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Game of Thrones, Episode 3.4, “And Now His Watch Is Ended”

Revenge is sweet… and sour.

The Riverlands

The episode opens where it left off: on Jaime’s sword hand, hanging around his neck. He seems determined to starve himself to death as a consequence, until Brienne goads him into living:

You have a taste, one taste of the real world, where people have important things taken from them, and you whine, and cry, and quit. You sound like a bloody woman.

Despite the central tragedy of his life – being desperately in love with a woman he can never really be with – Jaime Lannister has had it very, very easy. Brienne, on the other hand, knows exactly what it’s like to battle your way through life.

Their captors, though, aren’t going to roll over for Jaime’s new resolve to live – when he tries to fight them with his left hand, they toy with him like they would with a stray dog.

Speaking of dogs, the Hound (along with Arya and Gendry) is brought to the Brotherhood’s secret lair, full of his old enemy – fire. The Brotherhood, as well as being a Westerosi version of the Merry Men, are also devotés of R’hllor, the Lord of Light – Melisandre’s god. They also take pride in whatever insults the Hound throws at them – they’re from humble backgrounds, they’re deserters, but they’ve found a new power in fighting for the side of righteousness.

That’s what we are. Ghosts. Waiting for you in the dark. You can’t see us, but we see you. No matter whose cloak you wear.

Their leader Beric Dondarrion – the knight sent after the Mountain by Ned Stark in Season 1 –  tries to lay the blame for the Mountain’s various atrocities at the Hound’s door, but he’ll have none of it. Thanks to Arya, though, the Brotherhood do find a crime to try the Hound with: the murder of Micah, the boy Joffrey blamed for hitting him, back in Season 1 (very little is ever wasted on this show). Will Micah, too, be avenged?

Beric, wearing an eyepatch, smiles
I’ve changed since the last time you saw me, haven’t I? That’s because I’m now played by a different actor.

The North

Jojen is trying to teach Bran more about his powers through his dreams: he must climb to catch the three-eyed crow. But Catelyn appears, too – as Ned and his brothers did in last week’s dream – and keeps yelling Promise me! until Bran falls and wakes up. Irony, this scene has it.

Theon and his rescuer are on the way to a rendezvous with Yara… during which his rescuer manages to get a lot of personal information out of him while planting paranoia of his own: namely that Theon didn’t actually kill the Stark boys, and that despite doing his best to be Ironborn, to impress his father, and pay the iron price for Winterfell, Theon realises his mistakes:

My real father died in King’s Landing… I made a choice – and I chose wrong.

It’s a small scene, but gives such a good insight into Theon’s lifelong inferiority complex and how it drives him to make terrible decisions. It’s a pity that now he’s finally becoming someone we’re rooting for, traitor Theon ends up back where he started: in the torture chamber “where he belongs.” Some rescuer, eh? Have you guessed who he is yet?

(Incidentally, where is Yara?)

North of the Wall

Commander Mormont wants to stay in Craster’s Keep until the injured men are well enough to make the final push back to the Wall, but Craster is getting antsy and the men are hungry – and some are dying. Sam is trying to keep out of the way and talk to Gilly, but she has no time for idle chat; any time now, Craster will take her son for the Others:

I don’t want your stupid thimble. I want to save my baby’s life, can you do that?

Things come to a head after the cremation of one of the Night’s Watchmen; one of the survivors goads Craster into action, and when he takes the bait (“daughter-fucking wildling bastard”), stabs him. Mormont tries to defend Craster’s wives, and also gets stabbed (but not before strangling his attacker half to death). There goes another solid father figure.

Sam sees his opportunity, and he and Gilly escape what’s likely to be carnage.

King’s Landing

Elsewhere in the castle, Varys gives Tyrion an excellent lesson in patience and revenge. He’s waited decades to catch up with the Myrish sorceror who castrated him and left him for dead: but now he has, and there is great power in that kind of patience:

Influence is largely a matter of patience, I have found. Influence grows like a weed. I tended mine patiently until its tendrils reached from the Red Keep all the way across to the far side of the world.

Varys is also very much in the here and now, and thanks to his influence with Ros, he now knows that Littlefinger is planning to take Sansa with him when he sails to the Eyrie – a piece of information he shares with the equally formidable Olenna Tyrell. Varys admires Littlefinger’s skill but despises his self-centeredness:

He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.

Varys, with his concern for the realm above all (as he told Ned in Season 1) has a lot in common with the Brotherhood – apart from their religion, of course.

Varys and Olenna stroll arm in arm through the gardens
Have I ever told you about the time I was cut?

Olenna springs into action, and suddenly Margaery is promising undying friendship to Sansa and offering to marry her to her brother Loras. Margaery has grown on me this season, but at that moment I really hated her for taking advantage of Sansa’s loneliness and lack of friends so completely (plus, Sansa really isn’t Loras’s type).

She’s a much better mix of manipulative and genuine in her scenes in the Sept with Joffrey. While pretending to be just as interested as he is in the macabre deaths of the Targaryen dynasty and flattering his sadism in the process:

Sometimes severity is the price we pay for greatness.

she’s also pulling him away from his mother’s approach to PR, to her own – something Cersei notices and cannot stop (for the moment). Cersei is so paranoid that she hears everything as a threat, especially whatever comes out of Olenna Tyrell’s mouth.

Cersei takes her concerns and her pleas for more information to her father, but is summarily rejected:

I don’t distrust you because you’re a woman. I distrust you because you’re not as smart as you think you are.

Ouch. And doubly painful for Cersei, becase that’s exactly what Tyrion said to her last season. Still, it’s good to know that Tywin hasn’t forgotten Jaime. And if he started a war when his hated son Tyrion was captured by Catelyn Stark, what is he planning for Jaime?

Astapor

Even though I knew it was coming, I was cheering and clapping at Dany‘s scenes this week. HOW TOTALLY BADASS WAS SHE?! From her surprise reveal of her fluency in the language Kraznys had been calling her a whore in this whole time (loved that Missandei twigged it before Kraznys):

Nyke Daenerys Jelmāzmo hen Targārio Lentrot, hen Valyrio Uēpo ānogar iksan. Valyrio muño ēngos ñuhys issa.

I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyria. Valyrian is my mother tongue.

to the sheer cleverness of her plan that seemed to surprise even Jorah and Barristan, I just couldn’t fault her. It helps that the camera work was epic plan. Dany took revenge: not only for herself but for all the slaves in Astapor. But will she find the other cities of Slaver’s Bay as easy to win?

Dany stares into the distance as Drogon sets Astapor alight
Dracarys

Despite the continuing lack of Jon Snow and the Wildlings, this episode had so much in its favour. It may end up being one of my favourites from all three seasons. What did you think? 

PS: Ros’s conversation with Varys about the lack of detail the girls gave about Pod makes me agree with Alyssa Rosenberg about what we were debating in the comments last week – Pod was able to return Tyrion’s money because he didn’t have sex at all.

PPS: If you want more Valyrian, check out its creator’s blog.

 

WARNING: if you want to talk about the books from A Storm of Swords on, please preface your comment with a ***spoiler***. The first two books and first two seasons of the show are not considered spoilers.

Screencaps c/o screencapped.net. All images are the property of HBO.

10 replies on “Game of Thrones, Episode 3.4, “And Now His Watch Is Ended””

DANY!

And WTF, Night’s Watch? Make better decisions! Though I was amused that the instigator was played by Burn Gorman and impressed that they kept it a secret that he was going to be on the show. I’m glad one of my friends mentioned recognizing him in the last episode or I would have had no idea! I wonder if he’s going to be a regular, and if so, who he is.

I have no idea who he is – never seen Torchwood. I doubt he’ll be come a regular, but will probably die a grisly death soon, becuase he didn’t even get a name. (that’s not a book spoiler as this scene is different from the books).

And yeahhh Mormont’s big plan turned out to be a bad one in several ways. The tension between Craster and the rank-and-file was there on their way out, his men have been traumatised and starving, he must have known staying there was a high-risk proposition.

I have to say, the first two seasons I really didn’t care too much for Dany. But this episode. Wow. That was freaking awesome. (I only *just* watched it, so still a little star-struck by the ending there.)

I do also enjoy Jamie’s shift from complete douche-nozzle to more of a real person/character with a little depth and bearing.

I love the slowly developing relationship between him and Brienne – not exactly friendship, but they care about each other nonetheless. He put himself at risk to stop her being raped; she demands care for him and tries to help him when he falls (/throws himself) off his horse in this episode.

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