Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 4 “And Now His Watch Is Ended”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Oh, Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa Sansa…..

Oh my god, Sansa, what are you doing???

Okay, well, we’ll get to that in a bit. This is a really good episode, with a lot of cool action happening.

The North: The Night Watch men hold a funeral for one of their fallen brothers. Samwell talks to Gilly, the girl who just had a baby. She refuses to give it a name, because she knows Craster will have him killed before long. Tensions rise as some other Watch men complain about having to muck out Craster’s pigsties, and not being given anything to eat, while Craster feasts. Insults start flying and Craster picks up an axe, then all hell breaks loose as a Watch man stabs him, then Commander Mormont returns and gets stabbed as well! An all-in brawl starts, and Samwell rushes to grab Gilly and her baby and flee into the night.

Fleeing Winterfell: Bran dreams about the three-eyed raven again, and climbs a tree to catch it. He sees a vision of his mother Cat, who scolds him for climbing. The mystic kid Jojen Reed is also floating around and it’s all very allegorical and with no clear meaning yet. These dreams Bran keeps having are still just about as mysterious and unexplained as when they began two seasons ago. I wish we’d get to the point and get some sort of explanation. We know Jojen told Bran that the raven represents Bran himself, so maybe the third eye represents Bran’s psychic ability? Only it’s not much of a psychic ability if all he ever sees is a representation of himself. Well, I guess we’ll find out eventually.

Also fleeing Winterfell: Theon and his rescuer ride through the woods, to where the rescuer says Theon’s sister Yara is waiting to take him home to the Iron Islands. Theon admits his crimes of having two innocent boys killed to dupe the citizens of Winterfell into thinking he’d killed Bran and Rickon, when in reality they had escaped from him. The rescuer leads Theon into a dark tunnel, and then lights a torch to reveal the wooden frame where Theon was being tortured earlier – he’s led Theon in a big circle! He calls the torturers back and says he’s captured the escaped prisoner! Whoa… what is this guy playing at? I guess he wants kudos from the torturers and so arranged an “escape” only to drag Theon back and claim the credit for his capture? It seems like a very risky plan, especially given he let Theon ride off alone at first, and then had to kill a whole bunch of guards who weren’t in on his plan. Maybe he just really hates Theon and wanted to up the psychological torture on him? I dunno… I can’t think of any particularly sensible motives behind this whole ruse.

Heading to Winterfell, sorta: Arya and Gendry go with the men who captured Sandor Clegane, to the hideout of the Brotherhood Without Banners. Arya bravely confronts Sandor Clegane in a war of words. She calls him a murderer, which he denies, saying he only kills people in war battles. Arya points out that he killed her friend the butcher’s boy, and that Joffrey was lying when he said the boy attacked him (it was actually her), and so Sandor had killed the boy for nothing. The Brotherhood leader, Lord Beric Dondarrion, sentences Clegane to trial by combat, against him. I suspect this is a bad move, and Clegane will kill Beric, and things will go all pear-shaped with this Brotherhood after that. Though Beric seems awfully confident going against this savage killing machine, so maybe he has something up his sleeve. Let’s hope so.

Heading to Harrenhal: Jaime is weakened by the loss of his hand and falls from his horse as they ride. But it’s a ruse, and he grabs the sword of a guy who tries to pick him up, and tries to fight his way out! But fighting left-handed is too difficult and he is overwhelmed. Jaime then apparently gives up, refusing to eat at camp, until Brienne talks some sense into him. She says he has to live to get his vengeance on their captors, which seems to be enough to turn him around. Yep, so last time Jaime saved Brienne, and now she’s returning the favour. I see wedding bells in the future.

King’s Landing: Tyrion wants proof that Cersei plotted to have him killed at the battle against Stannis. He asks Varys, but Varys gives him nothing but the story of how he was captured by a sorcerer when a boy and castrated. Tyrion doesn’t want to hear the gruesome story, and wonders why Varys is telling him, when Varys opens a crate and reveals inside the very sorcerer who castrated him, bound and with what looks like his mouth sewn shut – although it might have been just a gag, it was a bit too dark to see clearly. Well, it looks like Varys at least will be getting some revenge soon. Or maybe he’ll threaten this sorcerer into working for him, which can only increase his influence on the court.

Varys also makes inquiries into Petyr Baelish’s plans to head to the Eyrie and marry Lysa, and finds Petyr’s planning to take Sansa with him. Varys goes to Lady Tyrell, Margaery’s grandmother, and warns her that Petyr could become powerful in the North. So much plotting! There are no grand factions, it’s like every single person in the court is a whole faction unto themselves.

Joffrey takes Margaery around the big audience hall where their wedding is to be held. He points out various gruesome entombments of past kings, and Margaery squeals in delight at the gory history of the place. They get to some huge doors, and Margaery urges Joffrey to open them and greet his people, claiming they love him. Joffrey isn’t so sure about this, but submits to her pressure and has the doors opened, revealing an audience landing, with steps leading down into a public square below. The square is full of people. Normally I’d have expected them to rush Joffrey with torches and pitchforks, but Margaery has done enough work on the people that they love her, and this is now transferred back to Joffrey, who revels in the adulation.

Meanwhile, Cersei was watching this whole scene and yelled at Joffrey not to open the doors (suspecting with some justification the whole pitchforks scenario), but he ignored her. You can see the hatred for Margaery on Cersei’s face. Later she goes to Tywin and warns him that Margaery has her hooks in Joffrey, and something needs to be done about her. It’s tricky to see how this one will play out. No doubt Margaery is aware of Cersei’s plotting, and Margaery has proved to be remarkably astute and cunning – perhaps we finally have someone who is a match for Cersei’s manipulations. I look forward to their mutually backstabbing ploys and counterploys with much anticipation.

Later still, Margaery meets with Sansa. Oh, Sansa, Sansa, Sansa, Sansa. She is the complete opposite of Cersei. Utterly guileless, innocent, naïve. If Arya is my favourite character, and the one I most desperately want to see succeed, for her gutsiness, savvy, and adaptability, then Sansa is the character I most desperately want to see rescued from her own naïveté, before something truly dreadful happens to her. Margaery approachs her in the gardens, dripping with honey: “Oh, Sansa, let’s be friends and have tea parties in the garden!” Instead of fleeing for her life from this poisonous viper, Sansa says, “Oh goody, yes, let’s!”

Margaery says Sansa should see her homeland, Highgarden, where the Tyrell family rules. Sansa reflects sadly that Queen Cersei probably wouldn’t let her out of King’s Landing. Margaery says, “When I marry Joffrey and I’m Queen, you can do whatever you want!” You can see the little click of realisation and hope inside Sansa’s mind, and she brightens up immediately. Oh, Sansa, Sansa, Sansa, Sansa. It’s a shame Margaery doesn’t mean a word of it, and Sansa is too naïve to realise. Then Margaery goes a step further and suggests that she’d like to see Sansa marry her brother Loras. Now Sansa’s ears really prick up. This sounds sooooo much better than her previous fate of marrying Joffrey that she is now fully under Margaery’s spell. She doesn’t even have an inkling that Loras is gay! Oh dear. Well, Margaery now has another person deep in her pockets, though how useful someone as wet as Sansa is will be to her remains to be seen. Hopefully someone will put a knife through Margaery at some point and Sansa will see the folly of her ways, but I don’t hold much expectation of this.

Astapor: Some really good stuff happens here. Daenerys returns to the bargaining place to hand over her dragon and claim her slave army. She pulls a dragon (now about the size of a large dog) out of a box, holding it with a chain-leash as it flaps and hovers just overhead. She hands the leash to the Astaporian guy, who looks at his new dragon in awe. He hands over the symbolic whip that marks command of the slave army to Daenerys. While doing this exchange, he continues his habit of insulting her in his language in every single sentence, which Daenerys’s translator again carefully omits from her translations. Jorah and Barristan are horrified that Daenerys is handing over a dragon, but hold their tongues.

Daenerys tests the slaves by ordering them to take a step forward. As one, they obey. Then she turns to the Astaporian guy and yells, in his language, that she speaks the tongue fluently because it’s her native language as a Targaryen! He’s horrified, but is about to become even more horrified… Daenerys orders her new army to attack the city and free all the slaves! When the Astaporian protests, Daenerys gives a command word and the dragon incinerates him with its flaming breath! Oh yeah!

Daenerys reclaims her dragon and her new army destroys Astapor. She tels them that they are now free, no longer slaves, and any who wishes to leave may do so, but if any want to follow her, they can serve as free soldiers. As one, the army begins pounding their spears in the dirt in a show of loyalty. Daenerys marches out of the smoking ruins of Astaport with all her dragons and a huge and loyal army.

Look out, Westeros. Your petty squabbles – Robb versus the Lannisters, Stannis, Theon, even the Night’s Watch and the White Walkers – it’s all going to look pretty insignificant as soon as Daenerys crosses the sea.

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