While Tyrion's game-playing, rampant sex scenes, black smoke babies and occasional beheadings and burning of children have kept us entertained, it has been the impending war between the rival kingdoms that has been drawing us further and further into Westeros.
Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have promised that the much-anticipated war between the Lannisters at King's Landing and Stannis's fleet will not disappoint in next week's penultimate episode, but for the time being we had to make do with more plotting, romps and Theon Greyjoy being a snivelling little git. Has he overtaken Joffrey in the little s**t stakes yet? Not quite, but he's getting there.
The one redeeming part of Theon (played brilliantly by Alfie Allen) is that you get the sense he knows what a horrible, evil piece of work he has become. The problem is that he's just too stupid to know how to dig himself out of the hole.
Even his sister, who has hardly been the biggest fan of Theon since their grope and fumble on the Iron Islands, attempted to offer a way out for Theon, but he's just too boneheaded to take her advice to flee. The episode's final scenes reveal that Theon's darkest act wasn't actually committed against Bran Stark (I think we all guessed that), but I can't be the only person who doesn't have any more sympathy for Theon knowing that he opted to let Bran run free. It was probably more down to his own ineptitude than any loyalty to the Starks.
Elsewhere, Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey continue to light up every scene that they're in, with Tyrion and Cersei's catty, sibling rivalry mixing tense edginess and dark humour to great effect. As usual, Tyrion continues to hold the upper hand in their battles. Cersei thinks that she's got one over on him, but had captured the wrong wh*re and the Imp's lover Shae remains free... for now.
Whether it is Dinklage sparring with Varys (Conleth Hill) over the defence of King's Landing or Cersei uttering the word "c**t" with a devilishly evil grin that sends shivers down your spine, the pair make compelling dramatic television. I'd gladly watch 10 hours in season three of Tyrion and Cersei locked in a tower with only their wit and waspish put-downs for company.
We finally got to see something of what makes Stannis tick and Stephen Dillane was at last given the chance to put some meat onto the bones of what has so far been a rather bland character, who it has been a struggle to connect with. His resentment for his brother Robert after his battles at Storm's End added a touch of humanity to a cold and vengeful individual. The relationship between Stannis and Liam Cunningham's Ser Davos Seaworth is also a classic Thrones partnership. Based around old loyalties, it feels like their friendship could be snapped at any given moment.
Perhaps the only grating storyline this week came from Jon Snow. Kit Harington has spent what feels like years wandering around with the Night's Watch. Now he's spending his time walking with the wildings and a chap with a mask made from human skull. The double-crossings, twists and moody looks from Harington can only keep this strand of the story going for so long and whenever the action switches to Snow's troubles, you can't help but long for more time from Tyrion, Theon, Joffrey or even Stannis.
For Robb Stark it was a mixed week. His mother made a massive boob and let Jaime Lannister free out of a mistaken belief that this may save her own children, but to make up for that he finally got his wicked way with nurse Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin). The sight of Talisa's buttocks was the only moment of flesh-flashing of the episode. A real sign perhaps that the darkness and the serious business of war is only around the corner.
Watch the teaser trailer for next week's episode 'Blackwater' below:
Game of Thrones continues on Sunday nights on HBO in the US. It airs in the UK on Sky Atlantic on Mondays.
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