Game of Thrones - Episode 1.05 - The Wolf and The Lion - Full Review

Hey again everyone! This week's episode of Game of Thrones offered up two important changes with regards to the storytelling. The first is the fact that we spent almost all of the episode in no more than two or three locations. This meant no trips to The Wall or to the continent of Essos in favour of  having pretty much the entire episode take place in King's Landing.

This was sad because we didn't get to see any Jon or Dany, but it was mostly awesome because some of the confusion and jerkiness inherent in following half a dozen plots and dozens of characters at once all but disappeared.

Episode 5, which was aptly named "The Wolf and The Lion", was all about bringing the brewing Lannister/Stark conflict to a head. It also featured some of the first truly exciting action sequences!

The Good:

Sean Bean as Ned Stark, Aiden Gillen as Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, and Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon (amongst many others) all turned in brilliant performances this episode.

King Robert: Addy has the ability to transition easily between comedy, like the scene in which he was too fat for his breastplate, to intense drama, like the scene with the Small Council in which Ned chose to cease his duties as Hand. One of my favourite scenes from this episode was Robert's extended discussion with Cersei about their failing relationship. Although the scene ran perhaps a bit too long for my liking, it was beautifully acted and written and it gave the characters some added depth.

At the same time, I'm not sure how much I'm liking Lena Headey's Cersei. She comes across as arch and conniving in some scenes and yet sympathetic in others. Obviously, I like me some three-dimensional characters, but her ambiguity is more confusing than interesting.

Littlefinger and Varys: This is in stark contrast to the characters of Littlefinger and Varys. Their moral ambiguity and apparent self-interest is something I find extraordinarily intriguing. One of the highlights of the episode was their discussion in the throne room. The way they played off of each other with their banter was more reminiscent of close friends than enemies; however, there's little doubt that they would betray each other at the drop of a hat should it be of use. It's also hard not to like Littlefinger's creepy and yet charming personality.

Ned and Jaime: Ned, always the honourable man, decided to take the blame for his wife's decision to take Tyrion prisoner. Jaime, ever the dutiful brother, took this opportunity kill (all of Ned's horses and) all of Ned's Men. I loved Jaime's disgust at the lack of honour one of his men displayed in stabbing Ned from behind during their sword fight. This is from the guy who sleeps with his sister and throws children off of towers. He continues to be a charmingly lovable terrible person.

I'll also take this opportunity to take a quick look at Ned, who is is ostensibly the hero of the series. In most fantasy, his honour would be lauded as it wins him battles and the approval of cynical elders in key positions of power; however, thus far, his honour has caused him nothing but trouble. 1. He refuses to assassinate pregnant teens at the cost of his position. 2. He takes the heat for his wife (who is REALLY far out of reprisal's reach btw). 3. He gets stabbed in the back for being an idiot. I look forward to seeing more of his noble failings, although I hope things get better for him soon.

There was SO MUCH MORE great stuff this episode that I just don't have the time to go into. The epic battle with the mountain clans outside The Eyrie, Tyrion's prison, Renly/Loras, anything with Arya, etc. Hopefully, I'll have the chance to discuss these things in my Book --> TV series.

The Bad:

Winterfell Exposition: You know what continues to be a great idea? Dealing with exposition poorly. Definitely. This episode featured a scene in which Bran described several of the major houses, their crests, and their words to Maester Luwin. The true purpose of the scene was to emphasize his bitterness over his situation and to discuss how he misses his mother. The acting was quite good and the exposition wasn't awful... It's just unfortunate that it continues to be so obvious. I don't really know how else they would get that kind of information across, but I'd like to see more of Bran dealing with his predicament/bonding with his Direwolf and less of characters being used for the express purpose of exposition.

The Hound vs. The Mountain: This is something that fell rather flat for me. Littlefinger explored their back story in the last episode and I was expecting something a little more intense from two rather disturbed men with such a history  It's nice to know that The Hound is truly devoted to his King and that he is one of few people willing to stand up to The Mountain, but the fight should have been bigger, better, and more intense.

The Shocking:

The Eyrie: Holy inflatable prosthetic breast batman! Was that kid seven? I mean, I'm all for being shocking for the sake of storytelling, but how does one get away with having a real child pretend to do that!? That was some messed up s#!t. It's nice to see that the woman who kick-started much of this situation with her Raven of warning to Catelyn in the pilot is as together as a person can be. Yup.

Also, that view? I guess that's where the Direwolf budget went.

So, what did you guys think of this week's episode? Any theories going forward? What's going to happen to Tyrion and Ned? On the scale of "I'M SO ANGRY I'MA DECAPITATE MY HORSE!" to 10, I'll give this week's episode a "The Best Yet :D" (9.0/10.0).

Follow me on Twitter: @LostCadence
Check out my Blog: cadencegtv

Episode 1: Initial Thoughts
Episode 1: Full Review - 7.75/10.0
Episode 2: (Darq's) Recap/Review - 8.25/10.0
Episode 3: 8.75/10.0
Episode 4: 8.50/10.0

- Cadence


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