I’m a day late – sorry folks! I hope that gave you time to watch and re-watch that heart wrenching, spiteful speech! Let’s just dig right into it, shall we?
Davos heads to Braavos and Stannis’ plan finally starts to take shape. They plan to cripple the Lannisters by not only exploiting their lack of funds, which Tywin described last episode, but also exacting on the Iron Bank’s reputation for collecting their debts by less than friendly means. While Stannis is not in a much better position than the Lannisters at this point – his fleet is gone, his army is tiny, and doesn’t help his cause by going around and grumbling about bastards – luckily he has a friendlier negotiator/almost-pirate to convince the Iron Bank to back their cause. Davos makes an excellent point – if Tywin is in charge, that doesn’t leave much legacy behind when he dies. I’d argue that Stannis doesn’t seem to be in his prime, as Davos puts it, but he’s certainly not entirely unfit to be a king and make good on his promises, which the Bank eventually sees. Or realizes that it doesn’t hurt to have a hand in everyone’s pockets.
Anyone else thrilled to see Davos’s missing knuckles make an appearance (well, a non-appearance)?
So what do they do with those new funds? Well, we get to welcome back Sallador Saan, who memorably said he wanted to fuck the queen and saved Davos post-Blackwater. What role could the pirate have to play? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Gods bless Asha – oops, on the show she is Yara – for re-reading Ramsay’s note regarding kicking the Ironborn out of the North and mutilating Theon, in case we forgot the plot here (because it’s been many episodes since last we saw her, and indeed I had forgotten about her). Her attempt to rescue her brother does not go as planned – in fact, if you ask me, that whole business was awkward as hell. What, you just stand there and look at him while he unlocks the door to the dog cages? At least we get a heck of a performance out of Alfie Allen, who has been so broken and abused that he does not, in fact, think he is Theon Greyjoy. “REEK! REEK! I’m ALWAYS MEEK!” If I recall correctly, I do believe no one ever comes to save Reek in the books. Based on Yara’s reaction as she turns tail and flees, I think we can safely say that she’s not coming back. Sorry, folks.
Now that she’s not conquering cities, Danerys is finally learning that being a queen isn’t all fun and games. It’s work, it’s politics, it’s sometimes doing things you don’t wanna do. Like listening to your 800 names, and conceding that maybe you crucified someone who you shouldn’t have crucified. Two things here: 1) note that she can no longer control her fabled dragons. While her ancestors conquered Westeros on the backs of dragons, she can’t even hold hers as pets anymore. At least they make for useful rumors in King’s Landing. And 2) this is not the last we shall see of Hizdahr Zo Loraq.
I absolutely love Oberyn Martell and his sultry, lazy “I don’t give a fuck,” ways. He joins the small council, and we get a taste of what King’s Landing knows – or cares – of Danerys’ conquer of Mereen. I love the bashing Cersei gets for her massive mistake to let Barristian Selmy go. DUH, the first thing he was gonna do is try and overthrow you jerks. Now he’s actually in a position to do it! Another interesting note: it’s been unclear for a while, but now we know for sure that Jorah Mormont is no longer spy for the Iron Throne. If only Danerys could actually leave Mereen, she’d probably have a solid chance to take over. Too bad she conquered a city with more problems than people to fix them. 212 supplicants and a fix ain’t one.
Oooh, subtle stab, Oberyn! He asks Varys if he’s from Lys – I believe by now we’ve learned Joffrey was poisoned with Tears of Lys. I just want to state for the record I have never considered Varys to be a bad guy. The insinuation that he is in pursuit if the Throne seems absurd to me – if anything, I’ve always found his higher calling seems to be to preserve the good of the country,at any cost. Which is why he muddles in such devious business, as we see later in this episode.
Speaking of… The disaster we have all been waiting for: Tyrion’s trial. You had to know that it would not go his way. “Varys, I thought we were bros!”
I’ve been eager to see how they’d pull off Shae’s betrayal – I felt they gave her less reason to betray him in the books, and I found it more shocking then. Here, they had Tyrion push her away, calling her a whore, and ultimately what she does here appears to be an act of a woman scorned. Not really a huge surprise, but still heartbreaking. And thanks, Oberyn, for asking the important questions – “Did you fuck him like it was his last night in this world?”
Oh, poor Tyrion. His speech is chilling and sad, and almost dead on from the books – the anger, the hurt, the sheer injustice of it. Something in him died when Shae betrayed him – you can almost see the exact moment it happens. “I wish I was the monster you think I am!” Scorned and shattered, Tyrion demands justice the only way he could possibly get it – by combat.
I feel so bad for Jamie here too – he seems to be the only one who cares for Tyrion, and his efforts to save him are thrown away. Though, it seemed as though Tywin was one step ahead of Jamie, no? Makes you wonder who thought to bring Shae in and convince her to throw Tyrion so cleanly under the bus. That was no accident.
I’d like to say it gets better from here, but that ain’t Westerosi style. Any thoughts for what’s up their sleeve next?