It’s hard to write about television without spoiling readers. It requires balancing analysis with maintaining a polite respect for people who are behind on their DVR. Having great shows spoiled sucks, so naturally, I try to avoid it in my column. But the readers who’ve kept pace with their shows also demand topical pieces that review what they’ve watched. TV constantly lives in this compromised space. Today, the former group wins: we’re going to talk about the most recent <em>Game of Thrones</em> season, as spoiler-free as possible. One of the things <em>Thrones</em> does best is introducing fully-formed characters. When we met [REDACTED] in Episode 1, we instantly learned about his reputation from the [REDACTED] family’s reaction to him; we learned more as he indulged his kinks in the [REDACTED]. <em>Thrones</em> loves taking characters to extremes while showing just enough humanity in them. In [REDACTED]’s case, we learned his motivation for traveling to King’s Landing: revenge for his [REDACTED]. His [REDACTED] later in the season was effective because we understood him and liked him (and, well, it was quite [REDACTED]). Not only did he arrive with clear intentions, he, like most <em>Thrones</em> characters, had a flair to his dialogue that made him charming. Like a prince, you might say. Prior to [REDACTED] agreeing to be the imprisoned [REDACTED]’s champion in a fantastic monologue, the latter also saw his brother and [REDACTED] in touching conversations while locked up. While I never believed he would actually [REDACTED], they spoke with a tone of finality that emphasized the history he had with his compatriots. King’s Landing has long been the most entertaining region in Westeros, and with [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] sailing away and [REDACTED] dead, the city has lost the best characters on the show. The royal empire is losing its stability, too. Another fully (re)formed character was Aunt [REDACTED]. Even though we last saw her in Season 1, there was no forgetting her and her underdeveloped [REDACTED]. [REDACTED] pushing her down the [REDACTED] was much-needed; if a character who verges on insane overstays their welcome, they turn cartoonish. Now, [REDACTED] has risen from her family misery and she has the slick, non-trustable [REDACTED] as an ally. Jaime and Brienne’s buddy journey was one of last season’s best stories, and [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] traveling together this season again produced several highlights. We tend to like physically adept warriors revealing their interiors, and when you spend so much time with someone – even if she’s a child – you’re bound to let your guard down a little. Even if [REDACTED] left [REDACTED] to [REDACTED] at season’s end, we still have [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] on their own buddy journey, and that’s already produced many humorous returns ([REDACTED] incredulously watching Hot Pies spiel about steak and kidney pie got the biggest laugh from me this season). [REDACTED], [REDACTED] of [REDACTED], [REDACTED] of the [REDACTED], and [REDACTED] of the [REDACTED] [REDACTED] didn’t get much to do this season, other than stand on a grand structure listening to the citizens of [REDACTED] fearfully request favoUrs from her. Aside from ruling though, I enjoyed her indulging in the handsome [REDACTED]. Girl has her needs! I particularly liked how she immediately sent him off to deal with the [REDACTED] situation in Yunkai; while she’s failed to control her [REDACTED], she’s learned a lot about leading her human subordinates. Her journey hasn’t advanced geographically this season, but her increased maturation of actually ruling as a queen has been an underrated storyline. Some other thoughts: what was up with [REDACTED] raping [REDACTED]? That scene and the lack of follow-up was handled extremely poorly by the writer. While I find [REDACTED] boring as a character, Episode 9 was fun just as a war movie tribute – <em>Thrones </em>has the unique ability to pull off such an episode. When in the world is winter going to actually come? … [REDACTED]’s visit to the Iron Bank was quite funny: like today’s banks, you’re always standing there, waiting for them to serve you … “Mockingbird” was my favourite episode as a whole, but the last 30 minutes of “The Lion and The Rose” was a treat to watch. When <em>Thrones’</em> puts its best characters in one setting, they tend to nail the interactions, from face-to-face to far away glimpses. The look on [REDACTED]’s face when [REDACTED] asked her if she loved her brother, was perfect. Also perfect: when Joffrey died.
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