Game of Thrones
Season 3 Episode 2
Dark Wings, Dark Words
In the second episode of Game of Thrones Season three, while we are still following stories about some of the characters in Episode one, we get caught up with the remainder of the characters from Seasons one and two: Arya Stark, Jamie Lannister, Brienne and Bran Stark and more.
The Nights Watch are marching back to the Wall. Sam falls from exhaustion and is helped by his brothers in Black, Grenn and Edd. The Lord Commander orders Rast, who has been verbally berating Sam throughout the march, that he must ensure Sam reaches the Wall alive or neither will Rast.
Though now officially a part of the wildings, Mance Rayder still does not trust Jon Snow as all of them continue their march to the Wall. While at a stop, Jon Snow learns that one of the Wildings, Orell, is a warg, which is someone capable of seeing through the eyes of animals. When Orell awakens from the trance-like state he was in while seeing through the eyes of a hawk, he tells them he has seen ‘dead crows’ at the Fist of the First Men.
Bran Stark, his younger brother Rickon, Hodor and Osha continue their journey North from the burnt Winterfell to the Wall . He is still having dreams, but in this particular one he is approached by a boy who tells Bran that “he (Bran) is the three-eyed crow” that Bran is trying to shoot with an arrow. Later on, as Hodor and Rickon are away and Osha disappears to investigate strange sounds, the boy from Bran’s dreams approaches him in real life. Osha puts a spear to the boy’s head but the boy’s sister appears and puts a knife to Osha’s neck. The two join the Stark boys, Osha & Hodor, on their journey North. He reveals that their names are Jojen and Meera Reed, he explains he also is a ‘greenseer’ like Bran & can see the past and present, and that Bran is a warg. Apparently Jojen and Meera have been searching for Bran because they believe he plays a big role in the future.
Also traveling North are Arya Stark, Gendry and Hot Pie who are discovered by a band of men called the Brotherhood Without Banners, a group that take no sides. They suspect that the three wandering kids escaped Harrenhal somehow and take them to an inn for food and with the promise of letting them go afterwards. As the three are about to leave, Brotherhood soldiers enter the inn with The Hound Sandor Cleagan as their captive. The three almost get out of the inn until Sandor recognizes Arya, and tells the Brotherhood that she is the Stark girl.
Meanwhile, King of the North, Rob Stark receives two letters, both with grave news. His grandfather, Lady Catelynn’s father, has passed on and they must attend his funeral in Riverrun, though Lord Karstark feels that the funeral is a distraction. The other letter informs him and his mother that their home, Winterfell, has been burned to the ground by the Iron Islanders, and there is no sign of Bran and Rickon. They theorize that either they have died, gotten away somehow or possibly have been taken hostage by Theon Greyjoy whom no one has heard from as of yet.
When we last saw Theon Greyjoy at the end of Season two, he was betrayed by his men and Winterfell was then burned to the ground, most viewers assumed he was amongst the many that died in the fires. But he is alive, has been taken captive and is being tortured for answers regarding his seizing of Winterfell. Though he is telling the truth as to why he did it, he is still being tortured. When his captives leave him, a boy who claims to have been sent there by Theon’s sister, promises to release him when his captives are asleep.
Traveling in the opposite direction, towards King’s Landing per Lady Catelynn’s request in the hope that she will get her daughters, Arya and Sansa back, are Brienne of Tarth and her captive Jamie Lannister. Though trying to remain unseen, they come across a farmer who warns them of traveling along the Kingsroad. Jamie tells Brienne to kill the farmer upon being seen on the off chance he recognizes Jamie, but she refuses to do so. Continuing their journey on a bridge, Jamie makes a sly move by resting and takes one of Brienne’s swords, after a brief sword fight, she bests him and they are both approached then taken captive by a banner man of Lord Bolton thanks in part to the farmer who did recognize the two.
On King’s Landing, Sansa’s handmaid/Tyrions’s whore girlfriend Shae, warns Tyrion of Littlefinger’s slight interest in Sansa that she was told by Littlefinger’s whore companion, Ros. Tyrion is more concerned with Shae’s safety in his chamber because if she is seen his father will kill her, and he can no longer protect Sansa. Sansa is invited to a lunch by Lady Margaery and her grandmother, Lady Olenna. While at the lunch, they ask her to tell them about Joffrey and if he will be a good husband. Sansa is weary of them and reluctant to tell the truth, repeating the words instilled in her about having traitor’s blood by Cersei, until she begins to spill the beans about her father’s beheading and is persuaded to tell them of Joffrey’s cruelty. In her exact words: “He’s a monster!”
After discussing Margaery with his mother, Cersei, while being fitted for his wedding clothes, Joffrey invites Margaery to his chamber to talk about a hunt he will be going on shortly but begins to question her intimate relations with her former husband Renly. She hints at him as being homosexual and you can see her get briefly uncomfortable as Joffrey mentions how that sort of lewd behavior should be punishable, since her brother was Renly’s lover. She quickly changes the subject by taking an interest in the crossbow that Joffrey has prepared for his hunting trip and seems to play off of his monstrous side by appearing interested in monstrous things.
While the updates on the other characters in the series were expected for this episode and we were introduced to some new characters, I feel that this episode fell short. Fell short of what though I don’t know because I still can’t quite put my finger on it. It definitely was not “boring”; slow-moving, maybe, but that was to be expected when there were still so many characters that we needed to be updated on and introduced to for further development? Perhaps Episode 1 should’ve been a mixture of the widely popular characters that we received updates on in Episode 1 and the ones featured in this episode for a balance. Or maybe (and probably the better decision) HBO and the writers should consider making the season premieres a two hour episode from this point on, that way we can get updates on every character without feeling it’s a slow-paced episode, especially since more and more characters are being introduced.
I still enjoyed the episode though I felt it was missing something. The introduction of new characters was well-written, and the episode still had the aspect of suspense to it as it should, as well as those moments that made me queasy and had to turn my head for like during Theon’s torture.
My only two gripes with this episode is first, I feel that the brief and only scene with the Nights Watch was out of place for this episode. There was no follow-up on it and didn’t necessarily further anything in this particular episode. Yes, the scene with the Wildings beyond the Wall was also one brief scene in the entire episode as well without a follow-up, but it had a purpose. When Orell was mentioning the dead crows at the Fist of the First Men, that was something that had already happened, it was what he saw as the bird was scouting out the trail they were on/heading to and wasn‘t a direct event that was going to happen regarding the Nights Watch, so that wasn‘t a follow-up; but it was a lead-up, that brief and only scene with the Wildings did further the story by introducing us to a warg and what a warg can do because we later find out that Bran is a warg. See the distinction? Every scene in this episode somehow related to another scene be it as small a scene as it was, from Shae discussing Sansa to Tyrion and Tyrion stating that many men will now take interest in Sansa since she is no longer betrothed to Joffrey; to Sansa walking and still being somewhat smitten with a clueless Ser Loras, hoping he has in interest in her; to Ser Loras paying no interest in Sansa since he isn’t interested in women at all which later hints at Margaery’s discomfort when Joffrey states that Renly‘s sexual preference should be punishable by death. Everything in this episode led to something except the scene with the Nights Watch, now of course that scene sets us up for something in another episode but that’s why it felt out of place, it was the only scene with no distinct follow-up or hint towards something going on elsewhere in Westeros in THIS episode.
Secondly, the sword fight between Brienne and Jamie definitely felt flat. Regardless of being bound at the hands, Jamie Lannister is supposed to be one of the most skilled of the Kingsguard with a sword, and while this sword fight between them wasn’t supposed to be a big epic battle, it seemed a bit lackluster and made it hard for me to suspend reality enough to believe that Jamie is this feared & skilled knight and that Brienne is skilled enough to be a woman in a role typically held by men during this time period.