**NOTE** I’ve read the books so there may be moments when I refer to a segment that happened differently than how the book version went down but I’ll do my best to not spoil what that difference was or what’s likely to come. With that said, any review I write on GOT may contain book spoilers. Read at your own risk**
The north is remembered for much of tonight’s episode of GOT. If all falls in the direction claimed, then our big battle for the season will be between the Bolton’s and Stannis for control of Winterfell and essentially the north. There could be other major skirmishes along the way, but for now Stannis has begun his trek back south no longer content with waiting.
Some intensity was held back in favor of more established concerns between Daenerys and her city and other moments pertaining to Sansa, Ramsey, Jon, and a surviving Grey Worm who at the moment is being cared for by Missandei. Jorah and Tyrion’s travel through old Valyria provided a bit of heightened moments that ended with a dark turn for one of them. Most of the episode played casually with a few scenes that conjured a bit of worry, but for the most part was a rather relaxing mid-point of the season.
In the north, Jon convinces Tormund to return beyond the wall to find the remaining wildlings and bring them south. Tormund only agrees with Jon accompanies him. Meanwhile, Stannis leaves the watch to deal with Roose Bolton and Winterfell. At Winterfell, Sansa discovers Theon (Reek) is serving Ramsey and still harbors anger over his act in “killing” her younger brothers. Ramsey is concerned over his position when Roose announces he’s having another child, but Roose reassures him and the two prepare for Stannis’s army. In Meereen, Daenerys serves a master up to her dragons but later decides to spare the master (I forgot his name) who had been pleading for her to reopen the pit games. She eventually succumbs to the request and even goes as far as to proclaim a marriage between the two to help with the hostilities in her city. Jorah and Tyrion travel through Old Valyria and encounter stonemen who attack the boat. Jorah and Tyrion escape to a beach but Jorah alone has been stricken with greyscale on his wrist.
To no surprise, another great character has seen his last episode. Sir Barristan Selmy fell after aiding Grey Worm, which means Daenerys is now one more consulate short in her group of loyal men. Just when his stories of Rhaegar and himself were reaching interesting points, any further stories that could shed light of Rhaegar’s being for Dany is now cut short. The truth is she knows enough of Rhaegar’s kindness that any more would probably dilute the image and she needs to continue to play at her strengths. Her choice in opening the pits to free people is something akin to the book so that’s on par for the time being. Barristan’s fate however is a different story.
In the north, we remain in Winterfell from a few points of view the first being Brienne who attempts to get a message to Sansa. Sansa is also greeted by the woman who gives her a message of her own about lighting a candle in the highest tower. Was it the same one Bran fell out of in season one? They looked similar. What really stood out here was of course her reaction to Theon and the way Ramsey treated him during their dinner. What’s puzzling is Theon is still very much broken by Ramsey’s torture and as such he probably isn’t going to be in any position to tell Sansa that he didn’t actually kill her brothers. It really wouldn’t do her much good to know because why would she ever trust anything he says? What’s important is she’s playing her game as best she can while Ramsey is actually behaving himself with the exception of Miranda, who’s showing more signs of malice and disdain for Sansa who is in line to wed Ramsey, still.
With Jon leaving with Tormund this will actually give him something to do, but I can’t imagine they’ll show too many scenes of this while Dorne and King’s Landing have a lot of cover in just this season alone. I wonder if Jon will still Sam away with his companions before he leaves. It is a book plot point, but is it one they want to stray away from like others they’ve done already? Sam’s scene with Gilly, Aemon, and Stannis were important I believe for this very reason. Sam needs to begin his next adventure, and they shouldn’t lock him in the wall on the show like that. Even Aemon gave Jon a stern message that he needs to grow as a man.
I particularly enjoyed the final scene with Jorah and Tyrion. There was a majestic quality brought on by Tyrion’s narration of what Old Valyria must have been like and what it would take to build cities like them again. The action came and spun them around taking them to their next destination while at the end, we discover Jorah’s fate with greyscale. Does this mean he’s going to die? Certainly not. How fast it will affect him and what not remains to be seen. But he’s keeping it from Tyrion for now and that means more in the future as they search for another boat. Jorah is now beginning to talk to Tyrion which means they may actually form a speakable bond. That’s the theory anyway.
Everyone was relatively equal this time around, but I believe Ramsey gets the edge this round. He had a moment with Theon and showed him mercy which doesn’t mean he’s turning a new leaf. Rather, he’s taking a softer approach with control because he’s already broken Theon in every way. He’s going to continue to use him to bait Sansa in some way, but at the moment his endgame could be anything. He’s playing his role, but deep down you can tell he’s waiting to try out his twisted ways when he’s free and able.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
I liked Grey Worm and Missandei’s small scene together. There’s an honesty with their feelings and Grey Worm is easily remaining to be a favored character in Dany’s court. He’ll recover, but now he’ll have distraction in his heart which means he can easily become vulnerable again if he’s not careful.
Who will come to Sansa’s aid if she needs it? Was that meant to be Brienne or is it in fact other people of the north that are still loyal to the Starks? What worries is that there will most definitely be a time coming that will cause her to do this. Hopefully it isn’t something Ramsey does to her.
Melisandre gave Jon that look before her and Stannis left. Was it a chilling look of foreboding, or a warning even? I would have thought if she really wanted to seduce Jon then she would have stuck around. But perhaps it was all to gain his allegiance for Stannis. If she has her own agenda with him, it won’t be worth much if she isn’t around to procure him.
I almost thought Sansa was going to see a captured Direwolf in one of those cages. Of course, with Lady having been the first direwolf to be killed back in season one, it wouldn’t have been anything real significant for her. We haven’t seen a single one this whole season, not even faithful Ghost. Shame.
The look on Tyrion’s face was pretty priceless when he finally saw his first dragon. Now he knows there is no joke with Dany being the mother of dragons. Still, he’s got one heck of game to play if he’s really going to side with her. Too bad he can no longer reunite with Barristan. Not that they had a strong alliance to begin with.
7 out of 10. Although the north is more the focus I’d like to see, I felt Sansa and Jon were more like background characters this time. Jon certainly served a great start with allying with Tormund, but there was mostly more with Stannis, Sam, and the Boltons’s from Winterfell. Now that Dany has issued the pits to start anew, things should be getting interesting in Meereen again. Tyrion and Jorah have plenty to go before they can arrive there, and I’m not convinced it will happen this season, if at all. The most promising feature is that Stannis has left to face the Boltons and that will consist of some much needed battle days. Looking forward to that and I hope it’s not just an off-screen battle. They can afford bigger battles now. Time to get cracking.
No more words