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"Game Of Thrones" - "Walk Of Punishment": Let Them Have Everything But Your Pride, Hold Your Ground When The Sun Sets Tonight

By TK | TV Reviews | April 15, 2013 | Comments ()


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We are but three episodes into Season Three of "Game Of Thrones," and yet we are already catching glimpses of what the future has in store for some of the characters. Fate has many faces in this world, sometimes kind, but more often cruel and unyielding. Episode Three, "Walk Of Punishment," takes us on a journey around the world to witness where the paths of some of the players have brought them, a paths that led to glory, to joy, to sadness, and to suffering.

For the Starks -- at least Robb Stark, anyway, fate has brought conflict and complications, burdens of the crown. After an uncomfortable yet grimly humorous funeral ceremony and a blistering and gruff introduction of Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully (Clive Russell), we continue to see just how heavy a burden that is. It's not just the battles and the bloodshed, but also being forced to rely on the men around you -- and knowing that sometimes, those men are not worthy. Yet despite the ineptitude of his bannermen, the scene was a wonderful portrayal of the hardened, stern Blackfish, but also the fact that Robb is no longer the boy king. He is the king, the King In The North, a man of cunning and wisdom, whose plans are filled with complexity and nuance. He is also a man of dwindling patience who suffers fools poorly, a leader with little time nor tolerance for those who fail to follow his orders.

In King's Landing, fate has taken a more curious turn, while also providing some much-needed levity to the episode. After an unexpected -- and most unwanted -- promotion for Tyrion resulting from the meeting of the new small council (featuring some bizarre and yet brilliant silent politicking all stemming from seating plans), Tyrion must adjust to his new role quickly. Of course, this means meeting with that slipperiest of eels, Petyr Balish, as well as the long-absent and much-missed Varys. Tyrion's position as Master of Coin presents the same brand of challenges as did that of the hand -- protecting the kingdom in spite of a King and Queen Mother who have little regard for what is actually best for it, and the newly discovered almost-bankrupt state of the crown promises to be an interesting conundrum.

As for the levity, while the small council scene brought forth a chuckle, Tyrion's... ah... gift to young Podrick was one of the rare instances where I actually found merit in the show's frequent and gratuitous displays of nudity. All too often, particularly when it comes to the depiction of prostitutes, it's felt like the showrunners were thinking, "hell, it's HBO. We can have nudity, so let's have nudity!" without it feeling organic or a relevant to the plot. And while I won't go so far as to say that tossing a young man into a room full of prostitutes is relevant, at the very least they made it clever and amusing. Yet what sells the entire setup is the payoff -- the sheepishly proud Pod, returning to face Tyrion and Bronn, only for them to have their sexual worlds turned upside down. For one man, at least, fate brought nothing but pleasure.

"We're going to need details -- copious details."

Yet what faces Daenerys Targaryen feels less like fate and more like the end result of her own righteous anger. After witnessing still more atrocities in the name of everyday living in Astapor, she begins a campaign that is not just to gather an army, but is also so much more than that. Daenerys is not just a queen, she is a self-made savior, even though her efforts at salvation occasionally end in disaster. And while I'm enjoying Dan Hildebrand's nasty portrayal of Kraznys mo Nakloz, Emilia Clarke was fantastic in all aspects of the scene. Her steely-eyed negotiations, her berating of her two advisers for questioning her, and her final moments with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), thoughtful and curious as she seemed to cavalierly take her from her life of forced servitude and bring her forward into a fate much more uncertain, yet also much more promising.

So much of this scene was well done, yet some of the best bits were conveyed simply through a series of glances -- mo Nakloz's disdainful sneers, Dany's rolling of the eyes which panned her gaze up to the slaves watching from above, her steely, unblinking stare at Mormont, all spoke volumes. Missandei's final moment -- a knowing, wry whisper of a smile, punctuated the scene perfectly. As for Daenerys? It appears that she will have her army, though at such a massive cost one can only wonder how that bargain will affect her future.

"Valar Morghulis"
"Yes. All men must die. But we are not men."

Any semblance of joyfulness or celebration ends there, however. Theon Greyjoy is another character that the show has crafted masterfully, much like Jaime Lannister. Greyjoy is a contemptible little snit, and yet Alfie Allen's portrayal has been so consistently solid and the writing so well-executed that I still find myself sympathetic to him. His scenes were a study in emotional contrasts -- the desperate high of his escape, the horrific and painful recapture which almost led to the ultimate debasement, only to be snatched from that awful outcome once more by his mysterious benefactor, who is clearly much more than we thought. Everything about Theon's predicament is a mystery right now -- who captured him, who rescued him, even where he is -- all unanswered questions that promise a riveting story going forward.

Yet no fate was as cruel, as vicious and unexpected, as that of Jaime Lannister. Much like the death of Ned Stark, I knew this moment was coming from the very beginning of the episode, and I dreaded it every step of the way. The near-rape of Brienne was a brutal, horrid moment (this episode had a way too much rapiness for my tastes, an unfortunate consequence of the viciousness and senselessness of a world at war), even as she stood proud and unrelenting in the face of it, contrary to Jaime's terrible, yet oddly kind advice. Yet that kindness, and her subsequent rescue from a nightmarish fate thanks to Jaime's quick thinking, was repaid in the worst possible way. Jaime Lannister, a warrior and soldier at the very core of his being, played for a fool and then suffering the one thing that he cannot recover from, taking from him that one thing that has made him who he is. It's not without a sense of irony that two of "Game Of Thrones" most stirring and sorrowful scenes were so inextricably linked -- the death of a Hand for the Starks, and the loss of a hand for the Lannisters.

To be sure, there was more to "Walk of Punishment," yet the other scenes -- Stannis Baratheon and his mysterious Red Woman, and the scenes north of the Wall -- failed to live up to the expectations brought by the stellar other moments. Stannis and Melisandre seemed tacked-on and ultimately without purpose, while the scenes of the Night's Watch once again ground the episode to a halt. I know that what happens there is critical -- particularly now that Mance has set forth to take Castle Black -- yet the way it's being shown fails to stir any real emotion. Yet the rest of this episode was a thundering success, demonstrating just what makes this show great. The highs were wickedly charming, and the lows were shocking and devastating to witness (even when immediately followed by The Hold Steady's wonderful rendition of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair." Yet it just goes to show what we've always known -- there is no quarter given in "Game of Thrones." No one is safe, not even the lions.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Salad_Is_Murder

    Holy crap you guys, I did not expect them to kill Ned Stark!

  • I'm constantly amazed at how perfectly the show and the actors have managed to capture the characters. The little bit of silent theater at the Small Council, Dany's reactions, Jaime and Brienne, Arya and Gendry saying goodbye to Hot Pie...this is what happens when you bring a book to life and you get it right. I knew almost everything that was going to happen (and I love that I don't know some things) and I was still on edge through the whole episode. I may have shouted an obscenity or two at the last ten seconds. Holy shit.

  • That Tywin is fun, the camera capturing him while his progeny play their little games. And that Robb Stark, correcting Edmure on military strategery. I can't wait till these two meet up in battle for real. Classic story of the wizened, hard old champion and the young upstart. It's gonna be great....

  • Sara_Tonin00

    grr. Is that a spoiler, sir?

  • Wild speculation, madam. Let your mind run with it...

  • Sara_Tonin00

    ooh, a red herring. (also: based on that one episode I wouldn't call Erdmure a wizened champion. Of course, I also wouldn't have called Erdmure, because I didn't pick up his name.)

  • I was referring to Tywin as the wizened, hard old champion, and when the Lannister-led forces face the King of the North forces. Good times....

  • Sherry

    Am I the only book reader who is champing at the bit for the SPOILERS AMOK!!! review??

  • Morgan_LaFai

    No friend, you are not. I want it so bad, I can taste it. It tastes of metal and blood, but oddly it smells like a used bookstore, of dust and pine with a hint of gilded edges.

  • sean

    Ha, having read the books...I knew the moment with Jamie was coming. The person I was watching with hasn't read them. When that happened, she screamed...and I didn't react at all. She then proceeded to yell at me "Why didn't you tell me that was going to happen? What other horrible things are going to happen in this show?" I said nothing. Really, really wanting to see her reaction for what is to come.

  • Jennifer Schmennifer

    My husband laughed and laughed when they started leading Jamie away from the tree, sure as shit that Jamie was "going to kill them all." I, too, said nothing. It was pretty fucking sweet to see him go from that to
    "Holy shit!" in five seconds.

  • Sherry

    I absolutely love it when my husband makes predictions that are such a 180 from what's going to happen that I have to bite the inside of my cheek so I don't react. You'd think he'd stop after about 15 or so failed ones, although I guess I have to admire his tenacity.

  • Laura

    Happens every week at my house too :)

  • Sherry

    I watch with my husband, who hasn't read the books. The first season, he realized something big was coming when he caught me watching him for his reaction. So I've learned to keep my head straight and watch him out of the corner of my eye. Last night was well worth mastering that strategy. And yeah...Tinkverville is right. You might as well get ear plugs. :)

  • Tinkerville

    Seven hells.. your friend is going to be in for a WILD RIDE.

  • sean

    I can imagine the horror on her face when...you know what happens.

  • Candee

    Save me, Barry!!

  • $27019454

    As dour and distasteful as Stannis has become, I cannot help but feel
    like, DAMMIT, the man has the only real claim to that throne (besides
    Dany), and he was robbed of that victory at Blackwater. I know, as Varys
    said, that someone wo is on bed with the black arts is not a good
    choice for the throne, but could he really be worse than King Pinhead
    (Joffrey)? Also, I have a huge soft spot for Stephen Dillane that goes
    back to the very corny melodramatic "Firelight" and "Welcome to
    Sarajevo."

    Also: Ha-fuckingHa Jaime, you murderous bastard.

  • JJ

    The "real claim" argument was the exact feeling that I was internally yelling when Stannis was arguing with Renly previously, or even to a lesser extent with Tyrion claiming rights to Casterly Rock from Tywin!

  • Jezzer

    Stannis would be just as disastrous, if not worse, than Joffrey on the throne. Stannis would try to rule, and he sees everything in stark black and white, with no room for grays or compromise. At least Joffrey only takes a token interest in ruling and lets the Small Council do the day to day stuff and provide a measure of damage control.

  • $27019454

    Yeah. I get it. It's hard to swallow, as I so want the righteous claim to be the right claim. But yeah, as soon as he started getting cozy with Smoke-Mama he sold his soul. And even though he is kind of a stick (book Stannis) he has a huge sense of right from wrong. For whatever reason -- slights from his brother, etc -- he has taken his resentments and allowed them to corrupt. Fratricide is a gnarly biz.

  • Jezzer

    Even before Melisandre, Stannis had no compassion in him. Witness how he rewarded Davos for saving his life and and the lives of all his men during the rebellion against Mad King Targaryen: a knighthood AND mutilation for his past as a smuggler. It never even occurred to him that Davos' good deed could wipe his slate clean.

  • $27019454

    Forgot that! I was so focused instead on how much grace is in Davos.

  • PaddyDog

    I adore Stephen Dillane. He really inhabits every character he plays. He made me fall in love with Thomas Jefferson in the Adams mini-series. Klingonfree, once again we are in harmony.

  • $27019454

    He's a niche-crush for sure. But I am all over him like white on rice.

  • PDamian

    For some reason, I'm always startled when some British actor from another cable series shows up in GoT. I don't know why; they have to act somewhere, don't they? And yet, during last night's funeral scene, I found myself yelling, "Brutus!" when Tobias Menzies showed up as Edmure Tully. Ditto Ciaran Hinds as Mance Rayder ("Caesar!") and Rose Leslie as Ygritte ("Oh my god, it's the maid from Downton Abbey!").

  • BWeaves

    I'm disappointed in this review. I need more information as to what happened in the episode, please. Details, I need details.

  • JJ

    The review isn't disappointing in the least. He consistently strikes a great balance between the slogging rehash that you want and actual interpretation of key elements. On top of that he published it very promptly after the episode aired last night instead of days later. You may need to look again at your expectations.

  • BWeaves

    My expectations are that I won't get to see the episode until it comes out on DVD and I want to know what happens. This is the first review that seemed to hold back info as if it were spoilers, and yet tease me.

  • JJ

    Just because you're stuck waiting for a year or more for DVD releases still doesn't make this a disappointing review. You need every detail laid out for you because you're not watching the show right now. Fine for you, but that's not what these reviews are supposed to remedy.

  • Jezzer

    JJ, you're coming off as kind of a douchenozzle here. Not sure if that's your intention.

  • $27019454

    Totally not trying to be a dick, but BWeaves did not say it was disappointing only that she/he was disappointed. Why is she/he not allowed to be disappointed? It's an opinion, which she/he is entitled to. Poor thing can't watch it. Why so harsh? It's an opinion. No big deal. Peace.

  • JJ

    It's not my intention to be harsh, and I understand that it's an opinion as I have one as well, but let's be honest about what drives it before bagging on consistently good reviews. Not everyone wants a detailed novel of a review, and that's not how these are written.

  • BWeaves

    Thank you, klingonfree. You get I what I was saying.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Glad to hear I'm not the only one finding the Wall scenes bo-ring.

    I hated the closing music. Really, really hated that jarring switch into the hyper modern sound. It immediately jolted me out of the mood.

    As for the nudity, well holy crap. I actually found myself agreeing with Ross Douthat for once. The nudity in the whorehouse, for me, only underscored that it's the practically nameless women who have to get naked, not the leading men. And the Pod scene was weird - it didn't make any sense or ring true to me, unless they are setting up that Baelish has the whores currying favor with either Pod or Tyrion. http://www.theatlantic.com/ent...

    But mostly the episode kept me excited & entranced. I loved things being turned around on Jamie like that, even as I thought Brienne would mourn the chance to fight him as a full man.

  • Spoon

    I agree - I'm surprised everyone liked that one scene with Pod where he returns with the money, because for me and friend, it didn't work at all. It just felt really random and bizarre, and I can only hope the scene was setting something up or foreshadowing some later event.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Yeah, the song at the end was crap. It's a really flat version of a song that has to be song with much more fervor.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    (my 2nd thought, after hating it, was: bet they take that out when the episode goes to dvd)

  • I liked the song itself, but I hated its placement in the episode.

  • Nobody stumps a Lannister!

  • AshBookworm

    I remember, when I was reading the books, I was very glad something so horrible happened to Jaime, because I didn't feel as bad about the fact that I was starting to like the character.

  • Strand

    That song and the hand slice was borderline experimental. I enjoyed the episode. This season was going so well refraining with the sex, then suddenly an explosion in full-frontal nudity. That scene where they're establishing Pod as some sort of Kavorka Man was cute.

    Last week, I was joking when I said they would hunt, rape and flay Theon but heeeyy... forest buggering! Squeal like a pig! They're really dragging poor Edmure over the coals in the show. Awwww at Hot Pie's wolf biscuit.

  • TK

    The one part of the episode that I adored but that didn't make it into the review - Arya and Gendry leaving without Hot Pie. That was a surprsinglu touching scene and I absolutely loved it.

  • Ted Zancha

    Yep, that was a pretty great scene. Although, for the life of me I couldn't figure out what the bread was supposed to be in the shape of. I thought maybe a bear or a pig. Which elicited an "awwww" from my girlfriend and I when he said it was a wolf.

    Overall, a nice scene to break up some of the horrors in this episode.

  • I haven't been able to stop singing "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" I think I have a problem send help

    Also, Stannis smelling Melisandre's hair or whatever he was doing was the creepiest moment of the episode.

    Everything about Theon’s predicament is a mystery right now — who captured him, who rescued him, even where he is — all unanswered questions that promise a riveting story going forward.

    Really. REALLY.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    "Reek. Rhymes with meek."

  • Jezzer

    I think the whole point is to avoid spoilers in these recaps for the people who are only watching the show and haven't read the book.

    In other words, stop talking about Reek.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    What does it spoil, exactly?

  • Jezzer

    Don't be coy. You know exactly what I mean, and I'm not going to compound it by fleshing it out with all the details.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I offered a quote without context. Which, ironically, you did provide.

    So beat yourself over the head, please.

  • But what rhymes with .. pain?

  • manting

    You gotta remeber your name

  • koko temur

    i kinda wish TK reviwed MTV movie awards instead. Tell me im not the only one who has a dark soul over here.

  • Ted Zancha

    YES! The world needs more rage monster real time reviews from TK.

  • Kelly Anne Williams

    Is anyone else just really psyched to see Simon again? I loved Iwan Rheon on Misfits, and was hoping he'd have something meaty to work with when I spotted him last week.

  • competitivenonfiction

    Be very very careful what you wish for.

  • Wednesday

    I was psyched but only because I totally didn't recognize him last week. His first scene was almost over before I figured out where I'd seen him before.

    I think the storylines are just so compelling -- even though I *know* the damn plot -- that it takes my brain awhile to interrupt and say, "hey, I know that guy from somewhere".

  • AshBookworm

    Have you read the books? Because Iwan Rheon has got a hell of an arc coming up. I can't wait to see what he does with the character.

  • Kelly Anne Williams

    I haven't read the books, but now I am even more excited. Thank you! Seriously, if he'd died immediately there would have been some tears.

  • All the things from the next episode, I was expecting here. I can wait, but still, I was looking forward to so much and now I must wait longer.

  • Tinkerville

    What a brilliant episode. You're completely right about the Night's Watch scenes grinding things to a halt, but overall they did a masterful job of combining such dark tension with outright hilarity. Emilia Clarke is usually a weak spot when it comes to acting but she knocked it out of the park during the negotiation scene and this was the first time I started buying her as someone with authority. I hope she continues to impress.

    On a random note, I was super delighted we finally got to hear the characters singing The Bear and the Maiden Fair. Now that we've heard it sung I can get my best friend to sing the real thing instead of the awful melody she made up for it while reading the books.

  • Rocabarra

    Bronn calling Littlefinger "Lord Twatbeard" = highlight of the night.

  • Tinkerville

    I'm determined to start using that as an insult whether the recipient has a beard or not.

  • Brooke Michelle

    My husband has already added it to his lexicon. And he being British makes is sound pretty good.

  • PDamian

    I'm going to have to be very careful. The minute I heard that, I immediately thought of someone I work with -- who's in a very good position to do me dirt if I rile him up. And yet "Lord Twatbeard" suits him to a T.

  • Fredo

    I busted out laughing at the Tyrion/Podrick scenes. Perfect way to reveal the ways Littlefinger has kept the Iron Throne flush with money and to introduce the idea of the Iron Bank of Braavos.

    And given all the grimness, sadness and nastiness of the episode, I think there was a major need for a moment of great levity. And the looks on Tyrion's and Bronn's faces at the revelation of Podrick's prowess were hilarious.

  • Strand

    I liked how they're slowly alluding to the Iron Bank, but they're not giving Littlefinger enough credit. In the books, he does a lot of trading and investment that partially keep the Iron Throne afloat, he didn't just live off the company credit card.

  • Bobbs3k

    Podrick Payne for the win

  • lowercase_ryan

    tri-POD

  • toblerone

    +1 for Missandei / Nathalie Emmanuel.

    http://24.media.tumblr.com/eb3...

    That is all.

    *Dumb HTML why won't you show the actual gif?

  • KaGe

    If your name is Jamie Lannister, clap your hands.

  • Cazadora

    The sound of one hand clapping.

  • Morgan_LaFai

    cl or maybe ap. I was never good at philosophy.

  • DocDoom

    Yeah, sure, the cover was cool. But following all that, I thought it was pretty fucking stupid. I really didn't enjoy the jump in emotion and energy .

  • I hated it. It was too much of a contrast.

  • competitivenonfiction

    I liked when they used a Florence and the Machine song in the commercial for the trailer, and would have enjoyed the cover in a trailer or teaser, but it pulled me right out of the show.

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    It had the opposite effect for me. I was on the edge of my seat just *waiting* for Jaime's scene, and the song was a giant release of pent-up energy for me...
    I yelled at the chop.

  • DocDoom

    Even knowing it was coming, I did still yell, haha. It was done quite well. I think I just wanted to savor the moment with my non-book-reading friends, but all anyone could do was talk about the song.

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    Ok, well, why would they be talking about the SONG?? You need better friends!

  • DocDoom

    Haha that may be true, but it was because it was so out of nowhere, we were all thrown.

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