'Game of Thrones' recap: 'Valar Dohaeris'

Bronn gots to get paid. Courtesy HBO

The anticipation and the teasers finally ended last night when Game of Thrones returned for Season Three. A giant, warlocks, dragons and White Walkers filled our screen as our Thronie thirst was finally quenched. By the way, the title of the episode, "Valar Dohaeris" is a High Valerian phrase that means "All men must serve" (compared to last season's finale "Valar Morghulis," which means "All men must die").

Frosty the Headless Snowman
The episode started pretty much where it left off. I was compelled to grab my coat. Unnerving sounds coming from inside a blizzard can’t be good. Sam Tarly (John Bradley-West) clearly survived the White Walkers attack and was desperately running to find his fellow Night’s Watch buddies. He did find one...holding his own head. Hey, this is Game of Thrones, heads either roll or get held in laps.

As if Sam isn’t traumatized enough, a White Walker ... with a giant ax ... comes up behind him and strikes. I assumed he was killed, but Ghost the direwolf luckily saves the day by attacking the snow zombie and Sam’s pals light the wight on fire. Is Sam a cat? Clearly he has nine lives. It’s a good thing because the bloodied gang is a bit miffed that Sam didn’t do his job by sending out the ravens. So now the men have to go back to The Wall and dish out some warnings.

How about this for a nice pick-me-up line: "Before winter’s done, everyone you know will be dead."

Nice motivation.

Fee Fi Fo...Holy Crap, a giant!
Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) enters the Wildling camp with saucy Ygritte (Rose Leslie), and wildling commander, Lord of Bones (Edward Dogliani). Nothing says welcome to our home like a lumbering giant walking through. He’s shy though so don’t worry. Unless you piss him off, then, he’ll pile drive you. Snow looks nervous. He’s not received very well and gets a little stoned, but not in a good way. "Crow!", they shout. Ygritte comforts him and assures him that Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds), the King-Beyond-the-Wall, likes him.

Snow enters a tent and mistakenly drops to his kneels in reverence in front of a hungry ginger named Giantsbane. "We don’t kneel for anyone beyond the wall!" They have a good laugh and he finally meets Mance. Mance wants to know why Jon wants to join them. Is it the redhead? Maybe. Jon says it's to be free but Mance isn’t buying that reason. Jon reveals it is because of the baby sacrificing that he witnessed at Craster’s Keep. “I’m going to fight for the side that fights for the living.” Get this bastard a new cloak!

Tyrion Still Has Daddy Issues
Pan back from the children of King’s Landing gleefully splashing in the Bay (hopefully no wildfire residue gets on them). Oh look, the first sex scene of the season! Tyrion’s sellsword (an independent soldier who gets paid for his services), Bronn (Jerome Flynn), is playing "Let’s Make a Deal With a Whore" and wants to see what’s behind curtain number one. Please, he knows. In comes Tyrion’s squire, Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) revealing that Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) sent for him and it’s life and death. Bronn needs a second to be able to stand up. He’s not happy.

While Tyrion waits for Bronn’s arrival, he checks himself out in the mirror. We can assume that he’s thinking, "I want something for this scar. I look like hell. Maybe I’ll ask daddy for Casterly Rock?" He is interrupted by his big sister, Cersei’s (Lena Headey) knock on the door and he is reluctant to let her in. She may kill him but she says that she won’t. She wants to know why Tyrion desires a meeting with their father, Tywin (Charles Dance). Tywin is now the Hand of the King because he saved the city from Stannis’ attack. Anyway, Cersei and Tyrion bicker like a typical brother and sister would. You know, like, hey sis, remember when you were nine and you caused that other little girl to lose her eye? Memories.

Cersei is afraid that Tyrion will tell Tywin lies and try to acquire something. "It’s not slander if it’s true." She’s clearly paranoid ... as well she should be. Tyrion just wants to feel loved and is sad that daddy didn’t visit him after his face was sliced.

So why did Tyrion want to see Bronn? I guess he forgot when his sister so rudely interrupted. Big mistake Tyrion, Bronn wants a raise, double. Since Tyrion doesn’t even know what he’s paying him in the first place, he can afford it. Problem solved, Bronn, now you can buy more whores.

Later in the episode, an extremely well-acted match takes place between Tyrion and Tywin. Scenes like these are what makes this show so damn good. Tyrion is complimenting his dad on how nice the Hand of the King badge looks on him and dad throws a zinger at Tyrion about using his former position to drink and screw. Tywin wants to know what Tyrion wants. Tyrion pleads his case and explains how he bled in the mud for the family. He wants gratitude, he wanted a visit from daddy, and he wants Casterly Rock. Sorry Tyrion, you’re not getting it but maybe you’ll get a suitable wife if you behave. For you see, you killed your mother as she was birthing you and you may not even be Tywin’s son. You’re also short. Ouch!

Did your heart break a little for Tyrion? Even as Tyrion tries to walk away after being dismissed, Tywin threatens to hang the next whore he finds in his bed. Drive that nail in a little more!

So what’s Sansa (Sophie Turner) up to? Shae (Sibel Kekilli) is still her handmaiden and they’re playing a "where is that ship going and why" game on the dock of the bay. Nevertheless, she’s no longer betrothed to King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and wants to go home. Lord Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) shows up and mentions that he’s seen her mom and sister. He says that can help her get away from King’s Landing, but she has to be ready at a moment’s notice. As Shae let’s them speak in private, fellow whore, Ros (Esme Bianco) appears and lauds her for how well they’ve done for themselves despite their start. Ros also advises Shae to watch out for the relationship between Sansa and Baelish. Interesting.

Davos...he’s ALIVE!
Ser Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) apparently survived the Battle of Blackwater Bay. He’s on some pointy island in the middle of the sea, rotting away, so maybe survival wasn’t much of a good thing? He sees a ship in the distance and signals it. Lucky for him, they come to his rescue and are loyal to the true king, Stannis (Stephen Dillane).

Davos meets up with that old pirate friend of his Salladhor Saan (Lucian Msamati) who tells him that Stannis is back at Dragonstone hanging out with the Red Woman. Melisandre (Carice van Houten) is a thorn in Davos’ side and he wants to stop her. She’s doing some bad bad things to those who don’t follow her wacky religion. After Davos pleads to be taken to see Stannis, he ends up attacking her and getting thrown into a dungeon. So Davos lost his son, survived a horrible battle, got rescued, stays loyal to Stannis who he does not think should give up, and then after attacking a crazy red head, he gets thrown in a dungeon? Seems fair.

Harrenhal Hell
We get a little taste of what Robb Stark (Richard Madden) has been up to. He still has his mom, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) as prisoner because she released the Kingslayer, Jaime Lannister. The troops arrive at the gloomy Harrenhal to find pools of blood and “200 Northmen” slaughtered. At least one man has survived. His name is Qyburn (Anton Lesser) and he’s a former maester who is a skilled medicine man. Robb’s new wife Talisa (Oona Chaplin), tends to him and vows to help him. Will we see more of him? The "debt will be repaid" and Robb then orders his men to find his mom a "chamber that will serve as a cell." Robb means business.

Joff in the Box
Just when you think you can’t hate King Joffrey even more, you see him traveling through the dregs of his kingdom in an ornate box. In the caravan, his fiancee, Lady Margaery Tyrell decides she wants to emerge from the cube cocoon and wander the poopy streets. She even messes up her pretty dress. In true Princess Di style, Margaery ventures to the orphanage to talk to, comfort and give gifts to the poor little children who lost their fathers in the recent battle. She tells them that they will be taken care of and that they should be proud. Joffrey watches. Coward.

Later at a nice family dinner, Cersei doesn’t seem too pleased about Margaery’s charitable nature. Interestingly, Joffrey defends Margaery and basically calls his mom a drama queen. This can’t bode well...

Dragon Fish Fry/Tough-Ass Slaves
My, my how big your dragons are getting Dany (Emilia Clarke) ... and they can cook too! It looks like Dany got her ship and now she needs bigger, faster dragons and a slave army to help her get what she wants ... the Throne. Also, throw in some barf bags for the poor Dothraki aboard her ship.

When Dany and the crew arrive at Astapor for slave buying, we learn about just what rigors and horrors occur for these men to attain their “slavitude.” Dany walks and talks with slave-driver Krazny and his translator. He even proves just how tough these dudes are by cutting off one of their nipples. He doesn’t even flinch! You did though ... big time.

Dany feels that if she buys them, she can give them a better and more humane life. She’s not happy with the fact that she needs to buy slaves, but, desperate times. She is then smitten with the adorable little soon-to-be slaves. Ah kids, they like to play games. Like, roll the ball with the deadly alien scorpion thingy inside of it. Luckily, Dany has a guardian looking after her who kills the scorpion. It turns out those kids weren’t adorable little slaves, but warlocks from Qarth.

The cloaked figure turned out to be Ser Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney) and he used to serve in the Kingsguard but was let go. He wants to join Dany’s Queen’s Guard and vows, "I will not fail you again." She looks intrigued. She needs everyone on her side that she can get.

Final Thoughts
So what did you all think of the premiere? First episodes tend to just brush on plots and characters and gradually reintroduce viewers to the series. This was a good mix and the writers have the huge task of incorporating tons of information into ten episodes. Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll get to what Arya, Jaime, and the Bran/Hodor Brigade are up to.

Next week, "Dark Wings, Dark Words" HBO 9 p.m. ET...be there.