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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Game of Thrones 3x03: Walk of Punishment



On the Road
It's a testament to how far Jamie has come (especially with such limited amount of screen time) that him getting his hand chopped off wasn't more of a cheer-worthy moment. It certainly helps that it followed him using the one asset left available (his quick tongue) to save Brienne from being raped, presumably for no personal gain, but considering his first significant act on the show was casually pushing Bran to his intended death, it's a crafty (and effective) bit of storytelling that Jamie losing a hand (and thus, the one thing he genuinely earned on his own, his sword fighting skills) felt more like a tragedy for the character than a necessary comeuppance.

My thought process throughout that sequence, after Jamie was laid out on the rock: They're going to cut off his hand, aren't they? No, maybe they're going to cut out his eye instead. Nope, guess they aren't going to do any - HOLY CRAP THEY JUST CUT OFF HIS HAND!

Whether Jamie deserved it or not, that was a pretty great moment on which to end an episode.

It is not Roose Bolton who has captured Jamie, as I thought last week. The internet tells me it is someone named Locke (no one had better tell him what he can't do).

Arya's plot this week was pretty much just a placeholder, keeping her in the company of the Brotherhood Without Banners but moving on from the inn (and bidding goodbye to Hot Pie). I'm glad the revelation of her true identity didn't lead to anything nefarious (at least immediately), even if her freedom to move about is somewhat limited.

Also, I believe the inn at which they were staying was the one at which the king's entourage stopped after leaving Winterfell early in season one, the place where Sansa's dire wolf was killed and the Hound returned with the body of the butcher's boy who had been Arya's friend, all of which followed the encounter between Arya and Joffrey in which the little shit made a big stink out of everything because Arya basically kicked his ass. Which is what Arya was asking the Hound if he remembered in this episode.

North of the Wall
Like Arya, Jon's story this week was pretty much a placeholder/setup, as he's sent with a group of Wildlings to prepare for an attack on the Wall/Castle Black. But the true battle will be one of Jon's loyalties...

Meanwhile, the remnants of the Night's Watch return to Crastor's home, where Gilly (the daughter of Crastor on whom Sam is sweet) is giving birth (giving us some sense of how much time has passed since the Night's Watch left Crastor's last season - she was pretty far along then, so it hasn't been that long). I seriously hope Crastor gets taken out, gruesomely, and soon.

Dragonstone
Even less of note here. Melisandre is leaving for vague reasons, Stannis isn't happy about it and wants to breed another smoke monster to kill Joffrey but is having some erectile dysfunction. I did appreciate the explanation for why Melisandre hasn't just conceived another smoke monster. The answer is pretty much just "because magic", but that's okay, since she's one of the shows few explicitly magical characters.

Riverrun
The sequence in which the archer (Catelyn's brother/Robb's uncle, Edmure, if I recall the first book correctly) couldn't hit Catelyn's father to start the funeral pyre was freaking hilarious. 

Good to see Robb engaging in a discussion of his military strategy again, though a shame that it was a discussion of how Edmure screwed him over. 

King's Landing
Nice to know that Tyrion won't have to spend the entire season hiding in his chambers from his family, and has been given a new task by his father. While it seems that Tywin is setting him up to fail, I expect that Tyrion will ultimately succeed by anyone's standards except his father's.

The "musical chairs" sequence at the Small Council meeting was also hilarious.

Enjoy your return to the Eyrie, Baelish. Lysa Arryn was already batshit insane the last time we saw her, and that was over a season ago, so I'm sure everything will go wonderfully for you.

More seriously, I'm surprised we haven't (yet) seen more of a reaction from Baelish over being sent out of King's Landing (and away from his whore house). Maybe he's just too scared to cross Tywin? 

Just what was it that Pod did to make the whores refuse to take Tyrion's money? More importantly, is this the beginning of a storyline, or just a one-off joke (I don't really care either way, I'm just not sure how seriously to take it)?

Astapor
Daenry's story continues to move in drips and drabs (last time, she looked at something she might want to buy, this time she bought it), but the newfound assertiveness and confidence with which she does things is entertaining to watch, and though slow moving, things seem to be heading in a specific direction, as opposed to the aimlessness which characterized most of her plot last season.

Also, I'm fairly confidant she has no intention of giving up one of her dragons, and that she'll eventually be leaving Astapor with both the slave army and all three dragons.

The discussion between Dany, Jorah and Barristan about the nature of war was also telling. The men are right that it is difficult, if not impossible, to conduct a war that spares innocents, but the fact that Dany at least wants to keep the number of innocent deaths at a minimum is telling.

Wherever The Hell Theon Is aka Not The Iron Islands aka The Back of a Volkswagon
Not much to note here: Theon escaped, was pursued, almost got raped (lots of attempted rape in this episode), then was saved by someone quoting the Stark family motto. 

Other Thoughts
No Joffrey, Margery or Sansa in Kings Landing this week, nor any Bran/the Reeds out on the road. 

Riverrun was added to the opening credits.

11 comments:


  1. Ouch.

    It's a testament to how far Jamie has come ... that him getting his hand chopped off wasn't more of a cheer-worthy moment.

    A friend said nearly the same thing the other day. I know that we were being manipulated a bit in that he'd just done Brienne a service with his silver tongue, but he's increasingly been presented as a charming rogue — sure, he's a regicidal mercenary who has sex with his twin sister and will kick a kid down a mountain face to his death to keep the secret, but that's Jamie Lannister for you.

    My thought process throughout that sequence, after Jamie was laid out on the rock:

    Same here. The hand-chopping almost felt like it was becoming too obvious, albeit within the space of a scene that didn't last as long as it felt given that adrenaline was likely making viewers' perceptions speed up as we took in everything. I was also impressed with the effects work as the camera stayed right where it had been through the deed and Jamie holding up his stump afterward leaving the hand on the tree-trunk chopping block.

    What I kind-of didn't get, once it became clear that the guy who cut off the hand was only pretending to be taken in by Jamie's increasingly bald and ambitious attempt at manipulating his freedom rather than actually falling for it, was why then he'd have listened to Jamie about Brienne. Maybe that part actually made sense to him, or maybe she's in for it now that Jamie's been put in his place; we'll see.

    Jon's story this week was pretty much a placeholder/setup, as he's sent with a group of Wildlings to prepare for an attack on the Wall/Castle Black.

    Can someone tell me why? Do the so-called Wildlings have designs on all the Seven Kingdoms or a particular grievance against the Night's Watch (like something to do with Mance Rayder's having left "the black") in particular, or do they want to take the place as a defense against people south of the Wall entering their territory? If they're afraid of being caught up in the unfolding game of thrones, but don't really care who becomes king (or queen), wouldn't they do better to simply keep to themselves or join forces with the Night's Watch to make sure Westeros politics and war doesn't extend beyond the Wall? If and when we learned the answer, I don't recall it.

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  2. While it seems that Tywin is setting him up to fail, I expect that Tyrion will ultimately succeed by anyone's standards except his father's.

    Ditto. Nicely put, too.

    I got a kick out of the poor funeral-pyre archery but the "musical chairs" sequence was a tad too painful (even though that was part of the point, and the comedy) for me to enjoy. I'll admit that I expected and hoped Tyrion would just sit there at the other end — to show maturity, both in terms of not giving in to the jockeying for position and not giving in to Tywin's test if test of sorts indeed it was, but also because it provides an implicit visual that shifting perspective would mean that Tyrion could as easily be at the head of the table as Tywin.

    Just what was it that Pod did to make the whores refuse to take Tyrion's money?

    I don't know. At first I figured that he hadn't gone through with it, although I wouldn't really expect him/Tyrion to get a refund for that. Then I strongly suspected that we, like Tyrion and Bronn, were supposed to think that Pod was so spectacular that the women didn't want him to pay, but that really doesn't make sense from any angle (no euphemism intended).

    I'm fairly confidant she has no intention of giving up one of her dragons, and that she'll eventually be leaving Astapor with both the slave army and all three dragons.

    Me too. I wonder if it's really as simple, even though it feels too easy, as her purchasing all the Unsullied and then commanding them to kill their old boss and/or lay waste to the city, or having the dragons do it.

    Theon escaped, was pursued, almost got raped ..., then was saved by someone quoting the Stark family motto.

    I kind-of didn't get this either. Were we supposed to think that the whole thing was a setup for gits 'n' shiggles, or that Theon just ended up in the wrong place and/or his sister wasn't there in time? I couldn't even tell whether the guy who came to his rescue was the one who set him free, doing the old trick where a seeming nobody tells you that you'll meet somebody important, good luck, and that somebody turns out to be the seeming nobody.

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  3. It is not Roose Bolton who has captured Jamie, as I thought last week. The internet tells me it is someone named Locke (no one had better tell him what he can't do).

    In fairness, Locke is one of Bolton's men, so you were kind of right. Roose just doesn't know that he has Jaime right now.

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  4. @Blam: I was also impressed with the effects work as the camera stayed right where it had been through the deed and Jamie holding up his stump afterward leaving the hand on the tree-trunk chopping block.

    That was indeed a pretty great shot/sequence. Impressive that they were able to hold the post-cleaving shot as long as they did.

    Maybe that part actually made sense to him, or maybe she's in for it now that Jamie's been put in his place; we'll see.

    Yeah, it'll probably depend on how things play out, but I suppose an argument could be made for Locke listening to Jamie about Brienne but not caring about Jamie.

    Or, to put it another way: he has two prisoners, both of whom he now knows, thanks to Jamie, would fetch a fair price from their fathers for their safe return. One of those prisoners is a personal enemy of his king and known the world over to be a smug SOB, so he's not going to ransom that one. But he may as well keep the other one unharmed and get some money for her. Win/Win.

    Can someone tell me why?

    I forget the specifics. Whether that's because I'm genuinely forgetting them or because the show has left them deliberately unclear, I don't know.

    I'm pretty sure it's been established that there's been a more or less constant state of war in place between the Night's Watch and the Wildlings for a while now, though I don't believe we've ever learned why exactly beyond some of the vague hints suggested by the fact that Mance was once a ranger and left for some reason. And I think the Wildlings are striking now because A. they know the Night Watch's is depleted/in retreat B. the zombies are on the move and C. they have Jon with them to provide more current intelligence.

    Then I strongly suspected that we, like Tyrion and Bronn, were supposed to think that Pod was so spectacular that the women didn't want him to pay, but that really doesn't make sense from any angle

    Yeah, something tells me Littlefinger doesn't really allow his whores to refuse payment just because they happened to enjoy a particular client.

    I wonder if it's really as simple, even though it feels too easy, as her purchasing all the Unsullied and then commanding them to kill their old boss and/or lay waste to the city, or having the dragons do it.

    I can see either happening, though I too agree that that would be too easy, especially if its the Unsullied she uses (because, really, no one else ever thought of that before?). I guess we'll see.

    I kind-of didn't get this either.

    For now, I'm chalking up my confusion about what's going on with Theon as deliberate on the part of the show, since we're just getting his story in drips and drabs. We'll see how it stands when all is said and done.

    @Jeff: In fairness, Locke is one of Bolton's men, so you were kind of right. Roose just doesn't know that he has Jaime right now.

    I'll take it!

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  5. "Which is what Arya was asking the Hound if he remembered in this episode."

    Thanks, I was wondering about that. I really need to go back and watch season 1 again, now that I have a better grasp on who all the characters are. Plus, two years is a long time in which to forget things when you're dealing with 10 episode seasons!

    "While it seems that Tywin is setting him up to fail, I expect that Tyrion will ultimately succeed by anyone's standards except his father's."

    I agree. At least, I hope so!

    "Enjoy your return to the Eyrie, Baelish. Lysa Arryn was already batshit insane the last time we saw her, and that was over a season ago, so I'm sure everything will go wonderfully for you."

    Oh! That's who he's going to marry! I totally missed that. I hope her trap door to nowhere makes another appearance. That thing was awesome.

    "...last time, she looked at something she might want to buy, this time she bought it..."

    And judging by the next episode trailer, next week she will pay for it. I assume that the following week, she will wait patiently while someone writes her out an itemized receipt.

    Teebore -- "Yeah, something tells me Littlefinger doesn't really allow his whores to refuse payment just because they happened to enjoy a particular client."

    I was trying to figure this out myself, but it just now occurred to me that right before Tyrion left Littefinger's office, Littlefinger said that he owed Tyrion a debt. Was this his repayment? Seems a little too subtle for Littlefinger -- he would want you to know that he had paid you back -- but it's a thought.

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  6. The thing you have to understand about Dany is, she's not a character, she's a series of awesome events strung together by standing around waiting for the next awesome event. She's what I imagine a character in a MMORPG is like when the player is offline. With nothing to animate it, it just stands there.

    Look at her pattern. She sits around with Kal Drogo for several episodes until she bests him in the sack. Then she pretty much does nothing until the season one finale when she walks into Drogo's pyre and emerges the Mother of Dragons. Then she wanders through the wilderness both outside and inside Qarth (where she spends time with the two most WTF characters ever, the fabulous gay wizard and Lady Tileface) doing nothing but screaming "where are my dragons!" 47 times until she roasts that fabulous gay wizard dead and locks King Ducksauce in his own vault.

    Now she's had enough standing around time so next episode after she delivers her line from the previews to the effect of "is our business concluded" she will inform the slaver in his own tongue that she's understood every insulting word he's uttered, seconds before the dragon she "traded" to him makes him explode.

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  7. @ Teebore

    More seriously, I'm surprised we haven't (yet) seen more of a reaction from Baelish over being sent out of King's Landing (and away from his whore house). Maybe he's just too scared to cross Tywin?

    Actually, twenty silver stags say Littlefinger's delighted. Remember how happy he was about being offered Harrenhal at the start of last season (and getting it at after the Blackwater). Dude loves him some power, and here he's about to get control of the whole Vale of Arryn.

    And yes, his wife-to-be is a nutcase of the first order, but I wonder whether he actually knows that. Tyrion is maybe the only one who knows and is in the capital (other than Bronn), and I figure he's keeping quiet. What better way to repay the guy who almost got him executed by Lady Lunatic and her sucky (in several senses) son than to have Littlefinger marry into that particular nest of madness?

    Just what was it that Pod did to make the whores refuse to take Tyrion's money?

    The current theory bandied about the interwebs is that Tyrion told them to do it so as to boost Pod's confidence. I've no idea if this is true or not, but it has the definite advantage of neutralising some exceptionally unpleasant gender issues if it's true, so that's what I'm choosing to believe.

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  8. @ Blam

    What I kind-of didn't get, once it became clear that the guy who cut off the hand was only pretending to be taken in by Jamie's increasingly bald and ambitious attempt at manipulating his freedom rather than actually falling for it, was why then he'd have listened to Jamie about Brienne.

    Some people have suggested it wasn't so much that Locke was pretending the whole time, as he got pissed off after saving Brienne that Jaime didn't know when to quit. I'm not sure I'd buy that fully, but it's the best explanation I've heard.

    It also means that, as suggested, Locke might decide to give Brienne to his men after all, which isn't something I'm looking forward to.

    Can someone tell me why? Do the so-called Wildlings have designs on all the Seven Kingdoms or a particular grievance against the Night's Watch

    They do have a grievance against the Night's Watch, since they've been hacking bits off each other for a while now, but the main reason to attack Castle Black is that once they have it, they can unlock the gate and get through the wall. North of said wall is getting to be a damn dangerous place these days, and all those horse-head collages can't be good for morale, neither.



    On the more general point of Theon, I shall be very careful about what I say here because in spirit at least, this plotline is close to things that happen in the novels. I shall simply say two thing. First, the boy who killed the soldiers was most definitely the same one as let him out of the torture chamber (known to many of us in the UK as Invisible Simon). Second: the show was kind enough to give a clue as to Theon's whereabouts in "Dark Wings, Dark Words". It's not anywhere in the dialogue, though; it's a visual link.

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  9. @Matt: I hope her trap door to nowhere makes another appearance. That thing was awesome.

    Yes, yes it was.

    I assume that the following week, she will wait patiently while someone writes her out an itemized receipt.

    Ha!

    Was this his repayment? Seems a little too subtle for Littlefinger -- he would want you to know that he had paid you back -- but it's a thought.

    I agree, it's probably too subtle for Littlefinger, but it's a possibility.

    @Anonymous: she will inform the slaver in his own tongue that she's understood every insulting word he's uttered, seconds before the dragon she "traded" to him makes him explode.

    I can totally see that happening. It's the rather obvious outcome, but I can see it happening.

    @SpaceSquid: Remember how happy he was about being offered Harrenhal at the start of last season (and getting it at after the Blackwater)

    That's a good point. I initially read that as his excitement at finally becoming a lord as much as anything (and that's still probably part of it). I just figured he might be kind of bummed to be removed from the seat of power and forced to leave behind his booming prostitution business, but you're right: I can see him viewing it as trading the power he had over his whores for the power gained in being lord of the Vale and Warden of the East.

    And yes, his wife-to-be is a nutcase of the first order, but I wonder whether he actually knows that.

    I assume he doesn't (for all the reasons you mentioned), which will make it all the more fun to watch when (if) he gets there.

    I've no idea if this is true or not, but it has the definite advantage of neutralising some exceptionally unpleasant gender issues if it's true, so that's what I'm choosing to believe.

    It certainly makes sense, and I like you, I like what it does to the gender issues.



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  10. @Anonymous: The thing you have to understand about Dany is, she's not a character, she's a series of awesome events strung together by standing around waiting for the next awesome event. She's what I imagine a character in a MMORPG is like when the player is offline. With nothing to animate it, it just stands there.

    I loved all of this. Kudos.

    @SpaceSquid: And yes, his wife-to-be is a nutcase of the first order, but I wonder whether he actually knows that.

    @Teebore: I assume he doesn't (for all the reasons you mentioned), which will make it all the more fun to watch when (if) he gets there.

    While I could totally be misremembering, I thought that his wife-to-be was Catelyn's sister. Didn't Baelish know (and moon over) Catelyn when they were younger? Wouldn't he know her sister too? I can come up with reasons why not, of course, but given how impressively people travel and keep in touch in Westeros given the limited technology I figure he has to be up on at least a measure of her nuttiness — especially since he's one of the realm's masters of gossip.

    I appreciated your other replies, by the way, SpaceSquid, but time is tight today.

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  11. While I could totally be misremembering, I thought that his wife-to-be was Catelyn's sister. Didn't Baelish know (and moon over) Catelyn when they were younger? Wouldn't he know her sister too? I can come up with reasons why not, of course, but given how impressively people travel and keep in touch in Westeros given the limited technology I figure he has to be up on at least a measure of her nuttiness — especially since he's one of the realm's masters of gossip.

    No, you're right, he did know her, in fact IIRC he mentioned that recently - something about how she's always been fond of him. But Tyrion said in the first season about Lysa: "She's changed. She was always a bit touched, but..." (I forget the rest of the quote).

    So she's gotten worse at some point, which Baelish may not know. Maybe he does know and doesn't care, being too busy working out how to turn the sky cells into the world's most dangerous brothel.

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