The Battle for the Throne – and now his watch has ended (S03E04)

A Lannister always pays his debts

In its fourth episode Game of Thrones continues the descent into the darkness with very few rays of light in between.

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.

The Hand of the Kingslayer
Starting with a very disturbing shot of a hand we are given a few moments before we realize that it is Jamie’s hand from last episode that is dangling from the kingslayer’s neck. And with the hand we are reminded that Jamie has now hit rock bottom.

Things continue to get horrible for Jamie to a point where even people who passionately hate him will have to agree that really nobody deserves something like this. Trying to find glory in his old skills Jaime very soon realized that his left hand is not the same as his right and the humiliation by the Bolton men continued.

The following scene with Brienne was a fantastic moment that promises more to come.

In order to get through to him Brienne had to speak Jaime-language and a simple “You sound like a bloody woman” was all it took for Jaime to regain his will to live. The question both Brienne and the audience have remains: why did Jaime lie to save Brienne and what will the fate of these two characters be?

Everyone loves Joffrey
Well after some morbid history lessons by Joffrey we saw what Margaery Tyrell has done to King’s Landing. Compare the cheering masses to the horseshit throwing masses in last season. And on top of that Margaery pretty much told Cersei how little power she now has over her son.

It is interesting what polar opposites Cersei and Margaery are. They both educate Joffrey about power but whereas Cersei told Joffrey to rule via fear the Margaery way is the happy way.

All this lead to a short scene with Tywin which is a set up for a potential super sitcom where Tywin has to watch over Joffrey and learn the loveable sides of his grandson.

Who rules King’s Landing?
It Varys from time to time

Making up for his absence in the first two episodes we got a load of Varys scenes one of them telling us the story of why Varys is a eunuch. A story teased before the battle at Blackwater Bay. In a very lovecraftian way Varys describes all the horrible things that don’t scare him as much as a mysterious voice in the fire. The voice he heard when the sorcerer who cut off his manhood terrifies Varys so much he hates magic more than anything else.

And in a Lost-esque scene ending Varys showed us “WHAT IS IN THE BOX?” – the very sorcerer who mutilated him. Well good hint to illustrate that Varys is not a nice guy but actually a very terrifying calculating and patient man.

Last week’s Podrick-wonder in Littlefinger’s whorehouse was brought up again. Will it be a continuing storyline or was the scene just there to fix the plothole of what happened to the whores. Remember Littlefinger hates bad investments.

While lady Olenna and Tywin have yet to meet for a super confrontation we had Varys meeting the Queen of Thornes. In a fantastic conversation the two spiders bounced back and forth and eventually conspired to cross Littlefingers plans.

I am curious how much truth lies in Varys’s words about Littlefinger. I am sure that he fears Littlefinger but I am not sure if what he told lady Olenna was the real reason he’s scared of Littlefinger.

Interestingly the line “he would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes” was a line used in the trailers and I originally thought it was about Stannis.

The sneaky Tyrells have now offered Sansa the hand of Loras Tyrell.
Poor Sansa! Finding out her love is gay will be the next of many blows.
But better to be disappointed by the Tyrells than by Littlefinger.

Theon still is Lost
Well I thought something similar would happen last episode but it happened this episode. As it turned out the entire escape was just to make Theon talk and crush all his hopes. On the plus side we had a short moment where Theon showed us that he is not a complete asshole.

He chose wrong… and now he suffers for it.

I am curios what his storyline will be about and who his captors are. If it was Yara I think we’d seen her by now. I still believe it was Bolton’s bastard. Remember Bolton’s bastard did not report any dead children that hung from the walls of Winterfell. So what if all this was just to find out if Theon had killed the Stark children before reporting to Robb?

Whoever that “mystery savior” is… he is one cruel bastard.

Bran needs his powerup
This storyline is the one that really troubles me. To its defense it was only one very short scene to show us that Bran is still in Westeros but that was all it was. Right now Bran is the only storyline where I truly have no idea where it is heading.

What I mean is that with any other storyline I can take guesses what the character wants to do.
Take Arya for example. In Season 2 she started to go back to Winterfell and it has been her drive ever since. Sure there have been interesting developments but even without those we would have had a clear motivation.
With Bran I am waiting for the interesting development to happen and that’s it. Sure in the first episode they said something about going to the wall but that was all there was. The dreamsharing has taken the stage and that is all the storyline is focusing on.

While I am not against fantasy elements I don’t like fantasy elements that are the sole reason why a character exists. This is the thing with Bran now. He can’t do anything wherever he is heading, be it Riverrun, the Wall or somewhere else. So the only thing that remains is his +5 on seeing skills which he will probably power up along the road.

Let’s take Daenerys as a counter example of how fantasy elements can be used: sure her storyline involves dragons but at the center of it is the question about leadership, birthright and slavery. The dragon is just the icing on top of all those philosophical issues. With Bran the icing is all there is and this makes it a bit tasteless.
I really hope that his story progresses anytime soon and that we learn about the Reeds because right now all they do is add +8 on his dreamjump skills.

The night is dark and full of terrors
We finally met the leader of the Brotherhood without Banners: Beric Dondarrion.
They are a group of people initially sent out by Eddard Stark in Season 1 (yet it was a different actor back then) and the Hound pretty much nailed it: they are following orders from a dead hand that served a dead king… they are ghosts.
But apparently they have embraced the “one true god”. This makes sense seeing as Melisandre has to reappear somewhere and remember that Gendry has Stannis’s blood so who knows how long it takes for Arya to go after Stannis.

But the current question is- who will win the trial by combat next week: Beric or the Hound?
I am so scared for the Hound right now. He is one of the most interesting characters but I doubt they will kill of Bendric after just one episode (well again you never know).

Owners of the Blu Ray disc might have watched the bonus material may also know a certain fact about Thoros of Myr that might or might not become important next week.

And now his watch has ended
The episode title was derived from the segment beyond the wall – this time not featuring Jon Snow but the Nightswatch at Craster’s Keep. There was a lot of unrest in the ranks of Mormont’s men and on top of that Sam had to decide what to do with Gilly and her baby…

But before he could decide anything Craster’s insults went too far and we a had a super slaughter taking both Craster (yay) and the Lordcommander Mormont (nay) from us. Pay attention to the sound design when Mormont is stabbed – great use of the horn we heard at the end of Season 2.  What will those people now do? Make Craster’s keep their own and rape the women? They have forsaken the Nightswatch so I doubt they’ll return to the Wall.

And Sam and Gilly are now in the wild… I think they will start towards the wall but from the style of the series (see Arya’s storyline for example) something completely unexpected will cross their path.

Dracaris Motherfucker…
… was the phrase a friend of mine spoke when we discussed how the entire dragon situation with Daenerys would turn out. And it turned out to be the most satisfying fantasy gibberish line in recent years as Daenerys commanded her dragon to burn down Ben Kingsley’s double.
Within a single scene Danaerys has completely changed her status and compared to Season 2 her storyline moves at super speed (same goes for the Wall) and now the world will also take notice of her.

The question I have is how much we are meant to sympathize with Daenerys’s actions. She freed the slaves – on paper a noble thing – but I still have this itch about this whole situation. It was a great strategic moment for Dany but from her morals she is a big hypocrite in my opinion – or a misguided idealist if that phrase sounds nicer.

Not killing children is a very “noble thing” but I wonder who is going to feed all those parentless children when Daenerys and her crazy babykiller army has gone as I didn’t see any ponies with children leaving the city.
Same goes for allowing slaves who have no concept of free will to “choose” to fight for her. It was pretty much a gesture that was meant to look noble but to me it was just self-righteous so that she can pretend that people are following her instead of the truth that she has a slave-army at her service right now.

Ending with an enormous moneyshot of dragons and soldiers the story continues to move forward (at least beyond the wall and beyond the narrow sea) and the next episode is coming as sure as winter is…

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Wolfgang Verfasst von:

Der Host des Flipthetruck Podcasts. Mit einem Fokus auf Science Fiction und Roboter sucht er ständig jene Mainstream Filme, die sich nicht als reine Unterhaltungsfilme zufrieden geben.

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