Our long national geek nightmare is over! Game of Thrones has returned for 13 weeks of fantasy awesomeness and this is the first installment in what I’m hoping will be lively talk-backs and reviews of each episode. A warning, and the only one before we dive in, this column is specifically for people watching the show live week by week so if you don’t want spoilers, don’t continue.
“Two Swords”, the season opener, derives its name from the opening moments of the episode in which Ned Stark’s long sword is melted down into two smaller swords of Valyrian steel by Tywin Lannister. He give one to Jamie, whom he wants to return to the Lannister house seat and rule (Jamie refuses and will stay in the Kingsguard) and keeps the other for himself.
This is really the first time all the Lannisters have been under one roof. Even without Tywin, all the Lannister children have not been together since the beginning of season one. Having them all under one roof certainly won’t prove to be a catalyst for future massive disasters. Certainly not.
In the North, Jon Snow is not so much acquitted of his actions during his time as a wildling as he is not actively beheaded, but he escapes nonetheless. He’s had word of the Red Wedding and muses on being the lesser brother with Sam, who mentions that he feels like Jon’s lesser brother…except smarter (love Sam).
Ygritte, Tormund and the wildlings in the south are joined by a new group led by Thennis. These particular wildlings view anyone south of the wall as potential food and enjoy eating non-avian crow…..cannibals, people, I’m saying they’re cannibals.
The other new addition to the cast comes from Dorne (the southern most kingdom in Westeros). Tyrion is sent as a diplomatic envoy to meet Prince Oberyn Martell, who will cause all sort of interesting problems this year as he may be the only person in Westeros who hates Lannisters more than Starks do.
Sansa, displaying her only talent, sulks and stares off into space mourning the death of her mother and brother. I’ll grant that’s a better reason for sulking than she typically has, but I’m so tired of her as a character, I keep hoping for a break from the books and a large wooden badger to fall out of the sky directly onto her head.
Dany and her extremely impressive army march on the next city they’re ticking off on their Checklist of Places to Wreck Before We Cross the Ocean: Mereen. The leaders of that city display a bring it on attitude by crucifying a slave pointing in the direction of the city at every mile marker 163 miles from the city. Dany is not amused. We get a look at the dragons and they are getting big…and unmanageable. If Dany can’t control them anymore, things are going to get tense.
That leaves the best part of the episode: “The Arya and Hound Road Trip”. The Hound is taking Arya (have I mentioned how much I love Arya…..I love Arya) to her craaaaaaaaazy Aunt Lysa at the Vale for ransom and Arya’s going along basically because she has nowhere else to go. The two of them stop at a roadside inn that happens to contain someone unlucky enough to be on Arya’s night-time recitation of future dead people: Tolliver. Tolliver murdered one of the children during the road to Harrenhal in season two. Arya’s not forgotten. The two of them get in a fight with Tolliver’s men and Arya regains her sword, Needle, from Tolliver and then slowly pushes it through his neck. One down, many to go.
Two Swords was not the most exciting GoT episode and was probably the least dynamic opening of any season yet, but it did what it set out to do: it showed you where everyone was and what they were up to. Next week is the royal wedding and that is going to be so much spectacle, that the show runners, I supposed felt they needed a re-establishment episode to put everyone on the board before the pieces begin to move again. Let me know what you thought in the comments below and I’ll see you next week!