‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3, Episode 4 Review – Patience Is a Virtue

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Conleth Hill and Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones And Now His Watch Is Ended Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 4 Review – Patience Is a Virtue

Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but when it comes to Lord Varys, it’s best served basting in its own retched filth inside a shipping crate that takes about as much effort to open as today’s infernal clamshell packaging.

But like the digressive storylines and carefully plotted machinations of Game of Thrones, a significant portion of Varys’ pleasure stems from the patience, scheming and countless other dealings required to see his design come to fruition. There’s been a great deal of maneuvering early on in season 3, but now it seems ready for some kind of pay off. And in a series where there are precious few payoffs each season (‘Blackwater‘ potentially being the biggest of the series so far), the patience of the audience is a must, so even a hint of larger developments can justify an initially slow pace.

‘And Now His Watch Is Ended’ is still mostly about maneuverings – Tyrion wants information on his sister’s alleged involvement in the attempt on his life, so he goes to the one man who apparently knows everything and understands what it is to live as an outcast with a taste for revenge – but they feel like maneuverings that will amount to something far more personal than who is winning what unseen battle between the Lannisters and the King of the North. Frankly, Tyrion could not have chosen a better moment to have his discussion with Varys, as seeing the Spider unveil the sorcerer who “cut” him was as much a testament to the virtue of patience as it was to the power of retribution.

Jack Gleeson and Natalie Dormer in Game of Thrones And Now His Watch Is Ended Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 4 Review – Patience Is a Virtue

Meanwhile, Jaime and Brienne continue to be the most interesting odd couple in Westeros, as their situation has forced a fascinating shift not only in the dynamic between the two, but also a severe and remarkable turnaround for a man who previously prided himself on his backstabbing abilities and once shoved a child from a tower window after an improper dalliance with his sister.

Now the Kingslayer is but a shell of his former self, a one-handed swordsman who has spent the last year in a cage and in chains; in his mind, the list of reasons to carry on is probably pretty short. But, for his sake, Brienne is there to talk up the intrinsic worth of living life for the sole purpose of enacting revenge on those who wronged you. “One misfortune and you’re giving up?” she asks, which is both her idea of a pep talk and an illustration of how unpleasant this world is when having your hand hacked off by a rapist with a bad goatee is considered but a “misfortune.”

Retribution, or the promise of it, is such a potent throughline in ‘And Now His Watch Is Ended’ that it’s almost jarring to see Margaery using her soft touch on the callous Joffrey in such a persuasive manner. After what must have been the Most Thrilling Day Ever, spent learning about the deaths of so many people who helped build and shape Westeros, Margaery establishes just how gifted she is in crafting a king by convincing a little tyrant he is loved by his people.

Conleth Hill Diana Rigg in Game of Thrones And Now His Watch Is Ended Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 4 Review – Patience Is a Virtue

“Give them your love, they will return it a thousand fold,” she tells him. Whatever winds up being the true cause of this public outpouring of support for Joffrey, it certainly isn’t reciprocation of his love. In fact, Joffrey’s rule (or the rule of any one man for that matter) is precisely what creates bands of men like the Brotherhood Without Banners and the now-rudderless crew of the Night’s Watch. They’re both the disenchanted made whole by a feeling of camaraderie, but only one group seems to have the wherewithal to attack that dissatisfaction with the status quo with something resembling honor and the pursuit of justice.

But without a doubt, the showstopper goes to Danaerys, who could really use it, as she’s been so physically removed from the rest of the story that at times her character arc has almost felt like an afterthought. The episode makes up for that in spades, though, as Dany makes a huge move not only in terms of shifting some of the momentum regarding claim to the Iron Throne, but also as a character. Indeed, Dany gives an excellent example of the kind of ruler she’s capable – or may soon be capable – of being.

It’s fitting in an episode so laden with the notion of patience and revenge that Danaerys would wait until the last possible moment to establish just how foolhardy it is for anyone (Ser Jorah and Barristan Selmy included) to underestimate her. Now, with her army of willing Unsullied warriors, three dragons and two advisors skilled in the art of war, Dany can finally begin her journey toward the heart of the story.


Game of Thrones continues next Sunday with ‘Kissed by Fire’ @9pm on HBO. Check out a preview of the episode below:

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  1. Book 3 of the series will always be my favorite. My favorite moment of any of the books was the episode finale. The emergence of Daenerys Targaryen, from beggar queen to Conquerer is something I’ve been dying to see for quite some time.

    Books 1, 3 & 5 are much more tolerable than books 2 & 4. I look forward to watching the series juggle the muddled storylines Martin created, especially considering books 4 & 5 take place over the same span of time, just with the focus on different characters. We can’t go a season without Tyrion or Daenerys…so HBO has some work to do.

    • I agree, though I must say Book 5 was not as good as 1 & 3 either. The series is a muddled story line and HBO is trying hard to make each episode engaging as the books take a lot of pages and chapters before anything exciting happens. Did you notice the meandering with Ramsay and Theon in this episode for forced action sequences and revelations that weren’t even in the book? It had good moments (like Theon admitting his dire mistakes), but it just felt forced. Imagine the hellish rewriting they’ll have to do when combing Dance with Dragons and Feast for Crows together, considering the tough time they’re having meshing in story arcs in the single novel of a Storm of Swords.

      • @Will Fraser
        the hellish rewrites they’ll have to do… quite true. Especially when I saw Bolton chop Jaime’s hand off last week. All who red the books know that Bolton wasn’t the one who did this, and this fact will lead to a lot of modifications in the future. I don’t mind what they’re doing with Theon though (considering the crew of GOT really took a liking in Alfie). The games Ramsay plays with Theon, destroying his hopes, is actually dead-on with the character.

        • JUST REALISED something by the trailer… that wasn’t Bolton who chopped off Jaime’s hand!!! The banners led me on to this confusion. Faith restored!

        • True that, but I’m shocked their going with this story when it wasn’t even in Storm of Swords. But I guess it’ll introduce them.

        • what are you talking about Bolton wasn’t the guy who chopped off his hand in the show either

    • It’s funny, but after re-reading the series I’d place Book 4 right up there with Books 1-3. I think on first read it’s a little too jarring that the book focuses away from many “fan favorites,” but I really do think it is just as good as the other books. Admittedly, though, it doesn’t have as many big “payoffs” as the other books. However, Victarion and the Arya chapters make it worthwhile.

      • Arya had only a few chapters in it though…

    • I would lose interests with out Tyrion or Daenerys.

      • Not giving away any spoilers here to the story, but in the later book both Daenerys and Tyrion become a lot less interesting unfortunately (In my opinion, of course)

  2. That scene at the end was stunningly epic, but what I keep thinking about is what happened to the night’s watch.

  3. Fave character is Grandma Tyrell. Glad to see we get so much of her this week. Episodes 1-3 was all about favourite moments for me. From Grandma Tyrell to seeing nipples and a hand chopped off, Tyrion noisily dragging a chair around the Small Council room and an in your face rejection by Tywin to both of “lesser” children. But I was ready to see this season start to pick up the pace and I wasn’t disappointed.

  4. faith in GOT restored!

    • tut tut, how could you have ever lost faith to begin with? The first 3 episodes might of appeared slow to some people I guess (not to me, I thought they were great) but with so many characters, different locations and events you need episodes like that to set everything up and get the ball rolling

      • and once the ball starts rolling, it aint gonna stop

  5. Wow, what an episode, absolutely loved it. Only 4 episodes in and Daenerys already has sacked Astapor and left with her Unsullied. What a great and epic scene. (I seriously expected them to leave that scene towards the end of the season as some sort of a finale), love the way everything seems to be moving a long so quickly and nothing is getting dragged out.

    I thought theons scene was great, saying how he regretted everything and how Ned Stark was his true father, after everything he’s done I actually began to feel sorry for him. (oh, and Jamie as well) haha, How? he burned 2 kids for gods sake, I guess it’s because of well written characters with depth and not just one dimensional characteristics.

    In fact I think every scene in this episode was fantastic, can’t wait for next week.

    • you kidding me? there can only be one sensible season finale for this season. red wedding.

  6. The best episode of the season this far. Every scene was a joy to watch, but the scene with Bran just seemed odd and out of place. Otherwise this pretty much was the perfect episode, and having the Hound scene between the mutiny at Craster’s (RIP Old Bear, Rast is another character added to “hope you die really painfully and slowly” list) and Daenerys greatest scene since the birth of the dragons, was a good idea so we get a little time to breathe out before her acquiring the Unsullied. Seasons 3 and 4 will have many viewers fall of their seats for sure, this episode was just the appetizer.

    The onscreen death of Jeor Mormont was truly horrible. The deaths feel so real and different comapred to just words on paper. I am NOT looking forward to a certain scene at the end of the season, because it will be horrible to watch.

    Also, are they trying to make Joffrey a bit more likeable? I can kind of see why …

    • I don’t believe they are trying to be more likable. There really hasn’t been anything he has done that has at least changed my opinion of him. He is still acting like a twisted little punk (telling Margaery that he thinks she can kill someone and telling her how every died and that his dad should have burned that place down to the ground). He is just happy now because he thinks Margaery is taking a liking to his sick twisted mind. I mean you can like how he is standing up to his mother.

  7. IMO this episode joins the ranks of all time GoT greats.
    I was actually cheering when Dany unleashed her Dragons.

    • Yes me too. I did the whole double fists in the air thing

      • Haha, double up on that!! GoT FtW!

  8. Best scene in the episode : Daenerys taking control of the Unsullied and conquering Astapor. Brought a smile to my face. :)

  9. A friend of mine told me that he thinks one of main themes of the whole story is the redemption of Jamie Lannister. Any truth to that?

    • Just imagine the stink of dead rotting decaying flesh as you are forced to ear your severed hand around your neck lol

    • Yes, it is true that he turns from a despisable character to a nice character, but i wouldnt go as far as to say it is the main theme of the story. That is not true. I would say the main theme of the stories is really the soon-to-be-discovered true powers of the Stark children.

      • I will have to disagree with you. The main story is not about the Stark Children’s soon-to-be-discovered powers. I believe it to be a large sub plot, but the main theme is different. I actually think there are two main themes. 1. The battle for the throne (some may be more specific and say Daenery’s quest for the throne) and 2. The return of the White Walkers.

        Jamie’s story, Theon’s story, the Stark Children are sub plots. Do they have a major affect on the main story…sure, but not the main theme.

  10. great ep that ending scene was pretty epic gotta love those dragons. i cant wait to see Danaerys take over the throne

  11. Great episode, best of the season so far. The last 5 minutes was truly amazing. Old lady Tyrell wit strikes again and the legend of Podrick grows.

  12. Another great episode! The last scene was fantastic and the dragons look amazing!

  13. Oh but for the constant awe and spectacle that was Spartacus – War of the Damned.

    But at least things seem like they’re starting to pick up in Game Of Thrones. The final scene with Danaery’s army and dragons promises some much needed momentum and focus amidst the scattered and diverse plotlines.

  14. Excuse me but I have a question, is book 3 in the series going to be split up into two seasons? Season 3 and 4? And book 4 continues on with season 5 or is book 3 going to be wrapped up in season 3?

    • @Adam

      Yes, book 3 will be split up into 2 seasons. The producers have already confirmed that.

      As for season 5, this may seem confusing, but season 5 will consist both book 4 and 5. There are so many major stories at the end of book 3 George RR Martin had to leave characters out and then start back over at the end of book 3 with the characters he left out.

      Only way i can describe it is this:

      Book 4 starts on Jan 1 2012 and end on Oct 15 2012.
      Book 5 then goes back and starts on Jan 1 2012, but this time it tells what was going on with the other characters, that were left out in book 4, during that time period leading up to Oct 15 2012. Then, when book 5 reaches Oct 15 2012, those characters from book 4 are then reintroduce and all the characters stories merge together.

      This is why they are doing book 4 and 5 at the same time, because people would be pissed if some of their favorite characters weren’t on TV for a season or two.

      I hope I didn’t confuse you to much.

      • So would season 5 be 20 episodes long?

        • No, books 4&5 would be season 5&6. 10 episodes a season. They may even choose two do three season for books 4&5. Book 5 is pretty long and it may help give Martin time to finish the last two books.

          • Oh thank god lol, I thought they were going to compile the two novels into one season. I hope books 4 & 5 turn into 3 or more seasons. Can never have too much of a good thing :) this for your help by the way


            • I hope they turn books 4 and 5 into 2 seasons only. Books 4 and 5 together are definitely longer than book 3, but not as many major plot developments occur. 3 seasons would probably ruin the pacing.

              I don’t think we have to worry much about Martin finishing. By the time Season 6 comes along, the writers of the show will have had more experience departing from the books, which by necessity of making a compelling TV show, they will have to do increasingly anyway. GRRM has already filed in the creators of the show on how the series will end anyway, so if it comes to it, the writers can fill in the gaps.

              Will be kind of strange if the endings of the books and TV show end up being significantly different though.

  15. Great episode. So glad they covered Varys’ back story (even though taking a few liberties). His character and relationship with Tyrion is important to cover as that story unfolds. Well done with the development of Jaime as well. I remember my own perceptions of him changing at this point in the book. Great episode.

  16. Spartacus has set a high bar for its final season. This was GOT’s best episode so far but as more and more characters get introduced and our favorites appear less and less, it might be tough to keep the momentum up. One thing is for sure, there is no chance that HBO sticks rigidly to Martin’s books as we move on.

  17. They rewrites the writers made irks me and one of them was Sam not being the badass Sam the Slayer. The episode itself was really great and all the visual are awesome. Can’t wait for the bear pit and the battle between the hound and the lightning lord.

    • The omission of Sam the Slayer was a bit odd (maybe they’ll add that in later somehow?). And Theon coming right out and professing that he made a mistake and Stark was his true father was kind of out of place too. Or the anti-climatic way Thorin Half Hand was killed by John last season (not that that didn’t happen in the books, just that it was handled poorly in the show).

      But for the most part, the rewrites have been tolerable, if not successful. For most, you can generally see why the books had to be changed to fit the pacing of the TV show.

  18. How did Jon Snow suddenly appear with Jimie Lannister in episode four of season 3? In the scene just after Ramsey Snow returns Theon, Jon Snow appears riding in the forest ahead of Jaimie Lannister.