What. An. Episode. After a slow but steady start to the series, this week Game of Thrones ramped up the action by a million.
Beyond the Wall
It all went completely crazy beyond the Wall this week. That horrid brother of the Night’s Watch has been sniping away for ages, and this week he was joined by another (hello Burn Gorman from Torchwood). The two are annoyed at Craster for being mean to them by eating amazing food while they feast on scraps and finally attack him, killing the bloke.
Then, then, the Commander of the Night’s Watch gets involved, and that mean brother stabs him. Stabs him! And he dies. Dies!
And then, in the midst of all the fighting, Samwell steals off to rescue that daughter-wife of Craster’s that he has the hots for, and the two run off.
No good can come of any of this – the Night’s Watch turning on itself and eroding only puts the world on the other side of the Wall in even more danger. Still, it paves the way for Jon Snow, Mance Rayder and the others to become the defenders of the realm.
Whew. Last week, that would have filled an entire episode of Game of Thrones, but this week the action beyond the Wall was just a small part of the episode.
Joffrey, the Meanest Character on Television™, is still being a complete creep. As Cersei and Lady Olena discuss wedding plans, Joffrey decides to woo Margaery by telling her about all the former royals, the way they died and where they are buried in the Red Keep. What a charmer.
But Margaery, goodness, Margaery is good. She persuades Joffrey to step outside and greet the people of King’s Landing, and he does so – and discovers that the people chanting his name makes him feel good.
Cersei is completely put off by this, and runs off to daddy to tell him she wants something done about Margaery stepping into her shoes. Tywin’s not overly impressed by Cersei, and neither am I.
Tyrion heads to see Varys, wanting revenge on the person who arranged his attempted murder at Blackwater. After a creepy tale about revenge (and the revelation that the man who cut off Varys’ bits is in a crate in his room), Varys heads to see Ros the prostitute.
She reveals that the reason last week’s prostitutes didn’t charge Pod any money is because Ros wanted Varys to come and see her, and she reveals that Littlefinger is planning to whisk Sansa off when he heads to Harrenhal. So Varys heads to see Lady Olena, and that results in Margaery speaking to Sansa, and telling her she should marry Ser Loras. And now that there’s a bit of romance on the horizon, we all know that Sansa won’t be leaving King‘s Landing anytime soon.
Why people can’t just speak to each other directly, I don’t know, but Game of Thrones would be much less fun without all this intrigue and to-ing and fro-ing.
Nothing from Stannis this week.
On the road
After last week’s shocking ending where Jaime got his hand cut off, this week we see him having lost his spirit almost completely.
He falls off his horse as the group traverse through the forest, and makes a feeble attempt at fighting Bolton’s men. They win out, ending with the threat that Jaime’s other hand will be cut off if he tries to fight again.
A brief conversation between Jaime and Brienne shows the growing relationship between the two. She tries to rush to his defence when he’s fighting, and then later quizzes him about why he defended her against the soldiers who tried to rape her.
Brienne and Jaime’s relationship has gone in a completely different direction to what I originally thought, and I really like it.
Meanwhile, Arya (blindfolded) is still travelling with the Brotherhood Without Banners. They eventually arrive at a cave, where the Brotherhood try to put the Hound on trial. Arya accuses him of killing her friend (remember that baker’s boy way back in season one?), and the founder of the Brotherhood challenges the Hound to trial by combat.
We also pay a brief visit to Bran this week, who once again dreams of a raven in a wood. This time, Jojen persuades Bran to climb up a tree to get the raven, where Bran encounters his mother. She tells him off for climbing and Bran falls out of the tree, waking before he lands to find Jojen awake and staring at him across the fire.
I wasn’t much enamoured with Daenerys in the previous two seasons of Game of Thrones, but this series she is kicking arse.
She heads to the slavemaster and gives him one of dragons in return for the 8,000 Unsullied. As soon as she has her hands on the whip controlling the Unsullied, she reveals she can speak Valyrian, shocking the slavemaster who thought he was getting away with insulting her this whole time.
Daenerys commands her dragon to kill the slavemaster by breathing fire on him, and commands the Unsullied to kill all the slavemasters, sparing the children and the innocent. And they do.
As the dust lifts at the end of the battle, Jorah Mormont and Barristan Selmy look on as Daenerys frees the Unsullied, and then asks them to fight for her as free men. And they agree, because Daenerys kicks arse.
And so the Unsullied follow Daenerys out of Astopor, and Barristan Selmy and Jorah Mormont look on with respect at the girl who’s now become a queen.
Somewhere dark and dingy
I thought we’d left this dungeon behind when Theon Greyjoy escaped with the help of a mystery man, and was then picked up by another mystery man.
Said mystery man (hello Iwan Rheon from Misfits) is called Ramsay Snow (another bastard). He befriends Theon, and gets him to confide in him. Theon tells him that he didn’t really kill Bran and Rickon, but that the bodies were local farm children.
Ramsay leads Theon to a tunnel, which leads to…the dungeon Theon thought he’d escaped from. Turns out Ramsay is just taking Theon back to his former captors so they can punish him some more. Oops.