Only a short glimpse of Dany this week, with an introduction to the widows of the Great Khals, who were all seemingly promised glory alongside their Moon and Stars (although presumably none of them had dragons), while in Mereen, Varys talked business with a conspirator of the Sons of the Harpy, with a wonderfully creepy performance from Conleth Hill. Meanwhile, in King's Landing his little birds (children) were being transferred to Qyburn's books, with the small council vacating their seats as soon as Cersei, Jaime, and Ser Gregor (no Robert the Strong) came to visit. I'm a little bored of Cersei now, she's no fun and her threats seem as empty as the Lannister's coffers. And then there's poor Tommen, who went in fierce against the High Sparrow for about a minute before he was convinced everything is hunky dory because his mother loves him. Oh dear. However, Jonathan Pryce is a joy to watch in this role.
We finally had some satisfaction in Braavos, where Arya kicked that smug girl's backside and won her eyesight back, and finally got a glimpse of Samwell and Gilly on their way to homestead Hornhill, although I doubt Randall Tarly will be hugely pleased to see his son. But all of this is small fry compared to more of Max Von Sydow's guided tour of the history of the Starks, where Bran saw his father go up against Ser Arthur of Dayne at the Tower of Joy. Ned was on a rescue mission to save sister Lyanna, and while he had always told Bran that he defeated Arthur bravely, the actual truth of the matter is that Arthur was a wiz with steel who brandished two swords like a medieval Chow Yun Fat and massacred his way through the Stark party, only to be stabbed in the back by Howland Reed (father of Meera and Jojen).
What's interesting is Bran's shocked and slightly disgusted reaction to this, with how we tell stories as parents to our children and what really happens. But while Ned shot off to find Lyanna, Bran shouted out to him, and he seemed to hear him. Is this a clue to some more special powers Bran may possess? And of course the Raven stops the vision as Ned disappears, meaning we have to wait to find out about the tower (I'm pretty confident Ned will reappear with a baby in tow). Talking of Starks, we finally caught sight of Rickon but it wasn't in the happiest of places after he was unveiled to Ramsay Bolton as a gift by Smalljon "fuck oaths" Umber along with Osha. But the most horrific thing was the "proof" that he was Rickon Stark - the severed head of Shaggydog.
BUT WAS IT?!
I'm going with no. That head was way too small to be a direwolf, and I can see this being a double-cross, with the Umbers being incredibly loyal to the Starks previously. Then again, this is Game of Thrones and George RR Martin can be a right bastard. But this is likely to be setting it up for Jon who, after a bit of an understandable shock at no longer being dead, got back to his duties and hung his stabees, including Ser Alliser (yay!) and Olly (aww). However, it was pretty obvious from that act that this Jon Snow is taking no shit, and he proved that by immediately leaving the Night's Watch, leaving Dolorous Edd in charge (he's not deserting - his oath was "until my death"). If he's going to unite everyone against the White Walkers he'll have to unite the North first, and the best way to do that is to fuck up Ramsay Bolton. GAME ON.
Another fine episode, and this season is rollicking along. I'm a bit bored by Cersei and Dany at the moment, but everyone else is stepping up to the plate, and it feels like it's becoming a real worldwide conflict again. So much time was spent with the Starks and the Lannisters, but the pieces seem to be moving in a more satisfying way, and the pace is just tremendous. Let's hope it stays that way, although I know I'll be howling at the skies when the episode ten cliffhanger rolls around.
Read Charlie's review of the previous episode, Home, here.
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