luke kalamar speaks dark words …
Plot: During his travel, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) has another dream about the three-eyed raven. The dream goes awry the moment Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) makes a sudden appearance. Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) is currently attempting to bring Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) back to King’s Landing, but a chance encounter with an innocent old man might bring unforeseen consequences. Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) has also made quite a name for herself in King’s Landing. Before she can wed King Joffrey however, she and Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg) have some questions for Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). Arya Stark’s (Maisie Williams) travel to The Wall is interrupted by the Brotherhood Without Banners and their leader Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye).
You know Game of Thrones has a massive cast when it takes two episodes to cover what everyone has been doing since the epic Season 2 Finale last year. Last week’s “Valar Dohaeris” did a great job covering what happened to the majority of characters following each of their respective events, but naturally there is only so much time in one episode. I fully expected that whatever wasn’t covered last week was going to get center stage this week, and I’m glad to see I was correct. While we got some amazing story progression with the remaining characters we haven’t seen yet, there were still some moments that could’ve used a bit more.
It’s tough to really point out what was the main focus this week as there was a lot covered, but from what I saw “Dark Wings, Dark Words” heavily gravitated towards Arya, Margaery, Bran, and Brienne/Jaime. We got a little bit of almost everyone else, including Theon (Alfie Allen) who we haven’t seen yet, but their scenes were relatively short in comparison. We also got a ton of new character introductions as well, which could have really derailed the episode but thankfully everything flowed very organically.
All of the main focus stories this week were great for their own variety of reasons. First off, we got some nice information on Bran’s dreams and the introduction of Jojen and Meera (Ellie Kendrick) Reed. For the past two seasons Bran’s ability to have precognitive dreams really got no explanation. He just seemed to have this innate talent to predict what’s going to happen or to see through the eyes of an animal. However, thanks to Jon Snow’s (Kit Harrington) time with The Wildlings we actually have a name for what this is! It turns out that Bran is a “warg,” which is a person who can see through the eyes of an animal. It’s this exact characteristic that brings Jojen and Meera to him. While I’m glad we actually have a name for what Bran can do, I would really like to know why he can do it. I’m sure we can chalk it up to some genetic mutation, but this is Game of Thrones people. It’s definitely something crazy and fantastical, and I want to know about it. In regards to Jojen and Meera, I’ve heard only good things about those characters from friends who have read the books so I’m glad to have them around.
Arya’s scenes and her chance meeting with Thoros of Myr primarily existed to introduce the Brotherhood Without Banners and their leader. We last saw Arya, Gendry (Joe Dempsie) and Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey) leaving Harrenhal and it’s pretty clear now that they’re lost. It wasn’t much longer till the bickering started, and even shorter so when Thoros made his appearance. The real entertainment from that encounter was the witty banter between Arya and Thoros as both try to make sense of what is going on. Similar to Jojen and Meera, I’ve only heard good things about Thoros so I was happy to see him in so soon. Arya’s story did a great job bringing the Hound (Rory McCann) back as well. There really was no better way to end her story this week than to have her real identity revealed, and I’m really excited to see how that impacts her journey of revenge.
Brienne and Jamie were the other two characters that weren’t around in the first episode to get an in depth focus, and just like the other two their scenes were all around amazing. The dialogue between Jaime and Brienne was very well done and I even found myself laughing at times. As if this humor wasn’t enough, their fight scene at the end was one of the best this show has ever seen. We all know Brienne is very skilled with the sword, but we’ve never seen her fight against a highly trained knight like Jaime Lannister before. That was just a lot of fun to watch, and it was even better when she won. Sure they both lost in the end when it was revealed the old man reported seeing Jaime to the Bolton bannermen, but that just added to the excitement.
Margaery was the only character who got a lot of focus last week to get the same amount of attention this week, and I really liked that. Margaery and the Tyrell’s, despite being around here and there throughout Season 1 and 2, are still relatively unknown characters. Now that they’re in King’s Landing and Margaery wants to become Queen, it’s time for them to enter the spotlight. Her investigation into Joffrey’s past with Sansa made perfect sense, and I was very happy to see Sansa finally talk crap about that little ass of a king. It seriously started to get annoying to see her praise him so much despite everything he has done. I know she is supposed to praise him or else risk dying, but at least show some sort of distaste instead of being a mindless puppet. It was fun to watch Margaery sort of tame Joffrey as well, something his own mother Cersei (Lena Heady) fails to do time and time again. It looks like Margaery is a lot more skilled than once thought and I look forward to learning even more about her.
While all of these main stories were great, the smaller subplots simply did not reach the same level. Other than Jon Snow learning about the “warg,” the events above the wall really didn’t go anywhere. Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) obviously regrets his past decision and continues to be a bit of a burden on his other Night’s Watchmen. I was glad to see that Robb finally learned about what happened at Winterfell with Theon’s invasion, but I find it interesting that Catelyn didn’t at least try to find out where Bran and Rickon (Art Parkinson) possibly disappeared off to. She doesn’t even know if they’re alive or not so you’d think she’d want to know that as soon as possible. Theon’s reappearance in a crazy torture room was mainly there for shock value and really nothing else. I mean, I’m glad that we got to see what Theon is going through following the usurping at Winterfell, but there was no explanation at all to who is attacking him. I would’ve liked a little bit more on that honestly.
All in all this was a really great episode that was sort of “Season 3 Part Two” character wise. We got some focus on characters that were completely ignored last week, and even got a whole new crop of characters to enjoy. The more minor stories this week had some of their merits, including bringing Theon back, but for the most part didn’t have the same effect as everything else.