This is episode seven of a season which so far has had a lot of ups and downs. It certainly doesn’t feel like the seventh episode. Let’s see if this episode makes up for the trauma of the final scene of episode six.
We begin at the Wall, where Jon and friends are heading North, to go to Hardhome and rescue the wildlings that are residing there. Alliser Thorne watches Jon like a hawk. Jon says that Alliser is to command Castle Black whilst he is away, and Alliser responds in his normal rude fashion by saying that Jon is an insult to previous Lord Commanders of the Night’s Watch. Fair enough, because Jon never left Castle Black in the fifth book so it is kind of an insult to book-readers everywhere (possibly the summary of this whole season so far). Sam gives Jon a dragonglass blade in case he comes into contact with any White Walkers. This means that Jon will probably come into contact with some White Walkers. Jon heads off beyond the Wall. Then, Gilly and her baby are spending time with Maester Aemon who is still bedridden and sick. He tells Gilly to take her baby South before it’s too late.
Back at Winterfell, Theon/Reek brings a tray of food to Sansa, who is locked in her room. Sansa is crying in bed. Her story being meshed with that of Jeyne Poole from the book is confirmed as Sansa tells Theon/Reek that she is locked in her room every day and raped by Ramsay every night. She has bruising on her arm, evidence of the harm that has befallen her, but what’s more heartbreaking is her desperation as she implores Theon/Reek to help her. He says that Sansa should do what Ramsay says or that Ramsay will hurt her, but Sansa says he has already hurt her. She asks what Ramsay has done to Theon/Reek and he panics. Sansa asks him to go to the top of the broken tower and light a candle as per instruction from the old lady servant who is loyal to the Starks. Sansa tries to instill confidence in Theon/Reek, telling him that he is Theon Greyjoy, heir to the Iron Islands. Theon/Reek says he will do it, and he does go to the broken tower to do so, but when he gets to the top he sees Ramsay in there, casually eating dinner or something. Awkward, the jig is up.
I still hate this storyline and I hate that it happened in the first place. But I am interested to see where Sansa’s relationship with Theon/Reek goes – and whether she will be able to influence him to help her. Her insistence on telling Theon/Reek that he actually is Theon Greyjoy, not Ramsay’s pet Reek, hopefully will work over time.
Oh, and also, Brienne watches Winterfell from afar, still aiming to help Sansa. Hurry up with it Brienne!
Back at the Wall, Maester Aemon is playing with Gilly’s baby again, really cute. Gilly believes he will die soon, and Sam wants to stay by Maester Aemon’s side. Maester Aemon looks like he is dying when he calls out for his brother and says, “Egg, I dreamed that I was old”. 😦
Maester Aemon has died, and lies on the funeral pyre. Sam speaks for him at the funeral and tells his story, saying that “no man was wiser, or gentler, or kinder”. The pyre is lit and his Watch ends. The men of the Night’s Watch light the pyre as he is engulfed in flames. Alliser Thorne tells Sam, “You’re losing all your friends, Tarly”. Rude. Who says that to someone at a funeral? He may be right though, as the men of the Night’s Watch are looking at Sam in a very pointed manner. Now that both Jon and Maester Aemon have gone, Sam’s support base is dwindling.
We return to Sansa at Winterfell, who meets with Ramsay. Her disgust as Ramsay greets her with “my beautiful wife” is palpable. Ramsay says he is pleased with her and that she has made him happy, but it must be noted that as they are walking Sansa picks up what looks like a stabby object from the top of a barrel, and fingers crossed she is able to use that on Ramsay. Ramsay gives the audience an update on Stannis (also known as the One True King) Baratheon’s movements, and says that Stannis’ army are no good in the snow. Sansa questions Ramsay’s claim and calls him a bastard, which he does not appreciate. However he does note that bastards have done well lately – Tommen Baratheon is king, and Jon Snow is Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, a fact which Sansa did not know until that very moment.
Sadly, Ramsay has invited Sansa out of her room to view her loyal friend who offered help, who he has skinned alive and strung up for all to see. Ramsay tells Sansa that Theon/Reek confessed that Sansa had asked him to help her, and presumably he tracked this lady down to punish both her and Sansa and destroy Sansa’s exit plan. Sansa looks heartbroken – another chance at freedom lost, and she is sent back to her room. Ramsay looks pleased but also psychotic. I hope Sansa is able to stab him. I still think Alfie Allen is my favourite this season but Iwan Rheon is also one of my favourites, he is perfect at playing the psychopath.
Next we see my favourite BFFs – Stannis and Davos in the cold, as Stannis’ army is marching to Winterfell. Davos tells Stannis that it’s not looking good as the horses are dying, they are losing food, the men are really struggling with the cold, the snows are getting worse, and the sellswords are leaving. Davos advises Stannis to retreat but he won’t do it as no one knows how long the winter will last, and they could be waiting for tens of years. Stannis says “we go forward, only forward” and I’m reminded of this scene from The Simpsons. Davos leaves, his counsel clearly ignored, and it’s Melisandre’s time to strike. Stannis says he has trusted her but so far her visions haven’t resulted in much as they’re stuck in the snow. With this predicament, he wonders whether she was telling the truth. Melisandre says she sees herself in Winterfell with the Bolton banners fallen to the ground. She says she has shown Stannis the power of king’s blood, after Joffrey’s death. She then proposes the unimaginable – Stannis should sacrifice his own daughter, burn her alive for the Lord of Light in order to secure his success in battle. He pushes her away, disgusted, and says no. But this is a tough decision for him – for a man who has seen the power of blood magic, it seems like an easy solution to his present problem. Will he or won’t he?
I friggin’ knew this would happen. If they make Stannis burn Shireen the show is dropped. Well, maybe not dropped, but I will be pretty angry.
Back at the Wall, Gilly is threatened by two men of the Night’s Watch. They trap her and attempt to rape her. Sam comes in wielding a sword, but the men dominate him and beat him up, calling him names. As they are about to rape Gilly (seriously, this show has problems with that, but I’m not going to get into that again, I feel like a broken record), Sam stands up to defend her. Jon’s direwolf Ghost emerges from the shadows and scares the men away. I would have thought Jon would take Ghost with him beyond the Wall, but nevertheless. Sam collapses.
Next, Gilly is taking care of Sam and washing his wounds. Sam promises to take care of Gilly and her baby, “little Sam”. Gilly leans over and kisses Sam, which I assume is painful as he was just bashed repeatedly in the face. Sam and Gilly then partake in a hilarious sex scene. Sam breaks his vow of celibacy but I doubt he minds. The scene ends with Sam saying “oh my” in an awkwardly funny manner. I’m happy because this scene, although it was awkward, was way less awkward than Sam and Gilly’s sex scene in the book which took place on a ship and contained some of the most ridiculous descriptive terms I’ve ever read.
Meanwhile, over in Essos, Jorah and Tyrion are marching to be auctioned at a slave market. Jorah is auctioned off and Tyrion convinces the buyer that the two should be sold as a pair, as they work as a team when fighting. Tyrion proves this by bashing up the man who holds his chain, with the chain itself. The buyer then buys Tyrion as well. Adebisi from Oz was great in this scene, I hope we see more of him and that his part in the show wasn’t this brief.
Daenerys and Daario have yet another post-coital discussion scene. Daenerys says that her marriage to Hizdahr is just political and that she’ll still sleep with Daario on the side. Daario appears jealous and the two laugh together until Daario says that Daenerys should marry him. Unfortunately Daenerys cannot, even if she wanted to, because she’s the only person in Meereen who isn’t free. Daario advises Daenerys that on the day of the Great Games in Meereen, that she should gather all the Masters and slaughter them. Daenerys says she is a queen, not a butcher, but Daario makes the good point that all rulers are either butchers or meat. I liked the dialogue in this scene and I like Michiel Huisman as Daario, I’m glad they swapped him over from that other actor.
At King’s Landing, Lady Olenna Tyrell goes to see the High Sparrow at the Great Sept of Baelor. The High Sparrow is washing the floors. Olenna says that she wants to free Loras and Margaery from their prison cells, but the High Sparrow isn’t having it – whether or not someone is rich or poor, if you break sacred laws, you get punished. The High Sparrow doesn’t want gold in exchange for freeing them either, he serves the Gods and the Gods want justice. He says that the Tyrell grandchildren will be punished in the same manner as anyone else. He says “A lifetime of wealth and power has made you blind in one eye”, and there are some interesting 99% parallels here, it reminds me of Occupy Wall Street sometimes. The High Sparrow leaves, saying “When the many stop fearing the few…”, not ending his sentence and leaving Olenna to ponder what comes next for herself and her family.
King Tommen Baratheon is upset about his wife Queen Margaery being in prison, and that there’s nothing he can do about it. Cersei confirms this fact, but Tommen wants to start a war because he loves his wife ever so much. Cersei looks mildly ill, but tells Tommen to be strong and that she will speak to the High Sparrow on his behalf. Cersei says she will try to win their freedom (really?), and will do anything to keep Tommen from harm. At least, that I believe.
In Dorne, Jaime is locked up. Boring. Myrcella comes in and says she actually wants to stay in Dorne and marry Prince Trystane. This whole storyline has been pointless so far.
Next, Bronn sings in his jail cell (a bit of autotune here), which is conveniently located next to the Sand Snakes. The one with the short hair reminds Bronn that he was cut with her poison-tipped blade and shows her naked body to him in order for his heartbeat to rapidly increase and spread the poison through his bloodstream more quickly. More bad accents here. The one with the short hair gives Bronn the antidote to the poison, but only when he admits that she is the most beautiful woman in the world. This scene contributed nothing other than making sure that Bronn didn’t die. Gratuitous nudity may have been the point here, we haven’t seen naked ladies for a while. I hate the Dorne storyline so far.
At King’s Landing, Littlefinger goes to his brothel and finds that it has been trashed by the Sparrows. He meets Olenna there and she reminds Littlefinger that together they murdered a king – further proving that Littlefinger has his fingers in every pie throughout the Seven Kingdoms. Littlefinger says that he was summoned to King’s Landing by Cersei but that he has information for Olenna, and the gift of a “handsome young man”, but I have literally no idea what he’s talking about. I can’t remember if this is something from the books or something that’s been mentioned on the show already, if anyone can help me out with this, it would be much appreciated!
Back in Essos, the slave fighters and Jorah and Tyrion are being prepped for a minor fight before performing at the Great Pit of Daznak in front of the Queen. This scene reminded me of Gladiator (2000). The men get up to fight and chant, valar morghulis. But, surprise! Daenerys and Hizdahr are present at this minor fight as it is customary for the ruler of Meereen to check out the talent before watching the main show. Jorah overhears that Daenerys is there and goes out to fight, wearing a helmet that conceals his face. He obliterates all the other fighters but tends to knock them out rather than kill them, which keeps Daenerys watching. Tyrion wants to go out to follow Jorah but he finds himself chained, however a lovely tall man helps him. After knocking everyone out, Jorah reveals himself to Daenerys who does not react well. But Jorah says he has brought her a gift – Tyrion emerges, and introduces himself. Daenerys looks shocked. This is probably the thing I’m most looking forward to catching up with in the next episode.
Finally, the final segment of this episode was my favourite. Cersei goes to see Margaery in her dungeon cell and is nice to her, but she is so fake and Margaery can tell it from a mile away. Cersei tries to give Margaery some food, but Margaey tells her to leave, saying “Get out, you hateful bitch”. Snap. Nice one Marg. Cersei leaves.
Cersei goes to see the High Sparrow who is in a lovely underground sept, one of the oldest structures in King’s Landing. He says a trial will be held for Margaery and Loras, but that they will be shown mercy if they confess before the trial. The High Sparrow discusses the clean, pure faith of the Sparrows – free from the gilding and influence of money of the rest of the Faith. Cersei pretends to be impressed. But the atmosphere becomes chilly when the High Sparrow asks – “What will we find when we strip away your finery?”. Cersei looks worried and the High Sparrow says a man came to the Sparrows, broken in body and spirit, who confessed and told of his experience. The High Sparrow says that there was a lot weighing this man down, and that he had much to say about Cersei. Brother Lancel (formerly Lancel Lannister) emerges. We all know that back in season one he engaged in some incestual shenanigans with Cersei. A Silent Sister enters the sept and takes Cersei away as she attempts to leave. The High Sparrow watches on with an extremely creepy look in his eyes as Cersei is taken. Cersei is taken to a dungeon and threatens the Silent Sisters who jail her. The door is locked, and the episode ends.
Woooo! This part of Cersei’s story is what I have looked forward to most this season as I loved Cersei’s chapters in book five; finally seeing from her perspective, finally getting her perspective on the whole incest thing. I think this episode, although it contained scenes that were just time wasters (also known as the entire Dorne storyline), was a grand improvement on the last episode.
Next episode looks pretty interesting. Episode 8. Time flies. We get to see Daenerys, Jorah and Tyrion, Sansa vowing vengeance for Theon/Reek, Cersei stuck in her cell looking rough, Jon Snow heading for Hardhome, and the wildlings feeling pretty awkward about working with a man of the Night’s Watch.