Jon meets the King-Beyond-the-Wall while his Night Watch Brothers flee south. In King’s Landing, Tyrion wants a reward, Margaery shows her charitable nature, Cersei arranges a dinner party, and Littlefinger offers to help Sansa. Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys starts her journey west.
“Valar Dohaeris” is the third season premiere episode of the HBO fantasy television series Game of Thrones. Written by executive producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by Daniel Minahan, it aired on March 31, 2013.
The premiere continued where the second season left off, with the Lannisters consolidating their power at King’s Landing in the aftermath of the Battle of the Blackwater. Meanwhile, Jon Snow meets the “King beyond the Wall,” and Daenerys leaves Qarth for Slaver’s Bay.
The episode’s title translates to “all men must serve” in the High Valyrian language in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, which the series adapts. The title mirrors that of season 2’s finale, “Valar Morghulis” – “all men must die.”
The episode received mostly positive reviews, set a new ratings record for the series, a
Beyond the Wall
The episode opens shortly after White Walkers have attacked the Night’s Watch force at the Fist of the First Men and left only a small number of survivors. During a subsequent blizzard, Samwell Tarly is attacked by a wight, but is saved by the direwolf Ghost and Lord Commander Jeor Mormont. Mormont reprimands Samwell for failing to send ravens south to warn of the approaching army and orders the survivors to return to the Wall.
Jon Snow, still a prisoner of Ygritte and the wildlings, arrives at the wildling camp and is escorted to meet with Mance Rayder. When brought to his tent, Jon initially mistakes Tormund Giantsbane for the King-beyond-the-Wall, but Mance reveals himself to Jon and questions Jon’s motives for deserting the Night’s Watch. Jon earns Mance’s approval by describing his disgust after discovering that Craster gave his baby sons to the White Walkers and that Mormont knew but did nothing, adding that he wants “to fight for the side that fights for the living”.
In King’s Landing
Newly knighted Ser Bronn has returned to Tyrion Lannister’s service, for a much higher fee. Tyrion has been a shut-in recluse ever since the arrival of his father Tywin, who has taken the glory for the victory over Stannis Baratheon’s forces. Cersei visits Tyrion and questions what he will say to their father. When Tyrion meets with Tywin, who has assumed the role of Hand of the King, Tywin reluctantly agrees to Tyrion’s request for recognition of his accomplishments during the Battle of Blackwater. However, when pressed by Tyrion to name him heir to Casterly Rock, the Lannister ancestral home, Tywin refuses, and viciously insults Tyrion, calling him an embarrassment and a penance that he must suffer “to teach him humility”. As Tyrion leaves, Tywin threatens to hang the next whore he finds in Tyrion’s bed.
Petyr Baelish approaches Sansa Stark, who is still being accompanied by Shae. Petyr informs Sansa that he is in negotiations to take a role that would remove him from King’s Landing. He offers to smuggle her out if Sansa can keep quiet about the plan. Ros is careful to tell Shae to watch out for Sansa’s wellbeing, especially when dealing with Baelish.
King Joffrey Baratheon and his betrothed Lady Margaery Tyrell travel through Flea Bottom in a caravan, when Margaery stops and exits her litter and goes to an orphanage to comfort the children. Joffrey, meanwhile, hides in his litter with the windows shut. At dinner with Cersei, Margaery, and Loras Tyrell, Joffrey trades insults with his mother while the Tyrells show perfect unity and harmony.
In Blackwater Bay
Davos Seaworth is left stranded on a rock in Blackwater Bay after the destruction of his ship in the Battle of the Blackwater. He is picked up by a ship belonging to his old friend, the pirate Salladhor Saan. Davos recounts seeing his son Matthos die. Salladhor reveals that he is leaving Stannis’ service due to Stannis’ defeat and Salladhor’s belief that Stannis is unable to deliver what Davos had promised in his name. He also tells Davos that Stannis is in seclusion at Dragonstone, and will only speak with Melisandre, who is burning people alive. Davos asks Salladhor to take him there, intending to stop Melisandre influencing Stannis by assassinating her. Salladhor agrees, despite being afraid that this will mean Davos’s death.
Davos is given an audience with Stannis, and is shocked to discover that Stannis is indifferent to his survival and refuses to send Melisandre away. Melisandre insinuates to Davos that it is his fault the battle was lost, since he convinced Stannis to leave her at Dragonstone and thus prevented Melisandre from using her magic to influence the battle’s outcome. When she mentions Matthos, Davos becomes enraged and tries to attack her, but is restrained by the guards; Stannis orders him thrown in the dungeons.
Robb Stark and his forces arrive at Harrenhal, where they discover that Gregor Clegane has abandoned the castle and slaughtered all the prisoners. Lord Roose Bolton gives sympathy to a still-grieving Lord Rickard Karstark, who expresses his frustration that Catelyn Stark let Jaime Lannister go. Bolton assures Karstark that Jaime will be found soon, as his best hunter is after him. Robb stumbles across a survivor among the dead, a man named Qyburn.
Across the Narrow Sea
With her dragons growing fast, Daenerys Targaryen has arrived at Astapor in Slaver’s Bay and is considering buying an army of the renowned eunuch slave soldiers, the “Unsullied”. She and Ser Jorah Mormont witness a brutal demonstration of their fortitude, but Daenerys is horrified to hear of the gruesome training they endure. Upon walking throughout a nearby market, a warlock masked as a young girl attempts to assassinate Daenerys with a scorpion-like creature. He is thwarted by a cloaked Ser Barristan Selmy, previous Kingsguard to Daenerys’ father, who swears his allegiance to her.