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I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Game of Thrones: Justice, Too, Is an Abstract Concept

(1.06 "A Golden Crown")

I'm feeling this unbearable self-pity about my job lately (I don't like being a harpy, it just happens) but then I remember that at least if I were to get stabbed through the leg by my boss' spouse's sibling then I would probably get workman's comp, so life really isn't that bad.

Ned wakes to find Cersei and Robert hovering over him, obviously very concerned about his well-being after Jaime’s attack.  He takes the blame for Catelyn’s abduction of Tyrion, an act according to Cersei is the highest act of treason.  She justifies Jaime’s attack of Ned (and the murder of Jory) by claiming that Ned was stumbling drunk out a brothel and attacked first.  Everyone has the good grace not to laugh at how preposterous that is.  Cersei cannot keep her mouth shut, telling Robert off for being to weak to punish Ned and Robert slaps her across the face.  Ned does nothing, she leaves.  Robert insists that he doesn’t care “what happened between you and those yellow-haired shits” and that since the kingdom owes a great deal of money to one Tywin Lannister, Ned has to make peace by having Cat return Tryion and not pursuing Jaime (whose bound home to Casterly Rock). Robert reinstates Ned as Hand and goes off hunting.  Across the Narrow Sea Dany contemplates her dragon eggs, deciding to put one in the fire.  When she takes it out her servant grabs the hot rock out of her hands.  Dany’s hands are unburned, unlike her overly zealous employee.  North in Winterfell, Bran dreams of walking after the three-eyed crow again, waking to his newly finished saddle.  While Bran rides whooping through the forest, Theon tries to convince Robb that he must call the Winterfell bannermen to pursue Jaime for his attack on Ned.  Robb reminds Theon that neither of them have the right, but that Theon doesn’t even have the duty, as he is not a Stark.  Riding out of sight, Bran is set upon by wildlings on their way south, who could make good use of his shiny pin and his pretty horse.  Robb manages to kill two and take one, but the leader gets a knife to Bran’s throat.  As Robb is about to surrender, Theon puts an arrow through the wildlings back, barely missing Bran.  The Starks have a new hostage; the woman (who happens to be played by one Natalia Tena, aka Harry Potter’s Tonks) surrenders and throws herself on Robb’s mercy.  Robb is less forgiving to Theon, furious for almost killing Bran, but Theon is less than apologetic, for in his eyes “there was only one thing to do so I did it.”  Tyrion is in less than comfortable circumstances, rolling over in his sleep only to wake and find himself dangling off the sheer drop from his sky cell.  Eager to get out, he calls Mord the turnkey, but isn’t able to convey the concept of bribery to the simplistic Mord.  Arya, distressed by her family’s loss and maiming, is a bit quicker on the uptake, quickly grasping Syrio’s point that since battle takes place in times of trouble she must learn to focus on the moment.  But Syrio is both fighter and philosopher, for according to Syrio, there is only one God, Death, and the only thing one says to Death is “not today.”  Dany is having a big day in the sacred city of the horse lords, partaking in a ritual where she eats an uncooked horse heart and a wise-woman proclaims prophecy about her unborn baby.  Viserys is less than impressed that Dany’s son will be the stallion who mounts the world and unites all people into one herd.  Angry over the love and respect shown to Dany by the Dothraki, Viserys tries to steal her dragon eggs to fund his invasion plans.  Jorah stops him, unmoved by Viserys’ argument that he cannot lead without “wealth or fear or love” and forces Viserys to drop the eggs before letting him go.  After another false start, Tyrion convinces Mord to take a message to Lysa for him: Tyrion is ready to confess his sins.  Prepared for some gloating, Lysa summons the nobles and the knights to witness, but everyone gets a bit of a surprise.  Tyrion launches into an amusing account of his many transgressions: whoring, gambling, even filling his uncle’s boots with goat shit.  As interested in his stories as Robin is, when Catelyn reminds Tyrion that he stands accused of hiring someone to kill Bran and conspiring to kill Jon Arryn, Tryion takes the crowd to task for the shame of justice Lysa is putting on.  He demands a trial by combat, to which many a knight wants to stand for Lady Arryn.  Tyrion upsets the applecart, asking for his brother Jaime as his champion, but Lysa refuses to send for him.  Facing a hostile room, Tyrion searchs the faces for anyone who’ll stand for him, and at the last second Bronn the sellsword steps forward.  Tramping through the forest looking for something to kill, Robert waxes poetic about the good old days of forthright enemies and willing women.  Renly counter-argues that the good old days were bloody and bleak, finally furiously storming off.  Somewhat unfazed, Robert keeps on a drinking.  Ned could use a drink too, listening to the complaints of the kingdom in Robert’s stead.  Men from the Riverlands have come to tell their tale of woe: brigands are burning their crops, raping their women, setting their children on fire, and leaving fish, the symbol of House Tully, all over the place.  The men describe their attacker as lead by a huge man, clearly Ser Gregor the Mountain.  Littlefinger, in the most hilariously obvious manipulation, asks if there is any reason Tywin Lannister would send his mad dog against Cat’s people.  Ned, ever brave and not at all falling for Petyr’s bullpucky, denounces Ser Gregor, names him an outlaw, assigns Ser Beric Donndarion to take 100 men to apprehend him, and summons Tywin Lannister to court to answer for his bannerman.  Littlefinger, suddenly nervous about goading Ned into declaring war, reminds Ned that coin trumps soldiers, a point Ned scoffs at, for “why then is Robert king and not Tywin Lannister.”  Back in the Eyrie, Tyrion is hoping that the combination of coin and soldier can win his freedom, as the single combat battle over his innocence beings.  After a few minutes of slash-and-dash around the room the tide turns for Bronn, and he battles the champion of the Eyrie to the Moon Door, the hole in the floor that drops one hundreds of feet as the form of “elegant” capital punishment the Eyrie has to offer.  With a last significant examination of Cat and Lysa, Bronn executes his opponent and “makes him fly.”  Catelyn doesn’t look.  Now freed from his shackles, Tyrion gets his money back, bows to the (former) Tully ladies and takes his leave to head home.  Sansa has a look of displeasure similar to her mother’s, as she baits and bitches at her septa, but when Joffery arrives she’s all smiles.  Apologizing with a necklas, Joffery promises Sansa that she is his lady and he will never be cruel or neglectful of her again.  Proving herself to be a real cheep date, Sansa falls all over herself to forgive him.  Ned, finally, decided to send Sansa and Arya home, a decision met with much protestation.  Arya doesn’t want to leave Syrio, Sansa wants to marry Joffery and give him golden haired baby lions.  Arya reminds her that his father’s house is a stag, but Sansa insists that Joffery is nothing like Robert.  Struck by thought, Ned sends his daughters to pack and consults the book on the Houses of Westeros that Jon Arryn was reading before his death.  Turns out Baratheon men have been dark haired, up until Joffery.  Ned is on to something.  Viserys thinks he’s onto something too when he shows up to dinner drunk, and assaulting Dany.  Demanding the crown he was promised in exchange for Dany, Viserys threatens to cut out her baby for Drogo to keep when Viserys takes Dany back.  Drogo agrees to give him his crown, and once Dany is safe, takes Viserys in hand, melts the golden belt he was wearing, and crowns Viserys by pouring the melted metal over his head.  Dany will not turn away, disgusted by her brother, who would not have been burned if he were a true dragon.

For some reason this episode took me forever to write up.  I ended up watching it three times, but just couldn’t get around it to putting thoughts to keyboard.

So, is there justice in the Seven Kingdoms?

Depends on who you ask. 

I have been waiting for Tyrion’s trial in the Eyrie since this show started (yes, six weeks, patience is not my thing) and I was not disappointed.  It was brilliant.  A shiver ran up my spine when Lysa described flinging someone hundreds of feet to be dashed upon the rocks as the “elegant” form of execution.  In a single word, delivered by a disturbed woman, the breach between fact and expression in the Eyrie, and by extension the rest of the kingdom, lit up like a Christmas tree.  To call an ugly thing by a pretty name only makes the ugly thing uglier.  And Tyrion called her the frak out on her hypocrisy, using it to earn his freedom! Because he isn’t willfully turning away from reality Tyrion could use the tools available to him in order to actually get a chance at justice.  Watching him wind up the crowd with smutty stories to then spring the trap that he deserved to be treated equally under the king’s law was like being balanced on a pin: the viewer’s tense expectation paralleled Tryion’s forced restraint as he used his captor’s ammunition against them.  The battle of looks between Catelyn and Tyrion was a perfect mirror to the sword fight between the champions: him allowing himself only as much exuberance as would be a balance to her alarm as she saw her case fail in the clash.  Maybe saddest of all, at the moment of death for the brave knight, who just had the bad luck to be picked for a thankless task by his nutso lady, Catelyn closed her eyes.  She demanded a trial but could not face the consequences, expressly opposed to what her husband taught their sons.  

Ned does not close his eyes.  He’s perfectly aware that Littlefinger is making a show of baiting him in front of the court, but part of his job as Hand is to keep the king’s peace, to pursue justice for those under the king’s protection, and even knowing that his action could, and probably will, provoke war, he proceeds.  Though there is the possibility that his denunciation of Ser Gregor is tainted by his silence when Robert strikes Cersei.  I wouldn’t, but the argument is there. 

Is Theon’s argument really there though?  Does Robb have any right to act in his father’s place if it meant a chance to right the wrong done against him?  Robb balks due to his own lack of authority, Theon demonstrates the authority of pragmatism.  

No matter what side of the justice issue you fall on, there’s one point upon which all can agree.  There is a war coming and EVERYONE knows it.  From the king and his counselors to the whores and the cart drivers, all of Westeros seems pretty aware that the state of things is soon to become no longer tenable.

But for the record, if Peter Dinklage doesn’t get an Emmy then there is no justice in this world. 

The TV Girl

I'm basically adding this picture just because he's hot, not because it helps me prove a point.

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