Get Outta Dodge
Okay, so maybe “dodge” is the most accurate label to start this review off with, but Game of Thrones seemed to have a common theme of “characters getting out of unpleasant circumstances” last night.
One of the most interesting threads, and yeah, this surprised me too, was Samwell Tarly’s. I knew he had a fairly well-off family, given his education, but I never knew they were that well off. What’s more, we’ve heard over and over that Sam’s father wasn’t the nicest guy, but seeing the whole family together really gave Tarly clan a whole new life. There’s something to be said for showing, not telling, right?
Though Randyll Tarly was never quite fond of his chubby son, his respect for the kid went down ever further upon deducing where Gilly came from. It was a disheartening scene to watch through and through, because Gilly stands up for Sam, but it seems that Randyll still knows how to get the better of Sam. Whether it was introducing (another!) Valyrian steel sword or criticizing Sam’s ability to find love, the poor guy is utterly defeated in the presence of the warm and loving Gilly. Maybe it was the cruelty of Randyll or sheepishness of Sam, but watching him sheath that sword on his way out the door was pretty fantastic.
Likewise, Arya has proven that she doesn’t want to serve the Many-Faced God. She gets pretty far in the process, dripping the poison into Fake Cersei’s rum, but she changes her mind at the last minute. You could say it was the guilt of killing an innocent woman, but it’s far more likely that Arya’s connection to her family is just too strong. She reveals to Fake Cersei the anger she feels for losing her father (in the form of “this is how you should act in response to losing your son”), and she skips town. Jaqen H’ghar orders her death, however, as it seems two strikes warrants death in the eyes of his God.
I have mixed feelings about this…I hope that Jaqen and the Many-Faced God play a role in things to come strictly because, if Arya makes it back to Westeros unscathed, this entire two-season long story was pointless. Every part of story should exist to further the narrative or develop the characters, and if Jaqen isn’t revealed to be, say Syrio, or if Arya doesn’t win the approval of the Many-Faced God, then this story has no consequence. Even the most drawn-out segments on this show (looking at you, Ramsay and Theon!), have had some form of consequence for the story, so I’d hate to see Arya’s change of heart render this plotline null and void.
We saw another character get out dodge in a way that shocked everyone in King’s Landing. That’s right, I’m talking about Margaery Tyrell. Desperate to get out prison, she forges an alliance between the High Sparrow and Tommen Baratheon. No one in the audience is stupid enough to believe she actually ate up the High Sparrow’s spiel, but it’s interesting because the Lannisters and Tyrells were planning a move of their own. The Tyrells and the Lannisters are not the best of friends, of course, but seeing the two of them thrown off-guard by Margaery’s alliance was great.
This is Game of Thrones at its best…backroom dealings, uneasy alliances, and characters making decisions without having all of the information. Of course Margaery would have acted differently if she knew her house was marching on King’s Landing…but she didn’t, so she did what she thought was the smartest move in that moment. The two Houses now have a bigger problem to deal with, so it’ll be great to see how this unfolds down the line.
Finally, we have the reveal that Uncle Benjen is alive and well, aiding in the fight against the white walkers. Obviously this was more of a tease than anything else, as was Dany’s (thousandth) proclamation that she will take the Iron Throne, but it’s good to have these little things in the back of our minds. Of course it’s a bit too early to be speculating on the full run of events to come, but don’t let that stop you from commenting below and letting us know what you think.
Until next week, Valar Morghulis.
Odds and Ends
- Once the show is over, I want the entire thing to be recapped by the traveling theater troupe in Braavos..
- I’m getting very sick of Dany just saying she is going to take the Iron Throne. You’re on your sixth season, hurry up and make a move.
- Turns out Edmure Tully has been stuck in the dungeons of the Twins this whole time. Walder Frey really is a bumbling fool, isn’t he?
- Yahoo has a running list of all Valyrian Steel swords in Westeros, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.