Before I embarked on the Season 3 Game of Thrones opener, I found myself watching the last half hour of the Season 2 Finale. It stoked a fire. I was ready. Season 3 picked up right where Season 2 ended. My TV screen had gone black and sounds of ominous screams and swords clanging emanated from its speakers. Could it be? Was this the season I was hoping for. White color came to the screen and a rather rotund Samwell Tarly started lumbering around amidst a blizzard after previously being passed over by the White Walkers in Season 2. He came upon a member of his Night’s Watch,sitting slumped over, holding his head in his lap. Yes! It was going to happen. Within the first few minutes of Season 3, someone’s head had been lopped off. Sure, I hadn’t seen it, but it was cleanly decapitated. It stared right up at Samwell. This was going to be the season starter for me. Well, not so fast Mr. Reynolds.
The more Season 3 opened, the more it had the flavor of its second season counterpart: more dialogue, more movement of characters, less action. Jon Snow is paraded around the Wildlings camp and meets with the King Beyond the Wall (although watching a giant walk amongst them was pretty cool). Tyrion Lannister is still shunned by his family, even though his efforts helped save King’s Landing at the end of the second season. Robb Stark continued to have trust issues with his mommy, jailing her wherever they’d go for the release of Jaime Lannister. Sansa now wants to escape from King’s Landing with the help of Baelish, the man who betrayed her father. Hmm – can’t see that ending happily. Dany’s dragons are getting bigger, as she sails to purchase her own army. Stannis is still hanging around Melisandre or, as Davos Seaworth called her, ‘the mother of demons.’ He would know. He was but a few feet from her when she gave birth to one. But the Season 3 premiere was more like a reunion of old friends than the kick-start my heart desperately wanted.
As usual, the episode’s writing was fantastic. I was pulled along, ever so slowly I might add, with each character’s interactions. As usual, Tyrion had the cleverest and most thought provoking dialogue. His interactions with sister Cersei and father Tywin created great sympathy for his character. To be blamed by your father for essentially killing your mother because of your difficult child birth is heartbreaking. Yet, I don’t worry about Tyrion as he’s as cunning as anyone in the Seven Kingdoms, but it’s sad how cruelly he is treated by the ones who are supposed to love him the most – his family.
One of the most intriguing parts of the opener came when Dany had just parked her ship, arriving near Astapor. As she was about to purchase her army, she is shown a demonstration of their fearlessness. One soldier’s nipple is sliced off. Yikes! It is in this moment I am reminded why I enjoy Game of Thrones so much. Where else on a Sunday night can I squirm on my couch, waiting to see if my Easter dinner will make its way out from whence it came in.
As the premiere ended with Dany almost being killed by that Exorcist inspired, creepy little girl, I felt some satisfaction with the bookend. Season 3 Episode 1 was exciting and even thrilling both at the beginning and end, but it lagged and slowly sagged in the middle. I guess I wanted more, nay, needed more. With the White Walkers making their zombified debut at the end of Season 2, my expectations were high. Yet, I was eased into Season 3, when all this fan boy wanted was to be strapped to his couch and taken on a wide-eyed ride.