If most of the season has been building to something, it must have been this episode. For once more Jon Snow brings the action to the series, as he meets up with the free folk on their turf. Though, I should note, it isn’t them he squares off with, but the dreaded White Walkers. Meanwhile, Arya continues to grow under the darkness of the many faced god, Cersei becomes quite humbled by her situation, and Tyrion has many conversations with Daenerys about their future together.
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story (with Commentary)
Starting from the shortest story to the longest, let’s begin with Cersei who remains in her dungeon being asked repeatedly to confess if she even wants something as small as a drink of water. Which leads you to wonder, if Margaery, for her crime, seemingly was still fed but held prisoner, maybe with Cersei being charged with adultery, treason, and incest, the High Sparrow sees more than one punishment for those who go against the faith. Though the real interesting part comes from Cersei’s uncle Kevin returning from Castely Rock and likely the other advisers she sent away as well. Meaning that her last grips on power are waning as her name begins to be gripped and dragged through the mud. Oh how will she get out of being executed I wonder?
Coming up next is Arya who has assumed the identity of an orphan named Lana. From there, I can’t say there is much more to say besides it seeming her first assassination is coming up. Something which the blonde girl, who doesn’t seem to like Arya very much, thinks she isn’t ready for. However, considering Arya is always trying to prove herself, I’m sure she’ll rise and surmount this challenge.
Moving on, like Arya, there isn’t much happening for Sansa. She remains trapped in her own home, but at least she is presented a silver lining. Said lining being Theon confessing he did not kill Bran and Rickon. But while she may have so sense of peace, it seems her husband Ramsay preps for war. If only because he seemingly is sick of waiting for Stannis to appear, or die out, and would rather take a small amount of his father’s army to Stannis and not only bring glory to their house but reinforce that the Boltons rule the north.
And before we talk more about what is going on in the north, especially north of the wall, let us quickly go over Tyrion’s situation, especially in terms of his face to face with Daenerys. Now, after many moons of Daenerys focusing on being a girl in lust or love, rather than being a queen, we see the old fierce Daenerys return. For with the sight of Ser Jorah her blood boils, and with every reminder of Daenerys’ journey and people Tyrion talks about, any smiles and nonsense we have become used to is erased. She once more becomes Daenerys Stormborn and appears as vicious as she once seemed to be. However, she doesn’t lay a hand, nor her people, on a single person. She does dismiss Ser Jorah, for she can’t stand the sight of him, but with Tyrion she finds herself having conversation about many of their shared traits. Their lack of significant family support, their wicked fathers, and how they are now foreigners far from home. Leading to a mutual decisions that rather than her kill him as a means to spit back at House Lannister, the destroyers of her family and house, she will have Tyrion be her adviser. A move which surely is going to become quite interesting as time goes on, for Tyrion always represented the best of the show and he certainly brings the best out of Daenerys. It will be interesting to see how Daario takes to his influence not being the top though.
Jumping back to westeros, and the topic of the North, as Sam and Gilly continue to be cute, and Sam continues to try to help others see Jon isn’t out of his mind, Jon arrives where the free folk have settled as they await Mance’s return. However, being that they see crows, and Tormund with them, there becomes a strong air of animosity and distrust in the air. Something which certainly isn’t helped by the soldier covered in bones talking crap, much less Tormund killing him. Things especially get bad though as Jon and Tormund try to talk peace and building a relationship between Crow and Free Folk if only for the sake of both their people’s future. An idea which isn’t generally accepted, especially by the Thenn and even one of the giants, but those who wildlings, they seem to rather trust Tormund, and in extension the Crows, than die off in the north.
A good decision too since the White Walkers make their presence known and we once again watch Jon Snow present the most intriguing battle scenes of all the series. I mean, my eyes often divert from watching anything since I get bored so easily, but with the fight scene I was like a toddler watching Sesame Street or Barney. I truly couldn’t take my eyes off the action for I was constantly wondering if Jon, Tormund, or any other familiar face, was about to die. Luckily though, despite some internal injuries, Jon Snow not only defeats a White Walker, using Dragon Glass, but makes it out alive alongside Tormund. But while he may have lived to see the day, the White Walkers, especially one whose crown reminds me of Darth Maul’s head, remind all who escaped who the true kings of the North are. Thus making you wonder whether it may truly matter, by the time the series ends, who sits on the Iron Throne when this being can kill your ally and raise his corpse to fight against you.
Leave it to Jon Snow to bring me such a high. I mean, I’ve never watched The Walking Dead television series, but I can only assume the fear I felt for the characters I like is how fans of that show feel when they see huge hordes of zombies breaking every manmade defense their favorites made. And oh, the action! Granted, I’m as desensitized as many when it comes to the type of battles we see on Game of Thrones, but as the last paragraph of the summary spoke on, truly what the series seemingly can never do wrong on is a massive battle scene.
Though, in all fairness, as much as Jon Snow’s storyline should be given massive praise, everyone pretty much did well. Hell, even the less intriguing storylines dealing with Sansa, Arya, Sam and Gilly weren’t nuisances. Yes, Jon Snow’s storyline probably helped to not take much note of how those storylines are still building to something, but they nonetheless seemingly were given just enough focus to let you know those character are still progressing, without them taking up so much time you could start analyzing and nitpicking over each respective character’s issues.
Give me a moment to calm down please…. Ok. Moving onto Cersei’s story, I do feel that while she too is in the position of where her story is building to something greater, with her there is a constant interest. If only because Lena Headley has crafted Cersei in such a way where, honestly, I can’t recall ever being bored of tired of her. For while the writing for damn near every character has faltered, or led to them being a nuisance you had to sit through, Cersei has somehow always remained strong. Which, even with her being humbled and in a cell, Headley continues to prove that as much as praise often goes to Peter Dinklage for Tyrion’s wit and savvy, she is not at all in 2nd place. She, if anything, is in a constant to-and-fro when it comes to not only putting on a grand performance, but pushing the actors and characters she interacts with into better beings.
Which, as noted, is what Tyrion certainly does for Daenerys. For, as of late, it seems Daenerys trying to win the hearts of the slaves and masters, and the rebellion against her rule, has left her storyline draining all the momentum she has been gaining for seasons. Add on the Daario relationship weakening her in a way, and her becoming less fearsome and more fearful, and it seemed the mother of dragons quickly fell into being no more courageous than her long deceased brother. Thankfully though, someone decided to inject Tyrion into her storyline and it seems just by the few conversations they are having that not only will the Daenerys most fell in love with will return, but perhaps the writing of her story will benefit from Tyrion’s presence as well.
To be quite honest, I’m left highly satisfied to the point I cannot fathom, off hand, anything to complain about. I mean, one could argue how sad it is that Tyrion is what is leading Daenerys to refocus, or one could complain about there being two episodes left and Sansa, Arya, and Sam and Gilly to a point, are still struggling to keep up with everyone else, but I do feel for whatever issues a person can fathom is well compensated. Which, come to think of it, perhaps isn’t even the best word. Ultimately, this episode, to me, presents the first course to a long satisfying meal of which the finale likely will be the grandest desert since seeing Joffrey choke to death.
Killing and politics aren’t always the same thing.
Belief is so often the death of reason