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‘Game of Thrones’ Heavy Metal Review – ‘Breaker of Chains’

HBO

This week’s ‘Game of Thrones‘ had a rad title and a season-high body count – but was that enough to make ‘Breaker of Chains’ metal?

Welcome to Week 3 of Season 4 of ‘Game of Thrones,’ HBO’s biggest series, and, thus, one of the most significant shows on television. And unlike all those other top-rated dramas, it’s full of long-haired dudes, bloody violence and an occasional dragon — all of which makes it way more metal than Five Finger Death Punch. So let all those other recaps ooh and ahh about the arty crap; our Heavy Metal ‘Game of Thrones’ Reviews evaluate each episode by quantifying — and qualifying — its essential badass-ness. Spoilers follow.

This week’s theme involved couples, pairings and the art of compromise. Cersei and Jaime. Arya and the Hound. Sam and Gilly. Davos and Stannis. Tyrion and Pod. In this ruthless world, beyond your own wits, all you really have is the person next to you. They may stand by you and fight. They may counsel you. Or they may leave you and flee (and possibly take your silver first). If you can trust the person next to you, and she can trust the person next to her, and the chain goes on, then you are strong. And if not … Winter is coming, and you might not live to see it.

The real essential, inciting bummer of the ‘Song of Fire and Ice’ saga is the destruction of the Stark family. Bundled together, the family was strong, and the clan ruled the North since time immemorial. But since the Starks were dispersed, divided and in the company of strangers, they’ve been picked off, murdered and marginalized. You’re only as strong as the people you can rely on. Especially when you’re living on the road. And most of our characters are far from home.

This week, the show’s numerous plots advanced, but not a lot really happened. The violence was quick and plentiful, though it wasn’t graphic. The metal content was subtle — OK, subtle like a brick to the skull, subtle like a cannibal raid. But let’s take a close look at what happened this week.

Jaime Lannister — the blond dude who looks like Denis Leary — nailed his sister in church, at the foot of the body of their bastard child. Doing your sister isn’t metal, but committing a taboo on sacred ground is totally metal, in a black metal kind of way. We’re not saying it’s right, but we don’t make the metal rules.

Sam and his sorta-girlfriend-but-not really, Gilly, visit a dirty whorehouse, and cathouses are metal. Sam — the chubby guy in black — is called Sam the Slayer. He may look like the Dude Least Likely to Have a Totally Metal Nickname. But as they discussed, he’s one of very few characters to have killed a White Walker, which basically translates to “magical zombie.” And there’s a whole army of them marching south. And they’re hard to kill. And despite everything that fills most of every episode, the advancing army of unstoppable undead is kind of the entire point of the story. You’ll see. Point being: Super zombies are metal.

Farther south, the Red Viper and his gal pal are hosting a party for five. Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee once said that a four-way is better than a three-way, because everybody has something do, and nobody’s left out. And with five, well, if that’s how it’s gonna go down all night, somebody’s going to have to make a run for Gatorade, right? Tommy Lee, by the way, does make the metal rules.

Incidentally, after the party is interrupted, the sequence in which ‘Game of Thrones’ suddenly turns in ‘Law & Order: King’s Landing’ was nice, like sudden jazz breakdown in the middle of a Megadeth album.

And the Wildlings’ raid on the village — it was the season’s biggest body count to date. Barbarians and body-modded cannibals descended on the farmers and their families. The lucky ones died quickly and were later eaten. Cue ‘Run to the Hills.’ Because it was an act of violation and dominance — as opposed to violent resistance and vengeance — it was wasn’t the kind of scene your average viewer could really behind. But make no mistake: Bloodthirsty evil invaders are metal.

Not much happened at the Wall, but a legion of dudes dressed in black were gathered, waiting for action, with like two women around. That sounds like the crowd in a club shortly before Autopsy’s set begins. And that’s mighty metal.

And across the sea, an army of freed slaves marched on a city of slavers. A lone rider met the liberators’ champion, who issued the Quote of the Week That Would Also Make a Good Metal Lyric or at Least Soundbite in a Song Intro: “Let me kill this man for you.” And if you picked episode 3 for First Decapitation in your ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3 poll, you were right.

‘Breaker of Chains’ Stats and Count of Assorted Metal Signifiers and Situations:

Onscreen Body Count: 11, 12 if you count the horse. (This is HBO, so the horse could really be dead.)
Corpse Left Over From Previous Episode: 1
Taboo Action on Consecrated Ground: 1
Violations of Basic Human Taboos: 2
Snot Rocket: 1 (That’s actually more punk-rock.)
Boobs: 6 human, 4 on wicked-ass harpy statues.
Pissing Contest: 1
Rain of Arrows: 1
Decapitation: 1
Overall Rating: Despite the high body count, not a very exciting episode, but regardless: Very Metal.

Point of Discussion: Who killed Joffrey? There’s ample evidence pointing at other players, but a wager of $6.66 says it Tywin. The books haven’t revealed it yet, so feel free to speculate in the comments.

Song of the Week: Dokken, ‘Breaking the Chains.’

Next: Last Week's 'Game of Thrones' Metal Review

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