Game of Thrones – Recap: The Kind of King Who Laughs at a Funeral
As Game of Thrones continued to whip right on through book three in the series, A Storm of Swords, we found ourselves once again enraptured by the upper crust of Westeros. The lines between friend and foe have become so blurred at this point, that there is only one thing I’m one hundred percent certain of; slavery sucks. Will the Khaleesi (Emilia Clarke) become the Abraham Lincoln of Astapor? Only time (next episode) will tell, but the one thing more depressing than witnessing pouting child slaves peer down at the Mother of Dragons while she haggled for an army with one of her own “children” as funding, was watching Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) have his own “baby” taken away from him. No, not you Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie). You’re still merely his increasingly affectionate “wench.”
The Kind of King Who Laughs at a Funeral: For a show that prides itself on getting pretty graphically gore-soaked when the occasion calls for it, the most cringe worthy moment of the season thus far had to be the unfortunate introduction of Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies). Because A Storm of Swords is a massive book, steps had to have been taken to appropriately pace the plot. Rumor has it the book will be divided into two seasons, although to me it seems as though show writers are sprinting through the chapters. In the case of Edmure, that meant an intensified glimpse at just how incapable he is at, well, anything and everything. I laughed under my breath, right along with Robb Stark (Richard Madden), as Tully struggled to light his father’s funeral float aflame via arrow. Seriously, though, that task looked tough. Not for the Blackfish (Clive Russell), of course, who managed to shame Edmure and lay his brother to rest in one fell swoop.
I guess I would feel more sympathetic towards Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) had she not shows such incredible disdain for little Jon Snow (Kit Harington) during this season’s second episode, but I was relieved that the show decided to pick up the pace when it came to killing off her father. (The death of Lord Tully in the book is absolutely arduous.) Still, R.I.P. Lord Tully. I was more so interested in Robb’s reprimanding of Edmure for disobeying his orders and completely demolishing his plan to lure that awful Mountain in for the kill. Instead of baiting Tywin’s (Charles Dance) army into the North, Tully managed to fight a victorious battle while simultaneously hurting Robb’s odds in this clash of kings. The Mountain lives, and Robb is running out of patience. Congratulations to Talisa (Oona Chaplin), though, for becoming increasingly more likable. I enjoyed her dressing of the Lannister captives’ wounds and her scary bedtime tale of King Robb the man-eating wolf. Don’t worry, children. He only eats babies on the full moon.
Bon Voyage, Red: Now that Stannis (Stephen Dillane) has been down for the count for a good while following his defeat on the Blackwater, Melisandre (Carice van Houten) decided it’d be the opportune time to take a vacation. Where she’s going, nobody knows but R’hllor. Stannis, anxious to make another shadow baby via his own manly essence, was discouraged to hear that Melisandre felt his “flames burned low.” Yes, that’d be the ultimate turn-off to the Red Priestess; however, she did have a game plan to win Stannis back the throne. King’s blood was required for a sacrifice to the Lord of Light, and Stannis has some expendable relatives waiting in the wings. Melisandre is on the hunt, but first, a well-earned break from that super stiff Stannis.
Dust Dirt: Why is it that I find myself rooting for Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) following his previous season-long horror show. From the ruin of Winterfell to the burning of two innocent boys, I should have found myself enjoying the torture that befell him. This kraken just can’t catch a break! Get it together, Greyjoy!
After being freed from his confines by a man sent by Yara, Theon’s sister, Theon was sent riding off to his own freedom. Watching Theon stretch his limbs following weeks of virtual crucifixion made my own muscles twitch in equal parts relief and agony. Still, we had to know something was up. Theon’s escape was subsequently met with a chasing on horseback that reminded me of Arwen’s race to Rivendell in The Fellowship of the Ring. His captors weren’t about to let the Iron Born prince escape. For a while, it seemed as though the riders were eating Theon’s dust, until one managed to ride ahead and double back, knocking him from his saddle. Theon ate dirt, but in the end, the same man who’d freed him laid arrows in the backs (and faces) of his assailants, just before their leader could go all Deliverance on Theon, if you know what I’m saying. This mystery man (Iwan Rheon) has offered Theon a way out. Hmm…
The First Animal Cracker: The ray of sunshine in this week’s episode came from Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and her band of brigand brothers. She and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) bid Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey) a fond farewell. He’d found his calling as a baker at the inn dubbed a “sh*t hole” by The Hound (Rory McCann), even offering Arya a massive wolf-shaped crumpet as a parting gift. All in all, the boy had become a true friend, and Arya’s sweet goodbye was a moment that reminded us that amidst the death and decay of war, these people are on a true adventure.
It’s a Boy! Oh, No: I have to say, while the massive artistic display of dismembered horses was intended to be chilling and stomach churning, and it was, I will give the white walkers their credit. Those cold-blooded, black-hearted, fiends have a true eye for aesthetic design. That “crop circle” was gorgeous! Remember, Mance Rayder’s (Ciarán Hinds) warg Orell had seen dead “crows” through the eyes of his eagle, but the bloodstained snow was soiled only by the corpses of horses. Nearly three hundred men of The Night’s Watch had become wights. The King Beyond the Wall was hell-bent on putting a stop to the supernatural menace of the white walkers. The time had come to “set the biggest fire the north had ever seen,” and he was sending his men over The Wall. Watch out, Castle Black, the wildlings are coming in for the sack!
Meanwhile, Samwell (John Bradley), Lord Commander Mormont (James Cosmo), and the rest of the remaining men of The Watch managed to meander their way back to Craster’s Keep. You remember Craster as the man who bedded his own daughters and fed any male grandchildren to the white walkers as a peace offering. If there’s anything worse than someone who eats infant children, it’s someone who feeds that heinous being babies. Much to Sam’s despair, the young girl he’d befriended on their prior stop over at Craster’s happened to give birth during their stay. It’s a Boy! Oh, no…
Musical Thrones: One of the greatest parts of seeing this series play out on our televisions versus the novel series, is that the show allows for visual liberties we aren’t even prompted to imagine from the text. For example, how well done was that sequence of switching chairs during the King’s Council meeting? King’s Landing has, needless to say, been turned completely upside down following the Battle of Blackwater Bay; however, this visual sequence depicted the subtext between the lines of the recent power plays and swapping of positions. Baelish (Aiden Gillen), Varys (Conleth Hill), and Pycelle (Julian Glover) sit along the table side by side, while Lord Tywin sits at the head. When Cersei (Lena Headey) enters, she grabs a chair from the side and swings it around to the opposite side of the men, taking her place directly next to her father. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), however, swings another chair to the opposite head, challenging his father’s authority. This is exactly where we stand; with Tywin in the lead, Cersei as his right hand woman, and with Tyrion challenging him as a dark horse. The three men beside them are, of course, desperate to please whomever favors them more so.
Tyrion had been appointed Master of Coin following Littlefinger’s leave of absence. Lord Baelish was sent to the Eyrie in order to court Lysa Arryn, Cat’s sister. While Robb’s men held Harrenhal, he’d make himself useful winning another land for Tywin. Master of Coin seems to be, for lack of a better phrase, the worst. Tyrion seemed utterly disgusted to be handling the King’s coin, yet he did now get the opportunity to read the true story of king’s of Westeros’ past. Spending habits can tell much about a person. Baelish, for example, had seemed to be a fantastic Master of Coin. In truth, he’d taken out so many loans from Tywin and some Bank of Braavos, who seem like they’re sitting pretty in a position of power. If they can’t pay back their debts, the bank will fund their enemies in order to take back their gold.
In other news, Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) is a virtual rock star in the sack, wooing the whores of King’s Landing so well that Tyrion’s intended gift to him was granted for free! Speaking of rock stars, did you enjoy that thumping interpretation of “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”?
Yikes, the Walk of Punishment: Let me break down the “Walk of Punishment” for you all. It is literally an atrocious seaside spectacle, along the lines of a twisted department store window display, featuring a vast array of “criminals” who have been fried, dyed, and laid to the side for all to gawk at. Of course, in Astapor merely speaking a lie is deemed a crime worthy of a trip to the “Walk of Punishment.” When Daenerys offered one crucified man water to ease his suffering, he turned down her random act of kindness in favor of a quicker death. I appreciated that Dany’s reaction upon leaving the steps of the man’s own personal torture chamber read ever so slightly “embarrassed” as opposed to plainly “sad.” It was as though she was so utterly appalled by Astapor’s cruelty yet also somewhat distraught that she’d even attempted to be kind. How dare she offer to quench a dying man’s thirst! It isn’t as though Astapor appears absolutely scorching hot or anything. This scene was important because it dictated the tone for the rest of Dany’s visit. Daenerys Stormborn was pissed.
Dany had decided to purchase the entire army of Unsullied warriors for her own use. Eight thousand impeccable fighters at her command, yet Ser Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney) pleaded with her to reconsider. Men who fight with love for their leader fight better than those whose loyalty is purchased. Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) begged to differ. Men with no internal lust for glory and warfare had no need for a post-battle rape or, say, the burning desire to murder children for pleasure. Dany’s brother Rhaegar had fought with men who loved him, and Rhaegar lost. Thankfully, he was not the last dragon.
Watching Daenery’s listen to the slave driver verbally abuse her while keeping her composure utterly cool is a treat. Dany comes from the blood of Old Valyria. She speaks that tongue, whether she admits it yet or not. In the end, Dany couldn’t afford the army with the gold she’d stolen from Qarth. The only way to pay for her men would be to trade… a dragon! Her advisors begged her to reconsider, but the deal was struck. Whether she would go through with the trade or not has yet to be seen, but Khaleesi is one savvy blondie. In the trade, she also acquired the slave driver’s own personal slave, Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), for herself. She will prove to be a key player in Dany’s navigation of Slaver’s Bay, of course. With no family waiting for her, her loyalty seems to ly in the Khaleesi. Valar Morghulis. All men must die. Thankfully, these two are ladies.
Friends?: Brienne and Jaime, having been recently captured by Roose Bolton’s Northmen, continued to develop their absolutely stellar rapport while confined to one another on horseback. Brienne wasn’t as impressed as she’d assumed she would have been following her incredible duel with Jaime atop the bridge. The Kingslayer was slightly rusty after spending about a damn year shackled and sitting in a mud puddle. Jaime warned Brienne of the possibility of, well, rape. Just writing that word makes me tense up, but watching the men untie Brienne that evening for that very purpose was terrifying. The woman was going down fighting, ignoring Jaime’s advice to basically play dead. Jaime, however, was not about to let his only half-ally get so horridly dishonored and disrespected. Brienne, being a highborn woman from the Sapphire Isle, could fetch these men a price, if only her “honor” could remain intact. Jaime fooled the men into thinking the Sapphire Isle was named so for the precious gem rather than the strikingly blue waters surrounding it.
Clever Jaime Lannister had rescued Brienne the Beauty, and he’d managed to finagle his own freedom in the process. Rather than being dragged back to Robb, he offered the men loads of gold. Unfortunately, these weren’t the type of men to take kindly to cleverness and oh, I don’t know, any sense of intelligent articulation whatsoever. God forbid Jaime had read a damn book. In one quick swipe, the Kingslayer had lost his sword hand as punishment for his privileged upbringing and biting tongue. Jaime had lost everything in a flash. Thus, we have the greatest identity crisis in the history of Westeros. This is going to be epic.
By the way, the punk rock version of “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” that played over the credits following Jaime’s terrible loss felt a little odd, no? That’s a signature move often pulled by the likes of True Blood; devastate the audience, then slam them with a booming contemporary song.
What did you all think of Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 3 “Walk of Punishment”? Are you loving Jaime and Brienne as much as I am this season? For those of you who haven’t read the book, do you think Khaleesi will actually trade her dragon? Did you appreciate the seating sequence as well? How are you enjoying Season 3 overall?
Thanks for reading my Recap of Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 3 “Walk of Punishment”!