Game of Thrones: And Now His Watch Has Ended

GAME OF THRONES: 3.04 “And Now His Watch Has Ended” 

Lots of interesting, exciting things happened on Game of Thrones this week,but I’ll start at the end, with Dany’s brutal, brilliant, and quite literal roasting of the arrogant slaver who thought he could buy a dragon. He didn’t realize, though, that dragons aren’t slaves, and was burned by a well placed gout of flame, while his fellow slavers were skewered upon the spears of the Unsullied slave soldiers that they once owned. Now, along with her dragons and her two old knights, Dany has an army of  8,000 fanatically disciplined warriors ready to follow her commands out of loyalty for granting their freedom. Watching this newly freed army march out of the smoldering gates of Astapor, flanked by three flying dragons, was truly stirring. Dany has come very far since she was a cowering girl sold off by her brother to a ruthless barbarian. She’s one of many living examples of the maxim Varys delivers earlier in the episode; influence does, in fact, grow like a weed.

Or maybe it grows like a rose, in Olenna and Margaery’s case. Olenna, canny old woman that she is, continues inserting the Tyrell’s into the politics of Kings Landing, and plots with Varys to marry Sansa off to her (gay) grandson Loras in order to keep the “key to the north” in her family’s pocket. Margaery, meanwhile, continues to indulge Joffrey’s sadism, her eyes wide with manufactured awe and interest as they tour the royal crypts and as he recites the various violent and bloody demises of  more ancient sovereigns of Westeros. She’s giving him exactly what he wants and slowly prying him away from the clutches of Cersei just as his mother is trying to resist some of his excesses. Cersei hates this development, presumably about as much as she hates the verbal smackdown Tywin delivers when she appeals that he involve her more in his decision making. He leaves her out, he explains coldly and tersely, not because she is a woman but because she is not as smart as she thinks she is. Tywin’s a hard, unsentimental man, and we’ve seen that he’s unafraid to deflate each one of his children’s egos when they step out of line.

If influence can grow like a weed, though, it can also shrivel up and die if it’s not tended to, as Lord Commander Mormont tragically learns. The Night’s Watch is too full of thieves, rapists, murderers, and men who don’t take their vows seriously. It’s amazing that Mormont’s men kept in line for this line, really, but finally, faced with their own inherent character flaws and compounded by the extreme cold and hunger, they mutiny, kill Mormont and Craster, and rampage through Craster’s ramshackle home in search of the food they’re certain the old man kid from them. It’s sad to see such a noble man go, but he trusted too much in the power of words and oaths, and if viewers have learned anything in almost three and a half seasons in Westeros, it’s that mere oaths mean almost nothing.

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