A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 6×10 (Winter has come. Took long enough)

GOT 6x10

 

SUMMARY

As Loras Tyrell confesses his crimes in the trial at the sept, Cersei completes her plan and detonates the remaining wildfire under the sept, annihilating everyone inside including the High Sparrow, Margaery, and Loras. Grief stricken, Tommen leaps to his death as Cersei condemns Septa Unella to a life of torment at the hands of Gregor Clegane. In the north, Jon rallies the northern families who proclaim him king of the north as Littlefinger admits to Sansa with wanting the iron throne with her by his side. Earlier, Davos confronted Melisandre about Shireen’s death which she admits to, forcing Jon to exile her from the north or risk execution. After Jaime departs Walder’s home, Walder Frey is confronted by a woman who is revealed to be Arya Stark, who slits his throat and proclaims her lineage. Across the sea, Dany commands Daario to keep the peace in Meereen and Tyrion is named her hand of the queen. She later departs Meereen with her ships and dragons to finally sail for Westeros.  Sam and Gilly arrive in Oldtown as Sam begins his apprenticeship as a maester. Near the wall, Benjen leaves Meera and Bran near the woods by the old tree, unable to travel beyond the wall. Bran connects with the tree and returns to the tower of Joy where he watches Ned Stark go to Lyanna who is dying from childbirth. Her child is brought to him who Lyanna makes Ned promise to look after. The child is Jon Snow. At King’s Landing, Jaime returns home and watches as Cersei is proclaimed the queen of Westeros.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Truly the biggest surprise was the moment Arya finished off the crass and conniving Walder Frey, a piece of revenge that came in perfect justification. Tonight’s season finale delivered an explosive opening and a myriad of pieces that set up the four main rivalries that will be clashing in season 7, hopefully settling in one ruler by the time the Night King bursts through the wall for season 8. Deaths came in high droves, none more unexpected then Margaery Tyrell who had been a fan favorite of mine for quite some time. Whether her plan to undermine the High Sparrow from within will never be known now, but at least the political and religious affairs of King’s Landing are over and done with. Solid all around, the show’s tenth episode reciprocates with good fortunes for our main characters and finally puts Dany on a direct path to the world of Westeros, something we’ve been waiting for a long time. Was it the best finale, since the show’s first? I’d like to think it was, so let’s dive into it.

 

THE GOOD

Jon and Sansa are seemingly on the same side, given the rough atmosphere and issues of communication, they are in good spirits and Jon encourages them trusting eachother, and aside from Littlefinger’s attempt to undermine Jon by speaking of his motherless upbringing, Sansa isn’t defying the will of the people and Jon is finally given the role he was born for. How he manages with his good nature remains to be seen but for now it’s fitting to see how far he’s come.

 

Arya’s moment was the highest selling point of the entire episode notwithstanding the “big reveal” that we’ll get to in a second, but to see her do away with Walder was icing on this fine cake. This settles what her motives are and where she’ll likely go next, assuming she’s not on the path of returning home. With any luck, she’ll run into the Brotherhood without banners and be a part of their force as they hopefully join the north where she’ll reunite with her family. But that would be too easy and telling. I’m sure more surprises await.

 

Now to the main course. For years, the internet has deciphered the unspoken clues of Jon’s true heritage and for now, Bran and the audience know that Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark. But does Bran know that Rhaegar is the father? How will this information be received if he attempts to tell anyone? And how will he use this information in the future as he’s still behind the wall? To have the biggest theory of all be validated after so long of parading it about feels good in a way that most fans should be accepting of. There didn’t need to be any crazy surprises here to fool us, but not revealing Rhaeger as the father does still mean there could be doubt, however I’m confident the writers won’t stray from it. It’s been a good theory and there’s no reason to change it’s aspects this far into the game.

 

Outside of the plot, I have to admit, the music and shot details for Cersei’s scenes and King’s Landing in general were very much an artistic delight to be had. Careful cues and haunting pianos told a very dark tale of foreshadowing as Tommen was left helpless to do anything but watch the sept explode in front of him. And when the realization hit those inside, it was far too late.

 

THE BAD

As much as I enjoyed the setup, I know the same effect could have come from it in half the time. Why go through the entire segment of Loras becoming part of the faith only to blow them all up in the end? I think much of this plot could have been spared of some of the more lengthy moments however watching Pycelle get his (like in the books) was perfectly placed. If only Varys was there to watch.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Bran discovered the truth about Lyanna and Ned. That moment he went back there, the jaws were open and the brain was on standby, hoping against hope that there was a child named Jon about to be shown, and sure enough there was. I’m hopeful the video isn’t lying when it cut from the baby to Jon, but I’m certain that’s the story they’re keeping because that child becoming anyone else is absolutely ludicrous. And there he sits, the new King of the North.

 

CHARACTER MVP

As a villain, Cersei has completed her journey nearly full circle. Her attitude, and dark look sold every step she took to sit on the Iron Throne, something even her father would likely be proud of as a Lannister truly rules the south now. She’s lost all her children, but she has the throne. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she knows she’s done what it took to get there. How Jaime interprets this moving forward will be interesting from the show’s perspective.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

This will likely put to rest a few other theories floating around, namely the “twin” theory that Lyanna had a boy and girl and the girl grew up to be Meera Reed. Sadly, there was no second child shown, which is fine, that would have probably been more confusing than anything else. Meera has her role to protect Bran, and that role will serve her well.

 

Did everyone notice how fast Varys moves around? One second he appears in Dorne ready to help Ellaria and Olenna plot their revenge, and the next, he’s on the lead ship with Dany sailing for Westeros. Is there a faceless assassin in the works here, or is Varys just that good at moving between lands? Whatever the case may be, we can easily say his appearance in Dorne happened way before the last episode took place. What’s important is that Varys and Littlefinger are still alive and on opposite sides. These two “have” to meet again.

 

Hopefully Meera can return Bran to Winterfell where he can warg through time in the godswood where the other old tree lives. That would be fitting as Bran needs to tell Jon everything he knows. He’s the one wildcard, Jon doesn’t know he has yet.

 

With Jon in the North, Dany sailing from the east, Cersei, in the South, and Dorne now involved in taking out the Lannisters, we have our 4 core sides if we don’t include Euron Greyjoy who is still building his fleet in the Iron Islands. They could theoretically side with the Lannisters if that’s what if came down to. Cersei doesn’t exactly have an army as she blew up the Tyrells and any chance of peace with them. They’re going to be cornered on all sides and Cersei certainly won’t bend the knee to Dany. Not yet anyway.

 

Looking forward, how at odds will Jon and Dany be once the invasion of King’s Landing begins? Will Dany strike there first, land there first even? How fast will Dany understand the bigger picture before her quest to be queen of Westeros is thwarted by the threat of the Whitewalkers? If the whole country isn’t united by the end of the season 7, everything will look bleak for the final season, and furthermore, how many more crazy deaths can we expect to see how that all the main characters are where they need to be in their lands?

 

OVERALL SCORE

10 out of 10. Surprise reveals, and parental heritage were a cornerstone of the episode, but the real delight was how tempered this show has become. It’s not getting stale, or old-fashioned, or overtly, cliché, it’s telling the long story of how the new world is shaping and the old world is dying. With Frey, the last of the old generation finally gone, the new generation can concentrate on what’s best for their land while preparing for the winter that is “finally here”. Aesthetically pleasing, and musically prominent, The Winds of Winter astonished us with it’s set up for next season’s robust arc detailing new factions and new rulers galore. Jon’s heritage is ours to know and his to find out eventually giving us plenty to work with in the mean time. Dany is finally looking to the sea for her next adventure and Tyrion is dutifully by her side, something Cersei and Jaime won’t see coming but rest assured, they’ll be in for the fights of their lives. Until the next season comes when Jon becomes aware of his bloodline and finally understands what he was meant for. Don’t think that little tidbit Dany mentioned flew past us. She intends to marry, and who better then the King of the North. Until then, thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 6×09 (There is no great Northern conspiracy, only folk who want to be free)

GOT 6x09

 

SUMMARY

Daenerys flies with her dragons and scorches the masters fleet as Tyrion and Greyworm force the masters to surrender. Afterwards, Yara and Theon arrive and convince Dany to join their support to her return to Westeros. At Winterfell, Jon and Ramsay meet on the field declaring the other side will be defeated. At night, Sansa beckons for Jon not to fall for Ramsay’s traps and Jon requests that Melisandre not bring him back should he die again. Davos discovers Shireen’s horse carving among the pyre that she died in. In the morning, both armies meet. Ramsay releases Rickon to play a game as the young Stark runs to Jon, but suffers an arrow through his chest and dies. Enraged, Jon charges the cavalry while Tormund and his men charge behind him. Arrows and blades engulf the battlefield as Ramsay sends the Umbers to surround Jon and his men. Nearly suffocating, Jon sees Littlefinger and his army of the Vale arrive with Sansa by Littlefinger’s side. They disperse Umber’s men as Tormund kills Smalljon. Ramsay retreats back to Winterfell but with the giant’s help, Jon and his men storm through and Jon captures Ramsay, nearly beating him to death. Later, Sansa declares to a wounded Ramsay that his name and legacy will disappear and be forgotten. She then watches as Ramsay’s dogs feast on his body. She leaves with a satisfied look on her face.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

It was a cold and dirty path to victory, but Jon managed to come out on top as we essentially knew he would. We hoped Rickon would survive, but sadly he didn’t and Sansa’s path is growing darker in a way that may be a future tale we won’t see coming. I understand the plight and helplessness Jon had to be put through, but watching the Vale come to his aid the way they did almost seemed like it’s setting up the biggest “You owe me” conversation that Littlefinger intends to have with Jon. Now Jon doesn’t know quite the relationship Sansa had with him, but there’s plenty of tells that will cause some possible dissention between the Starks in the near future. The dramatic nature of combat has been dressed a number of times on this show, and it was just as apparent tonight with dirt and muck and guts littering the ground for all to see. As Ramsay’s chapter came to a close a new alliance is formed, one that wasn’t so much predictable as it was too easy to push onto us because the ladies fancy their way of rule, it’s like they’re sisters already. Now that we have Winterfell’s return to glory checked on the list, all that’s missing for the finale is Cersei’s trial. Not looking as promising as it could be, unless King’s Landing bursts into flames by the end.

 

THE GOOD

The battle itself was very well choreographed with enough tight shots to brutally showcase what it feels like to suffocate while surrounded by panicking men. Honor and strength be damned when the spears and shields come closing in. Jon did what he could but fell into anger by not truly listening to Sansa’s advice when it came to Ramsay, that meant he had to physically lose the battle with who he had. That was never in question, because disparity is a necessity in these times of battle. Jon and Sansa both got their vengeance in against Ramsay and for what it’s worth, they gave him the end he deserved. He never thought he’d be overrun by more men and suffered the cost of it by retreating. Now, as the pieces begin to fill, Jon will probably have little time to recoup as he buries a brother and prepares the North for the true winter.

 

THE BAD

If Dany can undo an entire fleet with three dragons, what will Westeros throw at her that would even make a dent? The start and finish of the failed siege of Meereen was there to close the gap between the battle of the bastards, an event that probably could have been saved for the finale. Instead, Dany snatched some of the glory for herself and made new friends which came entirely too easily considering the placement of the storyline in the penultimate episode. Tyrion, as always is cautious and to the point, but I’d think this alliance would have been held under more scrutiny considering the Greyjoy’s don’t have a long history of trustworthiness, but since Yara and Dany got along just fine, all is well. At this in the interim. But does this mean she’ll finally set sail to Westeros this time? Winter really is taking forever.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Hands down, Jon’s clash into the extreme of battle with the single shot showing each slash, stab, and punch from him against his enemies. Filming extensive battle scenes of that magnitude couldn’t have been easy, and it sold his ferocity and willingness to go all out in the effort. I applaud the direction they went and hope it’s not the last time we see something as defined and wild as that moment.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Even though Jon fell for Ramsay’s game, he still gave it all he had. Even when he was overrun and drowning in the fear and onslaught of his own men, he pulled through and persevered to defeat Ramsay, due in no small part by Littlefinger’s timely aid. And with only a shield, he overcame Ramsay’s arrows and beat him to a bloody mess, giving back all Ramsay had taken. How he manages Winterfell from here is where it gets interesting.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I’ll probably start with Sansa and Littlefinger. No doubt, Sansa will forgive most of his offenses now that Ramsay is dead, and Littlefinger will be in no short supply of favors and machinations to guarantee the North will be under his tutelage and safety. I can already see him pulling stunts with Sansa needing to marry Robin to join the Vale and Winterfell officially. Whether Sansa will see past this or not remains to be seen because she was simply too eager to get him back as a saving throw. If Littlefinger pushes further to distance Jon from the throne as a bastard and she goes along with it, well then we’ll know she hasn’t grown at all.

 

Davos has all but put the pieces together regarding Shireen’s death at the instruction of Melisandre who as such as been little more than a passive caricature on this season outside of bringing Jon back from the dead. He’ll confront her no doubt, but I’m not certain as to the finality of situation. She’s been so unsure of everything that given an option to flat out be murdered, she’ll probably accept it as a reprieve from her long standing servitude to the lord of light. She hasn’t quite fingered Jon as the Azor Ahai, but if she doesn’t declare that soon, she won’t have much of a purpose outside of being forgiven by Davos, and that may not be very easy for him if at all.

 

I think one of the more disappointing theories that were killed tonight was that the Umber’s only allied with Ramsay under false pretenses and in the end didn’t actually switch sides as fans noted. That would have been a little too Braveheart had they done that, so I understand it was best to keep them allied with evil and keep Jon’s forces gasping for air. There was very little in the way of surprise accept perhaps the actual manner in which Rickon was killed. Many speculated the prince would suffer and suffer he did just as Jon was about to catch him. And that’s how this show works, put people on the verge of meeting and then take it away, mercilessly. I’m starting to wonder which Northerners actually remember anything up in the North.

 

It’s too early to ascertain season 7’s seasonal plot but one can expect a lot of confusing alliances as Westeros deals with Dany’s arrival. If it’s anything but that, then it better be infused with the rise of the WhiteWalkers who could be overtaking the wall as we speak. Imagine this finale emcompassing both the fiery destruction of King’s Landing and the snowy collapse of the wall at the same time. It would be the best finale in existence, short of Bran warging into a dragon and controlling it.

 

Two plot holes that I feel were left tonight were the following:

  1. Why didn’t Sansa reveal to Jon that she sent for help from Littlefinger’s army of the Vale? Did it really matter how she knew of them or who Littlefinger represented? Imagine if they waited just 12 more hours they could have had a proper battle with no edge of defeat. Jon heard what Sansa had to say and none of it was “wait for the army I asked to show up” Granted, Sansa didn’t know if Littlefinger would return but it would have been worth investigating at the least. That’s what ravens are for.

 

  1. I’m actually surprised that Melisandre didn’t offer up any “blood magic” techniques to help Jon win the war. She was entirely too resourceful in that department, but because Jon is more pure and kind-hearted, she never even attempted to tell him what she could actually do, like birth a shadow to kill Ramsay would have been a nice ace up the sleeve. If she didn’t have those abilities anymore then maybe some lines on that would have been sufficient.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. As far as penultimate episodes go for GOT it still ranks below “Watchers on the Wall” and “Blackwater”, but it was still a phenomenal episode for the carnage it conveyed. Another Stark fell in the 9th episode of the season but vengeance was secured as well as the old kingdom. Dany’s mythical presence and dragon riding is as always an unstoppable force that continues to dominant all the lands she crosses. Her travels back to Westeros need more fancy adversaries and if Euron isn’t going to be that force, then someone else has to be because the WhiteWalkers are too far away at the moment to matter. The finale will be lengthy and hopefully worthy of remembrance as Jon has returned Winterfell to it’s proper banner. Let’s hope it lasts long enough for him to embrace the Stark name and be who he was born to be. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 6×08 (Greyworm told a joke, and the city wept in fire)

GOT 6x08

 

SUMMARY

Lady Crane finds a wounded Arya behind the theater and takes her home to heal. The Hound finds some of the Red Guard camping and eviscerates them. When he finds the last being set to hang by Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, The Hound kills two and listens to Thoros as they ask for his help in the coming war. In King’s Landing, Lancel attempts to summon Cersei but one of his men is killed by The Mountain. Later at court, King Tommen announces that there will be no more trials by combat leaving Cersei vulnerable. At Riverrun, Brienne speaks with Jaime about the Tully army but unsuccessfully convinces The Blackfish to leave. Later, Edmure is convinced by Jaime to go and make the castle surrender, leaving The Blackfish to help Brienne and Podrick escape, though The Blackfish is killed later. In Meereen, the masters arrive by fleet and bombard the temple as Dany returns by dragon to once again lead the unsullied. In Braavos, the waif finds and kills Lady Crane as Arya escapes but is eventually trapped. Arya battles the waif with Needle in the dark and later returns to the black and white temple where Jaqen sees the waif’s face skinned and added to the many faces. Arya declares she’s Arya Stark of Winterfell and that she’s returning home. She leaves with Jaqen looking pleased.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Tonight’s episode felt like it was running a mile a minute with scenes wrapping up sooner than they should have and with the abruptness of a Hound’s axe. We’re told to trust a few too many scenes that happen off camera including Bryndon’s demise as well as Arya’s victory, moments that would have been savored and lamented in novel form, should they occur as seen tonight. Jaime returns somewhat to old form if nothing more than to convince a man like Edmure that bloodshed is worth avoiding and Meereen has seen better days, but now the queen has returned. The lack of the North promises to give us full disclosure on the battle of the bastards next week, as smaller bits of stories finalize and the rest are sated to conclude in unexpected ways, namely the trial by combat we all through we were going to see. But politics and religion play a different game, one that will hopefully see Varys return shortly.

 

THE GOOD

With Arya’s wounds not as bad as we might have thought, she single-handedly did away with the waif and her T-1000-like obsession with killing her. While I don’t think they should have left it up to our imaginations to understand how Arya beat her, what’s important is that she did and confronted “Jaqen” who in a strange way finds pride in Arya’s decision to remain herself, something I think only the real Jaqen would appreciate, but in the end we’ll never know. Arya’s journey wasn’t to lose who she was but rather to regain that name and return to her roots. Going back to Westeros could mean a lot of different things, but whether she’ll just show up at the doorstep of Winterfell with Jon and Sansa reuniting with her, or whether she’ll find The Hound and join the cause remains to be seen. But finally, her assassin’s story has finished, for now.

 

THE BAD

Everything Jaime did to preserve the peace while taking back Riverrun felt awkward and clumsy. Bryndon’s death wasn’t necessary and further more, his death, which was just stated in passing will likely lead many to believe he’s still alive and fighting the good fight. But I don’t think the show can afford too many red herrings and surprise twists anymore. What really suffers is how once more, Brienne has to return under a flag of failure and must report that the Tully army will not aid Jon in the future. She and Jaime keep their relationship intact but at the cost of an army really makes me wonder where Jaime goes from here. He’ll go back home and save her sister, or maybe he won’t. That’s the conundrum of a character bound by love is that he’ll do what he has to save Cersei and nothing else. Until that’s severed he can never truly grow into his own.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The Hound’s initial kills and taunts toward his victims. He has a weathered spirit when it comes to violence but he knows how to make it hurt and personal. His venture with Thoros and the group seems all but destined as he has a sense of belonging he just can’t decide where yet, but hopefully the merry men of Beric and company will give him that purpose. He remains to be a fascinating and turbulent character that should have plenty more to do for this season and the next.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Arya was the bookend of this episode as she did what she had to to survive and reclaim her name-sake with needle in hand. Instead of pursuing Jaqen’s declaration that she was finally no-one, she instead proudly calls her name and leaves giving her the kind of hero’s journey that she’s been striving toward since she left Westeros to begin with. What’s interesting is that her determination doesn’t mean she knows what she’ll do when she gets back home, but if anything, I can see her finishing the list in her head and frankly there’s only two people left on it, Cersei and Illin Payne.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Qyburn’s investigations have led Cersei to be correct about something that I can only suspect may have something to do with what the Mad-King left behind, a means to destroy King’s Landing, something that I think would be an epic finale if she loses what’s left of her status in the city. Cersei can’t rule in her state any longer and Tommen is more or less a lost cause. She won’t hide and escape in the night, but I don’t think she’ll face her trial without an ace in the hole. For once I’m on her side to see what crazy plan she’ll pull now that trial by combat is no longer an option.

 

I suspect with Varys leaving, having never met with Dany means he’ll return to King’s Landing in the cover of night and hopefully end the season with his little birds killing Pycelle (As the book depicts), but depending on King Landing’s state, who knows how he’ll return, only that he will and make it ready for Dany’s arrival.

 

As for the fleet overtaking Meereen, what a time for Yara Greyjoy’s fleet to arrive and box them in, giving them the perfect opportunity to ally with Dany should they help remove the threat. If Euron somehow beats them to the punch, that will just be a strange and awkward gathering, but I don’t foresee that occurring.

 

With no Tully army backing Jon up, it stand to reason the fabled “Great Northern Conspiracy” may be the only thing left to help Jon take back Winterfell which means the Umbers have to be on their side, but what always stood wrong with that idea is not counting on Ramsey to do anything short of killing Rickon in their possession. That’s a big gamble, and furthermore, Osha couldn’t have been their wildcard to assassinate Ramsey. Something doesn’t add up there, but either way, Sansa’s letter could be what’s left to help give them the edge they need, if it’s in fact Littlefinger she wrote to.

 

This still very much leaves Dorne in a state of limbo, and though no-one wants to see Ellaria and the sand sisters do anything more on this show, it stands to reason they’re being saved for that rainy day moment where they either aid or obliterate someone’s army, namely Jaime’s who has just taken Riverrun. There’s still unfinished business there and I’d hate to think they just decided to write it off based on fanmail expressing disinterest in the Dornish people.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. The Hound and Arya’s progress were among the highlight’s of episode 8’s “No one” which also gave us two off-screen deaths and not much else to look-forward to that isn’t Northern related. The beats were hit rather fast and Dany’s sudden appearance in Meereen was just the tip of the hat showing us how convenient she can make the plot by riding a dragon wherever she pleases. We’ll get resolution in the finale with all these events but by skipping two episodes of the northern tale, we’ve been giving little else to work with outside of Arya’s declaration to return home. Everyone ends up back in Westeros, but for now, the battle for Winterfell will have to wait one more week as expected. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 6×07 (Cleganebowl is officially on!)

GOT 6x07

 

SUMMARY

Sandor Clegane (The Hound) is seen helping a small group of people build and live outside of the violent kingdoms, led by a man (Ian McShane) who desires peace. When a band of Red Guard arrive and kill the group, the Hound decides to enter that violent world once more. In the North, Jon, Sansa, and Davos convince the Wildlings and the Mormont family to join them against Ramsey, however the Glover family refuses leaving Sansa to send a secret letter, presumably to Littlefinger for help. Across the sea, Arya books passage to return to Westeros but is attacked by the waif but escapes, though she’s seriously injured. At King’s Landing, Margaery convinces Olenna to return home with a hidden message that she’s still a Tyrell at heart even though she’s acting a part with the High Sparrow. At a port, Yara convinces Theon to be the man he once was as she plans to take her fleet to Daenerys first before Euron in hopes of an alliance. At Riverrun, Jaime and Bronn arrive and parlay with the Blackfish who intends to keep his castle no matter what, leaving Jaime with no choice but to take it as ordered.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

No doubt everyone will be doing a song and dance as the Hound makes his triumphant return, a very popular theory that has now been spoiled by the show. This leads of course to the internet’s determination that he’ll eventually find his way back to King’s Landing and take down his brother, the zombie knight when Cersei’s trial by combat goes down. If that’s not unspoken vengeance for the Red Viper to have at this season finale, I don’t know what else would work. Tonight’s episode goes through the motions in convincing us that Jon is struggling to gain his army and Sansa, though pushy, is also desperate to make sure they succeed. It’s unfortunate she’s calling on to Littlefinger after what she put him through and I can only fathom how this may backfire on her in the future. Arya’s attack had all the elements of a crazy moment, yet her survival seems off considering the amount of short stabbings she took and is still walking. It stands to reason she’ll recover, but it feels like there’s something else going on.

 

THE GOOD

The Hound’s return is something of a prophecy built in part by Martin’s clues spread out in the last two books. It’s daunting when you don’t see a character die and have to put up with years of wondering if he or she is truly dead. In this case, we see a transformed man, someone who is genuinely trying to be a part of something non-violent, and like most stories of this nature, he’s dragged back into it by those who never change. And when he picked that axe up, you knew a bloody massacre will soon follow. If we’re fortunate enough, he’ll carve his path back to King’s Landing when he learns of his brother’s mysterious acceptance into the King’s Guard. Or maybe he’ll just end up there again because he’s got nowhere else to go. Either way, he indeed has a purpose left to fulfill.

 

Giving the Greyjoy’s a race is something that they needed as their escape from the Iron Islands didn’t leave them with a lot of options to find a conceivable purpose in the war to come. This way, they can find Dany first, and whether they do or not will be interesting because they’ll be crossing paths with characters they’ve never met before. Theon and Tyrion have met, albeit in brief moments back book 1/season 1, that’s about the only connection there will be. If Euron gets there first, which is unlikely as his fleet still has a lot building it needs to go through. Yet, Yara doesn’t have a thousand ships. Will she be able to convince Dany to sail back to Westeros with barely half that amount? Tough call to make given the short amount of time this show has left.

 

THE BAD

Cersei is in a bad spot and she knows it, yet Olenna won’t give her the time of day which also puts Margary in her path, as usual, something that still hasn’t culminated into a finale which I’m hoping draws to some conclusion by this finale. I would hope it’s safe to say that the political and religious conflict surrounding the Tyrells and Lannisters needs to wrap up in order to make room for more pressing plots and concerns. Cersei’s trial will still merit a grand event, but it’s not about her for us, it’s about vengeance over what happened to the Red Viper as well as vengeance for anyone who had been wronged by Cersei ever. Olenna had the right things to say and said them at the right time. She has to look out for her own family and can’t lie in bed with the enemies any longer.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

That initial shot of seeing the Hound. This season has given us moment after moment of positive energy, something very against the grain of how they tend to draw us in. Whether it leads to a darker finale than we’re used to seeing we simply don’t know, but seeing the Hound return was a catharsis of events that we as viewers appreciate. He wasn’t forgotten and now he’s back with a purpose.

 

CHARACTER MVP

It should go to the Hound, simply because he really did try and form a new life for himself, something against his own nature given the amount of freedom he had. He was simply too broken and injured to remain selfish and self-absorbed. Now it doesn’t matter because the peace was taken away from him as easily as a life. How he’ll return to his old ways we don’t know yet, but if he ever finds his old armor and helmet, he’ll be riding into King’s Landing with it so he can finally face his zombie brother.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

It’s good that they showed us that Jon still has a giant on his team. He’ll make a tremendous impact with the fight to come, and though I imagine he’ll be taken out by the conclusion, I’m glad they still offered to show us they had a powerful and large ally.

 

Littlefinger’s inclusion into Jon’s plot should be more complicated than it seems to be as we don’t have definitive proof that Ramsey wrote the letter to Jon in the first place. If that doesn’t matter then Littlefinger still has to decide if his support should cost something, namely a position in the new house or something even grander. If everything goes south, he’ll reveal he’s already sided with Ramsey and that will lead to a Stark betrayal if you know what I mean.

 

This can still lead to a surprise alliance with Dorne if the sun-sisters are anyone to be trifled with. I can’t expect they’d travel that far north to help out, but I could see them taking King’s Landing after Olenna and the Tyrell army leave the premises. Who would be left to defend the kingdom? Olenna made sure to tell us and Cersei that she had no more allies and everyone was against her. That’s not food for thought, that’s a foretelling that things are inevitably going to get worse for her.

 

Deciphering the conundrum at Riverrun is tough. Jaime is looking for a peaceful solution, but Blackfish Tully is having none of that and even condemns Jaime for seeming too civil to begin with. Jaime could swallow his pride or he could also storm the castle and see what the troops are really made of. It’s probably something we won’t witness, but given Brienne still hasn’t arrived there yet, I have to imagine her reunion with Jaime will be the catalyst for whether or not Jaime truly stays a villain, or sides with the north and helps Jon take Winterfell. This could be crucial.

 

Where Arya will end up is also anyone’s guess. Until now, I always figured she would accept her new role, becomes a faceless assassin and find her way back to Westeros under a new identity and mission to kill someone familiar. Now, that theory is out the window, unless her killing of the Waif is and always was a test, far greater then simply being told to assassinate someone. That’s by the book, that has a tactical checklist, but here, she has to be resourceful and cunning on her own. Why wouldn’t that be the true test that Jaqen set on her? The Waif is likely going through the same ordeal as the two are lobbying for the same spot. I don’t think Arya will fail, but I also don’t think she’ll just leave as she is now without truly transforming into this new master-assassin character. Nor do I think her injuries will kill her. That’s be just cruel and mean to the audience far worse than Jon, okay maybe “as” bad.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Glad to see the Hound back. Cersei is continuing to reap what she sow, Jon and Sansa are struggling to gain their allies as expected, Jaime is under the gun to do as he’s told, and Arya is fighting for her life and in great danger. We’re making great steps and every episode has been pushing us through a relatively harmless yet exciting season. By not knowing what’s going to happen, we’re always on the edge of our seats, cheering when he made the right theory and booing when they decide to kill someone else we liked. It’s a great time to be a fan of the show, and though it still feels slow, you can rest assured the last two episodes will hopefully be more epic than any season we’ve witnessed thus far. Get hyped and thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 6×06 (Kill a Hodor, return a Stark…fair trade?)

GOT 6x06

 

SUMMARY

Meera pulls Bran as far as she can as the dead give chase. A man on horseback saves the two and takes them away. Later, he reveals himself to be Benjen Stark, saved by the wood children when he was near death years ago. In the south, Sam brings Gilly to his home, but his father, Randall discovers she’s a wildling and casts his son out. Sam leaves with Gilly and the baby with his father’s sword, made of valyrian steel. Across the sea, Arya chooses not to complete her mission forcing Jaqen to allow the girl to kill Arya for disobeying. Arya recovers needle, her sword with plans to protect herself against her. At King’s Landing, Jaime and the Tyrell army arrive to stop the High Sparrow only to find that King Tommen has been persuaded by both Margaery and the High Sparrow to join the crown and the faith as one. Jaime is sent away to deal with the Blackfish and Riverrun leaving Cersei to deal with her trial by combat alone. Near Meereen, Daenerys finds her dragon, Drogon and rides him, convincing the Dothraki horde to sail oversees and take the seven kingdoms for their Khaleesi.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

At most, we’ve seen tinkerings of escalation, mostly in the background as the Blackfish retakes his homeland, yet we’re given more prominence in King’s Landing to continue telling this story about the faith and crown merging as one. When either story can be told in the background, we’re left wondering how and why they pick and choose the stories they tell. In a small way, season 6 is offering to give us olive branches sprinkled here and there while still killing off supporting characters we enjoy such as Osha and Hodor. Now, Benjen Stark is back, which I’m certain is “Cold Hands”, but that’s neither here nor there. Once more, Dany’s uplifting strokes are rammed through our eyelids making sure we know that she’s coming. For 6 years she’d been coming to Westeros, only now, she really means it this time. This episode felt very much like a temperamental flux in storylines, hashing out and switching characters to make room for some expositional arcs. I will say that this episode has given us the biggest plot spoilers yet to come given the audacity of certain characters namely Walder Frey and Cersei Lannister. The rest is as always, up to the gods.

 

THE GOOD

It’s almost a fan service when we persevere and subject our minds to the criss-cross theories that have stood the test of time. BenJen Stark was never ruled out to return on the show as we only hear rumblings of his passing. But now, he’s back saved with a piece of magical wood in his heart keeping away his body from turning into a white-walker. Is it permanent? Does he have a shelf life? Or can he exist and be a part of the Stark vengeance that’s sure to populate much of the latter half of this season? In any case, it’s a welcoming sight regardless of the circumstance. Though, a bleeding and injured Hodor surviving would have been just as good. The feels are still vibrant over that insane ending last week.

 

I’m mixed on how this is going to play out, but for now I understand Arya’s sense of right and wrong. She can’t be neutral, she can’t let herself lose that benevolent conscious that’s guided her for so many years. Ironically, she’s chosen some very personal views and has wrought revenge in any crevice she could find, but in this case, her heart just isn’t ready to give up her senses, old senses taught by the late Syrio. In this, she’ll suffer against whatever the many-faced god has in store for her, but at the same time, should she defeat the girl and kill her, I can’t imagine that would still end with her in exile at Jaqen’s order. She may have failed her test, but I think there’s more at stake than simply following orders.

 

THE BAD

While the trial is assured to be a spectacle like when the Red Viper took on The Mountain, everything in-between has continued to play a lifeless role pitting the Lannisters against the faith, something that no matter what happens, nobody wins. It’s what Cersei’s rule of life has come to and the end of this season may make or break her ability to last as a living character by this show’s end. It’s almost routine how easily it is to see what’s going to happen at her trial. The Mountain is obnoxiously powerful, but when she’s boasting to her brother how she’ll be fine, the results have to be slammed in the opposite field. Either that trial won’t happen in the way she hopes, or The Mountain is going to be defeated. One way or another, Cersei is going to be up that creek.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Benjen annihilated those walking corpses. It goes to show you don’t always need dragons glass to shatter the dead as he used the experience of harsh snow and steel to run them into a second death. With his covered face it was obvious who the hero was, and the reveal was a pleasant formality giving us another good guy to help with Bran’s new cause. I have a strange feeling he won’t be able to travel south of the wall though given his condition. Something about how he’s still alive is leading me in that direction of thought.

 

CHARACTER MVP

This very much could have been an entire Sam-centric episode given the screen time he shared with Gilly and his family. As such, he’s got the MVP this week. Just that moment when he comes back through the door and gathers her and the baby, you knew he’s not only doing the right thing, but that he’ll always be that character protecting his own no matter what. He wasn’t comfortable being home, and he did absorb all of his father’s insults, but the man isn’t made of iron quite yet. He needs more time to build up his fortitude against people like his father. Still, he’s the last great innocent character left on this show, now that Hodor is gone.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Inserted in Bran’s fast-flowing montage were unseen moments of the Mad King on his throne declaring death and getting kill by Jaime. Outside of that, most of what we’ve seen were brief segments played throughout the seasons of the past. I liked how they made it feel disjointed, but keep in mind that Bran should have free reign to travel whenever given his ability can be controlled. Will he return to the site where Ned went after his sister? How will he be able to use these abilities to help against the war? Or is he the true scribe with absolute knowledge of the events as they occurred? Why speak of history when you can talk to the man who has gone back to experience it?

 

In case anyone forgot, Edmure Tully, the one guy who didn’t get killed at the red wedding is now completely in the worst situation of his life. Whether his head appears at the gates of Riverrun, or whether he’ll be used as a bargaining device for some scheming plot, his days are pretty much numbered.

 

Jaime is now in charge of retaking Riverrun. This is going to be a very difficult piece to work out as Jon, Sansa, and Brienne are clearly on the opposite side of this fiasco. I think Jaime’s real integrity is going to come out if this plays out in the right way. I’m hoping he sees that Sansa is with his brother and Brienne and understands how his efforts to keep her safe were not in vane. Furthermore, if word gets back that Sansa is alive and Cersei still demands her head, that could give Jaime some incentive to defy her which will somewhat coincide with the books as he’s not on the best terms with his sister as of Book 5.

 

Is Margaery playing the long con on this one, or is she in fact in league with The High Sparrow now and his ideals? It’s not necessarily dangerous but it does continue to place her on opposing sides with Cersei, which isn’t new of course. She’s very adaptable as she’s changed her tactics on more than one occasion to stay at the king’s side. Only now she’s doing it alone. Hopefully by the next episode or two we’ll get to understand more about what game she’s playing or if it’s even one at all.

 

The one thing the last scene with Dany did unveil is her lack of a fleet capable of taking her armies to Westeros. Enter Euron Greyjoy, the new King of the Iron Islands who as we speak is building a thousand ships to take to the Khaleesi for the purposes of joining forces, which seems incredibly convenient plot timing, but if it gets her across the sea, then I’m all for it. I just think that Euron will get more than he bargained for in this endeavor.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Without any real confirmation of Hodor’s fate, we’re given a short reprieve and a return of a familiar Stark that is helping Bran and Meera fight on. Beyond that, the episode spends entirely too much time showcasing Sam’s family life and dealing with political and religious themes of King’s Landing. I didn’t think it would take an entire season to get to Cersei’s trial by combat, but I can see it will be the highlight of one of the last episodes this year. No movement or scenes with Jon and Sansa which of course loses throttle on their plans, but there is hope that Blackfish can hold his own until they join forces. Not entirely an impressive episode, but it does allow us to breathe out the intensity that came with Hodor’s defiant sacrifice so that we didn’t have to deal with another crazy death in its place. Let’s just hope Walder Frey gets what coming to him before season 6 wraps up. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 6×05 (Hold the door a little longer, old friend)

GOT 6x05

 

SUMMARY

Bran and the Raven witness a period long ago when the leaf creatures turned a human male into the first white-walker, the Night King to battle against mankind who had been destroying their lands. At the wall, Sansa receives a letter and meets with Littlefinger but threatens him after what she went through with Ramsey. Before he leaves, Littlefinger tells her to find the Blackfish, her Tully uncle to gain his men for her army. Sansa later sends Brienne to find the Blackfish while she and Jon leave the wall to begin finding smaller families to join their army. Across the sea, Arya is given another chance to attempt an assassination as she infiltrates a traveling theater, but begins asking questions which the faceless man doesn’t approve of. Further east, Jorah shows Daenerys his grey skin and tries to leave but Dany orders him to find a cure and return to him when she takes Westeros. In Meereen, Tyrion enlists the aid of another red woman from the red temple to help support Daenerys but Varys voices his own concern when they momentarily spar in verbal debate. In the Iron Islands, Theon shows support for Yara’s claim of the crown, but Euron arrives and admits he killed Balon and offers to bring Daenerys with his large fleet to help take Westeros. He gains the people’s support and is crowned king as Yara, Theon, and her men flee in their ships. In the deep north, Bran visits the same location from earlier but is consumed by the dead and the Night King who marks him. The Raven realizes the White-Walkers are coming and warns Bran. While they peruse another memory at Winterfell, the Night King arrives and storms the cave, killing the Raven while he’s still in the flashback. His white-walkers kill Summer and the leaf creatures as Bran wargs into Hodor and pulls Bran’s body with Meera. They escape through a backway and Hodor keeps the door closed allowing for Meera to escape. Bran, still in the flashback somehow supplants Meera’s command to “Hold the door” into Hodor when he was still a child. Past-Hodor collapses and repeatedly yells “Hold the door” until his mind reverts to simply saying “Hodor.” In the present, Hodor is seen being clawed and torn by the White-walkers, presumably to death.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Our mid-season climb has resulted in a multitude of character deaths, all of which will be whole-heartedly felt by the fan-base including myself. Some answers to the White-Walker origin are given, the rest we can infer as the fan-theories are about to explode like never before. The cost came in the lives of Summer, one of the last direwolves, Leaf, the Raven, and unless a miracle happens, Hodor himself, who we now know got the name from a time-traveling paradox that will undoubtedly leave some interesting questions for many to try and answer from here on out. The sense of urgency is growing in the north, but how this will connect everyone left in this game remains to be seen. Definitely a favorable episode if not a sullen and costly one.

 

THE GOOD

To start, I didn’t think they’d topple the subject of Sansa confronting Littlefinger so soon. She threw out all her emotional rage in the guide of subtle but harsh personality. There’s a pure aspect to her nature where she’s performing with strength but still lacking the in the knowledge that she could have used Littlefinger’s army and still had him imprisoned or worse. Whether pride or anger induced, she did away with Littlefinger as she tried his best to apologize for what happened to her. Where he draws the line on the truth of it is anyone’s guess but suffice it to say, she owned him in that scene and rightly so.

 

The final segment brought back the swarm of frozen dead along with the white-walkers and the Night’s King who reigned in on the chaos and death it inevitably brings. Such a dreadful and stinging moment to witness as so many sacrificed themselves to allow Bran and Meera to escape. They’re more alone now than ever and the only conceivable direction they can is south of the wall, to return to Jon. If that isn’t in the plan books, then Bran is eternally screwed. We have no idea if or how he will manifest his powers now that he’s no longer in the cave with the raven. His presence was necessary originally for him to flashback, but he was still in the flashback when he left, which is odd and worthy to note moving forward. Hodor’s origin was finally revealed, a sincere and tragic message bottled through time signaling the end of a very loyal and simple friend. May the book be kinder when the scene arises.

 

THE BAD

Our descriptions and stories of the leaf creatures has been very minimal and at most we got one line about how mankind was destroying them and they felt they had to act by turning a human against them. But as weapons go, these became self-serving in their own way and broke out of whatever control they might have been under. There’s a lot we can infer but the issue I draw here is how little we got to know these creatures beforehand, at least from the show’s perspective. Maybe what came before isn’t that much of a deal, but it helps us understand how turbulent the world was back then. We don’t even get a sliver of information about the raven, who he was and why he was able to draw on the power of nature to flashback, warg, and communicate with his allies. I feel we’re missing some key pieces of the plot that’s been replaced by things like the High Sparrow having dull conversations and a theatrical retelling of the first two seasons that went on far longer than it should have.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Hodor’s last stand. When that realization hits and the words just echo from time to time and you see that Hodor has been of one made purpose and having it fulfill at that moment is devastating to watch but epic to witness. Hodor never recovered from that moment, but he did his best to see that Bran and Meera survived. If only somehow Hodor could make it through that a changed man, one who could finally decide for himself what to say. He’ll be missed greatly, a powerful anchor and valued friend to Bran Stark.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Hodor gets his own title tonight, through the cold and fury of frozen death itself. His entire life was built around this temporal moment where he had to do his best to keep the white-walkers at bay. Just when you thought enough sacrifice had occurred with Summer and Leaf, one more had to make a stand. Again, he did his best and only Bran is to blame for the mistake he made in traveling back to that tree. He knows truly what’s at stake now and must grow more powerful if he is to survive.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

So now we left with the gigantic hole of temporal paradox where one can simply effect the natural state of the past, yet when dealing with circular time, all things are meant to be. Which means, if Bran makes any more changes in the past, it was because that was what was supposed to happen. Hodor always ended up the way he did because Bran was meant to effect him like that in the past. Bran may come to realize this, but then again, he may also come to realize that truly affecting the past can have disastrous results, as shown tonight.

 

It’s been long rumored that the man who became the Night’s King (Night King) is in fact a Stark, which paints a grave picture of the family knowing how Bran can be marked by such ways. It might not be familial, but it’d be interesting to know if that’s who he was. The function of the White-walkers seems to crush and destroy all life not just mankind as they were originally designed. If there is a mindful presence within those deep blue eyes, I’d like to see that form before the final season begins. They represent the darkest forces magic has to offer, yet are they the end all be all of the force of evil? For a moment you could feel that the story from ages ago involved so much more crazy elements then what’s carried over through the centuries.

 

Only two direwolves remain. This is incredibly sad as Nymeria and Ghost are all that remain of the original six. I’m hoping that if Arya becomes “No one” and is back in Westeros in her many faces that Nymeria will find her and somehow recognize her, giving her reason to return to who she was. It’s a thought, even Melisandre said they’d one day meet again. She could also recognize her too. In any case, stop killing the direwolves!

 

Will Littlefinger sit this one out, or commit the Vale army to the Starks or Boltons? He doesn’t like to get his hands dirty personally, he manipulates until chaos unfolds which means his telling Sansa of Blackfish could be a red herring, leading Sansa and Jon into another trap with the Bolton’s surrounding them. I suppose Brienne will find this out first and foremost and it’s unfortunate that already she’s parting from Sansa after just submitting her new cause. I do think she’ll be alright, but I can’t settle on Littlefinger’s motivation at this point. He knows he’s royally screwed and won’t easily gain Sansa’s trust again, if at all. He won’t act malicious but he won’t sit idly by either without some plan in motion. That army is going somewhere, just don’t know where yet.

 

Kinvara and Varys’s dialogue had an interesting glaze of animosity, something that usually isn’t presented so thoughtlessly before. Nevermind how or why Tyrion thought of getting a red woman to aid them, but Varys confronting her the way he did only proved to show how knowledgeable she was and how mistakes are indeed made from mankind even when presented with undoubting proof of their powerful natures. I think it was more or less a way to prove Stannis’s death reached Meereen and that Kinvara is every bit as mysterious and capable as Melisandre is. But how many more are there, and do they really serve the lord of light as they claim? And more importantly, is Kinvara just as crone-like without her fancy necklace?

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. With the exception of the bland theatrical performance of season one and two’s recap, tonight’s episode started and ended with immensely great scenes. Sansa’s focus of hate came out directly at Littlefinger which may prove less tactical as Jon isn’t currently aware of that meeting. Tyron bringing a red woman into the service of Daenerys may have interesting consequences after the fact, and Bran and Meera are once more fighting for their lives, this time without the armor of Hodor, who we last saw giving his life to keep the White-Walkers behind that crumbling door. With 5 episodes remaining, the north is fitting to be the next great battlefield with Yara and Theon very much the bigger wildcards of the bunch. They have ships, but where will they go and who will they ally against? Winterfell isn’t exactly on the beach. Probably the most enjoyable episode of the season thus far with a bigger sense of understanding and the most tragic which means, more is likely to come and at some steep prices. Just when you think your gut is tough enough, the next punch leaves you gasping yet again. If Hodor is truly gone, may he hold that door forever.

 

 

No more words

 

A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 6×04 (Waited over 5 years for that hug, worth it)

GOT 6x04

 

SUMMARY

As Jon prepares to leave the wall, Brienne and Sansa arrive as Jon reunites with his half-sister. She urges Jon to take back Winterfell but he’s tired of fighting. Later a letter appears from Ramsey dictating the return of Sansa or he’ll murder Rickon and storm the wall. Sansa convinces Jon to take back Winterfell. In Winterfell, Ramsey has Osha brought to him and though she tries to seduce him he murders her. Theon arrives at the Iron Islands and tells his sister Yara he wants to help her become the ruler. In the Vale, Littlefinger convinces young Robin to help Sansa take back Winterfell with his men. In King’s landing, the High Sparrow allows Margaery to see Loras but his brother is broken and wants the punishment to end. Jaime and Cersei convince Olenna Tyrell and Kevan Lannister to bring their armies and end the High Sparrow’s jurisdiction in the city. In Meereen, Tyrion attempts to broker a deal with the slave masters by giving them time to end slavery within 7 years. Missandei and Grey Worm are against it but follow Tyrion’s plan. In Vaes Dothrak, Jorah and Daario find Daenerys but she has a plan to take the city. When brought to the Khal for judgment, she declares she’ll rule and sets fire using the torch bowls within, killing everyone as she’s unaffected. As she emerges, the dothraki people once again kneel in awe of her presence amidst the inferno.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Whether George intends for it to happen or not the writers saw fit to being Jon and Sansa back together. Ironically, they never shared a scene together until now (show-wise) but considering his loss of purpose and her rise in conviction, this will make for a very stellar pairing as already she’s instilling a calm but focused demeanor on getting Winterfell back from Ramsey. Tonight’s episode was a singular improvement over many rough and borish topics covered as of late. With the exception of Dany’s repeat performance in redefining her role within the Dothraki, many aspects of this arc are beginning to solidify the show’s progress and foundation as the armies have begun to move. Are they moving in the right locations though? For now, it’s getting momentum going and that alone will guarantee epic turnouts.

 

THE GOOD

Critiquing a show like Game of Thrones with an objective view is one thing but I have to say, watching Jon and Sansa finally see each other again was one hell of a sight for a fan well back in the book days. I honestly thought they’d postpone the reunion all throughout the season and put us out to dry like they did when Bran saw Jon beyond the wall but said nothing for the worst reasons. It didn’t take long for business to set in though but by the end of it Jon and Sansa were on the same page. He has a clear purpose now and that’s to save Rickon and return Winterfell to its proper heritage. The Starks will fight on and if any storyline has it’s short conclusion, Ramsey will be removed from his position by this season’s end.

 

Tyrion is now doing what he’s good at and that’s engaging with those that have self-interests at heart. The trust is very shaky with Grey Worm and Missandei and it very well should be, but Tyrion is nothing if not resourceful in his own ways and manages to start negotiations on a rough bit interesting start. No doubt things will turn worse later, but for now we’re seeing him perform as he’s intended. There will be some undermining before Dany returns, but rest assured Tyrion will do what he can until the real civil war starts.

 

THE BAD

Cersei and Jaime are moving things in the right direction, but the problem with King’s Landing is it doesn’t know what to do with itself. The political and religious separation is so far removed that whether things get settled by trial of combat or by two raging armies obliterating the High Sparrow and his forces it won’t matter. The only real surprise is if the Lannisters are completely dethroned. It’s a not between the Tyrell’s and Lannisters as it should have been, but here in the midst of armies being placed in King’s Landing to we forget that Dorne is probably going to try some invasion angle. They’re in this season for a reason and we shouldn’t forget it. Armies are merging after all.

 

Daenerys once again shows she’s a critical thinker and will get her hands dirty if need be. I’m certain there’s a bit of poetry with the way she emerges to the entire city of Dothraki but we’re also given the same impression that she’s so ungodly important that of course she’s going to come back to Meereen with the Dothraki in hand, of course she’s going to lead the larges army back to Westeros, of course she’s going to do all this by next season or the season after. It’s just getting there has become uncomfortably dull, but at least she’s progressing this easy-to-figure-out arc forward.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Jon and Sansa hugged. Years and years fans have been waiting for someone to find someone else and the first two are Jon and Sansa. It could have been any Stark pairing and it would have been the same result, but here you can see that they’ve really been through some experiences, but are both grown for it. You can only torture an audience so much before you give them real heartfelt moments and it only took them 5-ish seasons to churn this one out. Thanks though, it’ll go a long way.

 

CHARACTER MVP

This could be a bias choice, but if you really listen to how Sansa inflects her need to take back Winterfell, you can tell they’re trying to assert her role in the smallest of steps as someone who gets it and needs to make some hard choices. Jon will always take the lead if need be, but here he’s given some directive and a lot of incentive considering their brother is being held by a psychopath. Sansa is very through with being anyone’s victim and hopefully by this season’s end, she’ll be in a position to show she’s ready to rule, just hopefully not married to Robin the Vale, that’d be horrific.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

A very tense moment between Brienne, Davos and Melisandre. Two concurrent issues meeting at the head. Davos doesn’t know yet that Melisandre has Stannis sacrifice his daughter and now Davos knows that Brienne killed Stannis, at least that’s what she said and at this point, I hope she’s not lying. There’s no reason for her to, but now you have three very different ideologies converging here and while both Davos and Brienne are very loyal and honorable characters to a fault, they are very much on opposite ends of the spectrum and far be it for Melisandre to hold it together as she’s now following Jon to the ends of the earth. Not to mention, Brienne could do something crazy if she decides to mess with Melisandre. This event isn’t over yet.

 

Osha’s death was the surprise of the night, but the moment she eyeballed that knife, you knew just how things were going to play out. Ramsey isn’t about torture anymore, he’s about setting examples and acting purely on impulse. It’s a shame, but the truth is her part has been played. She was written out of the plot long ago and her one appearance showed she was still capable of doing risky things but it didn’t work out for her this time. I do wonder if this will lead to Ramsey and Rickon sharing any scenes. We still don’t know if Rickon is in any way similar to Bran or becoming his own character until we get more screen time with him.

 

Littlefinger’s return is interesting. He’s playing right into the hands of the Starks and they don’t even know it yet, which means his devious schemes involves them. This is both good and bad because he manipulates on several layers. His servitude to Sansa was very shallow in hindsight given he’s fully aware of what happened to her and where she’s at right now leaving him to lend that helping hand which will no doubt earn him some proper place in the north when all is said and done. Somehow I just hope Sansa can see past his facade and give him what he deserves by some story’s end.

 

Margaery to showing she’s still tough as nails but with her broken brother fallen to the Septa’s punishment it’s hard to say whether she’ll give up for her brother or whether she’ll push on because clearly the High Sparrow’s story did no convincing of any sort. And truth be told I tuned him out, not because his past isn’t interesting but because it really doesn’t matter. He’s doing a lot with very little and soon he’ll either need to do a lot more or succumb to the sheer ferocity the Lannisters and Tyrells can muster. Whether this leads to a full on city revolt remains to be seen, but that would be one heck of an ace in the hole if the High Sparrow plays it.

 

It was good to see Theon back home with his sister and now that the two have a mutual understanding, it does beg the question, what will Yara do if she becomes ruler? What will happen if she doesn’t? And more importantly, what do the Greyjoy’s do in this world? Do they lay claim to the North? Do they join a side when the Whitewalkers come or do they set their sights for King’s Landing?

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. Momentum is shifting every so slightly, but all the groundwork for this season has been put down and now all we need to do is see it through. Jon and Sansa have a purpose in reclaiming Winterfell and saving Rickon, Cersei and Jaime are finally shifting their resources where they need to to stay ahead of the High Sparrow’s game, and Dany once more has the Dothraki allied to her which means whatever happens in Meereen should hopefully conclude by the end of this season giving her the original plan to sail to Westeros and start that whale of tale. You know things are progressing when armies are being told to move from place to place but it seems a little too easy to believe that all the “good” guys are going to win out here in the end. Ramsey thinks he’s in control, but is he really or will he get desperate enough to ruin the Starks as Joffrey and others have done in the past. It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Stark banner rise, but hopefully it will soon. Very enjoyable episode whether fan or casual, please keep this up.

 

 

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