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Wow! After a first couple of episodes that served mostly to put pieces of the story into place, we finally got some good plot developments in last night’s episode. It is getting increasingly difficult keeping track of character names and story-lines on this show, so please don’t expect this to be a comprehensive summary of events. As always, I will also sprinkle the summary with a bit of asides, personal thoughts, and critiques throughout the review.
There are multiple plot threads that are engaging so far in season three of Game of Thrones, but none has been as engaging thus far as what Daenerys, Jorah, and now Barristan Selmy are doing across the narrow sea. Daenerys has bargained one of her dragons for all 8,000 of the “Unsullied Men.” The slaver Kraznys is all to eager to make the deal, but only for the largest dragon. Against the counsel of Jorah and Selmy, Daenerys accepts. This is by far my favorite part of the new season. On one side, Daenerys’ story last season seemed stuck in a rut, and simply moving her somewhere else has been a boon to her character and the actress, Emilia Clarke, behind her. On the other, the deal she has made with Kraznys puts her in a huge position to win back the Iron Throne now that she has 8,000 of the best, most loyal soldiers money can buy.
Beyond the wall, it is obvious that Jon Snow is struggling with his newfound home amongst the wildlings. When Mance Rayder puts in the order to attack the wall, you can see the hesitation in Snow’s face. He knows, however, that he must go along with Rayder’s orders or risk death. This is my second favorite part of the story so far, as I love the dynamic between the wildlings and the Night’s Watch. I also love how their conflict is going on amidst the war in Westeros, where each has little to do with the other. Additionally, I am eager for Ciaran Hinds, the actor portraying Rayder, to get some great scenes. He is a character actor I admire greatly, and he hasn’t been given that much to do yet. I keep hoping this pays off.
We get some time with Lord Mormont, who once again settles his men in Craster’s quarters beyond the wall. Craster insults Sam, who then leaves the building only to witness Gilly, one of Craster’s many wives we met last season, giving birth to a baby boy. Sam is horrified to witness this (Craster sacrifices all of his sons, as seen last season). Because Craster feels he has paid the White Walkers with the children, he believes their war against humanity will spare him. Time will only tell, but this guy has to have it coming, right?
There are a few things going on with the Stark family. Robb Stark and his mother Catelyn attend the funeral of Hoster Tully, Catelyn’s father who has passed away. We are introduced to Catelyn’s uncle, Brynden, and her brother Edmure, who is less competent than his sister and her son. Edmure has recently angered Robb by meaninglessly attacking the Lannister’s in non-strategic positions. He is chided by his nephew and also by Brynden. Arya Stark, having been taken under the care of the Brotherhood Without Banners, continues her journey with Gendry after having been outed as a Stark by the Hound. Hot Pie, who has gone three seasons without an official name, stays on at an inn as an apprentice baker, and shares a heartfelt goodbye with Arya and Gendry.
To wrap things up, let’s skip Stannis’ small scenes and Theon’s escape and move on to the Lannister family. In King’s Landing, Tyrion has been appointed the new treasurer of the kingdom (Petyr Baelish’s old job). He takes over the books from Baelish (who Bronn, ever the bad ass, refers to as “twat beard”) only to be horrified to find the kingdom millions in debt to foreign cities in Braavos and others across the narrow sea. Jaime Lannister, having been taken captive by Roose Bolton’s bannerman Locke (under orders from Robb Star) tries to charm his way out of captivity. After showing some class for the first time ever and convincing Locke’s men not to rape and torture Brienne, Jaime thinks he has found an in with Locke’s men. The hard-boiled Locke, however, sees right through the King Slayer, and lops off his hand with a large knife – a stern reminder to Jaime that he’s a long way from home.