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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 4×1 Recap – One episode, two swords

We’re baaacccckkkk and we are so thrilled for a brand new season of Game of Thrones. With a new House in town and the taste of vengeance in the air, this season guarantees to be fantastic. Let’s dive in. First and foremost, we have a credits update! Meet Dreadfort, the keep of House Bolton and the current location of poor Theon. Also, Meerean makes an appearance, the slave city with a giant pyramid. Dany’s on her way there but more on that later.

House Lannister

We kick off the episode with a scene symbolizing the complete destruction of House Stark with a true song of fire and Ice. Tywin Lannister stands watch as Ice, Ned Stark’s gigantic Valyrian steel blade, is welded down in fire, forging two new swords for House Lannister. Tywin completes the destruction by tossing Ned’s wolf-skin scabbard into the fire as the Rains of Castamere plays eerily in the background. The Red Wedding may have happened ten months ago for us, but in the GOT world, it was mere weeks ago, and it continues to be the wound that keeps bleeding.

[ASIDE: This entire scene was painful to watch, and served as a terse reminder of the events of Season 3. Just like the Red Wedding, Tywin stands in the shadows, unwilling to reveal himself and his role. Tywin constantly takes what isn’t his and remolds it into something new, giving the appearance of power and bold courage. But is Tywin really that courageous? Isn’t he known for hiding under Casterly Rock during Robert’s Rebellion, only daring to step forth into King’s Landing when he knew the city was starving, ripe for sacking? Does he ever take responsibility for what he does? Was the Red Wedding not a cowardly move in itself? Tywin feared the Young Wolf and thus found a way to defeat him without facing him in battle. I think Tywin Lannister is a façade – a man who thinks he has all the power in the world but is really living in a house of cards, with children who are sleeping together and a grandson who holds a false claim to the throne. Every empire burns to the ground, and I can’t wait until Tywin Lannisters’ does just that. END OF ASIDE]

Tywin presents one of the new Valyrian blades to his one-handed son, Jaime Lannister, who clumsily receives his new sword. Tywin questions Jaime’s intentions for his future, imploring Jaime to leave the King’s Guard (since he can’t really fight with a sword anymore) and return to Casterly Rock and rule in his place. Jaime refuses. His honor, his word, his reputation are already spoiled and he refuses to abandon yet another post at the whims of another. Tywin is shocked that his 40 year old son still doesn’t get it and dismisses Jaime, but allows him to keep his present. “A one handed man with no family needs all the help he can get.” As Jaime leaves his fathers’ chamber, we see a sly [sexy] smile spread across his face. Wonder what that’s about.

Next, we catch up with everyone’s favorite imp, Tyrion Lannister, Master of Coin, accompanied by Bron and Pod. They are waiting to receive the party from Dorne, which sailed to King’s Landing for Joffrey’s wedding. In brilliant GOT fashion, Tyrion proceeds to discuss the Dornish sigils and the “bad blood” between House Martell and House Lannister, clueing the audience to the significance of the new characters and providing us with a Westerosi history lesson.

Much to Tyrion’s dismay, the Dornish reveal that Prince Doran did not sail to the capital due to illness. His brother, Prince Oberyn of House Martell, came instead and snuck into the city in the wee morning hours. Tyion has an idea where he may find him.

Enter stage left – the one and only Oberyn Martell aka The Red Viper of Dorne. Oberyn is with his great paramour, Ellaria Sand (Sand because she’s a Dornish bastard; like Snow for our beloved Jon), and the pair are inspecting Baylish’s whores. After Prince Oberyn picks a boy who can he can have his way with, he suddenly becomes distracted as the tune of Rains of Castamere float through the brothel.   Oberyn ventures off to find the cause of the disturbance, despite Ellaria’s pleas.

Oberyn stumbles upon two couples whistling the Lannister tune. “Forgive me for staring, I don’t see many Lannisters where I come from.”

[ASIDE: The way those words ooze out of his mouth, and the way he burns his fingers on the candle as he walks, oh la la. I am already in love with Oberyn. END OF ASIDE]

The tension between the Lannister couples and Oberyn seeps out of the TV. The men make jabs at each other until the Red Viper stings. “May I tell you a secret? You’re not a golden lion. You’re just a pink little man whose far too slow on the draw.” Then, BAM, knife in one of the Lannisters wrists.

Tyrion enters just in time to disrupt the argument. Oberyn already knows the “King’s Imp Uncle” and the two men go for a stroll, talking truths to one another. Oberyn thinks Joffrey is offended since he is the second son, not the ruling Prince of Dorne. Tyrion questions Oberyn’s intentions, knowing there is more to the visit than attending a wedding. Then, in another genius dialogue-driven history lesson, we find out the true reason for the Martell/Lannister hatred. The last time Oberyn was in the capital was for his sister, Elia Martell’s, wedding to Rhagaer Targaryen. Elia had his children and cared for them until Rhagaer left her for another woman, the “kidnapped” Lyanna Stark, which caused Robert to wage war. After Rhagaer was killed, the Lannisters sacked King’s Landing, killing all remaining Targaryens, including Elia and her children. It is said that Elia was raped by the Mountain and then split in half. If this is the case, Oberyn holds Tywin directly responsible for her death and the deaths of his nephew and niece. “Tell your father I’m here. Tell him the Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts.”

Whoa. These two actors were phenomenal together. The tension, the conflict, the dialogue, the accent. All fantastic. The chemistry between them is fantastic. GIMME MORE, PLEASE!

After Tyrion’s depressing conversation with his new wife, Sansa Stark, he goes back to his room to find Shae draped over his bed. She knows it’s a dangerous place but insisted on seeing him, since she hasn’t gotten any in weeks. Tyrion turns her down and makes her leave. In a fit of rage, she reveals she knows he tried to dismiss her from the city and she wants him to be a man and say it to her himself. Tyrion reveals he has no idea about Varys’ visit last season, as we correctly assumed. Then, Shae storms out of the room….and the audience sees that one of Cersei’s little birds was outside chirping. Uh oh.

Speaking of the Golden Queen, we catch up with Cersei Lannister as she presents her brother with a golden hand, with the help of the Un-Maester Qyburn. Cersei reveals that Maester Qyburn helped to relieve her of some symptoms. (Pregnancy symptoms? Or no longer able to get pregnant symptoms? Is this her way out of her marriage to Loras?) The twins talk about the events that got them here and Jaime’s plans for the future. He reveals he wants to stay in King’s Landing so he can be with her. He tries to seduce his sister (EW) but she denies him, making it so both Lannister boys aren’t getting any. Cersei then breaks his heart – she tells him he was gone for too long and it took too long to get back to her. The incestual scene is disrupted when Cersei’s bird flies into the room to tattle on Tyrion.

jaimegoldenhand

We get a glimpse of the Royal Wedding plans when we catch up with Olenna and Margaery Tyrell and Jaime and Joffrey. Olenna, determined to make a fashion statement at the wedding, is displeased with the necklace options for Margaery and sends her little doves out to find the most beautiful one in King’s Landing. Margaery has a different idea but Olenna warns her to be careful because even the walls have ears.

Jaime and King Joff discuss security for the wedding, and the fact that the war isn’t over as long as Stannis lives. Joffrey isn’t interested and would rather squabble with his uncle, blaming him for his imprisonment and poking fun at Jaime for being a 40 year old knight with no hand who has done “no good deeds.” Did anyone else think Jaime must’ve been thinking, “How did I create that,” as he watched Joffrey walk away?

House Targaryen

We get our first glimpse of the Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, being just that, mother of dragons. She’s sitting with a dragon in her lap, stroking Rhaego as if he is a puppy. The dragons are gigantic and have almost doubled in size. Suddenly, the other two dragons return with a dead sheep and the dragons begin to fight. Rhaego even snaps as Dany before the three fly off. Holy. Shit. The dragons are scary and on their way to becoming massive and uncontrollable. Ser Jorah Mormont so wisely states, “They are dragons, Khaleesi. They can never be tamed, not even by their mother.” Why thank you Jorah, I shall call you Captain Obvious.

danydragons

Dany heads back to camp to discover Daario Naharis and Greyworm are missing – gambling. After she walks through her gigantic camp, she discovers the two men holding weapons to determine who has the right to ride beside Dany on road to Meereen. Dany quickly reins the boys in and we discover that Daario and Greyworm have a cute bro-competition going on. This scene felt kind of pointless and more like a chance to showcase the immense size of Dany’s horde and the new actor playing Daario Naharis but I’ll take any Dany time I can get.

Later, Dany and Missandei talk about Meereen and Missandei lets her know that she thinks the slave masters should fear Dany before Daario interrupts the women to talk strategy. He brings Dany three flowers, the flowers of Meereen, which are used for tea and poison, telling her if she wants to win over the peoples affections, she must become one with their lands. Dany is smitten, as are we, but seems to recognize Daario’s ploy for her heart.

Suddenly, the horde comes to a halt. There are dead children, mutilated and strung up, on every mile marker between there and Meereen – 163 in total. Barristan Selmy offers to ride ahead and bury the children but she refuses. She wants to see them all, and wants them to remove their collars before they are buried. Dany is going to liberate the enslaved and conquer the slavers. I’m afraid already for the masters of Meereen.

House Stark

The length of the Stark section is dwindling, you know, since they’re almost all dead.

Sansa – Sansa is in mourning. During the Season 3 finale we saw her immediate reaction to her brother and mother’s deaths. Now knows the details. She stays awake at night thinking about how the Lannisters (via Bolton and Frey) mutilated her family members. They chopped off Robb’s head and sewed his direwolf’s there in its place. They sliced her mother’s neck to the bone and then threw her body into the river, discarded like trash. There’s no cheering up Sansa, not even with lemon cakes (um, can I have Sansa’s lemon cake? My mouth is practically watering). Don’t worry Sansa, misery loves company and she’s got plenty of company in the legion of GOT fans.

It takes a fool to cheer Sansa up, literally. After creepily following her through the garden, Ser Dontos — the former knight she rescued from Joffrey in Season 2 — gives her a charming necklace as a gift. The family heirloom is all he has left and wants her to have it and wear it proudly.

Later, Brienne of Tarth tries to convince Jaime that he has to honor his pledge to rescue Catelyn Stark’s daughters. With Arya presumed dead and Sansa married to his brother, that makes things a bit difficult for Jaime. With Jaime’s previous speech to Tywin about breaking his word, is it wrong of me to have hope that he’ll follow through? Also, don’t you love that Brienne and Jaime are still besties?

Jon Snow – Man, Ygritte is a woman scorned. To be honest, I can’t say I blame her. If my man left me for a 600-some guys that wear only black, I’d be a little peeved too. We check-in with Ygritte as she’s making arrows, surely thinking about firing more of them at Jon Snow. Her angry arrow making is short-lived as Tormund Giantsbane approaches.

Is it just me or does Giantsbane remind you of Rumpelstiltskin in his angry wig? No, maybe try upside down? I don’t know, I can’t take him seriously whenever he’s on my TV.

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In case you forgot (and missed Jon Snow’s recap to the council), last season a few of the Wildlings, led by Tormund Giantsbane, scaled The Wall and now intend to attack Castle Black from the south. Once they have control of the castle, they will open the gates to The Wall so Mance Rayder’s army can invade the southern lands. Right now they are waiting for Mance Rayder’s signal and it will be a big signal, says Jon Snow.

Anyway, back to Giantsbane and Ygritte. He’s giving her a hard time about Jon Snow, questioning whether or not she actually killed him. If she didn’t, their entire plan is at risk. Their conversation is interrupted when some weirdos show up. A group of tall pale bald men with creepy scars start talking about body types in a way that says, “I’m not a personal trainer, I’m just hungry and you seem like a delectable piece of meat.” Now, I’ve been binge watching NBC’s Hannibal lately and I just don’t know if I can handle another cannibal in my life right now. This group is called the Thenns and they are here to help with the Castle Black attack.

Speaking of Castle Black, let’s catch up with Jon Snow. He’s hanging out with Samwell, reacting to the Red Wedding news. He explains to Sam that he was always jealous of his brother Robb, but never wished harm upon him. Samwell knows the feeling since he feels that way about Jon Snow. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed in this whole scene. Like, that’s it, Jon Snow? You aren’t a little bit angry? Did Samwell tell him about seeing Bran? Are you at least going to try to save Bran? Maybe try to track down Arya? I NEED ANSWERS.

Well, at least he’s going to give the Night’s Watch council some answers. Members of the council want to end Jon Snow for breaking his vow (“You know nothing, Jon Snow”) and killing Qhorin Halfhand. Jon Snow begs the council to stop stressing about the little details and start preparing for the Wildlings. Can the Night’s Watch ready themselves in time for the attack?

Arya – Arya is still with The Hound. The Hound is obviously just looking for somewhere to drop Arya and not feel bad about it. Now they’re on their way to her crazy Aunt Lysa in the Vale of Arryn. The dynamic between these actors is really growing (see Jaime and Brienne from last season). Their banter is perfect and I love seeing hints of The Hound’s personality.

During their road trip, they decide to stop at a local tavern where several of The Mountain’s men are pissing outside, harassing the barkeep, etc. Arya immediately recognizes the pisser as Polliver, who in Season 2 captured Arya and her buddies after killing a bunch of people in the prison camp. Polliver steals Arya’s sword Needle and kills her friend Lommy because he cannot walk. Conveniently, Polliver still carries Needle.

Upon entering the tavern, Polliver recognizes The Hound and starts trying to impress him with his torturous ways. The Hound teases Polliver and it’s obvious that The Hound has decided to kill all of these people but is just waiting for them to make the first move. “You’re a talker,” he says, taking Polliver’s drink. “Listening to talkers makes me thirsty.” The fight starts.

Arya retreats to the corner. This fight seems really tough; The Hound does not seem to be winning. Also, there’s no backtrack. The quiet mixed with the clangs and the grunts is making me really anxious. Finally, Arya makes her move and the music kicks in. She gets her sword. Once Polliver is without a weapon, she stands over him and repeats the words he once said to Lommy, “Something wrong with your leg, boy? Can you walk? I’ve got to carry you. Fine little blade. Maybe I’ll pick my teeth with it.” She then slowly drives the blade into his throat, just like he did to Lommy. Meet the darker Arya of season four.

No news from Theon, Bran, or Rickon this week.

House Baratheon

There’s a brief chat between Brienne and Margaery where Brienne tells her what she remembers of Renly’s death. She saw a black fog with Stannis’ face murder Renly and vows to avenge “their king.” Quietly Margaery reminds her “Joffrey is their king now.” No update from Stannis but he should watch his back.

Rock Paper Watch’s Top Quote of 4×1:

Jenn’s Pick – “Perhaps I should just let Joffrey choose it for me, end up with a string of dead sparrow heads around my neck.” – Margaery Tyrell to Olenna.Elizabeth’s Pick – “Are you sure we’re not related? Ever since I’ve returned, every Lannister I’ve seen has been a miserable pain in my ass. Maybe you’re a Lannister too. You’ve got the hair for it. You’ve got the looks.” – Jaime to Brienne

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.  


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Countdown to Game of Thrones, Season 4 – An Update on the Houses

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To say that the writers of Rock Paper Watch are excited for the Game of Thrones Season 4 premiere would be a gigantic understatement.  Overjoyed, thrilled, elated. They would be much better choices.  In preparation for the premiere, I even rewatched Season 3.  Okay, okay, really Seasons 1-3.  What I realized was quite a lot has happened and I kind of forgot some of it.  So, below you will find an update on the main Houses in Westeros, and a few other key players, as developed after a month of binge watching GOT on my iPhone during my commute to and from work.  

Thank the Old Gods and the New that we only have two more sleeps until premiere day, and I can watch it on a real TV. 

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Stannis – At the end of Season 3, Ser Davos Seaworth, Stannis’ Hand of the King, revealed a letter from Maester Aemon detailing the imminent threat of White Walkers beyond the Wall. Alongside the Red Priestess, Stannis peered into the fire yet again. Realizing that the real war lies to the North, Melisandre advised Stannis to spare Ser Davos from death even though he sprung Gendry from the dungeons, sans Stannis’ permission, because Stannis will need him in the future.  Stannis made the decision to ride to the Wall and save the Seven Kingdoms, with Davos and Melisandre by his side. Maybe Stannis is the true king, after all.  Will he arrive in time to aid the Night’s Watch in the Wildling Rebellion?  Will Gendry figure out how to use the boat and make it to dry land? 

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Cersei – Engaged to Loras Tyrell; enraged against her father; envious of Margaery’s control over Joffrey; seemingly not excited to have her lover back, which brings us to her twin brother;

Jaime – Finally arrived safely back in King’s Landing, minus his sword hand but plus his sword lady, Brienne of Tarth. Remember, Brienne and Jaime both swore an oath to Lady Catelyn that they would return Sansa and Arya to Winterfell.  This season, will Jaime prove to be loyal to his word, or loyal to his lover and family?;

Joffrey – The last time we saw Joffrey, he was celebrating the Red Wedding before he was threatened with death by his uncle and sent to bed by his grandfather. Poor Joffrey. Nevertheless, the Cruel & Stupid King is engaged to the careful manipulator, Margaery Tyrell, and the royal wedding will probably happen in the beginning episodes of Season 4. Oh, what a wedding it will be!;

Tyrion – Now celibate thanks to his marriage to Lady Sansa (not really though since his mistress, Shae, is his wife’s handmaiden), and serving as Master of Coin, it is Tyrion’s job to fund the Royal Wedding for the nephew he loathes so much. Will Tyrion succeed and prove his worth to his father, or fail miserably and continue his decline in power?;

Tywin – As Hand of the King, Tywin Lannister proved he is the Grandest Schemer in the Land when he orchestrated the Red Wedding last season. Remember all those mysterious letters he was writing?  With those letters, he singlehandedly stole the North out from under the Starks, killed a majority of their House, and rewarded Lord Bolton as Warden of the North, with full intention to strip the Boltons of the North when Sansa and Tyrion’s “heir” comes of age. Tywin is playing the game of thrones to win, no matter what the cost. At this rate, can anyone stop him?

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Arya – Thanks to the Hound, who captured Arya after she escaped from the Brotherhood Without Banners, she was not massacred in the Red Wedding along with most of her House. Unfortunately, she did witness most of it. This poor girl has no only seen her father’s headless body, but also her brother’s headless body with Greywind’s head fixed upon it. What will the Hound do with Arya now that no one can pay him for her? Will she ever use the coin given to her by ‎Jaqen H’ghar and speak the words “Valar Morghulis (All men must die)?”;

Bran – At the end of Season 3, Bran came this close to reuniting with his half-brother, Jon Snow. Instead of a joyous reunion, we got Bran warging into Summer and Grey Wind to rescue Jon from the Wildlings, who turned on Jon right after they figured out Jon’s true identity. After rescuing his brother, Bran decided to split his group sending Rickon and Osha somewhere South (and safe) while Bran, Jojen, and Meera continued North. In an abandoned castle near the Wall, Bran’s group came face-to-face with Samwell Tarly and Gilly as that pair headed back to Castle Black. Despite Sam’s wishes to protect his “brother’s brother,” Sam showed Bran and the Reeds a secret passage through the Wall, sending Bran right in to the thick of danger;

Jon Snow – Jon was a very busy man last season, deceiving Mance Rayder and the Wildlings into believing he was one of them and falling in love with a Wildling, only to reveal at the end of Season 3 that he was, in fact, still loyal to the Night’s Watch and working as a double agent. In the season finale, Jon finally revealed his true colors and left the Wildlings to return to Castle Black and warn the Night’s Watch of the pending attack, thusly breaking Ygritte’s heart. Ygritte doesn’t go down easy, though, and lands three arrows in Jon.  Jon returns to the Castle but collapses before he can speak with Sam and his bros.  Will Jon survive Ygritte’s revenge and warn his fellow Crows before Mance lights the biggest fire the North has ever seen?;

Sansa – Poor Sansa, she is the living Stark that continuously gets the shit end of the stick. She’s stuck in King’s Landing as Joffrey’s puppet, forced into marrying Tyrion Lannister, and missed yet another opportunity to leave King’s Landing (this one was with Petyr Baelish). While it seems like Sansa does have some powerful people in her corner (Olenna and Varys to name a few), at the conclusion of Season 3, Sansa’s life seemed in even more jeopardy. Her family is dead, Jaime is back in King’s Landing, and the Lannisters no longer need Sansa as a bargaining chip. Will her marriage to Tyrion keep her safe?  Will she ever be smart enough to leave King’s Landing when given a chance?

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Season 1 tells the story of Daenerys Stormborn and her transformation from innocent young girl to strong, confident Khaleesi and Mother of Dragons. Season 2 tells the story of Dany realizing she can trust no one and must embrace violence in order to gain power. By Season 3, we finally see Dany coming into her own as a true Queen with a gentle heart and a ruthless hand, working to find a balance between what her heart desires and what fulfilling her fate requires.  

Dany moved from slave-city to slave-city, sacking the Masters and freeing their slaves, with the help of her Unsullied, Ser Barristan Selmy, Ser Jorah Mormont, Daario Naharis, and, of course, her three dragons. At the conclusion of the season, Dany waits at the gates of Yunkai, unsure of how the newly freed slaves would respond to her and her horde.  When the gates finally open, they pour out in droves, stopping just short of Dany.  Missandei introduces Dany’s with full titles – proof of her unyielding growth.  “This is Daenerys Targaryen, the Stormborn, the Unburnt, the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, the Mother of Dragons.” Dany interrupts Missandei to tell the people they are now free.  In a visually powerful scene, hundreds and thousands of the citizens of Yunkai raise their hands, shouting “Mhysa” in unison, lifting Dany over their head, praising her as their “Mother.” 

Dany now has the three things her brother always wanted – love, power, and fear. Is she finally ready to cross the Narrow Sea and take back her kingdom? Can she balance the line between conquerer and liberator?  Thank the Gods we only have a few more days to find out!

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Westerosi Key Players

Petyr Baelish – As a reward for his support of All Things Lannister, Petyr was titled the Lord of Harrenhal and left King’s Landing to pursue Lady Lysa Arryn’s (Catelyn’s crazy sister that still breastfeeds her 9 year old) hand in marriage. The last time we saw him, he was on a ship headed to the Vale. We’ll probably catch up with him sometime this season following his arrival.

Theon Greyjoy – It was finally revealed at the conclusion of Season 3 that Theon was being held by Roose Bolton’s bastard, Ramsey Snow, as a means of removing the Iron Islanders from the North.  Ramsey was also the same person that set Winterfell ablaze, finally turning it into Hot Pie’s Winterhell.  Did you figure this big secret out before the big reveal?

Yara Greyjoy – After receiving her brothers’ penis in a box, courtesy Ramsay Snow, Yara decided to take her strongest men on her fastest ship and sail North to rescue her baby brother.  Touching.  Meanwhile, her father did nothing and was quite content to continue receiving “more Theon.” 

Olenna Tyrell – Olenna may just be the only person brave and smart enough to match Tywin Lannister both in wit and manipulation (their scene last season was uh-maze-ing). Something tells me she won’t send her granddaughter and grandson into the Lion’s Den without putting up a fight.

The Tulleys – In the finale, a gitty Walter Frey reveals that Edmure Tully survived the Red Wedding, locked up in a jail cell, and The Blackfish managed to escape.  What does this mean for the future of the Tully clan?  Will Edmure make it out alive?  Will anyone seek revenge for the massacre?

Lord Varys – The Spider continues to be one of my favorite characters as he proves over and over again to truly care about the good of the Realm. He recognizes the evil players and makes quiet moves to assist the good ones. In the season finale, he even tried to remove Shae from the picture, encouraging her to take his diamonds and leave the city so Tyrion can focus on what needs to be done.  But I want to know – what is his end game?  Who is Varys really working for, or what is he working towards?  

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Take a mouse-scroll down RPW’s Game of Thrones archive page to feed your addiction while you wait for the Game of Thrones premiere this Sunday, April 6th at 9pm on HBO, and be sure to catch our weekly recaps once the action commences! 

 


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Top 10 Moments from Game of Thrones 3×7 “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”

In Game of Thrones episode 3×7 ‘The Bear and the Maiden Fair’ we actually got a bear, and a (sort of) maiden fair.  Oh, and everyone is in love.  Instead of a recap this week, we are counting down our favorite moments of the episode.

#10 Love vs. Loyalty

It seems that everyone is struggling between love and loyalty.  Jon Snow is falling in love with Ygritte, but wanting to remain loyal to the Night’s Watch.  Ygritte is realizing that eventually she’s going to have to choose between Jon Snow and the Wildlings (I think she’ll choose Snow, once she realizes the Wildlings don’t really stand a chance).  Robb has abandoned his loyalty to Frey for his love for Talisa.  Tyrion is struggling between his love for Shae and his loyalty to his family.

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#9 Gendry finds out he’s royalty

Melisandre:  Your blood is noble.
Gendry:  Are you saying my father, he was some lord or…
Melisandre:  There. Your father’s house. (pointing to the Red Keep)
Gendry:  I’m just a bastard.
Melisandre:  The bastard of Robert of the House Baratheon, first of his name, King of Andals and the First Men.  Haven’t you ever wondered where your strength comes from?  Your talent for fighting?

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#8 Girl talk with Margaery and Sansa

Margaery helps Sansa understand a little bit about the birds and the bees as they discuss her upcoming nuptials to Tyrion.

“Some women like tall men. Some like short men. Some like hairy men, some like bald men. Gentle men, rough men, ugly men, pretty men. Pretty girls. Most women don’t know what they like until they’ve tried it. And sadly so many of us get to try so little before we’re old and gray.”

The best part was when Sansa asked Margaery how she knew all this?  “Yes, sweet girl, my mother taught me.”  Sweet girl aka dumb girl.

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#7 Joffrey is actually right

Joffrey and Tywin have a bit of a showdown, each assert their dominance.  Tywin wins of course, but Joffrey is right when you think about it.  He should be briefed on the small council.  And, he’s the only one showing any concern about the impending threat of Dany and her dragons.

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#6 Ygritte sees a castle (or a windmill, same difference)

Now on the other side of the wall, it’s Jon’s turn to educate Ygritte about the ways of the land.  After mistaking a windmill for a castle, he know he’s got a long road in front of him.  He tells her about Westeros girls, how they swoon and wear silk dresses.  And of course, how he wants to see her in a pretty silk dress (so he can rip it off).  Ygritte replies, “You rip my pretty silk dress, I’ll blacken your eye.”

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#5 Dany’s Throne

Could it be anymore perfect?

#4 Girl Power

Dany proves that she’s a force to be reckoned with.  To expand her title as “The Breaker of Chains,” she has set her eyes on Yunkai, the home of 200,000 slaves.  Yunkai offers her a chest full of gold and a fleet of ships to leave their city alone.  Dany counters that she will spare his life if his city releases every single slave.  “Reject this gift and I shall show you no mercy,” she says cooly.  Then she keeps the gold as the dragons force him to leave.

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#3 Jaime saves Brienne

Revealing our title “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” Brienne is thrown into a pit with a bear and a wooden sword to protect herself.  Jaime returns from his release to save her.  He jumps into the pit completely unarmed in order to force Bolton’s men into helping.  He refuses to come out until Brienne is pulled up safely.  Then he scrambles up with the help of Brienne.  It was very heroic.

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#2 The Bear

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#1 Robb’s Bum

I would post a picture, but this is a family friendly blog. 😉


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Countdown to GOT Season 3 – #9

#9 Joffrey Baratheon – “I’ll give him a red smile, from ear to ear.”

King Joffrey

Reigning in at #9 is King Joffrey Baratheon, or maybe that should be King Joffrey Lannister. Regardless, we all know that King Joffrey will play a very pivotal role in GOT Season 3. The beautiful Sansa Stark is still his captive in King’s Landing, and the two are now joined by Margaery Tyrell. This excites me because we will finally get to see the budding chemistry that was present in ‘Valar Morghulis’ between Jack Gleeson and Natalie Dormer, and whether or not Lady Stark will survive the Lannisters.

Perhaps what excites me the most about this season is the new relationship between the King, the Queen Regent, and the new Hand of the King. We have seen the contempt that is felt from Lord Tywin toward his grandson, but it has never been confronted face to face (with the exception of the brief scene in the finale). How will this translate into the Small Counsel? Something tells me that Lord Tywin will not enjoy bending the knee to his seventeen-year-old demented grandchild. We can count on one thing for sure – a change in the balance of power. As Lord Varys stated, half of the King’s Guard is loyal to Cersei, while the other half to her father. Where will that leave King Joffrey? And, more important, how will this bode for poor Sansa, especially now that our Little Dove has no Dog to protect her?

Jack Gleeson has proved to be a great actor. He embodies King Joffrey as a twisted soul and he has shown us repeatedly that he has no mercy. I am so thrilled for the potential that is presented to Jack Gleeson this season. Not only does he get to court the beautiful Margaery Tyrell, which will lend itself to wonderful scenes with Natalie Dormer, but Jack will be able to dance with the magnificent Charles Dance. Charles Dance has brought Lord Tywin to life in a way that wasn’t thought possible. It’s as if George R.R. Martin based Lord Tywin off of Dance. We have seen magic between Charles Dance and Maisie Williams, and I think Jack Gleeson will only add to that magic. If you add Lena Headey or Peter Dinklage to that mix, we are in for quite a treat.

Questions to Keep in Mind:

1. Will King Joffrey find out the truth about his true father?
2. For readers, where will the season cut off? Will we see the impending wedding of King Joffrey?
3. Will King Joffrey ever fulfill his promise of giving Robb Stark’s head to Lady Sansa?
4. Who will King Joffrey find to replace the ferocious Hound?

One thing is for sure, as long as The False King Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, we will be in for drama, deception, and danger!