The Ninjabot

Game of Thrones: “Walk of Punishment” Review

Posted on April 14, 2013 at 8:54 pm by Jeff Mueller


Holy Merle Lannister Batman!

Before we get into the specifics of this week’s episode I find myself wondering if shows like this aren’t more suited for the HBO Go service than just watching them ‘normally.’ Even as someone who has read the books, I find myself racking my brains to identify the steady influx of new characters (seemingly every single episode) and how they fit into the overall picture. At least watching on HBO Go gives you access to to on-the-fly genealogies, maps, etc… If you are having a hard time keeping up, I suggest a viewing on that platform until things make sense again because I don’t think things will slow down one bit and the rate at which we meet new characters far outweighs those that fall to the wayside (you will be missed “Hot Pie”, you chubby little bastard).

So where to start?

I think the renewed focus on the multiple facets of the ongoing war (and in Daenerys’ case her preparations for war) is good. It is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture sometimes as the focus narrows in on each of the main characters, so reviewing each of the views of the war this episode brought us back to the reality that the entire country is in turmoil still. Even the scenes where it is not the main focus, such as when Tyrion unsuccessfully tries to politi-block Lord Baelish (or as Bronn so aptly has named him, “Lord Twatbeard”) from leaving King’s Landing to go wed Lyssa Arryn (Cateyln’s sister and all around nutjob), it is framed around how that particular plot point or scene plays out in the grand scheme of the war.

game of thrones season 3

Who’s da man?

We see Robb Stark, taking a moment in Riverrun (now highlighted in the opening credits) to attend his grandfather’s funeral, continue to reinforce the fact he has a knack for military strategy as he dresses down his uncle, Edmure Tulley, for a poor decision on the battlefield. The King in the North has obviously fully gown into his new role, but you can sense the slightest hint of desperation lying just under the surface. He knows the longer this drags out the chances of him ever seeing his sisters alive grows slimmer and slimmer. Also in Riverrun we are witness to Catelyn Stark mourning the passing of her father with another new character, her uncle Ser Brynden Tully the “Blackfish”.  What bothered me most about this scene is that we see her shed more tears for her father, whom we have never met nor heard a good word about, than we have seen her shed for her husband or children. I am sure the scene was meant to try and bring a little audience sympathy to the character, but it just ended up making me dislike her even more!

North of the wall we find out that the White Walkers have a gruesome sense of the artistic, as Mance Raydar, Ygritte and Jon Snow arrive to survey the aftermath of the battle at the Fist of the First Men. They find no dead Night’s Watch, which is quickly noted probably means they have been absorbed into the frozen zombie army, but find more than enough dead horses. Slaughtered and artfully arranged into a pleasant pattern in the snow. Sensing the Night’s Watch at an all time weakest, Mance decides this is now the time to strike and orders a raiding party be sent to Castle Black with Jon in tow. The standing order’s being that if he is not useful to “Toss him off the wall, and see if crow’s can fly.” Things are looking bleak for the bastard in black, either he fully commits to being a turncoat or he helps facilitate an invasion into the north part of Westeros. It is an unenviable situation to say the least.

Unlike Jon Snow we know that a small portion of the Night’s Watch remains, still led by the grizzled Commander Jeor Mormont, and have managed to make their way back to crust old Craster’s place once more. You can tell everyone is at the precipice of breaking, and while they break bread together you can tell something bad is going to happen.

We get to spend some much needed time across the sea with Daenerys as she receives counsel on war from Ser Jorah and Ser Barristan. Much like Robb Stark, she has come into her own. While she asks for advice you can see in the way that she handles herself, and the look in her eyes, that she feels fully confident in her ability to reclaim her throne and that she knows exactly what she is doing. Her negotiations for 8,000 of the “Unsullied” was handled with a steely disposition, and while she had to trade one of her dragons in payment it felt as if she was in complete control the entire time. Luckily for Westeros is still safe from her due to the ocean between them but I am not going to lie, between the impending two pronged invasion of blue eyed ice zombies and Raydar’s army of wildlings from the north and Daenerys’ growing army and dragons from across the sea I don’t see how there can possibly be a happy ending for any of our favorite characters.

To round out the war-time struggles and machinations we get a brief scene with Melisandre and Lord Stannis, who has obviously become the rest of the way unhinged.

What would all the political intrigue be though without some good old-fashioned brutality though? Theon Greyjoy continues to remind us that the laws of karma are alive and well, as he tries to escape his mysterious captors. Badly beaten and broken he is freed by an unnamed young man, claiming to work for his sister, and set upon a horse. Since the torture he had already undergone obviously wasn’t enough, he is ridden down and nearly prison-raped in the mud before being rescued Robin Hood style once more by his savior. There is something quite satisfying about seeing him take beating after beating. Perhaps it is that up until this point there has seemed to be no consequences for those whom we despise? Whatever it is, I am okay with it as long as Theon continues to suffer.

game of thrones season 3

Never forget…

Finally we get more of the pairing of Brienne and Jaime Lannister. While I know a lot of fans have been slow warming to Brienne of Tarth, I find the chemistry between the two to be really engaging. You can sense an almost mutual respect underneath the malicious banter, and it has provided more of an outlet for Jaime to become more layered and textured as the show progresses. We find them now captives of the northmen who came across them at the end of last episode and we get a better understanding of, what can only be described as, the eldest Lannister’s moral compass as he manages to save the giant warrior woman from getting Theon’d behind some bushes. You can see it almost confuses Brienne as she, much like the audience, still isn’t sure just what to make of him. We are brought back to talk of the war at hand as Jaime tries to pull a Tyrion and talk his way out of the situation. All seems well in the world, and you can tell once more that he and his brother the Imp are definitely cut from the same cloth until he gets OMGWTFLUKESKYWALKERED! Probably the first truly shocking moment of the season, and in typical Game of Thrones fashion it came out of nowhere and was spectacularly brutal!

Outside of the wars, rapings and amputations one thing I noticed was there were quite a few “easter eggs” in this episode for fans of the books and who have been following this series for some time, from the rock-n-roll version of “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” by The Hold Steady over the end credits to the description of a certain bendy prostitute’s talents as a “Meereenese Knot”. I know there is a lot of unrest in the fan-base when the show strays too far off script, but I for one often enjoy these moments the most!

So let us know what you thought of this week’s episode, and if you could tell which end of the wolf pie was the tail, in the comments below.

Make sure to follow @themightyjerd on Twitter for more Game of Thrones musings!

Game of Thrones: Season 3, Episode 3 “Walk of Punishment” aired April 14, 2013 on HBO.

Please Note – Due the nature of this TV show being quite far behind the books in terms of plot, we want to remind everyone that there is a zero tolerance policy regarding spoilers in the comments. Keep discussions relevant to the show only!

    • singingsalieri

      Why do people dislike Catelyn? She's intelligent, good-hearted and dedicated to her children, a better diplomat than Robb, and she's not afraid to make bold decisions when the situation call for it. Ned made far more mistakes. Everyone blames her – but if Robb heeded her advice, things would be better. Also, when she started sobbing it was about her children, Bran and Rickon, not her father.

      Also, who in seven hells hates Brienne? She's the most admirable, moral character in the series. She is the only true knight in Westeros and, on top of that, she's an underdog.

      I get that A Song of Fire is like a rorshach test for characters – your favorites say more about you than about them (except for Joffrey). The world is grey and they're all so flawed, the audience has to pick their favorite vices instead of virtues. But people who hate Brienne? That says something very disturbing.

      • Oh man I can't stand the character of Brienne. Not because of what she believes in or how she is portrayed in the HBO series, but rather her boring chapters in the books. My god if I read "I'm looking for a maiden of ten and two" one more time, I was going to throw book four out the got dang window. I would love to comment further with specific examples, but Jeff would get mad at me for spoilers.

        Hit me up on twitter @Edgyarmo or email and we can discuss. I think we will talk about Brienne on the podcast tomorrow night. We already went on and on about poor Catelyn last week.

        • Smart move Justin! Too much book talk and I will end you. End you like Ned Stark.

          And you are wrong about Brienne! =)

      • I try to maintain a separation in my head when it comes to the books and the show; the characters that impacts the most are Catelyn, Tywin and Cersei. While I find Cersei and her father much more compelling on the screen than on the written page that definitely is not the case for Cat.

        There is just something about the way she is portrayed on the show that leaves me cold toward her. She is so bitter, and I can't seem to find any way to penetrate that hard exterior that has been created.

        You are right though, the story definitely appeals to different people through different characters. People always look at me like I am daft when I say Samwell Tarly is in my top 3 favorite characters. *shrug*

      • Brienne is soooooooo much better… so far in the series as opposed to the novels. Of course right now her wagon is hitched to Jamie though so that might be skewing my perception.

        I don't blame Catelyn for anything other than her irrational hatred for Jon Snow. Ned is the one who committed the betrayal but she harbors no ill feelings for him. I understand that Jon is the physical embodiment of a great betrayal, but for it to be rational she would need to hate Ned as well. I disagree that things would be better off if Robb listened to her. Rob isn't making mistakes, his underlings are. I think Robb is managing the war brilliantly, and he is ruling by respect. His men would not respect him if he had released Jamie for the girls, as he would have been just another noble using the peasants to protect his way of life. Ned would be doing the same thing and he was a great leader.

        • I wish the Lannister's would simply drop a nuke on the North since they are the best characters on the show. Tyrion, Jamie, and Tywin are amazing, and Cersei (no matter how infuriating) is also great. Even Tyrion's underlings are awesome. Bronn and Pod should get their own buddy sell-sword spin-off show. He's a wise-cracking chauvinistic sell sword, and he's a straight laced squire, together they are Bronn and The Fawn.

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