Learned Fangirls Reflect on Game of Thrones: “Walk of Punishment” (Season 3, Episode 3)

Laura Fletcher
I’m reaching the point in the season (Corrin knows what I mean) where I’m excited to live vicariously through you, Cheryl, as someone who has no books to inform what might be coming next!

Cheryl Collins
Corrin, welcome back! What was your take on this episode?

Corrin Bennett-Kill
Thanks, ladies! Glad to be back! This episode is where this season is starting to take off. Many of the missing characters from lesser branches of the story are being introduced. Big-gasp moments will begin to be more prevalent. All in all, I was pleased. I also thoroughly enjoyed my husband’s “what the WHAT?!” reaction to the closing scene.

Laura
Corrin, he’s a TV-only fan, too, right?

Corrin
He sure is. Shocked the sh*t out of him. I laughed knowingly.

Cheryl
I too felt like the season was finally beginning to pick up speed, to a slow boil. I loved some of the new characters — like Catelyn’s uncle Blackfish. I want to marry him.

Laura
I totally had a “Wait, the Blackfish is kinda hot” moment when he had his close-up.

Corrin
What I like about this point in the storytelling is that the characters are getting more dynamic. The ones we love to hate are getting the snot kicked out of them. We see the humanity of Jaime Lannister being further revealed. The honorable Starks and their allies are showing their warts (read Edmure Tully, that numbnuts).

Laura
Speaking of shocking and Jaime, were either of you worried that he was going to lose a damn eye?!

Cheryl
Jaime’s changes are going to interest me. I really enjoyed the shot of Jaime — framed by flames — as he wrestled with if and how to aid Brienne as she tried to resist her would-be rapists. But then he had to push it too far, and his smarmy patronizing self showed through, and he finally paid the price for it. How will this affect him now? The thing that defined him — his swordsmanship — is gone. Which road will he take in response?

Laura
I enjoyed contrasting Jaime’s not-so-wily-ways with Tyrion’s; he’s clearly leaned too hard on his charm and father to hone his bullshit-o-meter.

Corrin
I don’t think it is revealing too much from the books to say that the brotherly affection that existed between Tyrion and Jaime was legitimate and hinted at the depth each man has. Cersei, love of her children aside, has much more of her father’s poison in her than either of her brothers does.

Cheryl
So what about the scene at the small council where everyone vied for power through chair choice — and Tyrion ended up with Master of the Coin title?

Corrin
The small council scene was brilliantly executed! Without words it showed that although Cersei has cunning, Tyrion is the one with the brains.

Laura
And Tyrion makes no qualms about his powerlessness and disdain for Cersei and Tywin, but he still wants to be at the table with them.

Cheryl
I’m thinking Tyrion will again be working behind the scenes — saving the kingdom and totally unacknowledged. But I’m wondering if as he masters the fiscal reality of the realm, he will finally be able to gain a true and ultimate comeuppance against his father, whose power is based on his wealth.

Corrin
That’s a great thought, Cheryl. Money, after all, is power.

Laura
*says nothing and bites tongue* Unable … to not … be spoilery … about Tyrion. …

Cheryl
Corrin, I loved that you note how much that council scene expressed without words. I also adored the opening scene — when Catelyn’s father sailed away to oblivion — which told so much about the characters and power dynamics without a word. That is fine writing. I have been disappointed with some of the writing this season, which seemed flaccid and often reliant on too much “Scorsese” (such as in the Hound to Arya: “What the fuck are you doing here?”). Pure lazy writing, imho.

Laura
So did I: the writers gave us so much backstory and character development without bonking you over the head with exposition. And the funeral pyre scene was funny as hell! The dark humor in this episode was pretty priceless — although WTF with Podrick the Super Virgin? And why does Tyrion think that getting his money back is not some kind of trick played by his sister or something? That whole thing was too much for me …

Cheryl
Pod the Sex Machine (™): I thought it was stupid. I hated seeing the contortionist’s crotch. (She, for the record, is apparently named “Pixie Le Knot.” Really.)

Corrin
Re: Pod the Sex Machine, I don’t think that was for us. And by us, I mean women. It was an unnecessary bit of fluff, in my opinion.

Cheryl
That’s the annoying thing to me: the series tries to have it both ways. “I’ll have an order of healthy female empowerment with a side order of gratuitous adolescent sexuality, please.” It’s becoming kind of hard to have it all ways. So, writers, I ask: whom do you serve? Valar dohaeris.

Laura
Let’s circle back to all these new Tullys!

Cheryl
Robb seems to be throwing his weight around now — in a good way — after seemingly weakened in standing among his men by his miscalculations with Theon, his mother’s actions, and his suspicious new foreign bride. I guess he felt he needed to put Uncle Edmure in his place?

Corrin
I was so pleased that they kept the “Edmure the Doofus missing his father’s pyre” scene. Again, so much about the dynamics of the members of House Tully expressed without a word. Excellent casting of Tobias Menzies as Edmure. Edmure needed to be put in his place. His head is far too filled with thoughts of glorious battle than with the actual stakes of war.

Laura
Edmure seems to represent more of the “children of summer” theme, like Renly and others who never had to fight (or live through) war or winter.

Corrin
Precisely, Laura! He is exactly the product of a father and lord who took too long to die and held all the reins of power too long. He wants to exercise power without any real thought of the consequences.

Cheryl
Speaking of Tullys, I was thinking about Cersei and Catelyn and how their “original sins” — Cat’s inability to love Jon Snow, and Cersei’s incestuous relationship with her brother — are echoing across generations now.

Laura
Oooh Cheryl, interesting connection! Especially since both of them are such devoted mothers — to a fault, really (if Cat’s fault is freeing Jaime, and Cersei’s is, well, letting Joffrey live, I guess).

Cheryl
Both Jon and Joffrey are doppelgangers in a way — and both are (currently) celibate.

Corrin
Jon and Joffrey are also “true breeds” of their families. Of all the Stark children, Jon and Arya are the only two that have the Stark look. The look of the first men. The rest are much more Tullys. Joffrey is bred-to-the-bone Lannister, golden hair and sadistic streak included.

Cheryl
Via the show, I would never think of Arya and Jon as the only true Starks — it’s interesting that the producers did not cast (or dye hair) that way.

Laura
That makes me think about Dany and the Targaryens: she’s a product of her heritage (fireproof asbestos genes), as well as her upbringing (sadistic brother, ugh) and her own experiences (as Khaleesi, as mother of dragons, and as survivor who in turn doesn’t want to hurt innocents).
The title of this episode is “Walk of Punishment,” which is the slave-torturing section of Astapor. What do we think of the angel-devil thing Danaerys had going on with Barristan Selmy and Jorah Mormont?

Cheryl
I will bet heavy money that the next episode will involve the word “dracarys.”

Corrin
Dany is beginning to see her own path now. A path that neither of her advisors would necessarily take. She is starting to find her wings (pardon the obvious pun) and make decisions that meet both the necessities of a conqueror and an honorable woman.

Cheryl
I’m wondering if she will bridge the gap between Jorah and Barristen Selmy — one who questions the loyalty of a slave army, and one who thinks its kinder to rely on one — by winning the loyalty of those Astapor slavizens by freeing them and getting them to follow her.
I can’t help think that while she stared at the slaver with her affectless gaze as he let loose with a string of insults in whatever language he was speaking, that she understood every word.

Corrin
Both Mormont and Selmy think they know who they are dealing with in Dany. But neither of them have ever known a leader like her. Rheagar (Danaerys’s older brother, in the books) was the closest, but even he didn’t have the obstacles that Dany has had to overcome to not just survive, but thrive.
Mormont should know her well enough by now to know that Dany would never let one of her babies (aka dragons) go.

Laura
It’s telling that Dany doesn’t explain her dragon-selling to either of her dudebros after that scene, just chastises them. The only person she talks to, albeit in light code, is Missandei. Very jazzed to see those two characters, and actors, share another scene!

Corrin
Something I have been enjoying about this season so far, and perhaps this is why it has seemed so slow paced, is the emphasis on the female characters whose roles are much more about speaking than acting … with a few notable exceptions.

Cheryl
Who are these people who killed the horses? How are they related to the White Walkers? Are they the Others?

Corrin
The Others and the White Walkers are one and the same. They arranged the horses that way, and it was a sign that Mance Rayder recognized: primarily, to get the hell outta Dodge.

Laura
Remember way back to the first episode of Season 1 when we saw dead bodies strewn around the snow in a pattern, then disappear? That’s what it made me think of.

Cheryl
Or, that’s where the people from “Lost” ended up.
Thanks for reminding me of that, Laura. But I still find it very confusing — as one who knows only what she has seen on TV.

Laura
It’s unclear what the Others want, other than “get out of our territory” maybe. I’m reminded of the buried black cloak that Sam and company found, filled with dragonglass spearheads. Is someone leaving them messages? Is it one of the White Walkers who used to be a crow?

Corrin
As for the White Walkers, I think they want to kill the warm blooded. Scourge the land of the living during the long winter. That sort of thing. They are almost a force of nature.

Corrin
What do you ladies think about what is happening with and to Theon?

Cheryl
Corrin, you missed me express my love for the Theon character last week. I’m wondering if he will be redeemed. (For me, hopefully so.)

Laura
I found his scene this week a bit hard to follow. The guy who killed Theon’s attackers was the one who freed him from the torture room, right?

Corrin
Here’s my problem with how they’re handling Theon. I know what’s about to happen to him. But this is a place where the shows writers are diverging from the book in a pretty significant way. I’m just not certain why the show is keeping some of details of Theon’s captivity secret.


Cheryl

Somehow all these strings will tie together, and the Boltons will be at the middle of it —with Brienne, Jaime, Arya, and Theon. Tell me, as you two are book lovers: are the stories diverging more and more as time passes?

Corrin
The story is staying pretty true. The big exception is the Theon storyline. I have no idea where they are taking that.

Laura
I may have an idea, but it’s a book four or five storyline, which seems unlikely. I feel like I’m River Song from Doctor Who: “Spoilers, sweetie!”

Comments

  1. I think I’m the only one who absolutely loved the Pod the Sex Machine scene. It was so sweet and revealed so much character. Tyrion and Bronn clearly collaborated to make it seem like Pod was a sex machine. They paid the brothel in advance. They wanted to give him a first experience that would bolster his confidence and make him feel like a man– because Pod is completely emasculated, ridiculed, and ignored in every other aspect of his life in the capital. I thought it was so dear and so funny and, sure, the brothel shots are always gratuitous but I think it was used effectively to paint this picture of like. That’s the only way Tyrion knows how to love. Extreme excess and hella banging.

  2. First: “Extreme excess and hella banging” is my new life’s motto. Also, I can see the appeal of the scene, but in the context of the rest of the show – where I feel like I’m frequently left wanting more screen time (and hey, maybe sexual agency!) from women – it pissed me off. That being said, I really like Pod, and maybe this sets him up to be a more major/regular character.

  3. That certainly is a different reading: that Tyrion and Bronn had set the whole thing up. Perhaps it’s about the way the actor who plays Pod was asked to play the scene, but it felt so underwhelming — too low key for my tatse.

    “Extreme excess and hella banging”: can we get The Hold Steady or some other band to make *that* a song?

  4. Throne Geek says:

    Very interesting take and episode. I can’t wait until next week~

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