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TV Review: Game Of Thrones 2.9: Blackwater
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Game of Thrones - Blackwater Review

Game of Thrones
Season Two, Episode 9 – Blackwater
Directed by Neil Marshall
Written by George R.R. Martin
Starring Mark Addy, Alfie Allen, Emilia Clarke, Liam Cunningham, Charles Dance, Stephen Dillane, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, Aidan Gillen, Jack Gleeson, Iain Glen, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Conleth Hill, Carice van Houten, Harry Lloyd, Richard Madden, Patrick Malahide, Rory McCann, Sophie Turner, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maisie Williams, and Issac Hempstead-Wright

I feel like the phrase ‘event television’ is a bit of a misnomer. Very few shows ever fully rise to that title. In fact, the only show I feel that’s ever fully risen to event TV is Lost. After a new episode, it was talked about for days on end.

I don’t think there’s a show that’s lived up to those expectations and level of hysteria and hype. The most recent Game Of Thrones episode, “Blackwater,” is the answer to those expectations.

For weeks now, HBO has been building up this ninth episode to be this epic event. Stories have been told about the production behind it, how HBO gave extra money for this episode specifically in order to make sure it was done properly, thus creating a legend equal to the episode itself.

Everything came together in such a perfect way, as the pieces have been falling into place for weeks now. In fact, it seems that the entire season (and I’m sure there’s an argument that can be made for the entire series) has led up to this moment.

But the battle itself played out in such a satisfying way. Each side has their moment. The George R.R. Martin-penned episode never shows that one specific side has an advantage over another. It’s a back-and-forth battle that’s bloody and intense, creating a truly thrilling episode.

Going into this episode, I was worried that it would focus too much on the battle and forgo the characters. Game of Thrones has always done a great job of providing rich and dynamic characters and I didn’t want that to go away for the sake of a large battle episode. I was beyond surprised to see both an incredible battle and terrific character work for every major player in King’s Landing.

“Blackwater” is event television. It’s an epic battle that will be remembered as one of the standout episodes of the series. I truly hope the episode was as satisfying for fans of the books as it was for me, and I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on how it did or didn’t live up to expectations set forth by the books.

Quick Thoughts:

– For those wondering, The National, one of my favorite bands, sang the ending ballad “The Rains of Castamere.” For those who have read the book, I don’t know what your personal take on the song is, but for me, lead singer Matt Berninger‘s vocals were the perfect match as this song drew the episode to a close.

– This week, I encourage everyone to comment and have some real discussion about the episode. I feel this episode is so large (and so exceptional) that there’s a lot to talk about. I’m really interested to get some feedback from you all on this one.

13 Comments »

  1. I didn’t think the episode vied up to the hype.  I’ve really loved the season as a whole but thought this felt like a “TV” fight sequence.  Sure it had a lot of blood but I thought it was rushed and felt disconnected.  Half the time you had no clue as to what was going on and who was on which side.  It doesn’t hurt the show in my opinion.  It is fantastically  written and the actors are great.  I’m just starting the books so I can’t comment on the link, but this was not as awesome as I thought it could have been.  I am greatly looking forward to the finale next week.  So many things in the air with all the characters, it should be a really good one.

    Comment by Wumpnutt — May 28, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

  2. Pretty fantastic stuff. The books will always have more descriptive detail, but in no way does that detract from what HBO displayed here. Tyrion’s winch houses and giant chain were missing, but we still got the feeling that the people owe Tyrion a great deal of gratitude, and that was the message there. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a Clash of Kings but they nailed everything else that I can remember, which is to be expected with GRRM at the helm on this one. Perhaps the greatest 1 hour of cinematic television ever.

    Comment by Ryan S — May 28, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  3. I never read the books, but Game of Thrones is likely my favorite television show ever.  I watch at the edge of my seat, the fact that anyone could die at any moment adds a certain unforeseen level of excitement.  I agree this is event Television at it’s best.

    Comment by Brian Erzen — May 28, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

  4. As someone who read the books, I was a bit disappointed with the adaptation of this chapter of the series.  I thought that leaving out the chain that cut off the escape of Stannis’s forces took away another example of Tyrion’s resourcefulness and heroism.  I understand that his injury was down played as it would be distracting from the performance in later episodes, but he does still have his nose.  Furthermore, the battle seemed a bit static as you only see 3 locations around the city where the fighting took place.  Had an epic feel, but after seeing what is possible in the Lord of the Rings, there was a bit of a macro feel versus a panoramic vision.

    Comment by Robert C — May 28, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

  5. I’ve read all 5 books, but am immensely enjoying the TV version of the story.  “Blackwater” was AMAZING. Joffrey proved what a little putz he is once again (he so reminds me of Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter – full of hot air, but, in reality, nothing but a despicable coward).  Cersei makes a very mean drunk… even if her words of what would become of all the ladies hiding in the keep should Stannis win ring true.  I loved the interplay between Bronn & The Hound, and thought The Hound’s reaction to the oncoming guy on fire was spot on, given his past.  Tyrion was phenomenal.  If Peter Dinklage doesn’t win another Emmy just due to last night’s performance, it will be a crime.  Can’t wait to see next week’s season finale!

    Comment by Kristy Gleason — May 29, 2012 @ 1:16 am

  6. When I first heard the closing rendition of The Rains of Castamere, due to the gravelly base voice my first reaction was that the song was being sung by The Hound

    Comment by B A Parent — May 29, 2012 @ 1:13 am

  7. The episode was like a Lord of the Rings movie. Very good battle scenes but still kept it “real”.

    Comment by Dan Toth — May 29, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  8. And I want to say that where we are with DVRs and other delayed viewing methods, event television is getting harder to come by. GoT is in a good position with the Sunday night slot… everyone winding down from the weekend and what not. The reason why LOST got so much hype was because everyone had a theory that they wanted to share. The mysteries of GoT aren’t as talkable, but that’s fine– two different shows. 

    Comment by Dan Toth — May 29, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  9. Can someone tell me why Sansa DIDN’T leave with the dog?  For someone that has “protected” her for as long as she’s been in King’s Landing, I thought she would have leapt at the chance to get out of there.

    Comment by Clinton Jones — May 29, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

  10. yea again im lost….i didn’t even know who too root for……where did the punk kid king go?…..why does the little person always faints in battle?…..why did the hound pull a BITCH move…..and yes why didnt the chick leave with the hound?

    Comment by mrpelon14 — May 29, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

  11. Sansa likely didn’t leave with the Hound because he was sloppily drunk and she thought Stannis was going to win.

    Comment by yoss22h — May 29, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

  12. This was definitely event television. The best tv show ever has gone one step further with this episode. I have read all the books and I was still glued to every scene. The battles were spectacular and brutal. When the dog told everyone, the battle, the kingdom and the king what they could do I cheered, which is something TV never gets out of me. I am just dreading that the next episode is the last for 2012.

    Comment by Frogger — May 30, 2012 @ 2:07 am

  13. I think she does leave wit teh Hound..at teh last she asks him “you will not hurt me?” to which teh Hound replies “no little dove I will not hurt you”..I had teh impression from those comments that Sansa does end up going wit teh Hound..but like so many other pertinent moments in this episode I could be totally off and teh whole scene flew over my head..anyway I hope like hell she went with him!!!

    Comment by ChadwicK — June 2, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

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