So, some bit parts first – the Stark sisters siblings are starting to look up. Bran is still in his little cave having visions of the past – including his dad’s childhood. One element I like about this is we see Leanna as being more active and interesting since her role has pretty much been relegated to the Most Fridged of Women whose death all those years ago pretty much led to all the events of the whole series. Since she’s a woman who was pretty much defined by her relationship with men it’s nice to see even this snippet of more… yet at the same time Game of Thrones does have a habit of putting action-women (Arya, Brienne, Yara) on more of a pedestal than more traditionally feminine women (Cersei, Sansa – even Margaery now). Bran also see young Hodor – or Willis, apparently intelligent and clear and able to communicate.
Arya’s training montage continues, this time with her being taken in again by Jaqen. Sansa is still with Brienne and they’re heading north hoping that Jon Snow will protect them. On the whole, things are finally looking up for the sisters. Though Theon, consumed by guilty and self-hatred decides he wants to go home – to the Iron islands
This episode continues all the political upheaval that is shaking up this episode, especially after Doran just got murdered by his poorly developed family last season.
In the Iron Isles (remember them?) Yara, the sensible one, repeatedly tries to tell her not-so-wise dad that while the iron islanders are super awesome pirates and sailors and can swash any buckle you care to name, they’re pretty shitty land troops, besiegers and castle defenders. As such invading the North has gone utterly terribly, especially since they only did as well as they did before because all the Northern armies were heading south and are now coming home. She also reminds him that, hey, the Iron islanders did this before and got their arses kicked and her brothers dead or held hostage.
Her dad doesn’t listen to reason. But we have murderous and possibly unstable uncle to come murder his brother (unknown to everyone else) instead. Don’t expect this to be an improvement since said brother keeps referring to himself as a storm which probably bodes no good. Yara considers herself the heir, but the Iron Islanders have to pick the next king – and whether she becomes the first female leader of the Iron Isles remains to be seen
I think we’re supposed to actually root for Yara though – she is definitely the most competent and capable choice… so long as she lives. What I would hate is for either clearly terrifying uncle or – even worse – terrified and no-record-of-competence Theon take over simply because GUYS. Do not do this Game of Thrones, let Yara be the awesome competent queen we know she can be.
The next upheaval is in the north. Ramsay continues to worry about his legitimacy as Roose’s heir and lord of all the North since he’s lost Sansa and Jon Snow is still up at the wall with a technical claim to the Stark’s holdings (yes, he’s a bastard. But so is Ramsay). He wants to invade the wall – an act which will turn most the houses of the north against them, but we’re conveniently informed that 3 houses hold most of the armed forces of the North (and at least one of them is loyal to the Boultons). His fears go to overdrive when Roose’s new baby is born – and is a son. A legitimate heir. Ramsay responds predictably with death all around – death to his dad, death to his step mother and death to his new baby brother – because he’s Ramsay and made of evil and creepy.#
That’s a whole lot of people deposed in these last 2 episodes.
In King’s Landing Tommen does a lot of growing up, facing his failing and, prompted by his uncle-father Jamie he reconciles with his mother Cersei and asks for her help to be strong and asks her forgiveness for not stopping her humiliating walk. I think the new High Septon needs to watch his step since she has her new undead zombie Mountain killing random detractors in the street and Jamie has already made it clear they’re gunning for the Septon. With all these overthrows and political shifting I think Kings Landing is due a shake up. And I like to see Cersei seeming to take back some power and be ready to kick arse again – something she hasn’t done for some time.
Time for the more predictable storyline – in the North, Davos does successfully delay Thorne and the Night’s watch traitors long enough for the people-whose-names-I-forgot Nights watch to rally the overwhelming numbers of wildlings led by Torvald. Thoroughly outnumber, Thorne’s night watch surrenders and is thrown into the cells… and we get to see how much respect Torvald has for Jon Snow
And it’s time for Melisandre to do her thing. But she’s having a major crisis of faith because all of her predictions have pretty much crashed and burned (excuse the pun). But Davos has faith – not in her gods, not in any gods of any pantheon, but in her. In her, the woman who proved to him that miracles, that magic exists. I hope they run with this, really, I do – this magically incredibly powerful woman actually owning her power rather than constantly stripping off, hailing a distant god for all her achievements and then helping a man gain strength.
Oh and Jon Snow comes back to life. Yes I’m throwing it in as an afterthought. I am bemused that anyone is shocked by this, the minute we were reminded that Melisandre is on call at the Wall and that Resurrection is a thing Red Priests can do.
And let’s close with a look at Essos, where Daenery’s empire is pretty much falling apart now, with only Meeren under dubious control and all the other cities back in the hands of the slavers. Tyrion points to one asset they have left (in between drinking copious amounts) – the dragons. The two dragons Daenerys locked under the city. Tyrion decides to rescue them, betting on dragon’s being more intelligent than humans
Thankfully, as is often the case, Tyrion is right. And also awesome.