Jamie Harsip Staff Writer
Last night’s “Game of Thrones” episode, “Dark Wings, Dark Words”, brought back some of our favorite (and least favorite) characters that we didn’t get to catch up with in the season premiere. We additionally got the introductions to a few new players, who us avid fans of the novels have been very excited to meet.
The episode opens with Bran running through a forest. Obviously this is some kind of dream sequence, since he has been crippled since season one (thanks a lot, Jaime Lannister). He sees the three-eyed crow that appeared on some early teaser ads for this season of the HBO original series. Bran takes up a full-sized bow and arrow, and we are brought right back to the show’s pilot episode – Jon and Robb appear to his left and rattle of the exact lines they spoke when Bran attempted to use a bow in that first episode. The voice of the late Ned Stark then says his own line from that scene: “Which one of you was a marksman at 10?” It’s an unexpected touch that breaks our hearts yet again. Bran wakes up in a field, along with Osha, Hodor, and Rickon (you remember him – the youngest Stark child). Osha says that they need to move; they don’t know what might be after them. Normally one might think that the wildling woman is being paranoid, but we viewers do know some of what’s out there. We agree – it’d a good idea to get a move on.
Again we’re brought back to the storyline involving Robb and Catelyn Stark. There’s a short scene of Robb with his new wife, being somewhat boring and lovey dovey, when a messenger comes in with news from both Riverrun and Winterfell. The scene cuts to Robb and Catelyn talking about the news. As it turns out the news from Riverrun is that Catelyn’s beloved father, Lord Hoster Tully, has passed away. Catelyn wants to go to the funeral, and Robb seems to oblige. The news from Winterfell is somehow even direr – by the time the Boltons had made their way to Winterfell in the wake of the Ironmen’s invasion, the city was deserted and torched. There was no sign of the traitor Theon Greyjoy amongst the rubble.
When last we saw everyone’s least-favorite character, Theon was knocked unconscious by one of his own men (or so he considered them). He had invaded and taken over Winterfell, contrary to his father’s orders, and the other Ironmen were just not having it. They wanted to go home. Theon, however, apparently didn’t make it. His season three debut happens here, in “Dark Wings, Dark Words”, and has him being brutally tortured. We may not like him, but even Theon may not deserve this….
Now we get to pick up with fan-favorites Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth, the former still a prisoner of the latter. Jaime is being his truly obnoxious and rude self, taunting Brienne by telling her that Lady Catelyn (to whom Brienne has pledged loyalty) will get sick of her soon. This doesn’t rattle Brienne. Nor do Jaime’s taunts about Brienne having fancied Renly when she was one of his kingsguard, and nor does his saying that Brienne wouldn’t have been Renly’s “type”. As if Jaime’s meaning isn’t clear, he continues by saying “It’s a shame the throne isn’t made out of cocks; they’d have never gotten him off of it.” This seems to actually rile Brienne up, until they notice that they’re no longer alone on the road. There’s an old man tottering along, and Jaime suggests that they kill him; he might tell people who he saw. Brienne, true to character, refuses…although she does look nervous.
Once again we’re brought back to the horror that is the ruler of Westeros, King Joffrey. He’s being fitted for a new outfit and throws a veritable fit when the tailor tries to fit him with a floral fabric. Of course his dear mother Cersei is there, and she suggests that he give it to Margaery for her wedding gown (she is of House Tyrell, whose sigil is a flower). Cersei uses this as a segue into a discussion about Margaery herself. After last week’s episode her distaste for the Tyrell girl was stewing beneath the surface, but now it seems like Cersei is trying to turn Joffrey against his future bride. It doesn’t work. Cersei’s last-ditch effort to sway her son away from his favor of Margaery comes in the form of her referencing Margaery’s wedding to Renly Baratheon, a traitor. Joffrey brushes it off, saying that Margaery only did what she was told, but he may be more troubled by this fact than he lets on….
Speaking of young women who have been betrothed to Joffrey Baratheon, the next scene picks up where we left Sansa last episode. She is getting ready in her room with help from Shae, who asks Sansa what Littlefinger had wanted with her. She assures her lady in waiting that nothing happened, but Shae is not convinced. Being the badass that she is, she tells Sansa to let her know if Littlefinger tries anything. If we recall, last season Shae was armed at all times with a not-so-small knife, so this sounds an awful lot like a threat of bodily harm. Petyr Baelish, you had best watch yourself!
When she’s ready, Ser Loras Tyrell calls on Sansa, saying that his sister and grandmother, Margaery and Olenna Tyrell, have requested her presence in the garden. Loras insists on walking her there, and we get to see some of the old Sansa lightness. She may be worldlier than she used to be, but Sansa’s still a girl, and still gets flustered by gorgeous and gallant knights. It’s comforting to see that her trials and tribulations haven’t taken that from her. In her subsequent conversation with Margaery and Olenna, though, it is clear what the last year or two have done to her. Olenna asks her to tell the truth about what kind of young man Joffrey is, and Sansa can’t seem to get any words out. She’s petrified of saying the wrong thing, and Margaery takes note of this. It isn’t until the Tyrells swear that they will keep things between them that Sansa speaks up – “He’s a monster.”
Meanwhile, Robb and company are trekking to Riverrun for the funeral of Hoster Tully. Robb is at a crossroads with one of his men, and they’re talking. Truly, it’s a bit of a throw-away scene, except for when the man says to Robb “You lost the war the day you married her.” It’s eerie and foreboding, but potentially true. Robb had broken an oath to marry a daughter of Walder Frey in exchange for an alliance in the war. By breaking his oath, Robb may well have cost his side an incredibly powerful ally.
At a break in the march Robb’s wife Talisa approaches Catelyn. Talisa is continually trying to gain the favor of Catelyn, who knows what their marriage cost Robb. Anyway, Catelyn tells Talisa the story of what happened when Ned brought Jon Snow back to Winterfell. She prayed that the child would die, out of sheer jealousy of his mother. Jon got the pox and became deathly ill, at which point Catelyn said she realized what a horrible woman she was being. Then he prayed again, this time to let the boy live. In exchange she promised to love him and beg her husband to legitimize him. Jon lived, but Catelyn could not keep her promise. She says that she blames herself for “all the horror” that has come to her family because she “couldn’t love a motherless child.”
Now we’re back to Jon Snow in the land of the wildlings North of the wall, cavorting with Mance Rayder. Mance describes how he managed to get something like 90 clashing tribes to join together – he told them they would all die if they didn’t get south. And it was the truth. We subsequently get our first look at Mackenzie Crook’s (Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl) character, Orell. What’s interesting about this guy is that he’s a warg. What’s a warg? Well, it’s almost like a skinwalker, but instead of becoming an animal, a warg has the ability to inhabit an animal’s mind. He or she essentially sees out of the animal’s eyes. Orell is particularly attached to a hawk, and the wildlings use his ability to scout. This time what he saw was none too pleasant – many dead men of the Night’s Watch upon the Fist of the First Man.
Meanwhile, with the remaining Crows, Sam is having trouble. He’s being taunted by one of the brothers until he collapses. Jeor Mormont, the head of the Night’s Watch, explicitly says, “Tarly, I forbid you to die.”
Now we see what’s going on with Bran, Osha, etc. We hear the sound of a twig snapping and it wakes Bran. Osha is already up and armed, while Summer the direwolf is growling at something. A relatively young boy appears, unarmed and friendly. Osha holds a spear to his neck, until a girl comes up behind her and holds a knife to Osha’s neck. The boy walks towards the growling direwolf and extends his hand for it to sniff. Immediately Summer relaxes. This boy is Jojen Reed, and the girl is his sister Meera. Jojen says “We’ve come a long way to find you, Brandon, but we’ve a got a long way to go.”
Finally we get to see what Arya Stark is doing! We missed her during the season premiere, so we’re very happy to pick back up with her, Gendry, and Hot Pie. They’re walking through the woods, not exactly sure where they’re going, and Gendry is chastising Arya. It seems that Arya told them about Jaqen H’Ghar and the three deaths he owed her, and Gendry is not thrilled with her choices. As he points out, she could have picked Joffrey, or Tywin, or anybody else of importance. She could have ended the war. They are abruptly silent when they hear voices not too far away. A man is singing “The Rains of Castamere”, which, by the way, The National recorded for the Game of Thrones soundtrack. It’s available on iTunes now. Anyway, Arya and the boys quickly hide behind the ruins of what might have been a wall, but it’s too late. They had been seen. Arya comes out, followed by her friends, and the men who happened to come upon them introduce themselves. They’re called the Brotherhood Without Banners, and they fight for nobody in the war. Their concern is with protecting the north. Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry follow with them.
Now we see Tyrion coming back to his room, only to find Shae there already. They engage in some banter about Ros (a whore who Tyrion once – or twice – was with). It seems like Shae is the jealous type, despite her insistence that she’s fine with being Tyrion’s whore. Meanwhile, Tyrion is concerned. He has told Shae before that she must not come to his room, lest she be caught. After all, his father did say that he would have the next prostitute Tyrion slept with killed.
Margaery is called to Joffrey’s room to talk. It seems that his mother’s words did stick with him, because he immediately asks Margaery about her marriage to the traitor Renly Baratheon. Margaery, obviously fearful after her discussion with Sansa, plays dumb and says that the subtleties of politics are often lost on her, regarding why she agreed to married him. Then Joffrey asks about how she came to be childless, having been married to Renly for months. Margaery shares her suspicion (which of course was more than mere suspicion) that Renly was not interested in women – he never wanted to try. Joffrey seems comforted by this, and the rest of the scene is a sort of precarious flirtation – or, rather, Joffrey’s version of a flirtation.
Next we go back to poor Theon, being tortured horrifically. They keep asking him why he decided to try to take Winterfell. They don’t buy that it was for his family’s honor, and eventually he says he did it because he hated the Starks and wanted to hurt them. He immediately takes it back, of course, but his captors seemed satisfied with that answer. After the torturers leave, someone comes in and tells Theon that his sister sent him, that he will help to free Theon. Now, if we’re up to date on our casting information, we know that this person is Ramsay Snow (played by Iwan Rheon, “Misfits”). And if we’ve read the book, we know that there is far more to it than that….
We come back to Bran, talking to Jojen about the three-eyed raven. It is real, according to Jojen. He has had similar dreams. When Bran says that he dreamed about his father’s death, Jojen corrects him; he didn’t dream it, he saw it. The dreams are true. Meanwhile Osha is talking to Meera, clearly not trusting the siblings. She also thinks it’s quite amusing that Meera’s the one with the weapons, and asks her, “Isn’t it embarrassing for your brother?”
We get one more scene of Arya and company at an inn. Their “captors” are drinking beer, and Arya essentially tries to pick a fight. She’s not scared of the attention she’s getting until someone else walks in. It appears that more of the brotherhood happened to take a captive…and that captive was none other than The Hound. Sandor Clegane, aka The Hound, had been one of Joffrey’s bodymen, protecting him from threats. He ran away during the Battle of Blackwater, though, in fear of the fire. Arya attempts to hide herself from the man, who would surely recognize her, but to no avail. He sees her. The Hound then turns to his captors and says, “What in seven hells are you doing with a Stark bitch?” That’s it. The Brotherhood Without Banners now know who she is, which is dangerous.
Speaking of being recognized, that’s similarly Jaime and Brienne’s downfall in the final scene. Jaime eventually bothers Brienne so intently that she lets her guard down, and he grabs one of her swords. They duel, and it likely would have been to the death were they not interrupted. A group of Boltons, waving their sigil of a flayed man (if that doesn’t tip you off as to what kind of people they are, I don’t know what will) come to them, the old man from the road among them. It seems that Jaime was right. They should have gotten rid of him when they had the chance.
Next week’s episode is called “Walk of Punishment”. Based on the official summary, we’ll be seeing Daenerys again this episode. She’ll likely be hammering out a deal with the slavers regarding the Unsullied. Other highlighted storylines, based on the summary, include Tyrion’s, Jon’s, and Jaime’s. Tune in next week to see what happens with them!
HBO’s “Game of Thrones” airs on Sunday evenings at 9PM, with repeats at 10 PM and 11 PM.
http://www.YouTube.com/PopWrapped (COMING SOON!)
http://www.PopWrapped.com (COMING SOON!)