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'Game of Thrones' 3.2 Review and Recap: 'Dark Wings, Dark Words'

Thompson on Hollywood By David Chute | Thompson on Hollywood April 8, 2013 at 3:04PM

If the opening episode of Season Three of Game of Thrones was mostly talking, Episode Two is mostly walking, though it sets a brisk pace and there's a lot to see along the way.
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'Game of Thrones'
'Game of Thrones'

Elsewhere,my favorite "Game" character, Gwendoline Christie's towering Brienne of Tarth, still has Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) firmly in tow, trudging toward King’s Landing on what we already know is a misguided mission, which adds to this thread a strain of pure existential pig-headedness that makes Brienne seem even more magnificent -- and her contemptuous flick of the sword at the end of her skirmish with Jamie on the bridge seals the deal. Gwendoline has the off-hand charisma of a born action star.

In all of the road scenes, including a third involving Arya Stark and her companions, we have a sense of trajectories converging. That’s the structural implication of a storyline that has several groups of people on the move at the same time. And it’s an absorbing hike, even though none of these travelers reach their destination over the course of the episode.

Meanwhile, most of the heavy plot lifting the episode is being done back at King's Landing, in the sequences involving Sansa and the Tyrells and the preparations for Joffrey's wedding. Without them, "Dark Wings, Dark Words" would be the show's second episode in a row that was almost entirely expositional.

In these scenes, Diana Rigg's matriarch Lady Olenna Tyrell is introduced, questioning Sansa (Sophie Turner) closely about the Joffrey's suitablity as a husband for her granddaughter Margery (Nathalie Dormer), eliciting the blurted revelation that dear Joff is anything but. The women in this scene, along with Shae (Sibel Kekili), enconsed as Sansa's maid for safe-keeping by Peter Dinklage's besotted Tyrion, are most of the visible political scheming in this episode, though to what end has yet to emerge. 

As with everything else in source-novelist George R.R. Martin’s bob-and-weave storytelling, however, as faithfully adopted and artfully enhanced by Benioff and Weiss, voyages rarely follow a direct path or end up quite where we expect.


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.