Monday, April 8, 2013

'Game of Thrones' recap: 'Dark Wings, Dark Words'

Joff tries on his best Daryl Dixon act. Courtesy HBO

Hooded men, lots of walking, a few new characters, old favorites, wargs and cheese-loving grandmas. Okay, there’s the Game of Thrones recap.


Episode two was utilized, as was the first, to set up the new season by introducing story lines and touching on some from last week. It was decent but a little slow ... until the sword fight. Who doesn’t love a good psychologically-charged sword fight?

Warg you talkin’ ‘bout, Jojen?

It’s Bran Stark! My, has he grown up in such a short time. He’s hunting that three-eyed raven again. His brothers, Robb and Jon Snow coach him on his bow hunting skills, but alas it doesn’t work. He hears his father’s voice, "And which one of you was a marksman at 10?" Bran looks into the trees. Wouldn’t it have been cool to see Ned’s talking head on the spike? Anyway, Bran then sees a mysterious boy who tells him that he can’t kill the raven "because the raven is you." Bran wakes from his dream. HODOR!

Osha the wildling is not a fan of Bran’s black magic dreams and says they need to keep moving toward the Wall. Bran reminds her that "no one even knows we’re alive." This is true. Winterfell was destroyed so it is assumed Bran, his little brother Rickon, Hodor, and Osha are dead.

Later in the episode, sleeping Bran wakes to a noise in the woods and Osha and their direwolf spring to life. We then get to meet Jojen Reed and his sister, Meera. It’s certainly not a pleasant first meeting, what with the kill threats, but things settle. Jojen states to Bran that, "We’ve come a long way to find you Brandon. We have much farther to go." He then calms the angry direwolf. That cute little boy from Love, Actually is the wolf whisperer? Cool.

Jojen and Meera join the gang as they walk toward the Wall. Meera is being razzed by Osha for protecting her brother but Jojen and Bran are having a bonding moment. It turns out Jojen is a warg just like Bran. A warg is someone who can enter the mind of an animal and see through an its eyes. This is a very valuable trait in such a war-torn land. Jojen’s dad actually saved Ned Stark during the rebellion. So now Bran knows what all those crazy dreams mean. And ... they walk ...

A Mother’s Guilt/Theon Gets Screwed Again

Robb Stark and his queen, Talisa, are getting frisky when Roose Bolton interrupts (cock blocks) with some sad news from Riverrun and Winterfell. A massacre has occurred and everyone is gone. Catelyn is given the sad news by her son and learns that her dad is dead and possibly Bran and Rickon too. But, they may have escaped. Could they be with Theon? Where’s Theon?

Theon is being mercilessly tortured for information by who the hell knows. He has no clue who and why and where he is being tortured until he is asked why he took Winterfell. His torturer doesn’t like his first answers so Theon finally relents and admits it’s because he hated the Starks and wanted to hurt them. His head is hooded and his torturing commences. A boy sweeping the dungeon floor (dungeon cleanliness is next to gods-liness?) comes to Theon and says that his sister Yara sent him and he’ll come back to save Theon when everyone is asleep. Theon pleads not to leave him. Oh, shut up Theon, you deserve every bit of this.

Back at the Stark camp, Robb is chided by one of his bannermen about how his marriage to Talisa (instead of the intended Frey girl) is going to cause him to lose the war. Talisa then has a touching moment with her mother-in-law, Catelyn. Catelyn is mourning the loss of her father and making a protective circle for Bran and Rickon. Talisa offers help but Catelyn has to do it on her own. Catelyn then laments about how when she’s made one before. It was when Jon Snow was a child and, in her jealousy, she wished a pox on him because he wasn’t her child. She then took back her wish, desired to love him as her own, and wanted him to live and to take the Stark name. That didn’t work out, did it? She blames herself for all the hardship in her family:

"And everything that's happened since then, all this horror that's come to my family, it's all because I couldn't love a motherless child."

Geez, and I feel guilty when I let my kids eat McDonalds!

King’s Landing

Veruca Salt ... Uh, Joffrey does not like flowers! He’s being dressed up by his tailor and chats with mama Cersei about his intended queen, Margaery Tyrell. Cersei really does not like Margaery and her cleavage, and assumes she has an agenda. She wants to know what her son really thinks of his bride-to-be. Let’s talk about our feelings. No, feelings are boring.

Shae is doing her handmaiden duties with Lady Sansa and warns her about Littlefinger. She wants Sansa to inform her if he gets fresh with her. Sansa deems Littlefinger "too old" but Shae knows men don’t think this way. Loras Tyrell then interrupts the after school special and escorts Sansa to join his grandmother, Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg), and Margaery to "take air" with them.

Lady Olenna is just delightful. She is the Queen of Thorns and her sassy, take-no-crap attitude reflects this. She puts down her dumb husband who walked off a cliff and even her grandson, Renly. She wants her cheese served with the lemon cakes but mostly, she wants to know what Sansa really thinks of Joffrey. So does Margaery but it doesn’t seem like it matters. Sansa is terrified she’ll look like a traitor ("I have traitor’s blood.") but when reminded of her father’s death, she calls Joffrey a monster. Lady Olenna thanks her for the truth, Margaery looks non-plussed, and they dine on some yucky cheese.

In a brief scene that depicts medieval women as just as jealous and possessive as modern gals, Shae shows up in Tyrion’s room. He is concerned because of the threat his father made to hang any whore who ends up in his bed. Shae mentions Littlefinger’s intentions and how she learned about them from Ros. Tyrion reveals his and Ros’ past and gets shoved. Shae just wants Sansa protected and when Tyrion says that Sansa’s great beauty will provide her with many suitors, Shae flips out. Tyrion calls this whole thing cruelly unfair and says he only has eyes for Shae. Then Shae goes down town and everything is all better.

Joffrey sends for Margaery to inform her that he’s heading off on a hunting trip and wants to see if she has everything she needs while he’s gone. Sure. It’s clear that Cersei got to him because he starts to questions Margaery’s marriage to Renly and her wifely duties. Margaery hesitates but then says that she couldn’t give him children because he never wanted child-giving sex ... just the kind that hurts and can’t produce children. Joffrey calls Renly a degenerate and mentions how he has considered making this “perversion” punishable by death. Ugh, he’s a homophobe too? Come on!

Margaery pretty much says "you’re the king" and he can do what he wants. She quickly changes the subject to his new toy ... his fancy crossbow. She’s smart. She takes an interest in his likes and even begs for him to take her hunting some day. Then it gets all cryptically sexy with the whole, "Can I touch it?" and "Would you like to watch me?" regarding killing something. Play that game, Margaery ... play it hard.

North of the Wall

The snowy scenes in this episode seemed like filler. Mance tells Jon Snow that he won’t hesitate to kill him because he has wildling blood in him and all these men hate each other but he told him they’ll all die if they don’t head south.

We then meet a warg and Ygritte busts on Jon Snow for not having ever met one. Little does he know that his brother Bran is one. Wargs are good scouts but unfortunately, this warg’s vision was that of "dead Crows."

Poor Sam Tarly is being bullied. He’s tired and needs a rest but is urged to keep moving or he’ll die. He’s mad at his two buddies for leaving him when the White Walkers attacked. They basically called him fat and slow and they didn’t want to die. Real nice, guys. His bully is left in charge of him to keep him alive. That’s the scene. Walking on ...

Arya and the Boys

It’s so nice to see Arya, isn’t it? She’s still walking along with Gendry and Hot Pie but she’s being harassed for not choosing better names for Jaqen to have killed. Why not Joffrey? Why not Tywin? She could have ended the war!

A merry group of men then find the three. They are the Brotherhood Without Banners and their leader Thoros of Myr is curious about how they escaped Harrenhal. He asks them to join them for a meal and then they can leave. Really? Seems too good to be true.

At the tavern, just as Arya and the boys are about to walk out after Arya makes an ass out of herself trying to sword fight, a large hooded man is brought in after being captured. It’s The Hound! Arya panics and tries to quietly leave. Too late, he recognizes her, "What in the seven hells are you doing with the Stark bitch?" Captured again.

Jaime and Brianne

The dynamic between these two, is fantastic. On his way to being transported to be exchanged for the Stark daughters, Jaime does his best to entertain himself. His entertainment is trying to cut his captor, Brianne, down to size. Along their journey, they run into an innocent farmer. Jaime worries that he recognized him and urges Brianne to kill him. She refuses. Big mistake.

The episode’s final scene is the best. Jaime feigns that he needs a rest and in the process, steals one of Brianne’s two swords. He cuts himself free and the dance begins. Even during the fight, his attempts to lower her self-esteem, continue. The dilemma is, if she kills him, she has failed Lady Catelyn, if she doesn’t, he’ll kill her and escape. When she finally beats him down though, a group of men from House Bolton show up with that innocent farmer they encountered earlier.

Jaime turns into Carl from The Walking Dead with the "see, we need to kill or be killed" look. Jaime offers to pay them off. The leader knows that if he doesn’t return the Kingslayer, he’ll lose his head. Jaime and Brianne are lead off by the men.

Lots of capturing tonight! What did you think? Do you like the new characters?

Next week’s episode of Game of Thrones, "Walk of Punishment" (MORE walking!) will air on HBO at 9 p.m. ET.