Jamie Harsip Staff Writer
I will admit that last night’s Game of Thrones, “Walk of Punishment”, was not the most exciting or gripping episode we’ve ever gotten. We missed out on the storylines involving Bran, Joffrey, Margaery, and a few more of our favorites (and Joffrey), but we finally got to catch up with others we missed out on last week.
We were introduced to two brand new characters within the stories concerning Catelyn and Robb. At this point we’ve gotten to Riverrun for the funeral of Catelyn’s father, Hoster Tully, and the episode opens with his body being floated downriver under a house Tully banner. A younger man, who turns out to be Catelyn’s brother Edmure, attempts to ceremonially light the body with a flaming arrow, failing miserably. Eventually, a grizled-looking older man takes up the bow and does it successfully in one try. This is Catelyn’s uncle Brynden. Next, we see Robb, Edmure, and Bryndon discussing the war on their own. The character of Edmure is quickly developed to be obnoxious and shortsighted in his opinions on recent events. His uncle Brynden sets him straight though. We haven’t seen much of him, but we already like the guy.
Next up, we have Tywin Lannister. It seems he has assembled the small council in a new chamber, including Tyrion. The first order of business is questioning whether there is any news on Jaime. Of course, there is none. Then, of course, conversation turns to various political schemes. Tywin wants Littlefinger to go to the Eyrie to woo and wed Lysa Arren (Catelyn’s sister, widow of Lord Jon Arryn). Then he, an ally of the Lannisters, would gain the title of Lord of the Eyrie. But what would become of his role as Master of Coin in his absence? Well, Tywin requested that Tyrion take up the post. Obviously, he’s immediately skeptical (and understandably so) but he agrees to it.
Now, we’ve got a group of men traveling on horseback through a dark forest singing “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”. This song comes directly from the book on which this season is based, and has in fact also been recorded by The Hold Steady (that version of it is featured in the end credits of the episode). Towards the back of the caravan we’ve got Jaime and Brienne tied back-to-back atop a horse. They have been captured by Vargo Hoat (aka The Goat) and company. Jaime warns Brienne that she will be raped, telling her that she would be wise not to resist. Her response is to ask Jaime if he would do the same were he a woman. His reply is that he would make them kill him.
We’re back to Arya and friends now, still traveling with the Brotherhood Without Banners. Gendry is finishing up a breastplate for Thoros (which has Arya seriously peeved) and The Hound is still a prisoner. As they head off to continue their journey, Hot Pie says that he has decided to stay at the inn to bake bread. As a parting gift to Arya, Hot Pie has made a loaf of bread in the shape of a direwolf (the sigil of house Stark). It’s kind of adorable, and as Arya yells back to him, very tasty!
Now we’re back in Riverrun with Catelyn and Brynden. Catelyn is sitting at a window that overlooks the river below, and she tells Brynden about spending much of her childhood at that same window. Whenever her father would leave to fight a battle he would promise that he would return, and she would wait at the window, watching for his return. She tearfully wonders if Bran and Rickon did the same thing when she left Winterfell.
Talisa, meanwhile, is patching up a young boy. The child recognizes her as Robb’s wife and asks some questions – can he really turn into a wolf at night? Does he really eat the flesh of his enemies? She answers both by simply saying “true”. As it turns out this boy is a Lannister, but Talisa assures him that he has nothing to fear.
Now we’re at the Fist of the First Men with Mance Rayder and company. Last time we saw this crew, they were headed to the First to see what happened to the hundreds of dead men of the Night’s Watch that their Warg saw. The people are gone, but that doesn’t mean it’s empty. We see a frozen horse’s head, and as the camera zooms out we see that it’s not just one, but possibly hundreds of horse parts, all frozen and expanding out into a spiral pattern. It’s obvious – all the dead men have become white walkers.
Next we go to the surviving men of the Night’s Watch. They’ve made their way further south and have arrived at Crastor’s keep. The man is just as unpleasant as he was last time, insisting that they all should be kissing his feet for letting them in. As if that weren’t what any decent human being would do for a bunch of guys who just watched their friends being murdered and were now running from their reanimated corpses. Meanwhile we hear a woman screaming, obviously giving birth. Sam wanders off, following the voice, and it turns out it’s Gilly. We first met her last time we were at Crastor’s keep, and Sam had desperately wanted to save her. Now she is giving birth and, most unfortunately, it is a boy.
Theon is still strapped to his torture device, but he is soon untied by Ramsay Snow (who, by the way, we still haven’t been introduced to by name yet). He gives Theon water and tells him to ride East, where his sister will be waiting.
Stannis, meanwhile, is on the shore of Dragonstone reluctantly bidding farewell to Melisandre. He accuses her of abandoning him, but she says he’ll understand why when she returns. Stannis is his usual bitter self, still stuck on his loss at Blackwater, saying “My enemies are laughing at me the way Renly laughed at me.” Poor Stannis, his baby brother really did a number on him, huh? But anyway, it looks like Melisandre needs the blood of a king in order to do a certain spell. For some reason Stannis is not applicable, although he does consider himself to be a king. Hmm…I wonder what’s going on there.
Back in Astapor we see Dany with Jorah and Ser Barristan. It very quickly becomes clear that while Jorah did admit that Barriston Selmy is one of the best fighters he’s ever seen, he doesn’t like the guy one bit. We’re sensing some bad blood in their past. The two men bicker half-heartedly about whether or not Dany should purchase the Unsullied as her army. Barristan says that only loyal soldiers can win a war, not extremely well-trained slaves. He says that he saw the loyal soldiers that faught so bravely for her brother Rhaegar in the war before she was born. Jorah says that, yes, Rhaegar did have his loyal army…but he also died. In the end it seems that Dany comes down on Jorah’s side in a big way – she offers one of her dragons in exchange for the 8,000 Unsullied that Astapor has! I know what you’re thinking: the mother of dragons offering one of her children?!?! What’s going on?! All I can say is…keep watching. Next episode will clear your confusion right up.
His has-been captors are chasing Theon across a field and into the woods. He’s knocked from his horse eventually, and things don’t look good for him when they catch up to him. After a threat of rape, the leader of the team chasing him is suddenly impaled with an arrow. He turns in confusion, only get get another one. Soon all of them are down, dead, and Theon is alone. Out from behind some trees comes none other than Ramsay Snow (no, we still don’t know his name yet). He picks Theon up and says “Come, my lord; you’re a long way from home and winter is coming.”
The episode comes to a close with another Brienne/Jaime scene. Vargo Hoat has his men take Brienne into the woods to rape her, and she does not go without a fight. We hear her kicking and screaming, all the while Jaime is engaging Hoat in some almost-friendly conversation. He tricks Hoat into having his men bring Brienne back, unscathed and with her virtue intact, but citing her father and fibbing about where she comes from. It’s true that Tarth is known as the Sapphire Island, but only becaue of the clear blue ocean around it – not, as Jaime says, because it’s rich with the gemstones. For the first time we see Jaime do something selfless, and for Brienne at that. He continues to press his luck, telling Hoat that his father would reward him massively if he would return Jaime to King’s Landing. We think Hoat is listening. He seems receptive. Until, out of nowhere, he condemns Jaime for relying on his father, who isn’t even there, andwham! Vargo Hoat cuts Jaime Lannister’s right hand off. Yes, you read that right. The final shot of the episode is Jaime screaming, his hand having been removed. For those of us who read the book it was still shocking. For those of us who haven’t…well, it’s safe to assume that no one saw that coming.
Tune in next Sunday at 9 PM to see what happens next!