Game of Thrones "Valar Dohaeris" Review: Parents Just Don't Understand

Game of Thrones S03E01: "Valar Dohaeris"

The people of Westeros may be buckling down for a years-long winter full of misery and White Walkers, but our winter was INSUFFERABLE. It was sooooooooo long! And the wait for Game of Thrones Season 3 made enduring it even harder. I'd like to see Westeros put up with what we just went through; then they'll have something to complain about. Those guys didn't have to wait for Game of Thrones. We did.

But we did it. We endured three months of cold weather by wrapping up in our Game of Thrones Snuggies, sipping hot cocoa from chalices, and re-enacting "Blackwater" with some strategically sewn burlap sacks, a kiddie pool, and sparklers. And now the glorious day has arrived. Game of Thrones is back.

Season 3 has all the makings of an epic 10-hour saga thanks to its source material. A Storm of Swords is the best book of the series so far, according to a survey of me. It's so overflowing with shocking turns of events that the mega-tome (1,216 pages in the paperback) is being split across Seasons 3 and 4. There will be blood, there will be boobs, and there will be tears. Sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday night, if you ask me. 

So settle in, grab a snack, and let's review what happened in the Season 3 opener, "Valar Dohaeris."

*CRAZY BATTLE SOUNDS*

It's worth noting that the season started off with the sounds of clanging metal, war cries, and then the sound of people dying
 over black. And standing out above all of that were what I believe to be the shrieks of White Walkers! Is this foreshadowing? Something that happened between seasons? Just a mistake by some editor who's probably since been fired? Or just the sounds of that beheaded guy in the opening scene getting his head cut off?


"We have to warn them, or before winter's done, everyone you've ever known will be dead." —Lord Commander Mormont

The last time we saw Samwell Tarly, the bumbling pork pie was our last line of defense against an army of White Walkers, wights, and other things that go bump in the cold. Personally, I didn't like his chances. I wouldn't like Sam's chances against an ice cube tray. 

He must have run in the opposite direction of the Frozen Army, because in the opening scene he was all alone. That is, until he happened upon one of his Night's Watch brothers in a few pieces. And where there are Night's Watch members in pieces, there are White Walkers, and sure enough, one came barreling down on Sam. But like a furry white Batman, Ghost shot through the blizzard and tackled the WW because he's a badass, the creature was set aflame by Lord Commander Mormont, and Sam lived another day to fall in love with inbred women and stuff his face with haggis. (Note to A Song of Ice and Fire sticklers, I do not know if Westeros actually has haggis. But I'm going to take some artistic license here, so if I get a minor detail wrong, let's please just let it slide. Also, haggis is awesome. Feel free to substitute dove pie if it helps.)

Mormont didn't give Sam so much as a, "You okay, lad?" before asking him if he'd dispatched the Westeros equivalent of a Tweet in sending ravens to warn EVERYONE about the crapstorm that's about to hit. Sam blew it. If a wight breaks down your door and tears you to shreds, you can curse Sam while you bleed out. Way to start the season off on a downer of a note, Game of Thrones. I thought Season 3 was all minstrels and lemon cakes and happy times!

"In your heart, all you crows want to fly free..." —Ygritte

Staying up north, Jon Snow had leveraged the murder of Qhorin Halfhand (at Qhorin's request, to allow Jon to infiltrate the Wildlings) into a tour of the Wildling campgrounds, and things were looking pretty standard with tents and dudes walking around in bone armor and OHMYGOD A GIANT! A real life special-effects-created giant! The first real eye-popping scene of Season 3 was a winner, and the special-effects team got it so right. That giant looked GOOD, and I only saw it on a barely DVD-quality advanced screener, I can't wait to see Stretch in high definition.

Jon almost peed himself at the sight of the big guy, and Ygritte picked up on his greenness and did what Ygritte does best: She made him feel uncomfortable. Seven Gods, I love Ygritte. She told Jon that the more you stare at a giant, the more likely they'll Little Bunny Foo Foo you and bop you in the head so hard that you'll end up driven into the ground like a railroad spike. And then she left with the slightest playful smile on her face. It was the best TV smile since Carrie Matheson's on Homeland, and now it's time for Jon to take off the Night's Watch cloak and hit that or get out of the way because she's hot stuff.

Jon was eventually escorted through a hail of rocks thrown at him by Wildling brats (hey jerk kids, your fathers are all dead so there!) to Mance Rayder's tent, where he mistook the red-bearded Tormund Giantsbane for the King Beyond the Wall. Way to make an impression, Jon. Giantsbane was so obviously not Mance. Didn't you read the books? Mance did come out eventually, and it was Ciarán Hinds! He asked Jon to explain why wanted to bail on the Night's Watch, and Jon actually gave him a truthful answer: He wants to be on the team that will fight the White Walkers instead of hanging out with celibate rejects who turn the other way when a man hands his newborn babies to the White Walkers. It makes you wonder how much Jon still has invested in the Night's Watch, and how much of this ruse could actually seep into him permanently. I mean, Mance has GIANTS and is totally okay with sex! And as if those two facts weren't enough on their own, who wouldn't want to have sex with a giant if the opportunity arose? Stay with Mance, Jon, and get all your kinkies out.


"I serve the one true king... Stannis Baratheon!" —Ser Davos Seaworth

I don't know if you guys remember that little skirmish in Blackwater Bay last season, but one of the unanswered questions to come out of that scuffle was: Where's Davos? When we last saw the salty sea smuggler, he was getting blown backward off his vessel by an explosion, right after watching his son immolate in a brilliant chartreuse cloak of wildfire. But it'll take more than a green fireball of death to sink this guy. 

SPF-starved Davos was one volleyball shy of Castaway, drying out on a rock in the middle of the lonely sea. It wasn't 'til a passing ship saw him that Davos flapped his arms like a jumping-jack champ, and when some unidentified sailors rowed up, Davos faced the biggest trivia question of his life after broadcasting that he serves the one true king of Westeros. Now, you have to understand, the "one true king" thing is a pretty touchy subject. "Which king?" the sailors asked. Do-or-die time, Davos. Answer correctly, and be pulled out of the ocean to live. Answer incorrectly, and *game show buzzer sound* be left on the rock OR killed on the spot. Did he:

A) Wimp out and say Joffrey Baratheon-Lannister, because Joffrey won the battle and these guys were most likely to be Lannister supporters?

B) Stick to his guns and his last shred of honor and say Stannis Baratheon, the man he did serve in the battle, even though Stannis got his butt kicked, and even though these sailors probably weren't part of Stannis's crew?

C) Do anything to stay alive and offer to be their sex slave, never to sit comfortably again? 

Davos may be missing part of his hand, but he's still got all his honor and went with B. That's just who Davos is. If you aren't on board with Davos, then you don't know a cool dude when you see one. Davos is the man.

Thankfully, the men in the boat belonged to Davos's friend Salladhor Saan, the dread pirate who wanted to get into Cersei's pants more than he wanted riches. Salladhor gave Davos the SITREP on Stannis, and it wasn't good. He's still feeling the whip cracks from Melisandre, who's decided to burn anyone who speaks against her. I loved Salladhor's casual line about being married four times, btw. It ain't easy being a pirate.

This was followed by a fantastic scene where Davos visited Stannis and Melisandre, one that we can all relate to. We've all known someone who's fallen under the spell of a wicked significant other, and here was Davos watching Stannis continue to do exactly that. Davos warned Stannis that Melisandre is bad news, but Melisandre followed up with what the internet calls "woman logic": Stannis lost the battle because she wasn't there to help the troops. Because Davos wouldn't allow her to accompany Stannis in battle. Ohhhhh, so Blackwater is Davos's fault now, is it!?

Davos didn't take kindly to bearing the blame for thousands of men getting their skin burnt off and drowning at the same time, and he lunged at Melisandre. It was a good effort, but all it did was get Davos thrown in the Dragonstone dungeon. The Starks, Targaryens, and Lannisters get most of the attention on Game of Thrones, but I find the Davos-Stannis-Melisandre triangle to be one of the strongest current storylines. And come on, that "Warrior of Light" jam is awesome, and the Melisandre remix edit is even better.


"She freed Jaime Lannister. The Lannisters robbed them of their sons, she robbed them of their justice." —Robb Stark

I'm not going to pretend that I know everything that's going on in this thread, but from what I gather, the Mountain went to Harrenhal and slaughtered a ton of Robb's men. And old big beady Rickard Karstark seems to think Jaime Lannister was responsible for it? Either way, Robb is pretty upset that his big catch, Jaime, was set free by Catelyn, when he could have been tortured as payback for the loss of about 200 men. It was pretty harsh of Robb to send his mom to the clink, but in Robb's eyes, Catelyn done goofed when she sent Brienne to swap Jaime for Sansa and Arya. Okay, let's move on.

"Thanks to father..." —Cersei and Tyrion Lannister

It was the typical Lannister lovefest back in King's Landing as Tyrion's valiance at the Battle of Blackwater was rewarded with a room downgrade and the stripping of his Hand of the King title. First it was Cersei who pestered him about what Tyrion was going to tell Tywin because she's a snake and thought Tyrion might tell Tywin that Cersei ordered Ser Mandon Moore to kill him during the frenzy of Blackwater. We still don't know whether Cersei ordered the hit, but Varys seemed convinced that it was her and really, would you be surprised? Cersei's good at two things: fucking her family and fucking over her family. And Tyrion doesn't want to get between those thighs, so that leaves only one option for Cersei.

Tyrion eventually did see his father, and it. did. not. go. well. This was another fantastic scene thanks to Charles Dance owning it as Tywin and Peter Dinklage perfectly taking the abuse like a champ. This is going to be a hard sell to you guys, but I totally understand Tywin's position here (I don't agree with it, but I see it). He's got Jaime, the golden boy of the Kingsguard, and Cersei, an icy queen who knows how to rule in the Lannister way. And then there's Tyrion, the imp who drinks thrice his weight and surrounds himself with whores. Tyrion is nothing but a disappointment to his father, so of course Tywin isn't going to give Tyrion Casterly Rock. Who would ever think he would, even if Tyrion did save King's Landing? Tyrion is the black sheep of the family; he's not as handsome, he's not as strong, and he's not as much of a dick. 

What I don't agree with is the constant blame on Tyrion for killing Mama Lannister during his birth. Tyrion was just trying to come into the world, man! And here's my disgusting and possibly offensive theory on why Tywin hates Tyrion so much: Tyrion killed his mom because mom's vagina wasn't big enough to let him out without tearing her into pieces, right? And the reason her opening wasn't big enough is that Tywin wasn't man enough to make it that way, if you know what I'm saying. So every time Tywin looks at Tyrion, Tywin's reminded that he has a small penis, and that pisses him off. BOOM. Case closed. Oh come on, it's obvious Tywin has a small penis, that's why he acts the way he does.

I'm not gonna lie, I lit up when Joffrey came on screen. I love the guy. And I love Jack Gleeson's performance as Joffrey. It's PERFECT. Give this kid an award, please. Anyone who musters up that much hate at least deserves a Golden Globe. They give those to anyone, right?

It's fair to say that Margaery is basically Princess Di, right? She's literally walking through piss and shit to visit orphanages and offer them help. What a saint! But is this a PR campaign? Remember what she told Renly about doing anything to become queen? Is she so power hungry that she's willing to mingle with disgusting, good-for-nothing orphans? Anyway, if it is a PR thing, it's a convincing one. "You should be proud of your dead dads!" That's either really sweet or really sinister.

Joffrey met Margaery for dinner (late as usual, chump), and he entered with a zinger: "At what point does it become treason to waste the king's time?" HAHAHAHA, Joffrey. Go write for Jay Leno. Anyway, the dinner hadn't even started before it became so obvious that this proposed marriage isn't going to work. She's into orphans, and orphans are into throwing their poo at Joffrey. It could help the image of the royal family if they get hitched, though, and maybe that will be what convinces Cersei to allow it. Also: Ser Loras, come on, we all know you wanted to comment on Cersei's gown and her shoes. Just go ahead and be fabulous, no judgments here. 

Elsewhere, Shae gave me more reason to hate her. She has no imagination! Even Sansa looked great by comparison. C'mon Shae, loosen up a bit, you idiot. I do not like Shae, not one bit. Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish showed up to talk to Sansa, and let her know that she should be ready on a moment's notice to leave King's Landing because he'll take her to a far away land. And no one will care. Sansa is of zero use at King's Landing. Her dad's dead, Winterfell is ashes, and her family is trying to kill the king. If I were Sansa, I wouldn't wait for Littlefinger. I'd start swimming for Dorn. 

While Littlefinger was chatting with Sansa, Shae and Ros had a hoe-to-hoe chat about starting from the bottom but sucking their way up to the middle. Shae doesn't think they share the same background, hinting more at the possibility that she may not just be a lowly whore. We still don't know her true origins; all we know is that she's the worst. Ros is the best, though. That's a slut you can take home to mom. She's smart enough to have picked up on Littlefinger's curious interest in Sansa, too, and might give us a little foreshadowing about what's to come. Remember, Petyr had a huge crush on Catelyn, and if you can't bag the mom, go for the daughter. (Note: Do not actually do that, that's kind of gross.)

"I need an army." —Daenerys Targaryen

First, let's recall how Dany looked at the beginning of Season 2:

Characters from Les Miserables would be all like, "You filthy! Look at that lip blister! Is she a damn chimney sweeper? This is not a look befitting the Queen of Dragons, this is a look for the Queen of Coal Mining."

And now, check out how she looks at the beginning of Season 3:

Dannnnnnnnnng, girl! Dany is looking is 'specially fine! What a difference a season makes! I'm no Tim Gunn, but she is making it work! The simple blue top plays off her eyes and perfectly complements her hair! Look at that necklace that doesn't even clip together, it just hangs there through the power of physics! Someone find me one on Etsy, please. Even the briny air of the Summer Sea can't touch her elegant yet casual platinum 'do! The girl is rocking it and should be on the cover of Cosmo with 10 tips on how to please your horse lord. Who knew that Game of Thrones would be the only thing to ever get me interested in fashion? I'm wearing a grocery bag for pants and water wings, yet now I find the time to comment on a blouse? Just more proof that this show loves the little details.

This show also loves dragons, and what an entrance for Drogon (the black one). Side note: Has the show actually named the dragons yet? Or are they still just "Dragon 1" and so on? Either way, very cool decision to start off with a reflection of Drogon and pan up to get the real deal. It was another scene that I can't wait to see in high definition, especially Drogon's fish fry at the end. 

After spending one season with Dany needing respect and respectful love-making from her husband, and another season with Dany needing a boat, in this season Dany needs an army. So Ser Jorah Mormont took her to the slave city of Astapor in search of one. But the sea-ride to get there wasn't sitting well with the landlubbing Dothraki, and I can only imagine horsemeat tastes even worse coming up than it does going down. I'll have to ask an IKEA shopper. (Topical humor.) Yet these Dothraki ignored their thalassophobia to follow Dany, and Dany seemed pleased. Jorah was dubious, saying they won't truly be hers until she proves herself strong. Well, how about a face full of dragon breath, Jorah? Would that be strong enough? Sheesh! 

Dany arrived in Astapor to browse the city's Unsullied, an army of slaves so well-trained that not even an impromptu nipplectomy can make 'em flinch. These guys are total badasses AND baby killers! But getting them won't be easy. Slave-trading asshole Kraznys mo Nakloz was the non-English-speaking used-car salesman, and it afforded the show a bit of humor as he and his translator Missandei (new cast member Nathalie Emmanuel of Hollyoaks) mixed their signals about what to tell Dany. Score another win for the costume department for Missandei's boob gown, and did you notice how the wind was doing everything it could to flip that dress over her head? Of course you did, pervert.

Dany isn't too keen about the Unsullied being slaves, nor is she down with the baby murder that's involved in admission into the ranks or the slave driver who treats them like blocks of brie that you can just slice a piece off of. You can see where this is going already, can't you?

Anyway, just because Dany was miles away from Qarth (worst city EVER) didn't mean that she was far from danger. Those warlocks who drink way too many blue raspberry Slurpees went after Dany again, taking the form of a playful child in need of a haircut and using a puzzle box where the prize inside was a deadly scorpion-ish thingamabob. But before the bug could stick her, it got stuck itself by a mysterious cloaked old man, who later revealed himself to be the one and only Ser Barristan Selby! I love this guy! He's like the Westeros version of Stephen Lang or Jack LaLanne! Old people rule! 

Dany enjoyed a pretty good start to the season, because we should all be honest with ourselves and admit that her storyline in Season 2 was pretty lame.
 


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: "Valar Dohaeris" was definitely the best episode of the season so far! Like, totally better than any of the others. I didn't have any problems with the episode at all, and thought it did a good job of reacquainting us with the series and setting the table for the season. There was no Bran, no Arya, no Jaime, and no Brienne (did I miss anyone major? And don't say Lancel). But we got some great arcs with with the folks we did have, except for Robb and Catelyn's brief appearance. If Game of Thrones wanted to fit all its characters into one episode, each episode would have to be three days long. I prefer more complete arcs contained within an episode instead over weekly short glimpses of everyone. And hey, GIANTS.

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. 



THE BOOK VS. THE SHOW
(NO MAJOR SPOILERS, SO CONSIDER THIS A FAIRLY SAFE HAVEN, "SHOW ONLY" PEOPLE)

– FYI, I've only read slightly into A Feast for Crows (Book 4) because I didn't want to get too far ahead of the show, especially knowing that I'd be covering it for TV.com. So while I know what happens in A Storm of Swords and therefore most of Seasons 3 and 4, I don't know what will happen beyond that and I'd like to keep it that way. 

– Everything is out of order! But I don't have any qualms with that.

– I kind of wanted to see the prologue from the book (some members of the Night's Watch plotting treason) play out. I got super into it when I re-read it. I wanted to see Chett and Small Paul!!!

– Was anyone else disappointed that Mance wasn't strummin' some tunes? I always thought his musicianship was a big part of the introduction of his character. He was way more unassuming, which made the shock of him being the king that much more effective. On the show, he was just sitting in the corner and there was very little misdirection. This Mance appears to be less of a charmer.

– Nice nod to what actually happened to Tyrion in the books when Cersei said she heard he'd lost his nose. But I don't blame them for keeping Tyrion intact, that Dinklage is just too handsome to mess up.

– It's a good thing they made Messandei older in the show, because she's like 10 years old in the book and if a 10-year-old was wearing THAT dress, Chris Hansen would be a regular on the GoT set.

– The reveal of Ser Barristan as Dany's savior was great, because hey, SER BARRISTAN! But in the book, I loved that we didn't know Ser Barristan was the guy who saved her until way later, since we couldn't "see" him. We spent a few chapters with this mysterious old man before we knew it was Ser Barristan because Dany didn't know who he was, and (I believe) Ser Jorah was MIA at the time. The show had no option but to reveal it right away because TV is a visual medium.



Comments Policy: Please, no book spoilers in the comments section. Anyone caught posting a spoiler will get a visit from Mario Lopez and/or a ban from this site. Just be cool.


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Also, correction article writer, Bran was totally in this episode? Do you not recall that scene in the whorehouse near the beginning where Pod (wait, Pod still works for Tyrion?) comes urgently to get Bran to which Bran replies "if you interrupt my sexing any further, you will die."? Honestly at the angle they stopped at, my response would have been the same, no wonder he asked for double the money.

Also, you were forgetting someone important, well technically anyway. Theon! I mean, ok, he may be out of commission sort of, but as far as we're aware he's not dead (has not moved onto any episodes beyond the first one yet mind you, but consider this response apt for when this review came out originally :P) .
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(Late to the party, I know) Bran and Bronn are two different characters; Bran- Ned Stark & Catelyn's middle son that was crippled by Jaime Lannister. Bronn- Tyrion's unsavory sells word.
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The " Melisandre remix edit" was deleted from youtube. What was it? Is it anywhere else?
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A great show that I can recommend to any adult. But any parent who would allow their children to watch this show is a person I'd never want within 100 yards of my children. That's the kind of parent that would bring home hardcore porno DVDs for their kids or sneak them into adult bookstores and that's not a parent. Woe to HBO for marketing this show to kids!
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That was an awful review! Sloppy and sexist bs - get someone else to write please tv.com!
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Did I really see below somebody say Tyrion and Tywin's scene was pointless? Seriously? How can any scene that combines the awesome talents of Charles Dance and Peter Dinklage be pointless? I just watched this scene a few minutes ago and I am still in awe. There is so much to love and behold, in the acting and the dialogue, not to mention the many nuances to both if you care to look or remember. This scene has given me even more appreciation of the conversations between Tywin and Arya. Because there he was, talking with a servant, what he perceived to be a commoner and knew to be a Northerner (and therefore an enemy), and yet he still treats her with more fondness and kindness and respect that he treats his own son.

I have always said that Game of Thrones is a show (and book) about perception. Each character seems different depending on which set of eyes you are looking through. This is the moment you truly see Tywin through Tyrion's eyes, and get a firm sense of the abuse that he has had to suffer probably all his life. Not slight belittling around the war-council table. Not with begrudlingly amiable like when he offered him the Hand of the King role, because he was already thinking of Jaime as a lost cause. No, this is full-on Bastard Tywin at his truest and most abusive worst, and through that we also see a new side to Tyrion. A man known for his quick wit and never at a loss for words forced into silence in the face of his Father, struggling to find his tongue at the start of the conversation and throughout. And even when he does, his sarcasm and remarks have none of their usual confidence and bite. And it isn't just in words, where Tywin bears a look of disgust, hate in his eyes, the pain and disappointment is etched on Tyrion's. Maybe it is not out and out tearful like with Shae at the end of season two, but it is there, amid the stoic mask years of similar abuse has taught him to adopt. This was fine work and great performances by both actors and amazing writing. We've seen Tyrion vulnerable before, but this was Tyrion at probably one of his lowest ebbs, the ebb he has been stuck on his whole life: as a man who wants (almost) nothing more than to be loved and respected by his Father, who knows he will never get it and yet remains hopeful each time an opportunity or encounter arises---be it after successfully fixing all the pipes and plumbing in Casterly Rock or saving King's Landing from invading forces---only to be crushed yet again. But as they say about people at their lowest, the only way is up. This is the moment I believe Tyrion sees that even moving Heaven and Earth wouldn't win his Father's approval, and starts him down the path to come and hopefully to the realisation that perhaps his Father's approval is not approval he should have ever wasted time seeking.

Given all of that, how can anyone call it pointless?

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I thought the episode was pretty weak, on the whole, just a collection of "where are they now" vignettes, with Robb and Catelyn's the most pointless of the bunch.
I liked Daenerys's scenes, also the incomparable Charles Dance as Lord Tywin and the brief appearance by Stannis and Melisandre (Carice Van Houten rocks, see "Black Book" and you'll see what I mean).
I'm not excited at all by Ciaran Hinds joining the cast. I actually didn't care for him as Julius Caesar in Rome, to be honest, and I reckon his performance here will be more of the same. Fortunately Mance Rayder isn't a terribly important character, in my view, so it shouldn't have too much of an impact.
I hope they find more for Oona Chaplin's character to do, she's foxy and a nice variation from the books.
Winter is coming!
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I have a feeling that Ceran Hines (sp) will do exactly what he did when he played Caesar in HBO's Rome, and be AWESOME! This was just the first glimpse; and obviously he's gunna be a bit more reserved and cunning with a "crow" new to the camp.. Inside the little tent, he's all business, and very capable of reading people, and I do believe that he will have a big part in completing the manipulation of Jon to fully turn him into a Wilding. We got a LOT to come from Mance Rayder, I bet..
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Best line of season 2 was Barriston

Barriston: Have no fear, sers. Your boy king Joffrey is safe, no thanks to any of you. Even now, I could cut through the five of ya as easy as a dagger carves cheese
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the giant did look great ('',
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Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) is basically playing the same role as she did when portraying Anne Boleyn on The Tudors.... manipulate the King.... and while it worked for Anne Boleyn initially, it didn't end to well; she kinda lost her head shortly after becoming Queen..... (was there a pun in there) ha :)
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HAHAHAHA... not done reading the review yet, but just wanted to drop a comment real quick and applaud you for the hilarious Freudian analysis of Tywin Lannister's penis size. Now we know the truth; and I can see your point.. haha... I highly doubt the writers even considered that, but it easily could be a subconscious reason for his resentment of Tyrion, or he might think he Lannister juice produced an Imp and blames his penis double time.. No wonder he likes power... if this was modern time, he'd be driving a H2 Hummer fully decked out with a suspension lift and body lift and fiery flames painted on..
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Question: do reviewers get evaluated on number of comments? If that is part of your job evaluation, then does it matter if the comments are positive, negative, neutral or spam?
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I feel like this first episode was a 45 minutes trailer for season 3.

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Well said!
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Don't people understand what makes a great television series more specifically a great season? Sorry if I sound obnoxious in my posts but so many people here are moaning that the FIRST episode of a 10 episode season was not another Blackwater. Blackwater was episode 9 and in tradition with great TV shows the penultimate episode of the season was the blockbuster episode. I think this is because a show builds you up to a big finale so much that the final episode normally fails to meet everyones enormous expectations that a good show has instilled upon the viewer by this point. Have people forgotten that not a lot of action took place in season 02 until the final two episodes? I know you have waited a long time for the show to return but its back now and its a 10 week journey not a 1 week journey. If you are that impatient to know how it all pans out then pick up the books they are an excellent read and you will feel a lot more connection to the characters that aren't the central focus of the TV show. eg. Podd Payne, Tormund Giantsbane (a new fav of mine already).
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I could not possibly agree more!
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I agree too. I don't know anything about the books, but I can't believe that some of the other members are whining that "nothing happened". Makes me wonder what they were watching when I was watching Game of Thrones. It wouldn't have made any sense to throw battles into the first episode. Battles are boring unless we know exactly what's at stake and why we should care about the characters involved. This episode was a great way to get reacquainted with the characters, and find out both what they're doing and what their states of mind are. The scene with Tyrion and Tywin was especially great. This show has a much better way of letting us know who we should dislike than e.g. Revolution, where they will just let us know that a person is evil by having him kill someone who's trying to help him.
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Same here... completely agree... The books brilliantly crafted intricate character arcs that developed them and progressed the story, and the show has to do the same thing.. You could have an all out war with a bunch of action, but if you don't care what happens to the people that get killed in the action, then it feels empty.. The writers know what they are doing
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also one more... Ser Barristan Selmy
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I thought it was strange that they changed the Ravens thing from the book. In the book, he made it a point to send out the ravens, writing many letters, and as he walks through the snow he mutters to himself repeatedly that "at least I did my job, at least I sent the ravens."
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sorry tim but i cant let it slide, Ghost tackles a wight not a white walker.
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Know the difference between heroine and GoT?
GoT makes you an addict.
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Hehe actually there are theories that Aerys raped Tywins wife and Tyrion was the result, and the only reason Tywin didn't kill him straight away is because he wanted to show Aerys he had the little dwarf child and could do whatever he wanted with him. In theory it makes sense. Dwarfism (if you're a ASOIAF fan and read up on history) did turn out in the genetics of the Targaryens. There was at least one dwarf Targaryen. That and Aerys was know to go and take what he wanted in the first place including his own wife whether she was willing or not. So it's not hard to imagine, especially as Tywin would have been in King's Landing with his wife because he was Hand of The King at that point. But there are probably many more reasons why it isn't likely too.

This episode was good, just over too soon. I mean when it ended, me and my cousin were like "Wait! What? It's over already? Geez you made us wait for ages to end it like that?" But that's just the way the cookie crumbles. I'm really glad they've decided to split storm of swords into seasons 3 and 4 rather than trying to squash it all into one season. They'd miss vital points of information. I hope they do the same thing with Dance With Dragons in a way. Although if anyone knows when the next book "The Winds of Winter" is coming out, I would LOVE to know. If George R R Martin has the time to pen episodes for the TV series, he should get off his but (or sit on his but however you wanna put it) and write that next book damn it! If he dies before he finishes the books I will find him, bring him back to life, make him write those books and then kill him again. (nods) Any book fans should be eagerly awaiting ep 9, "The Rains of Castamere" You book fans KNOW what I'm talking about here.
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Which Targaryen was a dwarf?

When Dance was released Martin said that he expected to spend 3 years on Winds - 1 year to promote Dance, then another 2 to finish Winds. That would put the release date as being sometime in 2014. There's been nothing on his blog to really indicate that he's having problems in writing it, so I'd assume that he's on track so far. On his blog he's got an excerpt chapter from it (new as of the end of January).
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Lord I can't even remember now. I read it ages ago. I'll need to recheck it, but I DID see it somewhere. Anywho, I don't want to wait another year or two to read WOW I wanna read it now. LOL!
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Biggest problem with that is that the Targaryens have silver/white hair...even the bastards, from what I can figure.
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Aegor "Bittersteel" Rivers, one of Aegon IV's "Great Bastards" had black hair. He was the son of Barba Bracken. Also, another one of the Great Bastards, Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers, was essentially an albino. He was born to Mylessa Blackwood. Plus there's the whole Jon theory...
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Tyrion's hair is described as white blonde and gold in the books. That and the whole world seems to believe in R+L=J and if THAT turns out to be true, Jon Snow has black hair. LOL!
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Dude! Your theory about the reason behind Tywin's hatred for his son is both awesomely twisted and terribly perfect.... I don't know if you're a genius or just sick but your idea's surely so spot-on!!!
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The episode title is Valar Dohaeris ("everyone must serve", the traditional response to Valar Morghulis, "everyone must die"). Name the one character you think of when you see that; the character in the books who is listed as the POV character for the chapters where this phrase is found. Name the major character we didn't see in this episode.
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Arya, the child assassin to be. I wonder if we'll see her entering the assassin guild this season which would be way cool.
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Cat? Nymeria? Salty? Nan? Weasel? The Ghost of Harrenhal? No one? Horseface? Arry? ...

Wait, I've got it! ... Nope, just lost it.
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Don't forget Beth, usually pre-fixed with an alliterative adjective
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I think I also forgot she-wolf and wolf-bitch.
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Does anyone get how it is possible for an hour to feel this short? I mean there is not even any major plot happening and I read the books, still the hour is just like gone... in 5 min
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please correct the following: Ser Barristan SELMY.
DORNE.
And thank you again for an amazing review!
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Best line of the episode...
Bronn: "Ser Meryn Brant, and Ser Who's'it from Who Cares!"
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was great to have it back, and great review! i particularly enjoyed "hoe-to-hoe" :)
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It may didn't has a lot of action and stuff but this "Premiere" has a lot of Awesome conversations and character developments!
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Lol. Worst. Review. Ever. Talk about Tywin Lannister's penis some more. It's edgy and shows how clever you are. Really, it was just that funny.
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C'mon, people, leave your fanatical prejudice behind. The premiere was not great, may be gooder than few worst episodes of 2 season. Premiere had few empty scenes (just to show a face I guess) - scene with Rob was just to show a face of Robb (how is he doing), so as opening (just to show Walker burning), so as Sansa's sitting and arguing with bitchy cranky Shae (who thinks she's not a whore) to show that Sansa changed her mind about going home (again?). Dani scene was okay with some intrigue but it was just Dany shopping (again? - she was shopping whole 2 season!). And citing Tim - Premiere wasn't "like, totally better than any others". There are too many characters, it has impact on the show. I hope GoT not gonna lose its stem. Because premiere had some alarming signs .
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the show is taken from books, books do not begin all out action and eye candy feast because you are reading a story and it needs to set the scene first and that is what the premiere was. Would you prefer they give us the ending of the season in the first episode? The characters plots for the 3rd book need time to be pan out and personally I think they did a good job on setting up the babysteps and letting the viewer know what to expect from each characters storylines this season.
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Yeah I don't need action packed episodes, I'm all for character driven episodes with long tense talks and staring at horizon while tense or dreamy music is playing. But I don't want to see Robb entering (who knows from where?) his people's fortress (or castle?) packed with dead bodies and... that's it. Talks should be felt as necessary, it should make a lot a sense. GoT mustn't follow books step by step, it's not good, it's bad idea. It's tv show, cinematographic visual product. It works differently. Books develop story slowly, capturing reader word by word, chapter by chapter. But Tv show with 10 episodes? C/mon. They need to pack 55 characters in just 10 epsiodes and tell some convincing story about all of them, not wasting priceless minutes on talks and walks that can be cut.
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HA, you said "gooder"
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I hope they plan to do with Bronn as they did with Ros. She has taken in some roles and actions of several smaller characters in the books, only to have a much larger role in the show. She's great in it so yay.
Bronn and Tyrion have good chemistry, so here's hoping they do the same for him, otherwise I fear his time on the show is going to be very limited after the knighthood.
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And this is all we've been waiting for? WTF? You must be very talanted writer in order to write such a big (and by big a mean LONG!) review for this episode...Not much happened in it. Or maybe if you need to write about clothes it's not only because they were great, but there was nothing else you can really write about. I was disappointed. After all this waiting people have expectations or at least me. This is the 3rd season not the 1st if you know what I mean. Giants and dragons? I want more! I want battles, action, effects, people, big scenes...Like in Spartacus maybe or no this is Game of thrones - it should be better...Not in this episode or maybe not this season I don't know yet. Maybe I should just read the books and be done with it....more+
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if you want eye candy go back to spartacus, Game of Thrones is a story about people and depth of the human character first and foremost.
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I never wanted to compare Spartacus with GOT based on their similarities but because of the differences. GOT has more fans, more advertisement, you have to wait more for GOT to come up with next season and yet it is not better and this is frustrating. This is the show that everyone talks about and wait and with every season I just can't see the reason why. The first season was impeccable and yet now it is not! It's getting so "deep" that you lose interest. At least I do! Maybe you have to see Spartacus especially the 1st and the 3th season to know what I mean, and why I make the comparison. And if you decide to watch it...Enjoy the "eye candy" :)
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GOT is awesome but please don't denigrate Spartacus to just "eye candy"--it also is a story about people and depth of human character (especially this season which is not all black and white but instead various shades of grey). You can have both action and a story of people/humanity. I think this will play out in GOT and this is just the first episode of the season.
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i apologise i cannot really comment as I have never seen Spartacus but from what I have through clips etc it seems there is a lot of action and violence just for the sake of violence. I admit though that is just a first impression as I have never seen a full episode and I don't often see the fan base talking about the amazingly deep storyline scenes on the message boards like you get with Game of Thrones.
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that is probably why spartacus has never interested me, I'm not a big fan of the 300 style of glorified violence. Was still well worth watching though as otherwise that South Park episode wouldn't have been so piss-myself-laughing funny. That just down to personal taste though, one day I may give Spartacus a go. I did try once but the seasons are titled correct? And when I was in the store looking I did not know the chronology so I gave it a miss. Shoulda just looked at the Copyright date I guess.
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no problem...all is well;-) Both shows are awesome!

Both are great shows but very different. Spartacus has a large fan base but nowhere near the size of GOT. Just looking at this site's reviews of this season you will see lots of discussions about character development and character complexities however Spartacus is somewhat limited by having to represent historical "facts"...a fictionalized version of history. Within that scope it is fairly deep but GOT has more freedom since it is not grounded in history and is all fantasy.

I'm a fan of both shows. You are right that Spartacus has eye candy but it also has complex characters and intelligent plots/characters/dialogue etc... There is usually a purpose to the violence (not violence for the sake of violence) but it is glorified (imo) similar to the violence in the movie 300 (relevant violence to the plot but made "beautiful" [glorified] in the way it is filmed)
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Having read the book 3 i find it easier to follow the episode and understand most of the characters as they did not deviate from the books, My only disappointment is Mance Rayder introduction was not as jolly as he was projected in the books, The prologue should have been better like the previous seasons. Its too earlier to judge the season as the episode was all about setting up stories for the rest of the season but i hope for more action in the future.
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I love all the backlash over the "women" jokes in the review. Silly women, lighten up. They're jokes. I'll be one of the first to admit Tim is a complete idiot that clearly wasn't breastfed enough as a child. But even I found his dig at Tywin's small penis quite funny. And not entirely farfetched. Men can be petty like that. Also, if I point out that "woman logic" is a complete oxymoron, does that get me some backlash too? :)
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I see more men speaking against Tim in reality. How interesting that since you like his kind of stupidity, you immediately spoke out against women and stereotyped them.
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Dany has the way to be a real queen: what a character and beauty !!! What a pleasure to see her!!
And the dragons are lovely. You just want to give them a hug (well, just in thoughts).
I suppose it was not possible to see everybody in this first episode like Aria and co.
Brillant episode. I'm in Book 1 at the moment: very rich story indeed but no smooth reading. This serie is without a doubt one of my three preferred tv shows together with Spartacus and The Walking Dead.
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I'm surprised you included TWD after this last season and it's horrible finale...otherwise agree with you about Dany & the dragons and all the rest...
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I agree with that TWD is going south since a while (about half of season 3 in ly opinion), but I still love for what it can be.
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Dany is looking more like a crazy Tyrant/Targaryen in the making than a noble Queen in the making. In my opinion.
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A tyrant that want to free slaves? now there's a mind boggler.
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There is a big difference between what Dany says she wants, and what she actually does. Besides she has that "I'm an UberTarg, I shall herd you sheep" mentality going already hehe ;)
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Was anyone else a little disappointed with the casting of Tormund Giantsbane?
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Quite the opposite, I thought that was the best part of the whole Jon and Mance scene. Whilst Mance is also a great casting I thought they could of done the conversation a lot better.
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YOU MISSED TWO VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE. Firstly you missed Varys. Missed u bro.

AND SECONDLY YOU MISSED HODOR. HOW COULD YOU?? You're awful. Hodor is the best.
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I like that you pointed out Cersei's comment about Tyrion's nose. It was my favorite line of the episode. And I also liked what you said about Selmy and the slow reveal in the book. But the big question for me on that topic is, where the hell is Belwas?
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"Was anyone else disappointed that Mance wasn't strummin' some tunes? " Totally, and I agree it´s a very important part of the charachter
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I would say I enjoy Tim's reviews of GOT almost as much as the show itself. It's a habit to come here right after watching it.
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Once again, excellent character work on this show, but the enormous scope of the show is starting to be too much for me. It's hard to follow everything that is going on, and I have trouble keeping track of everybody. On the flip side, the show always does a fantastic job with the stories we see on each episode, and the cast certainly makes the very most of them. I'm curious what the stand alone episode will be, or in other words, what will be the "Blackwater" episode this season? Most episodes are multi-arc structured and don't really have a stand alone quality to them, but there is at least one episode every season that has a stand out quality to it, not counting the finale. I'm rambling too much, so in short, welcome back Game of Thrones!
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read the books...
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Don't throw that at me. Maybe I will someday, but I still love the show, even if I think there is too much going on sometimes.
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I think she means that if you have read book 3, you know what event will be the big "Blackwater!" of the season. :)
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Oh right. I'll wait and see, but based on small tidbits I've read, I have a slight idea on what it might be. I'm not looking any further past that.
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Hoe-to-hoe convesation? Woman's logic? Seriously Tim. Seriously you give me an impression of a caveman. "Duuuuh if her vagina was any bigger she wouldn't have died...duuuh stupid broad! next wife I take better have a enormous vagina for my ginormous PENIS because hell baby, if you can't take it, aint nobody's fauly but yours DUUUH"

seriously.
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Great episode anyway. Shouldn't have read this review afterwards if I didn't want to be so pissed. Oh well.
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'best episode so far' because it's the only episode of the season, but for me WORST EPISODE EVER, in fact fell asleep twice watching it.
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very disappointing episode, what happen to the Wind Walkers we saw at the end of S2, the whole conversation between Tyrion and Tywin it was pointless, I could on but it would be pointless think I will skip the show and read the books!!
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The conversation between Tyrion and Tywin is definitely not pointless....but you will probably have to wait till season 4 to find out why.
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It was. We already knew that Tywin hated his son and we already knew why he took Hand from him. There was a slightly more depth to the scene than before, but not enough to make it worthwhile to put in there, like this entire episode. Everything was pointless and so many continuity issues I mentioned in a much earlier post of mine.
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SunshineSlayer is correct the scene is most certainly not pointless. Its the point where Tyrion realises once and for all that no matter how well he does in anything (saving the city, unscrewing his other family members screw ups) he will never be respected as a Lannister, in fact in his fathers' eyes he will always be less than even a man.

"The gods humbled me" part is in the books and I was waiting for it the whole conversation because it drives home Tywin's true disgust.

Best scene in the episode in my opinion.
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@JMC31488
That is a terrible thing when it happens, fortunately I don't agree that this is the case with GoT.

Weren't we talking about the importance of this scene? I think its important, you do not, no amount of discussion seems to convince either of us any differently.

The show is not spoon feeding. It was one average episode, they can't all be the Blackwater.
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I don't like when shows start to dumb down their storyline and character development so they can spoon feed it to people that can't do 2+2=4. Typically a show loses it's quality and nosedives when it caters to that demographic that needs to have their hand held through such things.
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@JMC31488 below

As I said it seems as if you arrived at this realization before this scene but this is not the case for most. Check below at FlorBlyth's comment which sums up exactly my point from someone who hasn't read the books.

Although I understand your point about it not being as clear cut as when we can hear the inner workings of Tyrion's mind I still think it translates through in his actions/reaction in the TV show.
They have never discussed Casterly Rock or his true standing and so in my opinion it is not until this scene that we have true clarification on the matter. And as I have said many times this is why to me and others it is an important scene.

Clearly you feel differently and do not give the scene such importance. I think its best to agree to disagree as I place much more stock in this defining exchange than you do. Each to their own I guess.
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You just gave the biggest reason we cannot equally compare the book to the show. We can "hear" their thoughts in the book. They can't do that on the TV unless they start giving us a voice-over, which would be tacky for them. So, while in the book you understand he just now came to this realization, you cannot say it is the same in the show. I feel it was VERY apparent long before that scene about his father's feelings because we cannot hear any inner dialogue from a character.

Now, in the book, with the inner dialogue you stated, this would be a very powerful scene. That is lost when translated to the screen because of the loss of inner dialogue.

It's hard to watch something after you have read something and not bring up or infer the differences between them. For those that have not read the book, this scene means less than if you did read the book. This is why I said that bringing up the book in a discussion about the show is not always a valid option.
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@JMC31488 below

Whilst you might think it was clear of his standing it is not until this scene that Tyrion realizes his true standing. This is most definitely true in the books and as the scene is directly from there I can't help but think this is the point in the show as well when it all comes crashing home.

If you think it didn't teach you anything new then maybe the earlier scenes did more to put down Tyrion that they were meant to, for you.

When the show does a new scene not in the books then the use of the books is not so relevant, this is not the case with this scene and as we get the inner working of Tyrion's thought process during this exchange in the books I can unequivocally confirm that this scene is when he realizes his hopes of redemption in his father's eyes are for naught and as such the scene is far from pointless.
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Yes, you can use the books as a reference until the show diverts or is different. Once the show does, you cannot say "this is what happened in the books" and I wanted to be clear on that.

By, "They ARE Lanisters." I meant that the entire family is incredibly vain. Tyrion, having been born with dwarfism, would immediately be outside the family circle because of that vanity. Nobody said 'Imp' to his face, but neither did anybody in his family ever try to stop the nickname from spreading. They could have if they wanted, but they didn't care about him because they thought him ugly.

The lack of respect has always been there. Just because Tywin said, "You may be the lowest of the Lannisters but you are still a Lannister" doesn't mean he was speaking the truth. His actions betrayed those words. I never believed those words from the time he said them.

Even if you were to believe the words, like a normal family there is the Main branch and a side branch of cousins. Tywin is the main branch and by saying Tyrion is at the lowest of the Lannisters, it means he is even below the side branch. Which puts him right in the league of that recent scene between them. If Tywin believes him to be the lowest, he would never give him anything above that. So, a thoughtful in-depth analysis of that short sentence also represents everything about the relationship between Tywin and Tyrion.

That's why the scene was pointless in giving us any new context. It gave people what was already given, but in a different point of view. The hatred, disgust and vanity against Tyrion has already been displayed by his family and it didn't need to be reiterated.
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@JMC31488 below:
Yes they are two different works but the books define the show so it clearly can always be used as a reference point for scenes, especially when the scene is almost one to one in both works.

The previous interaction between Tywin and Tyrion have shown Tywin's lack of respect but this is the scene where it is finally confirmed to Tyrion that he can NEVER earn the standing he deserves.

In previous scenes: Tywin: "you may be the lowest of the Lannisters but you are still a Lannister"
However now we know that Tywin won't even acknowledge his son's rights and his deserved inheritance. That is why it is not pointless.

Tyrion should be nearing about 30 at a maximum but the ages are all out of whack in the show so who knows.

"Before Tyrion ever entered that room I knew his father would NEVER respect him in any aspect. They ARE Lanisters." -JMC31488
This confuses me slightly, it seems to imply that Tywin wouldn't respect him BECAUSE he's a Lannister (?), which in fact couldn't be further from the truth. Tywin is driven by only one thing, the glory of house Lannister, he hates that Jaime took the white of the Kinsguard but still loves/respects him. He also probably knows that Stannis has not been spreading lies and Cersei is an incestuous fool who has birthed bastards, but he loves/respects her as a Lannister. He does not and can not love or respect Tyrion despite his Lannister name because of;
a) his dwarfism
b) his whoring (not just Shae but a much larger back story of young Tyrion that has of yet not been explored)
c) the death of Joanna Lannister (Tywin's wife) during Tyrion's birth
This scene drives that point firmly home for Tyrion. And that is why it is important, there is no going back on the denial of his rights. It is Tyrion's realization of this that makes it important, this being the first time ever that Casterly Rock and his Lordship of it has been discussed.


Just so we are clear I thought the episode was pretty average but was mainly a building block, I am not defending the episode (in fact if you scroll down I wrote an essay critiquing quite a bit of it). What I am contesting is the importance of this scene.
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First off, book =/= tv show. Yes, it is based off it and I'm sure they are sticking as close as they can, but they are two different works and MUST be seen that way. I'm sure the scene in the book for that part was much better and so when you see it on-screen you relate to the book instantly. I'll read them at a later time, but as far as what happened in the TV, it was irrelevant. Everything that happened in that room had already been established prior to that scene. They just summed it up in one scene and it's to be praised? I will give that it was the best scene in the episode, but that entire episode was shit, so it easily stood out.

Tyrion already knew his father hated him. I think being 30? 40? He would have figured that part out now. So, the scene wasn't needed for the character. They already went over the discourse between him and his father in previous episodes, so it wasn't needed for viewers. The entire episode was a recap and that's why it sucked.

Before Tyrion ever entered that room I knew his father would NEVER respect him in any aspect. They ARE Lanisters. So, yes, like the rest of the episode, it was pointless because they already displayed the detest his father has for him. If you don't pay attention at all, are really dense, or just starting the show, then that episode is there for those people. Easy test to see if anything happened that is worthwhile in an episode: Can you NOT watch the episode and then watch the next one and feel like you are right on track? Answer is: yes. Nothing happened in the entire episode and that part is lost in the glamor of the show being back on and people just being too excited to actually watch the episode.
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By far my favourite scene of the episode. And anyone who says it was pointless clearly hasn't read the books.
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I haven't read the books, but I certainly didn't think it was pointless either. Tyrion seems to be a very smart and sometimes even soft man, ; it was heatbreaking IMO, to have your own dad say things like that to your face must be devastating and Peter Dinklage made an awesome performance showing how much that conversation hurted. It's most defenitely a pivotal point in his character, from now on this must be the voice he hears in the back of his head and will determine whatever action is to be taken ahead. Most definetely not pointless sir.
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Yeah, I know you can't show everybody in a 1-hr episode, but no Arya? I can list a dozen other characters I'd shove unceremoniously off a cliff to make room for her.
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i much prefer showing something tangible about Arya than the 2 mins appearance of most of the characters that happened in the premiere
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Tim, were you high when you wrote this? This review is really yhctib and stupid. You didn't even spell Dorne right.
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And Selmy.
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"Winter is Coming."

We've all heard that one before. In MANY different ways. I would warrant that everyone and their Maester has seen the countless memes floating about the internet (http://memegenerator.net/Winter-Is-Coming). I would even go so far to say that quote has gotten as much milage as a King's Landing whore on the Golden Cloaks payday (sorry, I had to reach my "Tim" joke quota). It has been 301 very long days and 301 terribly dark nights since we last saw a new episode of the best fantasy television show ever made (that's right, I said it! what of it?). But the cold and lonely winter of GoT fans discontent is OVER! It is fitting that the 1st episode of the 3rd season should fall on the 301st day since its last showing. Here in the North (Canada) the icy grip of winter is just starting to relinquish its dickish grasp, and I can think of no better metaphor for the hope and renewal of spring than the beginning of a new season of boobs, blood, banter (did I say boobs?) and battle amidst the boisterous backdrop of Westeros (my poetic imagination tends to lean toward the macabre... and perverse). For the next 5 fortnights (or 10 weeks for common folk) I will gluttonously gorge myself on the sights and sounds of this truly spectacular show, drinking it all in and savouring every last drop, Cersei-style. Screw wine! I'm drunk on GoT!

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

TYRION:

Fuck you, Tywin! By the God(s) that felt good to write! I read ASoS quite a while ago and have hated Tywin with a blistering passion since ACoK, but that hatred never quite translated to the show. His wonderful (and book divergent) conversations with Arya at Harrenhal seemed to subtly soften his cold and menacing exterior. He was still a ruthless and commanding presence, but those talks humanized him. Not to mention the first scene he was introduced he was skinning a stag (symbolism!) while discussing battle plans. If that's not badass, then nothing is. So even though I bloodthirstily wanted book-Tywin's head on Pod's pike, I respected and begrudgingly liked show-Tywin, which was a little conflicting for me.

NOT ANY MORE!

That vindictive and spiteful ass of a father finally showed his true colours, and they're not gold or crimson but a motley of black. He views Tyrion as a curse, a freak, a punishment and a jape of the Gods. He thinks Tyrion's mere existence is a pox on his House and a casts a pall on the name Lannister. Say it with me now:

FUCK YOU, TYWIN!

Without the heroic and tactically brilliant actions of Tyrion, King's Landing would be giving Winterfell a run for its burnt down money OR Stannis, a.k.a. The red-pussy-whipped-one, would be sitting on the Iron Throne with his Red Lady in his lap. But does he get any recognition? Some "bloody gratitude"? No. He gets tossed aside and forgotten like an old toy or an unpleasant memory. Tyrion saved King's Landing. We know this. Lord Varys knows this. But his father would rather die than allow him his birthright. What. An. Asshole. I can't wait until the littlest lion is in his natural element again, cutting down his enemies with a barb or cleverly placed quip, and destroying them with his intellect. If Tyrion wasn't your favourite character before, then in the words of stanking: "You're doing it wrong."

(Finally, I just want to say that having re-read the first few chapters of ASoS before I watched the premier, the scene with Tyrion and Tywin was spot on. Nearly word for word at times. My only complaint is they didn't bring up Tysha. She weighs on Tyrion's mind much more heavily in the books and her memory provides strong motivations for some of Tyrion's important/crazy future decisions. Don't forget about Tysha, show!)

MELISANDRE/STANNIS:

Oh, these two lovebirds are the best! He wants to rule the seven kingdoms with an iron fist, and she wants to be the sexy sorceress in the shadows pulling the strings behind the throne. He's an unforgiving and hard man. She likes to make men hard while staring into the prophetic(?) flames. They're perfect for each other!

And I don't know about all my nerdy, Dothraki speaking, GoT fan brethren, but Melisandre DOES it for me. I'd burn people alive for her, if you know what I mean (okay, no I wouldn't, but she's REALLY hot. I'd at least very harshly scald some people for her). What can I say? I guess dark magic turns me on.

GoT HOT Rankings:

#1. Melisandre
#2. Ygritte Kissedbyfire
#3. Margaery Tyrell
#4. Daenerys Targaryen
#5. Sansa Stark
#6. Brienne of Tarth (That's right! Nothing's hotter than a woman who can break you in two.)

(Note: Cersei is not present because she's a horrible human being, and I find that to be incredibly unattractive... What? Just because Melisandre burns people alive doesn't make her a bad person. She's just really, REALLY religious. Like the Catholics were during the Spanish Inquisition... Okay, that's not helping. Shadow babies!)

I'm also fascinated by her Lord of Light, R'hollor. I mean, what IS the deal with Gods on this show? My terribly lovely Red Lady prays to this guy, R'hollor, and she's obviously got some mad power (shadow babies, anyone?), so is this God guy for real in the context of the show? Does GRRM have a Greek thing going on with Gods being more than just metaphorical? I don't know, but it's kind of fun to speculate. I know Tim was joking that Melisandre had the audacity to claim Davos cost Stannis the Battle of the Blackwater because he convinced him to leave her behind, but I'm of the opinion that she wasn't bullshitting. I truly believe Melisandre and her magic vagina could have prevented the spread of wildfire and possibly turned the tide of the battle. We'll never know for sure, but again, SHADOW BABIES!

JON SNOW/YGRITTE:

Oh, these two lovebirds are the (second) best! He's trying to infiltrate and ingratiate himself into the wildling camp to honour his vows of the Night Watch and protect the suckled Southerners from White Walkers and dirty people. (Wildling definition of a Southerner: "Anyone below The Wall.") And she may not have any dastardly schemes up her sleeves, but being "kissed by fire" more than makes up for her lack of machinations. He knows nothing. She likes to remind him of that fact. They're perfect for each other!

I loved Jon's reaction to the giant! Ygritte was all like "First time, champ?" Haha! She's great. And Tim, I may think this review was a little... off, but I'm totally with you on that gorgeous-giant-CGI. He was beautiful to behold! I also think the offhand and casual manner in which the giant was presented is significant. Remember the simpler/boring times when Game of Thrones could have been mistaken for medieval Europe? Those days are long, long gone. Which is fantastic!

I can't get over some people's disappointment with how Game of Thrones chooses to allocate its money. There can't be an epic battle scene every episode, complainers! We've now got dragons, direwolves, giants, White Walkers (on horseback), wights and sure to be more magical creatures, and they look GOOD. Not Melisandre good, but pretty damn impressive. I've also read that GoT is shot in SEVERAL different locations SIMULTANEOUSLY! They're in Ireland, Spain, Morocco, Iceland, Croatia, Malta and many other places. What other TV show can boast that? This show is simply stunning, whether it be a sweeping shot of the snowy tundra of the North, or Dany's dragons skimming the sea. I don't know how the showrunners pull it off with only a TV show budget, but they're doing an amazing job.

ROBB: Still a badass.

CERSEI: Still a bitch.

JOFFREY: Still a twat.

GHOST: Still my favourite man/wight-eating Direwolf.

ARYA/BRAN/JAIME/BRIENNE: Miss you guys! (Especially Arya.)

MARGAERY TYRELL:

That orphanage bit was definitely a PR stunt, but she didn't seem out of place among the lowly commoners. Either she's a phenomenal actress, or she's a scheming Queen-wannabe whom happens to also have a heart of gold. Oh, and that dress she was wearing was smoking hot! I may have to move her up on my "GoT HOT Rankings."

DAENERYS TARGARYEN:

It's been said they Dany's storyline last season was a little tedious, and in all honesty, kind of boring. She's in a desert. She's in Quarth. Oh wait, somebody stole her dragons! Who could it be? And who even cares? Not me! I especially disliked the House of the Undying scene. It was WAAAAAAAAAY too easy for her to reclaim her dragons. In the book it was substantially more difficult and MUCH more complicated. There were all these visions, tests and prophecies with layers upon layers of metaphors. It was crazily awesome. But all she had to do in the show was turn down her Dothraki dream-king and telepathically command her dragons to spitfire that sorcerer guy to hell. Easy-peasy and one giant letdown.

BUT

Without going into detail or giving too much away, seasons 3&4 should prove to be exponentially more compelling for the Khaleesi and her seasick Khalisar. I mean, she's already in a new city (Astapor), she's considering the acquisition of a slave army, and some guy got his nipple cut off, all in one episode! In the last season she was still wandering in the desert like a beggar, so things are looking up on the continent not named Westeros.

Oh yeah, and her dragons are getting bigger! (Yay!) Nice moves, Drogon! Lookin' good, Rhagal! Stay scaly, Viserion! I love you fire-breathing monsters!

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

All things considered, "Valar Dohaeris" was a perfect reintroduction to GoT's loveable and despicable characters alike. The board is set. The game is afoot. My favourite way to spend a Sunday night is back!
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FUCK YOU, TYWIN!
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Dude, if you're really in Canada you know that "Winter Never Left"!
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I wrote "winter is JUST starting to relinquish its dickish grasp." Where I live IN CANADA the temperature has been hovering around 4/5 for the high and -1/0 for the low. So, yeah, go Canada!
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As others have stated below, you should be the one reviewing this show.

Amazing read from start to finish. Tim, take notes.
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completely agree! Informative, funny, and most important, not irritating...now if only he could insert photos:-)
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I knew there was something missing! And I usually love Tim's reviews (and his sense of humor), but this one felt off for some reason. Not that it was bad, per se, just... off.
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Thank you so much! It's responses like these which make my epic comments worth it.
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You should start reviewing instead of Tim!
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Thank you!
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I honestly don't understand why tv.com hasn't hired you as a writer yet
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Jealousy? ;)
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Gotta love your enthusiasm! GoT is back and it was goooood - even the smaller scenes were perfect. Loved the bit with SER Bronn coming (very reluctantly) to help his damsel Tyrion - those White Cloaks wouldn't have had a chance!
BTW did you notice how thin Roose Bolton and Arnolf Karstarck were? Months of battles and sieges were carved into their faces. Bolton(and his bastard son for that matter) is a great cast with his cold eyes.
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There's only four swordsman in Westeros who would stand a chance against Bronn, and those two White Cloaks aren't among them!

GoT is good at the big things and small things alike. Loved the attention to detail with Bolton and his bastard. Nice call on the cold dispassionate eyes!
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at present... Ser Barriston? Jamie? Brienne? and The Hound? As I understand it Stannis is more of a commander although a good fighter in his own right and Jon and Robb do struggle to compete with great fighters, yes they keep up but don't seem to overpower skilled fighters easily. Robb admitted as much when Jamie challenged him after taken captive. Loras is a tourney fighter up until the war.
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Oh, and what about Daario Naharis? I'd put him with a chance too. Renowned sell-sword, equally quick and skilled, and probably one of the few who'd willingly fight as underhandedly and without honour as Bronn in order to achieve victory.
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Drat! I came along all smug to reveal The Mountain as a yet-unnamed contender to defeat Bronn, one of the few men even Bronn himself knows he cannot defeat, but seems FF already mentioned below. Usurped again!
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nova,FF and Mintberry - you mentioned all candidates, even Ser Loras, Hotah, Ser Oakhart and the Red Viper with the assumption to be still alive and in Westeros, right?
But if we do this I have to add two fearsome fighters who I believe are at least on par with the rest, if not THE BEST:
- Ser Randyll Tarly, the cruel father of Sam and his Valyrian Greatsword, infamously ferocious and
- Ser Howland Reed. Nobody knows about him in Westeros but according to Ned Stark he bested Ser Arthur Dayne - and the Sword of the Morningstar was the best knight ever.
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@MintberryCrunch - Yeah, good call. I'm sure Arys Oakheart would agree.
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Ha I like it, so leaving out the awesome Ser Barristan "Even now I could cut through the five of you like carving a cake"

There are indeed a few, obviously Jaime, both Sandor and Gregor Clegane and Brienne. But I think you are both being harsh on Ser Loras, he's basically Jaime come again and as badass as they made Bronn I reckon Loras would do the job.

Oberyn as well. Dam I can't wait for THAT fight.

But the one you haven't mentioned who is a personal favourite and could quite possible open Bronn up is Aero Hotah and his steel wife.

Oh also Victarion Greyjoy is pretty badass, harder one to call I suppose
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AWESOME!

I was purposefully ambiguous as to who I think could best Bronn in a fight, specifically because I hoped someone would guess the four Westerosian (Westerosi?) swordsman I had in mind.

You're 3 out of 4! And I commend you in leaving out Ser Barristan. Very observant to detail!

I do indeed believe The Hound, Brienne and Jaime (at the moment) could beat Bronn in a one-on-one duel. Jon and Robb, though both competent and impressive fighters in their own right, are not on the same level as the people I previously mentioned. And Loras, as you insightfully wrote, is more of a tourney fighter. Plus, we already know Brienne has his number, so Jaime and The Hound are clearly better, and I think Bronn is a step above, as well.

The final swordsman I was thinking of is none other than The Mountain That Rides, Gregor Clegane.

BUT

After writing that I realize there is a fifth whom deserves to be mentioned. Prince Oberyn Martell. I definitely think The Red Viper could give Bronn a run for his money.
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Arya could have been up there if Syrio was still around.
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And technically Ser Barristan isn't on Westeros atm so does he not count. Essos i'm sure has the Dothraki so I'm sure there's plenty as good if not better than Bronn there.
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Insanely happy this show is back and I am going to try my hardest to just forget the books. I loved season 1 but had a hard time with season 2 because I wanted them to follow the books to the letter, but I know they can't. So I will have to let it go. Really like the Dany part so far, the changes seem to work! Lord Mormont was awesome as always and poor Sam. But Cercei! How I have missed you. You play the game of thrones with such vigor and vile and I love you for it. No excuses, no pity, no explanations, she just sees this Westeros world for what it is and goes for it. Can't wait to see Lena Heady play her to perfection once again.
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Awesome review Mr Surette! Can't say I loved it more than the episode (because, you know, GIANTS!) but very much looking forward to your next one :)
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"A mysterious cloaked old man, who later revealed himself to be the one and only Ser Barristan Selby!"

Hey, Tim, I think you mean Ser Barristan Selmy. ;) I totally agree about completely loving the guy, both from the books and the show. He may be old, but he's a bad-ass, and they were fools to dismiss him from the Kingsguard. As for the book not revealing who he was right away: If I remember correctly Ser Jorah was around. However, while he knows the name of Barristan the Bold, it's been many years since he was exiled from the Seven Kingdoms. I don't remember if he had ever seen Ser Barristan in person, or just heard of him, but even if he had seen him it's possible he wouldn't recognize him from it being so many years.

Absolutely loved this episode. So excited for Dany's story this season, especially. It's so much better than her story in season 2. Her story worked well in the second book, but didn't adapt to screen nearly as well as some of the other stuff.
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"We endured THREE months of cold weather..." (emphasis added)
"It was sooooooooo long!" (out of order, but meaning stands)
ಠ_ಠ

This cannot possibly be relevant to everyone. It's not even relevant to those only in the northern hemisphere. Heck it's probably not even relevant to all of the US. And just what constitutes "cold weather" for you, Tim?
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Good ep, love all the stories so far. Joffrey is suck a jerk he doesn't even see that Margaery is trying to help him. Davos is too loyal for his own good, hope he escapes.
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