Two Swords, or, The Hound Eats Chicken
At long last the Martells show up. And they're the totally not-Moors! I think I'm going to like them.
DRAGONS!! Disrespectful dragons? "Dragons can't be tamed. Even by their mother." Says Jorah. You knew this the whole time Jorah? Sorry I didn't know you took a dragon rearing class back at spy academy.
From the talk of pyramids it looks like the city Daenerys gets to waste screen time steamrolling this time is the totally not-Egyptians. Sounds like fun.
North of the Wall we see more totally-not-Vikings join the plot against the Wall and they've got a real obsession with fat. I fear for Sam.
Come on Shae, are you really jealous of Sansa? She's Sansa.
Finally, Arya and The Hound. Well, all I have to say is this.
The Lion and the Rose, or, A Typical Westeros Wedding
The Boltons. Well that's one way to keep a show going after you've killed of all the good guys. Make worse bad guys. At this point I don't care who does it. The Lannisters, The Greyjoys, the Wildlings, I'll root for anyone who kills the Boltons.
This episode we return to Bran's magical quest. I hate Bran's magical quest. If it wasn't for Hodor it would be without interest.
This episode is the first I recall hearing of this Iron Bank that apparently can make the Lannisters and the (Flower people) afraid. These are some people I want to meet.
Joffrey's dead! That was pretty darn satisfying. Someone should probably let that grandma know that if you're going to poison a dude you probably shouldn't blatantly foreshadow it in front of everyone. "No man should be killed on his wedding day. Just awful. Why I never." I'm onto you ya old bird.
Breaker of Chains, or, One Awkward Viewing
Ah so Little Finger was behind the poisoning. That's a surprise.
We return to the Onion Knight! He needs to be in at least 200% more of this show. And his plotline looks to soon involve the mysterious Iron Bank. Things are looking up.
Daenerys continues her unstoppable and therefore increasingly boring quest to free everyone everywhere. Ya know, clashes of squeky clean moral paragons fight cookie cutter evil with zero dramatic stakes isn't exactly the reason I watch Game of Thrones.
And where are the dragons? I want to see the dragons! I want to know what they're up to!
This episode had the infamous Jamie-Cersei 'rape' episode. Not nearly as rapey as I'd heard. These are warped, complicated characters. It's clear to me that it's not black and white, which is obviously what the creators were going for, even if the execution could use work.
The Oathkeeper, or, Little Boy Blue
Ah, Little Finger and grandma were both behind the poisoning. That those two are plotting together makes me very excited for what may be in store.
Jamie sends Brienne and Podrick to rescue Sansa. This should be good. Though a little unrealistic. Just two people on their own? Isn't that how you lost a hand, man? You don't have anyone else you could send with her?
North of the Wall we find out they're turning babies into White Walkers. Not sure why. I feel like babies would make pretty poor troops. Maybe they make good artillery?
An exiled princess fighting an evil empire. Ice demons living in Skeletor's castle. Knights errant on noble quests. A ragtag group of kids on a magical voyage. This show is rapidly falling into its genre conventions.
First of his Name, or, That One in the Middle Where Not A Lot Happens
This episode we finally return to the Vale with Lisya the crazy queen and Robyn, her malnourished little creep. I'm surprised it took us so long to get back to them, their sheer crazy was so entertaining.
It is here that we get the biggest revelation this show has had to date, and it has the gall to slip it in so casually that I have no doubt some viewers even missed it. Just the mention that Little Finger was behind the poisoning of the former Hand of the King, the man Ned Stark was called to Kings Landing to replace, and that he got the crazy queen to tell Catelyn that the Lannisters were behind it. This is huge! Little Finger is behind the ENTIRE WAR. He got the Starks killed, including the woman he loved, just for a shot at power! This takes him from sneaky bastard to Dr Doom levels. He's the super villain of Westeros!
Also this episode: Daenerys decides to be queen of place-we-don't-care-about and Bran escapes. Did I mention Bran was captured? Well he was. But he's not anymore.
The Laws of Gods and Men, or, The Gods Have Some Pretty Dumb Laws
What a depressing episode.
We start with possibly the single most miserable segment I've ever seen in a show. Theon's sister not only failing to save him but actually abandoning him to a lifetime of torture. This shit's so miserable it would sap the fun out of even an exciting episode but on top of that we have Shea betraying Tyrion. I wanted to think she was forced to but it seems that she was simply too dumb to see through his dismissal of her. Varys also betrays him, which is no surprise but still sad.
Though we do finally get to see the Iron Bank, run by Mycroft Holmes no less, and Oberon, aka the Batman of Kings Landing, agrees to fight for Tyrion.
Mockingbird, or, Dr Doom in the House
A lot of stuff happens in this episode but what really matters is that Little Finger pushed Lysa off a mountain! This guy is definitely reaching Dr Doom levels. He's now Lord of the Vale and in a position to marry Sansa, making him the rightful ruler of Winterfell. Only problem is he lacks an army, and I don't expect the Lannisters will be too happy about any of this. Well see how he gets out of that one. I have no doubt he has a plan.
The Mountain and the Viper, or, Goodbye Batman
What a fight. What a shock. Oberon, we hardly knew ye.
I have no doubt Tyrion will get out of this little death sentence, mainly because this show's cardinal rule seems to never let you see a death coming. From Ned to Rob to Oberon, it thrives on sudden shock. Although, perhaps spending episodes building up to an execution only to actually have an execution would be its own brand of shocking..
Also North of the Wall the not-Vikings get closer and closer to attacking, and I have to wonder, why does NO ONE else care about this? Where are the reinforcements? How is their letter writing campaign going? We saw Stannis get a letter about it at the end of last season that he's apparently totally forgotten about. What about everyone else? Why aren't the Lannisters ordering the Boltons to send some troops so that this crazy huge army doesn't flood into Westeros.
In Daenerys's little kingdom of boring she finally finds out Joreh was once a spy. In a stunning display of idiocy she decides to banish him. Because a demonstrably won over enemy spy isn't valuable? And banishing your second in command, privy to all your most secret information, is always a good idea. Just ask Ser Barristan.
Finally, Sansa smartens up for once and as a reward gets a new dress.
The Watchers on the Walls, or, Totally Not Helms Deep
So the Nights Watch has a building sized scythe blade on a giant chain for sweeping the wall. I wonder when they built that? In what century were they just sitting around contemplating different defense projects when one of them said "Ya know what would be great.."
All in all this was some good action with no real surprises. Ygritte died, as we all must have known she would although I'm glad Jon didn't do it, along with almost all of Jon's likable supporting characters. We end with Jon taking off on an assassination mission. Without a sword. Or any food. Not the best plan.
The Children, or, The Skeletons
In some ways every season I marvel that I, and millions of others, keep coming back to this show when every season ends exactly the same way, in despair.
Daenerys continues her season long slide into dullness by deciding to lock up her dragons in the catacombs. Why the catacombs? Why not outside like any other good owner of a potentially dangerous pet? Drama that's why.
And while she seals away the only magical creatures viewers came to the show to see we replace them with magical creatures no one wanted to see: poorly animated skeletons and fireball casting elves. I knew Bran's Magical Quest would have to have a magical ending, but I never expected him to end up at Hogwarts.
And then there's Shae. I could barely believe she was petty and vindictive enough to come back and pin a crime on Tyrion and Sansa she knows they didn't commit. But sleeping with Tywin just to hurt Tyrion? I'm assuming when he sent her away it was with enough money for her to give up whoring, so I can't think of any other reason. That doesn't seem at all like the Shae we spent two seasons getting to know. Maybe she suffered a personality changing head injury just in time to put Tyrion through the emotional crucible.
But, the truly heart wrenching segment of this episode revolved around Arya. The fight between Brienne and The Hound was one of the tensest, not to mention brutal, fights I've ever watched. Two beloved characters who would be on the same side if they only just talked, fighting to the death. No matter who wins, we lose a character. But then, after all that, for Arya to leave The Hound to die alone, in pain. That's just low. After all the time he'd spent protecting her since they met up, and it's not like he was very high on her list to begin with. What did he ever really do to her? Killed a boy she'd just met because he was ordered to. It's not like he had a say in it. Wouldn't it be enough to simply kill him? Does he really deserve worse than the names she's already crossed off with quick deaths? No, and so Arya takes her place among this shows ranks of amoral monsters.
The lone moment of hope in this episode comes from Stannis! The one king in all Westeros actually doing something to protect Westeros!
And so we end. The North is firmly in the control of the Hussein family. Old favorite The Hound and new favorite Oberon are dead and Arya might as well be. So what are we left with? Two plotlines. The adventures of Jon and Stannis and Tyrion and Varys. I can only hope they prove to be buddy-cop-esque.