The new episode of Maester Monthly will be out soon where you can hear my full thoughts on the past episode, thought I would jot down my impressions on the episode.
This was more of a bridge episode. There were some big moments like Dany and the Tarly’s, and Sam leaving the Citadel as well as Gilly revealing that Rhaegar annulled his marriage to Elia Martell. When you’re coming from an episode like the Spoils of War though, it’s hard to live back up to that hype. I was on the edge of my seat through Spoils of War and completely engrossed. This one I very much enjoyed but in a calmer, less thrilling way.
- I don’t particularly care for the Arya and Sansa conflict. I get what they are going for, that Arya is a broken human being at this point who trusts no one and always see the worst in people because that has been her experience. And the show is implying Sansa is wrong or acting inappropriately because they earlier showed us that yes Sansa does want to be Queen of Winterfell. I also understand why they are doing this, if it wasn’t for Littlefinger trying to sow dissension among the Stark children there would be nothing to see in Winterfell. Bran is focused elsewhere, Arya has no one on her list there, Sansa just being an administrator. It’s not my favorite although I get why it is happening.
- On the other hand, I am ecstatic to see the return of Gendry. The combination of him with Edric Storm made me grin from ear to ear, getting to see Robert Baratheon reborn in his prime. The recklessness, the lack of tact, the hammer, the colors of the Baratheons, the killing of the gold cloaks. His scene with Jon was also something truly wonderful, calling back to Ned and Robert’s relationship. Gendry as he exists now, a no nonsense, straight shooter, ready to go to battle, and loyal is exactly the kind of person Jon would instantly like after spending so much time in Highlord politics these days.
- As for Dany and the Tarlys, I don’t agree with Tyrion and Varys that this shows she is becoming a mad monarch. She gave them all the option to kneel and keep their lands and lives. And then at Tyrion’s suggestion offered to send them to the Night’s Watch. (Tarly is wrong btw, people have been sent to the Wall before by many different rulers notably Nymeria of Dorne). Tarly showed his full racism he displayed to Sam, ignoring that yes the Targaryens do have roots in Westeros and Dany as well. She was born there and has Westerosi on her side. Also feel that this will be her version of Aegon the Conqueror’s actions at Harrenhal and the Field of Fire. After he roasted Harren and his forces in the castle, and burned the combined forces of Westerlands and Reach, everyone except Dorne surrendered when he and his sisters showed up with their dragons. And she has avoided civilian death so far, a major point in her favor.
- Also I adored the Jon and Drogon scene. I posted about it on twitter, how the Targaryens historically used dragons as “Targaryen” sensors. They would put people claiming to be Valyrians or their bastard children (sometimes known as dragon seeds) to the test by letting them face a dragon. If the dragon liked them, as we saw with Jon and Drogon, they concluded that person was legitimate. Not always reliable but a fantastic callback, well acted, and a perfect visual way of letting the audience know that Jon isn’t just a dragon on paper, the dragons know him. Also I’m surprisingly enjoying Jon and Dany’s building sexual/romantic tension more than I would have thought. They have solid chemistry and, while I’m not a fan of high school style love triangles, how they are using Jorah to force the two of them to confront their thoughts on each other is a serviceable use for a character that probably should’ve died long ago.
- As for the….plan to go get a wight. I like that they are pulling a seven samurais/magnificent seven thing and that we will get to see some more combat beyond the Wall with characters we like. Much like the Spoils of War, the near certainty of the death of these characters I very much enjoy and is a natural hype creator. As well as more Hardhome style, hand to hand combat against the dead that makes for exciting set pieces. The plan, though, is convoluted and odd. There are easier ways to get this done, notably Beric and Benjen, or just Dany flying and plucking one with drogon. And it’s not a great call that Jon is not going back to Winterfell first, obviously because they are putting off Bran informing him of his parentage until afterwards. Maybe season finale stuff. I’ll be excited for the action, less excited on the framework they built it on.
- This has quickly become not brief.
- I would’ve liked to see more of Jaime and Tyrion interacting, their relationship has always been one of my favorites. Cersei remains a wild card and will do something awful because that’s her thing now.
- No Euron? I’m sure the Eldritch Apocalypse is coming for Oldtown now that Sam has left.