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"Lord Snow" is an intriguing and heavy transitional episode with standout performances from Bean and Gillen, though it would be better served with more focus on character change and development.
The plot is not so much thickening as entangling like weeds around itself. And none of the many strands feel as though they are going to end well.
Welcome back to Westeros, where last night everyone got good and spooked, and we learned a lot more about this country, especially its weather.
The show continues to impress, and while the dense machinations are sometimes difficult to follow, it maintains its solid pacing and strong performances.
I've talked before about how heavy on exposition this show is, and "Lord Snow" is particularly big on that. For the most part, though, it works this week, because the stories are being told with such passion.
Episode 3 of Game Of Thrones requires you to take your concentration level to the next level, as a host of potential heroes and villains are introduced.
This was more of a setup episode than anything else, and yet I still found it very entertaining. There's not enough ambitious TV series anymore, but Game of Thrones has already filled that void for me.
I adore the way Sean Bean portrays Lord Eddard Stark, Hand of the King, and Ned Stark, father to Sansa, Arya and others. So much humanity is infused into the role.
I think I liked the looser, more rambling quality of "Lord Snow," an episode largely about transitions, fish out of water, and old ghosts.
I like that Game of Thrones allows us some room to doubt how much of these magical tales are true.
(1) I still find parts of the show deeply, deeply boring. Please, don't show me sword fighting - give me more of that national debt conversation! How riveting. (2) I need a little more development from the characters who are changing.
Few actors do weaselly as well as Gillen - and his Baelish, all surface charm and furiously conniving brain, was a pleasure to watch.
Game of Thrones, as far as I can tell, is the closest television has ever come to just reading a novel right at you and making that experience fun.