Last episode, Daenerys lost her loyal and wise protector, Sir Barristan. The crazy masked Sons of Harpies sprung a trap on her Unsullied, killing a number of her devoted warriors. She mourns Barristan…
“A hero who died in an alley by cowards hiding behind masks.”
The Mother of Dragons visits her children in the temple below. This sequence was beautifully lit with the flickering torches. There’s an impending sense of doom brewing under the surface, right from Daenerys’ entrance. The scene starts quiet, no dialogue, just the dancing shadows of flames across the face of revenge.
Turns out revenge isn’t a dish best served cold after all – but rather BBQ-ed.
Cue the dragons. And what an impressive sight to behold. We got teased towards climax with this nerdy reveal. First we saw the red glowing eyes, then the dragon fire burning within. When the flames spew forth, the temple is majestically lit.
The dragons breathing fire during this scene looked like an oil painting – or something ripped from 80s fantasy novel covers by Frazetta. The scene is capped off with an enemy ripped apart by the hungry pets of the Khaleesi.
There are so many interesting and compelling storylines on GAME OF THRONES.
This review will analyze the more interesting developments in depth, and briefly comment on the periphery stories.
#WETHENORTH… Jon Snow, newly appointed leader of the Nightswatch, seeks guidance from the wise Maester who broaches the subject with a riddle, “Kill the boy. Become the man.”
This blind Gandalf advises Snow to set aside his compassion and become the ruthless leader The Wall desperately needs.
Snow pleads with the captured Wildling leader to join the war. “Winter is coming” soon to a television screen near you. Snow does the unexpected and unshackles the leader.
Turns out Snow actually knows something instead of nothing. He’s listening to his heart for a new compromise. His most convincing argument was about the helpless women and children turning into Walkers (GAME OF THRONES style, not zombies from AMC) – thus increasing the numbers of the Evil Dead Army.
The Wildling counters, telling Snow he’ll have to join him in the recruitment process beyond The Wall. Perhaps the Wild Leader is trustworthy, but what if he isn’t?
Snow is vulnerable… even if his loyal Samwise joins the Fellowship on this (possibly) dangerous mission.
Meanwhile… Brienne of Tarth explains her Oath a bit more. When told that Sansa is better off with the Boltons, she plants her feet firm and replies with sarcasm, “Better off with the Boltons? Who killed her mother and brother?” She-who-wields-the-Oathbringer reveals the truth to a Winterfell servant.
I’m thinking Brienne will defend Sansa once Stannis storms Winterfell. I wonder if they will flee? And in the process miss reuniting with Jon Snow?
Speaking of Sansa… Her twisted husband to be, Ramsey Bolton, is revealed to have a lover of his own – Myranda, daughter of the kennel master. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, right. Now multiply that by being in the GAME OF THRONES universe.
I’m worried for Sansa, especially if Myranda goes full on Shakespearean level jealousy.
Myranda soon seeks out Sansa and takes her to the kennels, showering her with compliments like she was Iago from OTHELLO or something.
Perhaps Myranda is testing Sansa? Afterall, she brings the young Stark to the imprisoned Theon. Sansa seemed more shocked. She didn’t scream in outrage or attack Theon (a.k.a. Reek).
All he said was, “You shouldn’t be here.” This was a beautiful bit of writing open to many interpretations. Is Theon amazed to see her or is he trying to warn her to leave?
Even later at dinner, Ramsey continues to prod and provoke Sansa into revenge.
SOPHIE TURNER delivered her best performance of this series during this scene where she accepts Theon’s apology for murdering her family. There was so much internal effort, and so much hurt behind those quiet tears. This restraint held the scene together.
I was more expecting Ramsey to kill Theon in front of her as some sort of bizarre pre-wedding revenge kill gift.
The dinner scene is also compelling for what Ramsey’s father revealed. His wife is pregnant, so this son could be ruler, thus making the union with Sansa pointless. However, this hopelessness fades as Father confirms to Ramsey, “You are my son.”
It seems like father is manipulating son in order to garner more favour for the upcoming war versus Stannis. It was also a rare showcase of emotions from the disturbing and twisted Ramsey.
Back in Mareen… The Main Unsullied Warrior awakens from his injuries. He’s still alive. His lover, Daenerys’ trusted servant, awaits at his bedside.
There was a touching moment as he learned of Barristan’s death. The Unsullied has emotions. He feels guilty and ashamed. He feels ashamed because he was afraid. Afraid isn’t a word in the Unsullied vocabulary. The touching twist is he was afraid he’d never see her again.
The trusted servant is afraid too, she later cautions Daenerys to make a change. They are in danger. She advises Daenerys to make “better choices.”
Daenerys changes her mind about the civil war brewing in her land. Perhaps she remembers what Sir Barristan told her of Rhaegar. Her newfound compassion turns everything around by making a “better choice”.
The next tasty dragon morsel is freed and appointed to leadership. Daenerys decides to unite the people through tradition. She’s bringing back the pit fighting – which pretty much guarantees a pretty awesome fight sequence in the near future.
Basically, the Mother of Dragons pulls a Mandela INVICTUS-style, by appeasing the divide of former masters and former slaves with a shared traditional sporting event.
Briefly… The Onion Knight returns. Sir Davos and Stannis talk of war. Barratheon doesn’t want to wait for Snow to return with the Wildlings. He wants Winterfell yesterday.
Surprisingly, Stannis agreed with Snow and sent out his fleet with the Wildlings. This means Stannis is a man of reason; but an impatient man. If Stannis’ army falls there will be less numbers to fight the Snow Walkers.
Enter Tyrion… still bound and captive on Jorah Mormont’s boat. Tyrion had the best joke of the episode as he tries to get Jorah to talk. He says—
“Ah… Long silences and the occasional punch in the face. The Mormont way.”
They approach the ancient lands of Valaryia. I was expecting Daenerys’ dragon a bit earlier, with the foggy shoreline in sight. Seeing the dragons at any time is cool enough right. It was rather compelling that the winged beast instinctively flew to his homelands of Valaryia.
The impressive scenery tells a story in itself. We see the rubble of civilization, broken archways, and shattered columns. It’s like Valaryia is some mythical city reminiscent of Atlantis.
A highlight was hearing Tyrion quote ancient poetry. Jorah finishes off the quote. Tyrion is impressed that this tainted and disgraced warrior is learned enough to know of old scrolls and poetry, adding another good laugh with—
“I would clap, if I could.”
Well, Tyrion gets his wish… at a cost. Rowing along the shore, the two men are attacked by Stone Men covered in that strange scale disease.
This was an unexpected attack with high tension. The exciting battle also pushes the story. Now our heroes are stranded – their boat contaminated with disease. And we learn what happens when the scale sickness progresses.
And since Jorah was touched during the attack this GAME OF THRONES version of leprosy will spread. Unless he can find a cure, Jorah will become a Stone Man.
I’m thinking this will alter the course of the story in an intriguing way – Jorah will make a “better choice” himself. Unsure of his fate, unsure of Daenerys, Jorah may side with Tyrion. Maybe they can Level Up with some new Valaryian Steel. I mean, while they’re visiting, right.
Infection parallels the strive to power in GAME OF THRONES. Whether it’s Snow, Stansa, Daenerys, Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne – Who is immune to the temptation to rule all the land? Who is immune to the venom of power?
And how long before we see the venomous Viper’s offspring, the Sand Snakes, embark on their quest for revenge?
Multiple storylines are beginning to arc towards completion. This season should be all up hill from here. There is much danger around every corner.
Every choice carries so much weight in GAME OF THRONES. What choices will be made next? And how will they shape and define this intricately woven universe?
What do you think?
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