Game of Thrones 3.04 “And Now His Watch Has Ended” Review: What I Was Born To Be

Game of Thrones 3.04 “And Now His Watch Has Ended” Review: What I Was Born To Be

DANIMost people don’t realize how much of a lottery life really is. I don’t mean to suggest that everything is predetermined or simply the result of luck, but there is one thing of the gravest importance we take for granted: the circumstances of our birth. Were you born to enjoy the riches of your ancestors or born to endure oppressive prejudice? Were you born a slave or in a third world country? Are you a woman in a world dominated by men? Are you a dwarf who will never garner the respect of his father?

These concerns are ubiquitous in the world we live in, and so are they in the world of Westeros. Cersei never had the potential that Jaime had in Tywin’s eyes and she will always get short shrift. Tywin will say that she overestimates her intelligence but Cersei has acquired more power than both of her brothers.

Theon finds himself in a similar predicament: He’s been raised by the Starks since he was 10, yet he always held his loyalties to his biological father. He realizes now that he has made a dreadful mistake in turning on the Starks to aid a family who doesn’t even value him anyway. “I made a choice and I chose wrong”, he says wistfully. Ironically, while Theon’s error was seeing himself as a Greyjoy, his family will always see him as a Stark. Theon has succeeded in renouncing the only true family he ever had.

And Hound feigns offense for being persecuted for the crimes of his brother. He has a point but not really as Arya quickly points out. Hound is a deserter and a callous murder. He killed Arya’s friend as per the king’s orders and I got the notion that he didn’t really feel much remorse for killing that child.

Meanwhile, Daenerys is freeing the enslaved Unsullied. As she hands over her dragon, the dragon actually starts mewling like a child–she is the Mother of Dragons you know. Much to the dismay of Master Kraznys, she commands her army in Valyrian, and gives the signal. What signal, you ask? The signal for her dragon to incinerate the Kraznys. She also orders the Unsullied to kill all of their masters. All the while, she looks completely stoic. I literally began applauding as I was watching this.

This woman is ready for war. She offers anyone in her army to leave on their own accord and they choose to fight for the last of the Targaryens. They choose so out of love and respect, the kind that only Ned Stark really fostered in his men. She still holds true to this vision of a just way to wage war, sparing the death of innocents, and for now it’s working. But what will come when those inevitable injustices of war transpire? How will Daenerys react? Will she display the same stoicism she exhibits when she’s killing bad guys?

And like the Unsullied killing their masters, Westeros is engulfed in a miasma of revenge. Enter everyone’s favorite eunuch, Varys. He tells Tyrion the tale of the genesis of, well, his eunuch-ness, how he was sold to a sorcerer who sliced his genitals and burned him, and how he has been patiently plotting his revenge since that day. And lo, good things come to those who wait: He reveals to Tyrion a cowering old sorcerer held in captivity. Tyrion is planning some revenge of his own regarding that nasty little scar on his face but lacks the influence to accomplish it. Varys helps him get things in motion though.

Jaime Lannister has lost his taste for revenge. Jaime is completely dejected and forlorn, his severed hand hanging from his neck like some macabre albatross. He falls into a heaping mound of mud; he drinks horse urine and vomits. He tries to make a move and manages to disarm one of the guards but gets detained rather simply. Granted he was severely outnumbered but one thinks that this would be no feat for The Kingslayer of old.

This is the first time we really see Brienne’s affection for Jaime. We all knew this was coming, but the show has handled it so well I don’t mind that it’s predictable. I quite liked their scenes. And while she is touched by his kindness that saved her from being raped, she will not abide his kvetching. She literally calls him a “woman” and reminds him that the common man faces such inequities on a regular basis, that he has been sheltered by his surname throughout his entire life.

As a whole this episode felt somewhat laborious. Certain scenes just weren’t compelling for me (e.g. Bran’s dreams). I even feel the whole civil war breaking out at Craster’s place fell a little flat. I can usually rationalize that, telling myself that at the end of the season these events will pay dividends but a lot of it felt like Theon’s evanescent escape from his captors: a brief and pleasurable run through the forest only to be returned right where we started. Or perhaps like the men of the Night’s Watch who were regaled about the heroics of men of their station and neglected to be apprised to the voluminous amounts of excrement they must shovel. In some of these plots it sure feels like we’re running in circles.

But I’ll give the showrunners the benefit of the doubt because they usually deliver on these things. Still, sometimes I wonder if the journey to that glorious denouement could be a little more enjoyable.

For a preview of the April 28 episode of Game of Thrones, click here.


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