(Spoilers All) Countdown to Season 5 - 10 Days, 10 Great Episodes! #9: Two Swords

This episode gave us some of the best lines of the show.

"Lots of people name their swords."

"Lots of cunts."

"You're a talker. Listening to talkers makes me thirsty. And hungry. Think I'll take two chickens."

"You don't seem to understand the situation."

"I understand that if anymore words come pouring out your cunt mouth, I'll have to eat every fucking chicken in this room."

"You lived your life for the king. You gonna die for some chickens?"

"Someone is."

The cold open was fantastic, a beautiful scene with no dialogue needed. But I think it's the final scene that makes this episode great. It moves from humour to unbearable tension before erupting in violence.

Rolling Stone sums up the final scene better than I can:

The entire Arya/Hound sequence, in fact, is a mini-masterpiece. At first a profane odd-couple comedy ("Lots of people name their swords!" "Lots of cunts."), it segues into a marvel of sustained tension ("You lived your life for the king. You gonna die for a chicken?" "Someone is.") before detonating in an explosion of brutality.

In the process, the scene performs Game of Thrones' signature magic of forcing us to experience conflicting emotions and loyalties simultaneously. Do we root for Arya to betray the Hound, who after all really did kill her friend back in the second episode? Or do we want her to save her, since he's demonstrated he's a better class of child killer? Do we cheer for her cathartic poetic-justice execution of Polliver, the thug who stole her sword and murdered her companion? Or should we stop to think that an abused child turning into an accomplished killer is deeply sad, no matter how much her victims deserve it? Are they a dream team, or a disaster waiting to happen? Justice and vengeance, allies and enemies, good guys and bad guys: To quote The Wire one more time, it's all in the game.

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