Very tricky, Game of Thrones. When I saw what this episode was called, I thought the titular "gift" would be The Gift, AKA the bit of land Jon's trying to lure the wildlings to. But it wasn't about that gift, in fact, we barely spent any time with Jon at all this week. That said, there were gifts flying all over the place this week -- good gifts and bad, accepted gifts and gifts thrown back in the giver's face (quite literally).
Tyrion: Tyrion was the most gifty gift of the episode. He actually used the phrase "the gift" to describe himself. He and Jorah were sold to a gladiator trainer who would force them to fight in an preliminary battle in order to see who'd win the right to compete at the big tournament Daenerys is sponsoring. Jorah winds up fighting in the battle, revealing himself to Daenerys, and presenting Tyrion Lannister to her as his gift.
This whole thing was tied up too neatly for me. 1) Jorah is sold right away because he's an awesome fighter with a lot of pedigree. Tyrion begs to be taken along and shows his fighting prowess by beating up a guard using only the chains on his hands and feet. So, Tyrion and Jorah are still together. No big deal. 2) Jorah realizes Dany just happens to RANDOMLY be watching these particular fights on this particular day, so he rushes into the arena and dispatches with everyone in record time. Dany is about to leave when he comes out, but she, in a very rom-commy, manufactured way, finds herself drawn to this fighting man, despite the fact that two seconds ago, she was disgusted by the whole affair. 3) Instead of leaving or killing Jorah on the spot, she lets him talk and lets him introduce his traveling buddy, Tyrion. For a fighting scene involving slave trading and the reunion of two old frenemies, this whole sequence was very low-tension. It feels like pieces moving around a chessboard.
Sam: Up on the Wall, Gilly gives Sam her gift, which, yes, is a euphemism for her vagina. But first, he gets the great gift of watching his mentor, Maester Aemon, die. Now the Wall is Maester-less. Dun-dun!
The Wall is also Jon-less and Stannis-less, so basically all hell has broken loose. The rangers are ready to rape and pillage, which is actually pretty in-character, all told. These guys are, for the most part, law breakers who only came to the Wall because they were already rapists and pillagers. Stannis even mentioned this a few weeks ago, when he didn't want to leave his wife and daughter behind on the Wall. It's just REALLY, REALLY unfortunate that the Gilly near-rape scene happened only one week after the Sansa definitely-rape scene. Also, having Gilly go from being attacked by two dickwads to immediately jumping on the dragon glass in Sam's pants felt icky and unearned, to me anyway.
That said, I think I know where this storyline is going and I think the attack on Gilly may be the catalyst for what's coming. At the same time, did she really have to find herself in harm's way in order to get to the point where what I think will happen does happen? Eh, probably not. Rape is not always the answer, lazy writers. Neither are boobs.
Melisandre: She tries to give Stannis her gift, but he throws it back in her face (NOT literally) after she asks him to sacrifice his daughter, Shireen, to ensure victory in the North. Didn't Melisandre see that episode two weeks ago? Stannis LOVES his daughter. We saw him hug her kind of!
Bronn: Oh, Dorne. I am so disappointed by this storyline. Here we get Myrcella telling Jaime she doesn't want to leave with her father/uncle who barely knows her, and why would she? Dorne has been great for her. Other than the stupid Sand Snakes inexplicably wanting to harm her, a young girl, Myrcella has it pretty good. Prince Doran likes her. She's in love with the dude she's supposed to marry. It's all coming up Myrcella. Jaime should just go home and help Brienne save Winterfell.
Bronn is in jail, and so are the Sand Snakes. One of them, doesn't matter which, shows him her boobs BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE DOES, and tells him she hit him with a poisoned spear. With very little pushback, she tosses him THE GIFT of the poison's antidote. And now he's going to be okay and what is with all of the lazy, boring choices, writers? This episode was chockablock with lazy, boring choices.
Threekon: Sansa did what everyone kind of feared she would do after the rape last week. She cowered in her bed and asked Theon for help. This whole situation gives me a case of the question marks, because no one is behaving in any way consistent with their character. Ramsay, whose character I maintain also got the short end of the stick last week, is just a run-of-the-mill psychopath. He forces himself upon his wife every night and flays people. He is not concerned about remaining on his best behavior so that his father will not revoke his decision to de-bastardize his son. Ramsay's not really concerned about losing his status when Fat Walda's baby is born. He's just Ramsay being Ramsay.
Sansa, too, confuses me. She cowers in her room, but then BOLDLY mentions Ramsay's impending half-brother. That's the kind of stuff that will get you flayed. Where was that moxie last week?
Only Theon's actions make sense. He's still terrified of Ramsay, he warns Sansa about him, and then reveals her desire to leave. He's still Reek, even after having watched Sansa being raped last week. So? Status quo. The rape did NOTHING to further the plot.
Littlefinger: He and Olenna remind us that they both killed Joffrey and are dependent on the other to keep their damn mouths shut. Littlefinger gives Olenna the gift of a boy...which boy? Could he have found Gendry?
Cersei: She tries to give Margaery the gift of food, but Marg won't take it. She wants nothing to do with Cersei, who, she's positive, is the reason why Margaery's in prison. Tommen won't eat either. Why won't people listen to Cersei about the importance of a balanced meal? She's just trying to help!
Cersei finally gets her comeuppance this week, when the High Sparrow arrests her for, well, we don't know what specifically, but it could be a lot of things. Now she's in prison and, presumably, will stand trial, unless she confesses and is subject to the Mother's Mercy. The lesson is: Those who have the most to hide shouldn't go spilling other people's secrets. That's, like, Littlefinger 101.
- Stannis and company are very cold. 40 horses died over night. Davos is ready to GTFO, but Stannis won't go backward, only forward.
- Daario wishes Dany would marry him. She says that she can't, even if she wants to, which who says she does? He thinks she's the only slave left in Meereen. Burn.
- So, it wasn't Brienne who told Sansa to leave the candle. It was just the old lady inside Winterfell.
- Ghost! Seeing him really made me wish Sansa still had a direwolf looking out for her.
- Sam fighting those guys made me think of George McFly telling Biff to get his damn hands off her.
- OK, was it just me, or was there definite chemistry between Lady Olenna and the High Sparrow? #Spolenna?
What did you think?