Game of Thrones – Review of Season 3, Episode 1: Valar Dohaeris


Game of Thrones – Review of Season 3, Episode 1: Valar Dohaeris

After what seemed like an eternity, we’re back with an exciting third season of Game of Thrones. Another season of plotting, scheming, sex, violence and dragons!
Beyond the Wall
“My father told me big men fall as quickly as little men if you put a sword through their hearts” ~ Jon Snow
The intro to this season was kind of like ‘The Walking Dead:Ice Edition’. It was very cool and creepy (no pun intended ;) ). Sam Tarly tussles with one of the Others while Jon Snow finally gets into the Wildling encampment, sees his first giant, and meets Mance Rayder played by seasoned Irish actor, Ciarán Hinds (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Road to Perdition). Jon is greeted with suspicion  because he’s from the Night’s Watch but he ends up being taken in because he killed Qhorin Halfhand and able to prove his loyalty.

 




King’s Landing

“You’re not as clever as your think you are” ~ Cersei
“That still makes me more clever than you” ~ Tyrion

Peter Dinklinge is in fine form once again as Tyrion Lannister this season. As beautiful as Cersei is, it’s dirty, cut up, little Tyrion who steals every scene. Tyrion has some great moments this episode; the conversation with Bronn, and the conversation with Cersei were great to watch. Both scenes had Tyrion at his witty best. However, the best moment hands down was when Tyrion went to see Tywin to ask for Casterly Rock. The treatment Tyrion receives at the hands of Tywin is just brutal. Dinklage brings it and Tyrion’s heatbreak stings through the screen. I actually winced. Hats off to Charles Dance for perfecting one mean S.O.B. in Tywin and Peter Dinklage for nailing the horrid rejection. Next time, just stab my heart through the TV screen please, it’ll hurt less.

There are a few scenes between Margery Tyrell, Joffrey and Cersei but they weren’t that interesting other than to reveal Cersei’s dislike of her future daughter-in-law. Sansa realises she’s in trouble and has to act quickly now that Joffrey has discarded her as a wife. Lucky for Sansa, Littlefinger offers her an escape when he leaves the city.

Astapor

“Eight thousand dead babies” ~Dany

Daenerys sails to Astapor with her loyal protector, Ser Jorah Mormont to get the Unsullied to fight for her cause. I loved the “translator” scenes here – they definitely provided some comedic relief while the audience was learning the gruesome facts about the army Dany’s about to hire. The Unsullied are castrated, fear no death, and each of them has killed a newborn. Super.UGH. They are the best of the best and Dany has to decide whether she can stomach what they’ve done and hire them or move on. Lastly, Dany hasn’t seen the last of those pesky Warlocks when she’s nearly killed by a “scorpion surprise”. Fortunately, she’s saved by none other than the legend, Ser Barristan Selmy. He begs her forgiveness and signs up for Team Daenerys. Things are looking up for our Dragon queen.

The smaller story lines…

Davos is found alive and rescued by fishermen. He insists on saving Stannis from the evil sway of Melisandre. It appears that Stannis is completely under her control and a quick chat about why his choice of girlfriend is problematic has dire consequences for Davos. Melisandre confronts and taunts Davos and when he lunges at her, Stannis has him tossed in the dungeon. Rob Stark finds himself in Harrenhal shocked by the carnage and devastation. His banner men lie dead except for one man. Rob now plans his next move against Tywin.

 

This was a good introductory episode, albeit a quiet one. I had hoped to see a little more excitement like in the opening scenes with the Others. It didn’t have the darkness prior episodes had – it seemed to be an effort to tie up loose ends from last season and provide the audience reminders of who’s who. I wished they spent more time beyond the wall with Jon. The conversation with Mance Raydar was very interesting but too short. The best scenes were Tyrion’s. You can never go wrong when he’s on your screen. Cersei is still a bitch and Joffrey is still an annoying, cruel brat. Littlefinger, another brilliant character, who sadly, had a cameo appearance. Its a pity; Aiden Gillen is another favourite of mine to watch in this series. He spends little time fighting but he usually has some fantastic lines. I hope we see more of him next Sunday.

Tune in with us again on Sunday for another episode of Game of Thrones, at 9pm EST on HBO.

Sharan Newman