Episode Review – HBO’s Game of Thrones: 1.3 – Lord Snow

Another Sunday, another great episode of this wonderful show. The third episode of Game of Thrones had fewer murders and gratuitous nudity than the previous episodes, and that’s okay; “Lord Snow” packed in lots of background information but that’s necessary when the scope of the show has expanded to encompass two new locations. It was a bridge episode, building on the history and lore of the world and its characters. The action will pick up soon, and it’ll be more meaningful in part because of the character insight we got here.

* The scene between Ned and Jaime in the throne room was fantastic. We learn a little bit about Ned’s father, who was burned alive by the previous king. Jaime killed the king, and views his actions as justified, even noble, and I tend to agree with him. Ned, though, can’t forget that Jaime and his family came to the rebellion late, when victory was all but certain. What was prudence and practicality to Jaime is an indication of untrustworthiness to Ned. Though the event happened nearly twenty years ago, both men are guided by it in the present. History has a lot of weight in this world.

* Robert’s bitter musings about war nearly stole the episode for me. History, for him, is nearly all that matters. He’s trapped as king, in debt to the Lannisters, and unable to make any hard or important decisions, so instead he’s pushed his responsibilities off on Ned and spends most of his time half-drunk and dreaming about days long past. Robert may have been a good man, but he’s a terrible king.

* Tyrion, who continues to kill it in nearly every scene he’s in, did a great job in puncturing the “woe is me” bubble surrounding Jon since he arrived on the wall. In his old life he was a bastard, rather low on the totem pole of social hierarchy, at least compared to his trueborn siblings. At the wall, though, he might as well be royalty compared to the rapers, peasants and assorted other criminals and low-born, though at first he’s too self-absorbed to realize it. Tyrion shows him how the other recruits see him: as an intimidating bully. Now Jon’s realized the error of his ways, I’ll look forward to seeing him befriend his new brothers. On a related note, the friendship that grew between Tyrion on Jon was great to watch, and I hope we get to see it again, though it may be some time since both characters will be going separate ways now.

* Poor broken Bran. We didn’t get much of him in this episode, but we know that he’s paralyzed, which is a rough fate in a world like this. His old nursemaid tells him a wonderfully creepy tale about long winters, the white walkers and their dead horses. Foreshadowing, much?

* The scene between Arya and Ned was a great one. He stumbles with his clumsy gift of a doll to Sansa, who’s far too old now for toys like that. As an old soldier, he finds it easier to relate to Arya over her sword. Her “dancing” lesson at the end of the episode was fun to watch, but it was even better to watch the satisfied look on Ned’s face melt into something resembling fear once he realized that training his little girl to use a sword might mean that she will really have to “use” it someday. It’s just another reminder to him that they are in a dangerous place.

John is a TV blogger for Raked and an Entertainment and Sports contributor here at The TMR Zoo. You can follow him on Twitter at @raked_jc