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‘Game of Thrones’ Review: “Walk of Punishment”

Game of Thrones Review Walk of Punishment
HBO

Game of Thrones’ season 3 gives a hand to its third episode of the season “Walk of Punishment,” as Tyrion faces a new challenge at Kings’ Landing, while Jaime attempts to protect Brienne in captivity, and Daenerys makes a surprising bargain to buy her army of the Unsullied.

Last week’s ‘Game of Thrones’ episode “Dark Wings, Dark Words” saw Arya and her companions running into the Brotherhood Without Banners, Bran meeting some new faces of his own, Jaime and Brienne continuing their journey and Margaery Tyrell growing closer to King Joffrey, so what will the newest episode bring?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Game of Thrones’ season 3, episode 3, “Walk of Punishment!”

At the funeral for Lord Hoster Tully, Edmure Tully embarrassingly misses three shots to light the canoe ablaze with a flaming arrow, for which Brynden “Blackfish” Tully steps up and finishes the job in disgust. Later, Edmure defends his actions in driving Tywin Lannister’s forces out of a local mill, but Robb insists their goal was to lure The Mountain to attack them instead. If nothing else, they’ve at least captured young Lannister hostages.

Tywin summons the small council to meet in a new chamber, subtly testing their wiles by allowing them to choose seating arrangements around one side of a table. With no news of Jaime and Lord Baelish soon to depart for the Eyrie to marry Lady Arryn, Tywin names Tyrion the new Master of Coin, despite his inexperience at the job. Elsewhere, Jamie and Brienne ride captive with the Bolton men, bickering about their sword-fight before Jaime warns Brienne they’ll likely rape her that night.

Over in the Riverlands, Arya protests her “captivity” under Thoros of Myr, while watching The Hound led into captivity and dragged away. As the company prepares to move out, Hot Pie announces his intention to stay and work at the inn, having no real reason to continue the journey, and presents Arya with a loaf of bread in the shape of a wolf. The three say their goodbyes, Arya praising the bread, and it’s every bit as adorable as you think it is. Farewell, Hot Pie.

Back at Riverrun, Catelyn and Brynden bond over the loss of Hoster Tully, while Brynden urges Catelyn to keep hope alive for Bran and Rickon, whose fates remain unknown. Nearby, Lady Talisa tends to the frightened young Lannister hostages, jokingly confirming their fears that Robb can turn into a wolf and eat his enemies. Elsewhere, the mysterious servant from last week frees Theon Greyjoy from captivity, and urges him to ride East, where his sister is waiting.

On their march toward the Wall, Mance Rayder and Jon Snow reach the Fist of the First Men, finding a gruesome arrangement of dead horses left by the White Walkers. Mance points out that Jon will likely have to fight his zombified fellow Crows in the future, before sending Tormund Giantsbane and Jon to begin their climb of the wall. Elsewhere, Craster reluctantly takes in the returning Night’s Watch men, esteeming his own generosity. Sam follows the sounds of a woman’s cries to find Gilly giving birth, dismayed to see that her child is, as feared, a boy.

Stannis Baratheon sees Melisandre off at Dragonstone, not wanting her to leave on a mysterious mission she refuses to tell him about. Stannis notes how his enemies continue to mock him, and asks her to give him a son, though she cools to his advances and points out that he’s lost some of his fire. Others out there share his blood, and sacrifices will be needed before he sits on the Iron Throne.

Over in Astapor, Daenerys bemoans the cruelty to slaves along the “Walk of Punishment,” as one crucified slave refuses her offer of water. Ser Barristan urges her to leave the city, but Jorah points out they’ll still need the army. Shortly after, Daenerys speaks with the Unsullied slaver, demanding to buy all 8000, as well as those in training, but the man rudely balks. The slaver points out that her worth and possessions would afford her no more than 123, to which she offers to trade him one of her dragons. The slaver accepts the bargain, while both Barristan and Jorah protest, as Dany adds one more caveat to the sale: the slaver’s personal servant, Missandei.

Podrick and Ros gather together all of Lord Baelish’s ledgers for Tyrion’s new position as Master of Coin, while Baelish counsels him on the simplicity of the job. On their way out, Tyrion offers a personal show of gratitude to Podrick for saving his life in the battle of Blackwater, the services and attentions of three valued (and flexible) whores. Later, Tyrion pores over the ledgers and expresses his worry that the crown is as much in debt to Braavos as it is to his father, when Podrick suddenly returns. Podrick offers back Tyrion’s gold, which the women refused to accept, deeply confusing Bronn and Tyrion. Sitting the young boy down, both demand details of why the women gave their service for free.

Theon rides across a vast plain, before a cadre of men appear over the hill to pursue him. Theon leads them on a chase through the woods, before finally getting knocked from his horse and disoriented. The men attack and prepare to rape him for his escape attempt, before suddenly taking arrows from an unseen source. When all the men have fallen, a mysterious man appears and helps Theon up, noting him to be a long way from home.

That night, Lock and his men gather Brienne to be raped, before Jaime sticks up for her and tells Locke she’d be worth her weight in sapphires to her father. Intrigued, Locke agrees to spare Brienne, and asks if Jaime would be worth the same in gold to his own father. Overstepping their new rapport, Jaime asks to be freed from his tree, and delights in the offer of a hot meal, but Locke quickly has him held down and takes a blade to his eye. Locke points out that Jaime always invokes his father to get him out of difficult situations, and brutally lops off Jaime’s hand as a lesson in obedience. Cliffhanger!

Whew! Where last week’s “Dark Wings, Dark Words” largely carried on the herculean task of catch us up with the characters left out of the premiere, we were relieved to have “Walk of Punishment” actually gain a bit of momentum and highlight some excellent water-cooler moments. Not only does the wordless scene of the small council arranging their chairs deserve an Emmy category all its own, but “Walk of Punishment” gave us the excep[tionally cool visual of the White Walkers’ horse arrangement, and the brutal turn of Locke cutting off Jaime’s hand. If only ‘The Walking Dead‘ had such ambition…

A few scenes here and there still lag, with very little payoff given to Stannis Baratheon or Jon Snow’s brief appearances, but we’re continually happy to see Daenerys with a much more interesting story this year. Not only that, but the dynamic between Jaime and Brienne has quickly become a favorite among the series, its “aww” factor perhaps only eclipsed by Arya’s brief goodbye with Hot Pie. Going forward, we’re intrigued to see what becomes of Theon Greyjoy’s insertion into the narrative, and perhaps some real action from Jon and Mance Rayder’s story.

Did you get your fill of sword-swinging ‘Game of Thrones’ action?  What did you think about tonight’s episode “Walk of Punishment?” Check out all our other ‘Game of Thrones’ season 3 coverage, and join us next week for an all-new episode recap of ‘Game of Thrones’ season 3′s latest episode “And Now His Watch is Ended” on HBO!

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