It's quite obvious I'm about as punctual with this Game of Thrones recap as Lord Walder Frey was at the Battle of the Trident. Blame a busy week in Queensland parliament - or as I now call it, the Green Keep - and an exciting weekend of adventures in stage performance.
I was all set to roll up on the couch and get started watching Episode 8, when my friend Dan played the GUILT CARD and asked how I could possibly do that before doing the recap of Episode 7? I cursed myself for an oathbreaker, then I realised it was more fun to curse Dan, so I cursed him for a bit, then sighed and realised I can't beat the GUILT CARD. So hold onto your hats and duck because here comes another low-flying episode of Raven On!
This week was another marvellous tumble in the world of character development, but rather slow on the action front. I daresay things are going to ramp up significantly in Episode 8 once the last-surviving Baratheon brother descends on King's Landing like Elvis on a bacon sandwich; and once Xaro starts throwing his weight around Qarth like Elvis on a stage in the late 1970s.
The theme that emerged from this episode for me was that of "traps", both set and sprung.
Theon Greyjoy sets off to re-trap Bran, Rickon, Osha and Hodor, who cleverly snuck out of Winterfell at the end of the last episode. He spends this week taunting poor Maester Luwin, while trailing the boys' scent with his hounds. "It's all just a game," he cheerfully tells the kind old man. A game you're going to LOSE, dork-sniggler.
Beyond the wall, Jon is trying to find his brothers of the Night's Watch, while simultaneously trying to control the stalagmite slowly building in his breeches, courtesy of Ygritte, the wildling/free woman. Doesn't she have the filthiest-sounding accent in the entire show? Even dirtier than Ros (who's M-I-A ever since that 'pounding' from Prince Joffrey).
"Can you stop saying 'bone' for just FIVE minutes?!?!"
After all that trudging and cajoling, Jon was about to go for it (I assume the "pulling out his sword" action was symbolism), when whoops, Ygritte pulls the lead, trips Jon over, and a bunch of other wildlings appear. Trap sprung; I guess Jon will now get to meet Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall. Whether he'll get some frosty booty or not remains to be seen.
In Robb Stark's battle camp, Jaime Lannister is literally trapped in a pen, with a a fine bushy beard to show for a few months' imprisonment. Given a cell mate in the former of his cousin, Alton, he spends a fair amount of time building rapport and confidence - before battering the young bloke's head in with his chains in order to distract the guard and escape. Poor form, but not unexpected. However, killing the guard, the son of Lord Karstark, proved a very bad move, as when the Kingslayer is eventually recaptured, the bannermen start fighting amongst themselves about how quickly they can knock his block off. Lady Catelyn goes to see him, and after a fair bit of taunting, she asks Brienne for her sword. Is she going to kill him - or free him?
In the Red Keep - the ultimate gilded cage - Cersei is educating Sansa about "flowering" into a woman. Sansa's own body has trapped her, betrayed her, as it inevitably would. Curse you, biology! Our favourite little dove was offered some some hard truths about surviving the transition to womanhood, and how best to protect her heart against Joffrey. For me, Cersei has fundamentally become a tragic figure. Again, it's all her own fault, but you can't help but wonder how truly awesome she could've been if only she'd been more like Tyrion, and less like Tywin or Jaime. Speaking of Tyrion, he seems to have definitively pinned down the truth about his twin siblings. Throwing out a last-ditch bait line of "Joffrey is more Robert than Jaime," only to have it shrugged off by Cersei, Tyrion is now fully in charge of the Lannister's future at King's Landing. In a touching moment, he almost reached out to embrace a distraught Cersei. Almost.
Which only leaves the question - does TYWIN know? So my legacy is one imp and a pair of incestuous in-breeding psychos?
The head lion is still holed up at Harrenhal, having delightful fireside chats with Arya about legends and warriors and the best way to pretend to be low-born. Tywin is trapped by his own need to leave a legacy; Arya by Tywin's protection. Gosh these scenes are enjoyable to watch.
Over in Qarth, Dany is whinging about her dragons. She essentially flips off Xaro's promises to help, only to collapse emotionally near the arms of faithful old Jorah. Speaking of which, The Wah drew my attention to this charming graphic, which sums up poor Jorah's predicament.
Jorah has another meeting with that mysterious face-plated priestess woman, who I'm sure is probably his ex-wife or something. She gets his assurance he won't betray Dany again, then sends him off to the Council of Thirteen just in time to find that Xaro and Creepy Warlock have been in cahoots to steal the dragons and launch a coup. Xaro is now the King of Qarth.
Yay! (Best Moments)
Shae flipping the knife on the other handmaiden after discovering Sansa's menses (Sanses? Mensa?) had set in. Sadly it did no good; the Hound had already sniffed it out. Oh, I just realised what I said.
The appearance of Tyrion just near the end. I hadn't realised I was missing him until he appeared and I mentally yelled "F* YEAH TYRION WHY HAVEN'T I SEEN HIM BEFORE NOW SERIOUSLY."
Zing! (Best Line)
Tywin: I can't say I've ever met a literate stonemason. Arya: Have you met many stonemasons, my lord? Tymin: Careful now.
Jaime (on seeing Brienne): Is that a woman?
Eww, gross (a skin-crawl moment)
"They don't have teeth." - Ygritte. That's Ygritty.
Maester Luwin's fresh take on the grief-stricken "Nooooo" on seeing the burned bodies of two children hanging from the walls of Winterfell. It's fairly obvious they're the poor orphan boys Bran sent to help the farmer a few episodes back, but Maester Luwin's not to know that, and his gutteral reaction was ... well, gut-wrenching.
Boo, sucks (a downside)
Fricking Dan guilting me into doing this before fricking watching fricking Episode 8 fricking frick.