To all the naysayers who say ‘Game of Thrones‘ has been a lot slower this season and might be losing its greatness, I say watch last night’s episode and try to defend that argument. Between the conversations with Tyrion and Daenerys and then epic battle that concluded the episode, this was definitely up there as one of the better episodes of the series, never-mind the season.
Anyways, jumping in, let’s start with the storyline everyone was most excited to see after last week’s ‘The Gift,’ which is how Tyrion and Daenerys were going to react to one another now that they’ve met up in Meereen. Tyrion and Jorah are found in Daenerys’ audience chamber, at the bottom of the stairs that hold her throne, with Tyrion and the Queen trading jibes about whether or not she would allow Tyrion to serve her, and Tyrion asking whether she was worthy of being served. She points out that the Lannister family has always been her family’s enemy, which Tyrion responds to by pointing out that he killed his own mother in birth, and his father with a cross-bow, ergo he’s the best Lannister killer there is. To test her enigmatic potential new adviser, Dany asks him what she should do about Jorah. Tyrion rightfully points out the man’s devotion and love of the his Queen, and says that Daenerys will have a hard time getting devoted followers if she kills one so devoted to her. But Tyrion does agree that Jorah betrayed her, and did continually lie about it, and states that Daenerys should just banish him again, much to the chagrin of Jorah. Later, Daenerys and Tyrion sit down for private drinks, neither sure just yet if they will be working together, where they start off discussing their awful fathers, with Tyrion calling them “terrible children of terrible fathers.” Tyrion tells her the full story of his travels to Meereen, as well as his difficulties being Hand of the King to a King unfit for the role, saying that he has hoped to find someone who he can advise worthy of his time and effort, who is not cruel just for the sake of cruelty essentially. He also warns Daenerys of the difficulties she’ll have in ruling Westeros because of all the powerful families, cautioning her it might be better to rule Slaver’s Bay. Daenerys claims that she will break the wheel of ruling families in Westeros, which Tyrion seems especially impressed by. In the end, she decides to keep him on as her adviser (though she does cut back his drinking), and Tyrion it seems has finally found an ally in his quest for just rule and bringing peace to the land. As for Jorah, we see him sell himself back in the Fighting Pits, for the chance to be the fighter that fights in front of the Queen in the grand championship. (not really sure what he hopes to accomplish after being twice-banished, unless it’s simply just to see his Queen again)
In Braavos, we see Arya in her first mission to disguise herself to the world, not with a new face but with a new identity, Lana the Oyster girl. She peddles her wares near the harbor after proving to Jaqen that she can carry the identity, and he sends her to a particular spot in the harbor to sell her food to a corrupt ship insurer, taking advantage of the families of dead sailors by not paying them their due. After she watches an example of the man’s cruelty, Arya reports back to Jaqen, who gives her a small vial (presumably of poison) which she can sprinkle onto the man’s oysters the next time he purchases them from her. It is Arya’s first kill assignment, and she seems gleeful to be meeting out even this small measure of justice in the world. Meanwhile, back at the House of Black and White, her lackluster blonde co-trainee complains to Jaqen that Arya is not ready, but Jaqen seems to have more faith in Arya than the rest of his people.
In King’s Landing (might as well call it Sparrow’s Landing, they hold all the power now), Cersei rots in her cell, in much the same state as Margaery in last week’s episode, with visits from the Septa with water demanding that Cersei confess. Only by confessing does she get water, and since Cersei is too proud to acquiesce that easily, she is clearly dehydrated, at least until the Septa leaves after pouring Cersei’s water on the dirty floor, which Cersei then laps up like a dog (Zamboni anyone?). She is visited by Qyburn, who informs her she will be tried for “fornication, treason, incest, and the murder of King Robert,” which seems slightly unfair to me as Lancel was the one who actually carried out Robert’s murder, and he’s not being put on trial. Qyburn also tells her that Tommen is not taking her and Margaery’s imprisonment well, locking himself in his quarters and refusing food, which should hopefully help Cersei realize she ruined Tommen as a King, making him way too reliant on his mother and wife. As others have stated, were Joffrey still on the throne, there’s no way he would allow such disrespect; the High Sparrow would have been dead episodes ago. Before leaving, Qyburn tells her that “the work continues,” which may be the man alluding to the freaky mad-scientist work being done in his lab.
In Winterfell, Reekeon brings Sansa her morning meal, and she verbally attacks him, berating the poor creature for ratting her out to Ramsey. Reekeon points out that he was trying to help Sansa, as there is no escape from Ramsey, and things could get worse if escape is attempted. Eventually, as they talk, we learn from Reekeon that he feels most guilty about the two farm boys he killed and burned to look like Bran and Rickon. Reekeon is then horrified to realize he gave that information to Sansa, even though we see hope rekindled in her eyes that not all of her family is dead. We can only hope that knowledge is enough to motivate Sansa to survive and escape her evil husband, and that revealing the information to Sansa does not mean more punishment for Reekeon (I know he deserved what he got from Ramsey, but at this point it’s hard not to feel sorry for the man).
Finally, Jon Snow and Tormand arrive in Hardhome, not finding the Wilding’s too welcoming or agreeable to the idea of working together against the White Walkers. Eventually they manage to convince about 5,000 of them to come along back to Castle Black, though the Thens are not interested. Unfortunately, as they are loading up the boats, they see what appears to be an avalanche coming down the mountain, though with the temperature drop and the eerie music, we know this is no natural phenomenon. The Army of the Dead is calling, and Jon and company launch a desperate defense so the Wildings can have a little time to escape to the boats. The battle is long, and tough, and really, spectacular, the CGI being pretty great for a television show, and the stakes surprisingly high. This is ‘Game of Thrones’ after all, no one is safe, and when Jon runs headlong in the battle alongside Tormand, there’s a good chance neither one is making it back to Castle Black. Luckily for Jon, we discover that his Valyrian steel blade can destroy the White Walkers the same as Dragon Glass (both forged by Dragon fire I think), which Jon learns when he takes down an elder (aka. Powerful looking) White Walker. Just as the camp is overrun Jon and Tormand (and Grenn! I did not think he would make it back alive) escape on the last boat, looking back in horror as the King of the White Walker’s resurrects all the Wildlings left behind, increasing the size of his army exponentially that day.
GAME OF THEORIES:
– Will Daenerys be as forgiving to Varys when he arrives in Meereen? He was the one who Jorah reported to after all.
– What is Qyburn working on? Is he trying to bring bodies back from the dead? Is that why the other Maesters look down on him? And with Zombies in the North, is he potentially dooming the south by bringing White Walkers into their realm through “scientific” means?
– How does the Wildling giant travel with them over the see? Does he swim next to the boats?
– Even more so if Valyrian steel is forged with Dragon fire as I predict, does this make Dragons the natural enemy of the White Walkers? Could a dragon be killed by a White Walker and get resurrected into a zombie like the horses and other animals we’ve seen?
Pretty outstanding episode in my opinion, especially since no one saw that huge battle coming, and it was executed pretty perfectly. Can’t wait to see what the show runners have in store for us in the final two episodes of the season, especially now that almost everyone’s stories have caught up to their book counterparts.