Many might complain after this episode that it was “pretty boring” or “very lame”. But even the lamest and most boring of all episodes in Game Of Thrones has standards! There was a lot stuffed in today. Practically all plots featured, except for the Wall, Dorne and the North. We are midway through the season and by now, most of you guys must have found it tough as hell to follow each plot in this complex story. So instead of my usual format of discussing only one part of the story in detail, let me give you a run through everything that has happened till now in this vast continent of Westeros (and Essos).
BEYOND THE WALL
It’s Bran and Co vs White Walkers and their wights here. Bran is still learning things from the Three-Eyed ravens. He visits the past often where he meets the younger version of his father who was on his way to meet his sister Lyanna. He also gets to know how White Walkers originated ( made by the Children using dragonglass ) and Hodor’s real name being Wylis. Inspite being warned, Bran goes into the past alone where he meets Night’s King, along with his army. He catches Bran’s hands which gives him to access the secured cave of the Three-Eyed Raven. Meera and Bran manage to escape, but rest all don’t. This immediate attack forced Bran to warg into Hodor when he’s in the past, which makes young Wylis have seizures and bumblingly repeats the order that Meera passes to the present Hodor – “Hold the Door”. Meera gets tired after a while and couldn’t carry Bran more. She almost gives up when the wights approach them, but there’s a new friend they meet. A hooded man riding his horse and attacking the wights with fire, is later reveals to be Benjen Stark – the long lost Night’s Watch man, brother of Ned Stark.
We start with the ultimate cliffhanger of the previous season – Jon’s dead body. Davos, Mellisandre and some of Jon’s close friends take his body inside a room. Soon, other people of the Night’s Watch are out and scheming against them to open the door. After numerous such interactions, the good few decide to fight with the massive bad brigade. But all of a sudden, Jon’s wildling friends make a crashing (literally) entry into the Castle Black and held the crows captive. Jon Snow is still laying naked and asleep in that room. It needed Melisandre, who makes a shocking revelation of her age in front of a mirror by removing her glowing red necklace, a few nudges by Ser Davos to at least try bringing Jon back. She tries as much as she can, and succeeds, which makes her think that Jon is “The prince that was promised”. Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch is back, but now he is a different man. He hangs the people responsible for his death and announces his retirement from the Watch, acknowledging the fact that his vow ended with his death. He is about to make his next plan, when Sansa-Brienne return from Winterfell and focus changes to defeating Ramsay. Sansa is now a grown-up and while she still trusts Jon, she hasn’t quite left Littlefinger ( she agrees on the advice of his to join hands with her uncle the Blackfish). The other important man of the Night’s watch, Samwell Tarly, is off with his wildling love Gilly and his son towards Oldtown to become a Maester and return, meanwhile dropping the mother-child there. And of course, Brienne and Tormund seem to be sharing some moments!
Theon and Sansa are on the run and Ramsay’s men behind them. When they both encounter, bang enter Brienne and Pod. They kill those men and save the day for the duo. Now pledging as a knight to Sansa, Brienne along with Pod, decide to take Sansa to castle black to her half-brother Jon. Theon tearfully bids goodbye and heads to his rightful home – Pyke. Ramsay is obviously furious on hearing Sansa’s news. Even more furious is his father Roose, who time and again threaten to make his newborn brother the heir. He knows nothing about his bastard son, clearly. Ramsay has joined hands with the Kartsarks to kill Roose, his wife and the child ( the latter two in a classic Ramsay style) . Other major house in the north, Umber, also announce their alliance with the Boltons and present them with Osha, Rickon and his direwolf Shaggydog’s head. Osha tries to outsmart Ramsay, the same way she successfully did to Theon. But she ends up dying instead.
Robin Arryn is a grown-up teen, but still mentally challenged. Littlefinger arrives and convinces him to prepare the Vale nights for a march North and bring Sansa back. It shows that Littlefinger has a larger control over him than the house loyalists like Lord Royce, who was the one to give the information about Sansa to the Boltons.
Freys lose Riverrun to Brynden Tully a.k.a the Blackfish. This is adding to the other problems they face – Houses Mallister and Blackwood against them and the Brotherhood without Banners constantly raiding their camp. It is time for Walder to remove his trump card – Edmure Tully, the younger brother of Catelyn who was been held captive all this time.
Balon Greyjoy proves to be quite incompetent as a leader and is bringing his house to a fall. His newly returned brother Euron ends his rule by pushing Balon off a bridge. There would now be a kingsmoot to decide for next heir. Yara is confident and has won the trust of many, but there are hurdles. One being his brother Theon, who returns from the North. But he has no plans to rule the islands and in fact, supports her sister in claiming the Throne. The other and major hurdle is her uncle who wins major support inspite of claiming publicly that he killed his brother. Realizing that she stands no chance of winning, she runs with the best ships along with Theon and some loyalists. Euron now plans to build more themselves to catch them and marrying Daenerys to claim the Throne.
The tension between the Crown and the Faith keeps getting complicated. The Lannister twins – Jaime and Cersei are angry for the way the Sparrow are treating their family. The Tyrells are red-faced too, for their children – Margery and Loras are still in the Septon cells. The High Sparrow is upto something, but we don’t know what. Despite of two of the biggest houses against his group, he is ahead of them always. He effectively brings Tommen and Margery to his side, making the King to announce a unity between the Crown and the Faith, leaving his enemies helpless. There is also the ineffective small council guiding Tommen ( Tywin’s brother Kevan is the Hand, an egoistc Mace Tyrell the Master of Coins/Ships and Pycelle essaying the same role) because of which Tommen isn’t Cersei’s puppet anymore. Qyburn proves his worth even though he is snatched of his chains. How he revived Mountain after the trial-by-combat with Oberyn is still unknown. With Varys gone, he is now essaying the role of Master of Whisperers, managing to get a hold of Varys’ birds who turn out to be some slum kids. He is in good terms with Cersei and has her trust, as the other Maester is growing extremely disloyal ( and frankly quite stupid ).
In the latest episode, we were introduced to the kingdom of House Tarly. After the long journey from noth to south, Sam and Gilly reach Horn Hill. There has been a slight change of plans. Sam decides to keep Gilly there instead of Oldtown in the safe hands of his mother Melessa and sister Talla, falsely claiming Little Sam to be his bastard and hiding Gilly’s wildling identity. His arrival doesn’t please his father, Randyll Tarly and he goes to mocking him. Gilly can’t stand this and tries defending Sam, and ends up revealing to be a wildling. Sam is to be kicked out of the place early morning, but still assuring Gilly and the baby a shelter. But there is a change of mind again and Sam flees the place in the night itself, with Gilly, the baby and the family ( read : Valyrian ) sword “Heartsbane”.
We meet Arya this time as a blind beggar. She is constantly put to test by Jaqen H’gar and tries her best to pass them. But young Waif isn’t great friends with her and is more than happy to see her fail. In the process she tries learning about the Many Faced Gods and what they do to the dead. Initially she is restricted access, but Jaqen begins to trust her and tells her all that she needs to know. He also shows her the Hall of Faces. The Faceless men were slaves in Valyria before establishing the Free City of Braavos and the House of Black and White. After finding her fit to be called Faceless, she is assigned a task to “give the gift of death” to Lady Crane, the actress who plays Cersei in a play. The play re-enacts all the major events that occur in King’s Landing, making Arya go through all the emotions once again. She grows fond of the Lady and fails her own plan to poison her. Jaqen gets to know of this from Waif who was present backstage. So the Faceless Men are after her, while the “no one” girl becomes Arya Stark once again.
With no trace of Daenerys, it is upon her 4 loyalists – Tyrion, Varys, Missandei and Grey Worm to handle the administration. The Sons of the Harpy aren’t making it easy. They burn the port and are gaining the trust of local people everyday, as not all are happy being “free men” anymore. Tyrion realizes that wiping off slavery suddenly isn’t feasible. So he calls in the big men of Yunkai, Astapor and Volantis and grants a seven year grace period to completely remove slavery. He has the support of Varys, but Missandei and Grey Worm are skeptical. They are the most trusted in the council by the public and Tyrion is using it as a benefit. But calling their enemies ( those masters were funding Sons of the Harpy) in their lands seems like a stupid act They argue that a Westerosi can never understand the people of Free Cities, but tag along anyway as he is a trusted advisor of Dany all the same. As part of another strategy, Tyrion has brought in Kinvara, a red priestess from Volantis who is assigned the task of spreading the word of Daenerys’ accomplishments among the locals. Interestingly, she believes Dany to be the “Prince that was promised.” Varys isn’t happy with her entry.
Daenerys is put in the temple of the Dosh Khaleen where everyone explains her that this is where the widow of a Khal should be. But she is no ordinary Khaleesi after all. Daario and Mormont, who were on the lookout for her, find her whereabout and they manage to meet Dany. When they try to convince her to run away, she declines and comes up with a bigger plan instead. With the help of two ladies she befriends in the Dosh Khaleen, she enters the Khal vezhven ( gathering ). The Khals go busy deciding on their fate, unsure of their own. Quite skillfully, she burns down the whole hut. As the flames rise, she comes out unburnt, and thus gains the loyalty of the Dothrakis again. While on their way to Meereen, Ser Jorah parts ways as his greyscale continues to spread. Dany lets him go with the condition that he should find a cure for the disease and return to her. Drogon comes back, larger than ever, and the last blood of Targaryen sits on him.
( No laughing please. I want to discuss this )
So Doran gets a message that Myrcella is dead. He knews instantly who is behind this. But before he could take any action against the accused, the Sand Snakes kill him and his loyal guard Areo Hotah. No one around raises a finger as they all were furious over him not taking any action on the death of Oberyn. Back in the ship, Prince Trystane (Myrcella’s fiance’) is surrounded and ultimately killed by the Snake sisters. The Dorne now belongs to Ellaria and Co.
This time I’ll give it to the Arya plotline. It was quite unexpected for her to turn away from the Faceless Men at this stage. This transformation within her is staged nicely and has kept us excited to see how she manages to dodge the Waif.
Gilly to Randyll and Dickon :
He’s a greater warrior than either of you will ever be
We all knew she’s fearless. It’s great to see her fight for her love. So what if she reveals herself to be a wildling?