Directed by David Benioff and written by both showrunners Benioff and D.B. Weiss this week’s episode Walk of Punishment was an early highlight in Season 3. We got a handful of things to go through and the only truly bad thing about the episode was the song played at the end.
A note on the delay
Due to some intensive therapy to help me cope with my anger issues there have been some delays for this review. Depending on how well the therapy goes the delays might come from time to time.
A note on the spoiler policy
These articles will discuss the episodes in-depth so everything that has already been aired will be talked about. There won’t be spoilers for future events and book information will only be discussed if it has already happened or happened differently in the books. Things that are omitted from the books won’t be mentioned because those events might come to play in a different way.
Some more new faces!
Like many times in the series observing the intro helps the viewer to find his place in Westeros especially when you open in a location that has never been seen before. This week we finally visited Riverrun – home of Catelyn Stark (formerly Tully). And in one of many dialog-free scenes we were clearly introduced to Catelyn’s brother Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies) who had three chances to ruin his father’s funeral. And also to Brynden “Blackfish” Tully (Clive Russell) who pushed his nephew away and didn’t even have to look if the arrow had found its target.
It was a very efficient way to yet introduce two new characters so we would immediately know their strengths and weaknesses. After all the characters we have yet to figure out (Olenna, Mance, Tormund, the Reeds, Theon’s captors…) it is refreshing to give us some clearer characters. Especially Blackfish reminded me a lot of Ned Stark and that is probably intentional.
With the death of Catelyn’s father we have a new Tully in charge – Edmure. And not only are his archery skills not up to Bronn’s or Anguy’s standards he also screwed up royally when it comes to Robb Stark’s battle plans. I loved the discussion as it once again gave us information about Blackfish and Edmure but also – and very importantly – showed us again why Robb is a great leader. He has a plan and I think it was necessary that we had a scene where he elaborated his tactics to catch the mountain so we get a feeling that his victories are not by chance.
Still my hopes for Robb are fading as he is too noble and we still have to wait for Walder Frey (Mr. Filch) to react to Robb’s marriage.
The second scene played relying on non-spoken dialog is guaranteed to last as one of Game of Thrones’s finest ones. Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) compensated last week’s absence with a fantastic gathering of the small council – and Tyrion.
It was this very long sketch of looks and actions that showed us how well we already know these characters and what their goals are. When the talking started (after a bit of chair shuffling) we had two interesting developments:
1) Littlefinger would leave King’s Landing to marry Lysa Arryn (the crazy woman who breastfeeds her way too old kid)
2) Tyrion will inherit Littlefinger’s position as Master of Coin
Thankfully we got Varys (Conleth Hill) back! I love his performance and I can’t figure out what he is up to. Plus I enjoyed how he reminded Littlefinger that right now Robb Stark was Lord of Harrenhal (Harrenhal being promised to Littlefinger).
Making Tyrion the Master of Coin was clearly an idea by Cersei and that cockroach Pycelle (hear, hear). It pretty much shows the danger of Cersei. I am pretty sure that the finances (as Tyrion also starts to find out) are pretty bad and Cersei just wants someone to take the blame and get rid of her brother. She definitely knows how to play the game and even if Tyrion manages to rebalances the finances it will only benefit the Kingdom but right now I think she sees the finances as a lost cause.
Not only did Tyrion inherit Littlefinger’s job he also found out about how much the crown owes to Tywin Lannister (which we knew) and to the Iron Bank of Brothers (which we didn’t know).
I am very careful about this new group of characters that got so casually introduced like the brotherhood in Season 2.
- Who are those guys?
- Are they important?
- How large is their influenced?
- Why haven’t they been mentioned before?
Let’s see what happens with those people but I am not a fan of introducing a party that has never really been hinted at – compared to Mance Rayder, Dorne and even Thoros of Myr who have been super casually introduced but if you go back and pay close attention you will see that all three have been mentioned since Season 1 (Thoros of Myr is mentioned by Jaime Lannister).
But speaking of debts to repay Tyrion finally thanked Podric for saving his life during the battle of Blackwater Bay. In scene that felt like the writers realized that they hadn’t had proper sexposition in the last episode and so Game of Thrones introduced us to the most tits-heavy part yet. But at least there was a fun payoff with Pod seemingly having found a secret that Tyrion and Bronn would love to uncover.
Unless it becomes a bigger storyline as we go along I will just take the scenes with Pod as a fun and lighthearted moment.
Did he say “climb the Wall”?
So much for surprises! I thought Jon Snow’s storyline would consist of Mance’s camp and a bit of playing double agent. But instead the story moves at a breakneck speed and we spent less time with a lovestory than with Rayder action. This is a great development! Interestingly Jon Snow and Daenerys – both having very drawn out storylines in Season 2 – are upping their game and turning more interesting with every passing week.
This episode Mance pretty much confirmed that the elaborately laid out corpses are sort of “White Walker Street Art”.
Curious that the horse corpses were aligned in a spiral that reminded most of a galaxy – is it just a nice spiral or something else? Right now I see the White Walkers as a sort of natural force but I think they have to bring some deeper understanding about the world of Westeros… otherwise they remain simple necromancers and I doubt George R.R. Martin writes such shallow threats.
So I might be reading way too much into this but the Walkers laying out galaxies in a world that is unaware of the universe except for comets, moon and sun might indicate that the Walkers know a great deal more about this world than anyone else…
Anyways aside from some horse corpses we got a very, very intriguing set up for the next episodes.
It’s a boy!
Continuing the theme of the Walkers we got some “wise” council by Craster in his house of incest. And Sam finally got reunited with Gilly who gave birth to her child… and well we know what Craster is going to do once he finds out.
Pretty sure Sam and Gilly will make a run for it!
Your storyline burns low!
Meanwhile in the land of stale plots we had Melisandre leaving “King” Stannis. And while her comments sounded like the Westeros version of “it’s not you, it’s me” I highly doubt that she leaves him. I don’t know why Melisandre needs Stannis but it I hope the payoff will be worth it.
Right now Stannis has a claim and no sympathy. And with the charismatic vacuum Stannis represents I can only think that he will further sell his soul to get what he wants. And there is a way that he can get more power according to Melisandre.
Apparently Stannis is too weak to create another Lost-smokemonster but blood sacrifice might be the way to go. Now if he just finds someone who has his blood… like a relative to his brother Robert… like a bastard son traveling with a brotherhood…
Save Gendry, Arya!
Not much happened with Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie. Except for the fact that Hot Pie left in a nice scene. Which leaves Arya and Gendry to travel with the crazy brotherhood… and who knows how long it takes for Arya to cross Melisandre’s path. Let’s hope Arya kills Stannis to avenge Gendry.
Or better: let’s hope Gendry makes it out alive and to the Iron Throne.
Sidenote: I wondered if it was the same location as in Season 1 where Arya threw away Joffrey’s sword. Turns out it was… and Arya remembered and rubbed it into the Hound’s face.
Did she just say “I will give you a dragon”?
At first I wondered if she was bluffing. Why would Daenerys give away her biggest dragon? But after some consideration it actually sounds very smart. As far as we know the last person who tried to chain and control the dragons learned his lesson.
And the Unsullied obey every command once they are Daenerys’s. So I’ll take a wild guess and say that Master “Ben Kingsley” Kraznys will not be able to tame the dragon. And after Drogon (the dragon) has burnt down Kraznys who is there to tell the dragon to remain in Astapor?
Theon is Lost!
Theon’s storyline is the big question mark here. I have no idea who has abducted him, who has saved him, if the guy is truly working for his sister, why he was using the words “winter is coming”. Originally I thought it was a sort of “sport” by his torturers who let Theon escape in order to hunt him down like an animal… but then they got shot Lurtz style (cookie if you got the reference).
Let’s wait and see what happens.
But what impressed me was the amazing chase sequence that went on for god knows how long. The budget keeps showing in every episode and the horse chase must have cost a lot. Usually in Game of Thrones they tend to avoid horse scenes as horses tend to double the shooting time required and this was an elaborately staged scene so … wow!
Give me a good, clean death any day!
Well Jaime had to endure a lot of cutting remarks by Brienne because of last episodes duel yet the mood very soon changed as he laid out what might happen when their captors would make camp. And camp should hold a lot for them in store.
In a moment where Jaime – at least to us – showed that he had a sort of heart he convinced the Bolton Bannermen to leave Brienne untouched. Feeling like he was on a winning role Jaime went on to try to convince the Bolton-leader to free him and betray the Starks.
Using his father’s influence Jaime was so confident I was sure that he would bite it once the Bolton leader unchained him. But instead of killing him they did something much worse: they took away everything he was. His sword skills gone with one swift stroke. Jaime will have a rough time coming and it is very interesting comparing his situation with the scene in Season 1 where he spoke about Bran and that he would never want to be a cripple. He said he prefers a clean death instead of it… well now we will see how he deals with it.
I am very excited because I think Jaime will become more and more interesting and sympathetic. Maybe even to a point where my therapist will not give me a worried look when I say that Jaime is one of my favorite characters…