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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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Season 5, Episode 5 – “Kill the Boy”

It’s already the season midpoint and storylines are being to rev up. Tonight’s episode is about hope, loss and decisions. In the Bolton’s case, it comes down to control through manipulation.  And we are taken to Valyria for an extraordinary adventure with Tyrion and Jorah.  Bryan Coogman wrote this installment (usually outstanding dialogue) while newcomer directory Jeremy Podeswa directed this episode.

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The Wall                                             

Sam reads to Maester Aemon about Daenerys in the East.  The only thing Aemon is worried about that she has no family close by as he is at the wall. And it’s a terrible thing to be all alone.  Jon interrupts them to have a word with the Maester.  He asks for the elder’s advice as he has something he has to do that isn’t going to be accepted by the rest of the Night’s Watch. Aemon counsels him to kill the boy and the let the man be born because there is little joy in being in command.

First, Jon talks to Tormund about the free folk. They are still loyal to Mance. Jon proposes that the Widlings come to Castle Black because Winter is Coming, thus; they don’t have a chance for survival.  The Wilding says that most of them are at Hardhome, far away. Jon suggests that he can ask King Stannis for the use of his ships.  Tormund demands Jon come before he agrees to the plan. The Lord Commander uncuffs his prisoner.

Meanwhile during the meeting at the Night’s Watch, the brothers are not fond of the plan to have the wildings amongst them. Stannis watches the commotion. Sam suggests that the Wildings could live in the “The Gift”.  Edd speaks up about how the wildings killed Grenn and Pyp at the Castle Black and he wants no part of this plan. Next, Olly thinks that Jon has a plan to kill them but that’s not Jon’s idea.  The young steward can only recount how the wildings killed both his parents.

Sam informs Gilly most of the books in Westeros are kept in Oldstown and how he wanted to be Maester but; he wound up at the Wall and met her. Stannis visits Sam. He recalls his father, Randall Tarly, the only man who beat his brother at Ashford. The Kings quizzes Sam about Dragonglass because Melisandre has predicted that Death will come to the Wall. He encourages Sam to keep reading.

Stannis informs Davos they will march onto Winterfell in the morning. Davos thinks they need more time and more men. Stannis tells his Hand that that Queen Selyse and Shireen will accompany them.  The next morning, Stannis prepares to leave; Jon thanks him for the boats and promises to return all of them.  Stannis hopes he knows what he is doing. Shireen and Davos converse about Winterfell as Selyse requests them to stop. Melisandre gives Jon one last look.

Ya gotta love Stannis! The scene with Sam was an awesome addition to this segment. Jon is now the most unpopular dude at the Wall. His decision to let the Wildings in is going to cause havoc in the Night’s Watch. But then he had to kill the boy to become a man so perhaps doing what he thought was right; may have consequences. But, then who wants to deal with White Walkers. The only disappointment is Davos’ role. It seems he has taken second stage to the other players yet his role could be so important.

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Winterfell

Brienne and Pod are outside Winterfell. Both know that Sansa is safe; but it does not help her situation any less.  A servant comes to their room as Brienne asks him about the North. She reveals that she keeping her vow to Catelyn Stark and is trying to get a message to Sansa.

We find Myranda and Ramsay having an afternoon love fest.  Her jealously rears its ugly head as she comments to Ramsay that he was supposed to marry her.  Bolton says that was before he became legit; he must marry Sansa to father a dynasty.  But Ramsay reminds her what he does with disobedient servants. They give into their passion once more.

A servant comes to give Sansa some clean water to freshen up. She lets it be known that if Sansa needs help to go to the tallest tower and light a candle in the window. See, she still has friends out there.

As Sansa goes to tower, she is interceded by Myranda, who admires her dress.  She has a surprise to show her in kennels. Sansa goes to the last kennel where she finds Theon, now Reek. All he can say is that she shouldn’t be here.

As Reek dresses Ramsay, he confesses that Sansa found him.  Ramsay forgives him but after he plays some nasty mind game.

Next, is the Bolton family dinner. Wanda tries to make small talk but Sansa says she grew up in the castle; it’s the people that are strange.  Ramsay makes a toast to their upcoming nuptials. He then shows off Reek to his bride to be.  Disgusted, Sansa questions her betrothed as why is he is doing this.  Roose is not impressed. Ramsay makes Reek/Theon apologize for killing her brothers. Afterwards, he suggests that Reek give her away since he is the only thing to close to family.  Roose and Walda announce that she is pregnant and it looks like it might be a boy. Ramsay is not pleased. Sansa quietly smirks at the news.

Later that night, the Bolton men have a heart to heart talk. The senior Bolton tells his son he disgraced himself at dinner and he knows that Ramsay is worried about his position as heir. He tells his son about truth about his mother.  When his mother came to him a year later, he wanted to get rid of his son but he saw that Ramsay was his.  Quickly, Roose changes the subject to Stannis, who intends to take the North from them. He needs his son to help defeat the King.

The dinner party was one wacked out scene. Sansa is not impressed by Ramsay’s shenanigans. Roose is not pleased however; he manipulates his son to guarantee their rule of the north. Then there’s wacky Myranda playing mind games with Sansa. If there is any hope for Sansa, she’d better get the light to window because the only sane person is Brienne, who waits for her signal.  Great performances by Iwan Rheon, Michael McElhatton and Alfie Allan who just make everything so bizarre, it is intriguing. This storyline is beginning to heat up and is about to get even weirder.

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Meereen

Missandei is at Grey Worm’s bedside as he lies unconscious. Selmy is dead and Daenerys is grieving over the only person she really trusted. Hizdahr comes to give his condolences to the Queen.  Darrio wants each street to be taken down.  Dany decides to round up all the family heads including Hizdahr. They find themselves in the dragon’s den.  One of the family leaders is burned eaten by the dragon. 

Missandei is at Grey’s Worms beside as he wakes up after 3 days. She informs him that Barristen Selmy is dead. Grey Worm was afraid that he wouldn’t see Missandei again. They share their first kiss.

Dany comes to Missandei for counsel. She doesn’t have any one else to depend on. All Missandei knows is that the Khalessi has been helped by her advisors when she lacked experience but ignored her counsellors when there was a better decision.

Dany visits Hizdahr in his cell. He begs her not kill him. She admires his courage to admit his fear all the while she admits she made a mistake. Daenerys decides to open the fighting pits to free men and not slaves in order to bring the city together in tradition. As well, she will marry a leader from of ancient families to make sure the deal is sealed. Thankfully, a suitor is already on his knees. Hizdahr is stunned beyond belief.

Dany killed the girl inside and let the woman out; it was mighty one. It didn’t matter whether she was speaking High Valyrian or feeding her dragons. The lady has had enough and learning to rule with fervor.  A nice tender moment for Missendi and Grey Worm as we know they couldn’t hide their feeling anymore. And will Daario say over Daenerys’s new marriage.

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Valyria

Tyrion is recovering from his being knocked out by Jorah. He asks where they are going and for some wine. Mormont says no wine. They come to the ruins of Valyria through the Smoking Seas. Tyrion recites a verse about the Doom which Jorah finishes. Tyrion asks for his hands to be untied. As both men look up toward the sky, they see a dragon flying by. Tyrion is stunned while Jorah looks at how much Drogon has grown.

All of a sudden, there is a splash in the water as the boat passes through a cannal. It’s an ambush by the stone men. Mormont fights them off as Tyrion again asks for his hands to be untied. He (Tyrion) falls into the water trying to pry off the rope.  Next, he is dragged down by one of the Stone Men.  It fades to black for second. Finally, we find Tyrion and Jorah washed upon a shore without their boat. Mormont unties his hands while asking if Lannister was touched. Tyrion says no. They make camp for the night so they can make it the next fishing village along the way.  As Jorah looks towards Meereen, he looks at his wrist which is now inflicted with Grayscale.

There was a definite bro moment between Tyrion and Jorah as they recited the history of the Doom of Valyria. It is always nice to hear backstory when it’s told.  The look in Tyrion eyes when he saw Drogon was priceless because the rumors of Dany’s dragons are true.  And he knows he is one step closer to her; on the hand, Jorah is shocked at how much the dragon has grown.  All the talk of Grayscale was culminated when Jorah realized he had been infected. This particular segment is gearing up to be very exciting in the last half of the season.

Here is a preview of Episode 6:

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

 

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Season 5, Episode 4 – “ Sons of the Harpy”

If it seems like Game of Thrones is slowing down, wait just a minute; things are just getting ramped up.  Tonight’s installment was all about justice, faith, revenge and the ultimate sacrifice, love.  Generally, a slower paced episode that flowed effortlessly with several setup points for certain characters/storylines along the way.  It was written by newcomer staff writer, Dave Hill and directed by Mark Mylod.

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Volantis

Continuing from last week’s ending, Jorah knocks out a fisherman boat captain and steals his boat.  Tyrion is still tied up, throws him over his shoulder; into the small boat and sails away. 

Somewhere down the river, Tyrion is gagging while still being tied up. Finally, Jorah takes it off.  Tyrion asks who he is but Mormont says he is the captain.  Mormont says he is not taking to his sister but to Queen Daenerys. Tyrion can only laugh at that point because it’s a waste of a kidnapping since he is headed there too. Jorah asks him why as Tyrion replies for the gold, glory and hate. As he looks around the boat, the Imp notices the breastplates of the three headed dragon and a bear. He puts it all together; it’s Jorah Mormont, who was a spy for Varys.  And then he realizes the ex-Lord has been exiled due to Daenerys discovering his secret.  Tyrion outwits Jorah by saying that if he is the prize for honor that things can go opposite ways. Jorah gets upset and smacks Tyrion and puts on the gag again.

It is going to be quite an adventure with Jorah and Tyrion on their way to see Daenerys.  Both are going to see the Queen for different reasons; if they can survive each other’s company. And Dinklage just nails the scene, no matter whom he acting with.

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Dorne

On a merchant ship on its way to Oldstown, we find Jaime looking out at the sea. The captain tells him they are sailing past the Island of Tarth. A smile creeps onto Jaime’s face.  Below deck, Bronn asks him if he has visited Dorne because they are a wild people. Bronn questions why they are on a merchant ship and not with the Lannister army. Jaime responds that they are not kidnapping their princess but recusing his niece.  He doesn’t want to start a war. Bronn still inquires as to why he was sent. Jaime is tight lipped and only states that it has to be him. They briefly converse about Tyrion.  Bronn sends him his regards; but Jaime says since he murdered their father, he’d spilt Tyrion in two.

Sometime during the night, Bronn rows a small boat to shore.  Jaime is woken up by the swellsword killing a snake for breakfast.  As they get rid of their camp and begin the journey towards the Water Gardens.  A group of Dornish soldiers find them on the beach and they are questioned.  A fight ensues between Bronn, Jaime and the soldiers. Jaime gets his first kill in a long time; thanks to his golden hand. Bronn has been a good teacher. 

We find Ellaria Sand riding on the beach. She comes to a tent where the Sand Snakes are waiting for her. Her daughter Tyene, happily greets her.  Ellaria explains that Doran is not going to seek revenge for Oberyn’s death however; they don’t need an army to start a war. There is something more valuable, Cersei’s daughter.  So it’s either Ellaria’s way or Doran’s way.  Tyene agrees, Nymeria agrees using her whip to uncover a man buried in the sand.  It turns out to be the ship’s captain, who stopped in Plankytown ; revealing that Jaime Lannister is in Dorne.  Obara agrees as well, killing the captain with her spear.

The Sand Snakes have arrived! Along with Ellaria, they are ready to go to war to avenge their father’s death. Jaime and Bronn are in Dorne with a plan of their own. It’s obvious that these paths will cross very soon.  It seems Jaime is either hot or cold; it’s very hard to read his character. He is plagued with guilt over Tywin’s death, still angry at Tyrion (for it); all the while, trying to do the right thing. At least Bronn’s sarcasm makes up for it. It’s enjoyable to watch Jerome Flynn’s scenes.

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Kings Landing

In the small council chambers, Cersei questions the Crown’s debt to the Iron Bank. Lord Tyrell has no real solution. She sends him to Braavos to meet with bankers along with Mervyn Trant.

Nest she meets with the High Sparrow to discuss their mutual interests. She offers him wine but he refuses and asks how he may serve.  Cersei believes that there has been too much bloodshed in the septs. She decides to reinstate the Faith Militant to help restore justice as well as choosing the High Sparrow to be the new High Septon.  She exclaims him that there is a great sinner in their midst.

The Faith Militant begins to ravage the street of Kings Landing breaking beer barrels and invading brothels.  A man is getting tattooed on the head with their sigil. It turns out to be Lancel Lannister. The Faith arrests Loras Tyrell for his sins.

Queen Margery confronts her husband asking why her brother is a cell. She accuses Cersei of plotting revenge against her.  King Tommen promises to set Loras free. He visits Cersei asking what happened.  The Queen Regent tells him that she isn’t holding Loras and that he is the King so he’ll have to speak to the High Septon, himself.

Tommen goes to Sept to speak to the High Septon but is stopped on the steps by the Faith. His guards tell him that they will kill the men if he wants. Tommen decides he doesn’t want bloodshed. Shouts come from the crowd in the street. King Tommen leaves empty handed.

He lets his Queen know that he was unsuccessful. Margery is stunned questioning why he couldn’t take care of some fanatics. She decides to send for her Grandmother. Tommen asks if she is coming back but Margery says she wants to be with her family now.

Cersei has put her plan into motion.  This was a very shrewd move on her part because she has been waiting patiently for the time to strike; especially at the Tyrells. It also puts a strain in the relationship between Margery and Tommen. Cersei’s ulterior motive is to get her son back and have him reliant on her.  Poor Tommen has no idea was going on and he is put in quite a predicament.  How this pans out is anyone’s guess but for now Cersei has the upper hand.  Oh, Qyburn looks creepier each episode.

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The Wall

Stannis and Selyse watch as Jon trains. Selyse is not impressed by Jon’s parentage yet; Stannis tells her that Ned was not that kind of man. And all Selyse can think is that she dishonored her husband by giving him weakness as she looks over at Shireen. Melisandre appears while Selyse excuses herself. Stannis tells the Red Priestess that he plans on marching on Winterfell within a fortnight. She asks to him to put her faith in her so he is not defeated like Blackwater.

It is business as usual for Sam and Jon as the Lord Commander is signing papers to Lords to send more men to the Wall. He comes across Bolton’s name, hesitating to sign it. Sam pleads that the Wall needs more men because their numbers are low. Jon reluctantly agrees.  All of sudden, Melisandre appears. She encourages Jon to ride South with them when they march on Winterfell to chase out the rats. Jon says his home is now at Castle Black and the NW doesn’t take part in any war.  He is also skeptical of her visions in the fire. Mel seduces him suggesting they both have the power to make life, light and cast shadows.  Jon replies he swore a vow and he still loves another.  He rejects her advances.  Mel leaves, telling him, he knows nothing.

Shireen comes to visit Stannis in his quarters. He asks his daughter if she is bored but Shireen says she doesn’t mind being at Castle Black. Shireen asks her father if he is ashamed of her. He tells her the story of how a Dornish merchant landed on Dragonstone with a doll. She loved that doll but when it was pressed it against her cheek, it infected her with grayscale. Stannis tells his daughter that he was told she wouldn’t live very long and her best days would be served with the Stone Men in Valyria. Stannis wouldn’t hear of it; so he commanded that the maesters find a cure.  She is the Princess Shireen, his daughter. Shireen hugs her father.

Melisandre had “shadow baby” making on her mind but Jon wanted no part in that. He’d better watch out with the Red Priestess because she is scorned. Anything could happen now.  Sam seems to be the voice of reason for Jon.  Sometimes, overcoming personal feelings for the greater good is sign of a strong leader.  The highlights of this storyline had to be Stannis/Shireen’s father/daughter moment but Jon rejecting Melisandre was definitely a great moment.  This segment is definitely a set up point for things to come down the road. It sounds like a big battle scene could brew at Winterfell, could it be in time for a wedding?

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Winterfell

Littlefinger finds Sansa in the crypts underneath the castle.  He recalls the tournament at Harrenhall where Prince Rygar gave Lynna (her aunt) a bouquet of winter blue roses that started a war.   As they walk, LF informs her that he is leaving for Winterfell so Cersei won’t be suspicious of him.  Sansa is not pleased.  Baelish lets her know that Stannis Baratheon is at Castle Black waiting to march onto Kings Landing but first, he must secure the North.  And a betting man would put his money on Stannis.  If he defeats the Boltons, Sansa will claim Winterfell as the Wardness of the North. And if not, Baelish advises her to use her influence over her new husband.  He kisses her again. Sansa’s only response is that she will be a married woman when he returns.

That kiss is beyond weird.  Baelish has no idea what has transpired in KL so he’ll have quite a shock unless he knows more than he is letting on.  It’s a risky move for him to leave Winterfell but perhaps he doesn’t want to face Stannis. LF puts Sansa at risk with the Boltons. Also another set up point for the season as more characters are bound to meet.

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Meereen

Dany looks down upon her city from atop of her pyramid as she remarks to Selmy ; how quiet it is. Ser Barristen recalls his memories of her brother, Rygar, who loved to sing in the streets rather than fight.  Selmy was there to protect him. Daario comes to tell her that Hizdhar seeks counsel with her.  She smiles at Selmy and send him to “sing a song for her”.  The Queen listens to Hizdhar requesting  the fighting pits be opened because it’s a tradition that holds the city together.

Meanwhile, in the streets, Second Sons are attacked by the Harpy At the same time, the Unsullied are patrolling the street. A fight ensues and many are wounded and killed. Selmy  notices something is wrong. He comes to the rescue where Grey Worm is outnumbered and wounded. Both men fight off their attackers, killing them, but passing out from injuries.

Meereen is full of havoc.  The Harpy along with slaves are taking the city by storm while Dany is unaware. Her control of the city is beginning to wane.  With both Grey Worm and Selmy wounded, the city is an open target with not enough defenses. Wait; there are the dragons, if Dany will release them. It might help regain some semblance. Will this violence provoke opening the fighting pits?

Here a preview of Episode 5:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peKytMV167w

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Season 5, Episode 3 – “High Sparrow”

The world of Westeros has changed as new alliances are formed; new marriages and new leadership all take place in tonight’s chapter. And for the Stark girls; both face their past as one assumes a new identity while the other wants no part of her future. If is one thing is for sure, many storylines and characters are crossing paths at fast paced rate. It’s another character driven exposition directed by newcomer Mark Mylod.

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Braavos

Our first glimpse into the House of Black & White has Arya sweeping the massive hall where statues of Gods reside amongst the dark and flames. She watches Jaqen give man poisoned water as both men exchange Valur Morghulis/Donheris rights. Angrily, Arya confronts her teacher about becoming his apprentice. She questions which God this house serves. Jaqen says that there is only one God in this house; everyone knows his gift. As the man lies on the floor dead, two others take it away.

Later on, the waif confronts Arya with, “Who are you?” She doesn’t answer at first but then replies as no one. The waif calls her a liar and hits Arya, who grabs Needle. Jaqen interrupts them as the waif saying they were only playing “Game of faces”. He thinks she is not ready to serve because she is still wearing Arya’s clothes and keeping coins. Arya goes down to the dock to throw her belongings into the sea. Her last possession, Needle brings tears to her eyes. Instead of throwing the sword away, she buries it in some rocks nearby.

Awhile later, as Arya is sweeping again, Jaqen takes her downstairs to where a dead body lays on a slab. The waif girl is there as well. She asks her coworker what to do next. The girl looks up at her as Arya pauses for a moment and begins to help wash the body.

Monumentally, Jaqen is teaching Arya her first lesson: humility (and not to ask so many questions). Assuming her new role as no one, Arya has to strip away her past and assume a new persona. As she throws away her old identity into the water, the one thing she can’t part with is Needle; the only connection to her past. Her face said it all. As viewers, it was a good tug on the heartstrings. Tom Wlaschiha is killing it as Jaqen, whose monotone third person utterances bring out the goosebumps every time he talks. The set design for the House of Black and White makes these scenes eeryie to watch.

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Kings Landing

Tommen and Margery’s wedding day arrives while Cersei looks on. This marriage is consummated where Margery subtlety suggests to her new husband that his mother is too overprotective. The next morning, Cersei and Tommen go for a walk. He inquires if she is happy at Kings Landing. Cersei assures him that her place is with her family. The Queen Regent visits her new daughter in law. The new Queen raves that she might be a grandmother soon. Margery apologizes for not being at court and asks her new mother in law, her proper name. As she leaves, Cersei hears laughter from the chamber.

Next, we find the High Septon at the brothel. The “sparrows” invade the whorehouse. They make him walk the streets naked as people shout, “sinner”. He comes to the small counsel quarters to ask for justice. He requests that the King execute the “sparrows”.

Cersei goes to the streets in search of the High Sparrow. She covers her nose to hide the gross smell. She finds an older gentleman feeding the poor and asks to see their leader. He laughs at the name given to him by his followers. The High Sparrow wants to know why she is there. She informs him that the High Septon has been arrested and sent to the Red cells. He states, “Hipporacy is a boil. Lancing a boil is never pleasant.” Cersei’s intention is that the two pillars of society; faith and the crown must protect each other.

Later, she visits Qyburn in his chambers and tells him to send a raven to Littlefinger at the Eeryie. The body on table moves as the ex-maester tells it to be quiet.

Margery quickly solidified this marriage, a good strategic move on her part. Poor, innocent Tommen is the pawn between her and Cersei. The new Queen may think she has the upper hand influencing her new husband however; the Mother of Madness is very shrewd so her new daughter in law might need to watch out. Could Cersei be losing her power? The small counsel has considerably shrunk. Qyburn has gruesome written all over him. The High Sparrow (played by Jonathan Pryce) has very calm yet, serious demeanor as far as religion is concerned. Could more violence be on the way for the citizens of Kings Landing?

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Winterfell

As the Boltons have garrisoned the castle, preparations for its restoration have been progressing. Theon/Reek spots more bodies flayed in the yard. Roose and Ramsay are having a father/son chat (while Theon serves them) about Ramsay’s forcefulness of the Cerwyns for not paying taxes. He informs his son that they don’t have enough men if the North rises against them and no Lannister support since Tywin’s death. The best way to secure their position is through marriage. Roose has the perfect girl for Ramsay.

Sansa and Littlefinger arrive at Moat Cailin. Sansa recognizes it from her travels with her father to Kings Landing. She realizes that the marriage proposal was for her. And she also knows that the Boltons control the North. Sansa adamantly refuses to marry a Bolton because they killed her brother. Littlefinger tells her that she must stop being a bystander and stop grieving for her family. He directs her to  avenge them. Sansa hesitates for a moment and then gets back on her horse continuing their journey.

On a mountain top nearby, Brienne and Pod spot LF and Sansa. Brienne knows where they are going. Unfortunately, the duo will have to go around the Moat. As they set up camp, Brienne asks Pod how he came to be a squire for the ‘Imp”. Pod recalls his former Lord lost his life but Tywin spared him. Brienne apologizes for snapping at him but Pod thinks she is the best fighter he has ever seen. She offers to train him with the sword and learn to ride a horse.

As they settle in for the night, Pod asks Brienne about why she wanted to be a knight for Renly. She recalls the time her father gave her a ball to meet some Lords for her to marry. It turns out that they made fun of her behind her back except for Renly who saved her from embarrassment. She knew after that she wanted to serve Renly but in the end, Brienne couldn’t protect him.

Back at Winterfell, Sansa and Baelish arrive to meet their hosts. Theon watches from up top of the castle. Sansa pauses as Roose welcomes her. She introduced to her intended, Ramsay as Myranda looks on in disgust. Sansa enters the castle, a servant offers her some hot water to fresh up calling her Lady Stark and quietly telling her, “the North remembers”.
Littlefinger chats up Ramsay recalling he didn’t know much about him. Roose interrupts them. Baelish assures his new friend that Sansa didn’t consummate her marriage with Tyrion so it’s not valid. Bolton needs her name, not her virtue. He also wants to know if LF will back him when the Lannisters find out. Baelish assures him that Queen Margery is the Queen now. Bolton shows him a message from Cersei that arrived this morning with the seal broken. He also requests to see the reply.

There were so many riveting scenes in these segments, whether it was Pod/Brienne or Littlefinger/Sansa/Boltons. Theon didn’t say anything but his presence said it all. And speaking of Sansa, her home is not where her heart is but she pulled through as a proper Lady should. Will she figure out that her new husband to be is a monster? Pod and Brienne’s fireside chat was a memorable moment, especially their backstories. I don’t even know what to say about Littlefinger; quite the power play for him. Will it pay off? This is the biggest adaptation of storyline thus far, but it works. Only one phrase continuously echoes, “The North Remembers!”

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The Wall

Stannis visits Jon in his new quarters as Lord Commander. He introduces him to his new steward, Olly. He still Jon to be Lord of Winterfell. Jon thanks him but refuses the offer as he is now LC of the Night’s Watch. He wants to honor the vows he took. Stannis tells him that he is stubborn as his father whose honor got him killed.

Jon asks Stannis how long he intends to stay at the Wall. It’s costly with his army and the Wildings. Stannis doesn’t care about the Wildings as he intends to march on Winterfell within a fortnight. The King suggests that Jon has many enemies at Castle Black and he ought to think about sending Thorne to Eastwatch by the Sea.

Stannis leaves but Davos stays to have a chat with Jon. He tells him that Stannis respects him. Jon says the NW doesn’t take part in the wars of Westeros. Davos has Olly repeat the last two lines of the NW vows. He may not be an educated man but one thing is for sure, as long as the Boltons rule the North; the North will suffer.

Later on, Jon announces new duties. Ser Alliser will become a first Ranger for the NW. Consequently, he assigns Slynt to rebuild Greyguard. He  refuses to take the job. Jon instructs Olly to get his sword as Slynt is escorted to the yard, to a block. The Lord Comannder asks the Black Brother if he has any last words. Jon readies his sword while Slynt screams for mercy. Jon hesitates for a moment but decides to behead him in the end. Stannis watches from his balcony and nods in approval as Jon looks up.

Jon has taken his new position seriously. His stance with the sword is reminiscent of Ned in the first season. There seems to be a lot of emphasis on Olly, the steward in these scenes. Davos’ plea made Jon think just a little. Stephane Dillane and Kit Harrington are simply marvelous in these scenes. I just want a little more of Davos, the voice of reason. And hey, Stannis, what about Rickon?

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Volantis

Tyrion has cabin fever travelling to Voltanis with Varys. He needs to get out but Varys warns him, that’s it’s just the way it is. The Imp stops the caravan to travel the streets of the city. There, they find many slaves with tattoos on their faces to mark their trade. The come to an open spot where a Red Priestess invokes a crowd about the Red God, Daenerys Targygen and stone men. She intently looks at Tyrion. Feeling uncomfortable, Tyrion suggests that they go to a brothel for a drink.

As they arrive at the door, Tyrion’s head is rubbed by the guard outside. Apparently, it’s good luck to rub a dwarf’s head. Once inside, they survey the place. A familiar face is sitting drinking at the table watching. Tyrion approaches a dark haired girl to talk to. As they talk, she propositions him. Surprised, Tyrion refuses but goes outside to relieve himself. Varys loses sight of his friend. Outside, Tyrion is tied up with a rope by no other than Jorah Mormont; who is taking him to the Queen.

If there is one thing about Tyrion, his wit and charm have never left him despite anything he has to endure. Once again, two more character storylines are crossing paths! What will happen to Varys? A great ending to this episode.

Here is Episode 4’s promo:

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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.
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Braavos
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.
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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.
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Kings Landing
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.
Outside Pentos
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.
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Dorne
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.
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The Wall
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?
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Meereen
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:

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Season 5, Episode1 – “The Wars to Come”

When you play the “Game of Thrones”; you live or you die.  Another shift in power is rising in Westeros as Tywin Lannister’s body lies in state.  As loose ends are tied up, it becomes very apparent many players are moving into position.  Even in the east, Dany has new troubles brewing as her liberation of Meereen has dire consequences.   This episode was directed by newcomer Michael Slovis.

Kings Landing

Kings Landing

Season 5 opened with a flashback of a young Cersei meeting Maggy, the witch, who predicted that young Lannister would one day be a Queen; however, she would be replaced by a much younger one. She would bear 3 children from gold and whose shrouds will be their crowns. Perhaps, not knowing your future is a good thing.

Fast forward to present day and she makes her way to the Sept amongst those paying their respects to her late father. Margery Tyrell is first in line. Jaime is worried about the family’s position since “it’s at stake”.  The Queen Regent is hellbent on the fact that Tyrion, the monster, is roaming around a free man. As much as they hated their father, both are lost without him.

As people pay respects, Loras tries to console the grieving Queen but she intently watching Tommen and Margery at the Sept.  As she looks out the tower, Lancel pays his respects. He confesses the dirty secret about their love affair as he is the one who was responsible for Robert’s death. He begs for her forgiveness because he has converted to the Faith.  Cersei denies any involvement whatsoever.  Kevan Lannister interrupts them.

Sometime during the day, Maregery walks in on Loras and Olyvar. She advises her brother to be more discreet about his affairs. Loras doesn’t care who knows about him. Margery reminds him that they are to have dinner with their impending in-laws.  He retorts that his marriage to Cersei is most likely cancelled now that Tywin is dead.

This is going to be the year of Cersei Lannister.   With loss of Tywin, everything is going to crumble around her.  She may have the control at the moment but even that has its limits; especially the Crown’s debt. Her relationship with Jaime is becoming more distant and aloof. Kings Landing is going to be one the focal points to watch.

pentos

Pentos

A return to Pentos (remember season 1 with Dany) has Tyrion rolling out of crate after a long voyage. Thanks to the assistance of Varys, the Spider. The only thing on his mind is a drink as he commiserates his future except the drink comes back up.  It’s hard to live with the fact he killed his father and his ex-lover.  At this point, everything is unclear for Tyrion.

But don’t count out the Spider because he already has a backup plan. His goal is to bring peace to the realm and the Seven Kingdoms. He entices Tyrion to assist him by revealing that he could help Daenerys.  See power doesn’t always reside with men; power can be a woman with dragons.

The best part about this segment was the well written dialogue between the characters. The banter between them is priceless.  It was reminiscent of Season 2 however; the roles are reversed just a little.

 

meereen

Meereen

Over in Meereen, more statues are coming down.  An Unsullied soldier named White Rat visits a brothel. As his head is stroked, his throat is slit by golden masked man.  As Daenerys hears of this news; she demands a proper burial for the solder in Temple of Graces.  Missendi asks Grey Worm why the soldier would go to a brothel but, he has no answer for her.

Daario and Hizdahar return with news that Yunkai has been liberated once more. The only concession is to reopen the “Fighting Pits”. The Khalessi won’t hear of it.  Daario tries to convince her that the pits are the livelihood of the people (slaves) through his own personal life story.  The sellsword reminds his queen that she has the power of dragons so no one will fear her. 

Dany goes to visit Viseron and Rhageal, the dragons she locked up.  Her children aren’t happy to see as she is greeted by fire. Both dragons have grown.  They sense her fear.

The Sons of Harpy are definitely Meereen’s foe but the question of opening Fighting Pits is on everyone’s mind. These scenes ought to be exciting this season.  And who can forget those dragons!

the vale

The Vale

A dark haired Sansa watches intently as Robin Arryn learns to fight.  Littlefinger receives a note as Sansa watches from the corner of her eye.  As far as Littlefinger is concerned, names mean everything.  He leaves the little Lord in Lord Royce’s Hand.  As for Sansa, he is taking her out west so that Cersei can’t find her.

Somewhere outside the Vale, Brienne is polishing her sword.  Still disappointed that Arya wouldn’t come with her, she set her sights on finding Sansa.  Pod tries to calm her but to no avail.

It maybe that Brienne and Pod could cross paths with Sansa/Littlefinger at some point. This segment is hard to figure out at the moment.  The question on everyone’s mind: Where are Sansa and Litttlefinger going to?

the wall

The Wall

Meanwhile, at Castle Black, life is supposed to be getting back to normal. Jon is training recruits. Gilly and Sam are hanging out. Slynt and Thorne discuss who ought to be Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Melisandre appears and summons Jon to see King Stannis. As they ride to the top of the Wall, Melisandre is aroused by Jon.  He asks her if she is cold but her reply is that she is always warm, thanks to her Red God.  Stannis informs him that the Boltons have taken Winterfell as Wardens of the North. He enlists Jon to convince Mance to bend the knee before sunset so he can have an army to take the North.

Jon visit Mance in his cell. The King Beyond the Wall refuses to bend the knee for King Stannis. Jon thinks it is pride stopping him but Mance won’t let his people enlist in a foreigner’s war.  Jon warns him if he refuses that he’ll burn. Mance accepts his fate.

Later that night, Mance is paraded to the grounds at Castle Black where he is asked to bend the knee to Stannis. He refuses and led to his death. Melisandre proudly exclaims that this punishment for refusing the King.  As the Wildings, Night’s Watch and Shireen & Selyse watch as Mance burns. Jon walks out; only to shoot Mance with an arrow saving him from a horrifying death.

The scenes at the Wall are going to be thrilling to watch. Jon is becoming a leader. The looks between Jon and Melisandre are creepy . Finally, Stannis has taken charge with a purpose, asserting his position.  Now where does that leave Davos? Let’s not forget there are wildings at the Wall. The tension is going to build all season long.

Tonight’s episode was long but a necessary exposition.  With the shift in power changing, many are already marking their positions.  And this is only the beginning. It seems that many characters are going to intertwine through storyline this season. The definite highlight of the season opener was the Cersei’s flashback; it set the tone for the entire episode.

Next week, we’ll catch up with Arya, the Boltons and Dorne.

Here is Epsisode 2 promo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJiWbV3C1

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Season 5 is here!!

GOTSeason5

With just hours left before the Season 5′s big premiere episode tonight, the buzz around the Internet is growing with anticipated excitement. Facebook and Twitter are buzzing about online leaks.

Let’s take a minute and  breathe. And talk about which storylines we are looking forward to watching this evening.

So jump in, get comfortable and let’s chat!

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The Winds of Winter – New Sample Chapter!

Yesterday, GRRM released a new excerpt for the impending sixth book of  the series on his website.

Here is the link:

http://www.georgerrmartin.com/excerpt-from-the-winds-of-winter/

 

Book readers, please use the book forum to discuss theories in order to keep the main page spoiler free!

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