Greyworm lives! I’m actually quite surprised. Sadly he is full of shame. Slightly for not being able to save Barristan but mostly for being scared he’d never see Missandei again. On the plus side, this line worked very well on Missandei – ok this was a really nice moment. I’m glad someone’s found some happiness for once!
Overall I found this a pretty gloomy, grey episode. I suppose part of that is purely visual – we spent a lot of time with the Boltons or at The Wall, both places rather lacking in any kind of colour. My preference however, lies strongly with seeing The Wall. The storyline there is continuing to develop and Jon is really growing into his role as commander – even if literally no one else agrees with his plan to recruit the Wildings to assist their fight. I can understand the resentment within the Night’s Watch – as they tell Jon, the Wildings have killed scores of their families, their friends, their brothers. But there’s no escaping Jon’s blunt assessment of the situation: the Wildings are better alive and fighting with them than (un)dead and fighting against them. Thankfully Tormund seemed to realise this, marking the first moment I wasn’t monumentally irritated by his presence. I was quite surprised that Stannis would just casually lend Jon a whole fleet of ships but that’s Stannis for you, he’s a giver.
I’m actually warming to Stannis more and more – what really did it for me (and won ‘quote of the week’ despite being only one word) was his muttering ‘Fewer’ in response to the ungrammatical use of ‘less’ by an angry brother of the Watch. I do love a good bit of grammar correction – I may sound like I’m joking here but it’s ridiculous how serious I am. Anyway. I’m still not sure I’d want Stannis as king: he is just such a hard, unforgiving, dour man. Although, to be honest, he won even more points with me this week during his conversation with Sam. It’s such a relief to have someone around who takes the White Walkers seriously, believes that Sam killed one, is interested in how he did it, and encourages Sam to keep reading! Go Stannis!
While we’re on that Stannis high, let’s venture over to the very sad husk of Winterfell and the Boltons. I’m not really finding their storyline very interesting: we know by now that whatever the worst, nastiest thing they can think of is, that’s what will happen and I’m starting to find it tedious. Sansa’s presence brings me slightly more joy, as does the fact that there seem to be quite a few folk around who remain loyal to the Starks – as proved by Brienne successfully managing to get an anonymous promise of help through to Sansa. It’ll be interesting to see if that comes to fruition. Speaking of Sansa, if I were her, I would be a bit more wary of the strange new girl promising me a ‘memory’ in the kennels. But maybe that’s just me. This moment lead to a strange reunion: Sansa and Theon. Sansa, of course, utterly despises Theon as she still thinks he killed her younger brothers. Theon is still shuddering and shaking as Reek – something we’ve seen a lot. Enough, I say!
Across the sea now and Daenerys is making me nervous, as usual. She seems to be getting more and more barbaric – I know she hates the Sons of the Harpy, I do too, but letting a guy be burnt alive and then eaten to set an example without any proof of guilt seems a bit much. Especially for the woman so concerned previously about fair trials and punishing those who obstruct them. She’s reached the point where she’s just randomly doing things and hoping some of them work out but it just makes her seem less powerful. She can claim it’s in the name of freedom from slavery all she likes, but is it really, or is she just becoming a standard power-mad ruler? Later on in the episode things did rather look up for her, as she realised (and admitted!) that she was wrong – I was so relieved to see this and now I feel there’s still some hope for her yet! The marriage proposal was a surprise (although my main question was whether she’d still be keeping Daario around too…)
And finally, we arrived in Valyria with Ser Jorah and Tyrion. It was pretty cool to finally see Valyria – especially the way they shot it rising out of the mist with Tyrion reciting a poem and Jorah filling in the final few lines. All that mention of greyscale paid off this week with our first glimpse of the Stone Men. The mix of Tyrion and Jorah seeing a dragon and then immediately being sneaked up on by Stone Men was one of those fun, exciting, more fantastical moments that are always entertaining in the show. I have to say that had the episode ended with Tyrion being dragged under the water, it would have made for a far more interesting final shot that what they went with: Jorah was touched by a Stone Man… and it was pretty obvious that that was going to happen. Ah well. At least we got that absolutely gorgeous shot on the beach!
Final episode grade: B
- Jon. What is that leather apron on the front of your clothes? It’s weird.
- If I lived in Westeros I would have permanent indigestion. Seriously. Most of the really cringey, awkward moments seem to happen around the dinner table – see this week’s Bolton ‘family’ dinner for a painful example.
- Game of Thrones has made me constantly expect the worst. But now it knows I expect the worst so it promises that and then does a switcharoo and gives me not the worst. But now I know it’s doing that too… Where will it end?
- I may have misheard, but the Boltons seem to have the services of a Maester Walken. At this point we can only pray that it’s Christopher.
- Second favourite quote: ‘Long sullen silences and an occasional punch in the face… the Mormont way!’