Wednesday 13 May 2015

Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 5

Let's re-cap before we start. This one was written by Bryan Cogman (who has done this 3 times before for Game of Thrones, since season 1) and directed by Jeremy Podeswa (who is new). I was quite happy with the directing, because it felt like everything was "in the right place". We were left satisfied and dissatisfied at all the right times. The writing didn't feel very in-tune with the characters, but there were some single lines that really sunk in well.

 Re-cap Time: 
  • Brienne followed Sansa to Winterfell
  • Tensions between Ramsay, Miranda, and Sansa are rising as Sansa finds Reek
  • Jon recruits Tormund Giantsbane to lead in the task of bringing Wildlings back to Castle Black
  • Stannis is off to Winterfell
  • Grey Worm lives
  • Daenerys has decided to marry Hizdahr zo Loraq
  • Tyrion and Jorah pass through The Doom in Valyria where Jorah contracts greyscale
Personally, I've been opposed to some of the creative choices that the showrunners Dan Weiss and Dave Benioff have been making with the books-- and I'm not the only one. Even George R. R. Martin and his editor have been unhappy with some changes, notably the death of Barristan Selmy last week, which completely excludes show-watchers from his unbelievably awesome character arc later on:

After watching Episode 4, my boyfriend texted me "you're going to love this episode!!" and was profoundly surprised when I, in fact, did not. Obviously I still love the series, but Game of Thrones had a little bit of redeeming to do.

I think that this episode (and all of its creative choices) did exactly that!

What we liked: 
  • Brienne following Sansa: I like that they add an extra player into that mess so that things can go to hell at any point. (+5)
  • Bolton family dinner. Nice. The added dynamic with Reek was slow in a good way: I felt like I was in someone else's awkward moment, and the line "the place isn't stranger, it's the people" is the perfect balance of biting and fierce. You go, Sansa! (+5)
  • Stannis quietly correcting grammar, ugh wow I love it so much, it was just such a nice touch, Stannis is really growing on me wow yes. (+5)
  • YES. I think the internet pretty much confirmed Barristan's death before the show did, so I guess I assumed Grey Worm was tacked on there too. Nice to see him up and kicking. His love-speech for Missandei was a little bit forced but we'll let that slide (+10)
  • Daenerys finally makes a good decision and marries Hizdahr (not to mention she does it with an awesome one liner: "luckily, the suitor is already on his knees") (+10)
  • Tyrion and Jorah are attacked by Stonemen: while the makeup was disappointingly unimaginative, the scene itself was excellent and exciting, and dragging Tyrion down into the depths followed by a fade-to-black was elegantly scary. (+10)
  • This is, I think, the best part of the episode, and the best creative decision Dan and David have made thusfar: Jorah gets greyscale. Bookreaders are expecting it to be Tyrion: we're lulled into false comfort for a brief moment when we learn that he's fine. This was a great choice and it reminds us that no one is safe. Unlike Barristan's death, this felt like purposeful shock. (+20)

What we didn't like: 
  • Ramsay the passionate lover?? It seemed a bit like gratuitous sex to me. It's nice to see their dysfunctional relationship from the inside, but something about this scene didn't sit right with their characters. I think it's the dialogue. (-5)
Overrall, the episode wasn't very "WOW" but I definitely think it made a solid effort, with all of the pieces moulding together quite nicely. I could only think of one minor thing that I didn't like, and I think that the episode doesn't have any blaring weakpoints. Nice! I'm excited for next week.

Final Score: 60

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