When I finished watching this week’s episode of Game of Thrones I had no idea how I was going to sit down and write a recap, because at the risk of sounding like a fifteen-year-old on Tumblr, I HAD TOO MANY FEELINGS. I did what any sensible person would do; I took a step back, and then another ten steps back, all the way out of my back door and into the garden to sunbathe for a few hours. Now I’m back at my laptop, and I think I’m ready to give this recap a shot.
“Blackwater” was actually written by George R. R. Martin himself, which delighted me. He wrote an episode of the first season too, “The Pointy End”, at around this time last year. I may have been influenced by my prior knowledge of his involvement with the script, but it seemed to me that Martin’s voice was clearly heard in this episode, from Cersei’s drunken ramblings to Tyrion’s empowering speech as the Lannister forces seemed to falter; “Those are brave men knocking at your door. Let’s go kill them!”.
The special effects in this episode were magnificent. Ever since I read the rest of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I’ve been wondering how exactly some of the more fantastic elements of the books will translate to the screen, and I was not disappointed by the terrifying wildfire. As is to be expected from Game of Thrones, they did not shy away from graphic violence and gore this week. In some fantasy movies and shows, entire battles are fought without a drop of blood seeming to be spilled, but Game of Thrones isn’t afraid to give us the horrifying and disgusting realities of war. This show often makes me feel physically ill, and the wildfire scene certainly left me feeling a little queasy; from the expression on Tyrion’s face he wasn’t particularly happy about it either.
Cersei and Sansa were both incredible in very different ways this week. Cersei’s drunken ramblings, interspersed with incredibly poignant moments of honesty, were expertly contrasted with Sansa’s level-headed reassurances to the rest of the women and children waiting for the battle’s conclusion. I laughed when Cersei told Sansa that being a wife was like being a horse and then told her to “Enjoy!”, and I cried when Sansa stood up and led the others in a hymn. I even felt sorry for Joffrey in this episode, watching him torn between adulthood and childhood, unable to be the king that everyone else wanted him to be or the child that he still was inside. That’s probably the only nice thing I’ll ever write about Joffrey.
Game of Thrones has quite a unique and strange ability to make you care about all of the warring parties involved in the show. Tyrion is the only Lannister that I truly love, although I do appreciate Cersei on a number of levels, and yet I found myself rooting for the lions this week. I had a tear in my eye as Tyrion was celebrated by the troops, chanting “half-man!” in recognition of his bravery and leadership, and a few more tears fell as he did. The stand-out scene for me was the last one, as Cersei told her story of the lion and her cub while the battle reached its climax outside the castle gates. Reminiscent of the scene in Return of the King when Pippin sings a haunting song as the troops meet on the battlefield, it was beautiful in so many ways and left me feeling … well, all of the feelings.
And the credits song! Oh, the credits song!
You can watch the promo for next week’s episode “Valar Morghulis” - the last episode of the season! – below. Be sure to let us know what you thought of this week’s episode in the comments.