Caliburn24 here watching for wildings north of the Wall.
The season premiere of Game of Thrones is filled with characters that are not identifiedso either a watcher is seen all of the episodes or read the books. This season covers part of book three in George RR Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series, A Storm of Swords. It’s great to see the return of characters we are knowing so well from the series and books. This episode follows closely to the book with some exceptions. Last season ended with the White Walkers headed towards the Night Watch and Samwell Tarly is told to run. The season premiere opens with darkness with the sounds of fighting. The dawn breaks in the North. Sam is running in the snow. He calls out “Brother?” to a collapsed figure. The fallen ranger holds his head. An ax wilding figure attacks Sam and he is bitten by a wolf then set on fire. Jeor Mormont, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch asks Sam, “Did you send the ravens?” Sam nods no. Mormont’s head is bleeding and the handful of figures are urged to warn the Wall or everyone will be dead. The new map shows Winterfell and King’s Landing, and the Wall, but also Dragonstone and Harrenhall. A snowy landscape reveals Jon Snow walking with Ygritte, the wilding woman whose life he spared last season, as they walk to the wilding camps. This is the army poised to invade the south. A bearded giant three times the size of a human walks by carrying posts. Ygritte tells him, “They are shy”, but can pound men into the ground when angry. He is pelted by wilding kids as a crow what the wildings call the Night’s Watch.
Ygritte tells Jon, “Mance Ryder likes you, you’ll live another day.” A bearded leader with an axe, Styr, confronts Jon about his fellow Night’s Watch ranger (to gain the confidence of the wildings), Quorin Halfhand, whom he killed last season. Mance was playing music in the hut while this scene was happening in the book. Jon kneels in front of Styr thinking that he is Mance Ryder and is then confronted by the real Mance Ryder. He is played by Ciaran Hinds, an actor who appeared in the series Rome. Mance shakes hands with Jon. Others close in as Mance asks Jon why he wants to turn traitor. Jon lies about hating the Night’s Watch because of Kraester, the lord seen last season. Kids playing in the sea with ruined ships looking at the bodies after the battle last season. There is a naked woman in a red room. Sir Bronn, newly knighted after last season’s battle, is interrupted by a messenger that Lord Tyrion has called for him. Tyrion looks at his scar in the mirror. It is always great to see Peter Dinklage in any role. He wakes up recovering from his wounds in the book. Tyrion is seen by his sister also another change from the book. He is suspicious of his sister. Tyrion opens the door with an axe in his hand. She asks him why their father wants to see him. Cersei is worried about what Tyrion is going to tell Lord Tywin.
Bronn swaggers up to the guards outside of Tyrion’s door as Cersei walks out. He wants Tyrion to pay more because he has tasted the good life. They walk through King’s Landing as workers help to rebuild the castle. Davos Seaworth, who led the ships to attack King’s Landing last season, looks up weak and scarred. Davos is played by Liam Cunningham who was excellent as a veteran Roman soldier in The Centurion. He sees a ship and climbs the rocks to signal it. Davos is a small figure on a rock as the ship pulls away. A boat comes to the rock and tells them that he was at Blackwater. He says he serves “the one true king of Westros, Stannis Baratheon.” At the ship, Salladhor Saan, the captain, questions him about the battle. He tells him that Stannis is at Dragonstone and will only see the Red Woman. The Stark horsemen approach Harrenhal. Robb Stark says that he doesn’t expect a fight. He sees a hanged man and bodies piled around the walls. These are two hundred Northmen. Catelyn Stark looks at the dead. Robb confines his mother to a cell because his mother freed Jaime Lannister. This is a reverse of the book where Robb frees his mother excusing her for the grief over his sisters.
Tywinn Lannister, now the King’s Hand, writes as his son questions him. He is angry that Tyrion brought a prostitute to his bed. Tyrion is angry that he is not given credit for saving the city. Tywinn wants to know what Tyrion wants. His son says he wants Casterly Rock. Tywinn denies Tyrion Casterly Rock and reveals his hatred of his son for killing his wife during child birth. Twinn dismisses his son and says that he will hang the next prostitute. At a harbor, Sansa talks to another girl looking at ships. She wants to invent stories about where the ships are going. Paetyr Baelish, Littlefinger, greets them and sends away the girl. He is still away in the book. Sansa asks Littlefinger to take her away. The girl is warned to tell Sansa to be careful about Littflefinger. A screech is heard as a dragon flies over the sea next to Daenerys’ ship. It pulls out a fish, burns it in the air, and eats it. Daenrys pets it and says that she needs an army. She says to Jorah Mormont, the exiled knight who is her ally with the Dothraki, that she wants an army to take back the Iron Throne. The Dothraki are fallen around the ship sea sick. Davos heads to the castle at Dragonstone. He greets Stannis. Melisandre, the Red Woman, says that she thinks the army would have won if Davos did not send her away from the battle. He draws a dagger to kill her, but is held by soldiers and taken away.
At King’s Landing, gold cloaks walk with Joffrey carried in a carriage. He is told Lady Margaery is approaching. She is of course played by Natalie Dormer who is an ethereal beauty from The Tudors. A bucket of refuse is dropped on the street and Margaery walks through it ruining her dress. This is to remind us that this is Fleabottom, one of the poor sections of King’s Landing. She talks to the orphan kids. Margaery gives the kid a knight toy in honor of his father who died a soldier. She promises that she will take care of the orphans. Joffery looks through the bars of his carriage at Maergery’s kindness. He later sees Maergery at the banquet. She compliment’s Cersei, Joffrey’s mother. Joffrey speaks up for Maergery when he suggests that they were not in danger from the attack at Fleabottom. Ser Loras, the Knight of Flowers, watches over his sister.
At a port, Daenerys looks at the sea. A man, Kraznys, is speaking to Daenrys as a woman translates. In the book, Daenerys understands the language, but it is not apparent in the show. She is shown the soldiers, the Unsullied, trained to be killing machines. Jorah follows them, though he is kept at the ship to watch over the dragons in the book. He goes out and calls out a soldier. He cuts off a soldier’s nipple. The soldier doesn’t say a word and steps back. Daenerys asks for a price and he says eight thousand. They walk the street and a little girl rolls a ball to Daenerys. The ball is knocked out of her hand and it opens to reveal a scorpion creature. A hooded man who knocked down Daenrys stabs the creature and chases after the child assassin who jumps into the bay. The girl doesn’t seem to make a splash and shows up on a rooftop an instant later. The hooded man is revealed to be Sir Barrister Selmy who served the Taergaryns, but was exiled by Joffrey in the first season. He swears loyalty to Daenrys ending the episode.