As per usual, (major) spoilers alert! Don’t read on until you’ve seen the episode…
This weeks’ episode had a few neat twists for the series as a whole, but was a bit “ploddy” again. Get the action going, c’mon! And I don’t know if its just me, but things are starting to feel a little predictable…
Guess who’s back
So let’s talk about the elephant (well, hound) in the room… the big dog himself is back, just as I anticipated! Even though I had an idea that it was coming, I was still a bit surprised by the left-field, pre-credits intro to this weeks’ episode. And it looks like he’s now ready to take up arms again, given how being a chilled non-violent pacifist type has worked out for his new buddies.
What I was a little confused about was why the rest of the peaceful villagers got it from those Brotherhood types. Sure, the Hound said that they’d come back for the food and the women, but it looked more like they had just butchered them all for fun (including the ladies). And unless the Hound has got incredible hearing (unlikely with the old burny burny face face) it seems they didn’t stick about long enough to nick anything at all.
It seems like the Brotherhood without Banners may have turned into the arseholes that they were trying to protect people from… unless of course they weren’t Brotherhood, but someone else.
Either way this little plotline seemed like a nice quick way to reintroduce the Hound without having any other loose ends to worry about (not that that usually deters Game of Thrones, but perhaps we now literally have to see a bloated hanging face or severed head to make sure we know that character is not coming back from the dead)
She should have seen that coming (I know I did)
Surely, given that she’s been on the inside of the House of Black and White, knows how that works, and went so far as to sleep with needle at the end of last week’s episode, you’d have thought Arya would have been a little more wary of weird, crone-like women walking straight up to her.
There was a moment where I thought that she was for it, but this can’t be the end of her. Not a chance… surely. In the old days, I’d have probably thought there was a chance – it’s just another Ned/Robb moment I guess, but now I’m not so sure. Stark’s are thin on the ground these days and things don’t seem to be as wildly unpredictable as perhaps they once were. Mind you, I’m not exactly sure how she’s going to figure it out given she had multiple belly stabs and some sort of cross-body slash before she threw herself into a river. Perhaps a friendly face will turn up to help her out? Just as long as it’s the actual person she thinks it is behind that face of course.
The Bitch of Bear Island
I loved her! Lyanna Mormont is a great little know-it-all… with 62 men. She had some fantastic comebacks to her would-be- condescending-if-they-could-get-a-word-in-edgeways visitors “Sansa Bolton isn’t it? Or is it Lannister, I hear conflicting reports” Boom! Put Sansa right in her place.
Thank God(s) that Davos was there to convince her- friendships with young female aristocracy is something of a speciality of his. Even if the result was a little thin on numbers, apparently Bear Islanders are worth 10 men each… so add 620 to the roster of Jon Snow’s mishmash wilding army.
Sansa sees some sense?
Jon’s army clearly need more men (I mean, even Blackadder’s Percy turned them down), and again, I saw Sansa’s little note coming. Is GoT becoming more predictable? Anyway, no doubt that there will be a raven on its way to the Vale as we speak to drop a “go on then, give us a hand” note to the weasely Littlefinger, and they’ll show up just in time to save a failing Wildling army. But at what cost? Littlefinger does nothing without it benefiting his own ends in some way, so I wonder what the price for saving the day will be. Perhaps Sansa will end up having to placate that milksop “bitty” Robin Arryn again. Gross.
One things for certain, Jon and Sansa had better pull their finger out, or Rickon may well end up having the shortest amount of screentime of any of the Stark’s, and become a flailed body over the gates of Winterfell. I’m a bit surprised that Ramsay hasn’t done it already given the fact that he’s a total whack-job arsehole.
Jaime and Bronn (welcome back by the way) turned up at Riverrun to turf out the Blackfish. They seemed to have arrived pretty quickly with their 8000 men given how long it used to take anyone to get anywhere in Westeros. I loved the golden-handed bitch slap Jaime gave that little Frey twerp after he bitched out on doing-in Edmure. Empty threats mean nothing! Each week, the Frey’s remind me of different kids TV shows – last week was Maid Marian, this week they were a lot more Chucklevision.
Anyway, everyone loves an underdog, and the Blackfish appears to be the under-est dog there is. The last of the Lannister’s real opponents (if you put a Wildling army run by a bastard to one side). Treating with Jaime just for something to do is one way to pass the time I suppose. I wonder if Jaime’s loud retorts about letting good men die was a plot hint moving forward for some good old-fashioned rebellion and treachery? Perhaps some of the Blackfish’s men will double-cross him? It’s been a while since we’ve had a ‘Why is Roose Bolton wearing mail under his shirt’ moment.
In the meantime Jaime will be getting Edmure back to par and then sweet talking him as much as possible no doubt to attempt to get the castle back peacefully. Something tells me he’s barking up the wrong tree with that.
The rose of Highgarden
I’m glad that we were shown that Margery hasn’t been brainwashed this week, and glad that she told her dear old gran to bugger off before it was too late. What I’m hoping is that she goes back to Highgarden, gathers their Army and then we can have another nice big King’s Landing battle. It’s been a while.
Granny Tyrell’s parting comments to Cersei were just too good. Once she’d finished, Cersei had a little lip-tightening and I thought, just for a second, that the Mountain would be chopping off a head. But alas, it wasn’t to be (not that I want to see an old Lady get her head cut off you understand). “Are you the worst person I’ve ever met?” Lovely. And she did point out to Cersei that she’s pretty vulnerable now. All Lannisteresque talk of strength and Lions and all that rubbish is going to sound pretty hollow from her now, and even a zombie Mountain can’t kill everyone (or can he?)
Must have been a fair wind
Theon and Yara (who I didn’t realise was called Yara until this series, since she’s Asha in the books) are on the run, but taking some well-earned time out to visit a brothel or two. They also seemed to have managed to cross half the world pretty quickly, and are on route to Meereen to treat with the Mother of Dragons… I’m not entirely sure what they have to offer her in return at this stage, a few ships and fealty I guess of the Iron Islands should she help them out of a fix. Theon looked pleased to be back in his favourite sort of establishment didn’t he?!
Force fed drink by his big (apparently Lesbian by the way – who knew) sister and more or less told to man up or do one. At least he appears to be on his way back from being Reek to being Theon.
“Pulling a Theon”
It’s funny how Game of Thrones puts you through real cycles of feelings towards characters – and this is true of the books too, and a testament to how well written it is. You may hate certain characters at some points – they’re definitely the baddies – and then low and behold, you change your mind when they’re down on their luck. Characters are well-rounded, but equally troubled and often thrown into bad situations that you can’t help but feel sorry for them.
With the books, each chapter is written from a different characters perspective, so this literally lets you inside their heads to understand them a little more and if not empathise with them, at least sympathise for them.
With the series, it’s great that they’ve managed to keep this going. Poor Theon was in fact a key part of things going majorly tits-up for the Starks and Winterfell (who are definitely the heroes) so we should hate him. But having your knob (and a couple of fingers) cut off by someone like Ramsey Bolton is probably comeuppance enough. After that, you do really feel for him! I’m now rooting for him to get his act together and go and kick some A. We can perhaps call this phenomenon “pulling a Theon” – also employed by Tyrion (repeatedly framed for things he didn’t do, ruined life more or less), Jaime (sword hand cut off) and the Hound (found soft side but then all but left for dead by Arya).
I guess as long as there is a badder bad guy, there’s always hope. I doubt that we can get much worse than Ramsey, so I for one hope that his death is a particularly drawn out affair.
So what’s next?
Now more than ever, I’m feeling (and hoping) that the mighty brotherly showdown of once-nearly-dead-Dog vs actually-died-but-now-reanimated-Mountain might just happen soon. I’m not sure exactly how though, as it’s pretty clear that the Hound has not become a monk as suggested in the books. Perhaps he’ll be doing it for revenge for his face-burn – maybe he holds his bruv responsible for everything that has happened to him since then or something. Either way, it’s surely got to happen at some point.
I hope the Tyrell’s come back and give the High Sparrow something to chirp about. I’m getting a bit sick of hearing the fanatics going on about atonement and bla bla bla. He’s earned a head-lop I reckon.
And not forgetting those not seen in this episode – where’s Dany up to? Is Tyrion still holding back Varys from verbally abusing that other red woman? Where is the original red woman too for that matter? How on earth does Euron expect his people to build him a thousand ships when he lives on an island seemingly made entirely out of rock? How far will fat Sam and thin Gilly be able to run with Daddy’s precious sword? Are we going to see Dondarrion and Dennis Pennis ever again? Or for that matter Gendry?! Is Benjen going to stick with Bran for a while? Is Bran going to stop messing things up? What are the Dornish doing now that they’ve done away with the pacifist in the chair, his badass bodyguard and his heir?
Fingers crossed all this and more is answered in the next 3 hours of Thrones action, otherwise it’s going to be another long wait until next year (we all know whatever does get answered there’ll be a whole bunch of other stuff to be anticipating for another year!)