For months on end, there has been speculation about whether or not ‘Game of Thrones’ will end before the book series that inspired it, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. After all, the fifth novel, ‘A Dance With Dragons’, was released in 2011 and George R.R. Martin is hard at work on the penultimate novel ‘Winds of Winter’. But with no solid release date and the show approaching its fifth season, time is running out. Last night’s episode was evidence of that. Elements from the fourth book ‘A Feast for Crows’ debuted before plot elements from the third novel, and the basis for seasons 3 and 4, ‘A Storm of Swords’, wrapped up. Pretty much every storyline featured a major change, hinting that either the show is going in a different direction to avoid beating the books, or Martin has told the writers how the show ends and they are working their way towards it.
Anyway onto the recap.
Last week, Daenarys and her army of Unsullied soldiers arrived at Meeren. After being taunted by a warrior, Dany had Daarios kill him. “Oathbreaker” begins with Dany’s assistant Missandel teaching Unsullied leader Grey Worm how to communicate in the common language. This leads to both adults exchanging stories about their life before meeting the Mother of Dragons. Grey Worm reveals that he has no past to speak of. He refuses to return home and would much rather kill the slave masters. Their conversation is interrupted by Dany, who informs Grey Worm that the time has come to put their plan into action.
Grey Worm then leads a group of Unsullied through the sewers of Meeren. They stumble upon a heated debate in which the slaves are deciding whether or not to join Dany. Grey Worm tells the story of how Dany helped him secure his freedom in order to persuade the slaves to revolt against their masters. Though his words rouse some support, the slaves are unsure of their ability as warriors. Grey Worm responds to this concern by tossing bags of swords into the middle of the room.
In the following scene, a slave owner is walking through the streets of Meeren and discovers that the phrase “Kill the Masters” has been written on the city’s walls in blood. He then catches a glimpse of Dany’s flag before slaves flank him from every side and kill him.
The next day, Dany is given a hero’s welcome. The common folk cheer as she walks up the steps of Meeren. Meanwhile, the slave masters are being rounded up like cattle. Ser Barrister Selmy, one of Dany’s trusted council members, advises her to show mercy. The Mother of Dragons however, plans to give the slave masters a taste of their own medicine. She orders them to be nailed to stakes, just like the 163 dead slave children that Dany encountered on her way to Meeren.
Earlier in the season, Tyrion asked his sellsword Bronn to help train Jamie to fight with his left hand. They are in the midst of a particularly intense session when Bronn removes Jamie’s fake hand and hits him with it. After exchanging some witty banter, Bronn inquires as to whether or not Jamie has been to visit Tyrion. When it becomes obvious that Jamie has been avoiding the uncomfortable meeting, Bronn revealed that when Tyrion was on trial in the Eyrie in season one, he wanted Jamie to be his champion. Bronn was only his second choice. The story guilts Jamie into visiting Tyrion in his cell.
He tries to lighten the mood by insisting that Tyrion has better accommodations then he did when he was Robb Stark’s prisoner. Tyrion isn’t having it. The two brothers proceed to question each other: Jamie wants to know if Tyrion killed Joffrey and Tyrion wants to know if Jamie is going to kill him. It becomes quite obvious that neither Lannister brother is capable of causing harm to the other. Tyrion wants Jamie’s help, but the Knight cannot defy Cersei. He will be killed if he tries to help Tyrion escape. The conversation turns to Sansa. Jamie tells Tyrion that Cersei is out for her blood. Tyrion is convinced that Sansa had nothing to do with Joffrey’s death.
Boat to the Eyrie
Speaking of Sansa, the oldest surviving Stark child is en route to the Eyrie thanks to Little Finger. The former Lannister ally has plans to marry Sansa’s aunt Lysa Tully of the Vale. Sansa wants to know if he killed Joffrey. Little Finger admits that he orchestrated the plot, but Sansa was part of it as well. The necklace Ser Dontos gave her had stones filled with poison. One was missing a stone after the wedding feast. Sansa is confused. She doesn’t understand why Little Finger would want to kill Joffrey. The king always trusted him. Little Finger is tired of working with the Lannisters. He wants so much more than they could offer. That’s why he made friends with a family that can help him achieve his dreams.
Who else could have wanted Joffrey dead? Could it be Lady Olenna? The Queen of Thorns walks with Margaery through the gardens of King’s Landing, where she tells Margaery a story about how she stole her sister’s fiancé. She wants Margaery to do something similar with Tommen. Lady Olenna knows that once Margaery and Tommen are married, Cersei will do everything in her power to turn the little king against his bride. It’s up to Margaery to forge a bond with Tommen before that happens. It was too late for Joffrey. The sick, sadistic king was too far gone to change, which is why Lady Olenna admits to Margaery that she was the one who killed him.
How you may ask? Well careful viewers will remember that when Olenna talked to Sansa at the wedding feast in “The Lion and the Rose,” she adjusted Sansa’s necklace. It’s assumed that she took a stone and slipped it into Joffrey’s cup when he wasn’t looking. Margaery is shocked at the revelation by Olenna simply states that there was no way she was going to let her granddaughter marry that beast, referring to Joffrey.
This is an interesting twist. While most fans of the book assumed Lady Olenna was behind the king’s death, it was never explicitly stated.
Jon Snow teaches his fellow men of the Night’s Watch how to fight against the wildlings. Ser Alliser Thorne and Janos Slynt look on. Slynt points out that Jon is well liked at Castle Black and when the time comes, he may be elected Lord Commander of the Night Watch. He knows Thorne doesn’t want that which is why he suggests letting Jon take some men to kill the mutineers at Craster’s Keep. It’s an easy way to have him killed, leaving the spot of Lord Commander open.
Meanwhile, Jon is introduced to the newest member of the Night’s Watch—Locke. Secretly sent by Roose Bolton to find and kill Bran Stark, Locke wins Jon’s favor thanks to his fighting skills. For those who don’t remember, Locke is the man who cut off Jamie’s hand last season.
Thorne eventually decides to let Jon go to Craster’s Keep with volunteers. Locke and a few other men join Jon on his quest.
The most interesting scene in this sequence however is the exchange between Sam and Jon. Sam is worried about Gilly. He thought bringing her to Molestown would protect her, but with the wildlings on the move, he realizes that her life is in danger. Jon forbids him from bringing her to Castle Black. He understands how Sam feels. When he told Jon that his brother Bran was still alive, it took all his strength not to go after him. The two boys eventually conclude that Bran and his friends might be at Craster’s Keep. Once again, this is a huge divergence from the book. Jon never finds out that Bran is alive.
Cersei pours herself a drink while she waits for Jamie to enter her chambers. She demands to know why there is only one guard stationed in front of Tommen’s door. Jamie insists the king is safe, but Cersei is unconvinced. She doubts Jamie’s ability. He didn’t protect Joffrey, so how can she expect him to protect Tommen? Jamie is clearly wounded by her words, but tries his best not to show it. Cersei wants Jamie to kill Tyrion. Jamie tries to tell her that Tyrion didn’t do it, but Cersei doesn’t want to hear it. She never liked Tyrion. Both he and Sansa have a motive and she wants Jamie to kill them both. Bound by a promise to Catelyn Stark, Jamie refuses to murder again. Disappointed, Cersei dismisses Jamie but not before telling him to have four men guard Tommen’s room.
The extra protection doesn’t seem to work too well. Margaery has no problem sneaking in to visit Tommen. The little king looks shocked seeing his betrothed at his bedside. Margaery explains that she wants to get to know Tommen before she marries him because once they say their vows, she is his forever. The two bond over Tommen’s cat Ser Pounce (who Joffrey wanted killed). It’s obvious that Tommen is not cruel like Joffrey and that makes Margaery happy. Before she leaves, Margaery asks Tommen to keep their meeting a secret. She promises that she will return. Tommen watches her leave, still shocked, but there is a hint of happiness on his face.
I really enjoyed this scene. In the book, Tommen is seven when he marries Margaery and the two don’t really have a relationship. Everyone on the show is older than their pen and paper counterparts, so it makes sense that the writers want Margaery and Tommen to interact. This budding relationship will definitely heighten the tension between Margaery and Cersei as both women fight for control of the Iron Throne.
Elsewhere, Jamie calls for Brienne and asks the knight to find Sansa and protect her from harm. He made a promise to Catelyn Stark and he wanted to honor that. Jamie bestows his Valyrian steel blade to Brienne along with new armor and Tyrion’s squire Poderick. Brienne is overwhelmed and honored that Jamie sought her help. She names the blade Oathkeeper as a reference to Jamie. The head of the King’s Guard watches Brienne leave with a heavy heart. It is clear through their silent exchange that they have a deep respect and—dare I say it—love for one another. One thing is for certain, Cersei will be none too happy about this.
The Night Watch mutineers spear-headed by a man named Karl, seem to be enjoying themselves at Craster’s Keep. They rape women, drink wine and pick fights with one another. Outside the house, we see Jon Snow’s direwolf Ghost in a cage. One mutineer taunts the wolf and Ghost tries to attack him.
With the blessing of Craster’s numerous wives, Karl orders one of his followers to take Craster’s baby boy into the forest and sacrifice him to the God’s or White Walkers. The baby is left in the forest and his cries alert Bran and his friends who are not far away. Bran uses his worg powers to embody Summer and search for the source of the noise. He discovers Craster’s Keep and Ghost. As the kids go to investigate, they are kidnapped along with their companion Hodor.
After much torture, Bran reveals that he is a Stark. Karl decides to keep him alive…for now. In an episode filled with surprises, this was the most shocking of all. The potential of a Snark/Snow reunion is exciting, yet I cannot help but be a little weary. There have been so many near misses when it comes to the Starks that I am trying not to get my hopes up. Still, I am eagerly waiting for next week’s episode.
So what happened to the baby? Well one of the White Walkers took the child and brought him to their ice fortress and presented him to the King of the White Walkers who touched the boy and turned his eyes blue.
In the books, the White Walkers make an appearance, but their origin has yet to be revealed. And with that stunning revelation, the episode ends.
So what did you guys think about all the changes? Did you enjoy them, or did they go too far? Also, what do you think of Jamie’s character? Were his actions in “Oathkeeper” enough to make up for last week’s rape scene? Sound off in the comments.