Tonight’s episode marked the return of Arya’s quest in Braavos. Finally, we got our first introduction to Dorne and the Martell family. It was a character driven episode where some of the key players made unpopular decisions; ultimately affecting their leadership abilities. For others, their destiny is still undetermined as yet. Perhaps, there isn’t a “grey” area; it just either black or white. Again, this episode was directed by Michael Slovis and written by Dan Weiss and David Benioff.
After last season’s finale, we find Arya sailing into Braavos aboard the merchant ship. For the first time, she isn’t afraid. As the ship’s captain rows her towards her destination, Arya is delighted by hustle and bustle of the harbor. She arrives at the House of Black and White to find the man she seeks. She knocks on the door but no one answers at first. After another attempt, an older man in a grey cloak answers her knock. Arya shows him the coin and asks for Jaquen H’gar. She is refused and told that she has somewhere else to go. Dumbfounded, Arya parks herself outside the door and recites her shortened death prayer. After a few days between the rain and the sun, she gives up waiting, tosses the coin and walks away.
Sometime later, Arya is roaming the streets of Braavos, catching her dinner. Out of nowhere, three soldiers corner her about her sword. She tells them to back off. Right behind her, the grey cloaked man appears, scaring them away. Arya turns and follows him. They end up back at the Black & White doors. The old man tosses the coin and changes his face. It’s Jaqen H’ghar. Stunned, Arya accepts it and her friend lets it be known that “a girl must become “no one”. She follows him through the doors.
A great start to Ayra’s storyline for this year. The death prayer was definitely shortened as most on her list have met their death. Reintroducing Jaquen H’gar worked for this segment as it gives us a plausible clause for Arya going to Braavos. Her journey in season five ought to take some really exciting turns as well as watching her persona change.
Outside the Vale
Brienne and Pod come upon a small tavern to get a bite to eat. As the waitress serves them ale, Pod recognizes Littlefinger. Brienne instructs him to get another horse. Meanwhile, Sansa and Littefinger discuss matters over their meal. She tells him she saw him read a note. His reply is that is another marriage proposal
All of sudden, Brienne interrupts their conversation. She informs Sansa of her oath to her mother, Catelyn. Baelish mocks her abilities by bringing up Renly’s death. Sansa refuses her offer because she bowed to the King at Kings Landing. Littlefinger welcomes her to stay with him but Brienne refuses and she proceeds to leave. She is stopped by LF’s men and a chase ensues. Podricks horses runs off as Brienne kills two men. Pod advises her that both Stark girls have refused her help so her vow is completed. Her answer to him is whether anyone can trust Littlefinger. To which Pod answers “no’. Their mission is to follow the caravan.
This is the first time that two book characters have met on the show and not in the books. This segment was a little contrived for me and I didn’t buy because it was too soon for Brienne to meet up with Sansa. The writers have definite plans for Brienne to be the hero . It will be curious to see how this storyline pans out. It is a huge adaptation for both characters.
Cersei summons Jaime to her council chambers immediately as a gift from Dorne has arrived. As Jaime opens it; it is snake carrying the identical necklace that she gave to Myrcella. In her paranoid state, Cersei takes it as threat. She argues with Jaime that he has never been there for their children. Jaime decides to go to Dorne to get Myrcella back. Cersei advises him that he can’t take an army with him or Dorne will take it as a sign of war. Jaime retorts with “I never said I was going alone”.
We find Bronn courting Lady Stokeworth along the seashore as she is preparing for their upcoming wedding. As luck would have it, Bronn spots Jaime who has a mission for the sells sword. He convinces Bronn to help him by showing Lolly’s new marriage agreement. Bronn agrees.
Two bounty hunters show Cersei a head and it isn’t Tyrion’s. Qybyurn offers to take it so that he can study it more in depth. Both enter the small council chambers. The Queen Regent will now rule in her son’s place until he comes of age. She makes changes to the small council by adding the Master of Coin to Mace’s job as well as Qyburn, who becomes the Master of Whisperers. Pycelle objects to this. Kevan Lannister is present as well.. She asks her uncle to be Master of War. He flatly refuses saying if the King wants to ask him, himself, he’ll be at Casterly Rock.
The highlight of this storyline was Kevan Lannister standing up to Cersei. He gets the award for “most courageous”. Finally someone put Cersei in her place and she didn’t expect it. It was also good to see a bit of the “old” Jaime come out as he manipulated Bronn into coming with him to Dorne. As for the Queen Regent, she is becoming more suspicious by the day thus, her decisions may have terrible results.
Tyrion and Varys are making their way to Volantis; a stop towards their journey to Meereen. Tyrion just wants to get some fresh air but Varys tells him to forget it as his sister has put a bounty on his head. All Tyrion wants to do is drink throughout the trip. Varys reminds him that he was a good leader and his abilities are of good use.
Again, the banter between Tyrion and Varys is well written dialogue that will make this journey enjoyable to watch. Dinklage and Hill are a perfect duo together.
At the Water Gardens, Ellaria watches Myrcella and Trystane enjoy each other’s company. Still grieving, she requests to see Doran. His guard, Areo Hotah stops her but Doran allows her to come in. He is watching from the balcony in his wheelchair. Ellaria informs him that she is hellbent on vengeance for Oberyn’s death and that she would like to send a message to the Lannisters via Myrcella. She says the Sand Snakes agree with her. Doran tries to calm her down by saying he is grieving as well but she must consider that Oberyn was killed during a Trial by Combat ; meaning he wasn’t murdered. Also, he tells her that no harm will come to Myrcella while he is still ruling Dorne. Ellaria storms off in a huff.
Ellaria is not taking Oberyn’s death lightly and the only thing on her mind is revenge. Doran, on the other hand, seems like a man of reason. He is the opposite of the Red Viper, who had quite the “Dornish” personality. There are definitely undercurrents of anger from Doran but he maintains a very shrewd cool. These segments will be intriguing to watch in future episodes. Bring on the Sand Snakes.
Jon is summoned by King Stannis, who is bitter that he killed Mance with an arrow instead of burning. Stannis needs the North’s support and offers Jon the Lordship of Winterfell if he bends the knee. He also promises him to change his name from “Snow” to “Stark”. Jon reminds the King he is man of the Night’s Watch. Also the leadership of Lord Commander is taking place later that night
Shireen is teaching Gilly how to read while Sam is engrossed in his books. They converse about Shireen’s grayscale as Gilly recalls how it affected her sisters. Queen Selyse interrupts them . She reminds her daughter that she ought not to be teaching the Wildings to read because they refused to bend the knee to her father.
Later, Jon confides in Sam about Stannis’s offer; however, he is going to refuse it because what kind of Lord would he be if he didn’t keep his vows. As the vote for Lord Commander commences, Alliser Thorne and Denys Mallister are nominated. A nervous Sam decides to nominate Jon for the job. Thorne doesn’t dispute Jon’a abilities but he does say that Snow is on the side of the Wildings. The vote takes place. Jon and Alliser are tied until Measter Aemon places his vote. Jon becomes the new 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. A smile creeps onto Jon’s face.
The Gilly/Shireen/Sam scene was definitely endearing as we see there is still good in the world from the point of view from Shireen. Stannis is determined to get the North on his side. Jon’s dream of becoming a “Stark” almost came true; however, his loyalty to his oath was weighing heavily on his mind. That is Stark honor. Now that he is Lord Commander, everything changes. And for whom?
Daario and Grey Worm hunt for the Sons of Harpy assassins. Daario teaches Grey worm that fear is useful as they find the killer hiding in a wall. At the small counsel, Mossador tells Daenerys that the Harpy intend to bring back slavery. The Khalessi isn’t sure what to do until Selmy discloses some insight on her father’s reign and how the people revolted against him. She decides on a fair trial.
Mossador kills the prisoner as a warning to the Harpy and the Masters. He is arrested and brought forth to the Queen to beg for forgiveness. An angry Dany tells him that the law is the law in Meereen so he’ll be executed as well. Once outside, the Masters and slaves gather to witness the event. The slaves are outraged at Mossador’s execution; they begin to hiss and throw stones at her. She is led back to the safety of her quarters.
A shocked, upset and exhausted Dany asks to be left alone. As she comes outside onto the balcony, she hears a familiar sound. Dany turns around to find Drogon waiting for her. As she tries to touch him, he flies away leaving her more confused than ever.
The toughest decisions aren’t always the easiest. Even with her army of Unsullied, nobody is safe. Drogon’s visit has shattered her bad day just a little more as he rejected her. This puts doubt in Dany’s mind and as for the dragons; they are becoming larger and unruly just like her subjects. Perhaps, she need to spend time with her children. Chaos is on the rise in Meereen.
Here is a preview of Episode 3: