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Monday, April 30, 2012

Game of Thrones Awards: Arya Stark Does Not Fear the Ghosts of Harrenhal

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 7:55 AM

This week on Game of Thrones: Arya Stark proves that her mind is as sharp as her sword; Renly Barathon realizes, brutally and suddenly, that his best days are behind him; Theon Greyjoy, tired of being bullied, sets his sights on Winterfell; and Catelyn Stark gains a badass new best friend.

Besties!
  • Besties!

This week, the major players in the Game of Thrones will be graded on their general performance, including skill, cleverness, personal advancement, and overall bad-assery. Also, since it's common knowledge that he needs to be medievally tortured ASAP, which of the players deserves to murder King Joffrey the most? Let the games begin.

Arya Stark: A +

Arya has gone from awaiting death at the hands of the Mountain and the Tickler, who are actually terrifying murderers and not a pair of talking barnyard animals, to serving Tywin Lannister at Harrenhal. She convinces Lord Tywin that she's from a non-Stark northern household by naming that house's sigil and colors, finally realizing why she was forced to memorize all that shit.

She also eloquently shares "the north's" opinions on her brother Robb's war efforts: "They call him the young wolf. They say he rides into battle on the back of giant direwolf. They say he can turn into a wolf himself when he wants. The say he can't be killed." Then, when Tywin asks if she believes it, she smartly dismisses the statement in a veiled threat: "Anyone can be killed," she says. And for that alone, I am pissed that Arya was not my role model growing up instead of Ariel, the Little Mermaid.

Also, remember how Arya saved prisoners Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge, and Biter from burning alive? Well now, like a morbid genie, Jaqen H'ghar has returned and is offering her three free murders in exchange for her noble efforts. Her first choice: the Tickler, of course. Here's hoping the Mountain falls next.

Vagina Demon: B +

Taking on an unnervingly Stannis-esque form, the smoke demon that crawled out of Melisandre's vagina at the end of the last episode reappears and stabs Renly Baratehon in the chest. It moves stealthily, as invisible as the ugly chick at the bar, except instead of getting wasted and crying, it massages the hearts of innocents with the icy fist of terror. The vagina demon has that whole "float like a butterfly; sting like a bee" thing down cold. But it loses a letter grade for turning my weird pregnancy dreams into living Salvador Dali paintings.

Renly Baratheon: F

See above. Dammit, Renly, you should've listened to Stannis. He warned you. I mean, maybe not about the vagina demon specifically. But you should've taken his vague threats about swearing loyalty or clearing out by sunrise more seriously. Come to think of it, someone really should have told you about the vagina demon. But hell, it's too late now, I guess.

Stannis Baratheon: C +

With his brother Renly out of the way, Stannis is ostensibly one step closer to the iron throne. But then there's Melisandre, who still might prove to be Stannis' Yoko Ono, at least where Davos Seaworth is concerned. Ser Davos did, after all, witness the birth of the vagina demon firsthand, and he's pretty sure that as long as Melisandre is around, any victory will belong to her more than it does Stannis.

Brienne of Tarth: A

The head of Renly's kingsguard is one fierce warrior. After Renly is murdered, several of his men charge into the tent to find Brienne holding a sword. Thinking she's the guilty party, they attack, and she strikes them down with the ease of swatting flies. Though Brienne is grief-stricken and sobbing over the loss of her king, Catelyn Stark convinces her to flee the scene, noting that the dead cannot seek revenge. Later Brienne swears her loyalty and service to Lady Cat, creating a vortex of awesome around which all other awesome things will orbit like lesser moons.

Dragons: B

The dragons are looking good these days, so it seems those early special effects glitches have been resolved. Which is great, because now when I watch one of the tiny, winged lizards sear its dinner with its own fiery breath, I'm thinking, "Fuck yeah! Dragons!" And not, "Why did they spend the dragon budget on more mud?" But on the downside, they are still as tiny as cats and easy to kill. It will be a minute before Daenerys can ride them into battle, an edge she desperately needs while facing the age-old question plaguing a hot chick in a man's world: Who can she trust, and who just wants to fuck her?

Tyrion Lannister: B

Tyrion discovers Queen Cersei's hidden collection of wildfire, a horrible substance that can burn through, well, just about anything. The pyromancer who makes it -- and who is basically just a creepy old nerd -- is so cautious as to store it in a cellar by itself. Somewhat in awe of its destructive powers, Tyrion takes over wildfire production from his sister's crazy-ass command. On the downside, in the streets people are calling him the "demon monkey," a nickname he shrugs off with his typical show of jovial indifference.

Theon Greyjoy: B +

He's still disrespected by his men and openly mocked by his sister, but he has plans to change all of that. Instead of raping and pillaging the poor, sad fishing villages his father commands, he's gonna head north, lure the men away from Winterfell, and then seize the unprotected region. He sounds a bit like a kid preparing to eat poison ivy on a dare, but if he succeeds, he will change the whole game and shock the hell out of Robb Stark, his brother-in-captivity.

Bran Stark: C -

When Bran learns that Theon Greyjoy's men are nearby, he gives orders to send all of the men in defense. And his reasoning is sound: "Why should we expect our bannermen to protect us if we do not protect them?" Damn straight, Bran. Way to put your little lordling foot down.

But here's the catch: Now Winterfell is unprotected, and Theon and his men are coming soon -- a lot sooner than winter. And that is why it's generally a bad idea to let a ten-year-old rule just because he has the right last name. If Bran dies, will three-year-old Rickon be the ruler? Will his orders include "smash it with a rock" and "I like wagons?" Or perhaps "I have an idea: Cookies!" And will everyone listen simply because he's the Stark in Winterfell?

Which of this week's players deserves to kill King Joffrey the most?

Arya Stark. Though she's managed to temporarily secure a pretty sweet and potentially advantageous gig in Tywin Lannister's serving hall, if her cover is blown, she becomes a potential "check mate" in her brother Robb's war (at least if Catelyn has any say). She's also lost her family and everyone close to her, including her direwolf, Nymeria, and it's all because Joffrey turned his spiteful little face on her father and said "off with his head."

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Follow Angela Lutz on Twitter at @amlutz, SF Weekly's Exhibitionist blog at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Angela Lutz

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