Dorne – Let’s start off with the sour and get to the sweet, shall we? Meandering plot. Wonky dialogue. What exactly is the point of all this? Even for a show apologist or a book burner this piece of the puzzle is puzzling. No one is sure what is going on but we are sure we are not liking it. Oh, I suppose the acting was done well enough, I’ll grant you that.
Especially Alexander Siddig. But his big role was like, 5 minutes of screentime? Amazing actor – though his personal website needs some work. SidCity.net? Sounds like an old Shareware game, lol. Anyway, if there is something “big’ going to happen in Dorne it should have happened already, and if its now, its going to come out of nowhere and likely won’t be any good, if this week’s slapstick comedy or limp tension is any indication. The Ellaria / Doran scene would have been a perfect moment for his “fire and blood” speech, but instead we got weeping and kneeling and “bow to Zod” awkwardness.
The Wall – Workmanlike, serviceable. It all felt like an afterthought, however. Jon didn’t even mention the massive battle he was in last week. To anyone. They’re just sort of walking, then stop walking, then walk through the Wall’s newly-installed garage door. Not much of note happens here, but I think the scene book readers are waiting for will happen next week. If that was foreshadowed last night or throughout the season I missed it. Probably because of the Wall’s own plot has been all over the place this season. Still, I hope I know what’s coming (“For the Watch”) and I hope its done well.
Meereen – Unusually, the offerings from Dany this week were more than up to par. Almost sublime, actually. Only nitpick I have is how Dany and her dragons have become almost cartoonish. Did she throw up her hands and break into song and summon Drogon from the clouds like a Disney princess? Not quite, but for a show as serious as GoT she might as well have. And the goo-goo eyes Drogon gives mum? Ugh. Why was he so small? He’s supposed to fill up the entire arena and she has to whip him into submission, but now he’s the size of a large horse. Would have been a great scene for Emelia, who has shown her best performances in having to discipline her brood, but alas, it is not to be. But other than that, there was a brace of satisfying action, dialogue, and intensity to Mereen.
Braavos – Mace’s cringe-worthy singing aside, Game of Thrones manages to make us numb to horror. Why is Mace so happy and jolly anyway? Aren’t both his heir and only daughter in jail and potentially being executed? Details, details. Meryn Trant, if audiences remember who that is, is even less endeared to us now. The fact that he’s been so glossed over makes Arya stalking him a pointless exercise, and robs show watchers of her coming of age in the Faceless Men that we so enjoyed in the books. The subtlety of how she slew her first target, her becoming an acolyte and her first apprenticeship? Not this week. And I am not sure what we got in return, but it sure ain’t worth it.
Stannis – I’m really confused. On the one hand, Shireen is at Castle Black at this point in the story in the books, not on the march with Stannis. But apparently Benioff is claiming GRRM is going to have the Mannis burn her in the books.That seems nonsensical for a bevy of reasons. Be that is it may, last week Ramsay’s casual, “I need 20 good men” and its results this week didn’t quite amp up the intensity enough to warrant this kind of reaction in my opinion.
In the books, Stannis’s men are down to eating horses, ice fish, and one another, and not a man or woman or child has been burned yet. Book Stannis would not have burned his only heir, before the battle of Winterfell begins, he names her his heir.
But in regards to the show, the main thing I didn’t like about it was Davos knowing what was going to happen and doing nothing. Yes, it would have been quite a feat to smuggle out the princess, but the best he could do was a kiss and a toy. Cmon now, this is DAVOS! He saved Gendry, and he barely knew Gendry. He’s been with Shireen practically since she was born and their relationship has been hit on so much this season. I was truly expecting him to show up and try to rescue her. That’s the Davos I know. Heck, it’s even the Davos I know in the show! Show Davos has actually been done very well, up until now.
As far as the burning, I don’t think a television show has made me feel so strongly an emotion ever. There’s something primal in the danger of a child, something I often feel as a father myself when I read, see, or hear something about a child’s life in danger. It’s a device used in the books far too often in my liking, but that’s war to this day. Difficult to watch, but it’s not without precedence on the show. For the temerity to “go there” the burning scene is not something I enjoyed but it was good television.