All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As much as I can, I am going to try and keep things episode/season specific. It’s out of respect to the narrative as well as the later seasons. Onwards!
4.3 Breaker of Chains
Just… an obvious reference to one of Dany’s many titles as she yells against slavery and tyranny. Again. She’s still pulling power moves without really knowing why or planning anything herself or whatever. Like all major deaths that happen on this show, Joff’s has a huge effect on the rest of Westeros. It throws the capital in a bit of chaos and now everyone is back on somewhat even playing field.
The episode opens on dear Joff’s face, just after he’s been poisoned. (Fun fact, Jack Gleeson couldn’t keep his eyes open. They had to tape his eyelids and then digitally remove them!) Cersei immediately points at Tyrion as having poisoned him, which makes sense as Tyrion was the last one to serve Joff wine and was also holding his goblet for a few minutes before his death. Tyrion’s wife, Sansa, is escorted from the city by Dontos, making her a suspect as well. I get it. As a kid, she’s not going to hang around in a moment of panic. She’s going to go with the one person who has been kind of a nice dude.
This… kind of works out well for her, as Dontos brings her to Littlefinger who can promise her a pretty solid alibi and means of escape, but then Littlefinger also says that she has no choice as the poison came from the missing jewel on her necklace and also, hey, looks suspicious that she fled right away. Littlefingers orders for Dantos’ death, as drunk people usually can’t keep a secret.
Up at the Red Keep, Margaery is still sort of the Queen but her claim is weak since she and Joffrey never actually consummated the marriage. Olenna comforts Margaery by saying marriage isn’t all that great and being married to Joffrey would have brought certain torture to Margaery- and that being married to Tommen will be much more pleasant.
In the Sept of Baelor and at Joff’s funeral, Tywin immediately begins to mold Tommen as a king that will do what he wants and will be far easier to control. Tommen is a sweet and innocent boy. This shouldn’t be hard. In a tone similar to how he was with Arya, Tywin coaches Tommen on what it’s like to be a good king, saying that each of the most famous kings lacked wisdom. Over Tommen’s shoulder, Cersei is trying to mourn Joff’s death but is more annoyed that Tommen is receiving direct attention and mentorship from her father, even though Tommen is just a child- but a male child and the next king.
As Tywin escorts his new minion out of the sept, in comes Jaime and he immediately tries to comfort Cersei. Cersei is so hellbent on holding Tyrion responsible and begs Jaime to kill him to avenge their son. Jaime refuses, but Cersei begins making moves on Jaime in an effort to persuade him. It kind of works, because Cersei pushes him away and Jaime is now preoccupied with proving that he is a man and capable of doing what she asks and then rapes her next to their son’s dead body.
Yup. This scene makes no sense. Another sex scene that would have added to the series if it had been consensual. Like I’m not sure… what they were trying to get at here except that Jaime has been so spurned by Cersei and feels the urge to control her. Or. Like. I don’t know. It pushes me back in the “I don’t blame Cersei” camp and out of Jaime’s corner. Just bad.
Somewhere in the Vale, Arya is asking the Hound a whole bunch of questions about where they are going. The Hound is thinking about becoming a sellsword and joining the Second Sons! That might be fun. As the land’s owner stops in, Arya tells a very good lie that she and her “father” are trying to recover from the loss of their house and her mother to a fire. The farmer immediately buys the story and offers aid. As everyone digs into rabbit stew (not as good as chicken, the Hound says pointedly), the farmer points out that the Freys broke guest right when killing the Starks, veiling his communication that he has just offered them guest right by feeding them under his roof and expects no harm from the Hound.
The farmer also offers some insight into the rest of the country, at least on the commonfolk level- since the Red Wedding, the Riverlands have been a mess and the Freys come and take what they like. He was going North, but the Boltons are in control so that’s no good as well. He asks the Hound to stay on and help with the farm, offering food and shelter in exchange for work and maybe some protection from the Freys. He’d pay the Hound in silver and the Hound agrees.
However, Arya wakes up to find out that the Hound has knocked out the farmer and taken his silver. The Hound’s argument is that the family would have died anyway in the winter and couldn’t even protect himself. Survival of the fittest is the phrase he is looking for, I think.
Up at the Wall, Sam checks in on Gilly who is being checked out left and right since she’s the only gal around. Sam wants to send Gilly to Mole’s Town to keep her away from the other men and Gilly is a bit insulted that he doesn’t think she can take care of herself and also that he won’t take care of her either.
Ha, Dragonstone. Stannis is made that Davos can read now. Liam Cunningham is perfect at playing a man who just learned how to read. Stannis is flexing that the Joff-leech worked and that Joff is dead now, but is also now convinced that he could have done great things with Gendry’s blood. Davos wants to hire the Golden Company, another sellswrod group with 10,000 swords- what’s so bad about sellswords if we’re willing to stoop to blood magic? Valid, reasonable point, Davos. Stannis then unintentionally makes a bunch of Hamilton references, saying he doesn’t want to become a page in someone else’s history book (Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?) and that he’s running out of time (This man is NONSTOP), and I’m done here.
Like he always does when he’s out of ideas, Davos visits Shireen and she gives him some new reading material. He explains to her the difference between pirates and smugglers and how the Iron Bank of Braavos doesn’t necessarily care about distinction because all they care about is getting their gold- HEY, THERE’S AN IDEA. I don’t know if this realization Davos has is successfully communicated- the result in the next bit is that Stannis asks the Iron Bank for a loan, claiming that the Lannisters won’t be able to pay anything back if and when Tywin dies and that Stannis will be much more honest in his word, as well as easier to work with than Cersei. (In the book, the Iron Bank offers its services- I think- due to the illegitimacy of Joff’s and Tommen’s birthright. Or something like that.)
Over in Mole’s Town, Sam drops Gilly off so she can earn some money as a maid in a brothel. Because that’s soooo much better than hanging around books and Aemon a majority of the time. Really, the threat of rape is equal in both locations. Thanks, Sam.
In a different brothel, Littlefinger’s that is, Ellaria and Oberyn are having an orgy with Flexible Fanny and Olyvar when Tywin makes an entrance and barely even notices the naked ladies leaving. Tywin has come to accuse Oberyn, as his family is famous for poisons and Oberyn doesn’t deny it, nor does he deny his hatred for Tywin and the Mountain. Tywin also doesn’t outright deny that he didn’t command the Mountain to kill his sister and her children, but offers Oberyn a meeting with the Mountain and a place on the small council in exchange to sit on the jury against Tyrion.
In Tyrion’s dungeon, Pod pays a visit and brings Tyrion some trial information and treats (duck sausage!). Tyrion immediately pieces together than Sansa’s disappearance makes him seem even more suspicious and perhaps the story will be that they conspired together- but he also figures out that getting Sansa away was part of a larger plan as well. Tyrion send Pod away for being too loyal in an effort to protect Pod after Pod refused to testify against Tyrion. Pod, like Brienne, exemplifies loyalty and devotion and has remained with Tyrion because he’s seen the good in his work. It’s a little sad when he leaves and Tyrion recognizes that Pod might be the only person who has ever truly cared about him.
Somewhere in the North, we’re at a small village with a young boy (Olly!) and his father, who Ygritte promptly shoots in the back of the head. I forgot that Ygritte played such a huge hand in the destruction of Olly’s village. It makes that reunion much more bitter, now that I think about it. Her gang of fucking Thenns and Freefolk overrun the village and Olly is the only one who quasi-gets away, but only after being told to warn the Night’s Watch. You know, after watching this scene, I hate Olly a little less- he’s just a boy who was attacked and watched everyone he knew get slaughtered. Of course he’d be opposed to anyone who welcomed in the Wildlings and feel betrayed. It makes total sense.
You know what makes less sense are the Umbers declaring for the Bol- okay, okay, I’ll refrain. I will wait for Season 6 on that one.
Up at Castle Black, Aemon pleads with the rest of the Night’s Watch to focus on the White Walkers while everyone else is preoccupied with fighting the Wildlings. Thorne is in favor of playing defense instead of sending out Rangers to deal with Ygritte and Friends and they begin to shack up- until Grenn and Edd return from Craster’s Keep with the news of Karl. Jon votes t go kill Karl so that the real number of the men at Castle Black isn’t revealed.
South and across the Shining Sea, Dany has finally arrived at Meereen, a nice looking city with some fine pyramids. Meereen sends out one champion to face one of Dany’s choosing to prove she is worthy of negotiation and she chooses Daario because she can’t “afford to lose” Grey Worm, Jorah, or Barristan or whatever- she just wants to see him fight. She looooooves all the men begging to fight for her name. Dis vain bitch. Also, I wish old Daario could have been in this scene. He would have been more of a “OH YES, PICK DAARIO.”
Anyway, Daario defeats the jouster by flinging one of his naked lady blades into the horse, which is total BS because he should be respecting her role as a Khaleesi and recognize the Dothraki belief that horses are incredibly sacred and valuable spirits. But. Whatever. Daario then pees at the gate of Meereen and- this dude is reckless. I miss old Daario. His delivery would have been ten times more fun and I think his chemistry with Dany would have given something really dynamic in her bits of the series.
Dany blah blah blahs more about how she freed Yunkai and that other city to get the slaves on her side. Like I get it, but honestly, this character needed better dialogue with her counselors to show a legitimate argument against slavery and an understanding of it on their level. She then attacks the slaves she wants to free by flinging barrels willy nilly at Meereen and they’re filled with the chokers of slaves she has already freed. It’s like Lara Croft claiming to be a tomb raider while destroying all the temples she’s been in. Nice one!
On deck: 4.4 Oathkeeper!