Game of Thrones – The Old Gods and the New (Filthsposition)
WOW. In the first season of Game of Thrones, Episode 5 was when things really ramped up a notch. So last week when the 5th episode of Season 2 came and went without doing the same, I enjoyed the episode as always but I started to get a bit nervous. I thought then that SURELY Ep 6 would be the one that would shift the show from set-up mode to payoff mode.
And so it was. Episode 6 was a f*cking fantastic episode that was more eventful than each of this season’s previous installments combined. It elevated the stakes, increased the momentum, and forcefully informed us that we’re done with set-up and that the rest of the season will be the wild ride which we and the show have earnt by now.
It wasn’t all perfect. This is definitely the abridged version of the novel, which as I’ve said many times is both good and bad. While it increased the suprise to open the episode with Winterfell already having been taken by Theon, it also felt a bit jarring to me that the showrunners cut out a whole chunk of the book that gave much more detail about how this came to happen. Mind you, that isn’t all bad, partly due to the need of the show to take a few shortcuts in order to be able to devote an entire episode to a very important event later in the season (as has been promised, and it will be AWESOME). In any case the scenes with Theon were definitely very powerful and worth the wait, even if they did feel a bit rushed and jarring in some ways.
I’m generally loving the changes made to the book, which seem to be increasing by the episode. The major beats are all similar, but almost everything minor is tinkered with a great deal. This contrasts with Season 1, which was more slavishly faithful. I prefer the way the show has been more of its own entity this year, and I think that will be even more fun as we head into the rest of the ”payoff” half of the season.
Mind you, the book and the show still work best as companion pieces, because each one does some things better than the other and fills in some details that the other does not. As one example of an element where I think the show DOES manage to one-up the source material, I personally think that Arya’s storyline this year is being handled much, much better than it was in the book. And Tywin is such a better character in the show than he ever was on the page. Love, love, love every scene that those two are in.
The introduction to Ygritte was cool, though they had the perfect opportunity for her to say her catchphrase from the novel (“You know nothing, Jon Snow”) and then she said something else instead. Oh well. The riot in King’s Landing was BADASS. Daenery’s storyline finally had some really exciting scenes devoted to it this week. Jon too also finally feels like he has an exciting storyline of his own, rather than just mainly wandering around hearing others speak exposition to him.
Throughout the episode, there were a number of minor flaws that I noticed. But that’s generally all they were. By the end of the hour, I was exhilarated. I was left firmly believing that this was easily the most thrilling episode of the season yet, and that things are only going to get better from here.