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Predictions for Season 6

So here’s something fun for the off season as we wait until Spring 2016. Book readers and viewers alike, what are your predictions  for Season 6?

I have a few of my own which I’ll post later…..

But here’s the question of day?

Where is Littlefinger?

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Emmy Nominations 2015

Here are this year’s nominations for GOT:

Outstanding Drama Series

Outstanding Supporting Actor
Peter Dinklage – Tyrion Lannister

Outstanding Supporting Actress
Lena Headey – Cersei Lannister
Emilia Clarke – Daenerys Targaryen

Outstanding Guest Actress
Diana Rigg – Lady Olenna Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns

Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss – Mother’s Mercy

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series
David Nutter – “Mother’s Mercy”
Jeremy Podeswa – “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”

Outstanding Production Design For A Narrative Contemporary Or Fantasy
Program (One Hour Or More)
“High Sparrow”
“Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”
“Hardhome”
Deborah Riley, Production Designer
Paul Ghirardani, Art Director
Rob Cameron, Set Decorator

Outstanding Casting For A Drama Series
Nina Gold, CSA, Casting Director
Robert Sterne, Casting Director
Carla Stronge, Casting Director

Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series
“Hardhome” (Fabian Wagner, BSC, Director of Photography_
“Sons Of The Harpy” (Anette Haellmigk, Director of Photography)
“The Dance Of Dragons” (Rob McLachlan, ASC, CSC, Director of Photography)
“Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” (Greg Middleton, CSC, Director of Photography)

Outstanding Costumes For A Period/Fantasy Series, Limited Series Or Movie
“The Dance Of Dragons”
Michele Clapton, Costume Designer

Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Drama Series
“Hardhome” (Tim Porter, Editor)
“The Dance Of Dragons” (Katie Weiland, Editor)

Outstanding Hairstyling For A Single-Camera Series
“Mother’s Mercy”
Kevin Alexander, Department Head Hairstylist
Candice Banks, Department Head Hairstylist
Rosalia Culora, Hairstylist
Gary Machin, Hairstylist
Laura Pollock, Hairstylist
Nicola Mount, Hairstylist

Outstanding Makeup For A Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic)
“Mother’s Mercy”
Jane Walker, Department Head Makeup Artist
Nicola Matthews, Makeup Artist

Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup For A Series, Limited Series, Movie Or A Special
“Hardhome”
Jane Walker, Department Head Makeup Artist
Barrie Gower, Special Makeup Effects Department Head
Sarah Gower, Special Makeup Effects Assistant
Department Head

Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series
“Hardhome”
Tim Kimmel, Supervising Sound Editor
Paula Fairfield, Sound Designer
Bradley C. Katona, Sound Effects Editor
Peter Bercovitch, Supervising Dialogue Editor
David Klotz, Music Editor
Jeffrey Wilhoit, Foley Artist
Dylan T. Wilhoit, Foley Artist

Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (One Hour)
“Hardhome”
Ronan Hill, C.A.S., Production Mixer
Richard Dyer, Production Mixer
Onnalee Blank, C.A.S., Re-Recording Mixer
Mathew Waters, Re-Recording Mixer

Outstanding Special Visual Effects
“The Dance Of Dragons”
Steve Kullback, Visual Effects Producer
Joe Bauer, Visual Effects Supervisor
Adam Chazen, Visual Effects Associate Producer
Jabbar Raisani, Visual Effects Plate Supervisor
Eric Carney, Visual Effects Previs Lead
Stuart Brisdon, Special Effects Supervisor
Derek Spears, Lead CG Supervisor
James Kinnings, Lead Animator
Matthew Rouleau, CG Supervisor

Outstanding Stunt Coordination For A Drama Series, Limited Series Or Movie
Rowley Irlam, Stunt Coordinator

 Game of Thrones keeps picking up nominations for the technical side of things. Congratulations to all the nominees.

See ya on September 20th!!!

 

 

 

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Season 6 Directors

Filming begins at the end of the month. Here are the directors for Season 6:

Episodes 1 & 2 – Jeremy Podeswa

Episodes 3 & 4 – Daniel Sackheim

Episodes 5 & 6 – Jack Bender

Episodes 7 & 8 – Mark Mylod

Episodes 9 & 10 – Miguel Sapochnik

 

Looking forward to Sapochnik directing these episodes especially after “Hardhome”. Sackheim and Bender are new this year. Otherwise, the rest of directors are back for another year!!

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Comic Con 2015

Here is the panel discussion via Flicks and the City:

 

 

Seth Meyers was the host this year

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Season 5 Review

It seems that Game of Thrones tries to top itself every season with outstanding visual effects, battle scenes and fantastic locales. Season 5 was no exception. And for the first time in its history, the flashback scene with Maggy the Frog appeared in Episode 1. There were a host of new directors this season with only David Nutter returning to direct the last two. As well, George RR Martin didn’t write for this season (nor will he write for Season 6), staff writer, Dave Hill penned Episode 4. And this season, more characters and storylines intertwined making the television show a separate entity from the books.  The location of Spain showcased some amazing location shoots for Dorne and Daznak ‘s Pit. And let’s not forget this season’s soundtrack defined many outstanding moments throughout the season.

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Production

As always, Game of Thrones prides his itself with outstanding production value. Whether it’s the art direction, costuming or locations, nothing is ever missed. The continuity of scenes whether they are shot on location or in studio is perfection(as per the Day in a Life special).  The new location of Spain provided some beautiful scenery making castles and arena memorable. Even the costuming had its moments as we see Reek wearing Rob’s attire during Sansa’s wedding to Ramsay.  And the visual effects of the Dragons and White Walkers are always present. The battle sequence for Hardhome was outstanding. It was a definite highlight of the season.  The flashback scene was a first for the series and it was an awesome way to start of this season.  And let’s not forget the music, some great pieces that brought emotions to many important scenes.

Again, art direction is key for the series. The Hall of Thousands Faces was well done with visual effects and lighting making an eerie experience.  And who could forget the canal ride through Old Valyria for Jorah and Tyrion. Each of these key pieces illuminates the characters, dialogue and action during the scenes.

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Direction

Game of Thrones had a host of new directors with only returning director David Nutter for the last two episodes. Most of the episodes flowed effortlessly from piece to piece.  There were a few segments where it was choppy but each director really showcased their skills providing haunting scenes, spectacular deaths or heart wrenching moments. They made Season 5 flow better than previous seasons.

And with the way Game of Thrones films, 2 directors, in two different locations filming various episodes; it’s an amazing piece to watch each week.  My favourite episodes from this Season had to be “The Gift” and “Hardhome” directed by Miguel Sapochik.  

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Writing/Storylines

If one thing is for sure this season, the writing was deeper than ever before with some awesome exposition and narratives. It’s always a great homage to the source material when Westerosi history is mentioned throughout the episodes.  Newcomer Dave Hill wrote episode 4, “Sons of the Harpy”.  As always Bryan Coogman delivers excellent dialogue for many of the characters. 

And it has to be mentioned that this season, the show followed its own path apart from the books. It was heavily adapted for Sansa’s storyline. More characters and storylines intertwined more than ever before.  The one disappointing storyline was that of Dorne as it seemed to be a filler in between the major action of other storylines. I’m guessing that some major characters were missing therefore, adapting the storyline to fit Jamie didn’t work as well as it could have. Jon, Arya and Dany’s storylines flowed nicely with small adaptations along the way. Kings Landing had some terrific moments as well.

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Characters

Who doesn’t love Tyrion Lannister? Peter Dinklage delivered some fine dialogue throughout Season 5. It was so memorable to watch him finally meet Daenerys. This is something book fans have been waiting for.  Tyrion’s wit and spunkiness never wanes no matter how dire his situation is. Vary’s reappearance  in the season finale was priceless and the adaptation worked.

Cersei was at the forefront all season long. Lena Heady did an outstanding job portraying her. From Tywin’s death to her Walk of Shame, this character went through a range of emotions from complete confidence to humiliation.  And as for Kings Landing, Qyburn has been her only steady friend in the capital. It was awesome to watch Kevan Lannister tell her off. Poor Tommen, he is a pawn in everyone’s game.

Daenery’s continued her stronghold in Meereen but even she had her breaking point. From the loss of Selmy to flying away on her dragon, she has to endure many obstacles to stay in power.  With the introduction to Tyrion as her advisor and run in with Jorah, she never floundered.  Emilia Clarke is Dany.

Arya’s journey to Braavos has been a treacherous one. To become part of The Faceless Man, she had to give up her old identity. In the end, it was too much for her and she was taught a very tough lesson.  Reintroducing Jaqen was good for this storyline as it made it more believable for viewers. Maisie Williams always comes through as Arya, another fan favorite.

Sansa’s story arc was heavily adapted this season. She left the Eeryie to Winterfell, bumped into Brienne (who continued to follow her), married Ramsay and then escaped with Theon /Reek. Her wedding night was a nightmare. For once,  would she have learned to not to trust LF? Unfortunately, it makes KL seem like a cakewalk.  Sophie Turner gave us another side to Sansa.  And hey where is Petyr Baelish, last he was seen in Kings Landing?

Jon’s storyline was another frontrunner this year too. He became Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, battled the White Walkers at Hardhome, hosted Stannis and co. at Castle Black and in the end he was stabbed to death.  Kit Harrington will be missed as Jon Snow.  We had tender moments such as Maester Aemon’s passing as well as Sam and Gilly consummated their relationship.  Sam will always be Jon’s voice of reason.

As for Stannis, he started off at Castle Black with the intention of invading of Winterfell, wouldn’t listen to Davos, saw his daughter burned at the stake under the auspices of Melisandre and defeated at Winterfell. Finally, he was put to death by Brienne. (Shireen’s burning is part of The Winds of Winter).  Stephane Dillane was phenomenal as Stannis. I honestly wished Davos had a more important role (as in the books) instead of sitting on the sidelines. And what will become of Melisandre with no King to serve.

Lady Olenna returned to KL to free her granddaughter, Queen Margery. Her sparring with Cersei and then the High Sparrow was simply perfect. Lady Dianna Rigg is always enjoyable to watch.  And we can only assume that Loras and Margery are awaiting their trials.

Alexander Siddig brought us a very serious Doran Martell in Dorne. His portrayal of the character was fanstatic. Indira Varma was the vengeful, angry Ellaria Sand. We were introduced to the Sand Snakes, Oberyn’s older daughters.  As well, a very grown up Trystane and Myrcella.

There are so many characters that contributed to the overall series, there are too many to mention. They all make the show work.

Onto Season 6, where the show leaves the books and continues on its own definitive path. The Emmy nominations are out and Game of Thrones captured 24  in many categories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Season 5, Episode 10 – “Mother’s Mercy”

Here we are at the season finale of Game of Thrones once again. This episode was jam packed with endings for many characters while other storylines left us open ended, thus, making it a long wait until Season 6. The ending left viewers speechless again!  Again the writing duo of D & D wrote this particular episode with returning director David Nutter at the helm.

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Dorne

Jamie, Myrcella and Trystane prepare to leave for Kings Landing. Ellaria asks for forgiveness and sends Myrcella off with a kiss. Tyene and Bronn say their goodbyes.

Inside the boat, Jamie and Myrcella have a heart to heart talk. He confesses that he is her father but she tells him that she knew about it all along. They share an embrace as her nose starts to bleed. She collapses in Jamie’s arms.

While on the docks, Ellaria’s nose starts to bleed. Tyene give her anecdote as it revealed that she poisoned the princess as a final act of vengeance.

It was unexpected plot twist for Dorne. One which now Ellaria will face the consequences of her actions. How will Trystane react when he finds out? Better yet, how will Cersei react? It is sad that Jamie finally found some happiness in his life; only for it to end in death.

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Braavos

We find Mervyn Trant with three young girls in the brothel again. He begins to whip them but sends two away and keeps the tallest girl. Arya takes off her mask and then gauges out his eyes. She asks him, “Do you know who I am?” Finally, she slits his throat.

Arya returns to the House of Black and White to replace the face she borrowed. She is caught by Jaqen and the Waif. They confront her about taking the wrong life. The Waif knows that she wasn’t ready. They tell her that she owes a debt to The Many Faced God and that only a death can pay for a life as Jaqen drinks the poison water. Arya screams as his face is changed many times ending with Arya’s face. A new Jaqen reappears explaining that the faces are no one and she is still someone. As Arya looks up she realizes that she  can’t see.

It seems that the Many Faced God doesn’t like insubordination at all. Arya has had to struggle with her new identity of becoming no one all season long. The lessons she learned in Westeros have made her a great fighter but the HoBW is really training her to become a more skilled assassin by doing it in a very silent, yet deadly way. Now that she is blind, it ought to be interesting where her journey goes. Nonetheless, a huge twist to this story arc.
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Meereen

Tyrion and company are in shock over Daenery’s departure at the Great Games.  They argue over who will look for Dany in the wilderness. It is finally decided that Daario and Jorah will search for her. The sells sword tells Tyrion he will rule in Daenery’s absence along with Missendi. Grey Worm and the Unsullied will keep the peace in Meereen.  And as the two men leave the city to find the Queen, Tyrion watches them. A familiar voice reappears. “Hello, Old Friend” as Varys shows up. His advice to Lannister is  information is key and  learning  about your enemies and your friends.  Tyrion is relieved to see him.

Somewhere in the wilderness, Dany discovers that she is has been brought to Drogon’s den. She tries to wake up the dragon because she has to go home. The dragon won’t wake as he is healing from his wounds. Dany wonders off into the grassland to figure out where she is.  Off in the distance, she hears horses. She quickly takes off her ring as she is surrounded by Dothraki riders.

Things have changed in Meereen. Tyrion is back again ruling as Hand with Varys, at his side. What will Missendi and Grey Worm think about it? Jorah and Daario have a long journey ahead of them. Daenerys has come full circle with the Dorhraki . This is a satisfying conclusion to this season but it opens up so much speculation for what is to come. Tyrion’s wit never wanes, no matter how dire the situation is. Peter Dinklage continues to be awesome as Tyrion Lannister.

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Kings Landing

The Queen Regent decides it is time to confess. In front of the High Sparrow, she asks for the Mother’s Mercy and absolution. Cersei wants to know if she will be free but according to the Seven; she will be dealt with according to her sins.  The Queen Mother confesses to sleeping with her cousin, Lancel Lannister but no other men. And speaking a falsehood before the Gods is a great crime and with the other charges; there will be a trial to prove her innocence.

She is permitted to return to the Red Keep after her atonement.  A moment later, Cersei is washed and her hair cut. The Queen is presented outside the Sept where the High Sparrow announces that a great sinner comes before the crowd; committing fornication/falsehood but she has demonstrated forgiveness. Cersei is stripped of her clothing as the Septa begin shouting, “Shame, shame, shame.” As she walks the streets towards the Red Keep, the crowd shouts names and throws things at her. Cersei says nothing but keeps her eyes towards the Red Keep. After a while, with a bloody leg and close to the castle, she begins to cry.

Once she is back in the Red keep, she is greeted by Kevan Lannister and Maester Pycelle. Qyburn covers her up as he presents the newest member of the Kingsguard, a huge warrior, who has taken a vow of silence until all His graces’ enemies are dead.

The Walk of Shame was a pivotal moment for Cersei. It’s really her love of Tommen that drove her to confess. Will this experience change her? If anything, Cersei will take vengeance against the Faith somehow.  And with Kevan Lannister back at KL, things are going to change. Lena Heady was remarkable as Cersei, the Dowager Queen.  And the haunting background music of “The Rains of Castamere” gave the scene more intensity.

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Winterfell

Melisandre assures her King of victory at Winterfell as she notices that the ice is melting. Stannis is informed that many of the sellswords and their horses deserted the camp before dawn. Mel’s demeanor suddenly transforms as she witnesses the devastation at the camp. Unfortunately, Stannis discovers Selyse hung herself and requests that she be cut down. Finally, he is told that Melisandre was seen riding out of the camp. He commands that the remaining men march into formation onto Winterfell.

Inside the castle, the Bolton men are preparing themselves for the war. Sansa, cloaked, escapes her room with the help of a lock pick. She wanders into the yard, making her way to the tower.

Somewhere in the woods, Pod is gathering food for Brienne. He sees the Baratheon troops marching towards the castle and informs Brienne, but she is still waiting for a signal.

Stannis’s men arrive outside the castle to begin their assault on Winterfell at sunrise. There isn’t going to be a siege as the Bolton army surrounds him and his remaining men. He readies his soldiers for a fight. The attack begins. Sansa lights a candle in the broken tower as a signal.

A defeated and wounded Stannis makes his way into the woods but is attacked by another Bolton soldier whom he kills. As he lays on the ground unable to move, Brienne finds him. She announces herself and sentences him to death for killing his brother, Renly. As she asks for any last words, Stannis can only reply, “go on, do your duty.” Brienne swings her sword.

Ramsay is delighted over the victory over Stannis. He wants to see his wife to celebrate. Back at Winterfell, Myranda finds Sansa leaving the tower. Just in the nick of time, Reek also appears as the servant girls taunts her lady. As Myranda threatens to shoot Sansa, Reek pushes her off the balcony.  They hear the gates of the castle open. Sansa and Theon/Reek decide to escape by leaping over one of the walls.

Brienne finally enacted the revenge she wanted on a dying Stannis. Melisandre abandoned her King in his time of need because she knew she made a mistake. Stannis lost everything, his daughter, his wife and most of all his fight to reclaim the Iron Throne. For Sansa and Theon/Reek, they have escaped their torture at Winterfell but for how long? And where will they go? Stephane Dillane gave us a brilliant performance as Stannis Baratheon.

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The Wall

Sam and Jon discuss the events at Hardhome. They  have no dragonglass and not enough Valyrian steel to fight the WW. Sam has something to ask him. He wants to go to the Citadel to become a Maester because the Night’s Watch needs one. He’ll take Gilly and the baby to Oldstown with him. Jon gives Sam his blessing.  Sam, Gilly and the baby leave Castle Black.

Next, Davos argues with Jon that Stannis needs the Wildings to fight for him but Jon tells him that it’s not their fight. All of sudden, Melisandre comes through the gate. Davos questions her about Stannis, and Shireen. Mel says nothing but looks down at the ground. Davos knows it’s not good news.

Later that night, Olly comes into the Lord Commander’s quarters saying there news about Benjen Stark. As he lead to the grounds, a cross with the words, “traitor” is revealed while Jon realizes this is a trap. Thorne and Bowen Marsh stab Snow saying, “For the watch”. Lastly, Olly gives him the final stab. Jon lies dead in the snow as blood flows from him.

A shocking ending for Jon and the rest of us as Episode 10 ends.  Is he really dead? Were Jon’s decisions the right ones for both the Wildings and the Watch. What will Mel do now that she is at the Wall? And Davos? This storyline has been one of the frontrunners this season and it didn’t disappoint.

Now the wait until Season 6 is on!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Season 5, Episode 9 – “The Dance of Dragons”

This installment is always the iconic, climatic episode for Game of Thrones. And for the most part, it didn’t disappoint viewers. But by far, this was a heart wrenching episode with an epic ending! In fact, there were more plotline setups for next week’s season finale. Tonight’s segment was directed by David Nutter (Season 3) and written by DB Weiss and David Benioff (aka D&D).

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The Wall

Jon and crew arrive back at the Wall. Thorne waits atop of it but makes them wait until opening the gate. The Wildings along with Wun Wun, the giant, come through to Castle Black. Jon remarks to Sam that the mission was a failure but Sam says everyone is alive because of him. Olly is not pleased watching this go down. Thorne tells Jon, “you have a good heart Jon Snow; it will get us all killed”.

Obviously, despite Jon’s good intentions, the NW brothers are still not happy about the Wildings arrival at Castle Black. They were not at Hardhome to witness the events of last week’s episode. It seems as mutiny against Jon is more than likely.

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Dorne

Jamie is summoned to see Doran who questions him about his visit. The Kingslayer ask how Trystane’s jaw is. Lannister informs the Prince that the Queen Regent was sent Myrcella’s necklace as a threat. Doran can only look at Ellaria at this point. Jamie then goes on to stay that Tommen insists on his sister visit Kings Landing. Doran requests that Trystane accompany her and take Oberyn’s place on the Small Counsil. Ellaria makes rude comments about breaking bread with the Lannisters while spilling her wine.  Doran warns her not to speak to him that way again. Jamie inquires about Bronn’s imprisonment. There will be mercy with one condition.

As Bronn sits in his cell, the Sand Snakes are playing a slapping game awaiting their fate.  As Bronn is is let out, he apologizes for the other day. Hotah hits him as the one condition.

Later on, Doran informs Ellaria that her rebellion is over and makes her swear allegiance to him or die. The Sand Snakes watch in the background. He believes in second chances.  Sometime later, Ellaria visits Jamie. She confesses she knows his and Cersei’s secret as well as comes to tell him that she knows that his daughter (and him) had no part in Oberyn’s death.

The storyline in Dorne has some purpose although it hasn’t been very exciting. Alexander Siddig as Prince Doran has been an outstanding in this sequence. I wish there had been more with him all season long.

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Braavos

Arya continues her job selling oysters on the docks. She sees the thin man who wants his oysters but passes him by as she sees a familiar face. Mervyn Trant and Mace Tyrell have arrived in Braavos to treat with the Iron Bank. Arya follows them around the city that day.   Trant and his men enter a brothel and she comes in selling her goods. She watches behind the scenes as Trant only fancies very young girls. As she caught, Trant gives her a look as she hurried out of the brothel. Back at the House of Black and White, she reports that the Thin Man wasn’t hungry today. Jaqen says tomorrow because a girl has work to do.

Mervyn Trant was still on Arya’s death prayer. She seems more interested in the fact that vengeance was that close. And if Trant recognizes her, the Queen could put a reward for finding her when he returns to KL. What about her training with the Faceless Men and her mission? It’s getting tense in Braavos for Arya. Maisie Williams continues to give us another side of Arya.

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Outside Winterfell

Mel hears something outside in Stannis’s camp. She sees tents burning with screaming horses and soldiers. The very next morning Davos reports there is not enough food to last and men are abandoning his mission. The Hand suggests that they go back to Castle Black because they can’t press forward. Stannis won’t hear of it.

The King orders Seaworth to treat with the Lord Commander for men and food. They’ll be richly rewarded and not to come back “empty handed”.  Davos suggests that Queen Selyse and Princess Shireen accompany him as the siege is no place for a little girl. Stannis says his family stays with him.

Davos visits Shireen to give her a present of a wooden horse as a token of gratitude for teaching him to read. They discuss “The Dance of the Dragons” story.

Later that night, Stannis sees his daughter and she again explains to her father about the history of Targaryens. Stannis in a very solemn voice tells her that a man must fulfill his destiny. Shireen wants to help her father, who can only say “forgive me”.

The next morning, Shireen is lead to a stake for burning. She begins to ask for her father. He wavers in the background as the sacrifice ceremony lead by Melisandre is about to begin.  Selyse is on board with the burning at first. Shireen begins screaming for her parents as Mel chants to the Red God while the  fire is lit.  The Queen has a change of heart when she hears her daughters screams and tries to rescue her but is stopped by the guards. She screams, “No” as Shireen burns.

A terrible ending for an innocent girl! And it seems it doesn’t matter who it is that burns for Stannis because he daughter is no exception.  Selyse actually became a mother in the end but she couldn’t help her daughter. Could Melisandre made a mistake this time? And it seems that Stannis’s men are leaving quickly, where will that leave him when he invades Winterfell. Perhaps listening to Davos was the right thing to do?

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Meereen

The Great Games begin at Daznak’s Pit as Hizdahr arrives late. The first set of fighters enters the arena and The Titan’s Bastard makes an appearance. Hizdahr instructs Daenerys to clap to begin the games. The Khalessi doesn’t look pleased nor does Tyrion.  A side conversation between Dario/Tyrion and Hizdahr ensues during the fight.  Another round of fighters enters the arena. Dany is shocked to hear Jorah’s voice but it is the look in Dany’s eyes that says it all. Tyrion advises her that she can end this. Jorah is victorious but there are “boos” from the crowd.

All of the sudden, Jorah throws a spear at the crowd as the Sons of Harpy begin to invade the games. Pandemonium and havoc strikes as the Sons surround the Queen killing innocent bystanders. Daario instructs the Unsullied to protect the Queen. Hizdahr tries to convince his Queen to come with him but he is killed. Jorah comes to her rescue and she silently forgives him as they try to escape. Jorah, Dany , Missendi, and Daario are surrounded by the Sons of Harpy in the middle of the arena. Things look bad for Dany as she holds Missendi’s hand and closes her eyes.

Out of nowhere, a familiar sound is heard and Drogon appears. A look of relief comes across Dany’s face. Drogon begins to set fire to the invaders. Dany yells for her dragon as it is being shot at. She hops onto him and flies away. Jorah, Tyrion, Missendi and Daario can only watch from the arena below.

Another superb ending to this episode. David Nutter seems to know how to capture the emotionality of each moment. Peter Dinklage is a joy to watch as Tyrion since he plays off the other actors with superior dialogue and one liners. It seems Meereen is now is a state of chaos with Daenery’s departure. And the location of the arena in Spain was the perfect choice for Danzak’s Pit.

Next week is the Season 5 finale. It will be interesting to how each character’s storyline will end or which ones will be open ended?

 

 

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Season 5, Episode 8 – “Hardhome”

Last night’s episode surpassed all expectations with its ending at Hardhome. Meanwhile, Cersei, Tyrion/Dany, Sansa and Arya endure more hard truths than ever before.  And those scenes are just as memorable as well.  This installment was written by D&D and directed by Miguel Sapochnik.

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Meereen

Tyrion and Jorah stand before Daenerys in her Throne Room. Tyrion make a witty argument as to why she needs him. Her first test of Tyrion is what to do with Jorah.  Lannister replies that Mormont is devoted to her however; it’s her best interest not to return with him.  Tyrion gives her first lesson about ruling as he states, “A ruler, who kills those devoted to her, doesn’t inspire devotion”.  Her Grace is impressed with Lannister. She banishes Jorah from the city again. As he leaves, Jorah notices that the greyscale on his hand is growing.

During a second chat between Tyrion and Dany, they talk about their respective families. Lannister tells her that Varys convinced him to come seek her out.  The Queen decides that she isn’t going to kill him; instead Tyrion will adviser her because he can talk in complete sentences.  He tries to convince her to stay in Meereen but Dany’s sights are set on returning to Westeros.  Tyrion instructs her that in order to rule Westeros she’ll need a powerful family behind her. Dany’s mission is to break the wheel.

Jorah returns to Yezzan and begs the slaver to let him fight in the Great Games before Daenerys; in return, he will own Mormont.

It’s been long overdue for Tyrion and Dany to meet.  His wit and charm impress her. They are going to be a great duo together. Dany has a lot to learn from him about Westeros since the cities in Essos are a very different culture.  And about the Tyrell’s backing, has Tyrion forgotten about Dorne? Given that the Targs have history with the Martells, it wouldn’t be surprising if they supported her as well. 

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Braavos

Arya is now “Lana”, an oyster seller down at the harbor as she tells Jaqen of her daily tales. He instructs her to change her route in order to watch a thin man known as a “gambler”. Lana/Arya bumps into the thin man during one of her harbor runs.  Jaqen explains that he extorts ship captains who owe him money (when they come back alive).  She is told that the families have no one they can turn to but to the Many Faced God. Arya will give him the “gift”.  The waif appears after Arya has left  and thinks that she is not ready. Jaqen replies if she is or isn’t; it’s up to the Many Faced God to decide.

Arya’s transformation is very intriguing. First, her demeanor was very “in your face, loud, angry “attitude however; with her new training, she is learning to watch and see first, before killing. It’s something that she hasn’t been taught yet. Obviously, things are done differently at the House of Black and White.  It’s actually enjoyable to watch Arya change. 

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Kings Landing

Cersei is now imprisoned by the Faith. A Septa comes to see her with water but first she must confess. Cersei threatens her but the holy woman just slaps her and  leaves. The Queen Regent screams and cries as the door shuts.

Next, Qyburn visits her with news. He lets her know that Tommen is not eating since her arrest and won’t speak to anyone.  Pycelle has sent for Kevan Lannister to be Acting Hand of the King. Cersei is being charged with incest and killing Robert Baratheon. The former maester advises her that the only way out is confessing to the High Sparrow. Cersei won’t hear of that because she “made” him. Qyburn says goodbye and tells her the work continues.

Later on that night, the Septa returns asking her to confess. Cersei threatens her again as the Septa spills water on the ground. Once she leaves, Cersei drinks the water on the ground.

Definitely, karmic justice for Queen Cersei and the payback is brutal. Everything she knows has been taken from her including Tommen and the Crown.  Obviously, she’s headed for trial unless she confesses her sins. It doesn’t look like anyone is going to help either and her only loyal subject is Qyburn.  Leana Headey portrays Cersei to a T.

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Winterfell

Sansa is still locked up in her room.  Reek/Theon brings her some food.  She angrily questions him as to why he killed her brothers.  Reek tells her that was the end of Theon and the beginning of Reek. As well, he confesses that the boys he burned were not Bran or Rickon but farm boys (and Ramsay knows that too).  Sansa is stunned.

Roose is planning his battle strategy as he knows, Stannis is on his way to Winterfell.  He thinks the winter create a mutiny in Baratheon camp as soldiers will starve to death or die from the cold. Ramsay thinks that it’s time to strike now and leave a feast for the crows as the snow is deep. He requests 20 good men to complete the task.

For Sansa, there is a spark of hope however; she has no allies at Winterfell. So how she plays this one out will be interesting. Could Reek have an awakening? It seems that a battle at Winterfell is eminent. Whether it happens this season or next season, will be anyone’s guess.

The Wall

Gilly is still making sure that Sam is recovering from his wounds. But Sam wants to know if she is ok after their love fest.  Both are worried about what will happen next. Olly brings Sam some food and to ask him something. He questions Sam as to why the LC is saving the wildings after all the slaughtering and fighting they have done. Tarly replies that the White Walkers are coming for all of them and Jon is taking a risk so everyone can be safe. He’s been worrying about Jon for years but he always comes back alive.

It seems that there is mutiny rising in the Night’s Watch about bringing the Wildings behind the wall. They have been rivals for years so there’s no love lost between the two factions. Sam has a point, the WW army is deadly and for that, everyone needs to band together. This scene was definitely a build up for the next segment.

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Hardhome

Jon and Tormund arrive at Hardhome to a cold welcome. There are thousands of Wilding gathered at the fort.  The Lord of Bones greets Tormund but he is suspicious of his motives with the Crows.  They ask to speak to the elders. Tormund kills the Lord of Bones when he refuses.

After that, they meet with the Elders. Jon’s mission is to save them from becoming part of the White Walker army. He promises that they will have land south of the Wall called “the gift”. The Lord Commander states that this was Mance’s mission for his people. He admits to killing Mance but Tormund tells the Elders, Jon gave him the gift of mercy because Stannis was going to burn him.  Karsi, a female elder says she doesn’t trust a man in black but she’ll take Tormund’s word because “this is the way.”  The Thenns oppose this idea and threaten to kill them.

As they begin to load children and elderly people on ships, the numbers outweigh what they can hold.  The Wildings are running out of food and with nothing to hunt, they will starve to death.  We see Wun Wunn, the giant inspecting the dragonglass.  All of a sudden, a strong wind appears outside the gates as dogs begin to bark. The gates are immediately closed with people screaming outside of them. It becomes silent. A Thenn looks through the gate as wights plow through it.  Edd is stuck with the giant as the attack begins.

The Lord Commander orders to get as many Wildings to the ships as fast as they can. Jon goes back to fight. Wun Wun fights them off with dragonglass.  As Snow looks up he sees the King of WW’s standing on a ledge. A WW captain attacks Jon (looking for dragonglass), injuring him but as their swords meet; Longclaw doesn’t break.  Jon kills the WW.  Suddenly, another army of wights appears attacking the remaining homesteaders. Everyone runs for safety.

Karsi is stunned by the dead wight children that appear before her. They attack her and she is killed. As Jon rows towards the ships, the King of WW appears and he comes to towards the docks. He raises his arms as the dead wildings have joined his army of wights.

This incredible battle and ending left us all speechless.  The battle was well choreographed as well as the visual effects of giants, wights and WW were insane. If anything, it convinces us that Jon’s intentions were right on the money. And it seems that Dragonglass is not the only thing that kills WW because apparently Longclaw (made of Valyrian steel) does not break.  A hint of things to come in the future. Kit Harrington’s fighting prowess is sensational.

Here is a preview of the iconic Episode 9:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfaS_YB9eCc

 

 

 

 

 

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Season 5, Episode 7– “The Gift”

This episode was well paced with each segment flowing effortlessly into the next. And “The Gift can either be dangerous or it can be the most wonderful thing ever. It was written by D.B. Weiss and David Benioff while newcomer Miguel Sapochnik directed.

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The Wall

Jon and Tormund leave for Hardhome. The Lord Commander leaves Alliser Thorne in charge. Thorne tells Jon that this plan is reckless and foolhardy. Sam wishes him safe travels; giving Jon dragonglass, in case he needs to use it. Gilly and Sam visit Maester Aemon who advises her to take her son, south. The duo stay with Aemon that night as he calls out for his brother “Egg” (Aegon Targygen) saying  he is dying. The next morning, the Night’s Watch has a funeral for Aemon . Sam gives a heartfelt eulogy about the maester, recalling that he was the “blood of the dragon” as well as a sworn brother of NW. Thorne whispers to Sam that his losing all his friends at Castle Black.

Sometime later, Gilly is accosted by two of the Brothers as she works. Sam comes to her defense; only to be beaten up. Ghost shows up in the nick of time, scaring the men away. Sam passes out from his wounds. Gilly tends to him at his bedside. He begs her not to leave. They share a kiss and consummate their relationship for the first time.

It was bittersweet moment as Maester Aemon passed away but it was great tribute to the source material too. And for once, a character actually died of old age. Poor Sam, with no allies at the Wall, is going to endure some dreadful down time. This segment really centered on Sam and Gilly with great performances by both actors.

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Winterfell

Over at Winterfell, Reek/Theon brings Sansa, her morning breakfast. She asks for his help but Reek tells her to do what Ramsay says. Sansa can only say that Ramsay hurts every night and locks her in their chambers so it can’t be any worse. She tells the former ward that her family has friends in the North. She calls him Theon and makes him promise to light a candle in the broken tower for her as a signal. Reek/Theon goes to the tower, only to find Ramsay keeping office. Brienne patiently waits.

Ramsay summons Sansa to the yard. He is pleased with his new wife. He informs her that Stannis Baratheon is riding towards Winterfell but the rising storm is an advantage for everyone. Ramsay gleefully acknowledges that he is the heir apparent to the North and Winterfell. Sansa retorts saying what will happen since his stepmother is pregnant because trueborns always inherit first. Ramsay isn’t too concerned because he is legitimatized by royal decree. Even her own half -brother, Jon Snow is the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Bolton shows her the body of the flayed servant that tried to help her as Reek stands by. He advises his new wife to hold on to her candles because the nights are becoming longer now. Sansa is horrified and sent back to their quarters.

Somewhere along the road to Winterfell, Stannis and crew are being held up the  winter storm. Davos informs them that they are losing horses and food. His advice is to go back to the Wall and wait it out. Stannis will have none of that because he won’t be known as the King who ran. It’s either they march to victory or march to defeat. The Onion Knight excuses himself. Stannis questions Melisandre about her visions. She says she has seen a great battle in the snow and the flayed banners burned to the ground. In order to become the King before the Long Night comes, there has to be a sacrifice, The Red priestess indirectly suggests Shireen because she has the King’s blood in her veins. Stannis is astounded by the revelation and sends her away.

Sansa took charge in a bad situation by making Reek become Theon again, if only for a moment to get to help. She also put some doubt in Ramsay’s mind about his legitimacy. It’s too bad it fell on short ears as she found the true meaning of what “flayed”. It’s a hard lesson for her at the moment. Poor Theon/Reek, he is caught in the middle, not knowing what to do but he is too frightened to anything.

For Mel, she may have overstepped her bounds with Stannis by suggesting he sacrifice Shireen. Perhaps the Onion Knight was right about her. This could be her undoing. Hopefully, Davos will send Shireen away with Stannis’ permission for her own safety. War is eminent as Stannis isn’t going to wait. Things are beginning to build up in the North.

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Dorne

Jaime finally gets a chance to speak to Myrcella. He tells her that she must come home because she is in danger. The young princess tells him that Dorne is her home now and she is love in with Trystane. They intend to be married. Meanwhile, Bronn merrily sings in his cell, “The Dornishman’s Wife”. Across from him, the Sand snakes sit awaiting their fate. Tyene asks him about his arm and then his head. She teases by unravelling her dress. Bronn’s nose starts to bleed. The Sand Snake tells him that her whip was poisoned with “Long Farwell” from Asshai. It is slow death. She makes Bronn beg for the antidote.

Dorne is confusing. It seems these segments are fillers between other major plotlines. There hasn’t been much depth to them. Will Bronn survive? What about the Sand Snakes? At least we know that Jerome Flynn has a singing voice.

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Meereen

Jorah and Tyrion are auctioned off by the slave trader, Malko. Yezzan buys Jorah for 20 gold hearts after learning, he is a Westerosi champion. As he is taken away, Tyrion stops the slaver by exclaiming that they are team as well as a great fighter too. Yezzan finds him funny and decides to buy him. As they walk away, Tyrion asks about the fighting pits in Meereen. He is elbowed by Yezzan.

During their bedside chat, Dany assures Daario that her marriage to Hizdahr is a political move only. She needs Meereen to help fight her enemies. Daario suggests that she marry him but the Queen just laughs. Next, he suggests during the Great Games, she round up all the masters and butcher them. Daenerys is a Queen, not a butcher. The sellssword replies that all rulers either butchers or meat.

Tyrion and Jorah are taken to the lower pits to engage in combat. At the same time, Dany is there with Hizdahr  as it is tradition for the Queen to tour the Lower Pits. The Khalessi is disgusted by the bloodshed. Jorah spots her inside the barracks, he grabs his helmet, puts it on and starting slaughtering the other contenders. Tyrion sees this and tries to break out of his chains. Finally a big guard smashes them for him. Jorah is the victor and he takes off his helmet, Dany is shocked to see him. She tells her guards to take him away but, in the nick of time, Tyrion introduces himself as her gift.

An awesome first meeting between Tyrion and Dany as their storylines intertwine. What will happen next is anyone’s guess. And where does that leave Jorah, Hizdahr and Daario? Tyrion has a lot to offer Dany but whether she takes his advice is another matter. She definitely needs a new advisor. This looks to be a promising plotline.

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Kings Landing

Olenna visits the High Sparrow at the Sept. She wants to know if she can free her grandchildren. She accuses him of doing Cersei’s dirty work. He tells her that the trial will determine their outcome. Olenna threatens that the Tyrells will stop sending wheat to KL. The priest doesn’t care about her threats because in the Faith’s eyes; everyone is equal no matter their status. As the Queen of Thorns leaves, she is given a letter with a mockingbird on it.

King Tommen is starving himself since his Queen has been arrested. He is ready to start a war with the Faith. Cersei tries to temper him down by suggesting she can talk to the High Septon for him. She gives her son a hug.

Olenna and Littlefinger meet in the former remains of his brothel. He informs his friend that he was there on business with Cersei for information and didn’t want to keep her waiting. Olenna tells him that if House Tyrell goes down, so will he. Baelish says he has a gift for her, “ a handsome young man.”

The Queen Regent visits her daughter in law in her cell. She brings her last night’s dinner of venison. Margery knows that Cersei is behind this entrapment. She (Margery) throws the leftovers at the Cersei and tells her to get out. Cersei bumps into the High Sparrow outside the cell. She inquires about the upcoming trial of the Tyrells. The holy man relays the history of Baelor the Blessed and his glory. In the end, he tells her that the Tyrells will stripped of their finery. As Lancel Lannister comes into the room, the High Sparrow asks her, “What will happen when you are stripped of your finery?” Cersei is thrown into a cell.

Jonathan Pryce and Dianna Rigg gave outstanding performances whether they were sparring with each other or with other characters. Cersei is finally receiving her just reward for her terrible decision making based on revenge and control. What will happen to Tommen and who will run the Seven Kingdoms? Again, another story arc that seems to heating up as we near season’s end.

Here is a preview of Episode 8:

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Another quieter, yet a jam paced episode that had a lot of treachery, humility, darkness/chilling overtones throughout it.  Many characters face gruesome truths while others’ journeys have just started. And if you are Littlefinger, power and greed is your only motivation. Again, this installment was written by Bryan Coogman and directed by Jeremy Podeswa.

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Braavos

For weeks, Arya has been cleaning dead bodies but she now curious where they are taken to.  As she tries to sneak through the door, the waif appears telling her to get back to work.  Arya is not impressed, she wants to play the game of lies. The Waif tells her a story her own life as a Lord’s daughter until his father remarried and fathered another child. She got rid her stepmom, thanks to the Faceless Men whom she now serves. Again, Arya is caught off guard with her story ( a lie) and told to go back to work again.

Jaqen comes to her during the night to ask her who she is. Arya tells him her story with lies. He swats her repeatedly; knowing when she fibs. Arya is getting sick of the game but her mentor tells her the no one ever stops playing the game.

Later on, a man enters the lobby with his sick daughter. He has no money and there is no cure for her sickness. Arya calms the girl as she gives her the gift of death with a drink of special water.  Jaqen watches behind one of the columns. A short while later, after finishing the body preparation, he appears at the door. She follows him into a large chamber of thousands of faces.  Jaqen asks her if she is ready to give up her life as she knows it. Arya is ready to become someone.

Arya is being tested viciously by Jaqen and the waif to see if she can give up her old life to become faceless. And that’s why they are the Faceless which makes these killers unique. It was a frightening segment watching Arya learn this valuable lesson. Who she becomes next has our curiosity peaked. The set decorum is outstanding as it encapsulates the darkness around her.

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Essos

Somewhere in wasteland, Tyrion and Jorah are still travelling together. Tyrion is grouchy because he hasn’t eaten a good meal in a while trying to make the best of a bad situation.  Jorah doesn’t care at this point.  Lannister explains to his companion why he is there.  He also informs Mormont that his father is dead. It comes as a huge surprise for the ex-slaver. 

As they begin to travel again, Tyrion questions why Mormont is so loyal to Daenerys. All Jorah can tell him is that he stopped being a cynic when he saw her step out of the fire with three dragons.  Unfortunately, they run into slavers who beat up Jorah and want to kill Tyrion for his parts.  As luck would have it, Tyrion talks his way out being killed. Both find out that that the traders are heading to Voltanis and that the Fighting Pits are now open but to free men. Tyrion makes a deal with the slavers to go to Meereen instead because Jorah’s fighting prowess will prove his worth and a lot of money in return.

Tyrion’s quick witted tongue helps him escape death at the worst possible moment as well as saving Jorah. It’s one of those priceless moments to remember from this season.  It seems as these two characters have found an even ground to forge some kind of bromance. What will Dany think? Iain Glen really showcased another side of Mormont that we haven’t seen, and it’s nice revelation for his character. His body language spoke volumes.

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Dorne

Trystane and Myrcella wander together through the Water Gardens. He confesses his love for her and then he intends to marry her soon. Doran watches from up top of a nearby balcony. He advises Hotah that marriage between a Lannister and Martell is a dangerous thing; so they must be protected and use his axe, if need be.

Just outside the palace, Jaime and Broon have finally arrived. Bronn sings The Dornishman’s Wife as they stroll into a caravan headed to the same destination. At the same time,  Ellaria and the Sand Snakes recite House Martell’s words, “Unbowed, Unbent and Unbroken”  as a tribute to Oberyn. They begin their capture of Myrcella.

Inside the Gardens, Jaime spots Myrcella and tells her to come with him.  Trystane intercedes but he is knocked out by Bronn.  The Sand Snakes appear with their whips to try to take the Lannister girl.  A fight ensues between the Sand Snakes and Jaime/Bronn.  Hotah appears to put an end to the fight. Obara says she fights for Dorne but in the end, everyone gives up. Ellaria is surrounded by palace guards and the kidnapping is over.

Both plans to kidnap Myrcella are over with neither side getting what they wanted. It seems that the poor girl is an innocent pawn. The only person has her best interest at heart is Doran as he knew something was going to happen.  This rather short segment was too fast and the fight scene, not enough action. It felt like filler in between the other parts of the episode. Things should begin to unravel in Dorne as Jaime figures out the truth of his mission.

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Kings Landing

Littlfinger arrives in Kings Landing, only to find that the Faith have now taken over the city. He bumps into Lancel Lannister who is now a full-fledged brother of the militant. As he is stopped, he kindly reminds them, he has business with the Queen Mother.

As Baelish meets with the Queen Regent, he advises her that holding the Tyrell heir is not in the Crown’s best interest but Cersei is having none of that. He confesses he knows that Sansa is still alive and preparing to marry the Bolton boy. He also informs her that Stannis is the North, getting reading to march towards Kings Landing but first he must take the North. He also advises her to be patient as a war in the North is eminent. Cersei knows that the Lannisters won’t back up anyone in the North. All the Queen is concerned about is whether the Vale will fight for the King and deliver Sansa’s head on a stake. Littlefinger assures her, the Vale will serve if he becomes the official Warden of the North.

Later that day, Lady Olenna arrives back in Kings Landing to deal with her grandson’s imprisonment. First she sees her granddaughter, Queen Margery. The Queen knows that her mother in law is behind it all. Olenna assures Margery, she’ll meet with Cersei, herself to negotiate Loras’ release. Cersei says it’s isn’t her doing but what is a Queen Mother to do? There will be an inquest first.

As the inquest takes place, both Margery and Loras are questioned by the High Sparrow about Loras’ sexual preferences. Both deny any knowledge until Olyvar testifies against them with carnal knowledge of Loras.  Margery and Loras arrested by the Faith. King Tommen merely stands by and says nothing. Olenna gives Cersei, a harsh cold look.

Littlefinger is all about his own power and greed. It’s evident in his acquisition of becoming Warden of the North throwing Sansa and the Boltons under the bus.  With Olenna back in KL, he’ll pit the Tyrells against Cersei. His main mission is to create chaos in order to gain control. Cersei may think she has the upper hand in Margery’s and Loras’ arrests but things can turn quickly. She is making some bad decisions based upon her own agenda which might not be advantageous. Her main goal is really to protect her son but, she hasn’t really accomplished that. King Tommen is merely a pawn in her game as well.  It’s great to have the Queen of Thorns back in KL, her wit and spunk was missed.

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Winterfell

Myranda comes to draw Sansa’s bath. She suggests that Ramsay gets bored easily by telling Sansa of Ramsay’s adventures of other woman; especially the hunts. Sansa puts Myranda in her place as she dismisses her. Theon comes to take her to the wedding. She refuses to be escorted by the arm.

Sansa and Ramsay marry in front of the Godswood. The wedding night arrives, with Reek escorting the newlyweds to their room. Ramsay questions Sansa’s virginity. He makes Reek stay and watch as he throws Sansa down on the bed brutally. It fades to black as Reek is in tears watching with Sansa crying in the background.

This was horrific ending to this particular episode. Ramsay’s true colors are apparent in the last scene. It wouldn’t be long for his personality to emerge. It seems that Sansa has gone from bad to worse for the moment as she had no clue what to expect from this Bolton. So the question really is, did Littlefinger know about Ramsay or didn’t he? He placed her in a very dangerous situation. Will Jon find out that Sansa is still alive? Will Brienne rescue her? Will Sansa escape? Will Theon return with honor?

Here is the preview for Episode 7:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZDO2ptEBcg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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