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Recap

Game of Thrones Recap: Walk of Punishment


Last week’s Game of Thrones had its odd moments, but that was nothing to the many bzuh?!-tinged scenes from yesterday’s episode. Co-starring a werewolf reference, an unlikely sex god, and the juxtaposition of carnage and indie rock. Game of Thrones, you are so strange sometimes. I love you.

[SPOILERS]

This episode’s first scene, the funeral of Catelyn’s father, introduces us to two new characters: Catelyn’s brother Edmure, whose schtick is that he messes things up, and her uncle Brynden, aka the Blackfish, whose schtick is that he has zero tolerance for Edmure messing things up. Edmure screws up his father’s funeral (awkwaaaard) by failing in his attempts to light the pyre via flaming arrow. So the Blackfish steps in, aims, looses an arrow, hands the bow to Edmure, and walks away before the arrow even lands, because cool guys don’t look at explosions.

Then the Blackfish and Robb rake Edmure across the coals for ordering an attack on Gregor Clegane’s forces that, while technically successful, screwed with Robb’s long-term strategy of drawing Clegane out into a trap. Edmure would’ve known that, Robb explains, had he been patient and waited for Robb to get to Riverrun and explain things before rushing off in pursuit of his own glory.

I kind of feel bad for Edmure here. He’s like a kicked puppy. But then it’s also kind of funny how he becomes Westeros’ number one screwup like ten minutes after we meet him.

In King’s Landing Varys emerges from the shadows for the first time this season to take part in a small council meeting. Cersei carries her chair to her father’s right hand, so Tyrion, engaging in a power play of his own, drags his chair to sit across from Tywin. At this point I’m thinking “Huh. Psychological warfare via chairs. That might be most weirdly random thing to happen this episode.” (As a later scene involving Podrick Payne would prove, I was wrong.)

It’s brought up at the small council meeting that Littlefinger’s courting Lysa Aryn of the Vale (Catelyn’s mentally unhinged sister from season one who breastfed her six-year-old son—remember her?). Littlefinger says “She has always been… positively predisposed toward me. *leer*” because he is incapable of having a conversation without being skeezy. Since Littlefinger’s going out of town to schmooze with Lysa and hopefully bring her to the Lannister’s side, the small council will need a new Master of Coin. Tywin gives Tyrion the job, which Tyrion perceives as an insult.

Then we meet up with Brienne and Jaime, who’ve been captured by some of Roose Bolton’s men. Jaime tells Brienne that when they set up camp for the night she will be raped—because he’s the prisoner of value, not her. She shouldn’t fight or they’ll kill her. Instead, he says, why doesn’t she just close her eyes and pretend they’re Renly? Jaime, you little shhhhiii—moving on.

Elsewhere in the woods, Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie are still guests (not prisoners, Thoros of Myr explains) of the Brotherhood Without Banners. We get an all-too-brief bit where Sandor and one of the Brothers, Anguy, debate swords vs arrows. Sandor says he likes to be close to men when he kills them, to which Anguy’s clever riposte is “Why, to kiss ‘em?.” Chair battles, random gay jokes. This episode is weird.

Hot Pie elects to stay behind at the inn where the Brotherhood’s been staying. In a moment that left me cooing at my screen, he gives Arya a wolf-shaped loaf of bread and tells Gendry not to get stabbed. Gendry’s response is “Don’t burn your fingers baking bread.” Gendry, Gendry, Gendry. Hot Pie is a commoner in Westeros. If anyone’s going to get stabbed, it’s him.

Back in Riverrun Catelyn has an emotional scene with the Blackfish where she talks about how she used to wait for her father to come home from battle. She wonders how many times Bran and Rickon waited for her to come home before breaking down into tears. A+ on your acting, Michelle Fairley. Cat is certain Bran and Rickon are dead. Blackfish says that Robb still has hope, though, and that she has to remain strong for him.

Then we get a scene where Talisa is talking to the Lannister hostages—both children—captured at Edmure’s ill-advised battle. She confirms to them the rumors that Robb can turn into a wolf at night and eats men, but he won’t kill kids unless it’s a full moon. Our “that was weird” tally can add a werewolf reference, then.

Above the Wall, meanwhile, Mance, Jon, and the Wildlings have come across the site of the battle between the White Walkers and the Night’s Watch. The only corpses there belong to horses, placed in a nice spiral. (Are the White Walkers secret art fans? Did the remaining members of the Night’s Watch take time to arrange their dead horses just so before running away? I’m confused.) Mance tells Tormund Giantsbane to prepare to climb the Wall and, when Mance gives the signal (a huge fire), to attack Castle Black. Jon is to go with him, because he can tell them about Castle Black’s defenses. If he doesn’t attack, he’ll be killed.

What’s left of the Night’s Watch (one of whom is played by Burn Gorman, aka Owen from Torchwood, oddly enough) find themselves back at the home of Craster, the Wildling from last season who marries his daughters. He’s not too happy to see them and jokes that they should’ve just eaten Sam. Sam’s not as offended as he might’ve been, though, because he’s distracted by the sounds of his Wildling crush Gilly screaming her way through labor. He goes to see her and witnesses the miracle of childbirth. Too bad the baby’s a boy and will therefore be sacrificed to the White Walkers, just like Gilly feared he would be.

Then we’re back to Theon, who escapes with the help of that nice gentleman from last episode. A few scenes later Theon gets recaptured, and that same mystery servant shows up out of nowhere and kills his attackers.

Back at Dragonstone Melisandre is embarking on a journey—to where, she does not know, but the fire will tell her—and Stannis begs her to stay and make him another shadow baby to kill Joffrey or Robb. Stannis accuses her of abandoning him and comes across as really emotional and obsessed with Melisandre and weird. Melisandre explains that it would help Stannis’ cause to sacrifice of the blood of a king. When Stannis objects that he’s the only real king, thank you very much, and sacrificing himself so he can win the war is slightly counter-productive, the priestess notes that there are others who share his blood. I do not like where this is going. Nope. Nope nope nope.

After an episode-long absence we catch up with Daenerys, who’s arguing with Jorah and Ser Barristan about whether she should buy a slave army. Ser Barristan says no, because it’s not the noble thing to do; Ser Jorah says yes, because she needs an army and the Unsullied won’t run around committing atrocities like a normal army would. While strolling around Astapor they come across the Walk of Punishment, where disobedient slaves are crucified as a warning to other slaves. Dany tries to give water to one, but he refuses, instead begging for death. Even though Dany realizes the practicality of a slave army, it doesn’t sit well with her—she’s not going to accept slavery lightly.

Dany takes both men’s viewpoints into consideration and decides, screw it, she’ll take all eight thousand Unsullied and the ones still in training besides. Plot twist: To pay for them, she’ll give the slave master her largest dragon. She also takes the slavemaster’s interpreter, Missandei, because she’s Dany and she can. She chews out Jorah and Ser Barristan for questioning her judgment in front of strangers. You tell ‘em, Dany. Queen coming through.

Tyrion’s getting various financial papers from Littlefinger, who, surprise surprise, keeps them in a brothel. To reward Podrick for saving his life at the Battle of Blackwater, Tyrion buys his blushing, adorable squire the services of not one, not two, but three prostitues in a scene that had me rolling my eyes and saying “Oh, Game of Thrones, this is so very you.”

Then we cut to Tyrion reviewing the paperwork and talking about how Littlefinger borrowed a ton of money from Tywin Lannister and the Iron Bank of Braavos, the latter of whom will fund their enemies if they don’t get repaid, which they probably won’t be, because the Iron Throne is broke, yadda yadda yadda. And that’s very important plot-wise, I know, but then the weirdest thing ever happens: Pod walks in and reveals that, yes, he did have his share of sexy fun times, but the women wouldn’t accept his payment because apparently he’s some kind of sex prodigy. To close out the scene, Tyrion and Bronn sit Pod down and demand details about his apparently magic penis.

I just. I can’t even with this scene. It’s like it was from a totally different show, and I can’t even be mad about it, because it was so odd it shot right past “this did not need to be here” and circled around to “this is essential to my continued mental wellbeing.”

After that lovely bit of WTFery, we’re back to horribleness: It’s night, Jaime and Brienne’s captors have made camp, and Brienne’s taken away by a group of men to be raped. She fights like hell, but she’s tied up and there are several of them. It’s not looking good until Jaime tells the lead captor, Locke, that Brienne’s father is super-rich (he isn’t) and will give him his weight in sapphires (he can’t) if his daughter is returned to him “unbesmirched.”

For a while things are looking up: Locke bought Jaime’s lie hook, line, and sinker, so Brienne’s saved from a horrible fate. Jaime tells Locke that there’s no way the North can win the war, so he should just accept all the money Jaime’s father can give him as a ransom and let him go free. Locke’s seems receptive—he invites Jaime to eat dinner with him, even!—until he turns nasty, accusing him of being a total Draco Malfoy who turns to his daddy every time he needs help. To prove that Jaime isn’t immune to the horror-show that is Westeros because he’s a Lannister, Locke CHOPS OFF HIS HAND.

Fade to black.

Credits.

Jaunty pop music plays!

Book-related notes:

  • The Brotherhood Without Banners singing The Bear and the Maiden Fair!
  • Who else fistpumped at their screen when Jorah said “Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar died”? Yay for famous book lines!
  • Theon [book spoiler] thinking Ramsay Bolton is his friendly rescuer really creeps me out, which is 100% appropriate to the book. I love it, even as it’s absolutely, completely horrible.
  • I don’t like how they’re changing Stannis’ character from the more inwardly-focused, less-emotional person he was in the books. I get why Book!Stannis might not play well on screen, where each character only get a few minutes per episode, if that, and so each scene has to have maximum impact. I understand and respect the need to make changes from book to show. But Stannis my favorite character, darnit, and I don’t have to like it when it comes to him. *grits teeth*

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  • Kris

    I agree, the scene on the beach was so Un-Stannis that it grated. As for the scene with Pod in the brothel, I think HBO was trying to lighten things up a bit, perhaps, but played it a bit wrong. It’s like every episode has to have obligatory breasts and obligatory Tyrion. (Not that there’s anything wrong with obligatory Tyrion.)

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    It’s like it was from a totally different show, and I can’t even be mad
    about it, because it was so odd it shot right past “this did not need
    to be here” and circled around to “this is essential to my continued
    mental wellbeing.”

    THIS!!!!!

    I love that scene so hard now, but at first I was just rolling my eyes.

    I do like they are fleshing out(heh) Pod. What I mean to say, is you never got to see him much in Tyrion’s POV, just scuttling around in the background. But with an act like this, you begin to get the sense as to why Pod is so devoted to Tyrion. Even hard-assed Bronn has a sof spot for Pod

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I really hope the question is solved about Pod. He was a newbie, maybe they found that so adorable and sweet that they couldn’t bear to charge him? Whut?

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Yeah, Stannis usually plays things more “iron” and close to the chest. He was very vulnerable in that scene with Melisandre and it didn’t sit right with me.

  • Anonymous

    My parents and I (Who were huge fans of the first and second season and the books) are completely befuddled at this third season. It does have some good moments but it really seems confusing and strange at times… Certain characters don’t act like they’re supposed to and certain things that happen and don’t happen confuse me. I do hope it gets better but so far I’m pretty much more bewildered than excited.

  • Katy

    I found the scene with Pod, Bron, and Tyrion to be funny, but unnecessary. The “Tyrion plays smart-ass comic relief” obligatory scene was in the small council chamber. That scene was funny and managed to prove a point. Where Cersei sat on her father’s right, Tyrion made himself his father’s equal and did it while mocking the whole exercise.

  • http://seriousgigglesblog.tumblr.com/ Kimberley

    “Jaunty pop music plays!”

    More like, a pop-rock version of The Bear and the Maiden Fair.

  • Anonymous

    There’s a theory that Tyrion and the women were all in cahoots as a way of boosting Pod’s ego. Kind of charming, in a weird way, but doesn’t necessarily work with the follow up scene where Tyrion seems just as amazed at Pod’s supposed prowess as Bronn.

  • Anonymous

    I agree. What I like about book Stannis is that his obsession with the throne stems solely from his belief that he is the legitimate and rightful heir (much as Dany believes herself to be). He is hard, but it stems from a strict moral belief system (ie: Davos’ knuckle bones). However, much as Ned’s inability to compromise his sense of honor led to his death, Stannis’ cold, hard sense of right and wrong may be his undoing, or perhaps his saving grace. Oooooo….

  • Kris

    I just hope they try something different when it’s time to flesh out Rickon, then.

  • Sole-Train

    Can’t say I’ve ever heard someone say Stannis was one of their favorite characters haha
    I understand that this seems out of character but if I remember my book reading, we don’t know much about what Stannis and Melisandre are doing while Davos sits in prison. It’s possible that Stannis, like everyone else, starts to doubt himself. I don’t think it’s out of character, I think it’s showing that Stannis has more character than the book gives him credit.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Yeah…?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Unless the “amazement” is part of it.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Too true!

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Maybe he was very generous with the oral???

    Gawd, I am terrible at sexing up all these GoT discussions, wherever I go, and that’s pretty bad, it IS GoT.

  • BirdBot

    That’s how I interpreted the scene. That Tyrion had paid the women in advance to pretend they didn’t need payment, making Pod’s first time seem real and not simply a paid transaction. Tyrion’s later amazement was just more acting for Pod’s benefit.

    Tyrion is still so hung up on how badly his first time/first love turned out, I can see him having a particular interest in making sure Pod’s first time was a perfect memorable scenario.

  • Anonymous

    i *loved* the chair battle.

  • Anonymous

    Who else fistpumped at their screen when Jorah said “Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar died”?

    *raises hand*

  • http://twitter.com/Darth_Cliche Carl Jackson

    Unnecessary… ‘lil bit. Although the Iron Bank money scene that proceeded it was a major plot point from the books. So maybe the writers just figured people would get too bored by money talk.

  • Chas Smith

    Could be worse, Edmure could also be screwing up on Doctor Who.

    Doh!

  • http://twitter.com/Darth_Cliche Carl Jackson

    Re: Stannis, I agree. What actually makes him compelling in the books tends to be his unyielding and unwaveringly hard personality. Seeing him desperate and needy might feel more human, but if he actually is this way I’m not sure why he would actually be this bad at politics (it shows him self-aware) or why every other lord in Westeros sees him the same way. Surely someone would have gotten on his “softer” side. That scene really was a clunker for me.

  • Tizzy

    There’s a theory going round that Pod didn’t have to pay because Littlefinger was using his prostitutes to try and get information from him. I think Bronn was just wanting sexy details whereas Tyrion realized that Littlefinger is trying to spy and seeing if Pod provided any information.

  • Anonymous

    My fellow “but in the book” people, we need to calm down. I know a certain small part of the fun in watching is saying “Just like in the book!” but we have to stop thinking that they’re doing it wrong based only on its not-like-bookness.

  • Isen

    “Psychological warfare via chairs.”
    It’s not only Cersei and Tyrion. Look at Littlefinger and his arm on the table – he shuts the other two out with this gesture – its like a move to block the view on Varys and Pycelle.

  • Isen

    I agree too. It bewildered me that Stannis was suddenly so hot for Melisandre – in the books it always appeared to me that he thougt of her as useful, but he never struck me as a very…fleshly man.

  • Isen

    I thought so too. I don’t think HBO would sell us newbie Pod as a miracle lover. Smells more like Tyrions wits – and his heart. If you think about his background…

  • Isen

    Littlefinger is smart enough to know, that if the girls wouldn’t take the gold, it would make Tyrion suspicious. And why on earth should they leave the gold if they can have both – information AND payment?

    I really think it’s just what was said above: Tyrion payed them in advance and it’s just a nice little play for Pods first time.

  • Anonymous

    I liked Stannis being emotionally raw in this episode, for me it helped make him seem more human than he does in the books. He’s just lost what should have been a decisive victory, assassinated his brother in vain, been forced to imprison his [pre Melisendra] most trusted adviser. Yeah dood has the right to be a little needy. I also read his actions more as a desperation fool-at-the-end-of-his-rope kind of a thing.

    The hooker scene with Pod and co, I actually like it. It’s weird for me because you know, buying a kid an evening with prostitutes is definitely on my list of things to never do before you die, but it was pretty endearing in its own way. I also don’t get the confusion about Pod returning the money. That is clearly part of the “reward” for Podrick, a painfully shy and soft-spoken kid, to help boost his confidence. And while I don’t know any ladies of the evening personally, I’m willing to bet that if these women had actually returned Pod’s money, as opposed to doing so at Tyrion’s behest, it would be the first time in the history of prostitution in any universe, real or fictional, that such events had transpired. So yeah.

    Overall I dug the episode. I’ve been enjoying the return to the slow burn that was season one. I can understand how this would be off putting to people expecting the action to continue ramping up, but that’s not really how things played out in the books. Subverting genre expectations for the win!??

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    My theory: it’s not that Podrick was that impressive. It’s a gesture on Littlefinger’s part: “Hey, I can afford to give your squire time with three of my most expensive girls as a freebie, ’cause I’m a financial genius. Have fun with all the debt.”

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    My guess about Mance Rayder’s “artists” remark is that he’s referring to the Others, not the zombies.

  • Anonymous

    Before this turns into a book vs show argument, let me clarify: we who are unhappy with the Stannis-Melisandre scene aren’t unhappy with it because it is different from the book’s portrayal of their relationship (the show has actually done a good job of giving depth to certain characters – Catelyn Stark, for instance – that wasn’t there in the book), we are unhappy with it because it is tonally inconsistent with Stannis’ character, and a weakening of what makes him compelling. Sometimes the show makes changes for the better, sometimes they screw stuff up. That’s the reality of adaptations.

  • http://twitter.com/RandieDonoff Randie Donoff

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  • Katy

    Reminds me of that SNL skit with Andy Samberg as a 13 year old “Creative Consultant” who puts boobs in every scene where people talk about boring stuff.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Someone elsewhere pointed out that it calls back to that funky symbol the bodies were arranged in during the Season One prologue.

  • Anonymous

    The chair scene was conveyed in a weird way. I was sort of confused until I actually watched the episode. Otherwise, good recap!

  • Anonymous

    My rebuttal/comment here is that by doing that Tyrion basically does to Pod what his father did to him with Tysha, at least in a way. True there was no fake marriage/gang rape, but it’s still oddly similar.

    Also, what is with the T names?

  • Isen

    Yes, I thought of Tysha too when I saw this scene, but I think Tyrion wanted Pods first time to be “more real” than his – so he payed for Pods Illusion that the girls really wanted him even without money.

    With the names I think, maybe it’s Martins favorite letter – I have favorite letters for names too!

  • Anonymous

    The problem is Tyrion wanting it to be “more real” more or less does the same thing his dad did to him to Pod. It sort of feels out of character in that way.

  • Isen

    Yes, in a way he does. But I think Tyrion knows this. Maybe he thought: “Pod, you won’t get better than this.”

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Nothing’s worse than all the “A” POVs that are introduced in Feast for Crowd.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Is Rickon ever fleshed out? At the moment, I keep forgetting he’s there.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    In later books it’s implied he’s eating flesh. Does that count?

    *groan*

  • Rebecca Pahle

    NICE.