Game of Thrones Season 5 in Review

I’ve combined my takes on Game of Thrones season 5 here. It’s not every episode but it includes the season premiere, season finale, and a couple in between. It’s over 12000 words so you may find something of interest down there if you miss Westeros. Leave it to me to not have a review for Hardhome, which may be my favorite episode of TV.

I think my mind was still blown.

game of thrones

Season 5 of HBO’s Game of Thrones has arrived with The Wars to Come and no signs of Julian Bashir, sand snakes or Dorne yet, but stuff happened. I guess?

The Wars to Come

First scene reminds me a bit of the first scene from the first episode of the series, the prologue in the first book, it’s a bit of this horror vignette. As lil Cersei points out the witch doesn’t look as bad as one would think, I think it makes her statements stronger, her power isn’t charlatan and trickery or even traditional, she’s the goods. Like the prologue it involves a hint of the supernatural, which I guess only happens in the woods.

I know people won’t agree with this because generally people complain about beautifying something up, but I don’t know, it’s not like her appearance matters much, and I’m okay with good looking as a rule of thumb. Makes you appreciate the real Bellatrix though. It’s not the look, she has presence.

Prophecies are big when it comes to the books and since we know part of it has come true — the children she and the king would and wouldn’t have — the idea of a queen replacing her one day gets directly confronted in the very next scene featuring adult Cersei, with the eye contact with Margarey Tyrell, the presumptive queen in waiting. One should also consider that it could also be talking about Daenerys, Sansa, or even someone else. A lot of people get crowned. Most interesting to me in this scene is the mentioning of being promised to the Prince. At this time it would be Rhaegar Targaryen, past dreamboat crown prince, that ran of with Ned Stark’s sister that more or less started the war that made Robert Baratheon the King.

What Cersei said to Jaime is true. Obviously, a powerful Lord like Tywin would want his eldest son and heir to not be a member of the Kingsguard, effectively removing him as the heir to his lands, and being able to be used to make his family more powerful through marriage.

It should be noted that Jaime was knighted by Ser Arthur Dayne — considered as this era’s greatest knight — on the field of battle and though he was definitely qualified to be a member of the Kingsguard — even the vaunted Aerys 7 — but he was approved by the Mad King to take Tywin’s heir from him. He did the same with Cersei, by not approving of a marriage between his son, Rhaegar, and her. I have to ponder the good stuff from the books here because this conversation was incredibly unmemorable, from two characters I really like.

The only thing I can see this set up is that Jaime is about the fam now, and that may be the reason he does to Dorne to get his kid. It would be nice if he goes there and meets hot ass Arianne Martell but that’s not going to happen either.

We move next to Tyrion and Varys in Pentos, and this is quietly one of, or at least attempts to be, the most forward few minutes in Game of Thrones. Varys pulls off full of shit and altruistic well, and the choice of actual shit being the chosen topic of conversation here should make you consider it even more. We kind of get an introduction to a greater level of intrigue and layer of support for Daenerys though Varys was a bit too overt. Seem very simplified when considering the two people involved in the conversation. His story was it was all because Robert Baratheon was extra kinds of unsuitable?

Uh… okay. Apparently Varys (and Illyrio, who took a couple days off I guess) is forming the get-along-gang, and wants to bring Tyrion to Dany. This reveal pretty much was terrible for me but I do wonder if it came off as a hell yeah moment to book virgins. Because Baratheon guys. Because Baratheon.

Uhhh… where is Illyrio? To book fans this entire angle here has to be the most disappointing. #teamBlackfyre

The next scene isn’t one that gets me going, I guess it’s to humanize the Unsullieed and thus create more dimension between Missandei and Grey Worm. I think everyone is great in the show and one of the knock on a lot of epic styled fantasy, even George R.R. Martin’s series, is that it tends to focus on the elite or the extremely exceptional, so I can appreciate whats going on here, but I’m into the Game of Thrones and the people I can foresee as players. That said, this also sets a dangerous precedence as Unsullied now want other things for themselves. While Dany could view this as progress, it opens the door for treachery.

My beef here is take this moment and add that time to put the good stuff to the characters you took it away from. I think the main problem with the Sons of the Harpy — no matter how cool they look — and anything thrown at Dany that we don’t otherwise know already, we can kind of file it away in our mind as not something that can be a major plot point. She’s too big of a character. When this show was first announced my first pieces on the adaptation was on how difficult it would be to keep tension in the Daenerys segments, because of her relative isolation.

They’ve done a good job creating highlights in timely spots, like the kickass introduction of the dragons, and that kind of silly moment where all the brown people crowd and reach out to her, but day-to-day feels like she’s in the cage with Sawyer and Kate. Telling us Tyrion is headed that way is needed. Even in the books all of this feel too much like an audition.

Sam and Gilly are used to tell us the stakes of the new election of the new Night’s Watch commander, and immediately moves to Jon Snow ascending in an elevator. There’s a great shot of Stannis and Davos looking down at the camp and I think the conversations is well executed in that you kind of understand everyone involved.

I think you get a lot of Jon here respecting his vow, his honor, and Stannis may see his father in him. Stannis and Ned Stark were not friends but if one recalls, Ned worked to put Stannis on the throne (as the true heir of Robert, his eldest sibling) and Stannis and Ned both share a quality when it comes to duty. One would think they respected each other from a distance, even if with minimal passion. Jon does well for himself in this scene.

Again we see a mention of names, great ones, and we are led to a pretty obvious example of one who seems otherwise completely ineffectual in Sweetrobin. Petyr’s words either reveal he doesn’t want to seem to eager to replace Robyn and let esteemed others say it for him by putting him on display, or he might be aware that the kid might be his.

He might see a lot of himself in his child. Someone should make a gif of Robyn though, I’ve never seen someone embody being not good at something on screen quite like that. That said, I’m not sure I understand the tactical logic in Petyr giving up control of leaving Robin with Royce. It’s basically his chip to maintaining his place in the Vale.

The scene where we see Pod and Brienne gives us a small window into the aftermath of a scene people loved from last sesson and ended with her saying “monster” right as Petyr and Sansa’s wagon went by.They are taking Sansa somewhere and this is the biggest mystery to me. As a book reader I have no clue where this going and it’s exciting. We did get a new sample chapter for Alayne/Sansa this month. I don’t know what can be done with her in a realm that knows she’s married to a Lannister (even one that’s wanted), which is still the house in (albeit tenuous) power. Though Stannis does offer us earlier that Tywin’s death certainly does weaken the Lannister reach.

Also, not sure where they could be going beyond Winterfell, which given the Bolton’s role in the demise of House Stark seems rather insane. Sansa is a nice piece to have and I’m really interested to see Sophie Turner taking her in whatever new direction this is going. Regarding Brienne, I don’t know if there is more to go with her that can interest me. She seemed to have her moment and again this strikes me as another moment that could have been elsewhere, though I enjoy one of her original targets riding right on by. Small world.

The next scene with Cersei is significant because it introduced the idea of a mobilizing Faith. We also see Kevan Lannister who I feel like we haven’t seen in a few seasons. Kevan was the brother of Tywin and his right-hand man. His son here knows some dirt on Cersei and has gone all religious. Cersei is doing a lot of ignoring in this episode.

We get the Tyrell siblings. Loras is helluva uninteresting to me though he does kind of give us the gist of the current political climate and alliances, and reenforces that Margaery is more in the loop than he is. I guess Loras has been through a bit in a short amount of time, from knocking boots with the would be King in Renly to where he is now but, maybe next time we will see a new Loras if his sisters shares something with him.

I’m a little disappointed here because my perception of Loras is that he’s kind of a badass who happens to just be gay, and what I get out of the show is that he’s the gay guy in the castle. I didn’t really like it. I want more Margaery being interesting because I love her in this show and I do wonder if he warning here foreshadows Loras taking on a faith-based punishment. Didn’t like it too much.

Back to Pentos. Varys entire talk here with Tyrion describes Daenerys. As he said anyone with a little luck can be born into power. Dany was born with the right name, but still struggled and found her own way. It’s being described as the perfect situation. She has the name and is earning it. This episode then goes to Dany and again, along with her first scene, depicts her ruling. Kind of like a robot but ruling. She may NEED Tyrion

I don’t know how to read the dragon scene. She’s come to fear what she needs to be, and like her stay in the city, is chained. She needs to be what she is, as was said, the Mother of Dragons, not the Unsullied. Her biggest Dragon is out, free, doing what she should be doing, growing, ruling his domain. An Apex being. I found this scene to strike me emotionally like the one when she first chained them. I have pets, and I care about them more than I do most people.

Emilia is looking all and every kinds of good but in this episode everything felt somewhat stilted and delivered. Almost as if this was a Doombot and the real Dany is flying off flying somewhere with her dragon. Being scared of fire is not a good look. Find yourself, girl. Especially when you have self-body temperature regulating Melisandre in Westeros.

Mance, who I just saw being awesome in HBO’s Rome again the other day, once again validates Stannis for us by saying he respects him. This conversation was well executed by both actors, I think Kit is stepping up his game, but it did seem like we were getting out of several lines what we got in the first couple. They were going for weight to payoff the end, but I think I got what I would have got out of it. I will say this, the mass of freefolk kind of need a face and Jon reiterating what Mance had done is a good lesson, a piece to take with someone, of what a King should be.

In the talk with Varys and Tyrion they discuss having got too used to the powerful victimizing theirs subject. Mance seemed to (relatively) make it work. What I dig about this scene is that a ruler is dying and people actually care. Everything Mance said to Jon was true to his people. That almost never happens in Game of Thrones. Mance was loved and Jon did him a solid in front of his people. Level up, Bastard of Winterfell.

I’m not really enthralled with anything in this episode and it would comfort me if this was the least of this season’s offerings. I got down with the Stannis, Jon Snow and Mance, stuff and I’m intrigued by where Sansa is going, even if I am fearful of how interesting the potential landing spots are, but nothing else landed for me and just nailed it.

I could not imagine a Varys and Tyrion, two of the most interesting players in the game, discussion being that uneventful. They literally had him throwing up. Benioff and Weiss seem very aware of the base, and maybe they threw that in there knowing that’s what book fans were doing. I don’t feel like I know these characters in this episode, but that can change fairly quickly and I will be tuned in next Sunday.

This episode needed Arya. And Dorne. And no Dorne birthmark. Ever.

Also… you call Rhaegar Targaryen by name. SAY HIS NAME.

House of Black and White

I think we ended the Game of Thrones season premiere mostly wondering where Arya was, so it feels really appropriate that episode 2, The House of Black and White, begins with Maisie Williams in kind of a brave new world moment. Arya, the smallest of our main cast staring at the giant Titan of Braavos statue that guards the entrance of Braavos. Little person, about to do big things. Beyond being excited to see Arya again, I think this simple scene also gave me this feeling that wherever we are going is formidable. Fans should remember and file away that the Iron Bank we hear about periodically in the show is the Iron Bank of Braavos and their saying is “the Iron Bank will have it’s due”.

The titular house has a split black and white door — made of ebony and weirwood — Arya knocks on the white, black opens.

I guess last week’s intersection of Brienne and Pod with Littlefinger and Sansa prepares us for this week, and I think it’s needed because I felt like the former two were headed toward being rather tired characters. It’s hard to tell what Sansa is thinking here, when she was staring at Brienne it made me think of how she might have used to view her little sister. We are reminded that Brienne is a legit badass.

This feels like they needed an action sequence somewhere in the episode, but even with that in mind it wasn’t a bad one. A note about Sansa and Littlefinger’s trip. let me remind you, Petyr is the Lord Paramount of the Trident, Lord of Harrenhal, and Protector of the Vale, and a male. Barring few unique cases he would not have to go somewhere else to answer a marriage contract for himself.

The threat, as we learn from the next cut, is most likely not from Dorne proper, but from the Sand Snakes and Oberyn’s paramour. Jaime’s decision makes sense as it relates to the conversation he had with Cersei in the previous episode, as it related to family.

The plan itself doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, but one would expect Jaime either has a plan or is going to get derailed on the journey to the point where it never has to be revealed he doesn’t have one that makes sense. One should be reminded of Jaime’s relationship with Dorne. His father, the late Tywin, was directly in charge of the sack of King’s Landing which resulted in the brutal death of Elia Martell (the current Prince of Dorne’s sister) and that of her two children, Aegon and Rhaenys.

He, obviously, had a direct hand in ending the Targareyn dynasty, which the Martell’s were married into. With Tywin and The Mountain dead, Ceresi and Jaime are probably the defacto most hated people in Dorne. The word choices by Jaime “I will make things better” really sticks out to me. There is love and duty in those words.

I love me some Bronn, and in a grim show like Game of Thrones I really appreciate moments of levity like we see her with Jaime and Bronn. It’s classic Bronn, happy walking down the beach with his bride to be, already assuming the death of her sister to obtain her castle, with a calm and peace that I really admire.

This guy is comfortable in his own shoes, which is something that cannot be said about a lot of people we see in Westeros, in fact much of the story we watch is exactly that. I think the actress who play’s Bronn’s betrothed does an excellent job here when Jaime shows up. We’ve seen questionable acts by Jaime and a lot of people in Westeros, and certainly we’ve seen important women like Daenerys, Margaery, and Cersei be the object of fame, but it was great seeing the effect Jaime had on Lollys Stokeworth, and that normal human interaction is not forgotten on the show. Not only is he a dude that’s famed for being a good looking cat, but he’s also a very famous knight, a celebrity of that era.

The Kingslayer. I love Bronn’s perception, and while he’s a full blown merc and he probably didn’t have much of a choice if Jaime pressed him, I love seeing Bronn helping the man who helped his friend when he really couldn’t. It all makes me forget that the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard is leaving the side of the King to go south. This has happened before.

I like the actress who plays Ellaria Sand — loved her in Rome — but something about her rings false in this episode when she’s talking to Doran. I guess one can write it off to her being somewhat hysterical, but it comes off a bit theatrical to me. I believe in Cersei, even if not in her ability, when she’s trouncing around and making emotional threats. I don’t buy Ellaria here, and she sounds like she’s channeling the Baroness.

I’ve been waiting to see the good doctor from the clearly the best iteration of Star Trek ever take on the role of Doran Martell since he was cast. You can see that Doran doesn’t buy her either or does and is giving her rope because one word would have ended Ellaria’s life, as we were shown in just one shared glimpse of Doran and the Captain of his guard, Areo Hotah. I love me some Dorne. Beyond their pretty swinging lifestyle and obviously wonderful lawn care program, this was the only kingdom is Westeros that was not conquered by the Targaryens. Unbowed. Unbent. Unbroken.

Boring Sons of the Harpy build up and Daario. Here’s the thing, even when this things ends up all badass, at the end of the day it’s just an uprising in a city we don’t care about, from a people we don’t care about. I like that Dany has a council that is allowed to speak, a contrast from what we see in King’s Landing now. Targaryen talk! Because before last episode this show hasn’t done flashbacks, we need these old people to speak, if for nothing else to let book readers know they still care. Real talk from Barristan, and while it was good to see Dany listen, she is kind of a crappy ruler, isn’t she? I don’t question her intentions though. A note, among the people that Aerys burned alive and killed in front of their sons was Ned Stark’s father. He also killed his older, Brandon.

I love both Varys and Tyrion but the bits we’ve got of them so far this season are rather boring and disappointing. They somewhat even remark upon themselves, boxed in, they need to get out and rejoin the world. Rejoin the game.

Cersei has people killing dwarves, as we heard earlier, offering a Lordship for the head of Tyrion. She literally has smallfolk killed. We see Qyburn again, who has been installed as Varys’ replacement as master of whispers. I think what Ceresi says is rather interesting to to her Uncle. Cersei can at times come off as a feminist in a society dominated by men, or perhaps the harbinger to that thought

. I’m not sure if I believe she is because while even if we can take her words as being ironic, I think she’s a women who actually accepts that men dominate her world, and regrets that she isn’t one because she feels she is otherwise competent to rule. Her comment about not being able to be The Hand in this episode and last episode’s admittance that Jaime was her father’s favorite seems to favor that view more I think. She wishes she was a man. She’s also hysterical and not as smart as she thinks she is, even not being able to see that Tyrion is more her father than her or her brother.

I’m not sure if the show gets that though because Kevan’s words about just being the Queen mother, while very true and even smart, kind of comes off smacking the feminist who dared take the big seat down. She definitely has agency though and I think Lena Headey is and has been incredible depicting her. There might be symbolism in that she first deals with the matter of Tyrion, before attending the Small Council and issues of the realm.

Kevan Lannister comes off as completely logical, someone we like, and someone we would want on our side. It’s one of those examples of a character that stops the show for a minute and says what we want to say while we are still busy wondering why they haven’t. This is a guy who was Tywin’s right hand man, so you know he would not be blind or a sheep.

He says he’s going back to Casterly Rock, which sounds like the shark move considering what’s happened and what seems to be coming. Mace Tyrell is not described as quick in the books, but he is particularly buffoonish in the show and I think he needs to be to explain why House Tyrell has not already claimed even more obvious power in the absence of Tywin. The Queen of Thorns would have had this wrapped.

Sam and Gilly are still boring. I like Stannis’ kid, who steady keeps teaching people to read but I’m not sure what’s going on here. Stannis’ wife I think has become the person on screen we dislike the most now? Does she have good days?

More Kit Harrington leveling up. The Jon Snow/Stannis/Davos stuff has been really good this season. I can buy Snow as a chief protagonist now. We also get some good Northerners stuff here, nobody wants Stannis. Not in the North. The North Remembers. Regarding Snow, I really appreciate self-aware people in general, and Snow has found his place and he deals. The offer by Stannis is a good one but it’s also dependent upon Stannis winning, but Jon comes off entirely genuine. I thought the Night’s Watch election was rather good though it did make the Watch seem very small. Sam finally has a purpose again.

I liked the pairings because it’s not about bravery and competence, it would be easy if Alliser was like Slynt, a coward or unqualified, but he’s not. Alliser got down defending the wall when he had to. Alliser’s only downside is he really doesn’t like or feels threatened by Jon Snow. This is a guy you want on the wall with you. Even though his final statements are a knock on Jon, he does not refute the truth of Jon, and even says he won’t deny Sam’s words. You like that.

Snow himself is silent. His actions spoke. Aemon Targaryen casts the winning vote for Jon. In my review of the previous episode I noted the scene where Sam and Gilly are talking about the coming vote and we next see Jon literally ascending up an elevator. Sam did this. Good job, Tarly. Also, just to go back to moments before the election, when Jon told Sam he was going to refuse Stannis and when Sam told Jon he deserved the honor Stannis would bestow upon him, we should remember that Sam was the heir/eldest son of a powerful Westeros Lord himself. In the previous episode there was a lot of dialogue about having the right name. Whatever it is, Jon owns his.

People know who the Facelessmen are and they don’t mess with them. Arya’s initiation as a bad ass begins. But before that, Arya was not going to run, which is telling when three fully grown armed men step to her. Forget Sansa Fierce for a moment, Arya Danger up in this.

True loyalty shown here to Dany, though I’m not sure she recognizes it. I’m thinking people will be split on this but I file this under not the decision I would have made. I think I would cull the masters entirely. This is not the end game, you protect your own. She forgot that she was a Queen, not a politician.

I’m not sure what to make of the arrival and return of Drogo. Is this moment with Drogon judgement or a reunion? Whatever it is it’s one of those Game of Thrones patented moments I described in my previous review, in which Dany is almost uniquely gifted with these crazy instances that make you forget what’s come before and has you excited for what’s next. She doesn’t need guards. She has dragons, son.

I thought Emilia was a bit robotic in the season premiere, but I really liked the emotion here when obviously she’s not really looking at a dragon. I think what sells it for me is that this is a mother reaching out to her child.

It kind of hits when moments before someone who calls her mhysa begged her for mercy. Just when you think damn, Dany really needs Tyrion, not only for steady counsel but for general viewer entertainment value, you are reminded she doesn’t need anyone. This is why people come to her. She needs to embrace what makes her special because Drogon is looking like he’s ready to be a Kingmaker.

Free the other two, girl. You’re the last dragon.

High Sparrow

Time to recap “High Sparrow”, tonight’s episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones. It was a really good one and a lot happens, and throughout it all I could think of was mentors. Teachers. I think we all see the ramifications of what occurs when someone like Tywin Lannister dies. Alliances don’t seem as lucrative or trusted, and enemies become braver.

As with last week’s episode of Game of Thrones Arya leads off the episode, and we get the impression some time has passed with her doing menial tasks. I love me some Maise Williams as Arya and I understand the need to slow things down so we feel her ascension and change, but I hope this does not remain so stagnant and vague — the actors involved are too interesting for this. I feel the same about Tyrion and Varys this season, again, some of my favorite characters.

The next scene shows how fast things can change as the crowd ignores Cersei in favor of the new Queen. Another stage of the prophecy has become true and what we see is no matter how you try to manuever the small council, no matter her own prophecy which may drive her to insane levels, it is these little people’s views that effect her.

She cannot be the Queen of nothing. This is the second episode in a row where we’ve seen a crowd be vital, coupled with last week’s Dany trial decision and it’s amplified again, becoming a real character on its own, when we see the embarrassment of the High Septon. Everyone is playing for home court. Literally.

It’s good to be King. Tommen says something every straight male agrees with. This pairing on screen made me try to figure out how I view Margaery. We know she is all in on the game of thrones but I’m not sure when considering matches at this level, if she’s truly not close to optimal. She has a powerful house behind her, she’s hot, she’s smart, and they need the marriage.

I get no feeling that she wishes to harm Tommen, and we can all agree with the Joffrey removal. Sure, she would like to exert influence on the Throne but seem in it for real, even though obviously Margaery is trying too, and succeeding, at antagonizing Ceresei. Barring prophecy and even motherly concern regarding her children’s deaths, this is actually an optimal situation for her and Tommen.

Highgarden is both rich and powerful and they seem like okay cats too in general. Highgarden is also a traditional… not exactly an enemy but more or less beefing with Dorne, which has to make you feel more comfortable when you are a House that Dorne pretty much hates now. Earlier in the week I dropped ten fun facts about Dorne and House Martell. Margaery has Tommen about to send his mom home.

Really great stuff here between Margaery and Ceresi this episode.

Margaery has friends, probably real friends. We never see Cersei with one since she was a child in the flashback from the season premiere. Margaery basically calls her a drunk, not the queen, and a grandmother to her face while her friends laugh. It all makes me think about Tywin… I doubt many people laughed at him in his presence. Those I would have suspect have, maybe Aerys… well a Lannister always pays his debts. Margaery has had one of the best teachers in her grandmother, The Queen of Thorns.

Everyone is bringing it this episode. Sophie Turner delivers and Petyr is a master here, again making it Sansa’s choice. I love Littlefinger’s character because while, sure, he has ultimate goals in the game of thrones and it’s definitely got a thick layer of creep fantasy to it, but I don’t think Petyr would see harm done to Sansa.

The smile he gives when she chooses could be viewed as pleasure that his scheme is working, but I also think there is pride there. Sansa is aware of Petyr’s nature, she admitted before, but her journey is believable and while Petry is her teacher, it took me back to what Cersei told her about her power, a woman’s powers. It’s all coming back. She now has purpose beyond survival. She’s in play. We are also reminded that Theon might have a purpose. Also, while Roose is a complete dick, the guy hardly ever doesn’t sound sensible. Back to Sansa for a moment, in this game full of pieces, it feels like Petyr has just revealed his queen to the board.

Thank you HBO. Pod is going to get trained, by a great teacher, and may become useful. He has had a good string of them now with Tyrion and now Brienne. I also like that this sequence came right after the Petyr/Sansa bit because in our head it reminds us that they are behind them. I guess we can look forward to one day Brienne trying to strike at Stannis.

… which is why we are now at a Stannis scene. I was somebody who through the first season, maybe two, wasn’t so sure that Kit Harrington was up to making this work. As I’ve been saying this entire season though, Jon Snow is leveling up.

I’m sure it helps to have Davos and Stannis to talk to, and both of them are also great this season. The first thing that struck me was Snow’s new steward. While obviously he and Snow get on, we saw them training together last week, but this is a kid who saw his family butchered by the freefolk. Jon has shown mercy to them and is relatively chummy to them. Obviously Stannis is not pleased with Jon’s choice but you get the feeling that everyone in that rooms respects each other.

I’ve kind of already talked about Arya, love Maise, but I feel like I’m not going to be too interested until she goes back out again. Feels like Dany trapped in her useless city. I will say this though, love that all three Starks/Snow were confronted with questions about who they were. Also, come on guys. Invest in some lighting.

Not the production, Game of Thrones is generally an incredibly well lit show, talking about in The House of Black and White. Its like it’s the DC cinematic universe up in there. Seems like Arya has been doing a lot of throwing shit in the water this season. Maise is incredible in these non-verbal scenes though. We feel her journey, both ahead and what she won’t quite leave behind.

I know we are inclined to believe that Ramsey will be the worst husband ever, something Sansa has unique experience in, but I wonder if he’s like lovestruck and is gonna turn out to be a big sucker when it comes to a pretty face and having legitimacy in his grasp, though the camera pans to a group of women whose faces make me think that might not be the case. And oh…

THE NORTH REMEMBERS!!!!

YES!!!!!! YES!!!! Chills went through me. The Great Northern Conspiracy up in this! When you take that and various other things we’ve heard this season, Stannis being rejected, Ramsey in this very episode talking about having to flay someone to get them to pay their taxes to a non-Stark what we are seeing FINALLY some sense of legacy left by Ned and Robb. Finally their faults have a flip side result. Loyalty. Honor. This is why Stannis knows he needs Jon to have a chance with the North.

GREAT scene next with Jon. This harkens back to Ned Stark and Rob Stark executing someone they condemn themselves. This is more hot Northerner shit. This is Jon Snow cold as ice. This happens right after we hear The North Remembers. What a great move to promote Alliser, what a great political move to set it up and then raise Thorne. Equally good was that he gave Slynt a chance to hang himself or to get on board. Alliser is either shrewd enough to see the tide changing or he gained some respect for Jon. Like Ned Stark, Jon asks for the last words. Ned told Bran way back at the beginning:

THE BLOOD OF THE FIRST MEN STILL FLOWS IN THE VEINS OF THE STARKS, AND WE HOLD TO THE BELIEF THAT THE MAN WHO PASSES THE SENTENCE SHOULD SWING THE SWORD. IF YOU WOULD TAKE A MAN’S LIFE, YOU OWE IT TO HIM TO LOOK INTO HIS EYES AND HEAR HIS FINAL WORDS. AND IF YOU CANNOT BEAR TO DO THAT, THEN PERHAPS THE MAN DOES NOT DESERVE TO DIE.

“Are you refusing to take my order?” was on some Eastwood. Starks are dangerous again.

I think the absence of Daenerys in this episode helps highlight a comparison of her decision last episode making involving justice and ruling and Jon’s in this one. What shouldn’t be lost is the beginning of the scene: Maester Aemon Targaryen is not well. Remember he has flowing through him the blood of Kings.

Also, damn. Gingers can’t even catch a break in fantasy. Latrine ditch duty?

We go from Northern justice and beliefs to a matter of faith back in the south in King’s Landing. I think there are two important issues hear. One, the obvious rise of the faith and the introduction of The High Sparrow, but also that these are Petyr’s establishments being raided.

It’s so odd seeing Lord Tyrell opening doors for people. This guy is the Warden of the South, Lord Paramount of the Reach, and with Tywin gone, the head of possibly the most powerful house in Westeros, both financially and militarily. He has many great lords who are his bannermen. If he wanted to nothing is stopping him from taking over King’s Landing.

The High Sparrow. CLASS actor right here, this is a pleasure. I always love seeing Cersei walking around and this show has several times had her walking in filth, over dead bodies, etc, and it’s striking how they have made this character a symbol of opulence and beauty where she seems in contrast to these backdrops when they occur. She’s still so Sarah Connor.

Cersei sends Petyr a note. These types of moments help connect the stories and make things seems connected. Call me completely uninterested in Qyburn and his projects. I do wonder what favor she asks Petyr, it’s obviously of interest to Roose.

Petyr is slimy but we can’t forget that Roose was major player in the death of Catelyn Stark. I doubt he has plans that allow for Roose to live. I always love references to the past. The Lord of Eyrie and The Lords of the North, yes, when they last joined forced they killed the Last Dragon, emphatically, with a warhammer. For some reason it didn’t connect with me until now, but it’s likely Roose legitimized Ramsey specifically for a match with Sansa.

More Varys and Tyrion on the road. Not a fan of this but we get a Thoros of Myr namecheck, another Red Priestess, and just as a bit of a footnote, Volantis is where Robb Stark’s wife Talisa Maegyr, was from. There is no confirmation of relation (also in the books Robb marries someone from Westeros), but in the novels Malaquo Maegyr is one of the three rulers of Volantis. The Priestess stares at one of the two them, it might be worthwhile to consider others that have drawn the regard of a Red Priestess. We do see that Dany is becoming somewhat a part of what passes for pop culture in Volantis. When I saw jorah the first thing I thought of was if he was spending his time in Volantis fucking a whore playing Daenerys. That’s pretty hardcore infatuated.

I loved this episode.

Sons of the Harpy

The Sons of the Harpy immediately bring us back to Jorah and Tyrion to give us a taste of last week’s cliffhanger, almost a promise that they won’t leave it alone like they have some threads for an episode or two like with Dorne or Dany.

The isle Jaime points out is Tarth, where Brienne is from. We learn he’s pretty salty about the death of his father, obviously he feels a bit guilty because it would not have happened if it were not for him.

“You’ve given us too much”. Mace Tyrell, doofus on tv, though has more money than the crown. This is an important element for the show. The Tyrells have always been rich in both the books and the show, but that the Lannisters are no longer wealthy is not a book element. Please keep in mind, Cersei is sending Mace to Braavos with her chief goon, Ser Meryn Trant. Where Ayra has him on her list. This idea of Master of Coin being such an honor is a little off too me.

It’s definitely a big position for people like pre-ascension Petyr or lesser lords, but Mace is one of the most powerful men in Westeros, and it could be argued he is the single most powerful now that Tywin is gone. He’s rich, fields the largest army, has fruitful lands, and has incredibly powerful bannermen in their own right. This feels off to me. Names of other Lords Paramount we began with in this series along with Mace: Tywin, Lannister, Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, and (functionally if not in name) Doran Martell. There are faults in all of them but none of these men were utter fools. In the books he’s not portrayed as particularly brave, motivated, or capable as I discussed in my 10 Things

About House Stark but he’s not a clown or errand boy either. There is no reason for Cersei not to take his offer and actually strengthen her and the Lannister ties with Tyrell because without them the Lannister’s have exactly zero allies, especially when you consider that Cersei successfully pissed off Kevan Lannister. Even more… The Iron Bank will always have its due. Remember, last season Stannis and Davos secured a loan for their war with the Iron Bank.

Cersei is dumb as shit with this faith militant angle, she’s setting up her own downfall. I didn’t mention this in my 10 Things About House Targaryen but a militarized faith was disbanded by the Targaryens after a lot of bloodshed. It was probably one of their smarter moves, as armed religious fanatics are probably the world’s biggest problem even in our own world, both in our own country and abroad. It’s so painful watching Cersei thinking she’s clever while she’s out maneuvering literal children.

I really like the music that accompanies these brothel raids, it really steps up the pace and we are seeing a shift here that affects a lot of major players, one of them Ser Loras, who for the first time in a long time is looking like the character he is — a bad ass knight. Who then gets taken. Highlords can’t buy good security these days it seems. I will probably do a post on House Tyrell soon.

I know that people will look at this and think Tommen is weak, but I think he’s a good kid here and makes a rational decision even if he’s not very pragmatic. Tommen is taken aback about violence on the Sept, where his brother, Joffrey, committed a crime in having killed Ned Stark there.

What should be understood is Cersei really has no power here and the fact that she is exercising power is somewhat baffling. Another sign that Cersei has initiated her own fall are the shouts by the people while Tommen is at the Sept. People know, or have heard the rumors, of his parentage. If they have the faith has. The Jay Tomio move here would have been to eradicate the faith, order my mother to Casterly Rock, summon Kevan Lannister to serve as The Hand of The King, and reaffirm my alliance with House Tyrell. Then spend the rest of my days smashing fine Margaery, sipping on Arbor Gold.

Margaery is going to try to contact grandmother, which is a smart move, but it seems odd that there aren’t incredibly reliable bannermen there to help her. One would think that not only her, but her crew of ladies would warrant a garrison investment that remained in King’s Landing. Afterall this the family that helped remove Joffrey to insure Margaery’s safety. It can’t just be Loras, and his arrest even seems odd to me. He’s a powerful lord’s son, it’s incredulous that this hasn’t been answered by someone, if not the boy king.

Mace was in the city earlier, surely he has a substantial retinue with him? Just not vibing with the Tyrell goon check, because King’s Landing should be flooded with them. That said, I like the work by the actor playing Tommen.

He’s trying to do the right thing and we are are a bit taken aback as he is not a psychopath. He loves his mom and his wife. He has faith. He’s like a normal dude who has a ton of authority and chose not to use it. He’s treated as a child because he’s not a dick. I wonder if Cersei offered Petyr a spot on the Small Council. On paper, he’s a powerful Lord of the realm now and one wonders if Cersei eyes the Vale, an untouched resource as a potential ally.

Stannis and his wife talking gives us more hints about Jon Snow. Stannis helped Jon Arryn reveal the true parentage of Cersei’s children. He say’s “perhaps, but that was not Ned Stark’s way”. We know Ned to be incredibly honorable.

So… okay what’s going on with all these dudes turning down some? This world is rough. Last week it was Tyrion, this week it’s Jon Snow, we have brothels getting trashed. Remember when this show showed too much T&A?

Looks like Mel wants to create a new Shadow baby “want to cast shadows”, maybe for her trip south. Jon is being hit with temptation from all around this season, from becoming a Stark and Lord of Winterfell to turning down a good time with Mel. While Mel most likely has ulterior motives, she’s definitely also just plain thirsty. Go for yours, girl. I found this scene to relate to the conversation Stannis had with his wife. This is not Jon Snow’s way, just like it wasn’t Ned’s. Stannis has to something about his wife though. Biggest buzz kill in the Seven Kingdoms.

Stannis continues to be awesome, right? From co-signing beheadings to being a good dude to his kid. One should note that Shireen, technically, would be a somewhat important piece in the realm. While I understand might is right, she’s the sole child of the King and the only legitimate Baratheon of her generation.

WHEN ALL THE SMILES DIED, WHEN PRINCE RHAEGAR TARGARYEN URGED HIS HORSE PAST HIS OWN WIFE, THE DORNISH PRINCESS ELIA MARTELL, TO LAY THE QUEEN OF BEAUTY’S LAUREL IN LYANNA’S LAP. HE COULD SEE IT STILL: A CROWN OF WINTER ROSES, BLUE AS FROST.

YES! YES! Lyanna Stark! The Tourney at Harrenhal! Barristan the Bold versus Rhaegar Targaryen! A Crown of Winter Roses! All the Smiles Died. One of most important parts of this show right here. This is what the book readers want. All of the rest of you know nothing, Jon Snow. I think that’s a feather Sansa picks up, if so way back in season one Robert Baratheon put that there, from an exotic southern bird.

What a shark move by Littlefinger. At least a thought. What a move, he (possibly?) washes his hands of having to explain having Sansa and eliminate the man who helped kill Caitlin. Either that or he is extremely misreading Ramsey and it could cost him dearly. HBO, I’m not into seeing tortured Sophie Turner. Cancel that thought, please. In the back of my head I wonder if this is the move where we find out that Petyr is fallible. He certainly couldn’t stop the death of Catelyn. Oh… creepy kiss. Man… I hope Brienne and Pod don’t mess all this up when Stannis shows up.

LOVE Jaime and Bronn! Bronn says it right too, here we see somewhat of a classical fantasy story occurring with this thread. The captain of the boat was Tyroshi. While obviously this does not speak to all people of Tyrosh, there are close ties between Tyrosh and Dorne at high levels. Tyroshi have even married into the Targaryen line, most notably in Westeros history to Daemon Blackfyre.

I think Jaime might have found a new thing with his fake hand. I’m not sure if I’d buy someone regaining their former ability, especially when someone was as good as Jaime was but we do have some precedence with Qhorin Half Hand. I need to put people on notice: don’t run up on Bronn. I’m kind of perplexed by their mission though. Obviously the writers have a plan, but I’m just not really buying what’s going on. I also don’t care a bit because Bronn and Jaime are fun.

The Sand Snakes! I mentioned that I haven’t really liked the Ellaria performance, probably since her scream when Oberyn died, which was magnificent. I’m not sure what it is, a forced accent that doesn’t match an actress (that I like) I’ve seen a lot of perhaps, but it’s nice to meet Obara, Tyene, and Nymeria.

It’s hard for me to get my head wrapped around new characters before they interact with our known world and known characters, but I think there are subtle elements in their brief appearances that allows you to draw base conclusions about them individually, and also it would be totally reasonable that smooth Oberyn had some quality pairings and thus had some lookers for kids. Cute cast. Is it hot in Dorne? Because now I’m thirsty.

I think it was pretty obvious where Jorah was taking Tyrion. Tyrion shows off his knowledge by identifying Jorah and it looks like Dany might have some spots open for counsel. Hell, maybe the show will surprise me and she will need even more company to save her. A golden one. Doubtful, but hoping.

Rhaegar Targaryen sang and played the harp. I will probably do a dedicated post about this later. Lots of Rhaegar name drops lately and I love it. I’ve made it clear I’ve found the entire Dany governance of the city to be pretty boring but…

One of the most badass fighting scenes on television. Ser Barristan the Bold, son. You can just picture how much of a beast he must have been when he was younger — would have done all these dudes. Greyworm is no joke either. I’m going to guess there is going to be a contrarian subset of people who think this scene maybe too slow to be categorized as a great action scene but this isn’t an exhibition, swords and spears are heavy, armor has weak points you need to exploit you don’t just move indiscriminately and waste energy, this is close quarter fighting with a number of people, with our principles carrying heavy weapons — these aren’t anime ninjas in the matrix. It’s methodical and brutal — all blows are to maim or kill.

What I learned here in this scene though is that while I don’t really care about the back and forth we’ve gotten between Greyworm and Missandei, I kind of care about Greyworm because I was rooting for him and found myself not wanting him to die. It might have been that I didn’t want him to be killed by these lames though, even in great numbers.

Dany needs to burn this city and everyone in it to the ground. Ingrate low lifes. None of these people have a song that is of ice and fire. Release the Krakens!!!!!

Two REALLY strong episodes in a row. This one is one of my favorites of the entire series.

Mother’s Mercy

Mother’s Mercy. Just some gut reactions to the season 5 finale to Game of Thrones. I realize the internet broke with analysis from both people with early access to the show and events of the finale from day one, and I imagine there are a bunch of pieces on fan sites with great takes with book knowledge. I have close to decades of book knowledge, but for people who purely watch and experience Game of Thrones via HBO, nothing below is a spoiler in terms of book facts being brought in that reveal something that hasn’t already occurred.

The truth is that for the most part the show has either skipped or passed where the books are, or at the very least are right where the books are anyway and it’s pretty obvious this was purposeful out of respect to George R. R. Martin in regards to his upcoming book. Sure, we got Shireen’s fate, but that’s a small fry reveal that the show turned into a TV and social media week’s talking point. The big players on Game of Thrones are pretty much where the books are. There’s been a lot of yapping about the integrity of Martin’s story but what I got most from this finale was that the Game of Thrones team really gave GRRM a lot of respect in terms of where they left and allowing Winds of Winter to take the stage first if Martin gets it out.

STANNIS

As slow as this show moves with some parts of it storyline, like with Arya and Daenerys, this thing kind of escalated really fast didn’t it? Stannis went from kind of consistently bewildering us in why we would like him, to this season where he was super cool with Davos and Jon Snow and had a moment that I think sold us all with his daughter, to becoming completely unforgivable.

DO YOUR DUTY

I think this is a (possible) death we don’t really care about because of the previous week but, at least for me, his final words caught me for a second because “duty” is what Stannis thought he was doing the whole time. While Westeros is a world where might is right, something his brother proved, he really was the king by law, and duty is something that, as a reader, we know that Stannis has ALWAYS been about. Like I touched on in my piece about House Baratheon, Stannis has always been exceedingly good at his duty.

He held Storm’s End in Robert’s name, he took Dragonstone, he was intrumental in breaking the Iron Fleet when Balon Greyjoy rose against his brother — all after questioning whether it was his duty to not support the Targaryens against Robert, as would be his duty. It’s not really brought up in the show as much as the book, but the idea of a kinslayer (which is why people worry about Tyrion, a prohibitive fan favorite) is huge in Westeros, so I felt like Stannis was damned after the Renly ginger voodoo baby, but once he torched his kid, I kind of felt he was definitely done.

Regarding Melisandre, what I took from that was that she was the first to break. Whether it was her faith or her perception/adeptness at it, she was a broken women which says a lot because this is a character that has been nothing but strength since we met her.

Selyse’s death didn’t really hit me, though I thought her performance was amazing the episode before, but what I did take from it was how much Stannis had lost. Both brothers, his wife, his daughter, and for that he didn’t even win the war. I think we can all agree that Stephen Dillane was excellent as Stannis, though I still don’t quite get how the most important person that everyone would be head hunting got out of the fight not in Bolton hands when you look at how that battlefield was playing out, yet somehow Brienne finds him.

STANNIS IS PURE IRON, BLACK AND HARD AND STRONG, YES, BUT BRITTLE, THE WAY IRON GETS. HE’LL BREAK BEFORE HE BENDS. — DONAL NOYLE

I was good with Stannis at the end. While I’m sure there is some regret here, he’s not going to offer them to Brienne. Everyone he would speak to is gone. For a vaunted commander though he had a really shitty staff for not letting him know until morning that half his army walked off WITH ALL OF THEIR APPARENTLY NINJA silent horses — EXCEPT the one Mel apparently found, which lucky for her was also the fastest horse in history, getting her to Winterfell later in the episode in record speed. That latter bit doesn’t bother me that much though, you kind of have to allow for travel/time oddities when it comes to sprawling Fantasy. I’m still trying to figure out how 7 foot hooded Allannon walked around the Four Lands so fast without drawing attention.

In a review I did of one of the first couple of episodes I mentioned it felt like Brienne was going to meet Stannis and probably piss me off and kill him — I guess I was half right. Also, what popped in my head, both Brienne and her former running mate Jaime have both killed Kings. Kingslayers, the both of them, both also members of some form of Kingsguard as well. As an aside, The Candle/Podrick timing was kind of baffling — it’s so weird how such a serious show has instances like this that come off as comedic props, they could could have just been done with the whole candle angle IMHO.

And yeah, I couldn’t list Stannis with his last name. He doesn’t deserve it. No family for you.

SANSA STARK

I really loved Sophie Turner’s performance this year but I haven’t really loved her story. I think we were prepared for more of an upward trajectory of the character and if we weren’t going to get that I’d have suspected or appreciated something amazing to have occurred to not allow for that, instead we get kind of pretty shitty scene earlier this season and a scared to death Sansa, when in the books, even if people didn’t like the style of the writing — and sure these sample chapters for some reason do always feel a bit rushed out lately — it looks like we are getting some form of Sansa Fierce.

Myranda feels like the only person in this show, or Westeros, that seems like she’s good with what’s going on, and is kind of chillin’ day to day. I thought this encounter felt odd but I think the writers needed some kind of action or net gain, no matter how small, for Sansa and Theon before they left this part of their lives. Even for all of this, the idea of a leap of faith I felt represented both the desperation and this new partnership equally well even though the Sansa under the Bolton’s has been kind of a waste ever since Littlefinger left and we got the Petyr looks that made book readers shout in triumph in front of Lyanna Stark’s statue.

Speaking of Littlefinger, I’m very interested in how this effects his relationship with Sansa. He’s now fallible to Sansa. Stannis was not supposed to lose and Sansa was probably not supposed to get as beaten down as she did.

I was fully expecting to see him at some point in this episode with the Knights of the Vale coming down on one side or the other, or maybe neither, though it makes sense for the aforementioned reasons why it didn’t happen. I wonder if that means GRRM will deliver Winds of Winter before HBO rolls out season 6 of Game of Thrones.

Alfie Allen though, continues to deliver, making the most out of few scenes. I’m not so sure I enjoy his thread that much, but he’s delivering what he’s being being dealt.

ARYA STARK

Struck me as one of those all too familiar moments where we finally get what we want, Arya being a badass, but then taking it back from us with the judgement place on her. The Trant kill was incredible, but I hope it doesn’t mean more Arya stasis.

A lot like Mereen with Daenerys, I’ve felt Bravos has become where Arya has gone for timeout. I actually think the escalation of negative traits given to Trant weakens Arya as a character. Sure, for a TV audience I can see why you want to throw more obvious reason to not like someone to swallow the idea of a young looking child killing him so violently, but I always thought Arya’s reasoning, an almost life mantra she had taken on was strong as is, and was blemished by Trant being even more of an ass than we already knew. It took it away from Arya to some degree, and made Trant just an overall dick instead of this very personal vendetta. I think it was enough and more important that the viewer knew it was important to Arya, and didn’t have to be important to us.

TYRION AND CO.

I can’t recall if I got a promo image from HBO with the pic above first before the episode or the day after, but whenever I first saw it I thought it looked like a great Hip Hop album cover. I have to admit I don’t quite get why they are still alive and in power or at least locked away in a dungeon. Last I saw they were surrounded and Daenerys got on her ride and bounced — did the Sons of the Harpy give up AFTER the only threat to them left? I have to admit I don’t get it, which is kind of a theme with this part of the story for me.

It’s so frustrating. If you were like me and thankful Tyrion was coming to save Dany’s plot line from boring ass Mereen, only to have her fly off on a dragon and just leave Tyrion in boring ass Mereen, you are frustrated. Even Varys couldn’t save it because I just can’t bring myself to care about Mereen or have a reason to….

…except DRAGONS. Tyrion ruling a city with two of Dany’s dragons still there, that could be very interesting. No way he could resist, we’ve seen the awe in Tyrion’s eyes everytime he has seen a dragon, and I’m pumped for this because for a fantasy show, Game of Thrones needs a kick in the ass when it comes to the wonder department. Loved that Tyrion knew the language, not sure I buy the ease of this transition though. Greyworm and Missandei aren’t favorites of mine, if only because I know they can’t be major players in story that is ramping toward a conclusion, but as people in the midst of Tyrion and Varys they could level up. I thought the image of Tyrion with Varys in Mereen with all of the Unsullied in the background was pretty powerful, even if it made me think this is the first time in a long time that made me believe there were more than ten of these guys anywhere. These guys need a moment of shine because they’ve done nothing but not impress. While I’ve always had my doubts about them potentially in the field against knights, they should be working these guys we’ve seen them against. Worst security ever.

I guess the Daario and Jorah pairing could be fun but I thought the same of Jaime and Bronn in Dorne, so we will see though I’m unsure why the logical move wouldn’t be thinking Dany would just come back. The reason why you have an army of goons is to have them go look for missing people.

Also… why would Mereen listen to Greyworm? Wasn’t he almost mortally wounded because they explicitly don’t?

DAENERYS TARGARYEN

First, I thought the shot was rather beautiful though I have to admit I was a bit perplexed at exactly what was happening. I’m open to a good explanation on why Dany dropped her ring because at the moment I can’t think of one. Is it to hide something from the khalasar? To help people trying to track her? Why would she assume someone else — see above — would be looking for her and not just guessing she would return? Would someone need more clues than tracking the only free Dragon in the world?

The answer is, oddly, yes they would because I’m unsure how you track something that can fly in any direction and change direction anytime it wants. Where do you begin? Once you get to the beginning how do you know your next move? I’m sure there is a solid straight forward answer, I’m just not getting it. Hell, I’m not even sure if the Khalasar meeting is a good or bad situation for Daenerys. If it were a bad situation it seems pretty silly and over ceremonial how they all surrounded here like that, instead of, you know, just sending two dudes to just bop her on her head and bring her back.

If it’s good, none of what we just saw matters because they can just escort her back to Mereen. Also… Dragon? Or is the scene before supposed to sell that Drogon is down for the count at the moment? I’m glad he’s eating though because right now Drogon doesn’t seem like he’s big enough yet . As amazing as the pit scene was he was taking blows by what seemed like a dozen guys with spears, at least the four out of them that decided it would be a smart move to throw them out him. Seems pretty fragile for such a small pitched battle. More this please…

… because that means the other two dragons have to be pushovers right now, they look Raptor-sized. Sure, big enough to scare me back into the house, but not THE tactical game changers in a war/invasion. In fact, if I were a potential adversary or target I would have put all my resources into destroying them before they do grow. I want some Shadow of the Colossus type juxtaposition.

Maybe I’m just not in the mood for Dany setbacks or going back to where she began in the show riding around aimlessly. Can we get some empire building on, yet? You’ve had armies, you have dragons, you’ve had countless boring male leads to bounce off of, let’s get on with this.

The Gold Company would already be in Westeros, no dragons no problems. I think that’s where the problem is, every single character ended on a setback except arguably Tyrion but he’s back doing what we already saw him do, except in that case it was in place we gave a shit about.

Oh… and why was she going to marry that guy again?

JAIME LANNISTER

Some part of me thinks the Game of Thrones teams wishes it had 11 episodes this season so they could have dropped this scene on father’s day.

I feel like this scene was supposed to pay off a lackluster introduction and journey to Dorne that looked so promising when the seasons began. Remember when you were excited, and joking about Jaime’s awesome jacket game, as he enlisted Bronn for what seemed like the best buddy adventure the show could possibly offer to Dorne? It’s been pretty bad since that fun little swashbuckle we got we Bronn and Jaime taking down some Dornishmen when they first got to shore. For book readers it was worse because if they are anything like me they love Dorne and couldn’t wait for the Sandsnakes.

That was quickly thrown out the window with a very oddly portrayed Ellaria, whose best work was her Oberyn death scream from last season, and some painful Sandsnakes scenes that made very little sense.

They have the love of the people but apparently none of them help them, are subject to some of the most eerie timing, and possibly have the worst escape/abduction/assassination plan in the history of history, not to mention Ellaria had the worst hiding spot in the world. One of the sandsnakes, and no I can’t be bothered to recall which one is which at this point, is Bae AF, but beyond that nothing really came of this. That said, I’m already calling for a Bronn and the Sandsnakes spin-off show.

It culminated in a character we don’t care about giving Jaime a daddy moment, and then dying, which is okay, because we don’t care about her. I guess this is meant to force Doran’s hand because Trystane can’t be long for the world. Luckily, Ellaria and the Sandsnakes will probably get away with it because apparently there are like 10 people in all of Dorne. In the show’s defense, Martin did always tell us it was the least populated region of Westeros.

Lamest kiss of death ever.

CERSEI LANNISTER

This was a really good scene, by far the class of the episode, and is just icing on my soemone needs to give Headey and Emmy nom. The tracking to the Red Keep, the random smashing of line stepping crowd members, and just Headey delivering from the neck up, even as spit oozed off of her cheek. What I liked though, even while an ultimately humbling and humiliating experience, I thought there was still defiance there at the end because after watching such a scene, such an ordeal, the thought that went into my mind was still… I would not want to be that way too loving her job Septa.

The feet were really focused on and it reminded me of a scene, coincidentally, also featuring Ser Gregor and Cersei, when Cersei went previous to the Oberyn duel, stepping over bodies nonchalantly as if they were nothing, regal as regal can be, a canvas of opulence, golden and beautiful. Here, she walks through a crowd unguarded, her feet will get dirty, there is a cost to her. Hell, for a second, I felt like maybe Aerys had the right to burn the whole place down.

Class scene, as good as anything on television. Respect to the body double too.

Remember him?

Ghost?

We know that Jon is very aware he is not very well liked by a lot of people who aren’t top of the stack to begin with, and with such knowledge I might do this crazy thing of having my badass supernaturalish giant wolf at my side at all times. He apparently has time to protect Jon’s tubby friend and get him laid but he’s zero for his last two in combat situations for Jon, right?

How about having my new giant friend who was an eye witness to my badassness hang out with me? Wouldn’t Jon’s friends/followers be aware of this other faction and take it upon themselves to watch his back? Isn’t he useful? I have told you that he was raised by and grew up in a House full of people who have never lost a battle. Admittedly, they both got themselves killed for being dumb too.

I also, and this surprised me, felt like this should not have been an Alliser move. This was more Slynt-style, and Jon already dealt with him. The Game of Thrones TV show really made him into this, yes small, but oddly complex character, one we didn’t like but still somewhat cheered when Jon promoted to First Ranger. There was evolution here, right? I would have liked this more on the show if Alliser wasn’t in play, which I understand may be the opposite though many would have, but I just thought this enmity had passed, at least to this supreme circumstance.

Plus, man… isn’t what Jon is doing common sense? Isn’t it pretty much the only plan? Doesn’t he have a fleet of people who would vouch for what’s coming? This dude just went toe to toe with their nightmare and stared down the Night’s King, and you OLLIED HIM???? Olly?

No surprise for sure, this was telegraphed forever but why can the world, even I, a non-Lord Commander, whose likely song is not of Ice and Fire, who has never defended a wall nor beaten a white walker with my Valyrian blade, and due to my asian heritage can’t even rock a real beard, would have heard Olly’s frantic Benjen claim and given him the people’s eyebrow while I looked right through him, and tell him to try again?

Also, irate tv exclusive watchers, this is not a spoiler, and I’ve read these books for close to 2 decades, but I’ve never heard of any book reader who believes that Jon Snow is really dead, so the comments by both Kit and the showrunners is either this incredible destruction of one of, if not THE, major and easiest fan theory that’s decades old, or they are stretching the truth.

It might seem that I have negative feelings overall about Game of Thrones but I don’t. I’m not an angry book reader. While this wasn’t a great episode I was still glued to my seat and it’s literally the only non-sporting event program on television that I watch live. Otherwise, it’s stream or die for me unless I have a screener.

The truth is that when considering all of the other recent contenders of the “it” show on television, Mad Men, Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, etc etc, this is the show that truly not only is being done elsewhere, it probably won’t be done again. It’s legitimate event television. It’s not another crime joint or period piece, both of which we will produce multiple better shows than the ones mentioned given time. It brought epic fantasy into a weekly pop culture discussion. Normal people are talking about Dragons and wights, and possibly the best character on the best show is Tyrion Lannister and no one has blinked.

You are not going to get this elsewhere, and as someone who has had just 4 books in nearly 20 years to consume, with some sweet novellas thrown in (HBO, I need my Dunk and Egg), I welcome not only having something to look at in Westeros but being able to share it with a greater audience who would never get into this unless HBO put it on screen. I now get texts from over a dozen people on Sunday comprised of words like “Valyria”, “Valar morghulis”, and “cock merchant”.

Oh, and bad pussy.

Author: Jay

protoculture hoarding, devil fruit eating, energon cube stirring, spirited away, chilling in a house of leaves. Vist Jay at Neko Plz.