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Review: ‘Dark Wings, Dark Words’ packed with too many words, too many storylines

Courtesy of HBO

The problem with “Game of Thrones” is that there’s so much going on. It’s not hard to keep track of, but the second episode of the season “Dark Wings, Dark Words” develops a bad case of “on a related note,” where a character mentioned in one scene becomes the subject of the next scene.

We don’t see Daenerys this episode, but that’s because every other main character has at least one scene. 

The episode starts with Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) hunting a three-eyed crow in a wooded dreamland. A boy walks out of the mists, saying that Bran is the three-eyed crow.

Ravens bring bad news to Robb Stark’s (Richard Madden) camp: Rob’s grandfather, Lord Hoster Tully, has finally died. From Winterfell comes news that though Winterfell has been retaken, Bran and Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson) are missing, as is Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). Robb speculates that Theon may have taken them hostage or killed them.

Instead, Theon is captive, tortured by unknown jailers. “What do you want?” cries Theon. “This,” says one of his torturers, and drives a needle into the flesh under Theon’s fingernail. In another scene, Theon’s captors drive a screw through his foot while asking why he captured Winterfell. At first he gives the real reason – he wanted to impress his father – but with each twist of the screw he comes up with another reason.

King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) praises the utility of his marriage to Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) but says he finds Margaery and the conversation itself boring. Cersei (Lena Headey) presses the subject, but Joffrey rebukes her: “Intelligent women do what they’re told.”

Margaery is undoubtedly intelligent, for when she meets with Joffrey later in the episode, she follows his lead and plays with his new crossbow. 

Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) visits Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), the matriarch of House Tyrell. Robb and his army ride back to Riverrun to mourn Hoster Tully. Lord Karstark (John Stahl) tells Robb that he thinks Robb lost the war when Robb broke his oath and married Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin). Robb had promised himself to one of Hoster Tully’s granddaughters in exchange for passage over the Tullys’ bridge.

Jon Snow (Kit Harington) marches south toward the Wall with the wildlings. King-Beyond-The-Wall Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds) tells Jon that the only way he was able to unite the many wildling groups was to say that they would all die if they did not move south. 2013-04-07

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