Monday, April 8, 2013

HBO Game of Thrones Recap: Dark Wings, Dark Words

Wow. This episode was a little heavier on the action and jumped around more than last week's episode did. It made some additional changes from the book, some of which I can mention and others which I can't. I am growing increasingly peeved at the direction in which they're taking the Catelyn character. I wrote about this before. That aside, I liked this episode. This episode moved a lot of the story chess pieces around for events that may or may not take place later. Although I've read the books, the story is different enough now that I'm not sure what's going to happen next. And that I think is a very good thing.

The story opens up with Bran running in the woods, so obviously he's dreaming. He hears and sees his brothers Jon and Robb advising him how to shoot his bow and hears his father Ned chiding them for their laughter when he misses his target, a three eyed crow. A boy tells him that he can't kill the three eyed crow because that is him. He wakes from his dream and Osha, looking suitably disturbed, says they need to keep moving. By the way all the children are noticeably older so I hope we get new books and new HBO seasons out ASAP.
While Talisa is trying to get to know her new husband better, emotionally, not in THAT way, Roose Bolton enters and brings bad news (thus the title of the episode). Hoster Tully,  Robb's grandfather and Catelyn's father, is dead. Bran and Rickon are missing. Robb decides for both personal and political reasons to attend Hoster Tully's funeral, something that Lord Karstark is not very happy about. He's of the opinion that time is wasting.


Theon is alive! He's been captured by people who won't identify themselves or where he is. A man rips out one of Theon's fingernails. Jaime and Brienne are still heading south and trading insults. Jaime figures out that Brienne was pledged to Renly and likely sweet on him. So he points out in his charming manner that Renly was gay and probably would have preferred a throne made out of penis. The two run into a man who says he's headed for Riverrun but who notices Brienne's atypical attire and size for a woman. Jaime's suspicions are aroused and he advises Brienne to kill the man but she says unlike Jaime she doesn't roll like that. In King's Landing Cersei tries to warn Joffrey of Margaery's ambitions and to find out what he thinks of her but he shoots her down with his normal sexist (and Oedipal?) comments. This guy is a real piece of work, let me tell you. 


Sansa has told Shae of Littlefinger's plans to help her. Shae says that all men only want one thing. Sansa, showing how naive she still is, says that Littlefinger was a friend to her mother and anyway is far too old for her. In the night's best scene Sansa is invited to lunch with Margaery and Margaery's grandmother, Olenna Tyrell. This scene really brings out how people use the weapons that they have. Unlike Brienne, who is mocked and despised for her androgyny and strength, the Tyrell women are not physical threats and can not battle in that arena. But they move with ease in the feminine suites of behind the scenes influence and political manipulation. 
I like Olenna. Like a lot of older people she seems to feel free to say what's on her mind, convention be dammed.
Olenna is dismissive of the men in her life-her late husband and her son Mace, the Family titular head. She would have preferred to stay neutral in the current conflict. But since Margaery (cleavage alert!) is to marry Joffrey, Olenna wants to know from Sansa what Joffrey is like. 

At first Sansa gives her normal canned response about her family being traitors. Olenna sees right thru that and along with Margaery demands the truth. After all they're just women, what harm could there be. Sansa temporarily drops her survival mask and speaks honestly about Joffrey's brutality and murder of her father, calling Joffrey a monster. From the way Olenna and Margaery look at each other we get the very strong feeling that they already knew much of this and wanted confirmation. I imagine if nothing else it must have been something of a relief to Sansa to let her true feelings out, if only for a brief moment.

Talisa and Catelyn have a brief heart to heart the upshot of which is that Catelyn (wrongly) blames herself for the horrific events in her life. I really really really hated this scene but that's all I'm gonna say about that. North of the Wall, Mance Rayder still doesn't quite trust Jon Snow. The wildling Orell can warg (possess or see thru the eyes of) eagles and has seen the battle between the Night Watch and the White Walkers. Meanwhile Sam is depressed, tired and being insulted by his comrades. He blames them for leaving him and they point out that as he was fat and slow it made no sense for all of them to die. That makes sense to me. The Lord Commander Mormont tells Sam to quit acting like a little ***** . He tells Sam's friends that they are responsible for Sam.


Summer and Osha sense something. It turns out to be the somewhat androgynous boy Bran saw in his dreams, Jojen Reed. Osha doesn't trust him but Jojen's sister Meera gets the drop on Osha. Meera is the one with the weapons. She's apparently rather skilled. And it turns out that Summer trusts Jojen. After all of that is sorted out Jojen explains that Bran is a budding warg and also has or will have the ability to see things which happen far away as well as see things in the future or the past. Either ability is rare but to have both is unheard of. Jojen and Meera are Howland Reed's children. Reed is a Stark bannerman who once saved Ned's life. Osha grumbles that Jojen should be ashamed that Meera is a better fighter but evidently the Reed children are unfettered by patriarchal concerns. It's interesting how Ned Stark inspired such loyalty that even after his death his bannermen, friends and even former Stark enemies like Osha take risks to protect his children. There's a throwaway scene with Shae and Tyrion where we see (again) that Shae is good at her job but also somewhat jealous of Tyrion's previous sexual encounters and his offhand appreciation of Sansa's beauty.
Arya, Hotpie and Gendry run across Thoros and the Brotherhood Without Banners, a sort of Robin Hood type group. Thoros is curious as to how the three escaped Harrenhal and takes them with him. Arya and Gendry are able to mix up some truth and lies. After a meal and demonstration that Arya's sword skills are not as good as she thinks they are, the three are given leave to depart when the Hound, who's been captured by the Brotherhood, wants to know what the Brotherhood is doing with Arya Stark.
There's another good scene with Joffrey and Margaery where Joffrey shows he might have been listening to his mother's warnings about Margaery after all. He verbally attacks Margaery for being with the traitor Renly and questions her loyalty but she deflects by saying she's just a woman and Renly was gay anyway. Joffrey says he's considered outlawing sodomy. Margaery also notices that Joffrey is VERY interested in weapons and killing things. It's about the only thing that gets him sexually excited. She quickly uses that to her advantage. I like how her character is able to read people so well.


Theon is being tortured again. People want to know why he attacked Winterfell. No matter what answer he gives, they torture him. After the torturers leave a young man says he was sent by Theon's sister and will help him to escape.
Brienne and Jaime are still having their insult laden road trip when Brienne makes the mistake of letting Jaime get too close. He steals one of her swords. You can feel Jaime come alive again. A duel commences, one in which Jaime finds himself, if not quite outmatched, certainly getting more than he bargained for. In fact Brienne has him at a serious disadvantage when the fight is interrupted by people from House Bolton, a northern house. They were led to the duo by the man Brienne refused to kill earlier. Well this is Westeros. No good deed goes unpunished.


*This post is written for discussion of this episode and previous episodes. If you have book based knowledge of future events please be kind enough not to discuss that here. Most of my blog partners have not read the books and would take spoilers most unkindly. Heads, spikes, well you get the idea....
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