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Game of Thrones – Valar Dohaeris Review: TV Royalty has Returned with a Bang

The season opener makes all the right moves to keep the momentum going from its stellar second season and also looks like it might improve upon the few plotlines that didn’t fully deliver last year. The two big downers for me last season were the storylines following Daenerys (Dany) and Jon Snow. That’s not to say either of them were boring, I wouldn’t say anything is boring about this show, but they felt less developed and interesting than their counterparts. Dany more or less dramatically went around yelling at people with a sense of entitlement, while Jon got lost in a blizzard, captured, then was forced to kill a fellow crow… that’s about it. It looks like season three is setting up bigger and more interesting things for both characters.

Jon beyond the walls gives us a better look at the “wildlings” and how they probably know what’s going on better than the people in Westros, even though they’re looked at as savages. I assume Jon is just trying to survive and doesn’t really want to switch sides, but him telling Rayder the story about the baby boys seemed to have some truth behind it. Also, Rayder guessing that Jon really wants to be a hero seemed very accurate. Perhaps this storyline will lead the two opposing forces joining up to take on the real threat. Between seeing the giant, dragons fishing, Dany attacked, and Ghost (Jon’s wolf) even bigger, it seems like this season probably won’t stray away from the fantasy elements, which were never really in season one besides the very opening scene and its close scene with Dany. It’ll be interesting to see if that will negatively affect the show’s popularity, since certain shows (such as Lost) had viewer decline as they became less grounded in reality.

Dany’s story has an interesting turn, since she now has the moral dilemma if using these monster slave soldiers will make her a monster herself or not. The scene with the little girl was surprising. Her working with the cloaked person crossed my mind, but her being some type of creature who’s trying to kill Dany did not. Even though Dany and Jorah are a good pair, it’s nice to see Barristan Selmy joining them since he seems to be a heavy hitter and honorable, even Jamie commented on his fighting skills last season. I’d also like to hear how he weighs in on using the slave soldiers. For those who might have forgotten, he led the Kingsguard and was dismissed by Joffrey in season one.

These different plotlines are taking place across their entire world and they are of course filmed across ours too. The different locations are all beautiful to look at and add a lot of personality to the show. The logic behind the clothing is always the same no matter the locale. Poor and common people always wear brown, black, or gray, while the rich wear vibrant colors such as gold, blue, red, green, and so on. That goes for Dany who’s in Astapor now to Margaery who’s in King’s Landing.

Seeing Margaery get out of the carriage while Joferry cowered said a lot. It has already been clear that he’s a mouse pretending to be lion, but it seems like he might be going even further down that hole. It shows that Margaery might be that much needed charisma and likability that the crown needs right now if they don’t want the people to revolt. It seems like Margaery knows how to play the game, since she doesn’t even need to directly fight with Cersei, Joferry will do it for her since he’s trying to impress her and Cersei is forced to comply. 

Sansa has always been a bit annoying to me, but she did show some worth in the attack last season where she tried to calm down and lead the women. Her still plotting an escape when the Hound offered to take her home just made my eyes roll. She had her shot and she missed it. Trusting Little Finger, the guy who betrayed her dad and helped get him killed, isn’t a great idea either. Perhaps the best scene in the episode was with Tyrion and Tywin, which was tough to watch. Tyrion did the best job possible and led the city as the king pissed himself and his reward is a scar, to be thrown in a crappy room, and not even visited by his father while injured. Tyrion is probably used to such abuse, but after playing a major role in saving the city he expected to be treated better, but no luck with that. Tywin, in a powerful speech, lets him know he’ll always get the bare minimum treatment for a Lannister. I am curious to see what moves he’ll make, if any, to possibly move past this. It would be great if he switched to Robb’s side, but that’s probably not happening.

The season premiere was a good appetizer for many of this season’s big plotlines. This still isn’t all of them, since there’s still Jamie, Theon, Bran, Arya, and other things in motion. I say appetizer because none of the storylines here went into a lot of depth, it was a little bit here and a little bit there, just to give us want to expect from this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next episode does something similar with the characters we didn’t see tonight and the third episode goes into the show’s normal structure. I was only a little worried about Dany and Jon’s storylines, everyone else was interesting last season and that will hopefully carry over to where we are now.



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