Episode 3:04 – And Now His Watch Is Ended
As Cersei famously said back in the first season, “In the game of thrones, you win or you die.” With that spirit in mind, here’s your weekly look at who’s winning and who got served.
1. Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen
In a year that has already seen Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Knight dunked on so ferociously that Twitter briefly declared him dead, Dany’s posterization of the slave lords of Astapor has to be the one to beat in 2013.
Consider her journey: She began Season One being groped by her asshole brother, and then she was given away as a sex slave to a warlord that had never even gotten a haircut. Now? She has three pet dragons that are all too happy to breathe fire on anyone that calls her names, and she has an army of 8,000 mute warriors who don’t even complain when their nipples get cut off. Screw Great Expectations, this is already Western Civilization’s greatest story of upward mobility.
2. Varys the Spider
As the wise philosopher Cersei Lannister once said, men do all of their thinking with the little worm between their legs. But Varys has no worm, which begs the question—where has his motivation been coming from? Varys has always maintained that what he does, he does for the good of the realm. But that reasoning, noble though it may be, never sounded like the whole truth. But now, we have that whole truth. Revenge.
And given how calculating we know Varys is, the revenge/origin story he regaled Tyrion with wasn’t merely for the benefit of the Half-Man, it was also for us. The sorcerer that snipped him will most likely not be the last person Varys tells great first-hand revenge stories about. Call it a sneaking feeling, if you will. Someone with that kind of taste and patience to get back at his enemies isn’t likely to only do it once. And thus Varys enters the board no longer as merely an advisor, but a major player.
If only he had one of those worm thingies between his legs, then he might really be dangerous.
3. Margaery Tyrell
A busy week for Margaery, who pushed Cersei even further towards the dark(er)(est) side, got Sansa excited for some seriously awkward double dates, and provided Joffrey with his first actual human moment of the series (predictably, he looked uncomfortable with it).
4. The Unsullied
This army of 8,000 slave warriors was traded to a foxy babe, given revenge against their sadistic former owners, and then granted their freedom, all in a matter of hours. It was a good day.
And for a show with budgetary problems that even a Lannister couldn’t pay for, an army that doesn’t require dialogue is the gift that keeps on giving. Considering they’re also wearing masks, they probably aren’t even actors at all. Those could be the show’s gaffers and key grips under that armor.
5. Podrick the Squire
While he didn’t actually appear in this episode, the legend of his cocksmanship is already working its way around Kings Landing. And his VORT (Value Over Replacement Trick) is through the roof.
Honorable Mentions: The Hound- At first things weren’t looking so good for our favorite corpse-raper, but as soon as the words “Trial by Combat” were mentioned, you just know he got wood. Tywin Lannister- He ridiculed Cersei, but sadly, no Tywin ridiculing could ever match the one he gave Tyrion a few episodes back. King Joffrey Baratheon- Just got genuinely cheered for perhaps the first time in his life. (Do you ever get the feeling Pete Campbell’s bitch face is the evolutionary King Joffrey?) Ros- “That’s former whore to you, you dickless weirdo.” Locke- Tricking people into drinking horse piss should make him all the rage at the Westeros frat parties. Lady Olenna- She’s positively out-Tyrion-ing Tyrion this season. Will we get a non-hilarious Lady Olenna scene? The Vegas bookies are laying off that one. Ramsay Snow- The show’s most effective torturer thus far, and that’s really saying something. Jorah Mormont and Ser Barristan Selmy- In an editing room somewhere, there’s almost certainly a deleted scene of these two exchanging high fives after Dany drops the whip.
Dying (Literally or Figuratively)
1. Kraznys mo Nakloz, Slave Lord of Astapor
“Wait, you speak Old Valyrian?”
“Yes, it is my native tongue.”
“Oh. So then you heard all the times I called you whore and slut?”
“Yep. I even heard you call me Sugar Tits.”
“Hmmm. This is awkward.”
“I agree. My dragon will kill you now.”
(Editor’s Note: All dialogue is approximate)
2. Jeor Mormont
In Braveheart, actor James Cosmo’s character took an arrow to the chest and kept right on fighting. And in his death scene as Jeor Mormont, getting stabbed in the back still didn’t stop him from strangling someone to death before finally going down. It must be nice to get typecast as a tough son of a bitch.
3. Jaime Lannister
Power Rankings rules dictate that characters who actually die must rank ahead of those who don’t, but even still, #3 feels too low for the King-slayer. After getting his sword hand cut off last week, Princess (that’s what Gwendoline Christie, the actress who plays Brienne, calls Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the actor who plays Jaime, when they’re on set) hits what looks pretty clearly like rock bottom this week, tricked into drinking horse piss, wallowing in the mud, beaten and taunted, all while his severed hand keeps him company around his neck.
And yet, it feels like Jaime is on the cusp of doing what his son Joffrey never could—learning from his mistakes. When he conned his captors out of raping Brienne last week, it was the first hint that maybe Jaime can weaponize words as well as his brother, and now that he won’t be able to weaponize any actual weapons, we could be seeing a lot more of that. After spending last week (and many others) trying to use wealth as a universal problem solver, Jaime might finally learn what Varys did all those years ago—letters can hold more value than purses. Once he stops starving himself and selects some less garish neckwear, Jaime could turn into one of Westeros’ most interesting characters.
4. Theon Greyjoy
I think Theon should spend the rest of the season dressed like this.
5. The Sorcerer
Coming in at #5 when you’ve had your mouth sewn shut and been shipped across the seven kingdoms in a wooden box filled with dirt might seem like underachieving. But then you realize that really is only the fifth worst fate we saw this week. Westeros everyone! Fun for the whole family!
Honorable Mention: Lady Brienne of The Sapphire Isle- “What’s that? There aren’t any sapphires where you come from? Back to the rape line with you.” Cersei Lannister- Is everyone starting to get really excited for the emergence of Jealous Bitch Cersei? Heinous Bitch Cersei was getting a little too been there done that. The Roses of House Tyrell- No chamber pot is complete without one! Samwell Tarly- I hate to be the one to break this to you buddy, but you might just be in the wrong line of work. Sansa Stark- True, she’s no longer betrothed to Joffrey, but Loras Tyrell isn’t exactly high on the list of candidates to make young Sansa feel like a woman.
Littlefingering of the Week:
In an episode that not only saw no Littlefinger, but also (Gasp!) no nudity, we’re left with Varys’ words about our dear Lord Balish: “Littlefinger would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.” Yes, but then what would all the sexposition be about?
Daniel Joyaux is a film and entertainment critic living in Ann Arbor. You can see more of his writing at http://thirdmanmovies.blogspot.com and follow him on Twitter @thirdmanmovies