SE Andres is a marketing graduate student, writer, feminist, environmentalist, and Thor impersonator.
While finishing up a sewing project (because she is still very much like her mother), she receives a letter from Petyr Baelish to meet her in Mole’s Town. She shows up with Brienne following right behind her much to Petyr’s surprise and disappointment. That means she puts her trust in the person he meant to kill, which does not bode well for him. The smile on his face disappears when he sees her head high and features grim. She carries herself as her mother would, stoic with hands folded in front of her, even as her voices seethes with hatred. She gets to the point, asking what he’s doing here. He reports that his troops from the Vale have come to her aid and are at Moat Cailin. To come to her aid? Where were they when she needed aid at Winterfell? Where was he? She interrogates him further: “Did you know about Ramsay? IF you didn’t know, you’re an idiot. If you did know, then you’re my enemy.” He doesn’t respond to that. She lets him in on how Ramsay treated her, and he cries as she continues, saying she can still feel what he’s done to her. He claims to be ignorant of Ramsay’s personality. His face twists and tears well in his eyes as she tells him more, offending him as a brothel keep in the same breath. He vows to protect her, but she throws at him that he can’t protect her, let alone himself if she tells Brienne to slay him right then. He promises to do anything for her, even if it’s give his life for hers. She tells him to return to Moat Cailin and spits that she never wants to see him again. But before he goes, he advises her to get her own army loyal to her, one that is not her half-brother’s. It turns out that her great uncle Blackfish is rounding up the Tully forces and taking back Riverrun. There’s her army: Cat’s daughter.
Jon’s inner circle strategizes. Sansa looks bored while Jon gets upset about not having the men to take Winterfell. Sansa begins to take an active role here in the war plans, just as Cat had (though Cat said she did not sit in on Robb’s war councils). After Davos claims that the Karstarks have already claimed allegiance to the Boltons and had turned their backs on the Starks when one of their own was beheaded by a Stark, Sansa offers that that may not have known another choice. Northerners are different. They are more loyal and suspicious of outsiders. Davos counters that none rose up against the Boltons. But as Davos and Sansa bickered, Jon realized that there are more than three majors houses in the North, and together they equal the same as everyone else. “The North remembers,” Sansa adds. They will risk everything for the Stark name, even those at Ramsay’s own door (as she experienced). Though Jon doesn’t have the Stark name, she does. It’s time to rally the North around Sansa! ALL HAIL SANSA! The Tullys would rally under the Starks without question. Davos didn’t know the Tullys had an army, but Sansa gives them the news. Jon wants to know she came by it, and she tells him that Ramsay received a letter concerning it before she left. LIES. Sansa smiles while everyone is yet grim-faced. But this is all good news for them.
Sansa sends Brienne to Riverrun to plea to her great uncle Blackfish for assistance, as he would know her, while Sansa rallies the North under her name. Brienne doesn’t like leaving her alone. It isn’t Jon (though he is a bit brooding) that concerns her but Melisandre and Davos helped Stannis kill Renly and were nowhere around when Stannis was executed by her. And then there’s that Tormund… (Oh, Brienne…you’re getting a little too riled about that one.) Sansa reassures her that none of them are her brother and that Jon is. He will keep her safe. But she lied to him about how she learned of Riverrun. Onward they all go with Sansa showing off her dress that she just made with wolf embroidery. She then presents the clothes she made for Jon, including a belt with a direwolf etching in it, like Ned wore. Brienne and Tormund share a moment, and her sour face is delightful. When they leave with Edd as Lord Commander, the Night’s Watch has never looked sorrier with lanky kids barely legal and old men about to croak. This episode brought one door closed of the past and one door open for the future where Sansa is concerned.
Sigh. More Arya. She spars with Waif and is defeated, but she comes back for more because Arya doesn’t give up, even when her storyline drags. The amused Waif pointedly drops her bo staff and adroitly defeats Arya once more, saying, “You’ll never be one of us, Lady Stark.” A creeping Jaqen H’ghar says she has a point and has Arya follow him into the hall of faces, where he gives her a brief history on the Faceless Men. He holds out a vial of poison to give her next victim: an actress named Lady Crane. He’s giving her a second chance (NEVER A THIRD) to be one if she desires.
Arya watches the performance, a play on the War of the Five Kings, in which her father is portrayed as a bumbling oaf and the Lannisters the straight, sympathetic characters. Not only must Arya endure the bastardization of her father but also relive his death over again as Sansa had done with her father on a daily basis and her brother in a similar fashion. Then we get a face full of play-Joffrey’s two-warted cock after seeing play-Sansa’s breasts exposed. Fans asks for more dong for equality, but this wasn’t exactly what they wanted, I’m sure. Arya reports her observation to Jaqen that the best way to kill Lady Crane is poisoning her rum, which only she drinks. However, she begins to show concerns over killing her because she seems like a good person. Jaqen says that death doesn’t skip over the good. Arya doesn’t stop there; she begins to ask about who the person is who wants Lady Crane dead and figures it to be Biance, the actress who plays Sansa. Can Arya kill someone she doesn’t hate? This is also an interesting test in that the actress is playing Cersei in the current play, and Cersei is one of the people on her list. Is this a test to Jaqen to see if she will figure that out or if Arya will take pleasure on murdering “Cersei” rather than simply doing what needs to be done? Will she picture Lady Crane as the real Cersei to be able to kill her?
North of the Wall
Bran walks through the past with the Three-Eyed Raven. They see within the formation of spiraled standing stones Leaf and other Children of the Forest. With a sharpened stone fragment, Leaf approaches a man bound to a great Weirdwood tree and gagged. As he howls in excruciating pain, Leaf shoves the stone into his heart with magic with some crunching noises. It turns his eyes ice blue. Bran returns to confront Leaf about it. She explains that they were at war with humans, who were killing them and their sacred trees. So to defend themselves, they created an unstoppable army to stand against the humans. I'm so impressed by the makeup of the Children of the Forest. Each individual's facial features represent a different tree.
While everyone sleeps, Bran re-enters the walkingstate because he just can’t wait. There, he sees the same tree and standing stones, now covered in snow. He turns to find an army of White Walkers facing him and the tree. He moves through them, and they remain unfazed. He gets to the Night’s King on horseback, and the Night’s King looks directly at him. Bran turns to see all the army now facing him and the Night’s King now in front of him. The Night’s King touches his forearm. And the Three-Eyed Raven knows. Now, he is able to find him and even get inside, despite the magical barriers that would prevent it. They must go at once, and Hodor begins to panic. The Three-Eyed Raven tells Bran that he must now become him.
Meera seems to have a sixth sense as they are packing up to go. She runs outside to see the White Walker army and the Childrne of the Frest at the entrance guarding it. They have since seen their mistake, it seems, and are willing to at least guard the future. Bran will hold the knowledge of the past and the future and will be able to prevent such things from happening, so he is worth saving for Leaf and her people. Someone needs to live to tell the truths. Hodor is losing his shit as Meera tries to wake Bran, but Bran is in the past, watching his father and uncle part. The Children of the Forest throw some fireballs at the White Walkers and create a ring of fire around the entrance, but the White Walker leaders step through with no problems. The White Walkers and Wights scale the walls of the cave to dog for entrances on top of it.
Meera continues to try to wake Bran, but she fails. Wights fall from the roof and attack. Summer intervenes. The Children then come in and begin to slaughter and be slaughtered. Meera continues to yell at Bran saying to wake up and that they need Hodor, who is rocking back and forth, repeating “Hodor.” The Three-Eyed Raven tells him that he must listen to his friend, but he listens incorrectly. He wargs into Wylis from the past instead of coming to the future. This keeps him in the past with the possibility of drowning. One of the Children tries to attack a White Walker lord, but she is slain instead, and Meera throws a spear at him, shattering him. WHAAAAAT? How did that work? Was it obsidian? Is she magic? Summer allows Leaf to herd the others out the back and sacrifices himself. Another direwolf gone. L While they escape, the Night’s King kills the Three-Eyed Raven, who dissipates into the ash in the air in the past.
The army continues to gain ground on Bran, Meera, and Hodor, and Leaf stays behind to suicide bomb the invaders, giving the trio a chance to flee. As she is hacked and stabbed to bits, she releases the bomb. Hodor has trouble opening the door and manages last second to open it. He closes the door behind them, and Meera takes Bran in their makeshift rescue stretcher. As she flees with him in tow, she calls out to Hodor to hold the door. In the past, Bran hears it, and young Wylis looks directly at bran. His eyes roll back into his head, and the seizing Wylis repeatedly calls out at the same time as Meera, “Hold the door!” Bran does nothing but watch Wylis, drowning in the past. The army breaks through the door and begins to hack and slash and bite at Hodor. Young Wylis’s “Hold the door” begin shortening to “hold door” and then to “hodor”. He sees his own death since that moment. He grew up knowing he would die and when. But he still faithfully served the starks and especially Bran. It’s tragic. No wonder he was so distraught as the White Walkers approached. Now the White Walkers will know where Bran is at all times and will be following him everywhere. There is no safe place from the horde.
The Iron Islands
The Kingsmoot is taking place, and Yara is first to lay claim to the throne. The backlash comes in the form of straight-up sexism, as everyone knew would happen. No queen ever ruled the Iron Islands. But Yara promises that they will do things they’ve never done with her on the Salt Throne. She will lead them into glory with the largest fleet the world has ever seen. And of course a man tells her to shutup and cuts her off and says no woman will rule while Balon’s son Theon is here. But Theon throws his support behind Yara: “Those of you that have sailed under her (and there are many of you here), you know what she is: She is a reaver; she is a warrior; she is Ironborn. We will find no better leader. This is our Queen.” Not once has Theon been this brazen or convicted since he took Winterfell, and that was for all the wrong reasons.
Cheers follow until the cocky Euron Greyjoy claims the throne, first trying to discredit Theon as a major disappointment and incompetent eunuch, which is why he thinks a woman can be king. All this misogyny makes me want to scream. Yara makes it a point to ask when he returned. “A few days ago. I had some things to take care of long overdue,” he says. Like kill his brother, as Yara quickly concludes aloud and issues her first act as Queen: to execute the man who killed her father. AND EURON ADMITS IT. He actually admits it, and he still gets support for having killed a man who ran the Ironborn into nothingness. He apologizes for not killing him earlier, but Theon points out that would have been hard to do, given that he was gallivanting around the world. While he was away, Yara was here, being Ironborn, leading Ironborn. Euron agrees that she has the right idea of building the largest fleet the world has ever seen, but he’s the one to build it. And he’s going to build it for Daenerys to take the Seven Kingdoms together. This fucking guy. She certainly wouldn’t find him very appealing. He’s crude, rude, and patricidal. Now he gets cheers and chants.
While Euron is being drowned as part of his crowning, Yara, Theon, and her followers sail away on the best ships. He unfortunately chokes up the water, rises, and seeks to murder Yara and Theon. He discovers that they’ve gone and immediately orders the men to start bending planks and the women to start spinning flax for sails. “Build me a thousand ships, and I will give you this world,” he promises his people. Where are they going? To beat Euron to Dany or go to Castle Black to one of the other Northern houses to ally and quite possibly with Jon Snow as he rallies the North? The control of the salt throne almost mirrors what is going on in Dorne. Dorne has been egalitarian, though, since Queen Nymeria sailed there with her fleet of women and children. The Iron Islands have been quite the opposite. They have very much been a misogynist patriarchy, and it shows here. If Yara were to be queen, would she have to act like Queen Elizabeth I then and be overzealous in colonization? But the fact that so many people rebelled against the new King in favor of Yara is telling that it’s time for a sea change. (See what I did there?) This could be where the Iron Islands finally have some sort of relevance to the overall plot. I expect Dorne next week while the Ironborn sail for a few episodes.
Just outside of Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys realizes that she and Jorah are forever entwined. She needs him, and he just wants to serve her. He says she must send him away and reveals his dragon scale to her. She wonders how long he has, but he assures he’ll end things before he lets it get too far. He says that Tyrion was right and that he loves her. He bids her farewell, but she orders him to not walk away. He has not been dismissed from service. She commands him to find the cure for dragon scale and return to her to help her take the Seven Kingdoms. This realization that the two are so connected that they can’t be parted form each other is testament to Dany’s willingness to let him go long enough to find a cure to return to him. Because of his love for her, he will travel the world to find a cure because she ordered him to. Because there is some semblance of hope that she loves him, too. This is a moment of downtime for Daenerys in between overthrows, and for her to open up like that is strange. The only times we’ve seen it recently were with Daario last season when they were in bed. While she got to know Daario at a deeper level then, she really got to know the depths of Jorah’s love for her. Interestingly, she covers her feelings with state orders, like it’s a shield for her feelings.
In the past two weeks since the pact with the Masters of Slavers Bay, the Sons of the Harpy have not killed but two masters have been killed by free men right after but not since. Tyrion says it’s not enough, but Varys disagrees, considering that the city was on the brink of Civil War. This leads Tyrion to come up with the idea of placing someone in the inner circle that can’t be bought or influenced and is known: Kinvara, the High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis, and she has just as many titles as Daenerys, so she’s got some renown, apparently. She even has someone to introduce her because she can’t do it herself. NO BIG DEAL. No wonder Tyrion sought her out. Tyrion greets Kinvara, and she only stares with a smile in response. The awkwardness is palpable. While Tyrion begins to say that they hope to persuade her, but she cuts him off to say that she came to help with no need of persuasion. She asserts that Daenerys is the One Who Is Promised. Kinvara even knows that Tyrion was in Volantis and heard her same speech. (If you recall, she was preaching to people on the streets outside of the whorehouse.) However, Varys, a religious contrarian, is not so quick to believe that she is sure, considering Melisandre backed the wrong Promised One. But she knows about Varys’s past and continues, “Knowledge has made you powerful, but there is still so much you don’t know.” Kinvara’s piercing statements are akin to Melisandre’s but seem to have more effect on Varys, who is having a hard time not breaking down in front of her. After all this time not believing in a god, has he been wrong? He is now facing a truth: that this religion may be real, or at least physically manifested in some way to be powerful enough to be active. Kinvara assures him that he has nothing to fear from her if they are both for the Queen. I love her. Anyone who makes Varys cower is aces. Off she goes to tell her priests to spread the good word about Daenerys.
Closing the Door
Have we just witnessed the extinction of a species? Have all the Children of the Forest died protecting Bran? I miss Leaf already. She lived long enough for someone to find out the truth and so got her own sentence for making the White Walkers. Perhaps they didn’t know that their creations would also be their bane and not just the humans’. This makes sense now, why Melisandre (I think) refers to the Children of the Forest as evil and working with the White Walkers in the books. It also makes the Lady of the Leaves be relevant in the books for her brief appearance with Arya. Arya, then, may have a role to play in that war after all, or else she wouldn’t have been given information about the Children.
It was nice to not be in King's Landing, where their trivial problems don't matter compared to the White Walkers. But there is no way that Olenna will truly be working with Cersei without some sort of plan to fuck Cersei over after they win against the Faith Militant. I’m excited to see where next week will lead us, as I know there are more shocks and sorrows ahead of us this season.
Who is Winning the Game fo Throneof
© 2016 SE Andres