May 24, 2011

Game of Thrones, Episode 7 - You Win or You Die

After being released as a web promo, Episode 7 is up one week ahead of schedule. And after the King's Landing cliffhanger from A Golden Crown, that's more than a good thing, although You Win or You Die spends surprisingly little time in that storyline.

The final major player in the game of thrones - Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) - is finally introduced in a very cool deer-skinning scene with Jaime. I know it will sound stupid, but I was majorly disappointed when his hair wasn't shaved, considering that the first description we see of him in the book particularly says how he shaved his head the moment he started going bald. It's part of the character, and not just a visual detail, so I was annoyed they didn't do it. Other than that, Dance seems to be spot on for the severe and disdainful Tywin, and I can't wait to see him in the next three episodes.

Littlefinger is surprisingly obvious and his scenes lack the nuance of previous episodes. The new one - with the two whores in the brothel - is so utterly pointless it surprises me Martin has allowed it to happen. Cersei presents Lena Headey's usual acting constipation. Such a tragic miscast that girl turned out to be...

Everything else though - the Daenerys and Jon lines, as well as the rest of the King's Landing arc - is superb. There is little action in You Win or You Die, but a lot of plot, and it ends with possibly the most famous line in the book. I expect the final three episodes will be a real treat, if HBO has spent the necessary budget for them. Too bad some of us will now have to wait two weeks for them...

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