My reading reveals that Game of Thrones: Season 3 Episode 3 was more divisive than the previous two episodes this season. Some found its pacing to be strange, the number of characters too great, or the epic brothel scene awkward. Others say that the season is just now getting into its groove with the hallmarks we’ve come to expect (and mostly adore) from Game of Thrones. Myself, I’m in the latter category. This show demands moments of humor, of over-the-top sexuality, along with courtly backstabbing, incest, swordplay, and dragons. Really, this episode is a return to form.
In King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister and all the familiar spy masters (The Spider, Little Finger, etc.) form a council with Tywin Lannister playing musical chairs. Everyone insists upon status based on where they sit. It is more than a little bit petty, but Cersei finally gets at least a brief moment of satisfaction when her importance to her father is made clear to everyone. They confer on Jaime’s location because Tywin makes the reasonable surmise that people who pay dozens of spies should know things. Various bits of news come out. Petyr Baelish is getting sent away to court and marry the crazy woman Lysa Stark. Tyrian receives Baelish’s old title of Master of Coin; this is a total trap. Later discussions of the kingdom’s debt between Tyrian and Bronn make this absolutely clear.
In the most fun segment of the episode, Tyrian rewards his Lannister squire Podrick with a veritable brothel banquet including a specialist de-virginator and a contortionist. To top it off, when Pod comes home he has all of the money he was supposed to use for his…ahem, companionship. Evidently Pod is too much fun to charge. Finally HBO remembers that two required parts of this show are boobs and humor.
Moving to the gore of the episode, Jon Snow, Mance Rayder and the wildlings come upon the sight that inspired the Warg’s vision of dead crows, finding hundreds of artfully arranged decapitated horses and horse heads. Rayder finds that the display indicates a matching number of the Night’s Watch have been zombified. He chooses now as their time to war against the Wall.
Still up north, Samwell gets a big shock when the Night’s Watch stays at the Creepy Incest Compound north of the Wall. Once everyone is cozy their unpleasant conversation keeps getting interrupted by screams; one of Craster’s wife/daughter women is giving birth. He threatens to hit her if she doesn’t bring a baby into the world more quietly and then suggests that the Night’s Watch eat Samwell. When roaming around the encampment, Samwell finds the screaming birthing girl, only to find that it is his crush. The show leaves us totally uncertain of the baby’s sex and hence its fate up here in Creepy Incest Compound.
Stannis Baratheon and Melisandre fight on the beach. It seems not everything is well for the Red Woman and the Son of Fire. Clearly the show is setting up something for later.
Theon Greyjoy gets rescued by a mysterious man and sent on his way to his sister. In the woods of a strange land, he is set upon by black clad riders. They catch and threaten to assault him before once again he is rescued by the same unknown man who set him free. He promises that Theon will be reunited with his sister, but says no more than that. The scenery and horses are pretty, but I’m still not sold without more actual information.
The episode opens on the funeral of Catelyn Stark’s father, with an embarrassing failure when the archer cannot get his flaming arrow to the death boat. Catelyn bonds with her uncle and talks of her father and childhood and her own missing children. Robb Stark shows real leadership when consulting with his bannermen and relatives, but unfortunately it is because they have miscalculated strategically.
The plot develops considerably at Astapor. As Daenerys explores the city, her advisors bicker over the choice she has to make. Does she want to purchase an army of the Unsullied. Jorah Mormont urges her to harden up and buy those she can though she objects to slavery. Barristan Selmy wants to be gentle with his advice and encourage her to make choices she can tolerate. She shocks everyone when she purchases all of the Unsullied, those in training, and the translator, Missandei. With one of her dragons. Barristan and Jorah freak out in front of everyone, and she puts them back in their places. I predict dragon fire will sort things out ultimately in her favor. Her smile isn’t the smile of a Mother of Dragons about to part with one of her own.
Not a lot happens with Arya and The Hound as captives of Thoros of Myr and the Brotherhood Without Banners. Hot Pie has a new job as a baker and very sweetly offers Arya a wolf made of bread.
Brienne and Jaime ride through the woods tied back-to-back on a single horse as Robb’s bannermen sing a naughty song about a bear. Once they camp, Jaime gives Brienne well-meaning-ish advice about rape, but it is super awkward. Later though, he spins a mighty yarn to their captors that prevents her from being attacked on the promise of future ransom from her family. Being Jaime Lannister, who always thinks he is so smooth, he pushes his point too far, attempting to bribe the men with Lannister gold for comfort and freedom. It turns out not everyone likes hearing about how the Lannisters always pay their debts. He ends up with a sword to his face and then, in the biggest shocker of the season thus far, one less hand! Whoa.