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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Right, so this was (together with 'Garden of Bones'), in my opinion, the best episode of the second season. On the other hand, though, this was the one with the most changes, and really a LOT. It was the first time they came up with many new things and changed the story of a book in quite a few places. The outcome will be the same, but the journey towards it has been altered. Now, I expected this, since the producers probably want to leave their own mark as well, and not only copy the books. And I thought the changes were for the better. I have read the books, and don't mind them as long as they improve the story. The execution of Rodrik showed the pressure Theon has when he took Winterfell and how he took drastic decisions (more coming) which doomed him, and made him lose his last shred of honor. The fact that Dany's dragons were stolen will ,probably, lead to her going to the House of the Undying to get them back. Now, Dany's storyline in the 2nd book kind of bored me. This was a welcome change which definitely adds more tension and interest to her storyline. All in all, a great episode, with a few welcome changes which, I repeat, won't change the outcome but, in this case and from my point of view, make the story a bit faster paced, more emotional and better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Perhaps some of the best acting from Peter Dinklage (Tyrian) yet. Your
hatred for Joffery will reach maximum capacity in this gem, as his
cruelty takes hold and completely loses his sight on humanity as terror
takes over his persona. People are upset, and they want his "Royal
Highness" to know about it. Tyrian stands strong as he decides to show
true leadership, and courage, way above average for the actual "King."
Theon Greyjoy hits rock bottom, and he knows it despite his denial and supposed leadership. We lose a dear friend in Winterfell, A rather graphic but touching scene, "I will be joining your father soon.." Greyjoy has some waking up to do, and Robb Stark plans on giving him the rude awakening he deserves. Theon is just a confused, worthless wench, who clearly has daddy issues, and will never meet his fathers expectations no matter what "accomplishments" he makes.
Dany comes across new obstacles, and demands things that seem impossible to certain rulers, even though she failingly persuades them that her dreams do in fact come true. She is met with disappointment when she returns to her quarters, slaughtered men in her midst, important things riding on the backs of others.
All in all, great suspenseful episode making me yearn for more, and read the book much faster. Great job!
It's clearly best to watch "The Old Gods and the New" without knowing
what to expect from it, so I won't get any specific with the plot and
I'll limit myself to saying: it's awesome. The first Game of Thrones
episode to be directed by Emmy winner David Nutter (who later went on
to direct the undisputable #1 of all GoT episodes "The Rains of
Castamere") is an important turning point in season two, as everything
points in the direction of war due to the events in this episode.
In the Winterfell story part, things start to go down right from the beginning. And that is actually my problem with it: that it happens right at the beginning. I'm convinced that I'm not alone with the opinion that the breathtaking intensity overshadowed the whole subsequent scene which is a well-written argument between Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand that should definitely not be overlooked. I'm being extra harsh on this subject and say that this is really bad editing because the Winterfell scene would've worked palpably better if used as the finale of an episode (either this one or the one before it). And while not as huge, the same applies for the King's Landing riots, however in this case, the next scene features Emilia Clarke even more feisty than usual and will gain your attention right away even if you can still hear your heart beating as a response to what just happened. But I guess I really can't judge too hard considering the vast amount of things happening, with a lot of them differentiating from the source novel quite a lot. And in this case, I have to say that I enjoyed the version of Benioff and Weiss more than George R. R. Martin's.
Besides those two scenes, which genuinely affected me, I had two other favorite moments in "The Old Gods and the New": the great suspense that comes up when Lord Baelish visits Tywin Lannister at Harrenhal who, as we know, is not aware of having the youngest Stark daughter as his cupbearer, and what happens beyond the Wall after the aforementioned Jon Snow scene. Introducing Rose Leslie as a new guest cast member, we meet the wildling Ygritte who is able to lift up the show's sex appeal (yeah, that fairly diminished with Brienne of Tarth) even though she has like half a dozen layers of clothes on. The first scene with here features one of this episode's logical goofs, but I connived at that as well since what follows is an icy pursuit that is one of the simplest but also most entertaining action sequences in season two thus far. But topping anything else is the bedtime scene with Jon and Ygritte and what I reckon to be the show's loveliest love story initiates. Not on the same level, but still surprisingly adorable to watch was Robb Stark continuing his flirtation with field nurse Talisa (sex appeal still rising). In the meantime, Jaqen H'ghar climbs higher and higher on the ladder of Game of Thrones' most awesome characters and the climactic situation at Qarth reaches a new apex with a shocking crime.
You see? The plot is really fascinating in this one and the small flaws can't ultimately mar the entertainment I had while watching "The Old Gods and the New". Outstanding performances by Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), and newbie Rose Leslie additionally help it to become this season's best episode yet.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There was no Stannis this episode, yet the episode was still a
masterpiece. Even though they excluded somethings from the book, I
really loved this episode. It was frightening, suspenseful, funny and
dramatic. "The Old Gods and the New" is an achievement.
Right from the start, Theon captures Winterfell and orders Bran to yield the castle to him. Now if you remember from last episode, Bran's dream showed the ocean claiming Winterfell. As Theon does a dangerous decapitating a loyal soldier, the rain begins to fall harder and harder symbolizing the ocean Bran was referring to. By the end of the episode, Bran and his son sneak out of Winterfell undetected.
North of the Wall, Jon Snow continues his journey with the intent to kill as many wildlings as possible. During his mission, he and his group ambush a wildling campsite and Jon captures Ygritte, a female red head. Ygritte is an important character to this series for Jon Snow so be ready to see a lot of her. And after a failed attempt at executing her, Jon and Ygritte have a rundown. Even though Jon captures her again, he is unable to find his group before nightfall.
In Kings Landing, Cersei and Tyrion watch as they force the princess to leave the capital before the war hits. After a little threat from Cersei, King Joffery and the royal family are attacked by the people. Even though Tyrion tries to tell Joffery that this attack is all his fault, Joffery walks away and even lets Sansa to be attacked by three men. The Hound does save her just before she is raped but it will scar her for life that Joffery did not do anything for her.
In Harrenhal, Arya continues to be a cup bearer for Tywin. It seemed everything was fine until Littlefinger came in and began to talk to Tywin about Renly's wife and her family. It was intense since Littlefinger knows Arya when she was in King's Landing. It was great to see Arya try to hide her face as she refilled their wine cups and Littlefinger trying to see her face. Later in the episode, Arya steals a message about Robb heading south before Tywin can see the message. Though a red cloak caught her outside his chambers, she goes to Jacquen and tells him to kill the guard immediately. It was a funny scene of dialogue and close calls but the episode did it perfectly.
In Qarth, Daenerys tries to find any way to get ships to cross the sea towards Westeros. Unfortunately for her, she has no allies in Westeros and no one gives her the ships when she promises fortunes. At the end of the episode, her dragons are taken from her bedroom.
This was a fast paced episode. I was glad when I hit the half way mark because I wanted to see more of the story unfold. Yes, Stannis was left out this week but it didn't matter. His time will come in the later episodes. Still, it was a fantastic episode. Bravo.
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