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!
5.2 The House of Black and White
Let’s welcome Ellaria Sand played by Indira Varma to the opening credits! She’s the only Dorne representative worth anyone’s time from here on out. The House of Black and White is the house of the Faceless Men of Braavos, who are kind of like a cult of assassins. They serve the Many Faced God and this may or may not be the same as the Red God. It’s where Arya receives her training in this and the next season. Rightfully so, the episode kicks off with Arya, who has just arrived in Braavos. We get a full HOBAW theme played here, orchestra and all and it kind of loses it’s allure when more instruments are added.
This is Arya’s first semester abroad so she’s obviously excited by the new city, which resembles Venice. When she gets to the doors, she asks for Jaqan and is immediately turned away. They tell her she’s too fat, she’s too old, she’s too blonde, and leave her outside without food or water. She’s left to recite her list and frustrated, she tosses her coin away.
Back in Westeros, Brienne and Pod tuck in at an inn when he recognizes Sansa Stark, who is asking Littlefinger about the scroll he received. Let’s just note that Pod was checking out another girl when his attention was taken elsewhere because he quietly loves Sansa from afar and they’ll end up together by the end of the series (crosses fingers). Anyway, Brienne proposes her services to Sansa, repeating the same words that she had said to Catelyn and Littlefinger scoffs that those in Brienne’s service have always gotten killed. Wary to outsiders, Sansa refuses but Brienne senses that something is not right. She and Pod leave-
Wait, why didn’t Pod just approach and say that Tyrion sent him to make sure she was safe and that he has no intention of bringing her back to King’s Landing? He’s a much more familiar face than Brienne and from her time in King’s Landing, Sansa would know that he’s virtually harmless and only blindly loyal. This should have happened.
Brienne and Podrick narrowly escape the Knights of the Vale, but only after Brienne shows that she’s still tough as nails and easily dispatches two while on horseback. Brienne vows to keep an eye on Podrick and it’s as if her confidence has been regained in knowing Sansa is alive.
Down South, Cersei has been sent Myrcella’s lion necklace wrapped around a statue of a serpent. She takes it as a threat from Dorne, as there are only two of those necklaces in the world. Jamie asks if there’s a note, which Cersei doesn’t acknowledge and she only says that the Martells must blame them for Oberyn’s death. Aren’t there three necklaces? Didn’t Joff have one made for Sansa? Is it possible that she took the one made for Sansa and set all of this up to manipulate Jaime? If so, her acting is great in this scene- I’d buy it. Anyway, Jaime promises to go to Dorne and rescue Myrcella, as he sees that she is having an emotional breakdown (threatening to burn down yet another city) from losing her children.
Jaime recruits Bronn, who is in the middle of planning a wedding with Lollys Stokeworth. Jaime recants Cersei’s promise that Bronn would marry well and promises him a better bride with a better palace if he would be so kind to accompany Jaime to Dorne. Speaking of which, Ellaria is over in the Waer Gardens of Sunspear, brooding about Oberyn. She patronizes Doran about not taking action against the capital and begs to send Myrcella back to Dorne one piece at a time. Doran refuses, because he’d rather keep the peace with the more powerful houses. We should look at Doran and Oberyn as Prince William and Prince Harry. The eldest to take the name and title will always have more responsibility to the people than to their own family. It’s emphasized here and it’s implied that Oberyn was the more outgoing and carefree of the two and he was afforded the opportunity to mourn the loss of his sister while Doran was trying to maintain relations so Dorne wouldn’t be completely leveled in Robert’s Rebellion. It makes sense for Doran to choose not to step in, especially in seeing how Oberyn was somewhat legally killed.
Back in Meereen, Daario says his men have done a good job of blending in and getting the words on the streets. They inspect the room where the Unsullied has his neck slit in the previous episode and find a man hiding in the wall. New Not Grey Worm (Mossador) says that the Sons of the Harpy wish to put people back in collars and to slay the man they found but Narristan counsels her against it, asking if he has any more information. Daario says that’s not possible because he did the interrogation himself and obviously Daario is the world’s number one interrogator so he must have gotten everything right? Hizdar and Barristan recommend a fair trial to set an example that doesn’t use violence. Barristan tells her of his firsthand account following her father’s orders, which was dealing out justice so brutal that it led to the rebellion and the disposing of the Targaryens. Dany agrees to not execute without a fair trial and THESE ARE THE SCENES WE NEED MORE OF to show Dany’s growth and understanding of good leadership.
Tyrion and Varys are traveling to Meereen and Varys is trying to remind Tyrion of the man he was when he was Hand but Tyrion can’t shake how he killed Shae. Tyrion can’t leave the carriage since Cersei’s put a price on his head and we’re treated to a head placed before Cersei, which Qyburn hangs onto for research. The small council abandons Cersei when she proclaims Qyburn the Master of Whispers and Kevan is given the shaft as Master of War. Pycelle, Kevan, and Mace will only answer to Tommen, as Cersei is a woman and nothing more than the Queen Mother.
Up at Castle Black, Shireen has found a new pupil and is teaching Gilly to read! Gilly and Shireen have a cute sisterly bond and it’s a good excuse for some exposition dump for Shireen’s greyscale and what comes after. Shireen was a baby when she contracted it and she doesn’t remember how they cured her; meanwhile, Gilly’s two sisters who had it began acting like animals before Craster executed them. Selyse waltzes in and tells Shireen that she’s to stay away from any Wildlings because of what they might do to her as Stannis’ daughter. Selyse coldly tells Shireen that she has no idea of what cruelty people are capable of.
Downstairs, Stannis lectures Jon about leadership and how people need to fear in order to follow- Jon shooting Mance took away any fear that people might have had for Stannis. Jon disagrees and says that Stannis has now made himself an enemy of the Wildlings by killing their king. Stannis now needs Jon’s house in recruiting the other houses in the North since courtesy of Lyanna Mormont, Jorah’s niece, many have refused and will only serve the King in the North whose name is Stark. To try and woo a little bit of everyone, Stannis promises to legitimize Jon if Jon will kneel to him and give him the North under the Stark name.
It’s what Jon’s always wanted- to belong to his family, but Jon plans on refusing him as he has the Night’s Watch to uphold. Like Ned, Jon wants to hold true to his words even if it means serving Alliser Thorne who will most likely get elected as the new Lord Commander. It comes down to a Mallister and Thorne, but Thorne is credited with fighting off the Wildlings so he has a bit of an edge.
That is, until Sam nominates Jon as Lord Commander, pointing out Jon’s negotiating with the Wildlings, his bravery, killing of Thenns, avenging of Jorah (who was well loved), and the instinct that Jon has displayed- and often turned out to be right. Thorne asks if Jon is more committed to the Wildlings or the Night’s Watch, as Jon loved a Wildling girl and was pals with Mance. It’s a tie between Thorne and Jon that is only broken when Aemon casts his vote for Jon.
Back in Braavos, Arya finds herself again on the streets and killing pigeons when the man from the House of Black and White finds her again and reveals himself to be Jaqan H’ghar, except he’s no one by name- and that’s what Arya needs to learn. He welcomes her inside the house before cutting back to Meereen.
Dany’s new Small Council representative Mossador takes it upon himself to execute the Wall Dude, which was against Dany’s wishes. In his mind, he was simply carrying out what she wanted to do in her heart. As punishment, Dany publicly executes Mossador and immediately, the public is confused as to why she is taking sides with the Masters and killing one of their own. I get it- nothing Dany decides is working and she’s supposed to be a poor ruler to show how much she needs guidance! But the choices are so glaringly obvious here as to what she shouldn’t do. Dany doesn’t even execute anyone herself- she leaves it to Daario- and the crowd begins hissing at her and then the revolt begins. She and the Unsullied are chased out of the square, and rightfully so.
The episode ends as Drogon makes his way back to Dany, only to snarl at her and fly away. It’s a weird scene- he sniffs at her and refuses to be patted, I assume, because he doesn’t recognize who she is anymore. At least metaphorically. I guess. We’re stretching here. I’m trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. I’m trying!
On deck: 5.3 High Sparrow