And so, on our second episode into the third series, we spent most of our time catching up with those we’d not seen in the first episode. And also cementing just how strong the women are in the world of Game of Thrones.
Beyond the Wall
Samwell Tarly is not doing too well trudging through the snow beyond the Wall. Bullied mercilessly by one of his brothers, Samwell decides to just give up, collapsing in the snow, ready to die.
But not all the brother’s of the Night’s Watch are horrible, and Grenn and Edd (I think) come to his rescue. Yes, they admit they left him behind when they heard the horn blasts, but he’s fat and he runs slower. Their words might be cruel, but they’re filled with affection and the two get Samwell back on his feet and walking. Unfortunately, the Night’s Watch’s Lord Commander decides to assign Samwell’s bully to keep an eye on him.
Meanwhile Jon Snow and Mance Ryder are also trudging somewhere, when Jon comes upon a warg (hello, Mackenzie Crook). The warg can go into the mind of animals and see what’s coming – something Jon has not encountered before and that Ygritte sneers at him for. And that’s the extent of that flirtation.
Joffrey is becoming ever more heinous, despite already being the Meanest Character on Television™. Why his mother still likes him I don’t know, since every time we see them together Joffrey’s just being horrible to her. Still, Cersei persists, and she does manage to get a zinger or two in about Margaery Tyrell basically being a ‘ho.
Margaery, meanwhile, and her cool grandmother Lady Olena (hello, Diana Rigg), have invited Sansa to have tea and cake with them in the garden. Ignoring Shae’s warning to be careful, Sansa joins the pair, who waste no time in asking her about Joffrey’s true nature. After some hesitation and stumbling, Sansa finally blurts out that Joffrey is a “monster”. While Margaery and her grandmother promise to keep her confidence, if I was Sansa I’d keep my mouth shut.
Joffrey is paid a visit by Margaery, and shows off his deadly new crossbow. (Note how we always see Joffrey at his bravest with weapons when he’s in his own room, and note how cowardly he is by contrast on the battlefield.)
Joffrey attempts to threaten Margaery about her past marriage to Renly, but Margaery swiftly turns the tables by coyly talking about Renly being gay. Unfortunately for Margaery, Joffrey then unknowingly turns the tables on her, telling her he is considering making being gay a criminal offence. Margaery plays along for the moment, despite knowing her brother may be at risk from any new law, but she’s cunning enough to realise she needs to ease Joffrey round to her way of thinking.
Then ensues a creepy scene where Joffrey goes from showing little interest in Margaery as a woman, to him being really interested when she starts manhandling his crossbow and talking about murder. This is a weird relationship, and Joffrey has no idea he’s being played.
Shae, worried about Sansa, heads off to see Tyrion, even though his father still wants to get rid of her. They have the funniest conversation of the episode, with Tyrion digging himself ever deeper by commenting on the looks of other women, and Shae showing she’s completely in control.
No visit to Stannis Baratheon this week.
On the road
We spent a lot of time on the road this week catching up with old friends (or not).
The episode opened with Bran dreaming of being in the woods, trying to shoot down a crow (dark wings). A boy appeared (hello, kid from Love, Actually) and spoke briefly to Bran, and then Bran woke up. He, Rickon, Hodor and Osha are still on the road trying to get to the Wall to speak to Jon.
Bran dreams again, and this time his dreams turn into reality when the boy, and his fighter of a sister, appear. Jojen and Meera Reed look like they‘re going to be good friends to the Stark boys, despite Osha’s misgivings, and accompany them on the road.
While Bran and Rickon are travelling, news reaches Robb Stark that his brothers are dead, and he has to break news of that to his mother, along with the news that her father has also died. While Robb and Catelyn are still at odds, we do see a moving scene between Catelyn and Talisa.
Catelyn shares with Talisa a story about sitting by the bedside of one of her children while he was very ill. Surprisingly Catelyn reveals that child was Jon Snow, and that she promised if he got better she would treat him as a son. He did get better, but Catelyn didn’t keep her promise, and now she feels all the bad that has happened to her family is down to her.
Also travelling by foot are Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie. They seem to be making good progress, until they encounter a group of men led by Thoros. After a tense encounter and an almost sword fight in a tavern Thoros lets Arya and her friends go. It’s too late though, as Thoros’s companions come back with The Hound, who immediately recognises Arya.
And finally travelling on the road are Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth – who this episode beat Tyrion and Bron hands down as the best double act in Game of Thrones. Their back and forth as Jaime tries to get the better of Brienne is great to watch, and it’s tinged with darker moments – including Jaime’s warning Brienne that she will regret letting go a man who saw them both on the road.
Crossing a bridge, Jaime tricks Brienne into getting close enough that he can steal one of her two swords. And so ensues a really, really tense fight. The pair spar with their words and their swords, until Brienne eventually bests Jaime. But there’s no time to sulk, as a group of Roose Bolton’s men head across the bridge towards the pair, having been warned of Brienne and Jaime’s presence by the man Brienne earlier let go. Jaime may have thought he was about to win his freedom, but it looks like he’ll be carried back to Robb Stark very, very soon.
Nothing from Daenerys this week.
Somewhere dark and dingy
Theon is being tortured in a dungeon somewhere for most of this episode. I’m not quite sure who’s doing the torturing, but at one point a young lad came in to say he’d been sent to rescue Theon by Theon’s sister, and then he promptly left without doing any rescuing.