Mutilation, rape threats, gratuitous nudity — Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 3: "Walk of Punishment" has everything we've come to expect from this show, for better and for worse. Well, except for dragons. No dragon spotting this week, though they manage play an important role in the plot anyway.
Revisit the drama with Wetpaint Entertainment's recap of "Walk of Punishment."
Riverrun: Family Feud
We open with Cat's father's funeral, a fact that's made far from clear if you haven't been paying close attention. Oh well. If you're not going to hang on each character's every word, this isn't really the show for you.
The deceased Tully is sent downriver, Viking style. Cat's brother, Edmure, tries and fails to hit the boat with a flaming arrow. Three times. Just as things are looking impossibly embarrassing, Cat's uncle, Brynden Tully (aka The Blackfish), shoves forward to save the moment. Takeaway: Edmure kinda sucks at things, and The Blackfish is a boss.
This impression is enforced in the next scene, where Edmure bristles with pride over the initiative he showed attacking some mill The Mountain was garrisoned near. We say “some mill” dismissively for a reason — as The Blackfish and then Robb himself points out, the mill is worth nothing; Edmure's orders were to draw The Mountain out. His glorious attack f---ed up Robb's plan, lost hundreds of men, and got Robb nothing but a couple of useless Lannister nobodies (who we later see Talisa tending to) as hostages. Way to do the family proud, Edmure.
Was Cat's lament about Jon last week not enough Cat introspection for you? Good, because we get another emotional scene between her and her uncle this week. We learn that the name Blackfish is an “old joke” that stuck, and Brynden Tully and Cat's dad were far from the best of friends. Also, Cat is sad, because everyone she loves is dead, missing, or Robb, who isn't exactly her biggest fan. Though compared to some of the other characters this week, she has a lot to be thankful for. At least she has all of her limbs...
King's Landing: The Job No One Wants
At the world's most awkward small council meeting, we spend a solid minute watching everyone seat themselves. That very important use of our time complete (to be fair, it is quite funny), we get down to business. No one knows where Jaime is, because little birds can only see so far (or, as Tywin puts it, the council members need to “Try. Harder.”).
Meanwhile, Tywin indicates approval of Littlefinger's latest power-grabbing scheme. He's going to take his new title of Lord of Harrenhal — an empty moniker, since Roose Bolton is actually ruling that “useless pile of rubbish,” but that's beside the point — and use it to woo Lysa Arryn, Cat's crazy sister. If Littlefinger manages to marry her, he'll be acting Lord of the Vale, because Lysa's sickly, breastfeeding son is barely fit for solid food, let alone leadership.
Of course, with Littlefinger planning to jet off to the Vale, the crown needs a new Master of Coin. That completely unenviable job — remember, the Lannisters may be rich, but The Seven Kingdoms' finances are a mess — is handed to Tyrion, because his daddy loves him so.
Later, Tyrion swings by Littlefinger's whore house to pick up the royal ledgers, because of course that's where Littlefinger keeps the books. And, oh look, Tyrion's squire Podrick stares at Ros's boobs because … ya know. This show. Littlefinger passes on his best accounting advice: “They're only numbers on paper. Once you understand that, it's easy to make them behave. Trivial, even.” Tell that to Wall Street, dude.
Of course, it turns out Littlefinger isn't so much a master of finances as he is someone willing to borrow too much from Tywin Lannister and the Iron Bank of Braavos and then skip out on the job before figuring out how to pay it back. And if you think Tywin's the biggest problem Littlefinger is leaving behind, think again: The Iron Bank will fund the the crown's enemies if the kingdom can't cough up the cash to return the loan. Have fun with that, Tyrion.
We'd be remiss if we didn't also mention the scene where Podrick is regaled with three naked whores, apparently entirely to set up a tedious joke about the squire being good in bed. The showrunners have to be trolling us at this point, right?
The Brotherhood Without Banners: Say Goodbye to Your Little Friend
As we predicted last week, the Brotherhood Without Banners hasn't let Arya go now that her identity is out; they claim she's not their prisoner, but they won't let her walk away, either. The same does not go for her friend Hot Pie, who stays behind to work at a random inn when Arya, Gendry, and the Brotherhood move on. “Don't get stabbed,” he tells his friends in a touching goodbye. (He also gives her a loaf of bread in the shape of a wolf, and it's adorable). Nice knowing you, Hot Pie. Hope the life of an inn baker works out.
The North: Bloodshed and Incest Babies
In our one scene a week with the Wildling army, Mance, Jon, and a few others check out the Fist of the First Men, where they're greeted with an unsettling sight: slaughtered horses laid out in a spiral. This is some serious crop circle stuff the White Walkers have pulled. Even more troubling, though, is the implication that 300 murdered Night's Watch men have up and walked away. The Watch is decimated, and there are that many more “blue eyed corpses” on the other side. So … this is a great time for the Wildlings to attack the Wall, obviously. Jon is sent along on the scouting mission in preparation for the big fight, because of course he is.
The few surviving Night's Watchmen drag themselves back to Craster's Keep, where creepy incest Craster (remember him from last season?) reluctantly agrees to let them stay the night, but not without regaling them with dire warnings and disturbingly sincere “jokes” about cannibalizing Sam. When Sam walks away in disgust, he stumbles on Gilly, the pregnant daughter-wife he befriended in Season 2. She conveniently has her baby at literally the exact second he peeks his head in. Bad news: It's a boy, which means Craster is going to sacrifice the child to the White Walkers if Sam can't find a way to be a hero.
On the Run: A Lucky Escape
As promised last week, Theon's salvation from horrible torture comes in the form of the unnamed man sent by Yara, who lets everyone's (least) favorite traitor out and sets him riding east.
Theon finds himself literally hunted by the men he's trying to escape — an ironic turn around from last season, when he hunted Bran and Rickon. Unfortunately for him, Theon's captors prove more competent than he was. He's caught and threatened with rape, but the mysterious friend appears at the last second to save him, much to the would-be rapist's .. annoyance? “You little bastard,” the rapist announces before the friend shoots him in the face. 'K.
Dragonstone: Melisandre Remains Cryptic
We drop by Dragonstone just long enough to watch Melisandre head off to … um … well, she doesn't actually know, but it's super important and will really help Stannis, she promises! Stannis awkwardly tries to get seductive, but Mel turns him down. “Your fires burn low, my king,” she explains. Her magic needs a King's blood, and Stannis isn't strong enough for all that — but “there are others with [his] blood in their veins.” There are? Is she talking about Stannis's daughter? Based on his expression and her warning that the Lord of Light demands sacrifices, we're thinking maybe. Has anyone pointed out that the the Lord of Light is a sucky, sucky god, who maybe doesn't deserve to be worshiped?
Astapor: An Extreme Offer
Over in Astapor, Jorah tries to give Dany a lesson in reality — if she wants to go to war, innocents are going to die. Because, um, duh. The Unsullied, Jorah argues, may have all murdered babies, but at least they won't rape and pillage after victory; she should buy and utilize them. Barristan, who Dany has apparently already accepted as an adviser, takes the other side, declaring that her legendary brother, Rhaegar, led an army of men who believed in and loved him. Jorah's got a pretty great comeback for that, though: “Rhaegar fought valiantly. Rhaegar fought nobly. And Rhaegar died.” Point, Jorah.
Dany is apparently persuaded: She wants to buy the Unsullied. All 8,000 of them. Oh, and also all of the ones in training. Problem: That's like wandering into the Met and asking to buy all the art. The price is astronomical. Her ship, Dothraki, and meager gold is only enough to buy about a hundred Unsullied, which is not exactly close to 8,000. Solution: She's going to sell one of her dragons. When Barriston and Jorah balk at this exchange, she tells them to STFU, because she's got this, bros.
She also grabs herself the pretty translator slave in the exchange, because why not? She needs a new friend, since all the named Dothraki have been killed off at this point.
On the Road: The Bear and the Maiden Fair
Even captured, Jaime and Brienne can't keep from bantering. Is Jaime's swordsmanship not everything it's been made out to be? Is it all Brienne's fault they got caught? Is Brienne going to be gang raped and killed if she fights back? Hilarity! But really, it's worth noting that Jaime's kinda gross advice to just lie back and think of Renly seems to come from a place of genuine concern. He gets that Brienne's instinct is to resist violation, and he's trying to tell her how to survive the night.
Of course, Brienne doesn't listen, and immediately starts to fight when Bolton's men try to assault her that night. However, Jaime, who might care more than he lets on, convinces the group's leader that Brienne is worth her weight in sapphires (because she's from Tarth, aka the “sapphire isle”) — but only if she her honor is "unbesmirched." It works; Brienne is spared. Of course, Jaime can't leave well enough alone. He presses his luck by trying to buy his freedom.
That? Does not go over as well. His attempt to imitate his silver-tongued brother's tactics earns him a threat to his eye and then WHAM — off with his sword hand. Or, to put it another way: OH GOD THEY CUT OFF HIS HAND OH GOD WHY WITH THE SCREAMING AND THE GROSS AH WHY?!
Well, that's one way to end an episode, anyway.
- Edmure is the second major new character who's played by a familiar face from Rome. My Brutus (Tobias Menzies), but you're all grown up.
- Robb: “You know who isn't [running short of patience]? Tywin Lannister.” Cut to: Tywin Lannister. We see what you did there, show, and we aren't impressed.
- Tyrion line of the week: “I'm quite good at spending money, but a lifetime of outrageous wealth hasn't taught me much about managing it.”
- The Blackfish: “It often comforts me to know that even in war's darkest days, in most parts of the world absolutely nothing is happening.” That is actually profound.
- “You're a long way from home, and winter is coming,” Theon's friend tells him. Interesting.
- Props to Alfie Allen, who knocks Theon's horror at his close call out of the park. Someone get this guy an Emmy nomination.
- Weirdly, the threat of rape against Brienne is made slightly more palatable by the parallel threat to Theon. It makes it feel marginally less gendered, though obviously the threat was (and is) more common for women.
What did you think of this episode? Let us know in the comments.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.