Last week’s season 3 opener got us up to speed with lots of the main characters but inevitably ran out of time to feature everyone in any kind of depth, so Dark Wings Dark Words played catch-up with the rest.
It did more than act as a refresher, of course, each of the plot-lines was moved along and there’s plenty of signs of great stuff to come, especially from the new power players at King’s Landing, with Margaery being joined by the Queen Of Thorns. The latter was played perfectly by Diana Rigg, and the prospect of her going up against Cersei Lannister is an enticing one, particularly with Margaery and Joffrey both seemingly easing her out of the picture.
Poor hapless Sansa at least looks like she might have someone on her side after spending the whole of Season 2 being humiliated by the Lannisters and discarded when someone prettier and more useful showed up. Margaery’s political smarts showed up in the skin-crawling scene where she massaged Joffrey’s ego and crossbow, well aware of what a monster he is, but willing to play the game to get what her family want.
It was a good episode for the female characters all round – apart from Daenerys, who was presumably off watching men’s nipples get sliced off still – perhaps unsurprisingly as it was written by a woman, Vanessa Taylor. Catelyn Stark spent Season 2 as a bit of a spare part wherever she was, but had a fantastic scene with her new daughter-in-law in this episode, bringing genuine heart to her story of how her failure to love Jon Snow might have brought all these woes upon the Starks.
The youngest Stark children also re-appeared, with Brann and Rickon getting more company in their journey to The Wall thanks to the arrival of the mysterious Jojen and his sister, who may also have brought some answers about Brann’s dreams – which have so far just been ‘something that happens’, without any real consequence. Arya was also heading off on a walk with some fellow escapees until they came across Paul Kaye and His Merry Men – and then The Hound. Uh oh.
Also heading for trouble are Brienne and Jaime, who got captured by Noah Taylor (it was a week for lots of familiar-looking new faces, with Mackenzie Crook also making his first appearance North Of The Wall) who is going to take them back to Robb Stark and end their love-hate road trip to King’s Landing. But at least they’re still doing better than Theon Greyjoy, who spent the episode seemingly having a corkscrew inserted into his foot. Deservedly so, really.
So, overall, having caught up with everyone, Season 3 is looking promising, with plenty of great new characters (and cast members) and lots of potential for intrigue in various plot threads. It’s easy to get frustrated with episodes that don’t have dragons or massive battle scenes, but Game Of Thrones is at its best when dealing with the talking rather than the fighting, and this was an excellent episode.