The war drags tirelessly on, but not this episode of ‘Game of Thrones’

Cristina Lule

The “Walk of Punishment” episode proved to be as reprimanding as the title alluded and offered a few surprising moments.

The anticipation to an inevitable epic war has been building up since last season. However, this doesn’t mean the show can’t offer us tranquil moments punctuated with subtle humor.

The episode opened with a somber milieu – the funeral of Lord Hoster Tully. As Tully’s body floated downstream in a river farewell, spectators watched an inept bowman attempt to set the body on fire with a burning arrow.

In King’s Landing, Tywin has restored the small council – a small group which advises the King. His council meeting was put on temporary hold as they waited for the always fashionably late Tyrion. As he entered the council room, he took his time noisily dragging a chair to take a defiant seat opposite his father. His usual witty remarks ensued.

The episode also displayed some pivotal moments from its female characters.

After the funeral, Catelyn – Tully’s daughter – is seen overlooking the river from a balcony in a serene moment of reverie. As she reflects on her father’s passing, she confesses to her uncle her doubts that her two daughters – Arya and Sansa – are still alive.

Catelyn has put up a strong façade since last season and her hope of reuniting with her children is slowly deteriorating. As an audience, knowing that Arya and Sansa are still alive makes their reunion a highly anticipated moment.

Meanwhile, Catelyn’s daughter-in-law Talisa tends to her nursing duties and aids wounded citizens. In a sobering scene, we see her bandaging a boy’s arm. He turns out to be a Lannister – the enemy her husband, King Robb of the North, is waging a war against.

Talisa never failed to express her disdain for war. Her ability to care for people, whether they are enemy or allies, is a much appreciated contrast to some of the show’s merciless depictions of character.

In Astapor, Daenerys, the mother of dragons, was adamant on purchasing a slave-army. However, the city’s sexist slave-trader Master Kraznys insultingly told her the ship she’s willing to trade is not worth the value of the 8,000 Unsullied slaves she wants.

Daenerys inherited three dragon eggs in season one that were supposedly petrified but hatched rare dragons. She has since raised them and plans to use them to win the war. Her menacingly maternal line of “Where are my dragons?” when they were stolen last season became internet fodder instantly, which made it surprising in this episode when she traded one of them for the slaves.

The protective mother must have a fallacy-proof plan to let one of her children go.

Also surprising was watching the growing relationship between Jaime and Brienne. In the last episode, they were taken prisoner after Jaime nearly escaped by cutting his rope loose.

In this episode, we see them both tied up and imprisoned. When their captors attempt to rape Brienne, Jaime manages to ward them off with some empty promises of gold and riches they will inherit if they leave her “unbesmirched.”

His good deed complicates our once antagonistic view of the “King Slayer” by offering us a compassionate side we haven’t seen from Jaime before.

Unfortunately, his lending hand was exactly the price he paid.

Rating: 3 ½ bloody crowns