by Tracy Ladd:
Game of Thrones: “And His Watch Is Ended”
Original Air Date (HBO): Sunday April 21, 2013
Season 3 Episode 4
The first three episodes of this season have served to lay the groundwork for what’s to come. We’ve caught up with the major players, where they’re at in the grand scheme of events happening in and out of Westeros and now that the groundwork has been established, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. After seeing the preview for this latest episode at the end of Walk of Punishment, I surmised that those hoping for some action were finally going to get their wish.
While that wasn’t so much the case, this was still a good episode. Even though we haven’t seen as much battle as we have in previous seasons, this episode was not lacking. The forward movement in the story may be subtle, but we’re getting character movement instead. It’s the little nuances of character and relationships that really make up the bulk of the continuing arch. The show is successfully riding a fine line, and even though an episode may come across as mellow, that doesn’t equate boring.
On a side note, I really love how the map in the opening credits sequence keeps expanding. In my opinion, this show has the greatest opening sequence currently on television but it really breaks my heart every time they show Winterfell and its plume of smoke.
Jamie and Brienne
After the horrific ending of last’s week’s episode that left Jamie without his sword hand, this week finds both Jamie and Brienne still in the company of their captors. Bound and mounted they ride, even though it looks as if Jamie is in shock. His captors were also kind enough to string his dismembered hand around his neck as a reminder I suppose. Brienne can only look on in horror as Jamie falls from his horse and demands that the others help him. She even goes so far as to dismount and get to him herself, but is stopped by several swords. After being helped to his feet, Jamie is able to get his hands..err….hand on a sword, but he’s weak and his remaining hand doesn’t serve him very well. He’s forced to admit defeat, which really must bake his noodle considering his former status. Brienne is genuinely upset by what’s happening and she’s truly worried about him. I think there’s a little more going on here between the two of them than either will ever admit.
This point shines through later on when Brienne has to slap Jamie out of his pity party by telling him that even though he did lose his good hand, he’s acting worse than a woman, which seems to do the trick. These two bicker like an old married couple, but I could watch them for hours. Brienne also questions Jamie on why he told a lie about her homeland in an effort to save her from their captors. It’s a question he doesn’t answer but deep down, I think he’s growing rather fond of her.
Tyrion is looking for confirmation that Cersei tried to have him killed during the battle so he goes to the one person who knows all of Kings Landing’s dirty secrets; Varys. Varys has to admit that he doesn’t have any proof, but has heard whispers. Varys then tells Tyrion about how, as a young boy, he was at the mercy of a sorcerer, who was also the man who made him a unich. While telling the story, Varys works at opening a crate, and he tells Tyrion about how after he was cut, the sorcerer used his boy bits to conjure some sort of magic. Varys’ is still clearly haunted by the event and talks about how he can still hear the voice that answered the sorcerer’s call. Varys finally opens the crate to reveal said sorcerer and tells Tyrion that he’ll have his revenge, so long as Tyrion can stomach it.
Later on, Varys meets with one of his “spiders”, who happens to be Ros. She proceeds to tell him about Podrick and the other girls, even though none of them would spill the beans on their encounter with him. She also brings Varys up to speed on Littlefinger and his requests for his voyage to the Eyrie. It seems he’s taking a passenger, but they question on if he still plans to take Sansa with him when he leaves.
Joffrey is still being a douche, trying to impress Margaery by giving her a tour and telling her the horror stories of the castle while Cersei and the Queen of Thorns talk about the wedding and keeping their sons safe. Margaery strokes Joffrey’s ego once again, much to the chagrin of his mother. Ohhhh, Cersei really doesn’t care for Margaery very much at all, but there’s not a damned thing she can do about it.
Cersei expresses her concerns about the Tyrells to Tywin, and also tells him that he should put his confidence in her. His reply is that she’s not as smart as she thinks she is (oh snap!!) and that she’s allowed Joffrey to ride roughshod all over the realm. He remarks on her comment that Margaery is manipulating Joffrey that she should be doing to the same.
Olenna sharpens her tongue on one of her granddaughters when Varys approaches bestowing greetings and compliments. Of course she can see right through his bullshit and calls him on it. She humors him anyway and the two walk and talk about Sansa and Littlefinger. Varys expresses his concern over his belief that Littlefinger plans on marrying Sansa, which will ultimately give him control of the north. Varys tells Olenna that even though he likes Littlefinger, he considers him a most dangerous man.
Speaking of Sansa, she gets a visit from Margaery who plants a bug in her ear about being hitched to her brother Loras. This gal knows how to play people and I don’t trust Margaery as far as I can throw her.
North of the Wall
At Craster’s Keep, the surviving brothers in black bitch about having to shovel manure and question Commander Mormont’s decision to hole up there especially considering that it seems Craster is keeping all of his food for himself. Sam can’t seem to stay away from Gilly, who is worried about her newborn son. She returns the gift that Sam gave her previously and tells her that she doesn’t have time for him, only her son. Ouch…poor Sam. He just can’t catch a break.
Later that evening, the brothers gather to put one of their own to rest. Once Commander Mormon walks away, there is dissention amongst the ranks. The brothers are pissed that Craster isn’t feeding them as well as he could and tensions rise as Mormont talks to Craster. Mormont tries to defuse the situation so they don’t find themselves out on their asses, but things go south really fast. After a brother kills Craster, another stabs Mormont. Chaos ensues leaving death in its wake. Same seizes the opportunity and take Gilly, and her son, and runs.
Theon has a moment of conscious and admits to his rescuer that he didn’t kill the two Stark boys. Normally Theon grates on my last nerve because he’s nothing more than a pompous ass with a superiority complex, but here he’s just a broken down young man who made a grave mistake. He realizes it too as he talks about how he seized Winterfell in an effort to make his father proud, but now realizes that his real father lost his head in King’s Landing. His rescuer takes him through tunnels to where Theon thinks his sister is waiting. Once they arrive at their destination, it’s revealed that it was a trap, and he’s right back where he was….strung up on the X.
Arya’s still in the company of Thoros of Myr and the Brothers Without Banners who take her, Gendry and the Hound to their leader, Beric Dondarrion. After Arya accuses the Hound of killing her friend Myca, Beric sentences the Hound to judgement by battle. The Hound makes a crack about Ayra being the bravest among them, to which Dondarrion says she might be, but it will be him that the Hound fights. That doesn’t bode well for the old dog considering Dondarrion has lived and died a few times apparently.
Meanwhile, across the sea, Daenerys meets with Kraznys to pay for her army of Unsullied. His price was the largest of her dragons, Drogon. In the greatest and final scene of the episode, Dany shows her true hand by ordering her new army, in the Valaryian tongue, to slay their old masters and to free all other slaves. Dany then gives the order to Drogon to roast Krazys and lay waste to Astapor. Jorah and Selmy can only watch as it all goes down, and if you ask me, Jorah was really turned on by Dany’s show of power. Once the deed is done, Jorah gives what I took to be a nod of approval, and rides with Dany and her new army out of the city.
There was a small bit with Bran this week as well. In a dream, he’s running through the forest following the three eyed crow. Jojen is there with him and tells him that he needs to follow the bird. He climbs the tree, only to be stopped by Catelyn, who is adamant that he promise not to climb anymore. He falls from the tree only to wake up with Jojen staring at him. Creepy.
From what I understand, the show runners are splitting the third book into two seasons. I find this to be a good idea because I don’t honestly see how they can cram all of the events of the book into one season. That being said, it seems to me that this season will play out a lot like the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. All set up, and maybe not the best standalone season. I could be way off base but that’s the feeling I get at this point. I’ve been happy with this season so far, but we’re already four episodes in, with only six to go. A lot can, and indeed will, happen but I don’t think it has the same feel as the previous two seasons, which isn’t a bad thing, just different. I’m still as addicted to this show as I was after that first episode and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
DarkMedia contributor Tracy Ladd has been writing about film since her days on the her high school newspaper. Even though she took a decade or two off to explore other things, she’s back to doing what she loves. She also bakes, can knit a pretty nifty scarf and makes lightsaber sounds with her knitting needles. Or chopsticks. Especially with the lightsaber chopsticks.