Mother of Dragons!
A Game of Thrones Recap
By: Dan Shorr
Lord Hoster Tully’s funeral. A quaint, traditional ceremony featuring all of the essential theatrics we expect out of a Riverrun affair – floating corpses, flaming arrows and, of course, naval cremation.
Edmure Tully, Catelyn’s doofus brother and newly named Lord of Riverrun, attempts to ignite his father’s corpse before it floats away on a small boat, a rudimentary activity by Westeros’ standards that would land him in a federal penitentiary in 2013.
Unfortunately, perhaps due to his education at the Bran Stark School of Archery, Edmure misses his target. His second attempt isn’t even close as the crowd awkwardly watches the boat drift out further and further. Catelyn looks worried, but what else is new. Edmure lights another arrow. He aims…oh. Another miss. Three strikes buddy – you are out. Uncle Blackfish quickly pinch-hits. He snatches the bow, checks the wind, and…it…is…good! And by good, I mean Hoster Tully’s lifeless body is on fire. Blackfish throws the bow back to Edmure, a subtle lesson on the art of the First Impression.
Later we learn that Edmure, ignoring orders, captured a Lannister mill in hopes of engaging the Mountain, the menacing Clegane brother that has been terrorizing the countryside. Instead, Edmure lost 208 soldiers, ruined Robb’s plans and only has Tywin’s “father’s brother’s great grandsons” (two teenage Lannister hostages) to show for it.
“There’s glory enough to go around” Edmure says, mistaking his actions for courageous rather than foolhardy. I was reminded of a similar disposition seen last year in Theon Greyjoy’s storyline, that of the pathetic leader desperate to form his own identity. Edmure’s botched funeral arson was also somewhat reminiscent of Theon’s grotesquely inept execution of Ser Rodrik, a beheading that took four swings and several stomps to complete. To be clear, this is not a favorable pattern of behavior to emulate.
Scheme Team! A veritable who’s who of liars, backstabbers and generally duplicitous scoundrels – Grand Maester Pycelle, Tyrion, Varys and Littlefinger – silently gather for a Small Council meeting with the intimidating Hand of the King, Tywin Lannister. Cercei shows up fashionably late (duh) and improvises her seat assignment. There was no way she was going to sit next to Pycelle. Gross. Tyrion follows his sister’s lead and also shifts the furniture around by pulling the patented Will Smith Men in Black Screeching Chair Drag.
Down to business. Varys gleefully shares news that Harrenhal (awarded to Littlefinger last season by young Joff) is now under Roose Bolton’s control. Littlefinger appears unaffected as we soon learn that he is “positively predisposed” towards something else.
A notable development: On Tywin’s orders, Littlefinger steps down from his position as Master of Coin to travel to the Eyrie, home of the Sky Cells and the infamous Moon Door. There, he is meant to seduce and court crazy Lysa Tully, who we last saw barking gibberish and breastfeeding her 10 year old son. Pycelle gasps: “a successful courtship would make Lord Baelish acting Lord of the Vale.” Looks like Roose Bolton can keep Harrenhal. But hold your horses. There is a royal wedding to plan! Somebody has to attend to the finances. Enter Tyrion, King’s Landing’s newest Master of Coin.
Intimately familiar with the nature of captivity, Jaime informs his fellow prisoner, Brienne, that she is likely to be raped that evening when the group makes camp. He urges her not to resist her captors as they will probably kill her if she puts up a fight. Invoking a rather cruel reference to Dead King Renly, Jaime suggests that Breinne willingly allow the assault to happen. Despite his typical antagonistic sarcasm and inappropriate remarks, Jaime is actually trying to be helpful. He later confirms his sincerity when he successfully saves Brienne. Is the start of a new Kingslayer? Hold that thought.
Outside of Inn:
Now a “guest” of Thoros and the Brotherhood without Banners, Arya Stark says goodbye to a dear friend at the same site where she lost another (insinuated in a brief confrontation with the Hound, this inn appears to be the same one where Arya’s friend Mycah, the butcher’s son, was murdered early in Season One). Arya’s chubby accomplice Hot Pie apparently makes a hell of a loaf of brown bread and has decided stay at the inn as a cook. He gives Arya a triceratops everything bagel as a sorry-you-are-a-hostage-again/ going-away present. Goodbye Hot Pie, I would have gladly kept you around instead of…
“I’ve missed you uncle.” Uh oh. We know what is coming next. Once Catelyn Stark gets within 25 feet of any familiar face, she is guaranteed to cry/ complain/ lament/ pity herself/ cry/ blame herself/ cry. Her uncle, Brynden “Blackfish” Tully (Blackfish says “Blackfish” several times so we know to call him Blackfish), the skilled archer from the episode’s first scene, is only a few feet away and is certainly a familiar face. Its only a matter of time…
Catelyn looks out the window, pouting. She recalls being a child and waiting for her father to return home: “…and I would sit at this window every day when the sun came up. I wonder how many times Bran or Rickon stared across…[cries]” There it is! The Weekly Catelyn Stark Breakdown. Seriously, GoT Producers, this has to stop. Call up HBO and get them to revive that show In Treatment and ship Catelyn off for a bit. Gabriel Bryne would have a field day. Everybody wins, trust me.
Queen Talisa tends to the two teenage Lannister hostages. Lending a hand, bandaging a prisoner’s wound; you think, hey, this is a nice, sincere Queen. But when they ask about her husband, Robb Stark, she reinforces the two Lannisters’ darkest fears – she tells them the King of the North is indeed a flesh eating werewolf who eats kids on full moons. While the audience knows this is not true, imagine if you were those two hostages. That confirmation would be absolutely terrifying. You would assume Robb’s wife would know whether or not the guy is anamorphing into a wolf-beast every couple days. If I’m that 15 year old, there is no reason why I wouldn’t believe her. That is just not a pleasant environment to be imprisoned in. When that full moon comes out, those two kids are going to have a conniption fit. Shame on you, Talisa. Really not the type of behavior you want to see from someone who regularly works with children.
Beyond The Wall:
According to Mance Rayder: “They always save the meat for their army” (and they take the time to craft the dead horses into fun crop circle designs too!). The “they” being the whitewalkers (the bizarre creature that we saw close up at the very end of Season Two’s finale), and the “army” being the dead humans that have been turned into ice zombies. With new species and characters popping up every week, it’s important to keep track of these things. Mance assigns Jon Snow to a 20 person group that is going to climb the wall (!!!) and sneak attack Castle Black from the inside. Everybody looks around casually like this is no big deal but A) Climb the wall? The 700 foot ice wall?! And B) Jon just got assigned to go murder his Night’s Watch Brothers in their sleep – not something I think he plans on following through on. With apologies to Ygritte, it looks like Jon Snow is going to have to get away sooner than later.
Beyond The Wall:
Craster’s Keep – home to the most strictly enforced 50-girls-to-1-guy ratio in the entire seven kingdoms. After he lets the Night’s Watch Brothers inside, Craster snarls: “I would have turned you all away if I weren’t a Godly man” (by ‘Godly,’ he means he sacrifices male infants to whitewalkers). Craster is just as restrictive and rude as when the Night’s Watch Brothers first met him last season, but after losing most of their friends and witnessing the first signs of a global ice zombie apocalypse, their tolerance for his cruelty seems much lower.
Sam takes offense to some of Craster’s cannibalism humor and, looking for a pleasant change of environment, decides to go witness his old friend Gilly deliver a child. All births are tense in the Keep, as all boys get scarified. We know she has a boy because GoT producers, mixing up their source of nudity, give us a three second shot of the infant’s dangling penis. Uh-oh, Gilly.
Theon can barely walk but he is determined to get out. His ally frees him and sets him off on a horse. This feels too easy…
Stannis is not in good shape. His aggressive mid war/ life crisis is still going strong and now his mistress is preparing to take a temporary leave of absence. Stannis tells her he “wants her” but his urge is not necessarily sexual in nature. He craves another shadow spawn but his Lady in Red is not feeling his desperation. Melisandre uses the “can’t tonight sweetie, your fire is burning too low, and it’ll kill you if we try” excuse. She goes off searching for King’s blood and suggests a future sacrifice.
Mother of Dragons! Dany seems to have stumbled onto Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ set. She attempts to give water to a Jim Caviezel extra as her two older companions bicker in the background about purchasing the Unsullied. Jorah brings up a good point; war brings out the worst in men and the death of innocents is inevitable. Dany could curb that violence with the Unsullied as they are not “men” and will never go savage unless they are told to do so. Ser Barristan isn’t having it. He is old school. Barristan tells Dany of her famous older brother, Prince Rhaegar, and explains that he had a loyal army because “they loved him, not because they had been bought at a slavers auction.” Jorah ends the debate with a zinger: “Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly and Rhaegar died.”
Dany has made up her mind. She tells the crude slaver she wants all of the Unsullied. All or none, its like that with the Mother of Dragons. The slaver’s assistant, wearing the Maergary Tyrell half-shirt, censors some of her master’s most tasteless comments (he calls Dany a “slut” and mentions his intention to feed the Dothraki soldiers to his pigs) but does tell Dany that she can’t afford 7,877 out of the 8,000 soldiers. Dany says no biggie and offers up a dragon. Pardoning her crew’s interruption, the deal is made. Does Dany really trade a dragon to this scumbag? We shall see. Dany also gets a new companion as she acquires the Slaver’s assistant, Missandei, significantly dropping the median age of her posse in the process.
Tyrion, surprisingly in a brothel on business, not pleasure, has to collect all of the necessary Master of Coin literature from Littlefinger before his Master of Coin predecessor leaves for the Eyrie. In much more exciting news, Tyrion repays Pod for saving his life by buying him prostitutes. Hopefully this goes better than that time he did the same thing for Joffrey.
While Pod loses his virginity via Meereenese knot, Tyrion makes an interesting discovery: the Throne is in massive debt and Littlefinger has been borrowing money heavily from foreign lenders just to keep the finances afloat. Heard that before.
Pod returns with the gold Tyrion paid to the prostitutes. Instead of getting scholarly and discussing Game of Thrones’ portrayal of sexual power and identity and how Pod has been objectified as a prostitute in his own right after being paid to perform sex, let’s just save it for another day.
Theon waits on a mountainside. His sister Yara is nowhere in sight as arrows start whizzing by. Looks like his captors caught up to him. They chase him, firing arrow after arrow as Theon races ahead on his white horse. I don’t know what George R. R. Martin and the GoT Producers are trying to tell us, but there are a lot of people on this show that really suck with a bow and arrow. Luckily, one of them brought a mace to the party; that’ll work. Knocked off his horse and gasping face down, Theon looks up to see the creepy torturer who gave him his most recent manicure. The torturer and his men pull Theon’s pants down as he starts squirming. After Jaime’s conversation about not being able to imagine being a woman and facing that kind of situation earlier in the episode, the GoT Producers use Theon’s predicament to eliminate that sentiment and demonstrate how the show’s characters, men and women alike, are all susceptible to the same horrific carnage.
Finally someone who knows how to shoot takes out the rapist crew. The torturer looks up… its Theon’s friend who helped him escape, but wait – the torturer recognizes him and says: “You little bastard” before receiving an arrow headshot. Who exactly is this supposed friend of Theon Greyjoy? NO SPOILERS HERE, but for the fans of the book it should be pretty obvious at this point.
Meanwhile, now that the audience has been thoroughly threatened with rape, Brienne is fetched by her captors. Her shrieks are painful as she attempts to resist. Jaime saves her from her defilement, lying to Locke (the man with the Sin City scar in charge of this rag tag operation) about Brienne’s familial access to sapphires. A ransom would be paid, but only if Brienne is “alive, honor unbesmirched.” It works. Jaime watches as Brienne is brought back, smiles at her, and proceeds to get a royal meal and shower. He goes to bed, nothing out of the ordinary…oh wait, THE KINGSLAYER GETS HIS HAND CHOPPED OFF. WOAH!
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[Story by Dan Shorr]