SE Andres is a marketing graduate student, writer, feminist, environmentalist, and Thor impersonator.
The Sparring Starks
Bran Stark, Meera Reed, Hodor, Three-Eyed Raven, & Leaf
FINALLY we open the episode with Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven walking together into the past in Winterfell. Bran watches his father and Uncle Benjen sword fight while Lyanna rides in on her horse to show off her mad skillz. The siblings all stop to look Bran’s way, and for a second he thinks they see him, but they’re looking at Wylis as a potential sparring partner for Benjen when Ned leaves for the Eyrie. Bran comes to realize that Wylis is Hodor! And he used to talk! But Old Nan took him away before he sparred with Benjen, with advice from the sweet Lyanna. Ned calls out to Nan that if he knew how to wield a sword, he could be unstoppable. Old Nan says he’s is a stable boy and that sparring is for the little lords. This leads me to think that perhaps Meera might teach Wylis how to fight with a weapon while they wait on Bran to finish lessons from the Three-Eyed Raven. And he might be the match for Zombie Mountain when the time comes. Bran is enjoying seeing this and wants to stay longer, but the Three-Eyed Raven demands they leave and brings him back to the present in the cave.
The Raven explains that if he stays too long in a place, he’ll drown. Bran insists that he wasn’t drowning. Leaf, now totally more creepy and rad looking than last time we saw her two years back, looks on. Bran looks around to see Hodor sitting there watching him, keeping guard, and Bran refers to him by his name long lost, “Wylis.” It brings a much needed humanity to Hodor, rather than a one-word joke. They always tried to portray him as something more—someone loyal, hard-working, strong, and sweet. But here, someone else sees it, someone who has always known him as Hodor. Bran tells him he saw him as a child and asks what happened to him? All Hodor can do is respond, “Hodor?” And it’s heartbreaking. Bran wonders where Meera is, and Wylis takes him outside to talk to her. There’s a war a-brewing, and they’re stuck here. She wants in on the action. She feels useless, like what they’re doing is fruitless in the war. She turns away and doesn’t want to speak to him anymore, and Hodor takes him back in. An (l)eavesdropping Leaf waits until they’re inside to tell her that Bran needs her, and that they won’t be here forever. She looks out in the snowy expanse. He WILL need her to survive out there.
Tommen and Jaime mourn
Jaime Lannister, Cersei and Tommen Baratheon, the High Sparrow, & Myrcella’s body
At a pub in King’s Landing, a drunk tells the story of how Cersei winked at him, and he did what any respectful gentleman would do: flash Cersei his self-proclaimed YUGE package. She was apparently super impressed, as he reports, because she’s accustomed to her brother’s, which is a half-inch short of an inch. But still she licks her lips when she sees him. He assures the crowd that they know him and that he would never lie about this. He goes to the alley to take a piss, and apparently it is big. Listen, guys: you can’t help but look when he brags about it, and they show it! From behind him stomps up Zombie Mountain and waits until he turns around to get piss on his boots and for the drunk to look in his face before smashing his skull into the wall. It’s not nearly as hilarious as when Wun Wun did it, but it’s still great. His sheer strength just from one small push is almost equivalent of a giant’s, which makes me again think that there will be a match between him and Willis. This means that Cersei has her ears out for anyone who is wrongdoing her and spreading rumors about her incestuous proclivities. She is taking her war to the streets. People will cower and fear and not speak ill of her. This will lead to less incrimination from the High Sparrow. Last week, I suspected Cersei might see her demise surely and soon, but perhaps not. She has a way of taking the reins and making her own Roman-street-style path, led by a Mountain.
Meanwhile, Cersei is pulling a thread from her sleeve, a perfect symbol of her unraveling. In walks Zombie Mountain, his right arm’s armor covered in blood. She notices, and drops the thread, clasping her hands together. She composes herself and descends the stairs with Mountain in tow. She is stopped by a battalion of the King’s soldiers. But they look uneasy when they see the Mountain, the same as when the Crows saw Wun Wun. The King’s orders are that she remain in the Red Keep for safety. “You’re barring me from attending my own daughter’s funeral?” She is trying to both shame the soldier and talk her way out of this situation, only one of which happens. Cersei demands to see her son, and Zombie Mountain grips his sword, which makes all the soldiers do the same, only with pee running down their legs. But King Tommen has left the Red Keep. She sighs and retreats to her chambers. Zombie Mountain lingers with a stare then follows. The soldiers breathe in relief.
In the Sept, Tommen and Jaime mourn over Myrcella’s blue-tinged body, her organs in glass canopic jars. Because I definitely want to see her organs. I bet Qyburn would like to use those! Trystane’s painted eye weights are freakishly bright, and it’s jolting, mesmerizing, and disturbing all at once. Tommen asks if “we’ve caught Prince Trystane’s killers.” YOU wouldn’t be asking if you actually part of the collective “we”, Tommen. He seems to actually care that Trystane has died. I think both he and Jaime must feel some sort of grief over his loos because Myrcella actually loved him and wanted to marry him. He is, in that regard, family. Tommen reveals that he thinks it’s his own mother that killed him for killing Myrcella. Jaime assures him Cersei would never do that. Now it’s just a game of who knows Cersei best. Apparently her baby son who has known her the least amount. He confirms that yes, yes, she would. Because she is spiteful and vengeful and will do anything for her children, even if they are nasty evil demon-people. Got Jaime there; he has no response! It’s a silent agreement. Jaime asks if he’s mad at her, and he says no. Then he asks why she isn’t here unless he’s mad at her. Tommen fearfully says, “He told me she wouldn’t be allowed in the Sept.” Jaime boldly says that they’ll never put Cersei in a cell ever again, at least not while he’s there. Or at least until Cersei has Jaime go on a stupid errand again, shooting herself in the foot. Jaime begins to scold him for not seeing his mother; everything she does, she does for him. But Tommen knows this. He’s actually ashamed that he’s done nothing about the Faith Militant. They imprisoned his wife and his mother and paraded his mother through the streets like a whore. Well, apparently the everyman thinks she’s a whore, so why not the Church? I mean the Faith Militant… What good is he to protect the realm if he can’t even protect his own wife and mother? Jaime comforts him like a good father and suggests he goes to see his mother and ask her to forgive him JUST AS THE HIGH SPARROW WALKS IN. AND SHIT GETS REAL.
I think the High Sparrow really has magic because he has all the best timing. Last week, he stopped Septa Unella rom beating Margaery’s brains out with the Seven-Pointed Star. Tommen immediately demands to see his wife, but tsk-tsk. They’re waiting on her to confess her sins. Jaime tells Tommen to go see Cersei. He wants to have words with this bold fella. But the High Sparrow fears a great deal, he says. He looks to the idols of the Father and the Mother and then to Jaime as he says the Warrior. And it’s perfect. The High Sparrow gives Jaime a history lesson on the eye stones: It’s to remind us to not fear death; we close our eyes in this world to open them in the next. Jaime suggests that he’s looking to die, and the Sparrow only responds that honestly, yeah, he’s afraid of death too. Jaime questions him over imprisoning his sister. He simply tells him that she confessed her sins. But Jaime says, “What about my sins?” He’s a kingslayer and a kinslayer! He helped his supposedly-guilty brother escape! “What atonement do I deserve?” he asks starting to draw his sword. The Sparrow asks if he would spill blood in this holy place, and, yeah, Jaime would. Because the gods have spilled plenty of blood, haven’t they? More than the rest of us combined. And Jaime just indirectly epitomized what is wrong with the core of many religions in one scene. And now I have come to love Jaime again for being the most sensible person. The Sparrow tells him to kill him because he deserves it. Jaime’s like, “I’m sorry; I lost my hand not my ears, but WHAT?!” And it’s absolutely no fun for him if the Sparrow wants him to do it. But he is like everyone else; everyone deserves to die. They all live by the Mother’s Mercy, though. And then the little militant hair robes come in with their giant meat tenderizers. THIS is what the High Sparrow has been leading on about: he IS scared of Jaime, and he IS scared to die, so he brings his thugs in to deter Jaime form killing him because Jaime is actually quite smart. He chooses not to kill him, despite all the urges in every fiber of his being. The High Sparrow knows he’d die, but he knows Jaime would die, too, unable to take down all of them. And then the High Sparrow channels Senator Bernie Sanders by saying, “But who are we? Hmm? We have no names. No family. Every one of us is poor. And powerless. And yet together, we can overthrow an empire.” Mic drop. The smug little rat smiles and leaves and speechless Jaime. The High Sparrow said similar threats to Lady Olenna Tyrell, who has not been seen since. She is taking that threat and making a counter, I’m sure. She has got plans. As the show (and books) progresses, Jaime significantly changes (except for that horrid rape scene over their son’s dead body). He has learned firstly honor, duty, and respect from Catelyn Stark; then love, loyalty, and that same Tully honor from Brienne; and lastly reason, compassion, and leniency from his brother Tyrion. And he exudes traits of all three these days, especially his brother in this scene. He displays wisdom, compassion, and reason all at once. One of these things is rare in a Lannister and even rarer to possess all three.
Tommen enters his mother’s chambers. She isn’t happy with him, judging by the look on her face. But she knows she must deal with this. She immediately makes him feel terrible by asking if they’d put Myrcella in the red or the gold gown, something that she would have ensured would be done if she was allowed. Tommen apologizes and admits his fault. She says that it’s alright. But he insists that it wasn’t. He should have executed all of them. He should have razed the Sept onto the High Sparrow’s head before letting them imprison and shame her. Because she would have done that for him. She raised him to be strong, and he wasn’t. He wants to be and asks for her help. He’s been seeking Margaery’s advice and shuffling Cersei off to the side, but now she is needed. It’s the best thing she could hear at this moment. All she ever wanted to hear was that she was needed and valued by her children, by her father, by anyone. And she is consistently brushed aside, never winning validation. She has always put her children first, despite her want of power and bitterness that women aren’t successors to the throne. They embrace. AND HOLY SHIT! TOMMEN IS A LANNISTER. HE’S HIS MOTHER’S SON! Now that Tommen is growing a backbone, Cersei and Jaime have declared war on the rest of the world, and Cersei has a Zombie Mountain with the strength of a giant, they just might at least put up a fighting chance. And I actually sympathize with them. It’s so strange how I hate them but also feel horrible for them. Cersei lost all her children but one now. And she’s destined to lose another, if all goes according to prophecy.
Tyrion Lannister, Varys, Missandei, & Grey Worm
In Mereen, Tyrion pours himself a glass as Varys looks at him shaking his head in disapproval. Tyrion looks at him and says, “If I lost my cock, I’d drink all the time.” He looks at Grey Worm and says, “Meaning no offense. He makes dwarf jokes. I make eunuch jokes.” But Varys says, “I do not make dwarf jokes.” Tyrion tilts his head and accuses, “You think them.” I love these two. They’re like a married couple. The first item on the docket is the burning of the fleet: No one knows who did it. Tyrion suggests that maybe there’s some good news to be shared. Varys dryly responds with a sardonic smile, “Astapor and Yunkai have stopped asking us for aid.” But it’s not because they’re better off. The masters have taken control of the cities again and returned Slaver’s Bay, aside from Mereen, to Slaver’s Bay once more. Missandei and Grey Worm look at each other in dismay. Tyrion inquires about the dragons Rhaegal and Viserion, but Missandei informs him that they haven’t eaten since Queen Daenerys left. They speak of the dragons as if they’re on a hunger strike. “How do you force a dragon to eat if it doesn’t want to eat?” You guys! Tyrion has a solution because you’re looking at it the wrong way! They would need to grow if they ate, but they can’t grow because they’re locked in a limiting cage that bars their emotional, mental, and physical growth. (The ecologist in me is going to come out for a sec to say that this is applicable to all animals. Stop going to roadside and traveling zoos and circuses!) Missandei asks how he knows this, to which he responds, “That’s what I do. I drink, and I know things.” HE STOLE MY MOTTO! He gives the history of dragons and how they wasted away and went extinct from captivity. (Another side note: the one dragon that did escape the Dance of Dragons was never seen again. I’m calling that Dany’s dragons are the children of that one.) He questions Missandei if the dragons ever harmed her, but they haven’t. It’s because they know her and know that Dany trusts her. They have affection for their friends and fury for their enemies. Dragons are just really smart, okay?! So what else would Tyrion do? Convince the dragons he’s with Dany and release them!
Tyrion descends the stairs into the darkness, only to hear the rattling chains of the captive dragons. He sees their faces and glowing eyes in the dim light of his torch. One’s flames gurgles from the depths of his throat. He introduces himself by saying he’s friends with their mother and that he’s here to help. He tells Rhaegal and Viserion he used to want a dragon, even if it was a little one like him. But dragons didn’t exist anymore, and Tyrion cried himself to sleep. His hand comes to rest upon a dragon, and the dragon is soothed and/or saddened. His restlessness has calmed. “But here you are.” And I can’t help cry because THIS IS TOTALLY HAPPENING TO SO MANY ANIMALS RIGHT NOW. (Self, stop interjecting with your fits of ecological rage!) Tyrion takes the pin out of the hinge of the metal collar. The other examines what just happened and stretches and twists his neck so that Tyrion can release him. He does, and the dragons retreat into the darkness. Tyrion ascends the stairs and scolds Varys for ever letting him do that. He knew then that he was verified in his studies of lore: dragons are smart. He read about it but never experienced it, until now, to know that they are smart...and also totally friggin’ real. He may have put on that he was sure he knew dragons needed their freedom, buuut he never put it into practice, and he certainly never knew anyone who did. So he was taking an educated BIG guess.
Waif begins the next round of beatings on a blind girl. She disappears, leaving Arya to angrily beat the air. Jaqen tempts her with a roof, food, and eyesight, but she dedicates herself to having no name. She passes the test. He beckons her to follow him, and she does, reaching for her pan of money. Jaqen forbids it, though. “A girl is not a beggar anymore.” I am still not anywhere near interested with Arya’s storyline. She wandered for three seasons and was in failed training for running on two now. It’s becoming somewhat of a bother to even see her. They should’ve just Branned her and left her to disappear for a season.
Here's your Father of the Year award, Roose!
Roose & Ramsay Bolton & Walda Frey
Ramsay reports to Roose that six of his best hunters were killed tracking Sansa. Ramsay says that she must have had help. Roose shoots back sarcastically, “I didn’t think Lady Sansa killed them all by herself.” Ramsay reports that he knows where Sansa will go: the Wall to her brother Jon Snow. Ramsay adds that as long as a Stark lives, the North will rally around them. Ramsay begins to offer a plan to attack Castle Black and murder Jon Snow. (OH REALLY?! Dramatic irony at its best!) Roose laughs off Ramsay’s suggestion as absurd. This is Roose’s problem: he has always laughed off Ramsay’s actions as quirks. Bitch, you are ignoring serious problems. This guy likes to play The Most Dangerous Game, enjoys flaying people alive, and ravishes in making eunuchs out of people for shits and giggles. You deserve what you’re about to get, you wretched Red Wedding enabler! Anyway, Roose counters that Ramsay’s plan would make every Northern house unite against them, but Ramsay suggests they don’t need every house. They have the houses with the most men. Roose stands up to give advice to his son: “If you acquire a reputation as a mad dog, you’ll be treated as a mad dog, taken out back, and slaughtered for pig feed.” Ramsay doesn’t much like that response. To cut the tension, the master announces that Lady Walda has given birth to a son—the heir to Roose’s lordship of Winterfell. This is exactly what Ramsay feared. His father and his brother are in the way of his own lordship and his plans to exact revenge on Sansa, Theon, and whoever helped them (Brienne) as well as cut down the Northern Stark loyalists. Ramsay congratulates his father with a hug and announces that he looks forward to meeting his brother. Because everything is dripping with psychotic double entendre. He can’t wait to meet him… to kill him. Roose comforts him by saying that he’ll always be his first-born. Ramsay thanks him for saying such meaningful words AND THEN STABS HIM. Then he orders the scared and baffled maester to send ravens to all the Northern houses that Roose Bolton is dead, poisoned by their enemies. He also orders him to fetch Lady Walda and the newborn baby. The master says she is resting, but Ramsay doesn’t give a hoot.
Ramsay is now in the courtyard, and the master somehow knew he’d be there instead of where he told him to fetch her and did not say where to send her? Walda comes waltzing outside with her baby in sub-zero weather to meet the Lord Bolton. No wonder the Freys are such a lesser house. They’re all dumb as hell. She reluctantly gives her baby to Ramsay to hold. DUMB, DUMB, DUMB, DUMB, DUMB. But he smart enough to not impale a baby in front of everyone. Walda says that Lord Bolton sent for them and wonders where he is. The master took to calling Ramsay Lord Bolton solidly. I guess he didn’t want to be flayed. He takes her to see him… in the kennels. He locks the gate behind them and releases all the hungry hounds. She questions where Lord Bolton is, and Ramsay responds that he is Lord Bolton. Then Walda knows for sure. She’s dead meat. She pleads to him to let her return to the Riverlands. “He’s your brother,” she cries, attempting to appeal to his humanity. But he killed his father and says he prefers being an only child. Then the hounds pounce, and we hear the tearing and crunching. Unlike Shireen Baratheon burning, however, which is not directly shown as well, Ramsay’s reaction is interesting. He begins to looks away but forces himself to look. This is what he must do to get what he wants. Even when he looked away, there is absolutely no reaction on his face. He has that uncanny ability to not feel anything, something the most horrendous, warmongering leaders share in common with him. In a way, this mirrors Myranda bringing Sansa down. They bring them down for different reasons but both for torture in a way.
So I told you all last week this is what would happen. There is no controlling Ramsay. He doesn’t think rationally. His own father was in his way, and he’d rather risk everything for his own personal vendettas. But he’s running on borrowed time. You can be that terrible for only so long until the collective forces rise against you, which, I suppose it what’s happening with King’s Landing as well. Sure, you may have the numbers now, but once those houses see Roose isn’t in charge anymore and what a senseless, vindictive, cruel twat is left in his place. I can't say I feel bad for Roose or even Walda. He was a major part of the Red Wedding, and Walda was a Frey. I automatically hate all of them, too. Since Lady Stoneheart isn’t around to slaughter all the Freys and Boltons, I’ll take my pleasure in their deaths where I can get it.
Sansa and Theon say good-bye
Sansa Stark, Brienne of Tarth, Theon Greyjoy, & Podrick Payne
Brienne tells Sansa that Arya is alive. When she last saw her, she was with a man who she didn’t want to leave and who didn’t want to leave her. She notes that Arya wasn’t dressed like a lady, which is great coming from Brienne. Sansa laughs to herself and says that Arya wouldn’t be. So Sansa now knows that all of her siblings are alive, save for Robb. She is the only Stark that knows this, aside from maybe Bran. But her happy thoughts are short-lived when Brienne asks what happened in Winterfell. All she can do is respond, “I should have gone with you while I had the chance.” Brienne takes a moment to wisely say, “It was a difficult choice, my lady” instead of “I told you so.” She looks at Theon and says that they all had to make difficult choices. Podrick tries to light a fire with Theon, but Theon is restless and can’t help but be rightfully paranoid that Ramsay’s men will find them, especially if they light a fire. Sansa reassures him they’ll be safe once they reach Castle Black. Theon disagrees on his own part. Jon would have him killed, but Sansa insists he won’t, not if he takes the Black to pardon his crimes. Sansa says she’d back him, but he doesn’t want to be forgiven. She can’t forgive himself for what he’d done to the Starks. Theon says she’s in good hands with Brienne and Pod, and she realizes that he’s leaving them. And then she cries, and I cry. And Theon cries, saying, “I would have taken you all the way to the Wall. I’d have died to get you there.” And she hugs him again, and then I cry more. He takes permission to leave with a horse to return home.
Balon Greyjoy returns to sea
Yara, Balon, & Euron Greyjoy
Yara reports that Deepwood Motte has been retaken by the mainland Northern House Glover. When asked about the status of the Ironborn who held Deepwood Motte, Yara reports that they were killed fighting. “What is dead may never die,” Balon says to his daughter, who spits his words back at him, spouting that they did die and the Iron Island mainland invasion died with them. She tries to reason with her father that Deepwood Motte was their last stronghold on the mainland. He suggests they’ll take more then. She hilariously quips, “Why? For more pine cones and rocks?” Because he orders it. Balon has been making foolish decisions and doing so to appear tougher than he is or the Ironborn have capability to be. He saw Theon’s rescue mission as a foolish waste of men and resources. She still tries to reason with him that they only took those fortresses on the mainland because the northern armies were in war. She watched the armies attack the Iron Islands. She watched two of her brothers die that day, and Balon responds that he lost three sons. This is important because Yara still sees value in her brother, whereas her father doesn’t. It’s only reinforced in their opposing views of the attempt to rescue Theon from Ramsay Bolton. As far as he’s concerned, Theon never existed. He was a Stark since he was sent to Winterfell as a ward. Balon gets all up in Yara’s face and seethes that she can establish all the peace she wants when she is ruler of the Iron Islands, but she isn’t. He orders her to shut up and obey him, or he’ll make another heir who will. This entire exchange is exciting because it is the start of something more important for Yara.
After their altercation, Balon leaves and tries to cross the rope bridge in a rainstorm high above the shores. A shadowy hooded figure blocks passage to the other side. Balon orders him to step aside and make passage for his king. “Haven’t I always, brother?” the man says, revealing himself. Balon figures he was dead and rotting at the bottom of a sea somewhere. Euron responds, “What is dead may never die.” Balon doesn’t respond in kind, though he’s religiously supposed to. Euron says it to mock the gods, and Balon would never do so. Where Yara says it with dismissive spite, Euron says it with sarcasm and mockery. Euron explains that he doesn’t mock the Drowned God. He IS the Drowned God. Oh, snap. Balon tries to stab his brother, but Euron throws him off the bridge. And so the last of the five kings dies. The next morning, Balon is sent to sea in a floating wicker basket that should by all means float right back to shore. Somehow there’s a current going out to sea? I don’t know? There are waves coming in, so it doesn’t make sense. Yara, despite having severe differences with her father, swears by the Soul Throne to feed whoever did this to the sharks. The priest tells her she is not permitted to swear by the Soul Throne until it chooses her. She explains that her father would have wanted it, but that isn’t the way the person who sits on the throne is chosen.
Like the rest of Westeros and Essos, Yara just might try to upend tradition. It starts with the women, too. Dany tries to rid Essos of slavery. Cersei tries to make herself Queen in place of her son and daughter-in-law. Ellaria and the Sand Snakes are making Dorne into a matriarchal power against King’s Landing. Jon tries to make the Wall a much more inclusive egalitarian society, letting in Wildlings. Brienne is a proved knight. There is simultaneously a return to ancient ways that have been long forgotten, with Bran, Tyrion, and Samwell. The importance of ancient lore will yet save and shape the future along with the progressive nature that women are forcing upon society. But will Euron get in her way?
The Wildlings attack
Davos Seaworth, Melisandre, Alliser Thorne, Dolorous Edd, Tormund Giantsbane, Ghost, Olly, & Jon Snow’s Body
Alliser Thorne approaches the door where Davos Seaworth is guarding Jon Snow’s body. He offers terms of surrender: that the men inside rejoin their brothers and that “the wolf” goes north of the Wall “where “t belongs”. That he refers to Ghost as just a “wolf” and as an “it” reveals what he thinks about Jon Snow and about the approaching magical—or lost—world that is beginning clash with the established kingdom. Davos and the loyal Crows draw their swords. Thorne orders the door bashed in, and the Crow takes to the door with a sledgehammer while Ghost growls ferociously. Just before Thorne’s Crows enter, Wun Wun the Giant knocks down the main gate, and the Wildlings flood through. The Crows turn in shock but hold fire. Thorne orders the Crows to attack, and one foolishly follows orders. He is quickly felled by Tormund Giantsbane. No one fights, even with Thorne barking orders at them. Again, another idiot attacks by shooting a bolt into Wun Wun’s back. Wun Wun is irritated and turns around, grabs the crossbowman, and smacks him against the wall like a sticky hand, and his brains splatter all over the wall. It’s both hilarious and disgusting. Everyone stands and watches in astonishment. They give up their weapons, except for Alliser Thorne and Olly the Little Shit. Olly tries to attack Tormund, and it doesn’t work out well. They are both detained and sent to the cells at Dolorous Edd’s command. Edd takes Tormund up to see Jon’s body. “Took a lot of knives,” muses Tormund. It took more than one stab for Jon Snow to die. That’s how tough he was. That was his way of mourning and honoring Jon Snow. That’s just the way of the Wildlings. He gets to planning the funerary pyre.
Later in the episode, Melisandre looks into the fire, wallowing in self-pity. If she were living today, she’d probably just be lying in bed, watching Legends of the Fall for the fifth time in a row. Davos enters her room and assumes she knows why he’s there. “I will after you tell me,” she brokenly says. She has lost her powers, or at least, lost faith in her powers. He asks her to help him—to bring him back. “If you want to help him” she explains, “leave him be.” My god, just seeing Melisandre like this makes me want to sink into a deep well of despair for weeks with only Game of Thrones to keep me company. To note, she is wrapped up tight in warm furs and struggling to keep warm, something to which she is not accustomed. She is always in just her red dress and always warm. She admits she saw a man revived once and the priest who did it. She claims it shouldn’t have been possible. It seems that the vessels of the Red God / Lord of Light are vastly different in how their powers manifest. Thoros of Myr was less inclined to visions, whereas that is Melisandre’s specialty. He revived Beric Dondarrion, and she believes she can’t revive Jon Snow. She believes that being a red priestess is no longer her calling. At this point, Melisandre is crying, despite the non-believer Davos calling her out on her feats as a red priestess. She admits to him that he was always right. She’s a pretender. Davos explains that he’s not a devout man. All the gods are the same to him. He isn’t asking a god for help. He is asking the woman who proved to him that miracles exist. It’s not the gods that make things happen. It’s her. She weakly says that she never learned how to do revive people. “You never tried,” he says, putting all his faith in her and in no god. It is so strange to see her so weak, so vulnerable, and so broken. Before Shireen’s burning, she was collected, confident, and sure. She was a leader.
She cleans Jon’s body. Why it must be her I don’t know, but maybe no one else feels comfortable cleaning a naked guy? I mean, it’s Jon Snow; who, no matter their sexuality, would mind? She cuts a few locks of his hair and some beard trimmings and throws them in the fire while Davos, Dolorous, and Tormund watch. She recites an incantation repeatedly with no results. Finally, she rests her hand on his chest and whispers, “Please.” This is not only her last chance to revive the heroic Jon Snow, perhaps the hero she was meant to support; but it is her last chance to redeem and prove herself, especially after Davos put so much belief in her. She looks him in the eye with failure. Tormund is first to leave, like he can’t believe they even attempted this farce. Then the shamed Melisandre leaves with Dolorous Edd in tow. Last to leave is Davos, who lingers to look at his body. But after he does, Ghost awakes from his slumber and looks at Jon’s body. Suddenly Jon gasps for air with eyes wide open. But no one is there to see! WHAT?! COME ON! WHAT?! You guys! He’s alive, and no one is there! So Melisandre did resign herself in a way. She no longer needs to enamor anyone. BUT SHE JUST TOTALLY REVIVED JON. You can believe in yourself again, lady! Now go welcome Jon back with a good lay and created a fire baby to destroy all the white walkers! The Wall, once my least favorite storyline, is now my favorite. Will Jon Snow be the same as he once was? Or will he have returned like Lady Stoneheart was supposed to, and be driven by merciless vengeance and justice? Can Jon be the egalitarian leader he was before his Brutal assassination? Will Melisandre have already tragically given up before she finds that Jon Snow is alive?
Melisandre does what everyone wants to do
I know I wrote a ton for this episode, which is why it’s going up so late; but I found this one to be the best written in a long time. Every line was carefully crafted with purpose, with hints to the past and building to the future. Every interaction created intrigue, layered with character, subtext, and plot drive. Like season five, this season will see far more action sooner, but already it’s better written. Again, the women shined this episode. The kind warrior-lady Lyanna, of course was meant to steal focus from her brothers in the flashback. The Wall’s scenes were more about Melisandre than Jon or even Davos. Arya moves to the next stage of her learning. Maybe it will go faster this season. Yara stands up to her father and then seeks to avenger him, all the while pushing for peace with the Northern houses. Sansa forgives Theon for all the wrong he’s done, which is a monumental for both of them. She also finds out from Brienne that Arya is alive in addition to her little brothers. She has hope for a family reunion yet! All the while, Ramsay takes over Winterfell; Tyrion befriends and releases Rhaegal and Viserion; and Hodor used to talk about was known as Wylis.
Though we haven’t seen the Sands this episode, I still think they are a strong contender to at least topple the existing crown, though the Lannisters will put up a good fight. With Dany not any closer to returning to Mereen and the fleet of ships burned, she and Tyrion won’t be returning anytime soon. But I’d say with Jon’s revival, he is the closest to winning the Game of Thrones.
Who is winning the Game of Thrones?
© 2016 SE Andres