Jerome Flynn sings! Face off between Bronn and the Hound - get out the measuring sticks! A drunk Cersei! Big explosions! Swinging swords! Flying arrows! Battle speech! Podrick to the rescue? Stannis first up the ladder! The rains of castameer at the end credits! All and all the best episode yet! :D
May 28th, 2012, 12:40 PM
Johnny - I hope you are right! I will be taking a second look with my wife tonight!
May 28th, 2012, 12:40 PM
It's just my fangirl talking, I'm sure... I'll get over them ruining one of the most complexe relasionships I've ever read, I'm sure... Yepp... But, it's made all the more painful because the episode was amazing. It's like someone has given me a giant cake, and then stabbed me in the face.
I don't think the relationship was ruined. This week was the culmination. We had little bits of tenderness before -- the scene on the catwalk when he kept her from killing Joffrey, then when he saved her from the mob. This was their longest scene together, they actually talked to each other and they were as open as they could be, considering who they are. It was a powerful scene. Maybe not as powerful as the books, but I'll bet non-readers got the point. For a standout episode, that scene is the one I'll remember.
The other scene is the looks on the faces of Tyrion, the pyromancer, The Hound, and Joffrey when the wildfire exploded. Such different reactions. That must have been what the scientists looked like when they first tested the atomic bomb. What the hell have we done.
May 29th, 2012, 02:46 AM
5 out of 5... Best episode of the season. Possibly the best episode of the series so far.
I missed the chain, definitely... but the episode was so good, it almost didn't matter! Pretty much my only complaint is that I wish it could have been longer, like maybe 90 minutes. It might have felt less uneven in parts (e.g. the somewhat abrupt ending).
Battle sequences were well directed (pretty much Hollywood movie quality), and appropriately full of tension and chaos. The wildfire was mind blowing, Tyrion was phenomenal, Pod was great, drunk Cersei was perfect, the music was epic, the Hound/Bronn scene was really cool and unexpected (did GRRM invent that for the show?), I actually liked Shae, Davos was perfection.
And Stannis... STANNIS! Stannis was THE MAN. I wasn't a big Stannis fan when I first read the books, 11 years ago, but between ADWD, and Stephen Dillane, and this particular episode, I’m really becoming a huge Stannis fan. They really picked the perfect actor. Simply amazing.
Two final thoughts:
-GRRM writes the best episodes. It's so fun watching his episodes, knowing that he wrote every line. It must be a dream come true for him, to write the Battle of Blackwater Bay for TV, and to have it turn out so good.
-This episode got even better on a re-watch, if that's even possible. This is television history.
May 29th, 2012, 05:24 AM
I think it made enough sense to be plausible that Sansa didn't go with the Hound, at that point she really thought Stannis was going to win.
@ Evil, yeah I'm pretty sure Martin did cook that up for the show, I was like, boy I'm glad they broke that up when they did I really like Bronn and I don't like his chances against the Hound.
May 29th, 2012, 12:48 PM
Loved it, I don't think they could have done it better. The timeline does in fact seem to be a bit off (Sansa still has her period?) but that is always a difficult thing to manage in fantasy.
I agree that Martin's episodes are the best. Too bad they take time away from writing new material.
May 29th, 2012, 01:16 PM
Fun, fun, fun. I had hedged my bets by figuring that the episode would be mostly Blackwater. But no, all the other finales will be put into the last episode and this one was all Blackwater, which let them really go to town.
One big change was of course the lack of the giant chain keeping Stannis' forces and ships in the Bay, which we knew was likely. It would have been nice to have the chain, since it's such a distinctive point in the series. However, given that HBO was trying to talk them into making the whole battle on land to be cheaper, we must accept the awesomeness that we got. And it was not, I think, illogical in doing it that way. Because there was no chain, a good chunk of Stannis' fleet was able to hang back and pull back from the chaos of the wildfire, allowing Stannis to land a still ungodly number of troops to besiege the castle.
That was the second big change -- the battle after the wildfire devastation was mainly on land, not across the decks of ships, which would have been rather tricky to do and again more expensive. Instead, they went for the siege part and concentrated on giving us really gross hacking deaths that would have made Evil Dead 3 proud.
The third big change was to make the battle take place at night, as we knew would be the case, and this worked very well for them, I think. It allowed them to hide things that might have made the scenes less impressive in daylight, it let them have all the glowy arrows, torches and wildfire effect, and it made the confusion of the forces more logical. Davos can't see whether the wildfire ship is manned or not until it gets close enough and there was clearly some confusion as to whether the ship was coming out to treaty or something. Davos had been reluctant to go into the bay in the first place, but Stannis, now known as the Terminator, was insistent. Backing off would have been disastrous for Stannis' campaign. And the troops on the turrets of Kings Landing can't see in the dark at first that Stannis is bringing his men on to the shores, etc.
I thought the episode spent a little too much time on the Hound and Bron throughout, but Martin and the show runners aren't idiots, so they beefed it up for the two most popular rogues. It also seems rather unfair that Dinklage keeps getting all these great speeches. I mean, let someone else get an Emmy nod. But he was wonderful. I really like this little subtle romantic bit they've worked in between him and Sansa. In the books, he really had little sexual interest in her, and even when they got into bed together, he squelched any there. But the looks on his face when she said that she was praying for him, and then that she prayed for him the same amount as for Joffrey were hilarious.
Loved the D-Day like shot of the troops on Stannis' ship and the vomit barrel. Sansa was brilliant, Shae was brilliant, Joffrey was brilliant. That kid is one of the ones who should get an Emmy nod. Varys was his perfect Varys self. Stannis and Davos rocked. Lancel, the little murderer worm, turned noble Lannister. And Cersei, my goodness. They've been going back and forth about how they want Cersei to be the last two seasons, but last night, they let Lena rip and she just went to town. It was way more interesting than she was in the book during this period, although George did use or slightly change lines he had from the book for her. The scene in the throne room with Tommen ought to get her an Emmy nod too.
And Bronn and the Hound did rock their extra time. I swear, the scene between Bronn and Tyrion before the battle was deliberately done for the fans who keep putting sitcom spin-off mash-up videos about the two of them to the tune of "Best Friend" by Harry Nilsson:
And overall, they did do the siege battles well, I think. Did any on the battlements pour down hot oil and I missed it, or just rocks? I thought there should be hot oil. And then Tyrion struck down (although clearly not losing much of his nose as suspected,) and Podrick doing his thing. I would have liked Podrick to have a few lines the last few episodes, but I think they thought it was funny to have him not say anything and then do his gig in the end.
I'd'a prefered Tywin to come through the doors first,
No, no, no, it had to be Loras first. Otherwise, the whole vial thing would not have worked. Loras was the unexpected entrant -- ally or foe? (the vial pauses) -- followed by Tywin -- ally -- and the vial dropping to the ground. Was beautifully done.
Why would she not have gone with him? He was tipsy, at best, kind, not putting a sword to her throat, mentioning Winterfell... I am just at a loss. I know the whole Sansa/Sandor relasionship is a deep, complicated mess of obsession and curruption and hope and bleh, and many just feel it's 'icky' (legit quote - seriously, shallow people...) But what is sexual about, for example, a cloak?
She doesn't go with him in the book, so why would they make a major change like that which would completely change multiple storylines? Certainly, Sansa might have been better off if she'd gone with the Hound, although probably he would have ended up raping her, (but she might have been able to escape him on the road,) but she doesn't because she was making the gamble that Stannis – who her father had wanted to be king – will free her and/or use her to broker a deal with Robb if he likely takes the city, so that was not going to happen. In the book, Sansa is both noble leader, keeping other women from panicking, and little girl who is too scared and confused to leave with the Hound. In the show, they decided to concentrate on her being the nobler leader than the falling apart Cersei, so her singing for him on his orders, and her huddling in his cloak like a little girl were jettisoned. Instead, we had the doll, symbolizing Sansa letting go of her childhood, dropped, and she stands up to the Hound, unbending, understanding that she has some small power over him (as Cersei talked about,) and determined to state her own fate, “you won’t hurt me,” which echoed Shae saying she won’t be raped and showing the dagger on her leg. Sansa was being a queen, and that’s in large part why the Hound leaves her instead of simply grabbing her and taking her with him. And the Hound had already cast away his cloak before the battle – he did not fight as the Kingsguard. He resigns with Tyrion, so there wasn’t a need to have him do it again with Sansa. The Hound’s interest in Sansa is half sexual. The other half is that he’s fetishized her as another outcast like himself.
The timeline does in fact seem to be a bit off (Sansa still has her period?)
It’s workable enough because periods last about a week and they kept saying Stannis would be there in a few days, then two days. Of course, that does get into the issue of Littlefinger’s travel times, etc.
May 29th, 2012, 02:20 PM
I think Stannis knew there would be some kind nastiness thrown at them so he sent in Davos as a Forlorn Hope to trigger all those traps that would be set so he could get a foothold on the beach.
May 29th, 2012, 02:23 PM
I think you missed my point there, Kat, or I didn't make it well.
In the books you can see why she does not go with him. He can not promise he won't hurt her and in fact holds a knife to her throat. He is drunk, sobbing, crazed, unstable, and doesn't put the idea across so kindly or mention Winterfell specifically. In this re-write he's basically offering to be her savoir and it makes her look like an idiot for not going.
I have much to say on their 'relasionship'. Obsession, curruption, desire, if all passion is lust or a dependance or a masochistic dream. But I knew enough to know that none of that would come across in the show. However, the cloak alone wudda' been nice.
I liked a review I heard saying how they focussed on people's faces - soldiers, ladies. All the shots were quite tight, which is the preference of the director. It made the battle feel personal, as this is a very personal, character based series.
I agree about Tywin and Loras, now that I think about it. ;D
May 29th, 2012, 05:46 PM
I was surprised the Hound offered to take Sansa to Winterfell, only because it means neither of them know Theon has taken it over.