Game of Thrones – 54

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“Book of the Stranger”

There’s little subtlety about the major themes of this week’s edition of Game of Thrones – it’s reunions and forgiveness all the way.  No less than three sibling reunions in fact, though all of them bittersweet.  But Benioff and Weiss won’t even allow us that small bit of relief without exacting a prince via another disgusting turn in Ramsay Bolton’s interminable storyline.

To see a pair of Starks finally cross paths again – no more near-misses or deceptions, just an honest to goodness reunion – is a rare moment of hope in one of the bleakest stories you’ll ever see.  Is this an aberration, or the start of a new turn – have the fortunes of the Starks finally started to wax again?  I’ll believe that when I see it, but seeing Jon and Sansa embrace was certainly one of the emotional highlights of the entire series.  It’s easy to forget in all that, but these two were not close – Sansa always treated Jon like the bastard she believed him to be.  It doesn’t seem like much against the weight of all these two have suffered, but it’s not insignificant.  Sansa forcing Jon to forgive her was a nice touch – a way for her to establish to him that she was no longer the spoiled girl he knew.

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This reunion at Castle Black is an uncomfortable one in all sorts of ways.  Brienne is face to face with the woman who killed Renly, and Davos with the woman who killed Stannis.  Each Baratheon brother’s most loyal knight staring down the one that killed their lord – how fascinating.  It’s going to be asking a lot for either of them to forgive – and Davos doesn’t even know yet that Shireen is dead (or why).  And Jon seems intent on checking out, at least for a while – not even Sansa’s arrival (and earnest urging)  is enough to convince him that it’s worth taking on yet another hopeless fight.  It’s not until a certain letter arrives from Winterfell that Jon is forced to stop feeling sorry for himself and admit there’s a fight he can’t avoid.  At least he came around faster than Buffy did.

A reckoning (Rickoning?) at Winterfell is surely coming – Ramsay clearly sent that letter to goad Jon into coming down to fight, and it looks as if Littlefinger will be joining him with the Knights of the Vale (Sansa too is going to have a lot to forgive at that reunion).  But I’m so fucking over Ramsay, I just want his arc to end.  He’s not just a bad person, he’s a bad character – he has been from the beginning.  So we get to see another noble soul served up on a silver platter for him to kill – what are we supposed to make of that?  That’s Osha’s reward for faithfully serving Bran and Rickon, protecting them?  The point was proved long ago with Ramsay – his story never had anywhere to go, and it never has.  If he gets to put Rickon on a cross and flay him, I’m out – no question about it.  I’ll just endure the interminable wait for “The Winds of Winter”.

Other highlights, in no special order:

  • Tormund’s courtship of Brienne…  Perfect.
  • Tyrion’s attempts to secure peace in the East seem ill-advised to me, but this is certainly what he was born to do.
  • Jonathan Pryce continues to soar as the High Sparrow – he’s a beast of an actor.  What a fascinating zealot the High Sparrow is – clearly he’s a fanatic (what he’s done to Loras and Margery is pretty horrific), but there’s something alluring in the way he sells his message.  And if the best way to judge a man s by his enemies, well…
  • This truce between the Tyrells and Cersei can’t hold (and the Dornish will probably arrive and moot it anyway) but it’s about time they realized they have common goals here.  I think they’re fatally underestimating the High Sparrow, though.
  • Speaking of moot, we’re finally going to get a Kingsmoot in the Iron Islands.  Yara and Theon’s reunion was pretty harsh, but I think understandable from her perspective.  She needs to know exactly who and what is standing before her here.
  • Dany – I’m still bored here.  Whatever.  But pretty careless by Jorah to let Dario see his greyscale.






  1. T

    This episode was the first in awhile I got excited for Danys storyline and let’s face it her plans have not worked out so far because she refuses to compromises and hence it has led her to the current issues in Mereen. Tyrion is offering options and alternatives that Dany has not been able to do until now. Just fighting and being at constant war is not helping the east so I sincerely hope Tyrion plans work because i would hate our time in the east to have been for nothing.

    Lastly I love Sansa and Jon reunion. I really disliked Osha exist of the show she has been a long recurring character and that is her exist? BULLSHIT. If something happens to rickon I’m so done because I am tired of the Stark’s being kicked in the ass. Sansa and Jon’s reunion offers me at least of bit of hope that things are looking up but for how long? I cant trust littlefinger because for real this guy was also responsible for the Stark’s family demise and as of yet I still dont get this fuckers end game.

  2. I think Baelish’s endgame is he and Sansa sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. And the Iron Throne.

  3. F

    As much as I hate Ramsay, I hate Danny just a tad more. Her smug as shit attitude during her meeting with the Khal irritated me to no end. She reminds me of a spoiled little teenager who expects everything to be hand delivered to her, and will throw a fit if it isn’t. The fire things was confusing as well. I thought that Targaryens weren’t immune to fire, and that the only reason she was unharmed in the 1st season if because of the dragon eggs.

  4. Ned bears quite a bit of the responsibility for his family’s fortune. Baelish may be a devil and Cersei a petty snake, but Ned put honor and fairness before family. He made that bed when he confronted Cersei. Every head of family in GoT and in certain periods in our world have always had the burden of other people’s lives. They don’t just live their own.

    That all being said, ah Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow! This episode has formed a bridge with the one where he played chicken with Jaime, as I’ve been won over. His zealotry is something to behold. I feel he’s willing to stare down that oncoming steel bolt with unwavering, accepting eyes. That bolt will miss, but it’s more important to be willing to die by the sword than to swing it.

    Overall, watching each episode of GoT is like continuing to buy a sub just to get that free sub at the end, submarine captain or not.

  5. ROFL – well put, even if I’m not quite at that stage yet myself.

  6. Y

    I am so seriously pissed about how they killed off Osha; I was hoping she’d at least bite off Ramsay’s dick.

  7. I found this episode much better than last week’s, its not great to see Osha(who I liked) die but the episode entertained me throughout. I thought that the move Dany pulled was pretty smart, Cersei is also finally making moves against the High Sparrow.

  8. S

    The Dothraki should hold some fire safety engineering seminars. That tent burned to ashes quite fast.

  9. Y

    It was predominantly made of straw and wood; the former especially tends to burn very quickly — and even more so in dry weather.

  10. S

    I guess the writers thought about it too, but the scene was in my opinion just way too badly written for advancing the plot.

  11. A

    Surprised with your hate of Ramsay. Yeh he is a terrible person but a great character. Sometime people are just truly evil. He is a genuine sociopath and is a point of difference from all the other characters in the show. He has no obvious end goal, a bit like when Alfred talks to Bruce Wayne about the Joker. Some people want to purely create chaos and aren’t fallible to money/power or whatever it may be.

    I’m also surprised at how everyone seems to be getting so worked up about the Starks.

    Yeh I’m a huge fan but the reality is in life, that bad things happen to good people, and the fact they’re good is not necessarily going to mean things work out in the end.

    The character for me that seems to avoid all criticism is Arya, who I think has had the least development. She has played the “I’m tougher then I look” character from the first episode and has not changed since.

    Yeh people love her because she’s bad ass and wants revenge, but as pure character she hasn’t changed in 6 years, doesn’t hurt that I always find her type of character annoying.

  12. It’s hard not to feel bad for a girl who’s been smacked around by others for most of the show.

  13. A

    Same could be said about Bran, who has grown up and developed as a character. Ditto for Sansa. I mean when you’re whole family dies as a child surely you change to some extent, where as Arya hasn’t really.

  14. Whether or not you think she’s changed so far, she’s currently going through character development into a faceless assassin, which is more than i can say for many characters in the show.

  15. *emotionless not faceless, I hear that word too much during Arya scenes

  16. M

    I didn’t mind Ramsay at first. Another villianous character in a show full of villanous characters. But the showrunners Benioff and Weiss have shown so much favoritism toward him, almost to the point of plot armor, it’s getting ridiculous.

  17. Personally I think she has definitely developed as a character, and is still currently in the process of doing so. It may not be as stark obvious (forgive me for the pun aha) as other characters like Dany, Sansa, etc, but never the less she still is.
    The development I see in her is a slow, but steady sort of process. Yes, she definitely displayed the “tough-chick persona” in Season 1, and yes, to a certain extent she still does maintain that persona. But in season 1, she still had a sort of rosy-prism perspective of things, or relatively, compared to the stage she is right now. But what she went through and what she’s going through precisely at this point of time is channeling the same energy into a much different route from where she was used to. It may have been a bumpy and certainly not a very pleasing road, but never the less, it is still a road leading somewhere. If anything I think this season so far has definitely flashed out her deepest darkest feelings and thoughts and I’m excited to see more.

  18. Ops, my bad this was meant to be a reply to Abs above. Sorry for the inconvenience Enzo!

  19. No problem, I think folks will figure it out.

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