If you're looking for spectacle, you needn't have looked further than Sunday night's new Game of Thrones. The rapid pace of the new season may have sacrificed anything remotely resembling logic but it's led to some undeniably great visuals. Plus "Beyond the Wall" spared some time for character dialogue and the old fashioned tale of a good handsome king and a good beautiful queen falling for each other.
Spoilers after the screenshot
So for anyone like me who was still holding a candle for Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) getting together, those hopes were truly dashed when Daenerys said Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) was "too little". She obviously was sorry to offend Tyrion but clearly the massive Kal Drogo has adjusted her standards. As Tyrion points out, Drogo, the man who raped her after she was forced to marry him, eventually fell in love with her. And Tyrion's picked up on Jon's love, too. Fortunately Jon seems to have made up for his short stature with his trademark guileless urge to do good at any cost.
Once again, that miserable Nibelung, Tyrion, tries to give Daenerys some "strategy" she knows in her heart not to heed and she rushes off to save Jon along with a few other really good guys, including her old right hand man, Jorah (Iain Glen). Suggestions that he might be in love with her have so far been tamped down this season but I still wonder if there'll be any conflict between him and Jon over it. Though the two of them seem to have nothing but respect for each other, as when it occurs to Jon way out in the icy wilderness to give Jorah his sword. It's a shame Jon didn't think of this back at the Eastwatch armoury or maybe on the long voyage up from Dragonstone to the Wall--but, I promised myself I wouldn't harp too much on this episode's logical problems. I used to feel basically alone in doing that but it seems practically every review I read can't avoid discussing them now. A lot of people seem stuck on the fact that the White Walkers had massive chains to pull the dead dragon out of the water. I was more stuck on the fact that the undead still haven't heard of archery. Or any kind of ranged attack.
Well, except for that Darth Maul guy and his dragon killing ice javelins.
Which is why the only logical problem that really bothered me was wondering why the hell the dragons didn't breathe fire on that guy. And it bothered me because I really was invested in Daenerys and I felt bad when one of her children got killed. There's nothing more frustrating than a beloved character's pain being exacerbated by something that doesn't make any sense. It makes me disengage. To quote an Elvis Costello lyric, "You say I got no feelings, well this is a good way to kill them."
But I loved Daenerys' fur scale gown and it was cool seeing dragons fighting White Walkers. And what gorgeous locations.
Meanwhile, at Winterfell, Sansa (Sophie Turner) discovers Arya's (Maisie Williams) face stash (not a moustache, I mean a hoard of faces). I loved how the two seemed like kids again when they argued and one suspects Arya is a little right about Sansa's vanity--part of her still is the little girl who wants the fairy tale ending. And the natural feelings of rivalry between two siblings have been exacerbated in Arya by the fact that she's learned not to trust anyone, which was a nice touch. I noticed the writers are starting to retcon the motives of the Vale troops, emphasising that they came to fight for Sansa and not Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen). This undermines the basic drama from last season--the whole reason Sansa didn't want to call for aid from the Vale was because she didn't want to be indebted to Littlefinger. But at least it makes it so she has a legitimate claim to a position of authority beyond her heritage.