Another week, another 167 hours waiting for my next Game of Thrones fix. We’re finally starting to come into the meat of the series now, with the story arcs and plots finally beginning to bear fruit.
The lions and the wolves. The differences between these two great houses are pulled into view in this episode. Their motivations, their attitudes to each other and those around them. What did I think? Find out below!
Beware the spoilers, as always.
The fight between the Hound and Dondarrion sets a fast-paced tone that the rest of the episode tries to keep up with. A vicious fight with steel and fire, the Hound is proven innocent through trial by combat. Arya gets to see the magic of the Lord of Light first hand, as the red priest brings Beric back to life a sixth time. The Lord of Light certainly seems to favour him more than poor old Stannis Baratheon.
The best aspect of the whole episode focuses around Robb Stark and his handling of the treachery done by Lord Karstark. After murdering two young Lannister squires in perceived vengeance for his own son’s life, Lord Karstark is brought before the King in the North, expecting to receive the same toothless bite that Catlyn Stark received for releasing Jaime. Unfortunately, it turns out Robb has grown into a true Stark, a man after his father, full of righteous beliefs and nobility not bestowed through money or power, but through his actions. He is also the man to swing the sword for those he judges, a lesson he learnt from the honourable Neddard. We shouldn’t forget though, that Ned’s defence of the laws ended up with him under the axe.
There is a stark (hah!) difference between Robb and Joffrey. Both are kings, but where one is a leader, a judge and a warrior, the other is a pampered prat in need of (another) good slap. Whilst the ages have been jiggled a bit between the books and the series, there’s still only two years between Robb and Joffrey. The gulf between them couldn’t be greater, and it’s nice to see that one of the three kings isn’t entirely useless.
Speaking of the Lannisters and their ways, there is a lovely scene between Tywin and his offspring. Being born with brains, brawn and beauty divided between them (and it only took me four years or so to realise that each of them represented these), the three Lannisters siblings all perceive each other as inferior, the biggest rivalry being between Tyrion and Cersei. It’s gratifying to see Cersei being put in her place after a particularly acidic attack on Tyrion, involving his being forced to marry Sansa Stark. A spark of humanity shines through as always from the dwarf – he knows he is not a suitable husband for the poor, suffering girl. Cersei’s delight at this quickly wanes, as she’s requested to ‘do her duty, to marry and breed’ again. Tywin’s contempt for his children is clear. It seems none of them grew to be the lions he wanted after all.
The last of the three lions, Jaime Lannister, has a bit of a big reveal regarding his labelling of ‘Kingslayer’. This is the final wall we see falling for his character – his justifications for the evil he has done, and becoming a man with a name, not just a title. Turns out, killing the Mad King saved thousands of lives, including his own father. But still, once an oathbreaker, that’s all people remember you for. We also get to see a bit of lady-like behaviour from Brienne in this scene. Nobody is who they seem at all!
Elsewhere, more posturing occurs between Jorah and Balon, the two knights serving Daenerys. Jorah seems worried that Balon knows he’s been the one who betrayed Dany in the past, and is hoping that Balon won’t oust him as Dany’s favourite knight. Balon on the other hand just doesn’t seem to care – he’s done his share of being in the limelight, and seems like he just wants to protect Dany with no glory attached. John Snow gets some action beyond the wall, but part of me feels like this section of the show (and book) is just a little bit of fan-service. There are other ways to show how free and unrestricted by rules the wildlings are than a random sex scene, but hey, we nearly didn’t have boobs for an entire episode. Unthinkable!
Looking forward to next weeks episode again, more plots and plans ahead!