Now that Game of Thrones has almost completely deviated from George RR. Martin’s books, it’s more confident and fast paced than ever. Usually by episode 3 there’s a lot of water treading, but now there’s only a little water treading as we’re at the point of things paying off.
Well, almost paying off. Winter has been coming since 2011, after all.
Bran embarks on another vision quest with Max Von Sydow’s Three Eyed Raven. This time it’s a peek into the time young Ned Stark was saving his sister Lyanna Stark, who’s being held prisoner in the Tower of Joy. In classic Game of Thrones’ subversion, what Bran had been told was a heroic act on his father’s part, was, in fact, something quite dishonourable and venal. Ned makes his way to the Tower of Joy as the sounds of his sister’s screams become louder. Bran, and by extension we, don’t know what happens next as the Three Eyed Raven pulls them out of the vision.
It’s definitely a trollish bit of teasing, but beyond teasing the viewer, it establishes that the honourable Ned Stark is a liar. What else has he been lying about what went down in the Tower of Joy? Hmm.
I’m not entirely sure what the narrative purpose is for Bran, and us, to see into the past. Hopefully it’s not just audience placation.
Arya Stark continues her training to become No One. She’s drawn the short stick so far this year in terms of story space, but things pick up a bit this episode with an exciting training montage; there’s nothing that can’t be improved with a good training montage. It’s revealed that the Hound was off Arya’s kill list when she left him for dead, which I suppose is evident if one reads between the lines, but it’s nice that it was spelled out for us. It’s nice because that can only mean the Hound is going to be reintroduced – soon, I hope. Some of the best scenes in this series were when the tank sized killer and the pint sized one were roaming across Westeros. They had fantastic chemisty.
Although, will Arya’s transformation into No One actually happen? Does that mean her vengeance quest that we’ve become invested in, the character that we’ve become invested in, will become null and void? That’d be a cruel joke.
Although, this brutal show is less cruel sometimes. Case in point, a newly risen from the dead Jon Snow. There was a question of whether he’d change or not and the answer to that is…yeah, he’s sort of changed. His demeanour is the same, but his priorities have shifted. As in, he’s resigned from his Lord Commander post and declares that his watch is ended.
Where to next for him? Winterfell, I suppose. He’s got messes to clean up, and nowhere is messier than his home where Ramsay rules and holds his brother Rickon captive. How Jon Snow’s going to take back his home without an army, we’ll find out, but the wildlings are pretty chummy with Jon, certainly chummier than they are with the Night’s Watch.
We briefly checked in with Daenerys this week, and so far her arc is similar to season 2 – treated like trash and trudging across the desert. Not sure where this is going, but, honestly, this storyline feels like water treading. There always has to be something keeping Dany at a severe disadvantage, otherwise she’d be swooping into Westeros on the back of one of her mighty dragons by now, which, if it’s even going to happen, will happen a little later down the track. Being forced into a temple full of Dothraki widows is merely the latest severe disadvantage.
An angry King Tomnen confronts the High Sparrow. It’s a tense confrontation, but the old man defuses the situation, not by matching Tomnen’s aggression, but by coming in at the side of the young soft king – by acting the kindly and benevolent old man. What a devious bastard. And with the council thumbing their nose at Jamie, Cersei, and their mutant freak of nature bodyguard, it seems the Lannisters are also at a disadvantage for the moment.
With Episode 3, the game is well and truly afoot. May next Monday arrive soon so we can see where the pieces move to next.