GOT S707: ‘The Dragon and the Wolf’ Recap

We open on Grey Worm and the rest of the Unsullied as the Targaryen-Jaws theme kicks in. The music and scene at hand hint at impending fire! And blood! And gruesome green explosions! And a cataclysmic battle for King’s Landing!

None of which happens. They should have briefed Ramin Djawadi on some nice, benign lobby music…perhaps some Coldplay circa 2004. Because all that’s going to happen in King’s Landing this morning is a Westerosi board meeting, sans little bowls of Mentos.

Bronn and Jaime stand on the battlements of King’s Landing, talking about how having a cock gives life meaning and seemingly oblivious to the fact that this implies 50% of the existing population’s lives are already not worth living. Personally I’ve always thought having a cock must be like having a bald, senile Jack Russell that dry-humps the furniture and barks every time someone walks within 500 metres of your house, but I could be wrong.

The Dothraki arrive to join the Unsullied, while Tyrion, Jon, Davos, Varys, Theon, Jorah and Missandei approach by sea. Jon’s predictably appalled at the density of city living. The Hound’s below deck, checking on demo dead guy. Demo dead guy reminds me of a live mud crab I once bought from the fish market on a whim – do you think I could get that fucker out of my laundry sink when I was finally ready to cook him? Nope. Now I buy my crabs pre-cooked in ginger and shallots.

Inside the Red Keep, Cersei wants to know why Daenerys wasn’t in any of the episode promos and doesn’t appear to be with the others. She tells the Mountain to kill Dany first if anything goes wrong, then Tyrion, then Jon; the rest he’s allowed to kill at his leisure. Points to Cersei for not micro-managing.

Everyone heads for the Dragonpit, where the Targaryens used to keep their dragons so they didn’t eat Kings Landing’s residents or poop on their lawns. Team Targaryen meets up with Bronn, who’s towing Brienne and Pod. The Hound and Brienne clock each other. Tyrion and Pod reunite. Brienne and the Hound settle their differences over protective custody of Arya. Tyrion tries to buy Bronn’s allegiance back, and tells him it’s good to see him. There’s so much juicy intermingling my little heart can barely stand it.

They arrive at the Dragonpit and scan for signs of impending mass murder. What follows is yet again a dialogue-heavy sequence, so I’m hitting the bullet points:

  • Bronn and Podrick head to the pub. Jon watches them go wistfully, as if he’s keen for a pint.
  • The Hound asks Tyrion if he’s likely to die in this shit city. Tyrion: Probably.
  • Cersei rocks up with her entourage, including a smirking Euron. You’re still not scary, arsebag. You’re like a second-rate Captain Jack Sparrow cosplay.
  • Tyrion and Cersei eye each other off. Fuck I’ve missed Dinklage and Headey together…their chemistry is dynamite.
  • Jon eyes Cersei. Jaime eyes Brienne. Euron eyes Theon. The Hound eyes the Mountain, and hilariously breaks protocol to tell him he’s coming for him…later. Right now he has to go grab the demonstration Tupperware dead guy.
  • Waaaaah I so wanted Cleganebowl!
  • Cersei vents her fury over Dany’s lack of punctuality by using her eyes to tell Brienne to go die in a fire.
  • Jaime looks embarrassed that Brienne’s here to witness his testicles being tucked into Cersei’s purse.
  • Dragon screech! Dany arrives on Drogon, while Rhaegal frolicks in the sky above. My heart explodes in renewed grief for Viserion.
  • Unimpressed by the dragons, workplace psychopath Cersei bitches at Dany for arriving late. Dany’s super dignified about it.
  • Tyrion hops up to launch his preso. Theon forgot to set up the fucking overhead projector AGAIN. Euron interrupts to be a fucking douche until Cersei tells him to sit down.
  • Tyrion launches into his intro: none of us like each other, we’ve all lost people, blah-blah-blah, major peril means we must unite. Jon’s pronunciation of ‘battlefield’ annoys me. Cersei bitches at Jon and Dany. Tyrion introduces the main event…dead guy in a box!
  • Dead guy runs straight for Cersei, the way a large, wet dog will run towards the one person in a group who’s terrified of dogs. Her resting bitch face transforms for pretty much the first time ever, showing actual terror.
  • Jaime doesn’t move a muscle when it comes for her. I sense there’s still good in you, Jaime!
  • The Hound cuts dead guy in half. Jon demonstrates how a wight can be killed, and gives his spiel: Sign up to kill wights today, and receive this Flavourstone non-stick frying pan – FREE!
  • Euron fakes being terrified and leaves. Cersei pretends to care about the plight of mankind, and pledges to fight alongside her enemies – as long as Jon doesn’t choose sides when she and Dany battle it out later on. Unable to tell a lie, Jon declares for Team Targaryen. Cersei storms out of the meeting.

Tyrion makes an enormous logical leap to come to the conclusion that he’s the one to make his sister reconsider. He presents himself to a seething Cersei, who appears as if she wants to kill him on sight – yet doesn’t. This makes a lot more sense later on when you find out she was orchestrating everything the whole time.

I don’t think Cersei avoids executing Tyrion because deep down she doesn’t want to kill him – that’s simply what she needs Tyrion to believe. She knows that what he longs for more than anything is acceptance from his family; she’s withheld that from him his entire life, and is now using it to play him. Just as she plays him by ‘accidentally’ giving away that she’s pregnant. Given his (inexplicable) feelings of guilt over Myrcella and Tommen, it enables Cersei to exploit his emotional vulnerabilities even further.

Anyhow, that’s my theory. But all that really matters is that Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage are fucking sensational together, and this is one of the best scenes of the season.

Back at the dragonpit, Jon’s foreshadowing later events by fondling a dragon bone. Dany comes over to lament the downfall of the Targaryen dynasty and sexy-talk him with some High Valyrian. She reminds us all – for the 700th-fucking-time – that she can’t have children. As an expert in the field of female reproduction, Jon isn’t so sure and personally wants to double check.

Tyrion returns with Cersei and her entourage, and Cersei commits her forces to fighting alongside the others in the Great War. Meeting adjourned! Is it wrong that I’m a little bereft at the lack of green explosions?

To Winterfell, where the snow’s flying and Littlefinger’s slime is oozing extra-thick. As usual, Sansa’s pissed off at Jon for making decisions without consulting her first, as if he’s King of the North or something. This somehow leads to nonsensical discussion about the merits of pre-emptively killing Arya before she can kill Sansa.

Littlefinger dispenses more of his creepy how-I-play-the-game wisdom. Dude, just write a fucking Chicken-Soup-for-the-Mastermind book already. Sansa soaks it all up, paranoid that Arya’s here to kill her and take the title of Lady of Winterfell. Technically speaking, isn’t Bran top dog in the line of succession anyhow?

To Dragonstone, for the sole purpose of watching everyone squirm uncomfortably when they realise Jon and Dany are going to bone their way to Winterfell. Jorah takes it especially hard. From Tyrion’s expression, I’m starting to think he’s going to betray Daenerys in season 8.

Theon approaches Jon in the throne room, telling him he always knew what the right thing to do was. Sensing Theon’s need for forgiveness, Jon says he forgives what he can – and that Theon doesn’t have to choose; he’s a Greyjoy and a Stark. I hope Jon remembers this philosophy next season when he confronts his own therapy-inducing identity issues. Also, Alfie Allen’s right up there with Dinklage and Headey in terms of performance in this episode, which is even more evident in the next scene.

The last of Yara’s men are down on the beach, getting ready to sail for greener pastures. Theon arrives and tells them they need to rescue Yara.

There’s a fight between him and their captain. Theon finally finds his courage and refuses to back down, despite the likelihood he’s going to be beaten to death. When his lack of a penis helps him win, he manages to gain the respect of the Ironborn. Theon sinks into the sand and washes away the last remnants of Reek. A really powerful scene that left me all lumpy in the throat.

Back to Winterfell, where – after a moment of contemplation – Sansa orders that Arya be brought to the great hall.

Inside the hall, the Knights of the Vale have gathered, along with Lord Baelish. Sansa and Bran hold court as Arya’s brought forth. There’s some frosty dialogue between Arya and Sansa, until finally Sansa list the charges: You stand accused of murder. You stand accused of treason. How do you answer these charges…Lord Baelish?

Littlefinger visibly shits himself a little, but can’t digest the possibility of having been caught in a trap inspired by his own web-weaving. He tells Sansa he’s confused, so she clears matters up for him: he murdered their aunt Lysa to take control of the Vale, he conspired to murder Jon Arryn with poison, he instigated the conflict between the Lannisters and the Starks, and worst of all – he conspired to have Ned Stark locked up for treason.

He denies it all – none of them were there to see what happened.

Bran: Totally saw everything.

Littlefinger starts to panic, begging Sansa for a private audience. She throws his words back in his face, and it’s fucking delicious: Sometimes when I’m trying to understand a person’s motives, I play a little game…

Littlefinger demands the Knights of the Vale escort him back to the Eyrie: ACCESS DENIED. He becomes a blubbering coward, begging Sansa and telling her he loves her. Sansa responds by giving Arya the nod to cut his throat like he’s a prize hog. It’s glorious, juicy justice, even if the logistics of how all this actually played out are unclear. The cockroach of Westeros is finally dead, killed with his own treacherous blade.

Back to King’s Landing, where Jaime’s organizing the expedition North. Cersei rocks up and asks what the fuck he’s doing, then tells him she always knew he was the stupidest Lannister. What in God’s name does Jaime get from this relationship aside from blow jobs??

Cersei has no intention of sending her armies North – she’s going to let the monsters deal with the monsters, while she strengthens her position. Jaime points out that this will result in powerful enemies coming to kill them, regardless of who wins the Great War – and their child will never be born if the dead conquer Westeros.

Cersei dismisses this; she clocked that Dany’s down a dragon, and is flush with cash from the Iron Bank – in fact, Euron’s on his way to Essos to pick up her newly-purchased army, complete with elephants. Oh, yeah. Elephants. They’ll help in a battle against dragons for sure.

Jaime’s unhappy she planned all this without him. Cerise’s unhappy he ‘betrayed’ her by speaking to Tyrion. Jaime’s had a gutful and is fucking OUTTA here. Cersei sets the Mountain on him; no one walks away from her! And for the second time in this episode, one of her brothers tells her to go ahead and kill him. She doesn’t though – this time I genuinely think she can’t.

Jaime goes to Cersei’s quarters and fishes his testicles out of her handbag, before heading North. As he gallops away, the snow finally starts to fall on King’s Landing.

Sam and Gilly arrive at Winterfell. They travelled by horse and cart rather than the Shinkansen, which I guess is is why it took them more than one episode. Sam’s first port of call is Bran, presumably to check just how far Bran’s sociopathic tendencies have progressed. Maybe Sam can learn how to give effective electro-shock therapy from one of his books?

Sam: What happened to you North of the Wall?

Bran (deadpan): I became the Three-Eyed Raven.

Sam: Oh. That’s…nice.

Bran explains that he can see shit that happened in the past, plus shit that’s happening now. They start talking about Jon, and Bran (finally) shares that Jon’s Rhaegar and Lyanna’s bastard.

Sam: Nope. He tells Bran that Gilly discovered Rhaegar’s first marriage was annulled, and he married Lyanna Stark in Dorne. Except that he doesn’t – he attributes the discovery to himself, like a total arsehole.

Bran delves into the weirwood-network to see what happened between Rhaegar and Lyanna. It turns out they did get married; Rhaegar wore Viserys’ horrendous wig as his ‘something old’. Seriously? Production couldn’t spring for a new wig to make Rhaegar remotely appealing?

Bran narrates the tragic story of Rhaegar and Lyanna as we cut to the dragon-boat of love, where Jon’s psyching himself up to knock on Dany’s door. Dragon incest booty call!

This entire sequence would be a lot sexier without fucking Bran monotone-ing over the top. But equally, it’s all so prim and serious and un-Game-of-Thrones that I kind of want to know what it’d be like if someone stripped their sex scene of its original sound and laid the music from the Blue Oyster Bar in Police Academy over the top. Please can someone make this happen?

While Jon and Dany get down, we learn Jon’s real name is Aegon Targaryen. Which was also the name of the son Rhaegar had with Elia Martell, who died at the hands of the Mountain. So Rhaegar recycled names much the same way my friend Lou’s mum calls every dog she has Pepper. When one Pepper dies, it’s replaced by the next Pepper. It’s quite macabre.

The music soars. Jon and Dany roll around naked, presumably about to make the baby Dany can’t possibly have – while Tyrion lurks in the shadows outside, looking forlorn. Is this another nail in the coffin for his trust in Dany, and if so – why? He was totally shipping them last week.

To Winterfell once more, where Arya and Sansa have the reunion conversation I was hoping for weeks ago. I love that Sansa’s a proper badass now, and Arya’s her muscle. Sad strings kick in as they talk about their father, and my throat gets all lumpy again. So let’s jump to a zombie dragon!

At Eastwatch Tormund’s keeping watch atop the wall with Beric Dondarrion. He spots the White Walkers emerging from the trees below, and knows shit’s about to go down.

An unearthly dragon shriek pierces the silence, and zombie-Viserion appears with the Night King on his back. He blows the Wall to shit with blue zombie-dragon fire. The Wall (or at least a good chunk of it) collapses. I hate to say it, but I think Tormund’s unlikely to make any monstrous babies with Brienne anytime soon.

The White Walkers lead the army of the dead into Westeros, while the Night King soars overhead. As Tyrion Lannister put it: we’re fucked.

Next week: Nothing. Nothing but staring down the barrel of an 18-month wait for the next new episode, wondering what the fuck happened to Gendry, if Bronn will follow Jaime to the North, and whether Ghost is chewing shoes and peeing on the carpet at Winterfell to protest being fucking neglected all year.

 

Advertisements

GOTS7: ‘Beyond the Wall’ Recap

Just to be clear, I’m writing this recap while jet-lagged, emotionally crippled by irrational grief for a CGI beastie, and slightly drunk from the cans of gin and tonic I found at Tesco (don’t judge, I was disoriented and desperate). Are you ready? Good. Me either.

We open on Dragonstone…because Dragonstone. Specifically, Aegon’s map table thingy. More specifically – we’re zooming up towards the area beyond the Wall.

Cut to actual beyond the Wall, where Jon and his band of merry idiots are hauling arse through the snow. The first half of the episode is mostly these guys bonding on their way to find a dead guy…so pretty much Stand By Me with snow and zombies.

There’s loads of dialogue, which is a ballache to recap – so I’ll summarise:

  • Gendry’s never seen snow
  • Tormund recommends sex to stay warm.
  • Gendry’s dumb.
  • Going beyond the wall to hunt for a dead guy is also dumb.
  • Jon’s still refusing to bend the knee.
  • Tormund: Yeah…Mance felt that way too. He’s dead now, along with lots of people who followed him. Good story, Tormund!
  • Gendry’s bitching about the Brotherhood selling him to Melisandre. The Hound tells him he’s whining; his lips are moving and complaining is coming out. Since one of the themes running through this episode is parenthood, I have to say – the Hound would make an ace dad. Kind of like my uncle who used to hose his children off in the backyard when they went number twos.
  • Jon and Jorah bond over their daddy issues. Jon even tries to give Longclaw back, but Jorah refuses and tells Jon to keep it – may it serve him well-and his children after him…wink wink! I feel like Jorah’s giving Jon his blessing to boink Khaleesi. Jon seems confused though…maybe he’s forgotten where to put it?

To Winterfell, where Arya’s taken over from Bran as Stark Psychopath of the Week. I hated this whole scene, so here’s my version:

ARYA: Knitting is stupid. I shot arrows and father clapped and now he’s dead…BECAUSE OF YOU.

SANSA: None of that makes any fucking sense.

ARYA: LOOKIT YOUR PRETTY HANDWRITING ON THIS RAVEN.

SANSA: I was 12. You’re being a douche. Also – totally won Winterfell back, so fuck off.

ARYA: YOU BETRAYED OUR FAMILY! I’M TELLING THE NORTHERN LORDS!

Why is Arya a complete cunt now? Two weeks ago she was awesome, now she’s the Waif.

Back beyond the Wall. Tormund’s trying to make friends with the Hound, who apparently has sad eyes. Tormund has never heard the word ‘dick’ before, yet is somehow acquainted with the word ‘pussy’. He discovers the Hound knows Brienne, and says he wants to make monstrous babies with her. Good GOD will everyone stop fucking talking about babies?

Cut to Jon and Beric, comparing notes on being not dead and their mutual existential angst. I take it back – let’s return to Tormund, discussing co-sleeping and selective schools.

Beric tells Jon death is the enemy – the first and the last. Jon looks a little bit like Keanu Reeves grappling with the concept of manufactured reality in The Matrix. I iz shield that guardz realmz of men. I PRETTY!

The group arrives at the mountain the Hound saw in the flames – the Hound says they’re getting close.

Back at Dragonstone, Tyrion and Dany are sitting in front of the fire, painting their toenails and gossiping about boys.

DANY: You know what I like about you? You’re not a hero.

TYRION: Actually, I totally stormed a gate during the Battle of the Black-

DANY: NOT LIKE JON SNOW. Who I don’t even like so STOP MENTIONING HIM, OKAY? Why do you even keep bringing him up??! Has he said something to you about me??

Tyrion tells her Jon Snow is in love with her. Dany, demonstrating the emotional sensitivity of a potato, actually wonders aloud if Jon’s too short for her. Tyrion visibly flinches. You know what, Dany? You’re a shit boss, and about 5″1 at best. Shut up.

They move on to discussing tactics for the upcoming meeting with Cersei, and shit escalates pretty quick. Tyrion points out that Dany tends to lose her temper. Dany responds by losing her temper.

Tyrone then decides it’s a good time to talk about who gets the throne when she croaks. Either Tyrion’s trying to get himself executed, or this is the writers’ ham-fisted way of getting the conversation back to babies – namely the fact that Dany can’t have any. Dany’s pissed and tells Tyrion they’ll discuss her successor once she’s actually wearing the crown.

Beyond the Wall once more, and there’s a zombie bear. A great big zombie bear! Away up there! It attacks, eating a nameless extra and a chunk of Thoros; Beric cauterizes his wounds with his flaming sword before using it to make everyone crème brulee. Jon picks up the zombie bear’s trail, presumably leading back to the army of the dead.

Winterfell. Again. Sansa’s enlisted Littlefinger’s help with the Arya situation – as he no doubt knew she would. How is it Sansa still doesn’t know when she’s being played? Or does she? Sansa says she doesn’t know Arya anymore. Littlefinger suggests using Brienne to intervene, and Sansa seemingly takes the stinking bait – but I’m not so sure.

Back beyond the Wall, Jon and co finally track down a group of wights, led by a single White Walker. They set a trap, and a fight ensues. Jon manages to take out the White Walker, which consequentially destroys all the wights – except one. Handy. Problem is, he’s a screamer – and alerts the rest of the army of the dead. We hear a rumble and see the avalanche in the distance as the wights tumble over the cliffs in pursuit.

Realising they’re pretty much fucked, Jon tells Gendry to run back to Eastwatch and send an SOS raven to Dany – because he’s the fastest. I’m left wondering how and when this was established. Have they conducted timed sprints in the snow to pass the time? Or is Jon just sick of Gendry, given he’s either fucking high or whining all the time?

Gendry trots off towards Eastwatch. The others bag up the wight and neck it out of there, managing to find refuge on a rock in the middle of a semi-frozen lake as the army of the dead surround them, unable to cross – at least for now.

After a cold night on Refuge Rock, the group finds Thoros dead. The Hound says dying from hypothermia while stranded on a rock surrounded by a zombie army is one of the better ways to go. On this show, that’s probably true. Beric whips out his flaming sword (again) and sets fire to Thoros’s corpse. I have flamey-sword envy.

Jorah points out to Jon that they’re all going to freeze soon –maybe if they try take out the White Walkers, the wights will self-destruct? Jon insists Daenerys is their only chance. In a moment of geek homage, Beric channels Yoda and says ‘No…there is another’. Is this a nod to the incest parallels? Cos Luke and Leia only kissed that one time, and it was totes awkward and there was no tongue and it was all about making Han jealous anyway.

Wait…nope. Beric’s talking about the Night King. Kill him, and it’s game over for the whole zombie army. Beric wonders if the Lord of Light brought him and Jon back to kill the Night King. The Hound, at his sardonic best this episode, says that every Lord he’s ever met has been a cunt – why would the Lord of Light be any different? Fingers crossed we get a spin-off with just the Hound, travelling the countryside, calling people cunts.

Back to Winterfell. Sansa’s received a summons to King’s Landing and decides to send Brienne instead. This is what makes me think Sansa’s more aware of Littlefinger’s manipulations than she lets on – it’s like she doesn’t want Brienne caught up in his web, which he’s already gunning for. Or is she sending Brienne so she won’t be able to protect Arya should Sansa decide to behead her sister? That seems out of character, but then Arya’s become Hannibal Lector over the course of two weeks, so anything’s possible.

Dragonstone. Dany’s changed into a wicked winter flying outfit made from only the fluffiest endangered white tiger cubs, and is off to rescue the Stupid Seven. Tyrion doesn’t want her to go, despite the fact that – as usual – the whole thing was his dumb fucking idea. And as usual, Dany doesn’t listen – blaming Tyrion for all her problems instead. Get out of this relationship, Tyrion.

Back to Refuge Rock. Bored and characteristically irritable, the Hound actually decides to throws rocks at the wights. I love you, Hound.

His second rock skids across the surface of the lake, showing it’s frozen solid again.

The Hound: Oh. Fuck.

Wights descend upon Refuge Rock, and it’s on like Donkey Kong. Have you ever noticed Jon’s a noisy fighter? He’s the Monica Seles of swordsmanship.

Our heroes fight bravely, but inevitably get caned. Jon yells at them to fall back. Um…to where, exactly? Then it’s sad slo-mo moments of heroism. Jon prepares to go down fighting. All is lost…

Aaaaaannnd Dany’s here, ready to burn shit and take names! Flight time from Dragonstone: approximately 7 minutes, 14 seconds.

Jon stares up at her like a devoted Labradoodle. How can he not? Even I’m in love with Daenerys at this point. That jacket is wicked.

 She lands Drogon and reaches out her hand to Jon. Hop on, idiot! Jon chooses to turn away and show off his sword fighting skills instead.

Cut to the Night King. One of his soldiers (Walkers? Honchos? Advisors? Attendants?) grabs a large ice-pick-thing, and hands it to him. While jon continues to battle wights for NO FUCKING GOOD REASON, the Night King takes aim.

 Me: No. NO.

Husband: He’s gonna kill Jon!

Me: Fuck Jon! Please not the dragon. Please not the dragon. Please not the dragon. Plea- OH FUCKING FUCK.

The Night King nails Viserion with the pick. Screaming in pain, Viserions plunges towards the ice, cracking the lake’s surface on impact. His lifeless body sinks into the lake.

Even Drogon fucking cries.

Dany’s devo. Jon sees red and gives the Night King stink eye: You killed my girlfriend’s third favourite child!

The Night King reaches for another ice pick. I hate him, but you’ve got to admit – he’s totally badass. Jon yells at Dany to get the fuck out of there, just before he’s attacked and pulled beneath the ice.

Dany takes off. The Night King takes aim at Drogon, but thankfully misses. Still, his javelin skills are pretty impressive – that subsidized White Walker athletics program has really paid off.

I know most people – me included – saw this coming. There were too many script leaks and too much spoilery speculation flying around the interwebs not to get wind of the possibility. Plus the stakes clearly needed to be raised – Dany was holding too many aces.

But they killed a dragon. Fuckers. I haven’t been this upset since Artax died.

Jon emerges from the lake’s icy depths, only to find himself facing an onslaught of wights. Thankfully Uncle Benjen appears out of nowhere, swinging his fire lasoo-thing and somehow warding off thousands of ice zombies. He stops long enough to give Jon his horse and insist on remaining to die for no reason. Jon heads for Eastwatch while Benjen gets eaten alive. As far as Stark family reunions go…this was still one of the nicer ones.

Back at Eastwatch, Beric, Tormund and the Hound bundle the wight into a boat, while Dany stands watch upon the Wall, looking for any sign of Jon. Don’t worry Dany – as Sam once said, he always comes back.

And he does.

They undress him on the boat while Dany watches, shaking her head at the sight of Kit Harington’s abs. Is the boy ever allowed to eat carbs?

Winterfell again. Sansa’s broken into Arya’s room to look for the scroll, but finds a bag of harvested faces instead. Arya appears.

Arya: Let’s play a game! It’s called the game of fac-

Sansa: Fuck off. Why do you have a bag of heads?

Arya grabs her dagger and approaches Sansa, while venting all her jealous-sister angst. I’m the younger daughter in my family, and it did suck sometimes growing up – but carving my sister’s face off and capering about in her clothes never occurred to me. I just dealt with it the normal way – by stealing her stuff and dobbing on her whenever possible. Anyway. Instead of carving Sansa’s face off, Arya hands her the dagger and walks out.

Dragonboat of love. Jon wakes to find Dany by his side. He grabs her hand and apologises profusely for what happened to Viserion. Dany shrugs – he was the spare anyway. But her dragons are the only children she’ll ever have, geddit? Just for those of us who missed the fertility discussion earlier on.

Jon nods. Dany tells him they’re going to destroy the Night King together.

Jon: Thank you, Dany.

Dany doesn’t want him to call her Dany – that’s what Viserys used to call her.

Jon: Okay…not-Dany.

And for one glorious moment, I’m convinced Jon is going to refer to her as Not-Dany for the remainder of the show. But no…he’s going to call her his queen. This seems to turn Dany much more than his abs do. They hold hands until shit gets awkwardly sexy, and Dany leaves.

Back beyond the wall, the wights are using chains to drag Viserion’s sagging corpse from the lake. JUST RIP MY BEATING HEART FROM MY CHEST, WHY DON”T YOU?

The Night King lays his hand on Viserion’s snout. After a few seconds, the dead dragon’s eye pops open – bright blue. What do you reckon the chances are that zombie-Viserion is gonna blow the shit out of the Wall?

Next week: It’s summit time in King’s Landing. Lots of boats. The Unsullied and the Dothraki line up for a fight. Tyrion looks nervous, Jon looks strange in direct sunlight, and Cersei’s got that gonna-blow-shit-up look in her eyes. How the fuck is it finale already??

 

 

GOTS07: ‘Eastwatch’ Recap

We open on Bronn and Jaime, surfacing on the opposite side of the lake after apparently swimming the length of it underwater. So not only are we tearing through the fabric of space-time so characters can traverse immense distances within a day, we’re also ignoring the biological limitations of the average human body. Got it.

Bronn asks what the fuck Jaime was doing charging at Daenerys and Drogon. Jaime wanted to end the war by killing her. Bronn wins me back by calling Jaime a cunt and telling him he’s not allowed to die until Bronn says so. After witnessing what one dragon’s capable of, Jaime’s realises they have no chance of defeating three of them and needs to tell Cersei. Yup, and I’m sure she’ll be super reasonable about it.

Tyrion walks through the smoky aftermath of the battle, clearly appalled. I get his inner conflict at the sight of his family’s forces reduced to ashes, but I also wonder what he was expecting the dragons to be used for? Super-fast defrost?

The survivors from Cersei’s forces drag themselves before Daenerys. Drogon’s perched behind her, hoping for treats. Dany tells the soldiers she’s not like Cersei; she just wants to protect the common people and break the wheel of privilege and stuff. She totally doesn’t murder people…so bend the knee OR DIE.

Most of the men kneel after a little nudge from Drogon, but not Sam’s arsehole dad or Rickon-Dickon. Randyll Tarly insists he already has a queen. Tyrion points out that his loyalties are somewhat flexible, given he was loyal to the Tyrells up until recently. Randyll gives Tyrion shit about murdering his own father – yup, the guy who was going to kill his own son and make it look like a hunting accident. Pot-kettle, Sam’s arsehole dad!

Lord Tarly refuses to bend the knee and won’t concede to being sent to the Wall. Dany respects his choice and asks if he can kindly move away from the others – he’s about to become a human fire hazard. Rickon-Dickon, who seems like a nice kid but not the sharpest sword in the armory, steps forward to say he won’t bend the knee either. Looks like Sam’s going to inherit Horn Hill after all.

The Targaryen-Jaws theme kicks in. The Tarlys receive the dracarys treatment, which leads those still standing to fall to their knees. Tyrion’s clearly uncomfortable with Dany’s methods. Dany’s starving and could really go a burger.

Inside the Red Keep, Jaime rushes to tell Cersei they’re fucked. Cersei’s pretty matter-of-fact about it, asking what he think’s she’s supposed to do – propose a peaceful surrender? He did betray and kill Dany’s dad, after all.

Jaime tells Cersei that Tyrion didn’t kill Joffrey – Olenna did. Cersei barely registers this aside from wishing she’d ignored Jaime and tortured Olenna to death. So I guess Tyrion’s not getting an apology anytime soon then? Jaime tells Cersei they’ll be wiped off the map like the Tyrells if they don’t find a way out of this war. Cersei would rather fight and die than submit and die, and can’t understand why Jaime’s not down with that plan. Have I mentioned how much I hate Cersei’s wig?

Dragonstone, where Jon Snow’s brooding on the cliffs again, his cloak flapping in the wind. FFS Jon, can’t you just sit in your room and sulk while listening to The XX like everyone else?

He watches Dany approach on Drogon and looks suitably awestruck. Drogon lands and gets up in Jon’s face, preparing to bite his head off. No, wait – secret-Targaryen pheromones. In that case, he just wants a head scratch! Good boy! Dany watches Jon pet Drogon and silently thanks the Gods; Drogon used to shit in Daario’s shoes all. The. Time.

(This scene’s reminiscent of that time Tyrion managed to pat either Viserion or Rhaegal…so I’m still leaning towards Tyrion being the third head of the dragon.)

Dany jumps down and Drogon gives her a hilarious ‘is this our new Dad?’ look before taking off. Dany tells Jon that the dragons are her children. Jon stares at Dany with unrepressed longing…or he think’s she’s butt-fuck crazy. I’m can’t tell.

Jon marvels at the short commute between Dragonstone and the freaking Reach. Dany announces she has fewer enemies than she did yesterday. Jon disapproves and broods at the same time. Dany tells him they both want to help people, and sometimes that means melting the flesh from the pawns that make up your enemy’s armies and reducing their bones to ashes on the wind.

Dany presses Jon for more info about what Ser Davos said when they first arrived – something about taking a knife to the heart? Lucky for Jon there’s a distraction: Jorah’s back!

Dany’s thrilled. Jorah’s wondering if pity sex is out of the question. Jon’s pissed off. Or cold. Or mildly confused…that’s the problem with lingering looks when the actors are squinting against the frigid wind – they’re so damn ambiguous.

To Winterfell, where Bran wargs into a crow to fly North and see what the Night King is up to. He comes upon the army of the dead and sees they’re heading for Eastwatch by the Sea. Send ravens, Maester not-Luwin!

To the Vatican Citadel, where a bunch of old white men in robes are sitting around a table, discussing how superior they are to everyone else. Sam enters and overhears the contents of Bran’s message. Yet again the maesters refuse to listen when he tells them it’s all true – the army of the dead are coming. He leaves in a huff.

Dragonstone. Tyrion’s drinking and Varys is fidgeting. They’re worried Dany’s becoming a Sith Lord, like her father before her. Varys has Bran’s raven for Jon Snow – pre-read, or course.

Cut to Jon, finding out that both Arya and Bran are alive. Dany’s right – he seems fairly upset about it. Jon announces that he needs to go home – with the army of the dead approaching Eastwatch, his (remaining) family are in danger. He’ll fight with the men he has, unless Dany will join him. Dany’s unwilling; as soon as she marches away, Cersei will march in.

And here comes the stupidest plan in the history of Tyrion’s stupid plans. Don’t get me wrong, he’s my favourite and all – but this idea is fucking preposterous at both ends. I know! Let’s appeal to Cersei’s better nature – which quite clearly doesn’t fucking exist, btw – by sending approximately 5 dudes to track down the immense army of the dead and kidnap a wight. Assuming that doesn’t go tits-up – and it will – we’ll take said dead guy to King’s Landing and present him to Cersei, at which point she’ll surely express her horror (even though she’s basically got a dead guy as a bodyguard) and dedicate her remaining forces to defeating the White Walkers, HURRAH!

Everyone nods at the sheer brilliance of this idea.

Fuck. Me.

Tyrion’s going to talk to Jaime to get him to convince Cersei. Jorah volunteers his services to capture a wight, which makes Jon feel inadequate – so he’s going too. Dany’s devastated – she hasn’t slept with him OR burnt him alive yet, so she’s not giving him permission to leave. Jon tells her he put his trust in her – now she has to put her trust in him.

To Winterfell, where the fickle Northern Lords and Knights of the Vale have had enough of Jon’s absence, and want Sansa to take over. Christ. Whatever happened to ‘the North Remembers’? Sansa makes a half-hearted attempt at assuring them Jon’s doing what he thinks is best, while Arya watches on. They lock eyes; Starkbowl’s a brewin’!

Sansa and Arya walk and talk. Sansa snits that she warned Jon that this would happen; he couldn’t leave the North and expect it to sit and wait for him, like Ghost. Between that and Davos joking later that he thought Gendry might still be rowing, I’m beginning to think the writers are using fan memes as source material now they’re well beyond the books.

Arya defends Jon, telling Sansa he trusted her to take care of things while he’s gone. They enter Sansa’s chamber, which was once Ned and Catelyn’s – and Arya’s unimpressed. The sisters argue, and Arya uses her House of Black and Boring powers of deduction to guess Sansa’s motivations: she wants to lead instead of Jon, and is banking on the support of the Northern Lords and the Knights of the Vale. I’m distracted by the height discrepancy between the two of them; Maisie Williams makes Sophie Turner look like the BFG. Anyway, tensions are escalating quickly between the Stark sisters, and neither of them has even ‘borrowed’ anything from the other’s wardrobe yet.

BOOM, Davos and Tyrion are in King’s Landing. Seriously, it’s like watching Bewitched. They pull their boat ashore and head in separate directions; Tyrion’s off to find Jaime, while Ser Davos has Baratheon-bastard business to attend to in Flea Bottom.

Bronn leads Jaime through the dragon museum beneath the Red Keep for a ‘secret training session’, aka angsty brother reunion. Jaime isn’t happy to see Tyrion, while Tyrion’s clearly happy to see him – Dinklage the master plays this scene perfectly as the little brother desperate to reconnect with his brother and make him understand his reasons for killing their father. Personally I buy the whole ‘he was going to execute me for no reason’ thing, but not Jaime. Noooo siree. Tyrion kills their father before their father can behead him – unforgivable. But Cersei, long murderous history aside, blowing up an entire landmark full of innocent people – that’s fine. Sigh. Fuck you, Jaime.

Tyrion tells him Daenerys is willing to cease hostilities if Cersei agrees to certain terms i.e. let’s meet up for brunch – you bring the wine, we’ll bring the dead guy.

Ser Davos finds Gendry working on the Street of Steel. Gendry, seemingly high on speed or other methamphetaines, jumps at the opportunity to join the cause without actually knowing what the cause is. But he has a hammer, like his father before him – which I thought was cute.

This week’s comic relief is brought to you by two moronic Gold Cloaks, who allow Ser Davos to ply them with gold and fermented crab when they stumble across the boat. I’m not opposed to these kinds of scenes, but I feel like the time could have been invested in a prolonged conversation between Tyrion and Jaime – their love and conflict is far more gripping. The Gold Cloaks buy Davos’ story until they spy Westeros’ Most Wanted Dwarf. Gendry takes care of business with his hammer – and the comic relief is now dead. Last week’s guards at Winterfell got off easy in comparison.

Back in the Red Keep, Jaime confesses to Cersei that he met with Tyrion, who told him Daenerys wants to meet up to chat about the army of dead men marching on the seven kingdoms. Cersei’s in; she thinks it’s a great opportunity for Red Wedding 2. Also, she’s knocked up. Jaime’s thrilled, but also creeped out when she tells him never to betray her again. Is Cersei really pregnant, or just playing Jaime to ensure his continuing loyalty? What will they name this one? Will it burst forth from her stomach, Xenomorph-style? So many questions.

Davos introduces Gendry to Jon Snow. Gendry, still riding high and unblinking on crystal meth, vows to fight the good fight with Jon beyond the Wall. Also, he comments on how short Jon is. Ha! Joe Dempsie plays Gendry with the intensity and impulsiveness that the young Robert Baratheon was known for, but I think the issue is that it’s so vastly different from shy, quiet Gendry of seasons past – and we haven’t witnessed how his character evolved during the time in between.

On the beach, Tyrion and Jorah have a bro moment of farewell – I’ve missed these two together. Also, I’m calling it: Jorah’s gonna die next week. Possibly sacrificing himself to save Jon, knowing Khaleesi’s smitten with him.

Speaking of Dany, she’s here as well – remarking that she and Jorah should be better at saying farewell to each other by now. Erm…I’m not sure those two times you sent him into exile count?

Now it’s Jon’s turn. I’m pretty sure Kit Harington’s boots have kitten heels. Dany pins him with the look of super-speedy-underdeveloped love, and says she’s grown used to having him around. Jon: *backs away*….well…gotta go! Sad music plays. Jorah looks back one last time. Don’t worry, Jorah…your time in the friend zone is about to end. Forever.

Oldtown, where Sam’s scribing and Gilly’s memorizing facts for the next Westerosi Trivia Night: blah-blah number of steps in the Citadel. Blah-blah number windows in the Sept of Baelor. Blah-blah-blah Jon Snow’s actually the trueborn heir of Prince Rhaegar and legitimate King of the Seven Kingdoms. Mic drop!

Sam (steamrolling over Gilly, as usual): THAT’S IT. There’s nothing to be learnt here…I quit! And he does, after stealing some books – Sam’s turning out to be quite the kleptomaniac.

Back to Winterfell now, where Arya is spying on Littlefinger. And when I say spying, I mean lurking in a fairly obvious, well-lit fashion. Given he’s a seasoned veteran of the King’s Landing spy network, Littlfinger’s clearly onto her and makes a show of looking especially shady.

Arya eventually breaks into his room and finds a secret scroll she saw Maester not-Luwin give him; it’s the raven Cersei forced Sansa to write back in season 1, denouncing their father and calling for Robb to bend the knee to Joffrey.

Arya’s shocked and horrified, and I seriously don’t know why. Wouldn’t she put two and two together and realise it was a political move on Cersei’s part? She’s smarter than this. She’s always been smarter than this. Yet we’re meant to believe Littlfinger is playing her like a violin? Or is this a double-pretend on Arya’s part? I’M TIRED AND HUNGRY.

Jon and co arrive at Eastwatch. Inside the castle, Torment says the only sensible thing anyone’s said during the entire episode: this is a stupid fucking idea. He also gets the best line: And you need to convince the one with the dragons, or the one that fucks her brother?

Turns out Jon and the gang aren’t the only ones who want to commit suicide beyond the wall: the Brotherhood – including the Hound – are here for the same reason. They compare notes and decide that for the sake of plot expediency and a super-dramatic end shot, they’ll all head out together.

The gate’s raised, and after some dramatic staring at each other, the Fellowship of the Dead-Guy head out into the true North.

Next week: Death is the enemy! Jon! The Hound! Lots of snow! Dany and Tyrion! A shit-ton of dead guys! Arya VS Sansa! Muchos fighting! Beric’s flaming sword! And hopefully one kick-arse, dragon-operated rescue mission? Yes??

 

GOTS07: ‘The Spoils of War’ Recap

We open on the Lannister forces, lugging their Highgarden loot towards King’s Landing. Jaime’s still burning from Olenna’s epic last words, but at least he has carts full of gold to show for it. Bronn’s dirty about not being paid what he was promised because he doesn’t have a castle yet. Jaime tells him to shut up; the purpose of this scene is to explain all the gold is to pay the Iron Bank, not complain like a whiny bitch.

…which leads us to another thrilling finance meeting between Cersei and Mycroft Holmes, aka Iron Bank muscle. Next week: Mycroft takes us through a PowerPoint preso outlining the Iron Bank’s brand mission statement and corporate values.

Mycroft continues with his you’re-truly-Tywin’s-daughter bullshit, which even Cersei finds boring now. Then it’s back to looking at the floor map of Westeros, which must have been quite an investment for the GoT art department given how much time we seem to be spending on it.

Ceresi tells Mycroft that her only venture right now is regaining control of Westeros and all its inhabitants. Mycroft happily volunteers investment from the Iron Bank…as soon as the Crown’s debt is paid. Smarmy smile.

To Winterfell, where Littlefinger is giving Bran a present; the Valyrian Steel dagger the assassin used to try and kill Bran waaaay back in season one. Bran seems unimpressed; clearly Littlefinger doesn’t have Euron’s knack for choosing gifts.

Littlefinger pulls out all the vacuum-salesman stops to tell Bran just how much he wants to protect Catelyn’s children, and wow – he just can’t imagine what Bran saw beyond the Wall.

Bran cuts through the shit by quoting Littlefinger, circa season three: ‘Chaos is a ladder’. Littlefinger’s eye twitches, which is probably the best indication we’ve ever had of genuine emotional turmoil from him. It’s fun watching him squirm. Seriously though, Bran – you know you’ve reached peak weirdo when you manage to creep out Littlefinger.

Meera arrives to break the tension…or make it worse? Basically Bran = guaranteed awkwardness these days.

Bran already knows why she’s here; she’s leaving. Meera tells him he doesn’t need her anymore. Bran: No. I don’t. I’m not sure if Bran’s humanity has been consumed by his expanding omniscience, or if he’s just your average teenage boy with the emotional depth of a Cheezel. It’s hard to say.

Meera’s heartbroken and points out that her brother, Hodor, Summer, and pretty much all the Children of the Forest died for him. She nearly died for him. Bran explains that he’s the Three-Eyed-Psychopath now, and thus can’t remember what empathy feels like anymore.

Meera tells him he died in the cave, and leaves.

We cut to Arya, contemplating Winterfell from a distance. The musical theme of the North kicks in. After so many years of turmoil and solitude, she’s finally made it home. I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying.

Upon arrival she’s confronted by two incompetent guards. They argue about who’s going to tell Sansa about her. Arya soaks up the Winterfell-vibes before doing a runner.

Sansa knows where she is, though. Sisters know these things. But I have to say, I wouldn’t be looking for mine in a crypt; the first place I’d check would be my shoe cupboard.

Sansa and Arya’s reunion isn’t unpleasant, by any means. There’s hugging. But it’s a bit matter-of-fact. I know they never had the closest relationship and they don’t have much in common, but hell – any surviving Stark should be pretty stoked to see another one, right?

Arya doesn’t think her father’s statue looks like him. Sansa points out that pretty much everyone that knew his face is dead. Arya: ‘We’re not.’ They smile at each other, and it’s a nice exchange between the two Stark girls who have proven themselves the ultimate survivors – true wolves. Until Arya mentions her kill list, which Sansa assumes is a joke. Arya: Um…yeah….sure.

 Sansa tells Arya that’s Bran’s home as well, and the look on Sansa’s face tells Arya something’s not kosher.

Bran’s parked in the Godswood, ready to pass on his new dagger to Arya. Clearly he knows she’s going to do something momentous with it, and I’ve been trying to figure out what. Kill Littlefinger? Awesome, but you don’t need Valyrian Steel for that…a can of Mortein would probably do the trick. Although I suppose it would be poetic if he was killed with a weapon that originally belonged to him. Alternatively, Arya will be instrumental in the war against the White Walkers, and given the mad skillz she shows later in the episode that could be a showdown to look forward to.

Brand gifts the knife to Arya, and I have to feel a bit sorry for Sansa; Arya reunites with Bran and gets a priceless Valyrian Steel weapon. Sansa reunites with Bran and gets cruel commentary on how beautiful she looked the night she was brutally raped. Could Bran be any more of a prick at this point?

To Dragonstone, where Missandei and Daenerys are indulging in some boy talk. Eunuch talk. Whatever: Missandei got some action. Daenerys is all: DETAILS! Not now, Dany – Jon Snow wants to lead you into a dark, sexy cave and talk about uniting your ‘houses’. Clearly he learnt this trick from Ygritte. I miss Ygritte.

Jon shows Dany the sparkly rock paintings of the Children of the Forest, which show that they teamed up with the First Men to defeat the White Walkers long ago. Dany tells him she’ll fight for him – and the North – if he just bends. The Freaking. Knee.

Jon tells her that the North won’t accept a Southern ruler after what they’ve been through. Dany echoes what he once told Mance Rayder: Bend the knee to save your people, moron. As my husband points out, there’s a viable – if incestuous – compromise staring them in the face.

Jon and Dany exit the caves to find Tyrion and Varys waiting for them, looking forlorn. Cue Dany completely losing her shit after she finds out Casterly Rock was a setup. The best part is when Jon rolls his eyes at Davos. You’d never see Ygritte have a tantrum like this, Jon…she’d just shoot you full of arrows and be done with it.

Dany questions Tyrion’s loyalty, given his backfiring strategies and insufferable reluctance to roast thousands of people alive. Then she asks Jon what he thinks she should do.

Jon clearly wants to get one of his friends to call him with a faux emergency so he can makes his excuses and get the fuck out of this hellish Tinder date, but he tells Dany that using her dragons to kill thousands of innocent people will just show she’s the same kind of arsehole as everyone else. Dany buys this from Jon, even though Tyrion essentially just said the same fucking thing.

Back to Winterfell, for my favourite part of the episode. Brienne’s training in the yard with Pod, who is receiving his daily arse-kicking. Is it just me, or is he not improving? Like, at all?

Arya approaches, and I’m geeking out. What can I say – Arya’s filling the void in my heart left by Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Brienne admires what Arya’s packing. Arya asks to train with Brienne, because hey – totes smashed the Hound.

Arya and Brienne have at it while Sansa and Littlefinger watch from the battlements. To Brienne and Pod’s surprise, Arya easily holds her own. In fact, she appears faster than Brienne – though not as powerful.

Realising she’ll need to the arse-kicking up a notch, Brienne knocks Arya off her feet with a kick to the chest. Brienne and Pod are all sheeeeeeeiiit, but Arya jumps to her feet and looks insanely happy to have found a challenge. Sorry Bran – this is my kind of psychopath.

The fight ends in a draw of awesomeness, and Arya and Brienne realise they are each other’s spirit animal. Sansa looks glum and whispers to herself: I’m good at clothes. Arya stink-eyes Littlefinger, and I have a question: Bran’s clearly privy to things that happened in King’s Landing, so why hasn’t he discovered/told anyone that Littlefinger betrayed Ned in the Throne Room? Or will that be the eventual impetus for Arya to add his name to her list?

Back to Dragonstone, and this time it’s Jon and Davos indulging in girl talk. Davos asks Jon what he thinks of Daenerys. Jon acts all coy, even after his Cave of Seduction routine – but tells Davos he thinks Dany has a good heart. Davos has apparently noticed Jon staring at her ‘good heart’. So this means that at some point, maybe during Dragonstone post-work drinks, Jon stared at Dany’s boobs, while Davos stared at Jon staring at Dany’s boobs.

Jon dismisses this with an I-stared-into-the-Night-King’s-eyes excuse. So there’s no time for Dany’s boobs? The producers gave them plenty of air-time last year.

Missandei’s hanging out up ahead. Davos is totally crushing on her again. Is it weird that I find this cute? Missandei asks Jon why his surname is different to his father’s. Jon, for the 467th time, tells everyone he’s a bastard. Naath doesn’t have marriage or bastards. Davos is titillated. Jon wonders why Missandei is serving Dany if she was liberated. Missandei tells them Dany’s the Queen they all chose to follow. You know, back when Dany offered people reasonable choices.

Jon spots a Greyjoy ship approaching. Theon pulls ashore with the other remaining Ironborn. He and Jon have it out. Well, sort of – Jon tells him he’s only letting him live because of what he did for Sansa. Theon’s back to get Daenerys to help him rescue Yara. Jon tells him she’s gone. Theon: ‘Where?’

 Cut to the Lannister forces, still pushing shit towards King’s Landing…and it’s at this point I got nervous. Prior to watching this episode I made the mistake of checking Facebook, saw everyone’s cryptic freak-out posts, and ended up convincing myself some arsehole was going to kill Drogon with Qyburn’s fucking ridiculous wooden crossbow. So whilst I was pretty damn excited about finally seeing Dothraki screamers in action and the Lannisters getting a caning, I was also pretty fucking anxious.

Jaime and Bronn ask Rickon-Dickon about his first battle experience. Rickon-Dickon seems a lot nicer than his Dad; I hope he lives.

Bronn hears the Dothraki horde and alerts Jaime. The Dothraki appear on the horizon, and everyone pretty much shits themselves. Personally, I’m grabbing for the popcorn. What was it Robert Baratheon said back in season one? Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field. Jaime: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

Daenerys descends from the clouds on Drogon and torches the Lannister front line. The Dothraki break through and the slaughter begins, while Drogon destroys the food supplies taken from Highgarden – turning Lannister soldiers to ash in the process.

It’s pretty gruesome, and as with nearly every great battle on Game of Thrones (with the main exception being Battle of the Bastards) I’m left appalled by my own fickle loyalties. I’ve always been Team Targaryen and am irrationally invested in the wellbeing of the dragons, but this is a holocaust.

Tyrion seems to reach the same conclusion when he comes upon the scene. His father’s army is in chaos, men are dying agonizing deaths, his brother is in the midst of it – and he’s responsible. Where will Tyrion’s loyalties go from here?

Jaime sets his archers to the task of taking down Drogon. Drogon proves impervious to tiny wooden arrows, because duh – dragon. Which means it’s time to crack open the big guns. And by big guns, I mean one gun, And by one gun, I mean creaking, shitty crossbow on a wooden platform.

Look, I’ve always been ambivalent about Bronn. He’s comic relief at least. But when he starts shooting at Drogon, I want him melted like a birthday candle.

On his second attempt Bronn pierces Drogon through the wing, and Drogon and Dany fall from the sky. Drogon pulls up though; right in front of Bronn and the crossbow, and – thank fuck, because it was an illogical piece of shit – he torches the whole thing. Did Qyburn make back ups?

Dany jumps off to pull the bolt from Drogon’s torso. Jaime spots his opportunity to commit suicide and gallops toward the dragon.

This all got a bit contentious in my house, because my husband has an enormous man-crush on Jaime Lannister. So whenever we play ‘Who Would Win’ (i.e. who would win out of the Hound VS Khal Drogo? Who would win out of Barristan Selmy VS Brienne of Tarth?), and one of the opponents is Jaime Lannister, he’s always adamant that (two-handed) Jaime would best pretty much anyone. It’s cute.

But really? Go towards the dragon? My husband reckons it proves he’s a true knight of valour. Personally I agree with Tyrion: you fucking idiot.

Nonetheless, Jaime gallops towards Dany and Drogon. Drogon sees him coming and gets ready for a barbecue – but at the last minute, Bronn (I think?) knocks Jaime out of the way, and into the water…where he sinks straight to the bottom. I’m filled with relief – don’t get me wrong, I like Jaime’s character – but I was just glad no fictional CGI dragons were killed in the making of this episode. I’m a sick, sick woman.

Is this the last we’ll see of Jaime Lannister? No chance. He’s got a destiny to fulfill and redemption to find. Besides – Bronn has to fish him out if he wants that fucking castle.

Next week: Dany’s losing touch with her humanity, Tyrion must find a way to make her listen, Bran’s seen the Night King heading for Eastwatch, and Jon meets Drogon up close!

 

 

 

 

 

Game of Thrones S703: ‘The Queen’s Justice’ Recap

We open on Jon Snow and Ser Davos arriving at Dragonstone. Clearly they bypassed the King’s Road and jumped on Westeros’ new Shinkansen. One thing you’ve gotta say for Queen Cersei; she doesn’t skimp on transport infrastructure.

Jon and Tyrion greet each other with man-affection. Their bond as mutual outcasts was believable and endearing back in season one, and they’re even cuter together now (I suppose it helps that Jon’s not an emo little Pollyanna anymore).

Ser Davos makes a weird pass at Missandei before commenting to Jon that ‘Dragonstone’ has changed. Which is seems unreasonably nostalgic to me; last time he was here people were being burnt alive every second day and Stannis was going to have him executed.

Tyrion and Jon compare notes; Tyrion didn’t consummate his sham marriage to Sansa. Jon didn’t ask. Tyrion believes she’s smarter than she lets on; Jon’s catching on to this himself (but clearly not fast enough). Jon’s men think he’s crazy for coming here, and Tyrion agrees – Stark men don’t fare well when they go South. Jon points out (as he does…often) that he’s not a Stark. Drogon (at least I think it was Drogon) chooses this moment for a fly-by and takes a large foreshadowing dump on Jon’s head. Next episode: Rhaegal humps Jon’s leg until he gets the picture: You’re a WIZARD, Harry Targaryen, Jon!

Melisandre’s scoping out Jon’s arrival from atop a cliff when Vary’s rocks up for one of his passive aggressive I-want-you-to-fuck-off-now chats. Melisandre makes the book diehards lose their minds by referring to Jon and Daenerys as ice and fire respectively, then checkmates Varys with her knowledge of his impending death. Boo-ya, Spider!

Now for the main event; the much-anticipated meeting of Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow. Presumably thousands of Jon/Dany shippers are about to die of a nerdal-lobe embolism.

The scene had a shit-ton of dialogue, so for the sake of brevity I’ve paraphrased:

Dany: Good trip, MY LORD?

Jon: We tore a hole in the fabric of space and time to get here between episodes.

Davos: His name is YOUR GRACE.

Dany: Nope. Solemn-vow-made-in-perpetuity, etc.

Jon: Your Dad burnt my family alive.

Dany: Sorry. BEND THE KNEE.

Jon: No…because Night King.

Dany: WTF?

Jon: Army of the Dead.

Dany (to Tyrion): Man-bun’s lost it.

Jon: NIGHT KIIIIIIIINNNNG!

I wish I could include Dany’s whole self-belief speech, because Emilia Clarke fucking rocked it. I got goosebumps and briefly considered a silver rinse. But alas, the abbreviated version:

Dany: I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms AND I WILL, motherfucker!

Jon: Still no.

Dany: Fine. You’re screwed. Now how about a bath and some supper?

Jon: Am I your sex-slave?

Dany: Not yet.

We cut to see Theon being fished out of the ocean, while in King’s Landing Euron presents Cersei with her gift: Ellaria Sand and the third-least-annoying sand snake.

Cersei promises to reward Euron with her hand in marriage once the war is won, then initiates her revenge on Ellaria. I have to say, I found her methods…dare I say it…somewhat reasonable? Ellaria did kill her daughter in cold blood. Or maybe I’m now desensitized to murderous revenge if it doesn’t involve someone’s head’s popping like a balloon or an entire building being flattened. Either way, revenge fills Cersei with the desire to give her brother a blow-job.

So she does.

Mycroft from Sherlock shows up the next morning; the Iron Bank of Bravos is calling in its debts. Cersei promises to repay the Crown’s debts in full within a fortnight. Why couldn’t Benedict Cumberbatch play Euron? Is it too late? Can we petition?

Back on Dragonstone, Jon and Tyrion find themselves brooding on the same cliff top. Disappointingly, Tyrion doesn’t piss off the edge. Jon whines. Tyrion offers his help. Cut to…

Tyrion telling Daenerys Jon wants to mine dragonglass, and encouraging her to take a small step towards making a new ally by agreeing. It’s all very Much Ado About Nothing, especially when Beatrice and Benedick Daenerys and Jon hash it out at sunset while the dragons frolic in sky above. I can almost hear ‘Tale as Old as Time’ tinkling in the background.

To Winterfell, where food’s running out. Oh, and Sansa’s an expert in battle armor now. How did these seasoned commanders survive and succeed in countless military operations without her?

Littlefinger makes a confusing speech about fighting every battle in your mind before it happens and imagining every possibility so that no matter what happens you aren’t surprised. Or something. I’m not sure if he’s misquoting The Art of War or it’s just his most elaborate pickup ploy yet.

Then Bran’s home…and creepy as fuck. Naturally he and Sansa catch up while sitting out in the freezing snow, where he tells Sansa he’s the Three-Eyed-Raven now. Like the rest of us, Sansa doesn’t have any fucking idea what that means.

Bran ups the creep-factor by impassively describing her horrendous wedding night, as if he’d been there watching the whole thing. Sansa: Yeah….I’ve got…a thing…I have to go do. Now. KTHXBYE.

To Oldtown, and there’s no sign of fecal matter, pus or greyscale; Archmaester Slughorn examines Jorah’s recently de-scaled torso before giving him a clean bill of health. Jorah tells Sam he’s heading off to find his beloved Khaleesi. Yikes…you have a traumatic return to the friend zone in store, dude: Khaleesi has a new love interest, and he’s wearing your family’s heirloom sword.

Back on Dragonstone, Daenerys and her remaining advisors discuss their next move. Dany wants to jump on Drogon, track down Euron’s fleet and fry them. I vote yes! But no – Tyrion says she’s too important. Despite the loss of Yara’s fleet and the Dornish, they decide to plough ahead with their plans for the Unsullied to take the ‘impregnable’ Casterly Rock.

Tyrion narrates the attack in real time. The Unsullied enter the Rock via Tyrion’s secret sewer entrance, and quickly overcome the soldiers to take the castle. It’s all a bit breezy – I kinda thought the battle of Casterly Rock would be a bigger deal…and it turns out that’s the point. As Euron’s fleet arrives to destroy the Unsullied’s ships, Grey Worm realises it was a setup – where are the rest of the Lannister forces?

They’re prancing around to The Rains of Castamere, which I’ve had stuck in my head ever since watching this episode. Have you ever sat in a work meeting with The Rains of Castamere running on a mental loop? It makes everything much more sinister.

Jaime leads the Lannister army to Highgarden, where they make short work of the Tyrell army and take the castle.

Jaime arrives for a pre-execution debrief with the Queen of Thorns. They discuss Joffrey’s sword and the ludicrous name he gave it, ‘Widow’s Wail’. Possibly my favourite line in Game of Thrones history, delivered with glorious timing and elegance by Diana Rigg: ‘He really was a cunt, wasn’t he?’

Olenna points out that Cersei’s a monster and will be the death of him. Jaime: Probably…but BLOW JOBS! He’s too far gone to care. Well, for now. I’m still predicting some Valonqar action later this season.

Jaime’s forgone Cersei’s gruesome execution preferences in favour of poison. Olenna makes sure she gulps it all down before claiming the ultimate last word by finally confessing to Joffrey’s murder. The kicker:

‘Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me’

Oh, Olenna. Forget Dany and Cersei; you’re the damn queen of our hearts.

Next week: Dany’s losing, the Lannisters haul the spoils from Highgarden, Arya contemplates Winterfell, and DROGON!!!

One Year of Motherhood: A Survival Story

My clever, cheeky, happy, determined little girl turned one recently.

We celebrated with a party, presents, cake, champagne, and a mountain of chicken wings my poor husband cooked on the barbecue while standing out in the rain (our oven conveniently blew up two days beforehand).

In the weeks leading up to the party I made ‘practise’ cakes, sourced my girl a special birthday outfit (complete with a pair of highly practical cowbaby boots), ordered her gift from us (a miniature red racing car…so far she’s chewed on the steering wheel) and loaded up on so many fuzzy pink decorations our house looked as if a pink muppet had broken in and blown itself up.

Admittedly we (I) went a little overboard, as was apparent when my sister found me in the kitchen the night before the party, colour-coding the Smarties for the cake edging.

But it was important to me make a big deal out of my girl’s first birthday. First and foremost because she’s gorgeous and deserves to have a fuss made over her, but also because – holy shit – we made it.

We survived the first year of parenthood.

I know. That sentence seems a little melodramatic….unless you’re currently white-knuckling it through your very own first year of parenthood, in which case you’re thinking ‘There’s a remote fucking chance we’ll survive this? Our bodies won’t finally pack it in from relentless exhaustion and constantly rocking 3-10 kilos of merciless mini-human whilst singing ‘5 Little Ducks’ at the recommended sleep-inducing decibel, during the ideal sleep window?!’

Before your firstborn actually arrives, the idea of new parenthood equating to a 127-Hours-esqe survival slog is just another one of those things people casually suggest to you. Ooooh, buckle up! Everything’s about to change! Sleep when they sleep! And remember, during those first few months you’ll just be in survival mode!

And you nod and smile and think longingly about the ‘emergency’ croissant in your handbag.

But they mean what they say, and of course you think you know what they mean when they say it. But really, your concept of the oncoming shitstorm is abstract.

Your understanding of true, unadulterated sleep deprivation – that bone-deep, nausea-inducing, eye-burning, hallucinogenic strain of soul-sapping exhaustion reserved for new parents – is abstract.

Your grasp of the grim hell that is a breast pump accompanied by a three-hourly pump-feed-pump-feed-pump-feed-cycle is abstract.

The prospect of being hand-milked at 3am by a sausage-fingered German midwife (who presumably grew up on a Bavarian dairy farm given her brutal dexterity) when your milk hasn’t really come in yet and you haven’t had more than 40 minutes sleep since giving birth two days ago? Abstract.

And that psychological avalanche of terror that hits when you leave the highly-equipped medical facility and drive home (in a MOVING CAR! Through MOVING TRAFFIC!!!) with your spindly new mini-human, and realise that you have to figure shit out now because her life depends upon it? Yeah. Inconceivable.

Maybe some people breeze through this stuff before lighting a kale-scented candle and slow-cooking some lamb shanks, but personally I had to crack into the gift hamper champagne on our first day solo.

I don’t know. Has anyone ever arrived home with their firstborn without their knees shaking as the tectonic plates of their life shift irrevocably?

As a brand-new mum, you look down at your baby and the love you feel threatens to swallow you whole. All the clichés are true – it’s that powerful. But when you look around, everything’s different.

Your old routines are gone. Your daily rhythms have changed. The body you inhabit is alien to you, and possibly stitched up like a Sherrin ball. And, for a while at least, the freedom you once had is utterly out of reach.

Despite all the books I devoured and all the questions I asked friends and all the paraphernalia I bought in preparation and all the lists I made to get myself organised, I wasn’t anything close to prepared for it. Emotionally prepared, I mean.

I found new parenthood confronting, terrifying, brutal, relentless and utterly, utterly alien. I felt as if I’d been completely extracted from my old life – from the world, in fact – like a pulled tooth.

Clearly this was a severe reaction, and there were other factors involved (more on that to come), but during those first few months after giving birth, I had to fight the urge to run up to pregnant women on the street and attempt to prepare them for what was coming:

GO TO BED! RIGHT NOW! Lie there and do nothing for several hours! Then read an entire book in one sitting before showering for 40 minutes! Then dress up in clean (CLEAN!!) clothes and go out to dinner – somewhere as fucking far away from your house as you can geographically manage!

Afterwards, go to the movies and shovel popcorn in your mouth using both hands (SIMULTANEOUSLY!) and marvel at the fact that you don’t have to dig an angry, engorged breast out of your shirt at ANY POINT IN TIME. Good God, take yourself to the beach and PACK NOTHING!!!! NOOOTHIIIIIINNNNNNG!!!

This was internal-me whenever I saw a pregnant woman:

sc-gif-2Thankfully I curbed that lunatic impulse. Because you know what?

No one can tell you. No one can prepare you. And most sane people don’t want to frighten the maternity pants off you by trying.

I get that now.

But all the same, as I ate a piece of my daughter’s double-buttercream-iced, colour-coded birthday cake, I considered what one-year-on me could hypothetically tell 8-months-pregnant me.

What advice would I impart to my old self, the me that existed before that stormy June evening when my waters broke a month early but I refused to leave the house until our ancient printer reluctantly crapped out my (utterly irrelevant) birth plan?

I suppose I could tell her this:

Stop watching ‘One Born Every Minute’ and PACK. YOUR FUCKING. HOSPITAL BAG. Right now. Oh, and those two novels you’re planning on packing for the ‘downtime’ you’ll have between contractions? Yeah, you can leave those. Use the free space to pack more food; RPA is apparently where uneaten plane food goes to die.

Midwives. Many are human angels, but some are power-tripping ghouls who prey on women at their most vulnerable.

You’ll meet plenty of the former, but unfortunately a few of the latter too. One will delight in casually suggesting you’ll kill your baby girl unless you do things her way (which also happens to contradict the instructions the NICU midwives give you).

You’ll never regret kicking her out of your hospital room. Not for a single second.

Napisan Vanish. The pink spray bottle. Buy 1000 fucking units of it right now (along with Baby Love nappies…ditch the Huggies).

Your gal is a poop-up-the-backer for the first three months of her life and a spewer for the first seven. Thus Vanish Spray will be liquid gold in your household, second only to breastmilk – which you’ll spend much of your time harvesting until your girl is able to latch. Often while crying, as you peer anxiously at the ml measurements on the bottle and desperately hope you’ll have enough for her next feed.

Which brings me to that dreaded breast pump. Let me tell you a glorious secret: one day you’re going to pack that groaning, mastitis-inducing mechanical little fuckwit up, and shove it into storage whilst giggling like a Disney witch. It won’t forever be attached to you, despite what you might think in those first months.

I know you’re not awesome at group socialising (or, you know…socialising), but mothers’ group doesn’t completely suck. It actually does help to talk to other women wrangling the same cluster fuck as you at any given time. Sleep regressions, Wonder Weeks, bleeding nipples, blebs, bottle-refusal, mastitis, reflux, struggling with weight gain (baby’s), struggling with weight loss (yours), the infinite unfairness of your husband having no boobs and thus being able to drink whenever he wants.

Basically, mothers’ group is all about having someone to sit next to on a burning, runaway rollercoaster.

Breastfeeding. Hell, why not. Let’s crack open that can of worms with a rusty axe.

You’ll eventually be very proud of your breastfeeding efforts. Not because you’re a smug breastapo member who thinks they’re better than formula-feeding mums, but because of what it will cost you to do it.

The first few months (fine…the first 6 months) will be invariably excruciating.

I’m talking cracked nipples, blebs, constant over-supply, 8-freaking-rounds of mastitis, and once your daughter’s teeth come through – bites. No, that’s not in the brochure.

Despite what people will tell you, it doesn’t hurt because your nipples are too small, your daughter’s mouths is too small, your let-down is too forceful, you aren’t feeding her enough, you’re feeding her too much, you’re feeding her too often, you’re feeding her for too long, you aren’t using the right hold, you’re using cream on your nipples, you aren’t using enough cream on your nipples, you aren’t ‘airing’ your nipples, etcetera etcetera etcetera.

Allow me to call bullshit on all of this for you: it hurts until it doesn’t hurt anymore.

That’s it. That’s the raw (red raw) breastfeeding deal. It’s like your boobs just have to undergo their own (long) Rocky training montage to toughen up until they can handle it.

The silver lining to all of this is that your beautiful girl will thrive on it, and at around the 7-month mark it will become as painless as breathing. You’ll continue to breastfeed her until she’s 14 months old and decides she’s done.

But.

Knowing what I know now, I wish I could convince you not to agonise over it so damn much.

I wish I could make you understand that an occasional bottle of infant formula is not the IQ-evaporating, crystal meth gateway some would have you believe.

It’s perfectly okay for your husband to give your daughter a bottle of it when the pressure and the exhaustion leave you with nothing left in the tank. Like when you’re crying with desperation over only being able to pump 30mls, or when you’d give anything for three consecutive hours of sleep.

I wish I could convey to you that – for some – the collective physical and emotional toll of breastfeeding can sometimes outweigh the benefits. And that’s a balance that every mum should feel empowered to decide for herself. It’s okay to call time if you need to – and you aren’t a failure if you do.

That’s not the worst of it though.

The same constant hormonal rollercoaster that makes breastfeeding possible will be a big factor in the postnatal depression you’ll be diagnosed with at three months postpartum (but you’ll know in your gut that something isn’t right way before then).

Shitty bomb to drop. Sorry. But I can also tell you this: you’re going to beat it.

Exactly how you’ll manage that is a post all of its own, but I can tell you it won’t be easy. It won’t be easy on you and it won’t be easy on your incredible husband, who is unfortunate enough to be in the passenger’s seat on this particular journey through hell – yet somehow he will never fail to hold you and tell you it’s going to be okay.

Postnatal depression is a thief; it will steal from both of you. It will steal joy and focus and time that should have been yours to spend just basking in your beautiful daughter, breathing her in.

Getting it on the ropes will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. And the insidious, relentless nature of this beast demands you do it again, and again, and again. You have to beat it back, every damn day, until somewhere along the way – you land a knockout punch.

There’ll be days where you’re convinced things are never going to be okay again. I wish you didn’t have to live through those days believing that, because it’s not true. Postnatal depression is a thief and a liar.

Things are going to be more than okay.

You’re going to be happy again. You’re going to see the world in colour again. You’re going to carve slices of your life back and stitch yourself together, slowly, slowly.

You’re going to run so hard and for so long that you break a toe. You’re going to box yourself stupid. You’re going to flood your body with endorphins and starve the depression by nurturing and strengthening yourself, from the outside in.

Some days you’ll feel yourself drowning in black despair so thick and sticky you can barely breathe. Wade through it. Your toes will touch the bottom soon.

One day, this feeling – this illness – will be nothing but a blighted memory. A monster defanged. A nightmare you’ve woken up from. At most, a horrid acquaintance you brush past on occasion.

But it will no longer consume your reality.

You know what? All of this will come regardless. There’s no preparing yourself; parenthood and whatever comes with it is a learn-on the-fly, baptism-of-fire, thrown-in-the-deep-end, cut-your-own-hand-off gig.

You have to live through this shit to comprehend it; that’s just how it works.

So let me tell you just one thing instead. The best thing ever:

You’re going to meet your little girl soon. She’s incredible.

You’ll take one look at her, bloody and squalling as the obstetrician holds her in the air, and you’ll think: It’s you. Of course it’s you. I’d know that face anywhere.

Your love for her will burn through you until what was tough and unyielding is gone. Until that thick skin you spent years forming is torn away, and your heart feels paper-thin.

This love won’t make you a selfless saint or wipe you of everything you were or everything you previously loved; you aren’t a reformatted hard drive, for fuck’s sake. But it will recalibrate your universe.

It will take you a long time to get used to this recalibrated, vulnerable you. But you will. And you’ll reconstruct yourself around her, with stronger foundations this time – and a bigger heart.

Motherhood burns you down, but it rebuilds you too.

Game of Thrones S610: ‘The Winds of Winter’ Recap

It’s D-day in King’s Landing, and the big players are getting ready for the trial of the century. The opening scenes are almost entirely silent, except for the ominous clanging of the Sept’s bell…which is clearly tolling for a truckload of people given it’s the finale and the death count in King’s Landing has been uncharacteristically subdued this year.

Cersei is decked out in a wicked new outfit from ASOS. It’s dress-military meets wicked stepmother meets androgynous Batman.

Tommen’s being dressed by an attendant but insists upon trying to tie his own shoelaces.

Margaery’s having her hair done, but you can tell she’s not allowed to use product anymore – it’s apparently on the Faith Militant’s Helpful List of Sinful Household Items. Even the High Sparrow is putting his good Sunday rags on. Everyone’s resplendent in their finery.

New music from Ramin Djawadi kicks in as the doors to the Sept of Baelor open and the people of the court arrive. It’s sparse and haunting and becomes more and more unsettling as these scenes play out; your subconscious discomfort turns to conscious dread (or morbid anticipation) as you realise it’s winding up to something.

Broken Loras shudders in his cell, waiting for his haircut at Stylz by Sparrowz.

People continue filtering into the Sept. The High Sparrow arrives looking pious and pleased with himself.

Post-coital Pycelle puts on his chains and glances in the mirror; yup, totally nailing the pedo-priest chic. He exits his chambers but is stopped by one of Qyburn’s little birds, who whispers something in his ear. Just don’t sit on his lap, kid.

Loras is led into the Sept. He confesses to all charges and asks to become a servant of the seven. Okay, Loras – but you gotta get the gang’s tattoo. The sparrows carve a seven-pointed star into his forehead.

Cersei’s chambers, and she’s ready to go. Or is she? Elsewhere, Tommen finally rises from his chair only to find Frankenmountain guarding the door. Sorry, Tommen…playgroup’s cancelled today.

Loras drips his forehead all over the Sept floor. Margaery is pissed at the High Sparrow for mutilating him. The High Sparrow reminds her that Loras will be free to go once Cersei’s trial is over. Margaery, hyper-aware of Cersei’s cunning, is starting to smell a rat; where is the Queen Mother? The High Sparrow sends Lancel to fetch her.

Cersei pours herself a leisurely glass of wine as if she has all the time in the world.

Lancel exits the Sept and spots one of Qyburn’s little birds looking sketchy. The kid darts off and Lancel follows him into the tunnels beneath the city.

Grand Maester Pycelle is led into Qyburns chamber, where Qyburn is waiting for him. Together they’re like Creepy & Creepier. Pycelle pompously asks where the king is, and Qyburn apologises in advance for what is about to happen. A little bird appears with a dagger and creepy child-singing (is there any other kind?) joins the haunting piano melody.

Lancel continues chasing his little bird down dark corridors.

More little birds appear in Qyburn’s chamber. Someone left the child-lock off the sharps drawer; they’re all wielding knives and looking at Pycelle like he’s a giant sugared plum. Qyburn leaks a spoiler to Pycelle: you’re totes going to die in here, pedo-bear. Soz.

The children fall upon Pycelle. He spray-vomits his own blood as they stab him senseless. It looks like they’re killing the world’s dodgiest Santa.

Chaotic cello kicks in: Cersei’s hour cometh.

Lancel searches the tunnels beneath the Sept, seemingly oblivious to the countless drums of highly-fucking-flammable liquid surrounding him. I hope those robes aren’t polyester, Lancel. Actually, I hope they are. The little kid stabs him and he collapses to the ground. Now we hear added organ music, and you know nothing good can accompany that.

 Margaery’s spidey sense is in overdrive now. Oh, Margaery. You’re shrewd and clever and I’ll miss you.

Lancel spots flames burning up ahead. Alas, he’s unable to walk – getting stabbed in Kings Landing actually has consequences – so he drags himself forward Terminator-2-style to investigate.

Margaery’s instincts are skyrocketing into the red zone. RUN! Waaaaaah you’re the only person left in King’s Landing that I like.

Lancel drags himself towards the flames, glancing at the barrels that line the walls either side of him. They’re leaking wildfire. Hurry, fundamentalist himbo!

Margaery finally follows her gut and tells the High Sparrow there’s something wrong. He tries to fob her off, so Margaery walks him through the logic of just how completely fucked they are: Cersei knows that blowing off her own trial will likely result in her head permanently departing her shoulders, but has chosen to stay away anyhow. Conclusion: it’s time to haul arse out of there.

Lancel gets close enough to see what’s ahead: candles burning down towards pools of wildfire. The penny drops and he rushes to put out the flames before the radioactive Mountain Dew ignites.

Margaery tries to evacuate everyone, but the Faith Militant bar the doors.

Lancel: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…ah fuck.

There’s a stampede in the Sept as the crowd makes for the exits. The High Sparrow is starting to look unsure of himself; could Cersei really be a step ahead this time? Margaery looks back, her eyes imploring him to let them go.

Too late.

The wildfire ignites. Lancel’s eyes Hulk out before he’s obliterated by a green firestorm. It rips through the tunnels towards the Sept. Inside the Sept, the crowd hears a monstrous rumble. Everyone looks down at the floor, which shakes beneath their feet. A split second later the green inferno erupts from below, consuming everyone and everything in its path. Goodbye, Margaery. You were awesome to the end.

The Sept explodes. From her vantage point in the Red Keep, Cersei admires her handiwork and sips her wine. She likes to pair her mass-killings with a robust Cabernet Sauvignon, peppery on the nose with herbaceous undertones.

But there’s one more debt to repay. Cersei pours wine in Septa Unella’s face and urges her to confess. Septa Unella informs her that she’s ready to die. Cersei smirks at that idea, and introduces her to Frankenmountain instead. Septa Unella screams and Cersei gets the last word; it’s shame…shame…shame.

Tommen gazes at the burning remnants of the Sept. His attendant tells him he’s very sorry and leaves the room. Having lost his beloved Margaery and her vagina, and facing the very real prospect of his narcissistic smother-mother murdering all his possible future girlfriends, Tommen removes his crown and throws himself out the window.

The Twins. Walder frey is holding a feast in his hall to celebrate the Frey/Lannister alliance. Menulog does not recommend eating here.

An attractive serving girl gives Jaime the eye, and Bronn bitches about being average-looking wingman. Jaime sets him up with two willing wenches, and Walder Frey sits himself down for some quality time with the Kingslayer. No one plays lewd, creepy uncle like David Bradley… just seeing him onscreen makes me want to put more clothes on.

Walder boasts about his victories over his enemies and implies that he and Jaime are kingslayer peas in a pod. Jaime is appalled at the comparison and questions why the Lannisters even need the Freys when they have to ride North to help every time they lose a castle.

Back in King’s Landing, dead Tommen is wearing his prophesied golden shroud. Have you seen the King’s Landing memes? Way too soon, but I do love a good pun.

Cersei stares at Tommens dead body, then orders Qyburn to burn it and bury his ashes where the Sept once stood so he can be with his grandfather and siblings. And with that, Cersei has no further use for her single redemptive feature: love for her children and maternal desire to protect them. Her journey to the dark side is complete. Where to from here?

Sam, Gilly and Little Sam arrive in Oldtown, where they see a cloud of white ravens flying from the Citadel. Winter is here.

Inside the Citadel Sam braves some frosty, sexist customer service before being allowed to enter Sam-heaven: a vast library. It’s cool but I hope they have liability insurance…those shelves and ladders are a fucking hazard.

One of the Citadel’s white ravens makes it’s way to Winterfell, where Jon is bitching to Melisandre about how he was never allowed to sit up the front during the gluttonous feasts his wealthy family held in their spacious castle. Melisandre: Try being a slave, fuckhead.

Ser Davos enters and throws Melisandre the charred remains of Princess Shireen’s stag carving. Melisandre fumbles it and looks aghast. Ser Davos, close to tears, demands she tell Jon what she did.

Melisandre confesses to burning Shireen at the stake, but says they had to; the army was trapped and the horses were dying – it was the only way. Ser Davos – understandable – loses his shit. Liam Cunningham is fucking incredible in this scene. “I loved that girl. Like she was my own. She was good, she was kind, and you killed her”. It’s gutting.

Ser Davos asks Jon if he can kill her now, please. Jon sends her South instead, but says he’ll hang her if she ever returns.

Jon watches Melisandre’s departure from the battlements of Winterfell. Sansa joins him. They to and fro about who should sleep in the Lord’s chamber: you take it…no YOU take it… no, YOU. It’s very different to how my brother and I used to converse growing up: *Punch* Stop hitting yourself…. *Punch* No, YOU stop hitting yourself…*Punch* No, YOU stop hitting yourself…

Sansa apologises for being cagey about the Knights of the Vale, but offers no explanation about it. Jon asks if she trusts Lord Baelish, and Sansa replies that only a fool would trust Littlefinger. Only a fool listens to his slimey word-poison too, Sansa.

Jon says they need to trust each other, and kisses her on the forehead. Aw. Sansa tells him that a white raven arrived form the Citadel; winter is here.

Ah, fuck. Dorne.

No, wait…Olenna Tyrell is here to save the day! She verbally spays the Sand Snakes. Fingers crossed not one of them utters another word ever, ever again.

The grown women speak. Ellaria proposes an alliance between the Tyrells and Dorne in order to survive. Olenna – dressed in her mourning blacks – no longer cares about survival now her family has been wiped out and House Tyrell is all but dead. Ellaria offers vengeance instead, and rings a bell. Varys appears and dramatically announces: FIRE AND BLOOD. REDRUUUUUUUUUM! Awesome, but answering to a bell is totally undignified, dude.

Meereen…FOR THE LAST TIME EVER, WHOOOOP! Daenerys informs Daario that he’s not invited to the Westeros Party. He’s going to stay here and take care of the people of Meereen. Daario echos my sentiments of the past several years: fuck the people of Meereen.

Dany cuts to the chase: when she gets to Westeros, she’ll need to be single so she’s free to marry her nephew Jon Snow (Oh, come on – it’s totally going to be Jon. Who else is left in terms of eligible highborn bachelors? She’s not going to marry Jaime, everyone else is dead, and Targaryens prefer to marry Targaryens. Ice and FIRE! Ice and FIRE!)

Sorry. Got carried away. Sadface Daario tells Dany he was always in this for her – he loves her and he knows he makes her happy. Dany: No, really…you’re not coming. Sorry, dude. Welcome to the friend-zone you gave Jorah so much shit about.

Tyrion waits in the throne room. He consoles Dany with the fact that sailing for Westeros IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING. I know, Tyrion. We’re leaving Meereen. My mental bags have been packed for 2 years, so let’s motor.

Dinklage revels in the only decent writing he’s had to work with all year in this scene: “Are you afraid? Good. You’re in the great game now, and the great game is terrifying”.  He tells Daenerys that, despite all his past cynicism, he believes in her. She rewards his devotion by giving him a Hand pin and naming him Hand of the Queen. His overwhelmed reaction is Dinklage at his emotional best – finally someone sees and judges Tyrion for his merits rather than his stature, which makes Daenerys the polar opposite of his father.

Back at the Twins, Walder Frey is dining alone in his hall. Mmmm…can I smell delicious impending vengeance?

Attractive serving girl arrives with pie. Walder bitches about his sons being late for dinner. Attractive serving girl says they’re already here, my lord. HERE. IN THE PIE, CREEPO. Walder lifts the pastry and finds a finger. It’s an Australian service station pie!

Attractive serving girl reveals herself as Arya Stark and gleefully cuts Walder’s throat. Gruesome revenge served cold and encased in pastry: 10/10.

Winterfell heart tree, where Littlefinger sidles up to Sansa, leaving a trail of slime behind him. He shares his deepest desire with Sansa: him sitting on the Iron Throne with her by his side. Oh…great. As far as propositions go that’s about as enticing as accompanying your husband to the dirt track to watch while he does race laps in a V8 Commodore for 4 hours.

Littlefinger dives in for a pash, which Sansa gracefully dodges. He then tells her she’s the future of House Stark, not Jon. PUT DOWN THE SNAKE, SANSA.

Further North, Uncle Benjen drops off Bran and Meera – he can’t go beyond the Wall because of the spells woven into the ice. His face is extra-peely this week. He pulls Bran off the horse and dumps him under a tree. KTHXBYE.

Bran taps into the Weirwood, and we’re back at the Tower of Joy. FINALLY.

Young Ned mounts the stairs to the Tower and finds his sister Lyanna lying in what looks like a horrific crime scene. Nope, just childbirth. Lyanna knows she’s dying and makes Ned promise to protect her newborn son. Seriously, there’s blood fucking everywhere. Did Jon explode from her stomach Alien-style?

Ned cradles the baby, and we get a close up of his baby browns, which are hilariously rolling in different directions. R + L = J? Please wait a moment while we confirm your equation.

CONFIRMED! Cut to Rhaegar and Lyanna’s son Jon Snow Targaryen, all grown up and about to be crowned the King in the North.

Lord Royce, the wildlings and the great Northern Lords have gathered at Winterfell to argue amongst themselves.  Lyanna Mormont takes charge: YOU ALL REFUSED THE CALL, BITCHES. But House Mormont remembers, and knows no king but the King in the North – whose name is Stark. Lyanna proclaims Jon her king, from this day forward until his last day.

The other Lords follow suit, drawing their swords and chanting: THE KING IN THE NORTH, THE KING IN THE NORTH, THE KING IN THE NORTH. I’m slightly uneasy given that the last time I heard this I was watching Grey Wind’s head bob about on Robb Stark’s shoulders, but yay Jon!

Jon looks down at Sansa. She smiles. Jon rises from his chair and inhales the sweet incense of manifest destiny. Sansa keeps smiling until she notices Littlefinger giving her too-bad eyes. Shut up, Littlefinger.

Jaime arrives back in King’s Landing just in time for Cersei’s coronation. The Rains of Castamere plays as she enters the throne room. Jaime watches on in horror as she mounts the stairs to the Iron Throne. Qyburn places a crown upon her head, and I swear they’ve based the design on a Lion King promotional poster.

Qyburn proclaims her Queen Cersei, First of Her Name, Mad Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and Donald Trump of the Realm. Kill her, Jaime. And soon…there’s plenty of wildfire still lying around.

Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys’ fleet finally sets sail for Westeros. Her dragons fly overhead, the Dothraki look seasick, and at the head of the armada, Dany stands with Tyrion, Missandei and Varys by her side. Hang on…Varys? Is he a fucking Time Lord?

Next week: Nothing. Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing. Monday nights are now as barren and cold as the Land of Always Winter. I suggest bingeing on wine and hotdogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game of Thrones S609 Recap

Let me preface by saying that I could use a good cup of tea with a double-vodka chaser, an entire pack of chewable antacids and perhaps a heart transplant, because mine exploded from stress somewhere between Jon galloping for Rickon and the Knights of the Vale arriving à la Riders of Rohan. And maybe a change of pants. Jesus Christ.

We open on the twisting cogs and ropes of a trebuchet as a projectile is loaded, set on fire and catapulted through the sky towards the Great Pyramid of Meereen. Note: the terrible wigs, off-screen action and sparse extras from this season’s previous episodes make much more sense as this one progresses – it’s clearly gobbled up 90% of the allocated season 6 budget. HBO wants Emmys, dammit!

Inside the Great Pyramid, Daenerys is brooding and Tyrion is jumpy. In between explosions Tyrion explains that the attack indicates progress; the wise masters know that a thriving city free of slavery is bad for business.

Dany concurs, and asks: ‘Shall we begin?’. She intends to kill the masters, set their ships afire, kill every last one of their soldiers and return their cities to the dirt. Maybe lay off the roids for a bit, Dany.

Tyrion disapproves and compares her approach with her father’s plans to nuke King’s Landing with wildfire that time. He then considerately provides information as to where the caches of wildfire are, including UNDER THE SEPT OF BAELOR, wink wink! There’s going to be a royal barbecue next week, and Cersei’s dishing up fried sparrow.

Right now, however, Tyrion would like to try an alternative approach.

Cut to Dany, Tyrion, Grey Worm and Missandei meeting with the Three Wise Masters outside Meereen. The masters believe they’re there to accept Dany’s surrender. They’re actually there to completely shit themselves when Drogon appears (bigger than ever, I might add), lands at Dany’s side and totes puts his wing out in a ‘Climb up, little lady’ gesture. Drogon so smooth.

Dany climbs aboard Drogon and heads for the ships in the bay. Rhaegal and Viserion burst through the wall of their pyramid prison and join them.  As the dragons head for the water, we pan down to outside the city walls where the Sons of the Harpy are having another stab-fest. I’m not sure what these people were even doing out there, logically speaking, but I’m too pleasantly distracted by the spectacle of thousands of Dothraki screamers – led by Daario Naharis – descending upon them to care. If you have to choose between logic and Dothraki screamers, you choose Dothraki screamers – shithouse wigs and all.

Back to the bay, where Dany chooses one lucky ship to receive the dracarys treatment. Ship burny. Men screamy. Dragons happy…I guess a ship is kind of like the dragon version of a Kong.

Tyrion thanks the Three Wise Masters for the armada and explains that one of them must die for breaking the pact they agreed to. Two of them volunteer the lower-born master. He falls to his knees. Grey Worm steps up and slashes the throats of the masters still standing. Best joke ever, Grey Worm.

Tyrion urges the surviving master to tell his people what happened when Daenerys Stormborn and her dragons came to Meereen. Best summarise it though, dude… leave out the whiny bits. And most of season 4.

Aaaaand we’re in the North. It’s at this point my stomach starts nervously churning bile, like I’m waiting to undergo a surgical procedure but just overheard the nurse say something about no anaesthetic. And the nurse looks like Ramsay in drag. AAAAAGGGGH SO TENSE.

Jon and Sansa wait to parlay with Ramsay. It’s been weeks since we’ve seen the psychopathic little leprechaun in person, and I feel sympathy dread for Sansa.

Ramsay’s party arrives. Ramsay greets Sansa, thanks Jon Snow for returning her, and invites them to kneel to declare him the true Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. If they do, all will be forgiven.

Jon declines, and suggests one-on-one combat so that thousands don’t have to die. Ramsay knows he’s no match for Jon, but points out that he has an army twice the size. Jon lands one by pointing out that his army might not want to fight for a leader who won’t fight for them. Jon: 1, Ramsay: 0.

Ramsay cuts the crap and threatens Rickon. Sansa asks how they know he even has Rickon for realsies. Once again, Lord Umber pulls Shaggydog’s head out of a bag and throws it to the ground. Does he just carry that thing around like a credit card all the time now? For everything else, there’s Shaggydog.

Ramsay starts to say something but is interrupted by Sansa, who has had enough of his tiny-headed-psycho-leprechaun bullshit: “You’re going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton. Sleep well.” She turns her horse and gallops off before he can respond. Ramsay looks sort of impressed.

Stark War Council meeting. Jon explains trenches to Tormund. Davos exposits that it’s crucial Bolton’s men charge at them first, so you know that’s precisely what’s going to go tits-up. Jon tells Tormund that he challenged Ramsay to a one-on-one in order to make him angry – that way he’ll come at them full tilt. I don’t know about this tactic… I’ve always thought Ramsay is more menacing when he’s having a great time, like on his horrific wedding night.

Sansa observes the men’s discussion in cold silence. She alone knows the depths of Ramsay’s cunning and depravity. As a man of honor like his father/unconfirmed uncle before him, Jon lacks the perverse imagination necessary to predict Ramsay’s monstrous potential manipulations.

Sansa knows he’s underestimating the enemy, and tells him so. Jon grumps that he hasn’t spent the past few years creating Pinterest boards – he’s been defending the wall from worse than Ramsay Bolton. Personally, I’d take a White Walker over Ramsay. But okay.

Sansa tells Jon what the rest of us already know: Rickon’s a dead-Stark-walking. She pleads with him not to do what Ramsay wants. Jon scoffs that that’s a bit obvious. It is, isn’t it Jon? Like, for example, if he were to bait you with someone you love because he knows that your compulsive hero complex is your weakness, you’d totally not fall for it. Because IT’S FUCKING OBVIOUS.

Back to Meereen, where the Greyjoys have arrived to propose an alliance with the Mother of Dragons. Tyrion holds a grudge against Theon for making dwarf jokes six years ago at Winterfell. Theon tells Daenerys that he has relinquished his claim to the salt throne in favour of Yara. Daenerys and Yara bond over the Westerosi glass ceiling and their arsehole fathers. They’re totes flirting, and I’m momentarily distracted by the potential ship names…Daeneryara? Yaraenerys? Targreyjoyaryen? My brain hurts.

Dany tells Yara and Theon that she’ll accept their ships and support their claim as long as they promise to respect the integrity of the seven kingdoms. The what now? Yara agrees and they shake on it. Boaty Spice and Flamey Spice are go.

Back to the North, and shit is about to get real.

With Winterfell in the distance, the two armies stand at the ready on opposing sides of the battlefield. Jon takes his position at the head of Team Stark. We see several burning, flayed bodies lashed to crosses, and the well-equipped Bolton army beyond.

Uh oh. Ramsay on his horse, pulling something on a rope. Flayed-carcass Rickon? Head of Rickon? Rickon à la Mode?

Oh. Okay. Just Rickon.

Maybe the kid’s going to be okay after all? It’s possible, right?

Ramsay: “Do you like games, little man? Run to your brother”.

Ramsay grabs his bow. Rickon takes off. Jon panics and gallops for Rickon. Rickon hauls arse over the empty battlefield. Ramsay starts firing arrows. Everyone shouts zig zag! ZIG ZAG! at their TV.

Ramsay misses. Twice. Three times.

 

Rickon gets close. Jon holds out his hand. The brothers almost touch.

Ramsay’s arrow spears Rickon through the heart; he falls to the ground and dies as Jon watches.

Tormund urges Jon from afar not to charge at the thousands of armed men whose sole purpose is to take him out.

Jon charges. The Bolton army release their arrows, some of which hit Rickon’s dead body. Jesus – too soon, shitheads!

From here on shit gets chaotic, so I’ll try keep it simple:

The Stark army charges.

Majestic slo-mo pony-cam. These horses have much better hair than those Dothraki dudes.

Jon insists on being a fucking idiot.

Arrows flying.

Jon’s horse is down.

Ramsay’s cavalry charges Jon.

Jon realizes he’s been played. Here’s a statement I never expected to make: you should have listened to Sansa.

In a move reminiscent of Stannis back when he realized he was up shit creek, Jon draws Longclaw and braces for battle.

The armies clash together: it’s utter carnage.

Long tracking shot of Jon being awesome…but what a cluster fuck this scene would have been to film.

Arrows flying. Bodies piling. Blood spraying. Horses collapsing. Men screaming. Ramsay yelling orders. More arrows. The dead bodies making a wall.

Davos charges with the Stark’s remaining men. Ramsay orders the Umbers to lead the next offensive.

Kit Harington covered in blood and mud; I’d prefer jelly and glitter.

Wun Wun charges. Wielding shields and spears, Ramsay’s foot soldiers encircle them. THIS IS SPARTA!

The wildlings throw themselves at the wall of shields, but not even Wun Wun can penetrate their defenses, though he does manage to tear one Bolton soldier clear in half.

Horror everywhere; desperate, limbless bodies, a man scrambling to hold his guts in, screaming and indiscriminate stabbing, people being crushed to death.

The Stark forces attempt retreat via the wall of bodies. Jon briefly comes face to face with Smalljon Umber before getting stomped into the mud and drowned in bodies.

Tormund takes on Umber. Jon struggles beneath the crush and can’t breath. Sad we’re-going-to-kill-someone-you-like-suckers violin kicks in….really? Jon’s croaking again? WHY DO YOU HATE ME??

Nope. He surfaces and draws breath in time to watch his army fall apart. All is lost. Ramsay’s preposterous lucky streak is holding out. But then…

A horn in the distance. Gandalf???

Tormund very satisfyingly bites Umber’s nose off.

Ramsay turns.

Cut to a white falcon on blue; it’s the VALE, motherfuckers.

Ramsay gets this look on his face which doesn’t even look like panic or anger. It’s more annoyed confusion, like his wife has told him her mother is coming to stay while her house gets completely renovated.

The Knights of the Vale – thousands of them – flood the battlefield. Jon’s face is all thank fuck.

Cut to see Littlefinger smiling to himself, Sansa by his side. She’s sending Ramsay some major vibes: you’re fucked, Lord Bolton.

Tormund stabs Umber in the eye. Again, very satisfying. Teach you to kill Shaggydog, traitor.

The knights of the Vale sweep through the Bolton soldiers. Wun Wun swats at Ramsay’s men with their own shields.

Jon claws his way over the mountain of the dead, wild-eyed and covered in gore. He sets his sights on Ramsay, and the look on his face is pure, animal rage.

Tormund and Wun Wun appear. Ramsay spots Jon, staring him down. Jon’s coming for you, bastard. The anticipation I feel at this point is like every Christmas morning ever, wrapped in crispy bacon. Goosebumps.

Ramsay heads for Winterfell, with Jon, Tormund and Wun Wun in hot pursuit.

Ramsay rides into the yard. They close the gate and he smugs that he still has the castle; all they have to do is wait it out.

Knock knock! Giant Avon calling! Or a really pushy Jehovah’s Witness.

Wun Wun pounds away at the gate. Ramsay disappears as his men try to take the giant out. Wun Wun breaks through, runs into the yard and falls to his knees. The wildlings storm in after him, and take down the remaining Bolton men.

Jon runs in and stops beside Wun Wun, who is dying. Waaah! Jon reaches out to touch the giant, and that’s when Ramsay finishes off Wun Wun with an arrow to the eyeball. Seriously, this guy cannot die enough times.

Ramsay says he’s reconsidered Jon’s offer of one-on-one combat, and draws another arrow.  Jon throws down his sword and grabs a Mormont shield off the ground. Ramsay shoots an arrow at him. And another. And another. Jon keeps coming; he’s a man possessed. Obviously I’m not remotely rooting for Ramsay, but surely he might want to try shooting Jon in the leg?

Jon reaches Ramsay, knocks him to the ground, and pounds away at his face. Like, wails on him. Woooot! Beat-A-Bolton-Bloody time! We’ve been starved of retribution like Ramsay’s dogs for too long. Honestly, they should make a screensaver of just this. Do people still make screensavers?  Jon tenderises Ramsay’s pinchy face until he notices Sansa watching, and then remembers to save her the best bit.

Bolton banners fall to the ground, and the Stark banner takes its rightful place once more. Stick a fork in me; I’m done. It can’t get any better.

Wrong! As Rickon’s body is carted off to the crypts, Sansa asks Jon where Ramsay is. It’s time to make good on yesterday’s promise.

Cut to Ramsay, tied up in the dog kennels. He comes to and sees Sansa, looking strong and regal, on the other side of the fence. It’s all very Silence of the Lambs.

Jon didn’t manage to beat the psycho out of Ramsay – he still makes a power play by promising Sansa that he’s a part of her now. She doesn’t deny this, but rather chooses to remind him: “Your words will disappear. Your house will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear”. It’s the perfect cut-down for a man who loves nothing except power.

And with that, it’s time for dinner. Ramsay’s dogs appear. Ramsay, getting nervous now, tells Sansa that his hounds are loyal. She tells him they were…now they’re starving. And very accustomed to adrenaline-salted human flesh, might I add.

A hound gets right up in Ramsay’s face. It’s head is bigger than his. Ramsay’s all ‘Down! Down, boy!’. Nah. Fido chomps into his face, then proceeds to tear the meat off him. If this is wrong I don’t ever want to be right.

Cut to Sansa, watching on as Ramsay screams. She sort of turns to go, then changes her mind and awesomely leans in even closer. Pretty sure that’s what most fans are doing right now too.

Sansa finally turns and walks away with a creepy, cat-got-the-cream smile on her face as Ramsay continues to scream.  Just hand them the Emmy, already. Only Game of Thrones can make a man getting eaten by his own dogs a happy ending.

Next week: Who gives a shit? I’m not greedy. My bloodlust was more than satisfied by this episode. Okay, fine. Cersei and Loras on trial. The Lannisters and the Freys send their regards. Jerks. Jon and Sansa need to trust each other, and Dany’s in the great game now.

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: