**NOTE** I’ve read the books so there may be moments when I refer to a segment that happened differently than how the book version went down but I’ll do my best to not spoil what that difference was or what’s likely to come. With that said, any review I write on GOT may contain book spoilers. Read at your own risk**
The third entry sets the mark for everyone who has either chosen their destination or are gradually taken there. Even after five seasons there’s no shortage of time nor space that will eventually close the distance and bring every major character into the same realm with one another. When they do happen, don’t blink, for they may never happen again.
With a Dany-less episode, we concentrate on familiar lands including the rebuilding of Winterfell by Roose Bolton and his now fully recognized son Ramsey. Not too far north is Jon who kindly declines Stannis’s offer to be named Stark of Winterfell. He doesn’t wane on his duty at the wall and even more, shows a bit of ruthlessness when he beheads Janos for refusing take station at one of the more damaged towers along the wall. Cersei battles Margaery with even more kindness now that Tommen is now married to her. In the midst of normality in King’s Landing, the High Septon is caught at Littlefinger’s brothel by a religious group led by the High Sparrow who, when confronted by Cersei is possibly offered a role rather than arrested. In Braavos, Arya forfeits all her belongings to begin her training yet hides needle, unwilling to part with it. Brienne continue to follow Peter and Sansa as Sansa realizes she is to be wed to Ramsey to gain alliance in the north with Roose. And Tyrion is abducted by Jorah Mormont at a brothel with plans to take him to Daenerys directly.
There’s an eerie sense of foreboding that has already made its presence known on the season and it starts with Jon Snow. On the front, he’s showing capable leadership and the practical tip of the hat by Stannis who watched the beheading take place. What seems to be missing is the unwavering effect that people still don’t trust him for reasons that include his acted betrayal to the wildlings. For now he’s proving a point and swinging the sword as a leader must do. Was it too much of a point though? Should he have shown mercy? Jon may have learned that a condemned man may say anything and in truth, Janos would have turned against him. This moment was very similar when Robb took the head of Rickard Karstark. Except Rickard was more accepting of his fate. We all know what happened to Robb eventually, even if one death had nothing to do with the other.
King’s landing is still anything but interesting. Tommen is clearly not his brother Joffrey, and Margaery is quick to begin pitting him against his mother, something Cersei is already aware of. The religious act will play a much bigger role in the future and it needs to because there really is no one left in King’s Landing that demands attention than the plot between Cersei and Margaery. This is a very different game Cersei is playing and how she plays it could be dangerous. And lets not forget the body inside Qyburn’s lab that did a little shake at the end. I can’t point out a theory because of certain obvious realizations, but suffice it to say, Qyburn is experimenting on the mountain. How far does this go? Just wait and see.
Where things get a little changed up is Littlefinger’s plan to wed Sansa to Ramsey Bolton. This is a very bold and a bit sideways move considering how fast Littlefinger is moving to secure his place in the north. I will say this either hasn’t happened in the books yet or this is entirely a new direction they’re going with. There’s certainly things Peter is keeping from her which should show her that she’s not on a leveling playing field quite yet. She’s committing to her role for now, but one has to wonder how insane this wedding could be if it is gone through with. Ramsey is a twisted and perverse individual and Sansa is in real danger if both she and Peter are not careful.
Arya is given an ample amount of time to absorb the decision she’s making with becoming a faceless one. Even though she’s eager, there are rules and ways she doesn’t understand before she can even begin the process. Headstrong and resolute, she’s abiding by what she has to do and that includes letting go of her identity, which is proving to be harder than she anticipated. I believe her scenes were some of the strongest of the episode not to mention she’s in safety and can only elevate herself with where she’s at. Great things are coming her way and it’s good to finally see the start of it.
In comparison to the book scene, I felt Arya’s reluctance to drop needle in the sea was done really well and echoed that small sliver of hope that she’ll see Jon again and just as importantly, that she hold onto some essence of her family. It would have been tragic if she had disposed of the sword considering everything she’s done to hold onto it. Will that lead to a struggle later on this season? Anything’s possible, but for now she’s following through with her change and it’s character development that Arya has been overdue for.
It was a tie between Jon and Brienne until Jon followed through with killing Janos. The look in his eye and the discipline his father showed him when it came to executions all came at that crucial moment. Had Jon shown mercy it would have meant he had certain weaknesses he had yet to overcome. For his growth, he not only needed to show how he commanded but how to reprimand even at the slightest sign of dissention. He can’t afford any kind of split in the wall and in his mind, what he did should in theory solidify that. In theory.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
One other absent family are the Greyjoy’s. After a failed attempt at rescuing Theon, Yara disappeared and we haven’t heard much if anything from her and her side of the family that should be playing a new part soon to come. I wonder if they will be forgotten this season or if they’ll be more spread out in the second half of our main arc. To make room for Dorne, the Greyjoy’s have been cast aside, for now.
They need to put Tyrion on a boat. They can’t skip the boat. The boat is important, just put him on the boat already!
Brienne is in an interesting position. On the one hand, she could swoop in and take Sansa to safety should something really awful happen, but that seems a bit too obvious. On the other hand, Brienne could be easily shifted into another side-plot that puts her away from Sansa, something this show does quite a lot. It’s hard to root for virtuous people, they have so little going for them in the end.
Three episodes in and no direwolves to be seen or heard. The evolution of this show is so rampant that it’s extremely easy to forget certain elements that at the time seemed ironclad such as the roles of the direwolves. We know most of them are still around, but even Ghost, who still has relevance on the show seems to be missing. I just hope they’re not forgotten. After all, it should be known that Bran isn’t the only one who can see the way he sees and the direwolves are a somewhat of a key to that, to a lesser extent.
While it’s good to see the image of Jaqen H’ghar, I don’t quite agree with the continued representation of his character. Arya knows it’s not the same man, but for familiarities sake, we’re continuing to see her teacher as the man she once knew. I suppose if the real Jaqen was never going to be seen again in book or show, then this would make it okay, but we’re not sure yet. I would have thought that character would be changing his looks all the time, of nothing else just to confuse Arya or show her more of what they’re capable of.
8 out of 10. Jon and Arya had equal moments of growth and had some poignant scenes. Even Sansa is showing a little persistence in wanting to understand more of how the game is played. Tyrion’s kidnapping at the end was a great teaser into the next part of his journey now that Jorah is back. This could also mean that we won’t see Varys again any time soon, but this show has made interesting changes before. Kings’s Landing plots are still a bit forgettable, but we’re seeing the semblance of Cersei’s plan to fight Margaery on possibly her own terms. All this and the ominous phrases “Winter is coming” and “The North Remembers” to settle on some nostalgic catchphrases. Winter needs to get here soon, because everyone is too mellow for their own good.
No more words