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Game of Thrones: Bedding Harlots, Drinking with Thieves

Episode 1
Valar Dohaeris

How great is it to have Game of Thrones back?! If you answered anything other than "very," get the fuck out of here. No, really. I think we are in for a real treat this season. The third book, A Storm of Swords, is excellent, which is so full of shocking and sexy moments, they're splitting it into two seasons.
Beyond the Wall 
The episode picks up right where they left us last: Sam stranded in the snow, with an army of White Walkers coming to say hello to the Night’s Watch. He runs through the blizzard and stops when he finds one of his brothers slumped over in the snow. Well, it’s technically one of his brothers, but he’s very dead, his head is literally in his hands.

A Walker shambles up behind him, and almost sinks his chilly axe in Sam’s plump belly, when Ghost comes out of nowhere (I mean, he is a white wolf in a blizzard) and attacks the snow zombie. Then Mormont emerges from the blizzard and sets the Walker on fire.

Book fact: Ghost follows Jon through all his adventures beyond the Wall.

“Did you send the ravens?” he asks Sam, who can only reply by shaking his head. 

Mormont turns to the remaining Night’s Watch and tells them they are heading back to the Wall.

Cue the amazing intro that seems to get longer and longer every season. So many names! And new places on the map! Was that a harpy I saw? (For those that have read the book, that should excite you just a tad.)
Farther beyond the Wall, Jon Snow is escorted to the Wildlings’ camp by the Lord of Bones and Ygritte, who takes great amusement at Jon’s awkwardness. We catch our first glimpse at a giant, who, according to Ygritte are “shy and angry.” As they move through the camp, folks take to throwing rocks at Jon, and Ygritte smiles.

They arrive at Mance’s tent. An imposing figure sits in the center, but he seems more concerned with his leg of...meat than he does with Jon. Not knowing what else to do, Jon takes a knee and offers his fealty to him. “Your Grace,” he says much to everyone’s amusement.
The real Mance stops the shenanigans. Is it just me, or does he look like Trent Reznor with that hair?

The scruffy and inexplicably attractive man Jon took the knee to is Giantsbane. Lord of Bones and Ygritte leave, but not before she gives Jon a “I’m going to deflower the fuck out of you later” look.

Book fact: I had always imagined Giantsbane as this disgustingly fat man, since that’s how George RR Martin described him in the book. Seriously, Martin loves describing fat, bearded men more than he loves describing sex or food.

Mance wants to know why Jon wants to join the Wildlings. Does he want to be free from the Wall? Jon replies he wants to be a hero. When Mance calls Jon out on his bullshit, he tells the Wildling leader about his visit to Craster’s. You know the place. The guy that marries his daughters and leaves his infant sons out in the snow for the White Walkers. Real class act, that Craster. And Mormont knew about it.

Jon wants to be on “the side that fights for the living.” Mance smiles.

King’s Landing
What would Game of Thrones be without some tits? Bronn is busy with a nearly-naked whore when Podrick (Tyrion’s squire) interrupts.

“I will murder you, boy.” Bronn says. But Pod says it’s a matter of life or death; Tyrion requests his presence at once.

Tyrion, meanwhile, has been relegated to a cramped room after his demotion. His facial scar is quite impressive. There comes a knock on his door, but it’s not Bronn; it’s his loving sister, Cersei. She seems disappointed when she sees his face. Apparently there’s been a rumor going around that he lost his nose in the battle.

Book fact: Tyrion did in fact lose a good chunk of his nose, in one of the rare moments I did not imagine in my head. I’d rather imagine Peter Dinklage's face intact. Sorry, George!

She’s concerned that when he meets with their father, Tywin, he’ll slander her again like when they were kids. “It’s not slander if it’s true,” he retorts. But no, he couldn’t care less about what Cersei thinks. The chemistry between these two is stellar; they bicker so well.

Bronn shows up with Pod in tow. The sellsword is ready to murder the two guards posted outside Tyrion’s room, but Cersei emerges. Bloodlust denied!

Tyrion, Bronn and Pod walk along the battlements. Bronn wants double the money for his protection services, now that he’s a knight. So, yeah, that scene happened.
Later, Tyrion gets an audience with Tywin, who seems more concerned with writing letters than with his own son. See, Tywin seems to think Tyrion spent all his time as Hand of the King with harlots and thieves, as opposed to, I don’t know, saving the city. For all his trouble, he’s been stripped of his title and put in a dank cell.

So Tyrion asks for “what is mine by right”: Casterly Rock. Seeing as how brother Jamie is as good as dead, the lineage falls to Tyrion. Tywin is not amused. He’s willing to offer him better lodgings and a title befitting him. And also maybe a wife. But never the Rock. And he calls his son an “Ill made, spiteful creature.” Thanks, dad!
Elsewhere in King’s Landing, Sansa and Shae sit and watch the ships in the harbor. Sansa has made a game of imagining where the ships are headed and what they’ll do. But Shae either doesn’t get it, or more likely, doesn’t give a shit. Why make up games? Sansa replies that it’s better than the truth, because the “truth is terrible or boring.” She has a point, there.

Littlefinger pays them a visit. He takes Sansa aside and tells her that he’s spoken with her mother and that Arya is fine, too. (Lies! All lies!) And that he might have the opportunity to help her escape. She just has to be patient.
Shae and Ros (hey girl hey!) have a brief chat about being whores. And Ros cautions for Shae to “watch out for her with him.” It’s very good advice.
Book fact: Someone else offers Sansa the opportunity to escape, but it’s a moot point because it was kind of uninteresting/ridiculous. This way is much better.

In yet another part of King’s Landing, Joffrey is being carriaged through Fleabottom (aka the slums of King’s Landing), when he catches sight of of Margaery (aka she who would be queen) and her hand-carriage. Margaery is awesome. She struts down the dirty streets, and walks through filth. One of her handmaids warns her about dirtying her dress. “I have others,” she replies. Love, love, love this girl.

She visits an orphanage and listens to the children, most of them orphans because of the recent battle. She hands out toys and food like some kind of sexy, brash Mother Teresa. 

Needless to say Joffrey—that creepy fucker, spying on her—is intrigued.

At dinner with Cersei and Joffrey, Margaery and her brother Loras (aka the Knight of Flowers, aka the gay Justin Timberlake of Westeros), are sure to compliment them on the food and Cersei’s dress. Seriously, I am dying over the amazing costume designs. The topic of Margaery’s trip to Fleabottom comes up. Loras notes his sister has always been a champion of the poor in their home of Highgarden. And they are more than happy to help with the troubles of King’s Landing.

“She knows what she’s doing,” Cersei’s quick to point out in a tone that implies she means more than charity work.
The King of the North
Robb and company arrive at Harrenhal a bit too late. Robb mentions that they’ve been a step behind the Lannister’s men, and his army are getting restless without a battle.
Harrenhal is a massacre. Corpses are strewn everywhere. Catelyn and Robb are disgusted. Cat finds one of her father’s bannermen amongst the bodies. Robb sends her away, cause he’s still not over her betrayal. You let one of your most important hostages go, and suddenly you’re a prisoner?

Robb’s wife, Talisa, finds a lone survivor.

I don’t know why, but I’ve really liked Davos ever since the second book/season. After the failed battle from last season, Davos has been stranded on a tiny rock in the ocean. Luckily he catches the eye of one of Saladin’s passing ships before he dies of exposure.
On board, Davos pleads with the fellow pirate to take him back to Dragonstone. Saladin is very reluctant; he doesn’t know why Davos would want to go back, especially with Melisandre there. She and Stannis had a big ol’ prisoner bonfire when they got back. But hearing this only makes Davos want to go back even more.

He eventually makes his way to Dragonstone. Stannis is surprised to see him alive (Well, I assume he’s surprised. Stannis is suitably unreadable.) Davos calls Melisandre out, but she just stands there and smirks. 

She tells Davos they lost the battle because he swayed Stannis into leaving her behind. Oh, and that his son died a noble, firey death. This sends Davos into a rage. He tries to stab her, but Stannis’ guards restrain him and take him to the dungeon. Don’t worry. That’s not the last we’ll see of my man Davos.

Sailing across the poisoned water, Daenerys, Jorah, her remaining followers, and her motherfucking dragons are en route to Slaver's Bay to purchase an army of the Unsullied. The dragons—which are really excellent, kudos to the effects team—have grown, but they aren’t big enough to destroy armies; they are still very much vulnerable.

She needs an army, and she needs it now. Jorah also mentions having to prove herself if she wishes to do so. Oh, don’t worry, Jorah, she will.

They arrive at the city, where a sleazy slave-trader shows her the Unsullied warriors. He doesn’t speak the common tongue, so he has a slave girl as a translator. The slave-trader berates the girl when she questions him. Jorah scoffs at the notion the Unsullied warriors are unafraid of death. To prove his point, the trader shows them how unaffected the soldiers are by slicing off one man’s nipple. I suppose that will do it.

Daenerys is disgusted by the display, but is even more disgusted when he tells her that to prove themselves, they must kill a newborn in front of its mother’s eyes. And a silver piece is given, not to the mother, but to the owner of the child.

Book fact: The slave girl, Missandei, is like 12 in the books. Glad they went with an older actress in the role.

After the viewing of the Unsullied, Daenerys and Jorah take a walk among the docks. She’s conflicted about buying slave soldiers. Does that make her as awful as the slave-trader? Jorah is less conflicted, and sees them as a means to an end.

All the while, Daenerys has been following an adorable little girl playing with a ball. And also a cloaked figure follows behind them. The girl rolls the ball over to Daenerys, who picks it up with a smile. The cloaked figure swoops in and smacks the ball out of her hand, knocking her down in the process. Jorah grapples with the man. The ball breaks open and a strange, scorpion-like creature emerges. Before it can sting Dany in her big, beautiful eyes, the cloaked man stabs it with a dagger.

He chases after the evil little girl, but she disappears, only to reappear farther away. Damn warlocks. The stranger reveals himself to be Barriston Selmy. You might remember him from last season as the ousted leader of the Kingsguard. Selmy apologizes for not protecting Dany’s family way back in the day, and offers his allegiance.

Book fact: The whole assassination attempt happened in book two, and Selmy is not revealed as such until much later in the third book. And it’s a great reveal, but I can understand how it wouldn’t work as well in the context of a TV show. Also there is another character in the books, Strong Belwas, that joins them, but I don’t know if he’ll make it into the show. It would be a shame if he doesn't, he's pretty entertaining.

Till next week, when I can only hope we get to see some of this:


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