I wouldn’t call this episode an all out filler, but- okay fine it was a bit of a filler wasn’t it? A few reveals, we already knew due to our super-sleuth skills, were unveiled in a seamless fashion (kudos to director Michelle MacLaren and scriptwriter Bryan Cogman). Readers of the series were probably scratching their heads at a few scenes that definitely were not in the books. All in all the episode wasn’t boring, no episode of Game of Thrones ever is, but it did give the viewer a bit of a breather- while still managing to illicit some shock and awe. Shock and awe, kids, give ’em that shock and awe.
Before you go on- keep in mind these reviews come with built-in show spoilers, with book spoilers discussed below the Honourable Mentions- that is please don’t have a cry if you read a spoiler from the latest episode- why are you reading this if you haven’t seen it?
Daenerys shows us once again what it’s like to take a city and free some slaves but at what point do we tire of her campaigning in Essos? I say campaigning but Dany’s liberation of the slaves where ever she goes and leaving them without any governance can be seen as a little irresponsible and her actions somewhat tyrannical (her way or the high-way). While I do agree with her stance on the slaver’s bay masters being punished every child they killed to ‘prove a point’, Barristan offers good counsel when he warns her that sometimes answering ‘injustice with mercy’ might prove to be the better option. Of course Dany’s eyebrows dismiss his suggestion with grace. Greyworm is very persuasive when he and a few other Unsullied sneak into Meereen and rallies the slaves to join the Freedom Movement.
Interesting choice of language to write ‘Kill The Masters’ with on the wall. Was there a TARDIS nearby to translate the foreign language into English for us?
Last week’s uncomfortable rhymes-with-grape scene has some lasting effects- which does taint Jaime’s character’s redemption story only by a lot. Cersei’s interactions with him are clipped and as she continues to descend into alcoholism (much like a late husband methinks?) it stands to reason that not all of her anger and hatred doesn’t just stem from her grief and blind hatred for their younger sibling and Jaime’s refusal to also blindly hate a certain younger sibling. As always Tyrion’s and Jaime’s scenes together are both parts funny and poignant, because here’s a someone with which Jaime has what can be construed as a normal sibling relationship- even if it’s undercut by such a sad sad situation- don’t sing. And it’s getting more and more absurd. I’ll take one of them ‘Kingslayer Bros’ tees.
Changing the namer of the sword from Jaime to Brienne for the show fits much better somehow. Mostly because Brienne is much more of an Oathkeeper than Jaime is/was and highlights what Jaime wants to become.
And we check in with Sansa and Littlefinger (Petyr Baelish- in case you’d forgotten), interesting parallel there when Sana asks him what exactly it is he wants and his response being a calm ‘everything’ differs only in tone to a certain sexposition scene in season one where he says the same thing, but with much more gusto to a couple of his workers. Baelish should write a book, How To Play The Game Of Thrones And Keep Your Head, by Petyr Baelish, with an introduction written by Lady Olenna. Whoever called ‘it was the grandmother at the dining table, with poison’ wins a creepy man with ambiguous intentions- who helped grandmother with the poison. Sansa didn’t make the call but she managed to win herself a creepy man with ambiguous intentions anyhow. Right, and she finally escaped King’s Landing. Joys. Littlefinger working with the Tyrells, or rather more specifically the Queen of Thorns (and Sass) Lady Olenna, can you imagine how that correspondence would have gone? That would be worth an episode alone.
Bran and Co being captured by the disgusting mutinous defectors of the Night’s Watch was a wild deviation from the books. It definitely serves to slow down Bran’s larger story arc, I would imagine. Honestly, if Bran wasn’t so stupid Summer never would have gotten caught, how did they even catch Ghost? I can already tell Bran wouldn’t make a very good gamer, because surely he’s locked in enough practice by now to be able to make full use of Summer’s senses while warging- and he didn’t hear anyone smoshing up to him in the snow? C’mon son!
Now, I know what you’re all thinking what the hell happened at the end there? With the White Walkers (none of which appeared to be Coldhands- more on CH in Book Spoilers) and what appeared to be some sort of White Walker Turning Ceremony. I’m pretty sure this didn’t occur in any of the books, nor did any of the nasty scenes at Crastor’s Keep with the ex-brothers of the Night’s Watch. At least we now have an insight as to what went down with the babies Crastor was callously offering to the White Walkers.
– Oh hey Jon Snow was in this episode too, about to start his own campaign trail too? He’s best when he’s being sassy, and most of all when he’s being sassy to wannabe Lord Commander of Castle Black- Alliser, bitchface, Thorne.
– LEAVE HODOR ALONE! If they kill Hodor, the fandom will riot. No joke.
– Underrated comedic gold. Pod just looks so happy and when Bronn hands him Tyrion’s gift… oh the adorbs. Utter Miranda moment, btw, when he calls Brienne ‘sir’.
– Ser Pounce!!! You know, I imagined Ser Pounce a lot…tinier. I suppose with the recast of Tommen to be older they had to get an older cat? Also, didn’t Margaery give him the kittens?
– Until next week! Keep reading if you’ve read the books, or just don’t care- otherwise here’s the trailer for next week! Can they not tease us with the Khaleesi making her way to King’s Landing?
– I thought that the White Walker holding the baby could have been Coldhands- and when the shot seemed to focus on its hands my hope surged but then it just turned out to be another White Walker taking a baby to its… White Walker Christening? With Bran and Co now seemingly stuck at Crastor’s keep, at what point do we meet- if we do at all- Coldhands? Perhaps he saves them from the disgustos, I just really hope those douchebags get some sort of comeuppance.
– Also was this scene essentially a spoiler for the book readers? Do we get an in depth chapter describing exactly it was that we witnessed? Is this the story that White Walkers tell their White Walker Babies when they get a bit bigger and curious and hit their White Walker parents with ‘where did I come from?’ You see, little one, an incestuous stork left you out in the cold for us. Before that we don’t know…eggs?
– Brienne’s on her way from misery to happiness, today? No, she’ll more than likely encounter Lady Stoneheart on her quest to save Sansa- with Pod in tow. They can’t not have Lady Stoneheart, because all that badassery needs to be visually rendered!
– Tyrion and Sansa being very certain that neither of the other one murdered Joffrey was a little bit adorable. But Tyrion then adding ‘at least not yet’ could be foreshadowing? Or a hint towards the prophecy Arya heard “I dreamt of a maid at a feast, with purple serpents in her hair, venom dripping from their fangs. And later I dreamt that maid again, slaying a savage giant in a castle built of snow.” We know that it’s Sansa at Joffrey’s wedding with the poisoned hairnet (necklace in the tv show), however interpreting ‘slaying a savage giant in a castle built of snow’ is tricky. Because she does rip her cousin’s doll’s head off (albeit accidentally) in a literal snow-castle- but would the prophecy foretell something so seemingly insignificant? Could the castle built of snow be Winterfell and the giant be…the Mountain or someone largely important. Or could Sansa be Littlefinger’s downfall? His sigil is the head of a titan, a mighty mighty titan- they’re sort of giants aren’t they?
– Are they trying to buy time with Bran’s story-arc because him meeting the Children of the Forest now would be far too soon, wouldn’t it?