What happened to the dire wolves? The producers said there would be less visits from the Stark wolves in Season Three so more money could be spent on developing the story.  Was that when they hired the fourth porn star to wiggle across the screen? Fond as I am of naked women I think dire wolves are cool too. There’s not much time to save the train wreck Season Three has become. The show has all the things that make the Song of Ice and Fire strong; an incredibly detailed world, complex narrative with plenty of twists and memorable characters engaged in the all too human struggle for power. It also has the weaknesses; endless repetition, bizarre idioms,  and sex scenes that border on the same quality as Billy the Pizza Guy porn. How many clues and red herrings can we talk about before breaking down and demanding more than George R.R. Martin’s “pink mast” and the “Myrish swamp”?

Book Loras: When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.

Show Loras: lol lets f**k and I’ll tell you a super guarded secret while we’re at it

If you’re wondering why George R.R. Martin isn’t working on the next novels of Song of Ice and Fire it’s because he’s writing for the TV show instead. Martin himself wrote this episode so he must have felt some need to work out plot points but increasingly I feel like I’m in some warped version of the game show Survivor. I won’t say I’m bored yet. Let’s call it confused as to why so many of this season’s scenes are feeling wrong. It’s almost like when George Lucas lost track of what Star Wars is actually about and the secondary projects he was farming out became so much better because they were faithful to the concept.

Parts of this episode were filmed in Los Angeles because there are legal restrictions on the international transport of large animals such as bears. Having seen the rest of the wooden cast limp through this episode I understood why the production went all the way to LA. Little Bart, an Alaskan Kodiak actor-bear who has appeared in Dr. Dolittle 2, CSI, Scrubs, and Into the Wild, outplayed everyone else. He could have easily stood in for Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) who is still channeling a turnip when confronted by Rose Leslie (Ygritte)

Little Bart has star power.

I’m not saying that Game of Thrones has turned into something as bad as VH1’s Couples Therapy. It’s just that I expect more from this particular team than average TV. Isn’t it  a bit late to try and make Robb Stark sympathetic? He’s going to the Red Wedding and knowing he’ll need the work Richard Madden has just taken a big role as Prince Charming in Disney’s new big budget version of Cinderella. Having Talisa (Oona Chaplin, granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin) pregnant is a spin for us prescient reader types but again I think too little too late. Also unless things have been seriously jumbled Theon’s story shouldn’t be relevant till season five or six. Just stop lingering on the torture. We get it, we really do and most of us would be howling if it was a woman being sex tortured so just stop it.

Emilia Clarke doesn’t need blond hair or dragons to turn in a performance

Emilia Clarke is still playing Daenerys beautifully. She’s been off on Broadway portraying a grittier version of Capote’s infamous Holly Golightly and come back to Daenerys razor sharp. Emilia might not have the posh background or be the theater royalty of some her fellow cast members but she’s one of the better players here. Like fellow cast member Richard Madden she’s also scored a major movie role and has been cast to star as April in James Franco’s adaptation of Andre Dubus III’s The Garden of Last Days. Since Daenery’s doesn’t have a wedding to attend we’ll assume that Emilia is going to have a full schedule in the upcoming year. Is there anyone who still questions if Tazmin Merchant, who dropped out of the pilot for undisclosed reasons, would have been a better Daenerys?

King Joffrey’s crossbow went limp when his grandfather confronted him on the Iron Throne. Tywin looks regal in black leather and Joffrey looks like he just peed his breeches. The scene had potential but instead we flip to Tyrion whining to Bron and then Shae about having to marry Sansa. Ok it’s interesting that all Tyrion’s companions are bought and paid for but before that scene can go anywhere we’re off to Margaery trying to explain the practical applications of sex with a dwarf to the blissfully ignorant Sansa. This could have been funny but we jump to Jon and Ygritte where Jon warns her that wildlings will never take the North and Rose Leslie looks like she wants to beat Kit Harrington to death if he doesn’t at least try to look enthused.

You get the idea. George R.R. Martin was moving the pieces around and fleshing out characters but forgot to make an episode we’d be  interested watching. When I’m reduced to saying to friends “Well at least they had dragons.” something essential is wrong. Maybe the dragons can fight Little Bart? He was so good; ouch, ouch, there’s an arrow in my shoulder. Rawr, Rawr, I want to eat the Maid of Tarth. Jaime and Brienne still have the most interesting relationship in the show and they’re not even an official couple. Jaime racing back to Harrenhal and jumping into the bear pit is the best of both the books and TV. Give us more of that.

George R.R. Martin, The Longshoreman’s Son, is secure on the Iron Throne

Again we got too little of Arya and the Brotherhood. For such an important scene didn’t it seem a bit inadequate? Arya being angry about Gendry is a far more plausible reason for her to sneak off from the Brotherhood but it seemed like all she did was sneak off so the Hound could pop up and drag her into the next part of her story. Maisie Williams can’t help she doesn’t look like a boy anymore but they didn’t cut off Peter Dinklage’s nose and Gwen Christie is far from ugly. Give her something to work with because if you can’t manage to make Arya’s story interesting you might as well cancel the show. 

It’s just going to get worse in Westeros. Let’s hope the actual episodes of Game of Thrones don’t follow that theme.

READ: Game of  Thrones: The Climb

READ: Game of Thrones: Kissed by Fire

READ: Game of Thrones: And Now His Watch is Ended

READ: Game of Thrones: Walk of Punishment

READ: Game of Thrones: Dark Wings, Dark Words

READ: Game of Thrones: Season Three Premiere