REVIEW - Game of Thrones S03E02

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After a slow but informative start Game of Thrones is back into the swing of things this week. It's got everything the last episode lacked and more. This week's episode acted as 'here is what's happened since last season' part two. Except this time we got even more scheming, more new characters and so much more sword fighing.

The episode starts off with Bran walking through the woods, trying to shoot that mysterious three-eyed crow that keeps appearing in his dreams. As he's aiming to shoot he remembers the lessons his brothers Robb and Jon taught him all the way back in the pilot episode, and pulling at our heartstrings in the process when Eddard's disembodied voice echoes through the woods, “and which one of you was a marksmen at ten?” While it was an unimportant scene, merely added to introduce the characters, it's parallel to the scene in the woods makes it a painful reminder of how far the Starks have come since then, and been torn apart.

In this same scene we're introduced to a boy that turns out to be Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), who tells Bran that the crow is Bran himself which is why he can't kill it. After this, Bran wakes from his dream with Shaggydog and Summer (who oddly seems to have changed colour) staring at him. They later on come across Jojen Reed again but this time outside the dream, where we find out that he has been looking for Bran, with his sister Meera.

Jojen seems to understand much of what is happening to Bran and explains to him that what he is doing is warging (being inside and seeing through the eyes of) Summer, his direwolf. But that his abilities are not nearly limited to that but he has the gift of Sight: to see the distant past, and present thousands of miles away, and the future. The Reed siblings are a nice introduction to the story, and Brodie-Sangster has the wise old man in a young boys body thing down to a 'T'. While Meera is a nice change and seems comfortable with her role, despite Osha's misgivings that a boy like Jojen needs his older sister to protect him.

Meanwhile in Robb's camp, news has reached them that Catelyn's father, Hoster Tully, has died and that the Ironborn torched and massacred everyone in Winterfell before fleeing. On the journey towards Riverrun one of Robb's Lord's casts doubt on the decision to march for Riverrun when there's no fighting to be had and during the process makes the observation that Robb's war was lost the day he married Lady Talisa.

While Lord Karstark is an embittered, grumpy old man he makes an interesting observation that seems to be shared (although unspoken) by others in Robb's camp including Catelyn, who is still her son's prisoner. And it's intersting that Robb should not listen to his mother, despite frequent ability to demonstrate a political understanding of the North and Riverland lords, whom she is both familiar with via marriage and birth. Yet while Catelyn's warnings are unheaded, Lord Karstark voicing his doubts show that she is not alone in her doubts about Robb's hurried marriage.

Perhaps one of the most boring scenes however was Catelyn's talk with her daughter-in-law. What was possibly supposed to be a heart-to-heart really became a confession for Catelyn, where the writers decided to lay blame on her (unsurprisingly) for all the events that have happened because she broke a promise to the gods to treat Jon Snow better if he recovered from a case of pox he'd contracted when he was younger.

While they are trying to develop and show another side to Catelyn's character, especially regarding Jon who she so vehementally hates, blaming her for the events of the series is entirely unnecessary and ridiculous and rather just seems as if they are punishing her for being human. Yes, hating Jon Snow is misdirected and unfair on him but so is placing the blame on her all these events.

Arya meanwhile, has apparently told Gendry and Hot Pie all about her deal with Jaqen H'ghar, the good looking and much missed foreign assassin from last season. Gendry, in a rare moment of insight, berates her for misusing the gift when she single-handedly could have ended the war in her family's favour by having Tywin Lannister and King Joffrey killed. The argument is cut short when they are set upon by a band of men wandering through the woods calling themselves the Brotherhood Without Banners and led by a man named Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye).

After the initial confrontation, the group are taken to a local inn where Arya, still unknown to the group as a Stark, challenges Thoros to a duel when he doubts her ability to swordfight. She hesitates and is immediately disarmed much to her embarassment, but the moment ends when a prisoner is dragged in and unmasked. It turns out to be the Hound, who apparently escaped after the Battle of Blackwater Bay. Arya, who recognises him unsuccessfully tries to escape unnoticed, and is identified by the Hound as “the Stark bitch”. Now that Arya's been recognised, it'll be interesting to see how the Brotherhood reacts since as their title suggests they are without allegiance.

Things are also looking bad for Theon, who last season was last seen being knocked out by his men and then abandoned while the Bolton forces arrived to retake Winterfell. He is now prisoner to those men and being tortured in an unnamed location. All hope seems lost for him, except for a servant (Iwan Rheon) who promises to come back later and free him. While Theon was never particularly my favourite character, especially after his actions in season two, it was still upsetting to see him be tortured. Hopefully his sister finds out and is able to come to his rescue.

However on a much lighter note, this episode it seems Sansa is possibly going to be taken underwing by the Tyrells. She is invited to tea by Margaery and her grandmother, the Tyrell matriarch Lady Olenna Redwyne (Diana Rigg). The bluntly spoken Lady Olenna, otherwise known as the Queen of Thorns, is a riot to watch and absolutely stole the scene, if not the episode. The so-called Queen of Thorns seems to have a few schemes up her sleeve though, especially in regards to her grandaughter's marriage to King Joffrey.

For Sansa, it seemed a relief for her to finally tell someone what Joffrey had done to her. After the equally dangerous and lonely company Sansa found herself in last season, it then is nice to see that she has a possible friend in Margaery. Although not she is not completely trustworthy, since this is Game of Thrones and everybody has an agenda, but her seeming sincerity and kindness may be what Sansa needs and is desperate to find. And this is obviously something that Shae has noticed too, as she tells Tyrion “we need to protect her”.

This was a great episode, it was captivating and I couldn't look away even for a minute. It's also a nice change of pace that in the past two episodes we haven't had an unncessary sex scenes which leaves more time for the advancement of the plot.

Review by Sofie Kiriakidis


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