In the latest installment of The Small Council, our staff makes their pick for Best Comedy Moment in Season 4.
Cameron White: Daenerys Targaryen’s story is, to put it mildly, a heavy one. On the run from mercenaries and “Usurper” loyalists since birth, traded for an army by the abusive brother who raised her, conquering, pillaging, hatching dragons… Dany’s a busy woman, and she suffers no fools. So it was a pleasant surprise to open Season 4 of Game of Thrones with a moment of pure levity for her. “Where’s Daario Naharis,” she asks of Barristan and Missandei. “Where’s Grey Worm?” “Gambling, your grace.” “………Gambling.”
The scene that follows is brief, but worthwhile for exposing the inherent silliness of what is essentially a pissing contest….
I particularly love the comedic timing of the scene, including the one-two-three shot of the swords dropping in unison, Grey Worm looking up at Missandei, and Missandei raising her eyebrows in snide amusement. If the show is to continue building original (as in, not in the books) scenes, I want the show to construct more scenes like this, and less of the embarrassing “where are my dragons” type. Small moments like this can be insightful as well as entertaining, whereas the repetition of the S2 phrase only serves to cut the character off from her (many) dimensions.
Ani Bundel: There were lots of ludicrous moments, easter eggs and references to other famous nerd canon moments in Season 4. Oberyn’s chant of “You raped her, you murdered her and you killed her children,” only missed a Mandy Patinkin-esque “Prepare to die” button to be more clear. But that scene was a tragedy, make no mistake, as Oberyn’s rage and need to humiliate the Lannisters overrode his comon sense. For the funny nerd canon reference we have to turn our eyes across the Narrow Sea, to the walls of Meereen.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but the first time I saw it, I recognized the reference. Something about the way the Champion of Meereen yelled “mhysa.” Something about the way Missandei translated his words, yet didn’t really. Maybe I just watched too much Monty Python as a child, but I typed in “Valyrian, Elderberries” in a forlorn hope that this was in fact what I was seeing. You can imagine my delight when in fact, David J. Peterson admitted that the Champion was in fact yelling the entire Frenchman’s speech from Holy Grail in Low Valyrian. I only wish the text were online somewhere. I would learn it.
But that wasn’t what made me laugh. Nor, for that matter was the physical pissing contest, which was far too unsubtle for my taste.
No, it was Daario’s Indiana Jones style take down of the Nameless Champion. The man was a clear master of horsemen, and probably swords and jousting to boot. Yet Daario took him down with a dagger. A simple, well aimed dagger to the eye of the horse. Much like Jones once took down a swordsman of equal talent with a single well aimed shot of a gun. All that was missing was the theme song playing as the Champion crashed to the ground and found himself suddenly headless.
That was hilarious. And pretty sexy to boot. Jorah could never compete.
Andrea Towers: I know I’m in the minority a lot of the time, but one of the reasons that I love Cersei Lannister is that despite her cruelty, she can always be counted on to bring a bit of levity to an otherwise sordid situation–even if it’s not entirely meant to be funny. Part of the reason Cersei is often seen as selfish and spiteful is because she relies on cruelty to help raise her own spirits, often not caring about other people’s feelings. This episode is really the first time since “Blackwater” we see Cersei feeling scared and a little unnerved–her son is about to get married, she’s not overly fond of the family that she’s gaining in this game, and the woman taking her place as queen is someone that she feels threatened by.
So when Cersei corners poor Pycelle, who is clearly uncomfortable once she starts interrogating him, doesn’t bother to keep her emotions in check, telling him “I want you to leave my presence.” (Indeed, her biting words after, when Pycelle tries to tell her he’s doing what Margaery told him to do only confirm that she’s on the verge of losing control.) Thanks to Lena Headey’s incredibly amazing deadpan (one of my favorite things, and if you haven’t seen her recent interview with Jimmy Kimmel, I’d advise you to check it out), the moment is a refreshing slice of humor in a story that otherwise wouldn’t allow for laugh. They may be far and few between but it’s these small instances that truly draw us into the story, allowing us to feel more fully for some of our favorite characters.
Rebecca Pahle: Olenna Tyrell, like Margaery and Littlefinger, changed pretty substantially from A Song of Ice and Fire to Game of Thrones. In the former, she hides her Machiavellian tendencies under a “dotty old woman” facade. In the latter, she’s a bona fide sass machine. Just look at how many nominations she has in this category. “Dotty old woman” my ass. And it’s a change I’m thankful for, because without it we wouldn’t have gotten an a cool as a cuke Olenna, nose turned firmly skyward, decrying murder at a wedding to be “horrid”… only for us to find out two episodes later (or 14 years earlier, depending on whether you read A Storm of Swords) that she was the one who poisoned Joffrey. It’s a brilliant joke because unless you’d read the books you wouldn’t even know it WAS a joke. You’d just wonder why the book reader friends you’re watching the show with started choking on their own spit all of a sudden.
And aside from being funny as hell, the joke is an excellent encapsulation of Olenna’s personality. She doesn’t give a single hoot what “proper” is–see the tale of how she seduced her husband–she’ll do what she has to do to get her and her family ahead. And I love the idea the idea of Olenna delivering that line and going back to her chambers (where she’s surrounded by dozens of cheese boys) to revel in the glory of how fucking FUNNY she is, even if no one else knows it. Because who needs anyone else? No one can fully grasp the level of Olenna’s awesomeness except Olenna. It’s a level of self-confidence we should all try to emulate. Probably not the tendency toward regicide, though.
Haven’t voted yet? Make your pick below, and check in Thursday to see the winner!