Game of Thrones Recap
Season 3 Episode 2: Dark Wings, Dark Words
Everything is going wrong for the Starks: for one thing, Talisa looks significantly less sexy with her married-woman single braid, which doesn’t make the raven-delivered news that Winterfell has been put to the torch – with no sign of Bran or Rickon surviving – any easier to bear for Robb. Catelyn is doubly distressed because her father died too, oh come on people, now would be the time for a prescription drug addiction if they had those in Westeros. Unfortunately they don’t, so Catelyn makes another of her creepy voodoo craft projects instead. We learn some important backstory about her feelings for Jon Snow and for her role as a mother. Knowing that she’s dealing with her grief by holding herself responsible for everything that happens to her children sheds a lot of light on her recent strategic missteps. HBO monologues, you are my favorite. Even the bannermen are bringing Robb down, as Lord Karstark is a whiny a-hole about their detour to Riverrun to bury Catelyn’s father. And despite all the bad-news-ravens, no one seems to know where Theon is, because…
…He’s being tortured! Apparently for no reason! Luckily, a man claiming to be sent by Yara is going to free him. Hopefully he still has a foot.
In King’s Landing, Joffrey gets fitted for his wedding dress and is as pissy as anyone would be in that understandably stressful situation. In this episode, both the major women in his life try to manipulate him, and one of them is much, much better at it than the other. To be fair to Cersei, teenage boys are as a rule more amenable to the suggestions of their sexual prospects than the commands of their mothers, and while Cersei is open-minded about her family tree, she at least hasn’t gone that route (*shudder*). The Queen Regent does succeed in planting a few seeds of doubt in Joffrey’s mind, but Margaery plays dumb (“the subtleties of politics are often lost on me,” right) and turns the conversation around so successfully that by the end, Joffrey is teaching her proper crossbow form and they’re discussing plans for Margaery to sexily kill things in front of him. In some parts of the country, I think this is actually a fairly normal date.
Shae, Sansa, and Tyrion all have conversations that could easily occur in modern times, starting with some girltalk about Littlefinger and moving on to some cute Tyrion-Shae semi-mock-jealousy. People love to hate Sansa for being naïve, but in this case, her giggling dismissal of Littlefinger’s intentions seems age-appropriate and believable (in my opinion), and Shae’s concern for her felt real and sisterly and nice for Sansa to have in her life. Unlike Shae, perhaps distracted by trying not to put his foot in his mouth, Tyrion is much less worried, asking, “Is there an idiot in any village who trusts Littlefinger?” Uh, yes, there is, and that idiot is Sansa. Pay attention, Tyrion.
Up in the North, seasonal depression and fear of death is making everyone mean. Jon “Unloved Child” Snow gets shamed, teen-hipster-style, by Ygritte for not knowing what a warg is (it is a Gareth from the UK Office), and Sam gets shamed, prison-sadist-style, by Rast for crying. Sam tries to commit the laziest version of suicide anyone has ever seen, but Grenn and Edd intervene and Lord Commander Mormont decrees that Rast dies if Sam dies. I’m not sure this odd couple will be as fun as Jaime and Brienne. Also, Rast, you’re not that thin yourself, so lay off.
On their way to the Wall, apparently unaware of how cranky everyone up there is, pubescent yet still adorable Bran and company (Osha, Hodor, Rickon, Direwolves) meet the kid from Love Actually and his badass sister (Jojen and Meera Reed). Jojen and Meera are mirror images of Bran and Osha, the weak seer boy and the protective warrior woman. You’d think Bran would be relieved to see this setup working for someone else, not to mention the fact that Jojen can help him learn about his abilities, but he’s playing it pretty cool for now. Jon Snow could use some lessons from Bran re: playing off the whole warg thing.
We get to meet more of the Tyrell family, and we learn that Sansa really just can’t catch a break. Loras may be closer to her age than Petyr Baelish, but he’s not interested – this is how the Littlefingers of the world do it, by the way, they’re just more interested – and speaking of Loras, how is it that the fabulous Lady Olenna feels so free to air her husband’s and son’s dirty laundry, but she doesn’t seem aware of Loras’s preferences? She implies that he’s simply a jock, unless “knocking men off horses with a stick” is an awkward euphemism (okay, but what would the horse be?). Maybe she thinks the younger generation still has a chance. In any case, Margaery and her prickly grandmother grill Sansa about Joffrey, and naturally, Sansa tells them everything while we wonder whether she’s signing her own death warrant. I will now spend every episode hoping to see Olenna abuse more cheese-bearing waiters who look like CW actors.
We finally get to see Arya! She is still awesome. Gendry offers some meta-commentary on the wisdom of Arya’s targets for Jaquen, giving a voice to bloggers everywhere. The gang meets The Brotherhood Without Banners, and your childhood Robin Hood conditioning kicks in. Here is everything you need to know about the BWB:
- Thoros, the head guy, is wearing a knit capelet. You cannot un-notice this.
- The Mountain, the Hound’s crazy brother, is looking for the Brotherhood. Thanks, Hot Pie, for the exposition.
- Despite being rather threatening, Thoros insists, “The lords of Westeros want to burn the countryside. We’re trying to save it.”
- Arya, if you want to pretend you’re alone, don’t start the conversation using “we” and “us.”
With the Hound captured by the Brotherhood and with Arya outed, there is no way this storyline isn’t going to be rad next week. And can we talk about how excited we are that the Hound is back so soon?? Yay Rory!
Finally, we’ve been waiting to see Jaime and Brienne, and we’re rewarded with not one but two great scenes from them. Jaime is turning out to have more in common with his brother Tyrion than we might have thought: he’s just as funny, and he has a similar talent for reading people. Not just a soldier after all! We even got a rare moment of emotion from the Kingslayer, as he concluded his teasing about Renly with the earnest observation that “we don’t get to choose who we love.” I’m not sure that supporters of gay rights necessarily want solidarity from perpetrators of incest, but it’s still a poignant moment of empathy for Jaime.
Anyway, enough of that mushy stuff. How fun was it to watch Jaime get stomped by Brienne? Granted, he was chained up and his hands were bound, but it was still a pleasure to watch the swagger drain out of him as he realized she was much better than he expected, even though she was holding back (EW.com has a fun blog post about the fight and the actors’ rather method relationship if you’re interested). Jaime’s plans further unravel when he realizes that being caught doesn’t automatically get him sent to his father. And finally, Noah Taylor is on the show now! Squee. We’ll have to wait for next week to find out what kind of captor Bolton’s man turns out to be…