This season of Game of Thrones is a giant mind frak for someone like me, who’s read the books, but for whom it’s been a while. I’m finding it really interesting to watch the show not knowing for sure what’s going to happen, but I also find myself second guessing what I do and don’t remember happening in the books. Like the dude who dies in this episode, I did check the Wiki of Ice and Fire just to make sure that he’s still alive in the books. He is. And he’s a POV character, so…
I was listening to a podcast this morning, and there was a lot of discussion about things that have been left out of this season, things I will not get into here, because spoilers. There are a few characters who have not yet been mentioned on the show (and who have apparently not been cast this season), whose storylines could take other peoples’s storylines in wild directions. The podcasters wondered if this meant that those particular characters are not important, that they’re just padding the books, killing time until George R.R. Martin can get to the meat of things in books six and seven. The podcasters were concerned that this could mean whole storylines in the book are meaningless dead ends and red herrings. (I think they’re jumping the gun because A) the show is already introducing a bunch of new characters this season, and adding even two or three more would be A LOT, and B) since book six is no where near being released, the show needs to slow its roll and save a couple things for season six, right? I bet we’ll see these people next year.)
But the “big death” this episode, Ser Barristan Selmy, is kind of a big one, though not a big one for show-only viewers (and apparently not a big one for me either, because I kind of forgot he was a POV character in book five — so maybe the podcasters are onto something. Maybe a bunch of the stuff in the books truly is superfluous). I mean, what does this say about wherever Ser Barristan’s story is going in book six? Will the show drop his story completely? Will the show just replace him with another character we already know and know better, kind of like what they’re doing with Sansa at Winterfell (my prediction: Grey Worm basically takes his place)? This actually excites me. I’ve enjoyed the ways the show has diverged from the books this season. In most cases, the changes have been improvements. Also, this death makes things rough for Daenerys because she has lost her sagest advisor while the Sons of the Harpy grow stronger. It just got even rougher to be queen.
What were other people up to this episode? Well…this was basically a setup episode. People getting from place to place or going to new places.
Jaime and Bronn arrive in Dorne. They fight some people, take some horses. They talk about death before all of this so — just putting this out there; I have no prior knowledge and this is not a book spoiler — Bronn will be dead by the end of the season. Calling it now.
We meet the Sand Snakes. Oberyn Martell’s bastard daughters and his girlfriend want to avenge his death. They know Jaime’s in town, and they need to keep him away from Myrcella, AKA their one shot at REVENGE.
Tyrion and Jorah are on a boat and they realize that they both want to take Tyrion to Dany, so win-win! And Tyrion points out that Dany will probably be just as non-excited to see Jorah as she will be to see Tyrion.
Jon still doesn’t want to go to Winterfell, so JUST STOP ASKING, OK? Put away your boobs, Melissandre, and tell Davos to put away his.
Stannis proves that he loves his daughter, even if she’s not a boy and even if she’s got the greyscale (which he inadvertently gave to her, via a doll from a Dornish merchant, so parental guilt).
Cersei is sending Mace Tyrell to the Iron Bank of Braavos, so he can feel important and she can get at least one Tyrell out of King’s Landing.
She’s also allowed the High Sparrow to form a Faith Militant, a group of armed religious zealots who use violence to stop people from sinning. There’s no way this can go wrong.
She gives them a few names to check up on, including the queen’s brother, Loras. He’s in jail now. Margaery is pissed, and she wants Tommen to work his king’s magic to get her brother out of the tower. Tommen tries but the Faith Militant won’t let him see the Sparrow, so Tommen gives up and goes home. He doesn’t want to be a violent jerk hole king, which is admirable, but for how long will that work?
Sansa is up at Winterfell waiting to be married to Ramsay. And Littlefinger is leaving. Before he goes, he tells her the story of when Rhaegar Targaryan won the big tournament at Harrenhal; and instead of crowning his wife, Elia Martell, with the winter rose crown, he gave the crown to Sansa’s aunt, Lyanna Stark. The question is posed — How many people have died over the years because he picked Lyanna? (Ser Barristan also takes some time to tell Dany stories about how her brother was a cool dude, who liked to play music in the streets and didn’t actually like to kill people. Rhaegar was all over this episode. Which, hmmm…brings me back to those people the podcasters were wondering about earlier today…)
Littlefinger is on his way back to King’s Landing, because he doesn’t want Cersei to get suspicious. He’s pretty sure that Stannis will march on Winterfell soon enough, i.e. he will defeat the Boltons and Sansa will be come wardeness of the North. Or if Stannis loses, she’ll marry Ramsay, who seems nice enough, right? Then Littlefinger kisses her on the lips and it’s gross.
- Jaime looking longingly at Tarth. He remembers you, Brienne! And he wants to die in the arms of the woman he loves, whom I’m pretty sure is no longer Cersei. What I’m saying is, you have a shot!
- Lancel is now a big important Faith Militant, because he got carved in the forehead.
- Jorah leaves money for the dude whose boat he stole, because he’s a GOOD GUY deep down.
- I don’t think Grey Worm is dead, right? We only saw one body in front of Dany. That would be A LOT of loss for her.
- Every time someone mentions that there are no more Starks, I think, “Rickon! #NeverForget.” (Speaking of stuff I hope happens next season…I’m being awfully cryptic in this recap.)
What did you think of this episode?
SPOILER-Y THEORY: My bet is now that Varys is alone and looking for something to do, HE will be the one who winds up running into the Griffs. Maybe it won’t happen this season, but it could happen? Thoughts. With all the heavy-handed Rhaegar stuff this episode, I’m wondering if next season won’t be the season of Maybe Targaryans.
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