Monday, April 7, 2014

'Game of Thrones' Recap: 'Two Swords'

BY LARISSA MRYKALO
Courtesy HBO

It's been a long wait but finally, we're treated to a damn great "Game of Thrones" season premiere that I suspect, did not disappoint fans. We got to see the dragons (my, they're growing up so fast!), meet a sexy new prince, see Jaime all cleaned up, and Arya kick some major ass. Without further ado, let's dissect "Two Swords"...

Burn Baby, Burn (King's Landing)

Such a great opening. A major eff you to the Starks with Tywin melting down Ned Stark's Valyrian steel sword (the one that decapitated him) and making into two. It was far too big and now he can give one to clean-shaven Jaime and one to his horrid grandson. Oh and throw that wolf pelt into the fire. Robb won't mind.

Jaime is thrilled with his new sword even though his sword-wielding hand is gone. Tywin tells him he needs to train his other one. Such a good daddy. Since Jaime can't serve in the King's Guard with only one hand, he should return to Casterly Rock and take over where Tywin left off. Is that okay with you, Jaime? "No." Ummm...what? He just wants supper. He has no wife, no children, no hand, he's (gasp!) 40-years-old...he needs all the help he can get. It seems like Jaime has taken over Tyrion's role of being the mocked one, doesn't it?

Moving on to the welcome wagon. Tyrion, Pod and Bronn are awaiting the arrival of the prince of Dorne. Dorne is in the south and they have wine there...and sexy people. The eldest Prince Martell, Doran, is ill so they sent the next best thing, Prince Oberyn, to be the attendee at Joffrey's wedding. He's also referred to as The Red Viper and he enjoys the sex. Cut to the brothel.

Oberyn and his "lady" love, Ellaria Sand and selecting whores because nothing says welcome wagon like some anonymous sex. Hey, let's throw in the procurer too! A four-way? Ellaria deems herself a bastard, thus the last name "Sand." It's the female equivalent of "Snow." (The more you know...)

Upon making their bendy selection, the rousing strains of "The Rains of Castamere" come wafting through the halls. Remember that song? It was just played at a fun little wedding where some people supposedly got injured. Oberyn is none too pleased with the interruption and busts in on two men trying to charm their ladies. Don't they know they're a sure thing? Shut up and get on with it. Oh by the way, did you catch the smooth "hand through the flame" move on Oberyn as he approached them. Damn...this guy. Speaking of hands, after a pissing match, he stabs the one guy in the wrist as a sort of calling card. Then, Tyrion interrupts for a word with the new visitor.

Tyrion wants to know the real reason Oberyn is in King's Landing and we get a little history lesson. It's not too pleasant either. You see, Oberyn's sister, Elia, was wed to Rhaegar Targaryen and they had two babies together. Who is Rhaegar? He's the son of Aerys "Mad King" Targaryen whom Jaime killed. Thus, his nickname, "kingslayer." Apparently, Rhaegar's wife and children were killed by Gregor Clegane, aka The Mountain, at the orders of Tywin. Uh oh. So, Oberyn is here for revenge and not just free food and booze at the royal wedding? "The Lannisters aren't the only ones who pay their debts." Yeah, this should be good.

Speaking of Tyrion, his wife isn't eating. As if Sansa isn't miserable enough, now she's hungry and tired and being persuaded to eat by her husband's mistress. She can't stop thinking about how her brother and mother were slaughtered and even her favorite treat of lemon cakes can't erase that horrible thought. Tyrion tries his best to comfort her and reveals what a fierce and admirable woman her mom was despite her wanting him dead. Sansa just wants to be left alone to not pray.

So Tyrion heads back to his chamber and in his marital bed is Shae, ready for action. Tyrion is too tense and there is too much going on in his life right now for sex. Shae wants to ease his tension but he pushes her away. His is clearly either trying to be honorable to Sansa, too stressed to get it up, or is trying to push Shae away for her own safety. Shae also mentions the offer she thinks he gave her to be shipped away for safety but he is unaware of this. Well now a little spy overheard this and runs and tells Cersei. See kids, affairs are bad, mmmkay.

Before the snitch knocks on Cersei's door, we see that Jaime gets a new gold hand and well, it's groovy. Cersei is just, well, a big bitch in this scene (surprise!) but her "symptoms" have been brought under control by her new Maester, and he doesn't smell like like a dead cat. Jaime is jealous that he got to touch her when he hasn't been able to since he got back. It's apparently been weeks and she recaps the hell she's been through since he abandoned her. Excuse me, what? She tells him that he took too long to get back to her. I swear...women! Am I right?

Speaking of women, Lady Olenna is displeased with the necklace selection for Margaery's wedding day. She needs to look good, dammit! Brienne appears and is looking lovely. Lady Olenna thinks she's "marvelous." Brienne needs to speak to Margaery about Renly's demise and how a shadowy Stannis was his murderer. Margaery is living in the present and proclaims that Joffrey is the king now. Move on, Bri.

In a brief scene about protection with Joffrey and Jaime, we learn about the "Book of Brothers." It contains all the knight's deeds and Jaime's scant paragraph is another reminder that Jaime isn't all that. I think at this point, Jaime wishes he still had that beard and was traipsing around Harrenhahl. Brienne then reminds him of his promise to assist the Stark girls to safety despite Sansa being a Lannister now. He admits what a pain in the ass the Lannisters have been since he's been back. He'll probably follow through though. He's quite honorable now.

More jewelry is brought up when Sansa is harmlessly stalked by Ser Dontos who was a knight she once protected. He drunkenly gives her a family necklace and she vows to wear it with pride. This should sit well with Joffrey if he ever notices. Who gave you that necklace, Sansa? Oh this drunk guy I saved from you once. Next up...Dontos on a spike. Let's see how those dragons are doing, shall we?

My What Big Dragons You Have

Dany's children have grown and are playing and catching their own food and attacking their mother because they're dragons! They cannot be tamed, says buzzkill Jorah. Neither can she so they're even. Her slaves are ready to march on to Meereen, the new land where she plans to head and free some slaves so she can recruit them into her growing army. But wait! Where's Daario and Grey Worm? They're gambling and she's not pleased. How dare they keep her waiting? Grey Worm and Daario are clearly crushing on Dany but Daario points out that he at least has two balls. Low blow, dude. Seriously. Oh by the way, that's a new Daario. He's pretty cute and rugged and stuff but not as pretty as the Fabiotastic guy from last season.

Daario even tries to teach Dany about the flowers of Meereen because she should learn about their land. Who cares? She has three dragons. But she smiles when he hands her a bouquet of indigenous plant life. She could really use some tension release too. As they march on, she notices the terrible sight of a crucified girl...and there is this calling card at every one of the next 163 miles until they arrive at Meereen. Dany plans to look upon the faces of every one of them too. This should fuel her inner fire.

Now and Thenn We Eat Crow

Ygritte is fashioning some arrows in a way that just screams, "Damn that Jon Snow!" Tormund Giantsbane seems suspicious that she put three arrows into him but he lived. Probably because she wanted him to? They're waiting to attack Castle Black and then the reinforcements come in. They are the Thenns, led by Styr, and they are bald and have scars on their face and they like people with a little meat on their bones. Because they eat people. Damn, cannibals are popular on the TV these days. Wait until they meet up with Sam Tarly...they'll love him!

Speaking of Sam, back at Castle Black, he walks in on Jon Snow getting ready for "court" and Jon laments about how jealous he was of his dead brother, Robb. He was a better hunter, better with the lady's, etc. Sam says that he has been jealous of Jon Snow so he totally understands. Jon then appears before the Night's Watch council to answer for his murder of Halfhand and having sex with a wildling (the enemy). To defray the charges, he reveals their plan of attack and is spared in the end.

The Adventures of Arya and The Hound

Arya wants her own horse because having to ride with the stinky Hound is really getting old. I can't blame her. Get the girl a pony! In due time. Then they come upon a tavern and Arya recognizes one of the men who comes out to pee. It's that awful man, Polliver and he's the one who killed that boy in season two who just wanted to be carried. He was the one who Arya passed off as Gendry because his helmut was nearby, remember? Well Polliver took her Needle and she wants him dead.

The Hound and Arya enter the tavern and these king's men are drinking and accosting the owner's daughter like nightmarish frat boys. The Hound is noticed by Polliver and he's all cool and stuff and hey, you should come hang with us. The Hound proclaims, "F**k the king." and this shocks the man. Blackwater is brought up and how he fled (because he was chicken?).

The Hound then asks for some chicken but has no money to pay. Okay then in exchange for the chicken, they'll rape Arya. Oh hell no. The Hound gets pissed and asked for two chickens. Of course a fight then breaks out. Arya watches for a bit and the Hound seems to take a pounding. She then jumps in a starts killing men. Saving the best for last, she asks Polliver if he wants to be carried, he then gets killed just as that poor boy did. Not only does smiling Arya get back her sword, Needle, but also that horse she wanted. Oh and yes, the Hound gets his chicken. Notice how the episode begins with the loss of a Stark sword and ends with the regaining of one?

Next Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO, tune in for the George R. R. Martin-written episode, "The Lion and the Rose."

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