Spring is here in Minnesota and the snow is almost melted off. But still, “winter is coming” in the form of Game of Thrones. The popular HBO show returned to the small screen Sunday night with its long-awaited season three premiere, Valar Dohaeris. Millions viewed the show on television, while millions more pirated a copy for themselves due to not having an HBO subscription. At the same time, they all immersed themselves again into the world of dragons, magic, and kings upon kings.

Blinding snow covers everything north of The Wall. Zombie Wights are on the prowl once again and one manages to snag Sam (John Bradley) before Ghost (Wolf) appears out of nowhere to pull the zombie away. Lord Commander Mormont (James Cosmo) soon burns the zombie to death while chastising Sam for not releasing the messenger ravens. C’mon Sam, do your job. Though, in his defense, axe-wielding zombies are much scarier than The Walking Dead ones. Leagues away in this snowy land, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) finds himself on a sexual-tension filled walk with Ygritte (Rose Leslie) through the Wildling camp to meet Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds), leader of the free folk and Severus Snape Doppelganger. It’s not hard to understand why Jon’s direwolf, Ghost, is no longer with him anymore because few could win the battle for Jon’s affections against that red-headed vixen.

Power has shifted in the rest of Westeros, but the game of thrones is still being played with Sunday night’s round centering on the odd person out. Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) has taken over Hand of King, which doesn’t bode well for Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). Everyone seems to be awarded for their bravery in the Battle of the Blackwater except for Tyrion. Sellsword Bronn is ironically now Ser Bronn, while Tyrion fears for his life. All of Tyrion’s cleverness and wit is pushed down his throat when he meets with his father. Charles Dance’s steely demeanor controls the scene as Tywin’s pent-up aggression flows through his speech denouncing Tyrion for nothing his son can control. No Tyrion, you won’t have any of your rightful inheritance because you’re a dwarf and the cause of your mother’s death. This may not bode so well for Tywin because if we have learned anything about the dwarf Lannister through seasons 1 and 2, we know he won’t go away quietly.

Power in Game of Thrones is never constant. Winners soon find themselves losers in the blink of an eye. And Cersei may end up out of the picture as new queen Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) outmaneuvers her in Valar Dohaeris. She smoothly hands out food and gifts to the orphan children, gaining the trust of the poor folk in King’s Landing like Marlo Stanfield in The Wire. Her charitable work gains the affection of Geoffrey and allows her to out-Cersei the former queen herself at their very tense “family” dinner. You can almost see the displeasure in Cersei’s normally unfazed demeanor.


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Across the sea on Dragonstone, Davos (Liam Cunningham) finds that his previous position of power can only get him so far. His Charles Barkley act of honest analysis gets himself thrown into jail this time. Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) has fallen fully for the silver-tongued red priestess Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and doesn’t even look at Davos when he sends him off to jail. But you can see in his eyes that he believes Davos is an honest and loyal soldier. Perhaps Davos’s Barkley act is also his “get out of jail free” card.

The game’s reach is endless as Ser Jorah Mormont (James Cosmo) soon finds out. His position of power as Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) most trusted advisor could be taken away with Barristan the Bold’s (Ian McElhinney) appearance in Slaver’s Bay. The former Lord Commander of the Kings Guard and “one of the greatest fighters the Seven Kingdoms has ever seen” makes quite the entrance as he saves Daenerys from a Qarth warlock creepy crawly.

With Valar Dohaeris, the newest season of Game of Thrones has already turned the world upside-down. Now some of the major players in previous seasons like Tyrion, Cersei, and Jorah find themselves in positions of peril. The newest episode drives home the notion that you should not be attached to any character or any House for that matter because no one is safe in this world. The game of thrones has no winners. Powerful figures rise and fall at a moment’s glance. And it is this constant turmoil that makes Game of Thrones such an intriguing show.

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