(These GoT pieces will always contain TV spoilers but never novel spoilers as I have not read a single sentence of any of the Song of Ice and Fire novels)
This past weekend’s episode of Game of Thrones was one for the ages. It somehow managed to be more upsetting and stomach-churning than any previous episode, even though no one unexpectedly died.
There were only three parts to this episode to begin with. It felt short and whatever the opposite of sweet is. All three parts contained uncomfortable and disappointing story arcs.
First was Dani Stormborn addressing her disciples one by one, to prove she could not just conquer, but rule as well. This was supposed to feel arduous, and it did, but my problem wasn’t the hopelessness of Khaleesi’s situation. It was the fact that we are now resigned to her being queen somewhere other than Westeros for the foreseeable future. I am starting to doubt whether she’ll ever actually make it over the sea to unleash her dragon babies on the Lannisters.
If that wasn’t a sad enough start to the episode, what followed was something far worse: scenes with the artist formerly known as Theon Greyjoy.
It’s not that I dislike the actor playing Theon…pardon me, playing Reek. I don’t even have a problem with his torturer, who seems like a very interesting and messed up character. However, any scene or story with Theon is so unbearably uncomfortable that I just wish they would simply go away. Much like Theon’s sister, I don’t care what happens to him, I just want him done with. It would be more pleasing and less vile if he were simply killed. Instead, we were left with a mini cliffhanger of Reek being assigned to fake take-back his kingdom somehow. I don’t care about the future of the Iron Islands. I just don’t want to see this character again.
Speaking of wishing death upon someone to put them out of their (and my) misery, the court proceedings of Tyrion Lannister were right up there. Of course, the details are a bit different. While anything with Theon is so farcically unpleasant, the witnesses against Tyrion were instead depressing.
Tyrion is everyone’s favorite character at this point, unless you have a soft spot for Arya Stark. And while it is heart-breaking when a favorite character gets killed, that would seem to be a positive alternative to what Tyrion went through. Not only do his father and sister want him to suffer beyond what even any citizen of the north has suffered. His brother is at his side but powerless to help, his lover has been bribed or threatened to swear lies against him and the folks whose lives he saved couldn’t care less about him now.
The only thing that saved this episode from being the biggest downer in the history of a show that is known for destroying viewers’ dreams was Tyrion’s speech at the end. It was powerful, moving, blatantly true and set us up for quite a ruling. To finish things off, he demanded a trial by combat to decide his future, rather than a fixed judgement against him. It was smart of him not to trust Jamie because it was dumb of Jamie to trust Tywin in the first place. There was going to be no plea deal for the dwarf, not if Tywin had anything to say about it.
Which makes things incredibly interesting for next week (or whenever the writers get around to this story again. At the pace we’re going, that could be a month from now). Tywin will not name the Kingslayer as his champion since he no longer has a right hand to fight with. But it seems likely that Tyrion will. Did Jamie receive enough left-handed training to triumph or will Game of Thrones follow up an all-time depressing episode with one in which Jamie dies attempting to save Tyrion and thus Tyrion is killed for losing his trial by combat?
That would be quite a trifecta of emotions. I suppose I would still sign up for that result if it meant I didn’t have to watch Reek anymore.