"A king does not need a chair to sit upon. He only needs a horse."
Episode 7: "You Win or You Die"
I think it was last episode that I mentioned that there was something that bugged me about Littlefinger that I would come back to later, and now's the appropriate time. Spoilers below the cut...
wellpickedbooger touched on it when she said he needed to be more of an undercover schemer. Reading the novel, my impression of Petyr Baelish was that he was a practical man playing the game. It was sort of the Jack Sparrow bit... he was the dishonest man that you could always trust to be dishonest. But one of the few things he valued in the world was his affection for Catelyn, and for that reason he would stand with her family.
The series stripped away any sense that Ned should trust Baelish, and then for the viewer they led up to the betrayal with a nice, long "I'm evil" monologue just before Ned comes to him and asks him to be the instrumental person in helping him removing the Lannisters from the throne.
As a reader of the novel, I didn't see the betrayal coming. As a viewer of the series, how could you not? Still, if I had seen this without expectations, I think I'd still be a big fan of Baelish's character.
But speaking of the Baelish monologue, that whole sex scene probably crossed the level of comfort for a lot of viewers and was completely unnecessary. I wonder how many viewers had to answer, "what are you watching?" coming from the next room... and then it just keeps going...
I also noted in the last episode their dedication to building up the character of Greyjoy. I've decided now that they're failing. They're failing because they haven't given me a reason to like the character, and he's taking time away from other characters that I like a lot more. No Dany last episode, no Tyrion this episode... but I get more Theon scenes?
The strong points of this episode were the dialogues between Tywin Lannister, whom we finally meet, and Jaime Lannister, who hasn't had enough screentime for my tastes in recent episodes. And another meeting between Ned and Cersei... I really like that Lena Headley is playing the character very understated, rather than wearing the evil on her sleeve.
With Dany, we get a nice chunk of story: Dany considering that she's the last Targaryen, and now heir to the throne. Her husband, Khal Drogo, has no interest in crossing the sea. A spy from Westeros attempts to kill her. Khal Drogo becomes enraged and promises her the throne. A very neatly-wrapped chapter.
We also got what felt like an awful lot of time with Jon Snow up on the Wall, which was almost unexpected given how little time it's gotten up until now. These scenes didn't do a whole lot for me; I just haven't been able to connect with Jon at this point the way I've connected with other characters.
The final scene: "I did warn you not to trust me." It simply had more bite when i was as surprised as Ned.