Imagine me huddled in a small circular room, trying desperately to squeeze into a corner that doesn’t exist. I’m trying to avoid a squidgy mass of grey in the middle of the space, a confusing lump of moral ambiguities and disappointment that threatens to ooze all over me.
The most I can do is poke at the squidgy mass with the pointy end of a broken pool cue to try to uncover the odd speck of true black or pure white that my woefully inefficient brain can hang onto as a tiny scrap of hope.
That’s the best way I can describe how I feel after this episode, which replaced the joy of a righteous death with the skin-crawling discomfort of Watching Characters I Like Do Things Which Are Valuable To The Narrative But Still I Do Not Approve.
Why, Jaime, why did you have to ...? And The Hound ... bad Hound! Bad Hound! And Sam Tarly… aww, don’t do that. Ygritte, don’t you know anything? Tyrion, don’t make him go ... And Littlefinger I will tear your spleen out with my thumbnails if you touch a hair on her head, you just see if I don’t...
Mind you, anything that ends in a pissing contest can’t be too bad, so perhaps what’s required is to flop out my analytical brain for another Raven On Game of Thrones recap.
Reminder: spoilers will be included below, so only read on if you’ve seen the episode. We’re discovering the storyline through the TV series (reading the books after each has finished), so no dropping important future plot points in the comments, or we’ll eat your parents.
Yup, the keen teen queen seen green screen Meereen peen. From a respectable distance, of course. You’ve got to show a Khaleesi some modicum of dignity, even while you’re detangling your todger from its gritty sling in order to prove your superiority as a warrior. Because the penis mightier than the sword, apparently.
Thankfully Daenerys had faithful lapdogs/bloodhounds queuing up to take on the Champion of the slave city Meereen in her honour.
For a moment she was Goldilocks, telling the three bears Grey Worm, Ser Barristan and Ser Jorah why they were just not right - ie, too valuable for her to risk.
Then Maario volunteered, and it was like, “Yeah, works for me, if you die, sorry (not sorry).”
Maario proceeded to kick the champion’s ass (and horse) like a boss, which I guess made him Bowser, so Maario now gets a one-up and Dany is officially Princess Peach.
Despite having no PA system or even a crackly loudspeaker, the Mother of Dragons then delivered a stirring and completely audible speech to the slaves of Meereen positioned high above the gates of the city.
She accused their masters of spreading lies about her, and proved her army was mostly freed slaves by trebucheting their broken shackles at the city walls. OH YOU IN BIG TROUBLE NOW POSH DUDES IN SILKS.
I revel in Dany’s episode-concluding epic PR stunt because it was a moment of kick-ass glory that contradicted the rather gloomy timbre purveying the rest of world this week.
I mean, you would’ve thought life post-Joffrey might be fun for at least ten minutes before his twincestuous parents do something unspeakably GROSS right next to his carcass.
That’s right, Jaime decided to throw away any goodwill we’d built up for him by … well, you know what he did. And it was horrible, it was rape, it was clear-cut, but it was also icky as hell and complicated and I am NOT defending the indefensible but I am just arghgghgh not good not good not good oh please Clementine Ford is going to hate me.
As an aside, Cersei referred to Joffrey as “our baby boy”, while imploring Jaime to kill Tyrion in revenge. Now I was under the impression that Jaime didn’t know he was daddy as well as unky; he’s never acted in a way that suggested to me he’s been in the know. He never seemed to care any more than any relative would; Cersei’s always been his focus.
But Cersei’s cries didn’t surprise him, so he must’ve known. I can’t remember anything from Books 1 or 2 (which I read, of course, after the TV seasons aired) that confirmed this, but I must have just missed it. Any pointers welcome.
Despite the AWFUL GROSSNESS, that scene did deliver a wonderful exchange between Tywin Lannister and Tommen, his grandson and the new king.
Tommen is a calm, sensible child, who showed more nous in three minutes than Joffrey showed in the previous three seasons. Tywin cleverly guided the boy through the politics of kingship, handily concluding that he is wisest when listening to his advisers. Oh golly gosh I hope Tommen doesn’t stay under the golden thumb for too long.
Meanwhile Sansa has found herself in the Bermuda Triangle of Blackwater Bay. Spirited away from the wedding feast by Ser Dontos before the Lannisters could arrest her, she finds herself climbing into not only a ship, but the arms of PETYR EFFING BAELISH THAT SNEAKY PSYCHO BASTARD.
I mean, I’m glad she’s safe from Cersei for now, but nothing involving Littlefinger ends well. Look at the way he dispensed with Ser Dontos. OK, he wasn’t one of nature’s heroes. OK, he did it for money. OK, it’s GoT, people are dispensable. But still, he was sweet, and I don’t just say that because I’m a sucker for slightly tubby men with rosy cheeks.
HELLO, SAM TARLY.
Sam and Gilly have the sweetest little crushing on each other scene up at Castle Black. It’s all big eyes and shy smiles and goose plucking. But Sam believes Gilly is in danger from all those rapists that seem to get recruited by the Night’s Watch, so decided to stash her and baby Sam in a brothel in nearby Mole’s Town.
I don’t know why Sam thinks it might be safer, given within four seconds of arrival she met Captain Jack Sparrow, who’s decided to eschew the aquamarine waters of the Caribbean to get freaky in a dungheap just south of The Wall.
“No other work!” Sam firmly tells the madam, before seeing Gilly settled in her new quarters, decorated in true shabby chic with full Abu-Ghraib finishes. The wildling is understandably peeved at Sam for this, and while I know he’s acting out of genuine love for Gilly, he really is naive and I will grab his chubby cheeks and giving him a good telling off, oh yes I will you big cutie pie oh I can’t stay mad at you.
Someone else still racing in the naive stakes is Arya Stark, who is outraged over the Hound’s disgraceful treatment of a kind farmer who took them in, fed them delicious rabbit stew, then offered The Hound fair work for fair wages. After a night’s rest, The Hound declared them dead anyway, beat up the farmer and took their remaining silver. It’s a brutal take on economic self-sufficiency so convincing, he could be insert topical political joke here.
It’s enough to rile Arya right up, but the Hound responds with “I just understand the way things are. How many Starks do they have to behead before you figure it out?”.
OK, he makes a point. But I still Disapprove.
Nobody seems to be doing much disapproving in Oberyn and Ellaria’s whoredello. I’m beginning to understand why it’s taken so long for Inigo Montoya to extract revenge for his sister Elia’s death - he keeps getting distracted by earthly delights of all sorts.
Tywin’s coitus interruptus was glorious: invited by Oberyn to sit on his bed, Tywin’s “No” was polite, but if you pause, you can just see a split second where he throws up in his mouth.
Tywin offers Martell the role of third trial judge on the panel that will pass sentence on Tyrion, in exchange for handing Gregor "The Mountain” Clegane over to the Dornish prince. Now I sense a classic piece of Tywin plotting here… I’ll wager Tywin and Mace will vote for Tyrion’s guilt, but Oberyn, being knowledgeable in the art of poisons, will have reason to doubt. Tywin hates Tyrion for sure, but if he wanted him dead, he’d be dead. So a hung jury (well hung it seems in Oberyn’s case) could provide Tywin with an outcome in which he saves his son from death, but keeps Cersei happy.
Over on Dragonstone, Stannis’s inability to pursue his claim on the Iron Throne is leaving him as frustrated as a leech on a skeleton. Ser Davos knows they need money to raise another army, but it’s not until a reading session with lovely Shireen (it’s “knight” not “kah-niggit”!) that he has a light bulb moment and decides to write to the Iron Bank of Braavos. The same Iron Bank that the Westeros treasury is in debt to, you ask? Why yes, I believe so. The plot thickens ...
Finally, the Wildlings brutally ambush and slaughter a nice little village not far from The Wall. The first shot was fired by Ygritte, which made me remarkably angry for some reason. At least she isn’t as bad as those horrid Thenn warriors, who sent a little lad off to warn the Crows while they feasted on his dead parents.
And so it was that the Night’s Watch came to weigh up the pros and cons of leaving The Wall to hunt down the wicked wildlings, with Jon Snow looking especially broody in his furs. So much weight on those muscular shoulders, if only he would let me give him a gentle massage with coconut oil and my face ...
No sooner had the Black Brothers decided that their place was on The Wall, a few of their fellows made a surprise return, having escaped the crazy Crows who killed Craster and confiscated his keep. J-Sno realised that if Mance Raydar were to extract the truth from them about the piddling numbers of Crows currently protecting the south, they’ll be more boned than the White Walkers. Hurrah! J-Sno is going back over The Wall.
Yay! Best Moments
There’s been some hate for the new Daario, aka Faabio, aka Maario, but I must admit I’m warming to him for three reasons. One, the line “Let me kill this man for you”. Oooh, blush, giggle giggle, you had me at “Let me kill this man for you”. Two, the wink at Dany. Tee-hee-hee. And three, the turn of the head to softly kiss his trusty blade. RAWR.
Granted, I could’ve done without the victorious public urination but I went to a private school so it rolls off my back. The macho territorial posturing, I mean, not the urine. That stuff gets everywhere.
Zing! Best Lines
Olenna, Olenna, Olenna. That whole scene with Margaery, nervous about her place now she’s lost two husbands before any physical, ahem, alliance, was comedy with class.
“You did wonderful work on Joffrey. The next one should be easier.”
Oh, Diana Rigg, don’t ever leave me.
Jaime. Cersei. Meatsack Joffrey. AWFULNESS.
Tyrion is the most beautiful, honourable sonofabitch there ever was. Did you see him send Pod away? Did you see the pain it caused both of them to acknowledge their alliance could critically endanger Pod’s life? I wanted Tyrion to recant, I wanted Pod to defy him, I wanted there to be a great moment of passionate brotherhood followed by them slaying the guards, escaping King’s Landing and going on the run like Robin Hood and Will Scarlett Pimpernel. Or whatever the literary reference is.