Game of Thrones 1.06: "A Golden Crown"

A column article, Shot For Shot by: The TV Squad
Morgan Davis: So, has anyone read the books? I'm waiting until this season ends to start. I've heard that they're sticking pretty close to the books but that the books, obviously, fill in a lot more of the history and the structures of the realm.

Paul Brian McCoy: I'm about 200 pages in and it's about up to the second episode. It's a better translation of a book than either True Blood or Dexter. I'll give them that.

Felicity Gustafson: I'm working on them. Almost done with the first. So far it's not too drastically different.

Danny Djeljosevic: Yeah, and a few things get streamlined in the show, from what I hear. Otherwise, I have absolutely no familiarity with George R. R. Martin at all.

Morgan: I'm pretty impressed with the way Game of Thrones has transitioned into action mode. Was anyone else worried about how the show would fare if it continued with all the (necessary) setup much longer?

Danny: I was so captivated that all the fighting in the last episode took me completely by surprise.

Paul: I was kind of expecting this sort of pacing with an HBO show.

Felicity: I think they realized they were getting a little too much into the political intrigue without enough action scenes to keep the audience paying attention. Though they picked up the gore a little bit with the eating of the horse heart.

Morgan: There is a lot of horse violence on this show. It's like horse torture porn.

Felicity: When she kind of vomited but then kept chewing and swallowed the last bite, my face was like o________o;;

Paul: I think I just started giggling. Loved it.

Felicity: I was a little surprised by all the violence. But considering HBO, I probably shouldn't have been.

Morgan: Well, what's interesting to me is that the violence isn't exactly glorified or stylish, like HBO shows can sometimes skew towards. It's a pretty effective portrayal of the brutality of the era and lifestyle instead. Regardless, we're edging closer to the more chaotic section of the "game" -- both with the threat of the White Walkers and the growing political problems between the Starks and the Lannisters. Given how the fast the stakes are rising here, did anyone else worry about Robert's safety when he said he was going hunting?

Paul: I was concerned about Robert until I saw who was out with him.

Felicity: I worry about Robert's sanity, but I was pretty happy when he slapped Cersei. He's basically been led around by the nose by her for awhile, so maybe he's growing some backbone now.

Danny: Yeah, me too. If any character deserved to be slapped, it's her.

Morgan: Comics Bulletin officially approves of domestic abuse in special circumstances, apparently.

Danny: I'm intrigued to see how the Robert/Renly angle plays off.

Morgan: I keep thinking that creepy Lannister kid Lancel is just going to snap and throttle Robert.

Danny: I love how Ned Stark gets a badge as the king's hand. Very cop movie.

Morgan: Does that make Cersei the evil chief?

Felicity: She screams enough for it.

Paul: I'm really digging the detective work going on, and his big moment of revelation this episode was perfect. That was a very nicely played scene.

Morgan: Yeah, seriously, I had no idea Game of Thrones would secretly be fantasy noir.

Felicity: The revelation about Joffrey? Yeah, they did pretty good on that part. Very dramatic.

Morgan: Ned Stark just discovered the science of genetics for the Seven Kingdoms. What Ned Stark isn't so good at is reading people and figuring out how to utilize his evidence. He's not the most tactful character.

Paul: Ned is worrying me. I fear for his safety, although I did love it when he gets that wild hair up his ass and starts issuing orders and taking names.

Morgan: I fear for Ned's safety too, mostly because he's too trusting where he shouldn't be and not trusting enough in other situations. Also, I would have hoped he'd have picked up on at least some of the Lannisters' craftiness by now

Felicity: Pretty bold move going after Clegane.

Paul: And ordering the Kingslayer back to stand trial.

Morgan: I don't expect him to go full on diplomat, but I would expect him to at least think a little more about how the kingdom works. When he first got there it was more understandable, it was completely alien to him. But he's been there how many months now?

Paul: It's like somebody suddenly realized that there were only a few episodes left.

Felicity: I'm not sure if he's being led too much by Littlefinger. I forget what his title is.

Morgan: Littlefinger's title is Official Badass.

Paul: I don't trust Little Finger. Didn't trust him in The Wire, don't trust him here.

Danny: Aiden Gillen can't NOT come off as slimy. All in all, a great casting decision.

Morgan: Littlefinger is the guy to watch out for, I think. If anyone will come out on top in the midst of all this, it's him. Dude is playing so many people right now.

Felicity: I think he's supposed to be somewhat slimy though. He's one of those information ferrets. They're always untrustworthy.

Paul: Pretty much every casting decision in this thing was spot on.

Morgan: Except he's not an information ferret! The Spider, the eunuch, is the spymaster. Littlefinger just makes it his personal business to do all this sneaky shit. He's just supposed to be the chief financial officer, basically, from what I understand. In a way, Littlefinger is closer to Steve Buscemi's character on Boardwalk Empire.

Felicity: Though Littlefinger does seem the better of the two.

Morgan: Littlefinger is the better of the two, certainly, but that's like comparing Hitler and Stalin.

Paul: But if you kind of liked Hitler and Stalin. Sort of???

Morgan: Now we're approving domestic abuse and Hitler.

Danny: I predict Littlefinger wins the throne at the end, after Ned is voted off the show.

Paul: Speaking of playing angles, we haven't even mentioned Peter Dinklage as Tyrion. STAR OF THE SHOW.

Danny: He's easily my favorite character on the show, so this subplot's been particularly harrowing.

Felicity: I adore Tyrion's character and the way Dinklage plays him. Really pulled at my empathy strings when he was being kept prisoner and didn't really get a fair trial.

Morgan: FUCK YEAH PETER DINKLAGE -- How amazing were the scenes with Mort?

Danny: Those were hilarious -- NOISY! IMP!

Morgan: Mort was the true MVP of this episode.

Paul: I would have sworn that was Jim Norton at first.

Danny: That would have been hilarious.

Felicity: It's pretty bad when a dwarf has to ask for trial by combat.

Morgan: I think Tyrion was counting on that, honestly

Felicity: You can pretty much count on Tyrion to expect anything. He's usually five spaces ahead of everyone else.

Morgan: Tyrion knew that the last remaining warrior from the inn was essentially a mercenary and I am pretty certain he knew that guy would say yes because a) he knows a Lannister always pays their debts and b) he's just fucking awesome.

Paul: I'm just glad we're moving out of crazy inappropriately nursing lady's house.

Morgan: I worry for that kid's future. The actor, I mean.

Paul: It was getting a little Miike in there.

Morgan: All that kid needed to do to make it full Miike was procure a piano wire.

Danny: Bronn's fight scene was amazing. So nonchalant. Even his clothing didn't give a shit. No armor! I feel like Bronn just shrugged his way through that battle until he got the chance to stab a fool.

Paul: That was an excellent duel.

Felicity: Kinda hit home when she said he didn't fight with honor and he pointed out that the dead guy did.

Morgan: The duel reminded me of the Princess Bride but, uh, grittier.

Danny: I especially love the physicality of that fight. Reminded me of one of those fight scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but with only one lumbering armored guy.

Paul: All of the fight choreography is impressive in this show. I love that a genre show has just gone all out to make the best thing possible.

Felicity: It is nice to see a show that actually worries about the entertainment factor, rather than just the money.

Morgan: Bronn understands fighting is about surviving, not honor or flash, which is why he and Tyrion will make a great pair

Morgan: I'm surprised by how entertaining the story with Daenerys has become. At first that was my least favorite part of the show, or I predicted it would be based on the pilot.

Paul: I started out dreading the whole Horse Clan story, but I'm loving it now.

Felicity: True, I do like Daenerys much more now than in the beginning. The whole thing with her not being hurt by the fire was pretty interesting.

Morgan: I figured the dragon eggs were a Chekhov's gun thing but even so I've been extremely impressed with the way the show is handling it. Part of it is because the actress playing Daenerys so fucking owns that role.

Paul: And this is like her first major role anywhere. She just graduated from Drama Center London in 2009!

Danny: I'm not gonna lie: I thought that was Piper Perabo.

Paul: I've been anxiously waiting for something horrible to happen to that white-haired shit. When Conan settled with him, I was officially in love with this show.

Morgan: Yeah, that moment will go down in history as one of the greatest scenes ever, regardless of what else happens with Game of Thrones.

Danny: Here's proof that I read too many comic books: I was expecting him to pour the gold on him and then we'd have a gold mask Dr. Doom villain. GF DOOM. BUT NO this is reality and pouring molten gold on a dude kills him.

Morgan: Haha, I'm so glad I wasn't the only one thinking that, Danny. "Oh shit! Now we're gonna have another Mad King! Except he'll have a Golden skull this time!"

Felicity: They did give it a nice thump when his head hit the ground. I'm kinda glad he's dead though. He was pretty irritating.

Morgan: Ha! yeah, such a great use of sound. He was going to die sooner or later, it was just a matter of time. Plus his role was obviously just to get Daenerys there. He served his purpose once he engineered that, there was nowhere else for him to go. If he was smart, he would realize he had absolutely nothing to offer them once he sold his sister.

Danny: I was surprised an antagonist got offed in this show so early, but it makes complete sense thematically. If Daenerys is coming into her own as a khaleesi, you gotta get rid of that guy.

Paul: I cackled with glee when he died. Yes, I just admitted that.

Morgan: Things Paul Brian McCoy admits to -- liking Hitler, finding glee in the death of would-be kings.

Danny: Also, cute redheads.

Felicity: Considering how she cowered from him in the very beginning and then how she stood up to him at the end... pretty big change in her character so far.

Morgan: On the dead kings note, who else expects this season to end with Robert dead?

Felicity: I'm pretty much hating him, so I could live with that. It's bound to happen eventually though.

Danny: Robert's fun because he's not very regal.

Paul: I kind of expect it, but then again, I have no idea who's going to survive this season.

Felicity: Everyone'll scramble for the throne and the real plotting will begin.

Morgan: I don't hate him, I actually find his admission that he's worthless as a king to be pretty interesting. He knows his limits and realizes that he's meant for warfare, not politics.

Felicity: I don't consider Robert to be much of a king. He's selfish, indulges too much and just basically has the attitude of a childish bully.

Morgan: Robert freely admits all those things. He took the job because the only other alternative was a group of incest-loving kooks. And I don't think Joffrey will be around much longer, one way or another

Danny: I'm going to have a party the day Joffrey gets killed off. Possibly at the White House.

Morgan: So, just to confirm, we're all for killing kings and petulant children?

Felicity: An inbred king. It'll be like the Caesars all over again.

Morgan: Caesar I and II were good, they just ruined it with those sequels.

Danny: Especially when you can get both at once.

Paul: So there are only 10 episodes of this show. We're coming up on the end pretty quickly.

Felicity: Does anyone else hate Sansa?

Paul: Yes.

Morgan: Sansa deserves Joffrey. The only problem is she's not related to him so he won't be interested in the long run.

Danny: Arya is my favorite Stark. Besides Tony. That scene where Arya and Sansa are told to go home, and they both complain, but Arya kind of understands and comes around shows off their personalities quite nicely.

Paul: I can't wait for Arya to meet back up with her Dire Wolf and kick some ass. Her sword training sessions are some of my favorite parts of the show.

Felicity: Arya's probably my favorite Stark. I'm glad she's getting the sword lessons. She's actually learning more life lessons from her sword trainer than her father.

Danny: Syrio might be my favorite character overall.

Paul: Ned should sit in.

Morgan: I have no reason to think this, I know, but I suspect that sword trainer has less than noble intentions.

Felicity: I was thinking that too. I adore his character, but he does spend an awful lot of time with a little girl...

Morgan: Phew. So glad it's not just me.

Paul: I just want to say right now that I do not support that.

Danny: Paul Brian McCoy does not support education.

Morgan: So where do we see the rest of the season going now that the players are moving into place?

Paul: Blood. Lots of blood.

Felicity: War seems inevitable. Starks vs. Lannisters

Felicity: Except for Tyrion. I suspect he'll side against his siblings.

Danny: I'm really excited for the obvious blowout between Ned and Robert over that huuuge decision he makes.

Morgan: I'm glad you bring that up. I heard an interesting theory about Robert wanting Ned to do that -- that the reason he went hunting was because he knew it would mean Ned would be in charge of the throne and could then theoretically make the decision Robert couldn't, for obvious reasons. Plus, there's the whole thing of Ned pursuing the Mountain rather than Jaime himself...though he seems to think one will lead to the other.

Felicity: Hmmm. That is true. He couldn't risk it with Cersei being his wife and all.

Paul: And with Ned knowing about the kid, that gives him even more leverage.

Morgan: My only problem with that theory is that I don't think Robert is that clever or forward thinking.

Paul: I really hope Ned doesn't die.

Morgan: I don't see how Ned could die. He's the audience surrogate.

Danny: Sean Bean is put in movies just to kill him off, so why would this be any different? I like the angle that Robert just avoided his duties so Ned would be the one making the decision. I like that a lot.

Morgan: And I am willing to bet anything that whatever move he makes on the Dothraki clan is going to lead to full scale war rather than prevent it. I am also of the suspicion that their assassination attempt will involve fire somehow and that's why they'll fail.

Felicity: Well that's another bone of contention between Ned and Robert. So I guess we'll see who wins.

Morgan: I think Robert won that one by threatening to put a Lannister in the position of the Hand.

Morgan: Ned's going to wind up having to deal with his wife's increasingly more terrible decisions, I bet he'll get sidetracked by that and not get to inform Robert.

Paul: So, if Robert dies, Joffrey gets the throne. Shit.






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