Game of Thrones “Walk of Punishment”

Game of Thrones S3E3 “Walk of Punishment”

As we close in on being a third of the way through this third season of Game of Thrones, one may stop to think, that not a lot has actually happened yet. True as that may be, one may also be alright with that happening because it’s becoming more and more apparent that there is something grand in store and even still, Game of Thrones has shown us that the journey can be just as exciting as the destination. Much like “Valar Dohaeris”, “Walk of Punishment” tries its damnedest to check in on every single location, only skipping a main character if their area has been covered already. Stretching yourself this wide means everyone’s screen time has to go further in their limited capacity and “Walk of Punishment” excels at this, giving you a little of everything, wanting more as it cuts away to the next scene. There’s so much to talk about including Tyrion finding employment, Dany striking a deal, Jon being given an opportunity to prove himself, and Jaime lending a hand to Brienne (do forgive me for that one). That and more, starting right now.

The episode starts us off at Rivverun, for Lord Hoster Tully’s funeral. Here we are introduced to a couple of new faces, Cat’s younger brother and new Lord of Riverrun, Edmure Tully, and Hoster’s younger brother who goes by “the Blackfish”. The Tully’s practice funeral by ship and it falls on Edmure to light the ship ablaze as it floats down the river. Without saying a word, “Walk of Punishment” masterfully gives us a sense of our newcomers. Edmure shoots thrice at the boat and misses every single time, drawing nervous chuckles. The boat is making its way to the bend of the river, it needs to be lit so Hoster can rest peacefully. Having had enough of his nephew’s incompetence, the Blackfish shoves Edmure out of the way, fires one arrow and walks away without looking to see if it lands on the boat, spoiler alert, it does.

Just for good measure (and plot reasons), the two Tully’s do talk in the next scene, discussing a recent battle against Gregor Clegane. Edmure is trying to defend his attack on Gregor but his uncle isn’t having any of it. Robb sides with the Blackfish, berating Edmure for not following the plan. The plan was to let Gregor march west and trap him but with Edmure’s attack, Gregor retreated and Robb has no way of attacking him now without bringing the fight to him. Edmure’s capture of two minor Lannisters, Willem and Martyn and of a nearby mill are not enough to escape Robb’s wrath. Robb is losing this war and Edmure robbed him of an important victory, those are proving to be exceedingly rare as the war drags on.

King’s Landing is where we head next and it is also home of another excellent use of non-verbal communication. Tywin has called his first meeting of the small council, five chairs to the left of him as he sits at the head of the table. The way everyone sits down actually tells you a lot about them. Littlefinger is always striving for more power so he eagerly takes the closest seat to Tywin. Varys is powerful but never wants to fly too close to the sun so he gladly sits second from Tywin. Pycelle just wants to avoid conflict, knowing there are capable and powerful people in abundance at this council so he sits third. Cersei is not content being that far away and considers herself Tywin’s heir so she pulls the fourth chair and brings it around the table to sit right by Tywin on his right side. Tyrion being the outcast of the group, isolates himself even further by taking the last chair, and slowly and squeakily dragging the chair to sit dead opposite of Tywin. What a great scene.

As for the meeting itself, Tywin has arranged for Littlefinger to marry Lysa Arryn, as to deprive Robb of any potential allies. This leaves the Master of Coin position vacant and Tywin decides to assign Tyrion to the position. Tyrion objects, stating that his whole life has been about spending money and not managing it, but it’s no use. Tywin and Cersei probably want to see Tyrion fail so they can blame him but Tyrion will be dedicated to succeed like always, against all odds. After receiving Littlefinger’s ledgers, he comes upon some scary information, Littlefinger has just been borrowing the money all these years. The crown owes millions to Tywin who won’t forgive the debt just because his grandson is the king, but that’s the smaller issue. They owe even more to the Iron Bank of Braavos. If one doesn’t pay back their loans to the Iron Bank, the Iron Bank has the tendency to fund the debtor’s enemies, which the crown currently has plenty of. Tyrion’s going to have his work cut out for him as Master of Coin, that’s for sure.

One of those enemies is Stannis Baratheon, who hasn’t had a whole lot to do this season. He tries to convince Melisandre to stay on Dragonstone since she’s leaving without telling him where she’s going or for how long, simply promising she will return. Stannis asks her to give him another “son” to kill his enemies but Melisandre says “sons” take life out of the father and Stannis doesn’t have enough to survive making another “son”. She assures her there’s another way, to use king’s blood. There are others who have Stannis’ blood and this is who she seeks. A little thinking leads you to Stannis’ brothers, who happen to be dead. Robert though, has plenty of bastards, who in turn have Stannis’ blood.

One of those bastards is Gendry, who along with Arya are being taken as “guests” to an undisclosed location. Arya tries to confront The Hound about what happened the last time they were at this inn before he’s put in a prisoners wagon (He killed the butcher boy) and Sandor says he doesn’t know, he’s been to a thousand inns. Which is probably true, he may genuinely not remember. A huge contrast for Arya, who still blames herself for what happened that day and the memory is still deeply entrenched in her mind. As they prepare to leave, Hot Pie tells Arya and Gendry that he won’t be going with them. Hot Pie proved his skill as a cook and Thoros is leaving him with the inn-keep as repayment for feeding them. Everyone shares their goodbyes and Gendry and Arya head off with the brotherhood, Arya with a cute piece of bread shaped as a direwolf that Hot Pie baked for her.

Wherever Theon is, we check back in with him. That boy holds his word and comes at night to rescue Theon. He gives Theon a horse and tells him to ride east to his sister at Deepwood Motte. He rides all night, but the next morning he is found by his torturers. They try to chase him down and succeed. Just before one of them is about to rape Theon, the boy returns and kills all of Theon’s chasers and helps Theon to his feet.

Beyond the wall, we check in with both factions. We’ll start with the night’s watch. The remaining bunch make their way to Craster’s Keep where they basically have to beg Craster for shelter, knowing they’ll lose more men if they have to march home in their current state. Craster lets them in and later on at dinner he admits to feeding his pigs better than he does to the night’s watch. After bullying Sam and saying they should just eat him, Sam leaves the tent and follows a woman’s screams to a nearby tent. The scream turns out to be Gilly who is in labor. Sam pops his head in and the two of them look on in horror when they see Gilly’s child is a boy, knowing full well what Craster is going to do with his new son.

Back with the Free Folk, Jon and his crew make it to the Fist of the First Men where they see a spiral pattern of dead horses. Jon asks Mance if he think’s Mormont survived and Mance seems to think so but also admits that the majority of the crows were likely killed by the white walkers and converted to wights. Mance tells Tormund to take twenty men, along with Jon, to climb the wall and wait for his signal, a huge fire. Mance plans to have Tormund attack Castle Black from its unguarded south entrance to distract the night’s watch while he and the rest of the army attack from the north. Mance says Jon should be useful for this as he knows Castle Black better than anyone. He also tells Tormund that he can just push Jon off the wall if he doesn’t prove useful so it looks like Jon is about to get his first real test as a spy. How far will he go? Will he leave and warn the night’s watch, will he be able to? Once he gets on the other side of the wall, Jon is going to have to answer some uncomfortable questions.

In Astapor, Jorah and Barristan argue over the use of a slave army vs a free men army. Jorah is of the thinking that the Unsullied are the best way to go and Dany decides to head back to Kraznys to get a price tag on the Unsullied. Dany tells him that she wants all 8,000 Unsullied while Kraznys insists that all her wealth will only get her a meager amount. Dany insists on all of them and decides to sweeten her offer by offering a dragon. Kraznys is more than pleased by the offer and is willing to throw in Missandei as requested by Dany. As Dany walks back to get a dragon, Jorah and Barristan are shocked at the deal and try to talk her out of it. I have to say, I agree with them. I don’t think Dany will actually go through with this, perhaps she has a trick up her sleeve.

Last but not least, we check in with the best duo in the Seven Kingdoms, Jaime and Brienne. The two are being taken as prisoners to Harrenhal. Along the way, Jaime tells Brienne that the men will rape her tonight when they stop to make camp and recommends that she doesn’t fight back. Brienne asks Jaime what he would do if he was a women in her situation and Jaime admits that he personally would fight to the death.

Sure enough Jaime is proven right and Brienne is getting restrained so Locke can rape her. Jaime seems to have taken a liking, or at least a respect for Brienne as he helps her out greatly. Jaime tells Locke that Brienne comes from Tarth, the sapphire isle. He tells Locke that Brienne’s father will gladly pay his weight in sapphires for his daughters return, but only if her “honor is unbesmirched”. Jaime’s story works but he tries to push his luck by securing his own release. Little does Jaime know that his offer actually insults Locke and Locke wants to show him that Jaime is nothing without his father present. To further prove the point, Locke cuts off Jaime’s right hand, his sword hand. Jaime yells in pain and shock at what just happened as we end the episode on one of the most surprising end scenes of Game of Thrones to date.

Other Thoughts

Barristan had a spot on the small council as leader of the Kingsguard under King Robert. He knows that Jorah spied on Dany for Varys. Might that bring some tension between the two?

Along with Viserys, Dany also had another brother called Rhaegar. He died during the rebellion and Dany never got to meet him, that’s why she asked Barristan about him.

If you didn’t read the books, you would never see Jaime’s hand being cut off coming. The end credits song being a rock and roll cover of “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” just works perfectly to capture the shock of the moment. Great choice for the end credits song.

Cat is breaking down more and more by the episode. In a scene with her uncle Blackfish, she breaks down and we learn that she doesn’t hold hope that Bran or Rickon are alive. She could really use some good news.

How funny was it to see Pod return Tyrion’s money for the prostitutes? Pod was so good on his very first time that they refused to take payment! Tyrion and Bronn eagerly sit him down, wanting to take “copious notes”.

Talisa is getting more fleshed out as a character so that’s nice to watch. She teases Martyn and Willem about the rumors that her husband is a werewolf. Although, that would be really cool.

Bronn would do well to take an economics lesson. He doesn’t seem to know or care about the concept of a loan.

Edmure thought that Martyn and Willem Lannister would be useful hostages when Tywin wouldn’t even sue for peace when his beloved son Jaime was held prisoner. Get a clue Edmure.

Quote of the day is Locke’s little rant towards Jaime. A shock that big as an ending could have worked out poorly but it worked out so darn well.  “Have you got something to say? [threatens Jaime with a knife] Careful. You don’t want to say the wrong thing. You’re nothing without your daddy and your daddy ain’t here. Never forget that. Here, this should help you remember!” And you know what happens next.

“Walk of Punishment” perfects the art of changing places and characters when the iron is hot, moving the various plot lines along and leaving the viewer wanting more. 

Grade A-



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