Looking back over the flow of these first three episodes, it would appear that this current season is going to be a slow, but steady build up to the dramatic climaxes of the season, paralleling such episodes as Baelor (1.9) and Blackwater (2.9) from previous seasons.
Unfortunately for the time being, it could be easily criticised that plotlines are being dragged out and not progressing as quicker as certain viewers would like – and from a certain perspective I can see their point. A particular example I will draw upon is the meeting of the Small Council, in which each participant fights each other to get the closest seat to Tywin (Charles Dance).
Admittedly it’s a humorous little scene, seeing grown men practically act like children and the way that Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) observes them squabble and in the end, arguably, has the most powerful position. Though it’s interesting to see the competition for power, which of course has been present since Season 1, the scene did little for the progression of the story and by the end just felt like a complete waste of time.
This week also got a bit more of Tyrion’s iconic wit in both his confrontations with his father and everyone’s favourite sellsword Bronn (Jerome Flynn), but in a great, rather unexpected scene, the newest member of the group, Podrick (Daniel Portman), proves he’s becoming a prominent part of the threesome, in an absolutely hilarious scene featuring a brothel, a nervous young lad and a debt that Tyrion has now repaid.
I’d love to talk about this scene as its structure, dialogue and performance was pure comic genius, but for the sake of those of you who haven’t seen it, I don’t want to spoil the moment. What I will say though is that in the end, Tyrion and Bronn end up asking Podrick for advice. Now I would never have seen that coming.
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is back on screen after a week’s absence, as radiant as ever, but there are the roots of dispute between her two loyal advisors, Jorah (Iain Glen) and Barristan (Ian McElhinney). Unfortunately there’s little to say in regards to the Mother of Dragons without revealing any spoilers, but as a tease, she is prepared to pay a price that will make you gape in shock. Things are certainly going to heat up next week.
Theon (Alfie Allen)’s plot has been quite straightforward and bland as of present, though nonetheless gruesome and gothic, yet this week things start to get more interesting with the development of the mysterious, unnamed character played by Iwan Rheon. Having already played one of the leads in Misfits, it’s clear that whoever he is will be a significant role and, having read the books, I have my own suspicions, but only time will tell.
Similarly with Theon’s story this week, we got another dynamic, action chase sequence near the end that offers the same thrill for those not satisfied purely on the basis of the dialogue and just goes to prove the sophistication and movie-like quality that HBO possesses.
We finally make a trip over to Riverrun where we meet Catelyn’s brother Edmure (Tobias Menzies), and her uncle Blackfish (Clive Russell) and it proves evident from the first scene that there is some bad blood and family issues between them which seems to be fuelling something not far over the horizon. There’s a lovely moment between Catelyn and Blackfish, in which Catelyn herself becomes the child and has a moment to relinquish her grievances and troubles. Since Ned’s death, Catelyn has had to be strong for her children, but here she’s been allowed to blow off some steam, as her life seems to be crumbling all around her – and if the past is anything to go by, it’s not going to get any better.
And I can’t go without giving a mention to Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), who have now been captured by Roose Bolton’s men. The casting of these characters is none next to perfect and we get some more typical banter between the two opposites, yet we start to see a warmer side to the Lannister. Though there is still bitterness between them, he doesn’t want to see her hurt and gives her some dire, but no less helpful advice that may just save her life. So for the very first time, Jaime Lannister is seen doing a good thing – but ends up suffering for it in the worst of ways that you won’t see coming and may just feel for him.
Other moments gone unmentioned in this episode are a heart-warming farewell to Hot Pie, Mance Ryder intends to “start the biggest fire the North has ever seen,” the White Walkers get a little artistic and there is a new arrival at Craster’s Keep.
Next week, Varys meets his better, Arya is taken to the commander of the Brotherhood and Daenerys makes an exchange in “And Now His Watch Has Ended.”
This article was first posted on April 17, 2013