Beyond the Wall: This Week on Game of Thrones (S3 Episode 1 / March 31, 2013)
NOTE: Join us every MONDAY as we review the latest episode...
EPISODE 1: Valar Dohaeris
THE PLOT : The long summer is at an end, winter truly is coming and with it the cold winds of war as five self proclaimed Kings claim dominance over Westeros, but there can be only one winner when you play the game of thrones.
THE LOWDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode). Things pick up directly where they left off, with Sam running around in the cold winds. Sadly, we don’t see any sort of battle between the Night’s Watch and the white walkers—and despite the ridiculous number of them in the finale, the Watch comes out relatively unscathed. Sam actually redeems himself at this point in the books, killing a white walker with obsidian and is then hailed a hero…but here he’s bitched out by the Lord Commander for not sending out ravens. Poor Sam. Jon Snow fairs a bit better back in Mance Rayder’s camp. The meeting was pretty cool (the giant was awesome), but I was particularly impressed with Tormund Giantsbane. Things are going to get really interesting north of the wall.
In King’s Landing Tyrion isn’t doing much better than when we left him. Cercei visits to gloat, but it’s the meeting with Tywin that stings. Talk about a verbal beat down. We all knew Tywin was a dick, but after his scenes with Arya, I wanted to like him. Not so much anymore. Bronn, on the other hand, is doing well and was even knighted. But even he comes down hard on Tyrion by asking for more money. Margaery Tyrell continues to impress by learning the game quicker than most. She’s instantly on crowd control, winning back the hearts of the people for her and Joffrey (an uphill battle there). Cercei is not amused that Joffrey’s fallen under her spell, but despite her reservations she’s outplayed at her own dinner table.
We don’t get much out of Robb as there’s not much for him to do yet, other than mumble and grumble about dead prisoners at Harrenhal and then take it out on his mother by throwing her in a cell. It was nice to find Davos still alive and well. He lucked out by getting rescued by his pirate friend, only to be taken to Stannis (who’s clearly unstable) and Melisandre. Now if I’d been told Stannis and Melisandre were burning people at the stake for being disbelievers I’d have been content to sail the seven seas with my buddy living the pirate life, especially considering Davos wants to kill Melisandre. He’s not too bright about it either, yelling “you are my enemy” to her face before trying to stab her. He gets thrown in the dungeon and will probably be burned at the stake as a disbeliever. Nice work Davos.
GAME OF THRONES SEASON 3's premiere does it’s best to set all the pieces and plans in motion, which is as much a strength as it is a weakness. Everything we get here is awesome, but the problem is, there’s too many characters fighting for the spotlight. This is why the books focussed on half of them for one book, then the other half the next, both revolving around the same timeline. Obviously that can’t work for the show because we all have our favorites now and although we’re willing to wait an episode to see them (in tonight’s case, Arya), nobody wants to wait a season. And speaking of awesome, this will be a season for Daenerys to shine as she’s begun assembling her army. The unsullied are fascinating, and transferred from the books very well (though many will no doubt be turned off by their backstory). Danny’s dragons look fantastic and Sir Barristan re-joins the fray. Welcome back GAME OF THRONES, I missed you and you continue to impress.
VIOLENCE: It’s the calm before the storm, but we get some bloody white walker aftermath, lots of bodies in Harrenhal, and some dude loses a nipple. It looked like it hurt.
SHARPEST QUIP: Jon Snow delivers when asked by Mance Rayder why he wants to join them (after explaining about seeing a white walker and that the Lord Commander knew about them), "I want to be on the side that fights for the living. Have I come to the right place?"
MOST EPIC SCENE: This show always ends on the epic note and tonight was no different. I love Sir Barristan Selmy and had forgotten he joins up with Daenerys. He sure knows how to make an entrance.
FINAL VERDICT :
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|Extra Tidbit:||Tonight’s title, Valar Dohaeris is the response given after saying the words Valar Morgulis, the phrase told to Arya by Jaqen H’Ghar. Arya was supposed to be in tonight’s episode, but feeling it was already too crammed, her scenes got shifted to episode 2.|