This week’s episode of Game of Thrones featured a heartwarming reunion, a love connection, and the most badass scene the show has ever done. Check out our recap below, and beware! It’s full of spoilers!
JON AND SANSA
This week’s episode opened with something I’ve been waiting years for: a Stark family reunion. Jon is preparing to leave the Night’s Watch when Sansa arrives at Castle Black with Brienne and Pod. I can’t adequately describe my emotions when Jon and Sansa hugged each other but let’s just say I’ve watched it multiple times and I can’t get through it without ugly crying.
These two haven’t been together since the first episode the series, when they were both children at Winterfell. Sansa was a bit of a brat back then and she wasn’t particularly nice to her half brother, but whatever childish nonsense existed between them in the past, they’ve both been to hell and back and they are ride-or-die for each other now. Still, Sansa apologizes for being horrible to Jon when they were young. Jon is long past any of that. He’s ready to leave the Watch behind and go with his sister. It probably feels pretty good for Jon to have a family member show up after being literally murdered by his Night’s Watch “brothers.”
Sansa is channeling that Catelyn Stark fierceness in this episode. She is determined to go to Winterfell and take their home back from the Boltons. Jon is hesitant because he’s tired of fighting (and he’s probably also tired from the whole being murdered and brought back to life situation). But Sansa isn’t about to give up Winterfell to the Boltons after everything she’s been through. She tells Jon that she would like his help (and whatever wildling army he could provide) but she’ll do it on her own if she has to.
Jon can tell that Sansa’s not messing around but he doesn’t actually agree until later, when he gets a lovely note from Ramsay addressed to “The Traitor and Bastard Jon Snow.” Ramsay tells Jon to send Sansa back to him or he will go on a sadistic torture and killing spree starting with poor Rickon, who he’s got locked up in the dungeons. Ramsay signs the letter “Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North” and Sansa knows immediately that Ramsay has killed his father and taken control.
In the note, Ramsay threatens to flay and kill all the wildlings in the North, which gets Tormund’s attention. He basically commits the wildling army to the cause, but that is only 2,000 men to Ramsay’s 5,000. Sansa tells Jon that the houses of the North will fight for the Starks if they ask. Simply put, she says, “A monster has taken our home and our brother. We have to go back to Winterfell and save them both.” Jon can’t argue with that logic and he finally agrees to go with Sansa and fight, which is great because if somebody doesn’t end Ramsay Bolton soon I am going to riot. That guy is the absolute worst, although I have to say, he does have a knack for impactful letter-writing.
I was personally extremely excited for Margaery to finally come back to our television screens, not only because Natalie freakin’ Dormer, but because Margaery has always been an interesting character to me. She’s a very clever person, and knows exactly what to say and do to appease people. A sept comes to visit Margaery in her cell and ends up guiding her to the High Sparrow’s prayer chamber. He asks her where she would go if he released her that very moment, and she states she would seek out her brother, husband, and family. He responds by saying in doing this she’s seeking luxuries. He tells her of how he’s just so damn high and mighty by having walked away from luxuries. She, being the amazing ‘actress’ she is, seems very interested in his story and even references a passage from their holy scripture, “The Seven-Pointed-Star.” He allows her a moment with Loras, who seems to have been treated WAY worse than Margaery, or even Cersei. He cries and begs Margaery to end the suffering and she cradles him, unsettled by his obvious fear.
T HE LANNISTERS
Cersei comes upon, and interrupts, a meeting between King Tommen and Grand Maester Pycelle, who is voicing his concern over antagonizing the High fuckwad. Tommen, seeing his mother’s entrance, dismisses him and confides in Cersei something that the High Butthole told him. He explains to her that if the holier-than-thou-butthole finds out that Tommen broke his confidence, it could pose serious issues. Cersei smiles and promises she won’t tell a soul. Of course, she immediately takes what she learns to the high council. She tells them that Margaery is set to do her Walk of Atonement in a few short days. She surprisingly agrees with Olenna Tyrell that something like this cannot happen. The queen cannot be humiliated like that, and they all decide that their best course of action is to send the Tyrell Army into the streets of Kings Landing to end this once and for all. Side note: As much as I LOATHE him, The High Sparrow has done the absolute impossible…He united Pycelle, The Tyrells, AND The Lannisters on a single front: His murder for the benefit of the kingdom.
Gazing across the Narrow Sea, Grey Worm expresses unhappiness with the fact that Tyrion has invited the enemies of Meereen to the city. Tyrion decides that they are going to try a diplomatic approach – but don’t worry, his days in slavery taught him the horrors of the institution. Missandei questions whether Tyrion’s ever-so-brief stint as a slave really taught him anything.
Tyrion, Varys, Missandei and Grey Worm (all former slaves) meet with the slavemasters: Yezzan representing Astapor, Razdal from Yunkai, and a new character Belicho, from Volantis. The masters cut to the chase and say they want Daenerys and her people to leave – Razdal had offered her ships and she refused. Missandei argues that she would not leave as long as there was slavery in Slaver’s Bay, and Razdal asserts that there have always been slaves in Slaver’s Bay. He accuses Missandei and Grey Worm of still being slaves, just without chains.
Tyrion points out he grew richer than all of them without slavery, and makes his counter proposal: Meereen will never re-adopt slavery, but the other cities will be given seven years to adjust and compensation. To sweeten the deal, he arranges for each of the slavers to be entertained by prostitutes and declares they will not receive a better offer.
In the throne room of the Great Pyramid, several Meereenese are unhappy that Tyrion met with the slavers. Tyrion tries to convince him that he is acting in their best interest while they await Daenerys’ return, but they don’t trust him. Tyrion turns to Grey Worm and Missandei for help. They claim that they do not trust the masters, but should make peace if they can, not believing their own words.
Outside, an angry Grey Worm and Missandei complain about Tyrion’s terms and that he used them to placate the people. They do not consider seven years a short time for a slave, and warn Tyrion for trusting the masters. Tyrion explains that he merely trusts the master’s self-interest, but Grey Worm retorts that he is not using the masters – they are using him.
This week saw Dany reunite with Daario and Jorah to conspire towards her escape from Vaes Dothrak, and from the fate that awaits her as a widowed Khaleesi.
In her ultimate scene, she berates Khal Moro and his Bloodriders for being infinitely less courageous and ambitious than Drogo had been. Even without her dragons, Dany is capable of spitting fire. After telling them off, Dany uses the fires in the temple to burn the hut to the ground, walking out unharmed as the Khals burn.
This week’s plot is a refreshing reminder that Dany’s plotline doesn’t revolve around dragonfire, but is centered on the growth of a badass character. The visual aspect of the scene definitely throws it back to season 1, where Dany emerges from Drogo’s pyre, adding “Mother of Dragons” to her list of epithets. It’s interesting to see how her character has evolved from someone who merely survives the flames, to a raging queen who weaponizes them.
This is more or less the attitude she’ll need to take King’s Landing, and I suspect that this character development is not untimely. Could she finally be ready to claim the throne?
- This week’s episode also saw the return of Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger) and Robin Arryn. Petyr has Robin wrapped around his (little)finger, so it was not hard for him to suggest that Robin take the Knights of the Vale and go defend Sansa. I’m super mad at Littlefinger, and I know Sansa is too, but Jon and Sansa will definitely need the Knight of the Vale to join their army.
- Theon Greyjoy returned home to Yara, and while at first she was so mad at him she didn’t even want to look at him (understandably so), she warmed up when he told her she deserved to rule the Iron Islands, and he wanted to help.
- Finally, we must briefly mention Brienne and Tormund, because how surprising was that? It makes perfect sense though. Tormienne (Briemund?) forever. How did The Wall suddenly become the happiest storyline?