01 April 2013

Game of Thrones - Season 3 - Episode 1

***WARNING***Here thar be spoilers. The books been out since 2000 people. No excuses*****

Game of Thrones has returned to HBO for Season 3, this time taking on the first half (approximately) "A Storm of Swords", Book 3 of George R.R. Martin's epic "A Song of Ice and Fire". I love these books. Alot. If George dies before he finishes I'll be there (with my legions of angry nerds) to resurrect his ass until he's done writing. However, the tv show is a different matter. I enjoyed Season 1, accepted the need for all the changes. Season 2, however, I did not enjoy. Major changes were made for no apparent reason, especially in the arcs of my favorite characters, Jon Snow and Danerys Targaryen. Where are my dragons? How about, "Where is the plot of this amazing novel?" Because you lost it HBO. And now its gone, gone, gone.... But I digress. Season 3 premiered last night, with a chance to put everything back on track, and correct some glaring issues and missing characters (Paging Jojen and Meera Reed. Jojen and Meera Reed to Winterfell please!) I've got Episode 3:01 ready to go on the DVR, so lets see how it goes: 

HBO's Game of Thrones: Season 3 - Episode 1 "Valar Dohaeris" - The Penguin's Live Blog:

Ok, not off to a good start here season 3. Not entirely your fault, but season 2 handled the visual look of the "Fist of the First Men" so terribly, it just continues on. Its supposed to be a small hill surrounded by heavily wooded slopes. Not a giant rock cliff on an Icelandic Glacier. Samwell Tarly the first character we see, not showing any bravery yet, but thats to be exepcted. Here's something nobody seems to have thought of, Jon Snow never found the Dragonglass (obsidian) in the woods around the Fist (Both because in this there are no woods and because Jon was on the Fist for all of three minutes), so how the hell is Sam going to discover that weakness of the Others? Now Sam's attacked by a White Walker, and OH

WHAT THE HELL is Ghost doing there? He's supposed to be with Jon when he fights Quoran Halfhand, which is pretty much simultaenous with this. And here's Mormont, and Sam's being chastised for not sending the Ravens, which isnt really his fault, because in the book he did. The Old Bear should blame HBO's writers. And roll opening credits. God that theme song is awesome.

Still cool visuals here in the theme song. I dont remember if Dragonstone is new or not, I think so, but Astapor definitely is. Nice touch there. And we're moving on to Jon Snow with Rattleshirt, AKA the Lord of Bones and Ygritte the hotty. Err, I mean Wildling. Much like Tyrion, she gets the HBO treatment for tv, way prettier than the character should be. Thank god they didn't do that for Brienne of Tarth. And oh my god thats a giant. Big boy. Nice visual effect. Cool shots of the "Free Folk" camps. Can't wait to see Mance. Jon is one of my three favorite book characters, so my approval of this show going forward will be largely based upon whether they correct the damage they did to him last season. Which as far as I'm concerned was on par with having Han shoot second. Rose Leslie's accent is hypnotizing. Great costume for Rattleshirt btw.
And here we have Tormund Giant's Bane, Jon's mistaking him for the "King Beyond the Wall", laughter ensues, and enter Mance Rayder. One of the biggest additions to the cast this season, the so-called "King Beyond the Wall" is played by Ciaran Hinds

. Some changes in method of Snow's recruitment here. No mention of Mance sneaking over the wall to Winterfell and having seen Jon Before, which means we don't get the iconic "Did you see where they put the bastard" line. A shame, but not terrible. No sign of Val and the ladies, which is weird also.

Meanwhile, in King's landing, newly knighted Sir Bronn is getting sexed up, which is a nice change since he's mostly just watched while Tyrion did. And flash to Tyrion, who's scar isn't nearly as horrific as it should be (HBO treatment again), and his nose is intact. Cersei mentions the nose that's supposed to be missing,  very nice touch. Good back and forth between the siblings, continuing from last season. These two actors work great together.
And here comes Bronn, for the showdown with Ser Merryn. LOL. "Sir who's it of who cares?" Excellent. Bronn rubbing his new knighthood in Merryn's face. Jerome Flynn is awesome as Bronn. One of the best castings in the show. Bronn extorts Tyrion for more money to continue fighting his battles. Knights after all, do cost more. And scene change....

DAVOS LIVES! Holy shit he looks terrible. Sallador Saahn to the rescue. Sallador sowing the seeds of disconent concerning Melisandre. Good, good. Sallador gets in some good one liners also.

And we cut to the the Young Wolf and the increasingly creepy Roose Bolton (Great closeup of his sigil) at what appears to be Harrenhal. Yup, Harrenhal. Which is abandoned now? Last we saw Black Harren's Folly, Arya was escaping with Jaquen. And apparently Lady Stark is traveling with the army. OOoh, very good back and forth with Bolton and Karstark, foreshadowing some spoilers. Oh right, HBO remembered the Tully's are a house. About time they were mentioned. Rumors are we're going to see Edwin this season finally. And who's this survivor? Qyburn! The Mad Maester. Remember that name, non-book readers. But why is he with the Starks? Thats not right.

Aaakkward family reunion as we shift back to King's Landing. Tywin Lannister is Hand of the King once more. Same cranky old man, different crazy king. Tyrion's got some great points here. Being a dwarf really gets him the short end of the stick. Though Tywin's views aren't fully wrong either. And thats what it all comes down to. Tyrion gets the blame for killing his mother, who died in childbirth. Tywin was never the same after he lost Joanna. Does Tyrion love his whores, whine, and shady company? Absolutely. But he's still one of the smartest people in the realm.

And here we have Sansa, sitting on the dock talking to...Shae? Interesting. Fantasizing about the ships in the harbor. Sophie Turner seems to have gotten taller. She'll tower over Tyrion now. And she's also still 17. So maybe not done. Here comes Littlefinger. Aiden Gillen, possibly the best casting in the entire show. And wonderful, he ruins this moment by mentioning the BS from last season where he saw Catelyn Stark at Renly's camp. Which should NOT have happened. And mentions Arya, even though noone knows if she's actually alive, even though she was right next to him last season, also in some made up BS. Baelish not even hiding his interest in getting Sansa out, which I don't mind, though I'd like to see some more of Ser Dontos. And we have Ros the whore, maybe thats who Ser Bronn was fucking before. She's apparently Littlefinger's right hand woman now. Still not sure why they added that character to the show at all, but so far no harm. Interesting foreshadowing on the Littlefinger/Sansa relationship there. Ros warns Shae about Baelish.  

And finally, the moment you've all been waiting for. The reason this show has such a high CGI budget. Black screen, and you just hear that scream alone. And we've got DRAGONS!!!!!! Excellent shots of the Dragons hunting on the ship that Dany mysteriously obtained. They've gotten quite large suddenly. They got on the ship somehow by skipping over the addition of Barristan the Bold and Strong Belwas to her little party. Hopefully soon. Ser Jorah doesn't look so good, he's aged poorly. Haha, Dothraki getting seasick everywhere. Silly horselords.

And that tease ends, bringing us back to Dragonstone. Stannis rocking a 'stache. He looks weary, beaten. Perfect. Is Melisandre pregnant again? Or just poorly dressed? She looks heavier. Stannis almost looks like a different actor. Great portrayal. And Davos descends into madness quickly. Weeks on a rock will do that. Pulls a knife on the Red Lady, and its off to the brig for the Hand of the King.

Back to King's Landing. Joffrey traveling by hand carried sedan. Game of Thrones literally just showed a dick in a box. (Cue Drumroll) Lady Margaery walking out amongst the people. A nice touch. And also, how gorgeous is she? Natalie Dormer can be my queen any day. She's talking up Joffrey to this crowd, and distributing food, man she's good. Excellent hearts and minds operation from the House of the Roses. Oh Joffrey that joke was terrible. Did Cersei just chastise Margaery for not wearing enough? Hello pot, its kettle, you're black. Loras and Margaery are an excellent brother/sister team. If Loras wasn't so openly gay, I'd be worried about a bit of a Cersei/Jamie relationship with them. Great back and forth with Joffrey and Cersei. Cersei now begins to realize that she'll be phased out of the picture in this wedding. There can only be one beautiful, charismatic queen, and Lady Margaery is the younger, prettier, much more loved woman.

And welcome to Astapor. Our first look at the Unsullied, the greatest army money can buy. Emilia Clarke looks great in that dress. Excellent use/non-use of subtitles to portray Missandei working for/against Kraznys mo Nakloz  and Danerys Stormborn. I hope they bring Missandei's story along as it should in the book. Especially since Danerys lost two handmaidens for no fucking reason last season. OUCH! Oh man, not the nipple. Poor Grey Worm. Wonder if they're going to mention the puppy bit. Guess not. Looks like their masks were inspired by Shredder. Also looks like our Khaleesi's got a new necklace there, a Dragon talon of sorts. One of her children shed it perhaps. Ok, we're entering a market now. This should be Barristan the Bold's return entrance. Better late than never. And here's a mysterious hooded man. Looks like Obi-Wan, which is appropriate. But what about Strong Belwas? OOOH, BASILISK! That kid just had nightshade lips. Even though Dany's left Quarth the warlocks are still after her. She did burn down their tower. And enter Selmy! WOOOO! Barristan's still got it.  Guess we're leaving Strong Belwas out of this version. Thats a shame. I liked him. Guess in the hornet scene to come we'll just kill off another Dothraki. They're like the fucking redshirts at this point anyway. Yes Jorah, he commanded Robert's Kingsguard. But he also commanded Aerys II's Kingsguard. Just happened to be away from the city when Jaime pulled his treason.

And cut. Way too soon for me to say anything really about whether this gets us back on track. I didnt hate it, didn't love it. They seemed to jump around more than usual, but I'll assume thats due to the fact that its a season premiere. I love that a season is half a book now, but hate that a season is only 10 episodes. I know the show is expensive, but seriously, HBO can't afford 12 or 14? Next week should be just as busy, seeing as we've got alot of things to still cover. No Arya or Bran in this episode, or Theon. I was looking forward to meeting Jojen and Meera who were mysteriously left out last season. Also, with the split of the brothers to come, it's likely next week will be Natalie Tena's last episode, which is a shame, because I like her alot. Although, after last season, I can never look at Nymphadora Tonks the same again. Interesting question to ponder. Since they changed everything about Robb Stark's breaking of his betrayal, will they kill of Talisa on the Red Wedding day? Or will Robb be smart enough to leave her behind? And what the hell happens to her then? Will Robb have an heir running around? Should have some more fun with the Tyrell's next week as well. No indication of meeting Mace, which is odd. Maybe Loras will take up his white cloak next week. Should be starting to see the Kettleblacks soon also, since they've been ignored thus far. And looks like we’ll get the Brotherhood without Banners making its first appearance. Hopefully still the same actor playing The Lightning Lord.

Overall, much happier with this than I was with last years premier. Some good one-liners, great shots of the Dragons, and Barristan the Bold returns. Not sure why it was called Valar Dohaeris. I know Valar Morghulis was the last episode, but as that arc was based on Arya and Jaquen and since we didnt see my favorite one of Ned’s children today(I'll explain more at another time, but I do not believe that Jon Snow is a product of Ned's loins), I’m a bit confused. Till next week, may the old gods and the new keep you.

- The Penguin

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