“Game of Thrones: The Night Lands” Review

The plot thickens. Well, at this point in the epic, with more self-professed Kings that you can count and with murder and intruigue around every corner, it’s hard to see it getting much thicker. It’s like treacle now. Or ketchup. Something non-newtonian, anyway.

As the intro fades out and the episode begins, we’re given a good chunk of Aria Stark and her young gentleman companion traveling with the rest of the Knight’s Watch recruits. After Joffrey – in a golden-haired fit of what we’ll unconvincingly call “sibling rivalry” – put out the order to slaughter all of the former King Robert’s bastards, it seems like this guy is next on the list. The unfolding of events builds a good bit of chemistry between the two characters and showed that the Knight’s Watch – for all its flaws – has at least some sense of loyalty (I just know I’m going to eat my words later with that comment).

At King’s Landing, Tyrion is still bravely shaking up the Lannister stronghold, replacing Joffrey and Cersei’s political hysterics with a healthy injection of common sense. Littlefinger is still a manipulative jerk, and Varys remains the biggest wildcard in the bunch. Tyrion’s dinner with the head of the City Watch, and its rapid spiral from friendly banter to quick arrest, was done with absolute elegance. Peter Dinklage is – in my opinion, at least – the best actor of the series, and his character seems to be improving steadily with time.

We also finally got to have a closer look at the Greyjoys, the famed Naval house. While this portion of the episode did have the upside of some cringe-inducing almost-incest, I thought it was actually the weakest section of the episode. There was just something about the way the characters were interacting that seemed artificial – it definitely didn’t seem up to the show’s usual standard.

Jon Snow’s penchant for the ladies has landed him in trouble with this episode’s “oh no you di’nt” cliffhanger ending – and more White Walkers. Is it just me or are there more and more of them cropping up? (9/10)

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