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!
5.7 The Gift
Contrary to popular belief, this title does not reference the parcel of land south of Castle Black that was “gifted” to the Night’s Watch, including farms and horses and such. Rather, it’s a direct reference to gifts! Jorah delivering a gift (Tyrion Lannister) to Dany. Littlefinger delivering information to Olenna. Ramsay gifting a flayed body to Sansa! Everyone gets a gift!
The episode opens up at Castle Black, as Jon removes Tormund’s handcuffs so they can make their way to Hardhome and rescue its Free Folk occupants that will otherwise be taken by the White Walkers. Alliser gives one final word of advice that it looks like Jon is turning his back on the Watch and Jon just leaves. Hey, he tries. Before Jon rides off, Sam gives him a few dragonglass daggers- and a hug!
Upstairs, Gilly and Baby Sam play with a very sickly Aemon and Baby Sam’s laugh triggers a few memories of his brother, Aegon Targaryen. Delirious, Aemon advises Gilly to take the baby as south as she can.
Somewhat more south, Theon/Reek delivers Sansa some supper- since her wedding to Ramsay, she’s being treated like a prisoner in her own home and not like the Lady of Winterfell. She pleads for Theon’s help, implying that Ramsay rapes her every night, before finally demanding that Theon help her and that he owes her family after what he did. Following the old woman’s instructions, she gives Theon back his name and asks Theon to light a candle for her in the tower.
Aaaaand he doesn’t go, even though the show makes it look like that’s what he’s doing. Anyone that knows the layout of Winterfell knows this. Anyone who understands how badly Theon is damaged knows this. Instead, Theon goes straight to Ramsay while Brienne stands guard and watches the tower all day and night.
Back at Castle Black, Aemon talks to Baby Sam as if he is Aegon. Gilly, understanding that Aemon is about to die, tells Sam this and he refuses to believe until Aemon grabs for his hand and mysteriously says, “I dreamed that I was old,” before dying. It’s probably the only natural death we’ve seen and will ever get to see on the show. It’s a turn of the tides, as Aemon counseled Castle Black for so long and some might even say he was the person who always held any sort of dissent from turning into mutiny. On cue, Alliser leans over and tells Sam that he’s losing all of his friends- a message that those who are against Jon’s plan will start to outnumber and act out against those who supported him.
Up at a very snowy Winterfell, Ramsay finds Sansa wandering around and informs her that Stannis has been seen riding around but the storm is definitely going to work against whatever plan he had. Ramsay says with pride that his men are used to fighting in the North and that he plans to uphold their reputation as Warden and Sansa slyly brings up that Fat Walda is pregnant. Ramsay is confused and thinks that it’s nothing more than a baby brother and since legitimized, he is still Roose’s eldest heir and Sansa’s like, “Nah, trust me I know. Robb was younger than Jon and even if Jon had the paperwork, people would have always held out for Robb since he was the trueborn heir.” She even goes as far to point out that the decree from Tommen was technically useless, due to Tommen also being a bastard- and therefore, not actually the King of Westeros.
Miffed, Ramsay brings Sansa over to a flayed body- the old woman that told Sansa that the North remembered- and advises her to hold onto her candles, as the Winterfell theme swells in the background. Despite the Red Wedding having been about a season and a half prior, it hurts so badly, doesn’t it? All we want to see is Sansa get some help and her family avenged. That woman was a bit of true Northern hope and it gets ripped away from us- and we’re reminded yet again why we hate House Bolton (or in my case, we’re supposed to) and why they are so terrifying to the Northern residents- they’re really willing to lay waste to anyone who gets in their way or threatens their reign. RUTHLESS AGGRESSION.
Davos rides on in to Camp Stannis, where horses are dying left and right and supplies are taking their sweet time to get to the camp. Also, 500 men have ridden away. Still, Stannis decides to press on to Winterfell as his reputation is on the line and as there’s no way to predict when exactly winter will end- it could take years. Stannis then turns to Mel and asks if she’s absolute tat he will march to victory and Mel is certain that she will walk in Winterfell and watched the Bolton banners lowered. He tries to get handsy with her, but she waves him off, insisting that he’s going to have to make sacrifices to bring the visions to life.
Mel again brings back how Gendry’s Baratheon blood via Robert brought Stannis victory over Robb and Joffrey (I guess no one cares about Balon anymore) and confused, Stannis reminds her that Gendry wasn’t their prisoner anymore. Mel says that Shireen will do, as she has Stannis’ own blood and as the Prince who was Promised- that must be the most powerful blood in the Realm, huh? Mel is convinced that sacrificing Shireen is the only way to ensure Stannis will become King and defeat the long night ahead against the White Walkers- and therefore is the key to ensuring the future safety of the Realm but Stannis won’t have it- he tells her to leave.
Back at Castle Black, Gilly is attacked by two brothers of the Night’s Watch, further proving Alliser’s point that the men will become more outspoken without Jon to keep them in line. Sam gets poorly beaten while trying to protect her, but also stands up because love. It’s about to go down, but Ghost growls once and saves Sam’s hide. Again. After giving Sam some TLC, Gilly then gets on top and deflowers Sam.
Well, that was fun. Over outside Meereen, Jorah gets auctioned off and Tyrion insists that it’s a package deal. They’re purchased by Yezzan zo Qaggaz, played by Enzo Cilenti. This role doesn’t do Cilenti any justice- I recommend Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. He plays a badass henchman called Childermass.
In Meereen, Dany assures Daario that her marriage to Hizdahr won’t involve sex or children or anything romantic. Everything Daario advises her to do is against whatever Jorah would have advised, so we know Daario is a bad leader. He is really… wow. He’s a bad character, and it looks like Dany is finally realizing this. First, he says that slaves have a choice between slavery or death (if the other option is death, that’s not exactly a choice), and then he tells her that she needs to slaughter all the masters because rulers are either doing the killing or getting killed. Best, he asks Dany to marry him instead of Hizdahr- Daario, that’s a terrible idea! Dany knows that as queen, she can’t just do whatever she wants and that includes marrying for love- even that would be a professional and political decision. Sounds like one of Roose’s lessons got to her.
Over in King’s Landing, Olenna is running around the Sept looking for the High Sparrow. She’s attempting to free Loras and Margaery and when the High Sparrow refuses, she again threatens to pull House Tyrell’s resources. The High Sparrow gently reminds her that she’s not exactly the one in the fields doing the work and all he has to do is convince her people that they are being mistreated- just how he has convinced the peasants of King’s Landing. Outside, she receives a scroll with Littlefinger’s mockingbird sigil.
Up in Cersei’s chambers, Tommen is still under the impression that there is nothing he can do and Cersei is somewhat relieved to see him not understand his true power as king. She still speaks to him as if he is a child and tells him that he can’t control fate. Cersei is relishing in the fact that Tommen is heartbroken but seeking her counsel and she plays into his emotional outburst by saying she’ll plead for Margaery’s freedom, on behalf of Tommen- and that she’ll burn cities to the ground to keep him from harm. That’s 3.
Over in Sunspear (lulz, DORNE according to the opening credits), Myrcella has finally accepted Sunspear as her home only to be dragged away by Jaime- but in the time that has passed, Myrcella has grown into a woman and wants to make her own decisions. Jaime’s under the impression that he’s doing what is best for her even though he hasn’t exactly treated her like a family member or cared about her being in Dorne for the past three seasons so… she’s got a point.
In the dungeon, the Sand Snake Tyene- who slashed Bronn’s arm open in the previous Dorne-centric episode- reveals that she actually poisoned him. Apparently, any contact with skin will cause the person’s nose to bleed and die. She passes him an antidote after, upon dying, he tells her that she’s the most beautiful woman in the world. Not an important scene, just important knowledge for our next episode.
Back in King’s Landing, Littlefinger inspects his destroyed brothel, which helped him become rich and make a name for himself. Olenna holds Littlefinger responsible for Loras’ arrest and thus Margaery’s, since Olyvar was in his employ. To make it up to her, Littlefinger gives Olenna a handsome young man- meaning more information and more slander.
In Meereen, Jorah and Tyrion get ready for one of the smaller fighting pit, which closely resembles a battle royale where Sonya Blade has just defeated Kano. Dany still doesn’t quite understand the fighting pits and looks away more than once- so she doesn’t like fighting pits but will hang up men on crosses. Got it. Received. Upon hearing that Dany has shown up, Jorah makes his way outside and plays Helmet Hero, aka he wins by not actually killing anyone but by knocking them unconscious. Dany is immediately drawn to this and it’s possible that she sees it as a sign that the Meereeneese are starting to comply with her values- but it’s just Jorah. She’s annoyed to see him and requests that he’s taken away, but she takes this back once she sees Tyrion.
In the Sept’s dungeons, Cersei goes to visit Margaery but Margaery’s not having any of it, not even the day-old leftovers she’s brought. She can read right through Cersei’s act of kindness. Cersei is delighted to see Margaery starving and suffering- but when she tries to leave, she’s taken aside by the High Sparrow. Cersei tries to revert back from the “I don’t know what the Faith was doing” back to “Yes, I’m in charge of the Faith” but the High Sparrow has received just enough information so that he doesn’t need Cersei’s power anymore. He plays her into a trap, asking if she thinks it’s fair to strip away the finery of the Tyrells to expose them to truth and to make them feel equal with everyone else and Cersei nods her head, but then the High Sparrow tells her that Lancel was the same way and that once it was all stripped away, it was as if he could float to the heavens. Septa Unella moves to take Cersei prisoner and like Margaery, she begins to argue that she is the queen and cannot be treated like this. Cersei vows that she will be the last thing Septa Unella sees before she dies and the episode TURNS TO BLACK.
Before we go, I’d like to point out that the music that plays over the credits is the same music from episode 2.9 Blackwater– the same music that plays when Cersei is about to poison Tommen and tells him the story of the lioness doing everything in her power to protect the cubs. It’s the price Cersei has to pay when she confuses her pride with her love for her children and a nice nod to the evolution of the Cersei/Tommen relationship
On deck: 5.8 Hardhome