“Game of Thrones” is back on HBO, and while the season three opener on March 31 was mostly setting up storylines for the rest of the year, the premiere wasn’t without its drama. After all, the white walkers are growing in strength, Joffrey still reigns even as Daenyerys gathers her forces, and Melisandre — the red woman — continues to whisper in Stannis’s ear.
White walkers and wildlings
The war is far from over, despite the wildfires and deaths of season two. In the north, Mormont and his men are headed back to the wall after the massacre instigated by the white walkers, and Sam must deal with guilt at not sending the ravens. Elsewhere, Robb Stark is discovering the backlash of his mother Cat’s decision to send Jaime Lannister back to King’s Landing in exchange for her daughters.
But most interestingly is the location of Jon Snow on “Game of Thrones” “Valar Dohaeris”: among the wildlings and giants. He’s playing the part of the traitor, and he’s convinced Mance Rayder that he’s a turncloak, claiming he wants to fight for the side who fights for the living.
In one of the best foreshadowing moments of the night, Jon told Mance: “Big men fall just as quick as little ones if you put a sword through their hearts.”
Infighting at King’s Landing
Tyrion is alive and back with his wonderful quips as he tries to secure his rightful inheritance of Casterly Rock. But he’s not going to get his wish, and not just because Cersei and his father don’t trust or like him.
“You’re a clever man, but you’re not half as clever as you think you are,” Cersei tells him. To which Tyrion retorts, “I’m still more clever than you.” Tyrion’s position in King’s Landing may be weakened since he’s not the King’s Hand, but he still has Bronn’s loyalty, even if it costs him more money.
Through it all, sweet little Sansa still believes she can escape with the help of Littlefinger. She still, amazingly, hasn’t given up hope. And then there’s her replacement at Joffrey’s side: Margery, who shows her courage by visiting an orphanage in Flea Bottom while Joffrey hides away in his carriage.
Of course, Joffrey won’t let Margarey completely one up him. He slams his mother at dinner, saying “Facts become less important to her as she grows older.” And it’s a wonder how Cersei still has love for her son.
The Lord of Light and Melisandre
Ser Davos Seaworth is still alive as well, and he has a purpose that “Game of Thrones” fans can root for: he wants to kill Melisandre. But Melisandre defends herself as the mouthpiece of the Lord of Light, claiming Stannis’s supporters at King’s Landing died because she wasn’t there. Can she really be believed? Davos doesn’t think so. When he attempts to strike her, he’s jailed, at least for now.
The dragons are growing, but they’re still not enough. Jorah is still whispering in Daenerys’s ear, and he wants her to buy some Unsullied soldiers. While 8,000 of them are available and death may mean nothing to them (and one doesn’t care about losing a nipple), Daenerys is wary about hiring slaves.
While this storyline is just getting started, Daenerys discovers a new protector, who saves her from a poisonous scorpion: Barristan Selmy, who was unceremoniously thrown out of the Kingsguard. He wants Daenerys’s forgiveness, and he’s here to serve. But Jorah doesn’t quite believe him.
Is there too much going on yet? Just wait. Plenty of storylines weren’t addressed in the “Game of Thrones” season three premiere, such as Arya’s attempt to get home, or Jaime’s struggles back to King’s Landing. But if the “Song of Ice and Fire” book three is any indication, this season is going to be the best yet, just wait.
The HBO fantasy drama airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EDT.
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