Dark Wings, Dark Words

"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]

"Dark Wings, Dark Words"
Game of Thrones episode
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

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 LandingEdit

Margaery and her grandmother Lady Olenna persuade Sansa to tell them the truth of King Joffrey's cruelty.

After discussing his bride-to-be with Cersei, Joffrey invites Margaery to his chamber and questions her about her last husband, Renly Baratheon, and shows off his new crossbow.

Shae warns Tyrion that Lord Baelish has taken an interest in Sansa.

Beyond the WallEdit

Mance Rayder continues to be distrustful of Jon, and speaks with Orell, a 'warg' capable of seeing through the eyes of animals, who tells him that he has seen the aftermath of the battle at the Fist of the First Men.

Marching to the Wall, Sam falls from exhaustion, and Jeor Mormont orders Rast, who had been taunting Sam, to ensure he reaches the Wall alive and if he doesn't, Jeor will have him killed.

In the NorthEdit

Heading north with Hodor, Osha, and Rickon, Bran has another strange dream. While Hodor and Rickon are away, Osha suspects someone is following them and leaves to investigate. Bran is confronted by Jojen Reed, the boy from his dream and a seer like Bran. Accompanied by his sister, Meera, Jojen says they have been searching for Bran.

In WinterfellEdit

Theon Greyjoy has been taken captive, and despite answering all questions truthfully, is continued to be tortured. A boy who claims to be sent by Yara promises to aid Theon.

In the RiverlandsEdit

Robb receives news of the death of his grandfather, Lord Hoster Tully, and that Winterfell has been razed by the Iron Islanders but Bran and Rickon have not been found. He and Catelyn depart for Riverrun for her father's funeral; Lord Karstark voices his displeasure with the funeral distraction. Catelyn discusses her children with Talisa, and admits that she feels responsible for what is happening to them all.

Traveling north, Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie are brought to an inn by a group led by Thoros of Myr, fighting for the Brotherhood without Banners. Another Brotherhood party arrive with a captive Sandor "The Hound" Clegane, who recognizes Arya and announces her true identity.

A farmer warns Brienne and Jaime of the danger in traveling the Kingsroad. Jaime warns Brienne that the farmer must be killed, but she refuses. While crossing a bridge, Jaime seizes one of Brienne's swords, but she gains the upper hand. They are taken captive by Locke, a bannerman of Lord Roose Bolton, aided by the farmer who had recognized Jaime.



"Dark Wings, Dark Words" was written by co-writer Vanessa Taylor, who had previously 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", "Arya II", "Arya V", "Jaime II" and "Jaime 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 receptionEdit

"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] Emily 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. Archived from the original on April 12, 2013. 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, Emily (April 7, 2013). ""Dark Wings, Dark Words" (for experts)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 8, 2013.

External linksEdit