I’m happy. I’m smiling. As I write this to you, I’m giddy. That was the Season 3 episode I’d been hoping for. I may have been waiting for an episode like that since the end of Season 1, but that’s a rant for another day because this day belongs to a triumphant return to all that makes Game of Thrones, well…Game of Thrones. Within the first few scenes of this delightful hour, I had that tingling of anticipation where I couldn’t wait to see what nugget of joy would be springing out of the next scene. Start the show off in a dream sequence with a three-eyed crow coupled with that snake, Theon Greyjoy, being tortured, having a needle driven under his fingernail and I’m done. It was going to be a good night.
Thankfully, I wasn’t wrong. Episode 2 had almost all the elements needed for Game of Thrones to be fantastic. Unfortunately, there were no dragons (who I have an admitted soft spot for) or subversive sex – although there was some talk between Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell. Does that count? Oh what the heck, let’s count it. I’m feeling generous.
First, you need a little bit of intrigue. As mentioned above, the hook tonight was great. A little dream, a little torture goes a long way (at least in my depraved mind). The fascination didn’t stop there, nor did the connection with Bran Stark and the three-eyed crow. What we learned later in the episode is that Bran is a warg (a nice homage to Lord of the Rings I reckon). In Game of Thrones, a warg is someone who can enter an animal’s mind and see what they see. Wargs made quite an appearance in this episode, as we are first introduced through Jon Snow. He watches a warg wildling in some hypnotic white eye-balled trance, where he tells of what he saw. It ends with Bran meeting Jojen Reed, first in his dream, then in reality, both finding a bond in their warg powers.
Next, you need the right amount of humor. Too little would be drowned out, too much would be like a sitcom. Episode 2 had the perfect amount. The writers did not hold back. They started with Jamie Lannister, taking height related pot-shots at the Brigitte Nielsen throw back, Brienne. I laughed out loud when he spoke of the Iron Throne being made of several male body parts (you’ll have to watch the full episode to catch the full candor). It was quickly followed with Sansa being questioned by Margaery Tyrell’s grandmother. Sounds boring? Think again. One of the surprise scene stealers thus far into Season 3, the grandmother’s belligerence toward husbands, servants and life in general was an unrestrained pleasure. The wit finally made its way to the Seven Kingdom’s resident expert: Tyrion Lannister. His playfully crude dialogue with Shae had me helplessly giggling, as he tried his hardest to quash her jealousy of other woman, but failing miserably doing so.
Finally, a stellar Game of Thrones episode needs an ending where I want more. Episode 2 left cliffhangers. Arya Stark, recently befriended by the Brotherhood Without Banners, is about to leave their camp with Gendry and Hot Pie, when a captured, hooded figure enters. Uncloaked, it is non other than Sandor Clegane – The Hound, who reveals her secret (FYI – it’s her last name). The scene then switches to a fantastic sword duel between Jaime and Brienne. How enjoyable was it watching Jamie’s arrogance get systematically stripped away, as Brienne wore him down. At one point, the duel was becoming so dull to her; she fought him with only a single hand on her broad sword (I can’t help getting my Star Wars geek on here, remembering the Empire Strikes Back, where Vader begins his light saber duel with Luke only using one hand). But the duel proves costly, as both appear to be captured at episode’s end.
In all, Episode 2 was great. I can’t wait for next week – an encouraging sign. My complaints about last week were clearly rectified. Finally, someone is listening to me – at least for one episode.