This episode of Game of Thrones, Walk of Punishment, was yet another compilation of vignettes instead of a story with an actual arc. We checked in on Catelyn and Robb; Arya, Gendry, the Hound, and Hot Pie; Dany, Jon, Sam, Tyrion...phew! (And, oh yeah, Stannis. Whatever.) (And Theon. There was so much packed into this episode. Too much, if you ask me.) (Oh, and Jaime and Brienne.)
I am honestly wondering if people who haven't read the books are getting much of anything out of this season. Much has been made of Storm of Swords being the best -- or if not the "best," the most "action-packed" -- of the Song of Ice and Fire books so far. This season will contain the part of Storm of Swords that people speak about in hushed tones. But my question is, when we get there in Episode 9, will anybody care? Will it even make an impact? Or will it be received with shrug and a "Was that it?" At this point, nothing the Game of Thrones powers-that-be can throw at the audience will in any way have the same shocking and emotional impact that came with the beheading of Ned Stark. We just haven't spent enough time with any of the characters to really care what happens to them.
Three episodes in, I feel like the writers have gone about this season the wrong way. Most of the storylines are unrelated to each other. Dany is doing her own thing. So are Jon and Sam and Stannis and Theon and Bran. Only the people still fighting the war or dealing with its repercussions (i.e. the people at Riverrun and King's Landing, as well as Arya's band of merry misfits) have any clue about what anyone else is doing. Perhaps, for narrative purposes, the writers should've done a split. Do an episode about the Westerosi crews and then make the next episode about the more unrelated storylines. Keep what Robb and Jaime and Arya and Tyrion are doing together (since timing of events actually matters amongst those storylines), and then give us the other stuff separately. And give us a through line for each episode -- a dramatic thrust -- instead of just showing us things that happen. When there's no tension and no story and no sense of foreboding, and the result is that we don't really care when Jaime's hand gets cut off at the end of the episode (it also didn't help that the lighting of that scene was really, really dark.) None of the BIG MOMENTS are hitting this season. Everything is falling flat.
But enough complaining. What actually happened in our hundreds of storylines, thousands of storylines, millions and billions and trillions of storylines?
Riverrun: Robb and Catelyn attend the funeral of her father, Lord Hoster Tully. Catelyn's uncle, Brynden "Blackfish" Tully returns and exposes Catelyn's brother Edmure Tully (the new Lord of Riverrun) as a bumbling fool who can't hit his own father's funeral pyre with an arrow. Idiot. Robb is also pissed at his Uncle Edmure for not catching the Mountain (Gregor Clegane, the Hound's dick wad brother) and for getting 208 Northmen killed and for capturing two lesser Lannisters whom no one will even notice are gone. We saw a little more of Robb's lovely wife who is lovely. BREAKING: Catelyn is SAD that her youngest sons may be dead.
King's Landing: Also BREAKING: Podrick Payne has a magic johnson. I'm not sure why we needed to spend ten or so precious minutes learning this information, but I am positive that this was the scene that launched a thousand fanfics. Littlefinger is being sent to the Vale to marry the widow Lysa Arryn, whom you may remember as Catelyn Stark's sister, but whom you probably remember as the crazy lady who breastfed her six-year-old son and locked Tyrion in a three-walled cell at the top of the mountain. In Littlefinger's absence, Tyrion is now Master of Coin and spent most of the episode shouting, "Show me the money!" He, along with Bronn and Penis Payne, intend to read all the records and learn all the things and figure out how the hell Littlefinger does what he does.
Wherever, with Jaime and Brienne: They be bickering. They're the Sam and Diane (or the Nick Miller and Jess Day, for you young'ns) of Game of Thrones. They've been captured by Roose Bolton's men and are being taken to Harrenhal. Jaime does the honorable thing and gets Vargo and his men to stop assaulting Brienne, and then he gets his hand chopped off. His sword hand. A Kingslayer kind of needs that appendage. It'd be kind of like Podrick losing his pecker.
Some pub with Arya, Gendry, Hot Pie, and the Hound: Hot Pie is leaving us to make novelty breads at the inn. But don't ask him to make pies, damn it, the name's ironic. Gendry, Arya, and the Hound are setting off with the Brotherhood without Banners, and that's...about that.
Beyond the Wall: Mance Rayder blah blah blah. There are a bunch of dead horses and now, probably, there are a bunch of blue-eyed Crow zombies roaming through the snow. Sam and the remaining Black Brothers are back at Crastor's Keep and Gilly is giving birth...to a boy...who will be sacrificed to the White Walkers! Zut alors!
Theon, wherever Theon is: He escapes his wooden X with the help of a cute nameless guy. Same cute nameless guy helps him escape again when Theon is caught in the woods. Cute nameless guy is a BAMF, who shoots folks in the head with an arrow at close range.
Dragonstone: Stannis is sad that Melisandre is leaving to murder all of Robert Baratheon's bastards. He wants more sexytimes! He's the rightful king, damn it!
Astapor: Daenerys wants to buy all the Unsullied, even if it appears she doesn't have the money to do so. For starters, she buys the lady translator, who is now her best friend in the world (because Jorah is turning into quite the buzzkill). "All men must die, but we are not men." SNAP!
- The kingdom is in hoc to Tywin to the tune of "millions of dollars." They will never pay that back and Tywin will rule all the end.
- They also owe a "buttload" of money to the Iron Bank of Braavos. If the kingdom doesn't pay that back, they'll just start backing another monarch, like Robb or Stannis or Dany or Samwell Tarly.
- Jaime's advice to help Brienne get through her inevitable rape: "Pretend they're Renly."
- The Hound is super drunk and doesn't remember the last time he was at that inn, which was...when he killed Arya's playmate, the butcher's son. Arya does like hanging with lads in food service.
- You have to know that Dany's offer of giving up one of her dragons is an empty threat. She just spent all of last season whining about getting her dragons back. Is she really going to give one up for a couple neutered boys? Podrick Payne, on the other hand, he might be worth the price.
What did you think of the episode?
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