Game of Thrones: The Night Lands Review -

Game of Thrones: The Night Lands Review

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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
  • Series:

Game of Thrones: The Night Lands Review

Soon all-out war

By Jarrett Kruse     April 08, 2012

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.


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flyinroo 4/9/2012 6:39:41 AM

 I cannot agree more with this review. There is so much going many people that have their own agendas, that you can't possibly know what is going to happen next. I simply can't wait until next Sunday.

isgrimner 4/9/2012 7:33:37 AM

I don't think Arya came off as being Gendry's sidekick. 

Really liked seeing Tyrion's scene with Janos Slynt.  Slynt is such a douchebag.  It was a bit sweeter in the book because the scene was a bit longer and  Tyrion was a bit more subtle at first. 

We got to see a large Ghost.  I'm sure the Dire Wolves are off screen a lot due to special effects budget reasons. 

This episode seemed to have a lot of departures from the books, in that I'm somewhat off balance in what is coming next.  I had to pause and rewind when Balon Greyjoy called Theon's sister Yara.  I guess her book name "Asha" was too close to Arya and they didn't want to confuse the audience, no big deal. 

There are items in the books that a lot of readers theorize about and think will be important for future events, yet they should have been introduced in the show by now.  They fact that some of these things haven't been introduced in the show, makes me wonder if they are all that important in the books.


MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 4/9/2012 8:24:45 AM

I can't wait to see Brienne in the next episode. I want to see how they uglied up that model.

I like who they picked as Asha/Yorah.  She's not just some pretty girl - though I find her attractive in a weird way. She looks like she can actually whip some ass when she wants to. I think the scene played off in real life perfectly.

As for the wolves not showing up that much I can understand. There really isn't a lot of essential parts for them in the books that are really needed to be shown in the show.  And when those parts where they do something essential it seems they get screen time. So that's cool.

As for stuff happening early or things missing from the books or some things not even have happening in the books the writers have said that they aren't really going for a book a season route.  They are really just adapting the whole thing split up in seasons. So that's why we might see some things earlier or later. As for some of the things that haven't happened in the books I think those scenes are just there to get the a larger point across more easily.

Hobbs 4/9/2012 10:46:08 AM

Jaw, I don't see any problems either but they kind of have to stick to the books for the first two just to keep it in order.  It wasn't till 3rd book where story points started overlapping each other.

I suggest they use caution when straying too far from the novels...if there was one complaint I have about the series is that when they do this it seems to slow the overall story down a bit.  Not enought to beech about it but I do notice it.

One of my biggest worry is the people in charge of show said they will start varying away from the novels in season 3 if they get it.  I kind of cringe when I read that as my biggest worry is some moron will come along and try to make the show his own instead of following the source material.

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 4/9/2012 12:55:31 PM

I have a feeling that when they get to Book Three that since they are spliting it up into two seasons that they will be able to stick with it more. Hopefully. Maybe they'll start making the seasons longer. I doubt it though. I just wonder how they are going to do the whole robot army thing. And how many people will buy into it.

hanso 4/9/2012 12:56:44 PM

 But Hobbs didn't you hear?  People want these shows to stray as far as possible because that way they can be surprised.

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 4/9/2012 1:07:19 PM

I wouldn't care if they strayed.  It's cool if they do and cool if they don't.  Like I said they did it with The Walking Dead and that's fine. The only time I bitch about when they stray is if they make drastic changes like turning mutant ninja turtles into aliens. And whatever the hell Burton had planned for Superman. I'm sure there's plenty of straying that sucks that I can't remember now.

Hobbs 4/9/2012 1:37:22 PM

Now to be fair to the walking dead comments straying from source material....correct me if I'm wrong but the guy who created walking dead comics said the show wasn't going to follow the comics so that's why I never cared how closely it followed it or not.  I know that was a sticking point with a lot of you but if George Martin was interviewed and said they are going to change everything on Games, I could accept that.  The song of ice and fire series has a beginning, a middle, and and end even if he hasn't written it yet so it should stick as closely as it can to the source material.  The walking dead comics are still going strong aren't they?

That would be like changing Lord Of The Rings...never would have been the hit it was if they did that.

Now all that being said I expect changes here and there as there was in LOTR but stick to the source if you want what can be the greatest show to ever grace the small screen.  You can't make it exactly like the books because they don't have the budget or the number of episodes but don't change main story and character plot points.  The first season of Games rocked because it didn't stray from the novel that much, that's what the rest of the series needs to do moving forward.

hanso 4/9/2012 2:09:29 PM

I'm just messing with you all, I don't really care much about anything anymore.  I did read what Mr.Jaw said regarding the showrunners.  They said they are adapting A Song of Fire & Ice, not a book per season, so changes are coming which I guess is good for the "surprise" people, wouldn't want them to stop watching due to lack of "surprise" would we?

batkruse 4/9/2012 3:18:43 PM

Thanks for the feedback Maniacs!

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