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Game of Thrones 3×01 “Valar Dohaeris” Recap

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The moment we’ve all been waiting for…

GOT is back!

The first episode of Season 3 opens with Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) running alone in a snowstorm, until he comes upon a huddled form in the snow… only to find a decapitated body and a White Walker coming out of nowhere wanting to start some shit.

Jon Snow’s direwolf Ghost and the rest of the Night’s Watch come to his rescue, burning the White Walker.

Sam is asked if he “sent the ravens” (presumably back to those who are still stationed at the Wall and to the rest of Westeros) warning them about the Walkers and what’s to come. Sam shakes his head no. Leader dude Jeor Mormont (James Cosmo) announces that they now need to go back to the Wall and warn them in person.

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) have another one of their awesome showdowns when she comes to his rooms to semi-gloat at the gruesome scar on his face, and to ask him why he’s meeting with their father; she’s worried that he’s going to speak badly of her to Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance).

He responds that his father hasn’t come to visit once since arriving at King’s Landing, even though he was wounded, and questions what exactly has Cersei all in a tizzy over the impending meeting – perhaps she’s worried that Tyrion is going to blab about her children being products of incest?

Cersei leaves the room just as Bronn (Jerome Flynn), Tyrion’s sometimes-friend-but-mostly-just-a-paid-bodyguard, arrives. Tyrion is worried that people in the city, including his sister, want to try to kill him and so he needs constant protection.

Bronn asks Tyrion to pay him more, since he’s “a knight now, and knights are worth double.” Tyrion grudgingly agrees.

Later on, Tyrion finally meets with his father in his chambers. Tywin is now the Hand of the King, having taken that title from Tyrion when he arrived in King’s Landing last season. Despite Tyrion’s goading, Tywin remains silent and dismissive, telling Tyrion that he gave him a position of real power and Tyrion squandered it.

Tyrion responds by asking why Tywin didn’t visit when he heard that his son had gotten wounded, only to have his father basically tell him “no1curr.” Tywin had gotten wounded in countless battles and never asked for applause or accolades; fighting is a thing Lannisters are supposed to do.

Tyrion then asks his father to give him Casterly Rock, stating that it’s his birthright since Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Tywin’s eldest son, is no longer able to claim that title on account of being one of the Kingsguard.

For the first time that I can remember, we see Tywin lose his cool, telling his son that he’d rather die than let Tyrion claim Casterly Rock. His wife died giving birth to him – even implying that he doesn’t even believe Tyrion to be his true son.

Ouch, man.

Jon Snow

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Last season, Jon (Kit Harington) separated from the rest of his group and captured Ygritte (Rose Leslie). But the first chance she got she lead him to her people, the Wildlings, where he was taken captive.

In this episode, he’s being led to the Wildlings’ campsite, where he has an audience with Mance Raydar, (Ciaran Hinds, who I’ve loved to pieces ever since Rome) who used to be a part of the Night’s Watch as well, but now leads the Wildlings as the “King Beyond the Wall.”

Jon means to join up with the Wildlings, and explains that it’s because of what happened last season when a man left a baby in the woods for dead, and the rest of the Night’s Watch stood by and let it happen. Mance believes that Jon wants to be a hero, and accepts his bid to join up.

Robb Stark

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Robb (Richard Madden), leading his army onwards, is thinking of laying siege to Harrenhal. Except there’s nothing to lay siege to since the Lannister men have long since abandoned the place, leaving behind the dead bodies of hundreds of Stark prisoners. He and his men swear revenge for the Northmen that were slaughtered, and Robb takes his anger out on his mother, Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley). He orders his men to put her in a cell for releasing Jaime Lannister and robbing the others of their justice.

Talisa (Oona Chaplin) protests, telling Robb that Catelyn is his mother, but Robb refuses to budge.

Stannis Baratheon & Co.

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Davos (Liam Cunningham) was stranded on the rocks after the Battle of Blackwater and is sunburning to death when a boat comes to rescue him.

However, the sailors ask him which side he’s on first before they even begin to help him off the rock. After some obvious deliberation, Davos answers truthfull – that he was fighting for Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). It seems to be the right answer because the sailors throw him a rope and take him to the ship.

On the ship is Salladhor Saan (Lucian Msamati), a friend of Davos’, who tells him that Stannis is alive and has made base at Dragonstone. He refuses to take Davos there, stating that Stannis is a broken man with no one left by his side but “the red woman” – Melisandre (Carice van Houten) – who is rumored to be burning men alive who speak badly of her.

But Davos eventually convinces Salladhor to take him to Dragonstone.

When Davos finally meets up with Stannis, Davos asks him to stop burning prisoners alive. Melisandre confronts Davos, telling him that losing the Battle of Blackwater was Davos’ fault, because he convinced Stannis to leave Melisandre behind when she could have won them the war and put Stannis on the throne.

Enraged, Davos pulls a knife on her, and he gets thrown into the dungeons while Stannis stands idly by and lets it all go down.

Guess Stannis doesn’t believe in the bro code.

Sansa Stark

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Sansa (Sophie Turner) and her handmaiden Shae (Sibel Kekilli) are watching the ships leave King’s Landing when Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillan) approaches to tell her that he met with her mother recently, and that he “knows” that Arya is alive. He tells her that he’s working on an assignment that will take him far from King’s Landing, and that he might be able to take her with him when he goes as long as she can keep quiet about it.

Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell

Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is being carried around by his peoples in the streets of King’s Landing when he spies Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) entering an orphanage to comfort and offer help to the children. Intrigued, he and his mother have dinner with Margaery and her brother, Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones).

Margaery really shows her ambition and her intelligence in this scene, complimenting both Joffrey and Cersei in a way that comes off as easy and sincere, and later diffusing tension between the mother and son. Joffrey looks smitten.

Daenerys Stormborn

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Dany’s (Emilia Clarke) got her dragons back, along with a ship that is taking her, Ser Jorah (Iain Glen), and the seasick Dothraki that chose to remain with her after season two, to find her an army. They go to Astapor to inquire after a slaver’s army.

After the meeting, Dany is attacked at the marketplace by a warlock child, who was about to assassinate her via green scorpion. Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney), Lord Commander of Robert Baratheon’s Kingsguard (and before that, a member of Dany’s father’s Kingsguard and who betrayed him) rescues her.

He then asks to join her Queensguard, swearing never to fail her or her family again.

Comments + Verdict

Overall, it was a very eventful episode, but something about it was lacking. It wasn’t as engaging or interesting for me as Game of Thrones has been before.

Rating: C 

Memorable Quotes

Ygritte: First time you’ve seen a giant, Jon Snow? Well, don’t stare too long, they’re shy. And when they stop being shy, they get angry. And when they’re angry, I’ve seen them pound a man straight into the ground like a hammer on a nail.

Cersei: You’re a clever man, but you’re not half as clever as you think you are.
Tyrion: Still makes me more clever than you.

Davos: You call me friend, you drank with me on my wedding day –
Salladhor: And you drank with me on four of my wedding days, but I don’t ask you for favors!

Shae: Why should I make up a story when I know the truth?
Sansa: Because the truth is always either terrible or boring.

Game of Thrones airs Sunday at 9 PM on HBO.