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Game of Thrones: Blackwater Review

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  • Episode: Blackwater
  • Starring: Gwendoline Christie, Peter Dinklage, Sibel Kekilli, Raw Leiba
  • Written By: David Benioff (creator), D.B. Weiss (creator)
  • Directed By: Neil Marshall
  • Network: HBO
  • Series:

Game of Thrones: Blackwater Review

One episode left this season and only one throne

By Jarrett Kruse     May 27, 2012


Everything has been building to this and the waiting is finally paying off. Episode 9 simply titled “Blackwater” is a mini-epic all of its own. In a departure from the usual multiple story arc, this episode centered on the Lannister’s of King’s Landing and the pending invasion of Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) and company. The episode played out in spectacular fashion subtly unraveling the Lannister clan and getting to the real heart (or lack thereof) of the main players in the family we love to hate. 

Running on his guts and heart, Lord Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) shines as the de-facto strategist using the “wildfire” we learned about earlier in the season. In a calculated move, Tyrion implements the power of the weapon and turns a good part of Stannis’ fleet into a blaze of glory. Brilliantly staged and executed, the explosions and battle scenes are something that big budget summer movies can take a cue from. (I’m talking to you BATTLESHIP!)  I was leery at first of their only being one story arc but soon realized that this was the perfect onion to peel as every layer was better than the last. And to have G.R.R.M at the helm writing the episode really did make a difference as these are his characters. He is inside their heads and hearts and it translated extraordinarily well. There were exceptional turns by The Hound (Rory McCann), a veteran of battle and a killer at heart who just does not seem to know what he is fighting for anymore. If anything he seems to be taken with protecting Sansa (Sophie Turner), the only person in King’s Landing left who is pure and innocent. The rest of the lot is wicked in every sense and the old dog is at the end of his rope eventually renouncing King Joffrey. 

Again we see that young Joff is nothing more than a figurehead and a coward. Joffrey was laughable on the battlefield and receded into the night at the behest of Cersei. With only Tyrion to lead, he again shows his mettle providing the troops with the motivation they need to continue the good fight. What I liked about his rousing speech to the troops was that it did not feel forced. He is just a man who inherited a situation and is doing what he thinks is best for the good of the throne. Although taken out of the fight by a nasty slice to the face, Tyrion has run away with the popular vote of the people…and us fans.

Cersei seems to be on the edge of sanity during the battle as she and the other women find shelter within the walls of the castle. With each new glass of wine, she loses another coating of her own armor and becomes more and more jaded. Notably she continues to pick at Sansa in an almost jealous manner over her loyalty to the throne and the sexual politics of being a Queen. Seeing her on the throne with her youngest boy telling a story and presumably readying to poison him was eerie. Sitting there in the iconic piece of set decoration that defines the series made me think that Cersei herself feels that the only place for her is the throne. The way Lena Headey turns that Cersei charm on and off is frighteningly effective. This episode had it all from the drama to the blood and guts to the snappy dialogue and pacing that we have become accustomed to. One episode left this season and only one throne.


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Graebeard 5/28/2012 12:43:30 AM

 How a bout best actor for Dinklage this year? And I'm really enjoying/hating Tywin. He has such great presence! Cersei looks so small next to him ... in so many ways. Didn't really care for Sansa in the books, but seeing her portrayed, seeing her grow and stay true - great acting has made me care about her. 

Next week ... more Snow! More Arya!

TheSilentKiller 5/28/2012 1:37:45 AM



How good was that moment between Sansa and the hound? So many characters from the books I didn't care for - Sansa, Tywin, even Bronn was merely average in the books - at least in my mind, have become really something in the hands of this cast.  And it looks like we get our Jaqen moment next week. Shame about the chain though.

flyinroo 5/28/2012 4:52:55 AM


hanso 5/28/2012 6:08:44 AM

 Is Peter Dinklage dead, because fuck this if he is.  Just tell me and save me the trouble of looking it up.

ddiaz28 5/28/2012 7:14:06 AM

Spoiler for Hanso


He's not dead dude.  No worries.  In the book he ends up losing his nose so he's horribly scarred.  Doesn't look like they'll go that far but he'll still have a nasty scar next season.

ddiaz28 5/28/2012 7:47:55 AM

What a wicked episode. It's such an epic battle in the book I was wondering how they would do it justice? I was getting worried as episodes passed and the chain plot was never introduced. But then they did show the wildfire so I was wondering how it would get used? Well we got our answer and boy was that shot glorious. The amount of damage that wildfire ship did was incredible to see. It was a great way to quickly devastate Stannis' strongest asset and get his armies onto shore where the playing field was a bit more even. Tyrion just owned the day and I loved his speech. "There are brave men outside the gate, let's go and kill them!" or something like that.

The Hound was amazing too. I'm glad they finally featured him a bit more. And he had two of the best lines in the episode "F*ck the King's Guard, f*ck the city, and f*ck the king" as well as "Any man dies with a clean sword, I'll rape his fu**ing corpse." Great moments for him. His scene with Sansa was great too. And speaking of Sansa, she really shined more than usual in this episode. I loved how she got sassy with Joffrey and had way more poise than Cersei. I think the audience will start coming round to liking her more soon which is just like the books.

Seeing as this was all set in King's Landing, I wonder if they'll bother showing anything from there in the finale. Maybe just a bit of the aftermath and the fate of Tyrion. I just want Jon, Danaerys, and Arya to really get their amazing moments as well. Valar morghulis!

ddiaz28 5/28/2012 7:50:34 AM

I forgot to mention that I was wondering how hard it must have been for GRRM to take this amazing event in the books and translate himself to the screen.  He obviously made changes for budgetary reasons but I think he did an amazing job still keeping it epic and suspenseful. 

isgrimner 5/28/2012 12:03:47 PM

 Great scene between Bronn and the Hound.  Two very dangerous and capable men sizing each other up and about to throw down only to be interrupted by the impending attack.  Wasn't in the book but was cool all the same.


TheSilentKiller 5/28/2012 12:52:44 PM

isgrminer, I just about pooped at that scene. I thought at first they were going to have Bronn back down, but then his facial expression was awesome, like his real issue was giving up the girl. I wish they'd played up the Hound's issues with fire more, so that the retreat made more  sense - it kind of lost some of the impact. 

I also really liked the moment between Tyrion and Bronn. It gave their relationship a deeper significance than I got out of the books.

violator14 5/28/2012 1:04:40 PM


Im so glad that Stannis loses the battle and doesnt take over cuz i really dont even like his boring character really. And i think Bronn would own the Hound in a fight btw. Tyrion rules!!!

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