Dark Wings, Dark Words
I was quite drunk when I watched this episode, so my notes are a little...gushy. Lots of all-caps when several new characters make their appearance. This episode sets the framework for a lot of things to come. In the meantime, there’s plenty of deception and intrigue to be had. Much like many of the characters, we’ve a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get to it.
Bran—We join up with (a noticeably taller) Bran in a dream. How do we know it’s a dream? Bran’s walking. He’s also on the hunt for a particular three-eyed crow. With his brother, too, in a callback to the first episode of the series. Bran shoots, misses, then hears his father’s voice among the trees. What, they couldn’t get Sean Bean to make a tiny cameo? What exactly has he been up to?
In his dream Bran meets a curious lad, who we’ll later know as Jojen Reed. (My notes: YAY JOJEN) But before he can chat with the boy, he wakes up. Since last season, he’s been on the run with his little brother Rickon, his helper Hodor, and his Wildling bodyguard Osha. Oh and also their wolves, Summer (Bran) and Shaggydog (Rickon).
Bran offers to tell them about the dream, but Osha doesn’t want to hear about them. “I didn’t ask for black magic dreams,” Bran says pragmatically. They pack up and continue north to the Wall.
On another night, Bran wakes in a misty wood. It’s just him, Summer and Osha (the rest are off getting firewood or something). Osha hears something out in the woods and goes to investigate. Soon, a familiar figure emerges from the fog: Jojen! He approaches Bran, but Summer won’t let him get near.
Osha sneaks up behind him, points a spear to the back of his neck. He mentions he’s unarmed; it’s his sister that takes care of that. Meera Reed appears behind Osha with a knife to her throat. Osha mentions they won’t get near Bran with his wolf guarding him.
Jojen walks up to Summer, and the wolf lowers his guard. “We’ve come a long way to find you,” Jojen says to Bran. “And we have much farther to go...”
The group—now with the Reed siblings—travel on. Bran and Jojen talk of wargs—those that can enter the minds of animals—and Jojen’s dream visions. He tells Bran he foresaw Ned Stark’s death.
Osha asks Meera if it’s frustrating having to protect her brother constantly. Meera shrugs, “Some people need protecting.”
So glad these two are on the show now. The Reeds were introduced in the second book, and I was bummed they didn’t make it into the second season. But with the clusterfuck of last season, I can see why they shuffled their storyline around. And is it just me, or would Bran and Jojen make an adorable couple? That's it, I'm shipping that right now.
Robb—Robb and his army hang out at Harrenhall. His wife (who’s name I forget every time) talks about their marriage blah blah blah. Then lord Bolton breaks up their boring conversation with word from both Riverrun...and Winterfell.
Turns out Catelyn’s father is dead, and Winterfell is a smoking ruin now. Bran and Rickon are both missing.
This is a great bit of editing on the show’s part. In the novel, Robb and the rest spend a lot of time at Riverrun, where Catelyn tends to her dying father. If there was one point in the book that really dragged, it was Cat weeping at her father’s deathbed for the first half of the novel.
Against his commanders’ advice, they make for Riverrun. Karstark (who’s still pissed about Jamie’s escape) notes that he’s already lost on account of not marrying a Frey girl. True that might be, Riverrun has men, and Robb needs men. For his army.
Catelyn and Robb’s wife have a conversation about making dreamcatchers. Watch the episode and tell me that’s not what it looks like Cat is making. She tells her a story about when she first saw Ned’s bastard, Jon Snow, she wished for the boy’s death. When he almost died of the pox, she made one of those dreamcatcher thingies, and prayed for his life to be spared. And it was. But she still hates him. So, yeah, this goes to prove Catelyn has a metric ton of baggage.
King’s Landing—Oh, the intrigue! Cersei and Joffery are in his room, picking out fabrics for his new suit. She asks him his opinion of Margaery, and he says it’s a good move politically. And then Joffrey took his shirt off and I screamed in horror of his scrawny white torso.
He’s not having Cersei’s prodding questions and talk of romance. “She does everything for a reason,” Cersei says. Including working with the poor and dressing sexy. It’s all calculated and intelligent.
“Intelligent women do what they’re told,” Joffrey retorts. The look on Cersei’s face...I really hate this little fucker. So, good job, Game of Thrones, for making him as despicable as he is in the novels.
Elsewhere, Sansa and Shae talk about Littlefinger. Shae is concerned, but Sansa avoids telling her the truth. Before she can press further, Loras Tyrell knocks on her door. Seems her presence has been requested by Margaery and her mother, Lady Olenna.
Loras escorts her, and you just know Sansa can barely walk she’s so smitten with him. She mentions the first time they ever met, at the tourney in the first season. He doesn’t remember but covers it well. Sorry, Sansa, you’re barking up the wrong tree, there. Although Loras is fond of wood...
Margaery introduces Sansa to her mother, Olenna. Let’s pause here to acknowledge how awesome it is to have Diana Rigg in this role. She’s probably most famous for her role as Emma Peel on The Avengers. I remember her when she used to host Mystery on PBS. Anyhoo, she’s awesome, Olenna’s awesome. Can I say awesome any more?
The three of them have lunch in a gorgeous garden. Olenna is brash and straightforward. She dispenses with the small talk rather quickly. They want to know about Joffrey. What is he really like? At first, Sansa is mute, but seems emboldened at the mention of her father. “We’re only women here,” Olenna says with a wink.
“He’s a monster...” Sansa says in a hushed tone. Margaery and Olenna shrug in a very “oh well, can’t win them all” kind of way.
Later, Margaery pays Joffrey a visit. He’s going on a hunting trip soon, and has a gigantic crossbow to prove it. Is that like having a big car in our society? Nice crossbow, shame you’ve got a baby dick?
It’s a great scene. Margaery talks circles around Joffrey. He asks her about her marriage to a “traitor” and “known degenerate” (Renly). Marg plays dumb, her only ambition was to be a queen and pop out babies for her king. And as to why she didn’t give Renly any children, well, he didn’t exactly enjoy her company.
Joffery smirks at mention of this, and he muses about making homosexuality illegal in King’s Landing. That Joffrey, what a great guy. Can’t find any social commentary here...
And as if Marg wasn’t underwhelmed enough, Joffrey gives her a shooting demonstration—with his crossbow, you sickos! He even lets her hold it. Barf.
Oh, and Tyrion and Shae have a lover’s quarrel which ends in Tyrion getting a blowjob.
Jon Snow/Sam—The only thing of note beyond the Wall is the introduction of the warg, Orell.He can see through any animal’s eyes, in this case, an eagle. He sees the Fist of the First, and the Night’s Watch decimated.
And Sam collapses on the walk back to the Wall, but Grenn helps him up. Oh, and we’re introduced to asshole guy, Rast. Mormont forbids Sam to die, and puts Rast in charge of Sam's well-being.
Arya—Hey girl, it’s been awhile. Seems Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie have met up with Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men. Oh, wait, it’s actually the Brotherhood Without Banners. They’re not quite evil, but not exactly good, either. They escort the unlucky trio to a tavern.
Arya challenges their leader, Thoros, to a duel, which she quickly loses. The Brotherhood is about to let them go until some of the men come in with a familiar prisoner: the motherfucking Hound. Arya tries to sneak past, but he spots her. So the trio isn’t going anywhere just yet.
Jamie and Brienne—This is one of the best pairings in the book, and I’m glad to see it’s also true for the show. There is absolutely no love lost between these two. Jamie constantly jibes Brienne for being a “giant, toe-headed plank.” And Brienne is stoic and wears a constant scowl. He pisses in front of her and she barely bats an eye.
Jamie is horribly clever, lest we forget. He prods her for info, and gets his answers in her silence. He finds out she was part of Renly’s army. When he makes light of Renly being a “little tulip” and preferring the company of the Lord of Flowers, she practically throttles him. Oh, and we also get the best line of the season so far: Throne of Cocks (in that if the Iron Throne were made of them, Renly would never get off of it).
Their bickering continues until they come across a traveling farmer. Jamie is certain the man recognized him—remember, Jamie is a very wanted man. He wants Brienne to kill the farmer, but she refuses.
They carry on, and stop when Jamie collapses on a conspicuous bridge. Brienne is furious; she wants to get off the bridge and be on their way. But she makes the mistake of getting too close to Jamie. He grabs one of her swords from her belt.
And Jamie makes the mistake of thinking he can take Brienne in a fight. Remember, he’s been off his game for a while, and his hands are manacled. He puts on a good show, but Brienne bests him rather easily.
Problem is, they’ve caught the attention of a group of soldiers of House Bolton (whose banner features a flayed man, so you know they’re nice guys). They take them both into custody, with every intent of taking them back to Robb Stark.
Theon—He was in this episode for some reason. Being tortured. That was it. He wasn’t even naked. Yawn. To my recollection, he’s not in the third book at all.