Game of Thrones recap: The Rains of Castamere


It’s a funny thing, those who begrudge others the modern privilege of simultaneous participation. Fans of Game of Thrones waited for the epic Battle of the Blackwater for weeks – it’s one of the few occasions in the books when a decisive battle involving major characters is shown directly in realtime, instead of as historical hearsay. Yet there are still show-watchers who complain about "spoilers!" when fellow followers discuss the much-anticipated proceedings.

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s your recap of the incredible Game of Thrones Season 2, Episode 9 – if you haven’t seen it yet and you want a pure experience, don’t read this. And, probably, edit your Twitter attention accordingly, because this is seriously fun to talk about.

The Game of Thrones series is, on the macro level, about a multi-theater war for the Iron Throne at King’s Landing. As you’ve surely gathered, though, it derives the drama in its storytelling through its portrayal of the side effects of war: Families in crisis, individuals crashing hard into the constraints of gender and class politics, the threat of the destabilizing forces of starvation and the other ways populations go neglected when their leadership turns all its resources to the struggle for power.

This episode’s military confrontation has been long in coming: To protect their family unit – spiritually fraught, but beyond wealthy in gold and pride – the Lannisters have bungled their governance spectacularly. They’ve put a dangerously cruel and impulsive child of incest on the throne after murdering and beheading almost all their potential allies, and have frittered away literal and political capital until they can barely defend their city against the advances of Stannis Baratheon, an uptight stick-in-the-mud with a creepy religion whose own brother (before Stannis’ sorceress murdered him) pointedly let him know that no one wants him for their king.

But this show is all about mysterious advantages. While the Lannisters are the ones to root against – the New York Yankees of Westeros, if you will – everyone’s favorite character is the “half-man” Tyrion, who seems to want nothing more than to mitigate his sister Cersei’s short-sighted, vicious ruling tactics and to please his dad, who crushed all three kids with a moral table that prized fear above all other emotions.

If not for Tyrion, who bravely stands at the vanguard of the Blackwater siege even as young King Joffrey flees for safer ground at his mother’s call, we might sorely be hoping for the Lannisters to lose the city: Poor Sansa could go free, then, and the stink of injustice, of rich and childish jerks cheating their way into leadership, might leave the city.

The Rains of Castamere is a song-story about Lannister pride that gets frequent reference in the books: When in fictional history a lesser lord defied the house, claiming not even a lion had the right to make other creatures bow low, the Lannisters crushed him. The lyrics serve as a reminder that standing up to these nobles generally means becoming naught but a footnote – the first time we hear it here, though, it’s being sung by Bronn, the lowborn sellsword who’s become Tyrion’s unlikely right-hand man.

As the city prepares for war, we get a clear illustration about this world’s stark (no pun intended) gender binaries: the men drink, mope and whore, while Cersei shuttles the women into a private bunker to await the outcome. She then proceeds to get absolutely smashed, lecturing Sansa on the likelihood that the city will fall – and the equal likelihood that all the women will be victims of rape at the hands of lusty soldiers. As a failsafe, she’s brought the royal headsman, Sir Ilyn Payne, to stand by. Cersei needs to play the role of sympathetic mother hen here to keep the women calm, but all the while she plans to have all of them killed should the Lannisters lose the war. Some mercy.

Although this episode is mainly about how brave Tyrion is, it’s Cersei who’s the immutable star here. You can’t tell what she feels most strongly: Resentment for the glass ceiling, worry about her sons, hatred of those who are younger and prettier than her, or her fierce wish for control. The beginning of the episode sees her procuring some deadly poison from the obsequious Maester Pycelle, and not until the end do you know for whom she intended it.

 All you know is that even if all of her power is taken away, she is desperate to have even the end happen on her terms. Peter Dinklage gets much-deserved praise for his incredible, organic and nuanced portrayal of Tyrion, but Lena Heady’s Cersei is absolutely perfect, having mastered that bitter, silken grin, that chilling, self-aware and shameless fakery.

It’s the city’s store of wildfire, an infernal alchemical concoction made by magical pyromancers, that sets the stage for the battle itself – a blazing bomb of sorts ferried in on a deserted ship and lit by flaming arrows to catch Stannis’ fleet off guard. Quite well done on the staging front for the show to slowly build tension ahead of the epic magical blaze by a strategic palette of background candleflames. Seriously, watch this episode twice. Of particular note, early on when Sandor “The Hound” Clegane shows up to crash Bronn’s party, the side of his face that was burnt by his brutal brother Gregor when they were kids is framed by two little candle lights.

This is foreshadowing, of course, as fire-phobic Clegane will get spooked during the battle, get drunk and ditch out. We have spent almost two seasons hating smug, evil inbred brat Joffrey (and watching this on repeat for catharsis!). But when his face genuinely falls at the prospect of his Dog abandoning him, you realize he’s just Mama’s scared kid, automatic inheritor of Grampa Tywin’s ruthless morals. Even Joff seems helpless and a little sympathetic in the face of this truly scary battle on the home front, and we are denied the satisfaction of seeing him put at meaningful risk.

It’s this ambiguity that makes this show an edge-of-your-seat experience. In theory we want the Lannisters to lose, but not so much when we see Tyrion’s ballsy stand end in an axe to the face. We don’t want them to lose if it means he dies.

When all seems lost, we find Cersei sitting on the Iron Throne itself – this war’s ultimate prize, a seat she as a woman could never occupy in earnest – with her littlest boy, Tommen, on her lap. The soft-voiced fairy tale she tells him about the Lion’s right to rule seems sad, hollow. No matter what the outcome of this complex siege, people will die. It will be miserable.

In a dreamy montage, a stag-helmed specter suddenly enters the field. Probably only those who have read the books would grok that it’s the recently-dead Renly Baratheon’s set of armor, worn by his lover Loras’ brother Garlan Tyrell, to put a superstitious scare into Stannis’ army. In a last-minute deus ex machina, it seems Renly’s forces have joined forces with Tywin Lannister’s to defeat the invaders and save King’s Landing.

Tywin Lannister has cursed his poor, emotionally-arrested offspring with delusions about love, power and proving themselves. All three of his kids have complicated, painful relationships with their heritage. But just as Cersei is about to poison innocent little Tommen to spare him from the certain sack of King’s Landing, it’s Loras, not Stannis, that bursts into the throne room – with Tywin right behind.

“Father,” chokes Cersei poignantly, immediately spilling out the last-ditch poison onto the floor of the throne room. For a minute, she’s just a little girl whose Daddy has come to save her. The bad guys kept their throne, and yet somehow we’re glad.

Especially when the end credits are a cover of The Rains of Castamere by the National. The Pitchfork-favorite, just a little to the mass market side of indie, released its version just a little earlier this week, and singer Matt Berninger’s solemn baritone lends the tune the precise touch of sinister-but-inevitable a Lannister victory needs. Sidenote: the band also contributed Exile, Vilify to the Portal 2 game soundtrack, so it’s probably safe to say they’re making a savvy pitch for nerd cred.

Fascinating how a show about marginalized people makes it genuinely hard to peg anyone as hero or villain. It’s entirely new levels of ambiguity for the fantasy genre in mainstream television, thanks to brilliant actor portrayals. And while the show continues to diverge from the books just a little bit when it comes to visible detail (in the show Clegane did not drunkenly kiss Sansa, shippers beware; Tyrion, though grievously wounded, still appears to have a whole nose), fans should be quite grateful for the loving details applied to the book’s crucial subtext.


  1. Been watching for weeks and still trying to figure it out. Missed the first season and half of this one. After reading this I am even more messed up than before. YIKES

  2. The characters in the books are equally hard to pin down.  Jame Lannister is quite often noble and venal at the same time.  One often wishes him dead in one chapter and in the space of three more is rooting for him.  Samwell Tarly constantly berates himself for being a coward, yet consistently acts more selfless than the bravest hedge knight. 

    If Renly Baratheon had an affair with Loras Tyrelle in the book, I certainly missed it.  In the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t seen a single episode as I don’t watch TV. A Game of Thrones sure makes me wish I did, though.  Fantasy and science fiction are both equally hard to get filmed, but the former almost always found no audience at all. It wasn’t until Harry Potter and Peter Jackson’s LotR efforts that they got any attention whatsoever. One could argue that A Game of Thrones would not have even been considered without them.

    1.  The thing going on with Renly and Loras is much more subtly done in the books  – there are rumours and the fact that he and  Margaery Tyrell never got it on.

    2. The Renly/Loras thing is hinted at here and there in the books, more implied than anything else.  I distinctly remember a comment about Renly preferring the company of boys.  Though it’s hard to tell how much the rumors of Renly’s sexual orientation were based on the Tyrelle’s desire to maintain that Maergery (spelling?) is actually still a maiden.  I only recall Loras being referred to as possibly being Renly’s lover once and that was long after Renly’s death.

      You should give the show a try if you like the books.  The first season in particular was an excellent adaptation.  The second…I’ve disagreed with a few of the changes, primarily because some of them have undermined the motivations behind certain character’s choices, but overall it’s still very good.  Besides, as you said…fantasy doesn’t often get a fair shake on film, and HBO is (at least for now) committed to giving A Song of Ice and Fire an honest shot.

  3. It’s a really nice touch in the book when The Rains Of Castamere plays… and then some time later there’s a reference to the family the Reynes of Castamere and we can put together for ourselves what happened. Great world-building.

    Then GRRM mentions it about seventeen more times, battering the reader over the head a little for my taste. SUBTEXT! SUBTEXT HAPPENING!

  4. Just a correction: in the books, The Hound doesn’t kiss Sansa. She REMEMBERS him kissing her even though this did not occur in the scene. In the books, it is meant to be a commentary on Sansa’s state of mind and show that she may be an unreliable narrator.

  5. “The bad guys kept their throne, and yet somehow we’re glad.”

    And that´s why so many of us love those books so much.

  6. Absolutely loved this episode; was a little worried when I realized it was going to focus entirely on Kings Landing, but in the end I understood that that was the only way to tell this bit of the story. The Rains/Reynes of Castamere over the end credits was a nice touch; must find out who was singing it.

    My only question at this point – what in the world is going to happen to Stannis? Taken prisoner in KL? This didn’t happen in the book

    1. Duh. Reading back over the synopsis, I now see it was the singer from the National singing over the end credits. I really must pay more attention…

      1. …and a colleague at work just informed me that Stannis wasn’t captured by KL soldires, but rather dragged away from the battle by his own guys. Man alive, I’m feeling dumb this morning. Also, tired.

        1. I did wonder how he’s getting out though. Surely he doesn’t go back down a siege ladder.

          Amazing to hear Castamere… I’m too unmusical to have guessed at how it would sound.

  7. They did do an amazing job building up the suspense and dread before the battle. But if someone had accidentally skewered Joffrey, I would’ve been glad. By showing the battle from the Lannister perspective, the viewer was manipulated to root for them, but it doesn’t seem to matter, just like real life. On the one side is Joffrey the monster – on the other, Stannis and that freaky witch.
    Lena Headey is great as Cersei but she is such an annoying character, always droning on about how she’s been wronged. Joffrey is like her revenge on the world. If I was Sansa I would’ve run off with the Hound just so I’d never have to listen to her again.

      1. Where did I say anyone roots for Joffrey himself? I meant that the battle is shown from the Lannister/King’s Landing viewpoint which manipulates you to take their side – I also meant as far as the outcome of the battle – if the Lannisters win Joffrey will still be king, not Tyrion. But Stannis and the witch would probably not be much better.
        Somebody obviously wanted to get rid of Tyrion since he was almost killed by the guy who was his ‘shield’.

    1. As much as I hated myself for it, I did have a moment of pity for Joffrey when he decided to run off and leave the battle after the Hound had left him. I’m putting this down to Jack Gleeson being the worlds greatest actor rather than me feeling sympathy for a psychopathic teen king with the smuggest face I’ve ever seen.

  8. People root for Joffrey? Even in the slightest way?

    If I was gramps, I’d give the crown to Tyrion and have lil Joffey hacked and butchered to death with rusty and very dull swords in front of a crowd to make a point.

    1. If it were up to Tywin, he would have Jaime on the throne and Tyrion in the ground. It’s ironic because the opposite would probably be best for all parties. Though they let Tyrion keep his nose, I think they are going to give him the scar on his cheek. I think the best part about this series is that there still is great storytelling left for years to come. Thank you, GRRM and good job HBO for putting faith is this series.

      1. Just so long as they don’t impede his eyebrows. Dinklage communicates more with a look than anyone else can with a speech.

    2. I think Jame is  ruthless enough to toss Joffrey off the wall and say “Come on Sis, let’s try again.” 

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

    Peter Dinklage, winning another Emmy.

    1.  Absolutely. And anyone who hasn’t seen his amazing movie, The Station Agent, should get their ass to the local/digital rentery ASAP.

      1.  My theory is that he’s the only one who stayed around Casterly Rock; Jaime joined the Kingsguard and Cersei went with Robert, so they acquired King’s Landing accents while Tyrion’s is closer to Lord Tywin’s.

  10. I feel like I am in the minority here, I was really disappointed by the episode. It wasn’t shit, but I’d been given to understand that the battle was going to be a lot more epic than it actually turned out to be.

    As my partner pointed out there was no great chain, and no use of trebuchet or really any intelligent use of the wild fire beyond the one use at the opening of the sea portion of the battle.

    I did get a chubby at the “those are brave men out there, let’s go kill them” line.

    1. I was disappointed too, but I was being constantly distracted while watching it. I feel like I must have missed something. Not sure if I want to bother watching it again… like you said the battle was a bit less epic than I thought it should be (though it was satisfyingly gruesome, showing the kind of extreme but realistic bodily mayhem most epic fantasy battles cut away from).

      I think I’m thoroughly confused at this point by who everyone is and what their allegiances are. It was a lot easier to keep track of when I watched all of season 1 and the first half of season 2 right in a row over the course of a couple of days. After waiting between episodes I was pretty lost this week and last.

      So I guess the point of my comment is if anyone hasn’t watched yet, might I suggest you wait until the season is over and watch it all at once (or over the course of a few days) unless you’ve read the books and know who all the characters are.

      1. What characters are you confused about/having trouble identifying? I can probably help out a bit.

    2. The book’s Battle of the Blackwater is astoundingly epic; probably the best battle sequence in modern fiction. I missed the chain and all, but I’m aware that would have been retardedly expensive to film; way beyond their budget. I think they did an admirable job.

        1. I think they deleted the chain because it just would have sucked up screen time and viewer attention.  Once the fire ship went foom, viewers knew what was happening.  Adding the chain would have just potentially confused people in a fast-moving scene.

    3. I think it was mainly budget constraints. This show probably has a lot of dough behind it, but not the LotR amounts that you’d need to portray the battles in a way more faithful to the books.

  11. Surely the whole point of this series is that everyone, and hence no-one, is ‘the bad guys’?  Every faction has its plus points, even if individuals don’t, but also its glaring moral vacuums.  I don’t root for anyone; they’re all flawed.  That’s why they’re all so watchable.

    Got to say, compared to the rapid pace of plot development in the first series, I’ve been rather disappointed by this series’ apparent reluctance to change the status quo or kill anyone important, a certain other contender notwithstanding, until now.  It had felt like the story was spread too wide and thus too thin, until this pleasingly focused episode. 

  12. Just about to watch it. One of my best mates from uni is in most of the fight scenes. Brace yourselves; Fionbharr is coming. ;)

    1. Very cool – were you able to pick him out? I expect that would be a challenge.

  13. Who does a naval invasion at night?

    Why wasn’t the castle blacked out, or better yet, set up a fake lighthouse to send the ships onto the rocks? 

    Why wasn’t the Mud Gate reinforced?  Wouldn’t it have been easy to dig a big hole in front of it and let it flood? It’s pretty much at sea level.

    Why didn’t they save a little of the green fire to throw from the walls? 

    What happened to the red witch and the smoke monster that climbed out of her hoo-haw? 

    1. You don’t reinforce a gate in the short amount of time they had to prepare and then hope water will magically find its way into the mote you dug. Speaking of which, how long and how many people would it take to dig that hole? That time is better spent preparing in other ways.

      That green fire is incredibly difficult to control. The last thing you want is for it to be anywhere near the gates because it could just as easily burn the gates and all the men defending it. 

      The red witch wasn’t brought to the battle because Stannis was advised by Davos not to bring her for fear of her vile nature and perceived credit for the victory.

      1. How about some boiling oil off the ramparts onto the 50 or 100 guys up against the walls?

        The siege fighting really left a lot to be desired, even considering the budgetary constraints of a weekly TV show which really shouldn’t have affected it at all. How much does it cost to show some pots of oil to pour or some sticks to push ladders off the walls?

        1. I agree, I thought there was much too much closeup.  Other than the naval battle it looked like a battle held in lots of small disparate venues.  Of course, budgetary reasons matter, and that ~is how a close-order battle seems to its participants.

          As for the oil and sticks, they really weren’t necessary.  We saw the rocks and knew the defenders were fighting back.  It wouldn’t have added much to show the viewer more defensive techniques.

    2.  Davos was a career smuggler (Davos is Stannis Baratheon’s right-hand man), so I’d wager he’s used to working at night.

    3. 1) Battle at night in premodern conditions – naval or land – was historically very difficult due to the problems of command and control.  Heraldry was specifically developed with the aim of allowing identification from a distance (that’s the source of the rules for no colours-on-colours, etc.)  

      So a night attack is pretty unrealistic, yeah.  

      2) The fake lighthouse is actually a pretty good idea.  However, Ser Davos is a pretty epic seaman, and probably wouldn’t be fooled by such a thing.

      3) Maybe it was.  A ditch likely wouldn’t have helped much, though.  The attackers would have just improvised a bridge.  They wouldn’t be much more vulnerable there than coming through the gate itself.

      4) They may have, in case the fire ship didn’t get all the enemy.  But once Stannis’ forces knew the Lannisters had wildfire, they likely would have just landed their troops out of range.  The fire ship, although it was a big gamble, was the right call.

      5) Davos prevailed upon Stannis to not invite her along.

  14. I really appreciated the introduction of  “The Rains of Castamere” in this episode. I have been waiting for it. There is a certain event next season that wouldn’t be the same without it. Although, I did discover that in an early episode this season when Tyrion meets with Cersei and the Small Council, he enters whistling the tune to  “The Rains of Castamere”, unrecognizable til now. I love the care the showrunners are investing in this show. No one wonder Martin has entrusted them with how the series ends (in case he passes away before the books are finished.)

      1. Yeah, he gave them the major plot points for the rest of the story arc and resolutions just in case. I’m sure he can change his mind during the writing if he finds a better path.

    1.  Well, duh. If you’ve read the books, who ISN’T excited about next season?!  And I thought they did a really good job bringing The Rains of Castamere to life.  Can’t wait to hear The Bear and the Maiden Fair. :D

        1.  Still, pretty cool.  It would be awesome if Wilko Johnson (Sir Ilyn Payne) had a crack at interpreting the song.  Complete with the “Wilko Strut” of course. :D

  15. I’ll never listen to Michael Martin Murphey’s “Wildfire” the same way again.

  16. Just listening to the Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott podcast recaps from earlier… I may be the last to hear about this, but here it is: 

    19. After Ned’s beheading Joffrey takes Sansa to admire Ser Ilyn Payne’s handiwork – but someone you don’t expect is sat on a spike at the Red Keep. The head to the left of Septa Mordane is actually George W. Bush wearing a wig. “It’s not a political statement”, says David Benioff, “we just had to use what heads we had lying around!”

    1. Make that “second last to hear about it”. I’m wondering why they happened to have a replica head of Bush just lying around.

      1. You’ve seen those prop warehouses, right? They never throw anything away that might be useful later, even if just as a lighting reference stand-in.

        I do think there was a statement there – they could have picked anyone at all. But I don’t think it’s about US politics, it’s “This is what former heads of state tend to look like in Westeros.”

    2. Back when the shrub was handed the crown by SCOTUS I wanted so badly to hang him in effigy wearing a king george outfit. I chickened out with the prospect of having a relationship with the secret service , though.

  17. Rabid fanaticism related to sport = lame.
    Rabid fanaticism related to a TV show = good?

    The more people talk about this show the more I want to (and probably will) ignore it completely. All the internet needed was a Game of Groans recap – because discussion of the show is in really short supply and everything.

      1. So original. I’ve never seen this concept illustrated before. You’ve really opened my eyes.

        1. Teapot, you’re just being a hater.  Never, ever hate on something  just for the reason that other people like it.  It says nothing about them and everything about you.  Don’t play to lose like that.  You think you’re clever.  Good first step.  Act like it.  That’s part two.

    1.  Hey guys, teapot says nobody is allowed to enjoy anything, so let’s all pack up and go home.

      Let’s all just go around the internet telling people to stop enjoying whatever it is they happen to be doing.  But, make sure you don’t enjoy that either.

      1. Sure, go ahead and reframe my comment as best suits your rebuttal… don’t bother yourself with the details of, you know, what I actually said.

        Did I say don’t enjoy it? Nope. What I was getting at (which you clearly missed because someone dared question the value of yet-another-recap of your beloved TV show) was that sport gets railed on by BB editors due to the mindless fanaticism that is characteristic of it. But when the same levels of fanaticism are applied to a TV show it’s OK? I was just pointing out what seems to be a glaring double-standard… no need for all of you to get pissy. It’s not my problem if you can’t understand concepts that aren’t clearly laid out for you.

        In any case, check your reading comprehension skills bud(s). I never said people can’t enjoy the show. I just said the internet doesn’t need another place to discuss this show considering it’s everywhere already. Can you refute that? Because that’s what I said.

        PS: Yeah.. I’m gonna be heaps more likely to watch the damn show now that I’ve been called a childish hater and instructed to do so.

        PPS: I notice you’re all new here. Thanks for blowing in to discuss a TV show – final bastion of true and meaningful storytelling. I await being awestruck by the insight of your upcoming comments.

        1. Lucky for us they’re gushing over a pretty excellent television show with actual stuff to say about a lot of things that matter.   We can gush over sports ladders later if that will give you some relief.

          Any argument you ever make about anything is only going to be as good as what you use to back it up.  If you’ve not seen the show, then you’ve little but your indignation to stand on.  Ever tried to stand on indignation?  It’s horribly intangible.  Not a good foundation for anything.

          I get your point about fandom being choosy, but you’ve got to know your subject first.  

          (Also: NBA style brackets for SoIAF characters?  Does it just automatically end in a deathmatch between Khal Drogo and Gregor Clegane with Syrio Forel as a surprise outlier?)

    2. What I find entirely baffling is that you’d bothered to comment at all (kind of makes you a bit of a hypocrite).

      By all means, please ignore the show completely and climb back under your wet blanket.

      (Can you imagine a going to a sporting event to heckle the audience?  Me neither.  Begone foul troll!)

    1.  I haven’t watched the series yet, but I was hoping for “Acorn Antiques with Swords”.

  18. The one greep I had about the episode was when Tyrion got slashed across the face.  I didn’t expect the tv show to go as far as the books and slice off half his nose, but…

    … the cut they DID show was more a scratch than a cut.  Head and face wounds tend to bleed a LOT (speaking from experience), and Tyrion had barely a dribble.  I’ve gotten worse scratches from my cat.  Considering how freely blood and guts flew around in the rest of the episode, I wish they’d juiced that scene up a bit.

    1. I dunno, by the end of that scene it looked like a pretty serious cut. Plus, given the medical technology available at the time, it’s pretty easy to imagine how an injury like that could end up being more serious than it looks at first.

      1. It seemed like the cut went form his forehead to his cheek and missed a lot in between.

        1. Yeah, the forehead cut didn’t look bad, but his right cheek looked like it was flapping open at the end there. They’ll give him a nasty scar and be done with it; at first glance a major change from the books, but the wounding/recovery will have served it’s purpose adequately.

    2. I was more creeped out by that scene having not read the books. After seeing the soldier on the ramparts getting the top of his head sliced off I half expected  Tyrion’s head to fall apart after a second or two.

  19. An important point that should not be overlooked in this episode recap.  Those who haven’t read the books (don’t worry, no spoiler here if you’ve already seen this episode) might have missed an important detail when Tyrion was attacked during the melee at the gates. 

    In case you missed it, the knight who slashed at Tyrion was armored in Lannister red…

    Intrigued? You should be.

    1. Do you mean the knight that actually slashed Tyrion’s face open? He was actually dressed in kingsguard white. Or at least he should have been, my TV is a piece of crap and the colour balance is all over the shop.

      1. Ser Meryn.  It was the same dude that Joffrey had beat up Sansa.  “Bron, the next time Ser Meryn speaks, kill him.”

        1. Oh so close – it was Ser Mandon. Joff orders Mandon and Boros to “represent him” on the field of battle.

          Meryn is Syrio – it is known!

          1. I don’t know about Syrio being Meryn, unless I’m not supposed to know that yet. I thought Syrio fought Meryn in book one when he came to take Arya.

            Is this a divergence of the books and show?
            I’m wondering if they didn’t just make that a composite character.

            A lot of my impressions are based on the actors appearances, so maybe there are two actors who look similar with a kingsgaurd helmet on. (Edit) The best I could find is that Mandon is played by an unknown extra, which would make him not Ian Beattie.

            (Oh George, so many charachters)

          2. hymenopterid – Oh, he did. I’m referring to a crackpot theory that I really shouldn’t go into here; don’t want to ruin anything for anyone.

            ETA – for clarity, I should note that it is most definitely *not* known that Meryn and Syrio are the same person, it’s totally just a theory. The “it is known” is itself simply a meme from the books, something Dany’s handmaidens are fond of saying, ad nauseum.

          3. I’m still hoping that Syrio is Jaqen H’Ghar.

            Here’s a snap of Ser Mandon making Tyrion’s Bad Day. I thought he was in red on first viewing, but it’s just all the blood. The triple crested helmet and crown breastplate were definitely visible though.

  20. The show exhibits some fantastic acting a fairly decent handling of story and pace, but damned if that isn’t some lackluster fight choreography.

    1. I thought the fight choreography was decent, considering they didn’t have unlimited pots of Lannister gold to throw at it.

  21. Ok, all I could think, was why did that epic siege only take up 45 minutes? Kings landing has never been breached? everyone was preparing to starve to death? Well the walls require only the shittiest of ladders and apparently 6 guys wearing a bat can bust in the gates. It ain’t no helms deep

    Love the drama, the battles seem to pretty anti-climactic.

    1. Keep saying it, maybe they’ll give the show more money for the big stuff in season 3.  Let’s hope so.  Shall we sing a hymn?

      I think HBO is a little shy after Rome.  Rome had some bad mofo battles with some great mofo actors, but it cost buku bucks.  It’s still a wierd middle ground between cheap network shows and cinema event type movies.  For the middle ground it was really epic.

      1. Fingers crossed,

        I do think they could have done somethings better while still on the cheap, stretched it over two episodes, do some distant shots of troop movements with relatively cheap graphics.  Maybe shot it creatively so you couldn’t count the 25 guys that were fighting the 50 guys.  and some setting where it wasn’t clear the beach was only 100 feet wide and couldn’t actually hold any army…   or maybe not hype the battle over a whole season if they know it will be small potatoes.

        But maybe they went lame so all of us would advocate a bigger budget.

  22. I guess the nuanced portrayal of all the characters is done -in part- to emphasise that they all share a far more dangerous common enemy that most of them are completely ignoring; the Others. That iron throne isn’t going to be of any use to anyone if all the warring amongst themselves leaves them unprepared to deal with the real threat.

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