‘Game of Thrones: The Old Gods and the New’ Review

Oh wow. After a couple of seasons of what felt like buildup, Game of Thrones finally kicked in with a pulse-pounding episode that tested our devotions to the characters involved.

Theon Greyjoy has escalated rapidly up my personal Game of Thrones “jerk scale” in recent episodes, but tonight showed him to have reached his peak, almost equal to Joffrey and Littlefinger. As he and his small army invade Winterfell, he turns his back on the people who have treated him like family since he was a child. He consistently shows himself to be a pathetic and manipulable character, and credits go to Alfie Allen for portraying this waste of space so excellently.

The tension is slowly building up in Harrenhal, where Arya is still serving as Tywin Lannister’s cup-bearer. In this episode the young Stark girl gets perilously close to being discovered by a Lannister General, and is saved only by redeeming a “free kill” from her criminal acquaintance. It’s nervewracking to watch everytime the camera switches to Harrenhal – it’s clear that it’s only a matter of time before something drastic happens. The tension is masterfully built up by the GoT writers.

The real kicker for this episode, though, was what went on at King’s Landing. Joffrey’s terrible rule has finally caught up to him, and the peasants of the town are rioting. The riot scene that ensues between the uppler and lower classes of King’s Landing is one of the best pieces of Television I have seen so far. Not only is there mass murder, graphic nudity, and violence, there is also one of the most unexpected cannibalism scenes I have also seen. Not to mention the fantastic feeling of having Tyrion actually tell Joffrey what he thinks of him, punch included.

Daenerys is still trying to find the funds to purchase a ship, and maybe an army, but she keeps getting Blackballed by the bureaucratic Qarth elite. Her storyline makes up the show’s typical “twist” ending – she enters a room in Qarth to find hordes of Dothraki slain and her dragons stolen. It’s a surprise to see something like that happen in Qarth, but it did always seem to be a little too┬ápeaceful. It’ll be interesting to see where that goes. Until then, though, the episode gets a full (10/10).

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