Spoilers will fly. No, no dragons yet.
Actually not much happens to Daenerys Stormborn yet. The Mother of Dragons Who’s Kind of Dragon-less At The Moment is taken to Vaes Dothrak to await some sort of… judgement? Her advisors back in Meereen seem kind of powerless. We see Varys doing what he does best, obtaining information. We see Tyrion trying to make small talk with Missandei and Grey Worm in what could’ve been a seriously funny drinking game. Except none of them drink. It was a losing battle from the start, Tyrion. Let it go. Finally getting to the serious matters at hand, Tyrion asks Varys to send messages to the Masters of the other cities of Slaver’s Bay. Something tells me this is not another drinking game.
The flashbacks with Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven (a superbly cast Max Von Sydow) are getting interesting. This look behind to the past is revealing much of what might be coming ahead for the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. It also gave us the truth behind a battle only told in hindsight between Eddard “Ned” Stark and Ser Arthur Dayne, the man that has been mentioned as the greatest swordsman that ever lived. Ser Dayne is only one of two Kingsguard protecting the Tower of Joy (yes, you and I know that’s the Tower of Joy) while Ned has four allies with him, including Howland Reed. However when Ser Dayne draws two swords we know we’re about to see some shit go down. It was a shame to see Ser Dayne go down as he did, stabbed in the back. In technique, he was vastly superior to his foes.
Also, did young Ned Stark actually heard Bran? Does that camera change in which we see Ned Stark turning around imply that this is not just a mere vision but an actual portal to the past? And if so, does that mean Bran could potentially change the past? Too many questions arise here.
We finally see Arya going from being beaten to hitting back. She’s suddenly winning her duels with the Waif (yeah, I’m calling her that). Jaqen H’ghar finally gives her water to drink from the well. We’ve seen people die after drinking from the well, but he assures her that if she is truly no one then no harm will come to her. Arya gets her sight back and we cheer with relief. What was the point of all that? I guess to have Arya to fight without one of her senses – and freak us out at the same time.
Because all can’t be roses we’re going to King’s Landing. Tommen goes to face the High Sparrow so his mother can visit Myrcella’s tomb… and this is a dull conversation that accomplishes nothing except that prove once again that Tommen is not good at giving orders. Cersei and Jaime Lannister also interrupt a session of the High Council (Lady Olenna!) but to no avail, as they all walk away. Pycelle is going to get his head crushed some day. Furious, Cersei goes down to Qyburn’s laboratory where he’s bribing Varys’ birds with sweets, and asks him to find out who’s plotting against the Lannisters. Qyburn has an unwavering loyalty to Cersei, which of course depends of the success of the tasks assigned. Fortunately, he’s really good at what he does – even dangerously so. However, one phrase from him was unnerving – he tells the little birds that Gregor is friends with whomever is his friend. You can draw any parallels to Dr. Frankenstein here.
The surprise this week is that Rickon is still alive, as well as Osha the Wildling. The same cannot be said about Shaggydog the direwolf, whom the Umbers have executed. This present is no doubt a major gamechanger as the Umbers have no intention to bend the knee or pay their respects to Ramsay. They just want to play in the game. At least they’re being honest. If I have to be honest, it’s a damn shame that Rickon falls in the hands of Ramsay. Of course, he might be spared the same fate than Sansa – but that’s not to say torture is off the table. You can ask Theon Greyjoy about that one. The Umbers want to lead a major force against the Wall and take down Jon Snow and the Wildlings. I know a lot of people expect Ramsay Bolton to go against Jon Snow in a major confrontation, but for me Ramsay should die at the hands of Theon.
And finally, the Wall. The sleeper has awaken. Jon Snow getting up and walking with the living again is surreal to the inhabitants and temporal guests at Castle Black. Melissandre’s faith is renewed, but before she can start grooming herself a new leader and king, Ser Davos intervenes. He wants to make sure that Jon Snow knows what’s expected of him. And what’s expected is what we get. The traitors get lined up for the noose, including Ser Alliser Thorne and Ollie. The last act of the Lord Commander of the Night’s Guard is to cut the rope for the trapdoor. The camera actually lingers on the dead faces of Ollie and Thorne. When the deal is done, it’s time for Jon to walk away, leaving away his coat – which I guess is the Lord Commander’s – to Dolorous Edd.
I’ve said before that this show is not about building heroes but about grooming characters for their roles. The time that Melissandre and Ser Davos Seaworth spend with Stannis was one of training, training for their real roles. They were meant to become advisers for Jon Snow (albeit Melissandre is in a class of her own). Jon Snow himself might be a player for the Game of Thrones, but he’s first been groomed by the Night’s Watch to deal with treachery as well as discover the weakness of the White Walkers to Valyrian steel. His time at the Wall was temporary, but could only end with his death. His role extends beyond.
And now his watch has ended.
- There are less characters destined to become players for the Game of Thrones than you think.
- Jon Snow has completed his training at Castle Black. If you have any doubts that he’s going to become a mayor player, remember this: he’s the only one that has been brought back from the dead. Ok, except Gregor Clegane – but the Mountain might not be the same person.
- Daenerys was brought to face her destiny by Drogon, her dragon named after Khal Drogo. I’m sure the irony doesn’t escape her. I’m sure she has to learn something there, because otherwise there is no point to going back with the Dothraki.
- Tyrion and Varys are support classes, so I don’t expect them to become players for the Iron Throne. That doesn’t make them less valuable or impressive. It’s up to Tyrion to keep Meereen from falling in the hand of the Masters again.
- Ramsay is a major antagonist. Perhaps the greatest one, but he’s not a player. He’s just a hurdle – a major one. Contrary to the rest, he doesn’t have a legal claim to the Iron Throne. The only way he could really take it is by brute force. I don’t see him becoming an adviser for anybody.
- The High Sparrow is another antagonist whose role is to just throw a spanner in the works. Unlike Ramsay, he doesn’t want power for himself and unlike Melissandre, he’s not trying to bring a new rule. He’s just enforcing his faith on everyone, even if the result brings down the entire kingdom. Justice in his eyes doesn’t have the objective of bringing peace, just punishing the guilty. For this reason, there doesn’t seem to be anything accomplished by his actions except being a nuisance to all.
- Cersei is still a major player in the game – perhaps the one to beat. She’s got her problems with the Faith Militant, but is she being groomed to become stronger? She’s betting that Ser Gregor (Ser John Strong in the books) would be her winning piece if it comes down to a trial by combat. Something tells me the High Sparrow will not accept that trial.
- My respects to Ser Arthur Dayne. He was the better swordsman, but not the better fighter. When he got stabbed in the back by a heavily wounded Howland Reed, Ned delivers the killing blow. I get reminded of my favorite saying from Bronn: “You want to fight pretty or you want to win?” Although in this case, how would you win? Ok, I guess you could just stab the ones lying on the ground a couple of extra times… Then again, not very knight-like.
Coming up on the Calendar:
- Thursday, May 19: Legends of Tomorrow (season finale)
- Tuesday, May 24: The Flash (season finale)
- Wednesday, May 25: Arrow (season finale)
That will do for now.