Monday, April 15, 2013

Game of Thrones Recap and Review: Season 3, Episode 3

Season Three, Episode Three
"Walk of Punishment"


Written By: Amanda Lowery

Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones did indeed include a brute degree of punishment for some characters and for others we see a gaining momentum for anguish to come.


I’ll begin with Theon, the traitor is given aide by some mysterious ally to his sister Yara (Asha). He escapes, only to be hunted down once more, and is nearly sodomized. But then – he escapes again with the help of the same ally. If you’re a reader watching this, you are in the same place as the viewers. What’s happening to Theon’s story is something adapted for the show and so has a good deal of intrigue for readers and viewers alike. I feel sorry for Theon, mostly because he is blinded by his ignorance and pride. It still says something though that his sister is a powerful force with a binding love for her brother.

Jamie and Brienne are on a march of punishment. They have been captured by men whose morals we know to be less than honorable. The relationship between Jamie and Brienne shifts when they are bound on horseback together and he warns her about the inevitable rape that will occur once they set up camp. 


Brienne, a virgin and a woman despite her masculine skills, has no intention of taking Jamie’s advice not to fight the men who will try to rape her. He tells her this so she will live, for if she fighst them they will surely kill her. I mean, as much as we all are led to dislike the Kingslayer and his incestuous infatuation with his sister – Cersei is in fact the only woman he’s ever been with and rape is horrible in his eyes. When Brienne asks what Jamie would do, first he thanks the gods that he isn't a woman, and then he says that they would have to kill him. Jamie is a fighter and so is Brienne, but this small act of seeming compassion reveals a new aspect of the Kingslayer.

Then, while the men take Brienne off into the woods to begin the rape, through her shouts of protest Jamie begins to smooth talk some sense into his captor. He reveals that Brienne is worth more unsoiled and returned to her father the Lord of Tarth and the Sapphire Isle. The greed is enough to sway him, and a very surprised Brienne is brought back unharmed. However, Jamie is punished for his interference. Though he will catch a fine price for being returned to Tywin Lannister as well – Jamie is maimed. I've seriously considered why they decided to maim him instead of just returning him to his Father whole, and I think it comes down to a replacement for the rape and a punishment for his pride. Since he is the famous Kingslayer and Commander of the Kings Guard, the loss of his fighting hand will forever change the course of his life. He is crippled and victimized, a part of himself that he most valued and used to define his worth is taken away in one strike. The psychological impact will cripple his identity. No good deed goes unpunished?

Back in Kings Landing, a game of musical chairs is being played. This scene was fascinating. Tywin Lannister has set up the table in such a way that everyone will be on side while he sits at the head. Littlefinger rushes in to take the seat right next to Tywin. Cersei moves her seat around to the empty side of the table to sit to
Tywin’s right, and Tyrion moves his seat to be at the other end facing his father. This is telling for Tywin for he gets a taste of where everyone thinks they belong. At the small council meeting we find out that Littlefinger is to try and wed Lysa Arryn and win the Vale over to the Iron Throne. Littlefinger would then be Lord of Harrenhal and significant figure with power in the Vale until young Robin comes of age. In his absence, Tyrion gets appointed Master of Coin. This is not an assignment he desires, especially once he finds that the Iron Throne is indebted to Tywin Lannister and the Iron Bank of Braavos with no ability to pay its debts. Tyrion also doesn't disguise his mistrust of Littlefinger and his growing rank in power. Tyrion is still being punished for being a whore mongering dwarf, and so he must endure his father’s wrath. So far Tywin is keeping his word in giving Tyrion a respectable job (though he is doomed to fail at it), next he promised to give Tyrion a wife. We have to think about what Tyrion's discovery about the finances says about Littlefinger. This whole time he has been building his own wealth and position while crippling the finances of the Seven Kingdoms. Always with an agenda, that one.

In Astapor, we find Dany making a big deal and a big sacrifice. She agrees that to procure the whole Unsullied Army she will need to sacrifice one of her dragons. She did not come to the decision lightly. The Unsullied Army is the only way she can keep from unnecessary damage to the innocent people in Westeros when she retakes the Iron Throne. There are some things that money can't buy (a theme that echoes throughout Jamie's brutalization. Dany's scene screamed of women’s power. These two old men are whispering into her ear to be prudent, openly questioning her choices, and she is only a young woman determined to reclaim her birthright. She scolds both Barristan and Jorah for questioning her authority. She also claims the scribe Missandei as her own, and warns the girl of the perils of her new position. Missandei replies with Valar Morghulis, to which Dany responds: All men must die, but we are not men. That’s a power line if I ever heard one.

Dany is really coming into her power here in Astapor, and we get the sense that more is happening inside her mind then she is sharing. But to relinquish one of her beloved dragons in exchange for an army is a huge move. I remember reading this in the books and feeling profoundly sad for her and so surprised at her decision considering all she went through in Qarth. This is a huge display of power, and also of Dany's belief that women have their own power and it is distinctly different from the power of men. A mother's sacrifice is the ultimate sacrifice.


Other Happenings:
  •  Hoster Tully is dead, and his son Edmure is a piss poor shot. His brother, The Blackfish, is much more efficient. We get to learn a little more about the Tully family while Catelyn and her uncle catch up. It’s still very evident that Catelyn is overwhelmed by the sense of loss of nearly her entire family and her guilt as a mother.
  • Robb is pissed. His Uncle Edmure made some ill-advised decisions resulting in the loss of northern soldiers, hostages worth nil, and he ruined a strategic maneuver that Robb was counting on. The war in the North is steadily crumbling to pieces around them.
  •  Arya and Gendry part ways with Hot Pie as they travel on with the Brotherhood without Banners. And we are reminded in a brief scene between Arya and the Hound that she has not forgotten he killed that butcher boy in Season One.
  •  Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow arrives at the Fist of the First Men and finds some crazy mutilated artwork left by the White Walkers. Mance decrees that he will penetrate the Wall, a call to war. 
  • Sam arrives at Crasters with the remaining Night’s Watch and the mood is very different this time. He finds Gilly giving birth…to a son. And we know what that means.
  • Stannis is still unlikeable, and now he’s really needy. Melisandre is headed off for a good old fashioned spirit quest and he doesn’t want her to go. This scene was actually really interesting. Stannis pleads with her to make him another son, and with a look of pure pity she tells him that he is too weak. We also hear mention of her need of King’s blood and to make Stannis king there will need to be some type of sacrifice. I’m definitely interested in seeing how this turns out. 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the nice recap!

Unak said...

Excellent recap with especially a rather apt appraisal of the appointment for Tyrion as Master of Coin.

On the Jaime front, I might add that it might have been Brienne's question to Jaime regarding what he might do in her position that pursuaded him to help her.

His initial advice to her might have been proper for a regular girl, but Brienne is a woman and a fighter. Jaime is a fighter and does what a fighter does in captivity. Brienne is a fighter who happens to be a woman. We see this in our world with how female athletes are often treated as strange and we can't marry the concept of being both physically and mentally aggressive while still being women through and through.

Anyway, great recap and I hope to return here for more!