This episode, if you're going to attempt to find a through line in a Game of Thrones episode, was all about TRUTH. Telling the truth, hearing the truth, ignoring the truth. Let's check in with our many, many friends.
Bran: Hot damn has Bran gotten old. He's no longer the little boy whom Jaime pushed from the tower window. He's all grows up. And the show is just not even trying with Rickon anymore. Where was Rickon all episode? Who cares? The producers probably couldn't afford his steep salary.
Anyway, Brandon and his caretakers Osha/Tonks, Hodor/Hodor, and Summer/wolf are out in the woods, fleeing from the destruction that befell Winterfell. Bran is having all kinds of crazy dreams about walking and stuff. And he can feel things through the dreams, like he's seeing premonitions and experiencing the past. And he can become animals. And he sees the little boy from Love, Actually in his dreams. As we do.
Eventually Love, Actually boy, henceforth known here as "Jojen Reed," finally IRL reaches Bran, the one he has been searching for all his many 12 or so years. Jojen sees things too, just like Bran, and he believes that Bran is special. Of course he is. All the Stark children are special. Catelyn and Ned were "those" parents.
Now Jojen and his sister Meera have joined Bran's merry band of misfits and they will work together to discover the depths of Bran's warg-ocity, as we like to call it.
Robb and Catelyn: The truth is, Catelyn doesn't care much for Robb's new wife, Talisa. She thinks her son has made a grave error by taking this woman for his wife instead of accepting whatever scrap of a woman the Freys planned on throwing at him. But really, what does Catelyn know? She's always making bad decisions and ruining lives. She admits in this episode that she once prayed for Jon Snow to die and then she prayed for him not to die and then she spent the rest of her life wishing he would just die already and now she kind of regrets that because it was a really, really mean thing to do to a poor, motherless bastard, even if that motherless bastard's father is your own husband (maybe). Catelyn's one big regret machine is what I'm saying.
The big news for those who follow the King in the North is that Lord Tully, Catelyn's father and the head of Riverrun, has died and everyone has to head back for the funeral. Oh, and Catelyn and Robb now know that Winterfell has been burned and Rickon and Bran are presumed dead or captured.
Theon: I was completely thrown off by Theon's presence in this episode. He's not in the third book at all (or maybe right at the end? It's been a while since I read it), and I have not gotten to his part in A Feast for Crows. Because I have not gotten very far in A Feast for Crows, during the year+ that I have been reading it, according to Goodreads.
But the Game of Thrones producers did not want to risk losing Alfie Allen, so they've sped up the Theon storyline and are showing him being tortured by people who are...Roose Bolton's men? Or people from the Iron Island? I'm not sure. And now I know how it feels to watch this show blind. It's confusing. I feel for you folks who have not read the books.
Jaime and Brienne: They're still traveling the world, trying to get to King's Landing and return Jaime and rescue the Stark girls. They run into a guy on the way, whom Jaime wants to kill because the guy totally knows that Jaime is the Kingslayer and he might rat on them. But Brienne is a noble knight and she lets the man live. And it comes back to bite her in the arse. The man tracks down some of the flayed men of House Bolton and brings them to Jaime and Brienne. And now the Bolton-ites will be bringing Jaime and Brienne back to Riverrun for, we can assume, a good old-fashioned flaying.
Joffrey and Margaery: They are love's young dream. Joffrey thinks Marge is hot. Marge thinks Joffrey is king and she wants to be queen. It's the stuff of romance novels. Sansa tells Margaery and her grandmother, Olenna Tyrell (who should've been played by Maggie Smith), about all the bad things Joffrey's done, but these things don't worry Margaery. She's playing the long game, and she's going to learn how to work a crossbow, and she's going to keep her brother Loras around to protect her. In an act of good faith, Margaery even outs Renly, telling her betrothed that her dead husband was an up-the-butt guy when he was interested in doing anything at all with Marge. Good move on her part, because now Joffrey can only feel more virile in comparison, since he's not a fan of the gheys and wants to execute them all. A lovely ruler, this one.
Jon Snow: Jon learns the truth about what it takes to lead a free army of free men who all hate each other. Tell them they're all gonna die...AND MEAN IT.
Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie: They've escaped Harrenhal, thanks to Jaqen and his three kills, and Gendry is pissed at Arya for not asking him to kill Tywin or Joffrey or somebody like that. The three kids are out on the road, just trying to make it in the world, when the run into the Brotherhood without Banners, a group of brigands trolling the countryside and looking to hurt the Lannisters. The Brotherhood is pretty nice to the kids, feeding them and chatting with them. But then a few of their men bring in a new prisoner, a HUGE prisoner, and he immediately recognizes Arya. "What in seven hells are you doing with a Stark bitch?" asks the Hound. Ruh-roh. Busted
- Wargs were everywhere. Gareth from The Office gave us our first glimpse of what it means to be a warg, becoming one with the birds to inform Mance Rayder's army about what lies ahead for them.
- Tyrion and Shae. Whatever.
- If I hadn't seen the ultra bloody Evil Dead the night before, Theon getting a needle stuck under his fingernail probably would've affected me more.
- Cersei thinks Margaery dresses like a harlot for a reason. Does anyone dress like a harlot for no reason?
- This is the second episode that has ended on a reveal that probably only means anything to people who have read the books, namely that the Bolton clan have arrived to take Jaime back to Riverrun. No one watching the show cares about the Boltons at this point. We've hardly seen them. Ending on the Hound recognizing Arya would've been more powerful. I feel like the first two episodes have just been a hodgepodge of disjointed vignettes. There's no narrative thrust. They're trying to do too much with each hour. Maybe it would've been better to focus on three storylines per episode, break it up a bit, give us a chance to spend more quality time with each story. I feel like this is going to be my stock complaint for the whole season.
What did you think of this episode?
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