Game of Thrones: "You're a Talker. Listening to Talkers Makes Me Thirsty."
I was reminded during last night's season premiere of Game of Thrones that HBO does this thing were they more or less spoil the impending episode by giving you such specific previews you can pretty much guess what's coming (see also The Wire). It can be helpful, though, given the sheer tonnage of characters on the show. It also provides a refresher on why certain characters bear certain grudges. Think of it as a review session on your first day back from summer vacation.
Last night introduced a few new characters (I know, I know), and reacquainted us with some old ones, albeit rather briefly, thanks to Arya and the Hound.
Locations Highlighted in the Opening Titles (* =new): KIng's Landing, Dragonstone, Dreadfort, Winterfell, The Wall, Meereen*
Ser(s) Not Appearing in This Episode: Stannis Baratheon, Melisandre, Davos Seaworth, Loras Tyrell, Bran Stark and the Over the Wall Gang, Ramsay Snow,
Theon Greyjoy Reek, Yarra Greyjoy
The "Baelor" flashback at the outset of the episode threw me off, until we saw the reason for it: Tywin (Charles Dance) is having Ice -- Ned's big ass Valyrian steel blade -- reforged into two swords (just like the episode's title, how clever). One is given to Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), as part of an offer to return to Casterly Rock to take his place as Number One Son. Jaime -- rejected by Cersei, crippled, and ever smarting from a reputation as one of the most despised men in Westeros -- would rather attempt to rebuild his honor in some small way by remaining on the Kingsguard.
And leave it to Joffrey (Jack Gleason) to stick the knife in: "Someone forgot to write down all your great deeds." He's Westeros' own J.R. Ewing: the king you love to hate.
Still adjusting to his new diplomatic duties, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) goes with Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and Podrik (Daniel Portman) to welcome the Prince of Dorne to King's Landing. Two problems: one, the Prince won't be coming, due to ill health. Two, he's sent his brother Prince Oberyn (Pedro Pascal). Tyrion is less than thrilled, for reasons I'm about to get into. Knowing what a randy sort the prince is, seeks him out in Littlefinger's whorehouse. What a relief, I was afraid we'd make it a whole 20 minutes without seeing some boobs.
Oberyn has returned to seek revenge against the Mountain, who he alleges (oh, who are we kidding) raped and murdered his sister Elia during the sack of King's Landing. He's going to be a tricky houseguest, especially with his penchant for knifing Lannisters and belief that Tywin himself gave the order.
Sansa (Sophie Turner) isn't feeling particularly festive. Might have something to do with being forced to live with the people who plotted the murder of her mother and brother. Tyrion gets to deal with this, as well as Shae's (Sibel Kekilli) persistent jealousy and rather childish attempts to win him back. What a novelty: a naive prostitute.