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Game of Thrones – Review SE02 EP09 – “Blackwater”

“Fuck the King’s guard. Fuck the city. Fuck the King.” ~ The Hound

George R. R. Martin wrote this edge of your seat episode and just nailed it. Diverging from the usual formula of featuring different characters all over Westeros and beyond, Martin kept the storyline in King’s Landing. There was more than enough material and action to keep the show moving even using one location. Martin moved from character to character before and during the attack; Tyrion, Cersei, Bronn, the Hound, Varys, Joffrey and Sansa.

“You like fucking, drinking and singing, but killing…Killing’s the thing you love. You’re just like me, except smaller…” ~ The Hound

The Hound comes across Bronn singing and enjoying a whore on his lap so he rains on Bronn’s parade with this dour observation. The Hound has some of the best dialogue in “Blackwater”. The entire episode has a harsh and more vulgar tone than is usual for the show to drive home the severity of what we are about to witness.

“You can’t fuck your way out of everything” ~ Tyrion

There are fantastic fleeting moments where every character lets their facade drop and their fear permeates the screen. All of King’s Landing prepares nervously for the onslaught with the toll of ominous bells and in this moment, Varys has a very candid discussion with Tyrion about escaping through the tunnels and shares his fears of Stannis’s use of the black arts. Varys nearly tells Tyrion how he was castrated. In this brief moment, we see “The Spider” fearful.

“Tears aren’t a woman’s only weapon. The best one to use is between your legs”. ~ Cersei

Cersei spends much of this episode drinking wine and bursting Sansa’s bubble. She tells it like it really is and even admits that she has procured the royal executioner, Ser Ilyn Payne, to kill them if Stannis breaks down the walls. Cersei won’t be raped and made to bend knee. Earlier in the episode, we see Cersei buying some Nightshade to commit suicide in case of defeat. She’s scared but we don’t see this until she is alone in the throne room telling Tommen a story. She is about to down the mixture but she is spared by the last minute appearance of her father, Tywin who manages to route Stannis and save King’s Landing.

The entire episode takes place at night giving it a creepy and dark feel. Tyrion uses wildfire against Stannis’s ships, decimating them in the harbour. The wildfire gives off an eerie green cast and the special effects used were phenomenal. None of it seemed overly CGI’d.

“Some of those boys will never come home” ~ Shae
“Joffery will, the worst ones always live” ~ Sansa

Joff asks Sansa to kiss his sword, “heart eater”, for luck and talks a big game. She stokes Joff’s ego by trying to egg him into the thickest part of battle hoping he dies but its a no-go as Cersei pulls her son out of battle and back to the Red Keep. Joff gladly leaves and poor Tyrion is stuck trying to rally whats left of Joff’s men to battle.

“We’ll come out behind them and fuck them in the asses!” ~Tyrion

Tyrion manages to give an awesome rallying speech and the men finally come around and fight for him. The battle scenes that ensue are gruesome and incredible. Definitely not for the faint of heart. Tyrion shows he’s ten times the fighter and leader his sniveling nephew is and at the end of the fight, the men begin chanting “Half-man” in praise of Tyrion’s heroics. For all his talk of “heart eating”, Joffrey showed the world he is a cruel coward and Tyrion saved his ass and the day.

Shae tries to get Sansa to leave. She runs into the Hound as he is leaving the city and he offers to take Sansa back to Winterfell. She reluctantly agrees. It never ceases to amaze me how even after Cersei’s rude awakening, Sansa still manages to cling to her fairy tale. She is baffling and frustrating. The fairy tale is over sweetheart, it’s time to flee while you still can.

This was a dark, gritty and intense episode – the action, dialogue and gruesomeness of it made it one of my favorites this season. Martin did a stellar job at making it a unique, and memorable episode and I can’t imagine topping this for the season finale! Tune in with us next week for the exciting conclusion of Season 2, of Game of Thrones.

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