Game of Thrones: Walk of Punishment

Game of Thrones is generally a pretty dark series, with the occasional quip by Tyrion designed to lighten the mood. What delighted me about “Walk of Punishment” were the unexpected comic scenes peppered throughout the episode. It created a more complex tone, a blending of tragedy and comedy that the series should experiment with more often.

The Riverlands:

Right at the top of the episode we got our first amusing little sequence, which took place at a funeral of all places. Robb and Catelyn Stark are bearing witness as the patriarch of the Tully family is laid to rest. His body is placed upon a boat full of kindling and pushed down the river. And as he floats away, his son Edmure solemnly loads his bow and shoots a flaming arrow to set his father ablaze. Except it misses … huh. So he re-sets and shoots a second arrow … which also misses. Oh dear. Now the boat is floating further out of reach and the guests are rolling their eyes at each other and shuffling around uncomfortably. Hoping for a ‘third time’s the charm’ situation, Edmure tries again … and fails. So Hoster’s brother Brynden the Blackfish basically says ‘bugger this!’, shoves Edmure out of the way and shoots his own perfectly aimed arrow at the boat to finally achieve a roaring pyre. The whole thing was very subtle in its humour, but incredibly effective. It was also a great way to introduce Edmure and Brynden with zero exposition. We can already see that Edmure is a bit of a bumbling screw-up and Brynden is a highly effective and no-nonsense man of action.

Further proof of Edmure’s stupidity comes in the form of a tongue lashing from his king-nephew. Robb berates his uncle for ignoring explicit orders and rushing to meet Tywin in battle over a mill. If he’d held back and forced Tywin to chase him, into the North, Robb is quite convinced they would have his head on a spike by now. Now all he has is two tween Lannisters as hostages … and a mill.

Catelyn’s grief for her father is wrapped up in her fear for her the lives of her two young sons. Her memories of being a daughter are intensified by her burden as a mother. “I wonder how many times did Bran or Rickon stare across the moors of Winterfell waiting for me to return?” She’s really starting to believe she will never see either of them again.

Kings Landing

In our second bit of comedy for the evening, we were treated to a simple but highly hilarious display at the small council meeting. The new hand of the King, Tywin Lannister, has called everyone together … but apparently they are not pleased with their seating arrangements. Littlefinger, Varys and Pycelle snap up the seats closest to Tywin and when Cersei enters she simply will not stand for being pushed to the outskirts of the table. She makes a big show of laboring to pick up the heavy chair, shuffling around to the other side of the table, and placing it directly on her father’s other side. Not to be outdone by his sister’s power move, Tryion saunters over to the last remaining chair and drags it slowly – and noisily – to the other head of the table. Then he hops up into the seat and remarks on the lovely the décor of the new chambers.

Littlefinger, the newly minted Lord of Harrenhal, is relieved of his post as Master of Coin in order to pursue a special assignment. Tywin wants him to travel to the Vale and woo his way into Lady Aryn’s pants … err … heart to win her hand in marriage and secure the Vale’s allegiance in the war against the North. In his absence, Tyrion is named Master of the Coin and he quickly discovers that the Crown is in deep financial shit. Littlefinger has been borrowing millions of dollars from Tywin and the Iron Bank of Braavos. Unfortunately there is no foreseeable way to pay it back. This leads to an amusing math lesson in which Tyrion attempts to explain to Bronn that when you borrow money, you have to pay it back. Bronn’s repeated response is “And what if I don’t?” Tyrion replies, “This is why I don’t lend you money”.

Tyrion decides that it’s time to properly thank his squire Podrick for saving his life during the battle. He brings him to the whore house, hands him a pouch full of gold coins and trots out not one, not two, but THREE lovely ladies who will be expressing Tyrion’s undying gratitude. When Podrick returns hours later – with a giant smile … and all of the gold coins – Tyrion and Bronn are flabbergasted. Hysterically, Podrick managed to please a bunch of prostitutes so much that they refused to accept his payment. Highly unlikely, but a delightful scene nonetheless. Tyrion immediately pours the wine and demands details!


An ally helps Theon escape captivity, puts him on a horse and tells him to ride East to where his sister is waiting. He makes it to a forest before he’s pursued by his captors and once again rescued by the same ally who dispatches the pursuers with a bow and arrow. I’m not too sure what is going on in this plotline.

Beyond the Wall

Jon Snow and the Wildings arrive at the Fist of the First Men and discover that the White Walkers have left them a really, really gross art piece made of horse body parts. All the dead Night’s Watchmen are gone, which means they probably got their zombie on and joined up with the White Walker Army.

With the Watch’s best fighting men scattered or dead, Mance Rayder orders Tormund Giantsbane to take 20 good men, including Jon Snow, and climb over the Wall. Jon will finally get a chance to prove his loyalty by giving them the scoop on Castle Black. They are instructed to hide out and wait for the entire Wilding army to get in attack position.

The haggard dejected remnants of the Night’s Watch finally arrive back at Craster’s Keep. They beg for food and shelter, which he begrudgingly agrees to. I didn’t think it was possible, but he’s attained a new level of asshole-ness in their absence. He starts in on Sam for being fat, asking why the men don’t just carve him up slowly and feed on him. I’m not sure Craster has looked in the mirror lately, because he’s not exactly a candidate for the cover of Men’s Health! He also screams at his daughter wife Gilly who’s getting on his nerves with her “I’m pushing a human being of my vagina” noises. She ends up giving birth to a baby boy … so that’s not good.


Now that Thoros of Myr realizes Arya is Ned Stark’s daughter, he has decided to escort her back to Winterfell. The Hound is still captive and travelling with them. Hot Pie decides that his journey has ended and he’s going to stay at an inn in the village and make bread. He gives Arya a wolf shaped loaf as a parting gift. Honestly I don’t feel like I knew Hot Pie well enough to give a crap. I could have done without any Arya scenes in this episode because they did absolutely nothing to advance her plotline.


After his failure on the Blackwater, Stannis is feeling like the laughing stock of the Westeros playground. He’s desperate to regain his status and he wants Joffrey and Robb Stark dead … like NOW. He demands that Melisandre bear him another demon child, but she delicately points out that he might not be … err … up for it. “Your fires burn low, my Lord.” He he he. She insists that it’s time for him to make greater sacrifices, starting with someone who carries his blood in their veins.


Dany is still struggling with her current moral quandary. Should she buy the Unsullied and force innocent slaves to fight her battles? Or walk away and tread a harder path? Barriston wants her to leave Astapor and find sell swords who will fight with her, but Jorah is still insistent that the Unsullied are their best option. There doesn’t seem to be a good choice … but she must make one.

After weighing her options Dany confidently appears before the slave owner and announces that she wants to buy all 8000 Unsullied, including those still in training. He practically laughs her out the door – there is no WAY she can afford such a high price. Dany keeps her strong composure as the slave girl translator informs her that her ship will buy only 100 and her remaining possessions will only pay for a few more. How does she propose to pay for the rest? Dany pulls out a BIG trump card. She has dragons and she will give them one. Woah, woah, WOAH! Neither of her advisors approve of that option and they practically trip over each other trying to steer her away from it. But she stands firm and agrees to sell her largest dragon. In a final move, she requests that the slave owner throw in his translator, Missandei, as an extra gift.

Jamie and Brienne

Now that they are captives of the North, Jamie and Brienne’s contentious relationship takes some unexpected turns. They’re still bickering about who is the better soldier, but they have bigger enemies than each other at the moment. Jamie warns Brienne that she’ll most likely be raped at nightfall and advises her not to fight it. She can’t stop them and they’ll only hurt her more if she resists. Brienne asks him what he would do if I he were a woman. “If I were a woman I’d make them kill me, but I’m not thank god.”

I love how their dynamic is developing as they’re forced to rely on each other. When they finally make camp and Brienne is dragged off into the woods by a gaggle of horny mean, Jamie unexpectedly tries to save her. He ‘casually’ mentions to the leader that Brienne is from Tarth, the sapphire island, which is overflowing with gemstones. Brienne’s father would more surely pay his daughter’s weight in sapphires if she’s returned to him … unspoiled. It sounds like a tall tale to me, but the leader buys it and orders his men to halt their abuse of Brienne. You could see Jamie struggling with himself before his altruistic action. This IS the man who crippled a little boy. But I think there’s something about Brienne’s tough spirit that he admires. She’s a warrior like himself and he’s enjoyed sparring with her. To see her reduced to a screaming woman, about to be defiled, really bothered him.

Jamie’s first scheme was successful, but when he starts to bargain for his own life, he goes too far. First he promises riches beyond belief if he’s returned to his father and then he points out that the Northmen are fighting a losing battle. If they were smart men they would take a payout and fight for the winning side. Once he believes he is making headway, Jamie asks if he can be untied from the tree and allowed to sleep on the ground. It looks as though the Northmen are ready to make nice and they lured him over to a table with the promise of a hot meal. But instead of feeding him, they knock him to the ground and tell him they’re tired of his cocky, superior attitude. They pull his arm across the table and chop his hand clear off. UGH! I have a really, really big problem with people losing limbs on TV. It’s one of the things I cannot stand to watch. What a horrible – although effective – ending to the episode!

My only real complaint about Season 3 so far is that they are trying to stuff too many storylines into each episode. At least 4 of the plotlines in “Walk of Punishment” only had one scene . They felt like weird cameos. Why even include them at all? Why not save those scenes for episodes when they can fully feature those characters?

Photo Courtesy of HBO

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *