We’re kicking off the post-Robb era with a bang — new threats on the horizon, old foes lurking in the shadows, and terrible monsters roaming the skies. It’s the return of Game of Thrones, once more proving that when it’s April, screw everything and tune in to HBO.
Remember Lord Eddard Stark’s “absurdly large” greatsword Ice, made of Valyrian steel? We see this formidable symbol of power and justice again but only to be reforged into two swords meant for the Lannisters (see what I did there?). While an orchestral version of “Rains of Castamere” haunts in the background, Tywin Lannister makes an animal sacrifice and we can’t help thinking if this is the skinned Grey Wind 😦 #pleaseNO
(Sidenote: Valyrian steel, in ASoIaF universe, is extremely strong, light, and very rare. It’s like titanium alloy, but in fantasy. Only Valyrians know how to forge this kind of steel and, since The Doom of Valyria, very few weapons made of Valyrian steel remained. Ice was one of the very last and it should have passed on to the Starks. 😦 )
Jaime Lannister is back with his family in Kings Landing, but now what? Tywin Lannister expects him to return to Casterly Rock as the rightful heir, but Jaime refuses because of his, er, honor. A Kingsguard serves for life, and so he shall. Adamantly refusing an entire mountain spurting with gold, he leaves his father seething.
A Red Viper from Dorne
We next check in with Tyrion Lannister, commanded to welcome the arrival of the Dornishmen. Expecting to see Prince Doran Martell of Dorne, the dwarf greets the company and finds out that Prince Oberyn aka “The Red Viper” has come to Kings Landing instead.
“The King would be delighted to enjoy the company of a warrior as renowned as Prince Oberyn at his wedding feast.”-Tyrion
I was expecting the march of the Dornishmen to be intimidating and formidable, but I only saw like 10(?) mounted exotic-looking riders? #sigh The crutches of TV time limits and budget constraints. But let’s go back to Oberyn, who we first see surveying a group of whores and assessing their, er, assets. Ellaria Sand, his paramour, is with him, sipping wine and lounging like a cat.
Immediately, we’re shown what Prince Oberyn is like: without qualms about his bed partners and openly loathing the Lannisters and their ilk. #ilovehim
Speaking of Princes, we have another moment mentioning Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell. “The last dragon. My sister loved him. She bore his children. Swaddled them, rocked them, nursed them at her own breast. She wouldn’t let the wet nurse touch him… The beautiful noble Rhaegar Targaryen left her for another woman. That started a war and the war ended right here when your father’s men took the city. They butchered those children, my nephew and niece. Carved them up and wrapped them in Lannister cloaks. And my sister, you know what they did to her? I’m asking you a question.”
Treading carefully, Tyrion replies, “I’ve heard rumors.”
But we all know that Oberyn did not march all the way from Dorne to sit at a wedding feast. He retorts, “So have I. The one I keep hearing is that Gregor Clegane the Mountain raped Elia and split her in half with his greatsword…If the Mountain killed my sister, your father gave the order. Tell your father I’m here. And tell him the Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts.”
The war may seem like it’s over, but threats to the throne still slither and crawl their way to Kings Landing.
At this point, only Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal are the only exciting things in Dany’s storyline. We love seeing the dragons because, obviously, THEY’RE EFFIN’ AWESOME!
But yes, that’s about it. Daenerys Targaryen, after sacking Yunkai, marches to Meereen with her Unsullied, her Second Sons, her freed slaves, and her dragons.
One small note, if I disliked the previous Daario Naharis, I dislike the new one even more. I can understand the show’s hesitance to show Dany as a blushing quivering mess of hormones around Daario. But the new actor they cast is, for me, completely off-hand. He’s supposed to be arrogant and confident, a charmer, a very sensual man, and an intimidating warrior. This Darrio Naharis is BORING #yawn I don’t see onscreen chemistry here and he looks more Westerosi than Tyroshi here.
P.S. It’s so sad how Jorah Mormont is so friendzoned. He’s like, “OMG I LOVE HER SO MUCH” and she’s like, “OMG I need to free more slaves GOOOOO!”
Enemies Beyond and On the Wall
Tormund Giantsbane and his band of wildlings seethes just beyond the Wall, waiting for Mance Rayder’s orders. As always, Ygritte packs a punch with her “You plan on sitting here scratching your balls till the winter.” comment. #awesome
Meanwhile, the Thenns have joined their pack, a cannibalistic clan hellbent on having crows for dinner. It’s interesting to see more wargs featured, a casual nod to a dude with an owl perched on his shoulder. This isn’t Varamyr Sixskins though, but I doubt we’ll see him at all. And because I’ve had too much Hannibal, the sight of a roasted person’s arm is nothing. 😀
Jon Snow is back in Castle Black and he knows now that Robb Stark is dead. I don’t agree with the writers’ decision to portray him as second to Robb at everything. Jon Snow was always a better marksman, swordfighter, rider compared to Robb Stark (which is why Catelyn hated him so much). More so, Jon was wild with grief and regret about the death of his brother. To see him talk like that was hard to swallow. #badchoice
Another duo that quickly became a fan favorite is the riding tandem of Sandor Clegane and Arya Stark. They arrive at an inn where Arya immediately recognizes Polliver, one of the men who held her captive at Harrenhal and stole Needle from her. Remember Needle? Jon’s gift to Arya before she left for The Capital? #yesthatsright
Being the badass that he is, The Hound inevitably swordfights his way through the men in the tavern, gutting them open and beating them to a pulp. Once more, this show proves just how visceral and violent they are when featuring fight scenes. Also, Rory McCann? #perfect 😀
When Arya belatedly joins the fight, she does so with a vengeance, stabbing and killing with very little remorse. She saves her last kill with Polliver. With dark hatred in her eyes, she approaches the wounded man while repeating his own words as if in a trance, “Something wrong with your leg, boy? Can you walk? Fine little blade. Maybe I’ll pick my teeth with it.” Then she stabs him in the throat without even blinking. #somuchwin For an epic series running out of good guys to root for, it’s so satisfying to see this kind of retribution, no matter how small.
I’ve got to say, if Arya wants her own pony, she’s gonna damn well get it 😀
- Jaime Lannister waving goodbye with his new golden hand. Perfect.
- Tyrion shaking his head and Bronn nodding his head at the same time when Prince Oberyn suggested, “More girls?” Perfect.
- Prince Oberyn Martell #nuffsaid
- Lady Olenna Tyrell seeing Brienne for the first time. “Aren’t you just marvellous? Absolutely singular!” Perfect.
- Ygritte being a badass, as per usual.
- “What the f*** is a Lommy?” by The Hound. I LOLLED 😀
This episode is, just like Brienne, marvelous and singular! We’ve yet to check in with other players like Stannis Baratheon, Roose Bolton, and Mance Rayder, but it’s understandable given that this show already has like a million characters. The storylines are definitely moving forward even when the war is over. To quote Cersei, “Everything has changed.”
Will Prince Oberyn’s presence disrupt the celebration of Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding? How will Daenerys claim retribution for all those crucified children-slaves? Will Sansa’s new friendship with Ser Dontos bloom into something else? How will Jaime Lannister prove that he is, in fact, a man of honor? Will Arya and the Hound eventually reach The Vale?
Let’s find out what happens next week in “The Lion and the Rose” 😀