This week’s episode brings together two of the most iconic characters from Game Of Thrones. Tyrion and Daenerys are finally in the same place, and it’s not any of that annoying near miss stuff - Tyrion properly introduces himself in a heart-stoppingly exciting moment in the fighting pits at Meereen. The culmination of almost 50 episodes and the start of an exciting new plot, and hopefully not the last time the disparate characters of Thrones are brought together - fingers crossed for a further convergence of plotlines in the next season.
At The Wall Jon’s departure couldn’t come at a worse time - snow is starting to fall and Maester Aemon is on his deathbed. Aemon’s passing is an emotional moment, his adoration for Little Sam combined with his cries for his brother Egg (Aegon Targaryen) is heartbreaking. Rarely do we see characters have a gentle passing, in fact Aemon might be the only person to die (on-screen at least) of old age in the show but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch. Peter Vaughan did a wonderful job, and now his watch is ended. His like shall not been seen again.
With Jon away and Aemon dead Sam is vulnerable. As Alliser Thorne kindly points out, he’s got very few friends left. But at least he’s got Gilly, who he gallantly protects from the unwanted attention of a couple of Night’s Watch brothers. And then they share the world’s most awkward sex scene. It’s been coming for a while but who could have predicted just how weird it would feel to watch. “Oh my” indeed.
(Overly obsessive fan note: what the hell is Ghost doing at The Wall while Jon goes to Hardholme? Seriously guys, why can’t Ghost just hang out with Jon like he’s meant to?!)
They Said The Thing
Tyrion shouts "I’m the gift" to save his new best pal Jorah from Dany’s bad temper.
Stannis’s march to Winterfell isn’t quite going as well as intended, the snow is slowing them down, cutting off supply lines and most importantly it's going to start killing the men before they even get to the battle. The Stormcrows have flown away and things are looking desperate already, but Melisandre has a plan - burn cute little Shireen alive and make use of her magical king’s blood. It’s easy to forget that Mel is a ruthless, diabolical schemer because she fights for Stannis, who we see as one of the Good Guys, but this reminds us that she’s actually kind of evil. Shireen has had plenty of screen time this season so this new plan is somewhat worrying. Stannis is saying no now, but how long until things are so dire for the Baratheon king that he has to try these desperate measures?
In Winterfell we’re seeing the repercussions of last week’s controversial final scene. Sansa is in a bad place - beaten, bruised and locked in her room all day she’s completely under Ramsay’s control. And so is Theon, who betrays her pleas for help and tattles on her to Ramsay, who punishes Sansa by flaying the friendly chambermaid and parading Sansa past the body. It’s quite reminiscent of Joffrey forcing Sansa to look at dead Ned’s head, though this time Sansa has fire behind her eyes. Her remarks to Ramsay about his bastardy show she’s not helplessly afraid of him yet, and her sneaky grabbing of a pointy-stabby object could mean she’s going to take actions into her own hands. Maybe she knew Theon was going to betray her and she’s playing a long game? Either way, the Sansa scenes are some of the best this season, perhaps because it’s so hard to guess what will happen next.
Dorne continues to be a bit of a let down. Jerome Flynn is a great singer though, so at least there’s that. Not sure why Tyene had to get naked while she teased Bronn with the antidote but there you go, this is Game Of Thrones and someone has to get naked.
In King’s Landing things are getting all sorts of exciting. Cersei is finally getting a taste of her own medicine as the High Sparrow continues to grow in power. His line about Cersei being the few, whereas he is part of the many has vague Occupy Westeros vibes. Will the peasantry rise up and throw off the shackles of Westerosi nobility? Will there be revolution? That’d be one way to end the show, with the monarchy overthrown and a proper democracy formed. We think Gendry, as part-noble, part-commoner, would be an excellent first Prime Minister… if he isn’t dead on a rowing boat somewhere.
Dunk And Egg
As he lays dying Aemon Tagaryen calls out for his brother Egg, also know as King Aegon V. Before he became king Aegon served as a squire to a hedge knight called Ser Duncan the Tall. You can read about their adventures together in the the short stories The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight - all of which will be collected in A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms, which is to be released in October this year.
The Dornishman's Wife
Bronn, aka the biggest rockstar in Westeros, has been singing the same song for the past two episodes “The Dornishman’s Wife”. If you can’t get it out of your head here’s the lyrics so you can sing along:
The Dornishman's wife was as fair as the sun,
and her kisses were warmer than spring.
But the Dornishman's blade was made of black steel,
and its kiss was a terrible thing.
The Dornishman's wife would sing as she bathed,
in a voice that was sweet as a peach,
But the Dornishman's blade had a song of its own,
and a bite sharp and cold as a leech.
As he lay on the ground with the darkness around,
and the taste of his blood on his tongue,
His brothers knelt by him and prayed him a prayer,
and he smiled and he laughed and he sung,
"Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done,
the Dornishman's taken my life,
But what does it matter, for all men must die,
and I've tasted the Dornishman's wife!"
Lost In Translation
Sometimes things get lost in the transition from book to screen - characters, storylines and excellent phrases, such as “fat pink mast”, which is exactly what everyone was thinking about during Sam and Gilly’s sex scene.
Stannis and Davos make reference to a mercenary group called The Stormcrows, who have deserted during the night. In the books The Stormcrows are a sellsword company from the free cities led by none other than Daario Naharis. In the TV series Daario is one of the Second Sons. Why the change? Who knows, but it’s nice to see a nod to The Stormcrows here.