"Game Of Thrones" - "And Now His Watch Is Ended": This City Truly Is Assaulting My Senses, Unkempt, Unruly, Devour Defenseless

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"Game Of Thrones" - "And Now His Watch Is Ended": This City Truly Is Assaulting My Senses, Unkempt, Unruly, Devour Defenseless

By TK | TV Reviews | April 22, 2013 | Comments ()


You didn't really think she would give up a dragon, did you?

This is a harsh, cruel world, this world of "Game Of Thrones." Yet it abides by the same rules, and for every action, there is a reaction. For every plan, there is a scheme to counteract. For every act, there is consequence. For every ally there is a traitor. And most importantly, no one is as smart as they think they are -- except possibly for Tywin Lannister.

"And Now His Watch Is Ended, " the fourth episode of Season Three, was another tale of consequences, a densely plotted, labyrinthine piece of television that coupled complex machinations with wicked retributions. In King's Landing, as always, a plot of some sort is hatched around every corner, and with the new addition of the Tyrell family, things have gotten much more interesting. Margaery continues to slowly, seductively wind Joffrey around her finger, preying on all of his baser urges, twisting them to her advantage as an increasingly helpless Cersei can only stand by and glower. This union that she blessed is proving to be far more than she bargained for, and Cersei is finding little solace in her family. Tywin, as always, has little patience for fools, and make no mistake -- in his eyes, Cersei is a fool. His scene with her is one of my favorites of his -- although I enjoy anyscene with Charles Dance and his sneering disdain and domineering glares. The scene was a study in subtlety from Dance, and his final "I will" was filled with enough menace to fill the room.

The other side of his coin is the wonderful Diana Rigg as The Queen of Thorns, the first character who easily threw the slippery Varys for a loop. She was brilliant in her scene with him, and every small movement and word showed a gift for cunning and calculation (yet another scene where seating was shown as a curiously entertaining political tactic). Yet an uneasy alliance is slowly being forged there, over the fate of Sansa Stark and the efforts to head off the weaselly and brazenly ambitious Littlefinger. Conleth Hill continues to perfectly capture The Spider, and his matchup with Olenna Tyrell promises to be as enjoyable as those with Tyrion. Speaking of which...

... the early scene between Varys and Tyrion? That was amazing in a number of ways. Between Tyrion slowly getting sucked into the increasingly bizarre and terrifying story, to the mesmerizing cadence of Varys's voice as he told it. It's here, truly, that we learned that Varys is so much more than an information broker and servant of the kingdom. His history is dark and shadowy and horrific, yet the only thing more so is his gift for vengeance. Those final moments, the sheer terror in the trapped sorcerer's eyes... Varys told Olenna that Littlefinger might be the most dangerous man in King's Landing. I'm not certain that that's true. Between that moment and his quizzical fascination during his conversation with Ros, Varys was one of this week's brightest moments.

On the other hand, I found the ongoing tragedy with Jaime Lannister and Brienne to be strangely unexciting. Jaime's desperate fight and the subsequent fog of despair, Brienne's urging him to survive -- all rang a bit dull. Perhaps it's that it simply couldn't live up to the rest of the episode -- even the action north of the Wall, so clunky and grinding in the prior couple of episodes, ratcheted things up this week. The buildup to the battle at Craster's keep was excruciating, a slowly simmering stew of anger and bitterness and resentment, as the angry and reckless youth of the Night's Watch simply snapped. It's those moments that we forget that, detestable and vile as Craster is, there is an element of the Night's Watch -- particularly among the younger men -- that isn't exactly innocent either. Craster's constant beratings, the slowly bubbling fury of the young men, the disgust and hunger and everything else caused hell to break loose and left Craster dead, along with the shocking and savage death of Lord Commander Mormont, and Samwell Tarly abruptly forced into the hero's role.

Perhaps the most intriguing moment came from the curious plight of Theon Greyjoy. Rescued from his brutal torture by a strange and unknown ally, he is swept away and riding a crest of hope and fear, promised to be delivered to his sister's protection. Yet nothing is as it appears here, and Theon's odd protector is far more than he appears. The final shocking moment is all the more stunning after Theon opens up to him, baring his soul, his regrets and angers and finally allowing himself to be human, instead of the front that he puts up. It's at that moment that Theon realizes that this is all a trap, a vicious, cruel game, leaving him right back where he started -- bound, gagged, and doomed.

But of course, the favorite moment of the week goes to the final scene in Astapor. Daenerys Targaryen, finding a way to take power enough to conquer kingdoms, while also wreaking a terrible, righteous vengeance on the slaveholders and rulers of Astapor. The final minutes all played out beautifully, and was a spectacular payoff for those of us -- particularly the book readers -- who have been waiting for a conclusion to the awfulness in that wicked city. The brilliant reveal at the end (rendered by another outstanding performance by Emilia Clarke), of Dany's understanding of High Valerian, her haughty, regal, and blazing-eyed fury as she turned her new army on their former masters, seared the life out of the venomous Kraznys mo Nakloz with but a single word, and reduced everything around her to ash -- all of this showed us that, like Varys and Theon's betrayer and the darker brothers of the Night's Watch, no one is quite what they seem, and even the meekest of us are capable of terrible things.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • And major, major points to the production designers on this show--the sets are incredible. The Sept in particular, but Varys' room and the gardens at King's Landing were spectacular.

  • Beautiful recap as usual.

    I can't even deal with how many emotions this episode brought up. Terror at Varys' story--damn that was some outstanding acting, no?--, utter heartbreak at Theon (he cried! HE CRIED IN FRONT OF THAT BASTARD), total excitement at the idea of The Hound taking on Beric Dondarrion (who looked a little...older and rougher than I imagined him but still great), then of course to TOTAL FUCKING ELATION at Dany's scene. It was just unbelievably well done. I cheered. I jumped in my chair, I shook my husband. Insanity.

  • Tinkerville

    When they first announced that Game of Thrones was being adapted into a TV series there were certain stunning scenes that I couldn't wait to see how they'd look onscreen. The final scene in Astapor was absolutely one of them. And holy hell, it exceeded my expectations, which I didn't think was possible.

    I love what they've done with Margaery's character and think it's a huge improvement on her character from the books. However, are they ignoring the fact that members of the Kingsguard can't marry, since the Tyrells want Sansa to marry Loras? That seems like a large oversight since then it wouldn't explain why Jaime can't marry. Or did Loras just never become one of the members like he did in the books?

    I thought Theon's talk of regret was going to make my eyes roll but when he talked about Ned being his true father I got teary eyed. Alfie Allen's killing it.

  • MrsAtaxxia

    Loras isn't in the Kingsguard, still just the Knight of The Flowers.

  • mswas

    He was head of the Rainbow Guard - Renly's guards. But since Renly wasn't really King, I guess Kingsguard rules don't count.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Really? Renly's guard was the Rainbow Guard? that's...unsubtle.

  • Tinkerville

    Yep, the Rainbow Guard is different and no more. I was referring to the books when he is sworn in as a member of the Kingsguard right after the Battle of the Blackwater.

  • mswas

    Yes you are right.

  • Tinkerville

    Ah, thanks for that. I wasn't sure if they had him join or not but that explains it.

  • MrsAtaxxia

    Yup. I think there are a few reasons why they did it, but they can only really be talked about once the spoiler-whore post goes up :)

  • Three_nineteen

    Has the show actually said that about the Kingsguard? Maybe they've changed it for the show. In this episode, Tywin calls Jaime his heir, when the books say that can't be because he's in the Kingsguard.

  • Tinkerville

    I thought it was discussed briefly in the first season, but I could be wrong. If they have changed that completely that's a rather big hole since that's the why Jaime has never married and produced heirs to Casterly Rock. Otherwise we'd at least need another reason why he hasn't done so.

  • IngridToday

    I think Tywin refers to him as his heir (in the previous episode Tyrion says Jaime can never inherit because of his vows) because Tywin assumes he can get Jaime out of it and take his rightful place in Casterly Rock. Tywin treats his children like chess pieces needing to be moved into place verse actually people with their own desires and possible social restrictions.

  • KV

    GRRM obviously has been inspired by actual historical events and characters. But watching the last scene, I could not help but wonder who the inspiration(s) for the Unsullied was/were - the Mameluke slaves of Egypt or the Janisseries of Turkey?

  • Ben

    In both the books and the show that scene with Daenerys is one of the few times that I have found her to be impressive. Mostly she is just "Queen Give Me Stuff", but that time she took it with intelligence and force and it was fantastic to watch.

  • Bert_McGurt

    That's a hell of a prop to keep around to punctuate your tales of revenge, Mr. Varys.

  • Strand

    When I heard that Natalie Dormer was cast as Margeary Tyrell, my first impression was "Nawww.. too sexy." The last season and the first couple of this season's episodes, warmed me up to her. By this one, I love her. She was a pretty bland character until much later, and they've done wonders. The already badass Olenna is even better. I love what the show has done to this family, even though it seems like they're cutting Willas.

    Alfie Allen is goddamn killing it this season.

  • Judge_Snyder

    It's a simple equation. More Varys = win.

  • Tinkerville

    I'll leave a thoughtful comment tomorrow, but for now after the beauty of that final scene the only thing that can come out of my brain is: ouhiw4u5hiu534jbkaebr;uhikjrebtkebtkejbthjebyrthjbyrthbyFUCKYES

  • duckandcover

    Varys suddenly unleashing the exposition beast rang really hollow to me, only because he's becoming like The Joker a la "Want to know how I got these scars?" about his castration. No one wants to know how Varys was cut and we didn't need such an overt display of Varys' prowess; we know that and everyone in Westeros knows that. When was his competence ever questioned, except in the last episode by none other than Tywin "I Take Everyone Down A Couple Notches" Lannister.

    There were a myriad of scenes that were great, but that one was a stumble and nearly a fall in the episode for me. When Brienne said Jaime sounded like a woman was also me getting kicked out of the scene, because Brienne is all for being a bad-ass woman. Even though that would probably cater to Jaime in some way to say, it just sounded .. wrong for Brienne to say.

  • John G.

    That is a GREAT scene. It was a very strong moment in the books, and the show didn't equal that, but all in all, I think they did a good job with it. There were some beats that fell flat, though. Mostly, it's the opening of the speech by saying "wanna know how I was cut". In the book, Tyrion had asked him how it happened, so Varys gets to say "you once asked me how I was cut. Would you still like to know?" They should have included that as a transition, and it would have been better. Still a good scene.

  • Duvall

    Brienne is awesome, but she has her own set of deep-seated issues. As she said, she's no lady.

  • duckandcover

    She never denigrates her sex, though.

  • alannaofdoom

    Yes, also, remember her comment to Catelyn last season, that she has "a kind of courage; a woman's courage." We see Brienne as a woman but I don't think she sees herself that way. I don't mean that she sees herself as a man, but that she has consciously tried to rid herself of everything she sees as "womanly" in order to become a warrior.

  • duckandcover

    I can see a woman's courage being separate from a man's, at least in Brienne's admittedly naive perspective, but it was a comment that had me go, ".. what."

  • Wednesday

    As someone who get shit for being a woman, I think it would be very *right* for Brienne to use that to motivate Jamie. It must've stung for her, so it makes sense she would use it to shame him. Brienne's not exactly a big fan of women in general.

  • duckandcover

    I don't think there's an example like there was with Arya saying most girls are dumb in S2 to express Brienne not being a fan of women. Brienne hasn't really said much about her sex, other than to take Jaime down a couple notches, since he's the one always calling her names regarding her height and sex. In fact, she talks up her sex more than anything and even makes a point to serve Catelyn over "the Starks," despite that being Catelyn's married House.

  • Tinkerville

    But that's exactly why Brienne calling him a woman did make sense. I didn't get the sense that Brienne isn't a fan of women in general, but it did seem completely right for that moment.

    She knew she needed to say something to convince Jaime to continue living and striking a chord with his pride and honor was the way to do it. Given how Jaime sees women, calling him one was her clever way of getting him to buck up. I think she was trying to return the favor after he saved her from being raped, and if insulting her own gender was the way to do it that's what she needed to do.

  • WateryTart

    Hmm. I don't really see it as that.

    Out of practically all the characters, Jaime is the least likely to be swayed by that comment. 1) He doesn't care remotely about honor or pride. To him they are meaningless shams. That's why he's the perfect foil for Brienne, who treasures these ideals above all else. He delights in toying with people's perception of him, strong or weak, golden boy or weasel. It's all just perspective to him. He doesn't judge anyone, least of all himself, in such categorical, black and white terms. 2) "Given how he sees women"? Jaime is one of the largest female supporters in the series. How could he take being a woman as much of an insult? As he has said, there IS a female Jamie walking around (Cersei) and he is desperately in love with her.

    Also, his mockery of Brienne is not an indictment of her womanhood, but poking fun at her attempts at gender-bending (which is pretty fruitless in such a sexist society). But all in all, he doesn't have strong feelings regarding any of it. He only says things for his own detached amusement.

    As for Brienne, it just seemed too simplistic of a sentiment given her complex relationship with gender and femininity. A little on-the-nose, too, since gender is her defining schtick. Also, she just recently admired the resilience of Catelyn Stark and her refusal to collapse when "important things were taken from her." She even referred to this kind of strength in the face of tragedy as "woman's courage." And then when Jaime collapses, unable to hack it, she calls him a woman?

    It came off as sloppy writing to me.

  • Any one else get a strong Gary Oldman vibe from Thoros of Myr?

  • YES. Holy shit. I knew he reminded me of someone and it just hit me.

    It's the mouth. They have the same way of talking.

  • RilesSD

    Yes! Absolutely.

  • Rebecca

    Sometimes I get a "The Dude" vibe!

  • Vitreous

    It's a young William Hurt vibe!

  • lovezoid

    Ahhh that's it! I was thinking Jeff Bridges too all this time but it's totally badass William Hurt

  • justus_jonas

    Thank you.

  • foolsage

    I hadn't seen that, but now that you mention it, I can't unsee it.

  • Rebecca


  • Jebus

    I get a Ralph Fiennes vibe.

  • jim kizer
  • L.O.V.E.

    Daenerys Targaryen. The "e" is silent.

  • Lauren_Lauren

    You, sir, win the internets, along with whomever made this gif.

  • BendinIntheWind

    RIP Old Bear :'(

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I rewound the last seen with Dany because of how much I loved it. I've been ambivalent towards her - but I am loving the righteousness that she has grown into. (also: loved the credit music continuing out of the march)

    With Varys, I, a non-book reader, was trying to figure out if he just got the sorcerer in, or if he's had him for years (which is what I"m leaning towards).

    And loving Diana Rigg's vulgar, tart-mouthed conniver. So much conniving all round, I'm giddy with it.

  • I'm thinking he had just "received" him, as he was just opening the box when Tyrion walked in.

    But of course there's the possibility that Varys knew Tyrion was on his way and wanted to make him even more curious by pretending to 're-open' the box when he was walking in.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    I was wondering that too! And half expecting to see the UPS man parked outside his abode.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Poor Natalie Dormer. Its one thing for people on the internet to comment on her nose, but now its part of the show's dialogue?

  • John G.

    They keep doing that.. It seems like they are putting internet chatter into the mouths of the characters. There was the scene where Gendry chastises Arya for not chosing Tywin or Joffrey when she could have had anyone killed, and I remember that being a big issue for people on the internet last season. Cersei mentions that she had heard Tyrion's nose was cut off, but it's only just a scratch. That was a complaint from book readers last season. Now Natalie Dormer's nose.

  • Strand

    Is the Natalie Dormer 'pig nose' a thing? Maybe it's because I don't use Tumblr but this was the first I've heard about it.

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    I have to really, *really* hand it to Alfie Allen for his soliloquy about the dichotomy of being Iron Born and sent off to Winterfell, and failing his true father, Ned. It really was a heart-wrenching moment especially if you know what's coming next. Honestly, if you can re-watch it...just wow. Excellent acting.

  • jollies

    I'm sorry, I really, really had to "hand" it to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. I mean, did you see his necklace?

  • lowercase_ryan

    If he wasn't a ginger it would have been quite believable.

  • duckandcover

    "My real father lost his head at King's Landing." I was wallowing in feels after that.

  • Hollyg

    I actually rewinded to make sure I had heard him right and then I clutched my necklace like Mary Crowley and cried a little.

  • Adore.

  • Speaking of the meek being capable of terribleness, Arya's forceful reportage of the Hound's crimes falls into that category. The Hound sounds like a perfect recruit for the Brotherhood Without Banners, save for all that Lord of Light shite. But she's just trying to use them the way she used Ja'qen last season, for her own selfish reasons. Fucking awesome.

  • foolsage

    Arya is a lot of things, but I don't think meek is one of them. ;)

  • Not emotionally or personality-wise, no. But she is physically meeker than just about everyone besides Bran and Sansa. That's all I meant.

  • foolsage

    I still don't think "meek" is the right word. Merriam-Webster seems to agree with me. ;)

    1: enduring injury with patience and without resentment : mild

    2: deficient in spirit and courage : submissive

    3: not violent or strong : moderate

    Welllll, let's look at those definitions. Arya literally keeps a list of people she wants to kill; she's pretty far from the first definition. I don't think anyone would argue that she's lacking in courage or spirit. Arya's quite willing to pull a sword on a far larger and better-trained man (e.g. Thoros of Myr), has killed a man in combat, and has trained to be a Water Dancer. Although she's not physically strong, she's shown herself to be quite willing to do violence.

    I think it's accurate to say Arya is generally cautious. She's not keen to stick her neck out, because she has a good idea how dangerous the world can be. Meek, though? That's pretty far from how I see Arya.

  • PDamian

    This show deserves ALL THE EMMYS. There's simply nothing better on TV right now.

    For all the HBO-mandated tits and ass (and this season has been surprisingly low on those), GoT has the best written, most fully developed and wonderfully performed female characters in any series on any channel. Margaery, Danaerys, Arya, Brienne, Olenna -- good grief, when was the last time there was such a fantastic collection of female characters on one show? The women on this show rule -- literally and metaphorically. I look forward to seeing more of Margaery and Danaerys; in particular, the latter, who appears to be coming into her own.

    The Brienne/Jaime scenes were a little slow, granted, but the exposition was necessary. Arya's scenes were also slow, although the preview of next week's episode looks as if the Brotherhood Without Banners is about to get gnarly. Can't wait for next week.

  • Heisenberg

    Breaking Bad is far better.

  • You also forgot Cat and Cersei, who while not as obviously kick-ass as the other ladies, are brilliantly sketched out and perfectly played by Michelle Fairley and Lena Headey. I'd argue that the women on this show are all more interesting and better written than the men. But maybe the men and the women are just written equally well, and maybe it's because of the dissonance between expectations and what we're seeing that makes it seem so powerful?

    But, yeah, agreed on all counts.

  • IngridToday

    It kind of annoys me when people question of GRRM is a feminist or sexist. Not only are there *a lot* of female characters, but, not one of them are just a love interest and only Sansa is a damsel in distress (but it's showing her becoming manipulative -with Joffrey- and hiding her true emotions/desires)

  • Word. Westeros is sexist, not Game of Thrones.

  • Diana Rigg and Charles Dance are each sublime; it's a gift to watch them. But the big surprise for me is Natalie Dormer. Her version of Margaery is a delight...as in hand-clapping every time she makes a move. And Cersei's reactions as she feels the power slipping--love. Oh and Varys...you have grown on me my friend.

    The episode's end was nothing short of brilliant. My eyes welled up--to see Dany's strength brought to life by Emilia Clarke--who KILLED IT--was indescribably great. Give that girl an Emmy. What kind of world is it when Iain Glen is left standing, mouth slightly agape at the wonder of his Khaleesi? A kickass one, that's what. Nicely done, GoT.

  • Barristan's little "DUDE!" smile at Jorah just made my day.

  • Kris

    The last ten minutes of the episode elicited a never-before-seen double-Kermit-Flail from me. That was arguably my favorite scene in the series so far.

  • sean

    It was an amazing performance by Clarke. Who has actually been quite bad at times. Rigg is a pleasant surprise.

  • Judge_Snyder

    Clarke is as good as the material that she's given. Dany doesn't get much to do in book two, so the character suffers in season two. Give her something meaty to work with and she delivers.

  • sean

    You are probably right. However, she is growing as an actor. Getting better at even the small moments. She was cast for her considerable beauty. Not her acting skills. The fact that she can now act has to be a huge relief for the producers.

  • sean

    Even though I knew what was coming, that was still amazing to see. That final shot with Dany and her army. And her air force. Made my day. And probably my week.

  • John W

    Khaleesi to Trudy: Let me show you how it's done.

    Anyone else shipping Tywin and Olenna? They would make a great power couple.

  • wow, that was fast. Great episode, I was cheering at the end.

  • Kolby

    I really had been waiting for that scene in Astapor, for years now. It was more than I had dared hope for. It was breathtaking.

  • Jodi Christopher

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  • Bert_McGurt

    Dude, what is WITH that font? Who puts accents on an s?

  • BWeaves

    Must be the Whore font. What an odd number to make. $19871. It reminds me of the old joke about the man who finds a giant bag of quarters in his house and finds out his wife has been prostituting herself and putting the makings in the bag.

    "Who's the creep who gave you a quarter?"

    "All of them."

  • Tinkerville

    I'd be annoyed but I'm actually kind of impressed...

  • KatSings

    I can't believe you got this up so fast!! I had all the feels about this, and it keeps getting harder for me to not to telegraph things to my non-book-reading husband. Still, this episode was amazing. Cinematography note? ADORED the cut from Jaime to Cersei. Beautiful.

  • Kolby


    Okay, reading now.

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