Game of Thrones: Valar Dohaeris

GAME OF THRONES: 3.01 “Valar Dohaeris”

I am so happy that Game of Thrones is back. As you can probably tell from my extremely sporadic reviews of The Walking Dead, I’ve just about had it with that show. It’s just too uneven in quality; sometimes it’s good, more often it’s frustrating or boring or laughably bad. I heard through the internet that, SPOILER ALERT, Andrea finally bit the dust in last night’s season finale, which kind of makes me want to watch it, yet I also heard that the Governor survived to fight another day, which makes me not want to watch because I think he’s an annoying, poorly drawn villain. What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that The Walking Dead became an unpleasant chore for me to watch on a night that I’ve been trained, since The Sopranos era, to expect great television. Now that Game of Thrones is back, there’s something on Sunday nights worth watching again.

This episode eased us back into the world of Westeros with a lot of piece-moving and setup. Tyrion’s been exiled to a dank room in the bottom of the castle, his father taking credit for his hard won victory in battle; Jon meets with Mance Rayder and sees his first giant; Sam and the remaining brothers of the Night’s Watch trudge south through the snow; Robb’s army occupies Harrenhall and finds a survivor; Davos is saved by a passing ship and vows to take down the red woman; and Dany lands in Slaver’s Bay looking to recruit an army. We don’t get to see
the travels of Jaime and Brienne, or Arya, because the show has a huge cast to service, but I’m sure we’ll see them soon enough.
Some things that I really liked:
  • Margaery Tyrell knows how to use her charm. The scene in the orphanage was nice, and it shows that she’s going to try to position herself as the People’s Queen. Given how poorly the Lannister’s tend to treat the masses in King’s Landing, this is a pretty good idea that might keep her protected in case of a revolt.
  • Last season, Jon saw a white walker in the forest taking away one of Craster’s children. This seemed like an odd detail to add, but it comes up again here when he uses the story to explain why he “defected” from the Night’s Watch. It’s a compelling reason, and Jon really sells it. I believed it, and I wonder if he partially believed it himself.
  • The scene between Tyrion and Tywin was great and rather heartbreaking. It’s pretty clear that Tywin actively hates his youngest son, and only puts up with him because they’re related. There’s nothing that Tyrion could ever really do to gain esteem in his father’s eyes, because his father can only see him as crippled, broken, and responsible for Tyrion’s mother’s death.
  • The Unsullied slave warriors look really cool.
  • The CGI giant in the wilding camp looked pretty great.
  • Ser Barristan reveals himself to Dany at the end of the episode by saving her from an attempted assassination. I’m really glad to see him back, as I like the actor who plays him. The scene was well done and exciting, and while it plays out a bit different from the book, I’m still happy with it.

It’s so good to have this show back. The only bad thing is that there are now only nine episodes left in the season. That said, I can’t wait until next week.

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One thought on “Game of Thrones: Valar Dohaeris

  1. Josh and I had some tough DVR choices last night – Revenge, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and next week, Mad Men joins the mix! I agree with your thoughts on TWD, I am really just following it through online ep reviews. Glad it is off the must-see list!

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