Game of Thrones Review: “Valar Dohaeris”


Mercifully, Game of Thrones premiered this week which allowed us to cleanse our palates of the awful Walking Dead finale. It’s a show we’ll be following for the next ten weeks, and normally this review will run on Mondays, but travel forced me to delay my musings.

The reviews will be recap, review and predictions, and as always I ask that you PLEASE refrain from posting book spoilers in the comments. It’s very nice that you’re up on the most current events of Westeros, but that isn’t true for everyone, and I’ve had too many surprises ruined for me already by those with loose lips or asshole-ish intentions.

I watched the season two finale right before the episode aired, and that sent off nearly every major character in a different direction. This show does not like keeping people together. Not everyone returned this week as many are stlil MIA, but I’m sure we’ll get an update on them next time around.

Tyrion has become something of a paranoid shut-in since his injury, and sends for Bronn to return to Kings Landing and protect him from any further treachery by his own family. Bronn, currently attempting to take the string bikini off a prostitute with his teeth, is none too amused at the request.


“You should have seen this girl’s hip bones.”

Of course, Tyrion had some of the best scenes of the night, first in his battle of wits with his sister where he came out on top. Then, he was verbally slaughtered by his father, who told him he’d rather die than give him Casterly Rock, despite his legal right to it. Something tells me the big conflict brewing this season will be Tyrion vs. Tywin, as the little man is tired of being pushed around by his father, and will scheme to exact revenge.

Far, far north, Jon Snow is currently infiltrating the camp of the King Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder, who definitely has the coolest name in the show so far. He’s being played by the intimidating Ciaran Hinds, and looks to bring a new dimension to a show desperately in need of more kings. Kidding.

I don’t quite understand his motivations yet. He wants to fight the White Walkers, but also really the rest of Westeros as well. His village looked decently sized, but is that a big enough fighting force to really get anything done? I guess he does have some giants on his side, who were awesome by the way.

What’s Snow’s plan here? Infiltrate the group and then what? I can see him going full native at some point to get with Ygritte. It was nice to see that Sam survived (I like him, I don’t care what you say), and I’m wondering if Jon will be forced to lay siege to the wall at some point, like, nine episodes from now.


“I’ve seen giants pound a man into the ground like a sexy crow pounds a redheaded wildling if he wanted to.”

I was surprised one of the people we did catch up with was Stannis Baratheon, who I hoped would fade into obscurity after his crushing loss at Blackwater Bay. But no, he’s alive and now a recluse who burns dissenters alive at the behest of Meilsandre. Davos(?) came back with a bad sunburn and tries to kill her in the stupidest way possible. She did make a lot of good points on why she probably should have been at the battle to help with her dark magic. And what did she show Stannis in those flames?

Could we be seeing a softer side of Joffrey this season? I think my favorite part of the episode was watching him hide from his new bride-to-be Margaery doing charity work in the city. She seemed like she was something of a schemer before, but now it appears she’s one of the nicer characters on the show. I thought Joffrey would end up executing all the orphans for diverting her attention from him, but it appears he’s on board with this whole “charity” thing for now.

What else happened? Rob Stark ended up at Harrenhal in a scene I didn’t really understand. Maybe it’s something I’m forgetting about last season, but why were all those dead Northman there? Were they prisoners? Wasn’t that where Tywin was staying at one point? And why was Rob blaming Jaime Lannister and his mom? Isn’t Jaime still being hauled around by Brienne somewhere we can’t see?

Lastly, Daenerys finally got her boat, and it was pretty funny to watch the Dothraki puke all over it. Now she’s in some new city filled with used car salesmen who sell soldiers instead. What’s the deal with these guys? How are they brainwashed to the point where you can cut off their nipples and they don’t flinch? That goes past discipline into magic, if you ask me.

Dany is almost assassinated for the 85th time by a little demon girl and a scary bug she assumes are sent by the warlocks of Qarth. Isn’t everyone in Qarth super dead at this point? In any case, she’s saved by Barristan Selmy, whose return would have been a surprise if not for the “previously on” scene that explicitly told us he would reappear at some point. ATTENTION EVERY SHOW EVER, STOP DOING THIS.


He’s such a great warrior he doesn’t even need to see.

I knew Selmy would come back at some point, but I figured he would be helping Arya Stark, not Daenerys. I get that he hates Joffrey, but he’s still loyal to the Targaryens? That seems rather weird. But Dany is nice and she has dragons, so I’d probably want to join her team too.

Alright, hopefully we’ll learn the fate of the rest of the cast next week, there really are a lot still to catch up with including Arya, Bran, Jaime, Brienne, Theon, The Hound, Varys, Hodor, Hodor and Hodor and so on. The perks of a mammoth cast, I suppose.

What did you think of the premiere? What do you imagine will happen now? And remember, please no book spoilers!

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  1. “She seemed like she was something of a schemer before, but now it appears she’s one of the nicer characters on the show”
    Two things:
    #1 She’s the one who said she wanted to be THE queen
    #2 Cersai once said that you win or you die.
    Buckle up.

  2. Selmy is a kingsguard at heart and was appointed by the Mad King (Kingsguard serve for life). After the Mad King’s family was killed during the war and Robert Baratheon declared himself king, Selmy kept his kingsguard oath to protect the king of Westeros. Joffrey dismissed Selmy from his kingsguard, so the former Lord Commander of the Kingsguard sought out the only surviving member of the house he formerly served, Dany.

  3. Harrenhall was apparently abandoned when the Lannister forces went south. All the dead northmen were left behind as a pretty big insult to the Northerners.

  4. Really liked the premiere.

    Agreed, no idea what was going on with the Rob Stark scene. Completely lost track of that plotline.

    I am enjoying Jon Snow and Dany’s plotlines the most.

    Soooo glad GOT is back.

  5. As rearadmir0l stated, I think Margy is just scheming. She’s shown that before, with her aggressive sexuality toward Renly. I think she’s trying to garner the affections of the people who have been, at best, ignored by the current queen, and, at worst, drawn her attention. Although “the people” have no power in regards to the throne, it may be a way to subvert Cersei to some respect.

    I think a really interesting semi-change in Joffrey is his open disrespect of his mother. He seems to be gaining a bit more real confidence with her, instead of the pseudo-bravado he previously displayed. Although, he’s still a little b**** when it comes to Margy and the commoners.

  6. “What’s the deal with these guys? How are they brainwashed to the point where you can cut off their nipples and they don’t flinch?”

    They are slaves castrated at birth and trained to fight. The book can answer more of your question but I hope the show will cover that.

  7. This is about the book though I don’t think it’s a spoiler.

    It was an interesting change from the book that Selmy revealed who he was right away. In the books he doesn’t reveal who he actually is until after spending some time with Dany. I think part of the reason for that is because he wanted to size her up. I wonder if the change was made because as viewers we can see him and we know who he is where as in the book he was always just described as an old man with a long beard and there is no reason for the reader to suspect that he is Selmy.

    In any case I liked the first episode and look forward to the rest of the season.

  8. I’d like further explanation on the Robb Stark scene, as well. I get that he is displeased with his mother because she 1) Let the Kingslayer out of his captive and 2) denounced his current marriage due to his agreement with the guy with all the rough looking daughters. But I’m glad he put his mother away. Catelyn was starting to piss me off. She was dealing with Robb the way Cersei was dealing with Joffrey.

    I still can’t wait to see how Arya is doing. And I really hope Tyrion gets his respects this season.

  9. I LOVED the charred remains of Winterfell in the opening sequence, I’m proud of myself that I caught it too.
    I haven’t read the books but can someone answer if Margaery is quite a bit older than Joffrey? (I don’t know if it really matters but I thought maybe it has something to do with how different he is with her than he was with Sansa) He seems intimidated by her. I’m looking forward to Margaery vs. Cersei – there’s some hate there.
    The nipple thing was gross.

  10. Anyone else find it kind of ridiculous to publicly attempt to predict what’s going to happen in a story that has already (mostly) been written and released for public consumption? This is how you separate the fans from the bandwagon hoppers.

    And yes, Cheryl, Margaery is older than Joff. Hopefully that big reveal from the books didn’t upset anyone who would rather wait years and years for a slightly inferior and much less detailed adaptation of the story.

  11. All the dead northmen in Harrenhal were executed prisoners. They had nothing to do with Robb having his mother locked up.

    That was done simply because she freed the Kingslayer, which naturally angered Robb and many of his bannermen. Given that her action comes pretty close to treason (had it been anyone else they’d probably have executed them on the spot) Robb has to figure out what if anything should be done with her, and putting her in a cell gives him time to figure that out (on the one hand she’s his mother; on the other hand he may have a riot on his hands if he lets her get away with it).

  12. Just to further clarify the Harrenhal situation; Harrenhal is where Arya was temporarily interred, it was full of Northern prisoners and held by Gregor Clegane, the Mountain that Rides. The reason that Catelyn takes the blame is that, by releasing Jaime Lannister, she took away Robb Stark’s only bargaining chip. The Mountain and his men would have never murdered all those prisoners if Robb still had Jaime Lannister because the Northmen would have murdered Jaime in retaliation. Instead, the Lannister forces killed all the prisoners and also avoided confrontation; this could not have happened had Catelyn not released Jaime. The Karstarks are already outraged about the men Jaime killed and Catelyn prevented them from extracting their pound of flesh in retribution, now more Northmen have died because of Catelyn impetuousness. If Robb is going to be king and retain the support of his men, he needs to show a strong hand, even if she is his mother. It’s an inversion of the Joffrey/Cersei relationship; Joffrey is a terrible king, in part, because Cersei has been his puppet master while Robb understands the importance of being his own man and making his own decisions. Robb captured Jaime Lannister and Catelyn released him without Robb’s consent; mother or not, that is treason.

  13. As Paul asks, I don’t think anyone (aside from those in Robb’s Army) that Jaime has been released yet. Wasn’t the point of keeping Jaime to protect Arya and Sansa, as well as having a Lannister prisoner? Catelyn releases him in the hopes that the Lannisters will then show mercy to Arya and Sansa, no?

  14. Re: Mance’s motivations
    I believe he’s fleeing the white walkers which is sending him to the Wall. Since he’s no ally to the Night’s Watch, he knows he’ll have to fight his way through.
    I think Jon’s plan is just to kill Mance, which he assumes will cause the wildlings to disband.

  15. the Robb stark thing seemed quite pointless but the man they find Qyburn is pretty important new character to the show. He is originally with characters from the book that weren’t put in the show (yet?) so i guess he’s coming into it this way

  16. Rob pretty much handled it in his previous comment, but here’s a pretty clear explanation of the scenes at Harrenhal from the Game of Thrones Wiki:

    “Robb has won every battle he has ever fought, but the Lannisters finally realized it was too difficult to try to attack him head-on, so they have shifted to the new strategy of simply fleeing ahead of Robb’s army. Robb’s forces have won many small but also insignificant minor victories, as the Lannisters are now determined to simply wait Robb out and exhaust his army far from home while they slowly rebuild their own numbers and gain new allies. In frustration, Robb launches a new offensive to the east which takes the great castle of Harrenhal, which Tywin had been using it as the main Lannister forward base in the Riverlands during the first year of the war. However, Robb does not find the decisive victory he was hoping for: Tywin withdrew his garrison to King’s Landing to counter the attack by Stannis, and didn’t even bother wasting any men on a token defense of the castle. Robb and his forces are further demoralized to find that the Lannisters massacred two hundred Northern and Riverlands prisoners of war before they left, and the courtyards are choked with piles of bodies. They do find one survivor, a maester named Qyburn.”

  17. Littlefinger was sent by Tyrion to make the prisoner exchange. He didn’t directly secure Jaime’s release but Jaime did escape and it was known that Catelyn did it. It’s not unreasonable to assume that people outside of the camp where aware of Jaime’s release

  18. Even if they didn’t know that Jamie was released, everyone at Harrenhal had to march to King’s Landing quickly for the Battle of the Blackwater. You can’t travel quickly with prisoners, so the choice ends up being: 1) Slaughter the prisoners and potentially dishearten your enemy or 2) Leave a skeleton crew that will be slaughtered if your enemy attacks your ‘base’.

    Obviously they went with the first option.

    I am so excited for season 3. I have very HIGH hopes for this season after reading the books.

  19. “Something tells me the big conflict brewing this season will be Tyrion vs. Tywin, as the little man is tired of being pushed around by his father, and will scheme to exact revenge.”

    Just an advice, Paul, to keep your options open:

    With a so dysfunctional family as the Lannisters, do you think Tywin/Tyrion is the ONLY family tension that is possible or probable?

    That family is so sick that the little incest thing between Cersei and Jaime is the healthiest aspect of it.

    There are endless fascinating, internal Lannister squabbles we might yet see…

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