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!
Known mostly for its successor, Season 6’s Oathbreaker, Oathkeeper is one of those gem episodes but is often forgotten. It sets the foundation for a lot of things that are still in motion. Named directly for Jaime’s Valyrian sword that was gifted to him by Tywin, Jaime then gifts it to Brienne so she can carry out her vow to return the Stark girls to Winterfell. Family duty also plays a big role in this episode as well
The episode kicks off with Missandei teaching Grey Worm how to read. There were a few little glances between them in the first episode of the season and there’s a ton of sexual tension here. Missandei tells Grey Worm what she remembers about her childhood and Grey Worm tells her that he doesn’t remember his- he only knows life as a slave. They’re interrupted by Dany, who is ready for Grey Worm to infiltrate Meereen and persuade the slaves to overthrow the masters. Ominous music starts and if it sounds familiar, it’s the instrumental version of the Sons of the Harpy theme we get very familiar with in the next two seasons.
Grey Worm points out that the slaves outnumber the masters 3 to 1 and he must have succeeded because the next shot is of a slave revolt and Dany walks through the streets as an adoring crowd chants Mhysa at her. I don’t blame them- she probably has some traits from their myths or whatever, but she’s soaking it up, loving the spotlight, and… just one scene of humility would have been great.
Dany orders that the dead children that adorn the road to be replaced with the same number of masters in the city. Barristan and Jorah try to warn her against is and point out that the masters are just as much of her people as the slaves are. Dany flatly answers that she’ll only answer injustice with justice because she’s short sighted. I wish the show had done a better job of being more ominous and playing up her bad decisions- the scenes come off more like, “DANY IS A SEXY BADASS” and not so much, “This is a poor decision that will come to haunt you later.” It would have added a bit more depth and complexity to her decisions.
Across the Shining Sea and in King’s Landing, Jaime is getting better at using a sword with his left hand. To teach him about cockiness, Bronn rips off his gold hand and slaps Jaime with it. Bronn, you’re a boss! Bronn guilts Jaime into visiting Tyrion by explaining how Tyrion initially named Jaime as his champion when Lysa Arryn was holding him prisoner. When I say Bronn and Tyrion are real friends, this is the kind of stuff I mean. This is way outside Bronn’s paycheck and an atypical task for him to take. It’s Bronn being soft and thoughtful about how his friend is doing. He might get a nice coin out of it, but that’s more of an afterthought for him when it comes to this.
In Tyrion’s cell, Jaime points out that Tyrion might not have everything but at least he has a pot to piss in AKA life could be worse. Jaime and Tyrion finally talk openly about Joff being Jaime’s son- it seems like Tyrion has always known and overlooks the incest as well as hating Cersei because he simply loves Jaime too much. Tyrion maintains that Sansa had nothing to do with Joff’s death and says she’s not a killer… yet.
Cut to Sansa, who is getting shipped of by Littlefinger to the Eyrie as he’s getting married to Lysa Arryn. Littlefinger slyly avoids Sansa’s accusation of murdering Joff, as he’s been in the Vale for the past few weeks, and then leads her through the thought process and essentially the scheme that he devised to throw the capital into chaos- if it wasn’t him, who could it have been? Who would have the motivation? Who would Littefinger have trusted? Littlefinger advises Sansa to keep her enemies confused by never showing what she wants, as to keep them on their toes- a person without motive is someone not worthy of suspecting. Littlefinger sees value in predictable friends with reasonable motives as to keep them in check and to get what he wants.
As he’s explaining that his new friendship is “growing strong,” the scene cuts to Olenna and Margaery. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE. Olenna’s family line seems to be the one that has used the women’s sexuality to ascend to higher positions. She was originally set to marry an unknown Targaryen but opted to seduce a Tyrell till “he couldn’t walk”- and that’s how she became the matriarch of what’s now the second most powerful family in Westeros. And her granddaughter is just one boy king away from sitting in the highest seat there is for a women in Westeros. Well done, Olenna!
Olenna acknowledges that Margaery is even more talented than she was at her age and advises Margaery to move quickly while Cersei is preoccupied with accusing Tyrion. Olenna basically confesses to killing Joff by playing with Margaer’s necklace and declaring that she would have never let her marry “that beast.” Tommen will be much gentler and easier for Margaery to handle.
Up at Castle Black, Jon is teaching the Night’s Watch some tactics on how the Wildlings like to fight and the proper strategy to beat them at hand to hand combat. Locke immediately proves that he’s handy with a sword when Alliser interrupts to command Jon to go back to the stewards. Knowing that Jon is popular among his peers, Janos Slynt (remember him!? He got fired by Tyrion at the beginning of his reign as Hand) advises Alliser to send Jon on his ranging mission to Craster’s Keep- Jon can’t be elected as Lord Commander if he gets killed by Karl and the Mutineers.
Back in King’s Landing, Cersei is getting her drink on and commands Jaime to up the efforts to protect Tommen. She backhand compliments his ability as a kingsguard by pointing out Joff got killed under his wife and asks why he was set free in the first place. Cersei is aggressive and cruel in this scene because Jaime visited Tyrion buuuuuuut let’s remember that Jaime raped her next to her son’s corpse so… There’s that. Cersei pulls him between her hate for Sansa and his vow to Cat to return the Starks to Winterfell, as well as herself and Tyrion. Jaime knows that Cersei isn’t being entirely reasonable but he’s torn between doing what’s right and his love for her. Or what he thinks is his love for her. Because you know, rape isn’t an act of love.
Margaery sneaks in to visit Tommen and he is clearly taken aback by her beauty. It’s almost as if Margaery was willing to seduce Tommen in the same manner Olenna became a Tyrell- but sees that Tommen is so young and precocious that she decides different tactics will be needed. She kisses him sweetly on the forehead, leaving him with a huge high school boy crush. And probably an erection. I bet he has one of those.
I chalk this next bit up to Scene of the Episode because the dynamic between the two is so subtle and strong at the same time. Jaime can’t make up his mind so he defers his task to someone else- Brienne! It’s not an entirely wrong move; it’s just a loophole. By sending Brienne off to find and save Sansa, he can stay in King’s Landing and protect Tommen. He also allows Brienne to serve Cat Stark while getting out of Cersei’s way. Everyone wins! Jaime’s trust in Brienne that she’ll succeed in her task speaks very highly of what he thinks her capabilities are. He hands over Oathkeeper as he’s pretty much useless with the left hand. Jaime says that saving Sansa with a sword forged from her father’s sword must be the right thing to do.
Apparently, Jaime’s been checking Brienne out because he’s gotten a suit of armor made for her and that shit don’t stretch. People only do this for people they are attracted to and by gods, I hope this isn’t the case because I love their platonic friendship that’s built on mutual respect.
Jaime also sends Pod along with Brienne- the two most loyal people on the show who are born to serve and protect others. What a dream team. Pod’s immediate sadness when Brienne says she doesn’t need a squire is just uncomparable. Brienne reveals her sword’s name to be Oathkeeper- basically naming the sword after Jaime’s decision to uphold his promise to Cat even though it came from a desperate attempt to get back home. Old Jaime would never have given it a second thought but New Jaime is all about that honor. I’d like to applaud Gwendoline Christie’s spectacular acting here as Brienne so clearly admires Jaime and it’s a moment that shows she believes the best in him. It’s a very quiet affection and a very restrained performance- any more admiration could have easily went into the romantic territory but it stops just before crossing that line. I’ve never gotten the sense that these were meant to be anything more than two war buddies that share PTSD and no one else can know that bond because they haven’t been through that experience. It’s one of the strongest bonds on the shows and I’m glad it wasn’t ever romantic.
Up at the Wall, Sam finally tells Jon that he saw Bran and Jon has half a mind to go north and find him. Locke, who was sent by Roose to find and kill Jon as well as find and kill Bran and Rickon, is lingering in the doorway and it’s like Christmas. Jon’s already done all the homework for him. Luckily for Jon, Alliser has taken up Slynt on his advice and sends Jon and anyone who volunteers to Craster’s Keep to kill Karl.
Speaking of which, Karl is drinking wine from Jeor’s skull while commanding his men to rape Craster’s wives until they die. Karl might also be one of the worst people on this show, but because he’s only on for one season, I think he gets brushed aside. Karl can’t stop running his mouth about being from Gin Alley, saying he was a legend for killing knights and such for seven silvers a piece. The newest baby is brought in and Rast brings it outside as the do North of the Wall. A locked up Ghost gives him a good stare down, but before Rast can do anything, crows start a-cawing and it gets significantly colder- White Walkers must be coming.
Not too far away, Bran can hear the baby crying and wargs into Summer to investigate. Summer finds Ghost but it caught up in trap. Meera and Bran see the Night’s Watch and Meera urges him to leave, not liking the look of things but Bran won’t leave Summer behind. They’re immediately surrounded by Karl’s men, wo then use Hodor for batting practice, while interrogating Jojen, Bran, and Meera. Having grown up in King’s Landing, Karl can immediately suss out that these three are highborn and starts to threaten them. Jojen has a seizure and Bran gives up his identity so that Meera can help.
The episode ends on the White Walker, who has found the baby from the woods and is riding a decaying horse. In the middle of an ice circle, the lead White Walker touches the baby and his eyes turn blue- indicating that the army of the dead doesn’t just consist of wights but that the Night King can make more White Walkers.
Do White Walker babies grow up into White Walkers or do they remain in the stage they were turned like wights? I assume the former, but it would be nice to have that confirmed.
On deck: 4.5 First of his Name