I didn't think they will do it. I didn't think they'll mange that. But yes, they managed to show tits in the season premiere of season 3. Not just tits - tits in a brothel. And Bronn almost taking off this chick's panties with his teeth. HBO, you are nothing if not persistent.
But joking aside - the season premiere was as always strong but in the final toll it will be overshadowed by upcoming episodes. What it always does is set up the events for the rest of the season - while the next episode will do so too, as it will feature some of the major characters there was no time for in this episode, it will move things along more quickly.
Within the first few minutes we got our very first season 3 meme - "You had one job, Sam". We pick up where we left off with Sam seeing hordes of White Walkers. I see a lot of nonsensical complaints where people whine about the lack of battle. That chapter in the book was just snow, wind, howling and internal monologues of Sam, being scared shitless. I really liked the opening in the series - chilling, well made and they even gave Ghost something to do.
One of the most awesome things about the main titles of the show is how they modify it as the show progresses. It was awesome to see new things in the intro but the most brilliant addition was Winterfell in flames. If Seven Hells were on Earth in Westeros, five of them would be in Winterfell this season. Except for two, being in other places which will bear witness to atrocities to come in other storylines.
Let's move beyond the wall - Jon "I know nothing" Snow is being taken to wildings camp by Ygritte. With him we meet The King Beyond the Wall and see our first giant. It was quite faithful adaptation of the chapter in the book, albeit shortened a lot and I do wonder if we will see Val in the series. I enjoyed the scene and my favorite thing about it were Snow's lines.
We get to see Davos who is alive after Blackwater. He is taken to Stannis, who sits there, looking constipated as usual (in all fairness that is the only way to play that character) with Melisandre probably telling him it's the Lord of Light inside him. Melisandre had some awesome lines here and I just hope we will get to see leeches scene soon. Anyways, Davos attempts to stab her with a knife and Stannis has him locked in a dungeon.
In King's Landing shit is going down. We get to see Sansa and there is something different about her. For some reason she appears to have hope. That reason may be Littlefinger's promise to take her home. They have conversation about that and he tells her that when the time comes she needs to be ready in a moment's notice. As they talk Shea has chat with Ros in a very nice little scene in which we see that Shae really cares about Sansa.
But my favorite thing here was that Sansa FINALLY mentioned Arya. Last season there was not one word - her little sister is gone and not once did we see Sansa upset about it. Both her and Arya were all like "Robb this, Robb that, giant direwolf blah blah" never mentioning their other siblings. I'm hoping that line means the writers know they have to remind us at every step of the way this season just how much family means to Starks.
One of the most charming scenes this episode was seeing Margaery Tyrell (played to perfection by Natalie Dormer) showing the Lannisters how to rule and keep your head. Hell, more than that - have people throw flowers at you. Margaery knows that the key to ruling is to care about those you rule over. She visits orphanage, not caring about her safety or her expensive dress as she walks through what appeared to be shit and piss. Joffrey sees all of that in his carriage and the look of bafflement on his face at the idea of doing charity work was the episode's most hilarious moment.
But clearly even an idiot like Joffrey sees that Margaery's approach is much better than the one he was trying out. As they dine with Loras and Cersei, Joffrey is uncharacteristically kind to Margaery, being greatly charmed with her. We also find out the Tyrells have been bringing in food to King's Landing, greatly aiding the people. All of that doesn't sit well with Cersei who sense she is losing influence over her son (he even says she is getting older and the look on her face is priceless). She is hostile towards Tyrells and even remarks how Margaery's dress is much too skim for the climate (nice nod to the books where Cersei often says how Margarery is dressed like a harlot).
Meanwhile, Tyrion continues his lonely path of rejection as he is visited by increasingly paranoid Cersei. No matter how many spies she has she feels insecure and she wants to know what her brother wants to tell their father. And as we find out later on what he wants is to demand his birthright - Casterly Rock. What follows is a great scene showing that Tywin may not be such a nice guy after all. I know a lot of people who are rooting for him after Blackwater episode, well here comes the turn of the tide.
That scene was one of the best written interactions in the book and we got a great deal of Tywin's hurtful remarks towards his son here. Come to think of it, Tywin Lannister really should team up with doctor Arden from American Horror Story: Asylum - they could hunt and kill WHORES together. I really liked that last line Tywin thrown at Tyrion, that he will "hung the next whore he finds in his bed" and Tyrion stopped for a moment to listen closely but as he understood what his father is about to say he kept on walking, having heard that so many times.
Dinklage's acting was fantastic in this scene- when Tyrion is hurt it is particularly shocking, as there is only one person out there he fears - his father. Dance is excellent as Tywin and I'm hoping this is just the first of the many scenes like this to come. But what got me most excited was seeing Tywin write a letter. Later on in the season you'll understand.
In King in the North storyline, Robb Stark ventures to Harrenhal with his armies. He sees hundreds of men dead, killed by Lannister men - at least I think that is the case as this wasn't in the books and other than for gore and Robb looking honorably sad I did not got what the hell happened there other than everyone blamed Cat for it. Two important things here - 1) he orders his mother to be locked up because she freed Jaime 2) Talisa. Shit, she is the queen now and her outfit is worse than Arya's. Robb's foolishness in marrying her is so astonishing the only time Tyrion is speechless in he books is when he hears of it. Well, they are doing pretty good job portraying Robb as mentally incapacitated in the series.
But where the awesome was at this episode was in Daenerys scenes. We got to see the extended scene of what was the most prominently featured shot in the trailers - Drogon emerging from water and flying over Balerion. He is joined by two other dragons and they fish - they are now big enough to feed themselves. Khaleesi looks at them overjoyed but she says to Jorah they are not growing fast enough. They are on their way to the slave city of Astapor to buy an army. An army that Daenerys desperately needs in order to take back Seven Kingdoms. The first time we saw Astapor was truly breathtaking. Daenerys and Jorah meet with the slave owner there who presents her Unsullied - eunuchs, trained to fight everyday since they were little, completely obedient and fearless. I was very grateful the puppy story didn't find its way to the series. I was not grateful about the nipple thing being included. Still, comparing to the description in the books it felt relatively fast in the show. We also got to hear several lines in High Valyrian here - which is a good point to translate the title of the episode. Last finale was entitled Valar Morghulis (all men must die) - it's a greeting and the traditional response is Valar Dohearis (all men must serve). That is a great title for this episode, especially considering the ending.
I really liked how the big reveal was handled. In the book ser Barristan Selmy assumes different identity - he is known as Arstan Whitebeard and he is revealed as Selmy in the end chapters of the book. As we get to see actors' faces on TV, it wouldn't work in the show. I'm also glad Selmy introduced himself here as we don't have to deal with "who the hell was this old dude?" threads and the only ones we have to roll our eyes at are "who sent the little girl?!". Anyways...
As thrilling as it played out was, I'm not sure what will happen now considering Barristan/Jorah dynamics. There are consequences to Barristan's reveal in the books. A part of me wants them to change what happened there but they can't. It would be too big of a change.
But getting back to the fantastic scene - after Dany and Jorah saw Unsullied they talk and suddenly they spot a little girl playing with a box. You're in a dangerous city, you see a creepy child, by all means follow her with smile on your faces. The girl throws Dany the box and shows her to open it. When Daenerys does, a bizarre looking scorpion with the reflection of human face (this is like straight from dreams of Lovecraft) emerges and charges on her, moving like something sent from the future by Skynet.
And then the hooded man who we saw follow Daenerys stabs the scorpion and starts chasing after the girl. She opens her mouth reviling Nightshade stained teeth and she jumps into the water. Then she appears behind them, completely dry. Daenerys expresses gratitude toward the man for saving her life. I often say that the ending is the most important part of Game of Thrones episodes - more often they not they leave me speechless, with my heart pounding. And that ending was one of the best in the show's history.
The man takes off his hood, calls her "the Queen" and tells her he was searching for her. Daenerys asks Jorah if he knows who that man is. When Jorah responds he does I actually started to cry as that scene was so perfect and I usually cry when something really, really good happens to Dany. Jorah reveals to her that standing before them is ser Barristan Selmy, one of the BEST fighters in Seven Kingdoms and the kingsgurad to Robert Baratheon. Selmy kneels before the last Targaryen and apologizes to her for failing her father as he served for him before he bent the knee to Robert. He asks her to let him be a part of her guard and vows never to fail her again.
I have to mention one more thing - I really enjoyed Ramin Djawadi's new tracks - the one we hear in the ending and the one played during dragons fishing scene. I cannot wait for new soundtrack.
Here is the promo for next week's episode - Dark Wings, Dark Words. We get a glimpse of three fantastic scenes to come 1) Sansa at the dinner with Tyrells 2)JAIME AND BRIENNE DUEL!!! 3) Jaime, horrified, when he sees the particularly charming group that surrounds him and Brienne
Another thing worth a look is the preview for HBO shows that includes few new Game of Thrones moments, including the one with Jon and Ygritte in the cave: