Game of Thrones 5.3 – High Sparrow

Previously! Can I just say that from a writing/story-telling perspective, this season just might be the tightest? The flawless transitions from character to country and back again, moving all around the globe to tell a cohesive, forward-moving narrative is outstanding. And again, I’m not a book reader, this ain’t the place for book talk, so from an “I only know what I see onscreen each week” perspective, I’m seriously loving season five. (Reminder I’m Unsullied, please please leave book talk to other websites please and thank you and forehead kisses.)

Arya sweeping House of Black and White

Our little Cinder earning her keep.

And my hat’s off to the set designers, both physical and CGI because damn. We lead off with a beautiful opening shot of a dank room lined with statues of the old kings? The old sigils? Was that a lion’s head? A drowned man, oh, I recognize the weirwood god… And a fire burns within a stone heart. (Same. That would be my House’s sigil. Ha, I’m kidding, it would be a hand grasping for a mostly empty wine bottle, obv.)

 

Arya’s here, cleaning inside this chamber, watching as A Man offers a drink to a poor wayfaring man of grief. Arya’s a bit sick of waxing Mr. Miyagi’s cars, though. She came to learn karate, okay? She’s going to destroy her enemies’ Dojo, and it would be nice if A Man would show her some of his sweet ninja moves, ahem.

Well, A Girl must learn how to serve others instead of her own needs. And A Man says there is only one god, and she knows His name. (Uh, care to share? …is it Death?) She finds the poor wayfaring man laying on his back, dead? In a coma? We don’t know. But I know this: don’t drink from the well inside the House of Black and White if you have shit to do that day, because that stuff will lay you out.

In King’s Landing, the wedding between Tommen and Margaery is under way, and the people LOVE her. Cersei, naturally, is pissed. The two kiss, no one dies, and please note that Margaery’s dress is not adorned in thorns this time. And in the bedchamber, it seems that finally one of her husbands is able to follow through. Pardon me while I vomit at the thought of banging a 12 year old boy.

Tommen: Gosh! I say! My word! It all happened so fast!
Margaery: …yes. [sigh]
Me: AHAHAHA
Tommen: So how soon can we do this again? Because I’d like to do this all the time! That was splendid, heavens!
Margaery: Well, how about we snuggle for a spell, allowing me to get all sorts of dirt, er, info about you?
Tommen: Ha, how crazy that my brother died and I ended up here with you, me a mere lad still wet behind the ears?
Margaery: Mm, insane, yes. Ha. Quite! Say, does your mother fancy living anywhere other than here?
Tommen: I think she might. And I’m a man now, so I can tell her where to go, can’t I?
Margaery: Gosh, you are a man, aren’t you? So… brave and powerful. [shoves Ser Pounce away and shushses her husband when he whines for his Kittums] And such a good mummy you have, darling husband who isn’t too young to be away from her, not at all! Of course you realize that she’ll always see you as her ickle baby bunny, won’t she?
Tommen: Excellent point, my beautiful bride, hee, bride! Er …how can I get my dingle sucked with Mum helicoptering?
Margaery: [smiles] You can’t.
Tommen: Well… rats. [ponders] OH.

CUT TO: Tommen and Cersei chatting, where Tommen hints that maybe Mummy needs to get back to Casterly Rock. Cersei barges in on Margaery catting it up with her ladies in waiting.

Margaery Tyrell Cersei Lannister

Margaery: Oh my gosh, girls, doesn’t the Dowager Queen—or is it just Queen Grandmother?—look amazing for her age? I hope I look so well pickled at seventy-three.
Cersei: Margaery, did your ladies in waiting help sweep out the Lady Box dust bunnies before your wedding night? You must be so happy to finally have a husband get it up for you!
Margaery: …you do get one of them was your son who was poisoned at his own wedding, right? Oh, so sorry we don’t have any wine for you, GeeMom-Mom but we don’t usually drink at 9am.
Cersei: Good lord, you don’t brunch in Bitch Island or wherever you’re from?
Margaery: I’d sit down to chat more, but… Tommen is both a lion and a stag, ha! [limps away]

Cersei spits enamel dust into the face of the Kingsguard as she stalks off.

Cersei Lannister confronts Margaery

If you look closely you can see the blood dripping from Cersei’s hands.

BOLTON SIGHTING! We hit Moat Cailin Winterfell* where Reek—oh, poor fucking Reek—staggers along, confronted with two newly flayed men hanged, and a spare waiting underneath. Well, what’s a Bolton hold without some old, familiar decorations, eh? Roose and Ramsay chat over food about how those bodies were Lord Cerwyn, his wife and son. And the new Lord will probably pay his taxes with less lip.

[Hannibal-look into the distance] So would the old Lord. [noms on lip satay]

*Note: I didn’t pick up that we’d moved on to Winterfell, given the dankness of the courtyard and the opening shots of the Moat, so thanks to Eagle Eyed viewers/book readers who clued A Girl in!

Roose wants his son to marry up. SANSA!!!!! Baelish, you dirty mother fucker. When he said a marriage proposal was agreed to, we all thought it was for him! He was securing SANSA’S marriage to RAMSAY BOLTON, oh my dear sweet little eight pound baby Jesus, fly up and smite these wicked sinners, oh my GOD. She’s figured it out as they stand on a hill looking down at the swampy shithole that is to be her new home, I guess, disgust and anger written all over her face. ME TOO.

Baelish says he won’t force her to marry–

Ron Burgundy calling out lies

–but says, “isn’t it better than running and being a bystander?” Maybe infiltrate? Is that his game?

“There’s no justice in the world. Not unless we make it.” Yeah, but you don’t get to make it for other people, and holy crap, if I didn’t hate (love to hate, don’t misunderstand!) Baelish before this, I sure do now. BAELISH YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALMOST ALL OF HER HARDSHIP AND PAIN.

Sansa and Petyr Baelish at Moat Cailin

Sansa you don’t have QUITE enough disgust and disbelief in your expression.

Sansa, you in danger, gorl.

I think we all know that Ramsay isn’t someone to be trifled with; she’s not going to be able to easily get the upper hand here, even with her new dark makeover. Ramsay’s not Joffrey. But fortunately we see Brienne and Pod watching over all of this, and that makes me feel a bit better. Brienne is my patronus, you guys. I love her.

Pod, meanwhile, explains how he is still a squire at the ripe age of forty-three (or however old is too old): he used to squire for a dude who drunkenly stole a ham, was hanged the next day and just as Pod was next on the block, the Lannisters saved him from the noose after learning he was a Payne (in the neck, am I right?! High five! [slinks off in shame]). And in a moment that put a lump in my throat, he tells her that he doesn’t think she’s a nasty, awful person. In fact, he thinks she’s the best fighter he’s ever seen and he’s proud to squire for her and I have a tree or branch or something in my eye GO ON WITHOUT ME AND LEAVE ME HERE TO CRY OKAY.

I mean, guys. GUYS. He loves that she snaps at him because it makes him better. [pounds chest with my fist] She promises to start training him to be a knight the next day. If you’re not Team Brienne and Pod, you’re living life in an incorrect manner. (And bonus points to Pod for using a flint and steel to start a lovely fire.) We also get:

The Tale of  Brienne Joining the Kingsguard

Once upon a time, Brienne of Tarth’s father decided to hold a ball for his darling girl for all the eligible men of the Seven Kingdoms to bear witness to her beauty and cunning and loveliness for he was the best sort of doting father, if a bit blind to his daughter’s outward appearance. The boys all arrived, vied for her attention, fought one another for her dance card and called her “Brienne the beauty,” even going so far as to challenge one another to duel for the opportunity to hand her a cup of punch.

But as the clock struck midnight, the spell broke, leaving her to see them all laughing at her, mocking her height, her boorishness, her clumsy lack of lady wiles, and she was devastated. Before she could run off to cry herself sick about being the ugliest girl alive, a handsome boy stood before her, smiling gently, knuckling away her tears.

Softly he told her, “Those boys are the ugliest shits in the land.” As she giggled through her sobs, he told her the greatest truth known to man:

Brienne of Tarth speaking of Renly

And from that day until his last day, she was devoted to the kind boy who saved her. Even though he could not love her, she loved him. But in the end, she could not save him, and it is the darkest corner of her heart to have watched a man she loved murdered by the shadow of his own brother. Make no mistake, the oafish girl of before has become the greatest fighter in all of Westeros in order to avenge that beautiful boy.

Speaking of brother shadows, Stannis goes to visit Lord Commander Jon Snow (all my squealing, omg). Stannis wants to know about that whole “becoming a Stark” offer, but Jon refuses due to that whole Night’s Watch thing. He’s a man of honor. Yeah, Stannis reminds Jon that honor got his Pop killed, so don’t get too excited about it. But okay, Stannis will take his army south to Winterfell where they will CRUSH RAMSAY BOLTON AND EAT HIS FLESH BEFORE HIS FATHER WHO WILL THEN BE STRIPPED OF HIS ahem, or rather, Stannis will leave the fate of the Wildlings and Gjördkr the Bær Fuçkër (aka Tormund) to Jon. Also, last bit of free advice from Stannis (who seriously, guys? I get it. He’s dry as hell, but he’s good at his job): send Lord Butt Hurt to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.

Jon: I thought you were supposed to keep your enemies close?
Stannis: Sounds like something a person without enemies would say.
Davos: [snerk] Also, Jon, you’ve got that certain something in you, and we all like it. But… remember, you vowed to be the shield that guards the realms of men. And the Boltons are destroying the realms of men up here in the North.

Arya gets into it with one of the scullery maids (I think they’re all scullery maids until they become No One) when A Man comes in, reminding them all that A Girl isn’t ready. Oh, but she is! No, A Girl is surrounded by Arya Stark’s things. And then we see A Girl wrapping up Arya Stark’s clothes, coins and sword, tossing them into the bay of Braavos. Well, all but the sword. You weep, and your tears are the orphans of Ned Stark and the swords of bastard brothers. Arya instead buries Needle into a stone wall. I have a feeling A Man will know this, but guys? Jon gave her that sword. It would be a shame to toss it into the sea. A SHAME.

Arya Stark throwing away her things

My hat’s off to Maisie for this painful moment. <3

Back in the hall of statues, she continues her sweeping, our little Cinderella, when A Man leads her down deeper into the House of Black and White where our scullery maid stands watch over the man from the beginning. They undress him, bathe him, and don’t speak.

NO. No this is NOT going to happen to my precious lost broken Sansa no no NO. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

NO. No this is NOT going to happen to my precious lost broken Sansa no no NO. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Sansa enters Winterfell; Reek shakes, watching his adopted sister come before the Boltons, knowing the danger before her. As Ramsay kisses Sansa’s hand, the camera pans to all those evil chicks who helped sick dogs on people and SANSA. YOU IN DANGER, GORL. How the hell is this person jumping from pan to fire to bigger fire to freaking inferno?!

As an elderly lady leads Sansa to her chambers, she says to Sansa in a thready yet strong voice, “Welcome home, Lady Stark. The North remembers.” Maybe Sansa isn’t so friendless after all? (Yes she is!! GAH, I LOVE YOU SANSA, OH MY GOD BE SAFE.)

At the Wall, Jon addresses the crowd. While they expect him to humiliate Lord Butt Hurt, he doesn’t, and in fact, names Alliser First Ranger, much to Cap’n Yeah Boss’s happiness. Speaking of Cap’n Yeah Boss, he gets sent off to a ruined Greyguard Fort to, you know, fix it up. Ha! Very smart to separate the bullies and diminish their power, Lord Jon! Cap’n Yeah Boss ain’t going meekly, though, so it’s a challenge to the death, it seems. Oh, not Jon’s death, of course. Olly, Jon’s new steward as Jon was for Lord Mormont, is commanded to bring Jon his Valyrian steel bastard sword with the white wolf handle.

Jon Snow as Lord Commander

Interesting to note: Lord Butt Hurt stands aside, as is usually the way when bullies lose power. Cap’n Yeah Boss is dragged out to the yard and forced to kneel. (Side note, I freaking love the Wall’s set. Such beautiful work.) Stannis watches as Jon takes his sword to this dipshit’s neck, calling back the very first episode. Scarcely have his knees hit the deck when Cap’n Yeah Boss moistens his trousers, begging for release, promising everything under the sun and more, please.

Well, Jon Snow’s there to lead brave men, and he doesn’t see any kneeling before him, so… BEHEADING’D! [If you don’t think I said to myself, “I want my father back, you son of a bitch!” then you don’t know me and I’m now sad.]

Stannis: Mmm, I love a good beheading in the morning. Well done.
Jon: D-daddy? I mean [coughs] I did that on my own, not seeking approval, ahem.

Apparently it’s “shame the mentor” hour as we cut to King’s Landing where some High Septon has a bunch of whores dressed up as the Seven Gods for a bit of pinch and tickle, when Lancel Lannister shows up, mad that religion isn’t being properly respected. The High Septon is dragged outside in all his nakedness, whipped and mocked before his followers. But then we see him before Cersei and the Small Council, claiming an assault on him is an assault on Religion. (Yeah, I grew up Fundamentalist, buddy. I’ve heard this cock and bull story before. You can’t say God wanted you to bang hookers, yo. Well, not your god, although that’s a church I could get behind.) Even though he’s creepy, Qyburn calls bullshit on him.

Qyburn: So… this all started in a whorehouse, right?
High Septum: I don’t see what–
Lord Tyrell: NOW SEE HERE, PROSTITUTES? IN MY RELIGION?
Cersei: …it’s more likely than you think. [blows bubbles of laughter into her wine glass]
Qyburn: I didn’t realize services were happening at cunt o’clock?
Cersei: [laughs into her wine glass, turns it into a cough]
Maester Cat Piss: Now, let’s not mock old men trying to get a cock stand, shall we?
High Septum: I think you should murder the High Sparrow!
Cersei: Well, I’m free this afternoon, should be fun!

CUT TO: Cersei staggering with a half-full wine glass into the slums, seeking the High Sparrow amongst the throngs of ill, coughing poor. Please note that she keeps her hands safely tucked away, haha. She finds him, an older man who laughs at the thought of being a leader. He tells people things that they should think on and they elevate him to a position of leadership. Funny, that. Mm, Cersei isn’t so sure it’s as hilarious as he believes. In fact, she takes this all quite seriously, because Cersei was a born ruler, and you need to always remember that.

She’s put the High Septum in the prisons below and wants to protect and elevate the High Sparrow, in fact because Cersei knows a thing or two about making people follow who she wants to have followed, even if she’s occasionally blinded by her own family’s hubris.

She then visits Qyburn, squashing his medical experiments in his fists, because let’s also not forget who he is. (That was the Mountain on a table, right?) She tells him to send a message to Littlefinger wherever he’s landed. OHO. Also, HOLY SHIT THE BODY ON THE TABLE IS SHIFTING AND QYBURN IS ALL SHHHH BUT MOTHER TRUCKER THAT IS A MASSIVE DUDE YOU HAVE THERE COME ON THAT CANNOT BE WISE. If he jumps up and starts tap dancing to “Putting on the Ritz” I’ll settle down. [random reference to folks of a certain age.]

Ramsay tries to win over Littlefinger, promising he’ll never hurt Sansa. I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU, DUDE. Roose turns him loose in order to speak to Baelish in private. Important facts: Sansa is still a virgin (gross), Baelish has delivered everything as promised (double freaking gross), and he wants to be in bed (figuratively speaking?) with Roose with regards to Cersei, the Lannisters, and overthrowing the present power structure. Baelish, you dirty, scheming, faithless jagoff.

Tyrion and Varys are still traveling to Volantis, much toTyrion’s chagrin. He’s going crazy, so he makes them pull over so he can get out and wander Jawa style. First off, massive props to the FX crew for that gorgeous overhead shot of the bridge to Volantis. We learn quickly the face tattoo ID system for slaves—slaves? Daenerys hasn’t overthrown this place?—and hears that the people love the Dragon Queen. (Side note: mentions of Greyscale, the disease afflicting Newt, and I am very excited to one day read the books and learn more about this creepiness.)

Tyrion and Varys Volantis

Tyrion and Varys whorehouse

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

They slip away into a brothel and I’m guessing they’re going to run into Jorah. YEP. But first, Tyrion finds the canniest whore in the place as is his normal methodology. …or was. After a chat, he realizes he can’t actually fuck whores anymore. He’s upset and missing Shameless Shae, goes for a piss, and runs into Jorah, who hog ties him with the promise of taking him to the Queen. WELL THAT’S WHERE HE WAS HEADED, SEX VOICE.

First, I was very concerned about Tyrion standing on that ledge peeing, because he could have fallen. Second, I was very concerned Jorah was going to push him over that ledge. Third, JORAH! I am going to hear the throatiest “Khaleesi!” in the history of sex voices soon, and this pleases me greatly.

But seriously, am I missing something about Volantis? Wasn’t that the first place Dany overthrew? It’s been a while, so I clearly need to go back and remember the desert lands she took. Shame on me, I know. And part of me suspects that Tyrion won’t mind being taken captive so much as it’s a way for him to have a little intrigue, finally. You know Varys will hear about this ASAP and fix it. He’s not called the Spider for nothing.

Next week! More with the Sons of the Harpy, the Cobra Kai-Sand Snakes I believe are making an appearance (“Sweep the leg, Johnny!”), and a seriously pissed off Cersei. HELL. YEAH.

And for our little Baratheon Incest Baby, here:

Hahahaha. VOMIT HE IS A BABY AND SHE IS A WOMAN AND AHHHHHH

Hahahaha. VOMIT HE IS A BABY AND SHE IS A WOMAN AND AHHHHHH

Please tell me you guys are feeling this season. I am LOVING it. I have no idea what is going to happen, and I hope you remember A Girl is No One and Knows Nothing. LET’S TALK!

Next week: DORNE! SAND SNAKES! Make with the clickity for 5.4!

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  • JP

    As a book reader, I’ve got to say I absolutely adore this season. Some things are happening basically as they were supposed to while other things have gone crazy off the rails. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, and its thrilling. This must be what it’s like being a show only watcher.

    As always, really enjoyed the review. Your excitement over the badass moments really comes through in the writing. That daddy from Jon up above made me laugh pretty hard.

    Volantis looked gorgeous, and I think the city is supposed to borrow heavily from Constantinople. As for why there are still slaves, they are fortunate to be quite a bit to the west from where Dany has been stomping around. I think they’re halfway between Dorne and Slaver’s Bay. Dany got her army and burned Astapor, then took Yunkai at the end of season 3, before settling in at Meereen.

    • ASTAPOR. For some reason I made it Volantis in my head. THANK YOU, JP. There’s so much to take in, I hope y’all can forgive me for fudging details on occasion. :D

      And I loooooooove knowing that you’re enjoying the perspective of “WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?” I must say, I love it, and it’s always a delight to have others get excited with me, hahaha.

      Look, if you laugh at my jokes, I’m going to love you. If you TELL ME you laughed at my jokes? I’m picking out our china pattern. Hee.

      I am continually blown away by the gorgeous set work on this show. I know they have a great budget (especially for serialized television, HBO notwithstanding) but the short amount of time and the sheer volume of locations that must be designed combine to make me literally gasp every week. I believe you’re right with Constantinople serving as inspiration, as well! [hums They Might Be Giants]

  • KatyHart

    Bless you Laura and your references. The Princess Bride! Young Frankenstein! YES.

    Brienne and Pod spin-off please and thank you.

    And Ser Jorah. May we soon hear the deep throated cries of “Khaleesi” wafting through our tv screens.

    • LET ME LOVE YOU FOR YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. [stomps awkwardly in a tuxedo]

      Brienne and Pod made my heart ACHE. I just love them. I love how good they are, but they’re not chumps. Well, not much. Not ultimately. :) In this world, it’s so lovely to have people who really are just good deep down. That’s a product that’s in short supply.

      I’m going to have to sit in an ice therapy tub next week when Jorah comes back.

      • KatyHart

        Mel Brooks films were a formative part of my life. As is reflected in my sense of humor.

        As today is my birthday (we shall not discuss which one), I was quite happy to spend this morning reading your recap. I raise a glass to you, Laura.

    • profanefame

      WRONG QUEEN, yo. Dany would swiftly separate his head from his torso if she ever saw Jorah again. He’s taking Tyrion to CERSEI. She’s the one offering a bounty, ain’t she? This is my thought.

      • I can see why that’s a thought, but I think (this is just me) that Jorah is SO SINGLE-MINDED that he cannot conceive of any one as Queen but Khaleesi. :D

        • profanefame

          I can see that– him willing himself to forget HOW DEAD HE WILL BE if he only provides her with a Good Enough Present. And the head of a Lannister is pretty good– but it seems too far-fetched for me. He’s been banished and is welcome at King’s Landing. Jorah is nothing is not a good judge of When To Get The Fuck Out. I mean, that’s exactly how he wound up in Essos in the first place!

          • Do you think he would be welcomed at King’s Landing? The pardon was sent a LONG time ago–Ser Barristan was just discovering it. I wonder if Varys knew that Jorah had turned–maybe he was counting on it for his purposes. (But that means Varys wouldn’t know Dany exiled Jorah, hmm.)

            I’m sticking with the idea that he is blinded by his love and devotion to Khaleesi, but OF COURSE I will happily watch him try and curry favor with others (because I’ll still maintain it’s to get back into his Khaleesi’s good graces. He’s a True Believer, that one.)

            No matter what, we’re in for a good story, so I’ll be satisfied either way, I expect.

            • profanefame

              Varys DOES know– he was in that small council meeting in S1 where we hear that Jorah betrayed Dany! I expect that Varys does not count on Jorah being there. I expect Varys counts on very little, actually, and plans lots of back up plans.
              I think KL is enough of a shitshow right now that if Jorah showed up with written proof of his pardon, any fucking thing could happen– from full on you-brought-me-my-brother’s-head!-here-have-a-mansion-and-lots-of-ladies-to-sex-up-on to death to complete indifference.

              My current thought is that Jorah goes to the capital to prep for the One True Khaleesi’s inevitable arrival.

              • Right! Although I’m wondering if Varys knows that Jorah is Team Dany to the degree that he is, that’s my question.

                I love the idea of Jorah setting himself up in a position to aid Dany in KL, though! That’s an awesome thought

  • As a book reader I’m totally loving/hating the season. It’s hard to see things you enjoyed in the books marginalized or omitted altogether, but it’s understandable. It’s great to see the things you loved fleshed out and made real. And it’s very cool to see things created or combined from the books. Overall I’m just excited to see what will happen next!

    As for Ser Allister Thorne getting to be new first Ranger, it’s a combination of things I believe: As Stannis said get him far away, reward his competency, appease his ego, and (as Benjen would say if he weren’t MIA) 1st Ranger is kind of a dangerous job. THAT could be a reward from the new Lord Commander ;-)

    Janos Slynt was part of the conspiracy that got Ned killed and I’m sure that never was lost on Jon, but even still he gave him every opportunity to not be dead. Slynt was just too stupid to realize how deep he wasy. And you’re right, Thorne knew which way the wind was blowing and stepped aside to save his own ass too.

    Stannis as surrogate dad… ZERO subtlety there, but at least Jon can stand up to him. (Though Jon Stark, Lord of WInterfell and Warden of the North has a nice ring to it)

    I’d be lying if I didn’t get goosebumps and fist-pump at “The North remembers” line.

    Not a book spoiler: We call him FrankenGregor (note to pendants: YES I know it’s the doctor’s name, not the monster. Stay with me here because FrankenQyburn doesn’t have the same ring)

    Your memory is fuzzy b/c the show hasn’t done the best keeping Dany’s journey straight, but she definitely hasn’t been to Voltanis. But it does show how her influence all over Essos is growing.

    This really seems to be the Season of the Greyscale. Mentions all over the place. I’m curious where that is leading us.

    Great review!

    • “It’s hard to see things you enjoyed in the books marginalized or omitted altogether, but it’s understandable.” Gosh, isn’t that the truth? When you look at a novel, so much of it is cast in your own head. When you read about an icy expression on a giant’s face, you see something I may not. A forest might appear thus and so, yadda yadda, so there will ALWAYS be a bit of a letdown when you see something on screen that’s been adapted. Rare is the end product that meets our expectations.

      (Which is why I try to avoid the books if I know it’s a show/movie that I’m going to love. I do everything backwards, I know.)

      Slynt was such a bad egg; a toadie, bootlick, ne’er do well and instigator, all wrapped up in one sniveling hide. So damn satisfying to watch Jon take charge like that. SO. DAMN. SATISFYING. And I love how we’re seeing just how much Jon Snow really knows–what he’s learning, at least. The guy ain’t a dummy.

      I like to think of Qyburn as Renfield, myself. Oh, and what’s the old saying? Intelligence is knowing that Frankenstein isn’t the monster, and wisdom is knowing that the monster is Frankenstein. :D

      All of this chatter about Greyscale MUST be leading to something! Oooooooooh. *rubs hands*

      • “Rare is the end product that meets our expectations.”

        Agreed 100%.

        “(Which is why I try to avoid the books if I know it’s a show/movie that I’m going to love. I do everything backwards, I know.)”

        Throughout my life I’ve gone both ways (GIT YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER) and found both equally satisfying and unsatisfying. In that way, I’ve become able to read or watch first and get something different out of it each time.

        And I love that “old saying” which is new to me. Glad I can put myself down as wise.

        I’m trying to remember if there were any other mentions of Greyscale (other than back when we first met Newt in S2) and I’m drawing a blank. But they’re obviously building to a popcorn event.

        • I WILL NOT GET MY MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER, GOOD SIR. (lol!)

          And yes, yes, same here re: books v media, and different outcomes with regards to satisfaction. At least with the books I can recast, get more out of the exposition, etc. SOMETIMES. (Case when the movie was actually richer than the book: Silence of the Lambs.)

          Where was I? RIGHT. GREYSCALE. Give me all the weird, world-specific diseases and their own host of issues!!

    • Lyanna Mormont

      Two mentions in as many episodes? Greyscale is definitely the new Chekhov’s gun. Along with Ollie’s hatred of wildlings, Brienne’s thirst for Stannis’s blood, the influence of the Sparrows in King’s Landing…

      Also, Stone Men. And Tyrion knows what they are. He just knows everything, doesn’t he? He must be related to Ianto Jones.

      • MaxwellJames

        This is a very book-insider comment, but I was pleased by how the show demonstrated Tyrion’s understanding of Valyrian – he didn’t really speak it, but could understand it, just like the well-read fellow he is.

        • Eddie H

          No matter where he goes, he’s usually the smartest one there.

      • Agreed. They are pushing the Greyscale hard. Lots of foreshadowing with it that I hope plays out into something, not just disappear. I cannot imagine this many mentions in such a short period don’t signal something significant. And I’m very worried about all of the mentions/allusions to Ollie’s widling-hatred. The Brienne/Stannis connection seems like it could play out as they’re converging on Winterfell, if they all stay on their intended courses.

  • Donna Mugavero

    JORAH! Oh gods, WHAT is he doing near that brothel? [whimpers] No-o-o-o-o-o! The possibility that he’s a frequent flyer with the Khaleesi cosplaying-prostitute is making me so sad. Is it even possible for this guy to have some sort of redemption arc?

    • DONNA. You do not for one moment think that Jorah Mormont, having been in the Khaleesi’s presence, would lower himself to a pretender, do you? He’s keeping her over his shoulder as a reminder of what he’s lost! (My $.02, at least.) I HAVE TO BELIEVE THIS.

      I think it’s possible for him to fix it, I do. And it’s funny, because if you think about it, he had his redemption arc in the beginning. He started out ready to sell her off, then there was the whole fire/dragon eggs/KHALEESI! moment where he spent the next four seasons trying to do the best by her to make up for it.

      BUT SHE DOESN’T KNOW THAT!! D: D: D:

      • Donna Mugavero

        Excellent points! I AM BELIEVING THIS WITH YOU!

        As always, I live for Monday simply for your epic recaps. High Septum- hee! and LOVE Varys’ expression in that gif.

        THANK YOU!
        love,
        -A Person of a Certain Age

      • Eddie H

        I think it’s just a good spot to get drunk and be sad.

  • Moriah Gemel

    I’ve lost my ability to load HBO Go on my computer, so now I have to wait til Wednesday to sneak into Dunkin Donuts and steal their internets to watch this week’s ep, but I read the recap and I’m just giddy to see it and make sense of everything.

    • OH NO!! To the not being able to have watched, of course. Here’s to hoping some miracle allows you to catch up even sooner!

  • MaxwellJames

    Yeah, this season’s been pretty great so far. Especially for those of us who like to park in the http://gph.is/15JwktD.

    In fact, she takes this all quite seriously, because Cersei was a born ruler, and you need to always remember that.

    Yup! I’ll note in passing that while Marg seems to be winning handily right now, she’s relying on sly maneuvering and wit while Cersei’s recruiting an army of religious fanatics and her henchman’s building the Terminator (v 0.001c, still in beta).

    Tyrion still gets the best line, though. Varys’ reaction in that GIF is priceless.

    Sansa – hoo boy. Love how players are lining up around her (Brienne!), but this looks BAD. Especially when considering it sets her up against Stannis and lady Smokinparts as well. I really hope she has a plan.

    [Hannibal-look into the distance] So would the old Lord. [noms on lip satay]

    LOL, that would be a dinner for the ages. Though in truth, in another show Ramsay would make fine Hannibal fodder: he’s rude. Roose is another story though. That guy gives me the chills every time he’s on screen.

    • The shade has been DELICIOUS, especially in this time of global warming, hahaha. I’m right there with you, Maxwell, re: Cersei v Margaery. Cersei has a little more chutzpah (and a LOT more bitterness fueling her) at this stage. My money is on her going into ep. 5.4

      I love love LOVE the sides lining up for Sansa in what will surely be the worst game of Red Rover ever, by which I mean the most gut-wrenching. Wow, did I not see that coming at ALL, Ramsay and Sansa. Not at ALL. How freaking delicious. And awful. And exciting. AND AWFUL.

      Hannibal would find a way to strap Ramsay to a chair, drug him so he couldn’t speak, and slowly peel his flesh off his bones while still alive, feeding each piece to his beloved dogs. Roose… again, I’m right there with you. That calm polite exterior, his even, measured tones when speaking? That’s how you know you’re dealing with a real monster.

      • Lyanna Mormont

        Margaery understands soft power. Cersei’s had her fill of having to settle for indirect power for all those years dealing with Robert and Tywin, so now she favors a more… forceful approach.

  • DrewHolton

    Normally I’m not nitpicky on details, but I think I should correct one thing you were saying in your review, since it may affect your understanding of events. Sansa and Ramsey et al are not in Moat Caitlin, they’re in Winterfell. Sansa and Littlefinger (and Brienne and Pod) were just travelling thru the Moat on the way to Winterfell. Since it’s the capital of the North, that’s where Roose is trying to establish himself.
    What I’m really sad about is that I wasn’t the first to praise your Young Frankenstein reference….
    As for book vs show, what I’m finding really fascinating this season is the masterful way in which D & D are weaving book and new show storylines, In such a way as to preserve the overall tale as told in the books, while making the changes necessary for tv. And making it entertaining and suspenseful for book readers at the same time. Truly well done.

    • Someone else just pointed that out about the Moat v. Winterfell! It wasn’t clear as a TV viewer, imo, especially with the explicit showing of the Moat in the opening credits, but I’ll be sure to make an edit here in a second for future readers. :) DETAILS MATTER, YES!

      *loves any and all who appreciate a good Mel Brooks reference*

      I agree 100% with you about the phenomenal storytelling! To have to predict what the novels will be (even though I’m sure there have been many, many meetings with tD&D and GRRM) cannot be easy, especially not for such a beloved series. I won’t even act like I’m not transfixed, but to hear a book reader enjoys it? YAY!! That makes me happy to hear.

      • Lyanna Mormont

        They did give us an establishing shot of that oh-so-familiar Winterfell silhouette, though. The one that Sansa tried to recreate with her snowcastle last season.

        And yes, they’re doing a very good job of adapting the books. Books 4 and 5 (the ones we’re, mainly, on now) get a lot of grief from some readers. I like them a lot, myself – but they would not make for good TV, at all. So there was a lot of need for editing, cutting and rearranging and even adding bits, all of which is happening. And as a side bonus, this means that when the remaining books come out, there will still be a lot of surprises for us in them, even after watching the show, because they’ve diverged substantially by now.

  • LEW

    I like to measure how much I enjoy episodes by how often I talk to myself, alone in my apartment, just returned from watching Mad Men with my lame-o friends who watch Mad Men but not Game of Thrones. And this one was that had me talking to myself a lot.

    And a lot of what I was saying was “No…noooo…NOT SANSA. NO!”

    And then, in a delightful contrast to last week’s “Move on, Brienne. Go back where you’re wanted (Jaime),” there was “Brienne! Save her! Keep it up! Keep up the chase! SHE NEEEDS YOU!”

    Plus, a lot of Margery-induced cackling.

    However, I am kind of surprised by how not-that-worried I am about Sansa. Sure, she has no idea with whom she is dealing (every time I end a sentence with a preposition, my mother in Atlanta feels a rustling in the wind and just KNOWS), but then, neither does Ramsay. Or Littlefinger. Or even Sansa. She’s survived a lot, and Baelish is playing a dangerous game by using the “agency” factor to manipulate her into this. She may not be Arya, but Sansa’s got vengeance on the brain and she IS Arya’s sister. And Ned’s daughter. And Robb’s sister, and Jon Snow’s…

    And the North remembers. And Brienne’s on the way. With Pod, who is the best.

    (Also, no quibbles just curious: I thought they kept riding from Moat Cailin and met up with the Boltons at Winterfell? The shots seemed kind of Bittersweet-Homecomey to me, but I could be wrong.)

    Elsewhere: Arya is No One without Needle (maybe), Jonathan Pryce and religious movements threatening the stability and political power of the monarchy!!! (you don’t happen to recap Wolf Hall as well, do you?), are we going to see not-Tyrion’s head on the Mountain?!?, and has Jorah been in that brothel the whole time?

    And last but not least: Seriously, can’t anyone just pay a damn fine or do some community service in this world? Does it always have to go to the beheading place? Immediately? Damn, Jon!

    • LEW HOW ARE YOU NOT WORRIED ABOUT SANSA?!?! I am about to gnaw off my own hands after wringing them to ribbons! (And friends who don’t watch GoT?! ARE YOU SURE THEY ARE FRIENDS?! I ask because I care.)

      Hee.

      OMG, I pignorted at “can’t anyone just pay a damn fine or do some community service in this world?” Then again, one Stark (once-a-Stark?) is at the House of Black and White, so maybe it’s a trait they all carry? ALL OR NOTHING. (Ha, not even close, given Sansa’s latest series of unfortunate events.)

      • LEW

        “HOW ARE YOU NOT (MORE) WORRIED ABOUT SANSA?” is pretty much my main brain-refrain at the moment. I am worried, but I have a feeling- one that I can’t explain- that she’s absolutely through being victimized.

        And dude. Before I moved, there was a bar that played GoT on the big screen while the patrons played STARK bingo. I sat at a regular table they called the Small Council. I miss it. That’s chiefly why I like it here, you know. Communal viewing simulation.

        The Starks, as it happens, are very black and white, which is why they’re failing all over the place. While characters like Littlefinger and Roose work the Grey to their advantage. Imagine what Sansa could do with that kind of power behind her.

        • “she’s absolutely through being victimized.” FROM YOUR LIPS (fingertips) TO GOD’S (the showrunners’) EARS. <3

          Oh my gosh, how much freaking fun would it be to watch the show like that!! I feel your pain. I just have myself. *sad faces*

          I really hope that Sansa is learning how to play the game after impromptu training from a master.

          • LEW

            If that is her intention in going through with this marriage (voluntarily-ish), Ramsay will be the ultimate test.

            But she does have more than a few checks in place against his brutality, from Roose’s restraint and Littlefinger’s “fondness” to the Stark-loyal household, Theon maybe, and BRIENNE.

            She knows more than ever who she is, and what that’s worth. And though Ramsay has a way of making people forget (REEK), I believe she’s stronger than that.

            (I hope)

      • LEW

        Also, just saw your: “Gnaw off my own hands” worrying about someone marrying Ramsay Bolton.

        Oh, Sweet Summer Child. You know nothing of…(no spoilers, they cut it, I’m pretty sure, DON’T LOOK IT UP) Donella.

  • Lyanna Mormont

    Another very good episode! I’m still loving the pacing of this season.

    Nitpick first – the Boltons&co were not at Moat Cailin, Sansa and LF just passed through MC on their way north. (Cf Brienne and Pod talking about “getting through” vs “going around” and how Brienne knew where they were going.) They’re actually at Winterfell, a Winterfell in the process of being rebuilt. Which adds yet another layer to, well, just about everything, from Reek looking at the two bodies hanging from the ramparts to Sansa’s face when the old woman welcomed her home.

    Speaking of Sansa – she just can’t catch a break, can she? Now she’s surrounded by a creepy trifecta of Ramsay, Roose, and Littlefinger. I can’t figure out LF’s motivation in all of this – does he really now know what Ramsay’s like? (Come on, he must’ve heard about the dick in the box, at least!) Does he not care about Sansa’s wellbeing at all? Or does he have some plot to use Sansa to overthrow the Boltons and install her as the Lady of Winterfell. (If so, he’ll be disappointed if he thinks he can easily rule through her…) But in the meantime, Sansa is in serious serious danger. Even if Ramsay keeps his word not to hurt her – he looked so happy at the idea of marrying a Real Lady he just might, at least until she somehow annoys him – Ramsay’s girlfriend did NOT look pleased. (Also, Ramsay smiling was very disturbing. We know him too well.) However, Sansa might find other support. The North remembers, after all. And Brienne is heading that way.

    Brienne the Beauty. Rip my heart out. And Renly, I’ve never loved you more. (Side note: it seems that just like everybody knows Jon Snow is Ned Stark’s bastard, everybody knows Renly was gay.) But now I’m terribly afraid that Brienne will find herself in a Jaime-type dilemma of which oath to keep – what if she has to choose between protecting Sansa and killing Stannis to avenge Renly? Because Stannis is heading for Winterfell, too. Oh, what a convergence this could be…

    Speaking of Stannis, he showed off his very very dry humor in this episode, what with his comments about not-a-compliments and where to keep your enemies. And he likes Jon, he really does, as much as Stannis is capable of liking someone who disagrees with him. And Davos got a moment, too! But really the Wall scenes were all about Jon deciding who he is as a ruler, in a clear parallell with Dany in the previous episode. (Guy thinks he can get away with breaking the rules, is sentenced to death for it, begs for mercy, is beheaded in front of a crowd to statuate an example.) And I don’t think Alliser Thorne was standing aside because he’s now a bully without power. I think he’s just the kind of guy who rigidly follows the rules, and Janos Slynt broke the rules, so he brought it on himself. You can’t disobey a direct order from the Lord Commander and expect sympathy from Ser Alliser.

    The theme of being a ruler and vengeance/justice/mercy carries over from last episode into this one, but we also bring in a new/old theme of identity. Arya can’t be no one while holding on to Arya Stark’s things, Sansa doesn’t stop being Sansa Stark just because she dyed her hair, Jon always wanted to be Jon Stark but it’s not who he is, even if he’s definitely Ned Stark’s son, Tyrion may be separated from all things Lannister but he still claims to always pay his debts, Ramsay’s not a bastard any more, Reek… well, Reek is reminded of who he used to be to the point that he can’t stand for his foster-sister to see him as he is now. Also, we have the subject of Faith being introduced everywhere – the Sparrows, the red priestess in Volantis, and the one god in Braavos.

    I think we have all the clues to figure out who this One God is. All men know his gift, Jaqen says. (Valar Morghulis.) Remember Syrio Forel, Arya’s dancing master back in Season 1, who was once the First Sword of Braavos? He taught her the mantra of “What do we say to the God of Death?” “Not today.” Which gods are mentioned by Arya as being in the HoBaW? The Drowned God. (What is dead may never die.) The Stranger – the one of the Seven who represents the unknown, including the ultimate unknown that is death. And the weirwood tree… which is interesting in that context.

    The Sparrows are terrifying in their righteous fervor. The High Sparrow looks so mild and sounds so reasonable, but… Yeah. If Cersei thinks she can control him, I suspect she’s sorely mistaken. And what is her plan here, anyway? I’m sure it has something to do with robbing Margaery of power somehow.

    Of course Tyrion has to get out of the box. Of course he wants to go to a brothel. And of course Jorah will hang out at the brothel which has a Dragon Queen impersonator. (I know a lot of you like him, but I just find him so skeevy. He’s not a nice guy, he’s a Nice Guy. I could go on, but this is already getting very long.) And that “I’m taking you to the Queen” is nicely ambiguos – which queen is he talking about? the one Jorah used to serve, or the one who has promised a reward for Tyrion’s head?

    So many very good scenes throughout. Cersei and Margaery, Cersei and the High Sparrow, Brienne and Pod, Jon and Stannis, Tyrion and Varys. (“It’s a perfectly good face!”) And once again actors given the chance to shine – Brienne’s story, Arya with Needle, Jon before taking off Janos Slynt’s head, Sansa putting on her lady face when facing Roose, Reek telling us so much without saying a word. I love this cast so much!

    • “I can’t figure out LF’s motivation in all of this – does he really now know what Ramsay’s like?” THIS TIMES A MILLION. Oh, but you know what?!??

      Think of this: LF left Sansa with BreastFeed at the Moon Door, knowing what BreastFeed was capable of. Sansa–who he loves? Craves? IDK–could easily have been tossed through it before he got there and took care of that whole Wife Issue himself.

      So he obviously has no objection to using people he “cares” for as pawns in his ultimate game. And I think it’s because ultimately the only person he cares about is himself. But that’s a very simplistic answer to an incredibly complex man. But basically I’m scratching my head alongside you, too.

      As for the High Sparrow, I almost wonder if we’re going to have a situation where the engine runs beyond the train conductor’s control? Lancel and his cronies seemed far more… enthusiastic about their religion than the High Sparrow. But that’s another common theme in organized church. I’m excited to find out!

      • Lyanna Mormont

        You know, Cersei essentially just threw the Pope in jail. Can she officially depose him, or is that something only the Faith can do? Because she seemed to be hinting that St Francis could become the new Pope.

        Oh, Littlefinger is definitely always out for himself first. But it seems weird that after going to such lengths to get Sansa away from the Lannisters, he’d just turn around and hand her over to the Boltons.

    • Lyanna Mormont

      Additional thoughts:

      Arya’s showing what a child she still is, interrupting what are quite clearly religious rituals with her loud demands for training and information.

      Tommen to Margaery: “‘King Tommen’ sounds so strange to me. Does ‘Queen Margaery’ sounds strange to you?” And she manages not to smile. Tommen honey, not only has she been a queen twice before, but it’s also all she’s wanted and worked for for a LONG time. (He’s cute and sweet, but not all that smart. Especially not people smart. But I guess a 14-year-old, or however old he’s supposed to be, in the wake of his first sexual experience isn’t going to be very focused on anything but when he can do it again.)

      Dany manages to be a major factor even in an episode where she doesn’t appear. This red priestess seem to consider Dany as the same kind of savior that Melisandre goes around saying Stannis is. And it makes perfect sense for the Breaker of Chains to be a very popular figure in a city filled with slaves.

  • Thank you for the map! We Unsullied have to go off the intro, so thanks so much! And TAILSA. Right!!! Okay, now I’m not question my brain’s ability to spit out random locations, ha.

  • Michael Baker

    I’d have to disagree with the comment about Alliser standing aside because he was a bully who lost power. It looked more like he purposefully stood in the way to reinforce that he is still in a position of power in the Night’s Watch. The men were forced to wait until Alliser CHOSE to move aside before they could carry out Jon’s orders. It was a small power play without being outright rebellious. He recognized Jon’s authority without giving up any of his own perceived(by others) power.

    Love the recaps. Was looking forward to these coming back almost as much I was looking forward to the show itself. :D

    • Hey, Michael! Glad to have you back!

      Interesting thought on Alliser! I don’t necessarily think he’s a bully who’s LOST power, but that he’s recognizing his place now, especially recognizing that Slynt no longer has any. Alliser is no dummy.

      But I’ll have to rewatch the scene where Slynt’s taken off to see if I pick up what you did. Gosh, forcing me to rewatch my favorite show…. SIGH. ;)

      • Michael Baker

        I definitely agree that he recognized the worthlessness of Slynt. If I recall correctly, the scene made a point of Alliser looking at Slynt and coming to the conclusion that “this coward isn’t worth me using my influence in an outright power struggle…so I’m going to make a small gesture to reinforce that I still have control over this decision, but then I’m going to stand aside.”

        • mrspidey80

          Thorne’s newfound distaste for Slynt comes from last episode where Sam told everyone about what a coward Slynt was during battle. If you watch Thorne in that scene, you can see in his face how he loses all respect for Slynt withing the span of 10 seconds. That man is an amazing facial actor.

      • DrewHolton

        I was thinking that Thorne’s choice was more in the nature of “You can have this one, Bastard, I’ll choose my fight on my ground, and then you’ll pay” sort of thing.

  • The High Septon certainly didn’t expect the Westerosi Inquisition.
    I don’t like hypocrites and the High Septon strikes me as a person who isn’t very nice but I also don’t like religious fanatics. Conclusion: I don’t know which side to like (more).

    Poor Sansa. The poor girl can never catch a break and don’t want anyone to marry Ramsay (Joffrey and Rams would have made a hell a of couple but alas). I just don’t understand what Littlefinger gains in this arrangement (and he probably won’t tell us anything).

    I’m under the impression that every Red Priest just picks a king/queen to be the savior: Mel with Stannis and the new one with Dany. However, we got the first Asian actress on GoT. Yeah.

    Jorah just added Imp-napping to his growing list of crimes. Ian Glen is a fine actor and the character is interesting enought but I don’t understand your devotion to him. I take that it has to do something with his voice but Michael McElhatton (Roose Bolton) has the best voice among the GoT cast members. It is known…

    • VERY awesome to have an Asian actress on GoT!! (Okay, so that’s a Red Priestess like Mel/Rich Man’s Tori Amos? GOTCHA.)

      Reasons I love Jorah: yes, the sexy voice, but also the almost slavish dedication to his Khaleesi, but not at the expense of having given her sound advice in the past. He wasn’t a boot lick, although he could have licked her boots happily.

      Roose/Michael McElhatton DEFINITELY has a divine voice, but ROOSE is so upsetting to me that I can’t, um, enjoy it as I can Jorah’s.

      TO EACH HIS OWN. ;)

      • MaxwellJames

        Speaking of which, you may enjoy this: http://www.buzzfeed.com/maritsapatrinos/everyone-westeros-is-bald#.hnkd0K7BXm

        (very modest, not even a book spoiler at end as regards Tyrion. You can skip that if you prefer. But really sharing it for the Jorah and, uh, Daario bits right above).

        • I did know many of these things, especially the blue beard! :D I think it would have felt more Farscape on screen than the “slightly different” world we’ve come to know. (And does it surprise you to know that a bald, hairy-chested Jorah would not have bothered me at all? :D)

  • Deceptively Calm Scientist

    Yay! A Young F reference. I may need a sedagive.
    I think LF knows exactly what Ramsay Bolton’s all about – he’s too well-informed about absolutely everything to be clueless about that. I think Ramsay was sort of feeling him out: “So, Did you hear about me being a totally insane sadist fuckwit?” “Heavens no, I’ve barely heard about you at all. Who were you again?”
    HOWEVER. That would mean LF knows exactly what he’s landing Sansa into, so either a.) he doesn’t know or b.) he actually believes Sansa will be okay somehow. Engage Mass Speculation Engine on the “somehow”.

    Book reader here and yes, I like that the show is going places not seen in the books, plotwise and I also agree that this season is VERY well-written so far. I’d heard that the first 4 episodes were sort of table-setting, pawn-positioning episodes, so the final 6 must be absolute spleen-busters then.

    People with scary soft voices: a.) Roose Bolton and b.) Qyburn. If someone ever talks to me in a voice like that I will shoot first and claim preemptive self-defence.

    I have a crush on your recaps. It’s like someone I see once a week and who always makes me smile.

    • I love the point you bring up about Baelish knowing FAR TOO MUCH to be ignorant about Ramsay. (Which just means his cunning and planning is all the more evil and self-centered, huh?) I mentioned in a thread somewhere above that LF knew what Lyssa could do to Sansa with regards to the Moon Door and didn’t seem too troubled by getting there in the nick of time, so perhaps he has this planned out, too? EESH.

      If these are their “mellow, stage setting” episodes, THEN I DO NOT KNOW HOW I AM GOING TO SURVIVE THE REMAINING SEASON. I might need to invest in a personal defibrillator.

      (I totally agree about shooting first when approached by a soft-voiced mad man.) And AWW, it makes me happy to see you come back every week, so the FEELING IS MUTUAL. <3

  • Gail

    I can read your translate-the-subtext versions of conversations forever. I just love watching Cersei and Margaery sniping at each other.

    Ugh I am just adoring this season. You’re so right, the writing is really really tight and everything flows wonderfully! And this is generally still a setup episode but it’s still incredibly riveting. A+ on the strong start, guys.

    I think a few years ago I was still pretty teeth-gnashy over changes from the books, but I’ve relaxed by now and it’s actually really great feeling like one of you Unsullied. xD Husband has figured out when things have deviated (although not what exactly) just by sneaking peeks at my face to see if I’m “hilariously confused” by something happening onscreen.

    SANSA SANSA I AM SO WORRIED ABOUT YOU BB, OH GOD

    • NGL, the translation to subtext convos are some of my favorite parts of writing these recaps. :D Watching those two snipe at each other was like watching Real Housewives of Westeros. I LOVED IT.

      And I love that you enjoy the set up episodes too! Especially when they’re this engaging. HOW ARE WE GOING TO DEAL WITH THE “EXCITING” EPS??! I’ll need to stock up on paper bags.

      Ahahaha, I love your husband using you as a gauge for “oh, this isn’t in the series, AH.” It’s so hard to keep that stuff hidden, but you are doing the Lord’s work for that Unsullied!! <3

      I AM SO FLIPPIN' WORRIED FOR SANSA I FEEL LIKE I FORGOT MY CHILD AT THE MALL, STANDING OUTSIDE IN THE RAIN AND MY CAR JUST BROKE DOWN.

  • What huge knockers!
    Oh, sank you, Doktorr!

    I LOVE YOU JOSIE. (I’m watching OB tonight so I can delight in your recap as my treat!)

    • Deceptively Calm Scientist

      He! Was! My! BOYFRIEND!!!

    • mrmonkeybottoms

      Yay! Then let’s squee!

  • I am glad that’s working for you because I CANNOT and it’s making things REALLY HARD. Like eating and not tearing out my eyelashes from disgust. I KNOW, I KNOW, they didn’t actually SHOW anything for which I am very grateful, but it’s the idea of it all that is SO REPUGNANT. Underage is NOT a thing for me at all. (Mostly because I like the law and morals, but toMAYto, toMAHto.) ;)

  • Tiffany

    You seriously are my favorite thing after my favorite shows!!
    So everyone is worried about Sansa but I’m holding out hope that she’s been around enough intrigue, double-crossing, killing, plotting and just general skullduggery, that she’s learned a thing or two about how to set some traps of her own! Don’t get me wrong, I’m worried but I’m not thinking fire and brimstone..YET!
    As a person who positioned himself as a knower-of-secrets, I find it hard to believe that LF doesn’t know about Ramsey. But I will say he has been secluded away at the Eyrie for a while AND really no one knows who Ramsey is because he was a bastard until recently and so wouldn’t necessarily have access to the same circle of people that would know the Starks, Lannisters, etc etc. And even among the servants, would word have gotten back to the Eyrie about Ramsey so soon? I think that is what Roose is counting on!
    RAWR is all I heard when Cersei and Margery were going at it! And I have to say I don’t feel bad for Cersei at all. She usually just dishes it out and no one can give it back because she was the Queen. Now someone can give snark with some stank on it and Cersei is not sure how to take it!!
    Ser Jorah is sooo..something! Its intangible – his devotion to Khaleesi is so palpable and is 50% to his attractiveness..throw in a dash of tortured soul and boom – melty man, on the screen, laugh/crying at the sheer audacity of this commoner to even attempt to be the woman he has crossed deserts for (I’ve been reading romance novels)!!
    Loved how it showed Lord Commander Jon Snow having such good camaraderie with his men when he assigned latrine duty. And than handed out just justice just as smooth! There is nothing I can add to these great comments about Ser Alliser expect yall are awesome!

    • SOMEONE WHO GETS IT ABOUT JORAH! I know some of these folks can’t understand those of us who are dedicated to Mister Throaty Purr, but you do. [falls onto your neck weeping] That’s it PRECISELY.

      (And, cough, as a writer of romance novels, it’s sort of doubly my thang.) :D

      I’m so happy that you’re enjoying the comment section here, too! I LOVE my weekly group, let me just tell you. You guys are all so smart, thoughtful and friendly, it’s become one of the best GoT chat boards, imo. <3 <3 <3

  • cleverlittlekit

    Laura! Wonderful, brilliant, funny as hell, Laura!

    I cannot with you…seriously ;)

    I have to agree with your comments about writing/storytelling and this season. Anyone who is not watching GoT is missing out on a magnificent feat of screen writing. And they suck, but, whatevs…

    Your comments, as per usual, bring me life. I am so glad that you commented on Maisie’s wonderful bit of performance in the scene where Arya is abandoning her worldly possessions. (Speaking of crazy cult attitudes, what is up with all the religious/organized society/let’s forget who we were and become no one of any importance subplots this year? Okay, I am loving them…let’s not lie!)

    • Maisie has just knocked this role out of the park. From the very beginning she’s embodied this poor, tortured young body struggling to keep up with the awful world around her and it is MARVELOUS to behold.

      Westeros seems so shifty–those sands don’t hold a firm foundation. Kings come and go, rules rise and fall, it’s no wonder there are so many religions/cults that promise to either make you invisible for infiltration purposes or nothing yet part of a larger group for stability/belonging.

  • caycos

    I keep seeing people talking about Sansa getting back to Winterfell but aren’t they just at Moat Cailin so far? I would have thought there’d be a lot more fanfare if they were at Winterfell, and it’s a lot further north.

    Less swampy.

    • OKAY SEE!??! THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I HAD ASSUMED IT WAS STILL THE MOAT. Even though (cough) several people seemed to think I was exceptionally dim for not picking up on…. whatever, it looked like the Moat. Plus, there was the whole “Moat Cailin” in the opening credits, the wide shot of Sansa’s group moving towards it as Brienne and Pod stood high on a cliff watching down…

      But apparently not? EH. Ultimately it doesn’t matter (which is the WORST thing for a book reader to hear, I know), because the STORY is what’s important, but yeah. You and I thought the very same thing.

      • Lyanna Mormont

        Neither of you is dim!

        I shouldn’t speak for anyone else, because I hate when others do that to me, but I can say that I only mentioned it because I think it adds so much to the scenes to know that. When Sansa greets the Boltons, she does so in her HOME, which they have taken just like they took her family away.She’s returning to the place she’s longed for and dreamed of for so long, but everything that made it home is gone. Not just her family, but the others who lived there as well, like Old Nan, Maester Luwin, Ser Rodrik, Septa Mordane… all gone. She can never have her childhood back. She stands there in that cold empty room, and all she has to hold on to is that one old woman telling her “The North remembers!”

        And there’s Reek, watching those two flayed bodies swinging, and I couldn’t help but wonder if he was remembering those two bodies he himself put up on Winterfell’s walls, those young innocent boys he killed just to cover up the fact that Bran and Rickon had escaped. Back when he was still Theon, when he was the Prince of Winterfell… (And right on cue, Sansa returns, who knew him when he was Theon.)

        So to me it does matter, and I just want to share that with anyone who missed out on that depth because of a misunderstanding. It’s not coming from a place of book knowledge showing-off. They showed us the castle, and I went “OMG that’s Winterfell!!!” and it colored everything that happened after that.

        (It’s been more than two seasons since we last saw it.)

        • LEW

          Agreed. I definitely wouldn’t have even brought it up, had it not been for the emotional significance to the story. And I wasn’t even sure, myself. Frankly, I don’t see why they had to stop at Moat Cailin for that conversation in the first place.

          • caycos

            I’m a book reader too :) I truly think they’re still in Moat Cailin, but I guess we’ll see!

  • Hey there!! And ha, no, that’s EXACTLY what I think Cersei is doing! But Cersei grew up surrounded by power–the assumption she can wield it and enforce it over others is embedded in her DNA. I think she believes her own righteous claim (and frankly, her desire to be ruler is “righteous” in her eyes, imo) to rule will be enough to control the High Sparrow and his ilk.

    I mean, this is a woman who put her brother’s babies on the throne as another man’s son–TWICE. She doesn’t think beyond her own desires, or rather, her own desires are the most important things to think about. <– PREPOSITION AT THE END I'M SORRY. ;)

  • Lyanna Mormont

    Ser Alliser as Morgan is perfect!

    Not sure I agree about the “victimizing Sansa would be ignoring her character development” part, though. No matter how much you have (or haven’t) grown as a person, it won’t stop others from doing sadistic shit to you if that’s how they roll and the opportunity presents itself. Sansa wasn’t a victim in the past because of some flaw in her character. I do think such a storyline would be redundant, though. And I don’t want it to happen, just because I love Sansa and she’s been through enough.

    Cersei’s blinded to many things by her assumptions and her hang-ups, and she sometimes willfully ignores things she doesn’t want to deal with. She wants power, so she assumes everyone else does too, and her personal history has frequently proved her right. (That’s what happens when you’re a queen surrounded by a court.) She probably figures if she hands the High Sparrow power, he will be indebted to her, and she will be able to steer him in whatever direction she wants him to go. But if he figures the power was granted to him by the gods, acting through Cersei… well, then there’s no debt, is there?

  • Jay

    ” Make no mistake, the oafish girl of before has become the greatest fighter in all of….”

    Don’t make me cry at work!!

    (I think they were a little tentative last year as they reached the end of the third book’s plot and took a few steps into the next two….this year the brake’s off, this show is MOVING and it’s fantastic)

  • JCDavis

    Laura Stone? You are my new virtual BFF!! I am thrilled to have found your site (linked from WotW and a recommend from there). You had me at “You in trouble, Gorl”. LOL Just what I thought when I heard Sansa was going to Winterfell and double again with the announcement of her coming nuptials to Ramsay “most twisted person ever written award” Bolton.
    I am Sullied, but what does it matter now? It is exciting that it will be new territory and I am one of “those” who can separate show from books. I have you on my favorites now and will be reading every week!!
    I leave you with something to show my age…..
    Brienne to Sansa “A boy like that, he killed your brother, forget that boy and find another. One of your own kind, stick to your own kind.”
    Ciao for now!!

    • WELCOME! And oh! That someone heard this (sub Molly for Sansa):

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

      makes me so happy. :D I mean, MARRYING RAMSAY BOLTON?! AHHHHH!!!

      I have so many AMAZING book-readers who’ve been with me almost from the beginning, and they all get fiercely protective of me, which is another reason why the comments section here is one of the best around. <3 (I think seeing my genuinely distraught face last year re: Oberyn brought out the Concerned Parent in everyone, hahaha.)

      And hahahaha for the West Side Story reference. PERFECTION!! Pod sings, "Something's coming!" to which Brienne knocks him on the back of the head. "Yeah! And it isn't good!" ;)

  • helkel

    What do yall think about the places shown to us so far this season? Braavos, Volantis, Meereen, Dorne?

    Am I the only one who thinks that the bright ‘exterior’ shots of Meereen clashes a bit with the ‘interior’ shots of streets and buildings? This was from last episode mostly; I had somehow expected Meereen to be more sun-drenched and to have an overall shinier palette…like Dorne? Volantis however, looked suitably gorgeous. The ‘exterior’ shots from afar and the ‘interior’ ones both harmoniously reflected its lineage. The buildings and all have seen high traffic and comes across a little congested but the entire city still gives off this grand feel.

    Braavos oh Braavos! Really love the visuals brought to life onscreen. My heart was in my mouth when I saw those mountainous rocky islands circling the city and the Titan of Braavos…can the city ‘interior’ match my expectations?! It did. Phew.

    Well those rocky islands boast some of the best natural fortifications! Can one not love to have Braavos as a starting location in those RTS wargames :P

    Actually I am not worried for Sansa…but I think I should be? Can’t wait for her to undermine, disrupt the Bolton’s power from inside and ultimately, make them pay!

    Aaaaaaaand at the end of EP3: “I am taking you to the Queen.” AIEEEEEYAYAYAYAYA! I am waiting for that throaty “Khaleesi”…soon please! Don’t disappoint me, Show!
    Fave episode (of this season! For now, lol)

    Re: buzzfeed article (good link! Thanks ^^) TV’s versions all still look alright to me, especially Ser Jorah…bald head and dark hairy chest :P

    • helkel

      Oh. Also lurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrve Margaery snarking at Cersei. Not a big fan of Margaery, both character and actress. I don’t dislike them but cannot muster anything more than a lukewarm meh : C so hard and the burns was one of the many highlights this episode yielded. I laughed so gleefully and rewatched that gem of an exchange again haha.

      Come on gurl, SAY/DO SOMETHING! GIT BACK AT HER! I am betting on ya, C. Always.

      And ugh. Tommen and Margaery? UGH. Thank you chameleonster for the actor’s age. I am too grossed out to google TV Tommen’s age and was hoping that this TV version is older than iirc in the books he was 9 (?) GROSSER.
      He would be much older if I have my way…anyhowwww, 17 makes it a bit more palatable but hardly something I would enjoy. Like cod liver oil. Ugh. Thank goodness for cod liver oil in PILL form. WTB pill form of anymore T&M stuff , please.

  • Zack

    Fantastic review as always, Laura. This is my first time commenting on your site but I have been a fan for awhile. My favorite GoT recap :)

    Every review I can count on a belly laugh or two from something you say, and this week it was your conversation between King Tom and Queen Marg. Bwahah.

    Anyhow, the main reason I’ve decided to comment now instead of lurk is because I am a book reader and I don’t want to chance spoil anything. Vicariously experiencing it for the first time, and all. BUT! This year having read the books isn’t seeming to help that much! And you know, I think the show is better for it. This is probably my favorite season so far.

  • Jay

    “GO ON WITHOUT ME AND LEAVE ME HERE TO CRY OKAY.”

    I realized last night that, while it doesn’t surprise me that I react the same as you did to that scene (and the gif almost had me crying at work yesterday), I *hadn’t* realized that that comes from my dad. There’s a scene in the seventh episode of “Daredevil” and “Niagara Falls, Frankie Angel” and I gotta play Bill Conti’s “Fanfare For Rocky” and I’m so damn verklempt and “…..that’s Dad! HE’S the verklempt gene!”

    The seed is strong.