Game of Thrones recap: Hand of the Kingslayer

A shocking twist changes one character forever in "Walk of Punishment"
Ep. 03 | Aired Apr 14, 2013

BOUND FOR TROUBLE Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is disarmed and vulnerable.

HBO

Theon Woods: Theon's freedom is interrupted by an arrow fired over his head. The mysterious torturers are back! They chase him into the forest and we're treated to a horse chase. Theon eventually takes a mace to the chest. The lead torturer reveals what they do with runaways: "I'm gonna f--k you into the dirt," he says. Lot of rape threats in this episode. Also: Again, super unhygienic.

Just as the torturer is about to, as Margaery would say, do "something unnatural that couldn't possibly result in children" to Theon, the Boy comes to his rescue. Theon's attackers are killed. "You little bastard," says one before dying. The Boy helps Theon to his feet, doesn't rape him and off they go.

Jaime and Brienne Woods: Locke and his men come for Brienne. She's apparently decided to resist -- she screams and struggles as they carry her off. "You know who she is don't you?" Jaime says idly to Locke (yes, book readers, the character's name was apparently changed, at least for now). Jaime explains that Brienne is from "the sapphire isle" and her father would pay her weight in gemstones -- which is quite a lot -- to see her returned "unbesmirched." Jaime then explains "unbesmirched" means "not defiled." Being condescending is a huge mistake for Jaime to make with Locke, but he doesn't realize the type of man he's dealing with yet.

Jamie's manipulation works and Locke releases Brienne. It's odd that Jaime is helping her. Perhaps Brienne beating him at sword-fighting has stirred up some inkling of respect for her, or perhaps since she's no longer the one holding him captive it frees him to like her, or maybe he even feels guilty for getting her captured. With Jaime, it's rarely easy to understand his motivations.

Flush with his success from manipulating Locke once, Jaime goes for twice -- dangling his own father's wealth in exchange for his freedom. Then he tries to play Locke three times -- attempting to convince him to unlock his chains. He's pushing for too much, too fast, and thinking Locke is stupid. And he's right -- Locke is stupid. But he's not that stupid. And apparently, he's got a complex about the wealthy 2 Percent.

They take Jaime to a tree stump and throw him over it. "You think you're the smartest man there is," Locke says. "You're nothing without your daddy and your daddy ain't here." I wondered: If Jaime had only said something to Locke in this moment, some agreement, something submissive, to mollify him, instead of remaining proudly silent, would it have changed the outcome?

For a moment, we think he's going to release Jaime unharmed. Even knowing how this scene has to end from reading the books, it still fooled me for a second. Then Locke brings the knife down. It's awful. Jaime is shocked for a beat then screams wildly. And we smash-cut to The Hold Steady playing "The Bear and Maiden Fair."

BEST SCENE: I loved Dany's negotiation with the slaver, and Jaime's final scene with Locke was really well done. But the two-minute Small Council pantomime was so funny and original that it must win.

BEST LINE: Nothing really jumped out this week. The Ser Jorah "beast in every man" line was pretty good. Maybe I missed something better? Tell me your suggestions in the comments and I'll pick one and update this slot tomorrow morning. Otherwise I'll probably go with Tyrion's chair screech. Update: Looks like the most popular one in the comments is Dany's spin on Eowyn's line in LOTR: "Yes, all men must die ... but we are not men."

Check out our interview with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Thrones producers about the hand-chopping scene -- they explain why they used the song and tease Jaime's reaction to losing his sword hand.

Next week is.... I don't want to get your expectations too high but.... there is some great stuff. In fact, episode 4 has arguably the best scene this show has ever staged. I've literally watched this one sequence six times. In the meantime, I feel guilty about this week's recap only being five pages long. As penance for my sin, I'm driving to Universal to take the CityWalk of Punishment, forcing myself to navigate the throngs of tourists, eat at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and browse at Hot Topic. But you don't have to suffer with me. You can sound off below and reveal what you thought of this week's Thrones.

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