Game of Thrones: Season 2: Episode 9: Blackwater

“The Battle of Blackwater” was a non-stop action sequence that satisfied on levels television shows haven’t produced before. After a season of bickering and planning we finally witness a gruesome full hour of fighting as Stannis lays siege on King’s Landing. Episodes ago I couldn’t imagine a wildfire explosion to be so visually amazing, and epically destructive. Throughout the episode each of the players present in Kings Landing are put through their own battles, leaving every plot point feeling like a pivotal moment in everyone’s character arcs.

Even before the battle had truly begun viewers still probably don’t know whose side they were even on? I mean obviously King Joffrey is someone you don’t want to win – considering he is a freaking psychopath. But does that mean Stannis should be king? He is boring but he is also ten times the man Joffrey will ever be – also he is a huge badass after witnessing him fighting in this episode. Yet, if we root for Stannis what about Tyrion? Why do Joffrey and Tyrion have to share that horrible last name? For these and other reasons, this episode was truly magnificent in demonstrating a memorable battle with constant tension and extreme plot development. From action to action you hang on the fate of some of our favorite characters feeling a stinging mixed feeling at who lives or dies.

THAT TIME TYRION AND SANSA PLAYED OTHER PEOPLES ROLES BETTER
As the episode begins we check in with all our major players this hour. Stannis’s fleet is approaching in the darkness of Blackwater Bay. The men are nervous (evidence: see wicked full puke bucket), as we also see Davos and his overly faithful son on deck of one of the ships. While his son spew’s religious nonsense and proves he doesn’t really understand the nature of what they are doing Davos proves his depth of character. He is rightfully nervous, understands he is setting someone’s home on fire, and knows this is something they must not fail at. His son seems to think the Lord of light will just let everything happen nicely. Since when are gods nice? Never.

Tyrion is spending what could be his last sexytime with Shea – This guy is waaay to in love with this chick but he deserves some love. She seems to like him but I get the feeling if something better came along she’d be gone in a heartbeat – no matter how many times she threatens to stab things in the face for him. Cersei and Maester P (whose beard is way shorter now thanks Tyrion cutting it off episodes ago) obtained some of the essence of Nightshade – which we know cannot be for any good reason. What are you doing with that poison Cersei?

Bronn is drinking and singing with some of his men, while ceremoniously divulging cool origins stories about his broken nose while stripping a bar wench naked. Everything is all laughter and singing until the Hound comes in, intimidates others to move so he can sit, steals one of their ales and also seems to seems to tire of Bronn’s games. They bicker like children. The Hound talks about killing like Tyrion talks about tits, then says him and Bronn are the same except he, the Hound, is bigger. They approach one another to fight and the Hound tells Bronn his Lord imp is going to miss him. We are unsure where the Hounds motivation is coming from – whether it be annoyance at Bronn’s lifestyle or a prior plan to off Tyrion’s loyalists by Cersei perhaps? Just as they are about to tear each other apart we hear the city bells ringing – signalling the approach of Stannis. Whew. Bronn and the Hound decide to delay this confrontation, as there is a war to be fought now.

Tyrion is standing on a table, getting his armor put on by his squire Podrick Payne (whom he actually trusts). Varys is also there because you know he and Tyrion are now besties. He hints to Tyrion that there are tunnels they could escape through if it came to that but Tyrion makes it clear that he has no plan to run. Vary throws in that he thinks Tyrion is the only man who can beat Stannis tonight. No pressure on the halfman or anything. I do see how Tyrion is one of the few man who could pull a battle like this off – if not for the King’s Landing defenders who by now are insanely unloyal and will most likely bend a knee to Stannis as soon as they can – because ultimately: Who wants to die for Joffrey? Varys also preludes that he’s seen some dark powers in action so there is reason for Tyrion to fear what he does not yet know, or believe in. Apparently when he was castrated it was in this really crazy insane dark powery way – which he will tell Tyrion about eventually. Such a tease. This is also his reasoning for not wanting Stannis on the throne. He doesn’t want a man with those powers in that powerful of a position.

Davos and his son observe the ringing of the city bells. Davos knows they a mere signal bells but his son naively assumes they are in victory and welcoming their new king – I hate this kid. Davos insists if they want to play music with them, they can. He signals the drum beating to begin and this is about the moment the viewer realizes all those promos about war coming are zeroing in on these moments.

In the Throne room Tyrion and Bronn share a cute but telling scene as they prepare. We see hinting at Bronn’s extra involvement in the coming battle but also we get a feeling the sadness that is Tyrion’s social life. Not only is he paying his extremely loved bedmate Shea for her company, but he also is paying one of his best friends. Tyrion makes it clear the money doesn’t change their friendship but I think at Bronn’s base he could careless about friendship but until then he admits it enhances it and leaves it at that. Tyrion then approaches Sansa and Shea, pretends to get Sheas name wrong for good measure, and asks why she isn’t with the other ladies. Apparently Joffrey has sent for her to see him off into battle. Tyrion can’t hold back his comment about his nephew being a romantic. Ha!

Joffrey has his own version of preparation: Verbal and emotional abuse of his fiancé. He demands Sansa approach him and wish him luck. Well actually to kiss his newly forged sword entitled Hearteater in order to wish him good luck. After she actually does this, he says she can do it again after he returns with his uncle’s blood all over it. Sansa’s patience is wearing thin by now though and instead of her usual subordination she baits Joffrey about fighting in the front of his troops, and fighting Stannis directly. Joffrey calls her stupid, which she (HA!) agrees with while continuing to bait him. Robb fights right up front with his vanguard and he’s just a “pretender”. Even as she says this her eyes scream how much she actually knows about the situation. For the first time in episodes Sansa looks more confident – hopeful even. Joffrey may be slow but he isn’t outright dumb though and knows what she is playing at – yet he seems too preoccupied with the idea of dying to punish her for it. He leaves and Sansa tells Shea Joffrey will probably live because “the worst ones always live”.

On to the actual battlements Joffrey wonders where the hell his fleet is because the bay is filled with Stannis’s fleet, which is scary big, and awfully absent of any other ships. Tyrion coolly doesn’t tell because he has a surprise for both Joffrey and the viewers. In the bay on his ship, Davos wonders the same things – where the hell is the enemy? There is also a hilarious back and forth between Joffrey, Tyrion, Lancel, and the Hound as though they are all brothers not speaking to one another on a sitcom.

In a fortress in the Red Keep, all the women and children are hiding from the battle. This is where Cersei and Sansa will be spending their time during the battle. Cersei while wearing a kickass metal booby corset starts drinking, one of her best/worst habits as of late, and demands Sansa be close to her and drink with her. Sansa seems baffled as to why Cersei wants her close because she knows Cersei hates her. Sansa is also a bit preoccupied with the Kings executioner (the same who killed her father) is there staring at her like an extra creepy Lurch lookalike. Cersei claims he is there to protect them. The point of fact is Cersei simply wants to do two of her favorite things as she waits to either live or die. That is to get shitfaced, and torment sweet Sansa. Cersei goes on to mention if they lose the battle then Payne (the executioner) will kill them so Stannis wont get to them. What could Sansa want? Does she want to take her chances with Stannis and see Cersei and Joffrey get theirs? Or does she hope the Lannister’s win if only to prolong her own life? Also I do believe Cersei is a degree jealous of Sansa simply because Sansa would make a lovely sweet queen, lacking all Cersei’s venom and vitality but this fact aggravates Cersei fragile pride. She takes another drink.

Cersei goes on to mock Sansa further later on in the episode when she is praying with the other women. Sansa is seemingly trying to keep herself and the others calm but Cersei is drunk and eternally annoyed whenever Sansa shows her sweetness. How dare Sansa try praying when a woman’s best weapons are tears and sex, not prayers? She breaks it down for Sansa: The noblewomen are in for “a bit of rape”. She shares this loud enough to scare everyone in the room and she also says it as though sexual assault is an ingredient in a recipe. Some nutmeg and rape should really bring it all together. Perhaps all the sex/rape talk was to get Sansa to really loosen up and take a real drink of wine Cersei keeps pushing on her – it works finally as Sansa gulps it down.

Back out on the battlements we see Stannis’s ships appear out of the darkness and Joffrey is already screaming “Attack” several times seemingly expecting everyone to jump into the water and swim to the ships for him. Instead of King’s Landing fleet, one lone ship sails out to meet Stannis’s ships. This was when the seams of tension that have been building all season burst and Game of Thrones somehow becomes cooler than it was moments before.

The single ship Tyrion has sent out is about to work as a king of Trojan horse. As the lone ship sails closer to Stannis’s fleet, it is noted that no one is on board and the wheel is tied to course, with a trail of what looks like antifreeze leaking out of the back. But, we know better. The glowy green substance is Wildfire. Just as Davos is realizing the danger the lone ship possesses, recognizing the wildfire, it is too late. Just as he orders the fleet to move away and for his son to take cover Tyrion signals Bronn fires a lit arrow at the trail of Wildfire leaking out of the ship. A single flaming arrow in a glorious arc hits it mark. BOOM. A spectacular green explosion rocks through Stannis’s fleet. Congrats to the sound guys for finding sound FX that sound like the definition of burning flesh and crackling bones. Everyone in the battlements look astonished, even Tyrion who planned this event. Joffreys little eyes can barely open at the harsh light but soon he smiles at the carnage happening below him. The Hound looks suddenly terrified in a way I never imagined. The pyromancer who supplied the wildfire looks on as well, looking unbelievably excited as though he’s waited his whole life for this.

Stannis gets to his feet as he watches most of his fleet perish in the green flames. This seems to fuel his resolve, as he demands his men make their run on the wall now. A soldier mumbles about the wildfire, and how hundreds of men will die. Stannis corrects him saying thousands will die. “The dwarf has played his little trick… he can only play it once” Stannis cites. Him and his troops charge for land.

At the battlements, Tyrion notes Stannis seriousness as they begin to approach the shoreline. I wonder if he is simply stating it because he is still charging for the castle walls, or because he can see him on the front of one of his rowboats approaching the shore, looking like a badass action figure of some kind. Tyrion sends his squire to get more guards, and the Hound to confront anybody already on the beach. Before the hound goes he threatens one of the archers concerning any flaming arrows coming toward him. This should have been our second hint at his fear of fire, the first being his terrified reaction to the initial explosion. Someone who loves death doesn’t react badly to mass death – that was his own fear coming out.

Stannis and his men are initially greeted with many flaming arrows, and some huge rocks thrown down at them. Sound not that bad, but tell that to the dude who was decapitated by one, in the process showering Stannis with his blood. Stannis unafraid though. This is his goddamn castle and he is taking it as far as he is concerned. They decide to head to the Mud Gate, which is the exact place Tyrion knew they would. This is also where the Hound is taking his own group of men to fight. He says if any of them die with a clean sword he will rape their corpses. Don’t you love how creative he is? He goes on to severally slaughter everyone around him. Lancel Lannister is also fighting with him (because the Hound made him come lol), but is hit with an arrow to his side/arm/chest area. This apparently causes him ease because it seems bad enough that he can retreat to the castle.

Back in the fortress – most of the women and children or sleeping or listening to Cersei drunkenly talk about her childhood, her twin, and the horridness of being her to Sansa. This is interrupted as she spies Shea looking on – no knowing her she approaches her. Shea gives her a piss poor curtsey, which Cersei corrects her on. I’m sure Tyrion would get a kick out of his sister bowing to his secret mistress. She is also curious about Shea because she can now blatantly tell she is a suck handmaiden, and totally not of high birth. Drank Cersei goes on to question her, and mock her, until she finally just asks her to tell her a story. Shea begins but is interrupted by Lancel busting into the room updating her on the battle. She wants Joffrey brought into the keep for safety, which is a horrible idea for moral, but Cersei just wants her psychopath for a son to stay alive. She also comes clean to Sansa: The Payne Lurch-a-like isn’t there to protect them he is there to kill them so Stannis wouldn’t be able to get them alive.

On the shore the Hound is hard at work doing what he loves best – Killing. That is until a man on fire starts running at him blindly. The Hound just freezes in fear, unmoving. At the last moment he is saved by Bronn who shoots an arrow into the mans face, bringing him down. The Hound watches this all still stuck with fear until he mind seems to finally restart except now he has a different directive: Get the hell out of there. While the Hound makes his way out of the fight Stannis has gotten ladders put up and scaled one himself. Landing into the wall Stannis goes on to be a huge badass cutting men down left and right as he makes his way through the castle he intends to take over. The Hound calls for a drink once he’s inside, spitting out the water and insisting on wine, which seems so out of character. Tyrion mocks him but the Hound is so done with all this bullshit. Fuck the king’s guard. Fuck the city. And fuck the king. The Hound is outie.

Stannis men are quickly overcoming the fight, as they get a wicked sick looking stag head battering ram into place. Lancel is taking the King to safety, and Joffrey is going because he essentially pissing himself scared – he orders his man to fight in his stead with Tyrion. Then Tyrion watches at the men’s moral latterly crumbles as the watch their King basically run away.  Tyrion knows what he must do: He will lead the attack. This seems to surprise him just as much as everyone else. The men initially seem to have no interest in this plan until Tyrion opens his mouth and does what he does best: Talk. “They say I’m half a man but what does that make the lot of you… we’ll come up behind them and fuck them in their asses. Don’t fight for your King. And don’t fight for his kingdoms. Don’t fight for honor. Don’t fight for glory. Don’t fight for riches because you wont get any. This is your city that Stannis means to sack. That’s your gate he’s ramming. If he gets in it will be your houses he burns. Your gold he steals. Your women he will rape. Those are brave men knocking at our door, lets go kill them!” Cheers abrupt as Tyrion utilizes his new knowledge of the underground tunnels, and his charisma to lift the men up to fight with him.

Lancel not knowing of Tyrion’s grand speech goes to inform the Queen of the losing battle. He wants to bring the King back but all this does is piss off a drunken Cersei so she punches him in his wounded chest. He falls to the ground crying as she leaving holding her youngest sons hand. Sansa tries to diffuse the tension and bring a tone of hope back into the room truly playing the role Cersei has seemingly grown to hate: Queen. She starts singing a hymn, which the ladies slowly join. Shea seizes the moment and urges Sansa to return to her chamber so she is safe away from Payne who will very likely hurt her. Sansa asks Shea to come but she wants to stay to “say bye to someone” – maybe she truly loves her lion. Sansa makes her way into her chamber and listens to the sounds of battle outside. As she cradles a small doll, the Hound makes his presence known. He is drunk and sitting on her bed, notes her panic and says he is leaving Kings Landing to go somewhere that isn’t burning, perhaps north. He wants to take her with him, to take his little bird home. Sansa declines citing that Stannis wont hurt her – but the Hound says different because he is killer just like him. He also goes on and on about how every male in her life is a killer because the world is built by killers. He then tells her she better get used to looking at them: especially considering she can barely look at him. She then looks up at him and tells him he wont hurt her but comes out like she is truly believing it now. He then calls her little bird again and oh I wish Sansa left with him!

Outside the walls Tyrion is now successfully leading an attack against the Stannis fleet. Yeah Tyrion you should carry an axe for often. I believe its one of my favorite accessories of yours. As they over throw the men who were arming the battering ram, the crowd cheers for Tyrion: “Halfman! Halfman!” Just when all seems to be well Tyrion face changes to pure fear. We see a huge number of men running toward them. As the two groups clash together, Tyrion’s luck continues as he begins to look just as badass as Stannis who is busy chopping off the tops of peoples heads into the walls. After Tyrion fells someone he turns and sort of smirks at the Kings Guard who was standing near him. Suddenly the man advances on him and slashes his sword downward at Tyrion. He connects and we do not know how deep of a wound it is by Tyrion face seemed to be slowly falling in two. Before the man can finish him off Tyrion’s trusted squire stabbed the man through the chest with a spear, saving his lord. Tyrion falls into his saviors arm, as he seems to be in tense shock. As he sees men on horseback approaching his eyes finally shut as his blood falls into the sand.

Cersei is sitting on the iron throne holding her youngest son, as they listen to the battle rage on outside. She tells him and calm and that no one will hurt him. Then she tells him a little story relating him to being her little cub and its all bollocks anyways as we see she has taken out of little vial of Nightshade. She hands it to her son and urges him to drink it so he can be safe (safe being dead). Before he can drink the door cracks open and men poor in – they aren’t anyone expected though as one removes his helmet: Loras knight of flowers seems to have come. In another part of the castle Stannis’s men retreat as more fighters arrive while Stannis is dragged away. It is revealed how Loras has joined with Tywin Lannister and they have come to help protect the city therefore saving the day. Tywin struts into the throne room “The battle is over. We have won.” Cersei drops her poison vial and hugs her sun smiling joyfully.

The credits roll and we are ready for one more episode of season two of Game of Thrones. We will go back to the other plotlines, and no doubt be left with some insane cliffhangers but I simply cannot wait to find out what happens next.

-Sagebeth

 

Bonus

 

 

Bonus +1: Spoiler: There’s cake inside the house of the undying.

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~ by ATOM on May 29, 2012.

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