So. Game of Thrones 3×05: ‘Kissed by Fire’

So. Game of Thrones 3×05: ‘Kissed by Fire’

There’s something we need to bring up; during the opening credits, why do we still pause on Winterfell, even though it’s burned and nothing has happened there since the very end of last season? Yes, we need to give some hint as to where Bran, Rickon and the gang roughly are, but they aren’t even in this episode! You know what is in this episode? Dragonstone! And yet I note that Dragonstone fails to show up during the aforementioned opening credits.

Although Yunkai does, so there you go.

We open with yet another something I’ve been waiting for, a long time now – Beric Donarrion’s duel with Sandor Clegane. And oh, they had the flaming sword! They had Sandor’s terrified reaction! They had Dondarrion wielding it like a boss! This scene must have taken so long to shoot, and have been such a fire hazard. Plus Dondarrion’s actor is essentially fighting with one eye covered, that must have been unnerving.  Although, once again, they’re using their swords with only one hand. I’d thought that Sandor’s sword was a two handed weapon, but maybe I’m just underestimating his strength. This whole fight scene was just so intense, and the finishing move so brutal!

Maisie Williams just nailed it when she was screaming at him, but I was a tad disappointed by Dondarrion’s revival. I wanted more gasping and a ‘come back to life’ scream. Cliche, I know, but I’m a sucker for that particular cliche.

Meanwhile, where the Wildlings are (I would be proud of that gag, except it’s probably been made a million times already by now) Jon has to answer questions about the Wall. I know we’re not supposed to like Orell, but one, he has a valid point about not trusting Jon, two, he’s played by Mackenzie Crook. I cannot dislike Mackenzie Crook! Ygritte sticks up for Jon, meaning he gets in a huff, until Ygritte also very reasonably points out that if it hadn’t be for her, he’d have been dead quite a few times by now. Then she proceeds to nick his sword and oh, this is the beginning of the infamous cave scene, isn’t it?

Yep, it is. This was actually a very good scene, even if the female participant still got naked well before the male one. A great portrayal of Jon’s release. Although, much as with Podrick’s little session with the whores back in episode three (which I have yet to recap, I hang my head in shame) I find it highly suspicious that a virgin like Jon automatically knows how to please a woman’s who’s as experienced as Ygritte – in more ways than one – when this is the first time he’s even done it, let alone learned how to do it properly. (We can blame that on Martin this time, not the show.) Still, the bit where he gives her his ‘Lord’s Kiss’ was hilarious, as it was in the book. Shooting this bit must have been a hoot.

And…was that a smile? Holy shit, it was!!! Jon Snow has smiled, people, the end is definitely nigh.

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So. Hannibal 1×05 (or 1×04): ‘Coquilles’

So. Hannibal 1×05 (or 1×04): ‘Coquilles’, because the title bar is still acting up for some reason.

I won’t pretend to be a die hard fan of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but a certain few lines from that poem have always stuck with me, from the moment I read one of M.R. James’s best ghost stories Casting the Runes. Watching Will Graham walk down a road at night, with the familiar stag that haunts his dreams so close now as to sniff at his hand, they came to mind yet again:

‘Like one that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows, a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.’

This is true for more than just Graham’s nightmare – which turn out to be a rather jarring reality, albeit minus the stag; Graham has actually developed a habit of sleepwalking. ‘Frightful fiends’ preying upon the minds and spirits of the characters, and dogging their footsteps, are in plentiful supply this episode.

First, there are the fiends that spur the efforts of this week’s killer, Elliot Budish, the ‘Angel Maker’,who transforms his victims into guardian spirits to watch over him should he die in his sleep from his brain tumor. Despite the secular reality – the tumor that supplies his hallucinations of heads on fire, the lack of religious faith on Budish’s part as opposed to his belief in his own guardian angel – it’s impossible to overlook the spiritual imagery in this episode when it comes to the corpses. The religious nature of the first grisly tableaux is closely discussed in the episode; I particularly like the call forward to Hannibal when one of the forensic team – I still haven’t learned to tell the two men apart, I am ashamed – spoke about Viking sacrifices of Christians by snapping open their ribs and pulling their lungs out through their backs: the ‘Bloody Eagle’. I did, however, think that this sacrifice wasn’t designed specifically for Christians but rather as offerings to the god Odin, but after more than a thousand years, who can be certain?

But I was especially struck by the picture the second victim makes. When Crawford leaves Graham alone at the crime scene after they’ve each respectively blown up at each other over the case, we get a beautiful almost silhouette of Graham looking up and the corpse seeming to look down. Back lit by some unknown source, it plays on the idea of an actual angel descending from heaven to the man on earth, providing divine inspiration.

Capture angel from on high

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