One reason we love Game of Thrones: it doesn’t conform to a simple good guys/bad guys set-up. Yes, it started off as Nice Starks versus Naughty Lannisters, but as the seasons rolled by, we’ve found many of the Lannisters seem reasonable enough in their own way, whereas the Starks are prone to bullheaded mistakes and unwise alliances.
This week, Team Stark pulls off some top-grade cock-ups, whereas the Lannister kids seem a lot like poor victims. Strange times.
You might think Robb Stark’s minions were being unreasonable when they lopped off Jaime Lannister’s hand, but this week they top that with a double Lannister child murder. Poor Robb ends up slaughtering everyone involved to keep righteous, and loses half his army in the process.
Man, remember when he seemed like the big brave unstoppable hero? It’s compelling to watch, and great to see Richard Madden get material to act beyond “Hello, I am a nice chap”, but after him being set up as The Good Guy, it’s miserable to watch him get kicked so repeatedly, even if it is partly thanks to his own stubbornness. (Well, his and his mother’s.)
Elsewhere, Jon Snow’s Wildling safari gets a sex scene to distract from how meandering it is, and Arya discovers that the lovely freedom fighters she’s encountered aren’t above ransoming her for cash. Once again, moral disappointment. Still, they can also survive death, which is pretty cool.
Limitless Lannister Lunacy
Back in Lannister land, Lord Tywin takes his children in hand. I do feel sorry for Tyrion, and even Cersei in a strange way – that’s how good this show is at making us like the “bad guys”. Hell, you can even understand why Daddy has finally got sick of them. Mainly, though, I want to see Sansa’s little face when she hears she’s been prevented from marrying a chivalrous hero yet again.
Off in the baths at Harrenhal, though, it’s Ser Jaime who gets the most rehab here. Remember when he was smugly pushing kids out of windows before striding back to continue incesting? That must seem like a distant paradise to the poor bastard. But we don’t just feel pity for Jaime, he also gets a speech framing himself as a misunderstood anti-hero. Is the Kingslayer on the verge of becoming our new favourite one-handed knight?
Oh, and Stannis Baratheon’s wife keeps stillborn kids in jars, whilst Daenerys and chums are squabbling. This episode didn’t have as many amazing scenes as the last couple, but it was relentless entertaining, and kept all the plots chugging forward like little trains. Game of Thrones remains the best thing I’m currently watching.