Features and Columns · TV

Blog of Thrones: The ‘Walk of Punishment’ Moves Things Along Considerably

By  · Published on April 15th, 2013

Prior to this week’s episode, we’ve been doing a lot of walking, talking, catching up with old friends and for the most part, have not yet begun to spin up the wheels of this season’s rising action. While it has been fun, and as opposed to last season far better handled by the show’s brass, it’s about time Game of Thrones lets loose some arrows and dismemberment in its third season. As it turns out, that’s what episode three is all about.

Reminder: Blog of Thrones is meant to be friendly to those who have not read the books. It will only discuss events that have happened up through the current episode. No spoilers in the article, so please no spoilers in the comments. Don’t be that guy (or girl).

Meet the Tullys

As the episode begins, we finally follow Robb Stark’s army to Riverrun, where the late Lord Hoster Tully (Catelyn’s father) is being laid to rest. In a scene taken beat-for-beat from the book, we watch Catelyn’s younger brother Edmure try and fail to shoot a burning arrow into his father’s funeral pyre. Stepping up is another new character, Brynden “Blackfish” Tully (played by a gruff Clive Russell) who introduces himself with a single shot, a drop-the-mic moment. Yes, there are some badasses under the fishy banners of House Tully. There is also some naivety, something that’s growing around the King in the North. The show has begun to place more and more doubt around Robb Stark. If he’s really winning this war, why does it feel like he’s losing? Perhaps there was something to that conversation he had with Lord Karstark last week. Something is amiss with those Starks.

“You were slower than I expected…”

There’s not beating around the bush, no dancing around with the “Bear and the Maiden Fair” in this one. This episode’s title and full thematic weight are behing the considerably drab fate of Lady Brienne and The Kingslayer. Despite the direct title reference in the scene where Daenerys sees some crucified slaves, the episode dishes out its most emotional moments yet of season three in little moments of surprising behavior from a number of characters in the woods of Westeros. The little moment when Hot Pie gives Arya a wolf-shaped piece of bread is sweet and unlikely. And of course, so is Jamie’s big moment of saving Brienne from a terrible fate. Even as the world is full of death and destruction, angry words and dismembered horses, there are still moments of kindness. Of course, being kind in Westeros can also have consequences. The Kingslayer knows this now. The walk of punishment is the long, torturous road ahead for a number of our favorite characters.

Meanwhile, Beyond the Wall

Things are getting awkward at Craster’s Keep. Beyond being the creepiest guy yet revealed on this show, Craster (played to ultimate sleaze by longtime medieval character man Robert Pugh) also seems a bit paranoid about what happened to the Lord Commander and his men. Gilly’s having a baby. Sam looks horrified by the entire ordeal. And just like that, season three shows off its first full-frontal male nudity. That actually took longer than I’d bet in our Game of Thrones Season Three Male Nudity Office Pool. I had Theon by episode two.

We get a quick moment with Jon Snow. He and super-beard Tormund Giantsbane are going to climb the wall. We’ve seen this moment in the season’s trailers. A large, bearded ginger scaling the most impressive block of ice in the history of television? Lets not pretend like that’s not everyone’s most anticipated non-dragon-related moment going forward.

Oh, Theon Greyjoy…

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, things just aren’t going to end well for Theon. In this episode, he nearly gets raped by a bunch of dudes. His life sucks.

Things that worked incredibly well this week

Alright fine, everything that happens to, with, or around Tyrion Lannister. It’s good to see that even as the story is heating up elsewhere – with Theon, Jamie, Robb, even Daenerys on the other side of the world – that we get plenty of time with the halfman. This show always works well when balancing its playfulness with its violent nature. And going from Tyrion and Bronn having male bonding time with Pod to some guy telling Theon he’s going to “fuck him into the dirt” is exemplary material.

Lingering Thoughts

Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves in the comments below, but be mindful of book spoilers. We’re only talking about events up to and including this episode here, people.

Related Topics:

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)