This past week the United States Ambassador to Australia felt the need to threaten the citizens of that nation after it was revealed that they pirate Game of Thrones more than anyone else. Ambassador Bleich should get a subscription to Superficial Gallery since we’ve already explained why HBO forces people into becoming pirates and we also have Cersei (Queen Marmalade) in a bikini. Author George R.R. Martin is also on record this week advocating sending the General Manager of the Jets to the Night’s Watch for trading Darelle Revis to the Buccaneers. In a twist on Rule 34 I decided to look if anyone had compared the Boston bombings to Game of Thrones. Wired answered with a well thought out  article comparing the interrogation of the bombing suspect with that of Theon Greyjoy.

“We extracted information in a battle of wits. -George Frenkel, WW2 Interrogator, one of the Quiet Men”

Varys the Spider would undoubtedly smile knowingly at the CIA prevarication “mechanism of abuse.” I doubt he spends any time worrying about whether his manipulations are “clean” but real interrogators very much like him will soon be unleashed on Dzokhar Tsarnaev. Those of us who are howling for knives under his fingernails would be well schooled by the breaking of Theon Greyjoy. Even the sadistic Bolton clan with their bloody little hobbies know that it’s not the “dirty” interrogation but the psychological methods that are the most effective.

“Influence is largely a matter of patience. Step by step, one distasteful task after another, I made my way from the slums of Myr to the small chamber. – Varys the Spider”

I can’t help but wonder how many Pimps and Eunuchs whisper into the right ears in Washington. Power-Seekers are the same no matter what label you put on them: A little blackmail here, a pretty boy sent there, that stained blue dress, it’s all part of being a Master of Whispers. It’s all in knowing why Littlefinger ordered two featherbeds and knowing which ear to whisper that choice gossip into. Poor Sansa has no idea that she’s the “Key to the North” or that Loras of the Roses would probably be more interested in borrowing her dresses. All she hears is that she’d be sisters with that nice Margaery.

Purists will complain that Varys should lurk in the shadows and we should only learn of the “distasteful tasks” he performs for the kingdom through the reactions of others. Personally I thought the wizard in a box was a nice addition and it is a TV show so we’d just lose track of Varys  if he isn’t actually shown off a little bit. The same thing goes for the sudden revelation that Daenerys speaks Valyrian.

Statue of Caligula on horseback, British Museum, London (photo: Stephen R. Sizer)

Do you know the story of Caligula? Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, the Emperor known for the use of the unconstrained personal power of his position, was nicknamed Little Boots (Caligula) when he was only a helpless little boy. Like Daenerys he was a pawn that could have been swept off the board of the  Game of Thrones at any time; then he was given the legions. How he would have loved dragons and the bloody vengeful moment when Daenerys unleashes death and destruction on the slavers of Astapor. Never underestimate the rage of that inner child if the adult containing her has just been given an army.

I don’t know what effect these men will have on the enemy, but by God, they terrify me. – Arthur Duke of Wellington

Lord Wellington managed to defeat Napoleon with an army composed of thieves, rapists and killers. Lord Mormont, the Old Bear after which this episode is named, is not nearly as lucky. The TV version of Game of Thrones doesn’t actually demonstrate how desperate the Night’s Watch is by the time they reach Craster’s Keep. Sam has one narrow escape after another on the retreat from the Night Walkers yet for some reason these terrifying creatures seem like frozen zombies in the woods. Everyone who’s watched The Walking Dead knows all you have to do with Zombies is poke them in the head with something sharp. There’s not a single person in all of Westeros without something sharp stuck into their belt so why would they fear the others?  It all makes this mutiny look like a random event caused by recruiting the scum of the earth and sending them to the wall (Remember here George R.R. Martin’s opinion of John Idzik the GM of the Jets).

There’s another band of  Westeros scum that gets more screen time. Don’t get confused here, the Brotherhood Without Banners aren’t just peasants hiding away from the war. Think more along the lines of an apocalyptic doomsday cult. The Lord of Light mentioned is R’hllor, Heart of the Fire, God of Flame and Shadow. Jolly Thoros might not be giving birth to demonic assassins and setting people on fire but he’s a Red Priest just like Melisandre and what he does do makes even that witch nervous. You almost feel sorry for Sandor “The Hound” Clegane since fire is the only thing that dog of war fears and it broke his honor and courage.

Thoros did WHAT?

Then there is the Kingslayer: a man with so many dark obligations to his house that he’s committed regicide, incest, even thrown a little boy out a window. A friend of mine recently told me she was surprised that she’d come to like Jaime so much. I wasn’t, she admires strong men of honor and Jaime has found redemption in his external degradation and the relationship with Brienne. Of all the nobles of Westeros to recognize the worth of the Maid of Tarth, the last one I’d expect would be the murderous playboy of House Lannister.

Elsewhere the play continues as pieces, both major and minor,  are moved about the board of the Game of Thrones. Margaery continues to fondle Joffrey’s enormous crossbow and anything else the little freak wants if it gets House Tyrell what they want. Tywin continues to alienate his children by letting Cersei know she’s just a breeder when she thought she was a Lannister. While all of this goes on the Old Bear (Lord Mormont commander of the Night’s Watch) has a literal knife in his back and… Winter is COMING!

If you liked the title image, Chess of Thrones, it can be had as a T-shirt at Blue Butter.