Sunday, April 21, 2013

Game of Thrones 3.4: And Now His Watch Is Ended



The Spider Catches His Fly

Each week I feel like I always start out these blogs saying, “Wow so much has happened.” This week seemed to be different. The first forty minutes of this episode reflected the episodes of last season, building up exposition and not containing too much action. Though this episode started out slow, the end definitely left me on the edge of my seat. We finally hear the story of how Varys got cut. I actually thought we heard how he became a eunuch a few seasons ago but I guess he always referenced it but never shared the gory details. It was an interesting story involving black magic and a demon voice. Though besides being an intriguing antidote, learning how Varys become who he is offered an insightful look into how he came to be where he is and how he learned the value of information. Even further adding to his character, not only does he know how to gather information and use it to his advantage but he also has the desire for revenge. As he regales Tyrion with his sordid origin tale, Varys slowly opens up a wooden box that we assume he just received. This suspense leading up to the opening of the crate reminded me of the climatic scene from Seven when Brad Pitt keeps yelling "What's in the box?," as Kevin Spacey unveils the end of his sadistic plan. Finally, Varys finishes his story, we get the answer to our "What's in the box?" pleadings. Inside resides the sorcerer who cut him. After all these years, Varys will finally get his revenge and only those who read ahead in the books will know how he exacts it. 

Though Varys seems vindictive in this scene, he redeems himself in a later scene with Olenna Tyrell, Margaery’s grandmother. First, I want to say that Lady Tyrell might be my new favorite character. She is witty and blunt and takes a no hold bars attitude. If anyone can manage to survive in King’s Landing with the Lannisters it will most certainly be her. Moreover, she has a decent heart and is not looking to exact revenge or cause more bloodshed but wants what is best for her relatives. I hope before the season ends, there will be at least one scene between her and Tyrion. I think with these two characters’ witty style they would have an excellent repartee. But to get back to the episode, Varys redeems himself by caring for Sansa. She does not want her to fall prey to Littlefinger or the Lannisters. It shows that even though he may betray some of those that considered him their friend, he does have some kind of moral conscience. I do believe what he said in the first season when talking to Ned Stark after he was imprisoned….Varys serves the realm and will do whatever it takes to make sure the realm survives. 

Jaime Lannister continues to have a really bad day. Not only did he lose his hand last episode but now his captors make him wear the severed limb around his neck. They also allow him to fall from his horse and make him drink horse urine. Leave it to Brienne, however, to put it all into perspective. While Jaime sits by the fire refusing to eat and ready to just let himself die, Brienne yells at him calling the past events a bought of misfortune and Jaime a woman for pouting over them. She reminds him that he has lived a life of privilege and now he is experiencing what most people face…real life. The majority of the characters in this series are some form of royalty or nobility and have all led a life of privilege. We do not get to see the everyday affairs of the commoners. This was a nice reminder that everyday life for most people in this world sucks and that those with money or power do not know what it is really like to struggle. This conversation between Jaime and Brienne also took another turn for we find out that when Jaime saved Brienne last week from rape by saying her family had a lot of money, he was in fact lying. The Sapphire Island from which she comes got its name from the water not the actual gemstones. Jaime once again showed he had a heart by lying in order to save a fellow knight. 

The Night’s Watch took an interesting turn this episode. They are still camped out at Craster’s ranch waiting for their injured to gain strength before returning to The Wall. Old man Craster is stingy with the provisions he gives the Watch and one of their injured ends up dying. This invokes rage within the group and they confront Craster which ends with an all-out fight and Craster and the Lord Commander killed. Sam uses the chaos to his advantage and runs off with Gilly, Craster’s daughter/wife that he fancies. It was nice to see The Night’s Watch act its true nature. This is a band of men made up mostly of criminals and murders who all of the sudden decide to lead a life of virtue and become an upstanding citizen of an army. This scene showed that the rebellious nature in most of these men still exists and that they can use their vast numbers to wreak havoc. This plot point, once again entertaining, exhibited a flaw that I think has been a common theme this season: missing backstory. After the rebellion breaks out, another Night’s Watch brother looks around the compound for Sam but cannot find him. He then says that the little piggy can run but he will eventually find him. I do not understand what Sam did to earn the disdain from this brother. Though he has never been a favorite because of his cowardice and weight problems, these faults do not seem to warrant an all-out manhunt for him. Once again I feel this is another story that the books might elaborate on that the show just expects the viewer to take at face value.

Another interesting turn of events happened with Theon. First he finally took responsibility for what he did. He laments betraying his true father, Ned Stark, and for killing two innocent boys so he could hold onto Winterfell. However, this once again was a confusing storyline that hopefully will be made clear in future episodes. It seems that the person who helped him escape captivity and helped him avoid capture in the woods, was actually one of his original captors and led him back to the very place he was being held. I do not understand why he would go to all of the trouble to help him escape only to have him captured again. Also we still do not know who has Theon or where Theon is. It is an intriguing story but it definitely needs more development.

Finally, and I am saving the best for last, we come to Daenerys. Now I know last episode when she offered to trade one of her dragons for the army of slaves, she had something up her sleeves because the Mother of Dragons would not abandon one of her children. And boy did she ever have a plan. I correctly guessed that once she traded her dragon and gain the allegiance of the Unsullied, she would turn her army on the town and take back her dragon. But that was only part of it. First it turns out that the mysterious language spoken in Astapora is Valyerian. I do not think they ever mentioned which language they were conversing in which required a translator. I think if they divulged the name of the language, the viewers could have surmised that Daenerys spoke Valyerian and did not need a translator and it would have messed up the reveal for when she begins giving commands to the army. I do not know what I enjoyed more: knowing that Daenerys understood every insulting word Kraznys said or her speech instructing her army to kill everyone…I think it was the speech. Once again it is so refreshing this season to see Daenerys take action and make good on her threats and not just scream out that she is the Mother of Dragons. And now the official tally of towns Daenerys has conquered so far is two and I have a feeling that number will be drastically higher by the end of the season. If I had to bet on who will end up on the Iron Throne by the end of the series, my money is on Daenerys. But we will have to continue to watch and see. Till next week…..