After a rather action packed and traumatic episode, Game of Thrones decides to premiere a rather mundane episode with little in the way of shocks and surprises, even when it comes to Arya and Margaery.
Main Plot (with Commentary)
Topic 1: The Melodrama of Hornhill (Sam)
Sam’s father hates him. We know this. So the time spent reestablishing Sam’s father is an ass, while his mother and sister are a sweetheart, I guess needed to be done, but god you sometimes are left wondering why. Though, perhaps the one plus of this whole venture is seeing just how strong Sam and Gilly’s relationship is. That and Sam recommitting himself to being a maester, as well as stealing his father’s sword.
Topic 2: The Return of Arya Stark (Arya)
For a while now, Arya has tried to live and work under the Many Faced God and Jaqen but lets just face it, she isn’t an assassin. Can Arya kill, yes. Whether it is by her own hands or poison. However, killing people who don’t deserve it due to contracts or what have you? No. After all, in many ways Arya is her father’s daughter. She is about justice, and even honor. So for her to kill a woman in a theater troupe, the nicest one there possibly, just to prove herself to Jaqen and go through many strange lessons? No. Enough! Arya has learned a lot but it seems she knows there either isn’t much more to be taught or that path is just simply not right for her.
But the question is, where to go from here? She is all but forgotten about in most of the world, and hasn’t hardly a cent to her name. She is far away from any sibling still alive, and with her not fulfilling the mission, thus bringing embarrassment, the waif is being sent to kill her. Mind you, Jaqen is the one who is giving this order. So, will we perhaps see another Stark bite the dust or will Arya just get revenge for all the torment that girl put her through? Only time will tell.
Topic 3: Return of the Queen and One Less Lannister (Tommen, Margaery and Jamie)
If there is one thing Baratheons haven’t thus far been known for it is pursuing diplomacy. War has been most of their first choices, and making friends out of enemies has been scarce. Tommen though, even if he is a Lannister, isn’t like that. He doesn’t wish to cut the head of the sparrows just to bring himself personal peace. No. In many ways he is like his wife. He wants peace in the realm and to rule with only the lords and ladies to worry about, not necessarily the common people.
So, between him and Margaery, it seems peace with the High Sparrow was obtained. Though, I should note, having the army of House Tyrell at your steps surely pushes the idea that the walk of shame isn’t necessary and atonement has been found. But with the alliance between the crown and the faith, so comes the question of how Jamie and Cersei are to rid themselves of the Tyrells? Much less how to handle Cersei’s upcoming trial, which will be by combat, but still potentially embarrassing depending how it goes? Well, apparently that will no longer be Jamie’s problem. Walder Frey, who likely will be killed off with most of the older characters, has lost the riverrun and is losing the riverlands. Blackfish has returned and has embarrassed him and he invokes the Red Wedding as a means to remind people of how far he’ll go, what he’ll do, and honestly his death can’t come swift enough.
Things To Note
- Daenerys continues on toward Meereen and Drago has returned. She rides him as the episode ends and she excites her people. All the while Daario questions if she maybe more so a conqueror than a ruler. Which, considering her ability to keep the peace in Slaver’s Bay, this maybe a quite good criticism.
- Uncle Benjen saves Bran and Meera and we learn he almost turned into a White Walker, that is until the children reversed the effects.
The main benefit of so many underwhelming stories in one episode is that it opens up the rest of the season. Meaning, thankfully we won’t have Sam’s family drama placed within an episode building up to a huge battle; we don’t have to wait another episode to see Daenerys finally fly back into Meereen; and so on and so forth. All the little procedural things that needed to happen, in order for something big to take place, happens in this episode.