Tag Archives: Peter Dinklage

Game of Thrones Season 3 Recap: “The Climb”

vlcsnap-2013-05-06-09h48m02s38

It’s difficult to believe that six weeks have now come and gone since the premiere of Game of Thrones third season; before we know it the finale will be upon us and another year of agonizing waiting will follow.

Criticisms have been contrived from the ever so gradual build up season three has opted for that has only recently shown any signs of changing. Honestly I do find myself empathizing with the irritation of those who have yet to read the books and feel little of worth is happening. That doesn’t mean to say I disagree with Weiss & Benioff’s decision to keep the show at a brisk stroll for the time being. The Climb was no exception to the rule of gradual pacing, yet it made for another truly remarkable watch nonetheless.

Jon and Ygritte were presented with a rather literal climb of the 700ft wall of ice standing between the Wildling special forces team and the expanse of the Seven Kingdoms. In the moments of preparation before the climb Rose Leslie demonstrated that she wasn’t about to let the phenomenal standards of her performances as Ygritte slip now, amply expressing the Wildling women’s endearing affections for Jon with the assistance of impressive dialogue supplied by another superb screenplay.

When fate slowly edged them up the face of The Wall, it was impossible to avoid the feelings of fear and vertigo as the now infatuated couple came close to taking the dive on several occasions. In spite of the undeniably great acting, the air of finesse placed in the cinematography and editing efforts lent the scene almost the entirety of its dramatic effect. The sequencing from the shot of Jon glancing down, to the hauntingly slow pan in showcasing the potential fall he contended with instilled a nightmarish fear in me that couldn’t have been evoked solely off the back of high quality acting.

Sterling cinematography was a consistent element throughout this week’s episode. The continuation of Arya’s adventures alongside The Brotherhood Without Banners (TBWB) were introduced with a very striking shot* where-in a close up of Arya firing a bow shook gently, whilst remaining masterfully in sync with the reverberation of the bow string to seamlessly reflect the feeling of firing an arrow.

vlcsnap-2013-05-06-09h42m42s142*Note the spectacular shot framing also involved in the close up.

Prior to a controversial trade off – Thoros, Beric and Melisandre shared a rather interesting moment of conversation. Thoros admittance of seeking the help of The Red God whom he formerly abandoned in his time of desperation was an accurate, parallel, and perhaps cynical representation of the timeless tendency of people seeking guidance and/or other worldly power in their times of need even if – unlike in Thoros’s fantasy case – they are wholly aware their desires will go unreceived. Beric further bolstered the unromantic, harsh tone of the episode by informing Melisandre that her notion of there being an ‘other side’ was deluded drivel. ‘There is only Darkness’ rang true to very harsh realities that we all face; rarely does a TV show provoke such deep thought from an audience like Game of Thrones can in its prime.

Many book reader’s strong suspicions regarding the intentions behind Melisandre’s ventures away from Stannis’s seat at Dragonstone were all but confirmed when she struck up her exchange of gold for Gendry with TBWB. Clearly she has substantial expectations invested in the blacksmith’s apprentice, expressing her belief in his future role in taking down Stannis’s key opponents. Still a key question lingers: what exactly does the red priestess intend to do with Gendry?

vlcsnap-2013-05-06-12h52m50s255An impressive piece of lighting technique from the cinematographers.

Theon is trapped in a perpetual state of terrible luck that revealed zero indication of letting up on him as his cruel torture persisted. The monstrosity of the games his captor plays with him are on a sickening level that reflect the typical antics of the boy king Joffrey to the letter; thankfully momentary shots of Theon’s finger flaying were all that was necessary to extort a strong wincing and cringing from everyone, I couldn’t have handled much more. Alfie Allen effectively drove the anguish home with his blood curdling whimper-screams, and sniveling pleas to have the finger chopped off; I anticipate Allen’s adept acting in Game of Thrones will end up placing a major Hollywood blockbuster role or two at his feet in the coming years.

The King of the North’s military campaign proceeded down an increasingly slippery slope, however seemingly unbeknownst to Robb, who eagerly considered the successfully wagered terms with the Frey visitors – after a bit of good cop/bad cop interrogation against Edmure – to be a god send. It was difficult to miss the sinister tone that lined the voices of the Frey’s, and it definitely shouldn’t be disregarded yet. On top of this, Robb’s liege lord Roose Bolton exposed a disloyal tendency to his King in choosing to allow Jamie right of passage to King’s Landing instead of returning him as a captive to Robb as per-instruction. Brienne, draped in a suitably ridiculous pink dress, was not forgiven for her supposed treason’s quite so easily, it would appear that ‘befitting’ punishment will come into being for her next sunday.

vlcsnap-2013-05-06-09h46m58s147A splendid example of production design, and a superb shot color palette.

Kings Landing was unsurprisingly the hotspot for the narrative’s political intrigue. Tyrion and Cersei collected their frustrations – not just with one another, but with their fathers indignant insistence on their marriages to be – temporarily repairing their relationship before it inevitably crumbles into mutual disdain once again. Both Headey and Dinklage came out with gratifying performances, but what pleased me most in the scene was the subtly clever matching of the shot color palette with the topic of conversation. Cersei and Tyrion both wore pieces of red clothing, green was evident in the appearance of Cersei’s chair and a golden yellow was prominent in both the Lannister’s hair colors, and in a large part of the set design. These colors are dominant features on the Lannister and Tyrell banner devices.

Aiden Gillen delivered a fittingly devious, and almost frightening monologue as Littlefinger that accentuated his characters fearsome thirst for power, position and chaos, particularly in the depicting of the metaphorical climb of the chaos ladder as being ‘all there is.’ This monologue further reinforced the pessimistic, cynical overtone of the episode through the ample use of sound bridging to a shot of a weeping Sansa, as Littlefinger mocked those who place their hopes in the illusions of love and gods.

I personally embrace this harsh line the show is taking against romanticism for the larger part, because it gives Game of Thrones a distinct style that defines it as something bolder than your typical piece of high fantasy, forsaking the corny ideas of knights in shining armor and damsels in distress, in exchange for a welcome sense of realism.


Final Rating: B+

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Review, TV

Game of Thrones Season 3 Recap: “The Walk of Punishment”

vlcsnap-2013-04-15-10h18m16s202

The third season of the now legendary HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones has gotten off to a spectacular, albeit slow start that has begun to slightly divide opinions amongst fans of the brilliant show. The Walk of Punishment, although only the third entry into the series, perhaps needed to kick the pace up a notch to avoid alienating those viewers who have quickly grown tired of the world building and scene setting that takes up far more time in the book series. Could The Walk of Punishment deliver on much needed, new found action whilst retaining all the cunning and intrigue that makes Game of Thrones such an intelligent piece of programming?

Warning, Spoilers Throughout!

The highlight of The Walk of Punishment in my eyes was Podrick’s induction to manhood courtesy of Tyrion’s generosity and the shady service provided by Littlefinger, otherwise known to Bronn as “Lord Twat-beard”. Although the two scenes had no real relevance in helping to further push the story, they gave Podrick’s character a far greater, desperately needed depth in comparison to his book series counterpart, whilst allowing for some much appreciated banter between the frat like duo of Tyrion and Bronn. Dinklage and Flynn have an utterly uncanny chemistry that translates perfectly through their characters, generating some of the wittiest banter you will find on television.  Hopefully the great mystery of Podrick’s free tumble at the brothel will be unraveled in next weeks episode.

vlcsnap-2013-04-15-10h28m44s109Podrick getting probed for his secrets by Bronn and Tyrion.

Extra hilarity was found in the surprisingly revealing small council meeting scene when Cersei and Tyrion played their own version of musical chairs. In the very same council meeting Littlefinger’s assignment to woo and wed Lysa Tully -consequently bringing the armies of The Vale into the war on the Lannister side – was revealed. Unbeknownst to Tywin and the rest of the small council Littlefinger also has a promise to Sansa to set her free of Kings Landing, a trip to the Eyrie provides a very good opportunity for King’s Landing’s number one deviant to achieve both of his goals.

Moving from King’s Landing to the Riverlands, Arya’s road trip with The Brotherhood without Banners (BWB) took an unexpectedly depressing turn for the worse. Following Hot Pie’s demonstration of his mean bread baking skill he unveiled to Arya and Gendry he was going to take up the offer of working for the innkeeper, putting an end to his travels with the rag tag band.  The translation of the event from the book to the screen was outstanding; Hot Pie’s dialogue and gift of the bread wolf to Arya almost broke me, which was completely unexpected because it contrasted the ‘none of us really give a shit’ vibe that I took from the event in A Storm of Swords.
Props to Ben Hawkley and Masie Williams for their meticulous acting efforts.

vlcsnap-2013-04-15-10h20m13s144Bread baker and professional bullshitter Hot Pie parting ways.

Over at Riverrun two major members of the Tully household – Catelyn’s brother Edmure (Tobias Menzies) and her uncle Brynden the Blackfish (Clive Russell) – got their delayed introduction. Edmure’s folly at his father Hoster’s funeral, and the chastising he took from Robb (who has finally flaunted his fierce leadership skills) successfully portrayed his complete ineptitude at doing anything that requires the slightest bit of competence. On the other hand we had the Blackfish, who in overcoming the issue with his short time on screen, fully came across as the absolute boss he is portrayed to be in the books. Clive Russell deserves a lot of the praise for making that happen, without any dialogue given to him in the funeral scene he still managed to come across as a bad ass on his actions alone.

That said the screenwriters Benioff & Weiss penned some brilliant lines that really developed the character, including this particular line that sprang to mind: “It often comforts me to think that even in war’s darkest days, in most parts of the world, absolutely nothing is happening.” Unfortunately far less can be said of other pieces of dialogue in the episode. Stannis and Melisandre’s brief exchange left me pretty disgusted with how creepy and out of character Stannis’s behavior was. There is no way Stannis the Mannis would grovel away so desperately, his character’s concern with honorability is far too established for the thought to even cross his mind.

vlcsnap-2013-04-15-10h23m09s59Missandei alongside her new master, Daenerys Stormborn.

Jamie & Brienne’s capture yielded the grandest dramatics in The Walk of Punishment. Brienne’s misfortune of being a female captive meant that she was almost certainly going to be raped by the captors from House Bolton, a startling moment of compassion and vague wit from Jamie saved her from molestation and murder, albeit this compassion unfortunately landed him in a hefty amount of shit. Locke wasn’t going to bow down to the looming threat of Jamie’s feared father Tywin, to make his feelings clear he made quick work of chopping off Jamie’s sword hand which I’m certain came as a jugular surprise to those yet to read the books. Having no sword hand presents a lot of problems for a man almost solely revered because of his swordsmanship, therefore positive character development is the obvious next stage for the leader of the Kings guard. I can see Jamie quickly rising to the place of fan favourite in episodes to come.

Daenerys and The Night’s Watch both look dead set on starting some serious shit that unfortunately wasn’t given the chance to unfold this week. Daenerys came to a decision that in order to secure the unsullied she would have to trade the black dragon Drogon with the slavers. Initially this will have seemed like a real ‘wtf are you doing’ level of decision making, then it clicks in, how do you chain and enslave a dragon with a free will and the abilities to fly and breath fire? Daenerys has a nasty surprise cooking for the slavers of Astapor that’s for certain. Meanwhile beyond The Wall, The Night’s Watch made their return to the vile wildling Craster’s Keep. Hostility and tension have raised in place of the mannerisms and courtesies they demonstrated during their first visit. These hostilities look certain to bring imminent acts of violence that could divide The Watch, which is something they could do without considering the now ever present threat of the wildling army.

Final Thoughts: Unfortunately those fans irritated by the seasons slow start will likely be in little better a mood following The Walk of Punishment as it was another episode dedicated to building up the tension for later events in the plot to unfold. In spite of this fact I truly loved The Walk of Punishment and I think to criticize it for contributing to the seasons ‘slow’ start is to be a little unappreciative of just how perfect the plot developments, political intrigue and humor were in this installment. If you disagree with me or would otherwise like to share your thoughts on the newest episode, feel free to leave them in the comments section below!

2 Comments

Filed under Review, TV

Game Of Thrones Season 3 Review: “Dark Wings, Dark Words”

Valar Dohaeris introduced what may arguably be Game of Thrones most important season to date in tremendous fashion, slowly but surely reintroducing and building new plot lines following Season 2, whilst still slipping in the iconic moments of intrigue here and there. Dark Wings, Dark Words aimed to refresh the stories of those sorely missed in the opening episode; Bran’s escape from Winterfell, Arya and Co’s journey to the Tully seat of Riverrun and Brienne’s quest to return Jamie Lannister the Kingslayer to King’s Landing looked set to take the forefront of the season’s second installment. Keeping the audiences gripped, especially in the early episodes of a season, is an undeniably crucial task for any TV series; Game Of Thrones looked set to achieve this aim following Valar Dohaeris. Dark Wings, Dark Words fortunately didn’t fall short of the examples set by its predecessor, in fact it surpassed those examples.

game-of-thrones

The production quality of Game of Thrones – as with all HBO programming – is simply uncanny, especially when it comes down to the production design and cinematography. Dark Wings, Dark Words made this very evident on two occasions; the establishing shots and stunning greenery of the location in Bran’s three-eyed-crow dream were totally awe-inspiring for one. Much the same can be said of the Tyrell garden scene’s set where Sansa, Margaery and the newly introduced Queen of Thorns, Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) , had a very intriguing discussion over cheese and lemon cakes.

Olenna and Margaery’s inquiry to Sansa as to whether or not the boy King Joffrey truly was the monster they had heard rumors about made it crystal clear that the Tyrell family are not content with naivety, and that they fully intend to play the Game of Thrones with the sole intention of winning. Plot intrigue aside Diana Rigg’s was a perfect casting choice for Olenna, she delivered her lines with the suitable wittiness and loveable condescension that totally matched the book character; I can definitely see Olenna quickly becoming a fan favourite. Sophie Turner was equally impressive, flawlessly depicting how petrified and reluctant Sansa was to talk of Joffrey’s cruelty in fear of punishment in such a way that it even unnerved me to hear her talk of it.

vlcsnap-2013-04-08-10h34m17s219Dianna Riggs as Olenna Tyrell, The Queen of Thorns.

Margaery again demonstrated a real knack for dealing with some of the trickiest people, and the trickiest situations. In the scene with Joffrey and his beloved crossbow, Margaery somehow managed to achieve the impossible by defusing Joffrey’s anger at her for associating with the traitor Renly Baratheon, which was in no way a simple task. Natalie Dormer impressed me in this scene. She showed that in spite of her character Margaery having a deft hand for court manipulation she could still come close to cracking under pressure through the use of brilliantly subtle facial expressions and momentary stammering. The ‘Oh shit’ look on her face when Joffrey revealed he would make homosexuality punishable by death was priceless, and it also showed just how close and concerned the Tyrells are for one another.

 Their tight knit family harshly contradicted the state of the Lannister household. Cersei is losing her handle on Joffrey week by week as the King slowly becomes more and more of an independent thinker. Joffrey’s dismissals of his mother appear to be another example of masterful foreshadowing from the Game of Thrones Screenwriters. I’m interested to see the imminent trouble that could unfold in Kings Landing with all the rising tension. When putting your hatred for Joffrey aside it is hard not to recognize how well Jack Gleeson performs the role, maintaining the asshole persona flawlessly in spite of his characters better developments.

vlcsnap-2013-04-08-12h10m05s122Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Meera’s (Ellie Kendrick) first appearance.

Further North we saw Isaac Wright return to our screens as Bran encounters the surprisingly nimble Reed duo. The pair appear to have been sent by their elusive father Howland Reed to both guide and protect Bran. Jojen is focused on the task of helping Bran control and enhance his magical abilities whilst Meera serves to merely provide protection to the rag tag band. Although Thomas Sangster’s screen time was unfortunately brief in this installment the role of Jojen seems to fit him like a glove, he captured the boys friendliness and vague cockiness with sublime accuracy without the over exaggeration that is often apparent in young actors performances.

However I found it hard to judge Ellie Kendrick’s performance as Meera this week because it appears the shows scripting has altered her characteristics from the book, but it is too early to be totally sure of this, so for now Kendrick gets my benefit of a doubt as she was pretty bad ass.

Theon’s torture was given an early inclusion into the series in Dark Wings, Dark Words, which was a wise deviation to make from the books considering the issues that could’ve arisen with Alfie Allen’s contract in his absence. The allegiances and identity of his captor are surprisingly unknown to me because I can’t be entirely certain that deviations aren’t being made from A Feast For Crows. Although I have strong suspicions as to who it may be there is still a very welcome mystery lingering over the situation which is making the gradual unveiling far more interesting than I anticipated it to be; props to the screenwriter Vanessa Taylor for making it so.

Beyond The Wall the Night’s Watch and the band of Wildling’s each got very momentary showings, in spite of this one of the groups showings proved to be quite enticing. Jon Snow greeted us to the fantasy powers of the skinchanger this week through his introduction to the Wildling raider Orell (Mackenzie Crook). Skinchanger’s have the ability to take control of animals minds and bodies, an initially subtle connection inferred by a superb use of cross cutting between Orell and his Hawk, which he used to scout the massacred Night’s Watch at the Fist of the First Men that are undoubtedly going to be visited by the Wildling party in a few episodes time. Was their perhaps foreshadowing of Jon Snow being able to warg into Ghost in the future, like Bran does with Summer?

vlcsnap-2013-04-08-13h21m23s76Mackenzie Crook playing the Wildling Orell mid-skinchanging.

Unfortunately the Night’s Watch feature felt very lackluster this week. Samwell’s pitiable behavior has begun to wear on me a tad, and is proving to irritate me more than evoke any of my empathy. That said I still feel this is for good overall effect; male character’s in fantasy fiction are often portrayed as increasingly stale run-of-the-mill hero’s. Samwell Tarly wholly contrasts this character archetype which makes him one of the more interesting characters for a majority of the time, regardless of how infuriating he may be at moments.

Final Thoughts: Dark Wings, Dark Words was a thoroughly entertaining addition to the new season that demonstrated the Game of Thrones team, from the editors to the directors, are a wildly talented bunch in spite of nothing more than a few hiccups here and there. If you have any thoughts to add on this episode or perhaps disagree with me, let your opinions be heard in the comment section below!

Leave a comment

Filed under Review, TV