TV REVIEW: Game of Thrones - And Now His Watch Is Ended

Anyone expecting or desiring a nice quiet episode after last week's shocking ending might not have got what they wanted, but for those of us who eagerly await the next big gasp moments, And Now His Watch Is Ended did not disappoint.

Focusing in on fewer settings than the three previous episodes, And Now His Watch Is Ended hones in on the events occurring in King's Landing as the city prepares for the wedding of Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and Margaery (Natalie Dormer). It's the turn of remaining female Lannister, Cersei (Lena Headey), to get a dressing down from the patriarch Tywin (Charles Dance) whilst plans are made by several different parties to aid Sansa (Sophie Turner) in her departure from the capital. Dormer's performance as the incumbent Queen is masterful, as is the character's manipulation of Joffrey, but it is Diana Rigg who is stealing all the scenes is the Queen of Thorns and getting all the best lines too. Her scene with Varys is yet another one of those quieter moments in which much is said of importance and not a line is wasted in conveying the wider machinations of both characters.

Elsewhere in Westeros, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is mourning the loss of his favourite appendage (no, not that one) whilst Brienne (Gwendolyn Christie) does her best to keep him alive. Although we only see them briefly this week, Jaime's development, and with it Coster-Waldau's performance, is one of the most impressive character-driven aspects of the show, aided by superb support from Christie. Their fireside conversation is one of the quieter highlights in which the oddest couple in Westeros realise their survival depends on a mutual respect for each other. Arya (Maisie Williams) and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) find themselves in the secret hideout of the Brotherhood Without Banners, meeting the most impressively-named individual in the Seven Kingdoms, their leader, Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer). Although it was again only a small scene, Williams continues to impress and we're set up for a showdown between Dondarrion and the Hound next week.

But perhaps the most important lesson that I have learnt from this episode is that I really need to stop doubting Benioff and Weiss quite so much. Now don't get me wrong, I have a large amount of faith in them for delivering just over two seasons of sheer, unadulterated awesomeness, but we are fast approaching some of my favourite scenes in the entirety of A Song of Ice and Fire and like any self-respecting fan girl/boy, I'm a little protective of them. I know I shouldn't be, but it is the nature of the beast when you have devoured a novel series of such magnitude and quality. I've got them all up there in my head; a little show reel of all the bits I've loved and imagined in glorious internal technicolor. One such scene was featured at the end of this episode. You know the one I mean. The one where Dany got to be badass for the first time since the end of Season One, where the Unsullied were efficiently bloodthirsty, the one with the DRAGON.

What director Alex Graves and the Benioff-Weiss writing team delivered was actually just as good as the scene that played in my head as I read that particular chapter, if not better. Emilia Clarke has always been brilliant as Dany, but the big reveal of her native tongue as well as her plans for the sizzling demise of the horrific slave owner was so well done. Despite knowing that the scene was on its way (let's face it, you would have to have been dozing to miss the subtext in 'giving them a dragon' last week), the build-up was perfectly paced and the action expertly handled. The special effects for the dragons did not disappoint either and though we only saw all three together briefly, I can't wait until the trio are given more to do. And then there was the music; a soaring, choral march that added so much to the chill factor of the scene. Oh it was just so good.

So in conclusion, I am from henceforth going to have much more faith in messrs Benioff and Weiss, because if my book-based predictions are correct for what the rest of the season features, we haven't seen anything yet. 

And I've forgotten to mention Theon again...

- Becky

You can read Becky's review of the previous episode, Walk of Punishment here.

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