Game Of Thrones Sails Into Winter
But don't worry; there's plenty of fire to keep you warm.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Cersei vs. The Sparrow (And Most Of King's Landing)
Buckle up! It's time for the Trial of the Century!
No, not that trial, silly! The Thrones-verse is nowhere near advanced enough for concepts like football, DNA evidence, or getting away with spousal homicide.
ANYWAY, everyone's busy getting ready for the big day. Tommen is looking nervous and pained, just like he has in pretty much every episode since they fired Ser Pounce (#NeverForget), and Cersei either looks slightly constipated or like she's about to kill a whole bunch of people. I guess we'll find out!
And Maester Pycelle is finishing up his own little pre-trial ritual. How does he keep those fires burning at his advanced age? Well, I think we can safely assume he's keeping all the best potions for himself.
But there'll be plenty of time for Pycelle's creaky gyrations later! (Just kidding; there definitely will not.) Right now, it's Loras's turn to take the stand, and frankly he looks so tired and defeated that he'd probably trade a full confession for a massage and a shower.
Unfortunately, he can't even make that good a deal. Spilling his guts only nets him a portentous lecture and a prominent forehead scar that's going to look very passé in about eight minutes.
Meanwhile, the High Sparrow is getting a wee bit anxious about the continued non-presence of Cersei and Tommen. Sure, the've already gotten Loras's confession, but he's not the one everyone showed up to see. He's, let's face it, the Coldplay of this particular halftime show.
Lancel gets sent out to find the royal family and bring them, literally, to justice. For some reason, he thinks it's a great idea to chase this one random kid he sees acting shady. Good call, buddy! Nobody on this show has ever gone wrong following randos into dark alleys.
Pycelle also follows a child directly to what he assumes will not be his certain doom, and finds himself staring a kinda-apologetic Qyburn in the face.
And now, this.
How many licks of a Westerosi Tootsie Pop does it take to get children to commit bloody murder? Only Qyburn knows.
Lancel also gets a bit of a stabbing, but his is only of the maiming variety, allowing him to live just long enough to be the first person in King's Landing to see what's about to go down. (Sadly, he lacks both the time and the technology to tweet out a spoiler. I guess it's for the best, though; even if you're about to die in a sea of horrible green flames, there's no excuse for being That Guy.)
And now, this.
Let that be a lesson, Mr. Sparrow. If you mess with a bull, you get the horns; and if you mess with a Lion, you get the thousands of gallons of wildfire that a crazy inbred monarch was hoarding in order to kill his entire kingdom.
And Cersei hasn't forgotten you, either, Septa Unella! I don't really want to know what's in store for you, but I'm guessing that smelling the yucky death-breath of a revivified corpse will probably be the most pleasant part of it.
Winner: Cersei. Briefly.
R.I.P. King Tommen (And Many, Many Other People, But Give Us A Break; This Is A 75-Minute Episode And We've Still Got A Lot To Cover)
Maybe the burden of being a pubescent ruler was just too great. Maybe he really was in love with Margaery and he couldn't imagine going on without her.
OR MAYBE THIS IS BECAUSE YOU BASTARDS TOOK SER POUNCE AWAY FROM HIM.
Talk To The Golden Hand
Walder Frey hosts a fancy banquet to celebrate Jaime's mostly-non-violent recapturing of Riverrun, and while I'm not sure it's wise of Jaime to show up to a Frey-sponsored feast without wearing at least two inches of throat-armor, I do have to applaud his beautifully DGAF exchange with the old man himself.
"They don't fear Freys; they fear Lannisters," Jaime counters when Walder is going off on a self-knob-polishing rave about his own virility. And by the way, he points out, all the Freys have done is lose the one kingdom the Lannisters helped them win. "So why do we need you?" he finishes, before dropping whatever the fantasy-medieval equivalent of a mic is. (An antler, maybe?)
(Also: it is low-key hilarious that stupid Edmure -- the Lady Edith of the Tully family -- is locked up in a cell again.)
Oldtown! Come For The Books; Stay For The Institutional Sexism!
Hey, Sam finally made it to Oldtown! The place he was headed at the end of last season! So he can start studying to be a maester, which only takes -- judging by the average age of the other maesters in Westeros -- somewhere between 30 and 90 years. But, as the ancient proverb goes, the best time to begin preparing a mystical defense against an invading army of the undead is twenty years ago. The second best time is today. Anyway, let's take a look at the legendary city in which Sam will be conducting his studies.
Q: Wow! This is where they train all the maesters and store every piece of available knowledge about the entire history of the world, huh?
A: Not only that; it's also the primary communications hub for all of Westeros.
Q: So how many people you got working the front desk?
A: This guy.
Q: Huh. Well, you're probably short-staffed in the FOH because they need to devote so much labor to keeping the records up-to-date.
A: Eh, not exactly. We still thought Jeor Mormont is the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
A: I know. And don't even ask me who we've got down for "Most Beloved TV Personality."
Q: Is...is it Bill Cosby?
A: I said don't ask.
Q: Okay, how about we move on to a lighter topic. Even if the Citadel's leadership rosters are a bit dated, they've still got a library to die for, right?
A: You bet! Nothing but books, as far as the eye can see! Songs, histories, poems, steamy fanfic about dragon queens and ironborn princesses...
Q: Awesome! I assume such an amazing repository is open to the public?
A: You bet.
Q: You know, just to make sure we're 100% on the same page here...when I say "the public," I mean "men, women, and children of all ages."
A: Oh! Thank you for clarifying. We certainly do not allow children inside these hallowed halls. Seven Gods forbid.
Q: What's the matter? Worried they might learn something?
A: That's exactly what we're worried about.
Q: And how about women?
A: Are you A Whimsical Tale Of Two Dornish Knights Who Accidentally Decapitated One Another Whilst Carving Their Pigeon Pie? Because you are making us laugh.
Q: You disgust me. I'm going to tell my female friends all about this, so they can put together a pamphlet in protest of your sexist policies.
A: They are more than welcome to publish it. We just won't allow them to read it.
Alert Type: Inflammatory Revelation Alert.
Issue: Remember that little wooden stag that Davos found last week when he was looking for a comfortable spot to do his pre-battle fear-pooping? Well, he knows whom it belonged to (Shireen), and he knows who gave it to her (he did), and he knows who burned her at the stake shortly after she dropped it (Melisandre). And now he wants justice, which means death to the Red Woman.
Complicating Factors: Jon Snow is never one to shy away from executing an evildoer, but when he asks Melisandre if she has anything to say in her defense, she reminds him and Davos that they're going to need her alive to help fight the White Walkers.
Resolution: Jon decides to give her the Jorah Mormont treatment -- a command to ride away and never come back -- which pretty much guarantees he'll be seeing her again in another several episodes.
Spoiler: It's the season finale so all I can do is speculate, but I wouldn't be surprised if Melisandre runs into another Stark on her travels.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Now Is The Winter Of Our Content
If we were worried about a potential rift between Jon and Sansa after last week's surprise Knights of the Vale intervention -- especially since Sansa was being pretty chummy with Littlefinger and looking more than a little Cersei-ish as she watched Ramsay being devoured -- then it seems that our fears were ill-founded. Sansa concedes that she probably should have told Jon about her secret raven-delivered request for assistance; the two of them agree that they need to trust each other from now on; and, to put a little cherry on top of their reconciliation, Sansa shares the news that a white raven has just arrived to indicate that winter is officially here.
Jon and Sansa share a bit of a laugh about winter finally coming after all those years of Ned's grave warnings, and I guess it's nice that they can see the humor in that since (a) Ned was horribly killed and (b) winter equals a massive invasion of White Walkers. But hey, whatever it takes you to get through the day.
This Meeting Of The No-Fucks-Given Committee Will Now Commence
Since House Martell is no more, it's time for another wealthy family with a name ending in -ell to step in and make an alliance with Ellaria and the Sand Snakes, and Olenna is happy to negotiate that alliance. Well, I guess "happy" is kind of a strong word since her whole family just got burned alive, and also this is Olenna we're talking about, but the point is that it's fairly impressive for anyone to talk to Ellaria for more than thirty consecutive seconds without having a sharp projectile ending up in someone's chest, so we'll take what we can get.
And guess what? The Sand Snakes aren't just offering their own services in the war against the Lannisters. Will the mystery eunuch please sign in?
Hey, there's a guy who knows something about smoothly-administered vengeance! He's not bad at trading wicked zingers, either. This could be the beginning of a beautiful(-ly destructive) friendship.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Ashes To Ashes, Dust To Side Mercenaries
Dany's had a soft spot for Daario Naharis ever since he presented her with that adorable first-date gift of two severed heads in a bag, but as much as she's enjoyed their frequent rolls in the hay, she can't sail to King's Landing with a clingy dude on her arm. She needs to win the hearts and minds of the Seven Kingdoms, and that will likely mean a strategic marriage with an eligible Westerosi dude. (Wait, not Yara?) Daario says that he's not worried about that, as long as he can keep sneaking into her bed after-hours. But no, Dany's not offering him that option, either. She needs Daario to stay in Meereen and keep the peace in her absence, since she can't be Queen of the World if half the world reverts to slavery and anarchy as soon as she leaves.
Daario is quite stung, and accuses Dany of being manipulated by Tyrion (which she denies, even though it turns out to be kind of true), but there's nothing he can do or say to change her mind. At least we know there's one person who will never stop being in love with Daario: Daario.
Let's Give The Dwarf A Hand
Who called the meeting? Tyrion.
What's it about? He wants to know how Dany's feeling now that she's severed ties with Daario and moments away from setting sail for Westeros.
How'd it go? Dany admits that she didn't actually have any strong feelings about letting go of Daario, and that her lack of emotion about that situation unsettles her. But Tyrion thinks it's a good thing that she clearly has much more self-awareness than her father did (not that that's saying much), and he's glad that she's sensible enough to be feeling some fear about her upcoming invasion(s). Meanwhile, though Dany gives Tyrion no points for his consolation skills, she does offer her thanks for all the guidance he's given her in the past...however long it's been since he arrived in Meereen. And then she gives him this.
And then I weep all over my notebook. (Not for the last time this episode, either.)
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
This Littlefinger Went To Battle For You, This Littlefinger Wants Some
The Boltons are defeated, Winterfell belongs to the Starks again, and all's right with the North...except, of course, this. By accepting Baelish's help in the Battle of the Bastards (the name of which definitely remains accurate when you factor him into it), Sansa has helped to plant the seeds for a rift between her and Jon, and even if the two of them have agreed to let bygones be bygones, Littlefinger wants the exact opposite. He wants to sit on the Iron Throne with Sansa by his side, and he doesn't mention where that leaves Jon, but presumably the answer is "somewhere far away, like on top of the Wall, since he did such a good job up there."
Sansa pretty much shoots him down, but Littlefinger ain't going away any time soon.
Goin' To The Tower, And We're / Gonna Raise A Bastard
The Un-zombified White Walker Formerly Known As Benjen Stark (or let's just call him Coldhands) bids his goodbyes to Bran and Meera, since the mystical Wall powers prevent any undead folks from crossing the border. But as soon as he's gone, Bran can't wait to get his hands on the closest weirwood so he can snag that last piece of Ned Stark backstory. To the Wayback Machine!
Dream-Bran follows Young Ned into the Tower of Joy, and inside they both find Ned's little sister Lyanna on her combination deathbed/childbirth bed.
"Promise me, Ned," she says over and over, which, if you've read the books, is a line you've seen only about 7,800 times before.
So there you have it! Jon Snow's mother is Lyanna Stark. And his father is...probably Rhaegar? I'd just like to point out that we don't get definitive proof of that in this scene, so there's always a chance of a curveball later on. (Also, if Jon is Rhaegar's son, then he's Dany's nephew, which would make a Jon/Dany marriage kind of squicky even if it's perfectly on-brand for the Targaryens.)
Shut Up And Do What The Little Girl Says
Alert Type: Coronation Alert.
Issue: Speaking of people named Lyanna, the young and awesome Lyanna Mormont interrupts a squabble between the Knights of the Vale and the Wildlings to proclaim her house's support for a "King in the North, whose name is Stark."
Complicating Factors: Jon isn't a Stark by name, and also the rest of the Northern families aren't on board with this yet.
Resolution: Lady Mormont continues being awesome, first by saying that she doesn't care if Jon is a bastard, and then by calling out every house that didn't support the Starks in turn. And one by one, the stubborn old men are forced to apologize and unite behind their new King in the North. King in the North! KING IN THE NORTH!
Spoiler: Nothing bad happened the last time a bunch of people yelled that, right? I can't remember. Anyway, I'm sure Littlefinger will be totally okay with this and not do anything to screw it up.
See you next spring!