Game of Thrones Recap
Season 3 Episode 3: Walk of Punishment
This was Consequences Week in Westeros. I mean, that’s every week in George R. R. Martin’s world, but this episode was throwing down reactions left and right. Made your dad mad last week? PUNISHED. Trying to use family wealth and influence on the wrong person? IMMEDIATELY PUNISHED. Brand new character who couldn’t possibly have made mistakes already? RETROACTIVE FAILURE REVEALED; PUNISHED. In Game of Thrones, they may not have the internet yet, but people’s choices still haunt them forever.
At Riverrun, Catelyn’s family’s ancestral seat, awkwardness abounds and Robb Stark straight up giggles at his grandfather’s funeral as his youthful-looking uncle Edmure fails to set his father’s Viking Death Boat on fire, over and over again. Catelyn’s uncle, the Blackfish (like black sheep of the family, it’s funny, go with it), finally shoves his lame nephew aside, “corrects for wind” as they mention in every fantasy novel ever, and establishes himself as a Cool Guy by not even watching his own single shot land perfectly. Edmure turns out to suck at more than archery, as he has just accidentally ruined Robb’s plan to kill the Mountain and gotten nothing but a couple of Lannister tweens for hundreds of dead North/River men. It’s nice to know that Robb still has strategies at work at all, even if he’s being consistently thwarted by his well-intentioned but lame Tully relatives, because for a while there it seemed like war involved a lot more making out and talking to your mom than I had imagined.
Side note, in watching this episode with a friend, I realized that most people don’t pay much attention to the songs characters sing, or the flags they fly, or the songs sung by indie bands over the credits. I really encourage you to do this. They work hard on this stuff, and it aids comprehension, I promise.
Anyway, lecture over. Closely following the wordless but evocative scene of Edmure’s humiliation, we get another great character-driven pantomime in King’s Landing. Let’s talk about Littlefinger’s bitchy swoop for the best chair – his new glitzy outfit and potential promotion-marriage with Lysa Arryn (he would effectively be Lord of the Vale, which is a huge deal) must be making him bold. Props also go to Cersei for breaking the rules of the Slowest Game of Musical Chairs Ever by moving hers, and to Tyrion for one-upping her in both placement and noisy convention-flouting. Finally, welcome back Varys! I missed that little eunuch like he misses his, uh, never mind, let’s move on.
Tywin is pissed that being the richest and most powerful man in Westeros is somehow not sufficient to find and recover his Good son – “these things don’t happen to me, don’t they know who I am?” being a key Lannister mindset more than once this episode – and he takes out some of his frustration on his Bad son, giving Tyrion the least fun job on the small council. Varys informs the table that the Starks are in Riverrun for Coachella, wait, no, Hoster Tully’s funeral, but either way they won’t be doing anything important for a few days. Tyrion gets the financial records from Littlefinger, but funding an extravagant wedding right before a multi-year winter that basically equates to a famine while already tens of millions in debt is way less fun than talking about sex, so it’ll have to wait. Apparently, Pod is a very intuitive lover. There aren’t many teenage virgin males who could so successfully manage a four-way. Or a two-way, if we’re being honest here. Wait, now that I think about it, this is the least believable thing that has happened on Game of Thrones.
Of course, Pod isn’t the only teenager in Westeros with previously underappreciated talents: Hot Pie reveals that he’s actually quite a good baker (equally exciting), and with a decent home and occupation offered to him at the inn, he decides to leave the adventuring to his crazier friends. He bakes a goodbye scone for Arya, insisting that it looks like a Stark direwolf although it is clearly an iguana, and she shows some maturity by being sweet about it. Her comment to the Hound reminds us that the last time they were at this inn, he killed her friend the butcher’s boy for Joffrey. Now she’s losing the baker’s boy instead, but in a somewhat gentler fashion. After a year or two, Arya is a little wiser, a lot bitterer (was not aware that was a word), but still essentially the same tough kid she always was, and will be.
Up North, Jon encounters evidence that the White Walkers may be involved with the American Mafia. He gets what he wanted from Mance: the King Beyond the Wall lets Jon in on his plan and sends him in Tormund’s wall-scaling party to attack Castle Black from behind. Miles away, Sam also gets what he wanted: seeing Gilly’s lady parts. Jon may be an infiltrator surrounded by thousands of people raised to hate him, but Craster’s Keep sure seems like the more dangerous place right now. Since Gilly’s baby is a boy, Craster is about to kill another child, and the Night’s Watch brothers don’t appear to be on their best behavior this time.
Poor Theon gets free, then is almost raped, then gets picked up again by his savior who keeps talking about “your sister” but not saying her name. Theon also has a big hole in his foot and has trouble with pants.
Stannis is okay with pants, but he is very needy and horny, and Melisandre leaves on a mysterious voyage with no return date. If I were a tabloid reporting this, the phrase “THE END?” would come up at some point. Melisandre may indeed be coming back, but this conversation didn’t look great for Stannis: if you whisper “I want you” intensely into someone’s ear on a windswept beach, you do not want to see that particular facial expression in response.
Daenerys steps up and acts as confident and aggressive as we’ve seen her yet, buying thousands of intensely obedient slave soldiers in exchange for her largest dragon. She even gets Kraznys to throw in a new girlfriend-slave for her, since she locked her last one in a vault in Qarth. Current Jorah and Future Jorah (aka Barristan Selmy) both think all of this is stupid, but Dany reminds them who the Queen is here. Jorah would like Barristan to know that if any grizzled, older, gravel-voiced man is going to make out with Daenerys, it’s going to be him.
Jaime is so fun to watch when he’s in denial about losing to Brienne. He’s also fun to watch when he’s antagonizing their captors in order to save her from being raped. But you know when he’s the most fun of all? When he’s reaping the reward from that act of nobility by getting his HAND HACKED OFF WITH A MACHETE. It’s one of the best cut-to-credits in memory, made all the better by The Hold Steady’s rendition of The Bear and the Maiden Fair.
Absolutely cannot wait for next week.