Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

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Game of Thrones – Season 3, Episode 4 – And Now His Watch is Ended

This has been a great, if slow, season of Game of Thrones. The best stories (Daenerys, Arya, Tyrion) have been excellent, with a lot of forward momentum and considerable intrigue. The stories I haven’t been as interested in (The Night’s Watch, Theon Greyjoy, Jaime Lannister) have been solid as well. The only weak spots have been the stuff with Catelyn and Robb, which is still disappointing because I would love to see more of Robb’s war. But the good has been so fantastic this year that it doesn’t bother me all that much.

One particular problem I have with the show is that it continually introduces new characters, even though I often end up liking them. This season has introduced Mance Rayder, Jojen Reed, and Beric Dondarrion, among many others. I want to see more of Mance (who we didn’t even glimpse this time around) and Dondarrion seems really cool, but the Jojen Reed/Bran Stark stuff is just a downright drag on the episode. I don’t know where the show is going with this, and quite frankly I don’t really care. At this point, it’s going to take a lot to get interested in Bran, Rickon, Jojen, etc.

Joffrey escorts Margaery through the royal catacombs of King's Landing.

Joffrey escorts Margaery through the royal catacombs of King’s Landing.

The big plot developments during this episode took place beyond the wall (where the Night’s Watch are still stopped at Craster’s keep), in King’s Landing (where Margaery Tyrell really gets her claws into the head of King Joffrey), and across the narrow sea, where Daenerys finally gains control of the Unsullied, her army of eunuch slaves. These story developments are well handled throughout the episode, with Daenerys getting the bulk of the end of the episode in an awesome scene of destruction and vengeance.

In King’s Landing, Joffrey escorts Margaery, her grandmother, and Queen Cersei through the catacombs of the city. Joffrey is an absolutely horrible king, but something about his affinity for history and his relationship with Margaery brings out a softer side of him. I still want to see his head on a pike, but Margaery’s manipulation of him may just threaten to make him into something of a sympathetic character. I particularly like when the would-be queen convinces Joffrey to step outside, and he and his future bride are welcomed warmly by the city. This particular event sets off Cersei, who complains to her father, and is quite beautifully put in her place. Meanwhile, Varys conspires with Lady Olenna to keep Baelish from attempting to marry Sansa Stark in a plot development I don’t particularly care about.

North of the wall, the men of the Night’s Watch begin to lose patience with both Craster and Jeor, their leader. Hunger and illness begin to set in, and the men become much more vocal about their dire situation. It doesn’t help that Craster continues to humiliate the men, feeding them bread made with sawdust and continually insulting them. Jeor cannot handle what happens next, as the men of the Watch rebel, killing Craster quite horribly, and then turning on the old Jeor, who goes down fighting like a champ. A horrified Sam runs for Gilly and her newborn son, and quickly leaves the keep, heading towards who knows where (but likely towards the Wall). This story is quickly getting good, but it is sad to see Jeor Mormont go. I’ve long enjoyed his presence on the show.

Daenerys and her Unsullied army lay waste to Astapor.

Daenerys and her Unsullied army lay waste to Astapor.

In my favorite storyline of the season, Daenerys Targaryen finally purchases her Unsullied Ones army from the Slaver Kraznyz. Daenerys has promised her largest dragon to the slaver in a trade for the army, against the advice of her council (Jorah and Ser Barristan). When the Khaleesi hands over the dragon, he refuses to obey Kraznyz. Daenerys reveals she speaks ancient Valerian, as it is her native tongue. She orders her Unsullied to sack the city of Astapor, but kill no children and free all slaves. Her dragon burns Kraznyz alive, and the army ransacks Astapor. In a showing of her absolute grace, Daenerys allows any Unsullied to leave and live freely. None do. The Khaleesi has her army. Soon she’ll be ready to attack Westeros, and maybe take back the Iron Throne while she’s at it.

-Z-

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