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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?!

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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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Top 7 OMG Did That Just Happen?! Moments from GOT 4×8

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Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, “The Mountain and the Viper,” could have easily been the penultimate episode of the season.  But alas, we were treated to a jaw-dropping eighth episode that had more ‘OHMYGOD’ moments than I could count.  In honor of the Seven Kingdoms and the Seven New Gods, here are my top seven favorite ‘DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!’ moments from Sunday’s action-packed episode.

7. Reek becomes Theon Greyjoy (again) and helps Ramsay Snow become Ramsay Bolton.

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Everyone’s least favorite character, Ramsay Snow, finally got what he wanted and became Ramsay Bolton, thanks to his pet dog human, Reek.  Reek pretended to be his former self, Theon Greyjoy, and coaxed the Iron Islanders holding Moat Cailin into opening up their doors to earn “freedom” from the Northerners.  Instead, much to our dismay, they were flayed and killed by the Boltons and the creepy duo of Ramsay and Reek just became much more powerful (and much more disturbing).  Pleased with his bastard, Roose Bolton granted Ramsay his biggest wish and gave him the family last name and all that comes with it.

6. Ygritte shows mercy for Gilly and Baby Sam.

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I don’t know about you, but Ygritte is the worst scorned woman I’ve ever seen.  She’s taken to killing innocent men, women, and children of the North to get back at her former lover, Jon Snow.   So when she came face to face with Gilly, and showed her mercy, I literally cried and clapped at the same time.  I knew that the Ygritte that Jon (and the audience) fell in love with in Season 3 was still in there somewhere.  Now I wonder, will Ygritte show Jon the same mercy if she comes face to face with him in the Battle of Castle Black?  Tune in next week to find out.

5. Arya finds out everyone in her family is dead and laughs it off, hysterically.

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When Arya and The Hound learned that Lysa Arryn had died just three days before their arrival, and The Hound was stripped of yet another bounty, what else was Arya to do but laugh?  It almost felt like she was laughing at the viewers for thinking a Stark reunion was going to happen.  Haven’t we learned by now that the Starks will never run into each other no matter how close they get?

4. Sansa becomes Dark Sansa & lies and dyes for Petyr Baelish.

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When Petyr was questioned about the mysterious “suicide” of Lysa Arryn, Sansa was called in to witness.  As she stood giving her testimony, Petyr watched on silently and in awe.  Here stood this young, naïve girl, whom he once told was a terrible liar, spinning a brilliant and intricate web of truth and lies.  Sansa painted a picture of Petyr as a saint who was motivated by his burning desire to rescue Sansa.  Later, in an attempt to cover her famous Tully-red hair, Sansa steps out as Dark Sansa, with dyed dark locks to help her look more like her “uncle” Petyr.  The weird thing?  She almost appears to be flirting with Baelish.  It is clear that Sansa doesn’t know the extent of Petyr’s hand in the destruction of her family, but she knows he is dangerous.  Has she fallen under his twisted spell or is Sansa playing a long con?

3. Tywin sentences Tyrion to death.

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The moment we’ve all been waiting for – the verdict from the Trial by Combat.  As you’ll find out in our top moment, Tyrion Lannister lost the trial in the most head-splitting way.  In the final moments of the episode, Tywin Lannister, Hand of the King and father of Tyrion, stands and sentences his son to death.  Dun dun dunnnn.

2. Dany permanently dismisses Jorah Mormont.

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Tywin was a part of more than one verdict this week.  In a twist from the book storyline, Tywin Lannister sent Daenerys’ Queen’s Guard, Barristan Selmy, a letter, which was a copy of the Royal Pardon that was granted to Jorah Mormont in Season 1. (Remember, Jorah was leaking confidential secrets to Robert and his Council and assisted with an assassination attempt on Dany’s life). Despite his deep admiration and love for Dany, and his change of loyalty (he ultimately prevented the assassination), the Mother of Dragons showed no mercy and exiled Jorah from her Council and from Meereen.  Poor Jorah. The old bear looked heartbroken as he rode on horse-back out of the city.  While I normally stand 100% behind the Breaker of Chains, I had trouble supporting this decision because of the way the TV show played it out.  It comes off like Dany is another puppet being manipulated at the hands of  Tywin Lannister.  Is this the beginning of her downfall?

1. Oberyn’s Headsplosion.

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Thank you to Game of Thrones for creating yet another scene that I couldn’t bear to watch – the epic trial by combat between the Mountain and the Red Viper of Dorne, Oberyn Martell.  (Who knew anything could be worse than the Red Wedding?)

Oberyn, who was fighting as Tyrion’s champion to gain revenge for his sister, bopped around like Inigo Montoya waving a spear.  The Rep Viper repeated over and over again, “Elia Martell of Dorne.  You raped her, you murdered her.  You killed her children,” as he fought and stabbed the Mountain.  Oberyn was quick with his spear and took down the Mountain with apparent ease.  But he was too cocky and too confident and wouldn’t kill Gregor Clegane until he got his confession.  Before Oberyn could realize what was happening, Clegane punched Oberyn’s teeth out of his face.  The Mountain then climbed on top of The Viper, held his head in between his gigantic hands, and squashed it like one of the beetles Tyrion’s cousin squashed, all while confessing to his heinous crimes.  The worst part of this entire scene was knowing Oberyn was warned to wear a helmet and his Paramour stood completely helpless as she watched the worst moment of Game of Thrones – Oberyn’s Headsplosion.

And this perfectly sums up how we all feel. 

paramour4x8


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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.


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‘Game of Thrones’ Mystery – Who Killed [SPOILER]?

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS from Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones. DO NOT READ if you haven’t watched “The Lion and the Rose.”

Let’s go over what we know. King Joffrey Baratheon [finally] met his maker during his wedding to Margaery Tyrell aka the Purple Wedding on Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones. After consuming some wine, courtesy of his Cupbearer, and indulging on the Pigeon Pie, Joffrey began to choke. His choking quickly escalated until he suffocated and died. But Joffrey didn’t just choke to death – it was too quick, too painful, too brutal. Joffrey was poisoned, and Cersei knows it. Now the big question is who killed the King? We break down our list of suspects below.

Olenna Tyrell

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Lady Olenna has the means, the motive, and the opportunity. She despises Tywin; she wants to protect her granddaughter from the twisted Joffrey; she provided all of the food and drink for the wedding, making the pie and/or wine all the easier to poison. During the Purple Wedding, she flitted around the High Table and fiddled with Sansa’s hair and necklace; the same peculiar necklace that was given to Sansa by Ser Dantos, the fool from GOT 4×1. One of our RPW writers noticed an interesting fact – when Sansa first wore the necklace, it sported seven purple jewels. After Lady Olenna played with her hair, there were only six crystals hanging from the necklace. Did Olenna swipe a crystal filled with poison? Is she in cahoots with Dantos?

Who killed Joffrey Baratheon?

Who killed Joffrey Baratheon?

It doesn’t help Olenna’s case that she also gave sage advice to Sansa during their chat. “War is war, but killing a man at a wedding, horrid. What sort of monster would do such a thing?” In the GOT world, things aren’t usually spelled out so clearly but when murdering a king, what better way to avoid suspicion? Killed Joffrey: Highly Likely

Oberyn Martell

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“The Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts,” said Oberyn to Tyrion during our Season 4 opener. We know that Oberyn isn’t in Kings Landing for a friendly hello. He’s here for revenge. Oberyn’s sister was Elia Martell, wife to Rhagaer Targaryen. During the war, the Lannisters sacked King’s Landing killing Elia and her children. Rumor has it, Elia was raped by the Mountain and then split in half. If this is the case, Oberyn holds the Lannister’s, specifically Tywin, directly responsible for the death of his family members.

Wouldn’t killing Joffrey be an eye for an eye? Killed Joffrey: Highly likely

Tyrion Lannister

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Cersei’s #1 suspect is her baby brother, but did Tyrion really poison his nephew? We all know Tyrion hates Joffrey and that all Lannisters pay their debts. And Tyrion definitely owes Cersei quite a few debts at this point (Shae, his wedding to Sansa, just to name a couple). But is Tyrion stupid enough to poison his nephew at a public gathering, especially after he made numerous threats [including the most recent one in GOT 3×10] on Joffrey’s life in front of the Small Council? I doubt it. Many can argue that Tyrion was the last person to give Joffrey his wine cup, but Tyrion had no way to anticipate being made a fool of by his uncle in such fashion. If Tyrion is the culprit, he must’ve been carrying poison around for weeks waiting for an ideal moment. But to me, that’s still too far-fetched. Killed Joffrey: Not Likely

Tywin Lannister

Charles Dance is a man for austere seasons in Game of Thrones

Let’s face it, Joffrey was like a wild dog that Tywin was trying to keep on a leash. With him out of the picture, the Iron Throne passes to Joffrey’s younger (and easier to control) brother. This means that Tywin is back in charge. And we know he fancies killing people at weddings. But, is the man cold blooded enough to kill his own (horrible) grandson? From a war perspective, it’s not a very smart move since it makes the Throne seem weak. Killed Joffrey: Sort of likely

Sansa Stark

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If having reasons to kill Joffrey was a contest, Sansa would win. He was responsible for killing her direwolf. He killed her father. He repeatedly humiliated her in public. He tortured her endlessly. His family was responsible for the death of her mother and brother. Then he pushes her off to his uncle. If the poison was in the cup, Sansa was indeed the last to hand it to Tyrion. But would Sansa have the guts to kill Joffrey? It’s not likely. She’s always been too terrified of him to act. Killed Joffrey: Really Not likely

Margaery Tyrell

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Sure she’s marrying a psychopath and may want to protect her own skin. Yes, she did feed the pie to Joffrey but Margaery is such a public relations expert that I doubt she would willingly kill off her second husband. I mean, the girl is now two for two. She’s got two dead husbands and is officially damaged goods. Who’s going to want to marry her now? Killed Joffrey: Really Not likely

Cersei Lannister

gotCersei-Lannister

Bottom line, Cersei hates Tyrion. She so quickly pointed the finger at Tyrion, some would assume she orchestrated the death of Joffrey to take Tyrion out herself. You can even argue that Cersei so self-motivated, she saw married-Joffrey as a threat whom she could no longer control.  She could have orchestrated his death just to retain her own power.  But wouldn’t it have been easier to kill Sansa? I mean, two birds with one stone. Also, the Lannisters aren’t ones to act impulsively and killing your own son would be pretty impulsive. And as much as Cersei hates Tyrion, she loved Joffrey more. Throughout his reign, she was constantly trying to steer him in the right direction and make him a good leader (not possible). Killed Joffrey: Really Not likely

Melisandre

got-melisandre

While the Red Priestess was not present at the Purple Wedding, we can’t write her off as a suspect just yet. Recall in Game of Thrones Season 3×8 “Second Sons,” Melisandre tossed leeches filled with Gendry’s blood into a fire calling for the Lord of Light to kill Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, and Baelon Greyjoy as usurpers. Two of those men have now met their end. Can we give Melisandre credit for these deaths, or is it mere coincidence? If I were Baelon Greyjoy, I’d be very careful. Killed Joffrey: Not Likely

On a similar note, WHERE IS GENDRY? gendrymoving

 


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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.

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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.

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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.

Tormund Giantsbane rumpelstiltskin shrek angry wig

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.