'Game of Thrones' Season 3 episode 3 recap: 'Walk of Punishment'

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For those of you out there who have been complaining about the pace that "Game of Thrones" Season 3 has started with, tonight's episode "Walk of Punishment" should help you remember why you loved the show to begin with. Episode 3's cringe-worthy, shocking ending feels like it sent a bolt of energy right through the HBO fantasy series as a reminder that its viewers and characters should never get too comfortable. If you start thinking things are going well, that's the prime time for someone to come along and chop your hand off.

Of course, the loss of Jaime Lannister's hand was only made more outrageous by the inclusion of The Hold Steady's "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" in the episode's end credits. Be prepared to have that jingle stuck in your head for at least a day -- and also be warned that this won't be the last time you hear it this season.

Here's what happened in "Game of Thrones" Season 3, episode 3, "Walk of Punishment":

With the King of the North:

What a way to introduce Catelyn Stark's younger brother, Edmure Tully. "Walk of Punishment" opens up with Edmure failing to light his father's funeral ship with flaming arrows. After missing the boat three times and embarrassing his family, his uncle, Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully, takes one shot and confidently walks away from the funeral before waiting to see if the arrow hit the boat. It did, for the record.

Similarly, what a great way to introduce the Blackfish. Though he and Catelyn share a touching scene in the Tully keep where she sobs about how she'll never see Bran and Rickon again, the Blackfish shows his true colors through a scene depicting a meeting between him, Robb Stark and Edmure. While Edmure is busy bragging about how he captured a mill that the Lannisters had been near, Brynden is busy reprimanding his nephew for not referring to Robb as "king" and flaunting his mistakes. But it's the King of the North who gives Edmure the true smackdown he needs, telling his uncle that he messed up royally with the mill capture. It's become clearer and clearer over the past two seasons that Robb is the best king vying for the Iron Throne, and he shows how great he is in this scene.

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It's worth mentioning that Edmure took two young Lannisters for ransom during his capture of the mill. Talisa, who continues to win us over with each episode that passes, is seen tending to them here, "confirming" to them that her husband turns into a wolf at night -- though he doesn't eat children unless it's a full moon, of course. The care she takes with them is adorable, and it makes us wonder how cute little Robb and Talisa children would be running around Winterfell. She certainly shows here she's got a mother's touch. It remains to be seen how the Lannisters respond to this capture, though Robb feels they won't blink an eye because, as he mentions, he didn't offer up a ransom when Tywin held Sansa and Arya captive.

With the Brotherhood:

Arya and the Brotherhood Without Banners don't get much screentime in "Walk of Punishment," but their one scene does set up future events. Though Arya isn't a prisoner of the Brotherhood, she isn't allowed to leave either. She and Gendry head off with Thoros and the rest of the group as they take the Hound somewhere, but Hot Pie stays behind because the cook appreciates the way he can bake brown bread. As a parting gift, Hot Pie adorably baked Arya a wolf-shaped loaf and says his farewells.

It's worth noting the tension between Arya and the Hound in this episode. Though he's a prisoner -- and not too happy about it -- he keeps giving the Brotherhood lip. Arya, unafraid, confronts him about whether he remembers the last time they were at that inn (it was when the Hound killed the butcher boy Mycah for Joffrey), and though he blows her off, you can bet she doesn't let that chip on her shoulder go.

North of the Wall:

Mance, Jon and the rest of the Wildlings finally make it to the First of the First Men to find the "dead crows" Orell foresaw in "Dark Wings, Dark Words," but what they find instead is the Night's Watch's horses dismembered and placed in a strange spiral pattern. None of the bodies of the dead Night's Watch men remain at the location, which leads Mance & Co. to assume that they have all been turned into White Walkers (though we know some of them still live, obviously). 

Mance decides to use this opportunity to attack Castle Black, and he sends Tormund Giantsbane, Ygritte, Jon, Orell and a group of other men south to climb the Wall while it's susceptible. He says he'll light "the biggest fire the north has ever seen" to give the signal for Tormund to launch an attack. Will Jon actually be able to attack his brothers without them being aware of the reason he switched sides? That remains to be seen.

Meanwhile the men of the Night's Watch finally show up at Craster's Keep, and there's definitely some tension over the fact they had to return with their tails between their legs. Craster lets them stay with him but is antagonistic about it, and he butts head with Rast and the other angry Night's Watch men over dinner.

During Craster's confrontations with the former criminals, Gilly can be heard giving birth and Sam goes to see her. She has her child and it's a boy, which as we all know now means bad news for her baby. After all, Craster is a "godly man," which means he gives his male children up to the White Walkers in exchange for his safety.

Somewhere near Winterfell:

Like we said above in regards to Jaime, the characters in "Game of Thrones" should always be suspicious when things get too good. The same goes for Theon, who gets released by the boy who claims he works for Yara and is sent off to meet up with his older sister. While he's on the run, though, the men who held him captive stop Theon and their leader threatens to rape him. Fortunately for our favorite former Stark ward, the boy arrives just in time to kill all the men and save Theon. They continue on to find Yara, but knowing Theon's sister, it's strange that she hasn't made her presence known thus far.

At Dragonstone:

Stannis Baratheon is clearly having some emotional problems following his defeat at the Battle of Blackwater. His one scene in "Walk of Punishment" shows him begging Melissandre not to leave, as she is heading off on a mission. He claims that his enemies are "laughing" at him and begs her to give him another shadow baby so Joffrey and Robb will die. The look on her face implies that she doesn't really respect this side of him, though she still believes he is the man who will win the war. She leaves him with a parting suggestion of a "better way" to summon the strength to kill his enemies: sacrifice someone else who has the king's blood in his veins.

Across the Narrow Sea:

Daenerys comes across the most literal usage of this episode's title in Astapor where she sees a bunch of slaves strung up on the city's Walk of Punishment. There she is disturbed by a dying slave refusing the water she offers him. Jorah and Barristan argue over whether the Unsullied will be a good army for her, as Barristan mentions that the men who fought for her brother Rhaegar Targaryen in Robert's Rebellion followed him because they loved him. Unsullied fight because it's what they're told to do, but Jorah argues that they're better than nothing. Dany maintains a quiet confidence throughout the entire exchange, chastising Barristan for suggesting that Rhaegar was the "last dragon."

Regardless of what Jorah and Barristan have told her, it's clear Dany has made up her mind about the Unsullied. She tells Kraznys she will buy all 8,000 Unsullied, those still in training and the slave master's interpreter Missendei in exchange for one of her dragons. Yes, the Mother of Dragons is willing to sell one of her children to get an army to invade Westeros, for as she's already mentioned, they aren't growing fast enough to be of use for her yet. Despite Barristan and Jorah's continued complaints -- for which they get a stern talking to from Dany -- the Khaleesi makes her deal with Kraznys: an army for a dragon.

In King's Landing:It continues to be a source of humor to see how oblivious those in King's Landing are of the threats facing them from outside the city's walls. The first scene inside the Red Keep this episode shows Cersei and Tyrion playing a game of musical chairs after their father Tywin summons them, Littlefinger, Varys and Grand Maester Pycelle to a Small Council meeting. While the Lannister siblings try to outwit one another, Tywin criticizes them for not knowing where Jaime is. He also announces that Tyrion will be the new Master of Coin now that Littlefinger is departing to marry Lysa Arryn.

tyrion-game-of-thrones-recap.jpgNeedless to say, Tyrion is not very thrilled about his new position. After getting the royal ledgers from Littlefinger, he realizes that the reason that Petyr Baelish was always so good at finding money whenever it was needed is because he was borrowing millions from the Lannisters and the Iron Bank of Braavos. Tyrion notes that "one way or another, [the Iron Bank] always get their gold back," and that's an important note to remember going forward.

The most hilarious storyline of the entire episode came when Tyrion repays Pod for saving his life in Battle of Blackwater. It's not just that Tyrion gives his squire enough money to lose his virginity with three of Littlefinger's prostitutes, but the fact that they refused to accept the payment. According to Pod, he was so good in bed that the women didn't need to be paid. "Sit down, Podrick," Tyrion commands. "We're going to need details. Copious details." Amazing.


On the Kingsroad:

Jaime Lannister, you think you are smarter than you actually are. The Kingslayer makes his most fatal mistake in "Walk of Punishment": he forgets that gold can't buy everything.

He and Brienne are still held captive by Roose Bolton's men as they head towards Harrenhall, and Jaime warns his former captor that she will likely be raped once they make camp that night. As he predicted, Locke's men drag Brienne away, but Jaime manages to convince Locke to keep her alive by lying and saying that her home of Tarth is full of sapphires and that her father will pay Brienne's weight in the gem if she is kept alive, virtue intact.

Though the ploy works on Locke and Brienne is brought back unscathed, Jaime pushes too far when he tries to use the same cajoling on Bolton's underling. He starts using the whole "my father will pay you whatever you want" line that is so popular among the Lannister children, and Locke seems at first to go along with it. While untying Jaime with the promise of food, he ends up tricking Joffrey's Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and cuts off his sword hand.

"If you're given any trouble all you've got to do is say 'my father' and that's it, all your troubles are gone," Locke seethes in Jaime's ear. "You're nothing without your daddy, and your daddy ain't here. Never forget that." Cue Jaime screaming as the episode fades to black, and then "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" playing over the end credits.

Fun facts:

- Though Catelyn Tully is summoned to her home of Riverrun in the show because her father Hoster died, his character actually does have a small presence in the books. Catelyn visits her father at the end of "Game of Thrones," and remains by his bedside during "A Clash of Kings" and into "A Storm of Swords." He and his brother, the Blackfish, do end up settling their problems with one another in the George R.R. Martin novels. During his delirium before his death, Hoster frequently says the words "Tansy" and "the blood," which end up being significant later in the series.

Best lines:

Tyrion to Pod after he returns from the brothel: "Sit down, Podrick. We're going to need details. Copious details."

Craster of Gilly's cries during childbirth: "Go tell her she can bite down on the rag or she can bite down on my fist. Women."

Locke to Jaime right before he cuts his hand off: "You're nothing without your daddy, and your daddy ain't here. Never forget that."

Photo/Video credit: HBO