Game Of Thrones Wants YOU!
Whether you're a little girl, a grandmother, a giant, or a dog (!), it's time to stand up and serve.
Tits And Dragons And...Hounds???
You know something special's in store when Game Of Thrones deigns to give us a cold open, so what could it be? Is it the much-heralded arrival of Ian "It's only tits and dragons!" McShane playing a nameless Septon who's leading a band of repentant sinners in raising a rural church? I mean, that's pretty good, right? Who doesn't love them a little extra-scruffy McShane with their dinner?
Well, "pretty good" isn't enough this week, because LOOK WHO'S IN SEPTON McSHANE'S FLOCK!
Yes, it turns out that no matter how much the universe conspires to kill him -- and in all the ugliest and most undignified ways possible -- Sandor Clegane just keeps on ticking. "The gods aren't done with you yet," Septon McShane tells him, and if that sounds like the setup for a John Wick-esque one-guy-on-a-sort-of-morally-justified-rampage movie, keep watching and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
So Yeah, All This Praying Is Really Nice And Everything, But...
Alert Type: Holy Writ Of Procreation Alert.
Issue: Margaery continues to be a model student at Sparrow School, smiling and bowing and memorizing scripture.
Complicating Factors: There's just one problem, according to the Sparrow: She hasn't boned King Tommen in a really long time. Margaery says that this is because she's just not in the mood anymore, now that the Seven Gods are her Seven Homeboys (or, more accurately, three homeboys, three homegirls, and one homestranger). The Sparrow admires her enthusiasm, but he's also like, hey, just because you're all pious and stuff doesn't mean you can't spend some time getting intimately familiar with the ol' royal scepter. Besides, he points out, women don't need to enjoy sex! Especially not queens, who are just heir-producing machines.
Resolution: Margaery agrees to get her machinery oiled up (okay, I may have taken this metaphor too far) and work on getting pregnant.
Spoiler: That's not all she's going to work on.
Spin Off Idea
Septa Unella Stoically Observes Important Conversations
One Giant Leaps For Mankind
Who called the meeting? Jon and Tormund.
What's it about? They need to convince the remaining Wildlings to join the fight against the Boltons so Jon and Sansa can reclaim Winterfell for the Starks.
How'd it go? Not so great at first. The Freefolk might have been willing to ally with the fancy-ass Southerners when the fate of the entire human race was at stake, but they're not so sure about helping to intervene in a squabble that's strictly between Westerosi. Jon, however, points out that Ramsay Bolton is a big enough asshole to march through Castle Black and wipe out all the Wildlings once he's finished conquering the North, so the mission in question is actually quite well aligned with their own interests. And that's a well-reasoned argument and all, but the actual deciding moment comes when this taciturn fellow decides to speak his mind.
Real Widows Of King's Landing
Cersei can't believe that Olenna's going to leave the city -- even though that was the specific order Margaery gave her -- when poor Loras is still rotting away in Club Sparrow. By the same token, Olenna can't believe Cersei isn't leaving, seeing as how her current approval rating in King's Landing is hovering somewhere around "Wouldn't Piss On Her If She Was On Fire." But Cersei says she'd never leave Tommen alone, and Olenna says that's fine, she can stick around and die if she wants, but by the way, Cersei is the worst person she's ever met, and seeing her suffer is the only thing that's giving Olenna any joy.
Poor Cersei. She's known since she was a child that she'd eventually be supplanted by a queen who was younger and prettier, but she didn't know that she'd also be beaten at shade-throwing by someone older and meaner.
Jaime and Bronn have arrived in Riverrun to help the Freys take back the castle from a recalcitrant Brynden Tully! Let's see how things are going.
Riverrun Siege FAQ
Q: Those Freys are some mean, wily bastards, right? I bet they're on the verge of defeating the Blackfish already and only need Jaime to deliver the golden-fisted knockout punch.
A: Yes to the first question; no to the second. These guys are so inept, they didn't even notice the entire Lannister army sneaking up behind them. And their trench-digging leaves much to be desired. (Luckily Bronn has chosen to feature them on his next episode of Trench Nightmares. Tune in to see him turn their whole situation around, and unleash a few saucy insults while he's at it!)
Q: Okay, so maybe they're not the most proficient at complicated siege tactics, but can you blame them? This family is more inbred than...well, come to think of it, they're probably in a dead heat with several other Westerosi houses. Never mind. The point being, I'm sure that the Freys can hold their own when it comes to straight-up assault and bloodshed.
A: You would think so! But the years have not been kind to these evil simpletons. Where once they could send shockwaves throughout the lands by killing their invited guests at the Red Wedding, they're now unable to shock even one person (the Blackfish) by holding a knife to his nephew's jugular.
Q: Wait a second. You're telling me that the Freys can't even pull off a decent throat-slitting anymore? I don't even know what to say.
A: I can help you with that.
I Will Accept My Tribute In Slap Bracelets
Who called the meeting? Jon, Sansa, and Davos.
What's it about? The begging-for-support tour continues, this time on Bear Island, stronghold of House Mormont.
How'd it go? It's much trickier than anyone on Team Stark would have guessed, since Lyanna Mormont, the ten-year-old Lady of the House, has every bit as much DGAF-ness as a Queen of Thorns eight times her age. She tells Jon and Sansa that they're not true Starks and she therefore owes no allegiance to them. Fortunately, Davos has one of his patented inspirational speeches locked and loaded, although this one is less "inspirational" and more "you're all definitely going to get turned into ice zombies if you don't help us," but hey, that's good enough! Lyanna finally agrees to grant Team Stark a total of...drumroll...62 men. And if you think that's not very many, (a) the soldiers of Bear Island are fierce and stout and strong of spirit; and (b) you're right, it's not very many.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Jaime vs. The Blackfish
Underwhelmed by the Freys' martial tactics so far, Jaime decides to take matters into his own hand and meet with Brynden Tully one-on-one to negotiate. Will he do a better job than he did in last week's confrontation with the Sparrow? Probably, right? Couldn't go much worse than that, anyway.
The Blackfish starts things off by reminding Jaime that he had sworn an oath to Catelyn Tully to return Arya and Sansa to their homeland. Jaime has no idea where either of them is, of course, so that's strike one. Jaime tries to change the subject to the actual matter at hand, pointing out that he's got the Frey and Lannister armies at his disposal, and a proper siege (with trenches dug the right goddamn way and everything) will mean a whole lot of deaths. "Yes," the Blackfish replies, "hundreds of mine, and thousands of yours." Man! Jaime just can't catch a break these days. Brynden's final word on the matter is that he can withstand a siege for up to two years, so the Lannister-Freys better be prepared to feed and shelter their men for at least that long.
And that's that.
Winner: Not Jaime.
We Can Also Give You 62 Men, Except Subtract 62 From That
The door-to-door soldier solicitation reaches its final stop at House Glover, and it's not good news for Jon and Sansa. After humiliating Jon by making him list his current team members (62 Mormonts, and, um, a bunch of Wildlings), Lord Glover says that House Stark is dead to him (because Robb failed to protect his family) and also just dead, period.
C'mon, What Are Big Sisters For?
Situation: Theon, Yara, and the rest of the non-Euron-supporting Greyjoys are dropping anchor at a brothel (to coin a phrase) while en route to Meereen.
What makes it awkward? Do you have a few minutes? First of all, there's the fact that Yara is fondling a topless prostitute while she's carrying on a conversation with her brother. Which, even if you excuse the weirdness, is kind of insensitive to Theon on account of his sex parts don't work anymore. But then Yara really rubs his face in it (sorry) when she explicitly gloats about her own ability to enjoy all the sexual feels. Also, in the midst of all this, Yara forces Theon to drink a whole beer, even though he's not into that sort of thing these days either.
How is order restored? Yara tells Theon to kill himself. No, not really. Well, yes, really, but she says it in a nice way. Well, not nice exactly, but her point is that Theon should still have some fire (and seawater) left inside him, and now's the time to summon it -- and if he can't do that, there's not much point in going on. So at least there's an inspirational angle to it. (Hard to say the same thing about Yara's final announcement that she's going to head off to "fuck the tits off" her prostitute, but you never know. There could be layers to that that we're not aware of.)
Look, I Think Stannis Has Proven That Attacking Winterfell With Insufficient Troop Numbers Is A Perfectly Reasonable Strategy
Who's causing a family crisis? Jon.
How? Even though their current soldier count stands at (Wildlings + 62 + 0), he wants to go ahead with the assault on Winterfell.
Which relatives have a problem with it? Sansa, and you can hardly blame her -- she's been waiting patiently for this opportunity since the end of Season 1, and it'd be a damn shame if Jon's bullheadedness caused the entire thing to go tits-up.
Whoever the recipient of Sansa's secret Raven Express letter is, and I'd bet you dollars to prostitutes that it's Littlefinger. I'd also bet that Sansa will end up having second thoughts about involving him.
Spoiler: Maybe they can also get some help from this one dude with an axe.
J. Walter Weatherman Lesson
Don't Spill Your Guts To Strangers
Turns out Arya was not killed in her sleep by the Waif, so at least there's one piece of good news this week! Now she's prowling the streets of Braavos with bags of stolen silver, looking for passage to Westeros. Two bags are enough for her to snag a last-minute cabin reservation, so she's all set -- as long as she can stay alive until dawn. But how hard can that be, especially now that she's got Needle back?
Perhaps she can pass the time by talking to this elderly lady. She looks perfectly friendly, right? She might even have one of those old-school recipes for pigeon pie, before the modern chefs ruined it with truffle oil and squid ink.
OR MAYBE SHE'S THE WAIF IN DISGUISE, AND THIS IS WHEN ARYA GETS SHIVVED TO DEATH.
Arya does manage to Jason Bourne herself into the ocean before the Waif can deliver the coup de grace, but things are looking really, really bad for her. I'm worried that her luxury cabin is going to go to waste.
Hokey Religions And Ancient Weapons Are No Match For A Good Axe At Your Side
Alert Type: Sudden Career Change Alert.
Issue: Septon McShane and his flock are visited by members of the Brotherhood Without Banners, the ragtag Lord of Light-worshipping group we met way back in Season 3.
Complicating Factors: The Hound thinks that McShane -- who earlier revealed himself to be a retired soldier, and a very lethal one at that -- should lead a charge to fight off the Brotherhood, before the Brotherhood can strike them. But McShane is a committed pacifist; he's not going to go against his own preachings by inciting violence.
Resolution: The next morning, the Hound is busy chopping wood (his favorite pastime these days) when he hears an attack. And it's a pretty bad one.
The Hound, however, will shed no tears for this brief-but-beloved guest star. What he will do...
...is pick up the closest edged instrument he can find and head off in search of some heads to chop with it!
Spoiler: There are people in literally every direction who need his help.