by Tracy Ladd:
Game of Thrones: “Dark Wings, Dark Words”
Original Air Date (HBO): Sunday April 7, 2013
Season 3 Episode 2
The “previously on” basically recaps what we saw last week, but also showed us where Arya, Bran, Brienne and Jamie all left off last season. That made me quite happy because it meant we would be seeing all of those characters again…finally. Arya has always been one of my favorite characters. Not just in the show but in the books as well. I’ll do my best to keep the events of the show separate and not compare the two. Mainly because I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t yet read the books yet.
The one thing both book and series have in common is the ridiculous amount of characters that drive the story. This week introduces us to even more characters so you may want to start taking notes, or at least make some sort of flowchart. I’m familiar with them all and I still have trouble keeping them straight. Due to the fact that what’s happening in Westeros is spread out across the land, and across the sea, this episode, like the premiere, served its purpose for bringing the viewers up to speed. It’s been a long wait for the new season and there’s so much to catch up on, it’s best to look at the episodes as a small piece of the overall story, instead of an episode in and of itself.
On the run from Winterfell
Even though it’s still new to him and he doesn’t quite understand it yet, Bran has a gift with his dreams. In this dream, he’s running through the forest, notching his bow to the encouragement of Robb and Jon. Suddenly they’re gone, but he hears his father’s voice. He calls out to his father, but is confronted by Jojen Reed, who he has yet to meet in person. Jojen tells Bran that he can’t kill the raven, because the raven is him. It’s enough to startle the boy out of his slumber and he wakes to Osha asking if he was inside the wolf again. Bran begins to tell Osha about the dream, but she doesn’t want to hear about any dark magic dreams. Being a Wildling and having seen the work of wargs before, she gets nervous when a raven flies overhead and demands that they keep moving.
Later on, once they’ve stopped again, Bran is awakened by a noise in the forest. Summer is on high alert, as is Osha. Summer stays to protect Bran, while Osha seeks out the cause. A young boy approaches Bran and Bran recognizes him from his dream. He shows no fear to Summer, nor the spear that Osha has at his neck. He simply introduces himself as Jojen Reed, along with his sister Meera, who got the upper hand on Osha.
The group increases by two as the Reeds join them on their travels. Bran and Jojen reminisce a bit about their fathers, who knew each other and fought together.
North of the Wall
Up North things are getting interesting. Mance Rayder grills Jon about him killing the Halfhand and even though Jon says it was difficult for him, Mance tells him that he likes him, but if need be, Mance will kill him. Mance then checks in with his resident warg, Orell, which is something Jon has never seen. He’s kind of freaky too what with his white buldging eyes and all. Jon doesn’t understand, and Ygritte continues to reinforce the fact that Jon’s lived a rather sheltered life.
Orell comes back to himself, after scouting the area of the Fist of the First Men through the eyes of a bird. Mance asks what he saw and after glaring at Jon for a beat, he tells Mance that he saw a bunch of dead crows. Jon knows exactly what that means for his brothers in black.
Meanwhile, Sam is in the midst of a pity party while he and his surviving brothers in black are making their way back to Castle Black. After taking some harsh words literally, Sam drops to the ground, convinced he can’t go on. Two of his brothers try to get him up, but the only thing that works is when Commander Mormont comes back and tells Sam that he forbids Sam to die.
Joffrey is whining while being fitted for clothes, while Cersei watches and grills him about his thoughts on his bride to be, Margaery. He sees it as a strategic marriage, but Cersei knows better and knows that Margaery has designs on the throne. But Joffrey is a brat and doesn’t listen so he blows his mother’s subtle warnings off. You know, I have to give Jack Gleeson major props because his portrayal of Joffrey is so good. It’s rare that a character invokes pure hatred and rage in me, so, well played Jack. Well played indeed.
Margaery is summoned by Joffrey and she arrives to find him sitting with his newest toy….a crossbow. Seriously, could this boy try to compensate ANY more? Anyway, he tells her that he’s going hunting and wanted to make sure that she didn’t need anything. I think he just wanted to show her his…equipment. She gushes about how things are so much better in King’s Landing than in Renley’s camp. Joffrey then quickly slips back into his douchebag ways and grills her about why she didn’t provide Renly with children. She tells him about her suspicions about Renley’s tastes, which disgusts Joffrey completely. She plays Joffrey like a fiddle, whilst fiddling with his crossbow. It’s all very awkward and uncomfortable but this gal knows exactly what she’s doing.
Meanwhile, Shae and Sansa discuss Littlefinger when Loras Tyrell comes calling to collect her for a meeting with his sister. Loras escorts Sansa to the gardens and compliments her, which Sansa just eats up with a spoon. Once Loras hands Sansa over to Margaery, she’s introduced Margaery’s grandmother, Olenna “The Queen of Thornes” Redwyne-Tyrell…and she’s a bit of a spit-fire to say the least. Sansa is a little taken aback by Lady Olenna’s bluntness, but I would think her lack of a tact-filter is refreshing. Sansa has spent so much time covering her ass during her stay in King’s Landing that her responses to questions about life there and Joffrey are automatically cast in a positive light. However, the Queen of Thornes can smell bullshit a mile away and wants Sansa to spill the beans about what kind of boy Joffrey really is. After some encouragement from Olenna, Sansa lets the truth rip, calling Joffrey a monster. Whether or not this will come back on her remains to be seen.
Last bit of King’s Landing dealt with Tyrion. Even against his father’s stern warning, Tyrion continues to see Shae. Even though he scolds her for calling on him, he can’t resist her wily ways. The two go back and forth during a playfully jealous spat regarding Sansa, but things end on a more…shall we say upbeat manner than where they started.
Last we saw Theon he was being hauled out of Winterfell, unconscious by his own men, who decided they’ve had enough of his shit. Seems he’s still alive however, but in a bit of a pickle. He’s chained up on a familiar looking X frame and wakes up to find that he’s being held prisoner. Unable to get any information from he captor, he just has to endure it when the man simply jams a blade under one of his fingernails.
After some more horrific torture that left me squirming, the man grills Theon about why he took Winterfell. Theon finally admits that he did it to bring glory to his house and his father. The admission doesn’t do much good since they keep turning the screws on Theon….literally. After the men leave, another man helps him out loosening the screws, telling Theon that Yara sent him to get him out. He tells Theon to sit tight, and he’ll be back for him. Not quite sure how I feel about all that. Theon is a rat bastard for sure and he deserves what he gets. I think I’d rather see what would happen if Robb got to him. Now that would be a scene!
Jamie and Brienne
As the most entertaining duo, aside from Tyrion and Bronn, Jamie and Brienne provide some of the best scenes this episode had to offer. Brienne is sticking to her duty to Catelyn by delivering Jamie to King’s Landing, but the company is wearing on her last nerve. Jamie eggs her on consistently in his pompous ass sort of way. He wants to know her story and manages to get it out of her that she was pledged to Renley and he also picks up on the fact that she was in love with him but that’s about all we gets. Of course he uses this information and picks away at her like a scab. As the two are about to come to blows, an elderly farmer crosses their path. Once the man is gone, Jamie warns Brienne that he was recognized, but Brienne refuses to take Jamie’s advice of killing the man so he won’t talk.
Later down the road, Brienne and Jamie face a dilemma on how to cross a river. Brienne opts for the bridge hoping for a quick crossing, but Jamie sits down half way across, saying he needs to rest. It’s all a ploy, one that results in Jamie getting his hands on one of Brienne’s swords. Luckily she has two and they begin to dance around each other. The fighting begins and she actually gives Jamie a run for his money, but Jamie is weak and he tires easily. Just as things begin to get interesting, the farmer they passed earlier shows up collecting a reward from Roose Bolton’s bannermen, who also take Jamie and Brienne hostage.
The King of the North
Robb’s quiet moment with his wife, Talisa is interrupted by Lord Bolton who brings word from Riverrun and Winterfell. It’s not good news however, and Robb has to tell his prisoner/mother that her father has died, and that when their men got to Winterfell, they found it burned down and saw no sign of Bran or Rickon. Robb tells Catelyn that he will accompany her to Riverrun for her father’s funeral, to which asks if she’ll be in manacles.
Lord Bolton stays behind at Harrenhall, while Lork Karstark, still smarting after losing his sons in battle, accompanies Robb and his party to Riverrun. Karstark disagrees with Robb’s choices and tells him that he lost the war the minute he married Talisa.
Talisa tries to make nice, but Catelyn isn’t really feeling it. It’s confession time however, and Catelyn launches into a guilt trip worthy of an Italian grandmother when she tells Talisa how when one of the boys was younger, he almost died from the Pox. Catelyn tells her that when Ned brought Jon Snow home from the war as a baby, she prayed to the Gods that he would die. When he got the Pox, she prayed to the Gods that he would live and she promised to be a true mother to him and that she would love him. She broke her end of the deal after he lived and now she’s convinced that all of the tragedy her family has endured is because she broke her vow to the Gods.
On the run from Harrenhaal
Finally we catch up with Arya. After Jaqen H’ghar kept to his word and killed the three that Arya named, Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie escaped Harrenhaal at the end of last season. While on the run, Gendry grills Arya about why she didn’t use Jaqen to kill Joffrey, but before the conversation gets overly heated, the trio has to hide from approaching men. Too little too late however, because they were already spotted. Arya steps out into the open where the leader presents himself as Thoros of Myr and he quite convincingly persuades the trio to join him on the road. And when I say persuades, I mean forces.
At a tavern, Thoros grills Arya and the others about they escaped Harenhaal, where Arya lies about the particulars. Thoros eggs her on a bit and Arya, being the fiesty gal she is, draws her sword on him, which makes him respond in kind. Just as he’s about to let them go, his men come in with Sandor “The Hound” Clegane…..who outs Arya as a Stark.
Another semi-non-eventful episode, but like I said above, it’s best to view this as a piece of the puzzle. Things are going to start heating up here pretty quick now that we’ve touched base with everyone. The season premiere produced some good numbers. So good in fact that HBO has already greenlit the fourth season. We can all breathe a sign of relief knowing that the story will continue on past this season.
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.