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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Game of Thrones S02 E10: “Valar Morghulis”

Game of Thrones Gwendoline Christie Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

(previous: “Blackwater”)

spoilers
So not enough Jaime Lannister this series. I hope this oversight will be remedied in upcoming episodes.

But thank the gods, Tyrion is alive! In reduced circumstances, no longer the Hand of the king, but still… alive. And doesn’t this:

Game of Thrones Peter Dinklage

look like a lost Old Master Renaissance painting?

This must be one of the most beautiful-looking shows on television at the moment. It’s often beautifully ugly — as with all the battle stuff in the previous episode — but it always looks amazing. I love this:

Game of Thrones Stephen Dillane Carice van Houten

It’s almost as hypnotic for us as it seems it is for Stannis.

I mean, that’s what going on here, right? She’s hypnotizing him into seeing something that isn’t there, the vision of him on the Iron Throne? Clearly, Melisandre has some sort of supernatural power, what with birthing that black shadow assassin demon thing, but she’s as much about showmanship as she is about magic, and she’s as much as serving herself as she is about serving a fire god (who may not even exist — there could be magic in this world without there having to be gods… and in fact, that would be an interesting twist). This is my theory, anyway, and it makes sense thematically, too, where every woman with brains and ambition has to manipulate men to get what she wants, because she cannot just take it herself, as the smart, ambitious men do. And powerful men can get by even if they’re dumb, such as Joffrey — they’re more easily manipulated, but at least for a little while, they get what they want.

Ah, and now Joffrey has a new ambitious Queen-to-be in Margaery. It’ll be interesting to see what Sansa starts doing once she realizes she can play the game, not just be a pawn — will she seduce Baelish and give him the sons he now wants and needs? (I don’t think she’d have much trouble seducing him, if she really reminds him of her mother.) Or will Sansa never learn how to play? Maybe there’s nothing she wants… though that seems unlikely: something will replace her lost fantasy of being queen. And what about Robb’s new wife? Obviously he’s set himself up for a new war by not marrying the woman he was promised to, but does Talisa have any ambitions beyond being Robb’s wife? (Maybe she’ll set up a royal medical school.)

So what are we left to think about while waiting for the next series? Lady Stark’s gesture in returning Jaime to King’s Landing cannot have the desired effect, since Arya hasn’t been in the city since Robert’s death and it seems Sansa will be escaping soon… so what impact will Jamie’s release have? Arya is totally under the spell — metaphorically speaking — of a dream of a life as a face-changing assassin. Daenerys’s dragons got their periods– er, their fire

Game of Thrones Emilia Clarke

and are now dangerous weapons in themselves. There’s not only a King Beyond the Wall, but a city, and zombie horses and zombie people. Tyrion wants to continue outtalking and outthinking bad people, but it’s not clear how he’ll be able to do this when those bad people — including sister Cersei — want him dead.

“This war has just begun. It will last for years,” Melisandre tells Stannis. Or at least until George R.R. Martin finishes the last book, which could take decades. Hoorah! More Game of Thrones!

(next: Season 3)


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