Writers : David Benioff and DB Weiss
Director : David Nutter
THE ONE WHERE Jon is tempted, Jaime mounts an escape bid and Daenerys goes in search of her stolen dragons.
VERDICT Oh dear Dany. Perhaps if you’d spent a little less time moaning like a spoiled brat you’d have spotted that you were being played like a kazoo. Targaryen troubles aside, Quarth is proving to be an interesting place; the creepy magic, the growing sense of dread, the mysterious strangers that hint at danger round every corner - Dany could scarcely have found a worse place to end up. The murder of the Thirteen was a particularly well choreographed piece of magical cabaret, gruesome and stylish all at the same time. Still, at least Dany knows where the dragons are now, and that’s something. The Mother Of Dragons is at her best when she’s in a tight spot, so I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how she deals with the sneaky Quartheen in the coming weeks.
It’s likely a good bet that Dany will be a deal more subtle than Theon Greyjoy when it comes to taking care of her enemies. His descent into the depths continues at an alarming pace this week, as his naïve attempts to please his family transform into something altogether darker and more dangerous. The revolting final reveal as he hauls up two tiny tarred bodies for all of Winterfell to see was truly sickening, regardless of the identities of the dead children. Could they really be the Starks? I’d say probably not, mainly because there would surely be two more bodies up there if Theon had caught Rickon and Bran (in the form of Hodor and Osha), but it’s still a highly effective message to the people of the north.
While Theon is undoubtedly rising to the top of many people’s most hated list, he’s not a patch on a well-practiced bastard like Jaime Lannister. Having been chained up for most of this season, this week we’re finally reminded why the Kingslayer is so dangerous. He’s like a cat playing with his prey this week, cold-blooded beyond belief and utterly without remorse. Arrogant, mouthy and only looking out for himself and his immediate family, he embodies the lions more than any other Lannister. It’s almost disappointing he didn’t get away from the Starks, mainly because it’s a shame to have him chained up week after week, but also because I thought more of the renowned Kingslayer than to be caught immediately after escaping.
In an episode where we’re reminded of Jaime’s most appalling aspects, we’re also shown the human side of Cersei. She’s able to admit her son is uncontrollable, is honest about her relationship with Jaime when talking to Tyrion, and opens up to Sansa in a way that barely seemed possible previously. Game Of Thrones has a way of making even the most odious individuals sympathetic, and while Cersei might not be winning any mother of the year awards, it’s refreshing to glimpse the woman beneath the mega-bitch exterior.
After waking up with Little Jon standing to attention after a night next to Ygritte, Jon’s flustered reaction to the worldly Wildling’s advances make for some hilarious moments. Game Of Thrones has never been about clear-cut characters following the paths you’d expect, and Jon as an embarrassed, blushing boy is a relief. In a less grounded fantasy, he’d be the muscle bound hunk of the north, but here we see the truth in his uncle Benjen’s warnings from way back at the start of season one. Jon has never been with a woman, and now he’s joined the Watch, never will. Will he be able to resist temptation and keep his vows? He’s a victim of age and inexperience, and Ygritte’s mix of gentle ribbing and clumsy seduction is a beautifully played distraction tactic that puts him in more trouble than a bit of morning wood ever could. Whoops.
Among the ruined towers of Harrenhal, Arya is treading a dangerous path indeed, spending increasing amounts of time with Tywin. The twisting battle of wits between the old lion and the wolf cub remains as scintillating as ever thanks to stellar turns from Maisie Williams and Charles Dance. But would Tywin Lannister, a man who thinks nothing of hanging his own men by the score, put up with this level of deceit from a cup bearer? At this stage, Arya’s cover is all but blown. Tywin knows she’s of the north and high-born, just as much as he must know that there’s a Stark girl of the same age missing. Could it be that he is toying with Arya and he already knows her true identity? Or could the mighty Tywin really be allowing his fondness for Arya to cloud his judgement? Wherever this relationship is heading, I can’t wait for the outcome.
Sansa: Shouldn’t I love Joffrey, your Grace?
Cersei: You can try.