There’s a meme going around the Internet that compares “Game of Thrones” with “The Walking Dead.”
The zombie show, the meme says, makes you hate its characters before killing them. “Thrones,” however, makes you like them.
And that is, I think, objectively true. Even this show’s vilest characters (the Lannisters, for instance) all have redeeming qualities. After spending enough time with them, you being to surprise yourself by gravitating toward characters you once reviled.
“Dark Wings, Dark Words” keeps this trend going. The episode’s climax is a swordfight between Jaime Lannister (yes, the same Jaime Lannister who pushed Bran Stark from a window, paralyzing him) and Brienne of Tarth, who is escorting him to King’s Landing.
Jaime, it's widely known, is one of the best swordsmen in Westeros, and, even in chains, he puts up a valiant fight against perhaps the best female fighter on the continent. Brienne ultimately subdues him, but after doing so, they’re captured by House Bolden (who are pledged to Robb Stark, the King in the North).
This is all somewhat complex, but what’s important is this: The audience is beginning to like Jaime. As he traverses the countryside with Brienne, his back-and-forth joking makes him come across as funny, irreverent and without airs.
Speaking of Renly Baratheon, Jaime quips: “He wasn’t fit to rule over anything more than a 12 course meal.”
The road from Harrenhal
Meanwhile, Ayra Stark is back!
Last week’s season opener went off, sadly, without Arya, but she returned for the second episode. (This week, sadly, had no Dany Targaryen, however.)
Fresh off their escape from Harrenhal, Arya, Gendry and Co. encounter Thoros of Myr and the Brotherhood without Banners. (They're the outlaws roaming the countryside to bring The Mountain to justice.)
The three kids are taken to the outlaws' hideout, where they’re fed, questioned and about to be sent on their way. But then the Brotherhood brings in a prize captive: The Hound.
Sandor Clegan immediately recognizes Arya, which means (the audience is left to assume) the three youngsters won’t be leaving so quickly.
“What in seven hells are you doing with a Stark bitch?” the Hound snarls.
Let’s just put it out there. Tyrion should be much uglier than he appears on the show. In the books, his friggin’ nose is cut off. But I digress.
At King’s Landing, we get to meet The Queen of Thorns (!) for the first time. (She's one of my favorite characters from the books.)
Olenna Tyrell and Margaery Tyrell dine with Sansa Stark and pump her for information about Joffrey. After playing coy at first, Sansa finally tells the women some of the terrible things the boy-king did to her, including forcing her to view her father’s severed head.
“He’s a monster,” Sansa confesses.
Meanwhile, the boy-king Joffrey is growing ever-more openly rude and condescending to his mother, Cersei. (She used to control him, but no longer.)