Episode seven! We’re more than halfway through. Things are happening. This episode is named after Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish’s house sigil, a bird which is renowned for mimicking others to blend in to its environment. I wonder how that relates to certain characters on the show! Beware: many spoilers below.
Still no Eyrie at the beginning of the show. I’m starting to sound like a broken record but this is really annoying me. Then again, if this small thing is one of the few things that annoys me about this show, then they haven’t done too badly.
I’ve set up this recap/review/reflection in case study format again (location then specific characters/groups if there’s more than one). When the show skips between different characters and locations I get freaked out when it comes to writing about them in one large chunk! Onwards to the case study of the many flawed characters of Westeros.
Tyrion and Jaime
The episode begins with Jaime being angry towards Tyrion as he didn’t go through with the deal that Jaime discussed with him at the trial; he opted for a trial by combat rather than being sentenced to live out his final days at the Wall. Tyrion couldn’t listen to Shae lying about him anymore, so he did what he could to shut her up. He feels heartbroken and stupid; he fell in love with a whore and believed she was in love with him too. He notes that he’s ruined all of Tywin’s plans; not only in terms of him joining the Night’s Watch and giving away the Lannister name, but also in terms of Jaime ever leaving the Kingsguard and re-attaining the Lannister name and being heir to its dynasty. Tyrion seems pretty happy to have thwarted Tywin’s plans, though, since he’s innocent, and Tywin knows it. Jaime tells Tyrion that unfortunately he can’t be his champion at the trial by combat as his fighting skills aren’t yet up to par, looking ashamed as he says so. However, Tyrion tells Jaime that he plans to ask Bronn to represent him. He asks who the opposition’s fighter is and Jaime looks supremely uncomfortable. Cut to…
Cersei watches as Ser Gregor Clegane, also known as the Mountain, is killing a bunch of people presumably for fun, splitting their stomachs open and chopping them into pieces. Cersei doesn’t really mind though and walks over to the Mountain, stepping over human entrails as if they’re insignificant puddles of mud. She welcomes the Mountain to King’s Landing and tells him he’s in good form. He seems to get where she’s coming from and asks who she wants him to fight.
This is the third actor for the Mountain that the show has seen. It must be said that I really prefer the first actor over all of them. He had the perfect balance between monstrously bulky, and actually frightening looking. The second one was tall and skinny and ridiculous looking. This last one is really muscly in a bulbous way and just looks like a big, cuddly teddy bear. Even when he’s chopping people open, he doesn’t look dangerous enough. He looks like a giant toddler throwing a tantrum. The Mountain is also meant to be the Hound’s older brother, but this one looks way younger than the Hound. Meanwhile, Lena Headey continues to be perfect.
Tyrion and Bronn
Later, Bronn visits Tyrion in his dungeon, looking very dapper with brand new clothes and a nice cape. Bronn informs Tyrion that he is to marry the dimwitted Lollys Stokeworth, whose family owns a very nice castle. Cersei has arranged this love match. Bronn plans to ‘take care’ of others who are set to inherit the castle so that he and Lollys can own it as soon as possible. Tyrion tells Bronn that he and Cersei deserve each other. Tyrion is technically an heir to Winterfell and the North, since he’s still Sansa’s husband, which he uses as a bargaining chip to get Bronn to fight in the trial by combat for him. However, Bronn doesn’t count on these hypotheticals. Yet again Tyrion is disappointed as Bronn says he doesn’t want to fight for him. Now that he has a future wife and a relatively comfortable and safe lifestyle, he doesn’t want to risk losing it. He knows the brutality of the Mountain and he doesn’t like his chances. He also notes that Tyrion keeps relying on him to save his life, and yet Tyrion never risked his life for him once. Still, they part as friends, shaking hands and giving one another a meaningful look. Even though this is very different to how it occurred in the book, I kind of like it because I love Tyrion and Bronn as BFFs.
Tyrion and Oberyn
Much later in the episode (but much earlier in this recap due to my case study formatting), Oberyn visits Tyrion. He says that he met with Cersei recently and that she attempted to manipulate him into finding Tyrion guilty at the trial, but he saw straight through it; her true intentions weren’t hidden. Tyrion says that “making honest feelings do dishonest work is one of her many gifts”. Oberyn discusses Cersei’s desire for Tyrion’s dead: “It is rare to meet a Lannister who shares my enthusiasm for killing Lannisters”. He tells Tyrion a horrible story from his infancy, where people all over the land described baby Tyrion as a monster with claws and a tail and hermaphroditic genitalia, but when Cersei showed Oberyn what he looked like, Oberyn just saw a baby. No monster. Oberyn tells Tyrion that Cersei then pinched his genitals violently until Jaime told her to stop, showing that Cersei has been a psycho since early age. Their mother died giving birth to Tyrion, and she blames him for it – a hatred and blame she has carried with her for her entire life. “Everyone says he will die soon, I hope they’re right,” she said when looking at baby Tyrion. “Sooner or later Cersei always gets what she wants,” Tyrion says.
But Oberyn knows better. What about the things that Oberyn wants? The Mountain is representing Cersei at the trial by combat, and the Mountain was responsible for raping and killing his sister Elia, and killing Elia’s children (one of whom he killed by smashing them against a wall – the show left this detail out). Oberyn wants the Mountain to face justice for these crimes. When Tyrion says King’s Landing is the wrong place to seek justice, Oberyn disagrees. King’s Landing is the perfect place because everyone who has hurt his family is here. He will bring all of them to justice, starting with the Mountain. He will be Tyrion’s champion. Tyrion cries tears of relief.
Pedro Pascall is simply amazing in this scene. If people don’t already love Oberyn (in which case, what’s wrong with you), then this scene will have nailed it. Dinklage’s performance this episode was much better in comparison to the scene chewing and funny faces of the previous episode. We saw more of his subtle acting, which is much more effective. This was such a great scene, and so powerful. I want to watch it six more times.
On the road
Arya and the Hound
Our two travellers arrive at a destroyed village and find a dying man. He and Arya have a discussion about nothingness and the futility of existence (hello Ingmar Bergman), which is quite profound, except that it was sort of difficult to understand what the man was saying at times due to his muffled speech. The man is very thirsty, and recognises the need to drink even though he’ll die anyway. The Hound shows him some mercy and allows him some water before giving him a quicker death – a sword through the heart. He teaches Arya that that’s where the heart is, if she ever wants to stab someone in the heart (she does).
Surprise! A man named Biter jumps up from behind the Hound and bites his neck to try and kill him. He bashes Biter and he falls down. Another man, Rorge, approaches the Hound and tells both he and Arya that Joffrey was poisoned and killed, and that there’s a price on the Hound’s head. Arya realises that Biter and Rorge were prisoners that she was travelling with in season two, and that Rorge threatened to rape her. The Hound asks if he’s on the list and Arya says she needs his name before she can kill him. Rorge tells her, and she says thank you and stabs him in the heart, killing him. Not only has she learned the perfect place to kill a man, but also to wipe her bloody sword on a corpse to clean it.
Later, the Hound is attempting to sew his own wound but is failing miserably, getting swearier and swearier. Arya says that the flesh around the wound needs to be burned before it can be sewn, but the Hound refuses, due to his phobia of fire. He says that Arya’s brother gave her her sword, and his brother gave him his monstrous face. Here, we finally get the monologue that was cut from season one (and given to Littlefinger, of all people) where the Hound tells of how his face was burned. He says that the worst thing about his face is that it was his brother who did it, and that his father covered it up, saying that the Hound’s bed caught fire, causing the burns. After explaining his childhood trauma to Arya, he finally allows her to clean and sew his wound.
Rory McCann was so great in this scene. It’s a shame that he isn’t given much of a chance to act more emotionally charged moments like this, because he succeeds so well. His face was heartbreaking to watch as he was discussing his childhood. In contrast, Maisie Williams looked a bit blank. I’m not sure if it’s just when compared to Rory McCann, or whether her acting has been a bit dull this episode, or whether it’s intentional to show that she’s turning into an emotionless killer.
Brienne and Podrick
My new favourite pair of friends, Brienne and Podrick Payne are having a nice kidney pie and ale at an inn, after sleeping in ditches and suffering Pod’s cooking for too long. As a surprise for the viewers, it’s the inn where Hot Pie works as a baker! After Brienne compliments him on the pie, he tells them all about pies and their ingredients and baking. He keeps talking and talking: “No gravy, no pie, simple as that”. Brienne gives him a description of Sansa Stark to make him stop talking and he says he hasn’t seen her, hurrying off.
Outside, Pod warns Brienne not to tell anyone that they’re looking for Sansa since many people are looking for her and want to capture her to get some Lannister gold. Hot Pie meets up with them and says that Brienne can be trusted, and that he travelled with another Stark girl, Arya, until he started working at the inn. The last time he saw Arya, she was heading to Riverrun with the Hound to be sold back to her mother. In one of this episode’s more heartwarming moments, Hot Pie gives Brienne a baked direwolf to give to Arya when they find her – he gave her one of these a while ago but has since improved his technique.
Brienne then has a funny moment of sarcasm as she turns to Pod and says, “Ummmmm, so you were saying?”, gloating that her asking about Sansa has led to clues regarding the whereabouts of the other Stark girl. Pod and Brienne discuss where Arya might be, and Pod says that she would probably be heading to the Eyrie. Crazy aunt Lysa Arryn is Arya’s last living relative with money, who also hates the Lannisters, so Sansa might be there as well. Pod let Brienne know that he’s well aware of Westerosi politics, further proving his usefulness. Pod’s face is hilarious during this scene. He looks like he’s constantly stressed out. Off to the Eyrie they go!
Pretty much the usual Wall stuff. Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch volunteers return from the Craster’s Keep fight beyond the Wall, back to Castle Black. Ser Alliser is mean to Jon and tells him to lock Ghost away before he cooks him in a stew. Rude. Then Jon Snow attempts to convince the higher-ups of the Night’s Watch about what he’s seen beyond the Wall, and the defensive measures that they should take, such as blocking up the tunnels in the Wall so that Mance’s army and their giants can’t come through. As usual, he is made fun of and humiliated, and this time he gets punished with night duty atop the Wall with Sam until the full moon comes. Sam looks a bit sad about it and Jon is understandably frustrated by the ignorant decisions his leaders keep making. But it’s admirable that he’s still trying at this point since they’ve been doing this to him the whole season.
When Daenerys returns to her quarters, there’s a surprise Daario Naharis standing there. He climbed up through the window and brought some flowers just for her, and took a lot of risk to find those specific flowers. Daenerys essentially calls him an idiot and tells him not to do that again. She tells him that if she wants him to visit her private quarters, she’ll summon him, and he asks her to forgive him. He came to plead his case, asking her to send him to kill her enemies in Yunkai who are revolting against her. He says that he only has two talents in this world – war and women, and it’s cruel to stop him from doing what he knows best. “Very well,” Daenerys says, drinking some wine. “Take off your clothes.”
Finally Daenerys and Daario’s sexual tension is brought to its inevitable conclusion. Emilia Clarke’s ‘no nudity please’ clause is in full effect as we don’t even get to see a sex scene. But we do get to see Daenerys staring at Daario’s junk for what seems like a very long time.
Later, Ser Jorah Mormont heads to Dany’s quarters and sees Daario leaving whilst putting his shirt back on. “She’s in a good mood,” he says, and you can almost see the heart of Lord Commander Friendzone shattering into a million pieces. Jorah finds Dany looking at a map whilst wearing a pretty revealing dress, asserting her sexuality again rather than covering herself up. Jorah neither approves of nor trusts Daario since he killed his friends to join them last season, and Dany agrees, she has no faith in him. Still, she’s sent Daario and the Second Sons to go and execute all the masters in Yunkai who are perpetrating horrible crimes against children and slaves.
Dany has come to the crossroads of good and evil again – mercy versus justice. She looks crazy as she justifies her position on indiscriminately killing all the masters. Jorah seeks to change her mind, warning her that if Ned Stark had used her logic, he wouldn’t be around to help her. This helps her to see reason and she changes her mind. She chooses Hizdahr zo Loraq from the previous episode to go to Yunkai with Daario as a Meereenese ambassador, to inform the Yunkai masters that they can make a choice – “they can live in my new world or die in their old one”. She then tells Jorah to tell Daario that he assisted her to change her mind, showing Jorah that she does value him somewhat, even if she won’t sleep with him.
It was at this point in the books where I started getting a bit tired of Daenerys and I wonder how they’ll mix it up in the show. Emilia Clarke has kind of phoned it in this season and doesn’t have as much complexity as previous seasons, taking on a ‘benevolent leader’ persona that is getting a bit old. I wonder if she’ll become more committed to the expression of the Mad King Aerys genes that the Targaryen dynasty shares.
Back at Dragonstone, Melisandre is having a nice bath. Stannis’ wife Selyse walks in and being a bit prudish, seems embarrassed to see Melisandre without clothes on. Melisandre makes a joke that she predicted this to be the last good bath she’ll have in a while, and humourless Selyse doesn’t get it. Still, Melisandre says this is Selyse’s strength, as humour is generally based on lies and Selyse is devoted to the truth. She explains that most of her mystical potions are lies, designed to bring people toward her to see the real power of the Lord of Light. When telling Selyse about a lust potion, Selyse asks if Melisandre gave it to Stannis back in season two. Melisandre says no (seriously, Carice van Houten is gorgeous, no one would need a lust potion to get with that). Selyse closes her eyes and chants, “No act done in service of the Lord can ever be called a sin”, as if this is a mantra she’s repeated this to herself many times to justify Stannis’ actions. Selyse says that Stannis wants to bring their (super cute) daughter Shireen with them on their journey, but she doesn’t want her there due to her “heretical tendencies”. Melisandre assures Selyse that they must bring Shireen because, “the Lord needs her”. Is she saying what I think she’s saying?!?
I liked this scene but I would have preferred to see more of Stannis instead of Melisandre and Selyse drama. Non-book viewers still think he’s boring, even though he’s really important to the whole entire story. The show needs to tell us why we should care about him, in a more obvious way. We just need more time with him! I would have much preferred an extra scene with Stannis instead of all that time with Jon Snow at the Wall, seeing the same stuff happen over and over again.
In the episode’s final location, Sansa emerges from inside the Eyrie to a courtyard filled with beautiful snow, which she hasn’t seen since living at Winterfell. In more musical genius, we hear Stark music as she walks through the snow and admires it falling from the sky. She makes a snow castle of Winterfell, trying to remember its details. Robin walks in and in his typical juvenile manner gets in an argument with Sansa about Winterfell having a Moon Door and wrecks the snow castle. Sansa slaps Robin after seeing her home symbolically destroyed, and he immediately runs away. She feels bad and calls after him.
However, Littlefinger was watching nearby (creepy), and tells her not to feel bad for hitting him; in fact, it should have happened a long time ago. Sansa worries about what Lysa will think, but Littlefinger says to let him worry about her. He consoles Sansa about the wrecked snow castle, saying, “if you want to build a better home, first you must demolish the old one”. Sansa is distracted and asks Littlefinger to tell her why he killed Joffrey. He tells Sansa he truly loved her mother, and gives a little speech that parallels the idea that people must come to justice for their crimes. He says that in a different world, Sansa might have been his child. He walks closer to her. He tells Sansa that she’s more beautiful than her mother ever was. She says, “Lord Baelish…” and he says, “Call me Petyr”. Then he kisses her. Unbeknownst to Sansa and Littlefinger, Lysa has been watching them the whole time, and the camera pans up to see her turning and walking away.
Later, Lysa calls Sansa to the throne room. She stands near the Moon Door and tells Sansa to come closer. She tells Sansa about how people look like smashed eggs after they’ve been dropped from the Moon Door – pieces here and there, some intact. If Sansa didn’t already know, it’s clear that Lysa is crazy at this point. She tells Sansa she knows what she did, and Sansa thinks she means hitting Robin and apologises. But Lysa means her kiss with Littlefinger, and yells in her face, calling her a whore and a liar. She takes Sansa by the neck and holds her over the Moon Door, threatening to throw her through it.
Littlefinger shows up and tells Lysa to put her down. Lysa complies, and Sansa scrambles away from the Moon Door. Lysa accuses Littlefinger of wanting Sansa, and he denies it. He approaches her and says, “Oh, my sweet wife. My sweet, silly wife. I have only loved one woman, only one, my entire life,” he tells her, and she thinks he’s referring to her, smiling. “Your sister,” he says, as he pushes her through the Moon Door to her death, yelling as she falls. The last shot of the episode is seen from above as Littlefinger watches her falling to her death.
I don’t mean to repeat myself, but…
What an ending. Aidan Gillen was great this episode. He’s toned down his serial killer voice a bit. Kate Dickie is amazing and I’m sad to see her go. I am puzzled though as to why they chose to change Littlefinger’s final line to Lysa from “Only Cat” to “your sister” though. It’s such a book-reader thing, a line that book fans always use to refer to the scene. They probably changed it because people have already forgotten who Catelyn Stark is after a whole bunch of new characters were introduced, unfortunately enough.
Also – Littlefinger – so creepy. I didn’t think they were actually going to go there on the show. When it happened I went nuts. No dancing at my house this week, just lots of curling up into the foetal position feeling super awkward. I thought they might frame it so that Littlefinger kisses her on the cheek and Lysa thinks he’s kissing her properly, to avoid the pedophilia-centric overtones. But nope. All I have to say is “leave Sansa alone!!!“.
The next episode, titled “The Mountain and the Viper”, contains something that I’ve been looking forward to seeing for ages and ages. No spoilers here but it features quite a bit in the trailer. Unfortunately, we have two weeks to wait until the next one, but I think it’ll be worth it. Judging by the trailer, we’ll see some Ramsay and Reek, more Sansa and Littlefinger, wildlings murdering people, more Wall drama, and a certain trial by combat! Too excited.
Episode rating: 4.5/5