In this mid-season episode, Game of Thrones continues to be the most gutsy television series to ever grace our…er, TVs. Still taking the fantasy TV genre to another level, we are introduced to a new and chillingly beautiful setting by none other than the fan-favorite Tyrion Lannister. But before that, here’s a recap of the rest of the episode.
People STILL Show Sansa Awful Stuff
Just what kind of fucked up family is Sansa marrying into? Bolton family dinners, we now realize, are as normal as it gets when the traitor and gross murderer of your brothers suddenly show up to pour you wine. More or less, this has been Sansa’s arc over the seasons: Joff shows her her father’s rotting head on a spike, her deranged aunt is thrown off the moon door in front of her, and now she’s being tormented with scary dogs and torture prisoners kept in kennels. But now we get a small glimmer of hope that perhaps, this time, she’ll be able to do something about her tormentors. The ominous “the North remembers” continues to shadow the whole Winterfell storyline and I can’t wait for this to come full circle.
Bolton vs Baratheon
Meanwhile, Ramsay Bolton gets lectured in his rightful place as Roose reveals that he was actually born of rape and neglect, right after the aforementioned pleasant family dinner where it was announced that Wanda is expecting. Congratulations? No? Okay. The Boltons are gearing up for Stannis Baratheon’s expected attack on Winterfell. Melisdandre seriously needs to sacrifice Ramsay to R’hollor. Like, pronto.
Kill the Boy
This is perhaps the first time that Maester Aemon Targaryen verbally recognizes that he still has one last living relation all the way across the Narrow Sea in Essos, infamous as the Mother of Dragons. Played by the ever-brilliant Peter Vaughan, Maester Aemon becomes Jon Snow’s confidant in important Lord Commander matters, including giving safe passage to the Wildlings into the North. Its a decision, Jon knows, that plenty of his Brothers will not appreciate, but one that is a necessary decision he must undertake. Unsurprisingly, the crows don’t take too well to letting the freefolk in, regardless of whether or not they’ll become the future undead army for White Walkers.
Stags Leaving the Wall
Stannis Baratheon is finally making his way through the Kingsroad to take Winterfell, destroy the Boltons, and claim the North. And much like Sansa, Shireen Baratheon continues to be more of an observer than a doer in the series, but a character that offers a lot of depth and potential importance nonetheless. And up until tonight, she’s been the only character whom we know suffers from the foreboding greyscale which, thanks to the Adventures of Bears and Dwarves, we know more of now after their little escapade through Valyria.
If you haven’t caught up with how Valyria met its doom, or if you want it in more detail, read my History on Targaryens: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. But to make a point, the Valyrian empire once had everything: sorcery, advanced architecture, unbeatable weaponry in the form of Valyrian steel, and of course, DRAGONS! But after the Doom, all that’s left of them now is ruin: abandoned fortresses, smoking seas, and stone men whom you apparently can’t reason or bargain with. Basically, they’re awful, you guys.
Also, Tyrion gets his first look at a living flying dragon. The look on his face was like the look on our faces on the Game of Thrones season 1 finale. Jorah’s face though was like, “Yeah, wrong team, bitch. #TeamDragon forevs!” 😀
Daenerys, Maker of Awful Decisions
Speaking of #TeamDragon, the SFX team of GoT must have seriously gotten a spike on their CGI budget this year: all 3 dragons in one episode? I approve. However, perhaps Daenerys’ dragons are the only things we don’t want to antagonize this time, as the Mother of Dragons is hellbent on getting some retribution for her dead Kingsguard #goodbyeBarristan #neverforget
In the books, Dany takes all the children of the Meereenese nobles and keeps them hostage, but it does little to scare the Meereenese leaders. This time, Dany takes the leaders themselves and shows them to the dungeons where Rhaegal and Viserion are chilling, brutally allowing one of the leaders to be torched and eaten by her dragons. Our little queen is growing up fast *tears
But after failing to exact the loyalty of the Great Masters of Meereen, only resulting to retaliation by the Sons of the Harpy, she resorts to the time-proven method of making peace, she’ll make Hizdhar zo Loraq her bitch. Make way for the Stepfather of Dragons!
How will her decisions affect her rule over Meereen? Will the epic scene in Daznak’s Pit still happen in the coming episodes? Will the Brienne-signal be triggered now that Sansa is treading more dangerous grounds? Will the Bolton vs Baratheon showdown eventually ensue and, if so, which side will survive or perish?
Let’s find out next week in “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”