Dark Wings, Dark Words

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"Dark Wings, Dark Words"
Game of Thrones episode
Game of Thrones-S03-E02-Dark Wings, Dark Words.jpg
Jaime and Brienne pointing their swords at the Bolton men.
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 2
Directed byDaniel Minahan
Written by
Featured musicRamin Djawadi
Cinematography byJonathan Freeman
Editing byFrances Parker
Original air dateApril 7, 2013 (2013-04-07)
Running time57 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Valar Dohaeris"
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"Walk of Punishment"
Game of Thrones (season 3)
List of Game of Thrones episodes

"Dark Wings, Dark Words" is the second episode of the third season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 22nd episode of the series. Written by Vanessa Taylor, and directed by Daniel Minahan, it aired on April 7, 2013.[1]

The title is an in-universe old saying about messenger-ravens, referring to the fact that such urgently delivered messages are often bad news. In the episode, Robb Stark receives news of the death of Hoster Tully as well as the sack of Winterfell and the disappearances of Bran and Rickon.


In King's Landing[edit]

Sansa is invited to lunch by Margaery and her grandmother Lady Olenna. While there, Sansa is asked to tell them about King Joffrey and whether he will be a good husband to Margaery. Sansa is reluctant to speak the truth about him, but she is eventually persuaded to tell them of his cruelty.

While being fitted for his wedding clothes, Joffrey discusses his bride-to-be with Cersei. Afterward, he invites Margaery to his chamber to discuss his upcoming hunt. He grows impatient with her answers to his questions regarding her last husband, Renly Baratheon, and whether they consummated their marriage. Margaery informs him that they did not, and under further questioning she explains that Renly did not appreciate the "company of women". The conversation turns to Joffrey's new crossbow; Margaery feigns interest, and Joffrey tells Margaery that he would enjoy watching her kill something with it.

Tyrion returns to his chamber to find Shae waiting for him. He warns her of his father's threat to him regarding his whoring, but she is undaunted. She warns him that Lord Baelish has taken an interest in Sansa, to which he replies that, now that she is no longer Joffrey's future queen, many men will take interest in her. Shae becomes jealous of Sansa, and Tyrion calms her.

Beyond the Wall[edit]

Mance Rayder continues to be distrustful of Jon, speaking to him while marching toward the wall. Along with Tormund Giantsbane and Ygritte, they stop briefly to speak with Orell, a warg, one who is capable of seeing through the eyes of animals. He awakens from his trance to tell Mance that he has seen the Fist of the First Men and the aftermath of the battle which took place there.

While marching back to the Wall, Sam falls from exhaustion. He is aided by Grenn and Edd, before Jeor Mormont orders Rast, who had been taunting Sam as fat and slow and urging he be left behind, to ensure Sam reaches the Wall alive.

In the North[edit]

While heading toward the Wall, Bran Stark has a dream where he is trying to shoot the three-eyed raven, but is confronted by a boy who explains that it is impossible, as Bran is the raven. When he awakens, Bran, Hodor, Osha and Rickon continue their northern march. Later, while Hodor and Rickon are away, Osha suspects someone is following them and leaves to investigate. Bran is then confronted by the boy from his dream, who reveals that he is Jojen Reed, and a seer like Bran. He is accompanied by his sister, Meera. Jojen says that he too had the dream, and that they have been searching for Bran, believing he will play a critical role in the future.

In an unknown location[edit]

Theon Greyjoy has been taken captive and is being tortured for information. Despite Theon answering all questions truthfully, they continue the torture. After they leave, a boy who claims to have been sent by Theon's sister Yara promises to aid him once the soldiers are sleeping.

In the Riverlands[edit]

Robb receives two letters, one informing him of the death of his grandfather, Lord Hoster Tully, and the other bearing the news that his home, Winterfell, has been put to the torch by the Iron Islanders. Furthermore, Bran and Rickon were not found among the ruins of Winterfell. He informs Catelyn of this news, and they depart for Riverrun, her childhood home, for her father's funeral. While on the road, Lord Rickard Karstark voices his displeasure with the funeral distraction. Later, Catelyn discusses her children with Queen Talisa, recalling how she had prayed for Jon to die when he was first brought to Winterfell. After Jon fell gravely ill, Catelyn promised to love him and prayed to the gods for his recovery, promising to persuade Ned Stark to legitimize the bastard boy, though in the end she couldn't bring herself to do so. She admits that she feels responsible for what is happening to all of them.

Traveling north, Arya Stark, Gendry, and Hot Pie are discovered by a small party led by Thoros of Myr, who suspects them of having escaped Harrenhal. He tells them that he and his men fight for the Brotherhood without Banners, and takes them to an inn to eat. Once finished, Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie are leaving when another group of Brotherhood soldiers enter with a captive Sandor "The Hound" Clegane, who recognizes Arya and reveals her true identity to Thoros and his men.

Brienne of Tarth continues to transport Ser Jaime Lannister to King's Landing, hoping to trade him for Sansa and Arya. While traveling, they encounter a farmer who warns them of the danger in traveling the Kingsroad. Jaime warns Brienne that the farmer might give their presence away and must be killed, but Brienne refuses. Later when they are crossing a bridge, Jaime seizes an opportunity to take one of Brienne's swords, but in the ensuing fight she gains the upper hand. Before their fight can be concluded, they are taken captive by Locke, a bannerman of Lord Roose Bolton, aided by the farmer, who had recognized Jaime from a joust he had attended.



"Dark Wings, Dark Words" was written by co-writer Vanessa Taylor, who previously had written the episodes "Garden of Bones" and "The Old Gods and the New" for Season Two. This episode adapts the following chapters from George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords: Bran I, Sansa I, Jon II, Arya I,II and V and Jaime II and III.[2]


With this episode, Joe Dempsie (Gendry) is promoted to series regular, after guest starring in the first and second season. This episode also marks the first appearances of Diana Rigg (as Lady Olenna Tyrell), Mackenzie Crook (as Orell), Paul Kaye (as Thoros of Myr), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (as Jojen Reed), Ellie Kendrick (as Meera Reed), Philip McGinley (as Anguy), Noah Taylor (as Locke), and Iwan Rheon (as the cleaning boy attending Theon).



"Dark Wings, Dark Words"'s first airing was seen by 4.27 million viewers. Taking into account the viewers of the later repeat, the figures rose to 5.54 million.[3] In the United Kingdom, the episode was seen by 0.988 million viewers on Sky Atlantic, being the channel's second highest-rated broadcast that week.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

"Dark Wings, Dark Words" received very positive reviews from television critics, with review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes surveying 21 reviews of the episode and judging 90% of them to be positive with an average score of 7.7 out of 10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Burdened with character and plot reintroductions, 'Dark Wings, Dark Words' starts slow before revving up and delving into the real intrigues of the season."[5] IGN's Matt Fowler gave the episode an 8.5/10, writing "Not many big moments in this week's Game of Thrones, but a lot of new characters came into play."[6] David Sims, reviewing for The A.V. Club, rated the episode with a B+ for newbies.[7] Todd VanDerWerff, rating for experts, also gave the episode a B+.[8]


  1. ^ "Episode Guide". WinterIsComing.net. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  2. ^ Garcia, Elio; Antonsson, Linda (April 17, 2013). "EP302: Dark Wings Dark Words". Westeros.org. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  3. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (April 9, 2013). "'Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Game of Thrones' Wins Night + 'Real Housewives of Atlanta', 'Kourtney & Kim Take Miami', 'Vikings', 'Mad Men' & More". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  4. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (8 - 14 April 2013)". BARB. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  5. ^ "Dark Wings, Dark Words". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  6. ^ Fowler, Matt (April 7, 2013). "Game of Thrones: "Dark Wings, Dark Words" Review". IGN. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  7. ^ Simms, David (April 7, 2013). ""Dark Wings, Dark Words" (for newbies)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  8. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (April 7, 2013). ""Dark Wings, Dark Words" (for experts)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 8, 2013.

External links[edit]