Previously on Game of Thrones: Prince of Winterfell
Ready or not, here comes Stannis! The inhabitants of King’s Landing know Stannis and his fleet are mere hours away, and they all choose to deal with the imminent attack in radically different ways. Cersei has all but given up as she contemplates suicidal death via essence of nightshade or Ser Illyn Payne’s sword. The soldiers of the city predictably turn to alcohol and prostitutes. Only Tyrion seems to care about actually planning a defensive strategy. And Joffrey? Let’s just say he’s being as helpful, noble, and king-like as usual.
Meanwhile, the men of Stannis’s fleet are reasonably confident that their attack on King’s Landing will be successful. Their ships outnumber their enemy’s 10 to 1, and their men 5 to 1. If battles were all about numbers, then this should be a metaphorical walk in the park for Stannis and his Red Priestess. Davos, the gruff onion knight, is not so sure. He shares some history about how King’s Landing has never been breached.
Stannis’s fleet materializes eerily out of the dark fog. Only one ship sails across Blackwater Bay to meet them. This infuriates Joffrey, but the unusual strategy is clearly Tyrion’s own. As Stannis’s men suspiciously watch the single ship, Davos spots green liquid pouring from its hull. Uh-oh! Remember all that wild fire talk from a few episodes ago? The ship explodes in an impressive plume of green smoke and fire, quickly incinerating the ships closest to it.
Even with a big chunk of his fleet taken out by wild fire, Stannis still has enough men to land his ships and attack the shore. Joffrey predictably bails on the action, leaving Tyrion to heroically muster the troops. To cries of “Halfman! Halfman!”, Tyrion and the men of King’s Landing successfully throw off Stannis’s soldiers from the Mud Gate. Unfortunately, Tyrion barely has time to celebrate. He’s suddenly slashed across his face by Ser Meryn (friendly — very deliberate — fire). All seems lost for both Tyrion and King’s Landing as a fresh wave of Stannis’s men storm the shores. But surprise! Here comes a new mysterious group of riders who slash and stab their way through Stannis’s men. Tywin Lannister has come to save the day!
- You know what? I completely think this episode lives up to the expectation and hype of an entire season’s worth of build-up. Great writing, great acting, great fighting (actually more violent than I expected), and great CGI explosions. This episode legitimately made me happy. I don’t know what that says about me, but I know what I like, and I liked this.
- So having said that, was it just or me or was this episode weirdly reminiscent of the Helm’s Deep siege in The Two Towers? Not only do both feature a siege of a heavily outnumbered army, but a weak gate is targeted, a crazy explosive substance is used, and just as the battle seems at an end, a mysterious third party arrives on horseback to turn the tide. I’m not saying I’m complaining necessarily—just pointing it out, I guess.
- Kudos to the writers for restricting the scope of this episode to just King’s Landing. As much as I love the show’s rich cast of characters, the Battle of Blackwater would have only suffered from being interspersed with scenes of Dany shouting or Theon whining. (See painfully slow scenes of Ents talking right in the middle of the most exciting Helm’s Deep scenes—my last Lord of the Rings reference…probably.)
- Cersei is both creepy and brilliant in this episode. She’s been more or less unraveling all season, but her obsessive and bitter grip on reality is noticeably slipping here. This is the first time I realized how similar Cersei once must have been to Sansa. You know, before her incestuous relationship with her brother, abusive marriage, and devil-spawn of a son.
- Poor Hound. I hope everyone remembers that his face looks like an
uglyuglier version of Two Face because he got burned as a kid. He’s not a coward for abandoning the battle so early. It’s hard enough to fight for a brat like Joffrey without the entire battlefield reminding you of your childhood trauma.
- Sansa finally is getting interesting. My least favorite Stark actually got some of the best lines this episode. Who knows? I might have to switch her out with Rickon on my list of favorite Starks. Sorry, Rickon. It’s nothing personal. You just don’t really do anything.
- Fun fact: George R. R. Martin wrote this episode.
- Season finale is NEXT Sunday!!!
Missing in action: Theon, Bran, Rickon, Yara, Catelyn, Robb, Jon, Ygritte, Dany, Arya, Melisandre
Body count: Thousands
Varys: “I’ve always hated the bells. They ring for horror: a dead king, a city under siege.
Tyrion: “A wedding.”
Shae: “Some of those boys will never come back.”
Sansa: “Joffrey will. The worst ones always live.”
Cersei: “The gods have no mercy. That’s why they’re gods.”
Tyrion: “Those are brave men knocking at our door! Let’s go kill them!”
Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.