Sunday, April 14, 2013

Game Of Thrones "Walk of Punishment" Review

Season three of Game of Thrones is going to rip your heart out.

You may or may not know that yet, but it will, and it's worth remembering. I forgot to lead my season three premiere review with the above. Of course, it's strange write 'season three is going to rip your heart out' in one of the more jovial and convivial. I mean, sure, Jaime got his hand chopped off to end the episode, and Theon's chest was basically destroyed, and Lord Hoster is dead and all of the north is sad; however, Hot Pie made Arya an adorable piece of bread, and Pod impressed his whores so much that Bronn and Tyrion wanted tips from him on how to get a freebie from the ladies in the brothel.

But, no, seriously, this season of Game of Thrones is going to rip your heart out. The brutality of the world of Game of Thrones was emphasized in the walk of punishment scene in Astapor, as Dany wonders why the men are bloodied and tied to a cross. What are they being punished for? The men are punished for not obeying their masters. Dany's disgusted, and she tries to give one dying man water. The man declines. Dany later asks Missanadi why he would rather die. Missandei replies, "There are no masters in the grave."

There are masters and servants throughout the Seven Kingdoms and beyond, regardless of whether it's a slave state, which is what Astapor is, or whether it's King's Landing, Dorne, Pentos, Myr, the Iron Islands, or Winterfell, or any of the other lands with lords. Missandei repeats valar morguhlis to Dany as Dany explains what her new role will be with her. Dany reminds her that they aren't men. The men who serve often die, but they are women. Missandei smiles for the first time since her introduction in "Valar Dohaeris."

Jaime Lannister's a guy who's been privileged since the day he took his first breath. Bronn reminds Tyrion, in King's Landing, that he possesses more money than he'll ever see. During Tyrion's promotion to Master of Coin, he reminds Tywin that his inexperience is spending outrageous amounts of cash, not in managing it. The Lannisters, it is said, shit gold. Jaime's like star high school quarterback who's now out of his element. He works Locke like a Lannister. The Bolton men take Brienne off to rape. Jaime, in a rare instance of nobility, stops the rape by telling Locke about the sapphires awaiting the Bolton men should she be returned to Tarth safely. Jaime promises the Bolton men riches, states that they're on the losing side of the war, and that they need to take care of their own. Locke unchains him and takes him to a table for a meal. Jaime hasn't lost it until moments later when he loses his hand. He's not with his family anymore. Daddy isn't here. Locke takes Jaime's most valuable possession: his sword hand, and he screams, and those screams must echo throughout the seven kingdoms.

Jaime's closest counterpart is not Theon; however, Theon and Jaime share a certain misery with one another. Theon's freed from the dungeon by the anonymous chap with the shaggy hair. Theon rides east to Yara, but Yara's not east. The Bolton men chase after him, capture him, but they are murdered by the anonymous chap. Theon was out of his element last season. The sack of Winterfell, the fake murders of the Stark children, and whatnot, have put him in his current predicament. Theon acted out and betrayed his 'brothers' for a man who does not have a fatherly love for him and for a family that dismisses him for being taken as a ward by the Starks. Theon seems to have a friend, but Brienne still sneers in Jaime's general direction.

Meanwhile, Dany offers a dragon to Kraznys for the entirety of his slave army. Jorah and Ser Barristan debate about the worth of a slave army versus the worth of an army built and brought together by the love for the rightful Queen to the Iron Throne. Barristan tells Dany about her brother, Rheagar, and how he fought in the Trident with men who loved him. Jorah emphasizes the benefit of The Unsullied: they will kill whomever she wants because they're told to and were trained to obey. She needn't inspire love and loyalty in her men. Jorah fires back at Barristan, reminding him that Rheagar fought nobly and valiantly but he died. Dany trades a dragon for The Unsullied, and she won't explain her reasons for parting with her biggest dragon.

Dany, like Theon last season, and Jaime this season, was out of her element in season one. Dany didn't even have an 'element' that she thrived in before Vanaerys married her off to Drogo. Dany hasn't collapsed since her marriage, but she hasn't soared like one of her dragons. The Red Waste and the nonsense in Qarth showed her the Iron Throne won't be won by sheer will. The Iron Throne will be a struggle to sit upon, full of sound and full of fury. Dany's face throughout the walk of punishment was intense and purposeful. Jorah and Barristan were unnerved by her offer to Kraznys, but her look never changed. Theon's face expresses fear and dread in every beat, and Jaime had the false sense of comfort molded by years of luxury in Casterly Rock and King's Landing, but the last image of the episode is Jaime's excrutiating expression of surprise. Theon's lost himself; Jaime's going to lose his self. Meanwhile, Dany's finding herself.

Other Thoughts:

-Mance is sending Tormund, Jon, and other wildlings, to The Wall for an attack. The dead bodies at the Fist of the First Men are gone. Thats means wights are walking around.

-Tywin sent Littlefinger to The Eyrie to wed Lysa Arryn, which is why Tyrion's the master of coin. Tyrion discovered Littlefinger's secret: he owes the Iron Bank tens of thousands of dollars which King's Landing cannot repay.

-Cat's father, Lord Hoster Tully, is dead. This episode introduced her brother, Edmure, and her uncle, the Blackfish. Robb got angry with Edmure for losing The Mountain and coming up with just a mill and two teenage Lannisters. Talisa had a scene with the Lannister hostage. The boys are polite. Not all Lannisters, as Tyrion, Tommen and Myrcella showed, aren't villains.

-Melisandre left Dragonstone to find Kingsblood. Stannis wanted to get laid badly. I don't know what goes on in the writers' room sometimes.

-Some great easter eggs for book-readers tonight: the bear and the maiden fair; Martin Lannister asking Talisa whether or not Robb really transforms into a wolf at night; the Myreenese knot. I'll leave it at that.

-Arya called The Hound out on his shit tonight. I'm sad to see Hot Pie leave so soon. I really, really, really liked Hot Pie calling Arya Arry one last time. These beats would've been hit more if the show didn't condense Arya's story so damn much. Hot Pie's astonishment about Arya's lineage is expressed in "Walk of Punishment." The problem is she spent too much damn time pouring wine for Tywin last season to build a connection with Hot Pie. Oh, well. I'll always have her chapters in A Clash of Kings.

-David Benioff made his directorial debut (I think), and he co-wrote the episode with D.B. Weiss.


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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.