After last week's shocker of an ending anticipation for this episode and the follow up to Jon Snow’s resurrection has been off the charts. Questions regarding his status and motivations abound. Will he be the same? Why / how did he come back? What happens next? Let’s get right into the thick of it.
He Hath Rithen
Davos watches in awe as Jon sits up and takes deep breaths. With ghost watching as well, Jon goes on to explain the last thing he remembered was being stabbed in the heart (literally and symbolically). Davos wastes no time bringing in the Red Woman to survey him. She tells Jon that the lord of light chose to bring him back for some reason suggesting that he might be the prince who was promised, unlike Stannis. Jon feels like his life was a failure, but Davos convinces him to stay the path. Jon greets the remaining Night’s Watch and Wildlings who are all stunned by his return despite some rather off color comments by Tormund, which reminds me this episode was written by Danny & Davey-off. Gotta mix in some cock jokes of course because this is Emmy award winning television.
Lovers at Sea
Samwell Tarly hurls into a bucket. While he is busy blowing chunks, Gilly is having a bunch of girly romantic feelings. Sam continues to barf due to sea sickness, while Gilly goes on and on about being a family and raising the baby. Sam manages to get in a few words in between spewing, and says that Gilly & the bastard / grand son of Craster will have to stay at Horn Hill with Sam’s estranged family whilst he goes to study to become a Maester at the Citadel. A lot of us are with you Sam, babies and commitment make plenty of men vomit.
So, we have this scene with them on the boat to convey where they are going. The next time we see them they should be at Horn Hill unless there’s a storm and the crash somewhere but I pray that doesn’t happen because this plot needs to sail onward, before it becomes remotely interesting.
Tower Tower Joy Joy
And all of a sudden: the fabled and cherished Tower of Joy Sequence. Ladies and Gents, fans of the series; we have arrived. The quality of this sequence could make or break the season. Benioff and Weiss have avoided this scene which appeared in book 1 until now, and I don’t really blame them. The scene’s importance is primary and pivotal so it makes sense to save it for when the plot is really about to turn or at its peak, and after what has happened with Jon I’d say this is good timing. Instead of making it a fever dream that Ned experienced, we have the 3 eyed raven and Bran watching retrospectively.
A brief bit of context for those of you that do not know what this scene is about: It happened towards the end of Robert’s rebellion roughly 15-19 years before the events of season 1. Ned Stark & his men went to Dorne having word that his sister Lyanna was imprisoned by the now dead Prince Rheagar at the Tower of Joy. The Prince had 3 of his best King’s guard posted at the tower; one of which was the Legendary Knight Ser Arthur Dayne. The realm had already been conquered by Robert but the King’s guard held to their oath of protecting the tower and Lyanna within. We know that this event is significant because of its implications in the novels. Here we have Bran witnessing it happen and connecting it with his father’s recount of it to him. Some of the famous lines of dialog from the novel have been included but unfortunately others have been tampered with. This scene is supposed to include one of the greatest sword battles in the entire series; I’m not so convinced they accomplished that here. Although it was fun seeing Arthur wield 2 swords at once. Not surprisingly, the scene ends before we get the reveal of the century. More thoughts on this scene later.
"And Now it Ends"
Bran is expelled from the vision much to his dismay. The 3 eyed raven is no doubt cherry picking what Bran sees and does not see, like some type of mental programming and conditioning for the war to come. Bran is getting rather frustrated with these restrictions and may seek to hasten his training. We have to ask ourselves, whose side is the Old man on? Where does his true motivation lie? Surely he wants more than for Bran to be his successor.
Danny arrives at the temple of the Dosh Khaleen, and it taken into the fold of widows being told that her time in the outside world was forbidden. All I’m wondering is; what will the consequences be? Forced to eat horse heart sandwiches for the rest of her life?
In Mereen, Varys interrogates a local woman about the source of the Harpies. He mixes a unique blend of threats and rewards to get the answers he wants. Varys tells Tyrion that the sons of the Harpy are being funded by the Good Masters of Astapor, The Wise masters of Yunkai, and the benevolent slavers of Volantis. No surprise there. Ever since Danny conquered Astapor and Yunkai, extracted the unsullied, and freed the slaves, the slave masters have been ever so blood thirsty. However we still don’t know who exactly is at heart of it. Who is the puppet master at the top pulling the strings? The show wants to let this mystery linger, probably for the remainder of the season.
Tyrion will try his hand at diplomacy but, never the less, this war is inevitable. As in the book, the plot in Mereen this season will mostly be about going to war with Yunkai, Astapor and bits of Volantis. Is Tyrion truly prepared to go to war? How will he handle it compared to the war he fought against Stannis in King’s Landing?
the Pillars of Society
Next is an odd scene with creepy old Maester Qyburn offering candy to children, in return for their eavesdropping skills. Jaime implies that he wonders what Qyburn did to Gregor and questions his intelligence. That’s the famous Lannister sharp tongue for you. No doubt Jaime is a bit unnerved by this thing. Jaime seems more than a bit railed up after his encounter with the High Sparrow and their little game of checks and balances. Jaime is itching for some retribution, hoping for a trial by combat once the Faith comes forward with their allegations against Cersei. No doubt Jaime wishes he could solve the problem on his own but having a monster such as Gregor at their disposal gives him all the more conviction. Cersei tasks Qyburn with going global with his kiddy spy network. The group, minus Qyburn makes their way to the small council, where they are less than welcomed by the Hand of the King: Kevan Lannister, Master of Ships: Mace Tyrell, Olenna Tyrell, and Grand Maester Pycelle, who is currently bad mouthing Qyburn yet again. Bit of a side note, the closed captioning during this scene had Pycelle fart at exactly the moment he saw Gregor. Just another juicy tid bit given to us by those award winning screenwriters David and Danny.
Cersei has Olenna in her crosshairs as they once again dispute over the definition of a Queen. Nice jab at incest by Olenna.
Jaime makes a claim that he belongs on the small council and gets down to business discussing the threat of Dorne regarding the murder of Myrcella. Kevan doesn’t seem to be persuaded and uproots the meeting. This is how empires fall; division from within.
I’m a bit perplexed why Kevan would simply walk away from the notion of Myrcella’s murder. Perhaps he views Jaime and Cersei as an insult, and their children offensive to the name of House Lannister and the crown? This scene was rather unsatisfying in that it doesn’t accomplish much and comes off rather straight forward.
Then we have this long drawn out scene with a re-motivated, angst driven King Tommen, requesting the High Sparrow to allow his Mother to see Myrcella’s resting place. Hey how about demanding to see his beautiful newly wed wife who he is supposedly in love with? Guess not. So here we have Tommen displaying that his mother now has a firm grip on his mind. Yet the high Sparrow does what he always does best, deflect deflects deflects. See how easy that was? I have to wonder if the Sparrow is seeking to convert Tommen into a more devout follower. Either way I’m already growing a bit bored of this teeter tottering. The faith militant needs to be dealt with. Margaery’s imprisonment is absurd. This scene shows how mind bending and hypnotic religion can be. In the right hands it can be a very powerful manipulation and brainwashing tool but it is no different than social politics, after all, we choose to believe in whatever we will.
Elsewhere, Arya is undergoing super intense rehabilitation and psycho therapy. She’s being conditioned not unlike Pavlov's Dog, not to be caught lying, and to be completely in control of all her subtle tells and giveaways, thus creating the greatest poker face in the history of forever. Only after she unburdens all of her secrets does her Shaolin training reach its climax as she is finally allowed to drink the sacred holy water and receive her reward, and seeing is believing. Hurrah for graduation day. Eyes on you kid. You’re the Batman now.
New Blood in the North
The next scene features small Jon Umber (whose father was killed in the Red Wedding), appealing to Ramsay for support against Jon Snow and his army of Wildlings. However Ramsay is not too inclined to lend his support, perhaps he sees it as a ruse and is unwilling to trust House Umber, who used to be so deeply loyal to the Starks. Although this is a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, it isn’t until Mr. Umber delivers the Direwolf head (presumably of Shaggydog) along with Osha & Rickon Stark himself to Ramsay, that Ramsay is finally able to believe him and join his cause. Boy oh boy things are not looking too good for Jon Snow right about now. All that’s left is for Ramsay to send a certain letter with a pink seal and the stage will be set for the battle of the bastards. The War for the North. History is about to repeat itself with the the lord of Winterfell going into battle against the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.
Speaking of the Lord Commander; Jon Snow steps out to face his murderous betrayers. One by one he judges them. We finally get to see that little bitch boy Olly hanging from his scrawny neck. Perhaps heart broken, and no longer willing to play politics, Jon steps down as lord commander and passes the role to his confidant; Dolorous Ed. Wait that’s not how it works.
So where will Jon go? In search of Benjen? I hear they need more soldiers in Mereen. Then again Pentos is lovely this time of year. I think he deserves a vacation.
Let’s start with the TOJ scene. Many enjoyable depictions of this scene such as this one have been produced however , unfortunately the show version will be the only one that counts. Having said that, it disappoints me that only 2 of the fabled king’s guard were portrayed. I’m not sure if we are missing Oswell Whent or Gerold Hightower, it doesn’t help that neither of them are mentioned, nor do they match their book descriptions. *SIGH* You might say, what does it matter? Well it just shows a lack of respect towards the fan base. As for the portrayal of Howland Reed and Ned, I could take it or leave it. The swordplay itself was enjoyable and well choreographed. In the original scene their was quite a bit more of initial negotiation, alas I can always count on HBO to cut to the chase and eliminate context and back-story.
Another big disappointment comes from the non portrayal of Ser Arthur’s legendary valyrian steel sword: Dawn. Not even the tiniest hint of attention was given to this detail. Again, count on HBO to strip away any and all of the refinery. Perhaps they tried to make up for it by giving him 2 swords? Who said 2 swords are better than 1? *SIGH*
This all leads me to insist that it should have been done with a movie size budget. If Only it had.
Unsurprisingly the scene ends abruptly without the big reveal. Bran’s complaints give credence to the audience, letting them know that there is as a lot more to that event than we bear witness to, and that it will have some impact on the current state of affairs.
Overall a lackluster TOJ scene that did not live up to the hype.
The Tyrion scene gave us some comedy and displayed how unique Tyrion is,compared to other characters like Grey Worm & Missandei , who are about as straight forward as they come. Tyrion seems to be getting bored in Mereen without an intellectual equal or at least a drinking buddy (We've seen how irritated he can get with Varys), and when tyrion gets bored he gets into a lot of trouble. Speaking of trouble, have any of the civilians noticed that he let the dragons loose? I mean that can't be good for his approval rating. Even if the Dragons are on a strict Non dwarf. non Eunuch diet, they are bound to cause panic.
So Edd, Edd is going to be the commander of the Night’s watch!? If that isn’t the most ironic turn of events, then slap my knee and call me crazy.
My prediction of Cersei using Gregor to intimidate the small council somewhat came true. At least Pycelle was flabber gassed. Quite literally.
All the other scenes in this episode were mostly fillers and pretty darn straight forward.
It was refreshing to see some good progress with Arya. That was a great action montage really demonstrating her skill. Although, is she really going to be using a Bo staff to kill people? She’s finally beyond the point of Wax on / Wax off. I’m eager for more.
Sadly, no Ironborn this time. The next scene with them should be a rather long one featuring the Kingsmoot.
None of Sansa’s group either, perhaps they will bump into Jon on his way to vacation land. Oh silly me, bastards never take vacations. Speaking of bastards, where is that Littlefinger fellow? Shouldn’t he be orchestrating the attack on Ramsay by now?
Episodes like these leave me really complacent. I don’t like not being able to tell where things are going. The story has a lot of convincing to do. That’s for sure.
What did you think of the Tower Of Joy scene?