Game of Thrones Season Premiere Recap - "Valar Dohaeris"

Game of Thrones Season Premiere Recap - "Valar Dohaeris"

Hey! Here's your one-day-late Game of Thrones season premiere recap. I promise to be more timely for the rest of the season. Figured I should put the zombies to bed first. I mean, The Walking Dead zombies, not Sam Tarly's zombies or whatever the hell the white walkers officially are.

This episode...happened. That's the best thing I can say about it. It existed. We saw some dragons and Tyrion Lannister, what more do we viewers need, right? That's the good stuff. "Lap it up!" the writers cackled as they clacked away in their writing dungeon.

I think we're going to need more to hang on to if Season 3 is to escape the "8 boring episodes and then Blackwater" template of Season 2. Think quality, not quantity. Let us spend more time with the important characters so when Big Things happen at the end of the season, we actually care. Most people who are watching this show have not read the books and do not have a base knowledge and affection for these characters. Barristan Selmy popping up in Astapor meant virtually nothing to my husband. I had to explain that he was the old knight Joffrey dismissed during the brief last season recap before the episode. Not exactly the kind of revelation you want to hang your entire episode on.

But anyway. What happened, right? Let's do a quick pop in with each of our (myriad) Westerosi (and beyond) story lines.

Beyond The Wall: The episode opened, kind of, with Sam and his Black Brothers fighting the white walkers behind a black screen. We didn't see any of it. We don't know how Sam survived, just that he did. I wonder if this was an effort on the producers' part not to shoot their wad of money on the first scene of the season. Ghost (Jon's direwolf, remember) saves Sam and he meets up with the rest of the Crows. They need to get back to the Wall! Pretty soon everyone you've ever known ever will be dead! Winter! Coming! It's here already, most likely!

Also north of the Wall are Jon "Ned Stark's bastard" Snow and his new friend Ygritte. She's taking Jon to see her leader who's not really her leader because she's free, see? He's just a guy they call "King Beyond the Wall," no big deal. It's not a real title like "King in the North" or "King Joffrey" or "Whatever they call Stannis." Mance Rayder and his cronies fall really fast for Jon's spiel. "Ooh! You killed Qhorin Halfhand! Oh, you think the Crows aren't doing enough about the white walkers! You're our kind of people, Jon Snow. Welcome to freedom, son. Yes, I called you 'son,' you bastard, you."

In King's Landing: Bronn is getting some TAIL.

Also, Tyrion has been demoted from Hand of the King to "king's weird uncle who lives in a basement cell somewhere." No one cares that he was the one who orchestrated the castle's whole defense during Blackwater. No one's concerned that he nearly lost his face at the hand of one of his sister's lackeys. His father hasn't been to visit him once; and when Tyrion finally goes to him, Tywin tells him to quit dreaming because he's a mommy killer and he's never getting the keys to Casterly Rock. His trusty sellsword, Bronn, wants mo' money! Tyrion's the Rodney Dangerfield of King's Landing, I tells ya.

Joffrey is busy courting the lovely Margaery Tyrell to be his bride. She hopes to be the queen of the people, feeding the poor and hungry, giving dolls to orphans. She's the anti-Cersei, and her new mother-in-law-to-be is not impressed, especially not with Marge's cleavage. Joffrey, however, likes what he sees and he'll allow it.

Sansa is in limbo. Joffrey won't let her leave and Littlefinger won't help her escape. Yet. His whore/accountant warns Shae, Sansa's whore/handmaid, that Sansa needs to be careful around Littlefinger. Apparently that whore's the only person in King's Landing who recognizes that Littlefinger is a just a teensy bit shifty.

Harrenhal: This bit confused me. Somehow Our Dear Robb and his mother and his lady friend ended up at Harrenhal and discovered the carnage that Tywin and his buddies left in their wake. I guess this was just supposed to show us what happened at Harrenhal while showing Robb using a firm hand with his mother while giving us a viewers an excuse to raise our fists to the sky and shout, "If you had just shown up a bit earlier you would've found your daughter Arya here, Catelyn!" Or something. I don't know. Anyway, Robb still exists. I suppose that's important.

Dragonstone: Davos (Remember him? The middle aged white guy who looks exactly like Stannis? Who's Stannis, you ask?) washes up on a rock and gets saved by a ship of men who are conveniently on his side and who take him back to Dragonstone despite telling him that's a bad idea. Davos meets with Stannis and his Yoko Ono, Melisandre, and Davos makes his feelings about Melisandre known. She cray. And she kills people with her shadow spawn. This gets Davos thrown into the dungeon. He probably should've stayed on the pirate ship.

Astapor: Daenerys's dragons are all grows up, almost anyway. She wants them to be bigger, bigger! And she wants them bigger NOW! Why is it so hard for a queen to get what she wants? Man. Power just ain't what it used to be. Jorah, her trusted advisor, tells her she needs to build an army or no one will take her seriously, even with the dragons. And what better way to build an army than through slave labor. So they go to Astapor and take a look at the legions of the Unsullied soldiers. One of them gets a nipple chopped off to prove a point, and Daenerys is disgusted by the whole thing. They leave the Unsullied showroom and travel through the town. Daenerys sees a cute little girl who rolls her a ball. A poison scorpion slithers out, but it is felled by none other than Ser Barristan Selmy himself! Who? Roll credits.

Other stuff:

  • There are giants in Mance Rayder's camp. Giants, I tells ya!
  • The whole "red beard isn't Mance Rayder, this brunette guy is" joke didn't really hit. Probably because I'm supposed to recognize the actor playing Mance Rayder, but I don't. If they had cast McNulty, on the other hand...
  • Sansa watches ships, wondering where they're going. Foreshadowing! Mark it.
  • I want Daenerys's groovy tooth necklace.
  • The Unsullied soldiers' final exam is to kill a newborn baby in the town square. I forgot to mention that. And you thought your AP calc final was tough.

What did you think of the season premiere? What are you hoping to see more of/less of this season?

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Filed under: TV, TV Recaps

Tags: Game of Thrones

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