'Game of Thrones' scorecard: Survival of the ruthless

HBO

All season long, we'll be keeping score in "Game of Thrones." This week's episode ... um, well, it's hard to keep score during incestuous rape at a wake.

This "Game of Thrones" discussion is written by someone who has read George R.R. Martin's books but will only discuss events that have happened on the HBO's televised version. Please respect these boundaries should you choose to participate in the comments section.

Episode 4.3, "Breaker of Chains"

FINAL SCORE: Violence 1, Sex 1

(The baseline for the score is typically dead bodies versus nude bodies, though the reviewer reserves the right to add or subtract points for extended orgy scenes and entire towns graphically pillaged. The reviewer also reserves the right to suspend play for an unexpected rape that falls outside the bounds of even the most unexpected acts on TV's most unpredictable show.)

Game of Thrones Scorecard

Violence

Totals: A round of crossbow bolts into poor Ser Dontos; one scene of hardcore pillaging with violent acts happening faster than a pen can record them; one knife thrown into a horse's eye, with the rider subsequently decapitated; one woman raped by her brother in a church next to the body of their dead inbred son. NOT COOL.

Notes: The concept of writing about a show's sex scenes versus its violent scenes unravels when the sex and violence intertwine, as they do in "Breaker of Chains," when Jaime rapes his sister/lover Cersei beside the dead body of their son Joffrey. That's an unlikely scene in any fictional world, but it becomes even harder to accept given (a) Jaime's long arc to prevent rape in Season 3 and (b) the departure from the books' interpretation of this scene, which is consensual. (Granted, it happens from Jaime's perspective, but George R.R. Martin's rotating cast of narrators have always been reliable about facts, if necessarily oblivious to implications in the larger story).

I'm struck by conflicting forces here: on a smaller scale, I'm disappointed in showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff's decision to sully Jaime's code of ethics, but I also want to withhold judgment until I see how this fits into the characters' arc for the rest of the season. (Or do we blame the director? Alex Graves, speaking to Alan Sepinwall, said that the sex was "consensual by the end" because any struggle between Cersei and Jaime is ultimately a turn-on. If so, it seemed a tone-deaf translation.)

On a larger scale, I want to continue to enjoy and celebrate "Game of Thrones" for its daring and original storytelling through the twin lenses of sex and violence, but I also don't want this scorecard to be insensitive to those who've suffered sexual violence.

With that in mind, I encourage you to read Sonia Saraiya's excellent and thorough dissection of this particular plot point at the AV Club -- partly because I agree with it, but mostly because it handles the topic with the depth and gravity it deserves -- and I will recuse the Scorecard from further discussion of the scene. This particular forum is better suited to cheering for horses getting stabbed than it is tackling endemic societal problems.

Please, people, just let me count the boobs and dongs.

Sex

Totals: One incestuous makeout next to a dead body that would have been TOTALLY PREFERABLE to what happened next; some shadowy foreground fornication in Mole's Town as Gilly moves into new digs; one cleverly framed shaft urinating on the ground outside Meereen; and a rewarding sexposition orgy featuring at least three naked bodies (two female, one male).

Notes: You know, sometimes I feel like Prince Oberyn and  Ellaria Sand are the only ones who TRULY care about my demands for sex on this show. Everyone else is running around, pointing fingers about who poisoned the shithead everyone hated, laying waste to the slave trade, desperately organizing a defense of the Wall, or gulping down rabbit stew. Only Oberyn and Ellaria are putting in the extra hours at the brothel, riding five- or six-deep in an all-way orgy that probably still had a couple hours to go when Tywin Lannister barges in without so much as a knock or a boner (one or the other, bro).

Tumblr_n4d4stlllk1qirafjo2_250_medium Tumblr_n4d4stlllk1qirafjo4_250_medium

(via supernatasha)

Like, if you're going to ignore the sock on the doorknob, at least bang on the door and let them finish -- for us, the viewers. God knows you take your sweet time with your monologues. (Not a complaint, by the way.)

#TrueDetectiveSeason2 Rankings

1. Tyrion and Podrick. NOOOOOOOO MISS YOU TWO FOREVER

Pod

2. Davos and Stannis. Stannis is basically Rust Cohle + sorcery-based religion.

3. Davos and Princess Scaleface. "That was one time!"

4. Daenerys and Daario 2.0. I still prefer the first Daario, but I can't stay mad at a guy who looks like Eric Bana.

5. Arya and the Hound. This one's a lot less fun to root for when Sandor Clegane's vicious realpolitik gets in the way of their teamwork.

Non-famous Last Words

"No one boils a potato better than your mum. She got--"

Arrow

I recognize that we're supposed to feel bad for this simple villager of the North, even if the arrow through his head was loosed by lovely Ygritte. No young child should have to watch his parents get skinned while a ritually scarred man with the scariest axe since Season 3 of "Breaking Bad" informs him of his plans to eat them. Just a terrible, unthinkable fate.

But.

Imagine, for a moment, that you're a simple man living in a small village, unburdened by the complexities of modern technology or royal politics. You labor hard, working with your hands, but you manage to feed your family. Your young son accompanies you home from work, and you boast of your wife's greatest skill: boiling potatoes.

Not repairing clothing with needle and thread or roasting a chicken or even making stew. Boiling. Potatoes. "Oh, son, let me tell you of her potato-boiling prowess! First, she heats up water. Then -- and this is the secret -- she puts the potatoes into the water!"

I'm not saying that kind of person DESERVES an arrow through the head. But it's not like he was maxing out the credit cards of life.

Miscellaneous

Gold coins agreed upon: 10,000

Snot rockets: 1. Here's that GIF you didn't want.

Kings recounted while educating young Tommen: 3 (Baelor the Blessed, Horace the First, Robert)

Compassion shown to grieving mother during said education: ZERO

Battlefield urinations: 2

Pyramids: 6

Barrels filled with broken chains: 14 or 15. Definitely enough to make a point

DNP - Coach's decision

Roose Bolton, Ramsay Bolton-Snow, the Greyjoys, any dragons (BOOOO), Tywin's heart, Bronn, Shae, the Iron Bank, white walkers, the Aerie and Aunt Lysa, Mance Rayder, Mace Tyrell, Mace Windu, Bran Stark, Hodor. HODOR.

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