Review of Game of Thrones ‘Blackwater’
This is the penultimate episode of the series and we are finally in the thick of it as the battle for King’s Landing begins. It was a release of the tension that has been building up throughout the second series.
If viewers thought that last week was good, this week exceeded all expectations and it is the highlight of this series – that is unless next week can find some way to top this. There was never a dull moment in ‘Blackwater’ because of the way that the episode flitted between the various characters in King’s Landing and it was the perfect recipe for absorbing television.
There was of course the epic battle but there was also room for characters to be further explored, as well some surprising but welcome comedy. There were so many moments of brilliance that it would take too long to go through them all but here are some worth mentioning: the destruction of Stannis’ (Stephen Dillane) fleet using Wildfire; the ‘talk to the hand’ conversation between Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Joffrey (Jack Gleeson); the interplay between Sansa (Sophie Tuner) and Cersei (Lena Headey); Sandor Clegane i.e. the Dog’s (Rory McCann) pithy summary of abandoning battle; and finally Tywin Lannister’s (Charles Dance) arrival at the end.
In relation to character development Joffrey, Sansa and Cersei showed other facets to their personalities. For the first time since he got attacked by a direwolf in series 1, Joffrey showed that he was still just a scared boy. In contrast Sansa revealed her wryness when she questioned Joffrey about his battle plans in front of his men. During her time in King’s Landing she has been developing a savvy which is helping her to survive. Turner nicely played out this nuance in Sansa’s character and it was great to see another side to her, given that she has spent most of series 2 weeping. Little Dove may make it through alive yet.
This week seemed to be another confessional for Cersei who kept spilling anecdotes about her past. On the one hand, she is extremely dangerous and hard but on the other she is very vulnerable. She has multiple identities as the queen, a mother, a woman, a Lannister, etc. and it is impressive how Headey flits between these aspects of Cersei’s character.
As usual, it wouldn’t be an episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ without at least one pair of bare breasts. In this episode viewers got an eyeful in a scene involving a completely naked prostitute, who was unclothed for the majority of the scene. Instead of nude women, why not get Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and Tyrion to sing Lannister songs? Or better still why not get the pair of them to perform renditions of Robson and Jerome songs from the top turret of King’s Landing? Bronn is of course played by Jerome Flynn of Nineties pop duo Robson and Jerome. It would be far more entertaining than watching bare flesh, especially if they incorporated the finger-clicking, two-step dances that Robson and Jerome did in their music videos. Or here’s another idea, why not get former ‘Crystal Maze’ presenter Ed Tudor-Pole, a rabble-rouser in ‘The Ghost of Harrenhal’, to lead some peasants into the medieval zone for a chance to win some crystals? Just a thought.
Putting references to British pop culture in the Nineties to one side, ‘Blackwater’ was an episode of truly cinematic scale. There was a strong mix of fighting and character development rather than just focusing on the frontline. Production-wise the battle was enhanced by the use of music which was a variation of the title sequence theme tune and created a sense of grandeur. The battle sequences were well-executed and the special effects put to good use. In ‘Game of Thrones’ CGI is usually used sparingly but when it is used it is effective. The shot of the Wildfire burning Stannis’ ships was extraordinary to see.
‘Blackwater’ was a great triumph for ‘Game of Thrones’, the question now is whether next week can match it? The series finale awaits us…
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Image credit: HBOTagged in: jerome flynn, The Crystal Maze
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