With a title like ‘Oathbreaker” you know this episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ is going to have many interpretations of just who is breaking their oaths.
First up, we have the newly resurrected Jon Snow at Castle Black, who’s irregular breathing and discomfort has brought Davos and Melissandre back to the chamber to see the results of the woman’s magic. Snow is shivering (clearly, the guy is naked and its freezing up at the Wall), and Davos gives him his coat and then shares a few words with the once fallen Lord Commander, telling him that everything seems crazy right now since he died and was brought back, but he basically needs to man up and move on. Melissandre asks him about the afterlife, and Jon states that there was nothing after death (a chilling thought for the religious Melissandre), but she states that the Lord of Light has chosen to bring him back for a reason. He dresses and then heads down into the Castle courtyard, where the rest of the Night’s Watch looks on in astonishment at the now living Jon Snow, with Jon’s friend’s hugging him, being so happy to see him back and alive (and making the rest of us cringe as we worry someone else is going to pull out a knife and try to take him down again). Tormund however, has seen enough magic beyond the wall that he is not as shocked as the others, and chooses instead to make a joke about how Jon Snow is not a god (as others believe), because how could a god have such a small “pecker.”
Meanwhile out at Sea, Sam and Gilly are on their way to the southern regions of Westeros, and while Gilly seems to be enjoying their ship and the voyage, Sam, of course, is seasick, and we see him vomit, a lot. In between puking bouts, he discusses with Gilly their plan, with Sam on his way to the Citadel to train to be a Maester to help Jon, while Gilly wants to know if she is going along. Sam informs her that women are not allowed, so he plans on taking her home first, as his mother and sisters are nice (though she will have to deal with his father, who we know is a real jerk). At first, she is not happy to be separated from Sam, but Gilly sees the sense in the plan and agrees to go along with it.
Then we get a flashback/ Bran vision that many book readers (including yours truly) have been waiting for since Season 1 (since it was shown in Book 1). It is 20 years ago, the very end of Robert Baratheon’s rebellion, when all that still needed to be sorted was to find Lyanna Stark who had been either kidnapped by Rhaeger Targaryen or had eloped with him, depending on who you asked. At this point in the rebellion, Rhaegar was dead, but his King’s Guard were still protecting something in the Tower of Joy in the mountains near Dorne (rumor has it that it is Stark’s sister Lyanna in that tower), when they were approached by a young Ned Stark and half a dozen men, including Meera’s father. A battle ensues, one that Bran has heard about all his life, as the man Ned Stark is facing is Ser Arthur Dayne, proclaimed as one of the best swordsmen of the age, and a man who wields two swords at once. While the other King’s Guard is killed, Dayne manages to hold all of Stark’s men at bay, and kill everyone except Ned, which leaves Bran worried, as he knows the story, and his father is supposed to win that fight. Right before Ned is dealt a fatal blow, Meera’s father stabs Dayne in the back, and Ned takes advantage of this to kill the celebrated swordsman. He then runs toward the tower, stopping as he hears Bran call out to him, which should not be possible if Bran were merely seeing a vision of the past. The three-eyed Raven yanks Bran out of the vision before he can head inside and see what Ned fought so hard to save, and Bran is pissed. The Raven assures him that he will not be stuck in the cave forever, but before he can leave, he needs to know “everything.”
As for the Daenerys storyline, she is brought to Vas Dothrak once more, and she meets the other Khal wives, who do not seem overly impressed with her, as at one point in their youths, they all thought they would be conquering the world. They strip her down and take her jewelry, and leave her a drab brown smock to dress herself with. But before Dany can even get comfortable with that level of sadness, they inform her that her fate will have to be decided by an upcoming meeting of Khal’s, as she broke the law and did not return to Vas Dothrak following Drogo’s death, so they might just decide to execute her for trying to go back out into the world and conquer it on her own. Where are her dragons and saviors now? (and is she really that strong a character if she cannot save herself from situations like this? I would like to see her escape all on her own).
Back in Dany’s kingdom of Mereen, we see Varys interrogate the woman who helped the Sons of the Harpies kill so many of Dany’s soldiers last season, and we get a glimpse into Varys’ methods at last. It seems, he does not intimidate or threaten, or torture, but rather tries to make people happy in order to get information from them, which he does with this woman by offering her passage out of Mereen and a bag full of silver for her and her son so they can start a new life in peace elsewhere. She relents, and gives him information on who is behind the Sons of the Harpies, which he dutifully brings to Tyrion and the rest of the small council. While they wait for Varys to arrive however, Tyrion tries to strike up a conversation with Grey Worm and Missandei, and learns neither are much for talking unless needed, and since neither drinks, they cannot even play a drinking game, even one as simple as the Westeros version of ‘Never Have I Ever.” Luckily Varys arrives and informs them that the Masters of the remaining Slaver’s Bay cities are funding and leading the Harpies, which means they have to take action. Fortunately, it seems like Tyrion might just have an idea on how to deal with them.
In King’s Landing, we learn that Qyburn has taken command of Varys’ “little birds” (a bunch of kids), and keeps them coming back with information by offering them candies and sweets. He is visited by Cersei, Jaime and the Mountain, and the kids run off terrified while Jaime wonders aloud what exactly Qyburn did to create the monster that guards his sister. Cersei reveals that she plans on going through a trial by combat to refute the claims of the High Septon and that she will use the Mountain as her champion. Next. the Lannister siblings crash a Small Council Meeting to demand to know what the group plans to do about Dorne, but the Small Council members are not going to let two non-members dictate actions, and Kevan Lannister leaves the meeting, followed by the rest of the group, even Pycell who is terrified of the Mountain and scurries past him as he leaves.
Arya’s story takes a welcome turn over in Braavos, where a training montage shows us how she learns to fight while blind (and take a beating), as well as her relentless pursuit of being “no one,” even when her sight is offered in exchange for saying her real name. She also goes through the Arya Stark story with the waif, basically recapping everything we know about the girl (woman now?) before she abandons that identity. When she is finally able to repel the waif, Jaqen takes her to the water in the House of Black and White (which we know can be deadly), and after asking Arya who she is (“I am no one”), offers her a drink of the water, claiming that if she were truly “no one” the water will not harm her. She drinks, and her eyesight returns, and she is one step closer to being the bad-ass assassin we all want her to be.
At Winterfell, Ramsay is visited by Smalljon Umber, a northern banner-man who was always loyal to the Starks, who arrives with anger toward Jon Snow (a Stark) for letting Wildlings below the wall. He insults Ramsay by stating that everyone knows he killed his father, but Ramsay seems entertained by the bold man. Umber wants Bolton’s help to force the wildlings out of the north, and to get in Ramsay’s good graces, he brings him a gift. First he reveals he has Osha, and next he reveals Rickon Stark, though Ramsay does not believe it is actually the youngest Stark lad. So Umber reveals a dire wolf head (poor Shaggydog), and Ramsay knows this is indeed Rickon. When last we saw Rickon and Osha, they were going to stay with the loyal Umbers in safety, but it seems the death of so many Starks and Jon Snow’s actions with the wildlings have made the Umbers Bolton supporters, who do not honor their oaths to the Starks anymore.
Finally, at Castle Black, Jon is supervising the execution of the traitors who killed him, marching past all 4, including Allister Thorne, and little traitorous Ollie. Thorne warns him that he will spend the rest of his life fighting losing battles, and will always need to watch out for people ready to kill him, and Ollie just glares at him in hatred. As Ned Stark told him to do back in the pilot, Jon deals with the traitors himself, slicing through the ropes holding them aloft with his sword, and sending the traitors down to be hung, which the show has us watch in all gruesomeness. Following the executions, Jon removes his Lord Commander cloak and hands it to Edd, telling him Castle Black is now his to command, as Jon’s Watch is over. The former Lord Commander then marches out of the courtyard.
GAME OF THEORIES:
– Parentage theory time, for anyone not in the know, there has long been a fan theory (that gains more momentum every episode) that Lyanna and Rhaegar had a child, and that Lyanna died giving birth to that child. The theory is that Ned Stark adopted the child and claimed it as his bastard in order to protect the child’s identity and fulfill a last wish to his sister to look after her baby. Thus, Jon Snow is actually the child of Lyanna and Rhaegar, making him A.) Not a bastard. B.) A true Stark, and C.) A Targaryan, meaning a rightful heir to the throne of Westeros. If Lyanna was indeed inside the Tower of Joy, Bran almost got to see her hand baby Jon Snow to Ned Stark, thus confirming this long held theory.
– Could Bran’s visions actually be a form of time travel? That would certainly be interesting, because eventually I could totally see Bran intervening to change something, which would either close a loop in the time line of Westeros, or else introduce a whole slew of other complications.
– I’m putting my money on the High Septon somehow incapacitation the Mountain, thus forcing Jaime Lannister to be Cersei’s champion, which might just lead to the death of that character, which, while sad, would make sense.
– Unless Rickon has grown considerable backbone, I do not see him lasting long in Winterfell under Ramsay’s rule. Unless Brienne and Sansa return to save him.
– I’m guessing Jon, Davos and Melissandre are finally heading to Essos to find Dany, as there is nothing left in Westeros for Jon, unless he manages to run into Sansa before he goes (or hears that Rickon is being held at Winterfell). As for breaking his oath to the Night’s Watch, as I pointed out earlier this season, that oath was to serve until death, and now that Jon has died in the service, he should be free to do as he pleases.
Not one of the more action packed episodes, but I always enjoy the set-ups and even taking a moment or two for humor with Tyrion. I am very curious to see what Jon Snow does now, and also to learn how Rickon is going to factor into the overall story, or if he is just being set up to die later this season. Either way, we’ll see you back here next week!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.