Did you watch Game of Thrones “And Now His Watch Has Ended”? Read our recap of season 3 episode 4 for opinions, discussion, and a whole lot of dragon.
LOSER: Sad Jaime Lannister
In the last episode, Jaime Lannister’s attempts at using his smooth tongue ended with him losing his hand. The bad times just keep a-rolling for Jaime as he falls off his horse due to weakness from the unplanned amputation, is coerced to drinking horse piss, and then attempts to fight his way free only to be immediately struck down. It’s like the writers of the show are a genie who conveniently misinterprets your wish…of all the Lannisters whom I’d like to see suffer, Jaime is not high on the list.
WINNER: Lord Varys’s revenge skills
In a sitdown with Tyrion in which the Half-Man seeks help for his revenge plans, Varys gives some yet-untold backstory. Varys was drugged, castrated and had his netherparts burned by a sorcerer. He was cast to the trash by the sorcerer and had to fight to survive, both in the moment and in his journey to become a part of the Small Council. Varys continues on, discussing his distaste for magic as a result and how he made his way in the world after the traumatic event. Aaaand then he reveals that he’s just received a shipment that contains the sorcerer — whom we see beaten with his mouth sewn shut — captive in a cage. Coincidentally, that’s also what they did to the Wizard who used to be on boxes of Cookie Crisp.
WINNER: The legend of Podrick
The continuing gag that is Tyrion’s squire, Podrick, and his free hooker session continues. Ros explains to Varys that the ladies of the evening who experienced Podrick’s powers were unable to explain what happened. Podrick was no bigger in the dong department than anyone else but was magical. And slowly the puzzle is revealed, one moderately sized yet very capable squire penis at a time.
WINNER: Joffrey’s overly enthusiastic tour guidesmanship
King Joffrey is a little overenthusiastic explaining how this Targaryean and that Targaryean died in places in the castle. Margaery, ever game to be a good Queen, feigns interest in seeing the crypts where all of the bodies are. Joffrey has a little moment when Margaery tells him that “Sometimes severity is the price for greatness.” She even convinces him to step outside of the castle to wave to the King’s Landing townies while they cheer for Margaery…and then ever so slightly for Joffrey, too! And then the psychopathic Grinch King’s heart grew three sizes that day.
LOSER: Theon. Always Theon.
Remember how last week it looked like Theon might be able to return to the Iron Islands with the help of an ally of his sister? Yeah, not so much. The would-be savior just takes Theon on a long road back to the cell in which he was being tortured. Given all the crappy choices Theon made — and how he really has no backbone or compass to guide him, either as a could-have-been Stark family member or a man from the Iron Island — it’s tough to feel too bad for the guy. But, man, if anyone deserves a break soon, it’s him. He just wants someone to be proud of him and he just keeps getting raped and tortured. It’s tragic.
WINNER: Brienne’s pep talks
Jaime refuses to eat so Brienne tries to shake him back to reality. She tells Jaime that he sounds “like a bloody woman” with his whining after the lose of his sword-swinging hand and that he should live for revenge. That gets Jaime to eat but he’s not really enthused about it. I get that he needs to eat and all that but did he really need to be called a pussy less than 24 hours after losing his hand? Hardly time for your Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday best, Brienne.
LOSER: Cersei’s claim to the Lannister legacy
With her sway over Joffrey evaporating as Margaery’s grows, Cersei goes to father Tywin looking for a boost. She ends up spilling her heart, attempting to explain to Tywin that she’s been the one heeding his lessons all these years, not Jaime or Tyrion, and — as a result — should be the Lannister to uphold her legacy.
But Tywin tears her down, citing her lack of control over Joffrey, and cuts her deeeeeeep, saying, “I don’t distrust you because you’re a woman. I distrust you because you’re not as smart as you think you are.”
Let’s let that breathe for a second.
Tywin Lannister gets the best lines in this show. No question.
WINNER: Hanging out with Lady Olenna
The GIF above is Lord Varys’s brilliant response to when Lady Olenna threw out the bomb “What happens when the nonexistent bumps against the decrepit?” Let me amend what I just said about Tywin Lannister; Lady Olenna might be tied with Tywin for the best lines in the show.
Varys is hopeful that Lady Olenna might be able help him get some safety for Sansa Stark. He doesn’t want Littlefinger to be able to marry Sansa Stark and gain footing in the North if Robb Stark should fall. Lady Olenna is on board with his plan to find someone else for Sansa, but probably not to bump useless uglies yet. Maybe one day.
WINNER: Sansa Stark’s hand
But Littlefinger, Varys, and Lady Olenna aren’t the only ones jostling for Sansa Stark’s hand in marriage…power broker Margaery Tyrell is in the mix, too. She intimates that Sansa can marry her brother Loras and then they’d be sisters and they could braid each other’s hair and talk about how neither of their husbands is particularly interested in sex with them. Sounds like a good time for everyone.
LOSER: Literally everything going on beyond the wall
The men of the Night Watch are hungry — one of them even remarks that the body of a fallen Ranger smells good — and falling apart mentally. So as Craster mows down some food in front of them and encourages them to get out of his house immediately, things go south fast. There’s sawdust in the bread Craster’s wives give them. The men of the Nights Watch have had enough of Craster drinking their wine while he holds out on them.
Craster doesn’t help the situation when he draws a hatchet and wants to go to war with everyone. As soon as Lord Commander Mormont drags one of them out, another Ranger calls Craster a “daughter fucking bastard.” And then it is on. Craster goes after the guy but gets a shiv to the stomach. The same guy then grabs one of the wives hostage and threatens her so Mormont tells him to unhand her…then he gets stabbed from behind by the fat guy who’s in the Night Watch for being a rapist (referenced in season one) and is always a dick but I don’t know his name so let’s call him Rapey.
Anyway, ol’ Rapey knifed Mormont in the back, then Mormont turned around to strangle him. As it all turns to shit in the barn, Mormont’s wounds catch up with him and he dies, Rapey lives to rape another day, and Samwell Tarly makes off with one of the wives to get out of there with the yet-unsacrificed baby boy. Rapey yells that he’ll slit his throat one of these days. Rapey just don’t quit.
WINNER: Whomever this one-eyed guy is
Arya and the bastard Baratheon kid are escorted by the Brotherhood Without Banners for a trial of the Hound. This one-eyed guy pictured above is apparently someone of influence but I don’t recall if we’ve seen him before. He’s also seemingly a leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners. And the Hound’s punishment for his crimes — including the murder of the baker’s boy in the first season, brought up by Arya in the middle of the trial session — is that he’ll have to duel with the one-eyed man. The Hound does not seem pleased by this. One-eyed man may be a mystery to me but not to anyone in the fictional world, it seems.
UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Shasty for pointing out the guy is Beric Dondarrion, dispatched to try and execute The Hound’s brother, Gregor, in season one. Not exactly the most memorable appearance for non-book-readers but it’s something.
WINNER: Daenerys’ master plan
The final five minutes of the episode rank up with the best moments in the show’s history. Dany seemingly consummates her trade of a dragon to the slaver Kraznys mo Nakloz and gains control of the her army of 8,000+ unsullied soldiers. She then reveals that she could understand what he was saying the entire time in Valyrian — her people have the blood of Old Valyria. She instructs the army to kill all of the masters. And then she instructs the dragon that was seemingly bequeathed to Kraznys to burn him alive.
It is about as beautiful of a moment as a man being burned alive can be.
The unsullied and the dragon set fire to just about everything in Astapor, literally and figuratively. Dany then tells all of the slave soldiers that they are free. But, if they want, they can fight for her…as free men. Inspired by their new coach as if they were the mixed-race team in Remember the Titans, one starts to bang his spear on the ground as a sign of solidarity behind Dany and they all join in. The episode closes with Dany leading her new army, flanked by three nicely grown dragons.
That’s a hell of a note to close out the first third of the season. Dany looks as empowered as she ever has, the Night Watch has been completely torn apart, one-eyed guy is busy doing one-eyed guy things. And people clapped for Joffrey! What a world.
When HBO initially sent the first round of screeners, this episode was the last included in the pack. It left a huge impression on me when I watched it initially. There are moments that can genuinely give you goosebumps, particularly when you compare the über-empowered Dany (who outfoxed all of the men around her) in this episode to the one who appeared nude with her creepy brother in the first episode of the show. It’s quite an arc and, obviously, we’re not done yet.
A pantheon episode of the show in my opinion. My rating: Five unsullied soldiers stomping their spears in unison.