Game of Thrones returns and sets us up for all the dramatic action we are about to endure from our favourite citizens of Westeros and beyond.

Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 1, “Valar Dohaeris”— The premiere episode pretty much picked up where we left off, focusing a bit of air time on all of our favourite characters, Cersei, Tyrian, Jon, Robb, Arya and Daenerys after the major battle at Blackwater Bay. If you’re not confused yet, you might be moving forward and I think Season 3 will be one where you really need to pay attention to characters and details. Although, we are about to see many storylines play out, they’ll all intertwine and become important in future seasons.

With so many characters and the show’s ever expanding roster of actors entering George R.R. Martin’s fantasy world, it’s a wonder how the show does so well at keeping things straight. This season, Martin’s third book, “A Storm of Swords,” will be split into two seasons so don’t expect everything to be neatly wrapped up in a bow when Season 3 makes its dramatic end.

Now that Renly is out of the running for king, things are heating up with the remaining four in question Joffrey, Dany, Robb and Balon Greyjoy, down south as the Lannisters join forces with the Tyrells, giving Margaery the confidence and power she needs to take on Cersei and the role of queen. Margaery, played by the brilliant Natalie Dormer, is proving herself to be a major political player in the game of thrones. While the men are brutally fighting and while Cersei kicks up a fuss and whines, Margaery, Renly’s former wife, is feeding orphans and funding food for the citizen’s in King’s Landing. Pretty cunning.

Tyrion also finds himself on the shaded side of glory. He makes one last ditch to his father Tywin for his birthright Casterly Rock. Tywin basically denounces him as a son and tells Tyrion he will never inherit it. Tyrion is left feeling alone and humiliated. Two things Tyrion will no doubt take lightly.

In Robb Stark’s camp, things are looking pretty grim. As his soldiers pass by Harrenhal they see it burnt down along with north men left for him by Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane. This causes some of his men to pause and think. What’s worse is that because she let Jaime free last season to go with Brienne to get her daughters, Robb has his mother put into a cell to send a message to his men.

Beyond the wall, Jon Snow finally meets the King Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder, (Ciaran Hinds) and pledges his allegiance to the Wildings. Jon’s journey is about to get interesting while undercover in Mance’s camp. Not only will he struggle with not being found out, he’ll have to break his vows of the Night’s Watch.

The episode ends with Dany arriving in Astapor, in Slaver’s Bay, where the renowned “Unsullied” are trained and sold. Later, Dany is almost assassinated by a young and very creepy assassin but is saved by a mystery man who ends up being Ser Barristan Selmy—former Captain of the King’s Guard in Westeros.

In other news, we see the foolish Theon Greyjoy losing command of his men at Winterfell. Also we can all breathe a sigh of relief, as Bran and Rickon are still alive. And with Littlefinger in her midst, poor Sansa will have to use her head to figure out whom she can trust. These stories will also be prove to be quite interesting in episodes to come.

A lot of set up happened in episode one, which is critical to introducing all the new characters. With so many players and story lines, my only fear is that viewers who have not read the books will not get to experience, or know a lot of the back story that is critical for tying things together. So far, the writers and creators have done a great job of adapting the story as best as possible but I suspect season 3 to be the benchmark in terms of how they’ll deal with books four and five in Martin’s best-selling series.


Game of Thrones airs on Sundays at 9 pm on HBO and HBO Canada.


—Toni-Marie Ippolito


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