Brans a Man!
Another awesome episode from Game of Thrones this week. Besides the plot development, I think the most shocking realization was the growth of Bran. Isaac Hempstead Wright definitely grew over the break and no longer looks nor sounds like the little boy of the previous two seasons. Hopefully he won’t have to suffer any awkward voice cracking moments like Rupert Grint in Harry Potter. But besides his growth spurt, this episode allowed us to catch up with all of the characters who were missing from last week’s premiere episode. Bran continues with his brother, Osha, and Hodor on their journey to The Wall. He continues to have the dreams about three eyed ravens and seeing through his wolf’s eyes. Upon their travels Bran and company come across another boy, Jojen Reed (played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster who also has grown since his last big role as Sam in Love Actually). It turns out Jojen has the same ability as Bran and his family is actually an ally of the Starks. I do not know for sure why Jojen decided to seek Bran out but I am guessing that they will be able to use their powers to help their families.
We finally see the outcome of Theon this episode. He is being held captive by an unknown group of people and tortured. I do not know if these are Robb’s bannermen who were sent to take back Winterfell or another band of fighters. The torture scenes are gruesome, not so much Theon’s foot being squeezed in a vice but the ripping off his fingernails. No matter how many times TV shows portray this torture scenario whether it be Alias or Lost, my blood runs cold and my fingers start to hurt whenever I see someone’s fingernails pried off. This season though intriguing has left a lot of questions up in the air and some plot holes, with who is holding Theon captive being one of them, which I hope will quickly be made clear.
Arya and company are also on a journey trying to get to her brother or a house that supports them. On their travels they run into another group of fighting men, the men without banners. Thanks to a little exposition by Arya, we find out that this is the group of men who the torturers at Harrenhal were trying to find. As far as a misfit band of fighters, these guys seem pretty ok, offering to get Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry food before letting them go. This was almost a non-incident with the other band of fighters, but just as Arya and company start to leave the tavern where they were eating, some of the men without banners bring in a hostage, The Hound, and Arya is unable to leave without him calling her out.
Robb finds out this episode that Catelyn’s father, his grandfather, has died at Riverrun. He decides to redirect his troops towards Riverrun so they can attend the funeral. This is an odd placement for this event. In the book series, Catelyn’s father dies in the beginning of book two. She in fact refuses to leave Riverrun to meet Robb or head back to Winterfell until her father passes. I wonder what the writers have in store for Robb’s and Catelyn’s storylines that required them to head back to Riverrun at this point in the series. Michelle Fairley, Catelyn’s portrayer, has a heart wrenching scene this episode and does a brilliant job delivering it. She explains to Talia about the talisman she is making so her children will be safe. When Talia asks her if they work, Catelyn says she used it twice before, once for Bran and once to the audience’s surprise for Jon Snow. Seeing her struggle over trying to be the bigger woman and accept her husband’s infidelity is gripping. You can see on her face the internal brawl she faced living with Jon trying with all her power to accept him as her own but not being able to handle him as a sign of her husband’s infidelity every day. To make her pain worse, we finally see a crack in Catelyn’s hard exterior shell and realize that she blames herself for all of the trouble that has befallen her family because she broke her promise to the gods when she refused to accept and love Jon as her own son.
Margaery and her grandmother request the presence of Sansa. This almost seemed a little beyond soap opera. Margaery seems to have no problem keeping company with the woman whose husband she stole. And just when I thought Sansa was becoming wise to the ways of King’s Landing she reverts back into her old dreamy eyed ways of accepting everyone as nice. She thinks Littlefinger will help her with no strings attached even though everyone is warning her and she coos over The Knight of Flowers like he is her knight in shining armor. It is nice to see that the Tyrells are no fools and that Margaery’s grandmother is looking out for her, trying to see if Joffrey lives up to the rumors they heard. Sansa finally lets down her guard and tells Margaery and her grandmother what she has been wanting to shout from the rooftops: that Joffrey is a monster. Margaery, though she seems sweet and loving to those around her, I believe is actually more cunning than she looks. I think she will use this knowledge not to break off her marriage, since it is her father’s command, but be wary of it and do her best to serve Joffrey. Each episode I begin to like Margaery more and more because she exhibits virtue and goodness that lacks in King’s Landing. This episode, when Joffrey questions her about Renly, instead of slamming him for preferring her brother over herself, Margaery actually speaks quite fondly of him even though she knows that Joffrey considers him a traitor. She brilliantly plays Joffrey treating him like the big man on campus all the while building up his devotion to her so that she will be able to control him later. There is an interesting scene between Joffrey and Margaery where Joffrey shows off his new crossbow. Margaery indulges him and asks if she can hold it. The look in his eyes when he stares at her holding the crossbow, I feel he might try to turn their relationship into something the Marqui de Sade would approve of.
Finally, Brienne and Jaime continue on their travels. At one point Jaime is able to grab a sword off of Brienne and fight her. I will say after Jaime taunting her constantly on their entire journey about how she is an ugly woman and not nearly as good of a fighter as he is, it was bliss watching her kick his ass. Also if they were ever going to do a spinoff of Game of Thrones (though it would never happen nor probably be any good), it should revolve around Brienne and Jaime. Though they are foils for one another, Gwendoline Christie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau have excellent chemistry. Their fight does end prematurely for they are interrupted by some of Robb’s bannermen. The plot continues to thicken for this show.
Though the second season of this show was good, this season definitely involves more dramatic plot points and keeps you on the edge of your sleep. I can’t wait until next week!