Watching the Throne: ‘And Now His Watch Is Ended’

bill bodkin fills in …

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We’ve repeatedly heard the phrase “winter is coming” throughout the two seasons of Game of Thrones.

As a viewer of the series, many of us, who have not read George R.R. Martin’s novels, have repeatedly heard that the third season of HBO’s sword-fueled series was going to be amazing.

And tonight, it looks like it’s, pun intended, game on.

The Game: The Night’s Watch is hungry and on the verge of mutiny while entrenched in the camp of incestuous Craster (Robert Pugh) … you can imagine what happens here. In King’s Landing Varys (Conleth Hill) exacts revenge on the man who cut him and then conspires with Lady Olena (Diana Rigg). Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) questions her father Tywin (Charles Dance) while Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) falls under the spell of Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). The mysterious Brotherhood is revealed and The Hound, their captive, is none to pleased. And finally, Daenerys (Olivia Clarke) acquires her army and unleashes hell.

The Bed and Body Count: Surprisingly no sex in this episode of GOT, although Podrick’s encounter with Little Finger’s ladies is brought. In terms of the body count … plenty died, but the main guys we care about were Craster, Jeor Mormont and the head of Valyrian slave traders all eat it.

Favorite Performance: Conleth Hill’s performance tonight as the eunuch Varys was his best ever. His chilling retelling of the night he was “cut” was enthralling and his soft-spoken and succinct way of speaking made it even more horrifying. He then followed this up with a frank yet still very Varys-esque parlay with Lady Olena about Little Finger and how he’s the most dangerous man in the land. Tonight, we’ll remember dragon’s fire, but when it comes to acting, Varys was king.

The Supporting Scene Stealer: John Bradley as Samwell Tarly. While he wasn’t in many scenes, it was excellent to see him finally man up and act. He’s been such a nervous nelly, so to see him act, get his lady (well not technically his lady, but in his heart she is) and head for the hills was excellent.

The Best Part of The Episode: Dragon’s fire! And we’re not just talking about coming from a firey reptile. No, the fire that came from Daenerys in her speeches to the unsullied was just as impressive as her mythical children torching the joint. Also, the betrayal of Theon (Alfie Allen), by the unnamed archer, when he literally leads him back to his torture … wow.

The Part We Could’ve Done Without: Nothing in this episode was poor or objectionable or lacking … Game of Thrones was just awesome tonight.

The Little Thing We Loved: Calling all Torchwood fans! Burn Gorman (Dr. Owen Harper) makes an appearance as a mutinous member of The Night’s Watch who slays Craster. Gorman’s always a good bad guy and he was pitch perfect here.

Final Thoughts: This was one hell of a table setting episode. The cards were laid out on the table, new characters introduced and there were so many twists and turns both obvious and subtle. Damn this was brilliant. If you’ve missed out on any of GOT this season, you’ve got to catch up with it ASAP so you can get to this episode, because this one is going to leave you begging for more.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites