So. What do I think of Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 2: ‘Dark Wings, Dark Words’?

So. What do I think of Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 2: ‘Dark Wings, Dark Words’? (Repeated because the archive page is in a mood.)

Issac Hempstead-Wright has really gotten tall this past year; Kristian Nairn must be glad for that wheelbarrow. We get a glimpse of Rickon; I wonder how much of him we’re going to see this season, if any? And come in, Reeds, your time is finally here! Thomas Sangster and Ellie Kendrick are wonderful, although Sangster isn’t quite how I pictured Jojen to look – but he plays Jojen’s matter of fact discussing of things really well. Aww, Osha be jealous.

I also enjoyed the scenery they were walking through. The rolling hills and stone walls of Northern Ireland; it’s like coming home.

Bolton interrupts Robb and Talisa just as they’re about to get cozy with news that really took far too long to get here – about his grandfather Hoster Tully having died, and Winterfell having been sacked and Bran and Rickon being lost, perhaps dead. Oh, and when Catelyn asks if she’ll be going to her father’s funeral in shackles, Robb doesn’t reply. Nice. Real nice. They wonder if Theon took the two boys hostage.

Speaking of Theon-

I didn’t watch the bits of the episode with him in them.

I do appreciate that they’re there, and that the directors and producers actually didn’t shy away from showing us this, and that they’re well acted and heartbreaking – but I’m not going to watch them, or any of what happens to Theon over this season. I don’t like watching people get tortured, period; I don’t care if it’s only a show. Call me a wimp, but there you are.

I have been waiting for Brienne and Jaime for a year, and it was worth the wait. At first they were rather ‘establish our characters for the audience again, quick!’ and Brienne was a bit more forthcoming as opposed to the taciturn front she put on last season, but it soon got good when Jaime started baiting her about Renly. Oh, Jaime. I do applaud Brienne’s self control for not smacking you.

And oh, the temptation scene. Or at least a scene where Jaime urges Brienne to silence someone who’s seen them. Good to see she’s got some idealism…that’s quickly going to be crushed.

I do have to wonder, though, why exactly Catelyn seemed to send Brienne off to King’s Landing without so much as a cloak or some provisions. What are they supposed to do when they get hungry, or when it rains? They’re trying to stay below the radar, so to speak, so why make it so they have to approach people for food or shelter sooner or later? For that matter, why didn’t they stay in the boat?

Oh, Joffrey. Joffrey, Joffrey, Joffrey, After the interest I felt in you last episode, good job on making me hate you again, more than ever. Sansa’s scenes with Loras and Olenna Tyrell were brilliant. Diana Rigg is the Queen of Thorns. Margaery is playing the game of thrones to perfection, and good on her for keeping her cool when Joffrey’s implying he’s going to start executing homosexuals –

– although really, was that needed? On top of everything else that he’s done, they’re going to make him start saying ‘Burn the Gays!’?

Also, I wondered if making Littlefinger’s interest in Sansa so obvious was such a good idea. Littlefinger himself is too obvious. But it leads to sweet interactions between Sansa and Shae.

Cersei actually comments on the way Margaery dresses! I was so hoping that someone would, although I wasn’t hoping for ‘She dresses like a slut’.

Thank you, Lord Karstark, for pointing out what Robb needs to realise: he lost the war as soon as he married Talisa – but this was still not enough for me. Can someone please mention the fact that the Freys are extremely pissed off with Robb, and that’s why he has only half the number of armed forces that he commanded last season? Maybe someone from House Frey can spit at Robb’s feet or call him an oath breaker or Talisa a foreign whore/cunt – which she doesn’t deserve in the slightest, but this is Westeros, after all, I’m being realistic – if only to take that smug, self-righteous look off his face. You screwed up, Robb. Royally screwed up, as it were. It’s far past time that you acknowledge that.

Ah. Catelyn making a weird…sort of Dreamcatcher of the Seven, and Talisa. This scene. This frigging scene. As soon as Catelyn said ‘One of the boys came down with the pox’ I was thinking She said ‘one of the boys’. Not ‘one of my sons’. Is it going to be Jon Snow? Knowing this show by now, I think it is, but please don’t let it be Jon Snow. Please don’t let it be Jon Snow. Please don’t let it be Jon Snow.

Then, guess what? It was Jon Snow.

Yes. Cat, you see, actually prayed for the gods to take the boy away, then when he caught the pox had a guilty conscience and prayed for him and asked her husband to give him the Stark name and promised that she would love him as her own. Jon recovered but, obviously, she did not live up to that promise.

I just…okay. Okay.

At first I was just gobsmacked at this whole bit, thinking variations on ‘Wait, what?‘ and the like, and about how the viewers as a whole were going to react because this? Catelyn unburdening herself to Talisa about this dirty little secret? This was just insane.

Then, when I calmed down, I began to try and rationalize it, because that’s what I do in these situations.

Catelyn telling all this to Talisa – a woman she really doesn’t have much reason to even tolerate, let alone confide in – is fairly weird…but Talisa is just about the only person in the immediate radius who’s at least trying to behave in a civil manner towards her, so if she’s going to unburden herself to anyone, it would be her. In addition, Catelyn’s just received word that her home’s been burned to the ground and her two younger sons are missing, quite possibly dead. She’s not in the most stable of mindsets.And a faithful woman like Catelyn would probably be asking herself ‘Why has this happened? What did I do to deserve this?’ and reviewing her past sins.

As for Catelyn’s treatment of Jon…I’ve noticed a tendency in the show to make the characters more emotional about certain things that the book versions, and possibly people of the time period the book is based on, take for granted. The book version of Stannis, for example, regards Melisandre’s religion as a means to an end and Melisandre herself as an ally – that he ocasionally sleeps with – but certainly not with any great emotional attachment. TV Stannis, meanwhile, appears to have actually converted and is lusting over Melisandre.

So now TV Catelyn more obviously regrets the way she treated Jon Snow, even had some lapses, possibly because the writers can’t be allowed to imply that she could treat a boy who did nothing wrong with such coldness and feel no obvious remorse. Or something like that.

Whoo.

Speaking of Jon, he and Mance seem to be getting on fairly well now, although Mance is perfectly upfront about how he’ll kill him if he’s fooling them. I respect that in a person. And good god, Iceland is beautiful. Hello, Mackenzie Crook, haven’t seen you in a while! I thought the explanation about wargs and how they work was a bit basic – maybe it could have been Jon asking Orell himself if he’s all right, and Mance saying ‘he can’t hear you right now. He’s not home.’ Jon asks where he is then, and Mance points up to the bird: ‘Up there.’ Jon asks, rather disbelieving, ‘In the bird?’ ‘Seeing through its eyes. He’s a warg. That’s what they do.’

But then again, basic is what suits the occasion, and also there’s limited time to get a message across. Ygritte, I do like you, but stop being so ‘Oh you never done this, you never done that, you suck.’

Aww, Jeor Mormont, you do care about Sam! Enough to forbid him to die, at any rate. I see the flickers of resentment in the others, though. Dolorous Edd tells it how it is, deal with it.

Gendry asks what the viewers were thinking when it came to Arya’s kill-requests; namely, what was she thinking? Arya, of course, tells him to shut up, before they get captured by the Brotherhood. I do really enjoy this version of Thoros of Myr, especially his armor and his snark, no doubt taken from Lem Lemoncloak and Tom of Seven Streams, who had to be sacrificed to the monster that is adaptation. Anguy’s kind of brutal.

Tyrion and Shae have discussions while Shae tops and Tyrion bottoms. Still, is there trouble in paradise? Tyrion really needs to learn to control his mouth, even around someone he loves.

Still not watching the Theon torture bits, you can’t make me.

Ah, they’re really cutting down on Arya’s story this season, if they’ve already captured the Hound. Umm, Arya? When Clegane said ‘Girl’, why did you stop? Why didn’t you just run for it? You were on the verge of a getaway – although I don’t know just how clean it might have been – so why did you stop and turn around so that everyone could stare at you? Arya, you’re wonderful, but sometimes you’re also an eejit.

BRIENNE AND JAIME FIGHT THIS IS ALL I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR, WHAT I STAYED UP UNTIL TWO IN THE MORNING FOR, AND IT IS GLORIOUS. Brienne will not put up with your nonsense and will fight you with one hand, even though I think that would be pretty difficult with that sort of sword if it’s made for a two handed grip. 

Oh, and they’re captured by the Boltons, lead by the Vargo Hoat substitute: man who’s name we either don’t know yet or which I’ve forgotten. I do appreciate that the man who snitched on the pair was actually paid with money, rather than some of the ways he could have been paid.

And Jaime, I will grant you giving Brienne that look because she didn’t kill the man who betrayed the pair of you, but remind me again why the two of you were still on the bridge in the first place, and thus easier to capture?

So, what did I think of ‘Dark Wings, Dark Words’?

There were parts I really enjoyed, such as Sansa’s scenes, Arya’s interactions with her friends and the Brotherhood – not withstanding her idiocy at the end – Bran’s group meeting the Reeds, and Jon’s ever on-going learning experience beyond the Wall. Really, all the bits with the Stark children were great.

Save for Robb’s sections, and…that bit with Catelyn. Oh, that bit. Even after I’ve rationalized it, just…that bit.

Then there were Brienne and Jaime’s scenes. I think it’s clear from the mini rant in capitals how much I adore Jaime and Brienne’s interactions, and this episode has left me waiting desperately for more of them. Especially with what’s coming…

Joffrey is, once again, a craven douche, Cersei cannot control the little shit, hah, and Margaery is playing him for every little bit she’s worth. Hooray for the Tyrells, a family that knows what is going on. Also, Littlefinger is still much too obvious when he’s not even in the episode.

When it comes to Theon’s storyline, no comment.

All in all, a good second episode, establishing plot threads I’ve been looking forward to for a while now.

Aside from…that. Bit.

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