Game of Thrones Review: “Dark Wings, Dark Words”


At any given time, it seems most of the cast of Game of Thrones is wandering around lost somewhere. This week, we found most of them.

In truth, every Stark child but Sansa is wandering around somewhere, though it could be said even she is shuffling around aimlessly through the corridors of King’s Landing, waiting to either die or be married.

Robb wanders with his old army, Jon wanders with a new one. Arya and Bran and Rickon wander with only a small escort. We didn’t hear from those three last week, but we finally caught up with them this time around.

As there’s so much time between seasons, even if a few days have passed, in real life, months have, and for kids bolting into puberty, that’s a big deal. Arya’s a foot taller, and so is Bran, though you might not know it. But he’s grown older, his voice deeper, and I barely recognized him during his opening dream sequence where he’s standing, hunting three-eyed ravens.

But want to know how to feel really old?

Think that a new cast member looks familiar, then realize he’s Liam Neeson’s adorable lovestruck son from Love Actually. Damn.


And so we meet Jojen and Meera Reed, and are introduced to the concept of a “warg.” There are many types of magic returning to the realm along with the dragons, but this is a new one. It’s the ability to see through the eyes of animals, something Bran has done for a while now in his dreams, but it turns out there’s more to it than that. Jojen, also a warg, can share Bran’s dreams and he’s trekked across the land to find Bran for…what reason exactly? We’ll have to see.

Meanwhile, Arya, Gendry and fat-kid-who-I-can’t-believe-is-not-dead are still marching through the woods toward Riverrun. They run across a band of brothers without a banner, which I suppose is similar to having a banner anyway, and eventually meet up with the Hound who has been taken prisoner while drunk. That’s going to be a merry little brigade now that they know she’s a Stark. What will the brothers do with her? Is the Hound still a quasi-good guy or is he chaotic neutral since he abandoned his post? I was really sad when Arya dropped her sword in one swipe. Remember your dancing lessons boy! Is she too big for Needle now, I guess?

Theon’s circumstances are something of a mystery now. He’s being tortured by unknown forces asking why he took Winterfell. Even after all this time, I’m rather confused about what the hell happened at Winterfell. Theon’s men knocked him out and handed him off to this new group, but how did they torch Winterfell? Weren’t the surrounded by 500 Northmen? I thought they worked out a deal to sell Theon to them and would escape, but you can’t really do that if they set Winterfell on fire. What the hell happened there? I’m not sure if that’s a purposeful mystery (in which case don’t spoil it) or just confusing (in which case, please explain).

I will say I noticed the contraption that Theon was strapped to was the same as the sigil of the riders who were going to the Tully funeral with Robb Stark, and those who ran into a sparring Brienne and Jaime Lannister at the end of the episode. But if they’re loyal to Stark, why would Robb not know of Theon’s capture? Odd.

There were a few great scenes this week, the first of which was Catelyn explaining how she almost murdered Jon Snow as a baby with her prayers. She promised the gods if they saved him, she would name him Stark and love him as her own. They delivered, she didn’t, and so ruin has come to the Starks, or at least she’s taking the blame. I still can’t figure out if Robb’s new wife is bad from a “she’s distracting him ” perspective or bad from a “she’s secretly evil” angle instead.


The other great scene was with Margaery Tyrell and King Tinyface, Joffrey. I wondered why Margaery wanted to hear if Joffrey was a monster or not (along with her grandma, whom I’m assuming will be a major player soon enough), and it seems that it was so that she could figure out how to act in order to gain his trust and affection. She plays with his phallic crosswbow and wonders out loud about murdering animals (with people as the subtext) and Joffrey is pleased. Something is brewing there, and between Cersei, Margaery, Loras, Joffrey and Sansa, some serious shit is likely to go down.

Also: Tyrion got a blowjob. Because every episode needs Tyrion. So there we are.

See you next week. No book spoilers please.

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  1. Great episode! Thank you for mentioning where Jojen was from…that was driving me nuts!

    So that thing that Theon is tied to – when they turn the screws is his body being stretched or are his ankles being crushed? I found that part hard to watch…I want bad things for Theon but…not like that.

    I live in Calgary and at the end of the month at the annual Comic-Con Dinklage and Cersei are going to be there…so tempting…

  2. This week’s episode really just seemed to be a lot of people walking around.

    About Theon’s storyline; in one of the previous episodes, when Robb heard the news of Winterfell he wanted to rush back to defend the North. Instead, Lord Bolton (their house sigil is a flayed man) urged Robb to keep pushing against the Lannisters and offered to send his bastard son with a few hundred men to deal with Theon (apparently by blowing horns outside his window and waiting for him to lose his mind :-P). It would appear that the Iron Islanders struck a deal with Bolton’s bastard for a safe trip home, while Theon was taken captive and is now being tortured.

    That’s about all that’s apparent from the show without going into the books, hope that clarified it a little.

  3. Paul, the mystery of Winterfell is indeed purposeful, and I won’t spoil it here. Suffice to say, things are not always as they seem on the surface…and that pretty much goes for just about anything in GoT.

    As has been said repeatedly over the last few years, there are some distinct differences between the books and the series. This is no exception…but as a fan of both, I’m enjoying the differences because it keeps the stories fresh.

  4. As to the confusion of Winterfell, and the confusion of reports about it:

    The King of the North is miles away, and just because he thinks an alliance has been made, or that Winterfell is a smoking ruin, or whatever, that really depends on how the Northmen ACTUALLY remaining in the North interpret (or misinterpret) orders from , and relay (or withhold) information to, their King, doesn’t it?

    The actual intermediaries, the ravens themselves, can only squeak..

  5. Yeah, that whole Winterfell/Theon thing is supposed to be a kinda-mystery, but good catch on the Flayed Man connection. All will be revealed. Eventually.

    I do have a question for anyone who watched season 2 recently. In this episode, Robb tells Catelyn about the burning of Winterfell and how there was no word of Bran or Rickon. Weren’t they under the impression that they were dead? I could have sworn that when Theon killed the other kids and posed them as the Stark boys, Robb found out and sent Bolton’s bastard after him.

  6. Seeing how much Bran has grown since last season raises all sorts of questions about the end of the series. These kids are going to be full on adults by the time the series runs its course.

  7. DocDoom:
    In this kind of world, you are supposed to kill off the little People, but High Nobility? They, you keep healthy for future ransom money.

    Idealists like Catelyn and Robb would obviously assume that Bran and Rickon are hostages, rather than having been killed. just like Sansa is.

  8. I like what they did with Catelin and Jon Snow. I like it when I find new things the filmmakers do to fill the gasps in the narrative that doesn’t happen in the books. Also with the burning of Winterfell, I know what happened and I can’t be surprised there, but I’m hung in the way they’re managing the information and the characters I want to see.
    And please people, READ THE BOOKS ALREADY, It won’t spoil the series, it will wide the gravitas of it. Also, can you really live spoiler free for five or six more years?

  9. Lord Tywin has an interesting point.
    However, since the series has already struck out its own individual paths, relative to the books, the adolescence issue might, in skillful hands, become yet an interesting deviation relative to the source material.

    Out of modern day propriety, the series’ Dany was “deflowered” by Khal Drogo at 17-18, rather than at 12-13 as in the books.

  10. I agree with everybody here.
    Please read the books, they are great!!!!
    They don’t spoil too much (actually they do but they are better than the show in so many ways if you like fantasy stuff) but will give you a new perspective on what is happening in the series.
    I really like how they managed to add new subplots/stories within the story (i.e. I don’t remember from the books that Catelyn scene speaking about Jon Snow with smallpox. It was great).

    Of course, nothing is perfect and they screw it up sometimes. However, most of the time you can understand that it was for purposes of clarity / budget they went a certain way. I would say 70% of the times you understand and 30% of the times you wanna kill the writers.

    Please keep in mind that the last book will probably be out by 2017 (nobody knows, but that’s my bet). So it will be impossible to remain spoiler-free if you dedicate to this job. 🙂


  11. Two quick clarifications:

    – From the book (not a spoiler I promise), Jojen doesn’t actually possess the power of a Warg, meaning the ability to see through the eyes of animals. He’s something a little different.

    – Arya hasn’t outgrown Needler, it was taken from her at Harrenhal and she hasn’t had an opportunity/run in with the thief to reclaim it.

  12. Arya losing her sword so easily really aggravated me initially but I have thought it out. The sword she stole to replace Needle is much to big for the Bravossi stance she was using in the scene. Take into the fact that the she was facing an adult and of course she wouldn’t be strong enough to hold on.

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