TV REVIEW: Game of Thrones Season 2 Episode 9 – Blackwater

The battle for King’s Landing has finally begun; Stannis Baratheon sails to the city, and final preparations are made for the fight. Cersei shows another side to Sansa and Tyrion proves himself.

This is the episode we have been waiting for for nine weeks now. The last eight episodes of Game of Thrones have been about talking about battle, but this time the fight has come to King’s Landing and most of the city’s forces are ready for it. Bells ring throughout King’s Landing to warn that the enemy is now within sight and Stannis’s forces respond with drums. This adds a ‘musical’ backdrop to the build up, as well as increasing the sense of urgency and pace in the episode. Bronn leads the men in singing the song of the Lannisters but just as he and The Hound square off, the bells ring and the battle is upon them. Shame, it would have been interesting to see who would win in a fight between the two; brains or brawn.

And so the fight begins. Tyrion strikes the first blow and burns much of Stannis’s fleet with wildfire, killing Davros in the process. The explosion is actually rather beautiful, and it paves the way for the battle that is about to take place on land. Stannis is the first man over the battlements and Tyrion decides to lead the attack against the invading force. He is injured, however, when one of his own side attacks him; spurred on by Cersei Lannister. Just when all is about to be lost, the cavalry arrives in the form of Tywin. Cersei was never just going to let her brother away with the games he has played with her; he sent her daughter away and made sure that Joffrey was on the battlements in the thick of the battle. It would be a tragedy for Tyrion to be taken out of the show, but we have seen similar happen at the end of last season of Game of Thrones, so don’t get your hopes up about the fate of the Imp.

Speaking of Cersei, while the men are out fighting the battle, the women are indoors planning for their futures. Cersei gives Sansa a lot of alcohol and advice should she ever become Queen. As well as this, she tells Sansa that the man in their midst is not there to protect them, but to ensure that they are not taken alive. This sounds like classic Cersei; she would rather die than be taken prisoner. While the woman has developed a fear of her son, she also knows that she would not survive for long under the leadership of Stannis Baratheon. Thankfully, because Lena Heady is a fantastic addition to Game of Thrones, Tywin Lannister arrives and saves the day before Cersei can kill herself.

This was a strongly structured episode of Game of Thrones; all the elements circling the show and King’s Landing fell away in order for the show to focus on the battle. We learned more about Cersei and Tyrion Lannister in this episode than we have in a long time, and Cersei’s compassion for Sansa completely changed audience opinion of the character. The episode did suffer from a lack of light, however, as the battle took place at night, but this was not enough to detract from the action taking place on screen. With one episode in this season of Game of Thrones left it will be interesting to see where the pieces in the game fall when the smoke of the battle clears.

Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

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