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!
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.
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 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.
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).
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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