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Mother of Dragons! The Derriere Affair: Game of Thrones Episode 5 Recap

Mother of Dragons!

The Derriere Affair: A Game of Thrones Episode 5 Recap

By: Dan Shorr

Five rear ends, three jarred babies and one execution, oh my! 

Cave:

1

“The night is dark and full of terrors” croons Thoros of Myr, an ominous (albeit previously copyrighted) introduction to the Hound’s impending trial by justice as the accused Clegane brother prepares to face the one-eyed Beric Dondarrion. Arya watches anxiously. The Tale of the Tape heavily favors the Hound and he certainly looks like he is feeling pretty good about his chances – until Beric lights his sword on fire with his own blood! The Hound shuffles back with a quick three step – whoa! A friendly reminder: the Hound doesn’t blink an eye when it comes to murdering children or running blindly into combat but even a camp-sized-marshmallow-roasting-fire irks this man something fierce.

The two fight an intense battle throughout the Brotherhood’s lair as miscellaneous items and individuals go flying left and right. The peanut gallery proves to be unfamiliar with the standard WWE policy to never mix a lumberjack match and an inferno match; that’s how bystanders become victims.

19

The Hound manages to bring his opponent to his knees and cuts through Beric’s flaming sword and half of his torso for good measure. The bad guy wins again. Arya decides na-uh and lunges after the exhausted Hound to try and kill him herself but – he won his trial – and Arya is restrained by the Brotherhood members accordingly. Meanwhile, Thoros works some fire magic and Beric Dondarrion, who undoubtedly was just killed moments ago, is back up and running. The audience doesn’t even bat an eyelash at this point. Resurrection? Yeah, sure!

Arya is furious as Beric frees her dreaded enemy. “Go in peace Sandor Clegane, the Lord of Light isn’t done with you yet.” If it is any consolation for Arya, the Brotherhood takes all of the Hound’s gold and leaves him with just a few swords and a post-war IOU.

Another Cave:

3

Orell the Impolite Warg and Tormund Giantsbane play 20 questions with Jon Snow. Jon adamantly states that there are 1000 men at Castle Black (in case you missed the ice zombie massacre and the Craster’s Keep riot, this is clearly not true as Castle Black is almost totally depleted of soldiers). Tormund tells Jon that if he is lying: “I’ll pull your guts out through your throat.” Somewhere in King’s Landing, Joffrey guffaws at Tormund’s lack of creativity Ha Ha, what an amateur!

Ygritte playfully leads Jon away for a much needed refresher/ breather/ loss of virginity. Just because it is a million degrees below freezing outside doesn’t mean there aren’t nearby hidden caves with steaming hot tubs! Life beyond the wall ain’t so bad when you’re working with the Playboy Grotto blueprints. Ygritte gets naked (Episode 5 Derriere sighting #1) and has a short four word debate with Jon Snow in which they ponder the merits of their hypothetical actions.

Jon: We shouldn’t.

Ygritte: We should.

They do. “You know nothing” she says to Jon as he proceeds to offer a counter argument.  Later, after confirming Jon is no longer a “maiden,” Ygritte starts listing her former lovers, a major faux paus that even newcomer Jon Snow recognizes. “Yeah, thanks, I’ve heard enough” he says as he ignores sanitary concerns and goes skinny dipping in the hot tub (Episode 5 Derriere sighting #2). 

Harrenhal:

4

Jaime and Brienne arrive at Harrenhal and are greeted by Lord Roose Bolton. Bolton wants to know what happened to Jaime’s hand. Locke, the man that severed Jaime’s limb, makes the joke we all have been saying for a week (he didn’t lose it, the hand is right there lol) and is promptly dismissed. Clearly, the dismemberment was not an approved course of action. Lord Bolton immediately sheds his initial pleasant vibe of hospitality as he answers Jaime’s meek request for an update about Cercei by showing the captive Lannister that he shares the Bolton family’s sadistic sense of humor (his son is Theon’s giddy torturer after all). “You haven’t heard… your sister, how can I put this, your sister is…alive and well.” Got ya!

Jaime then goes to the most poorly lit doctor’s office in Westeros for a much needed check-up. Introduced in the season premiere as the thirsty prisoner begging Robb Stark for water, disgraced former Maester Qyburn (he lost his credentials after some of his experiments were deemed too bold) performs a rather grisly operation. Sans anesthesia, Jaime watches as Qyburn uses a pair of pliers to remove the rotting flesh from his injured arm. Hopefully Jaime didn’t notice the creepy surgeon’s bulging eyes – not exactly a comforting pre-operation visual.

King’s Landing:

5

Cercei tracks down Littlefinger before he departs for his journey to the Eyrie. She wants him to utilize his “good working relationship with the Tyrells” to get some dirt. One last scheme for the road!

King’s Landing:

6

First, she mused sarcastically about Tyrell flatulence smelling of roses. Next, she mocked the artistic design of her chamber-pot. In this episode, Lady Olenna, the Queen of Thorns, requests some afternoon figs as they “help move the bowels.” Who would have thought Queen Margery’s grandmother would have replaced the man she is sitting with, Tyrion Lannister, as the go-to potty-humor expert on Game of Thrones? Olenna is far more than an additional comedic reprieve from dismembered limbs and incest. She is the brains behind the Tyrell operation and is knowledgeable about everything from their war strategy to the amount of sheep they have provided King’s Landing for the winter (50,000!). She also understands the necessity for the supposedly-magnificent royal wedding as it represents a much needed distraction for the restless people. She gives Tyrion a hard time but ultimately makes the Master of Coin an offer he can hardly believe. “We’ll pay for half the expenses and the celebrations will go on as planned.” Hooray!

Yet Another Cave:

7

Arya’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day gets worse as her blacksmith buddy, Gendry, joins the Brotherhood without Banners. Having seemingly taken a sip of the Khaleesi Kool-Aid, Gendry decides he wants to work for someone he actually believes in; he already is growing a goatee to try and fit in with the gang of outlaws. Arya is devastated and feels as though Gendry is abandoning her. “I can be your family” she pleads. Although Gendry has a lot of love for Arya, he ignores her appeal and sticks with his plan.

Later: Most people tend to keep the list of people they want to kill to themselves, but Arya prefers to orally recite them one by one in public. Beric interrupts her casual death wishes and shows us that he has been resurrected 6 times in a variety of ways. Show off.

Riverrun:

8

The North’s two preteen Lannister hostages (Tywin’s nephews) hear a commotion. Strange men burst into their cell. “Is this a rescue?” Not at all. The defenseless boys are brutally murdered by Lord Karstark and some of his men.

The dead bodies and the now imprisoned Karstark soldiers are brought before Robb, his wife, his mother Catelyn (ugh) and her family. The bearded prisoner calls Robb “the King who lost the north” as Robb temporarily sends him to a dungeon and his men to their death as he contemplates his next move. Robb knows that if he kills Lord Karstark, he will lose a significant amount of his army. But, perhaps thinking of Bran and Rickon, he refuses to simply leave the child murderer alive as a prisoner.

Later: An execution held outside amidst a moderate and dreary rainfall, the only thing this depressing scene is missing is an ominous death wish. Never mind– we got one! Lord Karstark’s last words before Robb beheads him: “kill me and be cursed, you are no king of mine.” Not a very remorseful closing statement from a child murderer, but if he was going for dramatic effect, he knocked it out of the park.

Dragonstone:

9

Lonely without his mistress, Stannis visits his wife – Lady Selyse – who he has not seen in a long, long time. As Stannis walks in, his wife is praying to fire – a very popular activity on Dragonstone. We also find out why Stannis took his sweet dear old time visiting his wife and why he is even more awkward and socially uncomfortable than normal. Selyse keeps their three dead stillborn sons in jars. In her bedroom. Not really the decoration you’re looking for in a royal palace. Kudos to the GoT team –

Producer #1: We only have two minutes to introduce the ten-thousandth character on the show.

Producer #2: And we need the character to stand out as being especially weird.

Producer #3: I know what we should do.

Producer #1 & #2 (simultaneously): What?!

Producer #3: A morbid visual of floating infant corpses.

Producer #1: Bingo.

Producer #2: Perfect.

Producer #3: Should we have her address one of the jars and say something like “my sweet boy?”

Producer #1 & #2 (simultaneously): Genius.

Stannis tries to confess about his affair but Selyse already knows – Melisandre told her! Not only that, Selyse wept for joy when she learned of the shadow-demon-son, not something traditionally celebrated from someone in her position.

Stannis gets out of that mess and goes to visit his daughter, Shireen, who is not in a jar (phew). Shireen has greyscale; it’s like Westeros acne but permanent and occasionally fatal. She asks about Davos, last seen hogging screen time in the season premiere and attempting to stab Melisandre the Fire Mistress. Stannis demonstrates his inability to communicate delicately as he updates his young daughter with a rather grim, blunt prognosis.  “Ser Davos is a traitor, he’s rotting in a dungeon cell for his crime.” His grimace after uttering this statement is one of the great highlights of the episode. Maybe that was a bit harsh. 

Harrenhal:

10 

An all-time great scene as we not only get Derriere sightings #3 and #4 (!) but also gain invaluable insight into Jaime’s sympathetic backstory.

Stealing Jon Snow and Ygritte’s swag, Jaime strips down and hops in a hot tub with Brienne and proceeds to deliver an epic monologue about the final days of his former employer, King Aerys Targaryen – the Mad King.“[Aerys] loved to watch people burn. He burned anyone that was against him… before long half the country was against him.” Not a charming individual.

When King’s Landing was under attack from a Tywin Lannister led invasion that was quickly ending the war (the one that led to Robert Baratheon’s reign as king), Aerys ordered his pyromancers to set off hidden batches of wildfire that would burn the city down. Aerys also ordered Jaime to bring him Tywin Lannister’s head. “Kill your own father and stand by while thousands of men, women and children are burned alive, would you have done it? Would you have kept your oath then?” The answer is obviously no. Jaime has been vilified for a crime that was actually quite noble!

Either the hot tub temperature is set way too high or Jaime is just exhausted after nailing his speech, but he passes out as Brienne catches him and yells for help.

Dragonstone:

11

Shireen pays Davos a visit as he sits in his cell. She brings him a book but, unfortunately, he: “can’t read the words.” Stannis’ lotion-starved daughter decides to pursue a career in education and takes it upon herself to teach Davos how to read. She starts by reciting some Aegon anecdotes, a story about a Targeryen with dragons, and that individuals’ “conquest of Westeros.” Sounds like a phenomenal time to cut to…

Outside Astapor

12

Team Stormborn! Hey now. Typically after any dosage of epic Mother of Dragons shenanigans we have to wait an extra week or two to catch up with our favorite Targaryen (sorry Viserys) but the GoT producers decided to spoil us (aw, shucks). Dany’s two older advisors have some bro-time as they share pee jokes and war stories. Jorah tests the waters a bit. Remember, he used to snitch on Dany for Varys and was pardoned for doing so. He wants to see if Ser Barristan knows this. “I didn’t’ sit on the small council” Barristan says. Guess not!

Meanwhile, Dany meets Grey Worm, the squad leader of the Unsullied army. All Unsullied are given intentionally unflattering names as a means of further degradation during their years of training. Grey Worm opts to hold onto his even after Dany tells him to pick a new name as his: “is the name this one had the day Daenerys Stormborn set him free.” A likeable and somewhat grammatically confusing addition to the Game of Thrones cast – a considerably more promising character than Stannis’ old lady.

Riverrun:

13

Robb Stark laments the status of his army. The Northerners used to have a clear, defined purpose but: “now we are like a band of bickering children.” That’s what happens when you cut the heads off your own men and put Catelyn Stark in charge when you take a vacation. IT IS ALL HER FAULT, ROBB. WHY CAN’T YOU SEE THAT?!

Robb gropes his wife’s hand and looks at a map – Eurekea! He’s got it! He’s going for Tywin and the Lannister’s home-base: Casterly Rock. “I’m going to take their home away from them.” But to do so he needs to recruit some new soldiers and the only ones he can get are: Walder Frey’s! The creepy old guy formally known as Argus Filch! Robb was supposed to marry his daughter as part of a deal they made in the first season, but he backed out of that one pretty aggressively. Will Walder Frey help him now? Can’t wait to see how that one goes.

King’s Landing:

14

Margaery Tyrell is hanging out with Sansa Stark instead of watching whatever crazy nonsense King Joffrey is up to and thus depriving me of a more entertaining segment. Margaery reminds Sansa that she will wed her brother Loras, but it cannot happen until after Margaery has married her psychopathic King. Oliver the Squire gives Loras the eye and – well that wasn’t so difficult – we cut to a bedroom and it seems Loras is well past grieving for his ex, Renly Baratheon. (Derirere sighting #5) Oliver straddles Loras and gets him to dish out some gossip. Later we see…

King’s Landing:

16

Littlefinger: “that didn’t take very long.” Oliver the Seducing Squire was a spy! Now Littlefinger knows that Sansa is supposed to marry Loras and man, I just do not think he is gonna let that happen.

Later, he meets with Sansa and compliments her Maergery inspired hair style, even though you know we know he knows he hates it. Litttlefinger gives Sansa one last chance to come with him to the Eyrie. The audience knows this is a cruel test. If she goes with him, Littlefinger will have her trapped and she won’t get to marry Loras. If she refuses, we know she’ll fall prey to whatever scheme the crafty former Mayor of Baltimore has obviously set in motion and she won’t marry Loras anyhow. Bummer.

King’s Landing:

18

Neither fatherly one-on-one went well for Tyrion or Cercei, so they figure, hey, why don’t we try and do this together! Well, not exactly. Tyrion learns he is going to be married to Sansa Stark as a means to thwart the Tyrell’s plot to take control of the North. Cercei thinks she is there to have a few chuckles at her brother’s expense and witness his frustrations but that is not the case. Her father looks at her and coldly announces: “Tyrion will do as he’s bid, as will you…you will marry Loras.” Cercei is horrified! She was so happy as a divorcé, seducing random family members and drinking gallons of wine a day, what is she ever going to do!

Tune in Sundays at 9:00 PM and then check Independent Philly the following day for the recap!

Be sure to “like” Independent Philly on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and enter our latest contests!

[Story by Dan Shorr]

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Mother of Dragons! Old Valyrian: Game of Thrones Episode 4 Recap

Mother of Dragons!

Old Valyrian: A Game of Thrones Episode 4 Recap

By: Dan Shorr

 

Joffrey meets the people, Mormont meets his maker and Daenerys Targeryen finally gets her army.

A Forest:

Jaime

Jaime Lannister thought he used to have it all. A loving (sociopathic, illegitimate, product of incest, doesn’t-actually-know-Jaime-is-his-father) son. A great (physical) relationship with his twin sister (lover). And, of course, one of the most famous and lethal sword-wielding right hands in the entire world. Now look at him. He’s got corns on his feet, he’s dehydrated and he’s got the Addams Family’s hand butler dangling from his neck. At least Jaime isn’t getting stomped into the mud or tricked into chugging horse urine. Oh.

King’s Landing:

KingLanding

Tyrion wants his old eunuch buddy Varys to help him prove that Cercei tried to have him killed during the Battle of the Blackwater. Varys is much more interested in lecturing about what happens in Myr (it stays there). For everyone that bet big on Varys’ castration being the result of a sorcerers’ bizarre penis sacrifice, congratulations – you got it! If you doubled down and bet that Varys was keeping that same sorcerer in a crate with his mouth grotesquely sewed shut? Even more congratulations as you must be a wealthy person involved with a very quirky gambling ring.

Craster’s Keep:

Crasters_Keep

Sam checks in on the Keep’s newest baby mama, Gilly. She is not in the mood for Sam’s uncalled for cheeriness as her son is inevitable sacrifice fodder for Craster. “Can you save my baby’s life?” she asks Sam. He gives her a look like “not if it involves any long distance running.”

Dream Forest:

Dream_Forest

Speaking of which, Bran is running. Conditional logic has taught us this also means Bran is dreaming. The kid from Love Actually is hanging out with Bran in his dreamworld and urges the young Stark to go climb a huge tree in search of the perpetually squawking 3-eyed crow. Because that always goes well. Bran gets to the top of the tree and, well, look who it is! Maintaining her reputation as the least fun character on Game of Thrones, Catelyn Stark shows up to enforce her strict “no climbing!” policy and send her son plummeting to the ground. Even Bran’s subconscious recognizes how awful Catelyn is.

King’s Landing:

Kings_Landing2

Varys assumes the illiteracy of all prostitutes, both former and active. Ros teaches him the ignorance of stereotyping as her ability to READ has led her to discover that Littlefinger has requested not one, but two feather beds for his journey to the Eyrie. Yeah. You heard her. TWO feather beds. Lord Baelish stays in first class. But is the second bed for Sansa? Varys thinks so.

King’s Landing:

KL_3

“[the dragon] ate her, while her son watched!” Getting exuberantly riled up on some violent historical anecdotes, typical King Joffrey. While the Queen Regent and the Queen of Thorns, Cercei and Olenna Tyrell, trade quips and check out potential wedding locations, Margaery leads Joffrey into uncharted territory. She brings him face to face with…pedestrians! Meet the 99%, Joffrey, they are just like you – only without the homicidal tendencies and custom crossbow collection. Margaery waves to a massive crowd of King’s Landing commoners as Joffrey initially looks on bewildered. He studies her motions. Short, subtle movement of the wrist. Ever so slight cuppage of the palm. Bright, wide smile. Hey, I can do this! Joffrey waves at the crowd as Cercei looks on horrified and yells: “How did she finally teach him how to wave?!?!?!”

Dungeon:

Dungeon

Theon opens up. He admits Ned Stark was essentially his real father and acknowledges how low he has fallen. Whoops! Theon is preaching to the wrong guy as he finds himself victim to the Westeros version of Punk’d with Ramsay Bolton playing the Aston Kutcher role: you get tortured, you get freed – but guess what!! You’re not actually free. And you go back to being tortured.

Disregard everything Theon’s fake friend – revealed as Ramsay Bolton – has said. He is a twisted liar that, in the books, has committed atrocious acts that make King Joffrey look like a six year old Sansa Stark. The bastard son of Robb Stark’s stern Lieutenant Roose Bolton, this new character is a depraved man who was willing to murder his own men just to mess with Theon and destroy his morale even further. I don’t foresee these two becoming the next Tyrion/Bronn dynamic duo. Just a hunch.

Forest:

Forest2

Brienne is disgusted with the whimpering Kingslayer and calls him a coward. No wonder he doesn’t tell her why he lied to their captors about the Sapphire Isle, named for its blue water and not for its abundance of gemstones. Jaime just looks at her silently like this is the worst road trip ever.

King’s Landing:

 KL4

Tywin Lannister is a serious man with a penchant for excessive correspondence (dude is always writing letters!) and verbally decimating his children. Cercei, her nervousness obvious, confronts her father. First, she just addresses her typical paranoia concerning her loss of influence on Joffrey, a development Tywin seems to celebrate. But she really wants to get some daddy-daughter issues off her chest; Cercei believes she is the strongest Lannister spawn and wants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Tywin has none for her. “I distrust you…because you are not as smart as you think you are.” Ouch.

King’s Landing:

KL5

Olenna Tyrell gives props to the Stark family motto before noticing “a spider in the garden.” Varys is getting his screen time up. They decide that while they both think Sansa is really boring, they still feel bad for her. Plus, she has that very old last name which makes her the eventual key to the North. Secret matchmaking? I think so!

King’s Landing:

KL6

Margaery finds Sansa preying outside and asks Sansa’s guards to give them some privacy. The guards don’t budge until Margaery threatens to tell the King and boy, do those guards get out of there fast. Margaery lays it on thick. “I want us to be friends, great friends.” Not only friends, but sisters! Looks like Margaery is going to try and set Sansa up, good luck to that guy. Also, Sansa gullibly believed that Porridge Plague was a real disease. She really is Catelyn Stark’s daughter.

Craster’s Keep:

Craster

Back at the Keep, things get out of hand (where is Jaime when you need him). Following the funeral of one of the Brothers, a contingent of unruly Night’s Watch members unsatisfied with Craster’s treatment finally speak up. Craster slugs through a drum stick while the Brothers watch, near starving – not helpful. Lord Commander Mormont tries to calm the ensuing scuffle, but it is too late. A few vulgarities get thrown around and next you thing you know Craster and Mormont are dead and Sam is on the run with Gilly and her newborn infant.

Batcave:

Batcave

Thoros and the Brotherhood without Banners escort Arya to their lair, which appears to be the Batcave. There, we meet the Brotherhood’s leader, Beric Dondarrion (he appeared briefly in the first season as Ned Stark sent him to bring the Mountain to justice). Beric, letting the Batcave’s ambiance rub off on him, gives a what-if-christopher-nolan-remade-the-dark-knight-as-robin-hood speech; he basically just babbles crime-fighter jargon. The Hound, after deflecting the various charges levied against him, is accused by Arya for murdering her friend Mycah. The Hound raises a good point, who is he to question princes and princesses, but it isn’t good enough to keep him out of a trail by combat which we will all have to wait until next week to watch.

Astapor:

Astapor

“I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targeryen of the blood of old Valyria. Valyrian is my mother tongue.” In a scene full of highlights that could very well be the best 5 minutes of Game of Thrones to date, Dany’s language switch was my favorite part. We all watched as the crude slaver called her names and insulted Dany to her face. Guess what? She knew what he was saying all along. Time for a little Astapor BBQ to even the score.  The Unsullied kill their former masters (did anyone else think the Valyrian name for the Unsullied sounded like “spaghetti?”) and now with 8,000 eunuchs, 3 dragons and two senior citizens, the Mother of Dragons is ready to take back her throne.

Tune in Sundays at 9:00 PM and then check Independent Philly the following day for the recap!

Be sure to “like” Independent Philly on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and enter our latest contests!

[Story by Dan Shorr]

Mother of Dragons! A Recap of Episode 3

Mother of Dragons!

A Game of Thrones Recap

By: Dan Shorr

Riverrun:

riverrun

Lord Hoster Tully’s funeral. A quaint, traditional ceremony featuring all of the essential theatrics we expect out of a Riverrun affair – floating corpses, flaming arrows and, of course, naval cremation.

Edmure Tully, Catelyn’s doofus brother and newly named Lord of Riverrun, attempts to ignite his father’s corpse before it floats away on a small boat, a rudimentary activity by Westeros’ standards that would land him in a federal penitentiary in 2013.

Unfortunately, perhaps due to his education at the Bran Stark School of Archery, Edmure misses his target. His second attempt isn’t even close as the crowd awkwardly watches the boat drift out further and further.  Catelyn looks worried, but what else is new. Edmure lights another arrow. He aims…oh. Another miss. Three strikes buddy – you are out. Uncle Blackfish quickly pinch-hits. He snatches the bow, checks the wind, and…it…is…good! And by good, I mean Hoster Tully’s lifeless body is on fire. Blackfish throws the bow back to Edmure, a subtle lesson on the art of the First Impression.

Later we learn that Edmure, ignoring orders, captured a Lannister mill in hopes of engaging the Mountain, the menacing Clegane brother that has been terrorizing the countryside. Instead, Edmure lost 208 soldiers, ruined Robb’s plans and only has Tywin’s “father’s brother’s great grandsons” (two teenage Lannister hostages) to show for it.

“There’s glory enough to go around” Edmure says, mistaking his actions for courageous rather than foolhardy. I was reminded of a similar disposition seen last year in Theon Greyjoy’s storyline, that of the pathetic leader desperate to form his own identity. Edmure’s botched funeral arson was also somewhat reminiscent of Theon’s grotesquely inept execution of Ser Rodrik, a beheading that took four swings and several stomps to complete. To be clear, this is not a favorable pattern of behavior to emulate.

King’s Landing:

kings_land

Scheme Team! A veritable who’s who of liars, backstabbers and generally duplicitous scoundrels – Grand Maester Pycelle, Tyrion, Varys and Littlefinger – silently gather for a Small Council meeting with the intimidating Hand of the King, Tywin Lannister. Cercei shows up fashionably late (duh) and improvises her seat assignment. There was no way she was going to sit next to Pycelle. Gross. Tyrion follows his sister’s lead and also shifts the furniture around by pulling the patented Will Smith Men in Black Screeching Chair Drag.

Down to business. Varys gleefully shares news that Harrenhal (awarded to Littlefinger last season by young Joff) is now under Roose Bolton’s control. Littlefinger appears unaffected as we soon learn that he is “positively predisposed” towards something else.

A notable development: On Tywin’s orders, Littlefinger steps down from his position as Master of Coin to travel to the Eyrie, home of the Sky Cells and the infamous Moon Door. There, he is meant to seduce and court crazy Lysa Tully, who we last saw barking gibberish and breastfeeding her 10 year old son. Pycelle gasps: “a successful courtship would make Lord Baelish acting Lord of the Vale.” Looks like Roose Bolton can keep Harrenhal. But hold your horses. There is a royal wedding to plan! Somebody has to attend to the finances. Enter Tyrion, King’s Landing’s newest Master of Coin.

A Forest:

Forest

Intimately familiar with the nature of captivity, Jaime informs his fellow prisoner, Brienne, that she is likely to be raped that evening when the group makes camp. He urges her not to resist her captors as they will probably kill her if she puts up a fight. Invoking a rather cruel reference to Dead King Renly, Jaime suggests that Breinne willingly allow the assault to happen. Despite his typical antagonistic sarcasm and inappropriate remarks, Jaime is actually trying to be helpful. He later confirms his sincerity when he successfully saves Brienne. Is the start of a new Kingslayer? Hold that thought.

Outside of Inn:

4

Now a “guest” of Thoros and the Brotherhood without Banners, Arya Stark says goodbye to a dear friend at the same site where she lost another (insinuated in a brief confrontation with the Hound, this inn appears to be the same one where Arya’s friend Mycah, the butcher’s son, was murdered early in Season One). Arya’s chubby accomplice Hot Pie apparently makes a hell of a loaf of brown bread and has decided stay at the inn as a cook. He gives Arya a triceratops everything bagel as a sorry-you-are-a-hostage-again/ going-away present. Goodbye Hot Pie, I would have gladly kept you around instead of…

Riverrun:

5

“I’ve missed you uncle.” Uh oh. We know what is coming next. Once Catelyn Stark gets within 25 feet of any familiar face, she is guaranteed to cry/ complain/ lament/ pity herself/ cry/ blame herself/ cry. Her uncle, Brynden “Blackfish” Tully (Blackfish says “Blackfish” several times so we know to call him Blackfish), the skilled archer from the episode’s first scene, is only a few feet away and is certainly a familiar face. Its only a matter of time…

Catelyn looks out the window, pouting. She recalls being a child and waiting for her father to return home:  “…and I would sit at this window every day when the sun came up. I wonder how many times Bran or Rickon stared across…[cries]” There it is! The Weekly Catelyn Stark Breakdown. Seriously, GoT Producers, this has to stop. Call up HBO and get them to revive that show In Treatment and ship Catelyn off for a bit. Gabriel Bryne would have a field day. Everybody wins, trust me.

Riverrun:

6

Queen Talisa tends to the two teenage Lannister hostages. Lending a hand, bandaging a prisoner’s wound; you think, hey, this is a nice, sincere Queen. But when they ask about her husband, Robb Stark, she reinforces the two Lannisters’ darkest fears – she tells them the King of the North is indeed a flesh eating werewolf who eats kids on full moons. While the audience knows this is not true, imagine if you were those two hostages. That confirmation would be absolutely terrifying. You would assume Robb’s wife would know whether or not the guy is anamorphing into a wolf-beast every couple days. If I’m that 15 year old, there is no reason why I wouldn’t believe her. That is just not a pleasant environment to be imprisoned in. When that full moon comes out, those two kids are going to have a conniption fit. Shame on you, Talisa. Really not the type of behavior you want to see from someone who regularly works with children.

Beyond The Wall:

7

According to Mance Rayder: “They always save the meat for their army” (and they take the time to craft the dead horses into fun crop circle designs too!). The “they” being the whitewalkers (the bizarre creature that we saw close up at the very end of Season Two’s finale), and the “army” being the dead humans that have been turned into ice zombies. With new species and characters popping up every week, it’s important to keep track of these things. Mance assigns Jon Snow to a 20 person group that is going to climb the wall (!!!) and sneak attack Castle Black from the inside. Everybody looks around casually like this is no big deal but A) Climb the wall? The 700 foot ice wall?! And B) Jon just got assigned to go murder his Night’s Watch Brothers in their sleep – not something I think he plans on following through on. With apologies to Ygritte, it looks like Jon Snow is going to have to get away sooner than later.

Beyond The Wall:

Craster-3x03

Craster’s Keep – home to the most strictly enforced 50-girls-to-1-guy ratio in the entire seven kingdoms. After he lets the Night’s Watch Brothers inside, Craster snarls: “I would have turned you all away if I weren’t a Godly man” (by ‘Godly,’ he means he sacrifices male infants to whitewalkers). Craster is just as restrictive and rude as when the Night’s Watch Brothers first met him last season, but after losing most of their friends and witnessing the first signs of a global ice zombie apocalypse, their tolerance for his cruelty seems much lower.

Sam takes offense to some of Craster’s cannibalism humor and, looking for a pleasant change of environment, decides to go witness his old friend Gilly deliver a child. All births are tense in the Keep, as all boys get scarified. We know she has a boy because GoT producers, mixing up their source of nudity, give us a three second shot of the infant’s dangling penis. Uh-oh, Gilly.

Outside Castle:

78 

Theon can barely walk but he is determined to get out. His ally frees him and sets him off on a horse. This feels too easy…

Dragonstone:

9

Stannis is not in good shape. His aggressive mid war/ life crisis is still going strong and now his mistress is preparing to take a temporary leave of absence. Stannis tells her he “wants her” but his urge is not necessarily sexual in nature. He craves another shadow spawn but his Lady in Red is not feeling his desperation. Melisandre uses the “can’t tonight sweetie, your fire is burning too low, and it’ll kill you if we try” excuse. She goes off searching for King’s blood and suggests a future sacrifice.

Astapor:

10

Mother of Dragons! Dany seems to have stumbled onto Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ set. She attempts to give water to a Jim Caviezel extra as her two older companions bicker in the background about purchasing the Unsullied. Jorah brings up a good point; war brings out the worst in men and the death of innocents is inevitable. Dany could curb that violence with the Unsullied as they are not “men” and will never go savage unless they are told to do so.  Ser Barristan isn’t having it. He is old school. Barristan tells Dany of her famous older brother, Prince Rhaegar, and explains that he had a loyal army because “they loved him, not because they had been bought at a slavers auction.” Jorah ends the debate with a zinger: “Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly and Rhaegar died.”

Dany has made up her mind. She tells the crude slaver she wants all of the Unsullied. All or none, its like that with the Mother of Dragons. The slaver’s assistant, wearing the Maergary Tyrell half-shirt, censors some of her master’s most tasteless comments (he calls Dany a “slut” and mentions his intention to feed the Dothraki soldiers to his pigs) but does tell Dany that she can’t afford 7,877 out of the 8,000 soldiers. Dany says no biggie and offers up a dragon. Pardoning her crew’s interruption, the deal is made. Does Dany really trade a dragon to this scumbag? We shall see. Dany also gets a new companion as she acquires the Slaver’s assistant, Missandei, significantly dropping the median age of her posse in the process.

King’s Landing:

11

Tyrion, surprisingly in a brothel on business, not pleasure, has to collect all of the necessary Master of Coin literature from Littlefinger before his Master of Coin predecessor leaves for the Eyrie. In much more exciting news, Tyrion repays Pod for saving his life by buying him prostitutes. Hopefully this goes better than that time he did the same thing for Joffrey.

While Pod loses his virginity via Meereenese knot, Tyrion makes an interesting discovery: the Throne is in massive debt and Littlefinger has been borrowing money heavily from foreign lenders just to keep the finances afloat. Heard that before.

Pod returns with the gold Tyrion paid to the prostitutes. Instead of getting scholarly and discussing Game of Thrones’ portrayal of sexual power and identity and how Pod has been objectified as a prostitute in his own right after being paid to perform sex, let’s just save it for another day.

Outside:

13

Theon waits on a mountainside. His sister Yara is nowhere in sight as arrows start whizzing by. Looks like his captors caught up to him. They chase him, firing arrow after arrow as Theon races ahead on his white horse. I don’t know what George R. R. Martin and the GoT Producers are trying to tell us, but there are a lot of people on this show that really suck with a bow and arrow. Luckily, one of them brought a mace to the party; that’ll work. Knocked off his horse and gasping face down, Theon looks up to see the creepy torturer who gave him his most recent manicure. The torturer and his men pull Theon’s pants down as he starts squirming. After Jaime’s conversation about not being able to imagine being a woman and facing that kind of situation earlier in the episode, the GoT Producers use Theon’s predicament to eliminate that sentiment and demonstrate how the show’s characters, men and women alike, are all susceptible to the same horrific carnage.

Finally someone who knows how to shoot takes out the rapist crew. The torturer looks up… its Theon’s friend who helped him escape, but wait – the torturer recognizes him and says: “You little bastard” before receiving an arrow headshot. Who exactly is this supposed friend of Theon Greyjoy? NO SPOILERS HERE, but for the fans of the book it should be pretty obvious at this point.

Forest:

134

Meanwhile, now that the audience has been thoroughly threatened with rape, Brienne is fetched by her captors. Her shrieks are painful as she attempts to resist. Jaime saves her from her defilement, lying to Locke (the man with the Sin City scar in charge of this rag tag operation) about Brienne’s familial access to sapphires. A ransom would be paid, but only if Brienne is “alive, honor unbesmirched.” It works. Jaime watches as Brienne is brought back, smiles at her, and proceeds to get a royal meal and shower. He goes to bed, nothing out of the ordinary…oh wait, THE KINGSLAYER GETS HIS HAND CHOPPED OFF. WOAH!

Tune in Sundays at 9:00 PM and then check Independent Philly the following day for the recap!

Be sure to “like” Independent Philly on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and enter our latest contests!

[Story by Dan Shorr]

Mother of Dragons! A Recap of Episode 2

Mother of Dragons!

A Game of Thrones Recap

By: Dan Shorr

A FOREST:Forest

Welcome back to Game of Thrones, Bran. You look…different. Taking a break from his usual direwolf POV dream adventures, Bran demonstrates his inadequate archery skills for his two older brothers before receiving some advice from his father via voiceover (sadly, Sean Bean didn’t attend the Stark dream-reunion in person). Bran suddenly sees his old friend, the genetically mutated three eyed crow, and unsuccessfully tries to kill it. A stranger in a cape appears; certainly not a unique occurrence on this show. He tells Bran that he can’t kill the raven and then proceeds to teach him drum solos for a few Mariah Carey Christmas songs.

Ah! Too much for Bran to handle. Must not be a percussion guy. He wakes up and it appears that direwolfs aren’t the only things growing. Paying homage to Daniel Radcliffe’s Chamber of Secrets off-screen transformation, Bran seems to have reached that special time in his life when hair starts growing in funny places. Making matters even worse, he complains: “I didn’t ask for black magic dreams!” You and me both, brother.

HARRENHAL:

Harrenhal

The King of the North is staring intensely into some flames, an activity that Stannis Baratheon has demonstrated is far from healthy. Robb puts aside his budding fire addiction and is joined by Queen Jeyne. They kiss. The scene stays PG as the royal make-out session is interrupted by Roose Bolton who is double fisting some bad news.

Later, Robb consoles his mother as we learn that Catelyn’s elderly father, Hoster Tully (the Lord of Riverrun), has passed away. They plan to attend the funeral, a semi-strategic maneuver as Robb also intends to pick up a garrison of troops stationed at Riverrun. But there’s more. Robb tells his mother that it appears that the Iron Born invaders have burned Winterfell, killing everyone inside in the process. Bran and Rickon Stark are MIA, and no one has heard from Theon Greyjoy. Remember, this is just what Robb has been told from the letter. We never saw the burning of Winterfell on screen; we can’t just assume the validity of the letter’s information. Either way, with the additional loss of her father and the disappearance of her two youngest sons, Catelyn’s losing streak continues. Desperately, she asks: “have you heard anything from Theon at all?!”

PRISON:

Prison

Nope, Theon is tied up and is too busy hanging out with the Princess Bride Torturer’s younger, non-albino brother to send a postcard. Theon, anguished and confused, pleads to know his creepy companion’s intentions. The man responds: “I want to do this” as he gives the detained Greyjoy the Clooney in Syriana treatment. He was going to slice Theon’s nipple off, but that’s so last week.

A DIFFERENT FOREST:

Forest2

Brienne and Jaime make their triumphant return looking like they are in the midst of a WWE Texas Bullrope match. Brienne is meticulously watching over her prisoner and won’t even let Jaime out of her sight to use the bathroom, a procedural tactic that seems mildly uncomfortable. A farmer passes by, happily greeting them before continuing on his way. The man does a double take; Jaime panics and suggests they kill him. What if he recognized them? Brienne thinks about it…and ignores the advice and walks off. Whoops.

KING’S LANDING:

Kings_landing

With all due respect to Peter Dinklage’s status as the top-billed actor on the series, Game of Thrones is quickly becoming the King Joffrey Variety Hour. Our loony King is stealing the show one tunic fitting at a time.

Tailors be advised, leave the floral patterns at home. Joffrey’s sentiments towards them (“No flowers!!”) echo Joan Crawford’s wire hanger policy. After Joffrey’s tailor hurries off (somehow without having suffered any dismemberment), Cercei starts pressing her son on his Queen to-be Margaery Tyrell. Young Joff is not having it. “This is becoming one of the most boring conversations I’ve ever had.” Cercei ignores the episode’s most hilarious line of dialogue and keeps prodding. She reminds him about Margaery’s traitor ex-husband, Renly Baratheon. Joffrey hates traitors even more than floral garments! Well played, Cercei.

KING’S LANDING:

kings_landing2

Sansa disregards a concerned Shae as Loras Tyrell escorts her to meet with Margaery and Margaery’s wise grandmother Olenna Tyrell – known as the Queen of Thorns – who prefers her cheeses when she damn well pleases.

Olenna and Margeary try to loosen Sansa up with some lemon cakes (her favorite!) before getting down to business. They want to know about Joffrey. Sansa delays, but ultimately takes a huge risk by revealing her true feelings for her detested former fiancé. Sansa tells them “he’s a monster” – falling one exclamation mark short of coining a tremendous title for Joffrey’s should-already-be-on-stage Broadway biopic.

OUTSIDE HARRENHAL:

Outside_h

On the way to the Tully funeral, Robb talks to Lord Kalstark and detects a sour attitude from his heavily bearded lieutenant. Robb asks whether or not he thinks the North can still win the war. Lord Kalstark points to the Queen and offers an ominous na, not really: “I think you lost this war the day you married her.” Not quite the constructive criticism Robb had in mind.

(Remember, Robb made a deal back in Season One to marry Walder Frey’s daughter in exchange for passage through Lord Frey’s land. Robb broke that oath to marry his Improv Surgeon Extraordinaire Queen who also scandalously hails from a Lannister territory.)

Jeyne approaches Lady Catelyn who is in the midst of an exclusive mother’s only Arts & Crafts session. Turns out its an Arts & Crafts & Confessional hybrid activity as Catelyn proceeds to admit to some past sins. She wished for Ned’s bastard son to die and after the infant (Jon Snow) contracted small pox, Catelyn promised the gods that if they saved the child she would love him, be a mother to him, and insist he be named Stark. She lied. About all three.  “Since then, this horror that has come to my family is all because I couldn’t love a mother’s child”… a selfish delusion that completely sets aside the time she kidnapped Tyrion, a much more realistic catalyst for the war’s origins than her disregard for an adolescent Jon Snow. And she wonders why she has a 7:00 PM curfew.

BEYOND THE WALL:

wall

Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder provides us with a few fun facts about the Wildling army; it is made up of ninety different clans that speak a variety of seven languages and everybody HATES the cave people. Ugh. Cave people. The worst. Mance reveals his recruiting tactic. He told everybody they would die if they didn’t join him and head south. Seems easy enough.

Next up we meet Orell, who is doing his best Undertaker (21-0!) impression in honor of WrestleMania 29 which aired the same night as this episode. Orell is a warg, duh, and we find him using an eagle for reconnaissance. He snaps out of his trance and smiles as he tells Jon Snow that he saw “dead crows.” Orell is not just a warg, but a warg with very poor social skills.

BEYOND THE WALL:

Wall2

Samwell Tarly marches through the snow, exhausted and on the receiving end of an unimaginably poor pep talk by one of his fellow Night’s Watch brothers. Sam collapses and accuses his friends of leaving him behind during the whitewalker attack, to which one of them responds: “Aye, we left you, you’re fat, you’re slow; we didn’t want to die.” This guy is not much of a team player, nor is he particularly kind, but I’ll give him credit for logic and honesty points. Lord Mormont joins the commotion and clarifies matters by forbidding Sam to die. I’m not sure if Mormont has been huffing flames like everyone else on the show and thinks he has some Melisandre-like protection powers, but Sam should probably still carry a sword with him.

SOMEWHERE OUTSIDE:

Somewhere_Outside

Osha goes off hunting and leaves Bran to hang out by himself, a circumstance that never seems to work out so well. The caped figure from Bran’s dream arrives and he brought his sister with him. Meet Jojen and Meera Reed – both appear to wear pants but only Meera carries the weapons. Quick note: last week I made a rookie mistake and identified Summer as Jon’s direwolf – Jon’s direwolf is Ghost and Bran’s is Summer. Jojen approaches Summer, Bran’s direwolf, and the creature gives him the go-ahead. This kid is great at playing the drums, evading London airport security and talking to direwolfs – a valuable skill set indeed. Jojen explains that he and his sister have traveled a long way to find Bran and have come to take him to some unspecified location. Maybe if Jojen had just given Bran a heads up in his dream they wouldn’t have had to cause such a ruckus.

YEAH, ANOTHER FOREST:

EP301

Arya’s first appearance of the season is punctuated by Gendry’s A+ line of questioning as he wonders why she didn’t use her three death wishes on someone like Tywin or Joffrey – conceivably, those deaths would have ended the war. He’s totally right. That’s just some Sansa Stark decision making right there.

Arya informs her friends they should go to Riverrun (hey, maybe she’ll make the funeral in time!) when they are interrupted by a group of cheerful, armed men. The group’s leader, identified as Thoros of Myr, comes in peace and offers Arya and her two friends a meal on the house.  After some fancy archery work and a cheap fat joke at Hot Pie’s expense, they all head off for some stew.

KING’S LANDING:

Kings_landing3

Tyrion walks into his chambers and sees his girlfriend sitting in bed. Shae clearly did not get Tywin’s memo (RE: Next Harlot Found in Tyrion’s Bed DIES) and is still blabbering on about not trusting Littlefinger. “Is there an idiot in any village that trusts Little finger?” Tyrion asks. No, so move on. Tyrion accidently pulls the “tell-your-girlfriend-about-sleeping-with-another-prostitute-twice” move. He makes matters even worse when they begin discussing Sansa Stark and he compliments her as a “great beauty with a very old name.” Very old name? Talk about a catch.

Shae doesn’t like that and calls Tyrion a pervert (not an inaccurate assessment) but then acts the part herself. GoT producers spared us the sound effects that accompanied a similar sequence in Season One between Renly and Loras, although Tyrion’s “Dangerous people, hmmmmm….” was a noble substitution.

KING’S LANDING:

Joffrey-and-Margaery

Margeary walks in on Joffrey playing with a crossbow, a scenario Nate Silver estimates ends 100% of the time in the usage of the weapon. Joff claims that he wanted to see Margaery before he left for his hunting trip, but he’s really got other matters he wants to discuss. Specifically, how much Margaery enjoyed her time with Renly Baratheon on the “bedside of a traitor.”

Margaery eventually eases her sociopath inquisitor by stroking his custom crossbow, an action that immediately grabs Joffrey’s attention. Margaery is crafty. Using Sansa’s insight, she plays to her “monster” King’s violence fetish and asks Joffrey for a demonstration.

Margaery: I imagine it must be so exciting to squeeze your finger here and watch something die.

Now your talking the King’s language.

Joffrey: Could you…kill something?

Uh-oh, Joffrey is getting hot and bothered now.

Margaery: I don’t know your Grace, do you think I could?

Joffrey:  yesss.

Margaery:  would you like to watch me?

Joffrey:  yessss.

I’m not sure what commentary I could provide that would top Joffrey hissing “yes” while fantasizing about whatever dramatically inappropriate thoughts go through his demented mind – so we will just move on.

PRISON:

prison2

Back at Theon Dark Thirty, we are done with finger nails and are now going for the corkscrew through the foot routine. Theon confesses the rationale behind his actions, hoping desperately for mercy. Attempted familial glory, revenge – nothing seems to be the right answer. After he is left alone, a man claiming to be sent by Theon’s sister (Yara) promises to help him escape – but not till later. The man also does a noticeably mediocre attempt at loosening the screw impaled through Theon’s foot. Try harder, friend.

 STILL OUTSIDE:

Still_Outside

As the youngest Stark child runs off, Osha yells after him: “Rickon stay with us!” Yeah right. That kid couldn’t get twenty seconds of screen time if he started breeding dragon eggs.

Meanwhile, Jojen continues to hype Bran up on his developing super powers and tells him he will gain the ability see into the past, present and future. It’s a shame Bran didn’t develop that a year ago and stop himself from getting shoved out of a tower by those incestuous Lannisters.

We also get some backstory: Jojen’s father is Howland Reed, a man who shares a deep bond with Ned Stark. Howland sent his children to help once he heard Ned had been killed but apparently never taught them the value of punctuality. A week or two earlier would have been much more helpful.

 TAVERN:

Tavern

Arya makes up an escape story crediting Gendry’s access as a smith as their means for procuring their weapons. She reasonably omits the part about the assassin murder hat trick. Arya starts talking trash (because that’s what bad-asses do) and challenges Thoros to a fight, just because. Thoros is amused by Arya’s bravery but far from threatened and playfully ends the fight. If Arya hadn’t been so busy picking fights maybe she would have left before her old friend – the Hound – walked in. Too late. “What in the seven hells are you doing with a Stark bitch?” The Hound doesn’t utilize polite language, but blows Arya’s cover nonetheless. Looks like that run to Riverrun is going to have to wait a little while longer.

 STILL OUTSIDE:

Jaime-Brienne-season-3-fight-619x284

Jaime and Brienne attempt to cross a bridge. In the midst of doing so, Jaime pulls a Sam Tarly and takes a seat.  He starts complaining about the corns on his feet –  SIKE! Kingslayer doesn’t get corns!  He was just trying to steal one of Brienne’s swords. An excited Jaime Lannister looks ready for a fight.

Unfortunately for Jaime, so is Brienne. The so called “great beast of a woman” kicks the shit out of Jaime and does so without even breaking a sweat. Awesome scene. Brienne has been tolerating Jaime’s mockery for far too long and finally unleashes on him.  She ends the fight by landing a devastating backhanded fist and follows it with a simple flick of the sword, sending an exhausted Jaime to the ground. Brienne doesn’t have any time to relish her victory as the two find themselves facing some unexpected company.

Jaime at least picks up a moral victory as it is revealed that the farmer they ran into earlier did indeed rat them out – Jaime was correct, they should have killed him. The farmer brings a posse wearing Roose Bolton’s House colors and some weird guy working with an identical Sin City Hartigan scar takes Jaime and Brienne hostage.

Tune in Sundays at 9:00 PM and then check Independent Philly the following day for the recap!

Be sure to “like” Independent Philly on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and enter our latest contests!

[Story by Dan Shorr]

Mother of Dragons! A Recap of the Season 3 Premiere

Mother of Dragons!

A Game of Thrones Recap

By: Dan Shorr

 

BEYOND THE WALL:

sam

Samwell Tarly – not an athlete. As Game of Thrones opens it’s third season, the least valuable raven courier of the Night’s Watch is hustling through the snow and sharp winds, desperately trotting along in what Tywin Lannister would describe as a speedy waddle. Somehow, despite his clumsy jog, Sam has managed to escape from the massive horde of Whitewalkers that surrounded him at the close of last season. You would think that the 300 pound whimpering human running at 2 miles an hour would get noticed by one of the thousands of zombies roaming about, but apparently not.

Sam avoids a heart attack and takes a much-needed breather before encountering a decapitated corpse and an axe-wielding zombie – far from an encouraging pit stop. Luckily, Sam is rescued by his fellow Night’s Watch brothers, with the majority of the credit going to Jon Snow’s estranged dire-wolf, Summer. However, this is by no means a joyful reunion. Because Sam was apparently too busy working on his cardio to send raven notifications (“that was your job, your only job!”), the haggard group of Night’s Watchmen now plan on retreating back to the Wall to warn the others about the impending invasion. With blood splattered about his bald head, Lord Commander Mormont offers a cheery prediction “we have to warn them, or before winter’s done, everyone you’ve ever known will be dead”. CUE MONTAGE OF POP-UP CASTLES.

Wilding Camp:

wilding_camp

Jon Snow, you should have known better than to show up wearing the wrong colors. Obviously you are going to get heckled and pelted with charcoal. Because we were treated to an ice zombie in the cold open, our good friends at Game of Thrones decided they might as well top it with a giant, a GoT first, in the second scene. The giant’s appearance was brief, but it served as a clear reminder that this show is now firmly grounded in the super natural – if the presence of dragons and shadow demons didn’t already give that away.

Jon smartly decides against a formal introduction with the hammer-fisted giant and is escorted by his ginger captor into a dark and uninviting tent. Considering the way the giant went after that wooden post, I’m curious as to why no one has enlisted him to enact a more King-like structure for the Wildling leader. You know douchey-King Joffrey wouldn’t settle for that nonsense.

  After mistakenly identifying Tormund Giantsbane, a legendary Wildling warrior, as the King Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow meets the real King – Mance Rayder – who reasonably wants to know why Jon is looking to switch sides. “I want to fight for the side that fights for the living” Jon says convincingly. Mance looks at his scruffy inner circle and – no vote needed! Welcome to the team. Props to Jon Snow for pulling off the honorable scheme; he certainly isn’t genuine in his support for Mance and the Wildlings, but what he said about his heroic motivation is truthful.

Kings Landing:

kingslanding

A Game of Thrones season premiere without random nudity and brothel banter? Yeah, right. “Don’t you want to leave some things to the imagination?”… says the topless prostitute moments before newly Knighted Ser Bronn begins to strip off her undergarments with his teeth. Unfortunately, Westeros’ 1,028,475th call-girl doesn’t get a chance to add to Game of Thrones’ rich lineage of prostitute theatrics as Tyrion’s squire, Pod, interrupts the would-be lovebirds. Pod brings urgent tidings from Tyrion and requests that Bronn immediately come with him.

A paranoid and secluded Tyrion is on his Howard Hughes grind, opting for an axe instead of an unsightly growth of fingernails as his weapon of choice. He hears a knock at his door and finds his sister, Cercei, paying him a surprise visit. He is reasonably nervous – it was one of her paid men that attempted to kill Tyrion in the Battle of the Blackwater, the resulting attack having left him disfigured although, as Cercei remarks, “they said you lost your nose, it’s not as gruesome as I’d imagined.” Nice in-joke for the fans, GoT producers. In the books, Tyrion loses most of his nose and his wound is drastically more pronounced. Opting against having to use CGI for every single one of Tyrion’s scenes, the Game of Thrones team went for a more cost effective approach. Saving money for dragons is totally fine by me.

Cercei mocks Tyrion who in turn fires back with an unsightly comparison that references Grand Maester Pycelle’s testicles – crude, yet effective. It seems Tyrion has a one-on-one with his father coming up and Cercei is worried her Imp brother will attempt to stir up trouble for her. Can’t imagine why.

Outside of Tyrion’s apartment, Bronn almost gets into a fight with Cercei’s guards who appear to have taken their stylistic cues from Shredder and Magneto. Instead, he goes for a pleasant stroll with his old pal Tyrion who eventually offers to put Bronn back on his payroll with a doubled salary. Good to see this dynamic duo back in cahoots.

Random Island:

island

Well look who survived the Battle of the Blackwater after all. Davos Seaworth, Stannis Baratheon’s supposed Hand of the King, is alive – but miserably stranded on a tiny rock island. Despite his apparent immunity to green fireballs he appears to be quite vulnerable to sunburn. Go figure. The splotchy Onion Knight sees a nearby ship and does the most sensible thing he can think of to get noticed: he strips off his shirt and shows some skin. What a shame that the boat rescues him right away; Davos is deprived the opportunity to befriend a volleyball, escape via porta-potty sailboat and return home to find his fiancé married to his dentist (who didn’t even take care of his rotting tooth in the first place!).

After narrowly passing the “which King do you serve” test, Davos learns from his pirate friend Salladhor Saan that Stannis is in seclusion on his island, Dragonstone (new location alert!), and has been burning people alive. Thinking that sounds like a fun destination, Davos demands travel accommodations.

Harrenhal:

harrenhal

Poor Robb Stark, no one ever said this “war” thing was going to be easy. Let the hundreds of dead Northern soldiers serve as evidence to that sentiment as well as the menacing glares from the King of the North’s lieutenants. This quick scene gave us two brief, but notable set-ups. First, Roose Bolton (last season, he was the one that sent his bastard son to deal with Theon Greyjoy, a development we have still not seen played out) hints towards the North’s plans to recapture Jamie Lannister. Lord Bolton informs his hairy companion Lord Karstark (Jamie killed his son as he escaped last season) that “the Kingslayer won’t be free long, my best hunter is after him”, an implication fans of the books know is not good news. Secondly, before harshly reminding his nearby mother she is still in timeout, Robb finds a survivor among the dead bodies – a parched individual named Qyburn – who we can certainly expect to see again.

King’s Landing:

kingslanding2

Tyrion sits down with his father Tywin, who is busy tending to his mail and addressing his own envelopes, a welcome reprieve from his typical regiment of skinning a deer and removing it’s bowels.

After trying to play it coy, Tyrion ultimately demands an inheritance to Casterly Rock, the Lannister home-base. Tywin lets his son know that while he will eventually receive improved housing, steady employment and a new wife, he would rather be “consumed by maggots before mocking our family name and making you heir to Casterly Rock”. Looks like that option is out of the picture. Tywin dismisses his youngest son, but not before blaming Tyrion for killing his mother in child birth and casually threatening to murder the next “harlot” he finds in Tyrion’s bed. Tyrion gets completely owned in this scene. Ouch.

Outside King’s Landing:

outside

In the episode’s least riveting scene, Sansa Stark sits by the bay and fantasizes about exotic locations and escaping King’s Landing. Littlefinger approaches and hints that he might be able to rescue Sansa in the near future. Great! In the background, two former prostitutes bond over having moved up in the world. You go girls.

Sea:

sea

Dragons are back! They’re flying, they’re shrieking and they’re flash frying flounder. Even though the promos previously revealed the footage of the airborne dragons months ago, it was still one of the episode’s best moments. Daenerys’ reptile triumvirate is clearly loving the life aquatic, although the same can not be said for the projectile-vomiting Dothraki. Dany explains they are the first Dothraki to ever cross the ocean, a meager consolation prize for the perpetually seasick.

Dany is on her way to investigate and potentially purchase a notorious army of eunuch slaves, the Unsullied.  She doesn’t wholeheartedly approve of buying slaves but is convinced that it is necessary by her trusted ally Jorah Mormont. Not wanting Davos Seaworth to get all of the males-over-fifty-chest-hair-attention, Jorah thrusts his pecs forward and defends the merits behind acquiring the army.

Dragonstone:

dragonstone

Davos, getting more screen-time in the premiere than Sansa, Arya, Jamie, Bran and Jon Snow combined, arrives at Dragonstone and confronts an out-of-it Stannis, who looks like he has been hitting those flames just a little too hard. Melisandre, Stannis’ fire mistress, interrupts, blaming Davos’ decision to ban her from the Battle of the Blackwater as the reason why they lost. Unable to contend with her hypothetical, Davos tries unsuccessfully to stab her while channeling his inner Kahleesi and yelping this incredible phrase: “MOTHER OF DEMONS!” Is this a blatant copyright infringement on our beloved mother of dragons? I’m going to let it slide.

King’s Landing:

kingslanding3

Who needs a limousine when you have a portable crate? Finally, Ladies and Gentleman, your King of Westeros – Joffrey Baratheon! We first see our sadist king in a rare moment of tranquility as he eloquently brushes his face with a silk handkerchief while being escorted through the City. Queen Margaery, also spending her free time scouting the projects in an elevated box, stops traffic and gets out to perform some mitzvahs. She does her best Oprah impersonation by throwing toys at every orphan in sight. Joffrey witnesses his Queen’s charity and is absolutely baffled. Genuine compassion? Public service? What are these things? WHAT IS GOING ON?!

Later, some of the royal family convenes to eat dinner and discuss fashion. Margaery and her brother, Loras Tyrell (former lover to King Renly), amuse themselves at the expense of Cercei’s outfit. Joffrey joins in and throws a few age jokes at his mother before, to Cercei’s surprise, offering to support Margaery’s charitable endeavors. Looks like Cercei’s control over her son is slipping. Oh, the powers of civic engagement.

Astapor:

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Dany is getting a VIP tour of the Unsullied and learns the disturbing nature of their training. The Unsullied feel no pain, no remorse, and no fear as a result of a training process that includes murdering a newborn infant in front of it’s mother as a midterm. Using questionable logic (“men don’t need nipples”), Dany’s vulgar slave-owner /guide offers a more visual example by slicing off one of the soldier’s nipples, an action which elicits nothing more than a “thank you sir” from the super obedient eunuch. Dany is interested. Not in the severed areola, but in the 8,000 soldiers. Probably a good clarification to make.

Later – thinking if it worked for Queen Margaery, it’ll work for me too – Dany approaches a destitute child who then tries to coax her into playing a casual game of scorpion bocce ball. Whoops! The kid flashes a blue tongue and yeap, those pesky warlocks appear to be holding a grudge. Luckily, a familiar face reemerges and saves the day. Ser Barristan Selmy, a former member of the Kingsguard under Dany’s father and also Robert Baratheon, has come to pledge his allegiance to Dany to make up for his past failures to her family. Ser Barristan is one of the greatest living warriors in Westeros and certainly a welcome addition to Team Kahleesi. Jorah looks all kinds of jealous as we ROLL CREDITS.

Tune in Sundays at 9:00 PM and then check Independent Philly the following day for the recap!

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[Story by Dan Shorr]

Mother of Dragons! A Game of Thrones Recap and Season 3 Preview

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Before April 17, 2011, my preferred game of choice was one of play money, plastic infrastructure and miniature thimbles. Unfortunately for my friends on Illinois Avenue, that was the day the potent combination of George R.R. Martin and premium cable brought a new game into my life: A Game of Thrones.

For the uninformed, George R.R. Martin is the author of the five-novels-and-counting fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire that HBO’s hit show is based on. I am merely one loyal member of Khal Martin’s innumerous horde, a contingent that has been salivating at the prospects for this season as Game of Thrones begins to tackle the consensus fan favorite A Storm of Swords.

Let me reassure you if you are among the millions of people that only watch the show – in the future this column will deal exclusively with the HBO series. However, as someone who has trouble describing A Storm of Swords without excessive hyperbole, I feel obligated to share some of Martin’s masterpiece with you. Well, at least as a framing device.

Using quotes from Martin’s text, let’s check in on some of the show’s main characters and preview what’s in store for them this season.

Daenerys Targaryen:

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After spending last season fighting off blue-lipped warlocks and poorly developed storylines, self proclaimed rightful heir of Westeros and ally of flying reptiles everywhere, Daenerys Stormborn AKA Kahleesi AKA THE MOTHER OF DRAGONS will have a return to form in Season Three as she looks to procure an army full of eunuchs. Can you take over Westeros with 20,000 clones of Varys? Let’s find out!

Sansa Stark:

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LOL. A random cousin of Queen Margaery and self-admitted enthusiast of douchey-King Joffrey’s pronounced oral region, our girl Megga is ludicrously misinformed about Sansa Stark’s emotional state post-breakup. I think we can safely classify “avoiding permanent matrimony with young Joffrey Dahmer” as a positive for Ned Stark’s eldest daughter. But can Sansa continue to survive in King’s Landing? Or will a new alliance provide the hope of escape?

Tyrion Lannister:

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Miraculously save the day and then wake up scarred and powerless? Talk about a buzzkill. After admirably serving as Hand of the King in Season Two, Tyrion has been forced to relinquish the title back to his father and things are not, as they say, looking up. Tough times await Tyrion. Can he still rely on his prostitute girlfriend and mercenary and eunuch BFF’s? Fingers crossed!

Brienne & Jamie Lannister:

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Just some cute banter between the show’s most fun odd couple: Jamie Lannister and Brienne of Tarth. Brienne is escorting Jamie as her prisoner back to King’s Landing, having promised Lady Stark she would do so in hopes of then facilitating the return of Sansa. Aside from being a staunch proponent for incest and regicide, Jamie isn’t really that bad. Mark my words, this season will shed a different light on one of Westeros’ most misunderstood figures.

Catelyn Stark:

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The last time we saw Catelyn Stark, her son Robb, the King of the North, had placed her on house-arrest after she released the North’s most valuable prisoner, Jamie Lannister. If you find yourself grounded by your own children, you’ll also find yourself without my respect.  I’m not sure if a fictional character like Catelyn Stark considers that a devastating absence, but it certainly won’t do her any favors in this column.  This season we will find out the full repercussions of her actions and finally meet some relatives on her side of the family. Neat!

Arya Stark:

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Crafty little Arya. Finally free from captivity and snappy exchanges with Tywin Lannister, she sets out in search of her family with her two friends, a confident, can-do attitude and a nice new piece of bling courtesy of her assassin friend (everyone should really have one) Jaqen H’ghar. But like pretty much every journey anyone has ever undertaken on Game of Thrones, Arya doesn’t quite end up where she intends. This season she will find herself reunited with a very unexpected companion and witness to one of the most thrilling duels in the show’s history.

Jon Snow:

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Sounds like another beautiful day! Last time we saw Jon Snow, he was a Virgin Bastard Hostage being held Beyond the Wall by an army of Wildlings. In case you’re new to Game of Thrones or just generally struggle with straightforward concepts, that is not good news. This season we will finally meet Mance Rayder, the man leading the Wildling army, and also see if Ygritte can get past first base with her sexually reserved captive.

Stannis Baratheon:

Stannis

If Tyrion won the war and is miserable, imagine how Stannis Baratheon feels. After failing to recognize the age-old axiom regarding wildfire repellant and naval combat, Stannis retreats home discouraged and on the ropes. This season we’ll find out which of his men survived the Battle of the Blackwater and meet Stannis’ charming wife Selyse, who probably has a few questions for her would-be King hubby. Like, hey, did you impregnate your mistress with a menacing shadow creature that subsequently killed your brother? Just the usual.

Tune in Sundays at 9:00 PM and then check Independent Philly the following day for the recap!

Be sure to “like” Independent Philly on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and enter our latest contests!

[Story by Dan Shorr]