Beyond the Wall: This Week on Game of Thrones (Episode 9 / May 27, 2012)
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EPISODE 09: Blackwater
The long summer is at an end, winter truly is coming and with it the cold winds of war as five self proclaimed Kings claim dominance over Westeros, but there can be only one winner when you play the game of thrones.
All season we've been preparing for war and tonight the battle of Blackwater gives us just that. As one fan pointed out last week, this isn't LORD OF THE RINGS so we shouldn't be expecting that kind of battle which is true, hell I don't even think Peter Jackson expected LOTR battles to be as epic as they turned out but he had a Tywin Lannister budget to make it happen. Blackwater's episode budget is the highest yet for the series and it's something producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss fought tooth and nail for. I feel the boys delivered considering what they had to work with leaving me happy with the end result. Bringing on Neil Marshall (THE DESCENT, DOOMSDAY) to direct this episode surely didn't hurt either. And lest we forget the best part, tonight's episode was written by the man himself, George R.R. Martin. Fans probably know by now that one of Martin's stipulations for letting HBO tackle the series was giving him carte blanche with one episode per season, THE POINTY END, being last season's. So yes, the quips have never been as sharp as they are tonight!
I'm very happy they decided to focus on this one area rather than jump around (the story flows much better this way), the downside being next week's finale will no doubt feel rushed as hell with many a cliff hanger as they round up all the loose ends. Tonight though, Kings Landing shines. Tyrion's all over the place, winning over scene after scene with Varys, Joffrey, Bronn and eventually stirring the hearts of the men. His wildfire plan was a hit (pun intended), and made for a tremendous explosion at sea, burning away at more than just Stannis' men's resolve. I tell ya though, that Stannis has balls of steel, personally leading his men across the river banks under heavy arrow fire. As you can imagine, there's loads of BRAVEHEART style war violence to going around tonight, almost like they're trying to make up for the tame past couple episodes. It's all good though as we've been chomping at the bit to see it.
Cersei has her time in the spotlight, her exchanges with Sansa were dark (hilarious) moments of drunken goodness. I particularly enjoyed Sansa's meeting with Joffrey to "see him off to battle". For one, even though I despise him, I loved seeing his sword, Heart Eater, and though Sansa was made to kiss it, she pretty much tells Joffrey to kiss her ass as well. This is a taste of that volatile relationship they share in the books (when Sansa finally grows a damn spine), and though the show skipped most of that, at least they're trying to appease us with a taste (I was also quite moved when she picked up the doll Ned gave her, the one she originally hated). The Hound's also a commanding presence tonight, from his stare down with Bronn (arguably the most powerful scene in awhile) to his exploding on and off the battlefield. His relationship with Sansa takes a step even further, showing us he's honorable at heart...even if he is a cold blooded killer.
GAME OF THRONES SEASON 2's ninth episode is non-stop adrenaline, from the raging battle outside the walls to the silent battle within them. You can't take your eyes off the screen for a second, you can't miss a word of dialogue, and dammit you just can't help but wish this show would never end. There are many small tidbits I'm leaving out simply because I'm not here to ruin any surprises, but I will say this, all characters involved in tonight's episode give Oscar calibre performances. Every season of any show has its ups and downs, but this show climbs above most with far more positive than negative. To be honest, as I've said may times, this show's worst fault is not giving us nearly enough to satisfy our thirst. I can't believe next week is the finale, but one thing I do believe is that if it's anything like tonight's episode, we'll surely be going out on a tremendously high note.
Thankfully Bronn and his men make time for booze and sex before a big battle.
The blades of war take no prisoners my friends, just ask the Hound as he cleaves men in half like they're made of jello. There's no shortage of lost limbs, burns and frightful gashes tonight. Stannis lands a particularly cool head shot.
The Hound may not be the sharpest player on the field, but tonight he's full of fire after melting down on the battle field. He calls out for a drink and someone brings him water. The Hound: "Fuck the water. Bring me wine." And then when questioned by Tyrion and Joffrey about why he's no longer on the battlefield he had this to say. The Hound: "Fuck the Kingsguard. Fuck the city. Fuck the king." The look on Joffrey's face is priceless.
MOST EPIC SCENE:
The Hound puts a damper on Bronn's pre-battle fiesta igniting a standoff of epic proportions. That said, Podrick coming to Tyrion's rescue is also badass.
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|Extra Tidbit:||Do you think they'll surprise us with a two hour finale? No, me neither, but a guy can dream.|