This week kind of felt like a slog, to be honest, despite zipping back and forth between locations and characters at a rapid pace. I almost felt like nothing happened by the end of the episode, even though clearly many things transpired. I suspect this is because I have impossibly high standards, and because this week was a Tyrion-free show.
A reluctant Tommen’s coronation is a rather subdued affair, with the kid understandably nervous but geed up somewhat by Margaery. Equally powerless-but-technically powerful is Jaime, who can only skulk in the wings, a Kingsguard who murdered one sovereign and failed to save another. Cersei comes into the frame to literally stand between Tommen and Margaery, because They Need To Talk About Joffrey. Both women snake around niceties as Cersei admits Tommen needs more than just his mother, and Margaery pretends as though she has no desire to be queen (she was so plausible, I almost believed it!). Obviously she does, and from Cersei’s perspective, the Tyrell fortune is the only way the crown will manage post War of the Five Kings. Of course any matchmaking has to done via the menfolk, so the two slink off to make it seem like it was Dad’s idea.
In Mereen, Dany has acquired the city, a pyramid and Jhiqui’s dress (presumably her blue frock is finally at the cleaners). Despite having the boats she spent a long time coveting, a badass army, and dragons, she refuses take advantage of the somewhat chaotic King’s Landing. Also the masters have taken over Yunkai, and Astapor has a usurper king. Shockingly, simply freeing the slaves didn’t just magically make everything better and Dany has doubts as to her rights but of course Jorah waffles on about Targaryens and dragons and Dany’s not convinced, but decides to play queen of Slavers’ Bay for practice rule before taking the Seven Kingdoms. The incidental music informs us this is a fantastic idea.
Littlefinger and Sansa arrive at the Eyrie, where she is posing as his niece (in the books she was his bastard daughter and I’m unsure why the change was made because his behaviour towards her is creepy enough irrespective of his relationship to her. And yes I know I use the word creepy a lot in these recaps but when it comes to Littlefinger it’s apt, dammit!) The fortress is secure and remote and dangerous, perfectly suited to Aunt Lysa’s mental state – which by the way is totally crazy (don’t mind if do!) It’s all very horrible, with Robin gleefully asking Sansa about her murdered family and then reminding us he wanted to shove Tyrion though the Moon Door – which COME ON there is no way that was ever a good idea. Sansa/Alayne Stone is despatched to babysit him while Lysa admits her murder of Jon Arryn Bond-villain style, which gets her in the mood for marriage and sexual congress where she screams the walls down so we can all reach out for some ear-bleach.
How long does it take to formally mourn your murdered brother/husband? A fortnight, according to Tywin. He admits just how broke the crown is since there’s no more gold left to mine, and how boned they regarding Iron Bank repayments. Cersei understands that family is the most important thing, second even to wine for breakfast. He won’t discuss Tyrion’s trial with her, but needless to say, she has the last laugh as she cuttingly reminds him that Tyrion is trying to undo all he’s spent his life building, and also, he disowned Jaimie. If only Cersei had a wang, she’d be the best of the Lannister sons!
Arya’s Death Prayer (Extended Remix) is keeping The Hound awake, but he does agree that his brother deserves to die. His non-reaction upon hearing he gets a shout-out was fairly typical – he knows she’s still angry about that butcher’s boy whose name I can’t remember. It’s a weird and somewhat random scene that’s followed up later in the show, not wholly satisfactorily either.
The scene jumps back to the Eyrie where Lysa tempts Sansa with cakes and dotes upon her. As this is Lysa, complete with crazy eyes, the niceties explode almost immediately into fierce jealousy and gross obsession with Sansa’s virginity. She then goes back into “normal” mode and starts planning (yet another) wedding to Robin. Yeah, life on the Eyrie is going to be a real picnic.
This week’s comic relief is provided by Podrick Payne failing to master his horse and clumsily attempt to squire for Westeros’s best not-knight. Brienne is immune to his boyish charms and doesn’t want a squire but Pod’s stubborn and continues to follow her. The scene then maddeningly cuts again to The Hound awaking to find Arya missing and finding her water-dancing while Jedward splash in a waterfall behind her. Okay not really, but it seems as realistic as anything else that goes on. The two bicker as usual, and although she’s not happy about it, the Hound’s teaching her more realistic, life-saving lessons than Syrio Forel ever did. The realisation that that part of her life is over – the romantic dream replaced by the nightmarish reality – is finally sinking in.
Oberyn takes the week off being a professional Sex Person to pen poetry in the Garden of Betrayal. Cersei offers to stroll round same so they can talk about the most important thing (FAMILY). They mainly talk about the illusion of power and it’s uselessness when you can’t protect family. She’s of course trying to convince him to find Tyrion guilty, and he’s trying to remind her that he’s here to avenge his sister, but both become a bit lost in their anger reminiscing. Cersei wants to give Myrcella a ship for her name day which isn’t a suspicious gift at all!
Pod’s a loyal squire and renowned doer of the nasty, but he thinks you can cook a rabbit without skinning it first. Although Brienne’s not mad keen on his company, she’s quickly warming him, and impressed by his loyalty to Tyrion during the Battle of the Blackwater. But more importantly, she’s moved by the nature of that loyalty – yes, he shoved a spear into a Kingsguard’s neck to save him, but he’s not boastful or proud about it. She allows Pod to help remove her armour and this small gesture sets the two as proper squire and knight in what is hands up the best scene in this episode.
To Craster’s Keep, where the misery is like the Energizer Bunny. Locke skulks around the mutineers while Jojen trips the light fantastic and babbles mystic gubbins about Bran’s future in a massively unhelpful way. Meanwhile the Nightswatchmen prepare their attack on the mutineers, with Locke fibbing about the hut containing Bran and bog-children, where Karl Tanner and his men have come to assault Meera but are thankfully interrupted by the attack by the Nightswatchmen.
Cue a big ol’ Xena-esque swordfight that Locke marches past in order to kidnap Bran. Bran wargs his way into Hodor to save them, using the simple giant’s brawn to snap Locke’s neck like a twig. He desperately wants to go to Jon, and can’t get to him. This is the closest two Stark siblings have been since Ned was executed and yet they can’t be together because Jojen knows Jon won’t let Bran continue his hunt for the three-eyed raven.
Jon is too busy sassing and swashbuckling with Karl, anyway. Karl’s mostly bitter about highborns and kicks Jon in the parts, which I have to admit was fun, but not as fun as watching him being stabbed in the neck by a Beyond Clinically Fed-Up Craster woman. It’s not enough to finish him, so this series’ theme of Death By Sharp Objects In The Face continues when Jon shoves his sword into his head and out his very surprised mouth.
More hoorays as the Craster women flick two Vs at their would-be saviours and burn the Keep to the ground. HOORAY! I have no idea how they are going to survive but I appreciate / approve of their disgust. It’s all been a very informative episode, in a way, but it did feel very disjointed as it built up to what feels like the real plotlines taking place off screen. 6/10
Sexy, Important Thoughts
- Lack of Tyrion this week in the credits meant I forgot to sing “Peter DINKlage Peter DINKlage along to the theme tune, but that doesn’t stop it from being lodged in my head now and possibly forever.
- “Do you think I’m easily shocked?” Lena Headey’s resigned frustration and helplessness done via the stare of a woman who hasn’t slept without booze in months. Ouch.
- Hound quote of the week: “I bet his hair is greasier than Joffrey’s cunt”.
- Oh look – fleshing out a minor character and then almost immediately killing him off. It’s like I’m reading the books all over again!
- What the hell is walnut pie?
- The Dreadfort lost out again this week and I hardly noticed it was two weeks in a row without Ramsay or Theon/Reek.
- Via The AV Club – ASOIAF spoilers here if you’re not bothered about that kind of thing.