Game of Thrones season premiere recap: Family Feuds

The fantasy hit returns for season 3 with a fishing dragon, a snow giant and some wildly dysfunctional feudal family feuds
Ep. 01 | Aired Mar 31, 2013

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) walk and banter in the season premiere.

HBO

Dany is on a ship on the way to Astapor. Her dragons are bigger this year. And kind of spiky. One of her kids goes fishing and charbroils the fish in midair. Do her dragons bring any seafood back for her to eat, I wonder? Can she make specific requests, like, "ahi, medium rare"?

Dany has a new blue dress this season, which brings out her eyes. She is impatient. She says her dragons aren't growing fast enough (you're telling us) and she declares, "I need an army" (as if she hasn't been saying that for the last two seasons!). But don't you worry, Dany's story is great in season 3.

Meanwhile her remaining Dothraki, unaccustomed to sea voyages, are miserable from the trip, and we get a shot of them looking like they're on the deck of the Carnival Champion.

Dragonstone: Lot of water shots in this episode, huh?

Davos chats with Stannis, who wants to speak with his king alone. But Melisandre can tell when her lover's best friend just wants to trash her and sticks around. She messes with the captain's resolve, saying it's his fault their attack failed because he talked Stannis out of bringing her along to the battle. She then reminds him that she told his son, who died in the battle, that death by fire is the purist way to go -- so she knew what would happen all along. Davos draws his dagger. Melisandre says she likes Davos but he's chosen darkness; Davos is arrested.

King's Landing: Joffrey is traveling through the slums in his posh litter crib. This was he can navigate the crowded streets of unkempt humanity in peace and comfort. I wonder if it's possible to rent one of these for covering Comic-Con.

He spies his bride-to-be Margaery Tyrell getting out of her litter and happily stepping around thugs and poop. He's bewildered -- Never leave the litter! She embarks on a lovely PR tour in King's Landing's worst slum, which is called Flea Bottom (George R.R. Martin isn't quite as snappy at coming up with names as J.K. Rowling, but that one is worthy of any Harry Potter novel). The princess stages an impromptu Oprah-like town hall with the grubby orphans. She gives out some toy soldiers ("You get a toy! And you get a toy! And you get a toy!") and says their fallen dads are heroes. Clearly, she's just the sort of sensitive Good Cop that Joffrey's reign of terror needs.

Later, a fun scene at dinner. Margaery (who has ditched her poop-dress) along with her secretly gay brother Loras dine with Joffrey and Cersei. The king was late because he attended a small council meeting. "At what point does it become treason to waste the king's time?" he asks and we suspect: Not very long.

Cersei lobs some thinly veiled sarcasm at Margaery about her cleavage-exposing dress, making it sound like she's talking about the weather. Margaery wisely plays along and pretends not to notice her insult. Joffrey, however, is utterly oblivious to the subtext and offers her a shawl.

Margaery's volunteerism has Cersei fuming. I particularly love the way Jofrrey struggles to express what Margaery was doing earlier. "This sort of charitable work..." the king says, as if his mind is just reeling trying to comprehend the concept. When Cersei rebukes her efforts and Joffrey takes Margaery's side, you can see the Queen Regent is just dying inside. This young, pretty, smart, kind woman is not only luring her son away but, with their marriage, Margaery will replace her as queen. "Mother's always had a penchant for drama," Joffrey says, "facts become less and less important to her and she grows older."

The Tyrells exchange a quick look and you know they're thinking: Uh-oh, these two are really f--ked up.

NEXT: Come play with us, Dany...

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