“And Now His Watch Is Ended” – Season 3, Episode 4
If there was ever an empowered woman in Game of Thrones thus far, Daenerys has really taken gold this episode.
To the absolute dismay of her two knights, Ser Jorah and Ser Barristan, and the non-book reading audience, Dany had agreed to exchange one of her three dragons for an 8000 large army of Unsullied. After having banged on about being the ‘Mother of Dragons’ throughout Season 2, would she really give away her hatchling to the brutal, gold-hungry slaver, Kraznys?
After the trade, a perplexed no-longer-Master-of-the-Unsullied asks why the dragon won’t obey him..? “A dragon is not a slave,” Dany replies in the Valyrian-tongue, before burning him to the ground, along with the city of Astapor.
Her overthrow of Astapor really has put her back on the map as a claimant to the Iron Throne, and is the monumental focal moment of the theme around which episode 4 pivots: revenge.
One of the more underrated revenge plotlines that fed into this episode, but actually one of my favourite moments thus far, was Varys’ reveal of the sorcerer in the box. With his spies across the map, Varys tracked down the man who cut him root and stem, and brought him to Kings Landing for revenge. The ragged, undernourished and bloodied man is quite a contrast to the powerful black magic we’ve seen elsewhere in the series – I question really who will come out on top in Varys vs. the Sorcerer if the magic we’ve seen before now is anything to go by, despite the sorry state of the sorcerer as he stands/lays.
Looking at the other cogs turning on the map ticking their way towards revenge, are the Nights Watch who had an all-out mutiny, which has been a bit of a while coming considering they’re all up-tight crooks being wound-up by Craster – didn’t take a genius to work out a bunch of black-clad men with knives could easily overcome a cranky old man in his cabin. Jamie, too, having now lost his precious sword hand was down in the muddy dumps until Brienne told him to man up and eat his lump of bread – can’t imagine the ‘King Slayer’ having now decided to live on wouldn’t seek revenge for his right hand in mind. The Hound is coming up against the Brotherhood Without Banners for whatever sin they can find to exact revenge on him for. And Theon, well, I’m sure he’d like to think he could exact revenge on that tricksy, anaemic boy from Misfits, but probably that won’t ever happen unless his sister does it for him.
This episode really set some fires blazing after our long and patient wait, but is also keeping some slow-burning storylines in the background so that we know there is more heat to come.