A Game of Thrones, “Blackwater”, outstanding television at it’s best

**SPOILERS**SPOILERS**SPOILERS**SPOILERS**

I’ve just finished watching A Game of Thrones penultimate episode “Blackwater” and leapt immediately to my laptop to get some good rave going on for one of the most exhilarating and glorious episodes of television I have EVER seen.

The Iron Throne

I’ve not read the books, so am unaware of how epic Siege of Kings Landing was in the novels, but picked up on the anticipation in the cyber-verse leading up to the episode to know there was something big coming that was generating some excitement. So I sat down tonight with some big expectations for what was about to unfold looking forward to seeing the first real challenge to the Iron Throne take place.

I was not disappointed.

As the Lannisters (and new ally Ser Loras – an act of revenge for the assassination of his lover Renly?) triumphed against Stannis’ marauding army so did the episode triumph as an outstanding piece of dramatic television.

“They want to play music with us? Let’s play. Drums.”

The decision to concentrate the episode entirely on the siege was an excellent one. Other than the ad breaks (thank God for Sky+!) focus the episode completely on the siege meant there was no break in the narrative tension. Through the first act I was literally on the edge of my sofa anticipating the conflict; the bells, the drums, the fear, the trepidation, the puking soldier , the gearing up with armour – all suitably built up the tension to a bloody & brutal second act, and an even bloodier climax running through to the end of Act 3.

I am so conflicted about Tyrion Lannister. As a Lannister he is, by blood, one of the show’s villains as far as I’m concerned, yet from the outset of this episode Tyrion steals the show and made it difficult for me to choose a side to root for. Stannis is not particularly likeable character, responsible for the insidious assassination of his own brother for power, especially compared to The Imp. Peter Dinklage gets better & better with every episode and is performing Tyrion as such a charming and sympathetic character I ended up really rooting for him in this battle. A moment I especially enjoyed greatly was Tyrion’s rousting speech; no cheese or cliches, just honest, raw and uncertain. If Tyrion survives his wounds from this episode; when the Lannister’s day finally comes to get everything they deserve I hope Tyrion finds some way to survive.

Tyrion calls the men of King’s Landing to arms

“Tears aren’t a woman’s only weapon. Her best one is between her legs.”

What a wicked, nasty piece of work Cersei Lannister is. Like Tyrion, she had some real opportunities to shine in this episode. I’ve always had a little crush on Lena Headley, since her days in Sarah Connor Chronicles, so really enjoyed her performance of the really juicy material she had this episode. I found the scene with her youngest son & the poison bottle was an incredible watch, captivated by the look in Cersei’s eyes as she prepares to mercy-kill her youngest child and commit her own suicide. I truly felt the relief and joy upon the arrival of her father, smashing the bottle that was to be the tool of this frightening deed.

In fact, I found the script and performances throughout exceptional. No surprise really when you consider that it was written by George R. Martin himself and performed by a stunningly talented cast. While Dinklage and Headley really stood out to me superb performances were seen in Sansa, Joffrey, Bronn, Dog and Shae, as the respective actors performed some of the most powerful and quotable lines of the whole series.

“Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them!”

I loved the action in this episode. The combat was unrelenting as limbs and heads were mercilessly sliced n’ diced all over the beach. A Game of Thrones has never shied away from graphic violence and “Blackwater” was no exception…NOT for the feint hearted. I love a good bit of gory action and “Blackwater” delivers some magnificent swordplay with ruthless realism.

I also thought the wildfire was particularly satisfying after episodes of build up to it’s mighty power. The ships burning on the water was a real spectacle. What a terrifying way to die; the scenes of sailors burning to death, with nowhere to go as their ships collapsed and sank, was terrifying and barbaric – Westeros is no stranger to the horrors of war.

“Joffrey will. The worse ones always do.”

So now I can’t wait for the next episode. Blackwater was firm 9/10 for me. How can this Season be concluding in less than a week’s time? I’m chomping at the bit to see the aftermath of the siege of King’s Landing explored and returning to the other strands of plot in the series. What can possibly happen next?

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