Game of Thrones: A Golden Crown

“There is only one thing we say to Death. “Not today.””

Game of Thrones

SPOILER ALERT! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR A GOLDEN CROWN.

A Golden Crown, sixth in the first season of Game of Thrones, was a frickin’ awesome episode, and I say that even without referring to the GoT wiki. So much happens that is punch-the-air satisfying, shock-and-awe inducing, or just plain badass, as three of the major storylines reach points of revelation or change. Of course, we’re left with cliffhangers for the next episode, but that’s just television for you.

At King’s Landing, Ned Stark, newly re-appointed to the post of Hand of the King, continues his investigation into Jon Arryn’s death; Tyrion requests an audience with his jailer, the mad Lysa Arryn; and Danaerys Targaryen’s status among the Dothraki continues to grow.

This episode actually feels more fantastical than usual, as we begin to delve deeper into the mysteries of Westeros. Actually, perhaps “fantastical” is the wrong word. “Otherworldly”, perhaps. From the thousand-foot drop into mist-wreathed forest below the Eyrie to the Dothraki’s primal, mysterious rites, there’s a feeling here that the world of Westeros is wider and more imaginative than anything we’ve seen before. It’s a place of double-edged riddles, of cells that open onto the skies, of dragon eggs and Wildlings, visually striking and thematically fascinating.

Fair warning, however: there’s a more-than-usually gory scene towards the end which had me with my eyes closed and ears blocked (a bit tricky knowing when to look up); that seemed a bit gratuitous, especially since I’m pretty sure it’s not actually possible to melt gold over a wood fire. And some of Ned’s conclusions were a bit, well, hasty: “Joffrey is not Robert’s son…this can only mean incest!” Just because we know he’s right does not mean he’s allowed to be stupid.

Compared to the number of logical gaffes you get in normal TV drama, however, A Golden Crown is practically exemplary. And terrifically exciting. Forget winter: war is coming to Westeros.

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