Ror Recaps: GAME OF THRONES S206 "The Old Gods And The New"
This is a pretty significant episode of HBO's fantasy drama series, as it marks some big changes from the books, while at the same time cementing its position as the best show on tv..
I haven't been doing write ups for every episode of Game Of Thrones this season, but decided to make an exception for "The Old Gods And The New". Game Of Thrones is never bad - although some episodes are definitely not as good as others - but this sixth episode in the second season takes things to a new level in my opinion.
The show is certainly speeding things up in relation to the source novels, and making quite a few changes (some small, some more significant) while it goes. We see the treacherous Theon Greyjoy take command of Winterfell, and lob off a defiant Ser Roderick's head while he's at it. This incredibly brutal scene (it takes the weak, cowardly Theon a few hacks to get the job done) marks the character's descent from pathetic wretch to out and out evil bastard. Rodericks's last words sum it up - ""Gods help you, Theon Greyjoy. Now you are truly lost.". It's disturbing stuff, the cries from Bran and Rickon for Theon to show mercy going straight to the heart. Later on when the crafty Osha uses her Wildling ways (and female powers of persuasion) to get herself, Bran, Rickon, Hodor, and the Direwolves away from Winterfell, fans of the books will note that the Greenseer Jojen Reed and his sister Meera are nowhere to be seen. A big departure, since these characters play a large part in Bran's story. Will we see them at a later stage? Who knows - I have a feeling Osha's role might be beefed up to substitute for them.
Back at King's Landing Joffrey's cruelty and madness finally incite a riot among the people. Unfortunately they don't get their hands on the little prick, but they do manage to corner Sansa. The poor girl is beaten and almost raped before being rescued by The Hound - on fine disemboweling form. Any Sansa haters still think she's getting what she deserves? This scene also marks another mighty slap to Joffrey's face from his Uncle Tyrion..literally. It's great to see, but how long will the psychotic King put up with it?
North of The Wall, Jon Snow and the other Rangers are making their way to the Wildling lookout's camp. Quorin Halfhand seems to see something in the young man but he also scolds him for being so willing to throw his life away for the Nights Watch, even If he has to - "I don't want you to be glad about it, I want you to fight and curse until your hearts done pumping". They take the Wildlings by surprise, killing all except a red haired woman named Ygritte. Yes, she's a love interest for our favorite bastard. But with Jon separated from his companions and at the mercy of the elements, can he trust her not to "bury an axe in his face"?
At Harrenhal, Arya and Tywin Lannister are developing some mutual respect. The stern Tywin seems more willing to speak to her openly than he does his own men. But Arya seizes and opportunity to steal a note relating to her brother Robb's movements from the table. As she runs outside Armory Lorch confronts her, and she is forced to find Jaquen and waste one of her kills on the vicious Lannister Bannerman. At least he fully deserved it. Two down, one to go Arya. Make it a good one eh?
Meanwhile, Robb runs into that pretty girl he met while she was hacking a man's foot off and the two share a "moment". It's short lived, as a returning Catlyn reminds him that he is spoken for, and the debt to Lord Frey must be honored. They are interrupted by Roose Bolton, who informs Robb of Theon's betrayal. Robb vows to return to Winterfell for Theon's head but Bolton suggest sending his bastard son instead. Fans of the book will know this marks the first mention of "Reek", the bastard of Bolton - quite possibly the most vile, evil character in the entire saga. And that's saying something.
Finally we see what's been going on in Quarth with Dany and co. The Khaleesi asks that fat, pompous merchant who was reluctant to allow her to enter the city for ships, so that she might return to The Seven Kingdoms and claim the Iron Throne. He refuses, and angers Dany in the process. In her impatience the once humble and gentle Dany is beginning to show something akin to petulance here, and it seems Jorah might have been right in treating her like a child still. She returns to her quarters to find most of her Dothraki dead, along with her handmaiden Irri (another character who still lives in the books). But worst of all, to Dany at least, her three dragons have been stolen by persons unknown. This is another big departure from the novel. I'm not sure what will be accomplished by this change, but we must assume this somehow leads her to the Houses Of The Undying and from there things get back on course.
Despite some big alterations, for me the show remains a very faithful adaptation. The fact that it's not following the books to the letter means that those who have read them can still be surprised, even shocked. This episode also stands out as not only the best of the season so far, but one of the best full stop. Everything from the acting, cinematography, pacing, editing..you name it, has never been better. Lets hope the quality continues as we move into the seventh episode, and draw closer and closer to the one fans have been waiting a long time, "Blackwater".
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