GAME OF THRONES: Walk of Punishment Review (

By:Jarrett Kruse
Review Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Game of Thrones continues to fascinate me and leave me wanting more in its third season. However I do have some minor issues when I look at the big picture but nothing glaring that makes me want to stop watching. After reading all of the MANIAC’s comments for the last week’s episode, some excellent points were pointed out about the shows mythos. The comparison that I believe the show to be closest to is the other HBO show that we collectively salivated upon after every Sunday night was The Sopranos. I look at GoT as a medieval version of the mafia drama sans the occasional humor that was peppered in David Chase’s historic series. If it is possible Game of Thrones seems to manage to tease us even more lending us to dread the approach of ten o’clock knowing that the show is going to end in just a few minutes. It is the first show for quite some time where I just am not ready to stop watching for the night. 

While I can see how die-hard fans can be impatient with the program’s sometimes molasses-like pace, this week’s episode moved a little bit quicker in my opinion but that is not to say it was a better installment than Episode number two. It feels like that once we get some momentum going, the action shifts to another province of Westeros to cover some bases not covered just yet. Trying to please all of the fans, both the readers of the books and the TV junkies is a tall order for any series based on such a massive fictional work. To really get all of the subtle nuances and to keep track of the vast amount of characters, I like watching the new episodes more than once. I watch it several times back to back to try and find the nuggets of elucidation that will shine a light on the moments that I am not one-hundred percent clear on.

This week finds the funeral of prisoner Catelyn Stark’s and Edmure Tully’s father being shipped out to sea and to be set on fire by a long bow and arrow. Embarrassingly, Edmure tries to launch the fire arrow into the floating casket but fails miserably before The Blackfish Brynden Tully takes one go at it and walks away knowing that his arrow will be a proverbial bullseye. If that was not humiliating enough Edmure takes a verbal comeuppance from his nephew/King Robb Stark after divulging his bumbling battle plans that lost them 208 men. Robb assures him it is not about glory and that he was instructed to wait for Tywin Lannister to come to them as Robb wanted to draw them into the West onto their own turf. Edmure simply does not understand the strategy that his nephew is trying to implement. Robb lets Edmure know that they need their men more than the Lannister’s do and 208, while a low number is far too much of a loss. I really thought that this was an excellent scene as Robb is coming into his own as King and a master strategist. He takes no pity on humiliating his uncle and does not accept any excuses when it comes to battle.

The Lannister’s hold court in the council chamber and a good minute goes by as the snobbish family posture to move their own seats into more of a position worth of their titles. It is funny to see the diminutive Tyrion move a chair almost twice his size to the opposite head of the table. Tywin bequeathe’s Littlefinger to marry the widowed Arryn which will make Baelish the acting Lord of Vale. It is this move that leaves Tyrion taking the role of Master of Coin to which the pint-size actor replies to his father “I’m quite good at spending money but a lifetime of outrageous wealth has not taught me much about managing it.” Tywin continues to be concerned for just how to get Jaime Lannister back. The meeting was very telling and Cersei’s mostly silent presence at the meeting has me thinking that she has something up her sleeve because she is one of the most difficult characters to read. Still, seeing Tyrion as the Master of Coin should be interesting. My first thought at Tyrion’s new title was that he is going burn through the Lannister’s coffers quicker than wildfire. 

We get to catch up with Arya Stark, Gendry and Hot Pie as they share the road with Thoros of Myr and his Brotherhood without Banners (the Knight’s Hollow). The group is moving out and Hot Pie decides to stay after showing the Innkeeper his impressive baking skills. He bakes Arya a bread-wolf for her to enjoy and it is a nice moment and sad as they part ways. Brienne of Tarth and the Kingslayer are still bound and captured on their way south although where their final destination is a mystery. Despite all of the verbal barbs being thrown back and forth, Jamie and Brienne have found some kind of common ground as they are now both captured. More on that later.

King Robb’s wife Talisa tends to the two teenage Lannister’s that were caught and the young’un’s are worried about the rumors that the Royal Stark turns into a werewolf monster at night. Clearly catching two Lannister teenagers was not worth losing over two-hundred men. Suspected conspirator Theon Greyjoy has been captive and is under extreme conditions but has survived his slow crucifixion before being saved under the cloak of night by a spy sent by Yara. He promises the young spy a Lordship in the Iron Islands but Theon is totally out of it and they are not even in the Iron Islands. While Theon makes a go of it to ride towards the rising sun and escape, he is captured by a group of ruffian rapists. Theon screams in terror at the gang that has easily gotten him to the ground, the mysterious savior shows up again with a bow and arrow accurately taking out the gang with perfect marksmanship. 

Melisandre is leaving Dragonstone at Blackwater Bay and Stannis Barratheon is pleading with his witchy woman to not go and give him another son. Everyone recall’s the last birth Melisandre went through excising a demon spawn. She lets Stannis know that his “fire is burning low” and that he would not survive giving her another child. She assures him that there are others with his King’s blood running through their veins and that he will eventually take the Iron Throne.  I think that she is lying her ass off but who knows. Those that did or did not read the books are at something of both a disadvantage and advantage in that those that did not read the book series have no idea what is coming next while the people that read the book have a comparison to make on weekly basis. Melisandre assures the Baratheon that he is the son of fire and that she will return and he will understand why she is leaving at a later date. I am definitely intrigued by Melisandre’s vague explanation and I think her and Stannis’ storyline is the “sleeper” of the series. Melisandre is a wild card and I am curious to see if her loyalty to Stannis is genuine. We’ll see.

In Astapor we catch up with the stunningly beautiful Daenerys who is very interested in purchasing an army of the Unsullied Eunuchs. The gorgeous Mother of Dragons wears her heart on her sleeve as she offers a strung up slave water but he refuses. Her heart is clearly in the right place and lets down her strong guard for a spell. Accompanied by Jorah and Barriston Selmy, Daenerys is attempting to bargain with slaver Karznys mo Nakloz and interpreter Missandei. It seems that the negotiations are breaking down when Daenerys wants eight thousand of the Unsullied for her army. Nakloz does not think much of the offer until Khaleesi offers up one of her babies; her biggest dragon. I was floored by this move as I never thought that Daenerys giving up one of her babies would ever be a remote consideration. Her biggest dragon traded for an army plus Missandei had me wondering just who is getting the better deal. I think that Nakloz has the edge because the Unsullied although brave and trained well, they are like expendable Storm Troopers or Droids from the Star Wars films. A dragon is something precious to behold and who knows how big the sucker is going to get—it may be more powerful than eight thousand soldiers.

The Imp along with Bronn and his squire Podrick recover Lord Baelish’s ledgers from one of his brothels. Ros teases the young Pod showing off enough cleavage distracting him (and me) from his duties. Then as payment for saving his life, Tyrion offers up three beautiful whores (one that is very bendy) and they leave the virgin boy with the hired help. When he returns to Tyrion and Bronn he gives the Imp back the gold set for the ladies of the night. The whores did not take the money and in a locker-room type atmosphere, Tyrion and Bronn gather their chairs around the young boy with wine and want to hear all of the copious and dirty details that makes for a rare moment of levity in King’s Landing.

Jon Snow, Ygritte and company come upon a cylindrical mass grave of horses making a very creepy overhead viewing of the dead glue-makers. The Warg’s vision was clearly off as his was of dead crows and this is of greater size than predicted through his gift. Mance Raydar then dispatches Snow and Tormund back to Castle Black where he make sure to let the latter know that if Jon is unhelpful to throw him from the wall. The Crows including Sam are on their way back to the Wall and stop at Craster’s for shelter. You probably remember him as the incestuous devil that only keeps his daughters daughters to make more daughters. Sons are expendable and Sam gets a bunch of fat and cannibal jokes from Craster before storming outside to see a birth of yet another child for the brood. Craster is just plain evil and very cruel to all.

When Brienne and Jamie’s captors set camp for the night, they plan to rape the towering female. But something happens that I did not see coming, Jamie uses his charms and his family name to be untied and requests to lie down after making some empty promises to his captors. He is even offered a partridge to eat that is on the fire but something is hinky. When Jamie put his hands on a stump seemingly as a makeshift plate, his captor take out a Crocodile Dundee/Rambo-like knife and cuts off the Kingslayer’s hand in a total shock of an ending. I think everyone can collectively rejoice that Jamie finally got his unexpected comeuppance. The silver-tongued devil hasn’t shut up for a year but losing a hand certainly took care of his non-stop chatter.

There were noticeable absences like Sansa and King Joffrey this week although admittedly I needed a break from the teen King. All in all it was a very good episode but I just thought that there too many storylines jammed into the hour. It felt like a bunch of teaser trailers for separate movies and it became difficult to keep up with the breakneck pace as every frame seemed crammed with mini-scenes that all lasted a short time before cutting to another vignette. No doubt I liked it very much but I feel like there are too many appetizers and not enough of a main course. Next week: Dragon Adoption!

Mania Grade: B+
Episode: Walk of Punishment (Season 3 Episode 3)
Starring: Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dean-Charles Chapman, Richard Dormer,CiarĂ¡n Hinds
Written By: George R.R. Martin ("A Song of Ice and Fire" by), Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Directed By: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
Network: HBO
Studio: Home Box Office (HBO), Television 360, Grok! Studio