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GAME OF THRONES Recap: Winter Isn’t the Only Storm A-Brewin’

Well that didn’t take long, now, did it? Before Joffrey’s body’s been put to the ground, the Westerosi power-hungry elite have swooped in like the festering open wounds that they are to ensure that their metaphorical storms have bumped Winter (which is still coming!) from the driver’s seat on Game of Thrones. That’s likely to be a very big mistake, but we’ve no time to worry about that now. The push for power has only strengthened its hold on the Realm — as evidenced by the machinations behind Sunday night’s episode, “Breaker of Chains” — and those trying to keep the world on a just and good path might as well sit and spin on that honor of theirs, because it sure isn’t going to do them any good in the Seven Kingdoms.

So. The king is dead. Long live the terrible stories about him, as he was one of the worst kings Westeros has ever seen, by our wager. And though they didn’t quite touch on the mystery of who killed Joffrey (our money is on an Olenna/Littlefinger team-up), they did show how sad Tywin is about it. Which is to say: not at all. He’s not sad. Not even a little bit. “Your brother was not a wise king,” he explained to Crown Prince Tommen, next in line (while Cersei just sat there, weeping and listening). “Your brother was not a good king. If he had been, perhaps he’d still be alive.” So how does one become a good king? Just let Tywin do his best Olivia Pope and handle everything. At least, that was the basic gist we got from his whole spiel. In the words of locked up Tyrion, “Give it to my father: he never fails to take advantage of a family tragedy.”

And speaking of other terribly inappropriate things that happened over Joffrey’s dead body: Jaime raped Cersei! Which is great because, y’know, I was just starting to like Jaime Lannister after his Westeros Redemption Tour alongside Brienne last season (she really brings out the best in him). But now we can all go back to hating him like during season one, because it doesn’t get much worse than raping your sister next to the still-fresh corpse of your dead king/nephewson. I don’t care that Cersei’s terrible or that they already bone all the time. That was intense and intensely out of line, even for him. Sheesh.

Margaery, eschewing her selfless schtick for far more altruistic (and truthful, it seems) ways, spent her Joffrey Mourning Time pondering the important questions, like “but wait, does this still make me Queen?” Granny Olenna asserted she’ll be fine in that regard in time, and likely married to “the next one” quite soon. Which means she’s likely going to be thrust upon wee Tommen, ensuring several loveless (and sexless) years in wait in her future. Not that her marriages to Renly or Joffrey promised any sort of marital bliss. Man, do the ladies have it great on this show or what?! (The answer is “or what.”)


…Like Gilly, who Samwell brought to Mole’s Town in order to ensure her safety (famous last words). She’ll get to spend her time “washing the dishes” and “watching after the other girls’ children” and, I’m sure, not at all forced into prostitution (ha). But Sam insisted this was better for her than the Wall because they clearly have big ole crushes on each other (but there are 100 horny dudes on the Wall), so, y’know, we’ll see if she lasts an episode prostitution-free. Considering her Wildling status, we highly, highly doubt it.

Of course there are some prostitutes that seem to be having a good time in Westeros: those employed by Prince Oberyn and his lover Ellaria. (HELLO, asscrack!) The horniest prince in all of Westeros (which is really, truly saying something) didn’t have long with his jollies, though, because Tywin is freaking ruthless. (No wonder the Lannister sigil is a lion. Tywin is a by-the-book Leo: He wants what he wants when he wants it, The End.) The hand to the king — and current ruler for all intents and purposes — needs a third judge for Tyrion’s trial, and thought the Dornishman would be a good fit for the job. We’re not entirely sure why — these two clearly hate each other, and the Martells also hate the Tyrells (also getting a seat in the judges’ pool) — but it sets the stage for an interesting trial for Tyrion and what’s sure to be an epic tête-à-tête between The Mountain and Oberyn in the future.

Over with the last remaining Starks, we’re also a bit concerned. Sansa is clearly being used as a pawn by Littlefinger, and we’re sure it’ll be a short time before he tries to wife her again (his obsession with her mother is truly unsettling). And Arya, tiny serial killer-in-training, is really, really learning the meaning of the word “ruthless.” That’s what happens, though, when you spend all your time with The Hound, on the run. Ruthlessness is becoming Arya’s one guiding light. I’m sure that’s a lesson that will keep her alive, but, ugh, does anyone really want to watch Arya become one of the bad guys? Haven’t the Starks suffered enough? Why can’t she just cool it for a bit? “I just understand the way things are,” The Hound posited. “How many Starks they gotta behead before you figure things out?”

Of course there was one saving grace during the episode — Daenerys’ confrontation of the entire city of Meereen. While the fighting will have to wait for another day, her human compassion and ruthless quest for justice were on showcase as she made her plans known to the last of the cities in Slaver’s Bay yet to be conquered by her person. “I do not bring you commands, I bring you a choice. And I bring your enemies what they deserve,” Khaleesi grandstanded, showing the slaves that there’s another way to live (making that all-the-more explicit by catapulting broken slave chains into the city for all the folks to see).

Other Thoughts, Theories, and Things to Note:
– R.I.P. Ser Dontos. We hardly knew ye.
– Ser Davos isn’t really doing himself any favors with Stannis these days. Nor is that fake letter you’re having his daughter Shireen write in order to speak to The Iron Bank.
– I’d like to know what the deal is with The Iron Bank — they’ve been mentioned in every episode this season — outside of knowing that it involves the delightful Mark Gatiss in a pivotal role, which we’re very much looking forward to see.
– Tell me this isn’t the last of Podrick Payne.
– Jon Snow has gotten a bit more aggressive and confident these days, hasn’t he? We’re glad to see it, and finally prove that he does know something other than nothing.
– The wildlings are making their way towards Castle Black, and MAN, are those Thenns meanies.

UPDATED: Game of Thrones Fantasy Fantasy rankings

(Editor’s note: we’ll do our best to get these figures out to you in a timely fashion, but as many of you are finding out, there’s a ton of characters! These are calculated by game creator Andrew Nielson. Some of you have slightly different counts in the comments, but any disputes should be resolved by Small Council or your local Game Maester.)

Week 3 – “Breaker of Chains”

Petyr Baelish – 5 points
Styr – 4 ponts
Tormund Giantsbane – 3 points
Daario Naharis – 3 points
Ellaria Sand – 3 points
Olenna Tyrell – 3 pooints
Ygritte – 3 points
Jamie Lannister – 2 points
Arya Stark – 2 points
Alliser Thorne – 2 points
Cersei Lannister – 2 points
Oberyn Martell – 2 points
Daenerys Targaryen – 2 points
Sandor Clegane  – 2 points
Tywin Lannister – 2 points

All other characters received a net score of zero points. We will do our best to have these scores calculated for you the day following the original episode’s run.

Who do you think killed Joffrey? How’s your fantasy fantasy league looking? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. shenanigans8288 says:

    I’m sorry, I read these every week and I think I just don’t understand the POV of the writer. This is in regards to Arya turning into one of the “bad guys”, for what I presume is alluding to her comfort with killing. This entire world is based on the shades of grey of morality, and peoples point of view. The Hound said it best seasons ago when he tells Sansa that Ned Stark killed people, and most likely enjoyed it. Enjoyment aside, Ned Stark did kill people, and lots of people in war and as a ruler. I think that Ned would certainly be considered a “good guy”. Another “good guy”, Daenerys (people, please stop calling her Khaleesi I don’t think that I’ve seen a Dothraki in the show for two season–the Khaleesi thing is over), seem to really enjoy the slaughter of entire cities. If Arya turns out to be a killer, moreso than she is already, in the show it certainly does not make her a “bad guy”.

    P.S.–It is Hand of the King, not Hand to the King. I’m sorry to nit pick on details but I think we’ve all been there.

  2. In regards to the Spoiler/book spoiler points not counting as well

  3. This great! I would argue though, that unless the action is revealed to the audience it does not count. I am sure that Oberyn is getting busy at some point, but since he pants actually remain on, I did not give credit.

  4. Andrew Nielson says:

    Hey Grady, here’s how we counted it out, spoilers for the episode below, and some larger book spoilers redacted:

    Ygritte: 3 (3 kills)
    Dany: 2 (Orders Daario to kill the Champion of Mereen)
    Sandor: 2 (Manipulates the farmer into revealing the silver)
    Tywin: 2 (Manipulates Tommen about kingship)
    Tommen: -2 (per above)
    Littlefinger: 5 (Orders Ser Dontos death, SPOILER)
    Tormund: 3 (kills)
    Daario: 3 (Kills Champion of Mereen)
    Ellaria: 3 (Pulls a Podrick)
    Olenna: 3 (SPOILER)
    Oberyn: 2 (Has his way with male prostitute)
    Arya: 2 (manipulates the farmer into taking them in)
    Alliser Thorne: 2 (manipulates Jon into saying something he doesn’t want to.)
    Jamie: 2 (For what I will call that scene in the sept.)
    Cersei: 2 (Per above)
    Styrr: 4 (2 kills, manipulates Potato Farmer’s Son into going to Castle Black.)

    Some of these are totally subjective, and it’s worth noting that I’ve loosened up my requirements for awarding points to make things more interesting, which is partly why so many were awarded this week (In addition to a bonkers episode).

  5. We would love to see how you calculated these points. There are a lot this week, so great job counting them all up.

  6. Akiba Tucker says:

    He does rape her in the books…she says no like three times and then submits, which in the show, if you wete paying attention, she had moments where she seemed to be giving in only to fight him moments later. Rape is rape, so everyone who is up in arms about how nice or not the raping was need to calm down.

  7. Aaron says:

    I think the webmasters should code an automatic reject of any POST commands on this website if the text string contains the words, “… in the books”.

    I am sick and fucking tired of all of you elitist ass-clowns who continually, week to week, spoil shit for the people who haven’t read the books. If you find yourself incapable of typing the words “in the books”, THEN DON’T FUCKING POST HERE. There are countless forums for you book fanatics to speculate on the future of the novels and tread over familiar ground. The TV episode recaps are NOT that forum.

    So take a fucking hike.

  8. Lara says:

    The deal with the Iron Bank:
    Cersei ordered the Master of Coin to stop paying the Iron Bank. They’re from Braavos (where the faceless men come from), and they are known for funding your enemies and getting kings killed when they don’t get paid.
    If the Iron Bank gets behind Stannis, they’ll kill two birds with one stone.

  9. Good one Axel, “I’m not going to spoil something from the books, but here, let me spoil something from the books.” You too vjj

    I’m a book reader and proud of it, but comments on TV show reviews should be focused on the show. Add further insights or comparisons, but don’t tell people what happens next; unless you add a big SPOILER disclaimer.

  10. Tillburg says:

    A good rule of thumb for this world: be very afraid of those who know all your secrets and to those you owe debts. The Iron Bank is one terrible giant not to wake.

  11. boB says:

    Good write-up, Alicia… I’m glad you’re doing this show and Orphan Black, because you’re obviously a fan. That’s the way it should be.

  12. Axel-san says:

    Well, I know who killed Joffrey in the books, but not spoiling those who have never read them. Also, in the books Podrick goes on a quest to find Sansa (not alone), who knows what the show will have him do.
    Don’t know why they moved Gilly to whore town.

  13. Keni says:

    Definitely agree with the changes in Jon. Good to see him becoming much more assertive and involved in the story line. Really looking forward to seeing how his character develops.

    Also, WTF JAMIE.

  14. Crissy says:

    This episode was terrible in my opinion. Jaime does not rape Cersei in the books…. She says “YES!” she is happy that he is back in King’s Landing with her. Yeah, they have consensual creepy incest sex next to the body of their son but at least it was CONSENSUAL.

  15. vjj says:

    I’d like complement Aidan Gillen. His Petyr Baelish is just perfect. And considering what Varys did at the end of “A Dance with Dragons”, it seems that Baelish may turn out to be the “hero” after all this chaos.

  16. vjj says:

    And don’t forget what a stone cold c**t Ygritte turned out to be. She murdered that peasant child’s father in cold blood. I hope Stannis and Melisandre annihilate the wildlings. Sam should get over his childish crush on Gilly (no, she doesn’t have any spiders from Mars).