Valar Dohaeris is the first episode of the third season of Game of Thrones and continues after the events of season two. The episode mainly explains where each character is and how things have changed since Stannis’ defeat. Stannis Baratheon is sequestered far away from the Lannister’s and King Joffrey after his defeat. Each character is preparing and plotting against each other as they all seek the throne, but of course there is only one true king! It looks to be an interesting season.
Be wary that from this point in the review there may be come spoilers in order to properly talk about the episode. As it does jump around from one character to another I’ll go through them individually.
The episode contained some great and memorable scenes and conversations between characters. One of these such scenes was between Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and his father. It was quite a nasty conversation as Tyrion continues to be undervalued by the Lannister’s and is still blamed for the death of his mother during child birth. The Lannister’s still have many issues to work through in that family making them one of the most interesting to watch.
The dynamics between Tyrion and Cersei (Lena Headey) during the visiting scene were incredibly well acted. Both characters moved around and spoke as to uncover each other’s schemes and countered in such away that almost gives everything away and nothing at the same time. This is not usually seen on any TV show, the writing, the acting and character building is so complicated and connected to the story that it makes Game of Thrones one of the best shows to watch.
Stepping away from the Lannister’s in their safe warm castles we also glimpsed upon the fate of Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) as he ventured forth to meet Mance Rayder the king beyond the wall. Some fans of HBO’s Rome would recognise the actor playing the King beyond the wall as Ciaran Hinds (Julius Caesar). In only seeing the character for a short time in this episode I thought that Ciaran Hinds had quite the effect and lasting impression on the audience with his portrayal of Mance Rayder. I’m not sure if it’s just because I know him as Caesar or because he is the king beyond the wall but nevertheless his presence on screen was felt strongly giving the impression that there is some power in this king beyond the wall.
Jon Snow also continues his chats with Ygritte (Rose Leslie) as she takes him through the Wildling camp area. It looks like a relationship will be formed between the two characters which I think will actually take a few episodes to form because of Snow’s oath off women and everything. But maybe that oath may be broken sooner rather than later. If anything it should be interesting to see later on. I also thought that this new Wildling camp area was well made and well directed as a new location for the series. The designs and clothing and buildings were well made and looked impressive on screen, below is a video detailing more about the Wildling camp if you’re interested in its making.
Something to be noticed of course in Valar Dohaeris is the directing and colour schemes in the episode. It goes from white snow based scenes, to dark Tyrion chamber scenes then to warm and bright dinners full of reds and orange colours, contrasted by the cold and bitter defeat at sea full of blues and greys. There is also a high attention to detail towards the props, costumes and various things seen on screen that really make the world feel realistic and alive in a sense that draws in the viewer. I have yet to see anything in the show that made me think, well that looks fake or is noticeably not real. Everything just seems to blend together, each character change is contrasted by changing colours from King Joffrey’s warm dinner to the Wildlings cold white snow, Game of Thrones does its scenes in style.
The episode also further develops the character of Marjorie Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) the queen to be (seen in the above picture having dinner with Joffrey). She is portrayed to be a helper, sympathising with the poor in the city, someone who really cares for the people. But all I think she is, is a threat to Cersei. I think Cersei likes being Queen and is a bit threatened by this queen to be. It will be interesting to see the character develop and interact with this scheming family she is marrying into. How will Joffrey treat her in coming episodes I wonder? What’s going to happen to Sansa now that she is free of Joffrey?
Overall it turned out to be a great season premier. I loved watching the characters interact in such a beautifully crafted world that is the Game of Thrones TV show and eagerly await seeing the events unfold for the rest of the season. Where will characters go? What schemes and plots will we see? What will happen when winter comes?