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Game of Thrones 1.08: "The Pointy End"

A column article, Shot For Shot by: The TV Squad
Continuing our discussion of the epic fantasy series, Episode 7 of the Game of Thrones saga, "The Pointy End," features zombies, vikings and what can only be described as the Dothraki Necktie. Oh, and full-on male frontal.

Morgan Davis: Last time we left off wondering if the White Walkers or the Dothraki would reach our players first, and right away it seems like we may see both at once. Did you guys find yourselves tweaking your predictions for the season's end accordingly? Do you think these battles that are about to happen are just a red herring for what's really going to go down?

Danny Djeljosevic: I don't even know what to predict!

Paul Brian McCoy: Yeah, I honestly have no idea what to expect. Especially with only two episodes left. But they've started cramming as much story into an hour as is humanly possible, so it could go anywhere.



Morgan: I was blown away by how deftly the show handled this insane ramp-up of action. Even with major shit going down, it's sticking to its own special kind of pace, doling out information selectively and not belittling the audience.

Paul: That's one of the things that really sets this (and other HBO shows) apart from the mainstream -- the respect it has for its audience. It trusts that we can keep up. Usually, anyway. Lesbian prostitute monologues notwithstanding,

Morgan: There's also a brutality to this show that you won't find in more mainstream fare. There's an overwhelming sense that everyone is in danger, all the time, and that makes for high emotional stakes.

Danny: I was so sure Sansa was gonna bite it this week.

Paul: That's because everyone is in danger all the time!

Morgan: Yeah, but everyone is ostensibly in danger all the time on a show like, say, the A-Team but those guys always survived

Paul: Except for their dignity.



Morgan: Here, characters actually die, and they don't come back or miraculously survive. Except for maybe Syrio, who I am secretly hoping managed to escape his seemingly impossible predicament

Paul: If Syrio doesn't survive I'm gonna be pissed.

Danny: I hope they do what they did with Lafayette from True Blood, and save him from his own author in the show.

Morgan: Does he die in the books? Did you just spoil it for us, Danny?

Danny: I haven't read the books, actually. I just kind've assumed.

Paul: *whew*

Morgan: Damn it, Danny.

Morgan: I can imagine Syrio surviving though. He's the clever type. Maybe Sylvio is his brother who comes seeking vengeance?

Danny: Pull an A Better Tomorrow II on us, and introduce us his twin.

Morgan: A full 2/3 of the AV Club comments for this episode were people theorizing how Syrio escaped. The rest were people explaining why Syrio would have welcomed death.

Danny: Syrio's death would mean Arya's trial by fire. So thematically it works, but Syrio's too good a character to lose.

Morgan: The Obi-Wan Kenobi factor.



Paul: I figured most of the comments this week would have been about ripping a man's tongue out THROUGH HIS FUCKING THROAT WOUND!!!

Danny: That was like a Dothraki Necktie.

Morgan: That scene was incredible, and logical, since at this point you know quite a few Dothraki are beginning to feel that their leader had been whipped. The Dothraki subplot continues to be the biggest surprise to me. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I was wrong to ever judge that subplot on the pilot.

Morgan: Even the Snow subplot picked up nicely this week, with some good ol' zombie killing

Paul: Yes. Motherfucking zombies.

Danny: Zombies! I did not see that coming.

Paul: That's what made me put the book down. I figured if zombies were going to start showing up, I didn't want to know what else Martin was going to start throwing into the mix.

Morgan: When Nick Frost Jr. pointed out that they weren't rotting, I suspected we were going to see some zombie action.

Paul: I was going to complain a little about how in the book how in the book Sam got a little more spotlight there, noticing that there was no blood around the scene where they discover the bodies, but then I remembered that Martin wrote this episode, so it was likely his cut.

Morgan: Fire is going to be a tricky weapon for them to have to resort to, though. Will we see the wall in flames by season's end? Or are there some anti-White Walker weapons that will be debuting?

Paul: Honestly, I think the Boys in Black are right fucked.

Morgan: I think Snow's crew will be the only ones to escape that death trap, wall or no wall.



Danny: Did you guys notice a difference in the writing of this episode versus previous ones? Or was I imagining it? I almost felt like Martin's dialogue was a bit more "fantasy novel" than the episodes written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss -- kind of like how in Robert Kirkman's episode of The Walking Dead suddenly the characters were speaking in his trademark "paragraph" style.

Morgan: I think part of it was because of what had to be communicated in this episode and part of it was Martin's style. It was more far-reaching than previous episodes have been, jumping between all the different players pretty efficiently.

Danny: It's more of a writerly thing than a viewer thing -- I just wonder if paying attention to who writes episodes makes me look harder and then imagine a stark difference when there may or may night be one.

Paul: The way the book itself jumps around from character to character was a fairly natural transition to his writing of the episode, I think.

Morgan: Well, considering we're hitting the end of the season and some major events are underway, I think the paragraph-speak is a necessary evil, especially given the budget limitations.



Danny: Speaking of dialogue, did anyone immediately search for an ulterior motive the one time Littlefinger speaks in the first half of this episode? All he says is a supporting statement, but my immediate thought was "What is your plan, Carcetti?"

Morgan: I'm glad you mentioned that, because I have a theory about what happened there and I haven't seen anyone else bring it up yet: I think he did that to diffuse that situation before it got truly ugly. Littlefinger knows that he needs certain people alive and Ser Selmy is one of them

Paul: If I had a complaint this episode, it's that the council was playing it a bit too Monty Python this time around. They were so obviously ass-kissing and sycophanting it up. It was almost self-parody at times, especially while they convince Sansa to write her letters.

Morgan: Yeah, but don't you think that's to be expected after you've seen an entire house get needlessly slaughtered, Paul? The Lannisters wiped out house servants, tutors, maids, everyone.

Paul: Maybe. I just didn't care for it.

Morgan: I thought it conveyed the awkwardness and tension of that scenario pretty well, but I can see your point.

Paul: The insincerity was just too palpable, and I couldn't really tell if Cersei was playing along or believing it.

Morgan: I think she was just playing along. You have to figure she's used to that bullshit by now Oh, we definitely are. More than one probably. But I'm pretty sure Littlefinger at the least is biding his time and gathering resources.

Paul: I don't know, I think we might have another big double-cross waiting for us at the climax of the season.

Paul: But at times it seemed like she knew it was bullshit, at times it seemed like she believed in it. I couldn't tell how she was playing it. Which, I guess, is on Lena Headey.

Morgan: Who is admittedly one of the weaker actors on the show. I think she's just trying to figure out who to trust, or partially trust.

Danny: How dare you say that about Sarah Connor. (but I agree)




Danny: So by my count, we have three thrones that are run by children and their mums. To quote Don't Be a Menace, "Message!"

Morgan: Yet only one still breastfeeds.

Paul: Looks like motherhood and child rearing are going to be recurring themes in Season Two.

Morgan: We did get to see Rob step up and move into adulthood, taking the reins of his house. What did you think of Rob's deception?

Danny: I like Rob and his lil' Rob sidekick who looks exactly like him. I hope to see more of them.

Morgan: It was fascinating to see what elements of his father's personality Rob decided to make his own as well as the way he asserted his authority to his mother, which is in its own way similar to the way breastkid asserts his own over his crazy mother.

Paul: Lil' Robb should repeat things Robb says, like Sen Dog in Cypress Hill.

Morgan: Or he could be the Flavor Flav to Rob's Chuck D. If only he could find some kind of giant symbol to hang around his neck.

Danny: I was gonna compare him to Wild Child, Sabretooth's Age of Apocalypse two-pack action figure sidekick. But that's less cool and will not be going into the final edition of this review.

Editor's Note: Shit.

Paul: Flav is too much of a wild card. Chuck D's not gonna look at Flav and say "good point."

Danny: Except as an example of what NOT to do.

Morgan: I think Chuck D would say Good Point to Flav's assertion that 911 is a joke.

Paul: Yes, that was one of his more lucid moments, I agree.

Danny: Get up, g-g-get down --The Lannisters are a joke in your seven kingdoms?



Morgan: But, uh, back to swords and shit. How awesome was Tyrion this week?

Paul: I was a little disappointed in Tyrion.

Morgan: I found his winning over the vikings pretty awesome. And we finally got to see him interact with his dad, which was all kinds of awkward.

Paul: It was the awkwardness with his dad that kind of ruined it for me. Not that it was unexpected, but I'd hoped for more spark.

Morgan: You didn't want to see a vulnerable Tyrion, I take it?

Paul: Vulnerable is okay, but belittled and humiliated was rough. I like him better when his fear doesn't show until after he's talked somebody into doing something he wants.

Morgan: It gave me hope for Tyrion rejecting the Lannister clan. In my head I'm imagining him and his viking horde turning in the middle of battle and cutting through the Lannister army.

Paul: And I just see him getting hurt. I worry about the guy.

Morgan: He's got Bronn AND Shagga, Son of Dolf protecting him, I think he'll come out alright.

Danny: As long as he pays scary dudes to hit things, I'm not too worried about him.

Paul: Bronn will keep him alive, but I don't think Shagga will be around long. I wouldn't put it past his dad to just have those hill-folk exterminated first chance they get.

Morgan: I don't think his dad would do that. He probably doesn't view them as any kind of threat and is just thinking they'll make for amusing crossbow fodder

Paul: I think they were a bit of an embarrassment -- His dwarfs son strolling through the camp with a bunch of smelly, poorly equipped rednecks.

Morgan: Look at this Shagga fan art I found! Why didn't he have dreadlocks on the show?

Paul: Probably gave his troops fleas.

Danny: I guess they couldn't give Shagga dreadlocks if they were casting Jason Momoa in this show.

Paul: Here's to hoping they kick all kinds of ass and become Tyrion's personal guard.

Morgan: There is the chance that Tyrion convinces his father to let them pursue the Vale, where I think they'd make mincemeat of the troops, since those guys are likely ill-suited for battle by now with such a crazy ruler.

Danny: Those guys fight with honor, as we established. The Vikings hang out in the brush, waiting to whomp on a guy.

Morgan: Exactly why they will win. It will be like Vietnam, Game of Thrones-style

Danny: So it's decided: the Vikings get the throne.

Morgan: Or maybe they side with the Dothraki and teach them about boats.

Paul: They have to survive the coming battle first.

Morgan: They've survived in the backyard of a crazy woman who lets her son breastfeed whenever he wants while demanding to drop people down a hole in the floor. I think they've got surviving down pat.

Paul: But they could hide there. Can't hide on the frontlines.

Morgan: Sure you can. Just find some corpses.

Paul: I just have a bad feeling about them. I hope I'm wrong.

Morgan: I hope you're wrong too. Stop ruining my optimism!

Danny: Tyrion and the Vikings. This is gonna be like Time Bandits.

Paul: Now that's an HBO show I'd love to see! Time Bandits: The Series!

Morgan: If they let Terry Gilliam make it, the world would probably end from all the bad luck that surrounds that guy



Morgan: So, that trick Rob pulled with the scout -- how do you think that will play out? It kind of opens up a Princess Bride level of mind trickery

Danny: Seems like a moment of hubris. Might bite our boy in his ass.

Paul: I don't know how that would help, given how outnumbered they are, anyway.

Morgan: Will Tywin fall for the bait and assume Rob is going to be heading for him when he's actually going for Jaime? Or will he assume that any scout Rob let free would have bad information and so he must be heading for Jaime? And if he assumes that, does that mean that was Rob's intention all along and he IS going to sneak up from the rear?

Danny: I imagine the Lannisters are so stuffy that they won't react well to being fucked with by Rob.

Morgan: You guys picked up on the fact that the trick wasn't the scout having the wrong numbers though, right?

Paul: I missed the trick.

Morgan: He told the scout to tell Tywin they were coming for him. He wanted the scout to go back to Tywin with that information. So he is going for Jaime instead.They were deliberating on whether it made more sense to attack Jaime first or Tywin when the scout was caught. So Rob told the scout they were heading for Tywin as a bit of misdirection. Tywin will prepare for them to come his way and likely request backup from Jaime to bolster his own forces, which will leave Jaime unprepared and with a lesser force. That way Rob & co. will have the River Lords to add to their numbers and will be able to attack Tywin from the flank.

Paul: I need a map.

Danny: Flip to the inside cover! It's gotta be there.

Morgan: See, Jaime is fighting the River Lords. He's not at the same camp as Tywin.

Paul: I may have been drinking while watching this. Okay. I was drinking while watching this.

Paul: I also have to admit that the show's ending was a bit of a surprise. Not the events, but that it just seemed to stop.

Morgan: But yeah, I'm just wondering whether Tywin will catch onto the misdirection. It was a little abrupt Almost made it feel like this was a two-parter

Paul: I've gotten used to endings where I sit up and say "Holy Shit!"
And this time it was, "Wait, that's it?"

Morgan: Maybe they just wanted to offer a brief respite before the shitstorm of the season's end

Danny: It was more... ominous.

Paul: Nothing Joffrey says is ominous. "Say I'm the King or there will be no mercy." Wah wah wah.

Morgan: I want to slap him until he has no cheeks

Paul: I want to slap the incest out of him.

Morgan: I think there's too much incest going on there for that to work. He'd just wind up a pile of blonde tawny hair.

Danny: And a crown.

Morgan: A tawny crown.

Paul: And a spoiled brat huff.



Morgan: I'm thinking the season finale is going to find the survivors of this battle surrounded by White Walkers and Dothraki.

Paul: I don't think the White Walkers will really become a presence until maybe the finale, coming over the wall. That's how I'd do it, anyway.

Morgan: Well, I don't mean directly surrounded, I mean the realm will be surrounded, with White Walkers coming over (or under?) the wall while the Dothraki swarm in from the coast.

Danny: The Dothraki are just waiting to attack things. It would only make sense to give the kingdom a war on two fronts, and shake things up even more.

Paul: I'd hope they let the current situation play out a little before bringing in the next wave of conflict.

Morgan: I doubt they'll even know the White Walkers have made it. No one is exactly paying attention to the North at the moment, and the White Walkers don't strike me as the type to make their presence known, anyway.

Paul: I'll be a little disappointed if it turns into a "we must team up to fight a common enemy" kind of thing.

Morgan: Little villages will just start turning into ghost towns for no known reasons and by the time they find out the cause it will be too late.

Paul: Maybe in season two.



THE BIG SCORE

Morgan: So, how many Hodor penises are we each giving this episode?

Paul: I give it 4 Dothraki Neckties.

Danny: 4 Massive Dongs.

Morgan: 4 slapped Lannisters.

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