Game of Thrones: Review: Season 3 Ep 3

GameThronesS03E03HBO, 14 April 2013

As the Small Council members jockey for position at King’s Landing, Daenerys is preparing for battle, as is Mance Rayder who plans an assault on the Wall…

It’s clear from the opening moments that this is to be this year’s comedy episode of Game of Thrones… except this show doesn’t do comedy as such, so it is more dry wit than anything else. As Edmure (Tobias Menzies) repeatedly fails to hit the target when firing a flaming arrow to the rapidly departing funeral boat containing the body of his father Hoster Tully, and we then cut to the ‘Small Council’ at King’s Landing jostling for preferential seating close to Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), the viewer knows this episode is not going to be so much about narrative progression as focusing on character comedy.

The fun continues as Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) sets up a date for his manservant Pod with a trio of imaginative prostitutes, only for him and Bronn to puzzle over why the women return their fee… Then there’s the departure of the rotund Hot Pie, who decides to stay behind at an inn as their baker and gives the departing Arya a wolf-shaped baked bread… Even Daenerys’ ‘liberation’ of slave translator Missandei has a funny side to it…

There is plenty of serious stuff going on, too, from Theon Greyjoy’s escape and near rape to Tyrion discovering how far in debt the kingdom is, to Daenerys buying up her slave army at the cost of one of her three dragons. Melisandre’s weird mission to find some ‘King’s blood’ to fuel her magic is presumably setting up something significant, as it was the only scene featuring her and Stephen Dillane’s Stannis Baratheon. Equally little seen so far has been Ciaran Hinds’ Mance Rayder, the King beyond the Wall, although things look to be hotting up in this cold climate with his plans to take Castle Black. These scenes provide the stunning image of a spiral of decapitated horse corpses, seen from above.

The humour that runs through the episode is confirmed as a final shock—the entirely unexpected cutting off of Jamie Lannister’s hand—leads into an equally unexpectedly carousing version of the song (heard earlier in the episode) ‘The Bear and the Maiden Fair’ over the end credits. That’s how to make compelling television.

Verdict: Another great instalment, but funnier than most…

Episode 3 ‘Walk of Punishment’: 8/10

Brian J. Robb

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