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S01.E03: The Making at the Heart of the World

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Ensconced in the lap of luxury among the Grisha, Alina begins her training. The Crows — Kaz, Inej and Jesper — prepare for their risky journey.

 

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As much as I enjoy a good binge session I wish they had dropped this show weekly. There's so much to unpack each episode. This is not a show for multi-tasking. 

The wardrobe and props department went really all out on this show. I love the Grisha keftas with the embroideries indicating individual powers - so much attention to detail. Also great were the books: some in print, some handwritten manuscripts with in-world fonts. Very impressive.

And we met various new characters. Neat bonding between Alina and Genya. I expected Baghra to look scarier but Zoe Wannamaker was certainly intimidating enough. I had forgotten that Jasper had Grisha powers - that scene in the train was an impressive reminder. And the bit about the goat was some much needed comedy.

I wonder where they take the story with West Ravka wanting to become independent. Damn, the Drüskelle are not fooling around, but that was to be expected.

As overwhelming as the many different plots are it's great that the show always returns to Alina and Mal. I love how their relationship is at the center of everything and how natural both the kid and adult actors feel in their shared scenes. Fantastic casting.

 

Edited by MissLucas
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It made no sense to me that a country would sneak into another country to steal their witches, put them on trial and then execute them. That is a lot of effort and expense, I don't see what they gain from it.

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5 minutes ago, AnimeMania said:

It made no sense to me that a country would sneak into another country to steal their witches, put them on trial and then execute them. That is a lot of effort and expense, I don't see what they gain from it.

Domestic propaganda I imagine. Making sure the people back home know the Grisha are real and keeping the hatred for them burning. 

I imagine the trials are big public affairs design to whip the crowds into a religious fervor.

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Plus Ravka has 'weaponized' its Grisha population. Killing them weakens the First Army and it's easier to pluck them individually.

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I assume the Viking looking guys kidnapping and murdering Ravka Grisha is probably both to lessen the fighting forces of Ravka, and its established that the Grisha are a major part of the war effort, and there is some kind of religious fanaticism involved, so big show trails can get the people whipped up about destroying the "evil witches" and wiping them off the face of the earth. Or whatever this planet is called. That might even be the reason they tell people they murder Grisha, that its a religious calling, when actually the higher ups mainly care about weakening the Ravka military. I can understand why the Grisha stay rather cloistered, it seems like every time they go anywhere these assholes are trying to murder them or kidnap them so they can be murdered elsewhere. Also the Viking made a crack about women fighting, which is probably another cultural difference as Ravka, while it has many issues, seems pretty egalitarian when it comes to gender. 

I need to stop trying to multitask while watching this show, there is a lot going on that I need to pay attention to. Huge props to the costume people and the set designers, they are doing so much to make this world feel so real. Those costumes are so beautiful and detailed, especially all of the hats and heavily designed Grisha clothes. We are also getting a whole lot of lore and a whole lot of characters, but the pacing has slowed down so I am a lot less confused. 

When traveling through demon infested darkness, always bring your emotional support goat! 

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The goat (Milo) was the show's MVP. Like Jesper I had expected that Arken had asked for it to throw it out of the train to distract the Volcra. Its real not so sinister purpose was a big surprise and made me laugh.

Edited by MissLucas
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A lot of interesting stuff happening in this episode.

Enjoying new characters like Genya. She brought a much-needed lightness to the show, and sass which is always welcome when dealing with unwilling heroines. I think I need Genya and Jesper to meet - they can have a spin-off show where they just doing charming shit including gun tricks and magical plastic surgery. Who's with me?

Small Palace = Big Racist Comments. Damn.

Grisha Bitchas! Zoya came in hot. It was actually a bit jarring. In the camp, Zoya acted fairly normal, maybe a bit snobby because she was second army. Her character got aggressive and racist really quickly - maybe that's how she was in the books? - I think it would have been better to show glimpses of this side of her personality in the previous two episodes so her attitude change didn't feel like a last minute character rewrite.

Excited for more Baghra!

MVP of the episode: The Goat!

I can't remember the kidnapped Heartrender's name, but I'm hoping we see more of her. She's tough, and this is a good opportunity to get a look at Fjerda and their witch-hating ways.

I like that we're learning not only more about the Grisha but about the political struggles. West Ravka wants to split, which means that Alina is going to have to learn to use her powers quickly or else...

Not enough of General Kirigan and his Goth hotness. I imagine that he listens to Nine Inch Nails in his spare time while hatching evil plots. If Kirigan can amplify other Grisha's powers, does he plan to work with Alina to banish the fold or is he figuring out a way to steal her power?  

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I’m enjoying Kaz and his gang a lot more than Alina. Their adventures are much more entertaining than the teenage angst. Yay, goat!

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I'm enjoying the show, and LOVE its diversity so much. This episode was a lot of fun (especially the bit with the goat, although since Jesper endangered them to begin with by screwing around with his mission, saving everyone was the least he could do).

But I'd pay real money if the show would STOP with the SAME, NEVER-ENDING flashbacks to Mal and Alina holding hands in the field. I get it. They're beloved friends. I really do. So I wish the show would stop constantly reminding us like, "DO YOU REMEMBER? THEY WERE LYING IN A FIELD! HOLDING HANDS!" 

Gah.

Also, there's not enough Ben Barnes so far. Which is a shame, because aside from the hotness, he's one of the best actors in the bunch. 

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1 hour ago, paramitch said:

But I'd pay real money if the show would STOP with the SAME, NEVER-ENDING flashbacks to Mal and Alina holding hands in the field. I get it. They're beloved friends. I really do. So I wish the show would stop constantly reminding us like, "DO YOU REMEMBER? THEY WERE LYING IN A FIELD! HOLDING HANDS!" 

Gah.

Oh yes.  Maybe I just don't have the shipper gene. Or I am being contrary and just don't want to ship the couple  the show wants me to ship. It also doesn't help that IMO these two actors are the weakest of the main cast.

In any case the real love match was Jesper and that darling goat.

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On 5/1/2021 at 8:41 PM, paramitch said:

But I'd pay real money if the show would STOP with the SAME, NEVER-ENDING flashbacks to Mal and Alina holding hands in the field. I get it. They're beloved friends. I really do. So I wish the show would stop constantly reminding us like, "DO YOU REMEMBER? THEY WERE LYING IN A FIELD! HOLDING HANDS!" 

 

On 5/1/2021 at 9:58 PM, magdalene said:

Oh yes.  Maybe I just don't have the shipper gene. Or I am being contrary and just don't want to ship the couple  the show wants me to ship. It also doesn't help that IMO these two actors are the weakest of the main cast.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who couldn't care less about Mal/Alina lol.

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If they want me to ship Mal & Alina then they shouldn't have her and the General do sexy summoning stuff in front of the king.

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I understand that Alina being part Shu was a new thing for the show? Great move, I really like that aspect of her story. It further explains her discomfort being in the spotlight and her desire not to be "special" or stand out. But at the same time, her heritage is a part of her and she doesn't want to change it - I loved that moment with Genya where she just said, "Please don't change my eyes." Hopefully she'll learn to value her Grisha powers in the same way.

And the queen assuming she couldn't speak Ravkan? Have a seat, lady. Alina shut her up with that Kirigan-assisted display of her powers. I continue to really like the effects they're using for these moments. In a world where people are used to Grisha being around and seeing magic, Alina's power still stops them in their tracks.

I'm not especially invested one way or the other in the Alina/Mal ship, but the flashback of him teaching her to fight was cute. I'd rather get more of that than another shot of them holding hands in the field again.

Everything about the train journey through the Fold was made of win. I liked the eerie atmosphere of them sitting encased in this metal box hurtling through the darkness, listening for the sounds outside and praying they had enough coal to make it across. The whole thing with the goat was too wonderful - I love that, as they were making the preparations for their crossing, the Conductor looked at Jesper and was like, "You know what? We're gonna need a goat." Jesper hugging the goat was delightfully sweet, and then laying waste to those Volcra, still with the goat in tow, after he calmed down? Holy hell, that was awesome. I love it when a character who can be regarded as kind of a lovable screw-up/trouble-maker is also devastatingly hyper-competent in a particular area. This isn't the first time we've seen his sharpshooting skills, but that was some next-level stuff, the way he was almost communing with his bullets. I'm pretty sure Jesper is my new platonic crush.

I appreciate the slow rollout we've been getting on Inej's history. She's such an intriguing character to me, and each episode offers just a little bit more background on her. Really liked the scene between her and Kaz at that memorial.

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