Has Game of Thrones lost its x-factor?

DWARF IN THE DOCK: Tyrion Lannister's life is on the line as he stands accused of murdering the late King Joffrey.
DWARF IN THE DOCK: Tyrion Lannister's life is on the line as he stands accused of murdering the late King Joffrey.

Stiff chairs, budgets, bureaucracy, justice, and power. Has Game of Thrones lost its x-factor this week?

Dear Jonathan,

The dragons are back in fiery chaos char-grilling poor peasants’ goats to a crisp. This scene spurred excitement only to be followed by dullness –setting the pace for the whole episode.

It was a bit of a hit and miss episode with me too concerned with the day to day technicalities and the in and outs of trying to run kingdoms. This isn’t why I watch the show.

Where is the blood, the debauchery, and sharp wit? Tyrion saves it in the end, but to watch fifty odd minutes until the crunch is a bit much for my liking.

We finally see Bravos through a man’s open legs as Stannis and the Onion Knight go to make their case to the bankers with some seriously clunky settings - as my flatmate appropriately commented “oh it looks like something out of the age of empires from the 90s period”.

We meet the purse string pullers and like many treasurers it was about the best investment with the greatest reward for the coffers. But, the fingerless Onion Knight steps up persuading them with tales of his king’s rigid honesty and justice.

We get a couple of inventories in this episode first with Stannis and then later of Daenerys. I’d say the Queen of the Dragons is starting to look rather threatening, Stannis’s campaign, however is looking a bit bleak.

They chuck in some baths, babes, and boobies as Davos buys the flamboyant pirate Salladhor Saan, who really is the only fun character this week.

There is a casual spear through the jailor’s throat as Asha shows herself as the most badass female on the show and the true Ironborn hero. Theon is miserable in comparison. I know he has some serious Stockholm syndrome going on, but really; can’t he just get it together a tiny bit?

As a battle ensues in the dungeons the dogs bark on the savages cutting each other to pieces. Iwan Rheon plays the Bastard creepily well, inspiring absolute revulsion.

Perched on her stone throne you think Daenerys would put a bloody limit on her titles. Gee whizz it’s hard to keep up.

Her side of the world started off great with the dragon’s BBQ, but fell flat as it flicked to her hearing the people’s complaints. But her eye-for-an-eye style of justice was nicely challenged.

“Is it justice to treat one crime with another?” asked the young man, whose name I am not even going to try to spell as he requested to bury his father.

This week showed how ghastly and tedious ruling is. There were far too many awkward, uncomfortable, stiff chairs and I could feel the discomfort and duty of them - bureaucracy at its best.

Being a mere pleb has much more appeal than having to navigate the maze of justice, power, and budgets.

Over and out,

- Kate

Dear Kate,

Well, it didn’t take long but Oberyn is now part of Tommen’s council. He seemed pretty casual about it dropping in that great line about the Unsullied being "great on the battlefield, less so in the bedroom."

We have been spending more time with Oberyn, and I felt that as with Theon, it was “time” to meet up with Lord Varys. Like being trapped in the loving embrace of an unloved grandparent, he has been there all throughout the season, but with last week’s big play by Baelish, the season hasn’t had too much love for the Spider.

But, as we learn in his conversation with Oberyn, he is keeping his allegiances very close to his chest. Does anyone really care about him? It is hard to say at this point, although I feel his comment to Tyrion in the trial about him “never forgetting anything” was definitely leading somewhere.

Part of my problem of the show this season, is we are spending a lot of time in King’s Landing. When Joffrey was suffering from that delicious poisoned pie and Ned Stark’s head was getting hacked off it made for some very engaging television, but this week I didn’t care that much about any of it.

Like with Daenerys, some of the bureaucratic dullness of her managing her kingdom threw a long shadow throughout this episode. Intrigue should make for great television, but in the Game of Thrones it often just drags on and even with Tyrion’s trial, I felt there just wasn’t enough build-up.

Tyrion hasn’t had much to work with his whole life- no mother, a father who despises him, the dwarfism, and the “imp” tag. His realisation of the baseness of Westeros has left him giving up on his family, which seemed fair enough after last night’s Lannister-backed cavalcade of sycophants and vileness in the witness box.

Getting set up by father, sister and his special whore; there was a lot of dirty washing hanging out there.

Still he did get out the top one liner, “watching your vicious bastard die, gave me more relief than a thousand lying whores”, which has to count for something right?

A quick scan of the witnesses reveals the range of depravity on offer in King’s Landing: Maester Pycelle with his dead guy in a box thing, Ser someone-or-other who supported Joffrey in that charming crossbow scene last season, even Cersei, whose smug satisfaction when Tyrion’s whore Shae turned up, was really delving to new depths.

The last scene stretched out, as the series tends to do with the important ones. It felt as though the trial was meant to build up, like the Red Wedding or Joffrey’s last cake, to some thrilling conclusion.

For the most part however, I felt a distinct sense that GoT was just playing for time in this episode.

Yours Jonathan

The Nelson Mail