Due to flooding last week, the Game of Thrones review is a bit late this week. I should also mention here at the outset that there be spoilers ahead, no way around it this time I’m afraid.
If you think like me, the first two episodes of this season were a bit on the slow side, even if you can see the telegraph lines from the book. This episode gives us a lot more to sink our teeth into. It starts off with the funeral of Robb’s grandfather, Hoster Tully, and the ineptitude of Edmure Tully, Robb’s uncle, trying to light the pyre boat as it floats downriver. Brynden “Blackfish” Tully (Robb’s great-uncle) basically pushes his nephew out of the way and lights his brother on fire. It doesn’t take much to figure out that Blackfish, and with a cool name like Blackfish taboot, this is the Tully we are meant to like and Catelyn’s brother is the one we don’t like. A dressing down by Robb after he demonstrated his lack of skills beyond shooting a bow, we see, as we basically have seen all season thus far, that Robb’s war isn’t going so well. Watching the army of the North lose its way, not in battle but in attrition isn’t exactly the most riveting television. I think this is why we haven’t seen much of the Robb story line very much this season. A few scenes here and there, each one demonstrating another facet of his cause disintegrating goes a long way. An inept uncle who ruins strategy here, a second in command informing Robb and us along the way that the troops are leaving here, and a few scenes establishing that his new wife is unpopular and we pretty much get it, no need to spend a lot of time on a rather uninteresting story.
We get a few glances to most of the other storylines, but not much more. At least they are cutting down on the travel scenes, pretty much because for the near future, not much changes as far as location; Jon is still beyond The Wall, Arya is with the Brotherhood Without Banners and the folks in King’s Landing are fairly ensconced within the city walls. The best part of the King’s Landing story is the humorous take on Pod and his sexual prowess. Other than that, Tyrion gets a new job as Master of Coin and discovers that Littlefinger isn’t quite the magician everyone thought he was.
The goings on across the sea are a little more interesting. Dany is in the market for an army and makes an offer that the slave driver can’t refuse: a dragon for 8,000 Unsullied. It seems like a steep price to pay, but it seems like Dany has more up her sleeve, even though Barristan and Jorah are upset with her bargain. Knowing the books, I can’t wait to see the Unsullied in action, but that will have to wait.
The best event of the episode comes from the Jaime and Brienne journey. After being captured after their fight on the bridge, Jaime informs Brienne of what is about to happen to her. Sure enough, the company is about to have their way with Brienne, until Jaime convinces them that she is worth more to them unharmed. Jaime keeps up the ploy of using greed to influence his captors and hopes that the promise of Lannister gold will keep him safe, ultimately freeing him. If they mentioned in the series the Brave Companions, I must have missed it, but the outcome is still the same: the captors of Jaime and Brienne are not as easily swayed by wealth as other in Westeros, and they border on the sociopathic. They toy with Jaime, making him think he is getting his way, and instead chop off his sword hand, ending the episode.
While this isn’t Jaime’s death, it does rob him of his identity throughout the first two and a half books, and his backstory as well. Jaime Lannister was one of the greatest fighters in all of the Seven Kingdoms. Now he is rendered useless. For him, it is a fate worse than death, or at least close to it. Without fighting, Jaime is without ability and without cause. He isn’t particularly clever and the only way people gave him any respect was mostly through fear. It is a certain amount of karmic justice as well. He took Bran’s ability to walk and especially climb now he has lost his strongest ability. With one swift stroke, Jaime Lannister went from an almost stereotypical character from fantasy novels to a much more complex, conflicted and interesting character. I have the knowledge of the next two books, but I’m very excited to see how the actor and television producers and writers present the broken Jaime. It should be a fun journey for the rest of the season and probably the rest of the series as well.