Game of Thrones. I don’t usually write the column. I’m tagging in for the inestimably superior Oh Mars. As well, unlike Mars, I haven’t read the books. So bare with me, as I take to this endeavor as someone experiencing the events for the first time.
What a fucking episode to leave for, Coop! Goodness gracious. The end of all things! Or I suppose the culmination of the very depressing beginning to things. In case you missed the wonderfully overemphasized thesis statement during a scene at The Wall this penultimate episode of the season is dealing with Duty and Love.
Poor Ned Stark. I mean seriously, what a poor bastard. That’s the message we can all bring home to Mother after this episode. Stark has been the sterling example of a man so hung up on his sense of duty that it’s led him down one disastrous road after the next. He sits rotting in a dungeon talking to a creepy somehow-horny eunuch while a filthy product of Tow-Headed Incest commands everything because of his sense of honor. His inability to betray his moral compass.
The dude would never betray his sense of honor, even for love, right? As he says in the episode, he learned to die quite a time ago.
Meanwhile Drogo is sitting on a horse with a rotting lump on his shoulder. A lot of good that Witch did with mending his wounds. Then he falls off the horse and I was either pretty sure they never successfully conveyed the grave nature of his wound, or they’re quickening his decay. He goes from being the bad ass who rubbed shoulders with a flesh-piercer to some chump taking a header off a horse. Quickly.
So Daenerys is totally dead set on saving Drogo’s soul. Even if it means betraying ancient customs and pissing off Gods and Guys With Sick Pony Tails and everyone in the camp. Pretty sure it’s easy to see that she’s totally going to follow the Love Camp when it comes to the aforementioned divide.
As an aside, I like Daenerys. I really do. But if I was one of the Dothraki and these new dame was around spitting her heresy and just yelling over and over again “I’m the Queen! I Ride Dragons! My Son Shall Mount The World! I Am A Dragon! So I Guess I Ride Myself!” I would have tired of her so fucking long ago.
I don’t blame anyone who isn’t completely stoked that inside her womb is a Horse that shall Mount The Iron Throne or whatever.
Right as Drogo is getting resurrected by some level 85 warlock, the whole bruhaha pushes Dany into labor. Life and death! Taking place in the same room! The circle!
I get things!
Meanwhile while the leaders are around throwing political barbs at one another, there’s a war to be had. So far one of my favorite aspects of the story is that it is so dedicated to its personal aspect of the narrative. Sure there have been clashes and clanging, but so far the story hasn’t taken us deep into the battle. In fact it’s almost possible to forget that the game these motherfuckers are playing is costing the lives of countless people. A game indeed!
Before one battle, Tyrion tells the rather predictable tale of a man having his heart crushed after his one true love. Sure it’s predictable wrapped around a midget, pretend rape, and gangbangs, but if it isn’t the same “I love, lost, and now I drink a lot” that we’ve all come to know through many a disconnected and detached romantic character.
Still love the guy though.
Speaking of love, in the end, it was Ned’s love that ultimately led to his very public humiliation, and subsequent death. Sure the guy was dead regardless of what was going to happen. It was his love, however, that led him to being trotted out in front of a gathering and spitting a lie out of a half-clenched jaw. Just to have that little Incest Baby order his execution none the less.
The final moments of Ned’s life was some of the more fantastic television that I’ve watched in a long time. The silence as the sword approaches. Ned looking up and no longer seeing Aria. The muted pleas towards her to not look. The swing of the blade, and then the birds flying free. That’s quality stuff.
Gave me the ole shivers.
Stark died because he was too naive and honorable to live in the world. If you’re being negative you could call it pigheaded and arrogant. With his death however, I’m interested to see where HBO goes with the narrative. I understand the books don’t have chapters titles or one main protagonist, I am curious to see if they try and build the television show around that concept.
Certainly they’ve rocked multiple vantage points this season, but the entire first season marketing campaign, to me, was Ned Stark sitting on the throne. Anyways, we’ll see.
Only one episode left.