The Nightlands – Episode 2 Recap Part 1

Well, another fantastic episode :) Let’s jump right in.

King’s Landing

This episode focused heavily on Tyrion Lannister. He appeared in every scene in the Westeros capitol. This episode sees Tyrion starting to navigate through the deadly labyrinth that is King’s Landing. The first scene shows Tyrion walking in on his “companion” Shae sharing a laugh with resident spy-master and eunuch Varys. Varys takes this opportunity to remind Tyrion that Shae should not be here and that, if he has to, he will use this information to his advantage. Like you might think, Tyrion doesn’t take the threat lightly. He, in turn, reminds Varys that he may be Hand but he is no Ned Stark. Tyrion knows how this game is played, and we are inclined to agree with him. The scene was short but very effective. It sets up a sort of tenuous alliance between the two outsiders. It is also reassurance that fan-favorite Tyrion knows what he’s doing and isn’t going to fall for cheap tricks.

The next scene in this location takes place at the Small Council meeting. Cersei receives Robb Stark’s letter with his demands. She proceeds to rip up the paper (a grim reminder of Ned’s downfall) and vehemently refuse every request. Tyrion urges her to at least give the boy king his father’s bones as a sign of good faith and she reluctantly agrees. The next letter arrives and we find out it’s from Castle Black. The note practically begs for more men on The Wall, citingthe recent supernatural occurrences. Everyone takes the Lord Commander’s story of the walking dead as the ramblings of a crazy person. They brush it off thinking their conflicts are more important. Only Tryion takes note seriously, reminding the council that The Night’s Watch is the only thing separating the kingdom from the evils beyond The Wall. Having had enough of business, Cersei makes a snide remarks and walks out, the others follow, leaving Tyrion alone in contemplation. This scene drips of foreshadowing. I find it terribly ironic that all of these so called “kings” want to rule this country, yet none seem keen on preserving it. It is obvious that Cersei and her crew are making a mistake in ignoring Lord Mormont’s request. The consequences of her decision are yet to be seen, but if Tyrion’s expression is any hint, they will be severe.

This next scene is by far my favorite of the bunch. It shows Tyrion at his very best. Here, he’s manipulative, funny, ruthless, charming, and smart. News of the infanticide has reached Tyrion’s ears and he is none to happy about it. He immediately singles out the person responsible, Ser Janos Slynt, commander of the Gold Cloaks. In a wonderfully sly maneuver, he invites Slynt to dinner in his private quarters. The conversation that follows is Game of Thrones at its best. The one-liners are killer, the slow build up is perfect, and the final take down just makes you wanna stand up a cheer for the imp.  As Ser Janos is arrested he is informed he is headed for The Wall, and Tyrion leaves him with, in my opinion, the line of the night, “I hope you enjoy The Wall. I found it surprisingly beautiful in a brutal, horribly uncomfortable sort of way.” Trust me when I say that Dinklage’s delivery was PERFECT.  But perhaps what makes this scene even more interesting was that after Tyrion promotes his sellsword Bronn to the recently vacated position, he asks him if he would have killed those babies without question. Bronn responds that he wouldn’t without question, he would first ask how much. Tyrion’s expressions after the comment is very ambiguous. He doesn’t necessarily seems happy with that answer, perhaps giving us some proof that beneath the epic swagger and sarcasm, Tyrion might have a heart after all…

The final scene in King’s Landing is short but filled with emotion. Tyrion and Cersei are alone, she is angry with his removal of Slynt and he is pissed she didn’t tell him about the bastards. They trade a couple blows, then Tyrion makes a crude joke about the rumors regarding her relationship with her twin brother Jaime. Cersei laughs bitterly and looks up at her brother with tired eyes. She remarks how Tyrion has always been funny, but that all his jokes will never live up to his first one. The one where he ripped open his mother during his difficult birth and killed her. And for her brave sacrifice, the family was blessed with a half-man abomination. Well, that just made things uncomfortable. We now see quite plainly that Cersei hates Tyrion because she blames him for their mother’s death. Tyrion sadly replies that she was his mother too. Cersei just walks away, leaving Tyrion with an expression of sadness and guilt. Maybe he blames himself a bit too. It’s a heavy scene that sets the stage for more Lannister clashes in future episodes. The acting by both parties was superb.

The Kingsroad

The two sequences from Arya’s point of view might be my favorite scenes the show has produced thus far (that’s including season 1). I’m not joking. Now I’ve made no secret that Jon Snow is my favorite character. But talking from the perspective of young girl (well 19) Arya has always had a special place in my heart. But Arya alone did not win me over, it was her new friend, the royal bastard Gendry, that really stole the show. The actor that plays Gendry, Joe Dempsie, is one I know well. I’ve been following the young Brit since his days on the racy teen drama Skins, to his one off role in the BBC’s Merlin, to his epic performance in the brilliant, wrongly cancelled, thriller The Fades. Dempsie is a unique talent; his comedic timing is brilliant while at the same time reducing me to tears with his more serious scenes. I just love the kid. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard he would be playing fan-favorite Gendry. I’ve been looking forward to his interactions with Arya and they did not disappoint. The armor conversation had me cackling (Hotpie is perfect BTW) and Gendry’s nonchalant admission that he knew Arya was a girl was just overwhelmingly adorable. Maisie’s face after the “well pull your cock out and take a piss then” was comedy gold. Also gold, Gendry’s realization of Arya’s station, his attempts to rectify the mistake, and Arya’s subsequent exasperation. I mean, they just make you smile. It was such a welcome ray of sunshine in the usually bitter and hard world that is Westeros. I honestly rewound those scenes an embarrassing number of times. Other important things learned here: Yoren is a badass, Gendry doesn’t know he was King Robert’s bastard, that one mysterious prisoner is unbearably intriguing, there’s a fight coming, I can feel it in my bones (JK I’ve just read the books :) )

The Red Waste

Dany had one small scene this episode that featured one of her bloodriders’ horses returning to her makeshift camp with his master’s head dangling from the saddle. Basically things are worse than ever for our Khaleesi and she continues to make promises she can’t keep. Her people are dying, and she may be next if refuge isn’t found. Fun Fact: the bloodrider doesn’t actually die in the books, but the actor playing him got a part in World War Z, aka Brad Pitt’s huge next project, and the schedule didn’t allow for him to do both. And leave it to Game of Thrones to never give up the chance to chop off a head or two 😉

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