Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 3 Review and Recap
Walk of Punishment
“Walk of Punishment” is the highlight episode of “Game of Thrones” this season. While it didn’t have the epic opening of “Valar Dohaeris” or cover as much ground as “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” “Walk of Punishment” carries an emotional weight from beginning to end and doesn’t waste a second in revealing as much as possible in each scene while still holding just enough back to titillate viewers to return to Westeros next week. However, the biggest thing “Walk of Punishment” has going for it that the two previous episodes lacked earlier this season is an ending not soon to be forgotten for GOT faithful. It shouldn’t surprise viewers that “Walk of Punishment” is the first episode of “Game of Thrones” directed by series creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, who helm the greatest, most fluid transitions ever shown before on the HBO series. King Joffrey, Sansa, Margaery and Bran’s company are left out this week.
The opening scene reveals the funeral pyre of Lady Stark’s late father. Her brother, Edmure, shoots several flaming arrows toward the pyre and misses each time. The Blackfish takes Edmure’s bow and nails the pyre from a farther distance, no less. This scene leads to Robb Stark (Richard Madden) chastising Edmure’s tactics against Tywin Lannister’s army despite the fact that Edmure captured two Lannister cousins. The talk of Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) transitions to the man himself holding a small convention in his chambers with Cersei (Lena Headey) and Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) present and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) dragging his chair to the end of the table in some act of Oedipal head games with Tywin. The Hand of the King orders Baelish to marry into the Aryn family and then names Tyrion as the new Master of Coin — a position Tyrion expresses his own lack of confidence in such a decision despite pointing out how the royal wedding could cut into expenses needed for more pressing issues. Not five minutes after Tywin asks of Jaime’s whereabouts during the meeting, The Kingslayer himself (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) appears tied up and back-to-back sharing a saddle with Brienne among the men of House Bolton — whom Jaime warns Brienne may try to rape her later that night.
After we are shown one half of the potential Lady Stark-Lannister trade, we are shown one part of the other half — Arya (Maisie Williams). The transitions of this episode are immaculate. Arya and her friends are still encamped with the Brotherhood Without Banners. Arya approaches the Hound and asks him if he remembers the last time he was here. As he says he doesn’t, the Hound is hooded and carted off as a prisoner. Hotpie reveals to Arya and Gendry that he will be staying behind to work at the inn and presents Arya with a barely-recognizable wolf-shaped loaf of bread. As she rides of with the Brotherhood, Arya shouts to Hotpie that his bread is good.
We later catch up with Mance Rayder and Jon Snow (Ciaran Hinds and Kit Harrington) at the Fist of the First Men where the promise of dead crows is not seen — instead the severed heads of the horses belonging to The Night’s Watch are revealed and arranged in a spiral. Rayder orders one of his trusted men to take twenty others to climb the Wall at Castle Black. He then orders that Jon go with them to prove his allegiance. It appears Rayder is less forthcoming to Jon as they grow closer to the Wall. The talk of crows transitions to the very Night’s Watch survivors, including Sam. We first see Sam seeing Jon’s dire wolf, Ghost, in the trees. The remaining Night’s Watch fall upon Craster’s Keep once again only to be met by a surprising welcome. Although a parade isn’t thrown in their honor, the fact that Craster allowed them to return was most shocking. After Craster bullies Sam’s weight like every single moron north of the Wall, Sam wanders off toward the sound of painful child labor. As GOT fans expected, Sam saw Gilly. Give Birth. To a Boy. “Game of Thrones” viewers will recall the revealed fate of boys at Craster’s Keep and their worth to him from season two.
Later on, Stannis Baratheon and Melisandre (Stephen Dillane and Carice van Houten) stand on the shore of Dragonstone as Melisandre attempts to leave on a boat. Stannis suspects Westeros’ most creepy cult leader of getting away from the losing team while she still can. Melisandre attempts to explain that she remains faithful to the last remaining Baratheon brother (Joffrey and his brother don’t count…and aren’t even genetically…you know) and that she is too weak to bear another “child” and that Stannis is indeed the rightful king. She then departs in search of a king’s blood for the Lord of Light’s demands.
We then leave one kooky lady for a beautiful, mighty Khaleesi. Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is still in Astapor (although it may as well have been Jerusalem circa 33 A.D.) looking to buy an army and hopes to do so with the Unsullied. She approaches Krasnys (after three minutes of him calling her a slut and objectifying her) and makes a trade for the entire army of the Unsullied. The price, you ask? Her biggest dragon. After this seemingly indecent proposal, Krasnys looks at the Khaleesi in a different light. She is no longer just another beautiful woman to him, but a hardcore warrior-queen with spare dragons to boot.
After the biggest trade since the Red Sox sent half their lineup to the Dodgers last year, we then catch up with the newly-appointed Master of Coin at Littlefinger’s office. Tyrion, Bronn and Podrick load up the books and make an unexpected stop. In exchange for saving his life last season, Tyrion surprises his peon Podrick with three beautiful professionals who will help him in losing his virginity and a pouch of coins to pay them. Here we leave Podrick as Tyrion and Bronn head out to look at the books. Tyrion discovers that the crown owes his father a lot of money. Although Bronn thinks Tywin will forgive the debt to his grandson, the King, Tyrion is quick to point out the debts and Lannisters have a long-standing tradition. Podrick then reappears to disrupt the conversation. He drops the money pouch on Tyrion’s desk because the ladies refused payment. It seems as if the Imp is already cutting financial corners.
We then cut back to Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) who was rescued earlier in the episode. As he furthers his horseback escape, arrows fly past him and he is knocked from his horse — it is his torturers. As one prepares to rape him, arrows hit all three of the men flanking Theon. The savior/archer is no more than the very castle servant who freed him earlier and got him on the horse. They then presumably continue their escape to the Iron Islands.
We then end by returning to Jaime and Brienne. Just as he predicted, men come to rape Brienne. They try to beat her into submission first, but she never stops screaming or gives in to her captors. Despite being his captor, Jaime looks on with disgust as even he feels terrible for what is about to happen to Brienne. Although Jaime Lannister’s body is tied, his clever brain remains free to think as he tells the head of House Bolton of Brienne hailing from the family who mined all the sapphires of Westeros. The prospect of ransom is enough to get Brienne tied back to the tree. Jaime has saved her from rape, but he cannot save himself. Jaime then tries to negotiate his own freedom by attempting buy off his captors with his father’s money. The head of House Bolton agrees to free Jaime for money in a ruse. Jaime is really freed only to be held down to a table with a knife caressing his face. The leader of House Bolton explains his disgust at Jaime for always having “My father…” in his back pocket as a means of negotiation and that Jaime will never be his father. In order to o help the Kingslayer remember this point, Jaime’s hand is severed from his body as he screams in agonizing pain. Cut to credits.
Although I didn’t get to see Margaery wrap young Joffrey around her finger and manipulate him to further her power this week (as I relish watching), I stand by what I said about “Walk of Punishment” as the best episode so far this season, and definitely the best of the first part of the season.