by Tracy Ladd:
Game of Thrones: “Walk of Punishment”
Original Air Date (HBO): Sunday April 14, 2013
Season 3 Episode 3
The “previously on” portion covered a lot of ground this week, which meant an episode packed to the gills. This show never ceases to amaze me in that respect. Most of the time it is efficient storytelling of the highest caliber. Sure, some episodes have been known to lack in certain areas, but those are few and far between. I’d give this show the highest marks for turning out consistently good, engaging episodes on a regular basis and it blows my mind on how they can actually achieve and maintain that level. The mere fact that this show hosts a ridiculously large cast that just keeps growing, not to mention the various changes in character locations goes to show that networks don’t need to dumb it down for their audience.
We pick back up with Dany after her absence in last week’s episode, which means I got me some Ian Glenn screen time,. Always a bonus. Also on deck were the continuing adventures of Arya, and Jon Snow. Needless to say I was quite pleased that all my favorites were involved in this week’s Walk of Punishment. Even if those visits were rather quick.
The episode kicks off in silence as Robb and Catelyn join to masses to send her father, Lord Hoster Tully into the great beyond. After releasing his funeral pyre boat, Cat’s brother Edmure lights an arrow to set the boat aflame. After a few misses and some embarrassment, their estranges Uncle Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully, does the job himself, hitting the mark on the first try.
Cat has a moment with her Uncle and she tells him that she’s thankful he was there when his brother died, and how she wished she had been there too. She asks if he made peace with his brother, but he simply says that after 30 years of fighting, it’s difficult to put it all behind you. Cat talks about how her father would go off to war but would always say that he’d come back, and how she told her sons the same thing. She cries that she doesn’t even know if they are alive, but the Blackfish tells her that Robb thinks they are, and that he needs to keep believing it.
Afterward, Robb has to put Edmure in his place for messing up his plan to kill The Mountain and tells him that had Edmure exercised some patience, his plan would have worked. Edmure can only take the tongue lashing being dished out as the Blackfish gets his licks in as well. Robb reminds the other two that the Lannisters have his sisters, and now he’s stuck with two distant Lannister descendents who no one will really care about. Speaking of the young Lannisters, Talisa tends to their wounds, all while putting the fear of the Gods into them and confirming myths that are being spread about Robb turning into a wolf.
It’s sibling rivalry at its best when Cersei and Tryion, along with Littlefinger, Varys and Maester Pycell join Tywin in his new, swanky quarters for a meeting. No words are spoken as everyone takes a seat, and Tyrion drives a point home by dragging one of the chairs to opposite end of the table. Not one to mince words, Tywin demands an update on Jamie, but no one has any information on the Kingslayer. Not even Varys.
Other matters of business; Littlefinger has been awarded Harrenhaal and made Lord of the Vale and was sent to web that crazy Lady Lysa Arryn who’s holed up in her fortress in the Eyrie, leaving his position as Master of Coin vacant. The position isn’t left vacant for long however, when Tywin announces to the group, and a stunned Tyrion that Tyrion will serve in the position. Tyrion expresses his discomfort, but Cersei quite smugly tells him that he’s perfect for it.
The first order of business as the controller of the purse strings is to get the books from Littlefinger, who has them hidden in his quarters at the brothel. As Tyrion, Bronn and Podrick leave, Tyrion finally pays Pod for saving his life by buying him a slew of women. Tyrion and Bronn leave Pod to it and head back to Tyrion’s quarters. After reviewing the books, Tyrion realizes that not only is the crown in debt to his father, but they owe an absurd amount of money to Iron Bank of Braavos, which sound akin to owing money to the mob. While the two discuss the finer points of lending money, Pod returns from the brothel where it seems he has quite the story to tell. Tyrion breaks out the wine and demands to know the details.
On the road North
While there wasn’t a lot of Arya this week, we were treated to a little taste of what’s happening with her and the company she’s keeping. Thankfully Arya didn’t suffer any real consequences after being outed as a Stark by the Hound last week and is able to take a little bit of pleasure as she watches the Brothers Without Banners load him into a caged wagon. Thoros of Mry seems to be a decent fellow, and tells her that she, Gendry and Hot Pie are not his prisoners, but the road is no place for Ned Stark’s daughter. Arya gets frustrated at Gendry for helping them with their armor, but even though they aren’t prisoners, Gendry sticks by her. Hot Pie on the other hand, decides to stay behind and work as a baker at the inn, but gives Arya a loaf of bread made to resemble a wolf before he bids both of his only friends goodbye.
North of the Wall
Mance seems to have a taken a liking to Jon Snow, which is good for Jon. The group, having traveled to the Fist, come across a field of horse bits laid out in the pattern of a spiral. Mance asks Jon questions about the group he was riding with, wanting to know numbers, which Jon tells him. Mance knows that those of the Night’s Watch who have died, will soon be back, which means more undead to fight. Mance then orders one of his men to lead a group of twenty to scale the Wall, and to take Jon Snow with them. Mance tells his man that if Jon should betray them in any way, to kill him.
Meanwhile, what’s left of the group that is traveling with Commander Mormont, Sam included, arrive at Craster’s Keep, who does not show them a warm welcome at all. There’s not much to like about Craster, and even though he gives the old crows food and shelter, he shows his colors by telling one of his many daughter wives to tell the one giving birth that she needs to shut up. Sam, not handing it at all, seeks out the source of the screams and after sticking his head in the tent, sees that it’s not only Gilly, but that she just gave birth to a son.
In parts unknown
Theon is still strung up on the big X, but the stranger who promised to help him last week, kept good on his word. The stranger provides Theon with a horse and tells him to ride east to meet with his sister, Yara. Theon tells the young man that he’ll make him a Lord of the Iron Islands, but the young man tells him he’s not of the Iron Islands. Instead of questioning the stranger’s heritage, Theon rides off to meet with his sister.
Arriving at his destination, Theon finds it deserted. After an arrow flies by his head, Theon has to make a run for it when he sees a group of men who tortured him approach on horse armed with maces and bows. The rider with the mace lands a blow that knocks Theon from his horse, where things begin to turn really bleak. The men hold Theon down and the just when the leader is about to violate him in the worst way, arrows come out of nowhere taking down each man. Theon turns to see the stranger who set him free approach and helps Theon to his feet, telling him that he’s a long way from home, and winter is coming. Hmmm…..
Stannis goes a bit bonkers when Melisandre informs him that she’s going on a journey. He tells her he wants her and that he wants her to make him another son, but she basically just blows him off, telling him that his fires are burning low. She means to reignite them and confirms to him that he will sit on the Iron Throne, as he was meant to do. She also tells him that even though it takes a true King’s blood to work her magic, there are others who have his blood in their veins. Sounds like there’s going to be some sort of sacrifice in the near future.
Daenerys walks the Walk of Punishment with Ser Barristan Selmy and Jorah, while Selmy tells her that the Walk serves as a warning to the slaves of the city. Daenerys tries to tend to one of the men strapped up, but the man turns down the water she offered. She discusses the moral issues surrounding slaves and the coming war, in which she will require an army, but Daenerys is a compassionate Queen. Later on as she meets with the main slave trader, Master Kraznys, she informs him that she wants to buy the entire Unsullied army, even the ones in training. She offers one of her dragons as payment, much to the horror of both Jorah and Selmy. To cap the deal, she also buys the slave girl who acts as a translator. Daenerys is a woman on a mission, and she has a plan, but her right hand men certainly don’t know what that plan is and she doesn’t seem to be in a sharing mood.
In other parts unknown
Finally we get to catch up with Brienne and Jamie. Last week the duo were captured by Roose Bolton’s men. Now we see them bound together back to back on top of a horse. Jamie informs Brienne of what she can expect from their captors and it’s not pretty. He tries to convince her to just give them what they want, but Brienne is a fighter and she plans to drive that point home.
Later that evening, the two are bound to separate trees when the men come calling for Brienne. Of course she puts up a fight, and surprisingly, Jamie seems rather bothered by what’s happening. Jamie does his part by telling Locke how Brienne is from Tarth, which is knows for Sapphires. The ploy works and Locke demands that the men bring her back and leave her alone. Awwww, Jamie cares! Even though he’ll never admit it. and does it under a selfish guise. Jamie tells Locke that if he turns Jamie over to his father, he’ll make Locke rich beyond his dreams. Locke seems to take the bait and offers Jamie the comforts of a hot meal and a not so uncomfortable place to sleep. However, Locke is not a nice man and gets rather offended that Jamie hides behind his father and his name. Instead of taking Jamie up on his offer, he takes Jamie’s sword hand instead.
What a fantastic cliffhanger to end this episode on. All of the pieces are beginning to fall into place now that we’re three episodes in. From the looks of the previews, things are really going to heat up next week. I just had a brief conversation with a colleague about how some are saying this season seems off and that it has been a bit darker than the previous seasons. Honestly, I don’t see how things could get much more bleak than when Ned lost his head, or when Blackwater Bay burned. As my colleague put it “it’s war…and winter is coming”. Winter is coming indeed, on more than one front and something tells me the next six episodes are going to be brutal. I can’t wait.
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.