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Bobbys Opinions
No Photos 3rd Jun 2014
When The Viper Met The Mountain

Sunday night's episode of Game of Thrones was one of the best yet in the fantasy play of HBO.I say this as both a viewer and a reader of the novels by George R. R. Martin--as a consumer of these two very distinct stories.As the adaptation of HBO once again demonstrates, the TV show and the novels are cousins that are at best, not mirror images.What interested me most relating to this episode took place elsewhere.As a reader of the novels, the events that took place tonight and the overlords were fascinating--minutes I have been waiting to glimpse for nearly 15 years.Following Lysa Arryn's death, in the books, we're basically left not knowing what happens to the older Stark sister, let alone Littlefinger. We are left with the worst possible cliffhanger: an unresolved one.In tonight's episode, we see an entirely new side of Sansa Stark-- one that I find both unsurprising and welcome. Sansa was always the idealist. She believed in valiant knights and fairy tale endings. It could not last.Joffrey was her first medicine. The boy king was a monster, and Sansa's illusions were shattered one by one, as she looked on as her father and after that practically every other person in her family was killed (or presumed dead.) Joffrey find strength somewhere or could either break entirely. Enter Littlefinger, stage left.Is it any wonder that Littlefinger views Petyr? Or that she had look to the friend she knows rather compared to strangers as he puts it she does not. Whether or not he is trusted by her (and she is unaware of his treachery of her dad) she can use him, just as he uses her. Those words were lost on Ned, but his remaining kids will have to memorize and live by them.When Sansa later emerges, her red haired dyed black, it's not to disguise who she is (she dyes her hair as a symbol of some kind of metempsychosis but in the books for that reason). Here we've a new Sansa thoroughly, hair that is black . For the first time she seems queenly, imperial...and dangerous.I am curious to see where Petyr and she end up.The Hound and Arya additionally arrive at the Vale, finally, and then find that Lysa Arryn is dead. This satire--that each time she reaches family, they end up dead--is not lost on Arya, who responds to the news. (Establishing that even the shortest minutes spent with this pair stay among the best in the show.)Elsewhere, we've got more of the dreaded Ramsay Snow, only this time his dad, Roose Bolton legitimized him and becomes appropriate heir though crazy for this Ramsay Bolton,.There is something admirable about these cruel men. Roose is calculating and precise, although Ramsay may be certainly mad. His father's overthrown the Starks, taken over the North (mostly) and done it all without taking any losses. The Lannisters are in worse shape than the Bolton's at this point.While the Starks floundered in the game of thrones, the Boltons boomed. Which is terrifying obviously. Ramsay's use to take the fortress in tonight's episode exemplified just how deranged Theon has become, and that there's still some of his old self locked away in that casing.I am still not sure I buy the reasoning here. There is a giant, bewitching ice wall standing between the rest of Castle Black and the Wildling horde.Certainly a couple dozen rangers could set out and at least do something. More to the point, I'm starting to wonder about such Northerners. Absolutely someone other than the Watch of the Night would have prepared a defense. Other inhabited locales and forts and the hamlets have able-bodied fighters in them. They have learned that a pack is about. Why is nobody acting like it?Isn't the North assumed to be filled with stoic, stone-cold killers?In the East, we've yet another major event, which is fine because Dany's story has been --naturally--tugging.We've known for some time that Jorah Mormont was a secret agent, sending news to Robert Baratheon by way. In the publications, Mormont's duplicity is revealed by Barristan Selmy, and does so ages past. The show has played out Jorah and Dany's relationship quite a bit more, and saved this revelation for much afterwards.For the show at least, in some manners, it works fairly well. We have plenty of time to establish Jorah's devotion to his khaleesi. We don't challenge his truthfulness. We even sympathize with him, to a degree, since he's no longer spying on her. There are far, far worse traitors, liars, and knaves in Westeros.But she casts him out still. And where one love is lost, another is gained. The show's addition of a difficult, but astonishingly affecting, love story of types between Unsullied leader Grey Worm and Dany's translator, Missandei, was played out in alarming detail tonight.At first I believed it was only an excuse for the show to have more nudity, but the scene between the two in the throne room was really fairly captivating. I'm not a massive fan of adding completely new storylines since I'm a bit leery of the show becoming as bogged down as the novels with regard to cast that is extraneous, but this appears to be working. And perhaps it's building toward something...tragic.The fight between the Red Viper and the Mountain. That is just one of the biggest crushingly horrifying and astonishing scenes in any of Martin's novels, and it remains that way in the show--maybe even more so.One thing HBO has done so well this season is give viewers a detalied portrait of the Prince of Dorne. Her handsome prince is considerably more, and somehow additionally less here. He's a famous lover, facile and honest, unflinching in the face. We admire and esteem and origin for Oberyn. He is brave and he's right, where a lot of others are not brave and erroneous.And then he expires. The Mountain grows, when all looks won. It's dreadful to watch. Not always more difficult than it was to find this reading that is out for the very first time, but practically more terrible is exceptional in the show. His payback is so true. You want him to have his justice, exactly like you want Robb Stark to conquer the Lannisters in a critical success, and you want when Ned Stark had the opportunity he to arrest Joffrey and Cersei. And you don't want to hear The Rains of Castamere playing, but you do...even in the opening of this episode, you do.Justice is not in the cards, and Oberyn dies a grisly and horrible death, while Tyrion faces the axman's block. I was worried about this episode, stressed that Cersei wouldn't pull it off, that the drama of the book would be challenging to share on TV. (If You love the show make sure you check out this Game of Thrones Tee here: dopeandfamous.com/shop/houses-t-shirt/) I was, once more, hoping that they had only change the novel. Does every man that is good really should die in this way? Is war such hell?While I am still no fan of the actor chosen for the Mountain (who lacks the threat, and looks far younger than his younger brother Sandor I impute to him) I thought the fight itself was brilliant.All told yet another amazing episode in what's shaping up to be the finest season of the show yet.There was an attention to detail and a design on the Viper that matches anything we've seen in Game of Thrones thus far and display in The Mountain. Jorah's despair is carved out in front of us. Grey Worm's curiosity and lust. Theon's torment. This really is Game of Thrones.



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