Game of Thrones "Dark Wings, Dark Words" Review: Characters Welcome

Game of Thrones S03E02: "Dark Wings, Dark Words"


So... this Westeros place, and the surrounding lands across its seas, is one pretty darned big neighborhood. We have a general idea of the world in which Games of Thrones takes place; it's cold up north, there's great wine down south, and somewhere in the middle there's a fancy chair with pointy things sticking out of it that everyone wants. And boy oh boy, it's chock full of people! Enough people that a dozen battles can spill the blood of hundreds of thousands and you'd still be elbow to elbow with Westerosi.

So get used to expanding your contacts list as the series goes on. Despite already boasting a cast of characters so large it practically needs its own actors guild, you will continue to encounter even more people, and the second episode of Season 3, "Dark Wings, Dark Words," was a veritable meet-and-greet. We met the Queen of Thorns, Thoros of Myr, Jojen and Meera Reed, plus a bunch of others whose names we may never get.

But that's just about all "Dark Wings, Dark Words" was, as the early episodes of Game of Thrones continue to set the table for the massive stories Season 3 has to tell. Game of Thrones doesn't have the advantage of making typical television episodes—episodes with a consistent theme and a beginning, middle, and end ("Blackwater" has really been the only exception so far)—since the source material is already written and showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss are sticking to the general pace of the book. This makes Game of Thrones easier to digest if you think of it as a 10-hour movie instead of an hour-at-a-time weekly appointment, so we'll have to do our best to remember that as we dissect each episode.

But what all this boils down to is a cowardly preface for my next statement: This was not exactly an exciting episode, especially if you judge Game of Thrones episodes according to the amount of nudity or blood spilled. But like a beachfront restaurant that sells $15 club sandwiches, GoT has a lot riding on its scenery, and this show continues to look amazing as it brings Westeros to life. Do I care that everyone kept their clothes on and no one lost a limb in a swordfight? Not really, because there's a lot of fun to be had in just watching the show and studying how it positions characters all over the board and weaves them into new situations. So while "Dark Wings, Dark Words" was light on instant gratification, it still offered plenty in the way of escapism. Nothing else on television right now feels like a vacation the way Game of Thrones does.

So fill up your flagon of Dornish wine, and let's reviewcap what happened in "Dark Wings, Dark Worlds." 

"We don't get to choose who we love." —Jaime Lannister

There are probably still a lot of you out there who don't like Jaime Lannister, but I'm here to tell you that he's one of the best characters in the series. Come on, how long can you hold a grudge against a guy just because he pushed a kid out a window? The statute of limitations on that should be two weeks at best. In addition to his fine swordsmanship and luscious locks, Jaime also happens to be a world-class roaster, and our first introduction to Season 3 Jaime could've been billed as The Jaime Lannister Insult Power Hour, as he unleashed jabs and barbs into Brienne's humorless facade, where jokes go to die. Here's a sampling of some of his best, aimed at both that she-beast and the late, dainty Renly:

"Giant tow-headed plank." "Humorless mute." "A week's journey with you and she'll order you to fall on your sword." "I would have noticed your dour head smacking into the archways." "The little tulip." "He preferred curly haired girls like Loras Tyrell. You're far too much man for him." "It's a shame the throne isn't made out of cocks, they'd have never got him off it." "You move well for a great beast of a woman." 

It's the Don Rickles of Westeros, ladies and gentlemen! The Jeffrey Ross of the Kingsroad! The Triumph the Insult Comic Lion of King's Landing! Jaime Lannister, everybody! His tongue is sharper than his sword, his wit cuts deeper than his blade, and he fucks his sister. Only in Game of Thrones

And boy does he hate being reduced to a mere bargaining chip. Brienne reminded us what's been going on with some exposition: She's bringing Jaime to King's Landing in hopes of swapping Jaime for Sansa and/or Arya. But Jaime is a recognizable fellow and the road to King's Landing is long, so when a pleasant traveler wished them well on their journey and Jaime told Brienne it'd probably be a good idea to slit the guy's throat so he couldn't tell anybody he'd seen them, we could all guess what was coming. 

It wasn't long before men from House Bolton, a subsidiary of Stark Enterprises, appeared to snatch them up at the end of the episode. Remember, Brienne and Jaime have no allies, and ironically, it may be worse for Brienne's mission if she and Jaime are wrangled by those who support Robb, as they'll just throw them back to the wolves. If they'd been picked up by lions, at least they'd have a free ride to their destination. But it was that nice traveler who sold them out to Stark bannermen, just as Jaime suspected. Nice "told ya so" look by Jaime toward Brienne at the end there.

But their misfortune bodes well for us as viewers. With Jaime and Brienne nabbed by Bolton men, it sets up a situation where the two will share a common enemy. They'll have to put their differences aside and work together in the perfect Odd Couple sitcom setup (but keep the insults coming, please). 


"I didn't ask for black magic dreams." —Bran Stark

Well, well, well! It looks like Bran spent the off-season in the Enchanted Forest of Puberty, because the Stark rugrat has become quite the teeny-tiny man-child since he left the impromptu BBQ of Winterfell! His soft features have angled out, his voice has sunk an octave, and that mop-top of his has almost reached a Ramones length. Unfortunately, he's still Bran the Boring. Sorry! It's true.

At least, he'll be boring until we figure out what all his darned dreams about the three-eyed raven mean. And Game of Thrones doesn't appear to be in any hurry to tell us. The lanky new kid, Jojen Reed, dream-told him, "You can't kill [the raven], you know, because the raven is you." Well thanks, now I'm even more confused. Obviously Bran is wielding some cool power, it just won't make any sense until he learns to control it. It's like seeing teenage Spider-man wake up with webs in the front of his underwear. Figure it out, Bran! We're waiting! 

But at least Bran's storyline will now include the Reeds, Jojen and Meera. Jojen is like Bran a few years from now; he's got more control over "the sight," but he's not doing us any favors by not explaining what it means to have it. He said that Bran can see things in the past or things that are happening far away, but so far all we've seen Bran do is dream that he can walk again and chase birds. "Dark Wings, Dark Words" didn't offer much of a look at either of the Reeds—we still know very little about them—but at least they stand to add some personality to Bran's storyline. Between Bran, Osha, Hodor, and Rickon, we're looking at a pretty boring party. And that's one thing I felt like this episode did really well: The new characters it introduced instantly added some intrigue, and that definitely goes for the confident Jojen and Meera. Heck, Jojen totally Beastmastered Summer into mellowing out. How cool was that?

"I'll tell you anything you want!!!" *whimper whimper* —Theon Greyjoy

Does anyone know what was happening with Theon? Last I remember, he'd gotten knocked out by his own men back at Winterfell after his Howard Dean-ish speech, and now he's on a rack getting a sadistic mani-pedi? I have to assume that the man behind Theon's current plight is Ramsay Snow, the bastard son of Roose Bolton who was sent to Winterfell by his dad (with Robb's blessing) because he was the only one in the area who could check in on Theon's rebellion. More proof that it's Bolton men? It looked like Theon was on the same contraption that appears on those awesome House Bolton flags. Anyway, a pretty crummy situation for Theon, but don't pretend like you don't enjoy it, because Theon is a total prick. But Theon might get out of it, as his sister sent a man to help him get out... or did she!?!?!? I say keep sticking things in Theon for at least two more episodes.

"I like you, but if you're playing us false, it won't be hard to kill ya." – Mance Rayder

This busy episode only gave us one quick scene with Jon Snow (sorry ladies!), and all we really saw was a dude with his eyeballs stuck in the back of his head wArging out as he looked through the eyes of a bird to scout the territory. This means we also saw only a little of Ygritte (sorry me!), but she still gave Jon the business by incredulously asking him, "What, you've never met a warg?" Jon, please get on that quick so I can live vicariously through you.

 

"Of course if you don't stop, you'll probably die, too." —Dolorous Edd

Mance's warg saw lots of "dead crows," and in the next scene we found out why: They group is on one of the worst walks ever. Beaten down and exposed to the elements, the Night's Watch was headed south again and Samwell was having none of it. So the little piggy oinked out a few "woe is me" moans about being left behind while Grenn and Dolorous Edd verbally smacked some sense into him. Even Lord Commander Mormont got in on the action, FORBIDDING Sam to die. It was close to being that scene in Airplane where everyone lines up to slap that woman in the face during her freak-out. In the end, Mormont told the jerk who was harrassing Sam (I think Mormont called him Ross?) to look after Mr. Tarly, which may be worse for Sam than when he was alone. Again, quick scene, not much to talk about other how awesome Dolorous Edd is. 



"Will I be wearing manacles when I lay my father to rest?" —Catelyn Stark

Arguably having the worst day of everyone was poor Catelyn, who received bad news and then worse news when she learned that her father had died and Winterfell was toasted extra crispy and also her two youngest sons are missing. She's still in the doghouse for releasing Jaime, and now this? It sent her into a major funk and when Talisa tried to talk to her about anything, she launched into a guilt-ridden confessional about how when Jon Snow was a baby, she'd wished that he would die, and then Jon came down with Baby Pox. Whoops! But Jon lived, and Catelyn swore to be a mother to him. She must have had her fingers crossed, though, because she ended up being a terrible parent, and she attributes all the bad stuff that's happening to her now to the fact that she broke her promise. Catelyn is one bad raven-mail from banging her head with pots and pans until she knocks herself unconscious. She needs a hug, badly, but Robb can barely look her in the eye. Uplifting stuff, Mr. George R.R. Martin!

Meanwhile, Rickard Karstark threw a dagger at Robb when he said, "I think you lost this war the day you married her," meaning Talisa. Maybe, Rickard. But he WON the war for Marrying the Hottest Woman in Westeros, so try looking at it like that. 

"That's what intelligent women do... what they're told." —Joffrey "Bonehead" Baratheon-Lannister-Jerkface

Joffrey Baratheon may be the most hated person on television, but I think we can all agree that the world is a better place when he is on television. He's endlessly entertaining, whether he's trying on blouses or scowling at his mother. Jack Gleeson absolutely kills it as Joffrey, and yes, I will say this every week. He's an asexual brat king who's only concerned with treating the countryside like his own private anthill to stomp on. Cersei asked him what he thought of Margaery, and even though sexy Margaery regularly walks around King's Landing with her tits hanging out, all Joffrey could talk about was how joining their houses meant he'd be able to squash the opposition easier. Joffrey only cares about the bottom line, not Margaery's bottom. 

And as it turns out, Joffrey's lust for power is only making it harder for Cersei to convince him that Margaery isn't a good fit for him. She slut-shamed Margaery about her skanky attire, complained about Margaery's concern for the normal people of King's Landing, and reminded Joffrey that Margaery previously married a traitor in Renly. Joffrey's reaction? "Shut up, mom!" 

Cersei's attempts to sway Joffrey took a major hit in a fantastic and totally weird scene between the brat king and his new slut queen. Joffrey asked her about her past relationship with Renly, and then Margaery launched into the truth: Renly was gay and only willing to have drunken butt sex with her! This show! What!? I don't know whether Game of Thrones knows how gay people work, but I'm pretty sure gay people are in love with the same sex, not butts. Anyway, that allowed Joffrey to make his stance on gays clear: He'll kill 'em all. Westeros, you have found your Westboro Baptist Church. Next, I assume he'll be protesting the funerals of soldiers who died in the Battle of Blackwater Bay. 

But wait! There's more! Joffrey spent the entire scene stroking his new crossbow like a phallus, and it wasn't until Margaery expressed interest in killing things that Joffrey got a boner for her. Absolutely perfect. Foreplay for Joffrey is pulling the legs off spiders. Good luck with that, Margaery. You won't get pregnant without sporting a couple black eyes first. Cutest couple in Westeros? They get my vote. 

"I try to know as many people as I can, you'll never know which one you'll need. ... Alright yes, I fucked her once." —Tyrion

Very little Tyrion tonight (PUN INTENDED), and frankly I didn't really see the point of his scene unless it was foreshadowing that Tywin is about to kill Shae, which is fine by me. Tyrion's lady friend was waiting for him in his chambers, despite the fact that she's not allowed in there (Tywin has enacted a "no girls allowed" rule). Shae was worried about Sansa and Littlefinger, but then she freaked out on Tyrion when he said Sansa was a looker and that he'd once errrr twice bedded Ros (fact: EVERYONE has bedded Ros, it's no big deal Shae). Clingy much, Shae? Then she went down on him! Well okay then! 

"Yes, all Lannisters are lions. And when a Tyrell farts it smells like a rose." —Olenna "The Queen of Thorns" Redwyne-Tyrell

Regardless of what you think of Sansa, you have to admit that over the course of the series, she's improved a LOT. She's still a dumb teenage girl ("Ewwwww Littlefinger is soooo old!"), but she's also earned our sympathy because of the position she's stuck in. She's a ghost in King's Landing, vestigial royalty looking for a purpose. What she needs are friends, and I don't mean that idiot handmaiden Shae. But who would have thought that one of her best buds would be an old wrinkled woman with a tongue sharper than Valyrian steel?

Before we talk about the Queen of Thorns, though, let's focus on Sansa's great teenage-girl moment with Ser Loras "The Knight of Flowers" Tyrell. Apparently her gay-dar is completely busted, and Sansa crushed all over Renly's former lover, reminding him that he gave her a red rose at the Tournament of the Hand. If you recall that scene, Loras made goo-goo eyes at Renly while handing the rose to Sansa. But poor Sansa thought he was flirting with her, and he didn't even remember a thing. Haha. He's the Knight of Flowers, Sansa. Does he need to be labeled the Knight of Calvin Klein Tighty-Whities, Body Scrubs, and Showtunes for you to pick up on it?

Loras was leading Sansa to sup with Margaery and her grandmother, the awesome Olenna "Queen of Thorns" Tyrell, one of my favorite characters in the series. This old clucker ain't rollin' over for nobody! She instantly laid down the law about how it be: Everyone else is boring, and she's awesome, so you should listen up. Her son? An idiot. Her husband? A moron. Renly? A loser. I want to spend the rest of this series sitting on her knee and listening to her rip everyone else to shreds. I'll admit I expected Olenna to have the same dour demeanor as Maggie Smith from Downton Abbey, but former Bond Girl Diana Rigg plays Olenna a bit more matter-of-fact, making the character's so-over-it personality more effective since it's not entirely her essence. She insults people without effort, like it's an ingrained part of her, rather than making a big point of it. Kind of like Dolorous Edd and his natural knock for persistent pessimism. Anyway...

Olenna and Margaery brought Sansa over for cheese because they wanted the scoop on Joffrey directly from someone who'd been "fortunate" enough to spend some time with him. And it was AWK-WARD. Do you tell the woman who will soon have the power to cut your head off that her fiance is a dog-slaughtering, woman-beating, masochistic brat? Or do you look pretty and lie your ass off? Sansa gave the latter a shot, but Olenna saw right through her fibs, opening the door for Sansa to just let it all out and tell the truth despite the fact that disparaging the king is punishable by death. 

It was Olenna and Margaery's reactions that showed Sansa she was in good company. They both just shrugged their shoulders and said, "That's a shame." It was a wake-up call for Sansa, who's spent her life thumbing through Westeros Tiger Beat magazines and crushing on every lad in a suit of armor. Sansa is still holding onto the idea of romance among royalty, but the Tyrell ladies know it's a business. Margaery's already been passed around like an old T-shirt from supposed king to supposed king, and Olenna's content enough to see her granddaughter become queen as long as she can get some cheese, like right now. 

Great work by Sophie Turner and director Daniel Minahan in this scene, by the way. 

"What in Seven Hells are you doing with the Stark bitch?" —Sandor "The Hound" Clegane

Our first look at Arya this season found her in a typical Arya situation—that is, in a real crummy predicament. Can't she just get shoved into lockers or pantsed at school assemblies like other kids? Instead, she's on the run with Hot Pie and Gendry because she murdered her way out of Harrenhal, trudging through dangerous thick woods without GPS and only a yet-to-be-seen river as a landmark. When I was her age, a bad day meant spilling chocolate milk on my NES controller.

Gendry and Hot Pie should know that trouble seems to follow Arya, and while trekking through the forest they met the Brotherhood Without Banners, a group of men who are tired of all the "rightful king" talk and who just want to roam the countryside and protect it through outlawin'. They're led by Thoros of Myr (the great Paul Kaye), a charming fella who took a shine to Arya's spunkiness (and probably figured she was worth something to someone). That hunch was confirmed when men from the Brotherhood stumbled into an inn with a captive Hound, who outed Arya as a Stark. Bad doggie!




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:
"Dark Wings, Dark Words" didn't make as much of a splash as the premiere (dragon count: ZERO), but it did expand the series' roster with the introduction of some snappy new characters. The show did a particularly good job with Thoros of Myr, making him a lot spicier than he is in the book. But not a whole lot actually happened, resulting in a slow episode where the high points were some good conversations (and the conversations were great, so no big complaints there). It was an enjoyable hour, but better than the premiere? I don't think so. 

1. "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. 

2. "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

– Due to questions regarding what constitutes a spoiler from the books and what's okay and what's not okay to talk about, I'm abandoning the "Book vs. Show" section from last week. I encourage those who WANT to talk about the differences between the two to open up a post in our Game of Thrones forums. Please keep the comments section free of spoilery info from the books, out of respect for those who are only watching the show.

– No Dany this week, and she was sorely missed! I need to know whether that Unsullied soldier's nipple crater got infected! 

– Two episodes in and no Varys yet? Conleth Hill is arguably the best actor in the cast! Let's get him some screen time next week, Game of Thrones, or I'm gonna be sad.

– Are you bored, in the vicinity of New Orleans, and male with dark, curly hair and a beard? Then this Craiglist posting might be for you. (Warning: not canon!)

– Are you okay with no dragons, no giants, no deaths, and no nakedness? Or do you need more action in your Game of Thrones?



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


Comments (190)
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I feel the real issue Jaime & Joffrey had with Renly was not his sexuality, but rather the thought that Brienne or Margaery were attracted to him.

For Jaime, it was foolish but undisputable for Brienne couldn't fight against it. For Joffrey, it was a a perversion that had to be eradicated with extreme prejudice, so that Margaery would no longer feel attracted to Renly.
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Of course the dialogue in this episode was very solid, this whole review is littered with quotes proving it :P .

Also, I have to imagine the article writer was being sarcastic when she questioned whether the people who made the show (or the people in the show) didn't understand gay sex. It's a closeted (although poorly closeted it sounds like) king in a medieval-esque period that is forced to wed for power (and no you don't get to wed the same sex). While not ideal, if you simply MUST be physical at some point, Marg's explanation seems sensible. She also noted it only happened once and while was drunk. Men in prison often turn to the same sex when they otherwise wouldn't and sort of just pretend a "hole is a hole", so I'm rather not surprised that a similar thing happened with Renly and Margerie.
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Great review as always but was really looking forward to your Book vs. Show. The forums may not be the same.
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it was a nice episode, lots of new and exciting characters but still one thing that i later realized when watching it. Rickon was there! and they wasted no time at all to make him disappear ;p
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Great (and long) review! I found this second episode much more 'together' than the premiere which left me a bit underwhelmed (giants and toddler dragons aside, it felt flat to me). The Starks esp. the younger kids are really coming into their own characters esp. Arya and Bran but even Samsa shone this time thanks to the awesome Queen (so badass! maybe Brienne will want to work for her next). The Jaime & Brienne show on the road (literally) deserves its own late night show... I share your love for Jaime Lannister... And also for Joffrey & Margeary, the couple nobody ships... It is quite funny to see Cersei's efforts to influence her son thwarted over and over as he is a total brat...
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133 MY VOTE
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LMAO on the craigslist posting.
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No mention of the sword fight (pun intended) between Jaime Lannister and Brienne? Highlight of the show.
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I totally agree with you Ian281099. I put on “Dark Wings, Dark Words” after I finished my shift at DISH, and that fight could hold a candle to what I remember about the book. But I am sure the choreography will get better after their done setting up plot points and I hope that is on the next episode. I’ll be watching it on my tablet with the DISH Anywhere app since I am out of town. It lets me view live TV, no matter where I am, so I haven’t had to miss one of my shows in quite some time.
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A lot of the time it hurts me to read the reviews of people who only watch the show and even Tim's review because they miss the beautiful subtlety of the books. The world of GoT is brutal and harsh and kind to no one. That's part of it's beauty, but it also means that virtually all women are slaves in one form or another. Whether as whores, or to their men or their lords. Martin and the show tells the stories of women who are the exception to that rule (Dany, Brienne, Olenna) but they certainly didn't get those positions for free and most women are still trapped (Sansa, Catelyn, Cercei). What I love about this story is that they are all survivors at heart.
At any rate, about the episode. I loved it. Bran is my eternal fave and finally seeing Jojen and Meera was just exciting as I thought it would be. And Ygritte's little jab at Jon for never having seen a warg, was sooooo awesome. Because you KNOW he was going, wait, fuck, does that mean I am one!?
What I don't get is why Theon is still in the story, I wish they would spend his precious screen time one somebody else, but alright.
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Who else thoght that the Jaime and Brienne fight wasnt as good as in the books. Dont get me wrong it was very well done and still captivating, but compared to the books it wasnt as good.
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Agreed .. the book fight was much more enthralling. Didn't Jaime get sliced a couple of times during the fight? I'm quite sure he was bleeding quite badly when they got caught.
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He was. And Brienne took a heavy blow to the hip
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There was less "subtext" and I'll leave it at that, both fights were just as enthralling to me albeit for completely different reasons.
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It was just bad, no matter how it was in the book. There was no fight choreography to speak of, and it was apparent that neither of the actors had any skill with the sword.
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I do admit that the actors could have put a little more effort in it.
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I think that the opening episodes have been rather solid at reintroducing old characters, introducing some new ones and giving a general view of where the pieces of the puzzle lay on the table. I have no doubt that blood, nakedness and whatnot will ensue soon enough.
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I suspect that the HBO bosses (the same people who felt the need to apologize for the George Bush head) have chickened out after all the whining about "too much nudity". I think that the only nude scenes that definitely shouldn't have been included are the two that the SNL parody made fun of. Most of the others have served some purpose. Take the scene where Theon bangs a chick with weird teeth on the boat to the Iron Islands (and tells her to smile with her mouth closed) for example. It was a very effective way to show what a ******* ******* Theon is.
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Joffrey and Margeary, the promise of lust, blood and sadism ...
Jeoffrey found his match.
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Both episodes to start off the season have been strong. There was a lot of intrigue in this episode in the new elements introduced and new plots taking shape. We'll probably have many more episodes with major characters omitted with the increasing number of stories to tell, especially since we have 20 episodes for book 3 which is a much more suitable length for the massive book.
It's ironic that despite having to significantly compress the story to fit short seasons that there are often 'filler' conversations that don't contribute very much other than give the regulars routine screen time. e.g. like Tim mentioned the Tyrion/Shae scene didn't achieve much this week. The problem with these scenes is that characters are sometimes paired up unusually and then need to be given things to talk about, which can lead to verbose exchanges where more information is transferred than it should, or worse surprise developments from later in the series can be hinted at. There was an example of this in last week's episode that I worry may weaken the impact of events that occur later on. This is really the only concern I have about the show which still excellent.
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It was an amazingly captivating hour, from start to finish. Better than the season premiere in my opinion. I consistently find myself enjoying the intelligently crafted GoT conversations way more than the action scenes (which is not to say I don't appreciate the latter!), so the episodes of this type just do it for me. We get to cast so many precious glimpses at our characters this way.

"The Adventures of Jaime & Brienne" continue. They make such a good pair, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau absolutely deserves his own comedic show. That was some prime teasing mixed with not-at-all-conveiled insults. And yet we were still let in on at least one moment of sombriety, with the apt "We don't get to choose who we love" opinion thrown in. Jaime is definitely becoming one of my favorite characters, up there with Arya and Tyrion - much to my surprise.

Lady Olenna was an absolute highlight of the episode. Finally someone who isn't afraid to speak her mind, and her comments were all kind of juicy. As shown, she and her granddaughter clearly know how the game is to be played.

Whine and whimper, Theon, whine and whimper! I believe it's a sweet music to most everyone concerned.

Even more characters, with the introduction of Brotherhood Without Banners and the Reed sibglins. Both interesting in their own right (Thoros of Myr quickly got my attenion). Gotta love Game of Thrones for its sprawling cast.

Come to think of it, it was an episode strongly centered on women. And their not easy fates in a world so patriarchal in its nature.
The old and the young Tyrell, both conniving in their own right. Margaery didn't seem like a match for Cersei at first, but now I'm not so sure. She continues to impress when it comes to manipulation, and at least for now remains more likeable than the queen.
Then we had aforementioned Cersei, trying her hand at what she does best - and once again failing, which is not something she is used to. It must be really unnverving for her that Joffrey moves more and more away out of her control.
Arya was her great courageous self, even if her sword-wielding technique still requires a lot of practice.
Sansa was her old boring self (I'm not hating!), both careful and afraid. She has learned quite a few things, but still remains somewhat naive.
Catelyn Stark remains in a non-enviable position, and the death of her father (on top of everything else) served as a catalyst towards treating us (and Talisa) with a story of a certain bastard son. A strong, emotional moment for Michelle Fairley.
Brienne might not be pretty and her sense of humor might be direly lacking, but she does hold to her strong set of ideals and knows how to stand her ground even against the Kingslayer. I wonder how this journey ends up affecting her (assuming it doesn't end abruptly).
Shae shared a little nice moment with Tyrion, and Talisa did the same with Robb. I like that Shae is being imbued with more personality, and Talisa remains interesting (being a non-book character at that).
Not much to say about Meera Reed yet. Seems to be good with weapons and fairly protective of her brother, just as Osha is of the young Stark boys.
Hmm, yes. If only we had Daenerys, Theon's sister, more than a mention of Rose and a little more screen time for Ygritte, this would've been a perfect example of various forms of "female power" in Westeros and beyond. As it was, it's probably still the richest of the kind in the history of GoT episodes.

Just... give me more. Having to wait another week is a cruel torture. And a crime. Whoever claimed patience is a virtue should be put into the contraption along with Theon.
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Very good episode in my opinion. Actually better than the first as there were more indepth characterization as I saw it.

Having read the books I love how they portray Maergery. The scene where she and Olenna almost matter of factly accepts that Joffrey is nuts, to the scene where she then utilizes that knowledge to "connect" with him by showing interest in killing.

Like the review I really appreciate how Gleeson brings out the Joffrey character, just unfortunate for him that he does it so good, because how can he ever get another role where people wont immediately hate him :-)
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Maragaery is the best! She plays Joffrey like a crossbow (pun intended) and reminds us all that, beneath the heartless tyrant, there IS a teenage boy who just wants to impress his girlfriend.
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I loved how Maergery and Olenna were totally cool when Sansa said Joffrey's a monster.

But what Tim didn't mention (at least not as such) and what I especially liked is how later on Maergery USED Sansa's confirmation (cause honestly, you can't call Joffrey being a monster "information") to captivate the attention of Joffrey, because the orphans-thingy obviously didn't do the trick with Joffrey.
I'm betting Maergery is winding him succesfully around her pretty little finger... she wants to be "the" Queen, remember ?

Jaime and Brienne also caught my eye in this episode... On the surface, the fight might have been about who's the best swords(wo)man, but to me it was all about the dynamic between those two extremely different characters unwillingly put together by circumstances. It's quite typical and done before, but I loved it anyway.
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I disagree Jaime and Brienne "have been done" before, I can't remember anything remotely like it from TVD's Bonnie & Damon, Lost's Ben & Juliet/Charles Widmore & Mrs. Eloise Hawkings/Dan & Charlotte or, the most recent Elementary's Joan & Sherlock (and these two are amazing IMO). It's unique, not only for the setting, but because its a unique dynamic between two antagonistic characters that fit the most perfect odd couple I've seen on TV.
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I merely meant that the whole "odd couple" thing is not a new concept. But I get your point and I like the way it's worked out as well.
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I could watch a whole hour of just the two of them, they are that good.
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All it took was two paragraphs to know this was gonna be another stupid review. So sorry every episode isn't full of battles and dragons and massive plot twists. It's called story development. Character development. You know, proper storytelling. Idiot. They really need to keep Tim stricly to news briefs and leave the reviews to people who understand storytelling and don't have the mentality of a bored 12 year old.
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Simon, after your comment's grammatical deficiencies and bad sentence structure, the last thing you need to be doing is criticizing my use of 'gonna'. The grammar police called and you're fired.
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"going to be another"
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Episode one of the new season was superb. Episode two was boring and disappointing after such a great start to the season. Cheese, Lemon cake & "this is how my new crossbow works" & the icing on the Lemon cake was having the annoying kid from "love actually" as a new character.
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A far better improvement to the premiere as the introductions gave in-depth details to the new characters. Its tricky to see the writers trying their best to keep up with the books but due to limited budget. Arya's introduction could have been a bit lengthy to show that they struggled a bit before stumbling into the part of the The Brotherhood Without Banners & no mentions of favourite members like Lemoncloak & Tom O Sevenstrings.

Queen of Thorns was a delight to watch with her snide remarks and brutal honest jabs brought a lot of excitement to the show and i hope will be around till the end. Its so great to see Cersei losing her grip on Joff despite trying everything trick while Margery manipulated him using his taste for violence against him, It will be interesting to watch how the two duel on Joffery's control.

Jaime's is turning out as the favourite with his sense of humour ability to sense danger despite rotting for a long time in a dungeon though he should have dealt with Brienn during the sword fight.
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ARYA! (Sorry, I had to get that out of my system.)

Welcome back all you Warg-loving Westerosi! Let's get right to it.

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

ARYA STARK:

Move over Robb and Jon! The most ferocious Stark is back! I literally cheered when she came onto the screen. I was like, "IT'S ARYA!" And my friends were like "Yeah, so?" (My friends are idiots.) I can tell you after the episode was 30 minutes old and there was nary an appearance of our dear bygone named Arry, I was starting to get seriously worried. But of course the showrunners aren't that stupid. Two episodes without Arya? Can you say "Angry mob with torches incoherently screaming VALAR MORGHULIS over and over again?" 'Cause that's the most mild reaction to two straight Arya-less episodes I can think of. Although, I WAS a little disappointed with the very subdued introduction she received. Maybe it's just me, but I was expecting more pomp and circumstance. You know, maybe a close-up on her eye, a la LOST. But no, she's just all of a sudden walking in the Forrest with Gendry and Hotpie, chastising them on their stupidity:

Arya: "Where are we going?"
Gendry: "North."
Arya: "If we were going North, we should have come to the Red Fork river by now."
Hotpie: "Maybe we already passed it."
Arya: "It's 100 feet wide. HOW could we have passed it?"

(Okay, maybe her season 3 intro wasn't THAT bad.)

Especially considering her situation was spiced up rather quickly, by none other than The Brotherhood Without Banners! a.k.a. The Knights of Hollow Hill. a.k.a. The Forgotten Fellowship. (Someone's a LOTR fan!) I'm sure there was a few non-bookies that were a tad mystified as to who these merry band of marauding brothers are exactly, so here's my first installment of:

A GoT History Lesson:

The Brotherhood Without Banners was originally founded by Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr. After reports of marauding raiders in the Riverlands had reached King's Landing, the (at the time and still with his stupid and honourable head on his shoulders) Hand of the King, Eddard Stark, sent out a force under the command of Beric Dondarrion, including some of his own men, to stop the marauders and bring them to justice. According to witnesses the raiders were led by a man of monstrous size, whom Eddard realized could only be Ser Gregor Clegane. When the group was first sent out, Ser Gregor had been declared an outlaw, but after the death of Robert Baratheon and the beheading of Ned Stark, the roles were reversed. Now Clegane was fighting in the name of the law, while Dondarrion and his group were declared outlaws. There had been voices within the group that thought they should surrender themselves, but Dondarrion convinced everybody to continue the fight in the name of King Robert as to uphold the spirit of Robert's decree and protect the people.

And so you have TBWB! (Hmmm. That acronym takes all the whimsy out of the name.)

The only characters of The Brotherhood that really made an impression in this episode were of course Thoros of Myr (a VERY interesting gentleman as you non-bookies will soon discover) and Anguy the Archer. He's just as good as Legolas with a bow (he accomplished two awesome displays of archery that would put Oliver Queen to shame), but he also has a fondness for whores and drink. That's my kind of (An)guy!

Anyway, I definitely think Arya made an impression on them. What a little she-wolf! She doesn't take shit from anybody and I love her for it. But just before she could make her exit from The Brotherhood, The Hound fucked it all up and outed her as a Stark. Thanks a lot, Hound! You suck! (Just kidding, The Hound is awesome.) It never feels like we get enough Arya time and I'm waiting with bated breath to see some more of my second favourite character next week. More Arya please, show!

SANSA/THE QUEEN OF THORNS:

Okay, let me start by stating I've NEVER been a Sansa-hater. Can you imagine the horror of living with the prospect of marrying Joffrey? (Am I right, ladies?) But I CAN at least understand the frustration some people have with her character, especially when she's compared to her sister. Arya is the master of her fate and the captain of her soul. Full grown men don't have as much moxy as Arya, so it's not fair to compare her to Sansa. Different death-strokes for different folks, you know? But Sansa HAS perpetually been a passenger in her own story. Never really making proactive decisions, but rather reacting to the calamities that befall her. It also doesn't help that she's somewhat timid and naive.

SO

It was a refreshing for Sansa to encounter some women that know how the game is played. Olenna Tyrell was everything I hoped she'd be and more. The wit! The intelligence! The forthrightness! What a woman! I'd love to watch her lock tongues with Tyrion some day... Wait, that didn't come out right. What I meant is I'd love to see her verbally spar with Tyrion at a later juncture (that's a less gross way of saying it). The Queen of Thorns (and Countess of Cheese) is not someone to be taken lightly. She could make a formidable foe OR an amiable ally... Are you listening, Sansa?!

JAIME/BRIENNE:

Now comes my most pointed criticism of this episode. I didn't care for the Kingslayers fight with Brienne of Tarth. Not at all. I had been anticipating this duel for some time and I'm sorry to say it did not even come close to meeting my lofty expectations.

Let me tell you something about Jaime Lannister, In the realm of Westeros, he's the greatest swordsman to have ever swung a blade. He is a living legend. A squire at 11. A winner of a melee tourney at 13. Knighted by the greatest Knight of all, Ser Arthur Dayne at 15, and raised to a member of the Kingsguard in the same year. His skill and speed are unrivalled.

SO

You can imagine my disappointment when Jaime was more bluster than bite when he squared off against Brienne. In the books (I'm sure you show-only people are getting tired of these remarks, but it can't be helped) Jaime gave Brienne absolutely everything he had. Even after he was left to rot in a dank cell for months on end. He was malnourished, rusty and manacled to boot, and he STILL almost defeated her. Their fight ebbed and flowed, with Jaime relentlessly pressing the attack, until he eventually tired. Brienne didn't beat him. She outlasted him.

Look, I'm not taking anything away from The Mountain That Walks. She is easily one of the best fighters on the continent. But this is Jaime Lannister we're talking about. The gods damned Kingslayer! And the show did not do him in justice.

JOFFREY/MARGAERY:

I wonder what it's like to be Jack Gleeson in real life? I can just imagine him in a grocery aisle looking for a good peach (not too soft, not too hard) when out of nowhere some GoT loving jackass screams "Fuck you, Joffrey!" It's got to suck sometimes being so good at acting like an entitled, inbred douchebag.

Anyway, I very much enjoyed Joffrey's scene with Margaery. Did I say she knows how the game is played? Well, I should have said she knows how to play the game, because she played all the right sadistic strings for the Monster-King.

Since Joffrey and Margaery weren't POV characters in the books, we, the readers, never really knew the extent and depth of their relationship. To tell the truth, Margaery was pretty much a non-entity in the books. But this has given the showrunners an incredible amount of artistic freedom to fill in the gaps of GRRM's work, and write these two characters together without fear of any backlash or reprisals from the most knowledgeable fans. And you know what? I'm loving not knowing where the writers will take these two.

Oh, and Margaery, NEVER take off that dress.

JON/YGRITTE:

Mance Rayder: "Do you know what it takes to unite 90 clans, half of whom want to massacre the other half for one insult or another? They speak seven different languages in my army.The Fenns hate the Hornfoots, the Hornfoots hate the Ice River clans, everyone hates the cave-people. So, do you know I got moon worshipers and cannibals and giants to march in the same army?"

Jon: "How?"

Mance Rayder: "I told them we were all going to die if we don't get South, because that's the truth."

Look's like Mance has got a healthy fear of the White Walkers. A good thing, too. He seems to be the first person who recognized the imminent threat these WW's are to not only the Northerners, but all of Westeros. Those willfully ignorant fools down South don't have a clue what's going on. Keep on keepin' on, Mance! And keep an eye on those filthy, good-for-nothin' cave-people! (They're the worst!)

---

Ygritte: "What, you've never met a Warg?"

Haha! Never change, Ygritte. Maybe Jon Snow will know SOMETHING by the time your through with him. Like, maybe how to take 15 layers of clothes off a woman. (And you thought taking off a bra was hard!)

TYRION/SHAE:

This little rant I'm about to go on is meant for book readers only. Sorry, non-bookies! I swear this is the only part of my comment that contains spoiler-y information. The rant will be in parentheses below and clearly marked as a spoiler. So please don't read it (don't even glance at it!) if you haven't read the books.

THAR BE SPOILERS BELOW!

("Very little Tyrion tonight (PUN INTENDED), and frankly I didn't really see the point of his scene unless it was foreshadowing that Tywin is about to kill Shae, which is fine by me."

Are you fucking kidding me, Tim?! How in the seven gods names did that scene foreshadow Shae's death? There is no way you write those words without the foreknowledge you have gained from the books. And Shae won't be dying until near the end of season 4, so what the hell is the point of writing that now? I know Tywin doesn't kill her, but it seems a little too close to the mark. Tim, I love you, and this review was awesome, but that was something you should have kept to yourself.)

THAR BE SPOILERS ABOVE!

Okay, done! Back to stuff everybody can enjoy. Like, um, blow jobs! Shae certainly didn't waste any time getting down and dirty with her beloved Lion's little Lion. I mean, it's not like she'll be killed if they're caught or anything ... Oh wait, yes she will! Is a BJ really worth it? ... I can't believe I just wrote that.

CERSEI:

Still a bitch... What? Are you surprised?

THEON:

Deserves everything that's coming to him.

BRAN:

Jojen and Meera Reed! Finally! (This comment is getting super long, so that's all I'll write about Bran and his group for now.)

ROBB:

I've got a new nickname for Robb: The Forgotten Badass. When's the last time he won a battle? Give the King in the North something to do, show!

CATELYN:

I've got absolutely no opinion on Catelyn's bereavement and her (book divergent) story about Jon Snow. Imagine that.

TALISA:

How could I possibly have forgotten to include her in my "GoT HOT Rankings" that I posted last week? This gross oversight will be amended, I promise.

DANY/DAVOS/STANNIS/MELISANDRE:

Miss you guys! (Especially Melisandre. Save the last non-believer to burn alive for me!)

---------------------------------------------------------------------

I see there are many people who found this episode less eventful than the last, and a few have even called it boring. I wholeheartedly disagree. Tim wrote that we should look at this season like a 10 hour movie and not on an episode by episode basis. But I'll take that one step further. This season is only the first half of the third book. So we really should be looking at seasons 3&4 like a 20 hour movie.

Since I love the books so much I may be losing my objectivity when it comes to the show, but I thought this was a great episode. There were a few disappointments, but the introduction of a few awesome new characters more than made up for that.

Now where's that damn servant with my cheese!
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hi it's me, Klotensen.
Great comment! But I don't agree on two things you wrote:
1. Margaery should take off that dress like all the time! Or did you mean she shouldn't wear anything else?
2. I think that 2/3 of the third book goes into this season and 1/3 of the fourth. In season 4 it will be vice-versa: 1/3 of book 3 and 2/3 of the fourth. So I am confident to see 2 of the three most important events of a Storm of Swords in this season.
Why do I think that? Foremost because they already cropped down a lot of the sheer mass on information and complexity of the books(in a good way! don't tase me!) and I don't think that season 5 will dismiss half of the cast until season 6 so they had to rearrange the storytelling in order to show all arcs(or characters) in every season.
And YES, Tim's constant spoiling is borderline criminal, he should know better! R'hllor shall guide him!
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I've read that the latter half of season 4 will bleed into the fourth book, but not nearly to the extent you're thinking. ASoS is massive and the showrunners have gone on record saying that seasons 3&4 will mostly deal with the third book. But I agree that books four and five will be told together in a chronological timeline. That just makes sense.
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Good post. I agree with it all really, especially your chastising of Tim for spoiler stuff, I think the Theon stuff is also quite unnecessary.

" But this is Jaime Lannister we're talking about. The gods damned Kingslayer!"
Nice touch with 'gods'.
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Thanks!

I understand that the show itself may give viewers clues as to what's going on, but Tim needs to seriously reconsider writing predictions in his reviews. ESPECIALLY if there is no evidence to back them up.
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Great post :)
Agree on the sword fight between Jaime and Brienne, it should have much more steel clashing.
Catelyns story about Jon I take as merely giving her a human perspective and have us viewers understand her more. Since she comes of as quite the ice queen in her shunning of Jon.
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Thank you!

Nice perspective on Catelyn. You're probably right.
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Very nice post. I LOLed at that comment about Arya and your friends. The only thing I disagree with is that Margaery should keep that dress on.

That fight between Jaime and Brienne was really bad. I haven't read the books, so I didn't have an opinion about who should win, or how easy or hard it should be for that person to win. I can only judge it by the fight choreography and the actors' apparent skill with a sword, and both were *terrible*. The choreography was rubbish, and there was nothing that indicated that any of the two people we were watching had any kind of skill. This show could learn a lot from Banshee and Spartacus.

I find it interesting that by far the worst scene so far this season is the one and only action scene.
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Thanks!

That was definitely a disappointing sword fight. Doubly so if a reader and a non-reader alike both thought it was rubbish.

Oh, and EVERY show could learn a thing or two from Banshee. :D
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Brienne warn in the books but yeah it was uneventful & slow.
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Jaime isn't necessarily the greatest swordman in Westeros. He would be hard pressed against the Clegane brothers and Ser Barristan Selmy. But yeah, he didn't come off great against Brienne in the show. Then again, Brienne isn't pushover either.

Also, the man capturing Jaime and Brienne at the end of the episode is named Locke, a bannerman of Bolton. In the books he's a quite inconsequential character (named maybe once or twice), but in the show he'll be playing the part of Vargo Hoat. Too bad the show won't feature the Bloody Mummers and its lispy commander. No "Kingthlayer.. you are my captifth". But I understand omitting such a Free Company, it gets kind of confusing, especially for someone watching who's just being introduced to this "Brotherhood Without Banners".
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"I'd love to watch her lock tongues with Tyrion some day... Wait, that didn't come out right."

Thanks, Fringe. As always, another excellent comment/dissection/essay/ramble/etc.
A lot of users' really long comments I find myself skimming over or skipping altogether, but it's always worth it to read yours.

I wasn't sure how to take that scene with Catelyn reminiscing about Jon Snow. I thought maybe it was just to remind everyone of his back story and wonder if he really would defect to the wildings given his upbringing? Or maybe just to get viewers to start thinking about who his parent(s) really are? I'm not sure.
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No, thank you!

It's nice to know there are some people willing to read my rambling. :)
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I don't think Bran's story is boring at all.

I'm not going to lie... I totally forgot about Dany...
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What seems to have been lost in Surette's review is the fact Brienne pretty much BITCHSLAPPED his hero, Jaime Lannister, in that duel at the end of the episode. Now, might you, the King's Slayer certainly looks in pretty bad shape, having been beaten for months, without proper nourishment for even longer, and not having slept decently for awhile (his mind, I suspect, keeping him awake at night, thinking of new put-downs to thrown at Brienne.) Still, doesn't change the fact: a girl beat him at a swordfight. And pretty badly too - that last volley, where the lady knight put him down without even looking at him... burn. I hope for Jaime's sake he ends up killing every single witnesses of his defeat - regardless of Brienne's skills, his reputation will not survive such a shame!

In another news: I completely second Tim - it's more than time John Snow takes what's essentially his, mounted Ygritte and show her what a Stark's bastard can do when properly motivated! Seriously, dude... don't make her beg; just do it.

Like everybody here, I thoroughly hate the inbred false-king; that being said, Joffrey's treatment of his own mother made me laugh so hard, I actually started to enjoy the little psychotic bastard! 'Kinda prove that I may actually detest Cersei even more than her hellspawn... Barely more, but still.

My biggest WTF moment of this episode, though, have to go to Catelyn's crazy-ass convention about John. I mean... only a woman could plainly realize that one of her actions makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, yet keep on doing it just out of spite! It's so mess-up... and SO SPECTACULARLY SAD. I don't know for the rest of you, but, for me, never did Catelyn Stark looked more pathetic then on this episode. I don't know if she will have time to write the wrongs that she did, but, for her sake, I hope she will have the chance to do so...

Olenna Tyrell is the reason why I haven't deleted this episode from my hard-drive yet. 'Gonna watch that lady do her thing again and again - she is seriously breathtaking!

Don't really know what would be the point of the Brotherhood Without Banners if they just sell Arya to the highest bidder, namely the Lannisters, especially since they're doing everything to actually piss them off... And, by the way, did Arya forgot how to dance already? Forel wouldn't not be impressed.

I'm starting to realize that magic never actually left Westeros - it just went way North for awhile. The wildlings seems completely unimpressed by something as bananas as a dude who can enter the minds of animals, or giants, or even the ideas that millennium-old cannibals who can raise the dead have just woke up... Hell, some of them even knows about the dragons. Kinda makes you wonder why the Night's Watch never bother having a decent conversations with those folks instead of just killing them when they dare getting close to the wall... could have been helpful.

I'll finish with this saying: ain't nothing worse than a jealous whore.
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Sorry guys, I’m too lazy to work through all the comments, so my fault if it’s already been said: There is no way the Ironborn could leave Winterfell WITH THEON and after BURN it down… come on, Robb, you are not that naïve, aren’t you? The castle was sieged after all!

I have no probs with the plot changes or character changes at all! I mean, if you like the book, read it, the show is no substitute for it, it’s a piece on its own.

But the Rob storyline bothers me through… I mean, what is the point of him being at Harrenhall, for ehm.. half a episode? Or why does he leave the front line for grandpas funeral, but did not for Winterfell and his brothers? (Who advised him that, he?) Everybody, (and I mean everybody!) would be suspicious about Bolton at this point!

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Robb does not know that Winterfell was besieged, he knows what he has been told and heard through ravens; namely that when Bolton's bastard got there the place was burned and Theon and the Ironborn are gone.

Just to be clear I have read the books, I think anyone who has should be extremely careful when talking about Theon. Always keep in perspective what those that have only watched the show know about his predicament, i.e. hardly anything.

To this end, Tim's and many others' comments are somewhat inappropriate.

Robb was probably at Harrenhal for one episode as it was an easy to shoot location budget wise, however they did find a certain Qyburn, something no one seems to have talked about at all which is a very interesting change.
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#naive
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...my two cents? hey it's that kid from love actually + hey it's that guy from misfits. that is all.
p.s. the episode was slow, you guys, really slow. but the good thing about it - we're done with cast introductions - they're all there, the games can begin now... (yes, content wise, both episodes so far have been informative... and that's it. i'm a huge fan, but let's all be honest and admit that even episode one was pretty 'eh' considering what we all were expecting...
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Maybe that’s the problem? That what I hear and read everywhere, people are disappointed. We were so eager for the season, that our expectations were too high, I think. I mean we are two episodes into the season…
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true, but it was their fault with all the promos and commercials... but that's hbo, i guess :)
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and we did enjoy tem all! :)
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I did not miss Danny.... Why did I not miss Danny...?
The scene with with Joffrey and Margery was just crazy intense. Are we actually going to see something there? But honestly, I don't care. Margary could just stand in front of me 24h a day and I would be entertained. She is soooooo hot... Like the kind of hot, when you stop liking to see her, because it is just to unfair that she is so out of reach.
I totally forgot what I wanted to write now...
something like... Varys would be nice, more Tyrion, please not more Theon, I really don't care. Oh yeah and: I really want to like Jaime, but I can never forgive that he killed the cousin in season 2.... It helps, that that didnt happen in the books. I mean he could have just wounded him... or ask him to help...
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I don't remember a cousin, but what he did to Bran was bad enough.
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The one in the cage, they talk about how awesome selmy and tourneys are.
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Personally, I wouldn't put it past Theon's sister to be behind her sibling's torture. Since they didn't show Theon's men (before they turned on him) getting ambushed, I'm assuming they made it to there destination. Since Theon's actions were so far out of what he was ordered to do, I'm guessing his dad and sister want to know what his real motivations were.

The sword fight between Brienne and Jaime was fun, as of course was there whole romp thru the countryside. The previous seasons really make these characters tangible, so even tho this episode was alot of exposition,all of it meant something. There's not a single character arc that I wasn't interested in.

I was wondering what all the fuss was about regarding the Queen of Thorn's casting on some other sites, and now I know. She killed this episode. The other new characters seem as interesting as any of the other regulars, given there colorful backstory.

Last note, and it's about Arya. I admire her spunk, but she needs to stop threating everyone. I don't think it bodes well for her long term survival. She may have learned this episode that her swordplay wasn't as good as she thought, but afterward she should have just ignored the Hound and kept walking.
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Ignoring the Hound wouldn't have helped too much, all the men there will be from the Brotherhood Without Banners and once they knew the truth they weren't about to let Ned Stark's daughter wonder off.
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One thing,because I bitch and moan about things I don't like,I will give credit to GoT, is that opening theme and song. Any day of the week I would rate it as top 3(yes easily 1st,but who knows what will come:D ) of all and can't get enough of it. I love it.
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Hehe, Olenna "The Queen of Thorns" Tyrell is an epic character. I'm always considering the book vs tv show argument. I've read all the books, so I just enjoy seeing what was changed and what wasn't. Although I do know that George R R Martin wrote the script for episode 9 of this season. He writes the script for episode 9 of each season. But it's the game changing ep (Baelor, Ned's head got cut off, Blackwater, giant epic battle) Ep 9 this season is called "The Rains of Castamere" did anyone catch Thoros whistling it this ep. Total hints at what is coming later (all you book fans know what I'm talking about)

Jojen and Meera were okay I suppose. I'm not too fussed about them because I was expecting them earlier. Theon getting tortured was epic. But I still feel sorry for the idiot. He has Daddy issues and his family is so dysfunctional it puts most soaps to shame. That and he had it really good with Robb and then because he wanted Daddy to love him he messed it all up. When he finally figured it all out it was kinda too late. It's sad really. All you book fnas know the TV show fans are gonna feel sorry for him later on. LOL!

Jaime and Brienne were easily what I was waiting for. The Jaime/Brienne road trip started last season and we're getting into it now. I loved Jaime as a character after reading the third book and seeing the Jaime/Brienne road trip. So I'll be happy to see tv show fan reactions. But the barbs a Renly were epic. he got it from all sides, and he's usually only used to getting it from one way, and only from Loras. LOL! However, I'm looking forward to the ep "The Bear and The Maiden Fair" which I'm making assumptions will heavily involve Jaime and Brienne. Book fnas should also get what I'm saying here. Although the title of the ep is actually the title of a song in Westeros that is just slightly bawdy.

All in all, I'm just waiting for next week now. (nods)
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Ok now in my head I've got a great(Jon) voice going "A Bear! A Bear! All big and brown and covered with hair. Good name for that episode.

As mcepin3 says below I think George is doing episode 7 this season.

But most importantly I commend you for not referring to the most shocking moment of book 3 by the name it comes to be known, which in itself is half a spoiler. I wish more people would avoid this also.
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I don't want to spoil it for everyone. My cousin watches Game of Thrones but hasn't read the books. So when I saw the episode list I was like "OMG I know what's happening in each episode pretty much." and she was like "Don't tell my you evil book reader!" and I was like "Safe cuz I won't tell you because you'd just have it all spoiled and ruined and you'd cry for the rest of the season." so I don't wanna ruin it for anyone else. I mean everyone got spoiled by Ned's beheading. Everyone knew it was going to happen, but the TV fans were all like "They can't do that on TV." but then they did it. Which made my cousin freak out.

I usually imagine Robert Baratheon singing "The Bear and The Maiden Fair" to be honest. Just the thought of him singing it just cracks me up. LOL! I imagine Jon singing The Rains of Castamere. Especially after the little Catelyn revelation this episode. I was thinking "Biatch that did NOT happen in the books but I actually would've liked it if it had." LOL!
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I enjoyed Catelyn's new story about child Jon, gave the TV show only a bit of perspective on how much she dislikes Jon and a bit of depth on her.

Just to clarify I imagine The Greatjon Umber singing 'A bear and maiden fair'.
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I agree. He seems the type. Then again I imagine GreatJon yelling "KING N THE NORTH!" most of the time. LOL! I also imagine him like a human version of the incredible hulk.
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He wrote episode 7 for this season from what I heard. Also in 1st season,it was episode 8,if I remember it right.
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I need to check that myself. But I'm sure he wrote ep 9 for all three seasons. I'll just check that now.

(2 Mins Later)

Okay you were totally right. I checked it on the George R R Martin Game of Thrones WIki page. I admit my wrongness. LOL!
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I am hoping to get a full review out for this episode when time allows, but until then, I must say, I didn't realise there were so many Joffrey-types running around. Why all the blood-lust towards Theon? Obviously, I know the traditional answers would be that he betrayed his friend and did all manner of unspeakable things in the process. But when you get down to the core of it, he did what he thought he had to in order to win the approval of his true family. Was he foolish? Yes. Does he deserve punishment for his actions? Indeed. But does he deserve this? Hell no. Nobody deserves to be strung up and tortured so savagely and so obviously just for the sadistic fun of it, and at the hands of someone clearly even more traitorous to The Starks, not even Theon. Robb himself would be disto hear of such things, nor consider it justice. Keep sticking things in him for two more episodes? No, I'd rather see him get beheaded. But, seeing as I don't envisioning it ending in such a fashion anytime soon, I think I'm going to be firmly in the minority who can't help but feel sorry for him.
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I am among the few that feel sorry between Theon for the callous mistake of betraying Robb despite how close they were but the cruelty shown in the episode was over the top, i kind of was blindsided considering Theon was captured by his own Men.
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First of all i don´t have read the books so I don´t know whats comming and maybe I´m wrong but after the final episode of season 2 I was hoping that now in season 3 finally the deadwalkers come into play but so far nothing. Don´t get me wrong I love GoT but it could be a little more tense here and there. This episode was a good example it was fun to watch but I caught my self playing games on my phone several times during the episode. But of course I also understand that it needs time to build the story and that there are a few of those weaker episodes and by weaker I mean still greater than a lot of the other stuff in tv at the moment. So I´m looking forward to see less talking and more whatever this season but I´m sure that I´m not gonna be disappointed
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I agree it was kind of a set up episode. Not that I mind, because it is a great set up. The little things that allude to future big things are fun to pick up.

But the one thing that I am looking forward to is Jaime's story. Because it at least up to the point where they are in the books is somewhat of a redemption story. Or at least a story where an unbelievable arse gets a really deserved lesson in humility. I am kind of looking forward to seeing that on the screen. However I also wonder if they are going to change any of his story, particularly the loss of something.

Similarly I think it is an interesting way to go about the story of Sam. Now I have always liked Sam's story. I like what he is going to be. I think it is interesting. However, the character in itself has always bothered me. Mostly because like google guy from Revolution. It makes no sense that he is still fat. He went from being a Lord's son, though his father hated him. And from eating anything he wants. To the wall, where they are on a rationed diet. And then the traveling they do beyond the wall. At some point the weight is going to drop off. It is kind of nit picky, but still.

The other interesting story. Or well the depiction of the character, is Joffrey. They are really showing how depraved he is. He is really just a psychopath that has no idea what it is to feel anything towards anyone. He just kind of wants to see things burn. Kind of like the Mad King. And Jack Gleeson is really doing a fantastic job. To the point where I can't wait for his wedding.
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Althought not a stellar episode, this was one of the most entertaining hours of television I've seen. This episode remainded us what makes GoT (and the books) so damn good: the characters. The writing and acting was spectacular in this episode and I hope it stays like that.
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Iwan Rheon from Misfits!!!
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I think that...oh crap... I forgot what I was gonna say. I'm still reeling over the fact that Scott Thompson was in Hannibal, it's thrown off my WHOLE television viewing game for the week.
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Olenna was absolutely awesome .. I could watch that scene over and over again (and not just because the super-hot Margaery and Sansa were there :D)
I liked the episode - the dialogue on this show is just amazing and the characters connect so well together. Definitely not a boring episode. Those who think it was boring ... well, I'm just sad for you.
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Well, that was ... horrible. The dialogue sucked (seriously, Game Of Thrones, do we really need butt sex insinuations between Margarey and the kid from Batman Begins? It's just awkward guys), the character introductions weren't that good ('specially the Reeds imo) and some scenes, like Tyrion & Shae's, were just ... what the fuck. Even the acting felt off sometimes.
I didn't like the premiere all that much either but it still was better than this one. Pick it up!
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The dialogue was fine. Maybe not great, but it got the job done. It says a lot that when Joffrey suggested that homosexuals should be executed, she showed absolutely no signs of how disgusted she must have been by that comment (her brother is gay and we know that she doesn't have a problem with that), and just used it as an opportunity to get Joffrey to like her.

I liked the scene with Tyrion and Shae. I don't see what was so "WTF" about it.
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My favorite is always Tyrion, Dany and Ayra Starks. The ride with Jamie and Brienne was really fun ! The best for this episode and I really enjoyed it.
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And what a boring vacation it is... I agree with two things in this review - Joffrey is absolutely the most disgusting character ever! I absolutely hate him! And thank God there was no nudity in this episode and I hope there won't be any till the end. I sure think that there aren't many characters in this show I would want to see naked. They all look so gruesome except Calisi...of course! Seriously is it absolutely necessary for all the characters to be sooooo dirty and...ugly? Where's the fantasy in that? As for the new characters, I really didn't need more of those but if you say so...I 'll try to remember their purpose in the whole picture if it gets clear anytime soon. I honestly couldn't get through the episode ...Yes I did barely. I still hope that the next one is going to be better... Like in the 1st season when I couldn't get enough. A lot of bitching here but don't get me wrong I sure hope it will return to it's first glory in my eyes... I am still watching!
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Good episode. Roughly as good as the first one. Those who say that "nothing is happening" should go watch 24 on bluray instead. The character presentations have been really nice, and the stories have been progressing at exactly the right pace. The only problem is that there are so many characters and so many stories that there isn't time to get very far in only ten episodes. This problem can't be solved by speeding up the progression of the stories, and it certainly can't be solved by adding random action scenes. This would only make it take even longer to tell the story. The only solution is to give us longer seasons. Can you believe that half-way through the next episode, a quarter of the season will already be behind us?
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Good episode, though i agree with how difficult it is to keep the various plots / characters in a cohesive whole.
Having said that and being one who reads the books, a slight inconsistency is when Catelyn describes Jon Snow as having strangers eyes....she should be hating him for having the same eyes as her husband as in the books.
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and remember Jon Snow favors Ned more than Catelyns own trueborn children who favor her Tully blood.
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A much better episode all in all, I don't understand those that NEED boobs and blood to make the show. Anyway surely Margarey's faintly veiled sexual conversation along with her exposing dress satisfy at least one of those needs for the overly-lustful.

Bran and co.:
Great to see the Reeds turn up, Jojen seems to be on par with the sublime casting track record of this show. Quite mysterious but he's always a bit of a riddle-speaker in the books. I was slightly disappointed that they didn't CGI in some mossy green eye colour as often referenced in the books, it makes the term "Green dreams" more applicable which in turn is much better than "Dark Magic Dreams".
Also "Hodor", good fix for a little while.

Brienne and Jaime:
An obvious highlight, his constant mocking and sheer self-confidence is always played to perfection and luckily we got a good amount of both this episode. His transformation from hated character to great character is something I agree with Tim on wholeheartedly, this seems to be directly proportional to time spent away from Cersei, which is no coincidence. They're fight; whilst good, could have done more to emphasise that it is his manacles that make the fight even, Brienne is good but not Kingslayer good. Interesting turn of event with the men at the end, no Bloody Mummers?

Theon:
For those that haven't read the books I won't write anything that can be remotely counted as a spoiler. Shame the same can't be said for you Tim, you're whole paragraph on him should not be there. If you are going to feign ignorance do not make hints towards anything that may be based on actual book knowledge. Glad we get scenes with him, in the books we don't hear from him for the whole of book 3 (parts 1 and 2).

Sansa and her new friends(?):
Sophie Turner is doing a great job on playing the fluttering heart teenager (in the presence of Loras) one moment and the sombre child of much devastation (after letting slip some truths about Joffrey) the next. The Queen of Thorns was great as was Margarey, this scene was almost entirely one to one from the books, something which is worth doing when the dialogue is so good.

Robb and his northerners:
Interesting insight into the grumblings of his bannermen over his marriage with his scene with Lord Karstark, otherwise didn't get to do too much.
Catelyn on the other hand I very much enjoyed, a scene and idea completley invented for the TV show I thought it was a very adept way of showing her faith in the gods, her uncontrollable hate of Jon and the emotional battering she has taken with bad news after bad news, which started with final moments of S01E01 and Bran's "fall".

North of the Wall:
The Night's Watch (or what's left of them) with a book scene of Sam's basic feebleness kicking in (I like Sam but the guy is truly a craven). The only criticism is that I would have scrapped that first scene of the premier and started with an extended version of this scene, maybe with added "Slayer" (for those book readers).
The Wildlings didn't get much time but we did get a bit on just how hard Mance's unification has been and good old Mackenzie Crook as a warg. Shame we won't be getting Varamyr Sixskins but I guess the CGI costs of his animal entourage would have been an expense too far.

Arya and he ragged band:
Everyone loves Arya and lets be honest everyone loves Hot Pie (foolish coward that he is), Gendry is great too but rather than have them traipse around the woods for a while we get their encounter with the Brotherhood Without Banners nice and early. Thoros was brilliant and glad to see Anguy, just a shame there was no Lem or Tom of Sevenstrings but the cast is starting to spiral into crazy numbers so again its understandable.
Best part however; The Hound. Even if the guy might be amoral he is definitely one of my favourite characters in the books and the TV version has made him even cooler if anything. This story is going to be a great one over the next few episodes.

Tyrion and Shae:
Quite brief, quite average. Shae seems to go from irritating to paranoid to ok again. Not much to say on it all really.

Joffrey and Margarey:
Fantastic scene, Jack Gleeson does such a good job of making Joffrey's every look and line utterly detestable without ever becoming absurd. Margarey's posturing for power and apparent acceptance of her King's 'Monster' status are great and show just how well she can play the game. The scene oozed with sexual innuendo but the queen-to-be catered to the darker desires of Joffrey whilst winning him over from the jealous thoughts Cersei had planted in his head earlier and were evident at the opening of the scene.

Dany:
No where to be found. A good move occasionally, better to flesh out some scenes back in Weteros than waste time on some token two minutes in Astapor.

So for me a much better episode which not only built up characters and advanced storylines but did so with good writing, a dose of action at the end and without having to resort to (the sometimes) cheap flesh and blood exposure, proving that Game of Thrones is up there with the best in terms of the writing on television at the moment.
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Question: Joffrey "Bonehead" Baratheon-Lannister-Jerkface? Answer: What is the name Kingsguard call Joffrey behind his back. Other acceptable answers: Douchebag Joffrey and B**** ass Joffrey.
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This was a pretty weak episode and a weak season so far
The only really interesting that we learned this episode is that bran
has some kind of power which I ope they would expand on in the coming episodes
I really don't miss Dany or John Snow I pretty much find their scenes boring
I really hope Tyron will get back is position as the hand of the king
and we can see more of his cunning and smart moves in the snake pit which is kings landing

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It's only been two episodes so far. It's two early to call this season weak.
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I said weak so far
When you have only 10 episode per season you should not waste time
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Many would not consider this episode in particular to be a waste of time at all.

Some stories move very quickly and some larger ones take a very long time to come to any fruition. Judging by your wishes I might prepare yourself for a bit of a longer arc and wait. Don't worry though there will be plenty of big moments in this season and even more so in the next.
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Did everyone miss the introduction of the most anticipated character Ramsey Bolton? Hint: your sister sent me.
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This comment has been removed.
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1000 x 0 = 0
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We are now being spammed by Law & Order?!
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I didn't know who else to tell... and honestly, I never even seen one of those 1000 episodes.
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OK then. It was somewhat interesting to hear those numbers. I responded the way I did because your post is structured like some of the spam posts we've been getting. First a generic comment that sounds like it might be relevant, and then everything else is about one specific thing that's completely unrelated to the episode, the article and the other comments.
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An episode without Dany (and her Dragons) just doesn't feel right. But they are trying to follow the books.
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actually this season, epsiode 1 and 2, has been more different from the book than season 1 and 2 combined. The general direction of the story is the same but most of the rest of the stuff is completely different
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I meant Danys character time. that seems right so far. in the book takes a few chapter before appearing again.
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This season looks like a vacation?!Are you serious ?!
I don't need a nude or blood scenes , we already have "Spartacus" for that !
If only other shows learn from GOT to have a great and entertaining conversation scenes which affect the character developments then we will have a great set of tv shows!
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My highlights: the Reeds and the WARG(Tim it's WARG, not WORG, you are a WORG,Jesus this is beginning to drive me crazy!) and as stupid as it sounds ... Joffrey. Jack Gleeson does a perfect job, it would be so easy to overplay Joffrey in his creepyness but he makes it so believable.
And last week I made a comment about who can possibly challenge Bronn in combat and FringeFanatic, NovaMatt and some others mentioned all the notorious knights of Westeros(the Cleganes, J-LA, the man with the dot, Selmy, Oakhart the lusty, etc.) so I had to add Ser Howland Reed - and what a nice nod in this episode to the man who killed Ser Arthur Dayne and saved Ned Starks ass!
Fantastic casting with Jojen and Meera! They come very to close to what I imagined them to look like when reading the books!
And didn't Thoros sing some lines of "The Rains(Reynes) of Castamere"?
The only itsy-bitsy downer I felt was when I saw Jaime swordfighting with Brienne: Nikolai Coster Waldau needs to work on his skills! Or D+D decided to make it more realistic with Jaime being chained for almost a year(?)... on the other hand(hoho) the other actors did make some fun of NCWs skills, didn't they?
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I have a crush on Meera <3
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