Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” was the first one I watched all by my lonesome. Sipping some gin and finishing off the remnants of a week old chocolate Easter bunny, my solitude helped emphasize my favorite moments from the episode—mostly because I had no one else to share my excitement with.
Like the Hound discovering Arya Stark! And the cathartic duel between Brienne and Jamie. Last but not least, Sansa’s meeting with Margaery and Lady Olenna was telling: how good it felt for the eldest Stark girl to finally be given the chance to speak her mind, even if her interviewers were far from compassionate!
Christopher Orr points out an interesting problem with Lady Stark’s self-criticism. Is Catelyn really so blind as to believe the root of her families ills stem from a lack of love for her late husband’s bastard son, rather than errors of political judgment (taking Tyrion hostage; freeing Jamie)? Or for that matter Ned’s impractical honesty?
David Sims explains why he thinks Margaery is the most interesting character to watch so far this season, “She’s not dementedly evil like Joffrey, she doesn’t have Cersei’s cold, jealous streak, and she is not a gleeful operator like Petyr or Varys (where is he, by the way?). Her motives are somewhat craven, but you also get the sense that she won’t just toss Sansa under the bus for saying Joffrey’s a monster (which they really have to drag out of her). Now, she might do that if she had to, but in a world of game-players Margaery is another, specific breed.”
Myles McNutt likes how well the show has learned how to foreground and background different characters depending on the needs of the scene and what it’s meant to develop. Which draws attention to the best character relationship in which neither supplants the other, “Jaime and Brienne’s buddy comedy was a highlight when it was introduced last season, but it has blossomed this season precisely because it doesn’t feel it is about one character or the other.”
Alyssa Rosenberg describes the other sort of courage highlighted in last night’s episode, “the willingness to walk into danger even when you’ve been made aware of the full extent of it.” In so far as “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” highlights how each of the Westeros women try to navigate their situation in life, it’s not clear which if any the audience should be inclined to agree with or admire. How would Arya behave if she were in Sansa’s shoes, or Cersei if she were in Catelyn’s? And are such comparisons even possible?
Andy Greenwald grows weary of the show’s sprawling plot and its decision to pursue every thread of it as meticulously and piece-meal as possible. “I’ve generally learned to appreciate Game of Thrones for the unique storytelling machine that it is, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if the show’s treading water or if we’re just drowning.”