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Game of Thrones 5×3 Recap – High Sparrow

sansa-and-littlefinger

House Stark/Baratheon

Here we are, inside the House of Black and White. It’s damp and a bit spooky with a lot of statues along the walls. Arya is grumpily sweeping as Jaqen sits with a man by the pool of water in the middle of the floor. He gives the man a cup of water and they exchange “Valar morghulis. Valar dohaeris.” The man then drops dead; all men must die and these people are no joke.

Arya is over the sweeping. That’s not what she’s here for; she wants to serve. She’s got a kill list! Come on let’s get going! What must she do to become a Faceless Man? The answer? She must become no one.

Later, Arya is confronted by another girl that’s in training at the House of Black and White. “Who are you? You, who walk in here with a coin you never earned, whose value you don’t respect. Who are you?” Arya, ever the quick learner, replies “no one.” The girl whips Arya. With every objection, the girl continues to whip her. “Who are you?” the girl asks again. “You’re about to find out!” says Arya as she reaches for Needle and I applaud my television but Jaqen enters before it can escalate into an all out catfight. Jaqen scolds Arya for wanting to become “no one” while she is still holding on tightly to all of her personal belongings. Time for a makeover!

After her first costume change since season 1, Arya throws her personal items into the Narrow Sea. The last thing is Needle. Can she do it? Images of Jon Snow and a happy Stark family at Winterfell flash through my mind. Don’t do it, Arya! Whew! She doesn’t do it. Instead, she hides Needle in some rocks and continues sweeping.

Jaqen shows up and leads Arya down a scary staircase to a room with the latest body and the bully-girl that was whipping Arya. Together, Arya and the girl undress the body and begin to clean it. “What do we do after we wash them?” she asks. No answer.

Speaking of Winterfell, we’re baaaaack! It’s now decorated with House Bolton flags, some gross looking bodies, and there’s poor Theon. Back to the bodies, they’re victims of Ramsay of course. He went out collecting taxes but decided to flay and collect bodies instead. When Lord Cerwyn refused to pay anyone but a Stark, Ramsay calmly explained that he “flayed him living along with his wife and brother, made his son watch. The new Lord Cerwyn paid his taxes.”

Roose Bolton is nervous. Not only is his son a psychopath but also he doesn’t have enough men to hold the North. Yes, he made a pact with the Lannisters but that pact was with Tywin, who is now deceased. The remaining Lannisters won’t send someone this far north. Roose explains to Ramsay, “We’ve become a great house by forming alliances with other Houses and parlaying those alliances into greater power. The best way to forge a lasting alliance isn’t by peeling a man’s skin off. The best way is marriage. It’s high time you married a suitable bride. And as it happens, I’ve found the perfect girl to solidify our hold on the North.” It’s then that my stomach sinks. It makes perfect sense. It’s Sansa.

Side note: I loved watching Theon eavesdrop during this scene. There’s still a small part of Theon left in there. He still understands the game being played. The subtleties by Alfie Allen make that crystal clear. I hope Theon rises up and protects Sansa.

Sansa and Littlefinger arrive at Moat Cailin. That’s when Littlefinger reveals his plan. He’s taking Sansa “home” to Winterfell and he’s made a marriage proposal for Sansa, not for himself. She objects, naturally. Roose Bolton murdered Catelyn and Robb. Littlefinger gives her the pep talk he’s probably been preparing since the Red Wedding:

“Winterfell is your home. Always. You’re a Stark. Dying your hair doesn’t change that. You’re Sansa Stark, eldest surviving child of Ned and Catelyn Stark. Your place is in the North. You’ve been running all your life. Terrible things happen to your family and you weep. You sit alone in a darkened room mourning their fates. You’ve been a bystander to tragedy from the day they executed your father. Stop being a bystander. Stop running. There’s no justice in the world. Not unless we make it. You loved your family. Avenge them.”

So that’s it, Sansa escapes one psychopath only to marry another. She will wed Ramsay Bolton and hopefully avenge her family by murdering him in his sleep. Fingers crossed.

Now this is the biggest deviation from the books to date. It changes everything. At first I found it strange, shocking even. Sansa would never marry the man responsible for killing her family. Then I warmed up to it.

First, it brings a Stark back to Winterfell—Winterfell is the closest thing us viewers have to “home” and seeing a Stark there just makes things feel a bit better. I’m sure the warm and fuzzies won’t last. Surely Ramsay has wreaked all kinds of havoc on our beloved home but let’s just live in this happy place and remember simpler times for a few minutes longer. As the servant said, “Welcome home Lady Stark. The North remembers.”

Second, it gives Sansa a mission. Why should Arya be the only Stark girl out for vengeance? Poor, naïve Sansa with her lemon cakes is no more! She’s grown. She’s evolved. She is pursuing vengeance in her own way. We have to remember that Sansa was bred to be married. She was told from a young age that she would be a princess and that she would marry for power. She now is simply using the tools she has available to avenge her family.

Third, it gives Sophie Turner something to do. The actress has been severely underused. Her character has been pretty one-dimensional from the start so I like this change. If the actress can handle it, I say let’s see it. And judging from soundbites in December, it seems like we will. “There was one scene that I did do which was super, super traumatic, and I love doing those scenes,” Turner said. “It was just really kind of horrible for everyone to be on set and watch.”

When Sansa arrives to Winterfell and meets Roose Bolton for the first time I just knew she was going to slap him. Instead, she smiles and curtseys. Ramsay and Sansa meet. Each is falsely charming. Myranda (Ramsay’s like-minded, torture friendly girlfriend) angrily watches from afar. Later, Ramsay and Littlefinger watch Sansa cross the courtyard. “She really is lovely, I hope I can make her happy…I’ll never hurt her. You have my word,” says Ramsay. Ha, yea right. Littlefinger remarks that he hasn’t heard much about the young Lord Bolton. Ramsay clarifies that he is actually Roose Bolton’s bastard. Can we just pause for a second and take a look at Littlefinger’s face:

Petyr Baelish Littlefinger - What is Petyr Baelish thinking?

Things running through Littlefinger’s mind at this very moment

  • Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t.
  • Is it too late to change my mind?
  • Thiiiiiiiis is the bastard?
  • Joffrey>Ramsay
  • What did I get my precious Sansa into?
  • Can I request a do over?
  • Wait, isn’t she technically still married to Tyrion?
  • I’m definitely going to hell now.
  • I hope he lets me keep my little finger.

Moving on, when Roose arrives Littlefinger assures him that Sansa is still a virgin. They discuss their histories with the Lannisters. “The Lannister name doesn’t mean what it used to.” Littlefinger explains to Roose that every ambitious move is a gamble and “the last time the lords of the Eryie formed an alliance with the lords of the North they brought down the greatest dynasty this world has ever known.” This union has potential.

Nearby, Brienne and Podrick are following Sansa and Littlefinger. I’ve never been so happy to see Brienne in my life. Surely, she will act as Sansa’s guardian angel in this wreck of a situation.

Brienne and Podrick have what has to be their first ever real conversation. She knows she hasn’t been very kind, but he tells her, “You’re the best fighter I’ve ever seen. You beat the Hound. I’m proud to be your squire.” With that, you can see Brienne perk up. Maybe Podrick isn’t so bad after all? She decides to train him. She will teach him how to fight and properly ride a horse.

Brienne then talks about her service to Renly and how their friendship came to be. Her father once held a ball so she could find a good match. It was wonderful. No one noticed how tall she was. They all whispered sweet nothings into her ear. She was so happy. Eventually she realized the boys were toying with her. She tried to run away but Renly Baratheon stopped her and said, “Don’t let them see your tears. They’re nasty little sh*ts and nasty little sh*ts aren’t worth crying over.” He danced with her all night and no one bothered her after that. “He saved me from being a joke, from that day until his last day. I couldn’t save him.”

Then we learn Brienne’s plan for vengeance; she’s going after Stannis.

Heading over to The Wall, Jon Snow is hard at work as the new Lord Commander. He’s everything we thought he would be: kind, patient, stern, loyal.

During a meeting with Stannis Baratheon, he refuses the opportunity to become Jon Stark. His place is on The Wall. “You’re as stubborn as you’re father and as honorable,” Stannis tells him. Jon Snow wants to know how much longer they’re going to be crashing at Castle Black. Stannis is basically that drunken friend that passes out on your couch and eats all your frozen dinners before dawn. Castle Black is running out of food and winter is coming. Stannis says he plans to march on Winterfell within the fortnight.

But, what to do with the Wildlings? Will Tormund compromise? Stannis thinks that Jon Snow should execute them. The other Brothers don’t want the free folk around. And what to do with Ser Alliser Thorne? Dismissing Stannis’ advice, Jon Snow says he intends to keep his enemies close.

After Stannis exits Davos says to Jon Snow, “he sees something in you. Might not be apparent from his tone but it’s the truth. He believes in you.” Stannis only wants to do what’s right for the Seven Kingdoms and he thinks he needs Jon Snow to do that. Davos reminds Snow of the line within the Night’s Watch oath—the shield that guards the realms of men. “That’s what you swore to be. Maybe people need you outside of The Wall. As long as the Boltons rule, the North will suffer.” I wonder how this is going to play out with Sansa? Could Jon Snow potentially rescue the North and Sansa?

Later, Jon Snow appoints Ser Alliser Thorne as First Ranger. He decides to send Lord Janos Slynt to Greyguard, which is apparently a ruin. Slynt does not want any part of that dump. Snow tells him “that was a command, not an offer.” Slynt refuses, repeatedly.

Slynt’s refusal is punishable by death. Snow cannot start his reign as Lord Commander by being soft so he has Slynt hauled to the courtyard for execution. If there’s one thing that Jon Snow has learned, it is how to properly behead someone when it’s needed. He marches to the podium.

“If you have any last words my Lord, now’s the time.” Slynt begs for forgiveness. He declares Jon Snow the true Lord Commander. “I’m afraid. I’ve always been afraid.” The Night’s Watch is not a place for scared men, not with winter coming. With that, Snow chops off his head. Stannis nods approvingly.

House Lannister

We check in at King’s Landing with a little Tour de Cersei Lannister. Under the sound of ringing bells, Cersei is carried in her litter toward the Great Sept of Baelor to celebrate the wedding of King Tommen and Queen Margaery. The street is lined with people from the Capitol adoringly shouting the name of the new Queen. Cersei is seething as she realizes that Margaery has succeeded in winning over the people of the city.

Margaery exchanges yet another set of wedding vows (third time’s the charm, right?) and finally becomes THE Queen that she always wanted to be. I loved how in this scene, we see Cersei through the silhouettes of the new couple as they exchange their first kiss. It’s evident that this wedding is the last thing Cersei ever wanted to happen. Boy, no one can deliver a scowl quite like Lena Headey.

After the wedding, we cut immediately to Margaery and Tommen consummating the marriage. Margaery knew better this time and didn’t spend any time waiting. When they finish, the new King is practically squealing with pleasure and expresses concern for hurting Margaery. Oh sweet innocent Tommen. You didn’t hurt her. Is he really so different from his cruel brother, Joffrey? I hope so for Margaery’s sake.

Speaking of the late King Joffrey, Tommen confides in Margaery that he often thinks about how everything he has – a new, beautiful Queen and the title of King – is only his because his brother is dead. Margaery tells him that he shouldn’t feel guilty about that but Tommen insists that he feels no guilt. Maybe he isn’t so different from Joffrey at all. Margaery starts to carefully sink her claws into the Boy King. Instead of revealing her true feelings toward Cersei, she feigns admiration of the Queen Mother’s motherly affections. She tells Tommen that it is so wonderful how Cersei is always looking after him like “a lioness guarding her cub.” Tommen insists that he no longer needs his mother looking after him because he is officially a man. But Margaery reminds him that as long as Cersei is in King’s Landing, Tommen will always be her baby boy.

The next scene takes us immediately to Cersei and Tommen strolling through the Capitol arm-in-arm.   The two discuss the new Queen and the new marriage and then Tommen reveals that the seeds of doubt planted by Margaery have successfully taken root. Tommen suggests that Cersei leave King’s Landing to return home to Casterly Rock where she can finally be happy. Tommen probably does want his mother to be happy but these words are not his and Cersei knows exactly where they are coming from.

She heads right to the source and visits Margaery and the ladies of the court. This is my favorite Margaery vs. Cersei scene to date. Cersei enters the room as Margaery recounts the four different times that her and Tommen consummated the marriage. When Margaery spots Cersei, she jumps from her chair and greets Cersei with a hug and an exclamation of “Mother!” Now that Margaery is Queen, she is fearless, almost careless, wasting no time to take jabs at Cersei. “I wish I had some wine for you, it’s a bit early in the day for us.” Cersei dismisses the comment, though she does appear to be a bit shocked, and claims that the reason for her visit is just to make sure that her new daughter-in-law knows that she is always there for her. Margaery expresses gratitude and reveals to the Queen Mother that she may soon be a Queen Grandmother, since she is so exhausted from Tommen’s “enthusiasm.” Cersei doesn’t linger and as she excuses herself, Margaery throws one last jab. “What’s the proper way to address you now? Queen Mother or Dowager Queen?”

Cersei maintains her cool, insists such formality is not required, and marches out of the gardens. The laughter of the girls rings through her head as she’s leaving. She may have been calm and level-headed in that moment, but we know Cersei will not go down without a fight. Margaery better watch her back (and her drinks!).

Back in Baelish’s brothel, we find the creep-tastic High Septon selecting from amongst the Seven Whore Gods. The Septon’s fun is interrupted by the Sparrows, led by Cersei’s favorite Lannister cousin Lancel, who are there to reprimand the Septon for his promiscuous behavior. As punishment, they force him to walk through the streets naked, flogging him whenever he attempts to cover himself, while the crowds hiss “sinner, sinner.”

The re-clothed Septon marches directly to the King’s Council and asks Cersei to throw the head of the Sparrows, the High Sparrow, in the black cells as punishment for the assault against him. Pycelle spoke up in his defense, but that doesn’t surprise me. (We remember you, Ros!) The wheels in Cersei’s head are spinning…but why?

Despite warnings from her King’s Guard, Cersei weaves her way through the poor in Flee Bottom (I’m guessing) to find the High Sparrow, a shoeless man feeding soup to the poor. The High Sparrow (hey you, Governor Swann) and Cersei discuss his choice of nickname, which he finds humorous, and his decision to give away his shoes, which he made to remind himself who he really is. The High Sparrow then reveals that he knows why Cersei has visited – to arrest him for what he did to the High Septon. Cersei reveals that the High Septon actually requested for the High Sparrow to be executed but rather than doing that, she has thrown the Septon into the Red Keep. “The faith and the crown are the two pillars that hold up this world. One collapses, so does the other. We must do everything necessary to protect one another.” Oh really? Since when has Cersei become so religious?

After her visit with the Sparrow, Cersei heads to see the mad scientist/healer Qyburn and asks him to send an urgent message to Petyr Baelish “wherever he’s slithering about.” She also asks Qyburn how his project is coming along and tells him to keep at it. After she leaves, we see what we thought was an inanimate body on a table come to life under a blanket! What is under there, Qyburn? Is it a Franken-Mountain of sorts?! Whatever it is, Cersei knows and I don’t have a good feeling about it.

We catch up with our favorite Lannister, Tyrion, as he starts to lose his mind on the road to Meereen. Tyrion insists that he is sick of seeing Varys’ face and he needs to get out of the cart for a bit before he goes crazy. Lord Varys warns him that there is a price on Tyrion’s head and if he’s recognized, it’s all over. Tyrion insists he’s just one more drunk dwarf and the two step out in Volantis. Reminder – Volantis was the home of the late Robb Stark’s wife (RIP, the North Remembers) and through re-tellings of her childhood, Talisa revealed Volantis to be a major slave city.

We find Varys and Tyrion walking through a gigantic, organized slave market. We learn that the slaves are marked by tattoos on their faces as to be easily recognized. But word of slave revolutions from Slaver’s Bay have made their way to Volantis and the slaves are not happy. Tyrion and Varys stumble upon a Red Preacher of the Lord of Light surrounded by a chanting crowd. The preacher is talking about slavery and claims that the Red King hears their misery and has sent them a new savior. “From the fire she was reborn to remake the world; the Dragon Queen!” Tyrion mocks the speech and jokes about how they are on their way to the savior. The Red Preacher hears him and a dark, foreboding look is exchanged between her and Tyrion.

Tyrion and Varys head to a brothel and we learn that the influence of the Dragon Queen has reached even the most desperate of places. A prostitute walks around dressed in an ass-less Dany get up, hair and all. Tyrion and Varys sit in a darkened corner and don’t realize that there is another Game of Thrones character/Dany lover in their presence.

Tyrion leaves Varys to talk to “someone with hair” and finds a bitter brunette prostitute. “They all want to f*ck a queen,” she says as she glares at the Dany imitation. She knows Tyrion has no money but the two share a connection and she offers him pity sex. To everyone’s surprise, including Tyrion’s, he rejects! “I’m sorry, I can’t.” She reassures him that she can and coaxes him to join her but he insists it’s something he cannot do. “Believe me, no one is more shocked than I am. I hope it passes!”

Defeated, Tyrion leaves and goes to piss into the sea. He hears someone walk up behind him and thinks its Varys. Alas, it is not! It is Ser Jorah Mormont, who we spotted earlier in the crowd.   Jorah seizes and gags Lord Tyrion. “I’m taking you to the Queen,” he says as he carts off Tyrion on his shoulder. We’re left to wonder the question of the hour….WHICH QUEEN?! I would bet all of the Lannister gold that it is none other than the love of his life, Daenerys Targaryen.

Side Note – Tyrion made an off-handed comment while listening to the Red Preacher about the disease, greyscale.  We also heard Stannis’ daughter, Shireen Baratheon, discuss the illness from which she suffers with Gilly in last week’s episode.  Something tells me that this is no coincidence but foreshadowing and we can expect a major character to go down from the illness before all is said and done.

Rock Paper Watch’s Top Quote of 5×3:

Jenn’s Pick –  “It’s a perfectly good face.”  – Varys in response to Tyrion’s angst against only seeing him for days on end.

Elizabeth’s Pick – “Stop being a bystander. Stop running. There’s no justice in the world. Not unless we make it. You loved your family. Avenge them.”

Game of Thrones Recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera (Lannister and Targaryen) and Elizabeth Bond (Stark/Baratheon and Martell).  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.

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Game of Thrones 5×1 Recap – The Wars to Come

Young Cersei

Before diving in, let’s start with the fancy updated intro. Winterfell is no longer on fire and we have a new addition, Pentos! We later find out this is where Tyrion has landed.

House Targaryen

The first Daenerys Stormborn moment of the season opens with the golden statue that sat atop the slave city of Meereen toppling down over the city.  Is this a symbol for the season to come?  Is Dany’s army beginning to fall?

This episode certainly doesn’t help my theory.  After the statue is successfully down, an Unsullied heads into town to visit a brothel.  Strange, I thought.  Why would he go there?  Apparently, he had visited this brothel before and has a regular request of the women there.  He lays down topless while a topless woman lays behind him and rubs his head.  He seemed so relaxed and innocent until…his throat is suddenly slit.  The women and the killer, a man in a golden V for Vendetta mask, stand above the body and watch as he bleeds out.

The mask is left on the body of the Unsullied for Dany to discover and it apparently represents the Sons of the Harpys, a group that is bad news bears for #TeamDany.  It turns out that Dany is not being heralded in the slave cities as a liberator but as a conqueror and citizens are rebelling against her and her Unsullied.  Dany tells Barristan Selmy and the rest of her Jorah-free Queen’s Guard to hold the burial of the murdered Unsullied, White Rat, in a temple – an action meant to anger those who are rebelling.

After this is decided, Missandei and Grey Worm chat in private per Missandei’s request.  She asks why White Rat and many other Unsullied are being spotted visiting brothels considering all Unsullied are also eunuchs.  Grey Worm does not know and leaves without providing any more insight.

Dany continues to deal with the politics associated with liberating the free cities.  Her ambassador from Yunkai returns with Daario Naharis and says the deal to establish a council of elders was agreed upon.  However, the former masters have a request – they want to reopen the fighting pits.  Rather than slaves fighting to the death, they suggest that free men be allowed to fight free men.  He argues that Dany making this decision would send the message that she respects their pre-established culture and traditions but Dany refuses.

Later, in the boudoir, Daario Naharis attempts to convince Dany that she should indeed reopen the pits.  Daario explains how he rose through the pits as a champion, which gave him resources to help his mother and lead him to become the man he is today.  He tells Dany he isn’t afraid to speak the truth to her and warns her that a sign of weakness will give her enemies the chance they need, therefore it’s imperative for her to show her strength now.  Dany points out that the Unsullied are patrolling the streets but she misinterpreted Daario. “You’re not the mother of Unsullied.  You’re the Mother of Dragons.  A Dragon Queen with no dragons?  That’s not a Queen.”  You go, Daario.

Finally, Dany braves the underground cage she created and enters the dragon lair.  At first, the room is silent and Dany cautiously calls out the dragons’ names.  Suddenly, fire erupts and the dragons are enraged, thrashing and spewing fire at their mother.  They don’t seem to recognize her but if they do, they definitely don’t care.  Dany runs out of the lair, visibly shaken and frightened of her full grown children.

House Lannister

We have our very first Game of Thrones flashback, LOST style in our season-opening scene.  Meet young Cersei Lannister – a rebellious blonde teenager who is still arrogant, bossy, and a little too confident.  Young Cersei guides her friend into a creepy house in woods near Casterly Rock.  The two girls enter per Cersei’s insistence and find a witch? a creepy woman? a sage? I’m not 100% sure.  But Cersei uses her Lannister name to force the woman into telling her future.  The woman licks a drop of Cersei’s blood then gives Cersei three questions.  Cersei asks when she will be married but the witch tells Cersei won’t marry a prince, she will marry a King and become Queen.  However, she won’t be Queen for long.  “You’ll be Queen for a time.  Then comes another, younger, more beautiful, to cast you down and take all you hold dear.”  She also tells Cersei that the king will have 20 children but Cersei will only have three children and she will see them all die.  “Gold their crowns, gold their shrouds.”  Eeeeeerily accurate, if you ask me.

We cut to Cersei in the present day preparing to attend the funeral of the late Tywin Lannister.  She is wearing black to mourn her father as she marches through the streets of King’s Landing to the sound of the bells accompanied by a King’s Guard.  Cersei makes the funeral attendees wait so she can have a moment alone with her father.  Turns out Jaime Lannister is also with Tywin and the two share a not-so-tender moment.  They discuss their fears – Jaime’s fear that the lords and ladies of Westeros will try and steal everything Tywin has created for him and Cersei’s fear of where and what Tyrion is doing.  Cersei is completely focused on “the little monster” who killed their father.  She asks Jaime if he set Tyrion free.  When Jaime doesn’t respond, she tells him that at least Tyrion killed their father by choice.  Jaime helped in that killing by refusing to ever acknowledge that Tyrion was a problem.  It’s not surprising to me that Tywin, the man who stood between Jaime and Cersei for their entire lives, is continuing to drive them apart in his absence.  But it is surprising for me to see Jaime’s concern for the inheritance he cannot have and so boldly refused while Cersei is dismissing the inheritance we thought she’d go after.  Maybe Cersei really was the Lannister who contributed most to Tywin’s legacy.  With a farewell kiss from Cersei, we see the last of Tywin Lannister.  I cannot say I’m upset.

We immediately find ourselves in a box, peering through a wall of peepholes, moving awkwardly through a city.  Tyrion Lannister has finally arrived in Pentos, safe and sound though covered in poop, courtesy of Lord Varys.  Tyrion looks like shit as he struggles to stand after crossing the Narrow Sea in such dismal conditions.  Varys apologizes for the situation but reminds Tyrion the crate was necessary since Varys broke many laws by breaking him out of King’s Landing making them both wanted men.  Varys tells Tyrion he is at the home of a friend, Illyrio Mopatis (Reminder: this is the same man who housed Dany and her horrid brother, Viserys, before Dany was wed to Khal Drogo).  Varys goes on to explain that Varys, Illyrio, and a group of others were working in secret to support a Targaryen restoration of the throne by overthrowing King Robert, setting forth a chain of events that contributed to where they have ended up today.  Tyrion starts…continues…drinking and it’s visible that he’s being haunted by the murders of Shae and Lord Tywin.  He must come to terms with what he has done before he can begin to plan the next step for himself and for the Realm.

Later, Tyrion and Varys discuss how Tyrion ended up in a box crossing the Narrow Sea.  Varys sticks with the story that Lord Jaime asked him to save Tyrion’s life.  But then he adds more.  Varys saved Tyrion for the Seven Kingdoms.  Varys believes “men of talent have a part to play in the war to come.”  Tyrion is doubtful but Varys reminds him that Tyrion has instincts for politics coupled with compassion.  “What is it you want exactly?” asks Tyrion.  Varys wants peace and a ruler in place who will not spread misery throughout the lands.  They both agree that Tyrion himself could never sit on the Iron Throne.  “But you could help another climb those steps and take that seat.”  Varys goes on to explain the ideal Westerosi monarch – a strong ruler with a gentle heart; both intimidating and inspiring.  Leading to my favorite exchange of the episode:

Varys: “A ruler loved by millions with a powerful army and the right family name.”
Tyrion: “Good luck finding him.”
Varys:  “Who said anything about him?”

Then, Varys asks Tyrion if he will ride with him to Meereen to meet Daenerys and find out if the world is worth fighting for.  Cue my insides freaking out on this possible character interaction.

Back at the funeral, Ser Loras Tyrell goads Cersei by pretending to fake deep remorse for her father.  Cersei pretends to listen while really focusing on Margaery Tyrell and her young, beautiful hands carefully grazing King Tommen.  As Cersei dismisses herself, she is stopped by a strangely familiar face.  Lancel Lannister returns but is almost unrecognizable, barefoot with a Marine-worthy buzz cut wearing nothing but a plain robe.  Cersei says as much before Lancel’s father walks over and breaks up the conversation.  Lancel’s father apologizes for his sons appearance and tells her that Lancel is now a part of a religious group that refer to themselves as the Sparrows.  Cersei excuses herself, grabs some wine, and seeks alone time.  But Lancel finds her again and, in a new deep voice, tells Cersei that he can be forgiven now.  He talks about how he tempted her into the darkness of their incestual bed and then brings up King Robert and the boar hunt.  Cersei feigns ignorance but Lancel insists that he is finally at peace for what they’ve done and Cersei can find peace in the Light of the Seven, too.  This conversation is strange but we gain a very useful tidbit of information.  Lancel blames himself and the Queen Regent for the death of King Robert.  Maybe the theory of Lancel pouring alcohol down Robert’s throat on purpose has some merit.

Queen Margaery interrupts Ser Loras’ sex-scapades/Martell history lesson (love what you did there, GOT) with a call for dinner.  Margaery has no shame and plops right down on the bed.  After Loras’ handsome lover leaves, she questions Loras.  Shouldn’t he be more discreet since he is set to marry Cersei?  Loras feels otherwise.  Now that Tywin Lannister is dead, he doesn’t think there is anyone living that can force Cersei into marrying him.  Unfortunately, for Margaery that means her mother-in-law will be stuck living in King’s Landing.  “Perhaps,” Margaery says coolly.  “Perhaps.”

House Stark and House Baratheon

We catch up with the Stark family first with Jon Snow. He’s training Olly to be a Man of the Night’s Watch. It feels a lot like Arya’s training in season one. Samwell Tarly and Gilly watch, “shouldn’t you be training too?” He replies, “How many men can say they’ve killed a White Walker and a Thenn.” Oh Sam, let’s not get too over-confident now. Ser Allister grimaces as he passes Gilly. We learn that a Lord Commander has not been chosen yet but Ser Allister is in the running. Gilly is worried that if he’s chosen she will be packing her bags. Sam replies, “Wherever you go, I go too.” Say it with me now, awwwwww.

Out of nowhere, Melisandre shows up. Jon Snow sees what we all see; she’s creepy as hell. He’s being summoned. On the way to see Stannis, Melisandre stares at him with her best bedroom eyes. “You’re not cold milady,” he asks. “Never, the Lord’s fire lives within me Jon Snow,” she says as she takes his hand and places it on her cheek. She the asks, “Are you a virgin?” “No.” “Good.” Now I’m the one grimacing.

Jon Snow and Stannis discuss Roose Bolton’s rule of Winterfell. Stannis asks if Jon Snow wants revenge for Robb’s death. “I want many a thing but I’m a sworn man of the Night’s Watch.” Changing the topic, Stannis and Davos ask about Ygritte. Why was Jon Snow seen taking her body north of the Wall? “It was where she belonged.” Davos brings up that some of the Night’s Watch think that Jon Snow has too much affection for the Wildlings. Stannis reveals that he wants to mount Roose Bolton’s head on a stake. Now that Tywin is dead there is nothing stopping him from taking over the North. He wants Jon Snow to help him wrangle the Wildlings to serve as his army. The best way to do that is to get Mance Raydar to swear his allegiance to Stannis. It’s up to Jon Snow to convince Mance or he will burn.

Later, Jon Snow visits Mance Raydar. They reflect on the irony of the situation. Jon Snow was once his prisoner, insert hearty laugh here. Mance already knows what Stannis is after, “I’ll give him this much, he’s bold.” Mance has no intention of even kneeling and he doesn’t want his people bleeding for Stannis Baratheon’s war. Jon Snow encourages him to reconsider by reminding him of how strong of a leader he is; after all he united ninety clans for one cause and he did it to save them. Isn’t their survival more important than his pride? Short answer, no. Mance Raydar believes that the Wildlings followed him because they respected him. The moment he kneels, that respect is gone.

It’s then that Jon Snow tells him that they plan to burn him alive. Mance Raydar doesn’t want to be remembered yelling from a stake but he’d rather burn then kneel. He will never enlist his people in a foreigner’s war. When Jon Snow says he’s making a mistake, he replies “freedom to make my own mistakes was all I ever wanted”

That night, he is marched from his cell. Stannis gives him the opportunity to kneel. He replies, “This was my home for many years. I wish you good fortune in the wars to come.” With a nod from Stannis, Mance Raydar is to be burned. As everyone watches Melisandre steps forward, “We all must choose. Man or woman, young or old, lord or peasant, our choices are the same. We choose light or we choose darkness, we choose good or we choose evil. We choose the true god or the false. Free folk, there is only one true king and his name is Stannis. Here stands your king of lies. Behold the fate of those who chose the darkness.” She lights him up. It definitely seemed like Mance is having second thoughts about his defiance. Jon Snow looks disgusted. Yep, Mance is definitely having second thoughts. I start yelling at my television, CUT HIM DOWN! Jon Snow storms off. Mance starts crying. Gilly hides her face. Stannis’s wife is really into it. Tormund Giantsbane is getting angry. All of a sudden, an arrow! Jon Snow shoots Mance with an arrow to put him out of his misery. Thank god.

With that, the show ends. I think it’s safe to say that yes, Jon Snow does have too much affection for the Wildlings.

We briefly catch up with Sansa. She’s with Littlefinger. They are dropping Robin off with Lord Royce for safekeeping. While they watch a pitiful Robin try to sword fight (a big contrast from Olly and Arya, he is actually whimpering) Littlefinger gets a secret note. With that, it’s time to go.

Brienne and Podrick are licking their wounds and planning their next steps. Podrick mentions going to Castle Black but Brienne is not having it. She’s feeling a bit discouraged and doesn’t know what she’s fighting for anymore. She’d like to dump Podrick right about now. Since she’s not a proper knight, she shouldn’t have a squire. Podrick reminds her of her promise; she has to find the Stark girls. Arya might not have been interested but there’s always Sansa. She replies, “I don’t want anyone following me, I’m not a leader. All I ever wanted was to fight for a lord I believed in. The good lords are dead and the rest are monsters.” Is this more foreshadowing for #TeamDany?

Well, lo and behold, there’s Sansa. Riding right by Brienne. Oh, Game of Thrones you can be so frustrating. In the carriage, Littlefinger and Sansa discuss whom they can and can’t trust. Dark Sansa is learning from the master. We learn that Littlefinger is taking her somewhere that Cersei will never find her.

Looks like next week we will get to visit Arya at the House of Black and White.

House Martell

No mention of House Martell yet but it looks like we will get to meet the new family next week. There was a quick mention of Dorne, in comparison to Loras Tyrell’s birthmark. What we know of its geography, there’s a Sunspear bit, mountains, and a place called Sandstone.

Rock Paper Watch’s Top Quote of 5×1:

Jenn’s Pick – “Can I drink myself to death on the road to Meereen?”  – Tyrion Lannister in response to meeting Dany.

Elizabeth’s Pick – “They were born on the wrong side of the wall. It doesn’t make them monsters.” – Jon Snow about the Wildlings

Game of Thrones Recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera (Lannister and Targaryen) and Elizabeth Bond (Stark/Baratheon and Martell).  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.

 


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Everything You Need to Know for Game of Thrones Season 5

the-sand-snakesMeet the Sand Snakes, the bastard daughters of Oberyn and Ellaria.

1. New House & New Location

We met our first member of House Martell, Prince Oberyn, last season.  (Who can forget his sultry voice, his disdain for Lannisters’, and his way with candles?)  Sadly, the Mountain crushed our handsome prince (pun definitely intended) during a battle by combat that resulted in the infamous Oberyn Headsplosion.  For those of you that didn’t read the books, House Martell is the head family in the Kingdom of Dorne ruling out of the castle of Sunspear.  Dorne, the southernmost point of the Seven Kingdoms, has been mentioned in Game of Thrones before.  You may recall that when Tyrion was serving as Hand of the King, he orchestrated a plot to have Marcella Baratheon (Lannister) sent away from King’s Landing.  The little lion princess is currently trapped living in Dorne.

Dorne is different from the rest of the kingdoms of Westeros in that it was never truly conquered by the Targaryen’s.  Dorne swore fielty to the Iron Throne by choice centuries after Aegon’s invasion.  Like their ancestors that came before House Martell, Dornish noble Houses follow gender-blind equal primogeniture, in which the eldest child is the heir regardless of whether they are male or female.  The words of the Martells are “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” and bastard children assume the name of “Sand.”  The Martells are deeply resentful of the Lannister family and blame Tywin for the death of Elia Martell, wife of Prince Rhaegar Targeryen, and her children.

This season, we will meet even more members of House Martell.  Oberyn’s paramour, Ellaria Sand, will be returning to report the dreadful news of Oberyn’s death to the reigning Prince of Dorne and Oberyn’s older brother, Prince Doran Martell.  We will also be meeting the Sand Snakes, the bastard daughters of Oberyn and Ellaria.  The Sand Snakes are skilled fighters trained by their father and will most certainly be seeking revenge against the Lannisters.

Rumor has it that Jaime Lannister will be departing King’s Landing and riding south to broker peace in Dorne.  Bookreaders know this is a change in Jaime’s story and I’m interested to see how they fit this into Jaime’s character progression.  Perhaps the Kingslayer will arrive just in time to save Princess Marcella from the deadly grasp of the Sand Snakes?

Sand_Snakes_torture_with_scorpionsSand Snakes using scorpion torture. NBD

2. No Bran, No Hodor.

‘Nough said.  This season will not include Bran Stark or his gentle giant companion, Hodor, as the TV series has caught up to his storyline.  Who will be around to “Hodor” for us?!

3. Who Crossed the Narrow Sea?

When we left, Arya had set her sights on Braavos. For those of you in need of a refresh, remember Jaqen H’ghar? Jaqen helped Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry escape Harrenhal in season two and then he changed into another person like whoosh. That’s because he was a member of the Faceless Men, a trained group of assassins. Arya used the coin given to her by Jaqen to gain passage to cross the Narrow Sea. Is Arya on her way to become an assassin?  Will she soon be just as deadly as Jaqen?

The last we saw of Tyrion, he was being packed into a box by Varys and boarding a ship set sail for freedom. This was all after he killed Tywin on the toilet and strangled Shae with her own necklace. Can we all just have a slow clap for Tyrion?

But, where is he going? Judging by this season 5 poster, we can make one guess:

game of thrones season 5 dragon and tyrion

Also, in recent clips we’ve heard this exchange between Varys and Tyrion:

V: The Seven Kingdoms needs a ruler loved by millions with a powerful army and the right family name.
T: Good luck finding him.
V: Who said anything about ‘him’?”

4. The Wall is Getting Crowded

The Brothers of the Night’s Watch are no longer alone.

At the end of last season, we saw the arrival of Stannis Baratheon at The Wall where he saved Jon Snow from certain imprisonment and possible death at the hands of Mance Rayder. The goal here for Stannis is to protect all of Westeros from the White Walkers and prove himself the One True King.

The Night’s Watch also needs a new leader (RIP Lord Commander Mormont).  Who will be chosen to take the lead?  Will Stannis insert himself, or will he allow a new Brother to rise to the top?

Bonus, rumor has it Melisandre will set her eyes on Jon Snow. Man, this guy’s got a thing for redheads, I VOLUNTEER!

5. And everyone else?

Dark Sansa

Sansa has officially made a deal with the devil, as in Littlefinger. (Reminder: Littlefinger revealed at the end of season four that HE was the one who killed Jon Arryn, which instigated King Robert riding North and setting Game of Thrones in motion).  Now that she’s dyed her hair and decided to join the “game,” what’s next for these two? I don’t know but I bet it’ll be a little creepy.

Third time’s a charm?

Poor Margaery is set to marry a king, again. Will sweet, innocent Tommen survive the wedding? Only time will tell.

It’s a man’s man’s man’s world

…but all her men are gone! What will Cersei do without Tywin, Tyrion, or Jaime to manipulate and whine to, or about?  Will there be anyone to protect her when it’s time for her to pay for her many, many crimes?

This is a real mystery

We already know that Brienne of Tarth’s storyline is deviating pretty dramatically from the books. After taking down The Hound but losing Arya, what’s next for her and Podrick? Will she stay on her mission to find the Stark girls?

Oh, Reek

Things are still pretty bad for Theon/Reek. Our favorite Ironborn has spent the last two seasons as the tortured servant of Ramsay Bolton. Will he ever escape? Sometimes I watch season one of Game of Thrones just to remind myself of cocky, self-absorbed Theon. Gah, so attractive. Just me? Okay.

Trouble in Paradise

At the conclusion of the season, Daenerys finally learned the truth about Jorah Mormont’s original reason for seeking her out and “protecting” her.  (He was a spy for King Robert working to regain his freedom in Westeros.)  Dany banished Jorah from her encampment and sent him to the #FriendZone4Life.

Breaker of Chains Used Chains

After Dany learned that the dragons committed the horrific crime of killing a child, she was forced to put them in chains and lock them away. Something tells me this is not going to end well considering Drogon is MIA.

Budding Romance?

When we last saw Greyworm and Missandei she was teaching him the Common Tongue. As their lessons progressed, they bonded over the loss of their homelands. While swimming, Greyworm noticed Missandei bathing naked. When she notices him watching, she stands up slowly to let him get an eye full before covering herself. Later, he apologizes but she says she wasn’t uncomfortable. Is this the Westeros version of flirting?

And lastly…

Where in the Seven Kingdoms is Gendry?!

gendrymoving

6. In Memorandum

To the characters that didn’t survive season four, we remember you fondly (or not so much).

Tywin Lannister
Joffrey Lannister
Shae
The Hound (maybe, maybe not? I don’t believe it until I see him dead.)
Lysa Arryn
Oberyn Martell
Jojen Reed
Grenn and Pyp
Ygritte
Lord Commander Jeor Mormont

Game of Thrones recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera and Elizabeth Bond.  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.


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‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Trailer React

It’s official, the wait is over. Yesterday morning, the Today show premiered the trailer for the erotic romance Fifty Shades of Grey. Slated for release on Valentine’s Day 2015, the trailer offers the first look at the delicious Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey and so so much more. Let’s not waste another minute,  Elizabeth Bond and Ashley Foster allow their inner goddesses to react to the long awaited glimpse into the Red Room of Pain.

 

Elizabeth:  So is it sad that I’m already assuming that for Valentine’s Day I’m driving down to Charlotte and we are going to see Fifty?

Ashley:  YESSS!! I was going to ask you the other day what we should do for Valentines day but I was like, “maybe it’s too early?”

E: Okay let’s talk about this trailer. The first meeting…

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer I Am

Anastasia describes him as “He was polite, intense, smart, really intimidating.”
Grey asks, “I’d like to know more about you.” Anastasia replies, “There’s really not much to know about me, I mean look at me…” “I am,” he replies, and with that we get our first look at Jamie Dornan’s Christian Grey.

E: Can we just talk about how perfect he is?

A: I…I…I just wanna bite that bottom lip.

E: YESSSSS! Gah, where can I get me one of those?!

A: But seriously though. American accents aren’t sexy…somehow he manages to make his sexy?

E: One of the things that I always found attractive about Jamie Dornan after watching him in The Fall and Once Upon a Time was that British accent but his certainty when he looks at Dakota Johnson’s Anastasia makes me weak in the knees.

E: Let’s talk about Anastasia for a second. She’s much “frumpier” than I thought she would be in her mismatched outfit and shyness, but it works.

A: Yeah, I almost expected a little more “Joey Potter-esque” fashion. A little more girl next door…with a side of frump.

E: Definitely! Speaking of fashion, how about that grey suit and THE TIE!?

A: Yes! Loved the incorporation of the grey tie…but one thing missing from the scene was Anastasia tripping through the door….what’s up with that?

E: Is that gone? Or do we have to wait for the movie to see Grey catch her and the physical repercussions of their first touch?

A: I certainly hope not. I feel like some of the key scenes are definitely being saved for us to enjoy during the movie. I mean, they can’t give it all away in the preview. (Even though I wish they would)

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer Elevator Anastasia Steele

E: The scene where she gets on the elevator, in the book, is plagued with sexual tension and I definitely felt it here. As I watched, I was like “oh man, he’s got her.”

A: I certainly enjoyed this. It’s just like you knew the OTHER elevator scene was just around the corner. I think my favorite part about this was the gleam in her eye. It was like, “OH…SHIT….”

E: Exactly! The only thing missing here for me was “Anastasia,” he says as a farewell. “Christian.” I reply. GOD THE FIRST TIME THEY SAY THEIR FIRST NAMES SPEAKS VOLUMES.

A: OH MAN. It really does, it’s almost like their names were code for, “Yep, this is about to get REAL in about two chapters.”

E: LIKE FOREPLAY.

A: I’ve got to say, I was a little skeptical about Dakota Johnson playing the role, but by this point she had convinced she could definitely fill the shoes of Anastasia.

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer Christian Grey

E: Gah, he’s gorgeous. That brooding stare.

A: Aw! Jose! He’s like the Jacob of Fifty Shades! Honestly…I wasn’t paying attention to him. Talk about a man that can wear fitted suit! Ow owwww!

E: mmmhmmm!

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer Taylor

A: Taylor! I’m so excited they showed his face in the preview. He was probably one of my favorite characters in the books.

E:  He’s like Anastasia’s confidant and sidekick almost. And I love this actor (Max Martini). He’s so good in these types of silent but strong background roles.

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer Coffee Shop

Anastasia asks “To what to you owe your success?” and Christian replies, “I exercise control in all things Miss Steele.” “That must be really boring,” says Anastasia while Christian smirks.

E: At this point she’s still totally unaware of how much control he “exercises.” Girl, it’s hardly boring. Mwahahahaha.

A: Yadda, Yadda…Coffee…Tea…Okay enough of this. ONWARD! THE ELEVATOR SCENE!

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer Hot Elevator Kiss

E: This is about the time that my brain just stopped working and I started thinking with other parts of my body…

A: Beside the fact my brain shut down as well…I loved that even early on he was like, “No, no, you can’t touch me. Don’t mind if I do…just going to pin you to this elevator wall.”

E: RIGHT! Like the second she reaches for the back of his neck, out of reflex, he swoops in and takes control. Their chemistry is incredible here.

A: Yep. My innards hurt.

E: And Beyonce didn’t help.

A: Can we just talk about the choice for Beyonce to be on the soundtrack? #NAILEDIT Her latest album is just SEX.

E: Evidently, this is quite the scandal. Several publications have expressed their disdain for Beyonce’s involvement but her brand just fits here. And the new recording of Crazy in Love is perfect. The crescendo of the chorus happening as he pins her to the wall of the elevator, my god.

A: Disdain? Girl is laughing all the way to the bank….Plus I’d just like to think Beyonce is putting her foot down and just relating to women everywhere like, “Yeah, this stuff turned me on too…”

E: I find it personally satisfying then that I have something in common with Queen Bey.

A: It’s like we are all besties with Queen Bey.

E: Gah, if only.

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer Christian Grey

“I’m incapable of leaving you alone,” Christian says. “Then don’t,” replies Anastasia.

E: This is hands down one of my favorite parts of the trailer (as well as the book). You may remember, they are leaving the coffee shop and she almost gets hit by a car only to get pulled back onto the sidewalk by Christian at the last minute. In the book, she is in his arms briefly but her thoughts are pleading for him to kiss her. (“Kiss me damnit!” I implore him, but I can’t move. I’m paralyzed with a strange, unfamiliar need.) I love how in this scene, you see that Christian is struggling with the same damn unfamiliar need.

A: It definitely written ALL over his face. Side note: They never showed the hardware store scene! What a classic tale of duct tape and rope….

E: That’s gotta still be there, right?

A: I think some of the first photos that leaked from the set were scenes from the hardware store. Here’s hoping!

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer Dark Brooding Christian Piano

“I had a rough start in life, you should steer clear of me.”

E: Tortured Christian, this is what I knew Jamie Dornan would be able to pull off well. He’s not afraid of complex characters and they don’t get much more complex than Christian Grey.

A: This is one of those things I didn’t catch until I went back and watched it the second time.

E: Well again, I left my brain back there in the elevator.

A: #realtalk

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer Pushing Jose

E: This is a pivotal sequence featured in the trailer. First, Christian shows up only after knowing Anastasia a few hours and pushes Jose away as he tries to kiss Anastasia. A very public proclamation of his intentions. Then, the damsel in distress that she is, he takes her to his hotel and tucks her into bed. He lightly kisses her goodnight and leaves. When she wakes up there is a glass of orange juice and two Advil but no Christian. It’s the first time she experiences how tender he can be, but also how cold.

A: I love how instantly protective he is over her. They really do a great job of showcasing that in preview.

E: Exactly, moving on…

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer under the table

Over a series of scandalous shots we hear Christian tell Anastasia “I don’t do romance, my tastes are very singular. You wouldn’t understand.”

E: Now the good stuff!

A: Did you see how she squeezed her legs together and gave him that look! Hot damn!

E: All during a Grey family dinner too, my goodness! I think I started to blush. Side note, there should have been more Marcia Gay Harden in the preview. There should always be more Marcia Gay Harden.

A: I know! I can’t believe they only showed the back of her perfectly tamed coiffe! This scene get’s me really excited (ha-ha) for the benefit party in the second book….now that…is scandalous.

E: Elena hasn’t been cast yet right? I’m still holding out for Sharon Stone.

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer Low rise jeans red room of pain
E: I was too distracted by his shirt off and those beautiful lowrise jeans to notice that he’s in the Red Room of Pain.

A: Just found my new desktop background. Man, let’s just talk about how that is EXACTLY what I pictured when reading the book. HOT DAMN. I salute you Levi’s!

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer sweatpants

E: Speaking of low rise…

A: Praises be….

E: Gah, that look he’s giving her, it’s like he’s begging her ‘please love me.’ God, my heart just melted. Leave me alone and give me chocolate.

A: Where are they during this scene by the way?!

E: My guess is his bedroom.

A: I just imagined it to be more white…and airy…but it matches his broodiness. Also, did you notice the sweat?

E: Also also, I love the intimacy that’s hinted at here. She’s in a big t-shirt, he’s in sweats.

A: So very sexy…lets be honest.

Fifty Shades of Grey Red Room of Pain

E: “Enlighten me then.” Ask and you shall receive Miss Steele! Here we go…

A: Dakota nailed the reaction…sort of, “wtf” mixed with “hmmmmmm….?”

E: “Ohh great, this is your hobby…”

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer Gif Red Room of PainSource

E: OH. MY. GOD.

A: *Gulps*

Laters, baby.

 

 

From your resident experts in all things sexyElizabeth Bond and Ashley Foster, thanks for reading!


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True Blood Season 7 Premiere React – The Beginning of the End

true-blood-final-season

It’s hard to imagine that True Blood has been a part of our lives for only the past seven years.  It feels like a decade ago that we watched Sookie Stackhouse, a part-human part-fairy waitress from Bon Temps, Louisiana, meet her very first vampire.  Lately, we can hardly even remember the days when Bill was thought of with giddy girl-crushing love and admiration.  It’s difficult to even say his name anymore. (“Do you think Sookie will end up with Bilith?  I mean, Bill…”)

For Jenn O’Mara and Ashley Foster, the final season of True Blood is bittersweet.  They’ve been with the show for it all – through the good, the bad, and the ugly of seven seasons.  They witnessed every True Death, every True Blood drink order, every Sookie Stackhouse sex scene, all of it.  Saying good bye to the weirdos citizens of Bon Temps who manage to survive Season 7 isn’t going to be easy.  So in order to get the most of the season, they’re hashing out every possible theory, question, and mystery that the season has to offer.   Below is their Q&A discussion of their burning questions left after Sunday’s season premiere of True Blood.

 


 

1. Do we miss Tara already?

TaraTB

Ashley: Sorry, no. Pam was the only thing that made her interesting. Good-bye.

Jenn: Nope!  I’ve always preferred Book Tara over TV Tara.  TV Tara’s place on True Blood always felt forced and out of place.  Her death, though mildly rushed and severely disappointing, started off the final season with the feeling that no one is safe, ever, even in the first 30 seconds of an episode!  It really is the beginning of the end…


2. What/who drew away the crazed vamps from Merlotte’s?

sarah-newlin-1024

Ashley:  Sarah Newlin. Crazy I know…but let’s think about this for a second.  She is a freaking can of crazy.  She’s ALWAYS hated vampires and certainly despises the ground Jason Stackhouse walks on.  Add that up and what’s stopping her from tearing him and his town apart?  Think of it this way, she has the motive and if she can control the Hep V vamps, she certainly has the ammo. Who better to destroy a whole species along with her enemies than the one person we would never suspect?  Sarah Newlin is a weed and she keeps coming back stronger in some weird way in every season. I mean, hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn.

Jenn:  I think Ashley is onto something seriously intriguing with Sarah Newlin.  If it is her, I bet Jason Stackhouse will really regret sparing her life.  But what if it’s something even crazier, like a king or queen from another state poised to rock Louisiana for a gigantic takeover?  Or it could be the Fae.  The only thing vampires love more than our half-fairy heroine are full-blown fairies.  The vamps have massacred their fair share of fairies and we’ve yet to see the show take on the book version of the Fae.  This theory has some  potential.  But I still think it’s probably the Fellowship and Sarah.


3. Where the hell is Eric Northman?

eric-northman-naked-true-blood

A: I’d like to think he is waiting on me at home with a bubble bath and some champagne….but that’s just me. But in all seriousness, my imagination isn’t taking me anywhere on this one. I just feel like he’s actually dead, dead. It’s almost as if he’s had his moment in the sun (literally). But, then again, why would they be leading Pam on a rat race?

J:  He’s alive, somewhere.  (I only say this confidently because of season previews.  Without the Internet, I’d still be crying over his death…)  My King..I mean…Eric…probably buried himself in the snow when the fire started and is alive, laying majestically naked, somewhere near a body of water.  Pam will find him soon, remind him he’s acting crazy and needs to be home, and bring him back to Bon Temps just in time to fight Bill for our girl, Sookie.

Side note – Just at the point I started realizing the episode felt empty without Eric, we cut to Pam.  It’s as if the writers can feel it, too.  I bet when they aren’t writing (and thinking) about Alexander and his naked bod every 10 minutes, they start to become sweaty and distracted.  On a serious note – I hope there aren’t many more episodes without Eric Northman.  He’s by far my favorite character (show and book) and this is the last season.  I want all the Eric I can get.


4. Is Jessica going to kill all these fairies?

jessica-true-blood

A: I think Jessica is going to take a note from her maker and protect Adelaide like Bill did with Sookie. Jessica is definitely the one character who has had a ton of growing pains since her characters introduction to the series and it seems like she’s one of the few who has learned from her mistakes. So definitely not, Jessica is a good girl all the way.

J:  As much as I think Jessica shouldn’t in order to show that her character has indeed learned to become a civil and humane vampire (much quicker than any of the older vamps, I might add. Bill was a couple hundo years old for Pete’s sake),  I kind  of want her to for one reason – bad ass factor.  One of the things I love most about True Blood is it’s intense gore, violence, and high number of ‘WTF EWMYGOSH’ moments.  Jessica killing the only fairy that survived her the first time has potential to be freakin’ awesome.


5. Will Sookie really end up with Alcide?

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A: I hope not. I mean, that’s like asking if Bella is going to end up with Jacob. #sorrynotsorry (Spoiler Alert!) I know Sookie ends up with Sam in the books, but honestly I’m Team Bill. It seems like the show is getting back to the basics in the first episode this season. I mean, hello, did you see those season one-esque glances Bill and Sookie were exchanging back and forth? Unfortunately, I don’t think Alcide will ever fully accept Sookie for her past and her faults. Bill has never had that issue….

J:  Only when Lafayette ends up with Holly aka NEVER.  Alcide is on his way out the door and I hope last night was the only episode where they are together.  (Spoiler!) I also hope she doesn’t end up with Sam.   I get how and why the book ended in that way.  It worked for the books and for the story within the books.  But this isn’t that story.  Sookie and everything else about Bon Temps is different so please, please give us the fan-ending we’ve wanted since Season 1 Episode 1 before any of us even read the books.

Sookie + Bill = Forever ❤
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True Detective Season 2 – Plot speculation and dream cast

With confirmation from creator Nic Pizzolatto on Tuesday, we now know that season two of HBO’s hit True Detective will center around three all new characters. It’s not yet confirmed, but rumors hint that the lead characters will be two males and a female. Season two will be set in California, “Not Los Angeles, but some of the much lesser-known venues of California. And we’re going to try to capture a certain psycho-sphere ambiance of the place, much like we did in season one.” Even more rumors say it’s present day Northern California. With all of this info, let the guessing games begin! What do you think will happen in season two? Who is your dream cast?

Ashley’s Guess

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The female lead (Rachel McAdams) grew up with a father who was a cop killed in the line of duty. His best friend (Jeff Bridges) is her chief and a younger male cop (Gael Garcia Bernal) is her partner. With the case of her father’s death unsolved the partners begin to tie new cases to old cases that led to her father’s death, and all connect back to the chief (aka he’s the killer).

Jenn’s Guess

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A strong female veteran detective (Zoe Saldana) is constantly at odds with her chief (Tim Robbins), not only because of her superior skills but also because the chief is constantly afraid of losing his position of power to a female detective and former partner. The pair are complemented by a new, young, determined male detective (Shia Labeouf) who is ready to learn the ropes of the force. His naivety threatens both his safety and the safety of his new partner when they discover a mass murderer is on the loose and the new partners figure out how to trust each other and solve the case.

Elizabeth’s Guess

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There’s a dark, twisted, damaged male detective (Rob Lowe). A veteran and skilled cop with a hefty drinking problem and a lot of secrets. He overthinks everything and often talks out loud as he tries to understand the twists and turns of the case. He’s gorgeous, an obvious and easy ladies man. His partner is a younger male cop who is naive, optimistic, but driven (Michael B. Jordan). The younger cop dislikes his partner because he often gets lost in his head and leaves the young cop out on his own. The young cop has quite a temper and is often quick on the trigger, because of that he has a dangerously dark past. After a grotesque murder, a task force is formed. New to the force, is a young, doe eyed female (Elizabeth Olsen) with a natural talent and naivety. She quickly finds herself pinned between these partners and their secrets (both on the job and romantically).


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Game of Thrones 4×4 Recap – Oathkeeper

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House Targaryen

We open with our favorite translator, Missandei, tutoring Grey Worm in the Common Tongue (GOT version of English).  We learn that Grey Worm comes from the Summer Isles but doesn’t remember that life.  “Unsullied.  Always Unsullied.  Before Unsullied, nothing,” he says.  Missandei can relate – she was taken as a 5-year-old child.  It’s no wonder these two, along with the hundreds of thousands of freed slaves, love and worship Dany.  She’s their liberator and the first person that has been nice to them and treated them with an ounce of respect in decades.  Their loyalty is unyielding, unlike the armies of Westeros, who appear to be loyal to gold and that’s about it.

Dany enters and with two words (“It’s time”) her plan to sack Meereen is set in motion.  Grey Worm and a small group of Unsullied, disguised as slaves, infiltrate the castle from a secret gate near the water.  They climb through the tunnels of the city at night while the Masters are resting and head to the slave headquarters.  The slaves are already meeting, discussing Dany and her horde and what it could potentially mean for them, but they are afraid to rise against the Masters.  There have been many unsuccessful slave rebellions and they have no weapons to fight.  Even chains are better than death.

Cue Grey Worm and Co.

“Valar morghulis,” Grey Worm says.  He tells the slaves of his enslavement, his life as Unsullied, and finally, his freedom thanks to Dany.  “Now I fight for Daenerys, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains.”  He then surprises the slaves with bags of weapons and continues, “No on can give you your freedom, brothers.  If you want it, you must take it.”  You go, Grey Worm.  I’d fight with you.

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We cut to a Master and two soldiers stumbling upon “Kill the Masters” scrawled in blood on a wall.  In the sky, they spot something black and red – a flag with a red dragon – hanging over their statue and then armed slaves surround and trap them.  We cut again to Dany walking in a shower of broken slave chains with hundreds of thousands of newly freed slaves lining the roads shouting “Meesa, Meesa!” and raising their arms toward her. (Sound familiar?)  Beneath Dany, the Unsullied surround the Masters of the city.  Dany asks Ser Jorah how many children were nailed to mile posts.  One hundred and sixty three.  Dany signals.  Barristan asks for a word and warns her that it is best to answer injustice with mercy.  “I will answer injustice with justice,” proclaims Dany and then stares Barristan down.  Stop questioning her, Barristan.  She’ll breathe fire on you eventually.

Dany has the masters crucified in the same fashion as the slave children and stands watch over the city, underneath the dragon flag hoisted on the top monument, and listens to the moans and screams of the Masters.

House Stark

Sansa – As we saw last week, Sansa was “rescued” (I use rescued lightly) by Littlefinger. He informs Sansa that they’re en route to her crazy Aunt Lysa Tully’s castle. You may remember crazy Aunt Lysa from Season 1. She’s most memorable for breastfeeding her child, NOT infant, but child and setting the stage for the lovable bromance between Tyrion and Bronn. I’d also like to point out this is the same place Arya is going (fingers crossed!).

Now, it’s time for some answers. Littlefinger admits he killed Joffrey, “A man with no motive is a man no one suspects,” eck. “If they don’t know who you are or what you want, they can’t know what you plan to do next,” he says while looking seductively at Sansa. You can see Sansa taking a scared gulp before asking what he does want. Littlefinger responds, “Everything,” while creepily running his hands down her arms while I physically shudder.

Can we pause for a second? We all know that Littlefinger was a bit obsessed with Catelyn. And Littlefinger has always treated Sansa like the next best thing. And Littlefinger is a spiteful bitch. Remember last season when Sansa chose her potential nuptials to Loras over escaping King’s Landing with Littlefinger? Something tells me that Sansa is NOT safe right now. End pause.

But there is no way Littlefinger acted alone. He tells Sansa that he has a new, top-secret, powerful alliance. Ser Dontos was too easily swayed and not smart enough to pull this off. Who killed Joffrey Baratheon?! As we find out in the next scene it was the very powerful House Tyrell. More on that later.

Jon Snow – Seriously Castle Black, you NEED to prepare for the Wildings. And hey, one of your men has been with them for the past couple of “months” (I don’t know time is weird in Westeros). Why don’t you use his insider knowledge to prepare? Yea. No? Okay.
Jon Snow is training the men on how to fight Wildlings. Ser Alliser Thorne interrupts him because his rank doesn’t allow him that kind of superiority. Janos Slynt suggests sending Jon on the mission to Craster’s Keep to get rid of Jon Snow. That’s smart, let’s get rid of our biggest asset against the Wildlings before they attack (rolls eyes).
So Jon is off to Craster’s but only if he can gather enough volunteers to take down the Night’s Watch rebels that have taken over the Keep. He delivers a big speech and slowly, one by one, the volunteers stand up.

Wait a second, who’s that guy hanging around Castle Black? It’s Locke, the guy that chopped off Jaime’s hand. After episode two, we can also think of him as Ramsey Snow’s sadistic BFF. You may remember, Locke was asked by Roose Bolton to travel north and find Bran and Rickon. Speaking of…

Bran – Meanwhile, at Craster’s Keep it is a shit show (pardon my French, but really). We catch up with Karl Tanner (portrayed by Burn Gorman, I bring this up because the guy’s real name is SO MUCH cooler than his GOT name and that NEVER happens), as he’s drinking wine from a HUMAN SKULL and wallowing in his surroundings, which include rape and brutality. The wives and daughters of Craster have gone from being abused by one horrible man to several, awful, no good men.

Karl is rambling on and on about his glory days as a hired killer in King’s Landing. I honestly can’t pay attention to any of this because the surroundings are too disturbing.

And if this couldn’t get any worst, they have Jon Snow’s direwolf, Ghost, outside in a cage.

Bran, Hodor, and the Reeds make their way to Craster’s Keep, only to be quickly captured by the mutineers.

(side note – I ran a Tough Mudder two weeks ago. There is an obstacle called the Warrior Carry where you have to carry another participate. The guy next to me who was doing the carrying kept saying ‘Hodor! Hodor!’ – end note)

Karl torments his new prisoners and threatens to rape Meera. It’s then that Brad finally declares, “I’m Brandon Stark of Winterfell!” I’m not going to lie when he did this I was sitting on my couch going “YES! YES, YOU ARE BRAN!” It’s been a while since we’ve heard pride in declaring the name Stark. Shortly after Jojen starts seizing, no idea why. Stay tuned.

We have Jon Snow on his way to Bran. Will he get there in time? We have Arya and Sansa also potentially going to the same place. ARE WE GOING TO HAVE A STARK REUNION? For the love of god, please give us a Stark reunion. I can’t handle anymore Stark deaths. Don’t tease us like this!

White Walkers – Also at Craster’s keep, a baby boy is born and at the urging of the wives/daughters a mutineer leaves the baby outside in the snow for the “gods.” It’s not long before a White Walker comes along and picks the baby up. Is this what Jon witnessed in Season 1?

The White Walker carries the no longer crying baby to the White Walker circle of doom and lays it down as if an offering. The White Walker “king” makes his way to the child. The whole time I’m clinching my blanket hoping I’m not about to witness the king eat the poor sweet baby. He picks up the baby and with one touch of his finger he turns the child into a White Walker. So wait, is that where White Walker’s come from? They’re transitioned by the king when touched? So wait, are there a lot of infant White Walkers crawling around? Do they grow at superhuman speed? I have so many questions.

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Okay, so now I want to talk about the White Walkers for a second. I pretty much hate them, and not because they’re ominous villains, just because they exist. First of all, I’ve never been able to jump on the zombie train. When we got to the big reveal at the end of season two my reaction was, “ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME? ZOMBIES? REALLY?!” Secondly, I just don’t understand where they fit in the story and I don’t really care to know. I’m too involved in everyone else and their storylines to care about White Walkers. And it pisses me off to think about those compelling stories will eventually have to stop so the focus can be on the White Walkers. And then I find it even more annoying that eventually each of these characters might have to unite to fight a common threat. I love the conflict as it is. Can we just not? Can winter just not come? Ugh.

House Lannister

Jaime Lannister trains with Bronn, who is clearly enjoying kicking the Kingslayer’s ass.  He even slaps Jaime across the face with Jamie’s own golden hand.  After last week, Jaime deserved that, just saying.

After Bronn informs Jaime that he disrespects Tyrion with the same crude tone he uses with him, the pair discuss Tyrion’s implication in Joffrey’s death. Neither think Tyrion is guilty and Bronn finally calls Jaime out on failing to visit his brother. Bronn reminds Jaime that Tyrion called for him to stand in his trial by combat at the Eyrie; Tyrion is Jaime’s brother and he loves and adores him.  How dare Jaime turn his back on him in his time of need.  Jaime appears to leave like he doesnt care what Bronn has to say but…

He immediately goes to visit Tyrion Lannister in his jail cell.  The two brothers compare their different prison circumstances and Tyrion calls Jaime out for being Cersei’s bitch.  They discuss the dreaded trial and the fact that most people think Tyrion really did kill Joffrey.  Tyrion knows Cersei doesn’t care about the outcome of the trial and will kill him no matter what.  Tyrion asks if Jaime will do it himself. Jaime rebuttles by asking if Tyrion has joined him as a Kingslayer.  “Are you really asking if I killed your son?” Thank you, Tyrion, for addressing the elephant in the room and acknowledging that Joffrey was Jaime’s son, too.

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Jaime offers to help Tyrion but the only thing Tyrion wants is freedom.  Jaime can’t give him that.  It’s treason to help a Kingslayer.  Jaime then clues Tyrion in to Cersei’s threat on Sansa’s life but Tyrion assures Jaime it couldn’t have been her.  “Sansa’s not a killer.  Not yet, anyway.”

We catch up with Olenna and Margaery Tyrell during what appears to be their last stroll through the gardens because Olenna reveals she is leaving King’s Landing.  The Tyrells have proposed a match between Tommen and Margaery but the Lannisters haven’t answered yet.  Olenna tells Margaery to be patient and then tells her a story about her first love. He was originally supposed to marry Olenna’s sister but he fell victim to Olenna’s seduction since she was apparently very, very good.  But Olenna claims Margaery is even better and needs to move in on Tommen fast before Cersei turns him against her.  Luckily, Cersei is distracted and wrongfully accusing Tyiron of murder.  Margaery wonders how she knows Tyrion is innocent.  “You don’t think I’d let you marry that beast, do you?” Olenna responds.  Margaery is confused but Olenna tells her not to worry while she FIDDLES WITH HER NECKLACE. (ASIDE: Did Olenna seriously just admit to murdering the King?! END OF ASIDE)

Jaime visits his sister-lover Cersei on official business as Lord Commander of the Night’s Guard. Cersei questions the number of guards stationed outfront of Tommen’s room and also is curious about why Catelyn would set him free.  Was he telling the truth when he made the sacred vow to the enemy? Of course not.  Jaime claims he was lying and saying whatever he needed to get back to Cersei. Not convinced, Cersei wonders what would happen if she told Jaime to leave the capital, go find Sansa and bring Cersei her head?  She also wonders why Jaime would visit the creature that murdered their son.  Cersei mocks Jaime for pitying Tyrion and then orders him to increase the number of guards for Tommen.  She dismisses the Lord Commander as she drowns herself in wine and misery.

Tommen stirs and looks frightened when he hears a noise in the dark. Don’t worry King Tommen, it’s just Margaery popping in for a (secret) midnight visit.  She emerges from the dark and Tommen wonders why he’s there since mother doesn’t allow evening visits. Margaery assures him it’s okay since she’s going to be his new bride.  Margaery tells Tommen how lucky they are to know each other prior to an arranged marriage and they should take advantage and get to know one another.  Suddenly, Ser Pounce jumps up and interrupts the intense moment.  Tommen starts to confide in her and tell her about Joffrey’s sick plans for his poor cat.  Margaery lets him know that she thinks Joffrey is awful and asks him if he knows what happens when they marry.  “I become yours, forever,” she says.  Poor Tommen. He looks terrified of what that means but also intrigued and excited as Margaery bids him farewell and promises to visit again.  “Remember, our little secret,” she whispers before disappearing into the dark.

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Jaime gives Brienne a new suit of armor and his new Valyerian steel sword, claiming that since the sword is made from Ned Stark’s sword and she will be using it to defend Sansa, she has to take it.  Brienne promises to find Sansa and take her somewhere safe, for Catelyn and for Jaime.   Jaime also gives her Pod as a squire.  Poor Pod.  He’s such a good, innocent lad; he can’t figure out how to properly address Brienne.  Jaime also gives Pod Tyrion’s axe from the Battle of Blackwater, per Tyrion’s request.  Hooray for Pod!  Another nice guy who seems to have survived the Game.  Now if only we could find Gendry….

So Jaime disobeyed Cersei and did everything he could to help Sansa, not kill her.  What does this mean about Jaime?  What does he feel for Brienne, if anything?  Is he a Lannister or an Oathkeeper, as Brienne so aptly named the sword?

House Baratheon

No news here. Where. Is. Gendry.

Rock Paper Watch’s Top Quote of 4×4:

Jenn’s Pick – “Kill the Masters.”  – Grey Worm to the slaves of Meereen 

Elizabeth’s Pick – “There’s nothing more tedious than a trial. Except perhaps these gardens. If I have to take one more leisurely stroll through these gardens I’ll fling myself from the cliffs.” – Lady Olenna (like viewers) is also annoyed that she’s only allowed to hang out in the Gardens

Game of Thrones Recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera (Lannister and Targaryen) and Elizabeth Bond (Stark and Baratheon).  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.