By Seth Miller
Staff Writer, Part-Time Ninja
- Compared to last week, this episode was more about moving pieces around the chessboard for the next few episodes. If there were a theme for the episode, it would be wisdom, and who is using it effectively to survive no matter what they have to do. Joffrey’s dead, but this episode reminds viewers Westeros is still a horrible place and winter is coming.
- Jaime Lannister, you son of a bitch. A lot has been done to make you seem less like a terrible person, but raping your sister has undone all that work. I don’t know if this was how it played out in the book, but your journey towards redemption just took a huge step backwards, and will probably never recover.
- While Cersei and Tommen are mourning the death of Joffrey, Tywin swoops in and takes Tommen away from Cersei. Tommen is the next heir to the throne, and Tywin is making sure that he is in control. Tywin wants a family legacy more than anything, and Tommen is far easier to control than Joffrey. By making himself invaluable to Tommen, Tywin is also stealing him away from Cersei. Tywin has said before that Cersei is not as smart as she thinks she is, and he won’t risk the kingdom for the sake of his daughter. With just a few words, he has made himself the person Tommen is relying on to rule the kingdom and deprived Cersei of her son. Cruel? You bet. But Tywin is only thinking about his own legacy and the realm (sometimes), and he won’t be bothered taking control away from Cersei. Charles Dance has been phenomenal as Tywin and he is at his best in this episode.
- Dance as does a great job in his scene with Oberyn. Tywin has done some horrible things to the Martells during Robert’s Rebellion and the Martells want payback. Tywin needs them on his side, and does his best to convince Oberyn that he had no idea what the Mountain was going to do. While I doubt that Oberyn believed Tywin, he also knows that he is dealing with the most powerful man in the kingdom, and Tywin needs the Martells. He may not be able to get the man who ordered his sister’s death but he can get the executioner. Oberyn wants revenge on everybody, but he has the wisdom to see his family can get more by killing one man and exploiting the needs of another
- The Hound and Arya continue their adventure, but in keeping up a trend of making viewers hate characters they have grown to like, The Hound robs a poor farmer who let them stay at his home for the night. He justifies this by saying that they will be dead when winter starts, they don’t have the wisdom or the toughness to survive this world and he is better off with their valuables. Arya protests and promptly call him the worst man in Westeros. Given what we have seen so far in this show, The Hound may not be completely wrong in his reasoning. It doesn’t in any way justify what he did, but Westeros has a habit of killing the few honest people who live there.
- Sansa has finally escaped the Lannisters and King’s Landing, but now she is with Littlefinger, which could actually be worse. He apparently had Dontos working for him the whole time, and gave Sansa the necklace because it was actually a poison necklace. It seemed like things were going okay, and then Littlefinger killed Dontos. Again, Littlefinger did a bad thing but his reasoning was not entirely unsound. Dontos was still a drunk, and the Lannisters could have paid him more to spill the beans. Littlefinger made sure that he couldn’t reveal his secrets.
- Lady Olenna and the Tyrells are not letting the death of King Joffrey stop them from becoming more powerful. Olenna knows that the Lannisters need the Tyrells and Tommen is a lot better than Joffrey. Joffrey may be dead, but Margaery is still fit to be a queen and Olenna is already setting the stage for the Tyrells to become even bigger players in Westeros.
- Tyrion got what is probably his last visit with his squire, Podrick. Tyrion hears the trial is not in his favor or even fair. Tywin is one of the judges, he’s got one more in his pocket, Sansa running away make Tyrion look guilty, all his allies are being used against him, and Podrick is being turned against him. Podrick proves to be one of the few honorable characters left (which means he’ll be dead by the end of the season) by turning down the chance to be a knight and will not lie about Tyrion. But Tyrion shows why he is a fan favorite once again, by telling Podrick to testify against him. He realizes he is screwed and he will not allow the boy who saved his life to die alongside him. Noble may not be a word associated with Tyrion too much, but that was the most noble thing to happen on this show in a long time.
- In Dragonstone, Stannis believes more than ever since Joffrey’s death that Melisandre’s magic is powerful enough to win the throne and is mad at Davos Seaworth for sending away his sacrifice. Davos still contends they need soldiers but Stannis is right when he says that they have no money or respect to get houses or mercenaries to join them. During his reading lesson with Shireen, Davos gets an idea. We don’t know all the details but it does involve the Iron Bank of Braavos. The crown owes a massive amount of money to the Iron Bank. My guess is that Davos is going to make a play for the crown’s debt and get money to put Stannis on the throne. The war is not over yet and Stannis is about to prove that fact.
- For the final part of the characters we liked becoming characters we hate, Ygritte straight up murdered an innocent man and the Wildlings slaughtered a whole village. They left one child alive to tell the Night’s Watch and ate the rest. Things are about to go crazy at Castle Black.
- For being such an intelligent character, Samwell Tarly made a mistake sending Gilly to Mole’s Town. I understand where Sam is coming from, a castle full of some of the worst criminals in the Seven Kingdoms, but there are people like Sam, Jon Snow, or Maester Aemon who could help to make sure Gilly is safe. In Mole’s Town, the same threats exist but now she has no one who could help. I sympathize with why Sam did it, but it is the wrong move in my opinion.
- Jon Snow is showing wisdom when it comes to preparing for war with the Wildlings. The castle has too few soldiers to protect it and they can’t spare anybody to protect the villagers around Castle Black. Next, he knows the mutineers will probably spill the beans to Mance Rayder and he makes the call to go out kill them before they can tell the Wildlings anything. These were very hard calls to make for someone like Jon to make, but he knows what is at stake (angry ex-girlfriend and an army of cannibals) and winning means having to make some very tough calls.
- To round out the episode, Daenerys arrives at Mereen and she is ready to take the last of the slave cities down. The rulers of Mereen respond by sending out a champion who taunts and pees in front of Daenerys. I don’t think the fact that she has dragons has really sunk in for the people of Mereen. All of Daenerys’ generals ask to fight for her, but she chooses Daario because he is nowhere near as valuable to her as the others. Following one bad ass move, Daario wins the fight and Daenerys talks to the slaves of Mereen. he then launches barrels filled with shackles for the slaves; she doesn’t have to fight them head on, she’ll let the slaves of Mereen do it for her. At this point, most of my favorite characters are with Daenerys and I am really hoping they don’t get worse.
- Random thought: Tywin is probably going to give Tommen the worst “Birds & the Bees” talk ever.
- Favorite moment: The slaves looking at the shackles that Daenerys launched at Mereen and then back at their masters. Things are not going to be pretty when we get back to Mereen next week.
Front page image from nerdalicious.com. Image 1 from fanpop.com. Image 2 from theatlantic.com. Image 3 from themarysue.com. Image 4 from cloudfront.net.