Game of Thrones "And Now His Watch Is Ended" Review: There's Always Someone Worse

Game of Thrones S03E04: "And Now His Watch Is Ended"

It may just be the high from seeing two excellent episodes in a row, but I think I'm ready to sign and wax-stamp the official document declaring Game of Thrones' third season the best of the series so far, a mere four episodes in. Everything is clicking for the show right now and every aspect of it is up a tick from last season: The acting is superb, as everyone has comfortably settled into their characters with confidence and a host of new character actors hit the ground sprinting; the sets, wardrobes, and effects are better than anything else on television right now (admittedly, it's a thin time for TV); and the pacing is taking full advantage of the dense third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. On that last bit, several people may still be walking around from place to place, but at least it's become entertaining walking (except maybe for Bran).

But I'll say it again. It's the writing and directing that's really come around in Season 3 and has turned Game of Thrones from television's best genre series into one of television's best series period. In Season 3, Game of Thrones has mastered alternating between the grandiose and the intimate, telling interweaving compelling smaller stories that affect the slowly moving larger picture, and vice versa. The substance of these smaller stories–whether it's the shifting Lannister family dynamics or Tyrion's squire Pod getting laid–is no longer about meeting these characters but about watching them live in this world, and because the show is so crowded with characters and there isn't enough time to sufficiently progress all of them at the pace of a normal series, it's understandable that it's taken Game of Thrones a little longer to grow into itself. Bran Stark isn't the only thing to have gone through puberty between seasons, Game of Thrones has matured also.

"And Now His Watch Is Ended" also had a rare consistent theme running through it, and it bluntly stated that no matter how bad you are, there is always someone worse out there. Jaime ran into the Bolton men, Littlefinger's scheming was disrupted by Varys' interference, Theon was cruelly tricked by his savior, members of the Night's Watch rebelled against Caster, and Dany woke her inner dragon with a slave master flambe. In some of these cases it's new characters bringing the good out of characters considered evil, in others it's previously good characters saying not so fast, mister. But they all remind us that trust is a hard thing to come by in this world, and that if you ever barter for a dragon, make sure the lizard is muzzled and do a background check on their owner.

One last bit of official business here: Now that we're all Game of Thrones pros, these reviewcaps will bend slightly more toward the "view" and less toward the in-depth "cap." So grab a canteen of horse piss and let's discuss "And Now His Watch Is Ended."

"My sword hand... I WAS that hand." —Jaime Lannister

This opening scene is exactly what I'm talking about when I praise the direction of Season 3. It was just a close-up shot of a hand. But it became such an uncomfortable image as the camera panned up to show Jaime, for the first time in the series, completely and utterly defeated. The expression that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau wore could make a thousand babies cry, and Brienne's reaction said it all: The most cocksure man in Westeros lost his confidence with one fell swoop of Locke's blade.

I'd like to think I'd be able to instantly recognize warm horse piss if I guzzled it down, but it took Jaime a few large swallows to realize Locke was Punk'n him, and even less time to barf it back up. And there was the legendary Jaime Lannister, kneeling in the mud, his stomach rejecting and ejecting equine urine out of his mouth, and with it, almost his last fiber of fight. Almost. Jaime went southpaw after he ganked a sword from one of the sloppy Bolton men, and Locke's men toyed with him, kicking him in the ass and toppling him over into the mud again. In another brutal visual, Jaime lay on the ground with his own severed hand brushing his cheek, just mocking him. This is worse than when your hand falls asleep and you're trying to eat.

Has this sufficiently turned you around on Jaime if you still only thought of him as the man who zipped up his pants to push Bran out a window? Certainly Jaime isn't without his faulty past, but the man has shown a different kind of honor that should be respected. We've always seen him through the lens of the Starks, and yeah, he's a real pain in their ass. But he's only a hemorrhoid because he's sticking up for his own family name. It took an even worse group of people to show up, but Jaime showed unexpected class when he lied to save Brienne's virtue last week. It might be hard to swallow, but Jaime Lannister is a decent man at heart. His enemies just happen to be the people we think are the good guys. This is a very interesting case of characters not being black and white from one of the characters we thought was the blackest of all. I wouldn't be surprised if many of you disagree with me and still think Jaime needs a lot more than his hand cut off, but perspective, which is so important in the books, is something that Game of Thrones the show is just tapping into.

I'm not the only one who seems to favor Jaime. Brienne was behind the Kingslayer, giving him a pep talk about not being such an Eeyore about losing his hand. "You sound like a bloody woman," she told Jaime, speaking his language so he could understand. If Brienne could do it, surely you can too.

But how do you explain Jaime's apparent change in behavior? Brienne doesn't know, and asked him straight to his face why he lied to save her from being raped. Yet Jaime didn't have an answer, possibly because Jaime doesn't even know himself. Away from his father and sister, maybe Jaime doesn't have to pretend to be the man everyone thinks he is all the time.

"Influence grows like a weed." —Varys

The problem with having power is holding onto it, and those at the top swat wildly at flies as they desperately maintain their grip on their position. But the immediate threats are only half of it, as there are others who spin their webs and wait patiently for those in power to fall. The not-so itsy-bitsy spider with the itsy-bitsy bits Varys is a particularly patient man (he waited decades to get revenge on the sorcerer who took his frank and beans in an awesome and conveniently timed reveal of his backstory), and we had to be patient to see him at his best. After not appearing in the first two episodes of the season, Varys was huge tonight, taking us along for one of his schemes from start to finish.

One of Varys's birds, my future wife Ros, did a little detective work and decided that no man, no matter how vain, needs to travel with two feather beds. Thinking two steps ahead, Varys and Ros deduced that the extra bed must be for Sansa because she's the key to the North. If Littlefinger could somehow put a ring on Sansa's finger, it'd be the next big rung for the ladder-climber to ascend. So Varys set to cock-blocking straightaway, scheming with a particularly sassy Queen of Thorns (Olenna Tyrell) to make sure Sansa was unavailable. Next thing you know, Margaery Tyrell, Olenna's granddaughter, was seeking out Sansa and offering Ser Loras's dainty hand (I doubt Loras is even aware of any of this). And Sansa, boy-crazy teen she is, was all over that plan. Forget the Starks versus the Lannisters, this is all about Varys versus Littlefinger!

This is probably also a good space to mention that Conleth Hill should be included in the Emmy conversation. Conleth Hill should be included in the Emmy conversation.

"My real father lost his head in King's Landing. I made a choice, and I chose wrong." —Theon Greyjoy

Theon's bad times—or as I call them, "Ye Olde Karma Kick in the Arse"—continued this week, and I don't think anyone was too upset about that. Theon has always been a terrible person, and every sniveling decision he's made—sacking Winterfell, killing the two orphans as stand-ins for Bran and Rickon, bringing a woman onto his ship as a sex toy, putting his ding-a-ling in anything he could catch—has been motivated by selfishness. When we talk about honor on this show, Theon is only mentioned in the conversation as the worst example.

Theon got a taste of his own medicine (Theonex – active ingredients: deceptive cowardice for the purpose of gaining other's favor, murder) thanks to his supposed mystery helper who orchestrated the most complicated plan to extract a simple bit of information about the conditions and whereabouts of Bran and Rickon Stark. The unknown youngster freed Theon from his captives, let him march out on his own in the wilderness, killed three guys to pretend like he was on Theon's side, ran Theon around in circles in just right way so Theon wouldn't know he was going back to the torture room, and then handed him back over to the Bolton men and took the credit for capturing and blamed Theon for the murders!

And you know what? I didn't feel bad for Theon one bit. Even if he came to terms with his poor life decisions. I feel sympathetic towards Jaime because he exhibits some shreds of decency; I delight in Theon's suffering because he's shown no reason for any of us to feel compassion.

I'm still going to assume that the mystery kid is Roose Bolton's bastard son Ramsay Snow, and hope he sends a text to his dad about the Stark boys so that info gets to Catelyn so she'll stop looking out windows. You're too old to be looking out windows, Catelyn, and you've suffered enough!

"What's left of her is buried in the crypts right down there" *giggle giggle* —King Joffrey Baratheon

Margaery has done in about a week what no one else has been able to do with Joffrey in however many years he's terrorized the world. Joffrey is a spoiled psychopath well on his way to becoming a serial killer, but instead of being repulsed by his bellicose hobbies and preferences for violence, Margaery has used his narrow-mindedness to her advantage and feigned interest in slaughtering animals and looking at corpses. So here's Joffrey running around the main sanctum showing off dead bodies to his new friend and no doubt confused about the feelings he's having, and it's just perfect for Margaery. She's working him like a piece of Silly Putty, bending him into shape so there's more room for her atop King's Landing.

She earned enough influence over him to get him to do something he would never do, which is ingratiate himself to the people of King's Landing as Cersei looked on in horror. Acknowledging the commonfolk? Ewwww!

Between Margaery, Cersei, and Olenna "Queen of Thorns," the women of King's Landing have never been so powerful. Game of Thrones has always put more power in the hands of men (Dany being the major exception), but the tide is shifting greatly thanks to the crafty Tyrells. We barely see any male Tyrells, in fact. Margaery and Olenna have no interest in romance, only in scooting in closer to power, making them a more powerful House than initially seemed.

"There are no laws beyond the wall." —The guy who called Craster a "daughter-fucking bastard"

Holy jeez, guys! Things escalated VERY quickly beyond the Wall at Craster's Inn of Incest as the guests were not content with the breakfast portion of the Bed & Breakfast. Rast seemed to be the only one ready to give Crasters a one-star rating on TripAdvisor early on, but by the end of this storyline, it appeared as though half of the Night's Watch were ready to eat Craster's daughters if Craster didn't open up his pantry. I get that spooning pig poop in the snow and getting a loaf of sawdust in return is cause for a proper riot, but it still seemed to come on strong and without much warning.

But there was plenty of instigation. That Craster has a mouth on him, and frankly, he's a bit rude! So him getting the shank in the chin was a long time coming. But Mormont? Not Mormont! Rast cowardly poked him in the back, setting off chaos, and I don't know how it came to this point at all. Were half of the crows plotting a coup unbeknownst to us? Because by the end, it was brother fighting brother as Craster's erupted in an old-timey bar brawl with no rhyme or reason to who was fighting for what. This is why it's always important to carry a Snickers bar or a Tupperware container of quinoa salad, because hunger can turn people into real jerks. Was it awesome? Yes. But was it perhaps a tad on the insane side? Yes again.

Samwell used the mayhem to sweep his dear Gilly off her feet with a promise of getting the f outta there to safety, but Gilly would have a better chance with her baby as her survival guide unless their big obstacle to overcome is a marshmallow wall. Sam, Gilly, and a newborn baby against the harsh north? Good luck, kids! Don't forget to wear your thimbles to stay warm!

"Stark deserters, Baratheon deserters. You lot aren't fighting in a war, you're running from it." —Sandor "The Hound" Clegane

There may not be any donkeys or elephants in the political landscape of Westeros, but there is something of a two-party system going on with lions and wolves (we'll assume Stannis' support is on the fringe after his buns got toasted by wildfire at Blackwater) as Robb and Joffrey claim kingship. But there's a grass roots Green Party rising in the Brotherhood Without Banners, a collection rebellious hipsters who focus on local issues by cleaning up their countryside with their own brand of justice. Their Ralph Nader? One eye-patched Beric Dondarrion. And their corporate America? The Hound!

This is technically Arya's scene, but aside from piping up with evidence against The Hound, she's really a bystander to a clubhouse meeting of The Brotherhood. There's a lot of great back and forth between Beric and The Hound, as Beric accuses The Hound of being a no-gooder mostly by association with his brother and Joffrey, and the dog howls about the misunderstandings of being born a Clegane and having a terror for an older brother. But really it's a lot of well-masked exposition on the Brotherhood and some great character establishing of The Hound, one of the series' most complex characters. He's been cruel (he killed Micah), compassionate (he saved Sansa), honorable (he protected Loras against his brother), and cowardly (he quit after seeing fire at the Battle of Blackwater). The man probably needs to go backpacking through Essos to find himself, if we're being honest.

With neither side willing to budge on their stance, it's time to rumble in another edition of Trial By Combat! And in a ballsy move, Beric took his poor depth perception and put it up against The Hound like a true leader. But we have to wait until next week to see the clang-clang of swords. Even without the fight, this was a tremendous scene of tough guys chest-bumping.

"A dragon is not a slave." —Daenerys Targaryen, in Valyrian, punk!

I'm sorry, but it's impossible NOT to get goosebumps when Dany says, "I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen," even when it's not in another language. She heard slavemaster Kraznys call her the B-word and the S-word all along, but kept that fact in her back pocket until the time was right to rub it in Kraznys' face. And fire. A lot of fire rubbed in Kraznys' face. It was awesome and ultra-satisfying.

It was apparent Dany had something in mind when she agreed to buy the Unsullied for her dragon, but I didn't think it would end this violently. While I should be dancing around the ashes of the slavers and looting Astapor's shops, all I can think about was how calculated and comfortable Dany was with turning this into a black-and-white (and flame orange) situation once she got control of the Unsullied. I keep wanting to picture Dany as Snow White or Cinderella, but she's obviously very hardcore and has very strong opinions on slavery. I'm kind of scared of Dany now! She broke bad! Do not mess with Dany. In this episode full of players outdoing each other, Dany's actions may be the scariest.

So now Dany is a major player in the scene, with an army of skilled soldiers, a trio of dragons, and the attitude of a conqueror of worlds. But how will her army feed itself? How will it house itself? Can she just walk through the desert with 8,000 killers and destroy everything in her path like a swarm of locusts? Or will she settle back into her less bloodthirsty self? Dany's at a fork in the road. One path is lined with the rose petals of a beloved queen, and one path is lined with the blood and guts of anyone who gets in her way. But which path leads to the Iron Throne?


WEEKLY POWER RANKINGS

Each week, I'll rank the episodes of Season 3 from best to worst. But remember, these are just my opinions! Feel free to post your own in the comments!
This week:
This is a tough one! "And Now His Watch Is Ended" was a grand follow-up to "Walk of Punishment," and probably the most eventful episode of the season. Mormont died! Dany practically burned a city to the ground! And for you soap fans, Varys worked his magic to hook up Loras and Sansa! Yet I still can't get over a few of last week's amazing scenes, like Edmure trying to light his father on fire, the small council meeting that devolved into strategic chair maneuvering, and Arya saying goodbye to Hot Pie. I'll place this week's episode atop the list for now because the plot advanced with big surprises, but it's only in the number-one spot by a single wispy Lannister hair.

1. "And Now His Watch Is Ended" (Episode 4)

Jaime vomited horse pee-pee, Varys crafted a plot to derail Littlefinger's plan to marry Sansa, the Brotherhood Without Banners brought the Hound to trial, Dany got her army with a little trickery, and anarchy took over the Night's Watch.

2. "Walk of Punishment" (Episode 3)

Dany concocted a plan to buy the Unsullied from their slave master and offered a dragon as payment. Jaime and Brienne found out that being untrue will cost them a lot more than their honor. Tyrion got a new job as Master of Coin, Catelyn attended her father's funeral, Hot Pie said goodbye to Arya, and Jon was headed to the Wall.

3. "Valar Dohaeris" (Episode 1)

The season premiere found Tyrion wondering why he wasn't getting dap for saving King's Landing, Jon getting pledged into the Wildling fraternity, Davos pissing off his friend's girlfriend, and Dany shopping for an army.

4. "Dark Wings, Dark Words" (Episode 2)

We saw Arya, Jaime, and Bran for the first time in the season. But the most exciting parts of the episode were the introductions of the Queen of Thorns, Thoros of Myr, and the Reed super siblings. And we may as well mention that Joffrey got a boner from imagining Margaery killing things, that pervert.


NOTES FROM THE RAVENS

– Bran had another dream about chasing a three-eyed raven, and once again, I wasn't new-agey or stoned enough to understand it. What say you, Freud? Mommy issues? Catelyn did make an appearance in the dream, once again telling Bran not to climb. I don't think she has to worry about that anymore.

– "We're the sons he never had." —Dolorous Edd on their stay at Craster's. Someone get this guy his own sitcom PLEASE.

– Tywin not giving a shit about one of his children? Typical and nothing really new from the conversation between Cersei and her dear old dad, but I do want to highlight one awesome thing: During their exchange about the worthiness of the Tyrells (Cersei is anti, Tywin is pro), the writers used a nifty trick to show how far apart father and daughter are on the subject. Cersei and Tywin couldn't even agree on a pronunciation of the Tyrell family name. Cersei says TIE-rells. Tywin says TUH-rells.

– This is also probably a good time to mention that Charles Dance, who plays Tywin, should be mentioned in the Emmy conversation. So I will. Charles Dance should be mentioned in the Emmy conversation.

– Varys talking to Olenna was one of the highlights of the episode, even if it put all sorts of disgusting images in my head. "What happens when the non-existent bumps against the decrepit? A question for the philosophers."

– I'm really liking Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion. He gives Ser Jorah Mormont stiff competition in the contest for gentleMANliest voice in Westeros. I'd like to see/hear those two chat away with each other in a My Dinner With Andre spoof, or at least do some books on tape.

– Wait a sec, I thought Dany's horse Silver died. She rides another white horse now, I guess?

– Back to Littlefinger's apparent plan to marry Sansa... Umm, what about Lysa? If Tywin wants Littlefinger to marry Lysa, then Littlefinger is going to marry Lysa. So how does Littlefinger change Tywin's mind without getting strangled to death?

– Is it too late to vote for Podrick to sit the Iron Throne? He's obviously the most qualified.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter if you want to: @TimAtTVDotCom








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I'm finally catching up with Games of Thrones and this episode was awesome. The final scenes with my beloved Khaleesi were phenomenal. I knew that either Daenerys or one of her two aides could understand every word that Shithead was saying but the way she turned the tables on him and utterly destroyed him and his kind was a master stroke. And I loved the way Missandei (played by the beautiful Nathalie Emmanuel) had that sly little smile as Shithead got his beat-down. Speaking of Emmy conversations... Emilia Clarke!

Also, speaking of women in power in King's Landing, both Ros and Shae have the ear of several of the more influential members of the court, I just hope it doesn't end badly for either of them.
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I can't wait to see what Dany does next!
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I agree with the many here who have commented that Daenerys owned this episode (as well as, however briefly, 8000 or so eunuch killing machines). I confess that I'm disappointed that this storyline was concluded so quickly, I can't imagine she will do anything cooler this season than roasting that D-bag Kraznys...or will she?
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Dany "LIKE A BOSS!".....................suck it...!
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I loooove Emilia Clarke, they could not have picked a better one for this role. She just nailed it every freaking episode !
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Also very very very hoooot !
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What Dany did was not a surprise. She would not have left one dragon to this super moron.
She is what I call The Big Boss.
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I know but its so good to watch her take everyone down.
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OMFG!
Daenerys Targaryen took this episode and so far the season!
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Now that I think about it, dressing Margaery differently is probably to emphasize that she is from a different place, not a King's Landing native. I just remembered that the other two young girls from Highgarden who showed their embroidery to Grandma Tyrell (which prompted her to make some snarky comments about how lame their family's words "Growing strong" are) were also dressed in genie-type outfits. It must just be the way ladies dress in Highgarden.
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Oh, I'm definitely Team Margaery too, just think her outfits look oddly out of place. Don't you worry about her getting cold? I'd love to see her in one of the beautiful gowns like the other ladies wear. Can't wait to see her wedding dress (hope it doesn't have those wings).
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I think Margaery looks lovely, just put a character like Cersei dissin' her outfits and I'm Team Margaery forever.
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Does anyone else find Margaery Tyrell's outfits on the show a bit annoying? Everybody else is going around in cloaks and long-sleeved heavy-looking fabrics (and not sweating), but her dresses make her look like a genie out of the Arabian Nights (i.e. out of place in Westeros). Doesn't she know Winter is Coming?! Anyway, I just wonder what the costume people are thinking -- is it just to give Cersei an excuse to make catty remarks about her skimpy clothing? I love Margaery's character and the actress playing her otherwise but always tend to notice those ridiculous little wing things on her shoulders.
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She is from a totally different part of the country and not Kingslanding, each district has distinct clothing styles, culture, history etc. and most of it is based around what they do as a culture for a living e.g. Merchants, fisherman, farming of certain things, mining etc. Anyway, the world is painted more clearly and descriptively in the books. The girl is also clever, knows the weakness of men and is using everything she has to become Queen. Its a vice.
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Good points. Highgarden, Margaery's home turf, is where most of the food comes from, isn't it? She has been strategically shipping in wagonloads of food for the starving poor of King's Landing in order to win the hearts of the common folk, and it's working. I also get the feeling that she really does care more about the common people than a lot of the other higher ups, even though she's also acting politically. Sort of like Tyrion.
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I loved so many things about this episode. Natalie Dormer is really fantastic as Margaery Tyrell. Dany's bit at the end was so freaking good.

I have only one problem... Brienne would never insult someone by calling them a "bloody woman". She actually asked Jaime (in the book) if he was craven. Being accused of cowardice is what shocked Jaime into remembering that he has reason to live. Brienne does not have a bad opinion of women, so having her say that makes no fucking sense, not even in the way the reviewer believes, because Jaime also does not have a bad opinion of women. What Jaime does have is a very high opinion of himself.
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I wish I could give you more thumbs up
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I think he reacted to her intent, not the actual "insult"; Jaime has said worse things just to get a reaction from her so he recognized what Brienne was trying to do, even if she didn't do it so well.
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Spoiler from the book here:





I wonder how the will do the next episodes without the character of Stron Belwas that Barristan acted as a squire to in the books. There is a battle to come where he played a rather important role...
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They will probably give it to Daario Nehaaris, as a way of giving the character more to do and be more prominent to the action, rather than just as a frequently appearing sex-object.
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Replace him with a major player (Jorah, one of the Unsullied, Barristan himself, etc,) and be done with him. What's really interesting to me are the spoilers of characters who never interacted in the books.
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Just realized, the guy who played Xaro Xhoan Daxos would have made a great Strong Belwas, a tall, massive black guy :)
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Like who?
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THe episode ended with a bang. For episodes now, I've been secretly hoping Daenerys know how to speek Valeryian and actually understand a words that's been said about her. Imagine the satisfaction of knowing am right! And heavenly, I did saw the whole burning the masters down since I know she wouldn't just sell her dragons. They're her children. But how Dany did it, it was a total geek-gasm. I was literally in tears. For the previous two seasons Daenerys' rise always come at the last episode, THe Birth of the Dragons (S01) and the taking over of Qarth (S02). Now she just have to cross the Narrow Seas and play at the real game. Making her the only Player to actually worked for her army. (Joffrey have the Banners of the Lannisters, Stannis now have his old army and the remaining Baratheon Bannermen, and yeah, Robb's banners are loyalists of the north that just fall on his hands)

As for the Night Watch, am excited to know where they're headed now. Without Lord Commander Mormont. (F*** YOU Grenn and that nameless brother with the mutiny speech and all.)

Four episodes in and its the first real show of threat of Ice and Fire downing on to Westeros. (Note of Varys and Tyrion's conversation about the possible threat of Dany and her dragons, and how easily they dismissed the thought.)

The Fire is about to cross the Narrow Seas and the Winter is coming Down without the Night Watch to protect the wall.! THe song has been sung.! THis is GeekHEAVEN!
More+
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So, is it time to start thinking about a prequel?
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The way I see it, the whole thing with Lyanna and Robert and the Starks of Winterfell was the prequel: everything that happened on the show is a direct result of Ned's children becoming orphans. We wouldn't have a story if Jon, Arya, Bran, Rickon, Robb or Sansa would still have father.
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The episode keep on getting better
Commander Mormant is dead :(, Night watch Scum, what a mockery they made of the watch. I wonder how this plot is going to play out as now the Night's Watch is fighting each other. What will happen to Jon and his plans of infiltration. The story-lines beyond the wall really intrigue me right now, they are exciting to watch as they unfold.

Plus, it was funny how Varys told his whole life story instantly at the moment Tyrion walks and asks him a question. I mean, for 2 Seasons we have not known anything about the guy. But, he's a great character and actor, nice to see his inclusion in this episode. Jofferey, as always was over the moon talking and looking at dead people.

And Dany's dialogue and play just gave me the shivers at the end. You always know there is a twist or surprise at the end in GoT.
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Best episode of Game of Thrones!

This what we were waiting for.
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You are not alone in regards to your feelings towards Theon and Jaime. I loathe Theon, but I think Jaime has some redeeming qualities.

Also, Podrick for the Iron Throne!
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I feel the same thing. I actually feel bad for Jaime and he did save Brienne, but I still enjoy highly how Theon is being tortured and tricked. (I sooo wanted to rip his pages from the book if it wasn't that important)
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Um, if you don't think Theon has redeeming qualities, you clearly haven't been paying attention. To the show or the books. Especially if saving one person's life counts as redemption in your eyes.
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It was definitely tough love on Brienne's part, you've got to hand it to her: he got Jaime eating in the end (after she caught him helping a maiden, no less). She could almost be a Lannister.
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Now we´re talking!!! I have to admit I was a little disappointed by the first 30 minutes because of the endless talking but the end made it all up with the bad ass Dany. But I still have my problems with all the different plotlines going on. In my opinion one or two to many but maybe it´s just me. It would be better if they would focus more on the important ones and not jump here and there because this kills a bit the tension for me but ok. And of course I know it is a complex story with a lot going on and the have to fit it all in somehow. So I will be patient and hope that it all leads to an epic season finale.
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I like it too many, reminds me of Lost instead of Once Upon a plot ;)
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Fork my a..
Daenerys Stormborn is a babe on a mission.
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I'm enjoying the debate about the characters of Jaime and Theon. One thing that speaks well of Jaime that you don't hear mentioned very much is his kindness towards his unfortunate little brother Tyrion when he was a baby and child. Cersei wanted to kill him, but Jaime had compassion and befriended him.
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First of all, I love the whole Jaime/Brienne storyline. Brienne trying to pick Jaime up was fantastic and such a character shift for her, and definitely a sign for things to come (I won't say anything, for those of you who hasn't read the books).
Also, I'm being a nitpicker, but Margaery NEVER offers Loras's hand to Sansa. They talk about Sansa becoming her sister but Sansa assumes it's Loras that she's talking about. This is impossible for two reasons; he's in the Kingsguard. They swear to never marry. Also, he's gay! The whole court knows it. *sigh* Sansa, you're an idiot.
The Hound vs Beric verbal sparring was amazing. They both did really well with it.
I don't think they built up the Nights Watch rebellion enough.
But Alfie did really well with his big confession.
Dany was absolutely AMAZING. As usual.
If this girl doesn't end up on the Iron Throne then I will be seriously disappointed.
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In the TV show Loras is not a member of the Kingsguard. He didn't ask for it as he did in the books, I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure the Tyrells' just asked for Margaery to marry Joffrey.
They are changing it a bit, probably to avoid confusion as to who Willas Tyrell is (as it's his hand they offer potentially in the books).
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Looking back on it, you're right. I thought they would have stuck with Loras becoming a kingsguard, as I'm sure it's integral at a later date (still reading the books, I'm on A Feast For Crows) but I'm not sure...
I know they're cutting out/changing certain things. Such as the person who cuts Jaimes hand off was actually Vargo Hoat, a Bloody Mummer in Tywins service, not Robbs. (this change actually really annoyed me)
They've also changed Robb's wife, she was never from valyria. I think this was to simplify the storyline (basic vow betrayal to Walder Frey) and cut out some possibly needless characters - Jeyne's family for instance. And I've heard rumours that they're replacing Edric Storm with Gendry for that whole storyline.
Some changes I've absolutely loved: how involved Roz is in everything, same with Shae, the Tywin/Arya to and fro. I also like how they've brought Theons storyline into this series, as it's not in the book and it's completely new to me, which I really wasn't expecting, as I'm 5 books in I think...
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Indeed it's a shame we won't be getting Vargo Hoat.

Just to be clear Tulisa (the replacement for Jeyne Westerling) is from Volantis not Valyria, no one comes from Valyria anymore since the doom destroyed it, no one even sails within sight of its shores (well almost no one).

Tywin/Arya in season 2 was the best change so far.

Am fine with bringing Theon's story forward, but it's quite impactful when he does reappear in the books, you'll be getting to it before long.

Best of luck with Feast for Crows, it can try your patience for the first two thirds after the brilliance of book 3.
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Sorry, I meant Volantis. My bad.
I'm guessing that we'll be getting the Red Wedding in this series too, and probably the Royal Wedding too from the build up of it (Cersei/Olenna/Joffrey/Margaery in the Sept)
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Really, I don' t get why change Then story away from what´s in the books so much....makes no sense, none of his lines make sense, I think they did it all to introduce Bolton's bastard, that should be done before that, but didn't like it, anyway... I know there are a lot of things different from the books, and that it´s an adaptation, but this one is strange... But the episode is great, and I was waiting from that scene with Daenerys she is an outstanding character ..
This episode is the turning point for Jaime too, he will see the world with other eyes from now on...
I am really anxious for all the rest of this season, I think it will be the best!
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Theon story is no different than the books, it just happened 3 books earlier, that's all.
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It is not technically early, because all this was happening in book three, we never never witnessed it first-hand. As for the differences, yes, there are major differences between how and where and when things happened, but the essence remains the same. The psychological trickery, the faked escape and the subsequent hunt. Sometimes that is all you can hope for with an adaptation.
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Not true, it is different from the books. He is never false-rescued by a man, who by this point has had his identity completley spoiled by all.
Instead he has an escape attempt with a girl named Kyra, which is all largely to the same end with it being a set-up just for sport and him being recaptured eventually.
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Man or woman, the point is who was doing the *real* torture here, but I'm not going to spoil the identity all because I can.
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To be fair, EVERYONE online is trying to spoil the story: that's why I read all the books between seasons 1 and 2. Now, you can't spoil me.
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Yea I was just clarifying that the story has been adapted a fair bit for the TV show.

Also I wasn't referring to you spoiling his identity but the fact that many others, including Tim have done so, which I find to be criminal for a reviewer.
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Outstanding episode! WTF was Dany doing? All the flames in the sky, Drogon, electrifying speeches, Unsullied killing, Unsullied stomping 8000 spears to the ground and everything looked so fucking beautiful!!!!!!
And Ramsay is such a lil' prankster! His smile - when he revealed the cross to poor Theon - was priceless! Innocent and sweet like a child's laughter.
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he kinda looked like gollum to me.. ahh simon from misfits... with ur crazy beautiful blue eyes..
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I do feel sorry for Theon, at that moment. "My dad lost his head" or somethng like that. Alfie Allen is such a great actor that I find myself sympathizing him.
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I understand why people want him to suffer but I feel sorry for him as well. He is one of the most interesting characters of the show. I think people tend to forget that the Starks didn't adopt him... In the end Theon was a hostage to ensure his father's loyalty. He was treated well but he was never 'part of the family' and if Balon would have rebelled Theon would have lost his head.

And yeah! One of the best things of season 2 was Alfie Allen's performance and I feel like his acting is as great in this season.

PS: The latest book and its Theon chapters... Best stuff George R.R. Martin has wrote in the whole book series.
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I couldn't agree more with everything you have just said. A dozen thumbs up for you!
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It was: "My real dad lost his head on King's Landing. I madea choice. And I chose wrong"
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fyi i had a nice dream last night with Margaery, but sometimes it was Kaley Cuoco and also this chick i used to shag a lot :-)

speaking of dreams...was this yet a third episode with a 3-eyed raven & no nudity?
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These episodes just get better and better.

Jaime/Brienne
Loved the opening with Jaime and the clear illustration of just where he is now in so many ways, the shell of a man who has lost what he thinks to be his only talent (and it hanging from him as a constant reminder). Having him rip the sword and try out his leftie skills was a nice idea, but unfortunately showed us just how useless he is in that regard.

Varys!
He steals every scene even when conversing with two of Westeros' more intelligent inhabitants such as Tyrion and The Queeen of Thorns. His explanation of how he was cut was so well done, at first I thought it was kind of coming out of nowhere until it all climaxed and you realised that he had been recounting the story for the benefit of his boxed sorcerer as much as for Tyrion. Any book people, quick qeustion; did we ever get this full story in the books? I can't for the life of me remember this and I recently re-read them all.
His scheming with QoT was great as well, although I am not sure I like how blatant they are making Littlefinger's moves I do have faith that their reworking will still pay major dividends in the end.

Bran
Was their any point to that? Apart from a few highlights along the way Bran's story is definitely the long haul (pun intended). I suppose we can expect a fair few of these dream glimpses just to remind us all that this prince of Winterfell still exists.

Joffrey/Margaery/Cersei/QoT
The special effects in this show are top notch, not just the later epic scenes with Dany but even a nicely wrought interior to the great sept of Baelor, I assume that's what it was due to the colossal CGI statues of the seven. Anyway on a more character focused point, Margaery is clearly showing us just how good she is at this game, much to the annoyance of Cersei. Something which is deeply important if you are aware of Cersei's true fears from childhood as illuminated upon in the books. I hope we get Maggy the frog et al eventually.

Theon
Ah! I give up on trying to get people to not talk about his saviour/twisted trickster. All book readers know who it is, and by this point these reviews and lots of comments have most likely drilled it into the show only people. A shame as it really is still a spoiler, best not to analyse the situation too hard if you are a show only person, it may lessen later reveals.

Having said that, I am still trying to get people not to refer to a certain big event by the name it comes to be known by in the books. The name alone is a semi-spoiler and will detract from this season's big moment so please lets just leave all the pointless "Can't wait for the *****!".

Night's Watch
Well it's been brewing for a while, the Watch no longer has enough good men and is vastly filled with the scum of the seven kingdoms just itching for a chance to get back to their murdering/raping/thieving old habits, with only a few vows holding them back. Whilst no tear will be shed for Craster, I do feel for the Old Bear, literally stabbed in the back is not the way out he deserves. Also Sam's cravenness kicking in just saved his life, but a wildling daughter/wife of Craster who's never been anywhere but her own home and a newborn babe hardly seem like ideal companions to go gallivanting through a White-infested wood with.

The Brotherhood Without Banners
Perfectly handled introduction to Beric and his borthers beneath the hill. And now we have at least one highlight to look forward to for next week's episode (as if that was needed).
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love the Hound, he may be amoral and out for himself but he's still one of the most interesting characters in this richly populated universe. I also enjoyed his 'who fancies a try at me?!' speech, knocking all his new found friends and even getting a compusult (<-credit to Britta) on Arya, especially at his somewhat fearful look when Beric championed himself as his soon to be foe, maybe the Hound remembers a certain detail from Beric's tourney fights back in Kind's Landing?

Dany
And then we have the culminating moment of a whole season (2) and a bit's wandering and dragon hunting. My old schoolmate's Valaryian law laying down was simply awesome and all the special effects again showed why this show was right to save the pennies from pointless CGI nose-editing to spend it all on impactful scenes such as this. (And yes I totally just casually dropped the 'Emilia Clarke went to the same school as me' brag, and feel no shame about it).

Best Adapted Scene (not found in the books):
Gotta give this to Varys' explanation of his cutting and his reveal of how far his influence now stretches. Unless I am completely mad and this was in the books.

All in all the episodes really are getting better and better, something I think we can look forward to continuing throughout this season and the next. After that it will be true test of writing to properly unlock book 4's hidden good moments combined with the great book 5 part 1.
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We did get Varys' story in the books and in MUCH more detail. The only difference was, it was told by Ilyrio Mopatis (who was his friend in Myr).
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True, and it was revelaed much earlier than it was on the show, no magician in a crate though (that was the best part!)
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I remember getting his story for Illyrio about how he rose up as a master thief and then the head of children thieves but did we get the story of how he was cut? I don't remember ever being told that part of his backstory
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In book 1 it was mentioned that he was cut in some weird magic ritual.
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Ah thanks for the clarification, my memory of book 1 is hazy.
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I thought Dany was brilliant, she played a master card and everybody was so distracted by dragons that she couldn't lose.
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That was the true genius of her plot. If her time in Qarth had taught her anything, it is that everybody wants to see dragons. And she knew that even the slave-masters who were not directly involved in the transaction would come to catch a glimpse of a true, return to life dragon, and so be open to being wiped out in one foul swoop.
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Some grumpy viewers're complaining that it is unrealistic that everyone Dani meets is losing IQ and gets tricked by her therefore. Like in this episode. Of course they're losing their IQ when they see Dani, they think she's just a little dumb cute girl who thinks she's a princess. But looks can be deceiving. It's absolutely real that these men Dani've met saw only her looks.
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Yes Dany was a BAMF but can someone tell me how she can sit on the iron throne? She will need a heir to do so but she can't bear children.
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... with dragons
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Yes she's going to take over the iron throne with dragons but won't she need a heir as a successor? Or can just about anyone she wants succeed her?
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i love what they're doing this season... can't wait for the red wedding!
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I can't help but think that these comments are all SPOILERS, just referring to it in the ways you are is gonna lessen the impact for those not in the know.
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RW is going to be awesome.
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NOOOO!!! Not the Red Wedding!! I know it's going to happen and it should happen for the story but I am not looking forward to it! I am going to CRY!!!!
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Hearing Daenerys speak Valyrian was SEXY as hell!
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I would vote that scene the best of GOT so far. Gave me goose bumps and a semi at the same time!
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everything on Dany is sexy as hell! xD
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S3 has been magnificent thus far. The only thing that really deserves complaint is the crutch for conflict that's been in use since S1: traveling. I swear to God I can't take any more characters trying to get somewhere and never managing it. I don't think Arya will ever be reunited with her family, nor will Jaime get back to King's Landing, nor will Dany cross the Narrow Sea (especially now that she has an 8000 piece luggage set), nor Bran make it to Robb's camp, and now we even have Theon piled on as being unable to get home. Nobody can get fucking *anywhere* in this 'verse. I don't even know why they have ships and horses and legs.

It's been driving me up a wall, and non more so than when I saw the (otherwise awesome) scene of Dany marching with her massive horde of robotic killers and tween dragons and the thought that popped into my head was, "Yeah, but where are they headed? They're on the wrong continent and surrounded by sea. Dany has nothing to even feed and move them. Cool shot, but you know she'll still be on the wrong side of the world (and story) six episodes from now." And she totally will be because that's just how this show rolls.

I mean, I almost died of shock when Stannis' ships actually touched shore at King's Landing. Like *actually* came all the way up to shore. Sure, they didn't get in the city or the castle, but almost.

Almost.
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It makes sense. It's the game; each character is like a piece moving around the board.
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That doesn't make the traveling any less repetitive.
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Bran will never make it to Robb's camp because he's travelling in the opposite direction.
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FOREWARNING: This comment is super long. Ridiculously long. Even for me. I won't blame anyone if they scan the length and are just like "eff this!" So, um, yeah, let's get to it!

(Note: For my comments this season I have decided to categorize them by character, similar to the books and Tim's reviews.)

(Note #2: I make some deductions in the Varys section of this comment. I wouldn't call them spoilers, because I have only used the information given to us by the show and not the books. But if you're seriously anal about that sort of thing, skip the section.)

JAIME/BRIENNE:

Jaime Lannister is a man who has fallen from grace. Hell, grace kicked him out, scattered his possessions to the wind, and won't even return his phone calls at the moment. He is finally experiencing the harsh side of Westeros, and slowly realizing that all the gold and strength of Casterly Rock counts for nothing in the mud and muck of the world. Such is the sadly state of the once mighty Kingslayer. But thanks to a tactically misogynistic pep talk from Brienne, Jaime isn't checking out of the game just yet.

And a bloody good thing, too! The eldest of Tywin's sons is my second favourite character in the books, and this is not an uncommon thing amongst ASoIaF readers. So I understand why Tim felt the need to defend Jaime in his review.

BUT

I also would understand if many show-only people (showies for short) still hate the guy. He loves Cersei, which is totally gross. Not because she's his sister (which yeah, okay, yuck), but because Cersei is just straight-up vile. And the whole pushing a 10-year-old kid out a window thing wasn't his finest moment. He was introduced to us as a villainous, incestuous kid-killer, and that's not the easiest characterization to come back from.

Jaime Lannister, in this GoT fans opinion, was (key word "was") the best swordsman on the continent. He defined himself with his fighting prowess. And was content to allow others to define him however they damn well pleased. But contrary to his own opinion, he WAS and is more than just his sword hand. He was cocky, brash, bold and cleverer than most would think. He saw the world as it was, in all its ugliness and hypocrisy. His way of life was shedding the blood of others, but it can never be said that he was a cruel man. To summarize, he is as complex and enigmatic as they come.

The question now is how will he respond to losing the very thing that crafted his character. He tried to kill a boy for love and saved Brienne from rape and possibly death. Who is Jaime Lannister? Who is he really? Well, dear showies, you're going to find out.

VARYS:

Speaking of enigmas, Lord Varys (he of many webs) just might be the greatest one of all. Even with this episodes revelation of how he was "cut", we don't know much about the eunuch, and what we do know is shrouded in mystery.

What IS his game? Whom DOES he serve? We know he has no love for Littlefinger or magical folk. And some of you may have forgotten, but his webs do indeed span the globe.

Here's a look back on some awesome (and telling) quotes by the Spider:

Varys: “The wolf and the lion will be at each other’s throats. We will be at war soon, my friend.”
Illyrio Mopatis: “What good is war now? We are not ready. We need time. Khal Drogo will not make his move until his son is born.”
Varys: “Delay, you say. Move fast, I reply. This is no longer a game for two players.”

(That was a snippet of conversation heard by Arya while trying to catch a cat under the Red Keep in the first season.)

What should we construe from that conversation? As some of you may know, Illyrio Mopatis is a wealthy and powerful Magister (Merchant) in the Free City of Pentos. But more importantly, for a time he served as custodian of the exiled Targaryens and (from what we know on the TV show) now seeks to return them to the Iron Throne.

Does this mean Varys is playing the very, VERY long game to supplant Joffrey with Dany?

Well, not so fast. Last season Tyrion eventually tired of the riddles and wordplay and asked Varys outright "What do you want?" Varys responded "If we're going to play, you'll have to start." After some clever exposition by Tyrion, Varys finally opened up and told him about Dany and her three dragons, saying "it'll be years before they are fully grown and then there will be nowhere to hide." Varys appeared to be fearful of what the dragons could mean for the realm, further muddying where his loyalties lie.

Further confusing matters is late in Season 1, Varys seemed to be the one in contact with his “little birds” across the Narrow Sea following Daenerys. Most likely he is the one who set up the wine salesman with the poisoned wine in order to kill Daenerys. It was also Varys who sent Ser Jorah Mormont, currently protecting Daenerys, the letter stating his pardon for his crimes and the ability to return to Westeros upon Daenerys’ death. What we don’t know is what else the letter stated. Perhaps something to change Jorah Mormont’s mind?

Varys is a master of the game. But just what game is he playing? Is he saying one thing but really thinking another? Making moves to throw off the other players or purposely moving them into positions he or maybe they want. Does he serve himself or is there someone else? If he does serve Master Illyrio then why does he seemingly work against bringing Daenerys back? Or as he explained to Ned Stark in answering his poignant question “Who do you truly serve?”, Varys replied “The realm, my lord. Someone must.” Is Varys this noble character truly serving the people of the realm?

One constant of his character that must be observed is his abhorrence towards the abuse of power. He does not want Stannis on the throne because he serves a magical deity. He does not want Littlefinger to climb ever higher, because he recognizes the terrible cunning he possesses, and is wary of what a man like that would do with an army at his disposal. And as I iterated above, we don't know if he's working FOR or AGAINST getting a Targaryen back on the Iron Throne. What we do know, without a shadow of a doubt, is that he is no pawn in this game of thrones.

"The storms come and go, the waves crash overhead, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling."

- Varys to Tyrion

THEON/MYSTERY MAN:

I'm sorry Theon sympathizers, but I just can't bring myself to feel sorry for this guy. I realize he's been dealt a pretty shoddy hand. It's not his fault he was taken hostage by Ned Stark as a child. He is the son of a King, but you can't be Ironborn if you are not raised on the Iron Islands. His entire life he never really belonged. Not a Stark, not a Greyjoy, aimlessness personified.

All that being said, he dug his own grave. HE made the decision to sack Winterfell like a thief in the dead of night. HE made the decision to kill two innocent children to protect his perceived power. And HE made the decision to stay at Winterfell when his sister tried to make him see some sense. If I'm being honest, I think Theon is a prat in the books and a prat on the show. He has created his ill-fate, one foolish choice at a time.

There are obvious parallels between Theon and Jaime. They have both done some despicable things with paper-thin rationalizations. They both have found themselves between a rock and a torture place. And they both are going through an identity crisis while at a crossroads in their respective plights. Time will tell what paths they choose.

But the real intrigue is the identity of the mysterious tormentor. Who is he? He certainly led Theon on quite the merry chase. I don't think it was just for his sick amusement, but rather information. He now knows that the young Stark boys are alive and kicking (well, in Bran's case, alive anyway). That is most assuredly useful information. Whomever he is ...

Okay, I can't feign ignorance anymore. Tim spoiled this character's reveal even before there was any proof as to his identity. But now that we know he gets Joffrey-like pleasure from others pain, it is not so spoiler-ish to say that he is very likely Ramsay Snow, Roose Bolton's sadistic bastard. We'll learn more about him later, but suffice it to say, he is NOT someone you'd want as your emergency contact.

THE NIGHTS WATCH:

What a clusterfuck! But not really surprising. Mormont's stupidity was only bested by Craster's. Let me paint you a picture:

Imagine you've got a motley collection of thieves, rapists and murderers sent to the Nights Watch as a punishment for their crimes. Then the Commander of this Watch leads his men North of The Wall on a scouting mission, where they proceed to freeze, starve and die in droves. And while retreating they make camp at a cabin housed by one seriously perverted old man and his harem of wife-daughters. Now you've got hardened criminals surrounded by woman they can't touch, food they can't eat, and warmth they can't feel.

If YOU are Craster do you:

A: Realize you're outnumbered and stop acting like a twat. Maybe give the men some actual food and let them sleep in your cabin in rotations.

B: Continue acting like you're protected by the gods and treat everybody you encounter like shit. Don't feed the men well, insult them at any opportunity, and foment dissension at every turn.

C: Summon the White Walkers for a feast of Crows.

Wait, don't answer that! Imagining yourself as Craster is just too gross.

(P.S. I'm having a really difficult time caring about Sam... Yeah, that's it.)

JOFFREY/MARGAERY:

Move over Cersei, Margaery the masterful manipulator is making her mark! It really is astounding what feigning an interest in dead bodies can do for Joff's disposition. I don't know if that crowd was paid to be there by Margaery or not, but either way, she is wresting the inbred-King away from his bitch of a mother one smouldering glance at a time. Maybe in time she'll even be able to curb his sadistic tendencies. What's next? Joffrey the Populist? ... Yeah, probably not.

TYWIN/CERSEI:

Tywin is a put-down machine! Take that, Cersei!

ARYA:

Still not enough Arya time, show! Though I did enjoy The Hound's talk with Beric Dondarrion. I hope their fight is better than the pathetically inaccurate scrum between Jaime and Brienne.

It should also be noted that Beric brought up the one true god, the Lord of Light. (I wonder if he's raven-pals with my beautiful Red Lady, Melisandre.) This R'hollor is becoming rather popular in Westeros. Especially amongst people of power. Coincidence?

DAENERYS TARGARYEN:

BAMF:

ADJECTIVE.
1.
(of a person) difficult to deal with; mean-tempered; touchy.
2.
distinctively tough or powerful; so exceptional as to be intimidating.
NOUN
3.
an exceptionally strong willed troublemaker.

i.e. Daenerys was a total BAMF when she loosed her dragon on Kraznys and freed an entire slave army from repression.

You said it, Tim! Goosebumps, man. GOOSEBUMPS! I experienced a delightfully cold chill run down my spine when Dany embraced her inner dragon. Even the beginning of the scene when she was was walking with Drogon on a chained leash had me enraptured.

BUT

That stupid slaver should have seen this coming (he also should have known that Targaryens speak Valyrian). I mean, who in their right mind gives up a dragon? And how did this guy ever think Drogon would be loyal to him? Those dragons are Dany's children, the only children she'll ever have, so there was no chance she was ever going to sell one. This was probably obvious to the show-only people, as well.

And yet, knowing that didn't detract from the awesomeness of the final scene at all. When those 8,000 Unsullied warriors were banging their spears in unison, it felt like Dany had finally arrived. She's not a naive girl lost in the desert anymore. She is Daenerys Stormborn, mother of dragons.

Do NOT fuck with her.

(P.S. The CGI on this show is simply the best on TV. The final shot of this episode was EPIC!)

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This was definitely my favourite episode of the season. But I think I say that every week.

And I didn't mention it above, but do any showies have some theories about what Olenna Tyrell was talking about when she said there was an "obvious" solution to the Sansa/Littlefinger problem? ...

What am I doing? There's no way any of you have read this far.
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I am just now catching up on this season (don't judge me!) and although I read the books, I don't remember everything from them so thank you for reminding me about Jaime. Now on to the next episode...
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A pleasure to read indeed!! :)
I have been looking eagerly for your comment (=review) of this weeks amazing episode 5. I very much enjoy Tim's reviews of GoT. But I'm looking forward for your reviews even more! Love your insights in this show! You really should become a TV.com staff writer..
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Aw dude, now I feel like shit. College is crazy hectic right now and I just didn't have the time this weekend to watch GoT, let alone write a massive comment about it. But thank you so much for the kind words. As an aspiring writer, hearing someone appreciated my work means the world to me. It kills me, too. One of my friends told me about the Jaime monologue, and I've been waiting for that since the beginning of the show! Next week I promise to be my normal, rambling self.

Thanks again!
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I am very sure that you will never let me down with your comments! Your AI comment for POI this week was just perfect! (damn that show keeps amazing me every week, so good!)
Now that I think about it, if you don't have a lot of time this week, maybe you should save your energy for next week's episode (written by GRRM) While episode 6 was very enjoyable to watch, I have a feeling that "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" will blow everybody away with awesomeness! And you can spoil us even more afterwards with your wonderful insights..? No pressure here, but if you will ever write your own book, I'll be the first to buy it! Grtz from Belgium!
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The compliments are well deserved, and your work is appreciated by more people than just me!! And from my comment in this weeks review of GoT, it's obvious I wasn't the only one who was looking for your wonderful insights this week.. (18 people so far) There were some attemps to achieve your writer-greatness, but your "rambling self" was missed! But no need to feel like shit, now i can look forward to Episode 6, a good review by Tim and an awesome review by the notorious FringeFanatic..

so Thanks to you!
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Now I feel nervous for this weeks comment. I don't want to let you down! But I'll do my best. :)
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Great comment! I read it all the way.
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Thanks, mucka! I hope it wasn't too laborious. :)
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It was a pleasure.
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I don't know where Craster was "stupid" - he couldn't do anything about the crows coming back and considering the circumstances he was done & gone the moment they did - and I think he knew but was too afraid to fully realize. What I don't know is why Mormont was so weak and naive. If I was Lord Commander of the Night's Watch Craster wouldn't have drawn a single breath. What's more important? Craster's way of life and the laws of hospitality OR the wall and the protection of the entire realm of men? Stupid bear.
Funny thought about Sam: the first time I saw him actually DO something was stopping Jon Snow from deserting. The second time he was helping Gilly to escape. Maybe Randyl Tarly should have used a pretty girl on his son for a change.
About Jaime:
The books' and shows' characterization of the three Lannister offspring, Jamie, Cersei and Tyrion is one of the best and complete I've ever read/seen.
I'm not so sure if I agree on your "there can never be said he was a cruel man" comment about Jaime Lannister, though.
Jaime was always extremely eager to become the greatest fighter and most respected knight in the world. I think this was partly because his Ueberfather wanted him to become foremost a ruthless Lord and heir of Casterly Rock(and maybe the iron throne) and therefore to be respected, careful and strategic in every thought but Jamie early realized that he was inferior in all of that to his twin-sister Cersei and even more to his little brother Tyrion. The only thing Jamie had more than his siblings right from the get-go was in fact: heart. Jamie is more his mother than the others and he used his fire to become a master at the sword so early in order to escape his father - even if he didn't know that himself at the time. Already a little corrupted through his sister's "love" and Tywin's special way of parenting he became a Whitecloak for Mad King Aerys and he immediately wished to become a Knight like Ser Arthur Dayne - but as hard as he tried, he couldn't. Another blow. Became more disenchanted. And in the last days of the rebellion he made his "oathbreaking", the one act he'll be known for the rest of his life. He "dared" to put the lives of 500.000 inhabitants of King's Landing before his holy oath to protect the King's life at all costs. And for that he gets the constant stinky eye from all the people of "honor" he always meant to get respect from. Boom. And the only woman he loved gets shagged and humiliated by the successor of the King he killed. Nice. But did he face those blows? Not really, he hid behind his sword-hand and his white cloak like he did all his life. Now, without it, he is on the way to realize that he himself has become the Smiling Knight instead of the Sword of the Morningstar somewhere along the road. Extremely arrogant, cold, unjust. The Jaime from the start of the series was the mutilated victim, this one has the chance to become the real Jaime for the first time in his life. Away from his dysfunctional family and the hollow excuses he used to call a life.
Awesome character(Coster-Waldau nails it every time!) along with Tyrion, Dany, Arya and - to some degree - Theon.
OMG there is still so fucking good ahead.
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Also, we need to have a whole forum dedicated to Jaime Lannister. I really like a lot of what you wrote about him. I have a few minor disagreements, but it's a great analysis.
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@klotensen & MintberryCrunch -

Mormont and Craster were BOTH stupid. Fuck the laws of hospitality! I'd say these were pretty unprecedented circumstances. Mormont had just led his men on a COMPLETELY failed scouting mission (one of the biggest scouting missions for The Night's Watch in a few centuries if my memory is right). Many of them had already died, so you've already got a potential mutiny on your hands.

Not-to-freaking-mention the impending threat of the White Walkers. I understand Craster's keep has been a safe haven for the Crows in the past, but you've also got to take into account the mood of the men. A good leader should know what the vibe of the group is. Mormont did not, and he got stabbed in the back for his stupidity.

Acting in accordance with the dire and unprecedented circumstances, Mormont should have taken Craster's keep by force (which obviously wouldn't have been difficult), fed his men, and given them warmth and shelter for a few nights. Then he should have bloody well killed that White Walker loving Craster if it came to it (which it would have). As for the women, take them back to The Wall. Let the men have them if the women consent. Laws of hospitality and oaths of celibacy should count for shit when the safety of the entire realm is at stake.

On the flip side, Craster was DEFINITELY stupid, too. He acted like he was invulnerable and didn't take stock of the angry, hungry and mutinous men around him. If he were a tad more hospitable, maybe things go differently for him. He said he couldn't spare the food. Well, food doesn't do you much good if you're dead. But I suppose forethought can't be expected of a guy that took incest to a whole new disgusting level.
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I guess you could call it stupidity but I think Mormont would call it being honourable.

He could have lead a (attempted) non-violent raid on Craster's food supplies, but then that would leave Craster and his wives with no food for Winter and certainly with no desire to ever harbour Night's Watch members ever again. He is looking to the big picture; quell the grumbles of his men, hope they have honour enough to not riot and get them back to The Wall, all whilst keeping their friendly outpost sated and available for future rangings. I guess you could call is stupidity for trusting in his men.

As for bringing the girls back to The Wall and letting his men break their vows en masse, I don't think that would ever be an option for any crow. The vows are held sacred for those with honour. And as we know from the books breaking them doesn't go so well for any Night's Watch member no matter how high his station.
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In respect to Craster;

a) Anyone who breaks the laws of hospitality is accursed by the gods, something that is very important in this world.

b) The main reason they never get rid of Craster is that often his keep has been a safe haven for a Crow during their ranging, like a little outpost they can rely on without actually having to defend from Wildlings. It is also a good source of information about happenings North of the Wall.
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I totally agree, NORMALLY they need Craster for various reasons and the laws of hospitality are truly sacred in Westeros but still...
When an army of Others and weighs is coming to the Wall and decimates any living being trapped north of it and at the same time the rest of the crows are starving and freezing to death - isn't THAT the time to change priorities?
And to make it clear again - Craster couldn't spare a single pig or any stock with winter coming. Mormont knew that but he didn't act accordingly, shying away from the necessary and therefore screaming for mutiny.
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@klotensen -
I agree with everything except the defense of Craster.

@mucka -
Wow! We think alike! I swear I wrote my comment before I even knew yours was here (I should have scrolled down just a little more!). You. Are. Awesome.
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klotensen - I'm totally with you on this. It is no wonder that the mutiny occurred! Mormont should have been thinking about his people - but no. The laws of hospitality were more important!!! Fu** the laws of hospitality ! Craster was a moron and Mormont shouldn't have been so passive!
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Fun as usual! Just 2 comments in response.

As stated below, I believe Varys didn't try to have Dany killed for personal reasons. It was Robert who wanted her dead (cuz he saw her as a threat). When Ned confronted him again, Robert said it was too late, and the poison wine incident occurred right after. Now, I could just be mixing things up here, cuz Martinverse is beyond vast, but that's what I seem to remember...

Also, the 'obvious solution' was in the scene that followed; the Tyrells offer Sansa to Loras (really Willas, but ok..) and that takes her away from King's Landing, and more importantly Mr. Littlefinger.
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Thanks!

I didn't think they made that quite so clear in the show, but as you wrote about the vastness of the Martinverse, I could very easily be mixing stuff up, too.

I actually thought they were going to go another way with Sansa and a potential husband, but now I'm not so sure. I'm going to feel stupid if I'm wrong.
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Yeah, my gf is up to that part in ASOS, and she was shocked!! (Sansa's book husband)
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Speaking of Daenerys, though, you have to remember that it was never about her. When The Magister and Varys were conspiring, it was about returning Viserys to the throne. Daenerys was merely there to serve as a means to getting an army for him. Although we as viewers were lead to follow and root for her character, they were firmly behind the male Targaryen. Since he was killed, how we heard any mention of Magister Mopatis offering assistance to Dany in the show? Based on - strictly show-based conclusions - it would seem both he and Varys disliked the fact she happily stood alongside and watched her own brother/their intended king murdered by her husband and might see her - inaccurately, obviously, but somewhat understandably at the time - as quite cruel, as some Targaryens are known to be. A fact exacerbated by the fact she has dragons and, as Varys would no doubt know, a occasional allower of black magic.
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Absolutely a good point. We have not heard their opinion of Dany (other than Varys talk of the foreboding nature of dragons with Tyrion). Which is why (in the book, and probably later in the show) they may have their hopes pinned on another certain someone with blue hair.


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Exactly! And that is without mentioning the fact, that to people outside of her circle and view-point, she is going from city to city, overthrowing and slaughtering rulers and sacking them for the sake of buying ships and seizing control of armies. Though we see her side and root for her, given the nature of perception within this world George has created, we can only speculate as to what certain characters think of her exploits and what kind of Targaryen she is.
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Vary's
Vary's is for the realm, and that depends on who he thinks is best suited at the time to keep the peace. When Robert was on the throne, there was peace, so Dany showing up would have caused untold trouble, so she needed to go, hence the assassination attempts. Now however, you have Lannisters in power, there is war with the North and tensions are generally running high, so Dany might be the answer.

Jamie & Theon
I think you can't expect show only people to be making their Jaime banners just yet. Having characters narrate chapters in the books gives you a much deeper understanding of the character, that can be harder to achieve on the show, as this has to be done through conversation. Jamie needs a bit more time for show people to love him. I like your parallels between Jaime and Theon, they both do horrendous things yet why are we coming round to Jaime and not Theon? Firstly, Jaime is a man and Theon is a snivelling toad. Jamie may be banging his sister and pushed a kid out a window, but Theon turned on his adoptive family. I know he was a hostage, but he was treated fairly and very well by the Starks, and he betrayed them in the worst possible way. Also Theon has a horrible personality, and Jaime is witty, intelligent, and hot (ya that's shallow, but there you go). In saying all that about Theon, what happens him is as bad as it gets, it's hard not to pity him,

Dany
I don't think she announces herself as Daenerys Stormborn, doesn't she go around as if she is Dothraki, no need to give away all her cards.
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I have to say, I have to laugh over the fact that people feel more sorry for Jaime because of his looks and wit than other things. I wonder if it was the other way around and if Theon was witty people would root for him more. As far as Jaime having a good personality, I can't say I agree at the beginning. Obviously he shared the Lannister wit, but he was smug, arrogant, and hot-headed. He had a superiority complex and a condescending tone when it came to everyone outside of his family. He was outright nasty and, even at times, cruel to some people. Of course, as the layers are peeled a way, we notice that certain things might have been a facade and there is more to him, but that doesn't change his earlier, outward attitude.

The parallels between the do men don't end there, though. Both were spurred on and goaded to committing their respectively cruel and horrid acts by family. Especially with the weight of being heir and having to live up to their Father's whims and demands of them. Both were treated well during their respective Winterfell stays, but when (pun semi-intended) push came to shove, they lashed out brutally against them for varying reasons.
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In regard to your Varys deciphering, he seems to indicate through his chat with Illyrio Mopatis that he was in favour of Dany (or Viserys) even when Robert was on the throne, so his fealty isn't always just to peace.
I do agree that he adapts mainly to his situation, but as to his end game? That still isn't entirely clear, even in the books.
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Good to point it out - I am still not clear about Varys' endgame either.
He says that he despises any form of magic but somehow he supports the Targaryen claim on the throne. From what I scrambled together, both Varys and Littlefinger screw the power landscape of Westeros, each with a different agenda. Littlefinger does it all for himself, to become the mightiest lord(or even more) whereas Varys seems to care for the greater good of the common people and the creation of a world without magic. But like Littlefinger Varys seems to accept chaos and bloody war to achieve that at the same time.
I don't say it's inconsistent or badly written, in contrary it's pretty neat and complex. It's showing that Varys is determined to go the "extra mile". Goddammit, WHERE IS THE NEXT CHAPTER, MARTIN?!
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Jaime is a man but Theon is a sniveling toad? Not sure I agree with that, given the moment Jaime suffers a wound, he falls into depression and just wants to die. Granted, I understand his reasons for said depression and how such a fall from aforementioned grace would affect him, but it is not really manly and I haven't seen him reflect on his crimes and regret and apologise for them. Theon has, he reflected on his crimes and admitted he was wrong. That realisation and acceptance and vocal repentance makes him very much a man in my eyes. It's just a shame, that also unlike Jaime, he isn't being offered a chance to make a choice about his next path in life, nor an opportunity to redeem himself. That is why I choose to pity him.
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The Jaime is a man and Theon is a toad comments refer to their actions, pre hand removal for Jaime and pre Theon getting defeated. I like that Jaime stands by his convictions and doesn't apologies for his actions. He is the type of character to state that he would push Bran off the wall again if he had to because he would not risk his world and the woman he loves for a nosy kid. While I don't agree with child murder, at least he is honest and true to himself. Theon on the other hand is crying and regretful because he failed to hold on to Winterfell, he had ideas well beyond his station and his abilities, and now it is a case of I'm only sorry because I got caught. He thought too much of himself, and he has been brought crashing in to reality.
For Jaime his identity is his sword hand. He is the most renowned fighter on Westeros. So obviously it will take a few days for him to snap out of it. I think there is more to Jaime as a person than the role designated to him by his father and society. I guess for both characters it is a case of how will the deal with what the are going through and what will they be like after, if they come through it.
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That is what I meant when I said that I understood Jaime's reasons for his depression. As he himself said, he was that hand. It was how he defined himself, through his skill. Whatever judgements and assumptions people made upon his character, that was the one part of him that garnered respect, even from those who detested him most. And while I also enjoy his conviction, especially in regard to his slaying of the former King, I'm not sure I agree it is a good thing he wholly sticks to those regarding Bran - and the on-screen murder of his cousin. Those are things he should feel regretful for as a character if he is to grow and truly draw sympathy, not pass off as acceptable and that he would happily do again. Especially now, because while Tim says Theon's plight is karma, Jaime's should be deemed even more so. I mean, what's more poetic than losing the skill you were renowned for after robbing a child of the ability he was known for and most proud-fully enjoyed: Climbing.

As for Theon, obviously that is your opinion and you are entitled to it - and, if I am honest, I am rather enjoying the eloquent and thought out way you are conveying yourself - but I respectfully have to disagree. In the show especially, all the signs were there that he felt pure guilt and shame every step of the way. The expression on his face when he beheaded Rodrik, the expression he wore - but kept hidden from everyone - when he had the burnt bodies strung up. The conflict between the man he wanted to be and the man he thought he had to be was entirely present throughout. And his confession to Maester Luwin said as much, long before his mirrored confession to his mystery helper/betrayer. Which, speaking of, he didn't offer solely because of defeat. At that moment, he had hope and thought he was about to meet his sister and there was a chance to atone and make amends.

He didn't think too much of himself, he was forced to constantly think low of himself, reminded that he didn't belong, and his extreme desire to prove himself pushed him to extreme measures, and yes, stupid ones. But he is not merely crying because he lost. He knew he had lost at Winterfell, when he was surrounded. He didn't cry or attempt to run then. He resolved to face his judgement, face his obvious defeat and punishment and inevitable death. He knew then the true error of his ways and he was prepared to stick by his convictions and face the music. But instead, he was betrayed and is now being put through hell far and beyond what he deserves.
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I know they're clear in the books, but like I wrote in my comment, I was only using information given to us by the show. Which obviously limits the clarity of certain things.

Varys:
Totally correct, but the show isn't as *clear* as the books in this matter. That's why I had so many open-ended questions. I just wanted to get people thinking about Varys game again.

Theon:
I stopped caring about Theon after ACoK.

Astapor:
Seeing as Targaryens are of Valyrian descent, I think it's safe to say even the Westerosi Targaryens knew some Valyrian. It's their mother tongue, as Dany put it. Kraznys should have known who he was dealing with. He didn't, and he burned for it.
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love your reviews. Keep up the good work.
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Thanks! I'll do my best.
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Now, I am only a partial showy now, as I have just started reading the books(half way through book 1), but I got the impression that the Queen of Thorns' obvious solution was to marry Loras and Sansa, and she had passed the idea on to Margaery. And poor Sansa she was so happy to be potentially marrying Loras, I can only assume this does not end well.
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What JonStryker said. But I like the theorizing!
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That's the solution to another problem ...
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Hell of an episode. They seemed to cover every character this time, and it all hit the fan in just about every arc. I knew Danaerys would never give up her dragon, and the way the episode ended has me in familiar territory with this show, which is unable to wait for the next episode. Kudos GoT. Kudos.
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I was waiting eagerly for that scene where Dany takes the Unsullied and screws Kraznys big time , it definetely exceeded my expactations . One of the greatest scenes of the show , head to head ( bad joke) with Ned Stark's assassination scene
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I guess what I like the most about Jaime's story is that his good deeds - save Brienne from rape - do go punished, even if his bad deeds - like pushing Bran out of a window - go unnoticed. Seems like he can get away with murder...until he suffers from another form of punishment when he least expects it.
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I just love your review, almost as much as the show. Caught myself laughing out loud a few times.
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I actually did not particularly enjoy this episode. Well I did, but only parts of it, and that is becoming more and more of a problem. It's becoming increasingly apparent to me that Game of Thrones just has too many characters, and now in it's 3rd season most of the characters will get just one, or no scenes per episode. This makes it seem like it takes forever for anything to happen, but it's really only because there are so many stories going on at once. When some of these stories are weak, it makes it especially painful.

For example, I've never really been a fan of Dany, but her story last night was particularly weak. It was incredibly transparent where it was going, even from last week's episode, and worse it was unrealistic.

The night's watch storyline was poor as well, but Tim kind of covered that. Why did such a big brawl break out? I can't believe it took them that long to off Craster in the first place, much less that anyone would object to it...

There were good parts to the episode as well though. I'm liking Jaime and Margaery at the moment, and Varys is usually interesting. I also literally laughed out loud when Theon was brought back to the torture chamber. That one I didn't see coming.
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"Has this sufficiently turned you around on Jaime if you still only thought of him as the man who zipped up his pants to push Bran out a window?" no, he got his just desserts!! totally kickass episode, the final section with Dany was amazing!
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Amazing episode, all around.
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Game of Thrones is a time bending wormhole of a show, what is 50 minutes seems like only 10 when watching - awesome. Best show ever
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That's my one and only problem with it..it's so awesome time rushes by and it feels like literally ten minutes. Then it is off to a punishing weeks wait.
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Dany was all kinds of kick ass awesome in this episode!
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It just keeps getting better.
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what did dany do bad? She was magnificent! She outplayed the idiot, freed the slaves, killed the bad guys and spared the children!
TOTAL FTW MOMENT (Dany!! although I liked Jamie in the mud with his rotten severed hand around his neck)
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The one thing that I wish they could have added was Dany's description of a man's eyes melting in his head when Drogon set his fire on him. She never forgot it and neither did I!
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R.I.P. the old bear. You will always be my Lord Commander.
Personally, I loved the conversation between Cercei and Tywin, it once again showed the total and complete frustration Cercei has at not being a man "they should have given me the sword." Which was beautifully mirrored in the conversation she had with Olenna Tyrell before, when Olenna complained about the men and Cercei answered with a bitter mention about the gods making it so. This is why Cercei seems to be unable to win. Where the Tyrell women help each other in their schemes, Cercei hates women because she thinks them weak, thereby making sure she has no allies. Men don't like her and women don't respect her.
At any rate, enough analysing, LOVED this episode. Even with all it's sadness. Still feel like I could do without the Theon scenes and the way they are playing out Littlefinger makes him entirely less interesting, but bring on next week!!
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I'm gonna miss Mormont, Cresler OTOH not so much.
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I must say that Dany is the most badass right now in GoT universe (among humans, I know White walkers drag their feet somewhere behind the Wall). It was powerful end of an episode with Dani's trick and her show of real power. Now she has quality (in dragons) and quantity (in army) and basically Lannisters should give up Iron Throne immediately. I'm not seeing weird change in Dani (so gonna disagree with Surette on this one). She was a victim long time ago in 1 season. She's miles away from her cinderella self. She is now on the journey to the powerful ruler. That men were slavers, and Dani's willingness to kill all of them (but spare children) is not that out of her character. And path to Iron Throne of course is lined with guts and blood and smart trickery in GoT universe (what else?). Being tough with evil men and caring for innocent is who Dani is, I think. For now she has tools to be tough.
And how about Jeor Mormont? He was great man. Did he really die? Damn.
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I hate waiting for the next episode!
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