Being that there are so many characters in this superb series, it was clearly hard for the writers to cram all of the main ones into the first episode of this season. Many people, me included, were a tad disappointed at the lack of Jaime Lannister and Arya Stark in the premiere. These two have some of the most interesting stories at the moment, which may explain why they were left on the shelf for this week instead. That being said, they still weren’t given as much screen time as they were deserved because a whole host of other characters had to be given some attention as well. Things are starting to kick off all over Westeros once again, so for those who haven’t seen episode two yet, -or for those who have and are just curious as to what The Internet has to say about it-, here’s what’s happened this week (and what I have to say about it).
Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds) also has at least one warg within his army beyond The Wall, played by Mackenzie Crook of all people! He uses this man, called Orell, as a scout for his advancing army of free folk. Orell, under the guise of a hawk, witnesses the [unseen] massacre at the Fist of the First Men. It’s here that Jon Snow first learns of the White Walker’s attack on his brothers back in the Night’s Watch.
More importantly, Hodor’s been spending his time post-Winterfell constructing a charming little cart to pull Bran along in, so we’ll all be glad to hear he doesn’t have to carry him around anymore.
In King’s Landing, Sansa is invited to spend the afternoon with her new found friend Margaery Tyrell and her grandmother Lady Olenna, The Queen of Thorns, played by Diana Rigg. The two of them manage to get Sansa to confess her true feelings for King Joffrey, culminating in her simply saying “He’s a monster”. Margaery shrugs it off, however, as she knows there is little she can do about the fact. Margaery later visits Joffrey in his chambers, and the two of their share an eerily romantic moment over one of the crossbows he has such a fondness for.
Somewhere out in the Riverlands, Robb Stark marches with his host through some woodland. Whilst he discusses the war with Lord Rickard Karstark, Catelyn sits elsewhere down the road crafting a good luck charm for Robb. She has become the Stark army’s prisoner since she released Jaime Lannister in season two, but unlike in the book she is being taking with them on the march instead of being under arrest in the keep at Riverrun. As she sits at the side of the road crafting this… thing, Robb’s wife Tulisa pulls up on her horse and slightly intrudes on Catelyn. She has just learned of her father’s death and the sack of Winterfell, and so she isn’t in that great a mood. However, there is a wonderfully emotional scene between the two of them as Cat voices her love for her family and blames herself for all the wrong that has happened to the Starks since she prayed a pox-related death onto the infant Jon Snow many years ago.
To answer my colleague Robbie Jones’ question in his review of last week’s episode, “They’re here!” Out in the generic countryside between Riverrun and Maidenpool, Jaime Lannister and Brienne are still making their way to King’s Landing. There’s a great scene between the two of them, where Jaime demonstrates the wit he’s been crafting on their travels. As Jaime and Brienne cross a bridge over one of the Riverlands many waterways, he feigns fatigue and slumps down next to the wall. Complaining about his feet and the state of his shoes, he swiftly grabs one of Brienne’s swords from its scabbard and the two begin an initially friendly duel. It turns into an all-out fight after a minute or two, with Brienne doing all she can to not kill the Kingslayer. As Jaime begins to wear himself out, a group of horsemen sworn to Roose Bolton -and thus the North- arrive and seize him after he and Brienne are witnessed by a farmer earlier in the episode. Taking the place of the Brave Companions from the book, the horsemen march him off down the road to the impending bear fight we saw many a time in the trailer.
The band of Brothers, with Arya and the other two, promptly make for the Inn at the Crossroads. Once again, however, Arya’s cover is blown when none-other than The Hound himself staggers into the pub after being apprehended by the rest of the Brotherhood. He rounds off Arya’s particular jaunt this week by simply, and rather unfairly saying “What the hell are you doing with the Stark bitch?”
And I was right about Theon! He’s back in Pyke, but not quite “safe-and-sound”. After his botched and unordered siege of Winterfell, he’s being brutally tortured by some of his father’s lackies to find the truth behind his actions. It doesn’t look good for him…
It’s definitely building up to something big in the Kingdoms again, and some of my less-favoured characters are developing nicely so-far this season. I never cared much for Sansa when she was set to marry Joffrey; she was so naïve and ignorant that I lost any sympathy I had for her from the start. Now it’s a different story. She’s built up enough confidence to become a genuinely interesting character around King’s Landing, so I’m quite intrigued as to what she’s up to now she’s getting involved with the Tyrells and Littlefinger alike. The same goes for a great many other characters, including (dare I say it) Bran, who did seem to have something odd about him this season until I realised it was because Isaac Hempstead-Right’s voice broke at some point between seasons.
My only hope for the show is they don’t jump the gun and start dabbling in the second half of the third book this soon. They’re getting fairly close already and, while I’m doing my best to read A Storm of Swords before the season’s end, I’m only half way through; I’d rather the show doesn’t go and spoil the end for me… or at least the bits that haven’t already been spoilt. Stay away from any forums or wikis if you want to get to the end of season three in one piece.