REVIEW - Game of Thrones - S03E04

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I don’t care if it’s too early to say, this is my favourite episode in season 3 of A Game of Thrones. ‘And Now His Watch Has Ended’ is as somber as it sounds, but it is also spiked with adrenaline and enough gambits to have people speculating for weeks. As usual we focus on King’s Landing, but we also spend a substantial amount of time with Theon, Brienne and Jamie, the Night’s Watch and Daenerys. We also briefly touch on Arya and the Hound as well as Bran and Jojen, but the focus lingers on the aforementioned five groups more than the younger Starks.

After the slow start to season three it might surprise viewers to learn that there is not one fight scene in this episode: there are two. One is towards the end of the episode where the Night’s Watch, after being forced to work for Brother ‘I Feed My Sons to Whitewalkers’ Craster, hit an all-time low that ends in the ugliest brawl yet. The earlier one involves (wait for it) Daenaerys using her new army of Unsullied to kill every slaver in Astapor.

Both scenes are beautiful for different reasons. With Daenerys we have a bittersweet situation turn into the most one-sided battle in the series yet. The Night’s Watch meanwhile grew more and more miserable until their men start dying from hunger and their swords flying out of their sheaves. It was horrifying, yet it’s executed very well. My only real complaint about these scenes is that they were both so brief.    

Mixed in amongst these scenes are a few little scheming sessions in King’s Landing. Given we see these all the time you would think I would be sick of them. However, you get some of the best exchanges and moments from these little walk and talks in King’s Landing. Margaery in particular has been giving us some great scenes when she’s with Joffrey and Sansa. It’s also nice to see Varys in a more prominent role given all he seemed to be in season two was ‘that eunuch with spies all over the place’. 

Given the sass and snark can seem repetitive at times I don’t blame anyone who would fast forward some of these scenes, but doing so takes away some of those little bonding moments and all those more sinister moments laced in the dialogue.  

‘And Now His Watch Has Ended’ also continues the trend ‘Walk of Punishment’ started with Theon and Jaime. 

It is hard to feel sorry for Theon Greyjoy after an entire season was dedicated to him murdering children and destroying his home in Winterfell. This episode does a surprisingly good job of making me feel like maybe he didn’t deserve torture. The same happened with Jaime when he lost his hand; we see him at his most human when he has been reduced to a joke by his captors. It only drives home the point that he’s a good guy at heart when Brienne realises he lied to save her.

This enthusiasm might seem a little much, but if you’re the kind who has been itching for a fight since the premiere, this is a good episode for you. If you’re the kind who thinks the politics are the best thing about the show, this is a good episode for you. It caters more to the fans of the quiet scenes because of how one sided the fights can be, but that doesn’t diminish the impact this episode has.

Review by Greta Rehak


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