Besides reuniting with Tormund and Davos, his big action in this episode is hanging his fellow Night's Watchmen who betrayed him, an action that leaves him dramatically declaring, "My watch is ended. It's not that this episode feels like stalling, but an hour of TV like "Oathbreaker" can be frustrating when you feel like you know where most of these characters are going but they're taking forever to get there.
Most shocking moment: Jon's hanging of his murderers isn't exactly shocking, but his despairing mood was a surprise to some fans who thought he would spring immediately into a less gloomy king mode following his resurrection. Why it's important: Bran gets his first flashback trip to the Tower of Joy, a significant bit of history from the series, in this episode courtesy of the Three-Eyed Raven.
Weiss Recap: A good chunk of this episode is focused on the aftermath of Joffrey Baratheon's well-deserved death. It opens with Sansa's escape from King's Landing, which lands her right in the manipulative clutches of Petyr Baelish, who swiftly murders her rescuer Dontos and convinces her that he's her only option.
While Olenna Tyrell tells Margaery that she's better off without the shithead king -- all but confessing to the murder -- Cersei is seething and raging at her son's resting place. She hisses at Jaime to kill Tyrion, who she thinks committed the act. Jaime begins to kiss her at the tomb, and then turns on her calling her "hateful" and raping her on the spot as she pleads, "It's not right. Elsewhere, Arya and the Hound continue their road trip.
And, finally, Daario whoops some ass in Mereen. Most shocking moment: Jaime's rape of Cersei. Why it's important: Plot-wise, this episode sets the stage for Tyrion's trial, but it's probably most notable as another example of Thrones carelessly using sexual violence to further a narrative.
Weiss Recap: As you'd imagine, the title of this episode refers to both the social-climbing going on in the bedrooms and corridors of King's Landing, where a series of politically motivated marriages get brokered, and the mountain-climbing going on beyond the Wall, where Jon Snow and the Wildlings cling to massive sheets of ice with axes and ropes. The actual summit sequence is thrilling, packed with strong winds and last-minute rescues, and it ends with Jon and Ygritte sharing a kiss. The pairing off at King's Landing is much less romantic, with Tywinn and Olenna brokering a series of arranged nuptials between their children.
Loras ends up with Cersei and Sansa ends up with Tyrion, who must give her and Shae the upsetting news at the same time. Elsewhere, Robb attempts to make amends with the hard-to-trust Frey family, Jojen has visions of future troubles, Arya meets the other-worldly Melisandre, and, since we're still in Season 3, Theon gets tortured some more in an increasingly unpleasant fashion. Enough already!
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There's a wheel-spinning quality to some of the storytelling here, particularly with the foreboding and bleak events in the North, but at this point the show had built up enough good will that loyal viewers were invested in the climb. Just keep moving. Most shocking moment: We see the aftermath of Joffrey killing Ros with his new crossbow, one of the cruelest and most vicious acts in the show.
Why it's important: Littlefinger's "chaos is a ladder" line, which he delivers while revealing his sinister plot to Varys at the end of the episode, is one of the most quoted lines in the show's history. Weiss Recap: The second episode of Season 2 largely focuses on advancing plot, often through its tried-and-true sexposition technique. You have Theon returning to the Iron Islands uh oh!
Daenerys languishes in the Red Waste, waiting for her riders to return, one of whom does -- though, technically, it's just his head that comes back. Jorah tells Dany that this is a message, which, yeah, obviously.
Also in this episode, Melisandre and Stannis have sex and discuss exactly what they're up to, and why Stannis needs to commit himself to the Lord of Light. The biggest moment, though, comes when Jon follows Craster as he takes a son out into the wilds north of the wall -- that's when the young Snow figures out that Craster's giving his kids away to the White Walkers. Most shocking moment: When Craster knocks Jon out just as he's discovering the spooky truth about how the White Walkers multiply. Why it's important: It's a lot of setup, but we see Stannis' religious, uh, fervor take over, and get significant insight into the nature of the White Walkers.
It features Jon Snow wavering over whether to invite the Wildlings to join his burgeoning alliance, Tyrion and Jorah traveling through Valyria, Stannis prepping to attack Winterfell, the Boltons prepping to defend it, and Grey Worm receiving palliative care from Missandei. The two major moments of this episode come when Brienne has a Stark loyalist she and Podrick meet at an inn deliver a message to Sansa to put a candle in Winterfell's highest tower if she's in trouble uh, yeah, she's got Ramsay on her hands, she's in trouble , and when Jon frees Tormund, who tells him he has to go to Hardhome in person if he wants to convince the Wildlings to join his fight against the White Walkers.
Neither of these events plays out smoothly, but they had to be set up at some point. Most shocking moment: When Jorah looks down and sees greyscale starting to break out on his wrist after he and Tyrion are attacked by a pack of feral greyscalers. Not good! Why it's important: The most important future events this episode tees up are the impending battle with the Army of the Dead, and Stannis' bad decision-making that will get his entire army destroyed.
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Season 3, Episode 2 April 7, Director: Daniel Minahan Writer: Vanessa Taylor Recap: In later seasons, one of the most common complaints about the series has become that it lacked the large scope of the earlier seasons, but it's easy to forget that the early days were filled with accusations that the narrative was ungainly. Occasionally, there was a sense that the map was too crowded, too busy. This episode, which introduces future fan-favorite Lady Olenna Tyrell and brother-sister duo of Jojen and Meera Reed, is packed with scenes where we get quick updates and moments of conflict with various characters: Jon and Ygritte continue to argue and grow closer beyond the wall; Joffrey attempts to impress his more savvy bride-to-be Margaery with a crossbow; Robb gets bad news about the death of his grandfather, Lord Hoster Tully, and the sacking of Winterfell; Jaime and Brienne get in a sword-fight before getting captured; Arya and her gang of friends encounter the Brotherhood without Banners before an awkward encounter with the Hound; and, oh yeah, there's some warg-ing action with Bran that we'll get to below.
See, lots of stuff -- but little of it really lingers in the mind. Most shocking moment: The torture of Theon Greyjoy at the hands of what will eventually be revealed to be Ramsay Bolton's soldiers. It's incredibly unpleasant, but at this point it wasn't as repetitive as it would later become.
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Why it's important: This is the episode where Bran has a dream about a three-eyed raven and then learns that he is, in fact, the three-eyed-raven. It's a somewhat baffling but still big "whoa" moment that would obviously have profound effects on the future of the series. Weiss Recap: As far as "calm before the storm" episodes go, "The Prince of Winterfell," which fell right before the Battle of Blackwater, leaves much to be desired. It's not that the episode is bad or completely lacking in tension -- Theon's confrontation with his sister Yara at Winterfell is fraught and the reveal that Osha is stealing bread for the still alive!
Stark boys is compelling -- but some of the beats feel familiar and repetitive. It's a lot of table-setting. At least that mischievous assassin Jaqen H'ghar is around to help Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry escape from Harrenhal, setting them on a path for adventure. Most shocking moment: Catelyn Stark frees the Kingslayer Jaime Lannister, royally pissing off her own son Robb, who decides to place her under guard. Why it's important: Catelyn's decision to send Jaime back to King's Landing in exchange for her daughters might not sound like a brilliant strategic move, but it gave us Brienne and Jaime's road trip, one of the show's best plotlines and greatest character pairings.
Weiss Recap: The Season 3 premiere didn't exactly set the world on fire, but it was a nice companion piece to the Season 2 finale, "Valar Morghulis," which means "all men must die" in Valyrian.
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Jon Snow meets Mance Rayder and Tormund Giantsbane, Bronn returns to Tyrion's service as Lannister family bickering ratchets up can't Tywin just acknowledge Tyrion played a huge role at the Blackwater?? Meanwhile, Robb Stark discovers The Mountain has killed everyone at Harrenhal, and people are pretty pissed about that. Overall, it's mostly just expository setup spread across too many storylines read: boring and complicated.
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Most shocking moment: Uh, maybe when Barristan saves Dany? Why it's important: Look, not every Game of Thrones episode can be "important," but since Season 3 had to start somewhere, "Valar Dohaeris" is relevant insofar as it accomplishes its only essential task. As Jon Snow and Sansa argue over the number of allies they need, leading to the introduction of the fearsome-yet-small Lyanna Mormont, the show's other notable fearsome-yet-small warrior, Arya, attempts to make her way back to Westeros but gets stabbed by the Waif wearing an old-woman disguise.
The Waif was not a good character, but she was tricky! In King's Landing, Margaery, Lady Olenna, and Cersei do their best to outwit the powerful High Sparrow, who continues to reign over the city with his brutal fundamentalism. There's some business with Yara and Theon as well, but the Hound's story is the main thread here, and it ends in typical Game of Thrones fashion: A bleak call to arms that leaves poor Brother Ray dead and the Hound picking up his axe for battle once again. Most shocking moment: Was the Hound's return actually "shocking" for viewers?
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Most knew he was coming back; what's more surprising is that the show only signed up Ian McShane for one episode. Why it's important: Even if the pacifist community shown in this episode is ultimately destroyed, that village does offer a different, less domination-based political path forwards.
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In the context of such a dark series, it's a valuable reminder that things don't have to be so terrible all the time. Weiss Recap: Let's start with Robb Stark's camp, where Jaime Lannister is prisoner and about to do some really bad things. In order to escape he kills his kin, Alton Lannister, a former squire of his who also happens to be a big fan. Jaime lures the poor kid into a sense of security by bonding with him. After a pleasant conversation, he bashes his new friend's head in, telling him, "You'll only have to do one thing. You'll have to die. That's the title! He retorts that because he's only been with one woman, Cersei, he's more honorable than Ned Stark who supposedly fathered a bastard child.
Another man making some brutal and awful decisions is Theon, who, in an attempt to take Winterfell and show his strength, also sets out to murder Bran and Rickon, who have escaped with Osha.
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