Game of Thrones: Season 3, Episode 1: Good to be Back!

barristan-selmy

It was good to get back to Westeros tonight.  Like the previous season, it was pretty much a recap and a reintroduction of the major plot lines and characters, forty weeks is a long time to be away after all.  The only characters we didn’t get to see were Bran, Arya and Jamie and I only really care about two of them.

The fallout of the Battle of the Blackwater is the most intriguing story and like any good early episode, questions arise.  First, how is Tyrion going to deal with his loss of station?  We got to see his father treat him like dirt and pretty much refuse all of his ambition regarding the House of Lannister and his sister let him know where he stands in the rest of the court.  Since season one we have seen Tyrion maneuver better than any other character.  It will be a lot of fun to watch how he moves now that so many of his moves have been checked.  Oh, and we got our gratuitous sex scene through the character of Bronn, Tyrion’s rascal of a bodyguard.  Glad the producers are remaining consistent with their use of soft core.

The other character, the other fallen hand of a king that made an appearance was Davos Seaworth.   I understand the constraints of a television show and not being able to show more of his role in the Battle of the Blackwater, but I still wish we could have seen more of the naval battle that Davos was such a big part.  He is found on a rock and looking quite the worst for wear.  A ship that survived the battle finds him and he goes to confront Stannis and more importantly Melisandre.  Unfortunately for Davos, Melisandre holds sway over Stannis and after a brief confrontation he is thrown into the dungeon.  The question being, how does Davos get spared the fate of others who defied Melisandre?  He is such a good character and like Tyrion is a survivor.  Having read the books, I don’t want to spoil much, but I will say I’m interested to see how far we get into his story.

One final part of the Blackwater fallout is the story of Margaery.  It should be a lot of fun to watch her and Cersei engage in a court battle.  It is obvious that Margaery knows how to play the game.  She works the commoners at an orphanage and while it would be nice to think she did it out of the goodness of her heart, no one in George RR Martin’s world does things with purely altruistic motives, at least not those associated with the throne.

We got to see Robb march and Daenerys go to yet another free city.  Things will get more interesting as we go along, but like Davos, I wonder how far we will get.  Probably my favorite moment of the episode came in the Dany portion.  During an assassination attempt on Dany’s life a hooded stranger saves her life.  He is revealed to be the forced out Kings Guard, Barristan Selmy.  We know his reputation as a skilled fighter and he has the feel of an old gunslinger trying to make a mark one last time.

We also got to see a bit of the Night’s Watch and John Snow, but not as much as I thought there would be.  The white walkers are on the move and I hope they treat the march back to the wall like the Anabasis of Xenophon, but with snow and zombies.  As far as John Snow, it will be interesting to see how Mance Rayder is treated in the adaptation.  I found him to be a very likable in the books and so far I don’t have much of a feel for the television character.  Granted, it was a short scene and like so many of the choices of actors in the series they do a great job finding the right person.

Though there wasn’t a lot of action this week, it is great to have Game of Thrones back.  Between this and the return of baseball on the same day, I was kind of confused if this was Easter or Christmas.

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