Worldwide conservation efforts must have been going strong in recent years, because there’s a whole beach of awkward turtles going on in this episode. So many scenes designed to make me want to leave the room because it’s so uncomfortable. But I won’t, because Game of Thrones is awesome like that. A shorter review today, because I managed to feed my notes to the washing machine, so this is all from my (terrible) memory.
Spoilers and milk-curdling awkwardness ahead.
The worst scene for me is the continued torture of young Theon. Not worst in a bad way, of course, it’s actually excellently well done. But if there was a time watching this episode where I wanted to fast-forward, it would have been this bit. The mind-games and the inflicted pain have only gotten worse for Theon since the very start of the series, though I start to wonder where the writers are hoping to take this scene. Surely, there can only be so many times we watch a man being tortured before we start to wonder why? Or at least question if there will be some change in circumstances for him? The torturer’s line of “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention” is probably a telling statement of how this will go for the poor lad.
Betrayal and torture, both physically and mentally, carry on as themes throughout the episode. The twisted games of Varys and Littlefinger have started taking darker turns in recent times, and now both have shown their bloodthirsty sides. Littlefinger toys with Varys, taking joy in teasing apart all of Varys’s plans before his eyes, and eventually leading up to the grizzly (and quite shocking) reveal of Ros’s death at the hands of the King. Even as a double-agent for Varys, it was never once suggested that she wasn’t safe, or that her life was in danger. Seeing as how we’ve been following Ros closely for this series, it comes as a huge surprise to find her suddenly dead. It could be easy enough to imagine that the whole of Game of Thrones is based around the webs spun by Varys and Littlefinger – two unassuming characters, neither good nor evil, but holding all the cards to make kings rise and fall. It’s a thought I’ve been keeping in my head for some time…
Beyond the Wall, things are just as unnerving, but with more of an action-focus than the psychological games in the south. With a fear of heights, the climbing of the Wall tried its best to unnerve me, and did a good job of it too. Following a scene where Jon Snow’s allegiances are spelled out for him in black and white, the perilous ascent begins. We’re treated to some great CGI during the climb and some wonderful vistas when the whole thing is over, but it seems odd to end such a dark episode on a kiss and a sunset.
SO many things happen in this episode that I can’t cover them all, but they all build up to what I’m assuming is the event that the writers will choose to be the finale. Also, Sam Tarly does some cringe-worthy singing, but the less said about all that the better.
There are only four more episodes left in this season of Game of Thrones, and this is both exciting and worrying for me. On the one hand, as I know where the plot is heading, I’m looking forward to seeing how they handle the big events that are coming up. On the other, I feel that four episodes will not be enough to cover all the happenings and important goings-on – we would need another ten, or twenty episodes to make sure nothing important was missed from these books. Still, I trust the writers and directors, and I know wherever they choose to end the show, it’ll be a great cliff-hanger that’ll keep us hungry for more.