Game of Thrones Season 3 Review “Dark Wings, Dark Words”

Though the season is only two episodes old, it’s difficult not to notice the character growth on Game of Thrones. Since our introduction to the world, Westeros has proven to be a place were earnestness and decency will likely earn you a beheading, not a crown on your head. In season one, we watched Ned Stark attempt to bring order and justice to the realm, and Joffrey rewarded him by cutting off his head. In season two, we watched Tyrion Lannister use every bit of wit and guile he could muster in his tiny body to save Kings Landing. He was rewarded with a tiny room that doesn’t even have a lake view. Ultimately, the ones who stand above the rest can lay aside all sense of morality and learn to work within their circumstances.

It’s been beautifully sad to watch the Stark children slowly come to grasp with this idea. Poor Sansa has learned of the brutality of those in power, yet she struggles to know what to do with the information. Watching the Tyrell women bat her back and forth like a cat with a ball of string illustrates how far our Lady Sansa is from being able to understand this game being played. Meanwhile, Bran, Rickon, Osha and Hodor slowly trudge their way toward The Wall falsely believing Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch will protect them when they get there. Robb is starting to see his alliance crack because the true nature of war didn’t prevent him from marrying the woman he loved. In Westeros, love gets you killed. The number of people that continue to die in Westeros because of the foolish nature of love is too numerous to count. Westeros is a place for serious men and women. All of those with any kind of whimsy or brightness to them have been killed (Renly), demoted (Tyrion), or imprisoned (Jaime).

Into this breach steps Margaery Tyrell. It’s really hard not to see the Megan Draper parallels here. Natalie Dormer plays her role beautifully. She has to come off like the wonderfully charming force of nature that she clearly is. It’s yet another example of perfect casting by the team at Game of Thrones. There are not many actresses who can correctly calibrate the charm-to-sneakiness ratio. Dormer does it incredibly. Watching the scene with Joffrey in his room is one of the more haunting images of the young season. She’s a woman who desires power. She’ll do anything to attain. Even if it means pretending to be every bit the sadist her groom-to-be is. There’s a chance Margaery Tyrell may rule us all. If she was ever photographed with President Obama, I’d be seriously worried.

While the Tyrell women dominated Kings Landing, Westeros’ top-rated buddy comedy continued its trudge through the forests. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau definitely makes the trip delightful, but Gwendoline Christie also deserves some credit for playing a really great straight (wo)man. The comedy was fun, but the swordplay between the two was highly entertaining and well constructed. Jaime Lannister may be one of the greatest swordsman in the land, but he had a severe disadvantage in his fight with Brienne. The fight made complete sense as it was happening. Brienne’s longer reach and Jaime’s poor health both came across well during the fight. Now captured, it will be fascinating to see what happens to Brienne. It’s a shame no one taught her the lessons of Westeros.

Some quick thoughts:

*There were so many great and revealing quotes in this episode that it would be impossible to list them all here. My favorites: “We don’t get to choose who we love.” “Intelligent women do what they’re told to do.” “My father always told the truth.”

*It appears that Westeros just has a never ending supply of charming cutthroats. Now we can add Thoros to that list.

*Benioff and Weiss appease the internet by making Catelyn Stark admit she’s the worst. Well done, guys.

*Watching his conversation with his mother, I couldn’t help but appreciate the maturity of Joffrey’s psychosis. Instead of stomping around about something his mother wants him to do, he simply ignores her or throws his crown on the table. Way to step up, Joff.

What did everyone else think of tonight’s episode?