The Battle of the Bastards. The Genius of Simplicity.

The latest episode of The Game of Thrones was excellent. But it was not excellent simply because it was bloodthirsty, as The Guardian suggests.  It was excellent because it was finally balanced. Instead of skipping around the many plots and intrigues of Westeros it presented us with two balanced character groups : Daenerys Stormborn on the one hand and the Starks on the other. The plot balance enabled the viewers to get truly involved with the characters’ emotional dilemmas.

Let us start with Mereen. I particularly enjoy the pairing of the idealistic and justice-craving Daenerys and the cynical and pragmatic Tyrion. I feel it is one of the few interactions that is not present in the books, which the TV series does very well. The only worrying aspect is that Tyrion is beginning to look suspiciously like Jorah Mormont.

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I loved the sequence with the dragons flying about and looking epic, although I have to admit that Dany’s flame-throwing fun reminded me rather of the helicopters in Apocalypse Now– ‘don’t you love that smell of dragon breath in the morning?’

I also enjoyed the interaction between Daenerys and Yara, the two warrior queens. Girl power is having its heyday in the Game of Thrones this week. Although it does seem odd that Daenerys forbids Yara’s men to rape and pillage. Daenerys is, after all, the Mum of the three dragons and the queen of a whole lot Dothraki. I cannot see how she will ever forbid those men from raping, pillaging… or breathing fire.

Now to ‘The Battle of the Bastards’ itself. I found it incredible to see Jon Snow making such a fool of himself. He survived fighting against his own girlfriend and being killed by his own men. Surely he should have learned by now that the world is not a pleasant place and people don’t win simply because they are right. Apparently not. I am not sure how this scene will go in the books, but I do hope Jon Snow gets some of his dignity back.

Sansa had her moment of glory— with the lovely moody shot of cavalry from the Eyrie striking from the hills, which reminded of Gandalf rescuing Theoden in the battle of Helm’s Deep.

Ramsay getting eaten by his own dogs was a surprise. I was worried that the makers of The Game of Thrones enjoyed Ramsay’s sadistic episodes too much to kill him. Valar Morghulis. A death of a TV character rarely pleases me, but Ramsay may join Joffrey in the ‘I’m so glad he got killed’ group.

Though I have to admit there was more spontaneous joy in the scene in which Tormund bit through Smalljon Umber’s throat . Ever since I saw what Ramsay did to Rickon, I wanted the movie Umbers dead. Not just dead. Unpleasantly dead. Think Walder Manderly’s ‘Frey pies’. That kind of thing. #thenorthremembers

To conclude with: an uncharacteristically satisfying episode of the Game of Thrones. Which makes me worry that in the next episode a character I love might die. Although hopefully not. I am still mourning Summer and Hodor and Rickon…

 

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