Ohmigod Jon Snow's in charge and ohmigod Dany totally ballsed that whole harpie thing up and ohmigod how awesome is Brienne and ohmigod Dorne and ohmigod Bronn and ohmigod Creepy Faceless Guy is finally back!
Yes, Throners, this was a very busy episode, and if you're anything like me you'll be needing an extra large tumbler of Old McMuffin's Bowel-Slackening Imitation Ale to get through it all, so heads down, bottoms up, and let's drink in another installment of Raven On, the only Game of Thrones recap to begin with a tribute limerick.
The reason Myrcella was born
Was due to twincestous porn
Her dad didn't care
Until the death stare
So Jaime is now off to Dorne
Ahhh, remind me one day to write the entire story of Game of Thrones so far in limericks. It's the only real way to tell an epic saga (you'd also get to do the Nantucket joke a LOT with this show).
This episode was all about boxes, as characters all over the place either found themselves being placed in boxes – figuratively or literally – or were trying to find a way out of them. The fact that the three kittens I'm currently fostering were playing adorably in a shoebox as I watched this episode may have also provided some inspiration.
Wait I just realised – Daenerys has three dragons. I have three kittens. That makes Dany a Crazy Dragon Lady, which makes me MOTHER OF KITTENS. Somebody send me a nude and oiled up Maario, stat.
OK, stop, stop, I'm getting distracted. Let's get cracking. And remember, we're discovering this series through the TV show, so if anyone decides to spoil any potential future plotlines, we'll dispatch you like a street pigeon.
The episode opens on Arya's face, looking suitably awed by the sight of the Braavosi Titan, legs astride the entrance to the city's harbour, ready to strike any enemies. The statue sounds a horn to signal their arrival in the financial hub, but I reckon it's just as much drawing attention to the fact you could look right up his battle skirt as you pass through his pins. Talk about a colossus.
Arya is safely delivered to the House of Black and White by the kind Braavosi ship's captain, but her initial attempts to woo the bouncer don't quite pan out. The robed old dude sends her away, and poor Arya spends a few days stubbornly sitting outside the black and white door, twirling her Braavosi coin and repeating her hit list mantra (note The Hound is no longer on it? Awww), before getting jack of waiting and tossing the coin in the water.
Thankfully Arya's skills at sourcing foreign street food are much better than that time I ate a tarantula in Siam Reap. Her pigeon actually seemed dead. But before she gets a chance to chow down, however, some young street toughs start threatening her like it's Braavos Side Story. They're keen to relieve her of her Needle, but as she points out in devastatingly cool fashion, it's worth nothing to a dead man.
The punks are scared off by the reappearance of the robed old dude, who Arya follows back to the House of Black and White. He presents her with her discarded coin then proceeds to discard his face and HELL YES it's Jaqen H'ghar, the Faceless Man and assassin from season two! I'm sure I speak for all the ladies when I say I've never been so happy to see a creepy weirdo. He tells her that he in fact has no name, and leads her through the door into what is essentially a large windowless box. You see? Theme.
Meanwhile in the capital, Cersei and Jaime are dealing with a rather threatening Jack-in-the-Box of their own. I loved that it took Jaime a few seconds to pick up on the metaphor of the snake figuring biting the golden necklace. "Of course it's a threat," Cersei spits at him. Poor woman, she really is surrounded by idiots.
The best thing about that scene was seeing the twincesters discuss the fact that Jaime is actually the father of Cersei's children. He's just never acknowledged that before so openly. Doing so seemed to engender a change, a need to actually be a good dad and go get his daughter back. Although, sure, he's probably doing it mostly to impress Cersei.
His sister-lover thinks the one-handed man will be about as useful as a one-legged man at an arse-kicking contest, but Jaime has no intention of going solo. In one of his better decision in life, he recruits Bronn, yanking the freshly minted gentleman back into his better-known world of sellsword and general brawler. Oh, think of the adventures these two will have on their journey as south as south will go!
Speaking of buddy comedy road trips, Tyrion and Varys continue to win hearts and minds with their bitchy box banter. Sure, it's technically a whole lot of filler until they hook up with Daenarys, but what zesty filler!
Hooray! We finally see our first glimpse of Spain, oops, sorry, Dorne. Oberyn's paramour (Dornish for "bae") Ellaria is cranky that Prince Doran won't up sticks and avenge his dead brother, or allow her to chop up Myrcella Lannister and send her back to Cersei in pieces.
hile it's clear Oberyn was the dashing one in that family, it's hard not to like Prince Doran – he's a cautious counter to the fiery Ellaria. I loved that he reiterated what the Red Viper said in season four – that in Dorne, they do not hurt little girls. Regardless, Myrcella remains trapped in the Water Gardens, as beautiful as they are.
Poor Brienne just cannot cut a break. She is probably the closest thing Game of Thrones has now to a truly noble character, which makes it all the more remarkable that she's not dead yet. How spine-tinglingly fun it was to realise she and Pod were having midday munchies in the same tavern as Littlefinger and Sansa – although it did make me wonder who went in there first? Surely they would have seen the other as they entered? I mean, Brienne hardly blends in with a crowd, and you'd think a big group of armed guards would have made some noise. Oh well, maybe the inn had two entrances. The point is – confrontation!
Brienne sends Pod off to steal more horses in preparation for a speedy getaway, while she marches straight up to Sansa to pledge her sword. But Petyr Baelish, with eel-like slimy-ness, questions her credentials and boasts of his family ties to Sansa, calling her Aunt Lysa his "beloved". Oh rack off, Littlefinger, you greaseball. God I loathe him.
But then gothed-up Sansa gets all 'tudey as well. "You were at Joffrey's wedding bowing to the king," she pouts. Come on, Sansa, that's not fair. Poor Brienne begs for understanding, but Gothic Sansa (which sounds like a font) is having none of it. It's tempting to worry that Baelish is a bad influence on Sansa, keeping her locked down because she's "family" (shudder) but fingers crossed she's playing a longer game, one that will hopefully lead to much more bloody revenge. As for Brienne, Littlefinger's guards try to hold her, but nope, she's off with Pod, causing traffic chaos with Baelish's horses.
Now Pod may have some things in common with horses (ladies) but is clearly out of his depth on top of one (more cowgirl than cowboy, snigger). Soaked and sore, he nobly tries to fend off a bad guy using a rock. It was glorious. Bad guys defeated, Pod implores Brienne to perhaps think outside the box – maybe she doesn't need to worry about the Stark girls anymore, seeing as she's been rejected more brutally than I was by my Year 9 boyfriend at the school swimming carnival. But Brienne has no concept of a life free of service; she's just got to keep trying and one day Sansa will take her back (unlike me, Phil, your loss pal).
In Meereen, where the boxes are more pyramid-shaped, Daenerys Targaryren is getting more advice than an expectant mother.
Maario and Grey Worm have tracked down one of the Sons of the Harpie, the rebel cult dudes bent on fighting her rule, but the new Meereen Queen is having a hard time deciding whether to give him a fair trial or just kill him to make a point.
Dany's conversation with Ser Barristan about her old mad dad Aerys was really insightful. It forced Dany to acknowledge the terrible failings of her father, someone she would rather glorify as unfairly deposed rather than a loony murderer. So she agreed to the fair trial.
Problem was, her former slave adviser took it upon himself to murder the Harpie, putting Dany into the position of having him publicly executed as a warning to others. Sadly all it did was spark another fight between the ex-slaves and ex-masters, leaving Dany's enforcers trying to mop it all up.
Dany just can't seem to put a foot right. She's trapped in her big fancy pyramid with all the trappings Queenship brings. But then, in her time of need, something happens to remind her that her real pursuit was freedom. Above her looms Drogon, her missing dragon, now a scaly, spiky pterror (pterosaur) beast who is still remarkably affectionate. Good Drog! Good Drog! You fly off and show your mama what it means to be free.
Finally, Stannis Baratheon has a problem with Jon Snow. He's peeved the Bastard of Winterfell showed mercy to Mance Raydar, but he also sees how Snow could play a valuable role in his campaign for the Iron Throne. He ends up offering Jon the chance to be legitimised, to become Jon Stark of Winterfell, as long as he rallies the North behind Stannis.
It's all Jon ever wanted, and Sam says he deserves it. But Jon says he has to reject the offer – if he broke an oath to the Night's Watch, he could never be the kind of lord the North needed. Have I mentioned how much I love this honourable bastard?
Sam then takes the opportunity of polling day at the Night's Watch to throw Jon's hat in the ring to be Lord Commander. Lovely Sam speaks so beautifully about Jon's skills and achievements and incredible abs that it becomes obvious he must win the title. After Maester Aemon breaks a tie with Ser Alliser "Grumpy Bastard" Thorne by throwing his chip Jon's way, it's official.
And by gum, Jon Snow actually looked … happy. I didn't think he was capable of it. I almost don't like it. I prefer my Jon Snow moody and pre-occupied with momentous troubles facing the world.
However as the new Commander, perhaps it's a great opportunity to change some administrative procedures. For example – why not let women join the Night's Watch? Get progressive, J-Sno! I hate the cold, but I'll sign up to be your helpmeet. Perhaps I can take dictation or administer sponge baths? I'm thinking about my box here. I mean, I'm thinking outside the box. Whatever, Jon, just know I am ready and willing to be the watcher on YOUR wall.
Yay! Best Moments
May I just say I loved Lollys Stokeworth with the fire of a thousand puns. As much as I'd love to be a Brienne or a Margaery or a Arya or a Sansa, let's be honest, if I was in the Game of Thrones world, I'd be someone like Lollys. Plain, chubby, overly chatty, but with decent hair and generally kind-hearted. You know, the kind of person who'd survive about 10 minutes. I was so disappointed when Jaime had her married off to someone else. I'd love her to become a regular.
Zing! Best Lines
Pretty much everything Tyrion and Varys said was gold, but two in particular:
"Cersei has offered a lordship to the man who brings her your head."
"She ought to offer her c----. Best part of her for the best part of me." - Ouuuuch.
"Are we really going to spend the entire road to Volantis arguing about the futility of everything? "You're right, no point."
Arggh, that joke is so beautiful, works on so many levels, it's like a Schrodinger's Crack (as in joke people).
"Someone who has forgotten fear, has forgotten how to hide."
Maario shows Grey Worm the virtue of being a scaredy-cat, moments before knifing a dude in a hiding hole behind a wall. Seriously, J-Sno, competition here buddy.
Gilly and Shireen had the sweetest scene up at the Wall, with the princess teaching the Wildling how to read. But their discussion about greyscale, the horrific sickness that led to Shireen's scarred face, hinted at another possible threat to those up north.
Cersei is severely undermining her own son Tommen by totally filling the Small Council with slackjaws and suck-ups. Mace Tyrell is a doofus, Pycelle only out for himself and Qyburn, the new spymaster, is clearly a mad scientist. He asked to keep a dwarf head presented to Cersei that turned out not to be Tyrion's. For his "work". Oh yeah, that'll end well.
Tywin's brother Kevan was totes right to unload on Cersei like he did, but who knows how long his influence will last. And that sucks because Tommen, amazingly, is a good kid. He'd make a good king, if it wasn't for his demon hell-spawn mother.
If we don't get a hardcore training montage with Arya and Creepy Faceless Guy, I'll be supremely disappointed. Surely we must meet the Sand Snakes and get an up-close with Myrcella, and Jon's command begins in earnest. And finally – are we ever going to see Theon/Reek again?