Because I am a Useless Person of the highest order, I got totally sidetracked and forgot to write up my opinions on the second episode of Game of Thrones. If you want to read a fantastic take on the episode, I can direct you here to read something written far better than I could manage.
I will warn everyone now that this season of Game of Thrones may be even more confusing than the last. The characters are all over the place, both geographically and politically. As such, you might have to get used to the ten minute ‘Previously On’, as it’s going to help your poor brains keep up.
Now, without further ado, here are my spoilerific thoughts on the third episode, where dark wings and darker jokes seem to be the flavour-of-the-day. From start to finish, most of the characters seem to be having a snigger at other people’s bad luck. Everyone seems to be having a jolly good laugh. Nearly everyone, at least…
It begins with the funeral of Robb’s grandfather, a joke in itself, being ruined by the try-hard Edmure Tully. Robb Stark is finally beginning to grow into his role as King of the North, berating the foolish Edmure because of his recklessness. He seems a bit harsh on him, but at the same time, he did nearly ruin both the campaign and the funeral, so a little shame won’t hurt. The Blackfish – the older, wiser and less inept relative – seems to be enjoying the whole thing, at least, unlike Catelyn Stark, who carries with on her fretting. Not that this crisis isn’t important, but it’s a real downer on an episode based on such good humour.
Back in King’s Landing, a ridiculous game of musical chairs makes Tyrion’s appearance the highlight of my night once again. In my mind at least, five minutes of his scenes are worth an hour of any other character you’d care to mention. Tyrion is made Master of Coin, a seemingly impossible post that Lord Littlefinger has been managing to keep afloat with financial sorcery. The seeming impossibility of the task delights Queen Cersei, who always relishes a moment when she sees her brother squirm. Tyrion rises to the challenge with his usual attitude of visible disinterest but hidden cunning. After all of the posturing of the Small Council, we are treated to one of the best scenes of male bonding ever witnessed in a TV show. Our little Pod is all grown up, and it’s adorable. I won’t ruin it with my terrible words, go watch it.
Daenerys makes another brief but important appearance, enduring the advice and posturing of the noble Ser Barriston and the practical Ser Jorah. The dynamic of age and wisdom versus youth and passion between the knights may be cliché but it still works. Dany carries over the themes from last week’s episode (sorry again) of powerful women fighting their own battles, shouting down the doubts from her advisers and selling one of her dragons to fund her slave army. I’m sure she knows what she’s doing, though.
Beyond the Wall, we get another glimpse of the strange was of the White Walkers, not seen since the very first episode, in a spiral of arranged horse parts. Inspired by this display of modern art, the wildlings plan to attack the Wall while the Night’s Watch are crippled and decimated. Again, not a hugely surprising revelation, but it gets the ball rolling for future episodes.
With a crunch and a scream, we come to the butt of the joke and the end of the episode. Everyone seems to be having a great time except for Jaime Lannister. Taken prisoner by Stark bannermen, he still tries his best to be a silver tongued charmer, and manages to save Brienne from a nasty situation, which is one of the first clear examples we’ve seen of him not being a egotistical arse. It’s always nice to see a supposed bad guy redeeming their character. Unfortunately, he learns the lesson that all movie rich-kids eventually learn – your sword, family and money can only get you out of trouble so many times, especially when none are immediately to hand (hah!)
The problem with there being so many characters all over the place is that each can only spend a few minutes in the spotlight. Ending on big moments and reveals is all well and good, but each episode seems incomplete or too short. It’s like being told it’s time to sleep halfway through your bedtime story. Still, the story progresses finally, now that we are past the introductions and reminders. Also, for a directorial début from the writers, the episode is well shot and edited, flowing smoothly if being all over the place (though that seems as though it is more to do with the plot rather than through any actual choice.)
Looking forward to next week’s episode now, and I promise I shall be more hasty with my opinions. I know you’re all dying to hear them.