Movies: 1135
Comments: 67725
Members: 718
Online: 0 Guests: 339
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/views.module on line 823.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 1684.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 1684.
  • strict warning: Declaration of date_plugin_display_attachment::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/corona/public_html/modules/date/includes/date_plugin_display_attachment.inc on line 33.
  • warning: Attempt to modify property of non-object in /home/corona/public_html/modules/date/includes/date_plugin_display_attachment.inc on line 24.
  • warning: Attempt to modify property of non-object in /home/corona/public_html/modules/date/includes/date_plugin_display_attachment.inc on line 25.
  • warning: Attempt to modify property of non-object in /home/corona/public_html/modules/date/includes/date_plugin_display_attachment.inc on line 26.
  • warning: Attempt to modify property of non-object in /home/corona/public_html/modules/date/includes/date_plugin_display_attachment.inc on line 28.
  • warning: Attempt to modify property of non-object in /home/corona/public_html/modules/date/includes/date_plugin_display_attachment.inc on line 29.
  • warning: Attempt to modify property of non-object in /home/corona/public_html/modules/date/includes/date_plugin_display_attachment.inc on line 30.
  • warning: Attempt to modify property of non-object in /home/corona/public_html/modules/date/includes/date_plugin_display_attachment.inc on line 31.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_comment::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment.inc on line 48.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_user::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/modules/user/views_handler_field_user.inc on line 48.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_comment_username::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_username.inc on line 48.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 699.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 584.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 584.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 61.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 61.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/views.module on line 823.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/views.module on line 823.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/views.module on line 823.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/views.module on line 823.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/corona/public_html/modules/views/views.module on line 823.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/corona/public_html/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 170.
exclusive news

Game of Thrones review: Season 3, Episode 4

Posted by msunyata on Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Based largely off of the first half of George R.R. Martin’s behemoth of a book, A Storm of Swords (which is longer than the entirety of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy!), the third season of HBO’s Game of Thrones brings all of the plot lines, character beats, and thematic developments from the first two years to a climatic head.

And as the show’s lingering questions are answered and bombshell revelations are dropped, this column (It Is Known: An Analysis of Thrones) will help wade viewers and book-lovers both through the narrative overload that will be at hand.  What it won’t do, however, is spoil the story; the hope and intent is elucidation, not ruination.

Given the death, destruction, and – gasp – hope that await in the next seven episodes, such illumination will be needed.

It is known.

 

Game of Thrones season 3

 

Episode 304: “And Now His Watch Is Ended”

Directing a television series that has such a wildly varying – and varied – number of characters, locations, and storylines can be a daunting challenge.  Not only does each scene have to further its overarching throughline, each throughline has to be immediately identifiable to the audience and differentiated from all the others – which can be easy when dealing with, say, Jon Snow’s (mis)adventures beyond the Wall and the court intrigue of King’s Landing, but can be considerably more difficult when intercutting Jamie Lannister and Brienne’s journey south through the woods and Arya Stark and Gendry’s meanderings north through the woods.

The ultimate task, however, is also the most fundamental to the creative process itself:  each scene must be good.  It must be sharply written, well-lit, superbly performed, believably tangible (thanks to the mostly-unnoticed processes of set construction and decoration, props, etc.), deftly directed, and, finally, masterfully cut together, highlighting each and every contribution from each and every craftsman and department.

Fortunately for showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff and the international crew they’ve assembled, hitting this high mark is regularly met with some degree of success.  Within this week’s installment, Lord Varys’s meeting with Lady Olenna Tyrell – more on this in a moment – is one such accomplishment, blending several locations and sets together with subtle sound effects, elegant costuming, and, of course, strong deliveries from Conleth Hill and Diana Rigg.

But then, unfortunately, every once in a while, there is an abject failure.

What was sure to have been one of the strongest scenes on the (script) page was Sandor Clegane’s arrival at Hollow Hill to meet his ultimate fate at the hands of Ser Beric Dondarrion and his brotherhood without banners.  And while the set is appropriately detailed, with water dripping from its walls and fires casting nicely atmospheric lighting, and fleshed out with the requisite number of background players, the scene still comes across as flat.  This is partially due to the blocking of the actors, which somehow makes the set look smaller and more cramped rather than giant and more expansive, but is mostly due to the somehow listless performances of Richard Dormer as the outlaw and, more especially, Rory McCann as the Hound.

The truth of the matter is that McCann has consistently, from his very first appearance in the very first episode (“Winter Is Coming,” episode 101), underplayed Clegane’s mirthless, ruthless, pitiless character, transforming his growled lines into softly-spoken statements (a trend which has similarly emasculated several other characters, Queen Regent Cersei Baratheon chief among them, but which is mystifyingly egregious with the Hound).  The performance here fails to live up to the grandeur of the location and the threat of the imminent duel, rendering even the simplest of exchanges between Clegane and Dondarrion – “Beric Dondarrion.  You’ve seen better days.”/”And I won’t see them again.” – into cheesy, almost farcical clichés (which makes one appreciate the job the rest of the cast pulls off with what is obviously very difficult dialogue).

There is much room for Dormer to redeem himself as the Lightning Lord and for the spectacle of the duel between the two in next week’s episode to be appropriately majestic, but for the time being, at least, Hollow Hill, it seems, truly rings hollow.

 

 

The Differences between the Episode and the Novel

Although not a commandment in the Bible of Television Adaptation, there is another tendency that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have consistently exhibited over the past two-and-a-half years and which defines “And Now His Watch Is Ended” more than any other element:  displacement.

House Tyrell’s offer to Sansa Stark to marry into their ranks is actually a development which comes considerably earlier in A Storm of Swords, at the lunch where Lady Sansa first meets Margaery and her grandmother, the Queen of Thorns.  In a one-two punch, Margaery asks Sansa if she’d like to come visit Highgarden after the royal wedding, and Olenna reveals that it would be a subtext for her marrying into the family (though, in the text, she is to marry Willas, the physically maimed brother to Ser Loras, since [a] it’s been almost impossible to find a match among the great houses for such damaged goods and [b] Loras has already joined Joffrey Baratheon’s Kingsguard, who are abstinent).  This ploy does much to fuel Sansa’s character arc for the next significant chunk of the novel, although it doesn’t spill out and affect the varying contours of plot-land until far later.

Which, assumedly, is one of the main reasons why the writer-producers opted to sit on this particular development in episode two (“Dark Wings, Dark Words”) and hold it until the present installment; it makes for a far more cogent storyline in the realm of television (as Weiss and Benioff view it, at least) to hit all of one’s ducks in a row rather than firing scattershot hither and thither.  And then there’s also the possibility of using the plot point to develop other, brand-new sequences, such as having Lord Varys – a character who gets considerably less “screen time” in book three – be the one to suggest the union and having Ros, that figurehead of all additions, be the one to inform him.

The Spider’s newly inserted role in the proposed Stark-Tyrell alliance is made possible, of course, by another small-but-significant alteration made back in the second season.  By directly revealing Lord Petyr Baelish’s involvement in Sansa’s planned escape attempt, and by having Ros be promoted from whore to his “business associate,” the door is opened for Varys and his attendant storyline of attempting to out-wit, out-last, and out-play his arch rival to take center stage – which, in turn, also opens the door to Margaery, another character who is just barely present in the source material, to step forward and shine.

And this just may be the real heart of the displaced storyline.  Including Lady Tyrell not only makes possible having yet another personality be juxtaposed with Game of Thrones’s pantheon, it also allows the showrunners to continue exploring that most important of thematic motifs, the one that gives rise to the title of the series itself.  Margaery’s approach to the game of thrones is varied and deft, whether speaking softly to Sansa (in a scene that is itself another recipient of much temporal footwork and condensation of material) or obliquely to King Joffrey Baratheon (“Dark Wings, Dark Words,” 302) or bluntly to Littlefinger (“The Ghost of Harrenhal,” 205) – and, in all three cases, it’s an approach that is immensely successful.

Though, it should be noted, this is far from the only plotline to be cut and pasted elsewhere in the narrative.  Varys’s revelation of how he was snipped to Tyrion Lannister was taken from the second novel (and capped with an improvisation; the eunuch never manages to get his revenge against the warlock, just as the dwarf doesn’t actively [read:  outwardly] look for a way to get his own comeuppance against his sweet sister), as is the introduction of two minor but major characters, Meera and Jojen Reed.  And the entire throughline of Theon Greyjoy’s imprisonment and torture is taken from the fifth book, which contains a series of flashbacks that actually occurred during the third.

When you have the biggest cast in television history, it pays to sometimes streamline their character arcs.  Then again, in other cases, it sometimes pays to add even more to their ranks – and, just occasionally, obfuscate their timelines.

 

 

Season Three Reviews:

 

Season Two Reviews:

 

Season One Reviews:

There are currently no comments