The world of HBO's "Game of Thrones" expanded only a little on Sunday night, with the introduction of just one significant new character, but he's someone who -- with an expected epic swordfight on the way -- is worth getting to know.
Like we've done each Sunday this season, AccessHollywood.com continues our guide for those (non book readers) trying to keep track of the new characters and the old ones, this week running down the eye patch-wearing Beric Dondarrion. We'll also look at the major highlights of the episode including a mutiny, a new scheme in the works and why one character really should have asked the question, "Do you speak Valyrian?" at the start of the season.
(SPOILER ALERT! This story contains details from the episode, so best to watch it first on HBO.)
Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer)
How He Was Introduced: After Thoros of Myr took Arya Stark and Gendry into a cave, Sandor Clegane, AKA The Hound, was dragged in all tied up, only to see Beric Dondarrion stroll out from the dark. "You've seen better days," The Hound sniped. "And I won't see them again," one-eyed Beric responded. Cutting a long story short, the Brotherhood Without Banners revealed they dispense justice for the weak, prompting Arya to bring up Mycah, the butcher's son who The Hound killed in Season 1 (he was blamed for shoving Joffrey down). Beric says as a result of this alleged crime, The Hound will face him in "trial by combat."
Characters He's Tied To: The Brotherhood Without Banners, Thoros of Myr, The Hound. It should also be noted that Beric mentioned he now follows the Lord of Light. That's the same god Melisandre, the Red Priestess, follows.
Where You've Seen Richard Before: Like a couple of the "GOT" cast, including Stephen Dillane (Stannis Baratheon) and Patrick Malahide (Balon Greyjoy), Richard appeared in "Hunted" on HBO's sister network Cinemax last year. He played Lewis Conroy, a hedge fund manager. He was also in 2007's "My Boy Jack," playing a World War I military officer alongside Daniel Radcliffe.
Here's what happened to our established characters:
Jaime Lannister: He may have lost his hand, but despite being weakened, Jaime made an attempt to fight his captors, swinging his sword as a lefty. Turns out the Kingslayer is not ambidextrous. Seeing Jaime slumped in depression, Brienne tries to keep him going by insulting him. "You had one taste of the real world... You sound like a bloody woman," she snarls. It works. Jaime eats.
"It's all about his skill and suddenly that one thing is gone and that's just so interesting," Nikolaj Coster-Waldau told Access earlier this week. "This is huge because, before this, he has this wonderful, annoying arrogance and wit and fearlessness with people and it's just interesting what will happen next... To have a guy who starts in this one extreme and you go to the other, you couldn't ask for more as an actor, really."
Varys & Lady Olenna: He started the episode showing Tyrion his captured sorcerer in a box (the man who made him a eunuch years ago), and ended it hatching a scheme with Westeros' straight-talking, sassy Lady Olenna. Worried that Littlefinger will take Sansa Stark with him when he goes to the Eyrie to marry the still-breast-feeding-her-kid Lysa, the two start scheming to thwart his plans. "Why should a man with such a low reputation steal away such a lovely bride," Varys quips.
Lord Commander Mormont & The Men Of The Night's Watch: Hungry, bloodied and bruised men with bad intentions don't make the best company on a good day. On a bad night, after the funeral (where they said the title of the episode, "and now his watch is ended,") for one of their brothers, a little sawdust in the free bread sets a group of steel blade-carrying men off. First taken down is creepy Craster, and then Rast stabs Lord Commander Mormont in the back. "A treacherous lot it turns out," James Cosmo told AccessHollywood.com , in an interview about his character's exit from the series. "I think it was the trauma that they're going through beyond The Wall, with all these dreadful things depleting the army... They're all in survival mode and the worst traits come out in some of them."
Theon Greyjoy: After escaping his torturers thanks to the help of the character HBO has described only as "Boy" (book readers likely have suspicions about the character's name), Theon seems to finally come to terms with some of the horrible things he's done to the Starks. But, just after his confession, "Boy" has one of his own -- to the men in the torture chamber he's returned Theon to. "I brought him back," "Boy" tells the others, his crazy eyes widening. "He killed the others. Put him back where he belongs."
Daenerys Targaryen: Kraznys mo Nakloz really should have asked his slave army-buying guests an important question in Episode 301 -- "Do you speak Valyrian?" Turns out Daenerys has (it's her mother-tongue!) -- and, in a twist he didn't expect, she takes his army and one of her dragons burns him to death. In a moment that probably had watchers on the edge of their sofas, Daenerys asks the army if they'll fight for her of their own free will. They start beating their staffs into the ground (Unsullied speak for, "Yeah!"). Following a smug grin from Ser Jorah Mormont, they all head off together into the sunset.
"Game of Thrones" airs Sundays at 9 PM on HBO.
-- Jolie Lash
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