Summary: News reaches King's Landing of the red wedding. Tyrion speaks with Tywin and learns of his role in the red wedding. Jaime returns to Cersei. Varys asks Shae to leave. Bran continues heading north and runs into Sam. Ygritte shoots Jon with arrows out of frustration but doesn't kill him. Jon returns to Castle Black. Arya kills her first man after she overhears him talking about the red wedding. Roose Bolton is named Warden of the North. His bastard Ramsay continues torturing Theon. Yara prepares to save him. Davos saves Gendry when he learns that Stannis plans to burn him. Stannis orders Davos to die, but Davos reveals the threat north of The Wall. Melisandre tells Stannis that Davos still has a part to play. Dany is worshipped by the Yunkai slaves she freed.
The Good: This was a quiet finale, but still a strong one, and honestly after the previous episode's events, a quieter episode was certainly necessary.
The direct fallout of the red wedding was pretty good. It was suitably horrific seeing Robb paraded around with Grey Wind's head stitched to his body, and Arya's reaction was heartbreaking as expected. Arya has gone through a lot and she is slowly turning into a cold-blooded killer, and her first steps towards this occurred when she gets her first kill in the episode's best scene (see: Best Moment).
The other scenes following up on the red wedding were very good too. I really enjoyed the council meeting at King's Landing. Joffrey was suitably elated but he quickly turned to anger after he was pressed by both Tyrion and Tywin to start behaving like a proper king. The scene was very tense and I loved seeing Tywin put Joffrey in his place in an extremely subtle manner. Better yet was the scene between Tywin and Tyrion afterwards as its revealed that Tywin was also heavily responsible for the red wedding, as he orchestrated the entire event. Tyrion's disgust at this is easy to understand, but Tywin's cold dismissal of his criticisms is terrific, and I think the show has done a fantastic job of making us understand both of these characters so that we know why they behave the way they do. And to add on to the scene's quality, both characters can actually be viewed in a sympathetic light depending on your perspective, allowing the show to explore some fascinating grey territory, a necessary development after such a seismic and horrific event took place in the last episode.
The other scenes in King's Landing were solid too. I liked seeing Tyrion and Sansa bond a little more and grow closer only for it to be ruined by news of Robb's death. Sansa's reaction was appropriately sad and necessary as we needed at least a little bit of time for the characters to mourn the losses. Jaime's reunion with Cersei was a good moment too. Had it been a season prior, I wouldn't have cared much, but the excellent handling of Jaime's character this season made that a standout scene. Lastly, I also liked Varys telling Shae to leave. I'm not sure if Tyrion had ordered him to tell her this, and it would be interesting if Varys genuinely does care enough for Tyrion to try to get Shae to safety by his own will.
The scenes with Davos on Dragonstone were very good too. Davos is a fantastic character, and I really loved seeing him continuing to follow his heart to do what's right. He is easily one of the most likable characters on the show, and he brings a sense of reality to Stannis' storyline to make me invested. Without him, I really wouldn't care at all. His decision to help Gendry was great as I easily understood why he would do it despite knowing he would have to face the consequences. Of course, Shireen was as sweet as ever and her friendship with Davos remains really good.
Surprisingly, Bran received a central role in this episode and I believe he got more screen-time than anybody else. I really enjoyed his story about how the gods treated those who killed guests under their roof, as it assured us that vengeance will be coming for the Freys and hopefully the Boltons as well. I'm not sure how long we will have to wait, but I absolutely need to see them die violently before the show ends. Back to Bran though, I liked him running into Sam as it provided us with some fresh interactions, which were much-needed for both the Sam and the Bran storylines. Furthermore, I'm much more intrigued by Bran's mission to the north, and I suspect that he may put on a more important role in future seasons (see: The Unknown).
There were a few other scenes I really enjoyed. Roose and Walder's conversation was great as both remain some of the most hated characters in the show. I was pleased that we got confirmation on Ramsay's identity, and also an explanation on what exactly happened to Winterfell in "Valar Morghulis". I also did enjoy Ramsay taunting Theon after he was castrated as it does give him more personality and charisma. Ygritte shooting Jon repeatedly was a nice scene as well as it highlighted Ygritte's sadness after Jon betrayed her and it was fairly powerful.
The Bad: We haven't seen Yara and Balon at all this season, so for them to suddenly appear and get a lengthy scene doesn't deliver as well as it should. We don't know enough about the Greyjoys to care about them, and I really think that they needed a more thorough introduction last season, or a more interesting storyline this season. The final moment where Yara declared that she was saving Theon fell flat for me.
Unfortunately I have to put Dany's scenes in The Bad as well. While her story is a necessary dose of happiness into a bleak world, it all feels too easy. Everybody is struggling in Westeros but Dany has things so ridiculously easy that it feels inconsistent with the show. The show is trying to give me hope that Dany could prevail, similar to what they did in "Fire and Blood", but the difference between the scene at the end of this episode and the dragon scene in "Fire and Blood" is massive. In season 1, Dany fell to the bottom and had to work her way to getting something resembling hope, whereas this season she has been given everything for free. It's not nearly as satisfying when characters don't earn their fortunes, especially in a show like this where characters often deserve something but don't receive it. Because of this, the show has also backed itself in a corner as a victory for Dany at the end of everything now risks feeling anticlimactic and disappointing.
The Unknown: So Edmure is now in the dungeons at The Twins and Blackfish escaped. With the Tullys in tatters, could this mean that the Freys will target Riverrun to get more power?
Why does Bran think he is going to be able to save Westeros from the White Walkers? How is he going to do that? What can he do to help?
Is Stannis' next plan to go north then? How does he expect this to aid him in reclaiming the throne?
Best Moment: Arya's first kill is the moment which really stuck out to me. A great character moment for Arya who hasn't had very much to do this season.
Character of the Episode: Davos.
Conclusion: This was a good season finale. It didn't produce anything too memorable, but a quieter episode was absolutely necessary after the previous episode in order to set the stage for season 4.
The season as a whole was very good and I enjoyed it a lot. I appreciated that the show went at a better pace early on and it made the season much more engaging all the way through. I also really loved the characterization and development in the first half of the season as all of the storylines were coming together really well and the dialogue in particular was extraordinarily good. The seasons did somewhat lose the plot in its second half however as the momentum stalled and there wasn't really anything particularly memorable from episodes 6 to 8. Every season of "Game of Thrones" has stalled before, but to have it occur this late in the season was something of a disappointment. However the season bounced back in an incredible way with the red wedding, and when it comes down to it, that one scene will be what this season is remembered for.
Summary: Dany sends Jorah, Grey Worm and Daario to sack Yunkai and they successfully take it for her. The wildlings discover Jon's betrayal and try to kill him but he escapes. Bran tries to hide from them and accidentally uses his warg power. Bran decides he is going north to follow his destiny and he tells Osha to take Rickon to the Umbers to be safe. The Hound takes Arya to the Twins. Edmure is married to Roslin Frey who is surprisingly beautiful. The wedding goes on, but Roose Bolton has betrayed Robb and it is a trap. After Edmure is taken out, everyone in the wedding is slaughtered, including Robb, Catelyn and Talisa. Arya is taken away by The Hound.
The Good: This was unexpected. The dread had been creeping for the whole episode as Walder Frey's terms seemed surprisingly lenient and everybody was far too happy. Nothing was happening and everybody was just celebrating. The hammer had to fall at some point and that added a lot of tension to the early scenes. Things were too happy, something bad needed to happen.
And yet when those final 10 minutes struck, nothing could have prepared me for what was coming. In an instance, an entire storyline of the show was wiped away in the most unexpected, brutal and upsetting fashion possible. I thought that maybe one of Catelyn and Talisa would be brutally killed for Robb to face the consequences for his decisions. But that didn't happen as Robb shockingly paid the ultimate price for betraying the Freys as his entire cause was wiped out. It was the most stunning move that "Game of Thrones" has made in its entire run, yet it was one which made sense considering the characters involved. Robb needed to face consequences, and Walder Frey, a vile old man with nothing to lose, would never waste a chance at revenge.
The actual sequence was executed spectacularly. Every little moment of brutality has stuck with me and it echoes horrifyingly in my head. From watching a pregnant Talisa get viciously stabbed in the stomach to hearing Catelyn getting her throat slit after a lifeless, heartbroken scream, there was nothing but a sudden outbreak of violence and misery, and it was downright unsettling. Unsettling, yet extremely effective, as it got the most significant emotional reaction from me out of any episode of television I have seen. Because of this, I can safely say that this was one of the all-time great TV moments.
Joffrey has some serious competition now on the most-hated list. This episode has made me desire to see Arya shove a sword through the skulls of both Walder Frey and Roose Bolton. Thankfully, there are still small glimmers of hope for some justice in the future, and currently the thought of Arya crossing every name off of her kill list is keeping me going.
This "red wedding" proves one thing: Westeros is now changing, and my complaints have been answered. With Robb and his army dead, the Lannisters have effectively won. Roose Bolton is a traitor, giving the Lannisters significant control in the north, Stannis is severely weakened and the Ironborn really aren't much of a threat anymore. And the only remaining Starks are children who are scattered across the continent. Tywin won the war, and that is a massive development for Westeros as a whole. I'm unsure where the story goes from here and how the Lannisters can conceivably be stopped. This is the change I was wishing for last season, and I'm very glad that I got it.
As for the rest of the episode, I think it was solid. The build to the red wedding was fantastic, because of both the aforementioned tension which was present throughout and the fun which was present during the wedding. Walder Frey's character led to a lot of funny moments and the genuine love from Robb and Talisa was good as always. I'm glad that Edmure was able to get a good bride who wasn't an ugly Frey, but it is unknown if he is allowed to keep her (see: The Bad).
The other storylines were fine too but flawed (see: The Bad). I liked Jon's betrayal finally being revealed. The scene was exciting and climactic, and it was satisfying seeing Jon kill Orell. I also love that Orell warged into a bird in his final moments in an attempt to kill Jon, which is a wonderful little detail. The scene was also aided by Bran being present in the tower, allowing us to root for Jon to somehow meet up with him. But like Arya failing to reunite with her family, Bran isn't able to get Jon's attention before he rides away. It seems like we still have a long while to wait before any of the Starks reunite with each other.
I liked the brief moment with Sam and Gilly. Sam being called a wizard is a nice little reward for everything he has done so far and is a rare moment of joy without any repercussions in this episode.
The Bad: Dany taking over Yunkai so easily was a major disappointment. I was hoping the conflict would show us more about Dany as a whole, but instead it was used as a way to show us how cool Daario is, which I really don't care for at all. Their romance doesn't interest me at all. I'm also confused with how 3 men managed to sack all of Yunkai. That doesn't seem logical at all and it made sacking a city look as easy as a walk in the park.
I find Bran's story really hard to get invested in. His character just doesn't interest me at all, and while it is cool to see him warging, there is no emotion to be had in his story. His farewell to Rickon was similarly flat and disappointing because I know nothing about their relationship.
Of course, an episode like this is hard to watch. The relentless depression is nearly overwhelming for me, and I can imagine that a lot of people will stop watching after something as miserable as this.
While this episode features one of the greatest scenes ever, I don't think it can be in contention for one of the all-time greatest TV episodes because the rest of the episode doesn't hit on the same level. Granted, this episode will still get a really high score for what it accomplished, but it isn't a fantastic episode top to bottom. This will only be remembered for its final 10 minutes, nothing else.
The Unknown: What will Bran find in the north?
Is Orell still alive in the bird possibly? Could it be that he can survive in another body?
What happens to Arya now? The Hound still has her but he has no use for her with Robb and Catelyn dead. What will he do with her?
Did Edmure and Blackfish get out of The Twins alive? They were both outside when the slaughter was happening. Did they find a way to survive? I also don't think that Edmure would have been killed since he is the heir to Riverrun which would be useful for the Freys.
With Roose Bolton being confirmed as a traitor, does that mean that the man holding Theon is his bastard son? It's likely Roose just lied to Robb about Winterfell being in flames when they arrived.
Best Moment: Everything after the doors closed and The Rains of Castamere started playing made me sick with dread and horror. The red wedding will be remembered as one of the most monumental scenes put on television.
Character of the Episode: Arya. She remains my last hope for revenge.
Conclusion: What an episode. No other TV episode has been so relentlessly brutal and unsettling. This was a painful experience, but a memorable one, and one which is far above anything else this show has done so far. The red wedding will be remembered as an all-time great sequence.
Summary: Sansa and Tyrion get married. At the wedding Tywin orders Tyrion to consummate the marriage. Tyrion threatens Joffrey but plays it off as him being super drunk. He doesn't consummate with Sansa. Melisandre uses leeches to get blood from Gendry and uses them for blood magic. Davos is released from his cell by Stannis. The Hound tells Arya he is taking her to her family to get paid for bringing her back. Outside Yunkai, Dany meets with the Second Sons who threaten to kill her. One of the members, Daario, betrays the group and kills the leaders, offering his loyalty to Dany.
The Good: This episode was a lot better. The progression was more interesting and there were some really great scenes in here.
Dany's story has become extremely exciting to watch this season now that we actually see her making major strides towards preparing her upcoming invasion of Westeros. Her negotiations with the Second Sons were enjoyable because it is the first time we have seen Dany dealing with a threatening opposition. One small detail I really appreciate is that the dragons were left out of this scene, meaning that we got to fully focus on Dany's character as a whole as she faced off against the Second Sons. It was a great conflict and an exciting way to set up Dany's first real competition as a leader. Unfortunately the rest of her story didn't really follow up on this potential (see: The Bad).
The wedding led to a lot of great moments. The central story to take us through the wedding is Tyrion's and I think it was very strong, unsurprising for a Tyrion story. I liked seeing him attempt to let Sansa know that she has nothing to fear from him, and having him be awkward was both funny and true to his character. The actual wedding scenes with Tyrion were terrific too. Joffrey was a total prick when dealing with him and he remains as evil as ever, going as far as to threaten to rape Sansa. I still hate his character so much and that aided Tyrion's subsequent threat to him, making it feel all the more satisfying. The scene also had loads of tension with Joffrey not taking the insult well, but the tension was deflated int he best way possible with Tyrion going to extreme lengths to convince the room of his drunken state being out of control, a very funny moment.
The wedding was a great set-piece for other interactions too. I really enjoyed hearing Cersei subtly threaten Margaery, only to give her a full-on threat when she didn't get the reaction she was hoping for. It was fitting of her character to be petty like that, as was her scene with Loras where she dismisses him without a second thought in hilarious fashion. Olenna got a great scene too as she tried to make sense of all of the new relatives which would be made. Finally, Tywin got a terrific scene with Tyrion as he got to show his distaste for his son while giving him more orders.
Stannis got a surprising amount of time in this episode and it led to some really enjoyable scenes. The best of which was a conversation between Stannis and Davos which I heavily enjoyed. The scene opens on a happy note as Davos has started to get a grasp on reading, which was a genuinely sweet scene. This of course leads into Stannis' arrival and a great conversation which highlights the bond that these two characters have. I liked that Stannis was human enough to go to his trusted friend for his counsel on what to do with Gendry, and Davos provided excellent points which helped us understand Stannis' moral code a lot more. Additionally, this led into a nice conversation about the Lord of Light, highlighting why Stannis believes in its existence so much. I'm really enjoying these scenes characterizing Stannis as he is becoming more and more interesting to me as time goes on and Davos of course is extremely likeable.
Lastly, Sam in the final scene was really good. The sequence was very tense as a White Walker appeared, and we surprisingly got to learn how to kill one which is a big development. I also like that cowardly Sam was the first man to kill a White Walker in thousands of years. This was a good climax for the episode.
The Bad: Why doesn't Arya just run away from The Hound when he sleeps? Trying to kill him is a bit much, but what can he do if she runs away? It's not like she is tied up or anything.
The conclusion to Dany's story was horribly flat as Daario felt like a convenient plot device to get Dany out of a situation. I was hoping that this conflict could be focused on in the next three episodes, also allowing us to learn more about Dany, but that didn't happen and we instead got to learn about this new character who really doesn't interest me at all. It feels like wasted potential and hurts the set-up that this episode did, knowing that we already got the pay-off through Daario killing everyone.
Did Melisandre really have to put a leech on Gendry's penis? Excessive.
I was annoyed that Sam just left the dragonglass in the snow. It just saved your life man, pick it up!
The Unknown: What will happen to Robb, Joffrey and Balon now that Melisandre has done her blood magic? Speaking of Balon, what is he up to? He hasn't appeared in over a season now and the Greyjoys have been completely forgotten.
I thought it was interesting that Joffrey referred to himself as a Lannister. Does that mean he is aware of his true lineage and has accepted it?
Why can the dragonglass kill the White Walkers? What is so special about it?
Best Moment: Tyrion threatening Joffrey was great.
Character of the Episode: Tyrion.
Conclusion: This was a solid episode with good set-up and fun moments, but the flat conclusion to the Second Sons storyline hurts this.
Summary: Orell suspects that Jon will betray them but Ygritte believes that their love will overcome. Margaery cheers up Sansa while Bronn cheers up Tyrion about the upcoming wedding. Tywin responds to a summons from Joffrey. Osha reveals her past to Bran, Meera and Jojen. Jaime leaves Harrenhal and Brienne is left behind for Locke. Jaime goes back to save Brienne and takes her to King's Landing with him. Arya runs away from the Brotherhood but is caught by The Hound. Theon is seemingly castrated. Dany arrives outside Yunkai and threatens the messenger to remove the slavery.
The Good: I continue to enjoy the interactions between characters in this show. This episode was another rather unspectacular one but it was carried on the charisma of the characters. A number of scenes featured some great dialogue and fun conversation.
The Jon and Ygritte interactions remain fun and easy to enjoy. Their flirting and looking towards the future is both fun and a good way to deepen their bond to each other. It's sad to see that Ygritte has put so much faith in Jon since it seems likely that he will end up betraying her anyways as Orell suspects.
Robb and Talisa had a good scene too and I completely bought into their love for each other. It's also a good way to show that Robb is more distracted from the war he's fighting which could serve to be an important plot line as the show progresses. As an aside, I did enjoy that the characters shared my suspicions over Walder Frey's terms and certainly don't trust him. This should lead to some good drama in the final episodes of the season.
I enjoyed Margaery and Sansa's scene too. Margaery is very genuine in her friendship with Sansa so I enjoyed her trying to tell Sansa that her predicament isn't a bad one. I also love that the scene was laid out in contrast to Bronn speaking with Tyrion about his predicament. It was a wonderful comparison between two friendships which was very funny and fitting for the characters. Perhaps this wedding between Sansa and Tyrion could in fact lead them both to bigger things.
Joffrey and Tywin had a terrific scene. Tywin is a fantastic character, and I love the way he behaves. The very second Joffrey starts acting disrespectfully to Tywin, Tywin immediately closes the distance between the two of them, ensuring that Tywin towers over top of Joffrey as he sits on the throne, letting him know who is really in control here. It was great storytelling and it completely flipped the tone of the scene as Joffrey's behaviour was a lot more subdued following this.
Dany's story was really good. I absolutely loved seeing her with her own proper court, with her being treated as a true queen and a genuine ruler as she spoke with the messenger from Yunkai. Her threats were really enjoyable and I loved that she has made up her mind and is determined to do what she believes is right, an essential quality of a leader.
The Bad: Theon's story continues to frustrate me with all of this suffering. Just give us a break already. The story is drawing on my emotions, but it's not doing it in a good way. It just makes me want to stop watching.
After a season and a half Arya has made it to the Riverlands from King's Landing. Yet in one episode Melisandre teleports from Arya's position back to King's Landing. A bit inconsistent there.
Jon isn't convincing anybody that he is a wildling now and I can hardly buy that Ygritte isn't worried of a betrayal. I understand the story they are trying to tell, but Ygritte looks like a fool for not seeing the possibility of Jon betraying them. He certainly can't make it any more obvious.
Jaime and Brienne's story was fine but a little underwhelming. We don't learn anything new about both characters and their relationship, and what happens is exactly what we expect to see with nothing particularly exciting about it. Like the Jon and Ygritte story last episode, the problem here wasn't that the story wasn't enjoyable, but rather that it was extremely forgettable. The one bad thing though was the bear. Seeing the bear have the ability to catch an attack from Brienne and throw a left jab like a human was laughably stupid and took me out of the moment.
It's so hard to care about anything happening in Bran's storyline. Nobody involved has any memorable qualities or charisma, making their story the hardest to watch and enjoy. Osha got an extended scene in this episode to reinforce her beliefs but I found it difficult to care which isn't good.
The Unknown: What will The Hound do with Arya? Will he return her to King's Landign to get in good graces again? Or does he have something else in mind?
Did Theon just get castrated? He seems to be facing truly extreme consequences for what he has done and I think it's going too far.
Best Moment: Tywin putting Joffrey in his place was wonderful.
Character of the Episode: Dany.
Conclusion: This was a solid episode, but like the last it didn't have much going for it as an individual episode. There were good scenes but nothing too memorable and a few things which annoyed me. This ended up being a weaker episode in the end, which is worrying to see as the season is heading to its climax. Hopefully things can pick up int he next episode.
Summary: Sam and Gilly travel through the woods. Melisandre meets with the Brotherhood Without Banners and trades gold for Gendry. Robb makes a deal with the Freys to make an apology, give Walder Harrenhal, and have Edmure marry Roslin Frey in exchange for their loyalty. Tywin gets Olenna to consent to his wedding plans for Loras. Tyrion tells Sansa the news. Littlefinger has Ros killed by Joffrey before he leaves for the Eyrie. Theon continues to be tortured. Jon and Ygritte's group climb The Wall and make it to the top.
The Good: This episode wasn't as consistently great as the last two. There were many good scenes, which I go over below, but no complete storyline actually engaged me in this episode.
The Sam and Gilly scene was a good way to open the episode. It was easy to watch and while it doesn't feel too important, it does build up their bond nicely. I wish that we could get more of these scenes with Ygritte and Jon to build their relationship.
I enjoyed Melisandre's scenes a lot as well. Her conversation with Thoros was fascinating as it suggests that they have both been given actual missions from some unknown being (see: The Unknown). It's wonderful to get the hint that there may be an actual greater organization worshiping the Lord of Light and I have a desire to learn more about this.
Robb's deal with Walder Frey came off surprisingly easily (see: The Unknown), so much so that I almost don't buy it. The story as it is has done a good job of giving Edmure some genuine conflict, but Robb hasn't had much to do with the Walder Frey conflict yet. Because of this, I suspect that there will be much more to this story than expected.
Olenna and Tywin had a really fun scene. Two of the most charismatic characters on the show going at it verbally will always be a pleasure to watch, so it was no different here. Tywin won the battle due to his position, but Olenna made it clear that she isn't going to just lie down and let things be. A really fun scene.
Littlefinger and Varys finally came face to face after blocking each other's plans subtly in the past few episodes. Their conversation was very good and led to a good speech from Littlefinger as he reveals his lvoe for chaos as a way to ascend the ladder. I love the dynamic between these two, as both of these scheming characters respect each other enough to not attempt to hide their true desires from each other.
I enjoyed the effects that were on display on top of The Wall. A good sight.
The Bad: Two storylines didn't really work for me unfortunately. Theon's was the first as it felt too repetitive. I'm tired of seeing Theon tortured and being denied the black-haired man's identity once more is extremely frustrating. The show is spinning in circles with this storyline and it isn't doing much to excite me, though Iwan Rheon is doing a good job with the role. One good performance isn't enough to excuse a frustrating story though.
The Jon and Ygritte story lacks any real impact, which is bad for the central story of the episode. There is no real emotion to be felt and the episode lacks tension because it's obvious that Jon isn't going to die here trying to climb The Wall.
I'm annoyed that we didn't see Sansa learn about her new wedding, as it would have been a really good moment, especially with Shae and Tyrion there. I feel robbed to lose that emotion, especially since there was a set-up scene of Tyrion going to tell her.
The Unknown: What was with the seizure that Jojen was having? Will Bran go through something similar later on?
What is the history with Melisandre and Thoros? Who gave them their orders? Who else is under these orders? Is there a large organization which worships the Lord of Light?
What will Melisandre do with Gendry? What does she mean by saying he will make kings rise and fall?
Will Walder Frey make up some more terms for Robb to follow after? His current terms haven't bothered Robb as much as they should have.
Who is Theon's torturer? We need an answer soon.
Why didn't Roose bring Jaime to Robb? It's odd that he is sending him to Tywin. I would put this in The Bad, but I feel like there is a genuine reason for this that has to make more sense than Roose being afraid of Tywin.
Best Moment: Olenna and Tywin were really good.
Character of the Episode: Littlefinger.
Conclusion: This episode was fine and had some solid developments, but it also had flaws and failed to stand on its own with a good emotional story. Because of this, the episode ended up being one of the show's weakest thus far.
Summary: The Hound kills Beric but Beric comes back from the dead. Gendry decides to stay with the Brotherhood. Lord Karstark kills the two Lannister boys and in return Robb kills him. The Karstark men leave Robb's army, leaving Robb weakened. Stannis returns to his wife and daughter. Dany gets to know her army. Jon breaks his vows by having sex with Ygritte. Littlefinger learns of Varys' plan to wed Sansa. Jaime reveals the truth about why he killed the Mad King. Tywin decides to throw a wrench in these plans by having Tyrion wed Sansa, and Cersei wed Loras despite both of their pleas.
The Good: This was a great follow-up to a terrific episode. Amazingly, the stories continued to feel important and the pace hardly slowed, making this episode continue the same sense of excitement that made the last episode so great.
The episode opens up on an extremely exciting note with the duel between The Hound and Beric, following up on last episode's most enticing cliffhanger immediately. The duel itself was tense and exciting as either character could logically have died in the situation and it was hard to figure out who would win. I also love the touch of Beric igniting his sword. It served as a cool moment and also a significant one as it played off of The Hound's fear of fire to raise the tension in the scene and also giving us the idea that The Hound may die here against his greatest fear. The result was brilliant too as Beric came back to life in a genuinely shocking moment. The show had already established how magic works, so seeing such a huge change in the rules and an affirmation of the Lord of Light's powers is both unexpected and significant for the show overall. I also like that the show has started to explore how these revivals affect Beric's character, making him slowly lose his mind. These new characters are very interesting to me and I hope to see more of them in the future.
Robb had a great storyline in this episode as he's forced to face off with his own honour. Karstark did something wrong and actively challenged Robb's rule, leaving him no choice but to kill him, but strategically it's smarter for Robb to keep him alive. But sadly Ned's blood prevails and Robb chooses to execute Lord Karstark, diminishing his troops significantly and putting him in a losing position now in the war. It's sad to see Robb go down so viciously due to Karstark's recklessness but it's understandable why he did it. And now he is face to face with all of his bad decisions as the only solution to his lack of soldiers problem is to seek help from the man whose word he betrayed, Walder Frey.
Stannis had a really strong sequence in this episode as we finally get to explore his life and how tragic it is. I really wish we knew about all of this before "Blackwater" for maximum emotion in that episode because what we learned was really good. Stannis' wife is sad to see as she is a fanatic who sees herself unworthy for Stannis due to the fact that she was never able to produce a male heir for him. It's sad to see and it's easy to understand why Stannis evidently lost interest in her and feels guilty for it. Even sadder is the existence of his daughter, who seems to have been through something traumatic in the past for her face to look like that (see: The Unknown). I loved Shireen's scene with Davos. Clearly she has had a tough childhood and hasn't made many friends, and she also doesn't appear to get an appropriate amount of love from either of her parents. So she goes to Davos, who seems to be the only man she was able to befriend. The scene where she started to teach Davos how to read was both sweet and sad, as it showed us the poor life of this innocent girl.
Jaime had an outstanding moment in this episode as he vented to Brienne in the hot springs about what happened the day he killed the Mad King. It was such a powerful moment which featured some of the show's best acting and writing, and in one fell swoop Jaime has become a character we like and sympathize with despite being placed as a villain for so long. It was brilliant storytelling, and it also doubled at making Jaime and Brienne's relationship a significant one, as I care about their new bond a lot.
Dany had a good moment in this episode as she got to know her new army and realized their immense loyalty to her. The loyalty is a significant development too since it was explained just two episodes ago how vital loyalty is in an army. It immediately sets Dany up as a massive threat to Westeros. I also really enjoyed hearing Jorah and Barristan chat it up as old friends, a small little detail which continues to make this show so fascinating.
Tywin's plan at the end of the episode was a good development too. It's a great way to counter the Tyrells attempt to take control and also serves as a good way to highlight the conflict he has with his children. The scene is made better by the fact that Tywin is extremely entertaining to watch and has a commanding presence in every scene he is in. I'm excited to see where these new marriages will lead, and I'm curious to see if they will actually occur or if something else will take place.
Littlefinger's story developed nicely as he used his own spies to learn about how his plans for Sansa have been thwarted. His conversation with Sansa afterwards proves that he really isn't pleased about this and I'm intrigued by what he can potentially do next.
There were a number of really good small scenes in this episode too which add to the content. I loved Roose tormenting Jaime by making him think his family died before revealing they are safe. It was a nice little touch of character for Roose. I also loved learning about the full history about the Mad King from Jaime, as it fills us in on one of Westeros' most important historical events. It also gives us nice insight on Tywin's past in war and on Pycelle's loyalties, showing that he has been bought by the Lannisters for quite some time now.
The Bad: I have to put Jon and Ygritte in The Bad unfortunately. While I do like the development of Jon having to break his vows to prove his trust to Ygritte, I feel like their relationship has developed too quickly and I don't quite buy their love for each other yet. That makes the scene fall flat emotionally which is a disappointment.
The Unknown: How does Beric keep coming back? Why him? Is he coming back for a purpose? Can Thoros revive others with his abilities?
Who is Qyburn exactly? He says he was a former maestre but he was exiled for his experiments. What did he do in these experiments?
What's wrong with Shireen's face? What happened to her that made her like that?
I was going to put this in The Bad, but I figure I would wait until we get actual answers. How did Tywin learn about Robb executing Lord Karstark? He shouldn't have intel on what exactly goes on at Riverrun. But what if he has a spy? Could somebody in Robb's camp be reporting to the Lannisters?
Best Moment: Jaime's speech was so powerful and is one of the show's finest moments so far.
Character of the Episode: Jaime.
Conclusion: This was another really strong episode with a lot of solid story progression. The pacing this season has been very impressive so far and continues to make this the strongest season thus far.
Summary: Jaime loses his spirit as he is beaten around by Locke and his men. Tyrion visits Varys who tells Tyrion the story of how he was cut. Cersei tries to get more respect from Tywin, but Tywin shuts her down. Varys learns from Ros that Littlefinger wants to take Sansa. In response Varys makes a deal with Olenna to marry Sansa to Loras. Margaery befriends Sansa and tells her the news. The Hound is taken to Beric Dondarrion who decides to judge him through trial by combat. Beyond The Wall, Rast insults Craster, causing chaos to erupt. Craster dies, and the Night's Watch implodes. Lord Commander Mormont is killed. In Astapor, Dany follows through with the deal to Kraznys. She has Kraznys burned by her dragon and kills all the slave masters in Astapor with her Unsullied army. The Unsullied are loyal to Dany and they march out of Astapor.
The Good: This was an excellent episode which I was not expecting. "Game of Thrones" has only peaked in its later episodes thus far, so to see such a big episode early in the season was a pleasant surprise. Every storyline in this episode progressed in a significant and enjoyable way, with there being an absolute ton to enjoy.
I appreciate that the episode started with Jaime and is recently detached hand. It was a big ending to the last episode, and I'm glad that the show didn't waste any time in showing the effect that it had on Jaime's character. Jaime is a broken wreck of a man now, and it's hard not to sympathize with him at least a little bit as he is ruthlessly abused by Locke and his men. While Jaime has done bad things, it isn't as cathartic as expected to see him suffering so much. I also like how Jaime's ordeal in this episode furthers his relationship with Brienne, who is smart enough to figure out what Jaime did for her. I'm excited to see where the development of this relationship leads both characters.
Varys had a terrific episode overall, enjoying a ton of spectacular scenes. The first of which was the reveal of his backstory in a conversation with Tyrion. I was hooked for the whole scene and was both disgusted and fascinated by the gruesome tale of how Varys was cut. It was a really good backstory and helps establish another trait for Varys, revealing that he entirely despises magic, a trait which I presume will pay off down the road. Furthermore, the ultimate reveal that Varys had captured the sorcerer was a big shock and it was horrific to think of everything that Varys must be doing to enact his revenge on this sorcerer.
This wasn't all that Varys was up to however, as Ros informs him of Littlefinger's plan to take Sansa with him to the Eyrie. I really enjoyed this story as Varys actively moved against Littlefinger to prevent him from getting the upper hand. Varys and Littlefinger have often been in a cold war type of conflict with each other, and the most fascinating thing about Varys in this episode for me was learning why he treats Littlefinger as such a big threat: because he is the most dangerous man in Westeros. Of course this story led to Varys speaking with Olenna in an incredible scene with outstanding dialogue and interactions. The conversation ended up being quite significant too as it leads to the big development of Sansa being prepared to marry Loras.
As a side note, Olenna is a terrific character. She has a great presence and is both hilarious and intriguing to watch. Prior to her scene with Varys, I got a tremendous amount of enjoyment seeing her discussing the lousiness of her house's symbol and words. It was a straightforward conversation and continues to reveal to us how straightforward, strong-willed and opinionated Olenna is.
There were a lot of other short scenes between characters in King's Landing which I really enjoyed. I loved seeing Margaery befriend Sansa as she hopes to wed her to Loras. Margaery is so amazing and is a joy to watch as she manipulates and befriends people like it's nothing. On the other side, the scene also serves to finally give Sansa something nice to be happy about, though it may not be as great as she may expect, considering Loras' sexuality. The scenes in the tombs with Joffrey showing Mrgaery around were great as Joffrey took such glee to be in her company. The moment with Joffrey waving to a crowd which clearly only loved Margaery was hilarious and a perfect metaphor of how well Margaery has manipulated him. FInally, I loved the scene between Tywin and Cersei. I find it both hysterical and appropriate that Tywin always has to be doing more important business during his conversations with others to establish his dominance over them. The conversation between the two was very good as Cersei hopes to get something more, but Tywin puts her in her place, angering her.
Theon's storyline has a very good development this episode. I enjoyed seeing Theon spill his guts to his rescuer, showing his full regret at everything he has done. It was another really good scene with a fair amount of emotion to it. The follow-up is tragic though as the black-haired man is revealed to be working with whoever detained Theon and returns him to the cross where he was hung before. It's cruel psychotic torture.
I liked that we got to learn more about the Brotherhood Without Banners and what they do. They don't come off as bad people, but they remain an interesting organization. I like the return of trial by combat as its inclusion made sense in this scene, considering the way that justice works in medieval times. It's also a good hook for the next episode as a duel between Beric and The Hound seems impending. With both characters being relatively important, I'm interested to see what happens.
The implosion of the Night's Watch was powerful and very sad to watch. Craster was one of my least favourite parts of the last season as I felt it didn't really lead somewhere, but the payoff here was nothing short of brilliant. The seeds had been subtly planted for the Night's Watch to turn on Mormont and Craster declaring himself as a godly man was the catalyst for the explosion. The brutal murders of both Craster and Mormont were terrific as the Night's Watch has effectively been all but wiped out by themselves.
Dany's huge power play at the end of the episode was a great catharsis. Dany has been without anything for so long, longer than she should have been, so that made me desire seeing her finally accomplish something. So when she finally makes a big move and gets herself a loyal army of 8000 elite soldiers, while also murdering the filthy Kraznys who disrespected her, the moment feels satisfying and meaningful. The final sequence of Dany's armies leaving a liberated Astapor is outstanding and feels like a genuinely exciting moment.
The Bad: There's nothing I would actually call bad.
The Unknown: What was that voice that Varys heard from the flames? What did it say? Could it have just been in his head or is this a central detail to the story?
What was Bran's odd dream with Catelyn about? Is that somehow foreshadowing the future like his other dreams?
What are the motives of the black-haired guy? Why does he torture Theon so viciously? Who is he anyways? At this point I suspect that he is Roose Bolton's bastard who went rogue to satisfy a desire to torture Theon.
I want to learn more about the Brotherhood Without Banners. How were they founded? What have they done in the world so far? Why do the Lannisters want them discovered?
Best Moment: Dany's ending sequence was fantastic.
Character of the Episode: Tough to pick between Olenna and Varys. I will go with Varys.
Conclusion: This was a terrific episode, which is amongst the most satisfying in the whole show so far. Every story delivered and there were some excellent climactic moments as well.
Summary: Hoster is burned at Riverrun. Robb is angry because Edmure's actions cost him the capture of The Mountain. The Night's Watch returns to Craster's Keep. Sam sees Gilly birth a boy. Jon is sent on a mission with 20 others to scale The Wall. Dany buys all of the Unsullied by offering Kraznys a dragon. Melisandre leaves Stannis to find sacrifices. Theon escapes imprisonment. Tyrion is assigned Master of Coin and he rewards Pod for saving his life. Jaime saves Brienne from being raped but he loses his hand in return.
The Good: This was mostly solid stuff overall, but it was flawed.
I liked the arrival in Riverrun and I think the show did a good job of introducing two new characters in Edmure and Blackfish. The opening scene was awkward in a good way and ended up being very funny to watch. It also did a great job of establishing Edmure as a disappointing heir and Blackfish as a proper soldier and leader. The ensuing scenes in Riverrun were great too. I like that we were told what caused Tywin to go to King's Landing, as The Mountain likely reported that they couldn't pass Riverrun. I liked seeing Robb putting Edmure in his place by telling him how much his actions have hurt the Northerners' strategy. I also liked Catelyn's brief scene of grief with Blackfish as it was a touching moment which also served to give us more of a proper introduction to Blackfish.
The small council scene was similarly good. The scene was awkwardly funny and did a great job of showing us little details over how these characters behave, as every move that the characters make when they are seating demonstrates how they feel about themselves compared to the others. I also liked the reveal of Tyrion becoming Master of Coin, as Tywin fulfills his promise to reward Tyrion.
I also enjoyed Dany's storyline in this episode. It was nice to see her faced with the reality of war where innocents will have to be killed, no matter what she does. Kraznys continued to be very entertaining and made me laugh a number of times with his vile remarks towards Dany. The moment where Dany offered one of her dragons for the Unsullied felt appropriately big and makes me interested and excited to see what comes next. Dany's story has been much better this season than it was in the last as there are much larger stakes here with a greater sense of importance.
The Jaime and Brienne story went to a thrilling ending. Brienne being attacked was suitably ruthless and we can understand why Jaime would choose to do whatever he could to save her, likely lying about the sapphires on Tarth. I really like that Locke didn't fall for Jaime's lies and smartly threatened him, leading to a tense climax where we think that Jaime may be seriously hurt. The show then comforts us into thinking that Jaime is fine only to suddenly take away his hand in a shocking scene of massive consequences (see: Best Moment).
The other smaller storylines were fine but nothing special. I enjoyed seeing the return to Craster's Keep. I liked that Jon has been put on a mission now. I enjoyed Thoros again as he treats Arya kindly despite taking her, and I liked seeing Arya angrily confront The Hound briefly. Tyrion's conversation with Littlefinger was good as well and they had really fun chemistry together.
The Bad: While this episode had a lot of funny awkward moments, it was also packed with awkward moments which weren't funny and just felt weird or out of place.
The biggest culprit was the ending. Jaime has just lost his hand in a shocking scene which left me stunned and yet I'm left with loud and obnoxious music during the credits as opposed to something quiet to let the moment sink. This is a massive failure in production as the tone is totally ruined and the impact of Jaime losing his hand is lessened by the show refusing to treat it as a serious moment.
I didn't like Pod's story either. It was weird and not funny to see him return the money and I was more confused than amused. The scene was unimportant and out of place in the episode, serving to only stall out the episode until its ending.
There were a few other moments which didn't really satisfy me. I didn't care much for Hot Pie's goodbye since I hardly care about him in general. I also thought it was weird when Sam stuck his head int o watch Gilly give birth. While I'm sure that does lead to a good conflict, the moment itself felt extremely convenient and strange.
This episode was funnier than usual. While most people would call it a good thing, I'm more skeptical. The humour in this episode wasn't used to enhance the story but rather it was used to disguise the fact that not much happened in this episode. Most of the episode felt like it was stalling so the appropriate run time could be reached so they could have Jaime lose his hand as a cliffhanger. They just tried to hide this by adding scenes of comedy to distract us. While the comedy was good, it can't make up for a lack of story progression. "Better Call Saul" makes up for a lack of story progression with fantastic character development. Humour jut doesn't accomplish the same thing as character.
The Unknown: Why did the White Walkers arrange the horse head in a spiral like that?
Where did Melisandre go? Who are the sacrifices she is looking for?
Will Dany actually give up a dragon to Kraznys? I hope not as it will lessen the bond between Dany and her dragons which was built up last season. I suspect that she has something up her sleeve.
What is going on with Theon? I don't know who his mysterious saviour is but I suspect that he isn't who he says he is.
Best Moment: Jaime losing his hand was a big moment and I love the detail that Jaime didn't actually register what had happened until he looked at his hand detached from his body. It's a shame that the music at the end soiled the moment from being as amazing as it could have been.
Character of the Episode: Jaime.
Conclusion: This episode was fun but it wasn't very eventful and was certainly flawed. While I still enjoyed it, it was easily the weakest of the season so far.
Summary: Jaime and Brienne continue towards King's Landing. Jaime escapes and duels Brienne briefly but they are confronted by Locke, who fights for Robb and he captures the two. Margaery gets more information about Joffrey out of Sansa and she is able to befriend him. Robb heads to Riverrun for Catelyn's father's funeral. Catelyn reflects on her treatment of Jon. Arya is captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners who also capture The Hound. The Hound reveals her identity. Jon meets a warg, who can communicate with various animals. Bran is discovered by Jojen Reed who tells him that he is a warg. Theon is tortured by an unknown person.
The Good: This was more strong story development as every storyline moved forwards. We were introduced to new characters in entertaining fashion and there were even some truly terrific moments in this episode. The show appears to have found its foothold and is now pumping out set-up in a much more meaningful and enjoyable way than last season.
My favourite storyline was the Tyrells in King's Landing, as they have made huge power moves and are fascinating to watch. In this episode, we got to meet Olenna Tyrell, who is Margaery's grandmother, and she was immediately enjoyable. She clearly understands how the game is played and has made her mark as a major player as she gets the information she wants out of Sansa so that Margaery can be prepared for Joffrey. The scene was great on a number of levels. For one, we got to see Sansa let some of her emotions out and her feeligns about Joffrey. It was an effective scene as we don't often get to see Sansa able to let out her true feelings. But the scene also has a huge sense of tension as we can't be certain that the Tyrells are to be trusted. We can't be certain that what Sansa says won't be used against her in the future, so there is also the worry that she is going to be faced with consequences for what she has said. Additionally, there is also Olenna being hilarious as she savagely and bluntly orders around the servants, which adds even more to the scene.
That wasn't even the best scene of the episode however. That would go to the scene between Margaery and Joffrey. The scene was just incredible as we got to see the extent of Margaery's charm as she befriends Joffrey y telling him exactly what she wants to hear. It was so impressively written and I had an absolute blast watching Margaery seduce Joffrey by playing up to his sadistic desires. It's electric scenes like this of characters trying to get a position of power in medieval world which make this show stand out over others.
A lot of the other storylines were effective too. I particularly loved seeing Catelyn tell Talisa about her history with Jon. The scene was really emotional and did a good job of exploring Catelyn's guilt as a mother, also explaining to some degree why she did so many irrational things across the last two seasons. I was pleased by the scene and I was glad that it got time to breathe as it allowed for the maximum emotion to be felt.
I was pleased to finally see the Brotherhood Without Banners. Thoros makes an immediate impression as a sort of brigand who has a sense of honour as he plans to let Arya go after encountering her. However it seems that the plan may have changed now that The Hound has identified who she is. The scenes had a relatively fun nature to them, and the story concluded on a tense and exciting note (see: The Unknown).
Jaime and Brienne's story was good as well. Jaime continues to be entertaining in his banter, and I particularly enjoyed his comments about Renly which made me openly laugh. This pairing remains an effective way to explore the ideals of both characters too, especially with scenes like the confrontation with the farmer which highlighted what would bring each character to take extreme measures. The ending duel was also very good and had a sensible result as Jaime's hands being strapped together affected his ability to wield a sword. It should be interesting to see what happens now that the two of them have been confronted by Locke and his men.
I enjoyed the shorter scenes as well. Tyrion and Shae have good chemistry and are always fun to watch. I liked seeing Mormont take control of the conflict between Rast and Sam, ensuring that his men won't be fighting amongst themselves. Robb and Karstark's scene was pretty good and continues to build up tensions between the two. I also appreciated Joffrey proving to be too much for Cersei to handle. Now it seems that the Tyrells are slowly taking control of King's Landing from the background.
The Bad: Nothing that I would call bad.
The Unknown: What is the significance of Bran being a warg and having greensight? I presume this will pay off later in a big way. Also, Jojen is an interesting character. How did he tame Summer so easily? And what does he mean by saying that Bran is the raven?
What is happening to Theon? Who has taken him? Why are they torturing him? Roose Bolton stated that when his bastard arrived at Winterfell, it was already on fire. Was he lying? Is Bolton's bastard going rogue? Or did another faction besiege Winterfell and take Theon?
What happens now that Arya has been discovered? Will the Brotherhood keep her? What would they do with her? They don't seem to be on the Lannisters side so I don't expect them to take her back to King's Landing. Will they return her to Robb?
Best Moment: The Margaery and Joffrey scene was terrific.
Character of the Episode: Margaery.
Conclusion: This was a great episode with a number of really enjoyable scenes. This season has been extremely enjoyable so far and it hasn't come anywhere near its climax yet.
Summary: Lord Commander Mormont survives the White Walker assault and he leads his men back to The Wall. Jon meets with Mance Rayder and declares he wants to become a wildling. Tyrion meets with Tywin and tries to assume his rights to Casterly Rock but Tywin denies it. Margaery outsmarts Cersei and gains Joffrey's support. Davos is alive and he is reunited with Stannis. He defies Melisandre and is put in a cell. Dany arrives in Astapor and finds a man selling 8000 Unsullied warriors. She is attacked by a warlock but is saved by Barristan.
The Good: This was a strong premiere episode which had very good set-up with a few standout scenes of character interaction. It was a certain step up from the season 2 premiere as this season already has a sense of forward momentum.
Jon meeting with Mance Rayder was a good development. It was good to finally see Mance after he had been built up for so long and his scene with Jon was well done. The tension was created well since we knew that Jon had to earn Mance's trust in order to survive. He successfully lied in a great way as he played off of his one experience of doubting the Night's Watch and it led to him characteristically spouting a believable lie. I also liked seeing a giant, as the show appears to be doubling down on its fantastical elements.
Tyrion had a couple of tremendous scenes in this episode. I loved the follow-up on Cersei's attempt to kill Tyrion last season. Tyrion and Cersei's scene was tense as Tyrion felt in some sort of danger considering Cersei's hate for him. I enjoyed their conversations as they threw jabs at each other while trying to figure out what the other wanted. Their interactions have been great and were a highlight of the last season, so naturally it creates strong television to see more of them.
But stronger than his scene with Cersei was Tyrion's scene with Tywin. Tywin is a fantastic character as he opposes Tyrion, our hero, yet he manages to be logical and understandable in his motives, and he is simply fascinating to watch. The scene with Tyrionw as executed really well. Tyrion came in with a logical power play to attempt to get some of his power back after being stripped of his position. Tywin responds fairly, willing to reward Tyrion, but the mention of Tyrion taking control of Casterly Rock is too much for him. Tywin then goes on a fantastic rant, downplaying all of Tyrion's accomplishments and showing just how little Tyrion matters to him. It was brutal yet enjoyable to watch.
Margaery was another stand-out character in this episode. She is smart and power-hungry, making her an exciting character to watch. I enjoyed seeing her be an actual Queen, befriending the poor population, but moreso I enjoyed seeing her outdo Cersei in manipulating Joffrey and gaining his respect.
Dany started her storyline with much more momentum than last time. I enjoyed her scenes on Astapor, and I especially liked the man who was selling her the Unsullied. He was vile in a perfect way while he worked on his business. The Unsullied were very cool as well and it's evident that Dany has her eyes set on them. Furthermore, I liked the re-emergence of Barristan, and going to Dany was a logical next step for his character to take after he was retired by Joffrey.
I was happy to see Davos survive. I liked his short scene of conflict when he was put on the spot to declare for a king, knowing that saying the wrong name would cause him to be killed. It was a nice little scene.
The Bad: It was disappointing to not see the White Walker assault on the Fist of the First Men. It was a central cliff-hanger last season, so I expected something to follow up on that in this episode. It also did hurt the story a little bit since we never got to see the actual threat and brutality of the White Walkers. It detracted from Mormont's urgency to go back to The Wall and failed to truly establish the importance of defending The Wall.
I thought it was awkward that Ygritte assumed Jon would join the wildlings without him saying so.
The Unknown: Why did the White Walkers leave the dead bodies so strangely? What is the meaning of that?
What are Littlefinger's motives as he talks with Sansa? I don't buy that he genuinely wants to save her.
How does Dany plan to afford the Unsullied? Will she take all of them?
Who was the warlock that attacked Dany? Who did she work for?
Best Moment: Tyrion and Tywin take it for this episode.
Character of the Episode: Tywin.
Conclusion: Aside from the disappointment of not seeing the White Walker assault, this was a really strong premiere that opens season 3 on a strong note.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.