Episode seven begins the Herculean process of pulling together about a thousand different plotlines as we charge relentlessly towards the final third of season five of “Game of Thrones.” Some surprises as we learn lots of characters are dancing ever closer to danger, the beginnings of a Greek tragedy unfold in the snow, an imperfect plan turns in a much anticipated direction, and a fan favorite meets his maker. Find out more after the break.
At the Wall
We kick off with a grim Night’s Watch taking a chained Tormund Giantsbane out to the courtyard and for a brief moment I thought he was heading towards the chopping block. Then again, if he was, the Night’s Watchmen probably wouldn’t all be looking so grim. It was a great moment, really showing how precarious Jon’s position is. Alistar Thorne certainly seems to know it, and the glances he shares with the others makes you wonder how Jon’s plan can really succeed, even with the piece of Dragonglass Sam provided him.
And Jon’s not the only one in danger. Maester Aemon’s dying advice to “get the boy south” could have been for baby Sam or baby-faced Sam, or heck, for Gilly herself. Thorne didn’t waste any time reminding Sam that he’s running short of friends at Maester Aemon’s funeral. And thank God Lupus ex Machina, Ghost made his annual appearance or we’d spend a whole other week arguing. It does make you wonder if Jon is Warging after all, because Ghost spends a lot more time saving Sam’s jiggly cheeks than Jon’s.
Winterfell (and environs)
So mixed results on what last episodes brutal conclusion wrought. Sansa is still being brutalized by her new husband, her decision to trust Theon proves costly, and we’re still paralleling Season one and two Kings Landing.
My biggest concern is I don’t want her still being a victim. If she doesn’t act, then episode six would prove to be gratuitous and unnecessary. And for a few moments, I thought we were heading that way, but her recruitment of Theon, the wonderful moment when she begins to manipulate Ramsay, and maybe more importantly, her split-second decision to grab and hide something pointy point to a spine made of sterner Stark stuff. Let’s hope we see more if it!
Alas, our favorite bad-luck Baratheon is snowbound. The man can’t catch a break. This episode seems to deal a lot with destiny, and just doesn’t seem like Stannis has the gods (neither seven nor red) on his side. While I long suspected the adorable Kings-blood that runs through Shireen’s veins was in danger, I was very surprised that Melisandre threw it out there so boldly. I can’t see Stannis going for it, and there is no way the Onion Knight lets it happen; but really is in a no-win situation. He can gain a kingdom at the price of his humanity, or defy Melisandre’s god and watch his kingship fall (in which case his daughter probably dies anyway). Somehow I don’t think things are going to work out nicely under all that snow.
I’m not exactly sure why we had the brief interlude in Dorne.
We’ve already established Myrcella and Tristan are in love and she’d have no interest in leaving. We got to see Bronn almost die (would have lost money on that one, I thought he was toast), but the fact he didn’t die makes the scene almost irrelevant; unless, of course, we discover there is a new love connection between Nym and Bronn. In that case, it makes the scene annoying. I hope the Dorne storyline picks up and starts making sense, but I can’t see how with only three episodes (and so much to cover) left.
Meereen (and environs)
In contrast, the Jorah and Tyrion road show gets much better very fast, especially if you don’t mind a little destiny continuing to intervene for Tyrion on multiple occasions.
But seeing Jorah in action as he went all Bill Goldberg in the fighting pit was worth it. And seeing two of destiny’s children meeting for the first time, with Tyrion stepping forward and presenting himself before Dany was absolutely goosebump inducing.
Also goosebump worthy was Daario’s advice to gather all of the royal class of Meereen and kill them all, mainly because in that pit of snakes it’s probably good advice. He may be nothing but a generic boy-toy for our queen to play with, but he’s right. In Essos, you’re either butcher or meat.
I think I might need a whole post just for this part of the episode. And where do I start? Do I mention that Tommen makes a piss-poor Joffrey? Just the fact that he has me (and probably Margaery) wishing for the brat-king speaks volumes. I am finding this storyline is requiring more suspension of disbelief than I thought. Can I really believe after a short several weeks the Faith Militant wields enough power to ignore a King and imprison two Queens and prince? Margaery was incredibly popular among the people, why aren’t they calling for her release? And what did Littlefinger do to get Lancel to incriminate Cersei (or more importantly, why didn’t he incriminate Cersei around the same time he was carving floral arrangements into his forehead?) I don’t know, lots of gaps are suddenly opening up.
Still, this storyline did provide some great moments, especially for Lena Headey. Her emotional response to Tommen, explaining what she would do to protect him was perfection, and reminded us that – as bad and bitchy as she can be – Cersei is ultimately a mother who just wants her babies safe. Her visit to the prison was a thing of beauty and nuance, the barely contained CerseiSmirk flashing across her face as she considered her perceived victory; and the way it slowly vanished as she realizes the forces she unleashed had just captured her in their ever-widening path. Equally chilling was that look of true-believer crazy in Jonathan Price’s eyes as Cersei was dragged away. There is nothing more dangerous as a man who believes he knows the will of God.
Was I the only one that thought Brienne was a goner when they flashed her waiting for the call? I thought for sure the next scene would be her walking into a Ramsay trap!
How great a demonstration of the true weight of leadership was Dany and Daario’s little pillow-talk small council? Everything from Daario’s butcher-meat quote to his reminder she’s less free than the slaves she released seems to set up the story for later. Can’t wait to see how this plays out.
Who knew Tyrion was also a badass? He made short work of that slaver. I guess he was paying attention when Bronn kicked ass on his behalf after all.
Will we get Oldtown and the Citadel? I didn’t have much hope before, but I can’t imagine Sam and Gilly sticking around. And who sends them?
And what will be revealed next week? Will Dany be happy to have a Lannister at her side, or will she turn Tyrion into a step-stool? Does Jon stand a chance up at Hardhome, or is it safer for him there than Castle Black? And will Tommen’s current lack of advisors finally give Ser Pounce the promotion he’s always yearned for?
We’ll find out next week with episode eight, “Hardhome.”