So this was an interesting episode that I’ve been looking forward to for a while. Again, it was sort of a filler episode in some ways, but it sets up the next episode, “The Mountain and the Viper,” which I think will be absolutely insane.
Let’s go in order of things I liked, starting with the things I didn’t. Up north at the Wall, Jon Snow is sulking because nobody’s listening to him about the wilding attack and Castle Black’s defences. He has this good idea to fill their big tunnel to the north with rocks and ice, effectively blocking it against the wildlings. But as per usual, Ser Alliser Thorne starts making fun of him.
Obviously the master builder thinks this is a pretty decent idea, even if it means their main supply channel is blocked, but even though he’s a grown-ass man with opinions of his own, he won’t speak up against Thorne. I’m getting pretty tired of Thorne and his attitude, so I’m gonna be glad when they finally get around to electing a new Lord Commander.
Then there’s some weird scene with Melisandre and Queen Selyse over on Dragonstone. Selyse gives the Red Woman a once-over and makes it pretty clear that she knows Melisandre and Stannis totally got it on back in season 2, but Melisandre breezes over it by saying, “The Lord of Light said it was cool, so don’t mess yourself.” (I might be paraphrasing.)
I think this scene establishes that Selyse is pretty dang converted by this point and has completely given herself over to the Lord of Light, whether he’s real or not. That’s the whole reason Selyse agrees to bring her daughter Shireen on some dangerous journey that they’re about to take, and that’s the intriguing part, because we don’t yet know where they’re going. But what we do know is that it’s on the Iron Bank’s dime, which means soldiers and warships and huge amounts of supplies. And that means Stannis Baratheon is going to war.
Then there’s Tyrion, still stuck in his dungeon cell. Cersei has named Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane as her champion, and Tyrion has tried to name Bronn as his, but it’s taken the sellsword ages to get around to visiting. When he finally shows up, he’s wearing fine clothes and engaged to a noblewoman, and he’s not willing to risk his life against The Mountain.
Understandably, Tyrion takes this a bit hard. But he takes a pretty strong approach to it by realizing that Bronn is a selfish, self-serving man who will only do things for others if there’s something in it for him. And that’s exactly what Tyrion liked about him in the first place, so there’s no point in wishing he were any different. Even though Bronn won’t fight for him, the two part as friends. And I think that’s a pretty fitting end to their friendship, because to the best of my knowledge, we won’t see Bronn again.
But then Tyrion gets a surprise visitor: Prince Oberyn. The prince sits down and tells a seemingly random story about the first time he ever visited Casterly Rock. Tyrion had just been born, and Oberyn had heard stories of the monster child who killed his mother. But when he finally met Tyrion in person, although everyone else hated him, all he saw was a baby. Oberyn has a surprisingly human side, and he uses that innate decency to volunteer as Tyrion’s champion.
Now, I don’t remember any of this from the books, so I have no idea how this is going to turn out. But a week and a half from now, Oberyn Martell is going to fight The Mountain. And it’s going to determine Tyrion’s fate. And I literally have no idea what is going to happen. Seriously, how do you people deal with this uncertainty?
Edit: I have just learned that this was in fact in the book and I am a stupid, stupid person for Googling it. Dammit.
Across the Narrow Sea, Dany’s busy being queen all over the place when Daario Naharis starts making moves on her. He shows up in her chambers uninvited with flowers, which of course she rejects. Then he informs her that he’s good at two things, fighting and women, and is useless here in Meereen where he can’t do either. So Dany tells him to take all his clothes off.
I can totally hear what you’re saying: “Why in the Seven Kingdoms do you like this part better than the one with Tyrion? What’s the matter with you? There’s not even any nudity!” Well, my sexually frustrated friend, that’s exactly the reason I liked this scene. Whenever there’s a sex scene in this show, it’s the women getting naked and the men having all the power. It doesn’t matter if it’s consensual married-people sex or prostitutes or what have you, but it’s always boobs all over the place.
In this scene, Dany held all the power. She took the lead, told Daario to take his clothes off, and enjoyed the view. And that was immediately followed by a night of passion, none of which we saw. And you know what? I loved that. I loved that we only saw Daario being vulnerable, that Dany was the one in control, that for all intents and purposes she controlled exactly what we the viewers saw. For a show in which women are constantly used, abused, and exposed, this was a surprisingly empowering scene.
And now we get to the part you’ve been waiting for. Up in the Eyrie, Sansa’s making a snow model of Winterfell when Robyn comes out and pitches a hissy fit. Sansa smacks him (and here I thought the whole “I love it when bratty boys get slapped” thing ended when Joffrey died) and Robyn runs off to tattle to his mother. Petyr Baelish shows up at that point, talks some more about how much he loved Catelyn Stark, and then — hold on, I’m trying not to vomit here — he kisses Sansa.
Of couse Lysa sees this and flips her sh*t. She dangles Sansa over the Moon Door until Petyr intervenes. Lysa breaks down, saying she lied and murdered for Petyr and this is how he repays her. Petyr calms her down by saying there’s only one woman he’s ever loved, and Lysa actually buys it. Right up to the point where Petyr finishes, “Your sister Catelyn,” and shoves her out the Moon Door. And the crazy lady flies.
And that’s when we see that this whole time, Petyr’s been playing the long game. Remember all the way back in season 1 when Jon Arryn died? Yeah, bet you forgot about that one, didn’t you? It only started the entire story; it’s not like it was important or anything. (Don’t worry, I forgot, too.) We found out this season that Lysa killed him on Petyr’s orders. That means Petyr planned to kill Jon Arryn, marry his widow, kill her, and gain control of the Vale. Of course avenging Catelyn’s death and getting Sansa fit in there somewhere, but those were just perks of his overall plan.
So it’s pretty cool seeing Petyr’s whole plan play out, even if he’s a giant skeezeball who hits on underage girls who already have husbands. It was especially cool seeing the contrast between all these other plans in motion and this plan coming to fruition. Honestly, even though it wasn’t the best of the season, I can’t think of any way this episode could have been improved, unless the writers chose to chuck Robyn Arryn out the Moon Door right after his mother. That would’ve pushed this episode to an A+ for sure.
Final Grade: B+
- I find it interesting how they left out the whole “Lollys Stokeworth got gang-raped during the riot in King’s Landing and now she’s pregnant so that’s why Bronn took her because no one else would” angle. Seriously, this is Game of Thrones. That’s the kind of thing they love.
- For some reason, Queen Selyse seems to think that Princess Shireen is a godless heretic. And that just makes me like Shireen way more.
- There’s no new episode next week, but I’ll be posting a link to my favourite episode this season so you can check out my recap before the new episode airs. That is all.