Entertainment » Television

"Game" On :: The Old Gods and the New

by David Foucher
EDGE Publisher
Friday May 11, 2012
Ygritte makes her first appearance... now where have we seen her before, Mr. Carson, hmm?
Ygritte makes her first appearance... now where have we seen her before, Mr. Carson, hmm?  

Winterfell has been sacked by Theon Greyjoy, which is a little like the United States being sacked by Uzbekistan.... or the White House being sacked by Mitt Romney. It just not something that sounds reasonable. But our lackluster Theon unzipped his plan, drew up his ladder, and sent his damp minions into the breach. This revolting metaphor has been brought to you by Wendy's.

It's a shame, really, that Theon is such a flaccid guy. Because, to be honest, Winterfell could use a little facelift. Were I in charge, for example, I'd have the grounds swept, the rushes changed, bright banners hung to keep out the cold, and every outhouse fixture would be swapped out for something out of the Moen catalog. I mean, who's doing the decorating around here? Why is everthing so dank? Why isn't there a Medieval Trading Spaces in Westeros? The Winterfell people can go renovate Pike while Theon and his cronies slap a coat of paint on the hideous Stark castle. HBO, take note.

Alas, Winterfell is destined to stay as decrepit and crusty as the privates of the serving wench who apparently doesn't find it uncomfortable to walk around naked underneath what looks to be a burlap overcoat. Seriously. That's gotta hurt the nipples.

Theon does come into his own, however, when he hacks off the head of Ser Roderick; it only takes three hacks with his sword and a final frustrated kick to get the bastard's vertex to roll free. Maybe there's a whetstone in Winterfell?

Meanwhile, Jon Snow is trudging through the snow with a scouting party and Arya is watching Tywin root at his war table as he grouses about the winning ways of Rob Stark. It's just another lazy afternoon here for the Westerosi.

Until, that is, Jon and his merry band happen upon some witless Wildlings sacked out for a quiet dinner on a craggy mountain (it's where the glitterati beyond the wall go to see and be seen.) All goes well - killing, maiming, general mayhem with oversized swords - until Jon realizes that yet another actor from "Downton Abbey" has made her way into the wilds of "Game of Thrones." His commander suggests Jon remove her head, and she offers her neck for some good ol' fashioned lopping, but Jon knows very well that the maid service at Downton is without peer, so he spares her life. (Wouldn't you? She must know the answer to one of life's greatest riddles: how in the world do all those little bells in the servant's hall really work? Don't the strings fray?)

Simultaneously, things aren't going well for the Lannisters in King's Landing. On their way back to the castle from a short picnic on the piers (not really) they're attacked by the rabble. Now look: I'm not a Lannister fan, but really. The rabble play an important role at the bottom of the food chain; when they rise up like this, it not only puts lives at risk, it renders the whole social order imbalanced. Everything goes to hell and the basic certainties of life upon which we all rely evaporate into a cloud of ambiguity. Such as would happen if Oprah ended up working for Gayle. Or if the millions in the pews at Sunday church figured out that organized religion is really the lowest common denominator of mind control. Or if the White House was sacked by Mitt Romney.

But I must move on, dear Reader. The episode is only half over and I'm at like 6000 words already. Time flies when you're making fun.

Anyway, the mob attacks the Lannisters, some people die, HBO gets quite a lot of use out of handheld photography, and three guys nearly rape Sansa Stark. Which, coverly speaking, might have done wonders for her hairstyle, but alas is stopped by Sandor Clegane, who dispatches them in the chilling manner exhibited by Josef Stalin just before he enslaved Eastern Europe - that is to say, with nary an expression at all, as if he were bored, or suffered from an excess of gas.

Fortunately, the entire episode gets a lift when one of our favorite characters - the preening peacock of Qarth, the man with the really long name, still wearing his shiny little outfit from the Gold Lamé Party (takes place in the downtown area of Newark the last Sunday of April, once the mudslides recede) and sporting a retinue of gay men and faghags dressed like a Greek Chorus to Xanadu, pops in for a little financial chat with Daenerys. She wants his cash, you see, and he, like the best Venture Capitalists on the street, demands to see her P&L. It's a little like "Shark Tank," except the Sharks are all nelly queens in golden slippers.

OK, let's move things along now. Arya, in a vapid attempt to escape her employment as a page at the table of Tywin Lannister, is forced to waste her second of three free kills on basically a big nobody. Robb Stark, who really doesn't want to marry a Frey (all of whom tend to the hideous), is in full-blown heat-seeking-missile mode, and his target is a nobody nurse within his camp - at least until word comes of the sacking of Winterfell. And beyond the wall, our Downton Abbey maid snuggles close enough to Jon Snow to get his... well, direwolf... aroused.

But all of this pales when we realize that the unspeakable has happened. The worst horror ever conceived has occurred to us. Life has taken a turn for the absolute worst. It's a damnation unlike anything ever visited on us before.

The dragons have been stolen from Daenerys. Egad!

I bet you thought the White House had been sacked by Romney.

Until next week...

David Foucher is the CEO of the EDGE Media Network and Pride Labs LLC, is a member of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalist Association, and is accredited with the Online Society of Film Critics. David lives with his daughter in Dedham MA.


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