By Katie M. Lucas
"All men must die, but we are not men," Danerys tells her newly acquired servant Missandei after negotiating the purchase of the Unsullied. This transaction highlights a running theme of the episode – the art of bargaining. "Walk of Punishment" shows the cast trying their hand at deal-making with mixed results.
Already acquainted with power, Tyrion is forced to embark on a new relationship with money after he’s appointed Master of Coin. Time’s James Poniewozik points out the Lannisters’ irresponsible attitude towards cash: “It’s the basis of their family’s fame, and yet too much attention to the making and managing of it is uncouth, unseemly.” This point is drilled home with Tyrion learns that Littlefinger has run the country into a nearly insurmountable debt.
Of course, there are things worth more than money, and it doesn’t get more valuable than a dragon. For Dany, no price is too high to win her throne. Sers Barristan and Jorah are horrified that she barters a dragon to obtain an army, but Dany remains steadfast in her resolve. As Executive Producer and Director of this episode D.B. Weiss explains in this week’s Inside the Episode, Dany possesses Joan of Arc-like ambition: She believes her mission is divine.
Meanwhile, Theon Greyjoy has nothing to offer in exchange for his life. He’s released, but his freedom proves short-lived. To see the storyboard of this riveting chase, check out HBO Go’s Interactive Features.
On the road, Jaime successfully spares Brienne from rape, but infuriates Locke with his arrogance. The Lannister name proves useless as, in the episode’s most shocking moment, his volatile captor takes his hand. Paste’s Josh Jackson sums up how this moment illuminates the show’s stakes: “There’s real tension because the protagonist of any scene never feels truly safe. The ripples of losing Eddard Stark in Season One are still felt by the audience.” Executive Producer and episode director David Benioff evokes the same parallel between Jamie’s "be-handing" and Ned’s beheading – Jaime’s sword hand is his identity. Without it, he’s basically a dead man walking.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau speaks to Jaime’s trauma, “It’s a horrifying experience and the question is, ‘Can he deal with that?’ ” What were your reactions to the scene? Share your predictions for the Kingslayer below.