This week’s Game of Thrones may not have packed the emotional punch of last week’s but there was still plenty going on… We started with Bran still mid-warg (first real sighting of the Mad King!) and the ever-devoted Meera doing her best to keep them alive in the endless miles of deep snow. Of course the moment came when all appeared lost, and of course someone arrived to save them just in time (yes Thrones likes to shock us with unexpected deaths but as if this was going to be one!) The main excitement for me in these scenes was hoping that their saviour was indeed who we all hoped he’d be…
South of all this, we found Sam, Gilly and Babysam (I’m pretty sure it’s one word) travelling to Horn Hill, AKA Tarly Towers. Sam is nervous yet optimistic about their plan to pass Gilly off as ‘definitely not a Wildling, no sir, no way’. Sadly, despite a warm welcome from Sam’s mother and sister, Randall (Tarly Senior) is a massive arse and soon needles Gilly into revealing who she really is. On one hand I want to say: you go Gilly, tell that miserable old fool what’s what! And on the other hand I want to say: good grief, could you not have kept the plan going for a little bit longer? That was, like, five minutes; shortest-lived plan ever.
Anyway, the sheer levels of awkwardness/rudeness/outright racism are enough to send Sam storming out of his home and taking Gilly, Babysam and his damn ancestral sword with him. Good for you, mate! Gilly deserves better and she deserves to keep that dress because she looked adorable in it! But what on earth are they going to do now?
Heading further south, it’s another tedious day of High Sparrow proselytising in King’s Landing. Boring. Tommen is the weakest king I have ever seen, they may as well have put a piece of bread on the throne (it would have had more moral fibre than he does, I am sure). I’d also like to point out that I’m not seeing any men being threatened with a naked Walk of Atonement, Sparrow, you big perv. I spent the entire scene between Margaery and Tommen shouting ‘You better be bluffing!’ at her. I presume she was, unless I seriously missed something, as Loras did beg her to do anything to get them out of their predicament.
We were then treated to another scene of the common folks’ wonderful play, what a thrill that was. Thankfully it didn’t drag on for quite as long this time and we soon got to the issue at hand: is Arya a cold-hearted assassin or not? Thankfully she decided not at the very last minute and even handed out some acting advice to her intended target. A huge bonus for that woman. Possibly this is the only thing that Arya has gained from her time with the Faceless Men; the ability to coach speeches. I’m so glad we spent so many episodes on that plotline. All along it was incredibly obvious that Arya would abandon Jaquen and his teachings but I at least hoped she’d take some awesome ability with her. I guess she’s a bit better at stick-fighting too but… Eh. Sour-faced Waif is going to try to kill her, presumably she’ll fail.
Speaking of failing. The plan? The big plan with the Tyrells and the soldiers and Jaime stomping around being all commanding (hello Jaime)? Yeah, that plan did not go well. It started well and I nearly got excited before I remembered what show it was and decided to expect the worst instead. Interestingly, the worst did happen but in a way that I totally didn’t expect, so well done writers. To be honest, I probably should have expected it during the Margaery/Tommen scene earlier but as stated, I was too busy shouting. So yeah. Margaery convinced Tommen to follow the High Sparrow in return for her freedom and not having to do the old walk of shame. Yet again I’m torn. Obviously Margaery has never been a damsel in distress and would never sit around hoping to be rescued, even if she did guess that people would be coming for her. Of course she was going to sort herself (and Loras) out and I admire her pragmatism. But I also really wish she hadn’t bothered. Because this is bad. The Sparrow has unlimited power, he’s taken the Tommen puppet strings off Cersei and can pretty much do what he wants. Olenna looked so mad. So, so mad. You and me both, lady. Great scene though – this show proves once again that it handles the big, grandiose stuff just as well as it does the tiny, personal moments.
Jaime is banished to the Riverlands (ok, could be interesting!) but Cersei seems surprisingly unruffled. Which will probably be her downfall. Jaime is apparently going to help the Freys take back Riverrun from Catelyn Stark’s uncle Bryden ‘Blackfish’ Tully. I can’t say I want him to succeed in this (go Team Tully/Stark, obviously) but I do want to see how all this plays out.
Back up north, Bran still hasn’t figured out who the chap who saved them is, even though the viewers are screaming it at the screen. BENJEN! Last seen in SEASON ONE! I wonder if any other T.V character has gone missing and then returned after such a long gap? I love a good Stark reunion and this one was great. I think I was happier to see Benjen than Bran was, to be honest. And we got some more interesting information: the Children of Forest had A. been able to restore Benjen from impending walker-life using dragonglass and B. decided it was worth their time to do so. So I guess they knew how useful he would later be… Well, I can’t wait to see what happens here!
The show even managed to squeeze in a quick end scene of Daenerys being the crowd-pleasing dragon-rider she was born to be and really, really impressing the Dothraki. Ok, she admits she has no idea where she’ll get all those ships but, nonetheless, she is so ready to rumble. Bring it on.
Final episode grade: B+
- Oof, Game of Thrones with the awkward family dinners! If there’s anything that is too painful to watch, it’s those scenes. And maybe that says more about me than the show. I’m ok with that.
- Randall Tarly is way harsh with the fat remarks but even I want to know how Sam stayed that chubby at the wall?!
- So the ‘Sansa’ character in the play wanted a promotion to the main part? Maybe she should consider not standing in full view of the entire audience and reciting ‘Cersei’s’ lines? That’s like lesson 1 in theatre class. I get that Arya needed to see this to figure it out but seriously, have her off to the side where only Arya happens to get a glimpse, it just looks dumb and too convenient otherwise.
- Man, you know stuff is serious when horses start cantering up stairs! That was intense, Jaime.
- It was really strange hearing someone say ‘the Red Wedding’ in-universe. I thought that’s just what we called it! Walder, you’re weirding me out.