Just Give Me That Old-Time Religion
It was good enough for Margaery and Loras, and it's good enough for Cersei.
Will You Light My Candle?
Alert Type: Furtive Escape Plan Alert.
Issue: Sansa, already filled with regret at having agreed to marry Ramsay (pro tip: when it comes to romantic advice, a murderous brothel owner should probably not be your go-to guy), begs for Theon/Reek's assistance in getting the hell out of Dodge.
Complicating Factors: Reek is so wedded to his new identity that he can barely admit that he and Sansa have any kind of family ties, and furthermore he's completely terrified of Ramsay -- not just for himself, but for what the lunatic will do to Sansa if she tries to get away.
Resolution: Reek takes Sansa's candle...but marches straight up to Ramsay's office with it.
Spoiler: Lips may be among the only exterior appendages Reek has left, but rest assured that they're loose.
R.I.P. Maester Aemon
He was born in Year 198 in the Red Keep.
He died on top of the Wall.
He was an astronaut.
Alert Type: Not Getting Better Alert.
Issue: Ramsay takes Sansa for a walk-and-talk, ostensibly to tell her the news about Stannis's invasion and how it will be adversely affected by the ongoing blizzard.
Complicating Factors: The walk-and-talk also features a bit of a show-and-tell.
Resolution: Remember that sweet old lady who promised Sansa that help would be available if she only asked for it? Well, she's dead -- and so is a bunch of her skin, wherever that is. Because -- surprise, surprise -- Reek sang like a neutered canary as soon as he got the chance.
Spoiler: Better hope Brienne refuses to take "no candle" for an answer and marches to the rescue.
Dear Melisandre, I'm So Glad You Enjoyed My Daughter's Blood, And Your Prophecies Were Just Great. In Case You Can't Tell, I'm Being Sarcastic
No doubt about it: Stannis is in a tight spot. He just barely left Castle Black and he's already mired in bad weather, with troop morale low and supplies even lower. (They've already had to switch over to imitation pigeon pie, and take it from me, it does not compare to the real thing.) And you know what happens when you're the one in charge and shit starts to go wrong? Like clockwork, every damn one of your lieutenants starts knocking on the door with a plan for fixing things. First it's Davos, who suggests that Stannis turn around and head back to the Wall, since that was such a fun place to visit, and why not get even closer to the immortal armies of the undead.
Then smooth-talking Melisandre pops in, surprisingly choosing to stay fully clothed for the entire conversation, and assures Stannis that everything's going to be fine -- she's seen the future, and he wins! Well, that's a relief, right? Not so much, it turns out! Because according to her, the only way Stannis wins is by performing some black magic with regal blood, and by process of elimination that means young Shireen would have to be the one to be drained in order for the blood rite to be successful. Melisandre presents this like it's just another piece of wartime strategy and not, you know, KILLING HIS ONLY CHILD. Unsurprisingly, Stannis ain't having it...but will he be able to prevent the Red Priestess from taking matters into her own hands?
Here's An Idea
Stop Using Rape Or Almost-Rape As A Dramatic Crutch
We already know that Westeros is pretty terrible, from the ruling class on down. We know it's the kind of place where limbs get hacked off, torn off, or burned off with regularity; where people fight to the death over the pettiest of perceived slights; and where a wedding that ends with the teenage groom dying horrifically actually counts as a happy occasion. And we know that rape happens all the goddamn time, because we've been seeing it since the very first episode, when Daenerys endured the unwanted consummation of her unwanted wedding to Khal Drogo. Now we're five and a half seasons in, and virtually every female character has been directly threatened with rape at least once. Maybe it's time to find new ways of upping the emotional stakes of a scene or plotline (especially when the scene in question focuses on a male character and his reaction to the rape, like it has in the past two episodes).
If there were a show created and written by women where every episode had some guy getting his dick cut off (or at least a knife held up to it), it'd take about half a season before the cultural alarms started going off. GoT writers, be thankful you've gotten a pass for as long as you have, and start doing better.
Jorah Real Bargain
Oh thank goodness: nothing like a slave auction to lighten the mood.
Ser Jorah's bizarro-world Gladiator arc has taken him from slaver to warrior to slave, and now he's up for sale to the highest bidder. (And you can tell that he's just dying to give Malko some insider tips about getting the best price for your human property -- "If I were selling me, I'd get double what these clowns are offering!" -- but he's holding his tongue in the interest of not making things even worse for himself.) The fairly anemic bidding process ends with one fellow offering 20,000 Gold Honors, and though it's unclear what the Honor to Dragon exchange rate is these days, Malko seems to think that's a solid offer and releases Jorah to his new master.
But Mormont's departure doesn't sit well with Tyrion, who isn't particularly looking forward to his impending visit to the Cock Merchant, so he executes some quick and brutal chain-fu against one of the captors, proving that he's a worthy fighter in his own right and deserves to go to the Pits along with Jorah. The buyer tosses in some extra Honors, and like that, Tyrion has cheated death yet once more.
Two Pit Fighters, One Of Whom Is An Actual Fighter = ~22,000 Gold Honors
Hey Khaleesi, I Think I Wanna Marry You
Who called the meeting? Daario.
What's it about? He wants Dany to know that he's totally not threatened by her impending marriage to Hizdahr zo Loraq, except for the fact that he's pretty sure Hizdahr is secretly a terrorist mastermind. Okay, he's a little bit threatened by it. And he wants Dany to marry him instead. And he wants her to kill all the masters.
How'd it go? Dany pretty much takes it all in stride, assuring Daario that she has no romantic inclinations toward Hizdahr -- she's totally ally-zoned him -- but that the marriage is essential for her security. (She's less flippant, however, when Daario points out that this whole situation is proof that Dany is actually the one person in Meereen who isn't free. Maybe it's time to give those dragons another shot?)
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Hips, Meet Knees
So Olenna's first meeting with the High Sparrow turns out to be less than convivial. They butt heads instantly over the imprisonment of the Tyrell children, and neither Olenna's offer of gold nor the Sparrow's insistence on religious doctrine is the least bit successful in getting the opposite party to budge. And, okay, the whole encounter ends with the Queen of Thorns threatening famine and the Sparrow counter-threatening class warfare.
But does that mean there's no hope for a May-May romance between these two? I choose to believe otherwise. The fact that they clearly have each other's numbers from the get-go, that they're absolutely gleeful about calling out their respective hypocrisies, has to mean that there's a decent shot that they'll end up arguing their way into a passionate clinch, with vows being very hastily broken and clothes being very carefully ripped off.
Shut Up! You're Not My Real Dad (As Far As I Know)
After Jaime's sailed across the continent to rescue Myrcella and get back into Cersei's good graces, the best he can do is get a brief supervised visitation with his daughter -- which, like many supervised visitations, starts off with benign small talk and quickly devolves into yelling and recriminations about life choices. The upshot is that Myrcella truly loves Trystane, and she has no interest in returning to the kingdom from whence she was already expelled against her will.
That Quote"It's against my code to hurt a woman."- Bronn -"It's amazing how many men we beat seem to have this code."- Obara -
This Used To Be My Playground
Who called the meeting? Littlefinger.
What's it about? Secretly convening in the ruins of his beloved brothel, Baelish seeks to reassure his co-conspirator Olenna that things are going just fine, even though Olenna's two children are presently locked up and awaiting trial for crimes of which they'll most likely be convicted.
How'd it go? Olenna is still pretty upset about that latter bit -- especially since her visit to the Sparrow accomplished nothing -- but Littlefinger, as always, has a trump card: a "gift" in the form of a "handsome young man" (and if there's anyone who knows from giving handsome young men as gifts, it's Petyr Baelish).
The Hunger For Acceptance Games
Situation: The day of the Games has arrived, and Dany reluctantly takes her pit-side seat next to Hizdahr to watch the ol' ultra-violence up close. At first, one sort of Thenn-looking bald dude dominates the field, but then -- lo and behold! -- Jorah busts out into the arena and starts kicking ass left and right. He's still got it!
What makes it awkward? Dany's reaction when Jorah defeats all the opponents and unmasks himself is perhaps less joyful than Jorah was hoping. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him and demands that he be taken away immediately. The whole thing really puts a damper on what was supposed to be an enjoyable day of widespread mutilation.
How is order restored? At the last moment, Tyrion gets free and dashes into the pit alongside his reluctant partner, introducing himself to Dany as "the gift" that Jorah brought her. And it remains to be seen how the Khaleesi will react to this new development, but nonetheless: Holy shit, someone from this part of the show finally met someone from that part of the show!
J. Walter Weatherman Lesson
The Hard Cell
Margaery's looking pretty un-regal, covered in dirt up to her lungs, but Cersei's there to deliver good tidings and promise she's doing everything to help her daughter-in-law. She's even got some day-old venison to share, which Cersei can't eat herself because her stomach is way too full of smug. Truly, this is about as good as it gets for the Queen Mum these days; she hasn't been this thrilled since she killed her husband.
But you know who's really not into stuff like status wars and personal retribution? The High Sparrow, into whose humble basket Cersei has placed every last one of her vengeful eggs. To him, a sin is a sin is a sin, and nobody's immune to punishment...so if someone were to come forward with knowledge of Cersei's crimes against the Gods...well, then the Sparrow would have to take that information very seriously.
Especially when the informant is one of his trusted acolytes!
Sayonara, Cersei! See you at the trial.
In the meantime, good luck getting Margaery to share that venison.