Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones was very front-loaded. The most exciting thing to happen in the whole hour transpired in the first ten minutes. Not too much else in the way of action or excitement ended up transpiring. We didn’t even get any nudity. I'm so disappointed in you, Game of Thrones. You're the place that I go to for heaving bosoms, swinging dicks, torrents of arterial spray, and sundry severed limbs. Last night was all fall-outs and wind-ups, with very little sex or death- there was nothing that couldn't have been in a PG-13 film. However, the episode made pretty clear that later this season a substantial amount of things will be going "BOOM."
After the jump, there be spoilers.
RENLY! NO! Renly's gone. Stannis killed him. Or rather, Melissandre's spooky shadow-baby killed him. I've always thought that Renly's death was one of the real tragedies of the series. Everyone seemed to like him, he didn't seem like an unreasonable guy, and he would have probably been a pretty alright monarch. However, Stannis is a dick. Dammit, Stannis. You're the reason why we can't have nice things.
It's Magic Time! Despite Game of Thrones being a fantasy series, it's worth keeping in mind that the vast majority of people in Westeros and beyond do not believe in magic. For most people, magic is a weird, alien thing from distant history. When Renly was killed, it was entirely reasonable for the guard to believe that Brienne, standing over his body, did the deed. Why should they believe otherwise? Bronn, upon seeing pots upon pots of the alchemist's guild's wildfire says "men win wars, not magic tricks." Xaro Xhoan Daxos dismisses the Warlock that visits Daenerys as being a drug-addled wacko who can't actually perform real feats of the arcane.
However, magic tricks do win wars- just ask Renly shadow-ventilated corpse. In Game of Thrones, magic is a secret weapon and a technological edge. It is the gun, germs, and steel of Westeros, which makes it far more frightening than standard fantasy magic. It's not shiny lights and fun-times like in Harry Potter. Magic is something far more frightening- it's the edge that allows fratricidal jerks like Stannis to break the established rules of war and politics. It is, to use a horrible cliche, a game-changer.
THEON, YOUR FACIAL HAIR IS STUPID. SHAVE OFF THE GODDAMN PEACH FUZZ. JESUS. I guess Theon’s lame facial hair goes with his impotent rage. The Iron Islands really are different from the rest of Westeros, as Theon found out. Simply having the rank of captain didn't give him the ability to effectively order guys around. He can't demand the adulation of his men- he has to earn it. Westeros proper seems to be all about fealty, loyalty, obedience, etc. The Iron Islands are all about who has the biggest Viking-balls.
Arya Stark: Death Pixie. Arya looked directly into Tywin Lannister's eyes and said "anyone can be killed." That's the kind of cold honesty and nasty practicality that I can see a bastard like Lord Tywin respecting. Meanwhile, Jaqen H'gar has offered to give Arya murder-presents in the form of three targeted assassinations in exchange for her saving the lives of him and his fellow prisoners. Arya's already killed one guy- she stabbed a stable boy the day her dad was seized by the Lannisters. This is the second death she's responsible for, and she's owed two more. Without giving away too much for those who haven't read the books, I've always thought that Arya gets weirdly more likable and interesting the bloodier her hands get.
Tyrells! The show is developing the Tyrells nicely. We still haven't seen the Tullys at all. I have no problem with this.
So, yeah... No real big plot twists other than Renly's death. As a book-fan I'm looking forward to how they're going to do the House of the Undying, which will presumably be next week. I still don't like Brienne.