Prior to this week’s episode, we’ve been doing a lot of walking, talking, catching up with old friends and for the most part, have not yet begun to spin up the wheels of this season’s rising action. While it has been fun, and as opposed to last season far better handled by the show’s brass, it’s about time Game of Thrones lets loose some arrows and dismemberment in its third season. As it turns out, that’s what episode three is all about.
Reminder: Blog of Thrones is meant to be friendly to those who have not read the books. It will only discuss events that have happened up through the current episode. No spoilers in the article, so please no spoilers in the comments. Don’t be that guy (or girl).
Meet the Tullys
As the episode begins, we finally follow Robb Stark’s army to Riverrun, where the late Lord Hoster Tully (Catelyn’s father) is being laid to rest. In a scene taken beat-for-beat from the book, we watch Catelyn’s younger brother Edmure try and fail to shoot a burning arrow into his father’s funeral pyre. Stepping up is another new character, Brynden “Blackfish” Tully (played by a gruff Clive Russell) who introduces himself with a single shot, a drop-the-mic moment. Yes, there are some badasses under the fishy banners of House Tully. There is also some naivety, something that’s growing around the King in the North. The show has begun to place more and more doubt around Robb Stark. If he’s really winning this war, why does it feel like he’s losing? Perhaps there was something to that conversation he had with Lord Karstark last week. Something is amiss with those Starks.
“You were slower than I expected…”
There’s not beating around the bush, no dancing around with the “Bear and the Maiden Fair” in this one. This episode’s title and full thematic weight are behing the considerably drab fate of Lady Brienne and The Kingslayer. Despite the direct title reference in the scene where Daenerys sees some crucified slaves, the episode dishes out its most emotional moments yet of season three in little moments of surprising behavior from a number of characters in the woods of Westeros. The little moment when Hot Pie gives Arya a wolf-shaped piece of bread is sweet and unlikely. And of course, so is Jamie’s big moment of saving Brienne from a terrible fate. Even as the world is full of death and destruction, angry words and dismembered horses, there are still moments of kindness. Of course, being kind in Westeros can also have consequences. The Kingslayer knows this now. The walk of punishment is the long, torturous road ahead for a number of our favorite characters.
Meanwhile, Beyond the Wall
Things are getting awkward at Craster’s Keep. Beyond being the creepiest guy yet revealed on this show, Craster (played to ultimate sleaze by longtime medieval character man Robert Pugh) also seems a bit paranoid about what happened to the Lord Commander and his men. Gilly’s having a baby. Sam looks horrified by the entire ordeal. And just like that, season three shows off its first full-frontal male nudity. That actually took longer than I’d bet in our Game of Thrones Season Three Male Nudity Office Pool. I had Theon by episode two.
We get a quick moment with Jon Snow. He and super-beard Tormund Giantsbane are going to climb the wall. We’ve seen this moment in the season’s trailers. A large, bearded ginger scaling the most impressive block of ice in the history of television? Lets not pretend like that’s not everyone’s most anticipated non-dragon-related moment going forward.
Oh, Theon Greyjoy…
As I mentioned in last week’s blog, things just aren’t going to end well for Theon. In this episode, he nearly gets raped by a bunch of dudes. His life sucks.
Things that worked incredibly well this week
- Tyrion’s good grace (in paying back Podrick with gifts of the flesh)
- All banter between Tyrion and his stoic father
- All banter between Tyrion and Littlefinger
- All banter between Tyrion and his sidekick, Bronn
- The mystery around why the whores didn’t want to take Pod’s money
Alright fine, everything that happens to, with, or around Tyrion Lannister. It’s good to see that even as the story is heating up elsewhere — with Theon, Jamie, Robb, even Daenerys on the other side of the world — that we get plenty of time with the halfman. This show always works well when balancing its playfulness with its violent nature. And going from Tyrion and Bronn having male bonding time with Pod to some guy telling Theon he’s going to “fuck him into the dirt” is exemplary material.
- It’s nice to see that Brienne did not get besmirched. As much as this show loves a good besmirching, she’s a very likable character. She’s terrible at minding her surroundings, but that does not a worthy rape victim make.
- Jamie Lannister has been a terrible dude since moment one of this show. So why do I feel sad for him now that he’s lost his sword hand? Because as bad as he is, he’s good fun. Now he’s going to be half a warrior, twice as depressing.
- The song at the end is “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” the same one being sung by Locke’s troupe as they transported Brienne and Jamie. It’s sung by The Hold Steady. At first, it’s way out of place. On a second viewing, it’s a perfect way to end that episode.
- No way that slimy-slaver-getting-a-dragon thing doesn’t end horribly for someone, am I right?
- The relationship between Ser Barriston Selmy and Ser Jorah is going to be interesting. They both want the Mother of Dragons to win back the throne — I believe they do in earnest — but they don’t seem to agree on anything.
- Daenerys saying, “All men must die. But we are not men.” is perhaps the sexiest thing in the episode. It’s close between that and the whore from Cirque du Soleil, but it wins.
Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves in the comments below, but be mindful of book spoilers. We’re only talking about events up to and including this episode here, people.