It’s back! After a wait that seemed liable to never end, Game of Thrones has finally returned to our television screens. And what a return it was! Read my thoughts on tonight’s season 3 premiere episode after the break.
Spoiler Note: This post is for those who have read A Storm of Swords. As such the post itself and the comments will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read ASoS yet, you can discuss this episode in our non-book reader recap. Thanks!
Let’s kick it off with a quick summary of the action in this episode. It opens on Sam running through the snow only to be set up by an ax-wielding wight. Just when it seems like we’ve seen the end of Sam, he gets help from an unlikely source. Namely Ghost and Commander Mormont. What is left of the Night’s Watch is there, Mormont gives them a cheerful pep talk. “If we don’t make it back to the Wall, everyone you ever know will be dead!”
Staying beyond the Wall, Jon Snow meets his first giant and Giantsbane. But more importantly, he is introduced to the King beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder. Mance tests Jon to find out if he really has turned cloak and seems to be satisfied with his answer.
To the Riverlands now, Robb and his army arrive in Harrenhal where things have gone from worse to horrendous. After surveying the damage, Robb manages to find a survivor in the carnage, a maester named Qyburn.
In King’s Landing, Tyrion is trying to get accustomed to his new position while Cersei seems to be enjoying it. Tyrion hopes to earn some respect and favor from his father, but is cruelly rebuffed. Maybe if he was a spunky cup bearer Tywin would like him a bit better? Down at the docks, Sansa and Shae pass the time until Littlefinger arrives to creepily offer to help Sansa escape. Elsewhere in the city, Margaery is showing herself to be quite the charitable queen-to-be. The Queen Regent, however, is not impressed.
Meanwhile, a stranded smuggler is saved by Salladhor Saan. Davos convinces the pirate to take him back to Dragonstone, where he hopes to talk some sense into Stannis and/or kill the Red Woman. He manages to do neither and gets himself thrown into the dungeon for his efforts.
Lastly, across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys’s dragons have grown and apparently have become experts at fishing. Dany and Jorah end up in Astapor, where they hope to acquire an army of Unsullied. After some deliberation and nipple-cutting, Dany decides to sleep on it. But before she can get any shut-eye, she finds herself staring into the face of a manticore, courtesy of the warlocks of Qarth. Lucky for her, she has a family friend nearby, auditioning to be in her Queensguard. It is none other than Barristan Selmy.
What I Liked
Thrones is back! – I don’t know about you, but just being back in Westeros with these characters, made watching this premiere episode so enjoyable.
Dinner time with the King – I loved the dinner table scene with Margaery, Loras, Joffrey and Cersei. It reminded me of Downton Abbey, the way the conversation remains polite yet there are obvious moves being made behind the forced smiles and empty compliments. I especially love the rivalry that is already building between Marg and Cersei.
A Giant! – How cool was that? Loved getting our first glimpse at a giant.
Tyrion has Daddy Issues – Wow, what a scene. You could feel the contempt oozing off of Tywin and see Tyrion’s bitterness grow. Just some superb acting by Charles Dance and Peter Dinklage.
No Arstan, No Problem – Loved that final scene. Some good action and the warlock was sufficiently creepy. Also, I thought having Barristan reveal his identity right away was a good change. There was just no way to conceal it for a season or more, perceptive viewers would have picked up on it and the fact that it wouldn’t be acknowledged at all on screen would just have been confusing. Plus his reveal was epic.
What I Didn’t Like
The Cold Open Leaves Me Cold – Ok, I get that budget constraints means they couldn’t show a full-on battle. But did anyone else think just having the Night’s Watch stand around with no Walkers or wights in sight was a little cheesy? Last we saw there were hundreds and hundreds of undead descending on the Watch. Did they defeat them all? Did they decide to leave them alone for a bit? I don’t know. Oh, and there had better be some slaying going on later this season…
Overall, I thought it was a great episode. Probably the best premiere episode yet. What did everyone else think?