'Game of Thrones' recap: 'Walk of Punishment'

The cruelty of Westeros is catching up to the Lannisters

April 14, 2013|By Luke Broadwater | The Baltimore Sun

“There’s a beast in every man and it stirs when you put a sword in his hand,” - Jorah Mormont

For the first two seasons on "Game of Thrones," terrible, cruel, unspeakable horrors tended to happen primarily to the Stark family.

The Starks were the show’s heroes, and in the sick, twisted ethos of Westeros that meant they were destined to suffer the worst.

Then George R.R. Martin, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss started to transform the Lannister brothers into likeable, wisecracking anti-heroes.

It was only a matter of time.

First, fan-favorite Tyrion Lannister got half his face cut off in the battle of Blackwater Bay. Then, Sunday, in “Walk of Punishment,” his better-looking, better-fighting brother met an arguably worse fate.

Jaime Lannister, perhaps the greatest swordsman in the mythical world of Westeros, suffered a gruesome maiming at the hands of men pledged to Robb Stark. (In the books, they’re called the Brave Companions; I’m not sure if they’ve been identified on the show.)

Fed up at how Lannister was smoothly talking circles around them, Jaime’s captors hauled him from the tree where he was chained, and chopped off his right hand. Yes, his dominant, sword-wielding right hand.

It was a welcome moment of violence for viewers still angry at how Jaime pushed Bran Stark from a tower window, paralyzing him, or countless other Lannister evil deeds. It was also a welcome moment for fans of violence and action. For a war show, the first two episodes of this season have been pretty slow with not a single beheading or even a serious maiming. (Um, where are all the heads on spikes we got to see during Season One?!)

That changed Sunday.

I get that “A Song of Ice and Fire” is an incredibly complex series of novels that is nearly impossible to translate to the screen. There are just too many characters and plotlines to adequately develop characters while keeping the show fast-paced enough. (For instance, on tonight’s episode, we followed dozens of different characters through seven different parts of the world.) The show’s writers seem to make a conscious effort to write sex into nearly every show (such as, Sunday’s humerous brothel scene with Pod). Is it asking that much to want the writers to pace out all the immense violence in the books, so that there’s at least some in each episode?

Regardless, I thought episode three was the best so far of Season Three, and I know each week is only going to improve until we get to the Red Wedding. So I’ll stop venting and get to recapping.

Here’s what happened this week on “Game of Thrones”:

Riverrun

The episode opens with the funeral of Catelyn Stark’s father, Lord Hoster Tully.

When Catelyn’s brother, Edmure Tully, attempts to shoot a fiery arrow into a boat holding Lord Hoster, to complete the funeral ceremony, he fails miserably, and we get introduced to The Blackfish.

Brynden Tully, Catelyn’s uncle, snatches the bow and hits a no-look, walk-off game-winning shot. Badass.

Robb Stark then chastises Edmure for disobeying orders, and scaring The Mountain away from a trap the Young Wolf was setting for him.

Catelyn, all the while, is distraught over her father’s death and what she believes are the deaths of her youngest sons, Bran and Rickon.

Lady Talisa is growing on me, slightly. (I still don’t like it when they substantially change characters from the books.) She interacts charmingly with two young Lannister captives, allowing them to keep believing the tall tales that are being widely spun about Robb Stark’s supernatural, werewolf-like powers.

King’s Landing

In the capitol city, Tywin Lannister has returned to take his place as Hand of the King. He names Littlefinger Lord of Harrenhal and plans to marry him off to Lysa Tully, forming what he believes will be an alliance against Robb Stark. Tywin then appoints Tyrion to replace Littlefinger as the “Master of Coin,” a job for which Tyrion is likely ill equipped.

“They’re only numbers, numbers on paper,” Littlefinger advises. “Once you understand that, it’s easy to make them behave.”

Tyrion finally rewards Pod for saving his life at Blackwater Bay, and buys him three whores.

“We’re going to need details, copious details,” the imp jokes afterwards.

As he is researching King’s Landing’s finances, Tyrion sees the kingdom owes millions to the Iron Bank of Braavos, home to some of the world’s best assassins. 

“One way or another, they always get their gold back,” Tyrion says.

Road to Harrenhal

Men pledged to the northern forces have taken Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth captive.

When the men begin to beat and attempt to rape Brienne, Jaime speaks up and tells a clever lie. 

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