Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 2 Review and Recap
Dark Wings, Dark Words
As this is a recap, there are SPOILERS.
Director Daniel Minahan picked up this week right where he received a lot of criticism in the season premiere for not including Bran, Arya, Theon, Brienne and Jaime. The difference between “Dark Wings, Dark Words” and “Valar Dohaeris” is that “Valar Dohaeris” felt like an episode with a sole purpose of reintroducing the most plot-crucial subplots in a dazzling parade. With “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” Minahan has begun to really plunge the audience into the War of the Five Kings currently raging in Westeros by showing characters in multiple subplots (the Starks are popular again this week). However, one subplot sorely lacking this week (they only get one hour) was that of Daenerys Stormborn. Stannis and his crazy-cult-girlfriend also do not appear, but their presence isn’t missed like the one and only Mother of Dragons.
We begin this week with Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright- The Awakening) standing and hunting in the forest, so immediately we are privy to his dream-state. A three-eyed raven appears (and looks poised to reveal its importance/ symbolism as our story furthers) followed by Bran’s older brothers Robb and Jon who tease Bran into missing his shot at the raven. A lone boy about Bran’s age wanders into Bran’s field of vision after the arrow misses the raven and Robb and Jon disappear. Bran discovers that he cannot kill the raven as he is the raven per the lone boy’s words. He then awakens to find himself in the same camp we last saw him joined by his little brother, Osha and Hodor.
Robb Stark (Richard Madden) makes his second appearance of the episode with his new bride, Talisa (Oona Chaplin). Their tender moment is interrupted by news of his grandfather’s death, and that Winterfell has burned to the ground with no trace of Bran or Rickon who are potential captives of Theon Greyjoy (but we know better after the last scene).
Speaking of Theon Greyjoy, we are treated to a quick entrance by our favorite character from the Iron Islands. Theon (Alfie Allen) awakes upon the pouring of cold water to his body — a body that has all limbs tied to a standing torture device. A torturer puts a knife through Theon’s hand and the camera cuts away to Brienne and Jaime’s trip to make a trade. Before the episode is out, Theon appears again only to be tortured about his motives regarding the sacking of Winterfell. A spy of Theon’s sister reveals himself to Theon only to inform him that the rescue will not happen until the castle is asleep. Here we leave Theon until next time.
As Brienne forces Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau- Kingdom of Heaven, Oblivion) along the road, Jaime continues his game of antagonizing her to the point of rage. Through a string of quips about her barking up the wrong tree in regards to Renly, the Kingslayer deduces Brienne’s fierce loyalty to her fallen king. As they debate, a farmer interrupts them on the road. As the farmer leaves, Jaime poses a question to Brienne: do you think the farmer recognized me? Brienne (a terrible risk-taker this week) chances that the farmer did not recognize the one and only Kingslayer. This was a great introduction for both characters into the season as one can only show two characters hiking and talking x-amount of times.
Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey- 300, Dredd) speaks with her son, King Joffrey, about Margaery. Although Cersei steers their conversation toward Margaery and sexuality, Joffrey blows it off as his mother being just another woman who won’t do what she’s told (if only he knew about his real father, it’s like watching Dale Gribble painfully never deduce John Redcorn’s secret by now). Cersei showed up in last week’s episode as well, but has yet to prove her importance this season as she only shows up to anger her son.
After we hear the king and queen discuss Margaery (Natalie Dormer), we are shown the incoming queen herself in the company of her grandmother (Diana Rigg- Diamonds Are Forever) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). This was my favorite part of the episode. Margaery and her grandmother invite Sansa out for a treat only to reveal their true agenda: Just how bananas is the king? Through a back-and-forth of prodding, Sansa divulges the king’s true nature to his fiancée. It appears Sansa Stark has negotiated some kind of alliance with the Tyrells. This alliance will keep me tuning in as I am further fascinated by Margaery Tyrell each week. She is a strong, cunning character who knows how to get what she wants. It also a real plus that she’s kind and understanding. She seems to be a character who knows that the only way to make sure a righteous ruler takes the Iron Throne is to take it herself.
After this, we are shown Robb’s company’s journey to his grandfather’s funeral. His imprisoned mother Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) shines in this scene as she reveals a mother’s heart to Talisa. Despite her own imprisoning her, Lady Stark weaves a dreamcatcher for Robb’s safety in battle. Catelyn describes the only two other times she’s woven a dreamcatcher for her children. We all knew she made one for Bran after he fell in the first episode, but we did not know about the one she made for the son she never bore: Jon Snow.
The very same Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) who is next seen with his new best friend, Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds). Rayder is another fatherly character who seems to influence Jon Snow in a positive sense (seriously, all this brilliant, genius tutelage has to make Jon Snow the one true king). Rayder sheds some wisdom on Jon when he describes how he united 90 tribes into one army. Before Rayder’s army continues on, they must wait for their warg (Mackenzie Crook- The Office UK, Pirates of the Caribbean) to report back to them. This is the first warg exposure we’ve had on GOT and it wasn’t even the last one this week. Wargs have the ability to see through the eyes of animals. When Orell the warg comes to, he reveals how he traveled to the Fist of the First Men and saw nothing but dead crows — a bad omen indeed.
Bran and his company fall upon Jojen and Meera Reed. Jojen is the boy from Bran’s dream who described the raven to Bran. Before the episode is out, Jojen reveals that he and Bran are wargs and that the three-eyed raven has a separate significance from being a warg. This scene was rather obviously going to happen after the first warg was seen, but it is necessary to show Bran discover the fact for himself. This is another interesting subplot as I can’t to see how Jojen will help Bran hone his gift.
Arya makes her season three appearance with her two friends following their escape from Harrenhal. They fall upon Thoros of Myr and the Brotherhood Without Banners. The Brotherhood invites Arya’s company to eat with them. In a later scene, The Hound (Rory McCann) makes his season three debut as well when he shows up as a Brotherhood prisoner who reveals Arya’s house name. The repercussions of The Hound’s words will be waited upon with baited breath.
Before The Hound reveals Arya’s secret close to the end of the episode, we are shown Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Shae (Sibel Kekilli) in Tyrion’s chambers. Shae merely showing her face in his room puts both their lives at risk. While the chemistry between these characters/ actors is undeniable, the dialogue wasn’t fluid. I think the writers are still trying to figure Tyrion out this season as Dinklage shows that he knows his character better than the people who write his words.
After Tyrion and Shae’s cute little conversation, we are shown the opposite of a cute conversation. Tyrion’s nephew, King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), summons Margaery to his chambers in order to be sure all of her accommodations are met before he leaves on a hunting trip. Margaery takes keen interest the king’s new crossbow and psychologically manipulates every word he says from there to scene’s end. Natalie Dormer appears to be having a ball in character as Margaery tempts Joffrey’s evil side with mention of shooting and killing. Watching Gleeson demonstrate his new weapon to his new queen shows a new depth to the character we hadn’t seen. Finally, Joffrey was given something to work with this week. Lady Tyrell took Sansa’s words to heart.
The episode concludes with Brienne deciding to transfer Jaime across the river instead of across the bridge. This gambit doesn’t pay off as Brienne and Jaime are interrupted in the hail of swordfighting. As Brienne nearly finishes the Kingslayer for good, the army of House Bolton (the Flayed Men) arrives to take Jaime Lannister back into Robb Stark’s custody despite the Kingslayer’s bribes. It’s apparent the farmer recognized Jaime.