Game of Thrones Season 3 has delivered on so many levels, despite feeling like it just premiered a few short weeks ago.
Most fans I talk to cannot believe how quickly the season has gone. Thankfully, one episode remains, but I will certainly need the week in between to digest all that transpired on "The Rains of Castamere."
You could feel something major coming, for some time now. With three different story lines - Samwell and Gilly, Jon and the wildings, Bran and his crew - all converging on the Wall, my money was on the biggest wrinkle taking place among them. My second guess would have been on Dany's camp to play host to a jaw-dropping development.
So Robb and Catelyn's long and tedious march to see Edmure wed to one of the Freys was probably furthest from my thoughts at the start of the episode.
Perhaps what made Walder's betrayal in the end so jarring, aside from the obvious, was how funny a character he was upon Robb's arrival. The introduction of his daughters and granddaughters was hysterical.
Walder Frey: My granddaughter, Waltha? Walra? Waldina.
Mary: I'm Mary.
Walder Frey: Fine. | permalink
I couldn't help but think of SNL's Starbuck's Verismo skit ("order for Amorpha ... Amarella ...") Then things got awkward. Actor David Bradley's demeanor went from forgetful to foul as he began to address Talisa.
Walder Frey: I can always see what's going on beneath a dress. Been at this a long time. I bet when you take that dress off everything stays right where it is. Don't drop an inch. | permalink
Robb had to be held back by his mother, as Walder's demeanor began to resemble Bradley's portrayal of Argus Filch in the Harry Potter films, as opposed to a man of nobility. When nothing inappropriate was proposed or demanded by the him, though, I assumed Robb and his bride were in the clear. The only one who still had any worrying left to do, by the looks of his marital prospects, was Edmure. Fraia was probably the prettiest of the lot, but I'm pretty sure she was pregnant upon a second look. Did you catch the glance Blackfish flashed his nephew in that scene? It was priceless.
From the looks of things, Edmure made out like a bandit... but what became of him after he was carried off to the bedding ceremony? Even more pressing a question was how convenient was it that Blackfish excused himself to go find a tree to urinate on, right before the fateful music began to play? We know Bolton took Lannister gold in addition to Frey's granddaughter's weight in silver, but were Brynden and Edmure in on the betrayal as well?
Hopefully we will find out in the finale, but perhaps we won't. One thing I do know: I stared in disbelief at my television as the closing credits began to silently roll by. It was not until the volume kicked back in for the upcoming scenes that I was shaken from my daze of disbelief. I probably was making a face similar to Hodor's when Bran got inside his head and put him in that trance like state.
We were treated to the most in depth scenes featuring Bran and his companions this week. Their arc has sort of remained on the back burner for the most part. But they finally crossed paths with another group when Robb and the wildings happened to chase the horse owner to the same locale in which they were hiding.
I can only imagine the number of meme and GIF images there now are of Bran telling Hodor to stop "Hodoring." Amidst Bran discovering something new about his power and awesomely entering the mind of his wolf, we were treated to some very sentimental moments from the most unlikely of characters.
The bond between Osha and Bran has been growing for some time now, but it was never more apparent than tonight. The normally gruff and guarded Osha showed a softer side as she comforted Hodor when he was frightened and later as she kissed Rickon on the head and told the Reeds how much Bran meant to her. I think her transformation speaks to Bran's character and how he garners the respect of all sorts of people. A quality most men of power on the show seem to sorely lack.
Dany has a very similar ability. She may not know how long it takes to sack a city, but her mission to appeal to the free wills of those who have been told they have none is proving to be a very sound strategy.
Of course, the enslaved enemy at Yunkai didn't come to their senses without some coaxing. Lucky for the mother of dragons, she had Daario, Jorah and Grey Worm to spread her word after soundly thrashing the first wave of enemy guards. He may not be a man of many words, or an acclaimed whistler like Daario, but Grey Worm's proficiency with a shield and spear would have impressed even the great Spartan King Leonidas.
I'm also sure many a sigh of relief was let out when Daario finally appeared unharmed to present his queen with her victory. Dany did nothing to hide the smile on her face, which was produced as much by seeing the square jawed Tyroshian alive as it was by her victory.
While their chemistry bubbled, the bond between Jon and Ygritte was dealt a major blow. After his hand was forced by Orell, Jon fought bravely before fleeing on horseback and leaving Ygritte behind with Tormund. Even Jon Snow's golden tongue won't get him out of this one when Ygritte catches up to him. I wondered if Jon thought fleeing without her was the best thing he could do for her. She, of course, knew his mind and his allegiance - but maybe this was his way of sparing her the same fate he sees as inevitable for himself.
Prior to riding off, Jon Snow dispensed with Orell, a showdown that his been week's in the making.
Before he was killed though, Orell entered the mind of that eagle. At first all I was worried about was that it had poked out one of Jon Snow's eyes, but then I began to wonder if a warg could actually die while in the mind of an animal. According to A Wiki of Ice and Fire, a warg can continue to live on for a period of time in the mind of another creature even if its human form has died.
My next thought? If this is so, is it possible for that person to transfer himself back into another human's head, not unlike Bran did with Hodor. I'm sure it it's unprecedented and morally frowned upon, but still I wonder if we've seen the last of Orell.
With so much Stark blood shed this week, I was relieved to see Arya make it out safely, even if she will most assuredly wake up with quite a nasty headache thanks to the Hound. Despite having told him her plans to put a sword through his eye, Sandor still came to her rescue. Of course, she still has family who would pay for her safe return, but I don't think his motivation for her protecting her is simply pecuniary anymore.
With so much drama in the G.O.T. it's hard to believe only one episode remains before another long off season of anticipation. Do you think we are in for more major upheavals next week? Or will the focus be on setting the stage for things to come?