End Of The Beginning
Game Of Thrones Season 3 Episode 10 recap
It was, wasn’t it? That’s what it felt like. All the stories we’ve been told up to this point have been aiming at people who needed to get somewhere – all the different spokes of the story that needed to connect together in order to make this an actual battle. The number of incidental elements that have happened up until now is not insignificant, and those small detours matter – but they’ve led us to here.
They’ve led us to the discovery of Ramsay Snow, bastard son of Roose Bolton, as Theon Greyjoy’s torturer. I am speculating wildly here, but the idea that Ramsay “likes to do things his own way” and clearly has a sadistic streak seems to be linked to the fact that he’s a bastard. Am I projecting too much? His father wasn’t too quick to identify himself with his methods. And I’ll be damned if it didn’t remind me a little bit of the situation Theon himself is in. His father has disowned him (and, judging by how concerned father and Yara have or haven’t been while he’s been gone, weren’t in a rush to be saving him before now). Yara sees he’s in trouble and will set off to find him, but how sane can he be, either, after all this? With no name and no manhood, who can he be? I didn’t find this storyline satisfying but I do have to say I heard no whining from Alfie Allen about it in the press. Theon must have some role still to play, or he wouldn’t still be alive.
Then again, by that logic, Joffrey has some importance. That’s a churlish thing to say, but I mean it in the dramatic sense. I can’t fault Jack Gleeson for being horrible – it’s his job, and he does it well. His delight and impatience while Tyrion read the news of Robb Stark’s death was so well-placed, I can’t really be angry.
But at the same time, to what end? Yes, Cersei told us that “even” Joffrey gave her happiness when she had none – but he’s not likely to bring her any more, is he? His sadism is more pronounced than ever (I am certainly not the only one who had my heart in my throat when they were talking about Roslin Frey, because I thought they might be referring to Roz…) and any sense of control they have over him at this point is partly because he’s a young boy still. He will, eventually, be a man and grow at least as large and brutal as Jaime Lannister. We have that to look forward to.
And we have the reunion of Jaime and Cersei, and I really can’t wait to see what this gets us. After all, they have a love, but he has changed. Fundamentally changed, is the kind of person who can see a use for someone like Brienne (even though they’ll now avoid each others’ eyes, inside the walls of King’s Landing). I can’t see Cersei being pleased with that association, nor with a new, more sensitive Jamie. Even though we’ve learned that each of them has more substance than they’re given credit for, it’s not exactly what they loved in one another now is it?
In fact, all the Lannister children make a career out of hiding their empathy, intelligence – “human emotion”. The bitterness of the second-smartest man in Westeros telling the smartest to speak slowly was painful, and yet these two stay around one another. Tywin could have had Tyrion killed multiple times. For that matter, he could have allowed Joffrey to indulge his whim and punish Tyrion, in what seems to be becoming a biweekly event: Joffrey feels slighted, threatens – somewhat idly – to kill Tyrion, and Tywin drily says he needn’t. How long can the pattern last?
Meanwhile, Tywin’s only request of his drunk, sex-loving son is to have some sex so there can be an heir – but can Tyrion even do that? He cannot. Again, I have to say that I think Sansa is short-sighted in this regard – if she can’t produce an heir, she won’t deserve to live, now will she? Maybe Shae can talk sense into her, since she isn’t talking sense into herself and leaving with Varys’ bagful of diamonds. True, she has no name, no power, and, in a situation where Sansa and Tyrion had been warming up to one another, no real purpose. How soon before she wises up and drives a wedge between them? I’m sorry, but isn’t that self-preservation?
You’d think that would come up more. It doesn’t, to the extent that when Davos saves himself from death after saving Gendry, it’s more like a novelty than anything. Similarly, I suppose, The Hound could probably benefit from giving Arya to Walder Frey, one more prize for his slaughter. He doesn’t do that, because he sees a greater prize in something else. The question is now that she’s an orphan, what is that?
In general, this season had lots of delightful moments (how cute was Hodor being shy when Sam recognized him?) but we all know it was slow. Yes, the Red Wedding – but I mean, Daenerys came, saw, and conquered yet again, with no effort or trouble. Theon ended the season bloodier, but basically the same. Stannis Baratheon never leaves that damned room and I’m getting claustrophobia. Cersei may not have actually spoken to more than three different people this year.
Let’s MOVE already. Yes, Jon Snow knows nothing, and is back with the Night’s Watch. Yes, Gilly and her baby have arrived (which necessitated ravens by the dozen). But give me something more to care about with bated breath until next year! Gendry in a boat? This is what I get? Ygritte with tears? I wanted something a little…more. Even some gratuitous nudity would have been welcome.
In short, I am happy to see the end of the beginning. Next year, we’ve got all the travel out of the way. Nobody important is still on the road somewhere (except Daenerys. Let’s MOVE). Maybe we can actually start getting a few of these people to face opposite one another in the same room. Maybe?