If we have learned anything from Westeros over its first two seasons, it is that no action, however big or small, is independent of the others surrounding it. Actions have consequences, consequences begat actions, etc. ... And as we saw in Sunday's season 3 premiere of "Game of Thrones," the actions that closed season 2 may have defined things for a short amount of time, but the true consequences of Westeros's past are setting up to unfold. And this is on top of winter coming.
Those who lay claim to the Iron Throne have either further entrenched themselves, retreated to their respective corners or put their own plans in motion to take what is rightfully theirs. Yet at every angle, treacherous ground is not far off for each elite house of the Seven Kingdoms.
The fires at Blackwater Bay may have long been extinguished, but the embers of a family rivalry continue to glow bright. Tyrion Lannister has been laying low since narrowly escaping death, but nurses fresh emotional wounds because his father, Tywin, has failed to visit him during his recovery.
The only people who care to visit Tyrion are his sister, Cersei, who only appears to indulge herself in her long-running contempt for her younger sibling, and Tyrion's bodyguard, Bronn, who asks for a raise. For all of Tyrion's excesses, pity is still hard to come by.
This lack of empathy is only exacerbated once Tyrion meets with his father, who is in the midst of his self-appointed role as The Hand of the King. After expressing his disappointment with the lack of family visitation, Tyrion recalls how his bravery at Blackwater benefitted House Lannister. Tywin is not impressed.
Undeterred by his father's curtness, Tyrion notes, as a Lannister, he is entitled to certain things by virtue of his name, including the stronghold of Casterly Rock. This further infuriates Twyin, who proceeds to levy his nothing but insults and resentment at Tyrion, furious that his "ill made, spiteful little creature" was even brought into the world, let alone ask for the family jewels.
Pity should come in droves to Davos Seaworth, who has been left to die at sea, draped in the scars of a battle lost. Yet, we learn Seaworth still yearns to serve his fallen leader, Stannis Baratheon, while blaming Stannis's fire priestess, Melisandre, for his army's defeat. Despite being warned of his foolishness, Seaworth has it set in his heart that Baratheon is still "the one true king." Yet, upon confrontation, it appears Baratheon is still under the spell of the fire gods, answering only to the mysterious woman by his side.
Those who did not have a hand in the Battle at Blackwater Bay are gathering themselves for their own takeover of King's Landing. We reconvene with Robb Stark and his men, who return to a gruesome scene in Harrenhal. Upon seeing the scores of dead, some of whom were past generations of House Tully – Catelyn Stark's maiden family – Robb appears to ready to continue his assault on his enemies. But not before imprisoning his mother for the release of Jaime Lannister.
Daenerys Targaryen, fresh off a rescue of her beloved dragons, enters another foreign land in search of an army to call her own. Yet, as is wont to happen, she is immediately underestimated by the population of Astapor, presented with doublespeak and sorcery from the minute she docks her ships. However, armed with a new ally (and of course, dragons), it is hard to imagine how the khalessi fails to exert her will and gain something from her newfound discovery.
And as new battles brew, the real danger to Westeros lies north of the wall, as the Night's Watch contends with the Wildlings and Whitewalkers alike. We find Jon Snow introduced to the "King Beyond the Wall," Mance Rayder, who gives Snow the time of day despite his people's abhorrence of "crows."
After a terse line of inquiry from Rayder about his motives, Snow leaves no doubt as to where his allegiances lie, telling Rayder he is ready to "fight of the side that fights for the living."