‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3, Episode 3 Review – Pole Position

Published 2 years ago by , Updated April 15th, 2013 at 11:22 am,

Ian Glen Emilia Clarke and Ian McElhinney in Game of Thrones Walk of Punishment Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 3 Review – Pole Position

As the show’s title suggests, the core storyline to Game of Thrones has a certain Milton Bradley-esque quality to it, wherein the various players are all jockeying for position and designation on an enormous scale. And as is typically the point of playing such a game, the fortunes and futures of all those involved are sometimes decided by a player’s skill – or something far more arbitrary.

The idea of positioning pieces on and around a board isn’t anything new to the series – it’s been going on since the first time the credits rolled – but such allusions have never been so blatant (nor blatantly amusing) as they are early on in ‘Walk of Punishment’ where positions are handed down, haggled for or simply snatched up in another crowded, but still very entertaining episode.

There’s been some grumbling about the level of table setting going on early this season and humorously enough, when the Hand of the King calls for a meeting, it happens to feature some lengthy exposition combined with two highly transparent acts of deliberate positioning around Tywin’s table. First Cersei is seen dragging a chair to be seated next to her father, while the recently slighted Tyrion takes a defiant place directly across from him – lest he disappear somewhere in the periphery.

But that’s just where Tywin seems intent on sending the shrewdest of his children. Making him Master of Coin grants Tyrion a role of sorts, but he’s only replacing Littlefinger who is stepping into a new title of his own. “Titles do seem to breed titles,Baelish muses, as his good fortunes seem to be weighed directly against Tyrion’s losses. But considering the state of the crown’s finances, it’s clear Baelish couldn’t have picked a better time to add a few titles to spruce up his otherwise disreputable name.

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion in Game of Thrones Walk of Punishment Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 3 Review – Pole Position

Still, coveted as they are, official titles are but one way for a person to increase his or her profile in the world of Westeros. Just look at Podrick: after slaying Tyrion’s would-be assassin, he winds up denied a knighthood because, as a man falls, so too does his squire, but once word gets out the young man returned still flush with coin from a lengthy afternoon in the company of some very nimble ladies, well, an unofficial title may soon be in the works.

That kind of designation might be useful in certain parts of King’s Landing (and it’s certainly earned Pod Tyrion’s ear), but when you’re thousands of miles away from the throne you’re fairly certain belongs to you, it’s hard to do better than the Mother of Dragons. Daenerys wasn’t seen much in last week’s ‘Dark Wings, Dark Words,’ but that’s because she was stuck haggling for 8,000 of the Unsullied and as much fun as it would have been to watch Dany argue with Westeros’ version of the worst used car salesman ever (through his interpreter, no less), seeing her seal the deal by offering one of her dragons as payment was far more satisfying.

Besides, the real drama surrounding the last of the Targaryens is the quiet positioning between Ser Jorah Mormont and Barristan Selmy – Jorah’s sudden rival for the undivided attention of a serious contender for the Iron Throne. For now, however, they agree: offering up a dragon out of pity for those on a ‘Walk of Punishment’ is a little like trading your car for all the puppies in the pound. Sure, you’ll sleep well that night, but how’re you going to get to work in the morning?

Alfie Allen in Game of Thrones Walk of Punishment Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 3 Review – Pole Position

Labels and titles (and dragons) certainly have a way of increasing an individual’s value – especially when they’ve nothing left to bargain with – a notion Jaime uses to great effect preventing Noah Taylor’s Locke from defiling Brienne. Though she may have lost her swords, her armor and her advantage, Brienne’s position, lineage and the promise of sapphires too numerous to count manage to put off Locke’s abhorrent intentions toward her, but it inadvertently directs them at Jaime – or, more specifically, his sword-hand and the source of his skill, moniker and sense of self-worth.

Maybe that’s why the Brotherhood Without Banners are such an interesting lot. Aside from  displaying a generally jovial nature – that includes failing to alert the Hound to a wagon’s low-hanging entryway and using arrows as a means of encouraging the portliest of Arya’s traveling companions to move –  they’ve given themselves a title that (despite being a title) insists they’re just not into things like allegiances and the trappings of position. They may be vagabonds and roustabouts, but at least they’re free. They answer to no one, which, in the end, is the loftiest of goals and the most sought after of positions.

And once the books have been checked and the debts added up, that’s something not even Joffrey can put claim to.


Game of Thrones continues next Sunday with ‘And Now His Watch Is Ended’ @9pm on HBO. Check out a preview of the episode below:

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  1. anyone else thinks that as soon as bald guy gives her the army she will turn on him and take the dragon back?

    • This is the first thing i thought of when i saw that…

      • More than likely we’ll find out that she knew every word he was saying.

    • I’m thinking the same. The bulk of her storyline in season 2 was about her attachment to her dragons so I’d be pretty surprised if she willingly gave one up. I suspect as soon as the army is “her’s” she will order them to attack their former owners.

      • Guys if you’re so eager just to guess and predict what’s gonna happen and then discuss it online, ya know you can just read the books and find out?? (I have and I know). Otherwise, for everyone else’s sake, lets just enjoy the episodes and wait and see what happens next week

        • @ Barry
          But not everyone has or wants to read the books so we come here to talk about and to guess what we think is about to happen.
          That’s what we do here.

          • A comment section used for discussion and predictions?! GET OUT!

        • No

    • Yep,pretty sure that is what’s going to happen.I am wondering from how many episodes did they show footage from in the trailers for Got.hope that the next episode covers everything in the trailers

    • thinking the same thing, a massive burning from the dragon

      • yup. that does happen.

    • That is the first thing I thought of. No way she is giving them a Dragon.

    • I hope so. She’s been told before that she needs to earn the respect of her army if they are going to follow her. That scenario would be an incredible show of strength.

    • In the early trailers you see Daenerys standing wearing the same outfit she has on when she talks to Kraznyz… and in the scene it shows her looking determined when suddenly all this fire blasts past her. Similar to what happened to the Warlocks….

      Hmm wonder what that implies… <<< extreme sarcasm

    • My thoughts, exactly.

    • yep. My thought exactly

    • Of course, because a dragon is no slave.

  2. Sure, I’ve seen scenes like THAT in many a horror movie before but that was the first time I have ever winced in utter abhorrence at what it may actually be like to lose such a thing. Dear God it was utterly clinical.

    Oh, and if Tyrion is looking for some more people to help him out with unconditional loyalty, I am but a phone call away, m’lord.

  3. Great Episode, Jamies screams at the end, made for the one of the best cut to credits scene on TV in ages

    • Thoughts on the radical departure in music for the end credits? I thought it was amazing and perfectly timed.

      • @ JB
        I agree. I was stunned after what just happened and the song felt like a jolt of electricity to my senses.

      • they should have played the music at the credits not when he got his hand cut off

  4. Loving this season!!!!

  5. I love Game of Thrones and it is one of my Sunday night pleasures, especially now that Walking Dead is gone for now, but I am also enjoying Vikings on the History Channel, which has more action and story development in one episode than most shows have in a full season..It is getting to be my guilty pleasure and I am starting to look forward to Vikings more than GOT each week…I don’t know why Screen Rant is not covering this great show…

    • Totally agree. Vikings is a surprisingly good show. It was pretty cocky of them to kill off Gabriel Byrne (being the most notable actor on the show) so early in the season but they have definitely kept me interested. Screenrant, please show Vikings some love!

      • i agree ., i love the grittiness of it .lol

  6. I have hated that bastard Jamie from Day 1. The minute I start to buy into his charm, he goes and loses his hand. That sucked but was awesome at the same time.

    • IKR?! He totally redeemed himself not moments before. Gotta give a hand to the guy that plays Jaime: what a great performance!

  7. That was another great episode and the ending was perfect. From the previews, next week’s episode should be fantastic. One of the scenes I enjoyed the most was when Pod came back from the brothel and the look on Tryion and Bonn’s faces when they realized why the girls didn’t take the money. “We need very specific details Pod.”

    Also, I have no idea where they are going with the bastard of Bolton. Granted, none of what they are showing is actually in the books, but it’s quite refreshing not to know of something that’s going to happen in the show. I just hope they don’t ruin the bastard’s character with what they are doing.

    • Seems pod has a big hotdog lol

  8. Great season so far but I do get a little frustrated when they spend time on scenes that are not necessary. Katelyn crying yet again or the porn part with Pod. Great scene but not necessary. They could use that time showing white walkers putting dead horses in a circle or even more time Jon Snow’s story line. The season could have started with a bang showing a battle between the white walkers and crows. Sometimes it just moves a little to slow with very little action. More battle confrontations would work better.

    • $$$

    • The pace is perfect. Why show a battle when we can see the aftermath to greater effect?

      • Because its entertaining? But, given how weak the swordplay was between Jaime and Briene…maybe we should be thankful they spared us.

        I agree about the pacing. Weak.
        Also, Pod’s ‘porn’. Just embarrassing and stupid.

  9. I actually loved the table setting scene. I write about it in depth here:


    It almost seems like a test that Tywin is setting up to determine who is the brown noser, who is bold, and who thinks he is his equal. The fact that it played out in silence was rather brilliant.

    • Nice summary. I tried to comment on the other page but my phone wouldn’t let me.

  10. Yeah, I had to rewind that last few seconds and watch a couple of times. There was something eerie about the way it played out that made me realise the level of talent involved. Just 5 seconds of a TV show managing to creep me out more than entire horror movies…..incredible.

    I still hear his screams and I haven’t seen the episode since earlier this morning.

  11. Intense. Inmersive. Brilliant. This is the second time I end with this ilness after watching GoT. The other time being last season, when Theon alledgelly burned those little kids and the old man screamed(that time the episode ended with eerie music, though). Goes to show is all about the suffering not the gore… In a lighter note, Tyrion moving the chair was hillarious…

  12. I thought it was actually kind of boring and embarrassingly juvenile. The overlong set up with Pod was just eye rollingly BAD. The horse chase scene with Theon was too long as well, and the scene where Aryana first meets the Hound was confusing and not believable. Why did she need to walk right by him? Why was his acting so hokey? Same sad performance by Sands at the Tyrells garden. What, in the book, seemed explosive and a release for a character that has been suffering since the first season…turned out to seem like an actress pretending to be nervous and then the flop of a scene ending. She never was even promised to be wed to a Tyrrell! Overall, the worst episode so far…

  13. the song at the end did not belong in the type of show.