Spoiler-free Game of Thrones

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&rsquo;ve kept pace with their shows also demand topical pieces that review what they&rsquo;ve watched. TV constantly lives in this compromised space. Today, the former group wins: we&rsquo;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&rsquo;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]&rsquo;s case, we learned his motivation for traveling to King&rsquo;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.&nbsp; Like a prince, you might say.

Prior to [REDACTED] agreeing to be the imprisoned [REDACTED]&rsquo;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&rsquo;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&rsquo;s buddy journey was one of last season&rsquo;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 &ndash; even if she&rsquo;s a child &ndash; you&rsquo;re bound to let your guard down a little.

Even if [REDACTED] left [REDACTED] to [REDACTED] at season&rsquo;s end, we still have [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] on their own buddy journey, and that&rsquo;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&rsquo;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&rsquo;s failed to control her [REDACTED], she&rsquo;s learned a lot about leading her human subordinates. Her journey hasn&rsquo;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 &ndash; <em>Thrones </em>has the unique ability to pull off such an episode. When in the world is winter going to actually come? &hellip; [REDACTED]&rsquo;s visit to the Iron Bank was quite funny: like today&rsquo;s banks, you&rsquo;re always standing there, waiting for them to serve you &hellip; &ldquo;Mockingbird&rdquo; was my favourite episode as a whole, but the last 30 minutes of &ldquo;The Lion and The Rose&rdquo; was a treat to watch. When <em>Thrones&rsquo;</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]&rsquo;s face when [REDACTED] asked her if she loved her brother, was perfect. Also perfect: when Joffrey died.



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