9:45am PT by Josh Wigler
'Game of Thrones': Looking Back at the Series' Funniest Episode
[This story contains full spoilers through seven seasons of HBO's Game of Thrones.]
It's not often that Game of Thrones kicks things off with a big laugh.
Sure, the opening scene in season three's third episode, "Walk of Punishment," begins on a somber note. Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) and the Northern Army are on hand for her father's funeral in Riverrun, watching solemnly as his body is cast out into the water. Catelyn's brother, the ineffectual Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies), draws back a flaming arrow and launches it off at his father's drifting corpse, intending to set it ablaze.
Another notch, another launch, another miss, and even the King in the North Robb Stark (Richard Madden) can barely stifle his laughter. When Edmure misses on his third attempt, the joke loses its luster, at least with his uncle Brynden Tully, aka the Blackfish (Clive Russell), who hits his brother's funeral pyre with a single nonchalant shot.
Series creator David Benioff and Dan Weiss wrote and directed "Walk of Punishment," their first time behind the lens of the series, and certainly not their last. (Indeed, the pair are set to direct the final episode of the series, set for release sometime in 2019.) The excitement they must have shared about the job translates to the screen in the form of a few scenes that are more comedy than drama, including the Riverrun funeral. Also in the mix: Tyron (Peter Dinklage) and Cersei (Lena Headey) embarking in a game of music-less chairs at the Small Council in King's Landing; and the story of Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) and the legendary Meereenese knot.
"We're going to need details," Tyrion tells Podrick when he returns from his time in Littlefinger's brothel. "Copious details."
Of course, this is Game of Thrones, not Veep, so the laughs are at least matched by the moments of pain and tension, if not outnumbered by them. Other areas of the episode covered in this week's round of "Winter Was Here," the podcast collaboration between THR and Post Show Recaps:
• Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and her sad goodbye with Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey);
• Melisandre (Carice van Houten) sailing off to catch a worm;
• What the White Walkers' grisly message might mean for the future;
• The increasingly brutal mind games being played against Theon (Alfie Allen);
• The titular walk of punishment, which inspires Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) to make a move;
• The behanding of Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau);
• And more!
Listen to the podcast in the player below: