Arya Stark: I was a little disappointed to see so little of Arya. “The Pointy End” is what Jon Snow told Arya to “stick em’ with” when he gave her Needle (her sword). Unfortunately, she gives a brilliant performance that lasts all of five minutes. More Arya please. At the same time, her killing of the stable boy was kind of awkward. I don’t know if HBO felt squeamish about having small children murder small children, but the editing was almost as odd as direwolf attacks.
Winterfell: Pretty much everything Winterfellian this episode was compelling. Richard Madden is doing a particularly wonderful job of bringing Robb to life. He brings a real strength to the character (minus his crustache). I look forward to more of him being awesome. It was also nice to see some of Bran, who has been sorely lacking in screen time. Everyone seems to be praising Maisie Williams for her portrayal of Arya, but Isaac Hempstead Wright is giving a rather understated performance. His brotherly farewell with Robb was quite touching. Rickon on the other hand was mad creepy. Scary clairvoyant sounding child + the zombies (known as Wights) that showed up at The Wall made me think that we had switched genres for a moment.
Sansa Stark: Including Sansa here was something I struggled with a lot. The character is naïve to the point of stupidity and insufferably insipid. That being said, I can’t tell if Sophie Turner (the young actress who portrays Sansa) is doing a phenomenal job or a terrible job. I mean, I don’t think we’re supposed to like the character very much at this stage in the game. The fact that the actress makes me hate her is either a testament to her acting or shows her lack of ability to convey some depth amidst one-dimensionality. I’m going to withhold judgment until the end of the season, but I certainly hope that bigger and better things are coming her way. Also, like I mentioned earlier, ending the show with her pleading for her father’s life was a bit of an anti-climax.
Discussions of War: With all of the plotting, armies sitting around, and discussions of huge numbers of men, I’m worried that we’re building up excitement that won’t lead to sufficient payoff. I mean, there’s no way we’re getting a 45 minute long Helm’s Deep style action sequence. This episode had two separate war camps plotting and a third one winning battles off-screen. There was no army in sight, minus a few men and tents. I understand that HBO is going to have some problems with funding this, but still. Less exposition in command tents (Riverrun, which is the seat of House Tully, Tyrion, in case you of all people had forgotten!) and more epic battling please.
Robb Stark’s Direwolf: How best to get your much older and experienced bannermen to respect you at 18? It’s easy! Just have your pet direwolf bite off a bunch of his fingers. That’ll instill fear in him. Or it could make him laugh uproariously. Whatever.
SYRIO FOREL, DANCING MASTER: Taking on knights with a wooden sword and laughing in the face of death, all the while being a raging Spaniard. I hope he made it out of that situation alive. Most compelling side character ever.
Wow, that was long. There was just so much that happened this week! Anyway, moving on. While most people to whom I have spoken would count this as the best episode of the season to date, the anti-climactic ending and my lack of love for Sansa ultimately reduced my final grade. As such, on the scale of having my manhood cut off and fed to the goats to something pleasant actually happening, I’d have to give this episode six out of seven stable dead boys (8.75/10.).
What did everyone else think? Too much exposition and an ending without much punch spoil an otherwise excellent episode, or was it your favourite anyway? HOW CREEPY IS ROBIN ARYN OMG WTF!?!?!?!? Are you still reeling from Ned being REALLY stupid. Ned's mercy came back in a big way this episode as several other characters were merciful. Good calls, or bad? See you all next week!
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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
Episode 5: 9.00/10.0
Episode 6: 9.25/10.0
Episode 7: 9.00/10.00