In a land far away, in a kingdom divided, Arya Stark is performing her Dark Cinderella routine; washing dead bodies morning, noon and night. Then learning the black and white script, she eases the death of another, and looks behind the locked door. The faces of the faceless men are revealed, hallowed halls stacked high with masks made of flesh. Creepy, yet captivating.The whole interlude plays out in eerie shadows, a beautiful, intimate blue toned oil painting.

The Imp & Exile road trip continues- ‘Do you ever shut up?’ Oh Jorah, you have a lot to learn. Ian Glenn’s silent grief on learning of his father’s fate pierces the soul. Then upon the abduction of the abductor and his trusty dwarf, the best line in Game of Thrones history is uttered: ‘The dwarf lives until we find a cock merchant’. Did these merchants undertake vocation specific training? If so what? The Westerosi can of worms is officially open.

Across the Narrow Sea we return to Dorne, but the good Dorne, Sand Snake free. Prince Doran and Areo are the still waters that run deep- more screen time on them and less on the B movie girl ninjas wannabes please.…
I spoke too soon, the ninjas are back, looking decidedly un-stealthy in their cute matching outfits. Surely the focus should be on fatalities and NOT on fashion? The she-reptiles even fight half-heartedly, all flourish but no flair. Areo Hotah puts an end to the melodramatic display, with curt yet respectful put downs and a rather impressive axe.

Enter stage right Diana Rigg, who inevitably steals every scene she graces. Her face-off with ‘the famous tart Queen Cersei’ is particularly enjoyable. Cersei might be winning currently, but she has angered the wrong rose…who curtly points out the difference between the Queen of Tarts and her late daddy dearest- HE knew that you keep your friends close, but your strategical allies closer.

And so ‘The Trial’. The sparrow teases the players in their finery, trapping them with words and watching them squawk. Margaery begs and commands in turn, yet is carried off regardless. Yet is she out of the lionesses’ den for good?….Cersei beware, there’s still a thorn in your paw, and it answers to Olenna.

The Myranda/Sansa bath scene is wound tighter than the Iron Bank. Miss Stark sees through the vicious veil and unsheathes claws learnt at the lioness’s court. ‘I am Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home, and you can’t frighten me’- I want that to be true so much it hurts. Her public bravado gives me hope- can the wolf princess outlast the villains? She looks beautiful yet deathly in wedding gown- the death of innocence, but please not of hope? A victorious villain, a frightened girl, a scene harder to watch than the infamous red wedding. There had better be more in this than a Reek redemption HBO, hell hath no fury like a scorned stark….


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