40 Days. 40 Episodes. Game of Thrones, S3E1, “Valar Dohaeris”

I’m in the final stretch really in my attempt to recap every episode of Game of Thrones that I hadn’t already discussed on my blog. Just two more episodes to go.

Picking up where we left off, this episode opens with Sam running through the snow. He slows when he sees a figure crouching in the snow. Looking more closely, the man is holding his own head in his arms. Another figure approaches Sam with an axe. He swings and Ghost appears suddenly to attack the White Walker. Then the man is on fire. How did that happen? Did I miss something? Mormont is standing over Sam. He asks, “Did you send the ravens?” And this is another spot where I hated how the show diverts from the book in which Sam did send the ravens (correct me if I’m wrong). Why make him so incompetent here?

Mormont announces that they have to get back to the Wall. So… why did they ever leave the Wall? His original intent was to attack the Wildlings before they arrived at the Wall and, honestly, they’ve done a terrible job of that. Mormont led a HUGE group of rangers away from the Wall to confront the Wildlings and instead, he pissed off Craster, sent Jon with Qorin subsequently getting that entire group of rangers (including Qorin) killed, and then got attacked by White Walkers. Now he’s decided they better haul ass back to the Wall? Is Mormont a terrible leader or what? He gives a grim speech. “We have to warn them that before winter’s done, everyone you’ve ever known will be dead!” Well, maybe stop leading the guard out into the fucking icy tundra to hunt snipe, you dumb shit.

In Mance’s camp, we see through Jon’s eyes the great variety of Wildlings in white and grey rags — they have big ones and small ones. Ygritte is clearly the prettiest, possibly ever. As she leads Jon through the village, he is mocked and hit. In Mance’s tent, they do that thing that Liam Neeson did to Batman in Batman Begins where another guy talks to Jon as if he’s the leader but then (twist!), it’s not even Mance. Jon bows to this Wildling like a complete dunce. It’s bizarre in this setting that after so many bad moves, Jon finally recovers (or discovers) his wits speaks to Mance about his experience beyond the Wall and how that has helped him decide to join the Wildlings. It’s…weak but he has a good line about wanting to fight for the side that fights for the living. Mance only responds that they’ll need to find him a new cloak.

Cersei visits Tyrion. She has a line about “They said you’d lost your nose but it’s not as gruesome as all that” to explain away the discrepancy between the book and the show. Cersei wants to know why Tyrion is meeting with their father later. Could she really be afraid that Tyrion will either expose her relationship with Jaime to their dad? Just then Bronn shows up to Tyrion’s door and confronts Cersei’s guard. They’re all pretty threatening to each other when Cersei walks out and they leave.

Bronn and Tyrion take a walk. It’s an opportunity to do an employee review. Bronn gets a raise.

Then we see Davos on a rock in the sea, his face completely sunburned. How the hell long has he been here? Where’s his volleyball friend? He sees a ship and flags them over. They quiz him on which king he serves. Luckily, he has the right answer. They throw him a rope. They take him to Salladhor Saan. Salladhor explains he’s done with the war. Davos tries to talk him into rejoining Stannis. Salladhor gives him the bad news: Stannis is a broken man, listening only to Melisandre. Davos, inexplicably, does not go with Salladhor to keep pirating in Essos or wherever and insists on going back to Stannis.

Robb speaks about the siege of Harrenhal with Roose. Robb wants a fight. But he doesn’t think they’ll get one. He’s right. Harrenhal is abandoned and filled with the corpses of Northmen. It’s real gross. One of the grossest turns out to be alive. It’s Qyburn, the Frankenstein of Maesters.

Tyrion and Tywin talk shop. Tywin is all pissy about the job that Tyrion did as Hand. Tyrion has to tell Tywin about all of his accomplishments in the defense of the city. Tyrion has decided to ask Tywin for Casterly Rock–his right as heir (since Jaime gave up his rights to be a King’s Guard). Tywin–put gently–denies this request. And super insults Tyrion. Shae’s offer to go to Pentos should be looking much better at this moment.

Before Tyrion leaves, Tywin tells him that he’ll hang the next whore he finds in his bed. Little does either know…

Sansa tries to play an imagination game with Shae who doesn’t really get it. Sansa is imagining where ships in the harbor are going and why. It’s hard to tell who’s dumber in this conversation. Littlefinger approaches to be sleazy with Sansa. Shae waits with Roz. Littlefinger tells Sansa that Catelyn is eager to see her. He also confesses he’s seen Arya. He tells her he might be able to sneak her away on his next “assignment.” Roz tells Shae to watch out for Littlefinger with Sansa.

Dany’s dragons fly over the sea around her ship. We see some fire-breathing and other badd-ass-ness but her crew are not down with the ocean thing. Jorah has a plan to get them to Astapoor and buy some slave soldiers.

Davos is dropped off at Dragonstone where he visits Stannis in his chambers. Stannis is…cold to him. Davos wants to speak to Stannis alone but Stannis allows Melisandre to hang out. She’s all shitty to Davos saying that she could have won the battle if Davos hadn’t convinced Stannis to leave her home during the battle. Davos pulls a knife on her and he’s led away to the dungeon.

In King’s Landing, Joffrey and Margaery are in little boxes being carried through the streets. Margaery stops the train to talk to some poor kids. She’s good at PR.

At dinner that night, we see the rift developing between Margaery and Cersei. Margaery sure knows how to win Joffrey away from his mother. It’s really messing with Cersei.

So then Dany is talking to a new soldier salesman who is being sleazy through his translator. Dany has misgivings about buying a slave army that proved themselves by killing slaves. It’s a real moral quandry. Pacifism and the notion of, you know, just not buying an army never really caught on in Westeros and Essos. Dany and Jorah are in the city contemplating the sale when a little girl gives Dany a toy that turns into a scorpion (or something) which is killed by Barristan Selmy. Dun dun dun.