Over halfway through the season the pieces are starting to fall into place, but the final picture remains unclear. Characters collide, re-emerge from their hiding places and wage war on their enemies, but the iron throne is still very much in play.
Bran, my least favourite giant killer, obviously hasn’t learned the concept of chivalry, and leaves poor Meera to run for both their lives yet again. No amount of visions will bring Hodor back Bran! Although the glimpse of the mad king amongst the flashbacks is truly spectacular. Then as another Stark death seems imminent a mysterious fire-wielding horseman enters stage left. Perhaps he took the ‘burn them all’ vision a little literally. And the saviour behind the scarves? Long lost Uncle Benjen! Frostbitten, but alive. He’s no Hodor, but a pleasant surprise nontheless.
South of the wall Randyll Tarly is a new candidate for worst father in Westeros. If Tywin wasn’t dead, he’d be jealous. Let Sam eat his bread you racist tyrant! This is by far the best part of the episode. Gilly cleans up nicely – the Seven Kingdoms version of Disney’s Belle, but with a sharper tongue when provoked. “I’m angry that horrible people can treat good people that way and get away with it’ . Welcome to the seven kingdoms Gilly. The unlikely hero’s roasting on home turf left a bitter taste in the mouth, but his change of heart is both unexpected and wonderful, As always Samwell does his heroism by night, where no one can see. Our favourite couple flee with babe and sword in arms – we’ll be seeing more of daddy dearest then.
The curtain rises on the second act of the play with in a play , the satirised propaganda of the seven kingdoms, the Westerosi Mock the Week. Lady Crane makes even Joffrey piteous – a good actress playing a good actress playing a queen- an triumph of a performance. If the real Cersei had been half as charming, Arya would never have fled Kings Landing. Her name today was Mercy, and the wannabe poisoner took it to heart: ‘careful of that one, she wants you dead’. A girl is still a Stark, and a girl retrieves needle once more! Finished with stick fighting and floor washing, our favourite assassin is once more armed and dangerous…. and on Jaquen’s list.
And now for the greatest anticlimax of the episode: Kings Landing. Margaery’s lucious locks remain in tact because there is to be no walk of shame. Jamie’s dramatic horsemanship is undercut by the Sparrow’s checkmate – Tommen the brainless strikes again, pandering to fanatics, and stopping the much hyped battle on the steps of the sept, before it starts. I believe Margaery is playing the long game, and that her gullible husband will be playing a rather shortened version.
For the finale Dany’s favourite baby returns to give the Khaleesi wings, and the dragon queen rides again! Her speech is inspiring and terrifying in equal measure. She riles the troops, but is HBO hinting at a Targaryen tyrant lurking within the breaker of chains? I truly hope not. There is more than one way to kill a favourite character – please Mr Martin, don’t kill mine.
Dragons: Welcome back Drogon
Direwolves: None, since Bran allowed his to DIE
Deaths: None (barring white walkers)
Nudity: None. This is Westeros right?