformation from meek, emotionless subservient to I-am-worth-something force is beautiful to observe. Winter is coming, but Daenerys warms herself to Thrones fans every scene.

Lastly, we have Jon Snow (Kit Harington) in his plight to discover himself north of the wall, assisted by the ever-so-likable dwarf, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage). Over the course of his career, Dinklage has played a number of intriguing characters (The Station Agent, for one), but he has really come into his own as the sharp-witted Lannister runt, scheming at something genius.

To read the full review at Picktainment.com, go HERE!

Game of Thrones Season 1: Episode 2 – ‘The Kingsroad’

We continue our countdown to Season 2 of Game of Thrones by reviewing each episode from Season 1, thanks to our good pals at Picktainment.com

Here’s an excerpt from the Season 1, Episode 2 review by Bryce Van Kooten. These were written immediately after the episodes aired, so you might enjoy the fresh perspective. You can read the FULL REVIEW by clicking HERE!


Game of Thrones hasn’t had a single bad episode in its run. Granted, we’re at two, but nevertheless, its one of the most enjoyable and most intricate new shows on television (basic or cable).  If you haven’t seen it, (and you’re into well-made, utterly-epic renditions of medieval, relic storytelling) you’re going to want to check it out.

Last night’s episode, entitled “The Kingsroad” took off right where the pilot left us — Bran’s fate remained in doubt after his accident on the ramparts and Daenerys (after being pledged to the massive warrior king, Drogo) sought refuge in her maidservants in an attempt to learn how to live (and please) her newfound husband. Meanwhile, back at Winterfell, Ned (Sean Bean) continues to make good on his promise to serve as the King’s Hand taking his daughters Sansa and Arya with him and it’s only a matter of time before tempers run high and teenagers start acting like teenagers. Ah, and the Dire Wolves, can’t forget about the Dire Wolves.


I have to admit, I was fairly worried about tonight’s episode – the pilot was terrific and the drama built within the final moments drew in even the most cynical viewer so I thought that feeling alone would make Episode One tough to beat. Though, Game of Thrones delivered. They gave us a glimpse at a few razor-edge characters (The Dire Wolves turned out to be good and the youngest Lannister Prince turned out to be a real wuss … er, bad. I meant to say bad).

Depending on the direction they take the show, The Kingsroad gave us a GREAT platform to jump into the remainder of the season. Personally, I could hang out all day at The Wall all day long. And now, with Jon Snow (the bastard son of Ned Winterfell) heading north to take his lifelong oath to become a part of the Night’s Watch, it seems like it won’t be long until we get to find out a few of the mysterious surrounding this great enigma. The Wall is a bit like Game of Thrones’ Smoke Monster, right? My mind immediately starts to theorize whenever its discussed and the added benefit of the White Walkers and the lifelong oath and the fact that winter seems to kill dozen of people each year only add to The Wall’s mystery. Brilliant.

To read the full review at Picktainment.com, go HERE!

Game of Thrones Season 1: Episode 1 – ‘Winter is Coming’

As we count down eagerly to the start of Season 2, we’re going back into the archives to provide detailed opinion pieces on each episode from Season 1, courtesy of our good friends at Picktainment.com

Here’s an excerpt from the Season 1, Episode 1 review by Adam Spunberg. These were written immediately after the episodes aired, so you might enjoy the fresh perspective. You can read the FULL REVIEW by clicking HERE!

There’s been only one episode of the much-anticipated Game of Thrones, but so far we have every indication that this is one of those EXTRAORDINARY series – the kind where you watch each episode multiple times and count the days with measles-itch impatience.

Game of Thrones is the kind of show that inspires you to say, in unison with everyone else who has given it a taste: “It’s not TV. It’s HBO!”

Production: The sets have been magnificent, as if out of a sweeping, big-picture epic. In the north we have Winterfell, which oozes snow and frost amid a feudalist castle. Most of the Episode 1 focus is in that outpost, but we also experience the land where the king hails from and other places, all equally dazzling to the eye.

Acting: First-rate all around. Sean Bean is his normal self – which is to say excellent – but it is hard to pick fault with any performance. HBO seems to round up stellar actors every single time and cast them perfectly, with Game of Thrones being no exception. The children were especially good, something you can’t always count on in these productions. One actress to keep an eye on: Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen with a solitary beauty. I was particularly captivated by the way she hid her emotions, expressing herself internally behind silver hair and solemn eyes (think Naomi Watts at the beginning of King Kong. Beauty and resigned sadness can be a spellbinding combination).

Script: Never too forced or overdone, creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss allow the suspenseful stories to play out without inserting too much DNA. Think of The Lord of the Rings’ soft touch, with sprinkles of great dialogue mixed about in small doses.

Read the full review HERE!