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- TV Series: Game of Thrones
- Episode: The Night Lands
- Starring: Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, Lena Headey and Kit Harington, Richard Madden
- Written By: David Benioff (creator)
- Directed By: Alan Taylor
Game of Thrones: The Night Lands Review
Soon all-out war
By Jarrett Kruse
April 08, 2012
SPOILER WARNINGS - SPOILER WARNINGS - SPOILER WARNINGS
Winter had best come soon as the GAME OF THRONES is on the cusp of becoming a powder keg. And God do I love it. After last week’s explosive season premiere, we are given a look into more of the major players’ plans and the budding plans of newer characters. Opening with Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) now disguised as a boy headed for the Night’s Watch, the little lady shows how apt she is at surviving despite her ruse disguised as a boy. Armed with “Needle” and her wits, Arya is proving to be a most remarkable character. It is only appropriate that Yoren (Francis Magee) kept his promise to watch Arya before Eddard Stark’s beheading. Arya, like most of the Night’s Watch are outsiders and exiles, refugees and banishments which makes her fit in perfectly considering her independent tomboy ways. She has found her place as a sort of sidekick to Gendry (Joseph Dempsie), the armor maker who just happens to be the late King Braetheon’s bastard son.
The Notorious IMP (Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister) is proving that his small shadow is going to be casting very long. His no-BS diplomacy as Hand of the King and ability to read those within his house who seem a threat shows that Tyrian, although not in line for the Iron Throne is no doubt a contender. His battle of wits with the sneaky Lord Varys (Conleth Hall) followed by his exile of the Commander of the City Watch after hearing of his vile acts of murdering the late King’s bastards are priceless. Dinklage owns this character. What is great about the way he plays Tyrian is that as Hand of the King, he is now able to charm his way into meetings of his choice giving his subordinates confidence right before his real motives become a reality. Simply stated, it is not hard to root for Tyrian especially when he is deliberately angering his elder sister, the Queen.
In Dragonstone, Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) the rightful heir to the throne and one true King sends the smuggler Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) to bargain with his old friend and pirate Salladhor Saan (Lucian Msamati) to use his fleet of ships in the coming war. Stannis is pleased at this development but as in the premiere, the witching Melisandre (Carice van Houten) has the ear of the true King. She seduces him and promises him a son as long as he swears to give himself blindly to her Lord of Light. This chick is trouble with a capital “T.”
Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) friend & confidant of Rob Stark returns to his home on the Iron Islands to see his father who he has not seen for almost a decade. When Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide) shows disgust at what his only son has become, he introduces him to his sister Yara (same girl that rode Theon in with. And same girl he felt up on said ride in but that’s neither here nor there!) Balon wants nothing to do with any offer from a Stark and announces that he will again be rebelling against the King. But this time, his daughter Yara will be at the wheel. It was pretty enjoyable to see the young Greyjoy take such a hit to his overconfidence. He clearly does not know where he stands anymore and is seething with guilt. The hubris that got him into this position has now made him expendable to his only family.
The episode wraps up at the Wall where Craster (Robert Pugh) has made clear to the Night’s Watch what happens if you touch any of his wife-daughters. Jon (Kit Harington) and Sam (John Bradley) are wrought with concern at what exactly happens when Craster’s wife-daughters have a son. When Jon hears a baby stirring while the camp is asleep, the truth is revealed when he witnesses Craster leaving an infant son in the woods only for the dreaded White Walker’s to collect him. Jon tries to go after the creature but “Father of the Year” Craster knocks him out before he can move towards the creature. What I loved about this episode was that the show now has asserted that no one is safe. Every character is disposable because new ones rise up every week. Alliances will be formed, sacrifices will be made and soon all-out war will consume the kingdoms. And I cannot wait.