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Game of Thrones Review: The Three Eyes Have It

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What makes Game of Thrones so great is also what makes it so frustrating.

George R.R. Martin has created such a dense world that it's a thrill to simply sit back and watch it all unfold, as characters plot life-altering decisions, battles are waged and unlimited blood is lost. Many boobs are also shown.

But with so many storylines to serve, the show often drops in and out of various parts of the Seven Kingdoms, making it difficult to become truly invested in any ongoing arc. Consider:

The Game of Thrones Season 3 premiere concluded with Dany's adventure, as she ponders a slave army and gained an important new ally.

Subsequently, in "Dark Wings, Dark Words?" Dany was nowhere to be found.

Return of Arya

Instead, we caught back up with Arya and Bran, each on their own journey to be reunited with family members, each meeting very different obstacles along the way.

Arya's tough facade was quickly broken down by the Thoros from the Brotherhood Without Banners and her identity was outed next, sniffed out by a captured Hound. Probably my favorite storyline of the hour, this one provided more than just an update on Arya and her two pals. It propelled it forward.

It also gave Oliver Queen serious competition for Best Archer on Television.

Bran, meanwhile, met two of many new characters who jumped into the fray this week: Jojen and Meera Reed. Aside from making all Love Actually fans feel very old (yes, the former is portrayed by drummer extraordinaire, Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Jojen delved deeply into Bran's brain. Literally.

Both these young men possess the power of prophetic dreams. Jojen has been searching for Bran. He holds him in very high esteem. He sees him as a savior of some kind, a hope that comes back to the mystical three-eyed raven.

For non-readers of the book series, this is all very vague and opaque, words and teases cloaked in mystery and in the supernatural. But there was also movement on Bran's front, a feeling we're at least headed somewhere important.

The same can't really be said of our stops North of the Wall. Jon Snow continued to wander a bit and bond with Mance. Samwell could barely stand up. Everything remained really cold and dour and felt awfully far removed from the fight over the throne. The momentum of an episode always seems to stop when we spend time with Snow.

Crossbow Practice

Fortunately, there was Olenna Tyrell to perk us right back up.

She referred to the iron chair as "ugly." She yearned for some cheese. She gave Sansa the sage advice that "once a cow has been milked, there's no squirting the cream back up her utter."

In short: she was totally awesome.

And Margaery appears to be proving me wrong. Last week, I figured her stop to care for the townspeople was some kind of political move, some way in which she was looking ahead and realizing that an appeased lower class could only help her and Joffrey keep it down.

But there's clearly more to Margaery. She isn't playing the people. She's playing the king. She now knows he's a "monster," but did she ever really doubt it? Yes, she seems power... but for nefarious purposes? She's a wily one that, Margaery, and as Cersei hilariously pointed out, she doesn't wear a lot of fabric on most occasions. Nothing wrong with that.

Elsewhere: Theon was tortured for information and Tyrion anything but tortured by Shae. The latter pair will be keeping its eye on Sansa and whatever Littlefinger may have in mind for her, while Theon... well, it's hard to say he didn't deserve all of what he received this week.

As always with Game of Thrones, there was far more to like than dislike. This broad world is a captivating one. But I missed Dany. I could watch a show based entirely on Brienne and Jaime, whether they're fighting with their words of their swords. And I am curious where everything is headed.

I just wish we didn't sometimes take so many detours along the way.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (115 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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The 2nd episode was Much better, advancing storylines, etc... During the 1st season I wondered about the redhead leaving Winterfell for Kings Landing. While being a "working girl", ending up with Littlefinger seemed natural, but now begs certain questions; was Littlefiger sending for her back then through his spy network?, was she sent to Kings Landing as a spy for the Starks?, and she had more than a working arrangement with Theon, as they were friends. These type of detours from the books are great. But there is also a problem with detours, as there is a big unknown awaiting readers at book 5's end, with the minstral from the brotherhood who is not Thoros of Myr. Maybe that character will surface later. There are so many cool elements like these hiding behind main story lines.

Fifty

As a reader of the book I can guarantee that Jon Snow's storyline gonna be awesome. Arya with Hound scene was my favourite this episode. Didn't even realize Danny was missed until I read the review. Wow..it's getting hard to keep track. Need more time for Tyrion as it is the most entertaining for me.

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Liked the episode, probably more than the season premiere. So glad to see Bran and Arya !!!! I agree that she was disarmed pretty quickly, given her training ! And the Hound, that was a surprise.
LOVED Margaery's gramma ! What a treat ! I want more of her, but with all the storylines, not sure it'll happen.
Cannot believe I didn't comment on Tyrion last week, I soooo hated how Tywin talked to him. Glad he got some this week though loool. But I still cannot figure how the writers are gonna manage to turn things around with him and his girl...sorry, book thought lol.
Margaery and Joffrey...I have to say, it was intense... the woman knows what she's doing ! Even when she knows he's a monster, she's still playing the game.
I really didn't care about Jon Snow this time around, a bit boring. Sam's part was rewarding, just coz the bully got told ! If Sam dies, he dies !

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Rickon was shown for about 5 seconds, running away from Bran's group with Summer and Shaggydog guarding him and presumably herding him back.

Serenityq2

only thing missing was daenerys but alast, cant have everything. still a solid episode. starting to like margery a little, though i am very weary of her and what she might do to sansa

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Where is Rickon??????

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enjoyed this much more than the premiere. Jaime had the best two lines of the show imho, and back to back no less.
john snows adventures were amongst my favorite parts of season 2, but for some reason right now i couldnt care less about him. much more interested in what lies in store for Bran and company.
and god is Samwell a sniveling turd...

Fatin

Margaery was so wonderful. She's quickly becoming one of my favourites.

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So far I have found the first two episodes of the season to be incredibly talky and boring.

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The action sure moves along faster on TV than in the books. It will be interesting to see how the things/characters that are different from the books will all work out on TV.
Diana Rigg (Mrs. Peel from the original Avengers) was an excellent choice to play The Queen of Thorns. It's great to see the great characters from the books translate so well into TV.
Sweet Simon from Misfits (Iwan Rheon) is going to be evil, crazy Ramsay... quite a turnaround. And I just realized Mama Stark was Nathan's mother in Misfits as well.