Oh, GoT. Much has been written about “that scene”. I was pre-warned, thanks to Tumblr and deftly avoided watching it altogether. It genuinely upset me, because otherwise this might have been one of the best episodes in the whole season. I’m left with more than just a bad taste in my mouth. Yet I keep watching.

We slightly retread “The Lion and the Rose’s final scene, with more emphasis on Sansa’s Ser Dontos-assisted runner. He escorts her to a waiting rowboat and thence to (*shudder*) Petyr Baelish’s larger ship. Oh, Sansa. Staying in King’s Landing would have been no better, I know, with the best she could expect being a cell next to Tyrion’s, but being beholden to Littlefinger is not much of an improvement. As she watches Ser Dontos take the first of that episode’s arrows to the face, you can see her realising that she’s only swapping one kind of danger for another. Littlefinger is almost audibly slimy – last week I wanted an MST3k soundboard for Tom Servo, now I want one for Crow, because I kept expecting Sansa to plead “What kind of talk is that?” so I could press play and hear “Why it’s oily, sleazy talk!”

Margaery and Olenna hash over Margaery’s situation. With one simple line — “So, am I the queen?” –the power driving Margaery is properly exposed. She’s a player in this game too and has been from sham marriage 1 to sham marriage 2, and so on, until she finally takes her place beside (but not directly on) the Iron Throne. She didn’t have to fuck Joffrey, but if she had, she might have a stronger hold on that title she wants so badly.

Dead Joff lying in state in the sept leads into “that” scene, and it’s incredibly frustrating because everything before Jaime breaks out of character so profoundly is fantastic. There is a brilliant conversation between Tywin and Cersei, via (the new) Tommen. Prying Tywin for advice on what makes a good king, he advises to not be like Joffrey or Robert. Sorry, I mean your “dad”. Your uncle-father/father-uncle. But more than this, Tywin is talking to Cersei: try not to fuck this one up. This seriously is your last chance. Joffrey was a monster; even his own parents conceded that, and though obviously it won’t stop them mourning his death, it can put Tommen’s role into better perspective. Lena Headey’s expression following Charles Dance almost made me wince – she’s seeing it all fall away from her. All her work – by which I mean scheming and conniving and backstabbing, but yes, her work – still ain’t worth a damn because she’ll never really have any power.

And then Jaime rapes her, but I skipped that. This is supposed to be the Jaime who lied about Tarths’ wealth to prevent Brienne from being assaulted?  He’s not a nice guy – no one on this show is nice or pure.  Not Arya, who killed a stable boy to make her escape from King’s Landing and who prays for bloody revenge every night. Not even Sansa, who might not directly have lost her blood innocence but who is also responsible for innocent (as innocent as possible in Westeros) lives ending. Jaime is not a good guy, but he’s not a rapist, and for the show to use rape as a shocking, ratings-seeking plot point infuriates me. I really don’t want to go on about it anymore, but I can’t help but think it was mainly used as a way for Cersei to be punished for being a horrible person. And I don’t know what it says that I’m still watching the show, either

This isn’t even the first time the show has turned a consensual sex scene into a rape – the first season turned Khal Drogo and Daenerys’s marriage consummation into an upsettingly violent scene that I’d pretty much blocked out. I don’t really know what I’m getting at here, other than I’m part of the problem too. Yay for my fun recaps. :/

Back to Adventure Time with Arya the Human and The Hound the Human. Here is another brilliant scene where we can see everything coming a mile off – as assuredly Arya can. Both of them don’t have a future in Westeros, but both seem determined to try to make something to right. Sandor is holding out for Arya’s ransom money and a one-way ticket to Braavos, and Arya – well, Arya’s got her dwindling death prayer and now the spark of an idea. When the kindly Tully bannerman/peasant offers free food and lodgings and eventually a job, obviously these good deeds go punished. Bit by bit the last of any old-school honour (by which I mean Ned Stark honour) Arya has is chipping away, and although she was angry at the kindly man’s beat-down and subsequent robbing, she still follows The Hound and will still eat the food bought with the ill-gotten silver.

An obviously-in-love Sam Tarly is settled at Castle Black with Gilly and baby Sam, seemingly safe and plucking geese. Sam’s worried about the men perving on Gilly and putting her in danger, and a plan formulates in his brain as to how he’s going to protect her.

Davos’s undying loyalty to Stannis isn’t wavering, but it is frustrating to try and raise an army for a man who will happily use blood magic to secure what he wants but falls short of borrowing money for sellswords. Davos gets a lightbulb moment during his literacy lessons with Shireen, the camera cutting away before we can find out what the super-awesome plan is, which I find vexing (even though I know what his super-awesome plan is). Then again, as a child I used to get incredibly wound-up whenever cartoon characters conspired by gathering their chums into a huddle and announcing, “FIRST WE’LL [garbled whispers] AND THEN WE’LL [more garbled whispers].”

Sam arranges for Gilly to leave Castle Black, because working at a brothel cooking/cleaning/etc. is safe as houses just as long as she’s not actually WORKING or something. Even Sam’s unsure how this is going be better for her – it’s really all about making himself safe from potentially breaking his vows rather than keeping Gilly or the baby safe.

Sexposition ahoy, as any scene with Oberyn and Ellaria by law has to contain sexy sex people making the sex bisexually. They chat about Oberyn’s smoking hotness, his love of both men and women, just in case you’re slow on the uptake. Tywin arrives to first accuse Oberyn of involvement with Joffrey’s murder since Obz has a degree in Poisonology and Poisonography. Oberyn mentions his murdered sister to another Lannister, and somehow Tywin twists this into an opportunity for his kangaroo court to seem vaguely impartial. If Oberyn will sit as judge at Tyrion’s trial alongside himself and Mace Tyrell, Tywin will see to it that Oberyn can serve justice to The Mountain for his crimes against the Martells. Also, an alliance with Dorne might be pretty handy, considering DRAGONS and that pesky Targaryen lass we’ve been hearing so much about. I really wanted Tywin to then invite Oberyn for a stroll in the Garden of Betrayal. Maybe next time.

Pod visits Tyrion in the dungeon with some smuggled food (alas, the wine was confiscated) and intel: they’re gathering up character witnesses for the upcoming trial. Tyrion is a man who knows he’s doomed, properly doomed – his death is imminent, but despite this, he will fight, no matter how pointlessly, although since Sansa has disappeared, the cause appears wholly quashed. Tyrion then attempts to break up with Pod in a way that I wish he’d applied to Shae, but they don’t make squires like Podrick Payne very often, and the boy refuses to abandon him. It’s not so much a “so long” as a “smell ya later”.

If you see happy and smiling smallfolk, cringe and prepare for the worst. The worst in this case being the second arrow-to-the-face courtesy of Ygritte and a subsequent massacre, which would be horrible and hard to watch as any simple GoT bloodbath, but because Thenns are involved, a child is forced to watch his parents being murdered and informed, “I’m gonna eat your dead mama, and I’m going to eat your dead papa.” Seven hells! And this is just a taste (I’m genuinely sorry but not enough to delete that) of what’s to come.

So the child is sent to Castle Black with the grisly message. Jon Snow’s opinion is sought above all others, because he knows the Wildlings/Free Folk better than the average Crow, which to be honest feels weird, since not too long ago he was nearly beheaded for treason. The Watch now have to figure out what’s best: maintaining defense of the Wall as their ancient duty, protecting the smallfolk from raiders, or returning to Craster’s Keep to prevent the mutineers from spilling the beans regarding Castle Black’s woefully slim pickings compared to the Wildling army. Again, we’re left not knowing what decision has been made and whisked a world away, not unlike how ASOIAF chapters end.

Cut to the Unsullied outside the gates of Meereen and a literal pissing contest between a chosen hero of the city and Daario Naharis. Daario’s creeping closer and closer to Dany, to the obvious annoyance of Jorah and Barristan. Dany appeals to the slaves of the city, with her freed people behind her. Illustrating the point (and the title of the episode) further, a load of what are revealed to be slave collars is catapulted into the city. Much more has been written about Dany’s Great White Saviour complex, but this episode really is indicative of the sad fact that things seem terrible, and then they get worse, and then they become unbearable. I suppose ending on this note of triumph is the happiest ending possible. 5/10

Sexy, Important Thoughts:

  • Boob to wiener ratio – 6:1.5 (I’m counting that shadowy half-cock outside Mereen).
  • “The world is overflowing with horrible things, but they are all a tray of cakes next to death” – is Olenna making a statement on the show itself too?
  • “He’s weak – he can’t protect himself. They’ll both be dead come winter. Dead men don’t need silver”. Yet The Hound showed what passes for mercy by not killing the kindly Tully bannerman and his child. Sadly, for most of the smallfolk that’s the best they can ask for.
  • This week was particularly harsh and it made me question once more why I’m so drawn to this show, why I keep at it even when it’s veers beyond problematic and into offensive. Is it because I need to remind myself that my life is actually incredibly safe and easy compared to the horrors possible in the realms of fiction and reality?