After a week spent weeping every time someone asked us to hold the door, we really needed some additional time to decompress and see where the kingdoms were going next. Thankfully, the showrunners of “Game of Thrones” heard our prayers. Not a lot actually happened, but what did set up the series for the remainder of the season (and beyond). We get to revisit some old friends and some old enemies, characters make some important and game changing decisions, and we’re left to wonder what exactly has Drogon been eating over the last few months while his Mom was working on the recipe for Khal-krispies. Find out what went down and what it might mean after the break. And yes, lots and lots of spoilers.
North of the Wall
Things looked awfully desperate for Meera and Bran as she dragged the still-greensighting seer across the frozen landscape.
Ellie Kendrick was excellent this episode, portraying Meera’s strength and fear and agony as she realizes this is a footrace she can never win. She was best at that moment, when she couldn’t move any further and instead of running and leaving our potential savior to a grisly fate, she leaped atop him, hoping to offer one last defense to the untiring dead. And then Coldhands, or at least the show’s approximation of him, makes his long awaited debut on “Game of Thrones,” and is kick-ass awesome. So glad the show isn’t waffling on the identify of our favorite half-wight. No matter what George R.R. Martin says, we always knew it was Benjen.
Isaac Hempstead-Wright pretty much has the easiest gig on television right now. All he has to do is get dragged/carried around and have special effect white out his eyes. It looks like he doesn’t even need to hang out under a tree. But oh, what he is seeing: A return to the Tower of Joy, The Mad King calling for someone to ‘burn them all’ (maybe confirming another fan favorite theory), the army of the undead approaching. So much stuff I’m going to have to go back after writing this and hit the rewind button a few dozen times. Also, it turns out he’s the one that placed the phone-a-friend call to Uncle Benjen in the first place. “You’re the Three-Eyed Raven, now,” Unc tells our teenage seer, before also mentioning that he’s going to have to be the one to face down the Night’s King in the end. Wait, what? Isn’t a certain half-brother supposed to be the one who takes care of that guy?
Well, we know whose going to be vying for the all important Father of the Year award now that Balon Greyjoy and Tywin Lannister are dead. Randall Tarly is the kind of dad you never could bring college friends home to, because you knew something horrible and racist would pop out of his mouth well before dessert. Such great, tension-filled scenes here, first in the courtyard as we meet Sam’s sweet Mom and Sister, but moreso later as evil dad starts his rant. Still, maybe he’s not a completely heartless dick, since he did agree to keep Gilly and the baby safe before exiling Sam. I’m unsure whether Sam’s decision to bring Gilly and Son along will be the right one in the end, especially when coupled with the theft of Heartsbane. It’s not like dad doesn’t know exactly where they’re going, and I can’t imagine he’s going to be happy with his eldest son. I stand by my comment from two weeks ago, any couple this happy and adorable are not long for this world (see Myrcella-Tristane)
Welcome back, Arya, I knew you couldn’t possibly become no one… just like I know you couldn’t kill an innocent woman just because some low-talent tramp paid a fee. There was a lot more happening here than Arya dropping her assignment and inviting death by Waif. Her urging the actress to “change the script” foreshadows what her brother is trying to do up north, what all the players are trying to do. Just an excellent bit of writing here. I loved the fact she returned to the temple, knowing full well that running would only delay the inevitable. Let’s just hope blowing out the candle means she thinks her Daredevil training will allow her to beat the Waif in the dark, but what of the big dog himself? What role will Jaqen play in this new script that Arya wrote by reclaiming her name?
I guess the brief ninety-second interlude at the House of Frey was just to remind us what the aftermath of the Red Wedding exactly was, and to set us up for more Blackfish later. I’m not sure exactly what Walder thinks having Edmure will buy him. The Blackfish’s disdain for his nephew is pretty well known. Nice to see one of the original baddies back, though. Can’t wait for someone to stick him with the pointy end.
Wow – plans fall apart fast for the Lannisters and Tyrells. This must be why they never work well together. I was sort of counting on Margaery’s conversion to be one of convenience, but she sure is talking like a true believer. And now we essentially have a theocracy, with a confused boy-king being lead around by his heart (and probably some other organs). And some well deserved kudos to the High Sparrow, he may be a crazy religious nut job , but he knows how to play politics. It’s interesting that the last season has, in a way, turned the Lannisters into good guys… they’re really not. Maybe sending Jaime away and confining Mom to the Red Keep is the right thing to do. It’s not going to help them when the dragons come, but hey – at least the kingdom will be sedate and ready for conquering when they do.
I’m actually not sure where Dany and her horde of Kahl-less Dothraki are right now, but never be said the lady doesn’t know how to seize opportunity. If there were any doubters among the blood-riders after her emergence from the fiery temple two weeks ago, they’ve been swept away by her speech today. Really, very little beats entrance on the back of a dragon. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the 1000 ships she needs to take Westeros was the same number Euron promised to build last week. Then again, maybe she’ll just ride into Astapor and take those ships the leaders offered a few seasons ago. Looks like she’s ready to move on now.
Seriously, how long has Dany been gone? The show has taken great lengths to indicate it takes decades for dragons to grow really large, but Drogon looks easily twice the size since he dropped her off last episode, which was what, maybe two months ‘show time?’ Really, I’m not complaining, a big Drogon is a helpful Drogon; but she might want to find that stash of Draco Miracle-Gro that her most tempestuous son happened upon and feed it to her other two children.
Is Mace Tyrell the biggest buffoon in the Seven Kingdoms or is it just me? “What does this mean,” he whines to his mother. “It means we lost,” the grand dame answers… and you can almost hear her mutter “you idiot.”
Did you catch the excellent echoes of Barristan Selmy’s season one dismissal from the Kings Guard in Tommen’s firing of his uncle/father? This show does a great job of showing how events parallel and repeat through time, and reminds us that eventually we’ll all be on the receiving end of the stick.
So what happens next week? Can Arya defeat the Waif, and if so does she trade a life wearing another’s face for a life pretending to be someone else? Cersei seems awfully confident that the FrankenMountain can win her trial by combat, what if the Sparrows bring out Zombie Oberyn? Now that Jaime is going to be leading the Lannister army against the Blackfish and Riverrun, can we all go back to treating him like the villain he really is? I guess we find out next week, when HBO introduces us to “The Broken Man.”