By Katie M. Lucas
'Game of Thrones' has no shortage of battles (both emotional and literal) but Sunday night marked a series first: a bear fight. Jaime’s rescue of Brienne was as heroic as it was unexpected. “It's pure instinct, and it's really stupid,” actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau tells HBO.com about Jaime's impulsive leap. But "he just can't stand that a woman that has so much dignity should be degraded that way.” Critics were also taken by Bart the Bear II; “Great acting from the bear… I've never seen a live wild animal action sequence like that on TV before,” says Entertainment Weekly’s James Hibberd.
The episode, written by George R.R. Martin, balanced action with subtler scenes. In this week’s Inside the Episode, Executive Producer David Benioff discusses how these quiet moments shed light on the characters and their stakes. Robb’s scene with Talisa, Executive Producer D.B. Weiss explains, connects the rebirth of his cause to the future birth of his child.
As Robb reaffirms his mission, so does the khaleesi. Dany’s makes it her duty to liberate the slaves of Yunkai. “The scene in which she meets and rejects the emissary from Yunkai,” Time’s James Poniewozik says, “is spectacular without a single fireball.” Mike Hogan of the Huffington Post is fully behind Dany’s vision: “I frankly find it really exciting to think of her as an avenging angel leading an army of liberated slaves to victory over these inbred families with their castles and crests….”
In these families, power is wielded less tactfully. King Joffrey summons Tywin, and as Sarah Hughes of The Guardian points out, “the boy king was sort of right in everything he said: he should be learning how to rule; he should be sitting in on council meetings and not having to seek them out; Dany actually is more than a ‘curiosity on the far side of the world.’ ” Yet Joffrey quickly realizes that his grandfather is superior both “emotionally and with regard to intelligence,” actor Jack Gleeson explains in HBO GO’s Interactive Features. The king may wear the crown, but he can’t command his grandfather’s respect.
What are your thoughts on the Lannisters’ struggles? Has Jaime won your respect? Will Bart be visiting your nightmares?