A few steps forward and a few steps back. Progress in the world of Westeros is a tricky thing. Some use power and unsavory means to push their agendas, others try diplomacy, and yet no matter the strategy there is never a guarantee for you never know how someone may react. Much less, what card, though often times body, they have standing behind a locked door.
Vomiting, Blood, Dead Animal Head
Main Plot (with Commentary)
Topic 1: Oathbreaker (Jon Snow)
The main men who betrayed Jon Snow, the faces and names he likely remembers in his final breath, they hang. But as for the rest of the men, those who watched and perhaps were part of a sea of faces blurred by shock, they live. However, despite the idea that Jon Snow would come back to life and continue to rule the wall, all are sorely mistaken.
With his death comes his freedom and the desire to move on. How exactly, much less where exactly, oh another cliffhanger keeps us from that answer. But with him being the eldest Stark son, bastard or not, and Winterfell ripe for the taking, perhaps there is only one direction he may go. Especially as he needs strength for the impending White Walkers attack.
Topic 2: Attempting to Maintain Control (Varys, Tyrion, and Ramsay)
In Meereen, it does seem that Tyrion, Varys, and Daenerys’ advisors are on borrowed time. The Sons of Harpy are taking full advantage of Daenerys’ absence, and the cities she conquered before are lost. So with them no longer able to fight militarily, it seems diplomacy may come into play. How exactly we aren’t told, but with Varys already having little spies, and Tyrion rearing for a challenge, we’re likely to meet the new masters soon and see them spit at the feet of the soon to be old ones. Well, at least if they have it their way.
As for Ramsay? Well, things remain difficult. Despite him trying to push the idea his father was poisoned by enemies it seems no one believes him, and now a bannerman who refused to kneel to his father comes to his home asking for help. Help which won’t lead to a ring kissed or a kneeling, instead he just wants the Bolton’s help in exchange for Rickon Stark. Something which may seem like a slightly lopsided trade, since who knows how many men Ramsay would lose fighting off wildlings, but then again Rickon is perhaps good enough bait to get Sansa back. Though, of course, problem is, how would Sansa learn her brother, assumed dead, is alive? Much less, the wildlings will be led by Jon Snow, a bastard, but still a son of Ned Stark. So has the north forgotten enough to not side with Jon? Could him leading Wildlings be enough to not side with him, and side with Ramsay? It is all rather hard to say but one does have to wonder with Jon Snow coming back to life, and being the closest thing to Lady Stoneheart we may get, shall he pursue the revenge she does in the books?
Topic 3: The Illusion of Power (Tommen, Cersei and Daenerys)
My how the mighty have fallen. There was a time when it seemed Daenerys Stormborn, last of the Targaryens would perhaps become queen by the end of this season. However, now she maybe trapped in a building with a bunch of widows, if not outright killed for not going to that hellhole in the first place. All the while her dragon is off somewhere, probably feeding on sheep, and the two men who are supposed to be chasing after her aren’t going to be seen until the next episode. Yet with a silver tongue matching her hair, perhaps only 2nd in wits to Tyrion, maybe she may talk herself out of all this. She could always remarry, promise great grandeur conquers, or who knows what else.
But when it comes to falls from grace the Lannisters take the cake. For while they remain in control of the Iron Throne, its questionable what that means anymore. Margaery remains imprisoned as the sparrows await confession, Cersei seemingly, even after walking through the streets, will stand some sort of trial, and while Tommen tries to use the power of the crown to do something, his lack of experience shows as the High Sparrow outwits him. Yet Cersei and Jamie think they can at least do something. Problem is, no one likes them, Cersei is no longer queen, Jamie is hardly respected, and the small council doesn’t want their advisement. So even with a dead Lannister and Dorne an ally turned likely enemy, they receive deaf ears. Leaving Cersei to only hope Qyburn’s new “birds,” those which once served Varys, to be some sort of saving grace as the future continues to weaken the Lannister name and their hold of the throne.
Things To Note
We see Bran once more venturing into the past, but while he does learn perhaps his father isn’t as legendary as people claim him to be, nothing huge happens with him. He still is biding his time and hopefully, in a future episode, we’ll learn what purpose the crippled Stark serves.
Arya finally completes her training it seems, and as a reward she is given her sight back. As for what maybe next for her, between killing those on her list, or being assigned missions, it is hard to tell.
Sam and Gilly are seen, and we are told they are on their way to Hornhill.
There Is Nothing To Really Praise: When it comes to fantasy, especially the brutal fantasy Game of Thrones specializes in, there isn’t really any competition in both the TV and film landscape. With that though comes this sort of complacency. One which is similar to perhaps EA’s Madden or how Apple feels about the iPhone. Because praise has been given so often and there isn’t a true direct threat, the need for innovation and surprises falters.
Though, all things considered, where can the show go from here which would surprise anyone? Unless you kill off someone who has been around since the first season, it is just another episode of the show. And while I’m sure there may be eventually some answer as to who, or if, the Lannisters may lose the Iron Throne, at this point it seems such a thing won’t become answered until season 8 or 10. Meanwhile, we are dancing upon the line between filler and things we need to take note of for later. Which, due to the expansive nature of the show, you can never be fully sure where characters or stories fall on. And while I still enjoy watching this, it is hard to say that it seems, as said nearly every episode, that the newfound freedom of no book to follow will be positive. Though with it only episode 3, and not 6, 7, or 10, maybe I’m not being a realist but a pessimist.