My first thought as the recap on last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones” started was that it had been a long time, too long, since the last episode. Of course, it really hadn’t been that long. It had only been two weeks but in a world where you can binge watch an entire season of a show in a day two weeks does seem like a long time.
The first scene of the show began in the North at Mole’s town. Before Gilly was even shown I knew that she would be important in this scene. Why else would the scene be set there? At first I thought the scene might be pushing her in the direction of becoming a prostitute (something that would break Sam’s heart) but I was wrong. I felt bad for Gilly in this scene. It was clear that since being left in Mole’s town by Sam she’s faced a lot of discrimination for being a wilding, despite the fact she’s one of the sweetest characters on the show. Then all hell broke loose, and Gilly sensed it before it arrived. A band of Wildlings attacked Mole’s town. As Ygritte slaughtered several people I thought about how she’s become even more fierce and crazy since Jon broke her heart towards the end of season three. She really is going all out in her destruction, except when she finds Gilly hiding with her baby.
The news of the slaughter at Mole’s town reaches the Wall where Sam is devastated. He believes that Gilly and the baby are dead. Jon meanwhile believes that the next target for the wildlings is the wall and the nights watch themselves (something that the preview for next week seems to full indicate).
To the east in Merreen there is an interesting sequence between Greyworm and Missandei. While both are bathing in a river Greyworm catches a clear look at a naked Missandei. They exchange a knowing look. As this happened I wondered in general about sexual desire post castration, does it exist? Varys is a character that points in the direction of no but Greyworm seems to be pointing in the direction of yes. I guess like everything else in life it depends on the person. Dany posed an interesting question that I had wondered myself; do they take the pillar with the stones?
The second interaction between Greyworm and Missandei is a very sweet one. She tells him that she is sorry that he was castrated. He tells her that in the end he was glad that he was because otherwise he never would have met her. They both agree that they are glad that he saw her bathing in the river. Again, I thought this was a very sweet scene but I’m not sure what is will lead to. My husband mentioned that they have sexualized the character of Missandei, who is only supposed to be as old as Arya in the books. This makes me further question how this sequence will fit into the bigger picture.
The show next shifted to Theon and Ramsay. My first emotion during this scene was sympathy for Theon and how broken he is. Of course, at this point I wonder if I should even refer to him at Theon at all. It seems more than likely that he will be Reek until he is rotting in the round, just like Ramsay says.
Under Ramsay’s orders it seems that Theon, who once betrayed the Starks, will now betray the people who are under the rule of his given family. When Theon (I will continue to refer to him this way for home that there is still a human being deep inside) enters the castle the people there are very skeptical that he is who he says he is. Theon tells them to surrender that there would be no shame and that they fought with honor. The man in charge doesn’t believe him and says that only a whipped dog or a woman would say such a thing. At his point in the story Theon really is a whipped dog and these words cause him to break down. The scene ends surrender and Ramsay and his men literally skinning people and putting them on display. Ramsay is so evil and gross and I worry about the destruction he will bring as the story progresses.
At the Vale the aftermath of Lysa’s death is being felt.
The Lords of the Vale are investigating her death and questioning Littlefinger. The story that he is putting forth is that Lysa killed herself. The Lords of the Vale seem well aware of Lysa’s issues but they are skeptical that she actually committed suicide, in part because she loved Robyn too much to leave him.
When Sansa is called as a witness it is clear that it is a fork in the road for her. Will she tell the truth or will she protect Littlefinger? The fact the she even admits to her own identity is a surprise since Littlefinger is claiming she is his niece and a halfwit. When Sansa begins to tell the Lords of the Vale her tale she tells a lot of truth. She says that Lord Baelish has told many lies to protect her (no doubt that is true). Sansa tells the truth…until the end. At the end she lies and says that her Aunt Lysa killed herself because she was consumed with jealousy over Littlefinger pecking her on the cheek.
So much of my frustration with Sansa during the first three seasons of this show is that she has been such a passive character. She has just let things happen to her and has done little to nothing to fight back. I like that for better or worse she was given the chance to make a powerful decision in his scene. She chooses to lie and protect Littlefinger. Is this a mistake? Only time will tell but it was quite clear that Littlefinger was very pleased by the smirk that crossed his face as Sansa looked at him.
After Sansa’s meeting with the Lords of the Vale there is another in a long line of power plays by Littlefinger. He wants to know who the Lords of the Vale support in the struggle for Westeros as a whole. He contends that he wants Robyn to leave his sheltered life and become a leader. Robyn obviously has the birthright to become a leader but it’s quite clear that he is not a leader. Littlefinger knows this. He knows Robyn is incapable of leading. As this scene ended I was left wondering what could possibly be Littlefinger’s motivation other than getting rid of Robyn.
Back in Mereen the relationship between Ser Jorah and Danerys come to a screeching halt. The letter that Robert sent him way back in the first season giving him a pardon in exchange for spying on Dany is discovered. Did Tywin send it? Who knows…the bottom line is that finding out the truth is devastating for Dany. When Jorah approaches Dany to try to explain himself she understandably calls him out on his betrayal. At the end of the day there really is no excuse for the fact that Jorah sold secrets to the man who murdered Dany’s father and stole her brother’s throne. Dany is so disgusted that he betrayed her from the first that she doesn’t want him in her city dead or alive and she banishes him.
There is no doubt that this is a game changer for Dany. Since Ser Jorah stopped spying on Dany he has been a great advisor but what choice did Dany have? She reacted in the only way that she possibly could. How could she ever possibly trust him again? How could she possibly be the leader that she needs to be if she keeps an advisor who betrayed her? Even though Dany didn’t have any other options I fear for what comes next. I think she’s going to make some serious mistakes without Jorah by her side. I also think their paths will cross again at some point. I imagine he will return to King’s Landing. Will he betray her once again when he gets there? I’m sure the Lannisters will want information from him. At the same time it seems inevitable that someday Dany has to make a run a King’s Landing, whose side will Jorah be on when that day comes?
What is the ultimate wish of a Bastard in a world like Westeros? It is obviously to be recognized by your father and no longer be a bastard. This is what happens to Ramsay when his father declares he is no longer Ramsey Snow but Ramsay Bolton. This is a truly terrifying prospect. Ramsay has been a horribly evil monster as a bastard; he is bound to be worse now that he is in a true position of power.
Back at the Vale Littlefinger questions Sansa. He wants to know why Sansa helped him at the meeting with the Lords of the Vale. I was struck in this scene with how much Sansa looked like a little girl. She tells Littlefinger that she knows what he wants. Nobody says what that is but we all know what that thing is…it’s Sansa herself.
In the previous episode I had been disappointed by Arya’s lack of a reaction to the news of Joffrey’s death but I got the reaction I was hoping for in this episode. The Hound insists that killing Joffrey wouldn’t have made Arya happy. She counters that killing other people on her list has made her happy and that if she couldn’t killed Joffrey herself she wishes she had been present when he died. That way she could have seen his face when he knew it was over. I was once again struck with how vengeful this young woman has become. I like Arya a lot but it’s also a little scary to think how dark her soul has turned at such a young age.
At Arya and the Hound reach the gates of the Vale I felt a surge of hope. I want Arya and Sansa to be reunited so badly but if that’s going to happen it’s going have to wait. Arya and the Hound are informed that Lysa has died. At this news Arya begins to laugh. I think she was laughing for two reasons. First, she was laughing because since her father was arrested life has been a series of horrible events for Arya. Every time there is the possibility of something good happening to Arya it doesn’t happen. Last year she was moments away from being reunited with her mother and brother only to have the awful events of the Red Wedding dash those hopes. This time the Aunt (who she had never met) who was supposed to be her savior is dead. I think she’s laughing because she believes that it is pointless to believe anything will ever work out. The second reason I believe Arya broke out in a fit of laughter was because she was laughing at The House. The last couple of episodes have made it clear that Arya and The Hound have a lot in common and that they are more like traveling companions than they are captor and hostage but that doesn’t change the fact that The Hound is on Arya’s murder list. If Lysa is dead then then the Hound can’t get his ransom and that pleases Arya.
Meanwhile, inside the Vale Littlefigner is trying to convince Robyn that he needs to tour his land and become a leader. Once again I think the only true motivation for Littlefinger’s actions here are to get Robyn killed.
There was an absolutely powerful moment as Sansa enters the scene. In Sansa’s previous scene I had been struck by how much she still looked like a little girl. In scene it was clear the old Sansa was gone. Everything about Sansa in this scene (in which she doesn’t speak) was different. The lighting as she enters was one of the best uses of lighting I’ve ever seen. The lighting, the fact that Sansa had darker hair combined with the way she carried herself to display a whole new Sansa. I believe she has made the conscious decision to leave her old passive naïve ways behind. I think that moving forward Sansa will be in on the grand plan with Littlefinger. She will no longer be in the backseat. She’s going to be in on the plotting and scheming
At long last she is going to fight!
As interesting as everything in this episode was the main event involves the events at King’s Landing and Tyrion’s trial by combat. When we first join the action at King’s Landing Jamie is visiting Tyrion in his cell. They wonder if Oberyn’s whose fighting skills, which have earned him the nickname of the Red Viper of Dorne, will be able to beat the Mountain. Obviously Tyrion’s life depends on just that.
As Tyrion and Jamie were talking I thought about much I’ve come to like Oberyn. For a character that has only been on the show a short time it’s funny how quickly I came to like and care about him. It could be because I’m gay and he’s bisexual but I think it’s more than that.
While Tyrion and Jamie wait they recall a cousin named Orson who was mentally impaired. Orson would sit all day killing beetles. There were two interesting things about this discussion and they were more about general human nature than Tyrion and Jamie. At one point Tyrion says that he would laugh at Orson and that laughing at the other people’s misfortune gave him something to have in common with others. This is so sad but it is true for most people. As much as we want to believe love and light unite people it is all too often their darkness that unites them. Tyrion also wonders why Orson just killed beetles all day long. Jamie does know. I suspect I do. Orson killed beetles because he could, the same way people do awful things all the time just because they can.
Then it was time for the final and main event. I was worried the second I saw Oberyn drinking. He was so sure of himself. His smugness and showboating at the beginning of the fight with the Mountain convinced me of what I had already begun to suspect before the episode even began. I predicted he was going to lose and with his loss would come Tyrion’s death. For a brief moment when his quicker moves left the Mountain stabbed and lying on the ground I welcomed the thought that I had been wrong.
But then Oberyn wouldn’t finish the job. He didn’t just want to kill the Mountain he wanted vengeance for his dead sister and her dead children. He wanted the Mountain to confess and to say that Tywin gave the order. It seemed that more than the Mountain’s death he wanted the confession but not finishing the Mountain off proved to be a fatal mistake. In a matter of seconds Oberyn was on the ground with the Mountain pushing his fingers into his eyes before crushing his skull, the same way he had with Oberyn’s sister. The sound as Oberyn’s skull caved in was horrible.
Of course, Oberyn’s death wasn’t just about him. It was about Tyrion. The awful thrilled look of glee on Cersei’s face summed up why I hate her. Like I mentioned before I don’t know if she truly believes that her brother killed her son, she’s just looking for an excuse to get rid of her brother once and for all.
As Tywin sentenced Tyrion to death I was reminded of the one and only constant in “Game of Thrones”, nobody is EVER safe.
Even without reading the books I know that Oberyn’s death will have far reaching consequences. The Martell’s and the Kingdom of Dorne will now be one hundred percent against the Lannister’s. This makes me happy because in Cersei’s delight to see Tyrion dead she has forgotten that the Kingdom that has her daughter will now be out to harm her. It was mentioned earlier in the season that Dorne was the only part of Westeros not to fall to Dragons before. I now predict that down the line when Dany makes her move the Martell’s and Dorne will be on her side.
Of course the question for the end of the season is will Tyrion really die?
For some reason I don’t think he will but I admit that is likely wishful thinking.
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