GAME OF THRONES “Lord Snow” Season 1 Episode 3 – Winter is coming indeed. The third episode of Game of Thrones is, in my humble opinion, its best yet, and it shows what will hopefully be a trend of ever increasing awesomeness as the season progresses. Now that the characters and situations have been set up, the show can start getting to the juicy stuff, which it does with great aplomb.
The name of this week’s episode was “Lord Snow”. ‘Snow’ is the surname given to any and all bastards, and the Wall is filled with them, along with the criminals and unloved boys and young men of the Seven Kingdoms. This episode saw Jon Snow put into the position where it was time for him to forget his privileged upbringing, time for him to abandon the airs and graces of Winterfell (however scant they may be) and begin living like a member of the unwanted. Kit Harrington’s sense of betrayal was palpable, and his bond with the other lads was, thankfully, free of schmaltz.
The art design of the Wall itself is astoundingly beautiful: it’s cold, it’s isolated, it’s not a pleasant place at all. Look how thick Jon Snow’s coat is! (Aside: Did he kill and dye his direwolf? Where have all the direwolfs gone?) The sound mixing and effects are brilliant: you can hear the gasping wind, the creak of the floorboards, the metal gate.
Meanwhile, Catelyn and Ned meet in a brothel thanks to their mutual acquaintance with Littlefinger (who once sought Catelyn’s hand in marriage) where they begin to play chess with the Lannisters after she tells him of the assassin sent to finish Bran off. They learn that the assassin used a blade owned by none other than Lord Tyrion Lannister.
Ned also discovers Arya’s sword Needle, and hires the former First Sword of the Bravoos, the charismatic and flamboyant Syrio Forel to train her. Arya’s training is cool, but Ned’s memories are anything but nostalgic, and the episode ended with a scene filled with suspense for what is to come.
I thought Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion had the most interesting accent on the show, with his curt inflection and mocking drawl, but now I’ve decided that the best voice on the show easily goes to Margaret John, who plays Old Nan. Her account about winter actually gave me goosebumps, and though Rob Stark’s scepticism the show invited us to mock her superstitions, I for one wouldn’t dare.
Bran, now a cripple, is understandably depressed, and Isaac Hempstead-Wright hits the ball out of the park with his unfussy performance. In very few scenes, with very few lines, he captures the despair of his character, his frustration and loathing without ever seeming melodramatic.
Across the Narrow Sea, Danys’ brother gets his ass kicked (yippee!) by Danys’ loyal guards and she begins to slowly realize the power she now possesses as she realizes that she’s preggers.
There about literally about a dozen storylines running in Game of Thrones. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a television show juggle so many storylines so early into its run with such skill. Sure, there are some storylines better than others, but usually with so many storylines there’s always at least one character or one plot which I cannot stand, which bores me to tears or frustrates me. So far, Game of Thrones does not have that problem. There are even some parts from George RR Martin’s book which has, I think, improved on screen: I was always bored to tears reading to scenes with Robert Baratheon or Jaime Lannister, but just look at Mark Addy’s drunken monologue in this week’s episode, where he talking about his first kill. I was actually disturbed (in, of course, the best possible way). And Jaime, thanks largely to the eerily smug performance of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, has fast become one of my favourite characters, despite (or rather because of) the ole’ infatuation with the sister and the smarmy look he has which always seems to be concealing a grand scheme.
Was it a great episode of television? No. There are still some kinks to work out: I think making Khal Drogo a marital rapist really hindered that storyline, and there are so many characters that it’s difficult to understand who each one is. The characters that are important: primarily the Starks and the Lannisters, are excellent, both thanks to their portrayal and in the writing.
In the first two episodes some characters seemed stiff, but that seems to be because of a lack of time. Three episodes in and this is definitely one of the best ensemble casts I’ve ever seen on a television series. The pacing is finally slowing down and the writers are giving the show a chance to breathe after the understandably hectic first two episodes. This was an excellent episode of what is shaping up to be a great series.
What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.
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