My blog I've ignored for 2 years while attending the Brandcenter
With The Walking Dead is on hiatus until the fall I wanted to start writing about another show on a weekly basis for two reasons. One, it helps me to have something to write about that requires a deadline. It motivates me to make the time to sit down and hammer out some Random Thoughts. The second reason is that I enjoy it. It’s fun to write/talk about a show with others, and I don’t want to wait until October to start up again.
When it came to picking a show, I realized that I don’t watch a lot of TV. That’s not true. I don’t watch a lot of TV that other people read recaps of. What? You’re not interested in my 5 Random Thoughts on the latest episode of The Wonder Pets, Transformers: Rescue Bots or Paw Patrol? Trust me; you’re not.
I never watched Game of Thrones (GoT) before a couple of weeks ago. I have to admit I have a prejudice against the fantasy genre. I have never liked anything with dragons, elves, and wizards. I enjoyed The Lord of the Rings movies and tried reading the Tolkien books when I was younger but never made it out of the Shire. Plus there was always that stigma of being a little too close to the whole Dungeons & Dragons scene. I am a hypocrite of course. A grown ass man with as many Star Wars LEGOS, comic books and action figures as I have should not throw wildfire in wooden houses.
I would catch a piece of an episode here or there, but anyone who watches the show knows the cast is a tad large and the plot can confuse if you only saw a random episode from season 3 with no background information. So I would watch for a moment, not understand what was going on then change the channel.
Then something wonderful happened. I got sick. That wasn’t the enjoyable part, but in my condition, I wasn’t able to do much but lay in bed and watch TV. It just so happened that with the season 4 premiere approaching HBO has been running the past seasons of GoT nonstop. I was able to binge watch the first three seasons over the past week. It was like the dial-up version of that chair in The Matrix that allowed Keanu Reeves to learn kung fu in seconds. Only instead of a chair, I was in bed, and while I didn’t learn any kung fu, I did learn that you should never demand a Dothraki give you a golden crown.
I’m finally caught up and watched the first episode of season 4 last night and loved it. It had one of the best endings of the entire series, and I am almost glad for the sickness that enabled me to get hooked onto this show. Almost.
As with my The Walking Dead thoughts, everything below may contain spoilers as big as Theon Greyjoy’s most prized missing possession.
1. Jamie Lannister looks ridiculous without the beard
I can say that I miss Jamie Lannister’s beard 100% more than I do his hand. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to seeing him muddy and in rags that he doesn’t look as intimidating when he’s cleaned up. He reminds me of an assistant high school principal. While he was being held captive he looked dangerous and heroic. As a free man back home he’s old, disabled, and unwanted.
GoT does a great job of making you despise characters for a while only to flip-flop their situations and have you slowly begin to root for them. When I first met Jamie Lannister (a mere week ago), I couldn’t wait for this brash, arrogant character to get his comeuppance. In fact, I was rooting for it. That all changed the moment, he lost his hand. It happened so shockingly you couldn’t help but feel sorry for the character. Now back home Jamie gets disowned by his father for refusing to return to Castlery Rock, Joffery mocks him, and Cersei no longer wants him the gross way she used to.
2. Did they switch Daarios on us?
One of the benefits of binge-watching a program is you notice when the show recasts a character from one season to the next because you just finished watching the previous season a couple of hours ago. In season 3 Daario Naharis was the guy on the left (above). He’s sort of like if Fabio was younger mercenary instead of a romance novel cover boy (or whatever the hell Fabio is famous for). Season 3 Daario was always eyeing Khaleesi in every scene last season. For season 4 they replaced him with the actor on the right (above). I have no idea why they did this, but I am glad they did. The season 4 Daario appears a little more subtle in his approach to wooing the Mother of Dragons. He also doesn’t creep me out the way season 3 Daario did.
3. More Tyrian and Bronn, please
I could watch an entire show based on Tyrian, Bronn and Tyrian’s squire Podrick. I never read the books, so I have no idea their fates, but I am going to be depressed if/when these characters meet an untimely end. With that, I hope there will be more Tyrian and Bronn in upcoming episodes. The few minutes they were in the premier was not enough. And no I don’t count the time Tyrian tries to comfort Sansa Stark.
4. Hey more characters. Wonderful
Another season and more characters for me to keep track of. First, we meet Prince Oberyn and his girlfriend or lover or whore? He is in the capital for the king’s wedding and also a little revenge. His sister was married to a Targaryen. She was collateral damage during the rebellion and murdered along with her children. According to Oberyn, their executions were carried out by Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane on orders from Tywin Lannister. If anything I’m looking forward to seeing more of The Mountain.
The next group of characters to be introduced are a new clan of wildlings called the “Thenns.” The only thing we know about them is their heads are gross, they don’t like other wildlings, and they eat people. When you think about it, cannibals was the missing piece in the Game of Thrones Taboo Stew. Let’s see, do we have incest? Check. Murder? Check. Rape? Check. Child killers? Check. Mutilation? Check. Cannibals? <crickets>. No cannibals? Well, we can fix that. I’m sure bestiality will make an appearance sometime in season 5.
5. Everything the Hound says is amazeballs
The Hound has become one of those characters writers love writing. Maybe it’s because the 6’6″ actor scares the bejesus out of them or maybe because he’s just a fun character to write for he always has the best lines (“What the fuck is a Lommy?”). Either way every scene involving the Hound and Arya Stark was the highlight of the season premiere.
That final scene as Arya Stark tormented the Lannister guard that killed her friend Lommy and stole her sword (Needle) was chilling. It shows how much the youngest Stark daughter has hardened from the girl wandering the streets of Kings Landing asking for stale bread to the girl who has killed three men now.
The first kill was more of a primal reaction to hearing the soldiers talking about mutilating Robb Stark’s body. It was more of a melee attack as her emotions got the best of her. The second man was in the bar she bashed him over the head and took out his sword killed him quickly and cleanly. She was more interested in going after the man that killed her friend. With him, she took her time. First wounding him and coolly reciting the same words he uttered before murdering Lommy. At first, the soldier didn’t understand. Then it clicked for him. He recognized her. Just as his face began to give away that he remembered her, Arya killed him. It was like she wanted to make sure the final thought in his head was who was about to kill him.
Lightning Round Random Thoughts
Till next week.
established 2013, curated by the Hour After Happy Hour Writing Workshop
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Mr. Fenske is a professor at VCU Brandcenter in Richmond VA. The site is an extension of his efforts in the classroom, except for the cartoons, which seem to grow out of some disaffection he feels with the world. Thank you for visiting. © Mark Fenske
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