The emotional highs and lows of this show are almost too much to take sometimes. Last week’s episode left us cheering and pumping our fists in triumph, but this week’s episode was more likely to have us weeping copiously in a black fog of sadness and despair.
Don’t get me wrong, however: the emotional peaks and valleys are a large part of the appeal of Game of Thrones, and the highs would not seem so high, or the lows so low, if these stories and characters were not so well crafted. I said last week that the pursuit of power was a long game on this show, and it occurs to me now that that’s true for the writers and actors as well: they’ve built these characters so carefully—patiently layering in the histories and personalities, successes and failures, conflicts and contradictions—that every emotional moment is all the more powerful now for being completely earned. Continue reading
Somewhere within the wreckage of “Journey to the Center of the TARDIS” there was a great episode of Doctor Who to be found, but writer Steve Thompson didn’t quite find it. Like the Doctor (Matt Smith) himself, Thompson kept journeying further and further into the legendary, infinite recesses of the famous craft, searching for the salvage of a lifetime: there were many pleasures and wonders to be discovered along the way, but, ultimately, what they both found was just a big old mess in desperate need of a do-over.
Wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey: is it too late to go back to the beginning, and try this hour again?
When I wrote up the two-part season premiere, I mentioned that it was going to be a problem for me to keep up with my Mad Men reviews this year, and that is turning out to be the case. (If I could learn to write short, pithy, off-the-cuff reviews, I might comfortably cover three shows a week, but short-and-pithy has never been my forte.) Now, two episodes behind—with a third barreling down on me this evening—I’m forced to consolidate a bit, or else admit that my Mad Men reviews just aren’t going to happen this year.
But that’s okay, because—as I discovered last season, when I often ended up doubling-up on episodes for the same reason—this show lends itself pretty well to a longer view and a slower pace. Continue reading
So, if I’m honest, all I really want to say about this episode is this:
H O L Y F U C K I N G S H I T T H A T W A S T O T A L L Y A W E S O M E.
However, I foolishly used up my “geek-out” card last week, and anyway I do have a few other things to say about the various themes running throughout “And Now His Watch Is Ended.” Fortunately—though the entire episode was good—it’s just those last ten minutes or so that put me into the incoherent ecstasy of a total fanboy. So let’s leave that for last, and in the meantime I’ll try to hold it together, maintain a little dignity, and strap on my critical hat so we can have a mature discussion about the rest of the episode. Continue reading
Well, that was more like it. Continue reading
I spend so much time discussing the themes of Game of Thrones—because the show does such a remarkable job of weaving the unwieldy pieces of George R. R. Martin’s multi-narrative epic into a cohesive hour each week—that I sometimes forget to just discuss the quality of the show in general. I hope that my approaching the show’s themes so seriously—even obsessively—is the sincerest form of flattery, but I’ve been meaning for a while to just take a step back and appreciate how well Game of Thrones is put together. This week, I’m going to take that opportunity. Continue reading