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Monday, May 6, 2013

Game of Thrones 3.6: Extraordinary Cinematography

The best parts of Game of Thrones continue to be at the peripheries, at the edges of the board, in the way north with the snow and the way south with the dragons.  Episode of 3.6 had one of the best expositions of the north we've seen in this or any season.

Jon Snow and Ygritte made passionate love in a steamy scene in a cave in last week's episode 3.5 - significant not only as a fine piece of erotic narrative on television, but because the act broke Jon's vow of celibacy - and this week the act is surpassed by an extraordinary piece of film that has the two climbing a massive wall of packed snow.   Before they reach the top and get a look at the beautiful other side - a surprise, given what we've heard of the far north so far - we have Jon saving Ygritte in a breathtaking scene in which she would otherwise have fallen to her death far below.   Unsurprisingly, the reason for her fall has nothing to do with her prowess as a climber - she's in fact much better at this than Jon - or directly with an accident or act of nature.  Rather, it's because the climbing team has cut her loose as a way of saving themselves after the climbers do accidentally cause a part of the wall to start crumbling.

This not only says a lot about the world Jon and Ygritte now inhabit, but provides an occasion, along with all the action on the snow wall, for superlative cinematography.   The last time I recall seeing anything like this was in scenes from Star Wars.   Hats off to Game of Thrones for extending the envelope of great television viewing.

But the story in the middle - between the north and the dragons - is still leaving a lot to be desired.  Precious minutes were wasted with yet another torture scene involving a character I couldn't care less about.   The Arya story is good, the Robb and the Bran stories are all right, and the Lannister stories - Jaime on the one hand (pardon the pun) and Cersei and Tyrion on the other - would be much better if the narrative move a little faster.

But, even with all that considered, Game of Thrones has touched some peaks that make it an exceptional and pathbreaking series on television.

See also Game of Thrones Season 3 Premiere ... Game of Thrones 3.3: The Heart of Jaime Lannister

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