Mon
Apr 22 2013 11:00am

Game of Thrones Season 3, Ep. 4: “And Now His Watch is Ended”

The last ten minutes of last night’s Game of Thrones episode proved that one show’s fourth episode is another show’s season finale. It was one fiery hell of a capper to an hour largely about secret dealings, betrayals, and some big slices of humble pie served to Lannisters.

Show spoilers after the cut, book spoilers likely in the comments. Proceed with caution.

“A dragon is not a slave.”

Goddamn, that was definitely one of the best endings this show has ever had. Definitely the best high point in Dany’s story since she came through her husband’s funeral pyre with three baby dragons.

You just knew Dany, Mother of Dragons and Queen of the Pokerface, knew every vile, disgusting, sexist thing Kraznys was uttering in their negotiations. And you just knew Dany would not leave her favorite dragon in the hands of a slaver bastard, in a city full of slaves. But it was still supremely gratifying to watch her burn the whole fucking city down with her babies and her army anyway.

Well, okay, while her Big Reveal speech and her orders to the Unsullied were gratifying—the “battle” suffered from Rome-syndrome, i.e. show the first few hits in a battle, then cut to a smoking, deserted battlefield. But, whatever. Like Robb’s first battle against Tywin in the first season, the war scenes are unimportant. The getting there, the end results, are the key.

So, Dany’s got her dragons, her army of eight thousand free Unsullied, her rag-tag khalasar and her soul. Robb, Stannis, Renly... they can all call themselves kings, but when Daenerys got on her silver horse after the burning of Astapor, she proved herself the only person in Westeros who’s actually worthy of the ideals of the Iron Throne.

Instead, the smallfolk have King Joffrey, barely concealing a boner as he gives Margaery a tour of famous Red Keep Sept murder sites. Seven Hells.

“Influence is a matter of patience,” Varys tells Tyrion. The golden roses of House Tyrell may not sound intimidating, but they are certainly plying golden words to gain power in the capital. Cersei is certainly threatened by it, but it comes more from a reflection of her failures as a mother.

Varys, playing possibly the second longest game of all behind the scenes, recognizes the Tyrell’s growing influence as something that can possibly be directed against his nemesis Littlefinger, who really is the most dangerous man in Westeros. Watching the Spider match wits with the Queen of Thorns was possibly even better than watching the eunuch trade jabs with Tyrion. Pretty much every line was worthy of a “Quote of the Week” award, but Olenna’s “What happens when the nonexistent bumps up against the decrepit?” might be the winner.

My heart genuinely broke for Sansa, her eyes welling with tears of relief, after Margaery told her that she would marry Sansa to Loras once she was queen. More than a possibility of escape, Margaery telling Sansa “I want us to be sisters” showed her the first true kindness the lone wolf cub has known while living amongst hungry lions. Sansa wants so badly to believe someone will be her friend and rescue her. Granted, she doesn’t know a marriage to Loras would probably be really... unsatisfying... for her. But nevermind that. Lest we think that the Tyrell’s offer is strictly altruistic, remember that if Robb falls, Sansa’s last name is the key to controlling the unruly North.

In the North, Jaime is being taught further lessons in humility. It was so easy to hate Jaime in the beginning of the series, but to watch him brought so low brings me no enjoyment. Like Theon, Jaime is misunderstood and has done terrible things. But while the young Greyjoy’s betrayal of Robb comes from a more sympathetic misplacement of loyalty and approval-seeking (“My real father lost his head at King’s Landing and I made the wrong choice. And now I’ve burned everything down.”) nothing Jaime’s done has been sympathetic until he saved Brienne from getting raped and killed last week.

I loved Brienne goading Jaime into living to fight another day by calling him a woman.

While Theon’s “savior’s” betrayal was a nice twist, the biggest crushing blow came from the mutinous men of the Night’s Watch at Craster’s Keep. That really, really sucked. I won’t mourn the passing of Craster, but the Old Bear? This is what happens when Westeros sends a large population of criminals to the Wall. The Night’s Watch used to be an honorable fate for a man. There was no honor in what Rast and company did. I don’t care how hungry they were.

IS DOLOROUS EDD DEAD?! Nooooooooo. It looked like he got stabbed in the heart. If anyone can link to a .gif proving otherwise, I’d be grateful.

At least Sam found the courage to save Gilly and her boy, but they’ve got a long, dangerous road back south.

Other points of interest:

  • Awesome reintroduction to Beric Dondarrian. What a speech. And awesome callback to Micah, the murdered butcher’s boy from season one. Okay, the Brotherhood Without Banners is getting Clegane on a technicality, which isn’t really cool because it isn’t Sandor’s place to question a prince. But he is a murderer. (Still, I’m kind of rooting for the Hound.)
  • Ros is working for Varys and Littlefinger. And maybe Podrick is a stud. I still think Tyrion paid the whores in advance to give the boy a confidence boost.
  • Bran had a nightmare of the three-eyed crow and a cameo from a very, very frightening Cat. Jojen stared portentously. I yawned.
  • And what would Tyrion do to Cersei if he had proof she tried to have him killed at Blackwater anyway? It doesn’t seem like Tywin would care much. He should heed Varys and be patient; Cersei and a harsh patriarchal society are doing a great job of making her obsolete as it is.
  • Tywin kind of owns.
  • “He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.” - Varys on Littlefinger. Chilling sentiment. Definitely true.

Next week: The Hound faces his trial by combat against the Lightning Lord, reborn in the light of the one true Red God. Jon Snow stands with his mouth agape or something.

 

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9P.M. E/PT on HBO.


Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com, covering True Blood, Game of Thrones, and gaming news. Follow her on Twitter @tdelucci

48 comments
Chris Nelly
1. Aeryl
I can't decide who got the better burns of the night, Tywin "You're not as smart as you think you are" Lannister, or Olenna "No, not very interesting at all" Tyrell. Well, actually Drogon got the best burn of the night, but second best is still up for grabs.

When we saw that final shot of Dany leading her army fron Astapor, I looked at the BF and said, "Does her story interest you NOW?" After listening to complaints that all she does is scream about her dragons, this feels vindicating.

The fact that Varys keeps the sorceror who took his genitals in box is awesome and disturbing. If he took the "root and stem" how does he pee?

Awesome line from Dondarrion about Arya being the bravest person there! Best ANTI-burn.
Chris Nelly
2. Aeryl
The continuation of Podrick's adventure is interesting as well. I was thinking about how one of the unifying things in last week's episode was sexual assault. Chopping off Jaime's hand was as much an emasculation as the man who threatened to sodomize Theon tried to do. Pod's day at the brothel as played for laughs, as the rape of men often is, but in many ways it was as disturbing as the attempted assault on Brienne. The fact that characters are still talking about Pod, I wonder how that'll play out down the line. Will the fact that Pod did not and could not non coercively consent to sex(and perhaps did not participate, hence the refund) eventually be brought up?
Veejay J
3. Veejay J
I want everyone to watch this glorious episode over and over again. In TV episode form we have the reasons why A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is vastly superior to JRR TOLKIEN'S Middle-Earth stories.

Read the books, watch the TV series, this is as good as fantasy gets EVER!! We are so fortunate to live in a time where this kind of Awesomeness is so abundantly available.

I implore everyone to read the books and buy the Blu-ray sets.
Theresa DeLucci
4. theresa_delucci
Olenna's line about Sansa not being very interesting made me almost choke on my tea. That was just perfect.

@3 One of these days I'll get the Blu-rays. But I have HBO Go and get a lot of extras on there. Can't see what I'm missing right now. (And I agree that this is a wonderful, adult fantasy series. Hesitant to say "EVER" as I have my other, weirder fantasy loves. But ASoIaF can be damn good with moments of triumph and tragedy.)
Chris Nelly
5. Aeryl
I love GoT, books and tv show, but my fave fantasy show has to be Lost Girl. It's just so much darned fun, and I can watch it with my daughter. it's kinda Buffy, all grown up.
Veejay J
6. sofrina
it's interesting watching the way the lannisters work for their legacy versus how the tyrells do it: tywin and joffrey are at...odds, certainly tywin and his children are, but lady olenna and margaery are solid in cahoots. i didn't think about that with the books, but seeing where things go for each family... the simplicity of the ladies' plan seems more effective in the long run.

how is sansa supposed to marry loras, now of the kingsguard aka sworn bachelor for life? tyrion just pointed all this out two weeks ago. kingsguard cannot hold title/estates nor marry. wtf is margaery talking about? just bring on the other brothers already. i'm curious why they ever introduced ser dontos and now they've given his function to varys and littlefinger.

is that the same beric dondarrion (actor) who ned dispatched in season 1? that entire scene was fantastic. you all called it on ramsay snow. i guess the guy who called him bastard was bolton's trueborn son. and now ramsay's in charge? i was really hoping to miss this whole chapter.

craster's keep: was that burn gorham who killed him? we'll see the named guys again. interesting that they saved us the outrageous frustration of sam's inertia in the book. i was kind of looking forward to seeing gren slap him over and over before being dragged away. also, interesting that the decent brothers join the fight when the old bear is stabbed rather than simply skip out before it gets worse. is ghost going to shadow sam back to the wall?

astapor: it was pretty much all we could want from that scene. would have loved to see kraznys and his partners roasted in one shot. and to see dany say "time to cross the trident" to herself. but otherwise, she really earned her liberator/conqueror bona fides. but where are the dothraki in all this? where are her bloodriders?!
Veejay J
7. sofrina
and wasn't joffrey touring the great sept, not the red keep?
Veejay J
8. Matt s
I'm not sure that was the Red Keep Joffrey was showing Margery. Since they were talking about getting married there, I think it was the Baelor Sept on the hill opposite the Red Keep. Think Vatican.
Chris Nelly
9. Aeryl
Yeah, that was the Sept, you could tell from all the Seven Pointed Star decor.

They haven't made Loras a KG yet.

SPOILERS

I'm guessing that Shae's gonna spill the beans about Margaery's offer, so Loras will be made a KG, it's not really an "offer" they can refuse. So that'll put a bump in their plans and give the Lannisters time to marry her to Tyrion.
Kurt Lorey
10. Shimrod
The Tyrells said "Loras" to Sansa? Really? (addition). I didn't explain enough here. I meant that there are other male Tyrells besides Loras that might have been considered. Hmmm.

Theresa, if you really care to learn about eunuchs (edited for spelling), perhaps a Google search will prove more fruitful than any of us attempting to provide the details here? If they lived, it would work (edited for clarity) in emptying their bladders, after a fashion. (I didn't mean to imply anything else. Sorry for the confusion!).
Theresa DeLucci
11. theresa_delucci
@10 Huh?

Yeah, the Tyrells said "Loras" to Sansa, yes. Certainly not Varys. (And I'd argue that whether Sansa was forced to marry a eunuch or a closeted gay man, it still wouldn't be satisfying on a sexual or romantic level. Additionally, Varys did say the sorcerer removed "root and stem," which was more prevalent in ancient times. Everything's gone. He's lucky to be alive at all. (WHY AM I THINKING ABOUT THIS?!) Which must be a horrible existence.

"No one sings songs for spiders," indeed.

@9 Hmm. Good call. Making Loras Kingsguard would be a good way to snatch yet anothe happy thing away from poor Sansa and leave her open for more proposals.

* A really good book about eunuchs is Mary Renault's The Persian Boy, about a lover of Alexander the Great. Just sayin'.
Genevieve Williams
12. welltemperedwriter
I adore Diana Rigg, so I've been looking forward to her turn as Olenna Tyrell with great anticipation. So far she's been everything I hoped for and then some. Just wonderful.

It occurs to me that this episode has a theme of its female characters taking action and asserting power, even if it's very little (as in the case of Gilly who points out to Sam just how little practical good his gift does her when she's faced with losing her son--so far as I recall that moment was wholly invented for the show, but I loved it). You've got Margaery and Olenna manipulating their way in, Brienne speaking up even though there's an excellent chance she'll pay for it, Arya accusing the Hound of Mycah's murder, and of course Dany's CMOA where what she says is just as important as what she does. Life sucks for pretty much everyone in this world, and it tends to suck especially badly for women, so I really enjoyed this episode a lot on those grounds alone.

Totally knew that was Ramsay. Heh.
Rob Munnelly
13. RobMRobM
Show was lots of fun.
- filming of Dany scene was truly brilliant.
- Brotherhood scene was also very strong - excited about Dondarrion. (Yes, the character was introduced in Season 1 but using a different actor.) The Hound's teeth looks like Nighteyes from How to Train Your Dragon.
- Various maneuvering issues scenes were talky but good, although having Varys keep the guy in a box was unrealistic to the max.
- I'm liking the way that the Theon plot line is panning out. key point is that word should be out that Bran and Rickon are alive. It justifies them staying off the kingsroad as they head north.
- Agree with poster above that there was a huge lost opportunity by introducing Dontos in Season 2 ep. 1 and never using him again. Writers must have decided the presentation wouldn't have worked well enough.
- Craster's was great as well, although I really miss that Mormont did not have an opportunity to say last words to Sam.
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
Re Loras and an engagement - I predict something else will happen to break up that prospect first, then Loras will decide to join the KG.
Elizabeth Doolin
15. mochabean
Just a point about how great the costuming was in this episode as well. Look at how Varys and Olenna's costumes complement each other in that still above -- it tells us they are in synch without a line being spoken. Same with Jorah and Dany in the last scene.

This is a chance for me to also say that if Olenna's headdres is not a shout-out to Katherine Hepburn's costumes in The Lion in Winter, I'll eat my kirtle.

And once again, the added scenes (e.g. Varys with his box-o-vengeance, Joff giving Margary the gruesome death tour of the Sept) are great additions. Still not sure where they are going with Pod but I'm willing to let it play out.

And frightening Cat dream...just, wow.

Finally, @ agree about The Persian Boy!
Genevieve Williams
16. welltemperedwriter
Look at how Varys and Olenna's costumes complement each other in that still above -- it tells us they are in synch without a line being
spoken.

I noticed that during the episode and thought that was really well done. It also says something about how they're viewed by others; their bodies are almost entirely covered, and people tend to dismiss them because one's a eunuch and the other's a dowager. But neither is impotent in the least where influence and information are concerned.
Chris Nelly
17. Aeryl
@12, You even got Cersei attempting to grab onto some power from Tywin. An episode for all the women, except for Cat, who truly believes she has no power, and because of that, has surrendered it.
Bruce Arthurs
18. Bruce-Arthurs
My impression wasn't that Varys had been keeping the sorcerer in a box, but that the box had just been delivered to Varys as the culmination of a decades-long search for revenge. An item to cross off Varys' wishlist.
Chris Nelly
19. Aeryl
@18, I though that too, but he looked like he'd been in there awhile. Plus it was just a little TOO apropos to the story he was telling Tyrion. I think he staged his reveal of his story to Tyrion with this little moment, to demonstrate to Tyrion how patient you have to be to play this game.
Veejay J
20. sofrina
@18/19 - i agree the old sorcerer was just arrived from across the narrow sea. that's why he stank and looked like he'd been in there a while. it's not that short a trip. i want another look at tyrion's reaction shot. that scene says so much more about varys than the conversation in the book. i mean, imagine what he's going to do to that man...
Veejay J
21. Josh L
It actually looked to me that Edd did a backward thrust and stabbed the guy behind him, but it goes so fast that it's hard to tell. In either case, they've given him enough lines that if they were going to kill him, they would make it clear.
Constance Sublette
22. Zorra
But neither is impotent in the least where influence and information are concerned.
But wait, this is a totes historically accurate show and everybody knows that medieval women were totes without any power of any kind in the public sphere of things!

Hangs head. Sorry. Totally could not resist evil impulse.

Love, C.
Genevieve Williams
23. welltemperedwriter
17, very true! I'd forgotten that moment, though I remember thinking while watching it that Tywin really doesn't favor any of his children. (He's right that Cersei isn't very smart, though.)

22, hahaha! And here I was thinking of Olenna as a sort of Eleanor of Aquitaine--the comment at 15 about Rigg's costume resembling Hepburn's in "Lion in Winter" was a thought I had, too.

I really hope Sansa wises up. She started showing signs of it in the books but it took awhile.
Alan Brown
24. AlanBrown
I loved watching the verbal sparring between the Spider and the Queen of Thorns, and Jamie coming to grips with his maiming as he and Brienne begin to bond, and Arya's plucky bravery. But most of all, I loved Dany's power play, saving her language skills for just the right moment, and turning tables on the abusive dirtball of a slave trader. And that moment was perfectly framed between Ser Jorah, stunned to silence, and wondering who this powerful person was, while on the other side stood Selmy Barristan, smiling as if this powerful person was just who he had expected her to be.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
25. AlirozTheConfused
#3: Sorry, but no.

Did this series ever contain a scene of a diminutive gardener taking on a nigh-unkillable demigod spider so monstrous not even the ultimate evil messes with it, and winning?

Did this series contain a scene of a previously-unsympathetic and pathetic lady whose only defining feature was being-narrow-minded-and-stealing-spoons-while-nobody-was-looking fighting the minions of darkness with an umbrella?

Did this series contain a scene of the crow of a rooster was the moment where the tide of battle turned; where a king blows into a horn so loud the horn breaks, and said king is compared to the gods?

Out of doubt, out of dark, to the day's rising,
he rode singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
Hope he rekindled, and hope ended;
over death, over dread, over doom lifted,
out of loss, out of life, unto long glory.

Sir, I defy you to read the page-long excerpt where Eomer tosses and catches his sword at the final battle; and say that asoiaf is the better series. From despair, to defiance, to hope, all in one page.

Or to read Sam's speech on stories, and how there is something good in the world, and it's worth fighting for.

Or, really, just the line "No onslaught more fierce was ever seen in the savage world of beasts, where some desperate small creature armed with little teeth, alone, will spring upon a tower of horn and hide that stands above its fallen mate."
Veejay J
26. Petar Belic
@ #3: Sorry, but also, no.

A Song of Ice and Fire may well be the a long and extended on joke on its fanbase. There is the distinct possiblity we may not have a resolution to the story.

I remember first reading A Game of Thrones in 1998. To me, that's a long time ago. There were several times when I said to myself, "I'm not going to bother with this series any longer, it's too frustrating to read." And let's be frank, GRRM isn't getting any younger.

There are still two novels to go, so we hear. I don't see how you can compare this to LotR - yet.
Veejay J
27. Nessa
Haha, the Queen of Thorns was amazing. She totally owned Varys, though he had a great performance too. I don't understand why Varys just randomly decided to tell Tyrion about how he was 'cut' though. Seemed to come out of nowhere. I wonder if it has any significance.

They seem to have made quite a few changes from the books. Varys may have suspected that LF was planning to take Sansa to the Vale, but I doubt he actually knew for sure. And why would the Tyrells want to marry Sansa to Loras (he's a member of the Kingsguard and gay to boot)? They could easily have added that Marg had another brother named Willas...

Best scene ever was 'Dracarys!' though. Gave me goosebumps when the slavemaster finally figured out Dany could speak Valyrian (Missandei had a smirky look on her face at the end too). Is there something about giving commands in another language (or just Valyrian) that makes it sound so much more epic?
Anthony Pero
28. anthonypero
Nessa@27:

Loras has not been made a member of the kingsgaurd yet. And him being gay would not proclude his family from making him marry someone to increase the family's influence and power.

Lady Olenna and Margery would just as soon have Sansa killed if it would increase their power. They are in no way different from the Lannister's.
Anthony Pero
29. anthonypero
Even though I knew exactly how Daenarys' scene would play out in the end, it was still amazing to watch. Her performance has come a long way over the past three years.
Deana Whitney
30. Braid_Tug
Why not just name Wyllis? He's the heir to Highgarden!
No, he's not Sansa's "dream knight" but I guess the show didn't want to deal with another name of a person who has no impact on the story, long term. And it would have slowed the show down to explain to her that.
Rob Munnelly
31. RobMRobM
@30 Showrunners have tried to follow the law of conservation of characters. If they can avoid referring to a new one, they do so. Example Season 2 Tyrion scam trying to find out Cersei's weasel used Theon Grejoy rather than the book proposal, which was entirely different. Here is the same principle - using Loras who the audience knows rather than creating a new sibling.
Chris Nelly
32. Aeryl
It also has the added benefit of generating even more sympathy for Sansa from the audience, as the audience knows this is not the dream match Sansa imagines it to be.
Kevin Maroney
33. womzilla
anthonypero @29: Please remember that Margery was quite aware of Renly's proclivities and expected that he would overcome them enough to engender children. (This was not an uncommon attitude in late medieval England--Edward II, a few generations before the War of the Roses, was openly homosexual but had four children with his queen, Isabella.) Sansa would probably not be happy to be Loras's beard--Sansa has not quite had the storybook romance beaten out of her by harsh reality yet--but she could throw herself into motherhood.

"Lady Olenna and Margery would just as soon have Sansa killed if it would increase their power. They are in no way different from the Lannisters." I think that the Lannisters would have Sansa killed if it could increase their power, but the Tyrells would do so only if it were necessary to increase their power. Of course, Cersei was willing to let Ned Stark live, so perhaps that is unkind to the Lannisters.
Veejay J
34. Nessa
@28anthonypero: I understand that the Tyrells are only out to increase their own power, but I thought that the original proposal in the books was actually a good match for Sansa (not just for the Tyrells). Willas seemed like a perfectly nice guy whom she could learn to love and who could love her back. It's so different with Loras. Yes, he's handsome, and she might love him, but he could never love her back.

I don't know, I guess the purpose is to show that Margaery really is very manipulative. I think they may be making her a little too manipulative, though. The Tyrells are similar to the Lannisters in many ways, but I always rooted for Margaery over Cersei because I thought she cared a little more for other people. Spoiler: Then again, she did drop Sansa like a hot potato when the Lannisters married her to Tyrion, so maybe I was reading her character wrong.

@33: Things didn't exactly end well for Edward II, though. Also, I don't think that Sansa having someone straight for a husband is a storybook romance. Most women would want their husbands to be somewhat interested in them. Sansa would already be foregoing the storybook romance by marrying Willas (who isn't handsome, is a cripple, and is twice as old as her).
Martin Dunn
35. xithone
Best episode of the series so far IMHO.

However, with all the new characters this season, I'm not convinced that they needed to bring in Beric Dondarrion. So he is about to have this epic battle with the Hound, and yet we really know nothing about this guy. The fact that they changed actors for the character also hints that his story line was not fully thought through. Thoros is an equal "badass", uses flaming swords, and could have filled in for Beric.

Also, anyone think that Varys' sorcerer may have more of a role to play in the series? Perhaps he could take on the role of Qyburn?
Chris Nelly
37. Aeryl
Qyburn was introduced already in the first episode, when the Stark forces arrived at Harrenhal.

And there are some features about Beric that haven't been made clear yet, that are very important to the where the story goes. He can't really be replaced.
Veejay J
38. Vinicius
@36 Dondarrion is needed because we need to have Thoros do the thing he does to him, before he does it to that someone else. Or else, when he does it to that someone else it would look completely cheap and out of the blue.
Martin Dunn
39. xithone
@37 Of course! I completely missed Qyburn at Harrenhal. Thanks.

I am still disappointed in the set up to 'trial by combat' with the Hound. It feels like a cheap plot device, which GRRM uses too much in the series.
Chris Nelly
40. Aeryl
@39, That's so funny. When this came up in the books on the Read here at Tor, it was complained that the concept wasn't used enough(paraphrasing) to illuminate the motives of the BWoB.
Don Barkauskas
41. bad_platypus
xithone @35:
The fact that they changed actors for the character also hints that his story line was not fully thought through.
I don't follow your logic here. There are many reasons that an actor change might occur; actors die, stop acting, are committed to other roles, want more money than the producers are willing to give, or simply lose interest in the role. Especially here, where the character hasn't appeared since Season 1, it's very possible that the original actor wasn't available/interested.

This is one of the hazards with adapting a book or series of books in a long-term project. Look at the Harry Potter movies: the actor playing Dumbledore died, and it was obviously impossible to write Dumbledore out of the rest of the movies. Their only choice was to re-cast Dumbledore.

As Vincius @38 points out, Thoros really can't replace Deric's role here. Now, you can argue that simply introducing a new character would be better in this situation (as contrasted with Dumbledore) and have a reasonable argument, but I still think the producers made a reasonable choice.
Kevin Maroney
42. womzilla
Agreeing with bad_platypus @ 41 here. There's a lot more Theon Greyjoy in Season 3 of the TV series than in book 3 of the novel series; I suspect more than a little of that is because they wanted to keep Alfie Allen committed to the part instead of having to take, effectively, a two-year vacation. (I'm assuming that once season 5 begins, the show will blend material from Feast and Dance and that the adaptation of The Winds of Winter will begin sometime around the year 2047.)
Rob Munnelly
43. RobMRobM
Re Dondarrion casting. He was introduced briefly as part of a long range plan. They cast him using a redshirt - or red beard, as the case may be - because it would have been pointless to have a full blown search for a seriously hard core actor such as Richard Dormer, only to use him in one scene and them ignore him for over two years until the active portion of his story commenced. Better to use the redshirt and then cast the best actor available now. It worked great, as far as I am concerned. Beric is important in all sorts of ways in the books and might even be more important to the TV show (e.g., the sword lighting up with fire on the preview looked cinematic and awe inspiring as heck.)
Martin Dunn
44. xithone
@41 Yes, there are many reasons why they would need to change an actor. But if they intended Beric to be play an important role later on, then they could have done more - IMHO - to keep the character in the forefront. We haven't seen Yara (Asha) yet this season, but we are reminded about her a few times.

@43 Beric may be important to the story, but not for having a flaming sword. If anyone should have that scene, then it should be Thoros, who was known throughout KL for that little trick.
Chris Nelly
45. Aeryl
Thoros was also a different actor as well, and is as important. You've had more time to get to know him, but he's no more important than Beric. In the book, he wasn't with the group that caught Arya. So they were introduced together.

But Beric was mentioned several times during season two, during all of Arya's time at Harrenhal.

I don't know if you're a first timer or book reader so I'm being vague below.

MILD SPOILERS

After this there won't be an opportunity to reintroduce Beric before his next action in the story and it's crucial that how that can happen gets established before then. There was no other way to do it, IMO.
Veejay J
46. Ser Tom
A superb episode all around. So many great scenes, where to start. I'll probably get these out of order, but here are my thoughts as they occur to me.
Margaery and Joffery at the Sept: She played him like a fiddle and he ate it up! Jack did such a good job of showing his flustered reaction to Margaery's "They adore you." speach. And of course the look of jealousy on Cersei's face was priceless.
Cersei and Tywin: Tywin totally owned her. "You're not as smart as you think you are." That made me laugh so hard I had to pause the recording. Tywin calling her out for not being able to control Joff as well as Margaery appears to be was just masterful.
Varys and Tyrion: Varys' story was straight from the book IIRC. Conlith Hill's presentation was chilling, so cold and matter-0f-fact. Varys seems to show a different face to Tyrion than he does to anyone else. Tyrion's reaction to the sorcerer in the box was pure gold. Stunned and awestruck.
Theon and (I assume) Roose: "My real father lost his head in Kings Landing." Such a tortured soul, now a tortured body as well. A fine performance by Alfie Allen.
Varys and Olenna: I love her I-don't-have-time-for-dancing-around-get-to-the-point attitude. Varys seemed a little put off balance by it, but recovered nicely.
The Brothers without Banners: I think the Hound owned this scene. Rory McCann projects such a forcefull personality.
Jaime and Brienne: Her goading him into living is such a reversal for her. Where she originally despised him because of her perception that he broke his vows as a Kingsguard. Now she sees some worth in him. She is still the most knightly of all the knights we've seen thus far, with the possible exception of Barriston Selmy.
Daenarys at Astapor: Truly magnificent. The little smirk Dany gets when she first commands the Unsullied to march forward then halt, "Dragons are not slaves." Her triumphant, regal bearing when she mounts her silver. Masterful performance by By Emilia Clark. The look shared by Mormont and Selmy spoke volumes, "Holy crap!" "Now THAT's a Queen!" And finally, seeing the army march out of Astapor, with the dragons flying overhead, it moved me. A truly breathtaking camera shot. I guess I never really got a sense of just how impressive an 8000+ army can be until I saw the columns marching out of the city. The kalassar were bunched up in the middle around Dany.
Tabby Alleman
47. Tabbyfl55
Ok I know this is old, but I've just discovered it, and since no one else did, I have to ask, Aeryl, based on your comment @2, what exactly do you think happened off-screen with Pod at the Brothel.

If there's something in the books that illuminates this, I've forgotten it (or haven't gotten to it yet), and based on what I saw in the show, I'm pretty sure that what I think happened is completely different from what you think happened.
Chris Nelly
48. Aeryl
There is nothing in the books that indicates one way or the other.

In the end, I hope Pod had a great time, but the parallels with the rest of the episode makes it disturbing, IMO. Looking at it thematically(and with more sensitivity towards sexual assault than the creators have demonstrated), Pod would have freaked out being expected to perform on command, with a slew of experienced prostitutes, for his very first time. I can see him, curled up in a ball in the corner, with all the girls cooing over him(he's SO adorable), and giving him his money back.

But the chick who could do the "Mereenese Knot" in this scene is introduced again in Two Swords, with Oberyn and Ellaria. And she's present during the reception in The Lion and The Rose, where Oberyn and Ellaria appreciate her performance. In the same moment, Pod does a double take as they walk by, as if he recognizes her, happily. So my guess, is that based on Tyrion's example, he performed oral on the girls as they performed oral for him, and they gave him the money back in gratitude.
Tabby Alleman
49. Tabbyfl55
ah ok. Your second guess is a lot closer to what I believe probably happened, but your first guess is what it sounded like you were saying in @2. And I haven't seen the Lion and the Rose yet.

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