After what seems like an eternity – and then some – the third series of Games of Thrones is finally back onto our screens with ‘Valar Dohaeris’ , an episode that doesn’t need even to flex it’s muscles to convince you this is the best show on television right now…
For 10 gruellingly miserable months we’ve had to trudge through the meaningless existence of life without Game of Thrones gracing our weekly television schedules. OK so that sentence may be more applicable to my life than anyone else’s…
Either way, Game of Thrones is back! Thoroughly exciting news which had me once again, close to donning my own suit of armour, parading the streets of Wales yelling,“Winter is Coming!”. I admit, after last years arrest for breaching a number of Public Order Offences I decided to go for something a little less ostentatious.
I released 1000 ravens instead.
On to the review… ‘Valar Dohaeris’ is a powerful yet quiet episode. Nothing generally ‘massive’ happens during it’s hour long running time (unless you’re counting seeing that amazing looking giant!), though what the series 3 opener does accomplish, and very successfully, is lay the foundations ready for the rest of the season to build on.
Straight off the bat: White Walkers. These ice eyed undead warriors look set to make a more prominent appearance throughout this third series and I’m more than happy to let them fill The Walking Dead shaped hole that’s been left in my life. The opening scene where the hapless Sam finds a brother of the Night’s Watch head cleaved off into his lap really does set the tone.
The White Walkers will be meaning business.
Jon Snow still finds himself a ‘captive’ north of The Wall, deep in Wildlings territory and we’re finally introduced to the King-Beyond-The-Wall. I haven’t finished reading George R. R. Martin’s books so I’m pretty much blind on how things eventually pan out, though the position of Jon Snow is starting to intrigue me.
Does he truly want to pledge his allegiance to the Wildlings? His motives definitely sound plausible though in the same breath I feel he’s got some kind of ace up his sleeve.
It would seem Jon Snow has finally stumbled across a storyline I can invest in. Throughout the last series, Jon Snow was one of the few characters that I felt never had enough substance, and always had me craving just that little bit more. One of the best things to happen to Jon Snow, towards the end of last series, was meeting Ygritte. Her fiery almost feral persona seems to have ignited something in Jon and their on-screen chemistry is usually a joy to watch.
Daenerys Targaryen, dragons in hand (which looked superb by the way), is now on the search for an army. Game of Thrones is no stranger to comedy moments and in this episode we’re treated to probably the funniest in the shows entire history. The exchange between Dany, a translator, and the Aspator war lord who’s trying to sell her an army is priceless.
Game of Thrones is one of those rare gems that, since it’s inception on to the silver screen, has managed to maintain extremely high production values. ‘Valar Dohaeris‘ continues this tradition without breaking a sweat.
As ever, we’re treated to some stunning scenery locations; every part of Westeros has it’s own distinct look and ‘feel’. I have friends who aren’t exactly well versed in Game of Thrones lore, but are comfortable naming locations specifically down to rooms decoration, or in the apparel of certain soldiers.
And where production values excel, so does the acting. You’d be hard pressed to criticise any of the actors in Game of Thrones and one of the best showings was to be seen between Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Twyin Lannister (Charles Dance).
Tywin Lannisters lengthy verbal abuse to his son Tyrion was brutal to watch and as it was compelling, and was played perfectly by both actors involved. Tyrion’s fall from grace, despite his heroics at the battle of Blackwater, really do confirm how much the Black Sheep of the family he really is. Tyrion most definitely has a plan, and betraying his “family” seems high on the agenda, though even I struggle to think what he’s going to come up with.
No doubt it will involve blood being spilled…
To find out what happens to Tyrion is worth coming back to the second episode alone.