So, I’m officially no longer sure what to make of where this show is heading.
And to be honest, I’m kind of liking that feeling.
It’s been enjoyable to watch this show with a sense of what’s coming care of the books, strange as that sounds. Yeah, you know the twists, but that also means you can have fun spotting the foreshadowing and seeing how they deliver on them. It becomes a part of the experience.
Now that’s been replaced with that total uncertainty of where this is going, despite recognizing some cues. While I still have issues with some of the showrunners’ earlier calls, I have to admit they have me intrigued.
So, I know last week I said I was liking the more proactive stance the show was taking with Sansa. I’m still largely on board with the decision, but also wondering what the angle they’re playing at with it right now is.
The idea of folding Sansa’s story into Theon’s is a huge leap. It raises a lot of questions about whether certain plots are going to be addressed, retooled, or just outright dropped. That said, the idea of her being angled to taking all the abuse she’s had doled out on her and turning it back around is something I could be game to see depending where the show takes it.
Of course, given the track record for weddings in Westeros…
My one big concern here is with how the show’s handling Littlefinger. I realize the nature of the visual medium keeps him from being able to execute his full (to quote another popular book series) ‘plans within plans within plans’, but too often, the show has him explaining himself to people so they can telegraph everything to the audience. Aiden Gillen manages to make some of it work just through his performance, but the writing really has been a hurdle for the character to this point, and now that he’s taking a more active role again, it could blow back hard.
Of course, part of the reason for a lot of this leap is the fact that one of the big grievances people had with the two books being adapted is just how much the events have decelerated after A Storm of Swords. A lot of this season seems to be devoted to trying to punch up the quieter events of the season. Which means we can expect a lot of folding and cutting to make a leaner, faster set of events.
To their credit, however, not all the quiet moments are forgotten. Honestly, two of the high points of this episode are two fairly quiet events on the greater scheme.
For as many arcs as have been retooled, so far Arya’s has been kept fairly faithful. This is thankfully so this week with her fateful ‘throw away your old identity’ scene. When the time comes to consider throwing Needle away, there’s no dialogue, no heavy music. The whole scene is on a contemplative Maisie Williams, and she sells the internal conflict perfectly.
The other is part of Jon’s arc, which admittedly ends on a pretty fast note (albeit one with some nice edits that really capture just how sudden the decision is). After Stannis’s attempts to persuade him to take up his family name, in a new show-only scene, Davos takes a try at it. It’s honestly just a solid scene all around in terms of writing and acting, and one that reminds how good Liam Cunningham can be with playing an introspective character.
The one other standout for this week comes care of another new cast addition – veteran actor Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow, the leader of a new militant sect of Westeros’s seven-god system. For as fierce as they build his reputation to be, Pryce initially plays him as a soft-spoken, grandfatherly type.
Of course, that’s also because Cersei is playing ball with him. I imagine when her interests come to an impasse with him, we’ll get to see that side that’s made him such a fierce contender come out as well, and Pryce is the kind of actor I’m interested in seeing handle that duality.
The show is still working out some of the bumps for this season – I like the talks between Brienne and Pod, but seriously, they still need to do something soon – but it’s still proving an enjoyable watch overall. Plus, ending this week with the fork in the road for Tyrion has me hopeful that Sons of the Harpy will fully transition this season’s shift of gears along.
-Sansa’s plot is a huge departure, but also has potential
-Great character moments from Arya and Davos this week
-Brienne’s quest for a new plot continues
-I appreciate the fact the show keeps it brief/tasteful, but Tommen having sex is STILL incredibly awkward
THE BLACK CELLS So Littlefinger’s now trying to play ball with the Boltons. Maybe this was part of his longer con that Martin hasn’t run yet, maybe not, but the fact is, that’s a lot happening fast. I realize they’re trying to rush to get two books condensed down for this season, but this could get risky really fast if they’re not careful. Otherwise, no major spoiler notes coming to mind this week that aren’t already discussed in previous episodes.