You’re entering spoiler territory.
The board is set, the pieces are moving.
A bit of a change of pace, this week. This episode very much feels like the calm before the storm as Benioff and Weiss carefully move their pieces into position, ready for what’s about to come. Conflicts are being orchestrated at Winterfell, Riverrun and at King’s Landing, not to mention the impending arrival of the white walkers and their army of the dead.
If the Gods are real, why haven’t they punished me?
It’s an odd start to this week’s episode as the Hound (no, he didn’t die, did he?) is living in some weird Kumbaya cult led by the warrior turned Septon, Brother Ray (Guest star Ian McShane). The Hound is trying to find peace after a lifetime of bloodshed and evil deeds after being nursed back to health by the Brother. It’s weird seeing a group of people living harmoniously together. Even weirder seeing the Hound as part of it. Has his near death experience humbled him somewhat?
For years I have pretended to love the poor
Our first look at Margaery, post mental breakdown into zealous religionism, is with the High Sparrow. Now, either she does feel bad about being a dick to poor people while pretending to love them or she’s playing the High Sparrow at his own game. I’m going for the latter. This is all but confirmed when she urges her grandmother, Olenna, to leave King’s Landing while secretly handing her a doodle of the Rose of Highgarden, signifying her loyalty to her family. While I admire Margaery trying to manipulate the High Sparrow form the inside, I can’t help but think it’s not going to work. He’s too clever.
This isn’t our fight
In a brief but important scene, Tormund convinces the wildlings to fight for Jon and Sansa in their battle to reclaim the North in the name of the Starks. Tormund makes the point that Jon risked his life, well, gave his life, to save the wildlings, by allowing them to pass through the wall. The wildlings reluctantly agree to fight for Jon. Ungrateful bastards. While Tormund is obviously very loyal to Jon, I’m not convinced the rest of them won’t betray Jon as soon as things get real.
I wonder if you’re the worst person I’ve ever met
The Queen of Thorns is probably one of my favourite characters. She’s just great. No bullshit. Intelligent. Totally rational. In other words, the totally opposite of Cersei. Cersei is irrational, petty and not even close to being as clever as she thinks she is. I take enjoyment out her failings. Seeing Olenna tell her how much she’s fucked everything up is just the icing on the cake. Despite this, Cersei is still keen to fight the Sparrow. It’ll be interesting to see how her plan works out, especially with Margaery working on her own scheme.
Someone needs to teach those sad twats how to dig trenches
The second face to return after a long hiatus is Bronn. And he’s just as sassy as ever. The show has suffered in his absence. I feel like Game of Thrones, recently, has lost it’s sense of humour a little. And that’s because non-vital characters like Bronn have been sidelined for plot development. It’s good to have him back.
The Freys are a bit shit aren’t they? It’s a marvel they managed to pull off the Red Wedding really. They’re totally clueless. Jaime and Bronn aren’t too impressed either as they take over the siege of Riverrun. The Freys threaten to slit Edmure Tully’s throat if the Blackfish (our third familiar face returning) doesn’t surrender Riverrun. He calls their bluff.
The real war is between the living and the dead
Sansa and Jon head to Bear Island to convince Lady Mormont, who is ten years old, to pledge her army to the Starks. She’s not convinced however, citing her duty is to her people. Davos of all people is the one who convinces her to pledge her 62 soldiers to the Stark’s cause. He says that a united north is better, as apposed to the divided one under Ramsay, in the fight against the white walkers. I would say that a ten year old has no place as the head of a house, but she’s a hell of a lot more competent than most of the adults we’ve seen so far.
The war is not over
The Blackfish and Jaime parley on the drawbridge at Riverrun. Blackfish reminds Jaime of his vow to return Catelyn’s daughters to her, in which he failed. He tears Jaime apart, calling him a disappointment, before returning into his home. Jaime looks suitably pissed off. Siege it is then. I can’t see how this is going to end really. The Brotherhood without Banners to turn up and save the day? Can’t imagine their numbers are large enough, though. Jon and Sansa are too far north to be of any use.
House Glover will not abandon it’s ancestral home
Sansa and Jon’s excellent (boring) adventure takes them to Deepwood Motte, the home of the Glovers. The Glovers fought and lost alongside Robb ‘The King in the North’ Stark and blame him for their losses. The Iron-born pillaged and conquered their home as a result of Robb’s war. The Bolton’s helped them reclaim it. So it’s a no from them, then. Jon’s allegiance with the wildlings is looking to be causing more problems than its worth.
As long as we’re alive, we’re a threat
Theon and Yara are in Volantis, enjoying a brothel. Well Yara is, Theon can’t really. Because…well…missing parts. Not to mention the severe psychological trauma that Ramsay put him through. That’s probably a contributing factor. Theon’s a broken man, something that Yara doesn’t really seem to understand. She seems to think he can just ‘snap out of it’. I don’t think that’s how it works unfortunately. Let’s hope he finds some redemption. Turns out they’re on their way to find Daenerys. Everyone wants to be her friend.
We still have a chance
Jonsa have made camp in the same place that Stannis did on his way south. Because that worked out so well for him. Jon thinks they should just go ahead and attack Winterfell, despite inferior numbers while Sansa feels they need to find more men. That leads her to write a secret letter to someone. I’m almost 100% sure this is a letter to Petyr, asking for the Knights of the Vale to join them in the upcoming conflict. I’m not sure they can trust him, though. Saying that, they probably don’t have a choice.
It’s never too late to come back
The Hound is having some serious guilt trips this week. He has a chat with Brother Ray, who tells him it’s never too late to find redemption. It’s a nice monologue from Ian McShane, who impresses in this episode. The camp are enjoying the Brother’s sermon when three riders from the Brotherhood (presumably, the Brotherhood without Banners) turn up, suggesting that it would be in everyone’s best interest if they donate their supplies over to them.
We leave at dawn
After Arya’s rebellion against the Many Faced God last week, she manages to book passage across the sea, back to Westeros. And just when she thinks she’s got it all sorted, an old lady, who turns out to be the Waif, approaches her on a bridge and stabs her multiple times in the stomach before she falls into the water below. The last we see of her, she’s running through the streets, bleeding everywhere. I think we can assume she’ll be OK.
What I find weird about this is that the Waif clearly has a persona vendetta against Arya. Isn’t that frowned upon by the Faceless Men? I thought they were supposed to be impartial?
Just when we think the Hound is going to live happily ever after with his new friends (not really) disaster strikes. His chums have all been murdered. I think we’re supposed to assume this is by the brotherhood, but this isn’t really their style. They’re supposedly a Robin Hood-esque gang, supporting the poor while the rich quibble. So I’m confused as to why the brotherhood would do this, if it is even them. I’m not convinced. Anyway looks, like the Hound is going to be gunning for revenge when we see him next.
What I liked about this episode is that there’s a retune of some of the great dialogue that’s been missing recently from Game of Thrones. Bronn, Brother Ray, Olenna and the Blackfish all get some great dialogue in this episode.
GOOD. A decent episode, if not the most explosive of the season so far. It very much feels like the calm before the storm. It feels like the show runners are just trying to get everyone in the position they need them to be in before the season finale. Having said that, we got some nice scenes from some returning characters.