Highlights from Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 2

Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” was the first one I watched all by my lonesome. Sipping some gin and finishing off the remnants of a week old chocolate Easter bunny, my solitude helped emphasize my favorite moments from the episode—mostly because I had no one else to share my excitement with.

Like the Hound discovering Arya Stark! And the cathartic duel between Brienne and Jamie. Last but not least, Sansa’s meeting with Margaery and Lady Olenna was telling: how good it felt for the eldest Stark girl to finally be given the chance to speak her mind, even if her interviewers were far from compassionate!

Christopher Orr points out an interesting problem with Lady Stark’s self-criticism. Is Catelyn really so blind as to believe the root of her families ills stem from a lack of love for her late husband’s bastard son, rather than errors of political judgment (taking Tyrion hostage; freeing Jamie)? Or for that matter Ned’s impractical honesty?

David Sims explains why he thinks Margaery is the most interesting character to watch so far this season, “She’s not dementedly evil like Joffrey, she doesn’t have Cersei’s cold, jealous streak, and she is not a gleeful operator like Petyr or Varys (where is he, by the way?). Her motives are somewhat craven, but you also get the sense that she won’t just toss Sansa under the bus for saying Joffrey’s a monster (which they really have to drag out of her). Now, she might do that if she had to, but in a world of game-players Margaery is another, specific breed.”

Myles McNutt likes how well the show has learned how to foreground and background different characters depending on the needs of the scene and what it’s meant to develop. Which draws attention to the best character relationship in which neither supplants the other, “Jaime and Brienne’s buddy comedy was a highlight when it was introduced last season, but it has blossomed this season precisely because it doesn’t feel it is about one character or the other.”

Alyssa Rosenberg describes the other sort of courage highlighted in last night’s episode, “the willingness to walk into danger even when you’ve been made aware of the full extent of it.” In so far as “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” highlights how each of the Westeros women try to navigate their situation in life, it’s not clear which if any the audience should be inclined to agree with or admire. How would Arya behave if she were in Sansa’s shoes, or Cersei if she were in Catelyn’s? And are such comparisons even possible?

Andy Greenwald grows weary of the show’s sprawling plot and its decision to pursue every thread of it as meticulously and piece-meal as possible. “I’ve generally learned to appreciate Game of Thrones for the unique storytelling machine that it is, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if the show’s treading water or if we’re just drowning.”

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36 thoughts on “Highlights from Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 2

  1. Ah, but at least watching alone, you can get fully immersed, and not have someone asking “Wait, who’s THAT guy again, and what’s his deal?” every five minutes.

    I cannot BELIEVE they keep adding characters and locations. It’s awesome – but, well, it tends to increase incidences of the aforementioned “W, WTGA, AWHD?”

    Margaery is obviously canny – she only wanted to know if Joff’s a monster so she could figure out what kind of monster bait to use – I just wonder how safe it is to attempt to ride that psychotic monster.

    And I hope she doesn’t end up letting Sansa’s admission be used against Sansa (Sansa, girl, trust NO ONE in King’s Landing! Did Ned teach you nothing?)

    I’m sure you already saw this:

    http://youtu.be/hwF-D5wEEmk

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  2. I am very impressed with Margaery. And I liked the Jaime and Brienne fight. Overall, though, I’m not feeling hugely impressed with this episode. I think we may have just gotten to the point in the series where there are too many different characters and plotlines for the show to deal with them effectively.

    Also, I would be quite happy if they just didn’t show us any of the Theon scenes. I want to just close my eyes whenever he’s on screen.

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      • Yes, but it is not practical to sideline an actor while he is gone from the story. You either have to pay him to not work, or you have to let him go and hope he does not get another contract in the meantime.

        Similarly, they changed things when Barristan Selmy introduce himself to Danaerys, since the audience knows exactly who he is, and there is no way to keep it secret like it was done in the book.

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        • No criticism here from me! The moment he appeared on screen I went “Oh? What’re you doing here? You’re two books early. Oh wait, this is TV. Wow, I wonder how they’re gonna work this?”
          So it’s kindof interesting in that now we book readers are in the dark as to what’s going to happen in these bits. My own guess: This character is in a… particular… shall we say- state of mind when he was reintroduced. I suspect that these added scenes are going to walk us through how he ended up in that state step by step. Could be interesting but definitely will be harrowing and it will definitly be interesting to see if the actor cal pull it off.

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  3. I’m curious, either of you think Margaery doesn’t quite know the depth of King Joff’s evil?

    Her and her mother don’t seem phased by Sansa’s claim that he’s a monster. Do they not realise that he’s an incredibly sadistic one? Less “Mad” King and more regal pscyhopath?

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    • Well Margaery and her -grand-mother probably don’t appreciate Joff’s evil. Sansa left quite a bit out for instance and left out the stuff that would phase Margaery and Olenna the most.
      She told them he forced her to view her traitor father’s head. They were sympathetic but not enormously appalled. I suspect, however, that if she’d revealed that in response to being displeased with her or her family he’d had her beaten by his guards or he’d stripped her down in court then that would have made both of the Tyrell ladies sit up straight with their tails bristling.

      His emotional abuse they can sympathize with her over but not fear suffering the same. His predilection for taking his emotions out on the most nearby woman he can consider culpable for a slight? That’d make them start looking for the exits.

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      • I obviously don’t know either Margaery or her grandmother very well (I’ve only read the first book) but I have to believe they do not *quite* grasp how bad Joffrey is.

        They seem capable and canny, but not so depraved as to consider someone like Joffrey (if they actually knew all the deets) business-as-usual, someone that they can work with?

        But again, we don’t know much about them at this point.

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      • I suspect, however, that if she’d revealed that in response to being displeased with her or her family he’d had her beaten by his guards or he’d stripped her down in court then that would have made both of the Tyrell ladies sit up straight with their tails bristling.

        I suspect that Sansa is not their only source of information on this score. With regards particularly to the very public abuse of Sansa in front of the court, there would be many witnesses, each witness occupying his or her own position in the social hierarchy and having his or her own motives for potentially wanting to curry favor with the Tyrells or for hating the Lannisters (or Joffrey in particular).

        I suspect that Sansa was largely confirming fragmentary evidence that the Tyrell ladies had already gathered from other sources in their network.

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    • In the books, they know. The books also highlight that Margaery won’t be abused because Loras is on the Kingsguard (while young, he is a capable fighter). I’m not sure why the episode didn’t have him in the Kingsguard outfit. Protection of Margaery was one reason the Tyrells insisted that Loras be on the Kingsguard.

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  4. Contrary to Katherine I found the show enrapturing so far. GoT can make an hour feel like all of five minutes. I half envy newbie’s to the series being able to swallow the entire first two seasons in delicious exquisite binges.

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  5. I can’t figure out with Margaery if she’s cheating or we’re cheating. She does seems to have a somewhat preternatural sense of everybody’s motivations and buttons, but, on the other hand she’s grown up in that culture and appears to have had very effective teachers. (better than say, Sansa had). Perhaps it just we know all the players by now, better than anyone of the characters do, which makes it easier now to judge everyone’s moves right when they do them.

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    • I don’t think she’s cheating per say, she’s just introducing the Tyrell manner of politics into an arena that has been barren of them for a while. I am confident she’ll slip up eventually but right now she has all the advantages. Her family has probably been watching affairs in Kings Landing very closely for a while without being watched as much in return.

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    • With Margaery I think it has a lot to do with the Tyrell’s coming into King’s Landing relatively unscathed and desperately needed to shore up the Lannister’s power, but having been out of the inner circles of power under King Robert – there aren’t many people around with any kind of leverage to check them.
      That and all the stuff North said.

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  6. I am only caught up to the end of season 2, but I saw “Sipping some gin and finishing off the remnants of a week old chocolate Easter bunny” in the sidebar on the main page, and, well, that is quite possibly THE BEST PHRASE I HAVE EVER READ ON THIS SITE, so I felt compelled to comment.

    I thought I was the only person who imbibed in those sorts of combinations.

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