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GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “And Now His Watch Is Ended” (S3, EP4)

GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “And Now His Watch Is Ended” (S3, EP4)

Winter is coming, but not soon enough. So to help pass the time until season seven of Game of Thrones, we’re doing a weekly re-watch of the series, episode-by-episode, with the knowledge of what’s to come and—therefore—more information about the unrevealed rich history of events that took place long before the story began. Be warned, though: that means this series is full of spoilers for every season, even beyond the episode itself. So if you haven’t watched all of the show yet immediately get on that and then come back and join us for Game of Thrones Re-Throned.

Because the next best thing to watching new episodes is re-watching old ones.

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Season 3, Episode 4: “And Now His Watch is Ended”

Original Air Date: April 21st, 2013
Director: Alex Graves
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss

This episode, “And Now His Watch is Ended,” the one that concludes with the totally kick-ass scene of Daenerys burning Astapor to the ground and leaving with her new army of free Unsullied, is one of the best hours in the show’s history. Just about every scene and character here is worthy of deeper exploration, but since we are coming ever closer to the show’s end and as such are keeping the possible endgame in mind, we want to look at the scene where Varys tells Tyrion how he was “cut.”

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(Before that though, here’s a quick rundown of some of the many episode highlights:

  • Jaime, who now has his missing hand hanging around his neck, is mistreated, and for the first time we feel actual sympathy for one of the show’s most vile characters thus far.
  • Brienne not only tells Jaime that she knows he saved her from being raped—for reasons she can’t understand—but she also instills in him a will to live. This is the real beginning of their friendship, one of the show’s most sincere and touching.
  • Ramsay tricks Theon in to returning back to his torture chamber, and it is a perfect example of just how quickly events and characters can turn on this show. Before this Ramsay seemed like a good person (ha!). Remember, don’t trust anyone you don’t actually know in the Seven Kingdoms. Or people you do know for that matter.
  • Tywin tells Cersei he doesn’t trust her, not because she is a woman, but because she isn’t as smart as she thinks she is. This is the episode where Cersei first starts (foolishly) plotting against the Tyrells, which we know will lead to total disaster for everyone, Cersei included. Tywin Lannister was a bad father, but a smart guy.

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  • Lord Commander Mormont is killed in the Night’s Watch uprising at Craster’s Keep, and a world with few truly good men loses another one when it needs them more than ever.
  • Varys and Lady Olenna first meet and their partnership begins, one that now might help reinstall a Targaryen on the Iron Throne.
  • Ever-naive Sansa can’t see how she is still nothing more than a pawn to the people in power, and she instantly falls for Margaery’s friendship and offer to marry Loras without at least considering why this is happening.
  • The Hound (who is especially awesome here, which is saying something for him), is brought to the secret hideout of the Brotherhood Without Banners and meets their leader Beric Dondarrion. We learn that this rogue band of outlaws are all followers of R’hllor and that we’re going to get a Trial by Combat soon enough.
  • Seriously, Daenerys Targaryen and her sacking of Astapor is one of the best moments in Game of Thrones history.

daenerys-attacks-astapor

Okay, that was a “kinda” quick rundown. Now back to Tyrion and Varys.

Tyrion visits Varys to see if there is evidence that Cersei was the one who tried to have him killed during the Battle of Blackwater, but Varys says he has “no proof, only whispers.” But just because there won’t be a trial over the matter, Varys wants Tyrion to understand that he can still have his revenge. In fact, Tyrion has come at the perfect time for such an explanation.

During this scene Varys is opening a very large crate which just so happens to have air holes in it. He then tells Tyrion the story of how he was castrated (which he promised to do one day right before Stannis attacked King’s Landing). Varys tells the horrible tale of how he was sold to a sorcerer as a child, who then gave him a potion that made him paralyzed, but not from pain.

varys

“With a hooked blade he sliced me, root and stem, chanting all the while,” Varys says. Then the sorcerer took what he had removed and threw it into the fires of a brazier (exactly like Melisandre and Stannis will eventually do with the leeches that had sucked Gendry’s blood). Varys explains exactly why this moment made him so intent on stopping Stannis and his Red Priestess.
“The flames turned blue and I heard a voice answer his call. I still dream of that night. Not of the sorcerer, not of his blade. I dream of the voice from the flames. Was it a god? A demon? A conjuror’s trick? I don’t know. But the sorcerer called and a voice answered. And ever since that day, I have hated magic and all those who practice it.”
What makes this especially terrifying is not only how it matches something we might expect from a follow of R’hllor, the sacrifice of an innocent to the fire (poor Shireen), but the blue flame it produced, a color which instantly brings to mind the White Walkers. Who or what was the sorcerer doing this for and why? Worse, who or what called back? Might the answer not be the Lord of Light R’hllor nor his supposed enemy, The Great Other, the Lord of Darkness, but something—or some other god—instead? Or, far worse, are the Lord of Light and the Lord of Darkness one in the same?
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Considering Varys has used his power to have the sorcerer that cut him shipped to him in the crate he has been opening he might ask him, but his mouth has been sewn up. Questions about the flames sometimes have to take a back seat to revenge, which Varys assures Tyrion will get one day if he can wait. “Influence is largely a matter of patience,” says Varys, “I have no doubt the revenge you want will be yours in time—if you have the stomach for it.”
It just so happens that Tyrion’s influence has grown so large since then that he is now the Hand of the Queen who possesses the only dragons in the world, and he is headed back to King’s Landing where his sister sits upon the Iron Throne. His revenge seems to be at hand, but only if he has the “stomach for it.” For Cersei to get her revenge on the High Sparrow she killed hundreds of people and as a result united enemies in a common cause against her. What might Tyrion have to be willing to do to get his revenge? Kill thousands? Burn King’s Landing down? Kill his brother Jaime whom he loves?
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And will his desire to seek retribution distract Tyrion from what is really important, saving Westeros from the army of the dead?
Tyrion learned a very powerful lesson about influence and exacting revenge, a story that might foretell who will finally bring down Cersei, but it would be better for everyone in the Seven Kingdoms if he remembered that voice Varys heard call out from the flames.
What did you think of this episode? We want your voice to call out in our comments section below.
Images: HBO
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