And if you get in any trouble, all you got to do is say "my father" and that's it, all your troubles are gone
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Directed by: David Benioff
What a change in pace that "Walk of Punishment" is. After "Dark Wings, Dark Words", one of the slower Game of Thrones episodes, got season three set up to march full speed ahead, D&D waste virtually no time in delivering more shocking thrills, with David Benioff now trying his hand in the director's chair. The result is a zippy 53 minute episode without a dull moment in sight, ending on one of the most gruesome acts of violence the show has given us so far. Let's all give D&D a hand for taking on the responsibilities of both writing and directing, and getting it done with both .
I think the first order of business is to do a little catching up with Theon, cause I haven't said a word about him so far for this season. The previous two episodes show us that Theon is being held prisoner in an unknown location, where a group of men are torturing him for information. In the middle of the night, a cleaning boy (Iwan Rheon) comes to tell Theon that he was sent by Yara and will help him escape when all the guards are asleep. In "Walk of Punishment", the boy comes and releases Theon, giving him a horse and telling him to ride east where he'll find his sister. The captors find Theon, however, and chase him down, but right before one of the guards is about rape Theon, the boy arrives and rescues him. This whole rescue attempt by Theon should be seen with skepticism, because just about everything that's happened to Theon so far has, in one way or another, involved him getting insulted and knocked down. Why should his bad luck end now?
Someone else who has an ongoing streak of bad luck is Tyrion, who is appointed the new Master of Coin, with Petyr Baelish getting set to depart King's Landing and head to the Eyrie, where he will marry Lysa Arryn and thus, deprive Robb Stark of allies in the North. Tyrion acknowledges that he is only skilled in spending money, not managing a budget. Later, while going through books, Tyrion learns that the crown is deep in debt, especially to the Iron Bank of Braavos, which always gets its gold back. If there's one politically-related topic that Game of Thrones hasn't explored very much until now, it's the topic of finances. There's definitely a nice spin to the matter of the crown's debt: this isn't something we can see in U.S. dollars, nor is it anything that can be handled electronically. Money in Game of Thrones is mostly comprised of shiny stuff like gold, but y'know, money is money, and everyone needs it to live a proper life. On top of starting to manage the crown's bills, Tyrion also learns that his squire Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) is an expert love-maker. Don't get too wrapped up in this mini-sub plot; the series will forget all about it soon, and I honestly doubt we will ever get a definitive answer.
Meanwhile in Astapor, Daenerys gives us her answer on whether or not she will buy the Unsullied. She is willing to trade one of her dragons for the army...wait, what?! Trade one of her dragons?! Dragons are the one thing Daenerys has that nobody else does, and she's willing to give one away?! Ser Jorah and Ser Barristan advise against such an offer, but Daenerys refuses to change her mind. Oh, Daenerys, why would you agree to give one of your children away? So what that she also takes the slaver's translator Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) with her as a gift? She better have some spectacular reason for going through with such an offer.
You know who doesn't give such a crazy offer? Jaime Lannister. To save Brienne from being raped by the Bolton men, Jaime tells the leading man, Locke (Noah Taylor), that Brienne's father is incredibly rich and would reward Locke handsomely if he returns Brienne, alive and undefiled. But just when you think Jaime is simply being a nice guy, he attempts to weasel his way out of his own captivity, telling Locke that his father Tywin is also very rich and would reward Locke with gold and titles if he was returned. No way you can pass up on gold and titles. Jaime looks like he's finally going home....
.....until Game of Thrones reminds us of a very important lesson that became clear when Ned Stark got his head cut off: no one is safe. That includes the Lannisters. Locke pretends like he's going to take the offer, until his men knock Jaime onto a tree stump, where he insults Jaime, telling him he's powerless without his father. To show Jaime exactly what he means, Locke swings his knife downwards, cutting off Jaime's right hand. There have been a lot of bloody moments so far in Game of Thrones, but this...this is blood curdling evil, the stuff of the most immoral nightmares known to man. It is a horrifying, traumatizing act of violence that will have you gripping your right hand for weeks. Jaime losing his hand is all the more shocking as he lets out a horrifying scream when he realizes what just happened to him, with the episode cutting to black before we have time to fully process what we just saw. This is one of those times where you will watch the end credits roll, and you will scream and plead for more, even if it's just a few extra seconds.
Having watched this episode again for the first time in a while, I was pleasantly surprised at just how quickly it seemed to roll along. Even if some of the story lines are strictly expository (the Stannis and Melisandre conversation, which I feel no need to analyze), "Walk of Punishment" morbidly reassures us that we are in for plenty more bloodshed and heartbreak, both of which already look like they will be more intense than the previous two seasons. It's quite rare for D&D to oversee both the directing and the writing, but with the kind of expert pacing and surprising moments exhibited by this episode, it should only make us feel all the more confident in what they envisioned this show to be when all is said and done.
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