Missendei stands vigil over Grey Worm’s bedside (he isn’t dead! But he isn’t well)
Daenerys stands vigil over Barriston’s… slabside? (he is dead, alas). Daario has a tactical suggestion but Daenerys instead chooses to have the heads of each of Mereen’s great families brought before her. Hizdahr isn’t a fan of this plan – since it includes him. Daenerys looks like she’s falling into old family habits
She pushes them in front of her chained dragons, announcing how she’s still their mother – and watching one of the burn in dragonfire before being torn apart and eaten. Everyone cowers except Hizdahr (Valar morghulis – all men must die). The rest she spares
Missendei comforts a wounded Grey Worm who was all sad and fearful because he thought he’d never see her again – and she kisses him.
Daenerys is torn between the ex-Barriston’s advice (mercy) and Daario’s advice (kill them all) and turns to Missendei for her take. She insists that Missendei has experience and knowledge enough to have an opinion as much as anyone else. I would have loved this scene more if Missendei’s advice wasn’t basically “zomg you’re just so awesome!”
Daenerys goes to see Hizdahr whose impressive show of courage is largely a show and he’d rather not be eaten. Daenerys admits she was wrong – including about the fighting pits (for free men only). She also plans to marry the leader of an ancient family – Hizdahr. She leaves him not knowing what to think
Tyrion, kidnapped by Jorah in a boat sailing to Mereen, continues to annoy Jorah. He pleads for more wine, basically acknowledging that he’s an alcoholic and withdrawal would be bad. They’re heading to Valyria (with lots of ominous forboding about this lost land). And while they recite poetry of lost Valyria, a dragon flies overhead. They are attacked by “stone men”, men infected with greyscale (the disease Stannis’s daughter Shireen has, a disease Gilly said turns people into savage beasts). They try to defend themselves and Tyrion, still bound, falls into the water and is dragged down.
Jorah manages to save him but Tyrion’s thanks is wisely muted with acknowledgement that Jorah’s kidnapping is what put him in danger.
Jorah has also been touched by one of the stonemen – he is infected with greyscale.
Sam reads correspondence to blind Measter Aemon, bringing news about Daenerys (he’s her great-uncle) and he’s frustrated by how alone she is and how far he is from her. John wants advice from Aemon – he needs to do something but half the men will hate him for it – Aemon doesn’t even ask him what it is and tells him to do it (half the men already hate him – and John has already said he has to do it). He urges John to “kill the boy” which is a more brutal way of saying “grow up.”
John goes to Torvald, the imprisoned wildling, he wants Tovald to gather the Free Folk and bring them south –John will allow them south of the wall and find them land; he says the Night’s Watch was meant to shield all men – and that includes the wildlings. He wants them to fight together and waves the wildling’s vulnerable civilians to counter objections about fighting with the Night’s Watch. He tells Torvald to save his people from the White Walkers and removes his chains to prove courage. Torvald appears to agree – and asks for ships to help move his people.
He also demands John comes with them so they know they will be safe
This is a hard sell to the rest of the Night’s Watch (though Sam knows of plenty of land in The Gift for them), even people who normally support John speaking against it after the slaughter they just unleashed. John focuses on every dead wildling becoming a white walker. Even his personal servant and squire, Olly, isn’t thrilled since the wildlings slaughtered his village. John is practical and also drops the “Winter is Coming” line. It’s not convincing.
Gilly and Sam continue to interact – she keeps asking her questions and he gives her half answers, assuming she knows things and generally being impatient and cluelessly unkind. He does try to reassure her and point to the many things that she can do he can’t, but she clearly feels belittled. Stannis comes to see Sam to ask how to fight the White Walkers (with weapons of obsidian) in between mentioning Sam’s warrior father (who hates his eldest son). He wants Sam to keep reading and researching
After that he collects Davos, they’re marching south and he’s bringing his queen and daughter with him especially since he remembers where most of the Nights Watch came from – prisoners and criminals.
Brienne continues stalking Sansa with Pod for her own good. (Laughable line: Sansa doesn’t know what danger she’s in”. Oh yes yes she does). She appeals to one of the may loyal Northerner’s to get a message to Sansa – that if she lights a candle in a tower Brienne will come rescue her. It quickly passes through the loyal northern servants.
Ramsay’s lover Miranda isn’t happy about Ramsay about to marry Sansa – but Ramsay, as he points out, isn’t a bastard any more who gets to choose his own marriage. As the heir he has to make a political match. Unsurprisingly, he’s not good at comforting her and when she tries to exert any independence he’s quick to belittle her, restrain her, intimidate her and threaten her. He may be playing nice with Sansa but he’s still evil. They have sex but her face suggests she is plotting more than enjoying herself.
She lures Sansa into the kennels (oh Sansa, you’re supposed to be smart and savy now) where she finds Theon – or the wreck he has become. Later, when serving Ramsay, Theon tells Ramsay that Sansa saw him. Ramsay amuses himself with more mind games
At dinner Ramsay continues to play nice with Sansa and his new step-mother, Walda. Sansa isn’t so nice (poor Walda is and also rather clueless to the undercurrents). Ramsay shows off Theon as his servant, holding up his suffering as punishment for the Iron Born attack on Winterfell and him killing Sansa’s brothers (who are still alive unbeknownst to everyone). He makes Theon apologise to Sansa. Amazingly this forced apology doesn’t do much to reassure Sansa – nor Ramsay claiming Theon is the closest thing Sansa has to living family
Roose quickly moves this desperate attempt not to be socially terrible along and introduces his own good news – Walda is pregnant! And probably with a boy. Ramsay, as the newly-legitimised illegitimate son is not that thrilled about a legitimate son being born. Sansa knows he’s not happy and that’s totally not a smile, honest.
Ramsay meets his dad later to make several disparaging and gross remarks about Walda’s weight. Roose decides to reminisce about Ramsay’s mother and how he raped her because the awful is splattered all over this family tree. This recounting of awfulness is all about he knows and acknowledges Ramsay is his son (apple didn’t fall too far from this twisted tree). Now can they work together to worry about Stannis.
Daenerys – so she’s the scary dragon lady? Well… didn’t everyone already know that? I’m glad she realised the error of that tactic and looked for another way (I also really liked her turning to Missendei for advice showing she valued her. I didn’t like Missendei’s advice being so fawning and lacking). Her solution is sensible and shows her finally listening to the only one of her councillors who may understand Mereen – but there’s also a dragon in the room. Daenerys doesn’t ask, she presents this to Hizdahr as an order while he is cowering on his knees shortly after threatening with death by burning and munching. He can no more say no to Daenerys than Ramsay’s mother could say no to Roose or Miranda could say no to Ramsay. I fear this will not be acknowledged
I also suspect Deanerys has other plans
Sansa – I’m kind of on the edge of my seat waiting for her to pull out something awesome. I need her to pull out something awesome. Her whole story arc is BEGGING for her to have learned and become an awesome player of the game by this point.
I am glad to see John the Pouty coming into his own and thinking and taking risks and generally being a good and brave leader. I’ll admit, he has annoyed me a lot in the past so I’m glad to see the progression
I also really liked the scene with Gilly and Sam because it does cut through the idea that, because they’re in love, it should solve everything and it cuts through the idea that Sam is such a nice man. He is nice – but he’s also keenly intelligent, very well read and not very patient with people whose knowledge and thought processes are slower than his own. It’s not even a case arrogantly assuming he’s better than others so much as frustration and almost bemusement that others don’t know what he does – which jars sharply with Gilly who comes from such an utterly foreign setting to him and he isn’t dealing with it as well or as kindly as he should. It calls back nicely to his relatively ineptitude beyond the wall and her greater experience.