Welcome back, masochistic ‘Game of Thrones’ devotees! Who’s ready for three hours of reading?
When we last left Westeros, Jaime had charged at a dragon,
— because he’s an idiot —
…and had been unseated from his steed by an avenging angel known as Bronn of the Blackwater, a man with a knight’s title who was born on a nameless shitheap somewhere and only is anyone because he cheats at pool and honor duels above Moon Doors.
The two of them had crash landed in the deepest lake in Scotland, which had the general shape of an upside down doughboy’s helm. Puddle deep on the edges and the Laurentian Abyss in the middle.
We cut to credits last week, you’ll remember over the visage of a sinking Jaime, fitting symbolism for a man who has been an absolute wet blanket since Brienne rode north with half of Eddard Stark’s blade.
There are characters I’m sometimes ashamed to root for and Jaime Lannister might lead the pack.
Jaime Lannister was introduced to us as a ‘Kingslayer’. A man whose vocation called for the protection of a regent at all costs. Jaime Lannister earned the name ‘Kingslayer’ by murdering the was sworn to protect by stabbing him in the back.
In the opening episode, it is quickly revealed that Jaime Lannister is a child-murderer or would-be child murderer, an incestuous sister-fucker, a troll and a general douche. The books, I believe, describe him as the handsomest man in the world, or something along those lines. That title will never endear him to me, as I tend to think of that as an unearned asset for a character.
Jaime Lannister, at the height of his entitled arrogance, goes off to war and is captured by a teenage boy who roundly and soundly outwits him.
At that point he’s sitting in a puddle of his own filth in a Northern Camp and would have had his head vacationed from his shoulders had it not been for the fact that his family held some of his captor’s family hostage.
Jaime Lannister is imprisoned with a second cousin whom he jokes with and imparts stories about being a squire to and his days on the jousting circuit. Aaaaaaaand then he murders the teenager in cold blood. His own cousin.
This time, the murder works! Huzzah!
It allows Jaime to escape, and he makes it all of like eleven minutes before he’s picked up like a popcorn bucket on the floor of a small cinema. Zero drama at all.
He’s returned to his cell, where the murder of his kin is rendered that much more abhorrent. He’s eventually busted out of the pokey by his landlady’s mum, who sends him with an escort to King’s Landing, in an honorable exchange of prisoners.
His escort, Brienne, is his superior in every conceivable way. Where he is sneaky and shitty, she is honorable and forthright. Where he is duplicitous and conniving, she is dedicated and honest. Despite having given his word to Lady Stark, he endeavors to not keep it at all costs. He efforts, in every way to impede, escape and undo his escort.
As a direct result of his misdeeds and shenanigans, both he and his escort are scooped up by a troop of wayfaring psychopaths who lop off Jaime’s hand for sport.
At this point, never having been maimed before, Jaime shows the meanest glimmer of not being an entire colostomy bag of a person. The beard helps.
When he arrives back in King’s Landing, now with Brienne as a friend, he immediately reverts to his incestuous relationship. Brienne rides north and apparently takes all of his newfound conscience with her as he forces himself on his sister wife over the dead body of their recently murdered child.
After that, he spends a few quality months watching passively as his sister wife and father make sure the wrong man is charged with his son’s murder. The wrong man is his brother.
Jaime does nothing as his brother is mocked by the masses, run down by his own family, and framed. When his innocent brother needs a Champion to fight in his name to prevent his execution, Jaime does not offer.
Jaime does help his brother escape the hangman’s noose, but on the way out the door, his brother inserts two shafts of metal-tipped yew into the chest of their father, relieving him of his mortal coil.
In response Jaime says that if he ever sees his brother again, he’ll shear him in two.
His sister wife is devastated and sends him to retrieve their only living daughter. He fulfills his mandate with the skill and gravity of a replacement GLG-20. His failure is so complete that his charge expires right in front of his face with no one else in the room.
Upon his arrival back home, he is once again assigned a travel mission. Re-secure a keep in the interior which has fallen under the influence of rebels. This time, Jaime is successful. He has a feast with a known liar and blackguard and then mopes back home, only to find that in his absence, his final child has committed suicide and his sister wife has murdered everyone of stature in the capital city and seized the Iron Throne for herself.
When they have a moment alone, she asks if he, too, is terrified of her. Because she’s a mass murderer and all. He’s like “no. Should I be?”
As his sister wife, the Queen, prepares for war, she gives her consent to marry a pirate directly in front of Jaime and never so much as gives him an explanation. The pirate loudly proclaims his desire to bed the Queen and asks Jaime if she likes to have a digit inserted into her rectal cavity.
Jaime does nothing.
His sister wife then sends him on yet another mission. Now she’s the queen, which ranks her above him for the first time, and yet this is his third mission at her behest. Jaime has an ‘interesting’ relationship with power dynamics.
For this mission, he convinces a number of nobles to become straight-up turncoats, abandons his ancestral homeland to an army of sex-starved foreigners, sentences several thousand of his own men to die and kills an old lady for her money.
During his scout-free, lackadaisical sashay back to King’s Landing, his army is surprised by a hundred thousand mounted Aquaman knock-offs with sickles — excuse me, kopeshi— and a battlemaiden on a skyhorse.
His army is decimated, he loses a thousand wagons full of booty and almost all of his men.
And his best idea, during that maelstrom of death, is to pull a planting stick out of a cabbage patch and ride as fast as he can at a mythical beast that breathes infernos of doom.
We leave him, sinking into an abyss that, frankly, he deserves.
The episode ends and we all stumble out onto the white-hot, hateful, nazi-exploding thing that happens between Game of Thrones episodes, and we’re left to wonder:
Was Jaime wearing full plate?
Because it looked like full plate.
And one of the things they never tell you about full plate armor is that it’s an absolute hog to swim in. We’re talking Michael Phelps on Heisenberg Blue kind of breast strokes just to maintain depth. I’d say that it’s a pretty fair bet James Lannister isn’t gonna doggy paddle out of this conundrum.
So what are the options?
1) Bronn somehow saves him. Because even though Bronn is only with him because of his brother, Bronn seems intent on getting a castle, and he wasn’t smart enough to get that shit in writing from the Lannisters.
You know which debts the Lannisters don’t repay? The ones they don’t know about.
I’m still a bit confounded by the Bronn of it all. Because once the nation splits in two and you have Robert E. Lee on one side and U.S. Grant on the other, why wouldn’t Bronn just make a beeline for the dude he likes?
Yes, Tyrion set Bronn up with Jaime and yes, Jaime and Bronn get along, but it’s such an obvious downgrade in relationship for Bronn. That’s like replacing the Johnny Carson Tonight Show with the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show. That’s like taking sharp cheddar off a burger and replacing it with Swiss. That’s like taking goat cheese out of a beet salad and replacing it with bacos. Goddamn, I’m hungry. Be right back.
The point is that Tyrion and Bronn are actually friends. Are Jaime and Bronn? Not so much. More friend-ly than friends.
Maybe he knows that Tyrion would never trust him with a castle.
2) So option two is that Jaime winds up dead next episode. I don’t see that because why save him from a glorious fire death if you’re just going to kill him off like an acorn in a kiddie pool?
3) Option three is your generic GOT post-novels style ending.
— A giant pulls him out of the water.
— He rides Nessie to the shore.
— Euron’s fleet hits Warp 9 and lands on the pond to save him.
Basically something that would banish a Boggart.
What we got was a mix of option 1 and 3.
We begin the episode as he and Bronn swim to a distant shore, so far away from the tumult that they have time to lay in the sand and ruminate over their escape.
Lo! There in the distance, a battle rageth!
Here, it be quiet and safe.
There BE DRAGONS.
But here? Here it be nice and relaxing and it be full of good cheer.
There? There be one tenth of a million mounted light cav, scouring the valley for targets to behead.
But here? Here it be no baddies at all. Here be where no horse ever thinketh to trot. Here be where no savage ever thinketh to kill.
There be Chernobyl.
Here be Hawaii.
I will admit to liking the shot of him rolling over, if only because it establishes that Widow’s Wail is still present and accounted for.
Now, we’ve all taken a solemn vow as Watchers on the Screen to blindly accept any plot twist that we deem preposterous. You remember our oath, right?
So we’ll willingly accept that Jaime swum four hundred yards in mail, underwater, thanks to the Gillyweed Bronn smashed into his mouth when he saved him, and that they just have a solid minute to sit out in the open and chat about what to tell Cersei. That makes total* sense.
When Jaime has spit out all his water, we see that his full plate is really just wet leather. It’s okay. Lots of people like to pretend they’re wealthier than they are, like people who lease a Lexus. Or people like former president George Washington. Did you know that Mount Vernon, his ancestral home, isn’t made of stone?
I mean, it looks like it, but it’s basically just sandy stucco with lines scratched in it to give the appearance of white brick.
If the father of America is okay with a bit of a visual twist, we can’t really fault the father of good ol King Joff for the same thing, can we?
While the Dothraki are doing that terrifying Apache tongue thing across the water, Jaime expounds on the situation, how fucked they are, and that he has to tell Cersei.
“May as well jump back in that river.”
But Bronn does call it a river, so now we know that it’s a river.
Jaime is afraid.
Maybe it’s the EuFRAIDes! OH YES! HI-YO! Pun rush!
“Actually, Lord C, it’s most likely the Blackwater Rush, considering the geosynchronous orbit of the-“
You SHUT UP RIGHT NOW, BOOK READERS, with your fancy knowledge and your ‘maps’ and shit. You let us show watchers just dream.
Bronn gets up to book a flight to Dragonstone, most likely, and Jaime has a beat to think about what a gargantuan shitlord he is, BUT I’M POSITIVE THAT’S NOT WHAT HE’S THINKING.
Because despite every single consistent, unmistakable character beat to the contrary, I sit in my living room and root for some form of redemption for Jaime. I root for him to be the prophetic Valonqar, even though it could and likely should be Tyrion.
I root for him despite all factual evidence that flies in the face of sane judgement. And I’m never sure why.
Maybe he’ll redeem himself in this episode! ← says an absolute idiot to himself. I say it every week.
We now cut to two small legs walking the ashen waste of the battlefield.
It’s Tyrion, surveying the absolute carnage his Queen hath wreaked. The amount of charred greyness is shocking. We remember the amazing clips of dragon fire from last week, and now we see the offspring of those fires. Scorched earth. Horse carcases. Corpses with missing limbs. A layer of ash that would make Pompeiian scholars shudder.
Tyrion passes a dead soldier, crouched in vain behind his trusty shield, the top of which has been melted off.
You may remember these ornate Lannister shields from a past episode as the mighty red host approached the cowering Tyrell homeworld. Now, there is no red. There is no color anywhere. The Lannister insignia itself has been eradicated from the very weaponry it adorned in this post-apocalyptic dragonscape. We heard the Lannisters roar as Drogon dropped out of the clouds, and now we’re left with a Targaryen bookend: a world of Fire and Blood.
Tyrion’s face shows equal parts disgust and concern. What is he part of? What has he become? You can almost hear the voice of Kurtz knocking around in there…the horror. The horror.
Dothraki are looting corpses, the way Dothraki do, and in the distance he sees some survivors being led away. Presumably to be executed. But that’s because he didn’t see the previews from last week where they all were walked up to a hill where Dany stands like Moses, addressing her people about the new rules.
“Don’t believe that lying Cersei Lannister!” Implores Daenerys. “She’ll tell you that all I want to do is burn shit down, but I ask you, do I seem like someone who burns shit?”
The soldiers look around. Is this a trick question?
“Okay, wait. That didn’t come out right. Yes, I just burned you guys and your best friends and all of that. That’s true. I admit that. But here’s the part of it you don’t know: I was planning on just flying in and absolutely burning the everliving FUCK out of the Red Keep and King’s Landing. That’s what I’m saying. So this is significantly better.”
The soldiers blink.
“Because instead I attacked a MILITARY target! Get it?”
Drogon SCREALS, which is part scream and part wail and makes soldiers squeeze a chocolate nougat into their drawers.
Oh! Ohhhh. Right. The soldiers nod in agreement. Yes, yes! Fair point, fair point! Yes, murdering us was certainly better that murdering other people. I see that now. Right-o!
There is no hype man like a dragon. Period.
“I’m not here to be the same OG! I want to change everything! Aren’t you sick of a social and economic hierarchy whose machinations are constructed to only serve one, tiny segment of the population while using your families as little more than beasts of burden and breeding stock and battlefield chum? Don’t you deserve more than just a short, miserable life?”
“So what I’m saying, and I know that you’re with me, is that I’m giving you the same choice I gave a contingent of emasculated eunuchs in Astapor, long ago, when I began my journey to break the wheel!”
“Join me! Or…um…die.”
Tyrion: Was that…um…sorry to interrupt.
Dany: Yeah? What is it?
Tyrion: I mean I wasn’t there, but didn’t it go a bit differently? Wasn’t it like — you’re free either way? If you want to come with me then cool, but if you want to do your own thang, that’s also coo-
Dany: Yeah you weren’t there.
Tyrion: I know I just think it went a bit differently.
Dany: Can we not do this now, Sansa Stark?
Tyrion: Of course, of course I’m just saying that if we’re talking about choices, join or die is like, not much of a choice.
Dany: It absolutely is. They can join. Bam! Done. No harm no foul.
Dany: How many Unsullied had attacked me at that point? Pretty sure these guys did.
Tyrion: Well, technically they attacked our ally-
Dany: I see. Your family again.
Tyrion: No, no it’s just-
Dany: I was kind of in the middle of a speech here.
Tyrion: Yes of course, by all means. You didn’t have big dragons at that time, either.
Dany: What was that?
Tyrion: Nothing, it’s just you didn’t have dragons in Astapor-
Dany: I most certainly did!
Tyrion: Small dragons, though, right? Little wee ones that couldn’t, say, screal at enemies and make people kneel and stuff.
Dany: Oh ho ho! I assure you. Drogon held his own in Astapor. Believe you me!
Tyrion: I apologize, I’m not helping, please. Don’t mind me.
Dany: I feel like you’re trying to make a point.
Tyrion: A poor one. Like maybe you’re not leaving here until people ‘bend the knee’ because back home you can’t make the King of the North do it? And maybe there’s some attraction and some sexual frustration cooking as well? But no matter. Please, continue.
Dany sees that Randyll Tarly is still standing. She can somehow tell he’s a lord.
Dany: Step forward my Lord. You won’t kneel?
Mad Dog Tarly: I already have a queen.
Tyrion: Yeah, but my sister is the devil. And you used to work for the Queen of Thorns so you’re no stranger to queen-hopping, are ya, fellah?
Mad Dog Tarly: There are no easy choices in war.
Tyrion: Except basic ones like not being a complete weasel asshole turncoat lying assface.
Mad Dog Tarly: You’re the assface.
Tyrion: No, you are.
Mad Dog Tarly: Nope. You’re the only assface I see.
Tyrion: That’s because you don’t have a mirror. Trust me, you’re the #1 assface in Westeros.
Mad Dog Tarly: At least I didn’t murder my father like some people here.
Tyrion: No, but you told your son he could either take the black or you’d fucking hunt him.
Mad Dog Tarly: My son was overweight! Of course I’d hunt him! Oh why don’t you go suckle on the teat of your foreign queen! With her dark-skinned army! SHE’S NOT EVEN FROM ROUND HERE!
Dany: This decision keeps getting easier.
Tyrion: Perhaps we can send him to the Wall?
Mad Dog Tarly: She can’t send me anywhere. She’s not my queen.
Tyrion: Uh, trying to help you here, you stupid fucking hayseed.
Mad Dog Tarly: I don’t need help from someone of your height.
Tyrion: Jesus, yeah chop his head off.
Dany: I’m not chopping anyone’s head off!
Drogon: That’s my cue! Awwwwww yeah! I’ve been working on this move. It’s more of a focused burst. What you saw yesterday was just general Dragon mayhem. Any dragon can sort of blow shit up. But today is the result of a ton of hard work and focus. Like what is that dude, nine feet from everyone else? Well, I’m going to basically vanish him and no one else will even get singed. It’s a move I like to call Blue Steel.
Tyrion: Cool story, bro.
Dickon: Uh! One moment! Point of order ma’am! You’ll have to kill me too, I suppose!
Now I despise Randyll Tarly. I’ve always despised joyless men. And no joyless man is worse than a joyless father. You see this in real life all the time. A man with such an inflated opinion of himself that he’s massively disappointed that he can’t just shoot a clone son directly out of his penis. Nothing grinds my gears like a man who gives up on a son he doesn’t ‘get’. So Randyll Tarly’s treatment of Sam was both reprehensible and deplorable.
But what he did, in this moment, with Dickon, was even worse. Because Dickon he gets. Dickon is a boy who can’t see past his father’s approval. So much so that when requested to kneel, he refuses. Not because of some inner moral compass. Because it’s what his daddy would want. And he cares more about that than his own life. Than his family line. Than his responsibility to his mother and brother and sister. He just wants daddy to approve.
To his credit, it looks initially like Mad Dog is like NO! He gives him the nod to kneel, but Dickon refuses.
“He’s just a stupid boy!” Mad Dog yells.
But Dickon digs in.
This is the point where we remember Ned Stark. A man with a far bigger name, with more land and fame than Mad Dog Tarly, who, when forced to choose between his own pride and the life of his child, immediately abandoned all pretense. He threw himself on his sword politically to protect the ones he loved.
That’s where Mad Dog failed as badly as any father could.
When it became apparent that Dickon intended to stay the course, Randyll should have recanted and kneeled. Just bam. Kneel. Anything to save your child’s life. As if that would have somehow been more dishonorable than betraying a lifelong commitment to a woman you knew and grew up with and swore a blood oath to. He was calling Cersi queen for like a few weeks. Don’t act like that’s a non-starter Tarly you joyless shit.
But no. He does that grim resolve thing, grabs his boy’s wrist, and well. We know the rest.
A few words on this before we roll on past.
I’ve been Team Dany since she chose to actually do something last week instead of sitting in her ivory tower and wringing her hands. This was a decisive victory. I like the way she said the first Dracarys last week. Like she was all business. I don’t like that she flew directly at the Scorpion, like Rickon and the unforgivable non-serpentine run, but her courage is beyond question here.
I like that she dismounted and tried to pull the harpoon out of Drogon. I’m not sure why, but to me it was reminiscent of a scene from Alexander the Great’s conquest of India, where I remember reading as a kid that the Indian Raja had a macedonian spear in him and his elephant reached up with his trunk and yanked it out. I’m reaching back several decades here into a childhood memory, so I likely have my facts wrong, but it’s that connection between animal and man that’s intriguing.
I’m really happy that Qyburn failed to dip the harpoons into The Long Kiss Goodnight, so that even a superficial wound would kill Drogon. Many people were saying that Drogon’s namesake, Khal Drogo was killed because of a superficial wound to the shoulder, and the show was setting up a parallel. I’m glad they didn’t.
A thing I’ve admired about Dany since the victory is that she’s in control of her emotions. She’s regal. Now, I don’t think she owes the Lannister men an explanation but you have to admire her trying. She’s cool but regal with Randyll Tarly and when pronouncing her judgement, she’s detached and officious and downright Ned Stark-like.
She doesn’t want to do this. It’s a responsibility of the office. When she says Dracarys, it’s more of a whispered thing. Like when Ned takes the head of the Night’s Watch deserter in the pilot episode. I really liked that.
And she remembered and pronounced their names correctly without having to have someone whisper them to her. Boss.
And this shot is so sick I can’t even handle it.
Somewhere Melisandre is rubbing her thighs together and purring like a kitten.
So long Dickon. We barely knew ye.
One thing I don’t like, and I hadn’t quite placed it until this week, is the lack of an org structure in the Daenerys Targaryen organization.
I first noticed it when that Dothraki stood behind Tyrion last week and said “your people can’t fight.”
I was thinking, who the FUCK talks to their boss like that?
And then I thought: but wait — is he their boss?
In any normal organization, he would be. The #2 would be a #2. But here? Everyone’s loyalty is to Daenerys. A cult of personality with the emphasis on cult. If, in that scenario, Tyrion had taken off running away from the battlefield, would the Dothraki have yelled:
A) Get him!
B) Follow our leader!
C) Protect the Hand!
Or would they have shrugged and laughed and let him run off. Did his Dothraki host seem more like a Praetorian detachment or a warden and a few thugs?
Here’s the aftermath of the Tarly burning. Tyrion is just standing there as Daenerys walks away and the Dothraki are eyeing Tyrion like, what are you gonna do, little man?
That is decidedly not a great work environment.
If Dany somehow took an arrow to the heart, or fell off her dragon, the current Targaryen organization goes poof. It’s not like they’d rally around someone else, Tyrion say, to further the noble cause of breaking the wheel. The Dothraki would just pick a new Khal and the Khalasar would start reaving across Westeros.
That doesn’t sit well with me.
Lastly, I love how people are making a big deal that Daenerys roasted two prisoners of war. Like it’s so fucking heartless to smoke a few fools, and true fools at that. Men who had a choice. This is just institutional misogyny. It’s only because Dany is a woman. If Stannis had a dragon, and stood there telling people to bend the knee, and they didn’t, he’d fucking roast the whole prisoner contingent just to make a fucking point.
And no one would say boo about it.
From the point of view of hearts and minds, yes, you want to be fair, but Dany has every right to handle her business as she sees fit, and once she cooked the Tarly’s proverbial goose and, I suppose, actual goose, everyone else kneeled immediately. So, mission accomplished.
We’re looking over the shoulder of Jaime for the second time in three episodes. Last time it was his casual walk to kill Olenna. Now his pace is more determined. He has to tell Cersei that they’re fooked.
Qyburn passes him in the hallway and seems surprised to see him? Is that it?
Hmmm. Not sure what that is.
Side note: Tyrion wears his Hand of the Queen pin on his left side, over his heart. Qyburn wears his up high on his right shoulder, almost like a decorative brooch on his his dark wizard dust-ruffle thingy.
Now Jaime enters the queen’s sanctuary. His lover. The love of his life. His sister. The mother of his children. She’s going to be ecstatic to see that he’s alive. She’s going to run to him like a teenager across a field of barley and jump into his arms and kiss him all over his face and say “I don’t give a damn about anything else! As long as you come home to me I’m okay!”
“How many men did we lose?” Asks Queen Cersei, from a distance. She’s like Maleficent, all in black and cold like ice.
Jaime is taken aback. “Um, not sure yet.” Guh-yuck! I’m Goofy!
And here’s where we hear the quality of the Dothraki. Many times we’ve heard characters audibly laud the skills of the Dothraki from afar. Oh they’re so great! I hear they’re fierce! A mighty horde!
But Jaime breaks it down for us. He’s seen them fight, killing Lannisters was like sport for them, and we know the Lannisters are among the most well-trained and well-outfitted armies in Westeros. Cersei suggests mercenaries, but Jaime shakes his head. They’ll beat mercenaries. They’ll beat any army he’s ever seen.
So they’re that good? Okay. They’re that good. Hope they’re that good against undead folk. Zombie Dothraki would be a terrifying thing.
This is not something that fazes Cersei Lannister! She’s faced worse odds and blowed shit up!
But she doesn’t like this pitiful tenor of Jaime’s voice. Uh, pretty sure you betrayed and murdered Daenerys’ faja, hoss! Pretty sure I’m sitting on her daddy’s throne! What are we gonna do, send her a fucking Edible Arrangement and say my bad? Fucking cowboy up, yo!
Maybe, she posits, Tyrion will intercede on their behalf as a form of reparations for killing their father and son. Goddamn, what a sentence to say offhand like that.
He didn’t. Jaime tells her. He didn’t kill Good King Joff.
And he makes maybe the best point he’s ever made on the show: If you were Olenna and you had to marry your granddaughter to either Good King Joff or a rabbit, who would you choose?
Right. The rabbit.
Cersei knows it’s true when she hears it. She sits.
Let’s wonder about what her next sentence will be:
1) OH MY GOD MY POOR LITTLE BROTHER, WHAT HAVE I DONE?
2) Dear god in heaven I was so blinded by rage that I tried to kill an innocent man. A man who happened to be my brother. Heaven help me.
3) I need a moment to process this. I can’t believe that I was so mad that I lashed out against my own family. I’m humiliated by my behavior.
Sheesh! Man alive that’s an unhealthy vendetta reflex you got there, lady. My goodness.
Yeah, she’s dead. We wiped out their entire family, remember? And no bullshit, Sis, but we’re going to join them if we don’t find a way out of this war.
“So we submit and die or fight and die. I know my choice. A soldier should know his.”
Cersei stares up at Jaime, as if he hadn’t just charged a fucking dragon while armed with a toothpick and riding a flea, and suggests that he better find some courage.
She’s such a delight.
Side note: I can’t stand Cersei, but let’s take a second to revel in the fact that this is the war of the two Queens and not the five Kings. Let’s appreciate and admire her staying power and the staying power of a girl who was targeted for assassination since she was in a crib. Right now we have female heads of state in the capitol, in Dragonstone, and in the North. Three of the most dangerous fighters on the planet are women. They wanted the Sand Snakes to be that daunting but they never really bore that mantle. In their stead you have a tank, a rogue and a dragonrider and any of them can vent a fool at will. It’s a heady time for women in Westeros.
We move on to Jon Snoo doing what he does best. Standing on a cliff and brooding.
Was he out there, perched high above like Missandei on the skybridge, looking out to see for the return of a lover? Who knows.
Drogon lands and fucking DOPE CHARGES HIM.
I’m like, what’s happening right now.
So is Daenerys. She’s leaning, trying to get a decent look at what Drogon’s mouth is doing. Did my Dragon just eat the King of the North??
Her teenage child is giving his approval of her lover. He cozies up to Jon and gives him the wink.
And then he drops Mom off and flies away.
At this point, we have to think Daenerys would be like:
OH MY GOD! Drogon just let my boyfriend touch him! No other human has ever touched my main dragon and lived to tell it. Drogon has certainly never walked up to anyone and rubbed his face against them like a cat. This is it! This man is the one.
But she casually just hops off and is like: they’re beautiful, huh?
Like everyone in the world thinks her kids are sooooooo attractive. Jon is like, uh…yeah…that’s not the word I’d use…
And Jon is like…oh yeah but, they’re loovely beasts. Gorgooos BEASTS!
He’s such a northerner, my god.
But they’re not beasts to Dany. They’re her children. Jon has to be okay with that if they’re going to roll in the hay. He has to understand that it’s a package deal. If he wants to stick his finger in the honeypot, so to speak, he has to be okay with the possibility that when he’s done with the honey, a 25,000 pound reptile will sometimes step to him and screal in his face before letting him pet them.
It is what it is.
And now we have more conversation where Dany only gets better and better, makes valid points and holds her own with a show titan. Jonathan Sneaux is so universally beloved that sometimes it feels unfair to stack them at odds to each other. But she’s a fucking dynamo coming into her own and she shows it here.
She has less enemies than she did yesterday.
Jon’s not sure how he feels about that.
And she reacts appropriately to that. There is human interaction here. A far cry from the contant proclamatory tone that she defaults to. Do this. Do that. Bend the Knee or I’ll roast you.
“How many men did your army kill taking back Winterfell from the Boltons?”
“We both want to help people. We can only help them from a position of strength. Sometimes strength is terrible.”
By god, that’s an excellent point, Dany! And said with such calmness and intelligence and dare I say, hard-won wisdom!
In some ways, you wonder if she just needed an equal, another dragon, to allow her to chill the fuck out and fully embrace her being. You wonder if some small part of that Ned Stark-ish tone wasn’t a residue of Jon Snoo on her.
Because when you meet the one, the proverbial ONE, you already have a life. You have an existence. But somehow, unlike any person who came before, the One rattles around in hour head at work. How would he or she like or dislike my choices here? What would they think of me in this environment?
And hopefully, the One pushes you, even unknowingly, to be a better person.
We don’t know at this point if anything is going on between them, but Dany was looking at him very fondly in the cave, where he does his best work. Davos noticed that Jon likes Dany’s heart. And at the end of her speech, they’re just walking and Dany does this quick little glance at Jon.
It’s so lovely and hopeful and vulnerable. Did Jon hear her? Does he approve?
Then she decides, fuck it, I’m gonna ask him about the dagger in the heart thing. Jon deflects, but before Dany can press the issue, the Dothraki bring a tired-ass old man up from the shore who ‘claims’ to be her friend.
Awwwwwww yisssssssss! Jorah Mormont reporting for duty, Son! Greyscale got shit on me, baby!
This was a truly beautiful reunion. For all of the shit Emila Clarke has to eat over her acting, I thought she handled this interaction splendidly. There was true affection in every look.
Remember, she sent him away to get better, and things are generally on the upswing with them, but it’s no certainty that she’ll welcome him back. He returns to her service…if she’ll have him. It’s almost a whisper.
Of course she’ll have him.
“It would be my honor.” She says, beaming.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever liked Dany more than that moment. After all of it, she’s finally herself. Finally viewing this man at the right level. He hath borne her on his back a thousand times. All the rest is water under the bridge.
She introduces her new BFF to her old BFF. Jon compliments Jorah’s father. Says he was a great man.
“He hated my guts.” Jorah probably thought.
In that moment, where you return to the love of your life, the woman you betrayed before you understood how powerful your connection was, it must have been difficult for Jorah to imagine that she would have replaced Daario Naharis with another man.
And speaking for me alone, I’m telling you that if I saw my father’s Valyrian steel sword, the one most treasured, most prized posession of my entire family line, swinging like a second dong from the belt of that same man, with the Bear pommel removed and a Wolf pommel in it’s place?
WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE would I get a death knell for that hombre.
So, it’s a good thing, after all, that the Dothraki scum de-sworded him on the beach.
It’s not clear if Jorah senses anything between them at this point, but Jon surely does.
Because of his Stark upbringing and possibly spiderwebs of Ygritte mocking him in his mind, we still see Jon playing it very close to the vest. We don’t get a sense about whether this bothers him or not, but we see him notice, and maybe that’s enough of a clue.
This episode is called Eastwatch because we’re finally going to see the army of the dead attack the Wall!
WHOOOOO HOOOOOOO! LET’S EASTWATCH THIS MOTHERFUCKER UP, YA’LL!
Bran is warging into a bird. The bird flies past the Wall, past Eastwatch, across some valleys and shit and kapow! The army of the dead. In no apparent hurry —-as per ushe —- walking veeeeeeerrrrrrrry slowly toward Eastwatch.
The birds pass low over the army of the dead until the Night’s King looks up and splash! His magic de-wargs the Three-Eyed Raven’s warg magic.
But we have a problemo, friends. Because they recast the Night’s King for some stupid fucking reason and the new guy sucks out loud.
The new guy looks like the first guy’s accountant.
I mean, all you need is a face that the makeup team can work with and you get that wrong? Oh no! Later on they show us the previews for next week and this Night’s King is walking and he looks sooooooo lame.
Awwwww! Whatsamatter? Night’s King gonna cwy? Baby need a binky?
WHAT THE FUUUUUUUUCK?
That’s not a Morghul Lord! That’s a fucking toll booth operator with a cold. What’s happening here?
Alas, Bran’s birds are de-warged by the Night King’s accountant and Bran’s like “we better Raven the shit out of this.” Bran’s so Raven, y’all.
We see where one of those ravens landed. Smack dab into the hand of Archmaester Jim Broadbent himself. This is a weaker scene, where there’s a lot of scoffing about the Long Night from the gathered academics. It rubs me the wrong way a little because of the current attack on facts and the intelligentsia and if the poll wasn’t rigged, how many Americans think institutions of higher learning are a threat. So to show these maesters as so out of touch felt a little close to the bone for me.
Yes, academics sometimes get it wrong, but they’re not inherently wrong. That’s the rub. Be more specific about how they’re wrong, or what they’re specifically wrong about, and then it’s not just education bashing.
I wish he has looked them in the eye and said:
“Yes, you’re experts on the world of men. But we’re not talking about the world of men anymore. With all due respect, when it comes to Winter, you pontificating daffodils don’t know shit. I was a ranger past the Great Wall, in places you’ve scarcely read about. I saw the enemy with my own eyes and when he tried to attack, I DROVE A DRAGONGLASS BLADE INTO HIM AND BANISHED HIM FROM THE WORLD. So don’t sit there in your all-knowing superiority and think you know because you don’t. No man alive has been closer to the army of the dead than me. I’ve faced them, I’ve fought them, and I’ve KILLED them. Now pull your collective thumbs out of your collective asses and FIND ME A BLOODY CURE FOR THEM.”
That said, Sam did his job, and was as assertive as he could be. Once he’s dismissed, the archmaester admits that he’s a good lad, and that he hasn’t had the heart to tell him that his family was just turned to charcoal.
Tyrion whispering in the shadows with Varys. This is as close to a remedy to my thesis of more accomplished actors being pinioned behind less accomplished actors as you’ll get.
It’s a quick scene, where we see Varys re-living the nightmare of seeing people burned before him while in the service of Dany’s father. It’s a cautionary tale for Tyrion. Is it cause for alarm? Man, I don’t think so. The show seems to be taking the Tarly-roast more seriously than I am, but again, if that’s a man ordering it, we’re not having this discussion.
Then again, I don’t remember ever seeing Varys drink, so maybe I’m missing something.
The best part of the scene is that Varys is holding a scroll.
“Who’s that for?” Tyrion asks.
“Did you read it?”
“It’s a sealed scroll for the King in the North.”
Tyrion takes a long pull from his goblet. Lovely silence ensues.
“What’s it say?”
This is perfectly executed. Perfectly acted, edited and most importantly, directed. You’ll remember that I have a loose affiliation with Matt Shakman who directed both this episode and last weeks thunderpunch to the groin, and while action takes skill, nothing is harder to direct than comedy. Nothing. Either you understand the cadence and structure and pace of a joke or you don’t. Matt Shakman’s resume includes directing gigs on ‘You’re the Worst’ and ‘Children’s Hospital’ and forty-four episodes of ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’, including the Dayman episode and Chardee MacDennis, which many people rank as the series’ top two. He knows how to craft a joke, and it shows in this scene.
Elsewhere in Dragonstone
We rack focus to Jon Snoo reading that very note. In it, he finds that both Arya and Bran are still alive.
THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUS-
He’s not dancing. There are no butterflies, like anywhere.
What’s going on?
“I thoot Ayyyya was ded. I thoot Brahn was ded.”
“I’m happy for you.” says Dany. “You don’t look happy.”
This is Emilia’s best acting to date, in this episode. It’s just conversational and subtle and understated. She’s killing it.
But Jon is like FUUUUUUUCK. Because his family is alive in Winterfell and he’s down here, swapping spit with some dragon lady in an obsidian cave. He’s gotta get up there! The goddamn army of the dead is heading toward Eastwatch! He can’t be down here petting dragons and brooding on southern cliffs and shit! He needs to be brooding on Northern ramparts and shit!
“I’ve got to go home.”
Dany points out that he doesn’t have enough fighters. Jon is like Fuck it, we’ll fight with what we have…unless you’ll join me?
And Dany is like, right—- and cede the country to Cersei! As if!
And then Tyrion comes up with the most Tyriony idea ever Tyrioned.
“What if we grab a wight?”
And everyone is intrigued! But like 74% of the viewing audience is like
“HUH? What? That’s fucking dumb! Anyone else have an idea? We don’t just have to take the first idea!”
Like maybe we don’t waste time getting a wight?
Let’s just play this out:
1) get a wight
2) bring it to Cersei
3) Cersei blows up the wight and everyone who brought it to her
Soooooo…is that like a legit plan?
I’ve never been fired from a job before (yet? There’s still hope for you Dustin…) but one thing I take a great deal of pride in is that I’ve never gone along with a shit idea without making the people in charge absolutely 100% aware that it’s a shit idea. Because if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…
So they’re all standing around Stannis’ table there and we get to see that Ser Jorah now has some fucking kick ass armor. The most unheralded person in the whole Game of Thrones is the Dothraki grandmother who keeps making everyone look fresh as fuck.
So everyone is on board with this dumbfuck plan.
Okay, how’s it gonna work?
Davos is goona smoogle Tyrion into King’s Landing but he warns him that if the Goold Clooks recognize him, he’s not a fighter. Oooh. Foreboding!
But who’s gonna pinch a wight?
I’m like SETTLE DOWN JORAH. YOU JUST GOT HERE. RELAX, HAVE A FUCKING TRISCUIT BEFORE YOU GO JAUNTING OFF.
Dany is worried about that idea. Damn she does some fine face-acting in this scene. Jaime Lannister level face acting.
Allow me to serve you, Jorah pleads. But the tone of his voice, the velvety softness of the request, sounds to Jon a bit like she’s being invited into a cave.
And so Jon decides to get the wight, because no one else realistically can, as Davos points out. The Free Folk won’t follow Jorah. Now it’s Mormont’s turn to catch the doe eyes that Khaleesi is hiding behind, not to mention this timely swallow:
Jorah is like: mother. fucking. greyscale.
She finally punts that ignoramus Daario Naharis a full continent away and where am I? Getting silently flayed alive in a lighthouse somewhere! Goddamnit! And where’s the soft place she chooses to land? This wannabe Northern badass. I’m the NORTHERN BADASS. There’s been a Northern Badass here all along! If anything, I kind of taught her to warm up to Northern Badasses, and I didn’t do it so she could run through the fucking tulips with an entirely different Northern Badass. Especially a joyless one, who’s short and mopey and has a Hand who doesn’t wear the official Hand insignia and talks like a Flea Bottom whore.
Dany thinks quickly. She can’t let her Northern Badass run off with her other Northern Badass.
“I haven’t given you permission to leave.”
HaHA! Nailed it!
And here’s my favorite line of the episode, your Napa Auto Parts quote of the game!
“With respect, Your Grace, I don’t need your permission. I am a king.”
This type of insolence would usually buy Jon a one way ticket to the Drogon Drive-Thru Oven but you get the sense that this is the moment Dany really falls for him. He gives a little speech….we push in on him…we push in on her…
And then he’s like, I troosted you, now will you troost me? And she does this hummingbird nod which is so charming. Goddamn I love this nephew-aunt sexual tension!
Words I was confident that I’d never, ever write.
We’re over Arya’s shoulder as she walks in on what appears to be the worlds longest pointless moot. What the fuck are you assholes doing in this room? Get out there and train, fuckers!
As we arrive, Lord Glover is saying that Jon should stay in the North. Just an awful, horrendous choice of character because last we saw him, he was saying that his greatest regret was not taking the field of battle with Jon. Oh how quickly things have changed. That dude needs a swift kick in the ballyones.
Cue Lady Mormont! Do we have a pint sized Valkyrie here? Lady Mormont?
Of course not. Because this shit would NEVER fly in her presence. But she’s not here. She’s out DOING WHAT SHE’S SUPPOSED TO BE DOING AND TRAINING THE PEOPLE OF BEAR ISLAND.
What’s your excuse, Yohn Royce, you effete douchenozzle?
He too, is here with the Knights of the Vale for Sansa.
Well Tralalalaladiday! As Ygritte would say.
Sansa stands and a blackness comes across her face. It’s the face of a woman who has endured too much bullshit from petty-ass men.
“My lords, I know that your words are intended to be flattering, but they ring like danger in my ears. You are pledged to Jon Snow. The King on the North, and my brother. That you came for me or that you came at all, Lord Glover, is a credit to your names. But let this be the last you ever mention a division of any kind in the North and in my family, or the danger I hear will ring back upon you both a thousandfold.”
And both Lord Glover and Ser Royce shit themselves a bit and back away, bowing, like Steve Martin characters. And Sansa sits, and the color returns to her face, and all is well in the North, now and forever, amen.
But that’s decidedly NOT what she did. And in not doing that, she tipped her hand to her sister, the person who probably knows her best in the world.
Strange choice for Sansa, who agreed to trust her family at Jon’s specific request. Whom Jon left in command of the North in his stead. Her brother, whom she treated like dirt as a child, repaid years of scorn with the biggest vote of confidence she’s ever had, and when push comes to shove, she only has his back perfunctorily?
It made me really wish I could find a Sansa Stark all scenes mix on youtube. They have them by season but I didn’t have time for all of them. But my sense is that the innocence she had in the early series has been replaced by a deep mistrust, possibly a fatal one, and that there’s more Cersei in her now than Cat. But we’ll see.
Arya of course, confronts her on it.
To Sansa’s credit, she takes the high road. When Arya clicks her tongue at Sansa being in their parents quarters, Sansa is like “don’t do that. Are you angry with me?”
That is an adult response. Credit to her for opening up the conversation.
It’s Arya, unfortunately, who makes it about something else. Arya could have chosen to say listen, I get it, you’re in a tough spot, but you really need to be more severe when people even hint at turning on Jon.
But instead Arya chooses to revert to childhood squabbles, “You always liked nice things…”
Faced with that, with the reminder of who she was, Sansa is less inclined to have an adult conversation. If we’re name calling, then fuck it, I’m going to get back to work. Think of me what you will. I’m doing the best I can and while it may be nice to go around knocking people’s heads off, that’s not my bag.
Someone pointed out in the comments last week that Sansa doesn’t know who’s on Arya’s kill list, and she betrayed Arya pretty openly last time they were in King’s Landing, so…
Sisters are sooooo tough, man. Sister vs sister is so much more daunting and complex than Broother vs broother. At least from what I’ve seen. I have four of each and I’m telling you, brother fights are like one dummy hitting another dummy with a fucking potato. Sister fights last forever, never really die and they don’t subside and change into drunken stupidity and insta-best-friends-again-until-the-next-potato like dude fights do. Of course, other people may have a different experience. That’s just what I’ve seen with my own eyes.
Arya excuses herself.
Ooooooh. Sister fight! Goddamn that burns.
I hope they work it out. Honestly. I hate Starks fighting and I especially hate the Sansa Stark character sort of being framed as a bad guy. No likey.
Now we land in a small cove outside King’s Landing. True to his word, the Onion Knight has smuggled them in.
“Last time I was here I killed my father with a crossbow.”
“Last time I was here you killed my son with Wyldfire.”
Huh. Damn. Tyrion is a straight up killer. I never think of him that way. I think of him saying that the history of civilization is just about conversations in elegant rooms. Or whatever.
He tells Tyrion where to go and how to go, and stomps a stake into the sand to keep the boat from floating off.
I know I’m in the minority, but I think Liam Cunningham is the best actor on the show. I believe every single thing about him, I believe his moods and manners, his scowls and smiles. Many actors wilt when they’re in a scene with Dinklage because he’s so good.
But Cunningham’s Davos shines. Just shines. I’ve never seen Liam Cunningham give a bad performance and as far as I’m concerned, from this point forward —
about the halfway mark — he absolutely steals the show.
Davos heads off. Tyrion is like, where are you going? What if someone takes the boat?
Then we’re fooked! Best hurry!
Goddamn that’s amazing. As a strategist, he’s sort of the opposite of Tyrion. Let’s get the plan cooking and figure the rest out as we go.
Under the Red Keep
Bronn leads Jaime on a torchlit walk through the dragon skulls until they arrive at Jaime’s little brother.
Now this is where I expected to have my fanhood for Jaime rewarded. Because Tyrion is still raw. And there’s no one in his current team who could possibly understand, who could know what it was like growing up with Tywin’s foot on your head.
But Jaime would know. He would understand.
And it’s the first time in Tyrion’s life that he’s really someone. An official. Not through nepotism, through merit. He has become someone in the world. The consigliere of the mightiest force in the Known World. And this is the first time his family gets to see him in those particular vestments.
And we don’t know it until we’re here, although many who are more tuned in to emotions will have just understood it on a molecular level, but Tyrion is here as much for the plan as he is to see his brother. He just needs…his family. He orchestrated the largest Lannister murder in history and he just needs to be with family and know he’s still, somehow, okay.
The one person who can make him okay is his big brother. Who broke him out of jail and saved his life. Who loves him.
But Jaime is an astounding disappointment here. He hits none of the brotherly beats I had hoped for. There’s no embrace. There’s no mutual consolation. There’s no apology about Tyrion’s trial now that he knows the truth. There’s no laughter or shared memories or joy at seeing his brother’s place in the world. There is only this husk. Cersei’s goon.
Tyrion tries several times to make a connection, but Jaime is a menhir.
When Tyrion gets emotional about their father, rather than even mildly consoling him or trying to empathize, Jaime brusquely cuts him off and demands to know his business.
When Tyrion saw Jaime on the field of battle, he rooted for him and willed him to be safe.
When Jaime saw Tyrion, in private, he threatened to chop him in half.
Fuck Jaime. What an absolute conflicted, useless dolt.
I say that, of course, and will still be rooting for him to get redemption. God it’s tough being an idiot sometimes.
The Street of Steel
Finally, Gendry is back in the Game.
The whole thing was fine, to be honest. The Joe Dempsie performance played out as a bit anticlimactic for me, and the director knew it because he tried to seed the onset with some inserts to give it tension before the reveal. And maybe it’s just me, but man I don’t like Gendry with short hair. I was kind of hoping he’d have locks like Mark Antony by now, but it is what it is. Gendry was more handsome in earlier episodes, but it’s okay. Nothing fucks you like age.
He grabs his warhammer — a really nice, emotional touch as Robert Baratheon’s son, and they head out.
I don’t know why Davos picks the name Clovis, but coming out of his mouth it’s so funny. The stupid Goldcloaks reminded me of the idiot cops in Jonathan Demme’s ‘The Ref.’ Just a couple of morons who were lucky enough to be made cops. That’s it. Not a thread of moral fiber between them. I love the casting of these guys. Perfect. As perfect in King’s Landing as the casting of the Duck Dynasty guards in Winterfell. Spot on.
Now we’ve had a bunch of deus ex machina things happen during our watch of this show, but nothing beats the existence of fucking fermented crab. Et voila!
Listen, I know everyone likes Littlefinger and Olenna and Tyrion. But Davos loaded his wagon with fermented fooking crab in the eventuality that some donkeys might start braying. He’s a fucking genius. And a goddamn showman. His whole fermented crab pitch was unreal. Every word believable. He was believable when he initially went to pay them. He was believable when he came back to bargain. He was believable with the crab. He had those idiots coming and going right until the second Gendry caved their skulls with that Mjolnir.
The one mistake in the scene, if that word can be used, is that it would have been great to see Davis scurry to get his gold back. It would have been a great button. But maybe they didn’t need it, because when Davos introduces Gendry, Tyrion’s laconic “he’ll do” was magical.
Again, no one knows timing like a comedy director.
Jaime walks in as Qyburn is again leaving.
“Why was Qyburn here?”
“He’s the hand of the queen. Why are you here?”
Seriosuly fucking Jaime, meet me at camera five.
Jaime, dude: she is over you. She is plotting against you. All she wants it to keep you loyal long enough to use you and churn you like butter and then shit you out. Wake up, dummy!
So Jaime is like “I met with Tyrion” and Cersei already knows.
That’s yet another reason why Jaime needs to flee. Because it’s no longer all about what they want as a team. There is what he knows, which she also knows because he tells her, and there is what she knows, which he absolutely doesn’t know, and apparently doesn’t know that he doesn’t know!
This whole thing is a bore, frankly. If Jaime is too stupid to see the very plain writing on the wall, then I’m done with him.
Until next scene.
But Cersei lets Jaime in on a little fake secret! She’s preggers! And Jaime gets to be the father this time! Oh the things he’ll do with his non-existent child! Play ball and teach him ho to ride a bike! Oh goody! This non-existent, made up fake baby is going to be awesome! They hug and Jaime is overcome with passion and emotion and while that’s all happening, Cersei says:
“Don’t ever betray me again.”
Jeeeee-zus! Stupid plonker. Learn anything.
Davos and Gendry are doing a walk and talk to Jon Snoo’s cave. Davos is giving Gendry a laundry list of rules and as soon as they get inside, Gendry breaks all of them.
There’s chemistry between Ned and Robert’s son. Goddamn it’s good and right and important for this show. It makes me feel ancient and yet somehow young and hopeful again.
Gendry signs up with Jon, despite Davos’ earnest protests, and Davos is left to deliver yet another staggeringly great line:
“Yeah, nobody mind me. All I’ve ever done is lived to a ripe old age.”
HAHAHAHAHAHA. I love you so much Davos. My god.
This episode is so chock full of information it’s staggering.
Now we’re on the beach, and the Stark men are launching out to sea. Tyrion walks up and talks privately with Ser Jorah.
You may remember that the last time they spoke was in the stepped throne room in Meereen, where Jorah had endeavored to present Tyrion as a gift to Daenerys, most likely so she could kill him.
Tyrion, though, immediately proved his worth when asked about Jorah’s role. He said that when she returns to Westeros to conquer the seven kingdoms, Jorah cannot be by her side.
And that’s the last they saw of each other.
Tyrion hands Jorah the coin they received from the slaver who bought them, a coin that was supposed to last the rest of their lives. Interesting that Tyrion still has it. Says something about him wanting to remember that time or that feeling.
He passes it to Jorah, for luck, and tells him to bring it back. That the queen needs him. Hatchets buried. It’s a new day.
Look at that idiot Dothraki photobombing the picture with his flexing. God I can’t stand the Dothraki.
Jorah, to his credit, is gentlemanly and dignified, and recognizes the peace offering for what it is. Once you’ve been silently flayed, I doubt as many other things ruffle your feathers too much after that.
And now comes the queen. I can’t believe he hasn’t called her Khaleesi this whole time. What a galactic disappointment.
She walks to him and they square up. It’s a moment.
She makes a quip about how they should be better at saying goodbye by now. He’s about to try to break the friendzone, but before he can she quickly stops him by grabbing his hands.
Ser Friendzone. Have a good trip. See you next fall.
This is enough of a moment that I’m fairly confident that Jorah is a dead man walking. This is the last time they’ll see each other alive. But that’s just a guess, obviously.
He leans over and kisses her hands as the King in the North strolls up, now with Longclaw back on his hip where it should be.
“If I don’t return you won’t have to deal with the King in the North anymore.”
“I’ve grown used to him.”
Jon is polite. He gives nothing away. At this point, they could be madly in love or just admire each other, and we could make a case either way.
“I wish you good fortune in the wars to come, Your Grace.”
And with that, he’s off. Tyrion studies Dany as her two Northern Badasses leave her, possibly for good.
And then we see this look from Jorah.
Ooof. That’s not good. That’s a farewell look. Jorah is definitely a goner.
I have a theory on this, that I was thinking about. But it might be a spoiler of sorts. Highlight the space below if you’re interested.
What if Jorah dies, up north, and they keep him and tie him up, so that he’s the undead who returns with them to King’s Landing. And somehow he gives Tyrion the coin back as a way to say “kill me.”
Just an idea…
Last note about that scene: Dany had some Big Box Store quality Bronzer on in that segment. Just an awful, overly tan makeup job. Reminds me of the same tanning issue as the scene with Varys and the Red Woman where he looked like he was in Ibiza. Weird. But I’m not going to make a big deal about it. As Jon cries HEAVE! Emilia Clarke bids farewell to her best performance to date.
Now we’re with Sam and Gilly and she’s dropping knowledge all over the place, but Sam has one job: find white walkers and how to kill them. He doesn’t care about annulments or the lineage of random heirs. If the Army of the Dead cross the North, who gives a shit about lineage?
Gilly also mentions who shot JFK, but Sam is busy, damnit!
You can go online to find like 1000 think pieces about this particular development. For my money, it wasn’t really necessary, but it’s not a shock that at the eleventh hour, the very male-heavy writing staff makes a choice to elevate the boy over the girl in the Targaryen ascendancy grid. You have lots of people talking about agnatic primogeniture and the like.
‘Agnatic primogeniture’ by the way, is my safe word with Lady C between the sheets.
Or it should be.
So yes, there’s a lot of talk about this and I’ll leave you to it. It feels like a bit of a pitfall to discuss the gender based inheritance restrictions of a fake universe. Ultimately I think it’ll be a shoulder shrug anyway. I’m not sure there will be an Iron Throne next season and I doubt Jon would want it if there is.
So Sam and Gilly roll the fuck out of dodge and the head to parts unknown. Maybe Horn Hill? Sam is still a soldier of the Night’s watch. Anywhere but Castle Black or the Citadel would be tantamount to desertion, and that’s a head-losin’ crime.
15,782 shits indeed!
At first it feels like we’re watching Arya catch Littlefinger and then eventually it feels like we’re watching Littlefinger set Arya up. I’ve been wondering why Baelish would stick around the North this long when he owns Harrenhal and the Eyrie (more or less). But he must have some plan in motion.
It just seems like “drive a wedge between the Stark girls” isn’t much of a plan. And yeah I know chaos is a ladder, but I’ll be honest, it’s not even remotely in the fermented crab league.
I also don’t know why Maester Wolkan is assisting Littlefinger with anything! That gutless fink. It was Maester Wolkan, you may remember, who was in the room when Ramsey Bolton stabbed and murdered his father, Roose. And Ramsay was like ‘send out ravens that me dad was poisoned.’
And Wolkan did it.
I’m not sure what his game is or if he’s just a large dipshit, but he better get shipshape, stat. Or Arya Stark is going to make little holes in him.
And Baelish, too.
Man, time flies on this show. The gang is up at Eastwatch. No Euron on the high seas! He’s really slipping!
We find Tormund in charge, the way he said he’d be.
I GUESS HE’S THE NIGHT’S WATCH NOW! HO HO HO!
It’s so weird to have Tormund in charge of anything. Especially in like, a building. He’s such a big dummy.
But they all sit at a table and discuss the plan. Tormund was at Hardhome. He’s not thrilled about the idea of going out naked past the Wall.
“Isn’t it your job to talk him out of stupid fucking ideas like this?”
“I’ve been failing at that job of late.”
“How many queens are there now?”
“And you need to convince the one with dragons or the one who fucks her brother?”
Mainly Tormund wants to know if he brought “The Big Woman” along.
Goddamn that’s great face acting there. And Jon doesn’t smile enough. I love these guys.
As it turns out, they’re not the only ones trying to get North of the Wall. Tormund leads them down to the gaol, where The Hound and Beric and Thoros are locked up in a cell.
Now I could have spent the entire deep dive on this scene alone, the number of connections, reunions and moments of recognition, but all I kept thinking was:
Where’s my boy Anguy?
Anyone out there remember Anguy? The Aaron Rodgers-lookin’ archer who was training Arya? Best archer in the Seven Kingdoms? He’s a stone cold killer at range. Where’d he prattle off to?
It’s like he up and vanished. Darn.
So there’s the reunion scene. Lots of tension, lots of anger.
Jon saw The Hound at Winterfell. Thinks of him as a Lannister stooge.
Gendry was literally sold like a slave to the Red Woman by Beric and Thoros.
Jorah’s dad hunted and killed Tormund’s friends.
Lots of bad blood, lots of reason to fight.
The Hound is over it.
Are we coming with you or not?
Jon realizes, they’re all on the side of the living, the breathing. And that has to be enough.
We get a cool shot of the door in the Eastwatch Wall opening, reminiscent of the mouth of the dragon, and then a beauty shot of this profoundly skilled group of warriors. Look at this breakdown. They’re amazing. Though, it would be even more daunting with an archer.
That’s a hell of a murderer’s row. Too bad the things they’re hunting are, y’know, already murdered.
So they tromp forward. I can’t believe that Jon and the Hound are on the same team. It’s borderline overdosing on testosterone. I look at this contingent of beef and I feel like I just ate a steak and cheese sandwich and drank a Schlitz.
Out out out to the mist and the spectre of death they go, uncertain of the challenges and perils that await them. But if you’re going to face the unknown, I’m guessing that this would have to be one of the more elite groups of rangers ever to stride out of the Wall.
And they have a really really stupid plan.
Can’t wait to see how it all shakes out!
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