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 you can tell, I’ve failed at keeping this episode/season specific. Onwards!
Alright! In 4.4, we got Oathkeeper, which was a testament to Jaime and Brienne’s promises to Catelyn Stark to protect Sansa and Arya, Pod’s loyalty, Jon sticking to the Watch instead of pursuing Bran… Let’s forget all of that because in this episode, we’re going to just shit all over oaths and vows and promises. Well, those things in the traditional sense. They get overturned in favor of doing the right thing. For the most part. Sometimes, it’s a straight up selfish thing. Anyway.
We start things off in Castle Black, where Jon has just taken his first few breaths since getting killed at the end of Season 5. Davos and Mel can’t believe their eyes. Jon’s inhaling as heavily as one does when they get stabbed and remembers pretty much everything from when the life left him- and he knows he shouldn’t be there. Mel is more keen on getting information about where Jon might have gone or what he saw- even though he doesn’t remember that, she’s all in on Jon because it’s a sign that her magic works again. She calls him the Prince who was Promised aaaaaaand just like that, she has switched sides.
Davos assures Jon that whatever he died for, it was him trying to do the right thing. Davos sees Jon’s death as well as his return as a sign that Jon is meant for bigger and greater things- and that he’s meant to pursue those things and see them through. Jon makes his way to the courtyard, where he greets Tormund and hugs Edd. Everyone tears up a little.
We cut to Gilly and Sam, still en route to Oldtown and the Citadel and Sam can’t handle the motions of the ocean. Sam casually notifies Gilly that the Citadel doesn’t admit women and she can’t stay in Oldtown by herself and so he’s dropping her off at Hornhill with the rest of his family. His father is terrible, but his mother and sister are okay.
Cut to Bran at- oh where’s this!? Who’s that!? Some unnamed riders approaching a swordsman who has the helmet of the Kingsguard and is wearing Targaryen armor outside a never-before-seen castle? It’s young Ned Stark and young Howland Reed (Meera’s father) approaching Arthur Dayne, a legendary and skilled fighter and we’re outside the Tower of Joy towards the end of Robert’s Rebellion. Ned wonders out loud why Dayne was sent to this nondescript castle and not protecting the King or Rhaegar who was next in line- and realizes there must be something important in the tower if Dayne was assigned to it.
Arthur Dayne then breaks out two swords (one of them being the Sword of the Morning) and windmills his way around Ned’s men. He’s probably the fastest fighter we’ve seen thus far and it comes down to him and Ned one-on-one.
Or, it should have been. And Ned should have died because he’s actually not great with a sword, but Howland Reed makes the save and stabs Dayne in the back.
A woman wails from the tower, and the Three Eyed Raven implores Bran to leave, but Bran calls out for his father and Ned turns around as if he’s heard something. GRRM repeated the phrase “Words are wind” in book 5 (A Dance with Dragons) and I have a sneaking suspicion that Past Bran can be heard with lots of whooshing. This also hints that Bran has the power to affect the past- to what extent, we don’t know. We will FIND OUT.
The Three-Eyed Raven says Bran needs to learn- basically, the history of the world- before he sets forth again.
Dany’s back in Vaes Dothrak, where she is evaluated by the Dosh Khaleen in the same temple where she ate her horse heart in Season 1. Dany announced all fifty of her titles, pretty much saying she was too good to join them- but one of the Dosh Khaleen announces that since Dany didn’t follow tradition, they don’t have to let her in- and they could let another Khal claim her if that’s how they vote.
In Meereen, Varys pulls aside the woman who helped the Sons of the Harpy kill some of the Unsullied, because the Sons of the Harpy are apparently a problem again. Vala is set on overthrowing a ruler that they never asked for, freedom they never asked for, and setting back the tradition that her people want back. See, Dany could have saved a lot of time by just asking what she could do for Meereen, not just doing what she wanted! Varys gets the information he needs from her, but spilling a bunch of facts that she knows she never told him- but then promises her means of escape and money in exchange for Sons of the Harpy info.
Assuming she complies, we cut over to Tyrion, attempting to bond with Grey Worm and Missandei, who are super boring and remember- their romance was only a distraction to make it seem like there was something going on in Meereen when there was, in fact, nothing happening in Meereen. To pass time, and instead of ruling, Tyrion decides to play a drinking game with them- the same one he played with Bronn- but then Vary comes in saying that Astapor and Yunkai were aligned with Volantis to put the Masters back in power. Tyrion plans to negotiate with them and that can go either really well or really poorly.
In King’s Landing, Qyburn has recruited several of Varys’ little birds in the name of Cersei and bribes them with candy in exchange for their whispers around the city. Qyburn offers a little more insight on the huge dude running around in armor- it is, indeed, Ser Gregor Clegane and he can understand what they’re saying though it appears it might strain him to talk. Cersei outright says she plans to use Ser Gregor in her demand for a trial by combat against the Faith and who would be a good match againt The Mountain, you ask? That’s right. We’re all thinking CLEGANE BOWL, CLEGANE BOWL, CLEGANE BOWL!
Let’s be clear, Cersei doesn’t have plans to use the little birds to keep one step ahead of those who challenge her for the crown- only those who insult her. It’s, ah, immature to say the least. Pycelle advises the small council to take action against Qyburn who he believes is poisoning the capital with encouraged malpractice, and Olenna is intent on saving the queen, which Cersei immediately assumes is herself and not Margaery. Olenna kindly reminds Cersei that she’s not married to the king but Cersei seems to treat this only as an afterthought. Jaime chides Uncle Kevan for not taking action against Myrcella’s murderers and the women who killed Doran and Trystane- how did he come to his conclusion? Where did Obara and Nym go? Why is this getting the shaft right here? Do Dornish politics actually affect anything? Because it’s not getting treated as such. DON’T WASTE MY AIRTIME. Anyway, Kevan, Mace, and Olenna refuse to discuss any manners with Cersei and Jaime and leave the small council without fanfare.
Tommen attempts to argue the High Sparrow about Cersei’s visitation rights and the High Sparrow refuses again and again and again, instead reeling Tommen in with false language about the light of the Seven and acts of good though acts of love. Even someone like Cersei has the gift of the Mother in her love for her children, reasons the High Sparrow. Tommen’s not a bad guy and the High Septon plays into his naivete that people are good and seek to do good in the world. It’s all lies. This world sucks.
In Braavos, Arya plays the game of faces while learning how to navigate blind as the Waif smacks her every time she lies- specifically when Arya mentions she had four brothers and she corrects herself to say three brothers. Arya also elaborates on her relationship with the Hound, admitting that she took him off her list because she was confused about how she grew to care about him. The Waif continues to interrogate Arya about her list and her family and the funny thing is- we’ve seen all of this before and we know Arya’s not lying. As Arya continues to spin her tale, she improves in this little training montage, finally able to repel the Waif in their blind sparring session.
Jaqan rewards Arya’s skills and her repeated “a girl has no name” by asking her to drink from the fountain that she was previously using to poison people- but this time the fountain decides not to murder hre and just like that, Arya has her sight back.
Back in Winterfell, Ramsay BOLTON and Karstark test out Smalljon Umber who, for whatever reason despite his father being viciously loyal to the Starks, has decided to join Ramsay. I mean, I get the Karstarks- Robb beheaded that guy in a very controversial move that favored his enemies- but Umber? Apparently Umber is salty about something his dad did or like… disagreed with him about… something. Anyway, he claims to have no love for Jon Snow and the Starks due to Jon letting Wildlings through. Smalljon hints that if Jon Snow ever wants to take back Winterfell (which he doesn’t) all he has to do is lead his Wildlings through a secret tunnel (there isn’t one) and-
Do you SEE why we were all getting ready for the Grand Northern Conspiracy!? None of this Umber shit make any sense.
Umber ends the meeting with an act of good faith- handing Rickon and Osha over to Ramsay. And Shaggy Dog’s head! Leverage! Rickon is one of the last Stark males and definitely a threat to Ramsay’s hold on the North.
Back at the Wall, Edd tells Jon it’s time and Jon makes his way outside to execute the mutineers. This time, there is no questioning among the rest of the Night’s Watch if it’s the right move as it was previously with Janos Slynt. Alliser has no reservations about what he did nad admits that he would betray Jon Snow again rather than betraying the Night’s Watch and I’m over Alliser. Jon Snow WAS the Night’s Watch. All he had to do was be a little remorseful here.
Olly has no words for Jon. Jon has no words for Olly. Their relationship is beyond repair, as it should be when someone successfully kills the other. Jon watches them all hang, stomps away, resigns as Lord Commander, and declares his watch is over- which is technically correct, since only death can release him from the Watch and… well, he did die. He’s also still super poopy and frustrated that all of his actions meant nothing to these men.
Up next: 6.4 Book of the Stranger