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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Game of Thrones Season One watch-a-thon: “You Win or You Die”

Game of Thrones DVD

(previous: “A Golden Crown”)


Ah! Oh! Treachery! Villainy!

Early in the episode I wondered — after Jaime’s father invited him to stop being a favored dog and fight for himself — whether we weren’t heading toward a Jaime the Tyrant on the throne. Which probably wouldn’t happen without Petyr Baelish, who’s clearly been plotting for years, decades, to steal some power for himself. (The man who owns the whorehouse has lots of blackmail material at the ready.) And with Ned sharing the secret of the king’s children, the gameboard was set in Petyr’s favor.

And then! The king’s succession is suddenly an urgent matter, and Ned — poor Ned! — cannot decide whether the honorable thing to do (get Robert’s apparently war-hungry brother on the throne) is the right thing to do. But probably no decision he made would have deterred Petyr’s perfidy.

Ooo, I hate the Lannisters and all their minions!

Ha! The Winter that is coming, and the Long Night that is coming… these aren’t metaphoric, are they?

(What is the deal with the Long Night, anyway? Just what sort of weird orbital dynamics are controlling this planet?)
I was afraid Jorah was gonna be recruited to be Daenerys’s assassin — I’m glad he seems to be a good guy. Too bad for Robert’s legacy, perhaps, that his decision to remove Daenerys from the gameboard is the thing that has now made her a serious player. Absent that attempt on her life, it’s hard to see how Drogo agrees to get on a ship.

This game of thrones, it’s not for the weakhearted.

(next: “The Pointy End”)

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