Game of Thrones S03E01 Recap/Review: Season 3 Premiere

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Cersei is like, “LOLwut?” Joffrey can barely pronouce the word “charitable”. Seriously. Never mind that House Tyrell is bringing wagonloads of food down to King’s Landing so that its people don’t starve and subsequently revolt.

Men don't need nipples

Team Dragon Mama arrives at Astapor, where they apparently speak French-Arabic. Daenerys and Jorah are meeting with Kraznys, the slaveowner who’s selling the Unsullied.

The Unsullied are sort of like stormtrooper-gladiators. They’re almost robotic. The soldiers’ owner just wants to get the deal over with. Clearly the Unsullied got their training program from Spartacus: Blood and Sand

Kraznys and his translator are quite a comedy team, but I caution you against asking anyone “Are you a girl or a goat to ask such a thing” in real life. You’ll likely get slapped.


Kraznys is demonstrating the Unsullied’s toughness by choosing one of them and, oh, really?, cutting off his nipple.

“My master points out that men don’t need nipples.” There’s your line of the episode right there. Getting in with the Unsullied isn’t easy: you have to be a slave already, and then go kill a newborn in front of its mother. Then, you get castrated.

Ha! See? Eunuchs! Oh, wait, a sec, I’m going back over to LinkedIn and withdrawing another job application.

The asshole slaveowner has 8,000 Unsullied to sell. That’s 8,000 dead babies, ponders Daenerys. Actually, no, it’s a lot more: not all recruits eventually make the cut. As it were.

Ser Jorah wants Daenerys to buy the Unsullied, pitching the deal as giving the slaves a better life. What, as redshirts in a campaign to take over an entire continent?

They’re interrupted by a little girl, who gives Daenerys a little wooden ball and motions for her to open it. A guy in a hood knocks the ball from her hand; it hatches into a sort of scorpion-thing with what looks like a face on its stinger. WTF?! Seriously:

The little girl hisses, looking a bit creature-like herself all of a sudden as she jumps off the dock and vanishes like Criss Angel.

The stranger is a guy called Ser Barristan Selmy, former Lord Commander of the King’s Guard when Robert was still king. After Robert died, Barristan went looking for Daenerys to… well, if not apologize, at least try to back what he sees as the winning horse. Or dragon.

S03E01 review

Okay, I came into Game of Thrones Season 3 with high expectations, just like you did. So far, this was my least favorite season premiere, but that's not to say it was a bad episode.

  • Nudity: check.
  • Poop: check.
  • Dire Wolves: check.
  • Dragons: check.
  • WTF moments: check.

I am surely not alone in wanting more of the episode's exposition to have been presented as the now-famous sexposition. Also, what about that prologue scene? There was obviously some sort of battle, but we got to see only the very last moment. As a viewer, I felt cheated.

To me, the Robb Stark/King of the North storyline is the least interesting. There are other storylines we could have caught up with instead.

Howsabout a Jaime Lannister-Brienne of Tarth scene? Come on: I'm sure that these two are either going to throw down or get it on, if not both. Let's just get down to it, either way. Or both ways.

What about an Arya Stark scene? Is she going after Jaquen H'gar to seek ninja-jedi-Zartan training? Is she just going to go full Emily thorne and try to take down the Lannisters herself?

Maybe the Arya-Tywin scenes will be replaced with Tyrion-Tywin scenes. That would be cool.

Overall, we got plot advancement and decent pacing, but not any proper violence. And not enough sex. Come on, this is supposed to be HBO.

We see that the world of Game of Thrones is getting more fantastical: now we've got giants and weird scorpion things and whatnot. As long as that stuff doesn't distract us from the important stuff: character relationships and Dire Wolf attacks.

As for the episode title, apparently "Valar Dohaeris" means "Everyone must serve". This is a callback to the Season 2 finale, "Valar Morghulis (Everyone must die)". No way I'd have known that without looking it up: I've not read the Song of Ice and Fire books; I'm approaching the HBO series as a viewer only.

I worried, as with every new season of every show that I like, that the characters will become demonstrations of themselves, rather than continue to develop. This seems not to be the case with Game of Thrones, thankfully. Sansa in particular seems to be growing up a bit.

So this episode was a check-in, albeit a much-needed one. Overall, I give Game of Thrones S03E01 three snarling Dire Wolves out of a possible five.

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