Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Game of Thrones 3.3: Walk of Punishment

Afternoon Delight

So I just finished the third episode of season 3 for Game of Thrones. As I watched, I had so many different things I wanted to write about. This episode seemed more comedic than the previous two episodes of the season. Also it handled the issue of rape on an interesting level. But while I will get to all of these topics a little further below, I was completely and utterly shocked by the ending of this episode. I am still at loss for words. I keep going back and forth on Jaime Lannister. For all intents and purposes, he seems to be a ruthless person and a despicable knight. He broke his oath as a member of the King’s Guard and killed the king he sworn to protect. He has an incestuous relationship with his sister and almost killed Bran just to keep it a secret. He had a hand in the downfall of Ned Stark. Not to mention that he killed his own cousin so he could escape Robb Stark’s captivity. But there is something about him that makes me still thoroughly enjoy his character. Maybe it is Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s enticing accent and Disney Prince Charming looks that makes me want his character to be redeemed. But I think there is more to his character than just brooding good looks and deadly actions. His repartee with Brienne is not only humorous but also enlightening for you see that he almost has a certain amount of respect for her. Though, it was this episode that really made me see that Jaime might not be all evil. He warns Brienne that their captors will rape her tonight, and as a sworn member of Catelyn’s guard, Brienne has vowed a chaste life and she holds her vows most sacred. When the captors take her away to have their way with her, Jaime has pain on his face. I do not know if is because he has come to respect Brienne and maybe has even grown a little fond of her, or if he cannot not even imagine the situation she is in. In a conversation with Brienne as their captors are leading them to camp, she asks Jaime what he would do if he knew he was going to be raped multiple times that night. He replied that he would rather kill himself, but luckily he is not a woman. This show over the past few seasons has actually taken the idea of rape kind of lightly. It was a Dothraki war custom to rape the women in the lands you conquered. A lot of times in this show, women are reduced to either whores or innocent victims of war where they are expected to give their bodies to the powerful men who conquer the world. In viewing the show, the audience accepts these positions because of the medieval time period in which this show is set as well the barbaric nature of war and the competing armies. However, this is the first time that a character ever shows a serious problem with a woman being taken advantage of. Jamie does his best to persuade their captors that she is worth more untouched, advising them that she is from a land of great wealth. His magic way with words save Brienne and her virtue (at least for the time being) and he seems almost to be making friends with those who hold him captive. In a surprising turn of events, however, his sweet talking leads him to a chopping block where his captor severs his hand. This moment left me speechless. I know in the Game of Thrones universe, no character is safe and anything can happen but the Kingslayer without his hand definitely changes the nature of that character. With it only being the third episode of the season and having this big event happen, I cannot wait to see what the rest of the season has to offer.

Rape actually played another role in this episode. Theon, with the help of an accomplice whose identity is not yet known, manages to escape and ride towards his sister. Before going further I want to say, I do not know if the show intentionally leaves some things in the dark or they just expect people to have a basic knowledge of the books but there are some confusing aspects to the stories especially this season. For example, we still do not know who kidnapped Theon. Apparently, after his men turn on him at Winterfell, Theon does not return until the fifth book meaning that the show runners moved up this storyline. Benioff and Weiss, the producers of the show, commented in an EW article that because of Alfie Allen’s (Theon’s portrayers) performance last season, they wanted to keep him in the upcoming season. I am wondering since they moved up his appearance in the TV show if we do not know who his captors are yet because they do not make an appearance until the later novels. Though despite the confusion about who took Theon and where he is being held, the captors manage to catch up with him. As punishment for running away (and in much the same fashion as the infamous scene from Deliverance), his captor explains that he will “Fuck him into the mud.” Luckily Theon like Brienne gets rescued from this fate worse than death by the same accomplice who helped him escape from his cell. This will be an interesting story which will hopefully fill in the plot holes as it develops.

This episode, while dealing with issues of rape, was actually quite humorous at times. First Catelyn and Robb are still at Riverun because Catelyn’s father, Robb’s grandfather has died. The episode actually begins with Robb and Catelyn along with the rest of the Tully’s standing on the pier pushing the funeral pyre out to sea. The best part of this scene is that it answers the questions we all have whenever we see someone laid on a boat, floated out to sea, and then lit on fire. This question being: How do they manage to light the pyre on fire the first time when they are just shooting arrows at it? For example, in First Knight when Sean Connery floats out to sea, the lighted arrow flies at his pyre, hits it on the first shot, and lights it ablaze. I loved the way Game of Thrones addressed this issue having it take several attempts to hit the pyre with a lighted arrow. It gave it the added bit of humanness depicting the characters in this series as flawed and not having special powers but are just ordinary humans who do not always hit their target.

Another humorous scene involved Bronn, Tyrion and Tyrion’s squire, Podrick. This is unsurprising since most of the comedic situations come from Tyrion and Bronn. To repay Podrick for saving his life during the Battle of Blackwater, Tyrion decides to give him an Afternoon Delight with three of Littlefinger’s top prostitutes. Podrick returns with a little skip in his step and to Tyrion’s surprise with the bag of money he left with Podrick to pay for the services. Bronn’s and Tyrion’s faces are priceless because they cannot understand why the prostitutes would refuse to accept money. It suddenly dawns on them that Podrick was that good at pleasing a woman that the prostitutes refused to collect payment. Bronn and Tyrion huddle around Podrick like little school boys taking notes on an important lesson and demand that Podrick describe everything he did. 

Finally Daenerys is still in Astapora and decided to buy an army of the Unsullied. There is an interesting dynamic building between Daenerys, Ser Jorah and Ser Barristan. For the longest time, Jorah was Daenerys’ only advisor and she listened intently to everything he said. Now Ser Barristan has thrown his hat into the ring and often disagrees with Jorah. Hopefully Jorah will not let his personal feelings for Daenerys to overpower his role as advisor. Daenerys has decided to buy the entire army which Kraznys mo Nakloz scuffs at claiming she does not have nearly enough money. On a side note, these scenes between Kraznys and Daenerys also add humor and realism to the show. So many times in film and television when enemies meet who do not speak the same language, their dialogue is translated through an interpreter exactly as it should be. In this show, Kraznys talks down to Daenerys and calls her insulting names but she never knows (or at least doesn’t know exactly what he says) because she doesn’t understand the language. Kraznys’ interpreter has to make the language more diplomatic to negotiate the deal. I feel when conversing with someone who is an enemy or who you do not particularly like and who does not speak your language, you might not use the most cordial of terms and just rely on the interpreter to clean up the language. Daenerys decides to trade one of her dragons for the whole army which Kraznys eagerly accepts. At first this came as shock to me but I think Daenerys has a plan. She is the mother of dragons, which she kept yelling all of last season, and she would never leave one of her children behind, especially in the hellish place of Astapora. I am excited because I think her dragons are big enough to take down a small community. I am looking forward to her actually doing something with her dragons this season and not just making threats with them.

Once again another fine episode of Game of Thrones. Also happy belated birthday to Maise Williams who plays Ayra and turned sixteen on Monday. She is a phenomenal young actress. I can’t wait to see what next week has in store for us.