We’re a few episodes into season three, and things seem a bit slow. That makes sense, since, according to Martin himself, this covers roughly the first half of book three and book three did start out a little slow, if you ask me. But we do see some changing relationship dynamics that Martin set up that are really intriguing.
First, we see the relationship between Cersei and Joffrey changing as the little monster of a king starts to spread his wings and ignore mommy dearest. Cersei treads a thin line between his mother and the king’s subject, and Joffrey knows this, so he uses it. When she tries to warn him about Margery’s intentions, Joffrey retorts, “I don’t have to do anything.” Margery, of course, is trying to drive a gap between mother and son so she can have control as queen with the meddling Cersei out of the way.
We also see a relationship growing between Jaime and Brienne. After weeks on the road, the two square off on a bridge (a fight that took place in the water in the book) and we start to see Jaime earning respect for Brienne’s skills as a fighter.
The relationship between Rob and his mother is strained, again due to his position as king. Since his mother freed Jaime, Rob is left with no choice but to imprison her to keep his people–many of whom lost loved ones to the Kingslayer–behind him. “Will I wear manacles to my grandfather’s funeral?” Catelyn asks her son as they discuss their trip to Riverrun, showing how hard it is to be mother to a king.
Tyrion’s relationship with Shae is becoming dangerous, as his father Tywin has sworn to kill any whore he finds in his son’s chambers. Tyrion tries to warn her, but the spunky former prostitute still comes to his room, at least in part to seek help for Sansa, but also to see her “Lion of Lannister.”
We catch a hint or two of possible relationship changes between Arya and The Hound, Sansa and the Tyrells, and Jon and Mance Rayder, who is starting to trust Ned Stark’s bastard.
We see a new alliance growing between Bran and Jojen Reed, as the little group makes their way toward the wall, and we also see Barristan Selmy come into Dany’s life, which causes a fundamental shift in her relationship with her old friend and advisor, Jorah Mormont.
So while season three so far hasn’t been chock full of action, it’s an important stepping stone to the rest of the year and the rest of the story, as it lays out relationships that will come into play later on.