Monday, June 8, 2015

Game of Thrones 5.07: "The Gift"

“You’re losing all your friends, Tarly.”
-Ser Alliser Thorne

Cersei has been hoisted by her own petard, and it is a beautiful thing. I never thought I’d actually use that phrase naturally, but in this particular circumstance, it is definitely apt. While I don’t want to see religious fundamentalists like the Sparrows taking over Westeros, the moment of comeuppance for Cersei was indeed sweet. It’s been a long time coming! The ending was what made the episode for me. The rest of the episode was very much a not-quite-the-end-of-the-season HBO special. The creative team is moving all the pieces into their final positions for the ten episode season’s endgame. Jon has left Castle Black, Sansa’s imprisonment at Winterfell is more certain, Tyrion has finally met Daenerys, and Cersei . . . well, we’ll talk more about Cersei in a bit.

We begin this episode at Castle Black, where Jon and Tormund are preparing to leave for the Wildling camp at Hardhome. Ser Alliser warns Jon that the mission is foolhardy, but Jon insists on going anyway. Sam gives Jon some dragonglass daggers (which can be used to kill White Walkers) to give him a better chance of survival. Life at Castle Black is going to be tough for Sam without Jon around. He and Gilly have been watching over Maester Aemon, who has become increasingly ill and is now suffering from dementia. Aemon eventually passes in this episode, and Sam eulogizes him in a very moving Night’s Watch funeral. The emotion of the funeral is cut by Ser Alliser who digs at Sam using the Quote of the Episode above. Also, some of the other brothers of the Night’s Watch have started to harass Gilly. When Sam tries to defend her, he gets pretty severely injured. While Gilly is nursing him back to health, he promises he will protect her and the baby no matter what. Gilly rewards him with some seriously awkward injured sex.

Staying with the Northern theme, we next visit Winterfell. Theon delivers a tray to Sansa, and it’s clear how horrible her life has become since the wedding. Ramsay keeps her locked in a room and only visits her for very painful sex. She tells him about the message she received from the old servant woman, and she begs Theon to light a candle in the broken tower for her. Instead, however, Theon takes the candle to Ramsay. Ramsay invites Sansa out for a walk, and they trade barbs about how he is still a bastard, so his inheritance is in jeopardy. Ramsay has the last laugh, though, because he shows Sansa the flayed body of the old servant woman who had delivered her the message. Brienne is still waiting for the signal, though, so I have hope Sansa will be out of that house of horrors sooner rather than later.

Also North-ish, Davos has a grim report for Stannis. Men are deserting and horses are dying. This attempt to retake Winterfell may be folly. Stannis refuses to turn back to Castle Black, though, because winter is truly coming, and if they don’t move south now, they might lose their chance for the foreseeable future. Later, Melisandre urges Stannis to once again use someone with king’s blood to achieve a victory. This time, the person she recommends is Stannis’ daughter, and Stannis will have none of that. Apparently it’s no trouble to use other people’s blood to work dark magic, but his daughter is off limits. He finally kicks Melisandre out, although I have a feeling it won’t stick.

Next, we head to Essos, where the slavers, carrying Jorah and Tyrion, have arrived in Meereen. Before we get to that, though, we see Daenerys and Daario post coital. Daario isn’t happy about Dany’s upcoming wedding, and he asks her to marry him instead. Dany refuses, saying she has an obligation to Meereen. Daario notes the irony that she freed all the slaves, but now she is a slave to Meereen’s expectations for her. He also suggests Dany kill all of Meereen’s masters, but Dany doesn’t like that idea much. Anyway, Jorah is sold at auction, and Tyrion insists that the two of them are a package deal. Jorah and Tyrion are assigned to a lower fighting pit, where Daenerys happens to be watching because she has been told she needs to honor the fighters. When he realizes Dany is watching, Jorah breaks his way out of the holding area and into the pit, where he is careful to incapacitate but not kill the other fighters. Dany is impressed until Jorah reveals his identity, then she’s just pissed. Tyrion picks that moment to introduce himself as Jorah’s “gift” to her.

Sticking with the warm weather locations, we next journey to Dorne, where Jaime is having a talk with Myrcella. He wants to take her back to Westeros, but Myrcella is not on board with that plan. She wants to stay in Dorne and marry Trystane. Meanwhile, Bronn and the Sand Snakes are in a dungeon of some sort, with Bronn in a separate cell. Tyene tries to flirt with Bronn for some reason I don’t understand, and when Bronn doesn’t take the bait, Tyene points out that he has been cut by one of her daggers. Her daggers are laced with a very long-acting poison called the Long Farewell. Tyene offers Bronn the antidote, but only if he compliments her looks. Eventually he gives in, and when he get the antidote, he gulps it quickly.

We finish up in King’s Landing, with what I found to be the most shocking (and gratifying) sequence of the episode. Lady Olenna finds the High Sparrow, and she offers to make him a very rich Septon. The High Sparrow, being the smug jerk he is, reminds Lady Olenna that both her grandchildren lied under oath, and the Gods won’t stand for that. Lady Olenna then threatens to stop sending her significant resources to King’s Landing. The High Sparrow is not impressed. Lady Olenna then consults with Littlefinger, who unsurprisingly, offers to overtake Winterfell for her, too. Lady Olenna reminds him that they both were part of the plot to kill Joffrey, so they are in this together.

Tommen is understandably very upset that his wife is in custody, but being a momma’s boy, there isn’t much he’s willing to do about it other than complain to Cersei. Cersei offers to talk to the High Sparrow about it, but the conversation doesn’t really go as Tommen would have hoped. After a confrontation with Margaery, where Margaery throws a bowl of soup at her, Cersei talks to the High Sparrow. He says that Loras and Margaery will both have trials, and high and low born alike must follow the law of the Gods. He threatens Cersei, as well, and brings in Lancel. The High Septon tells Cersei that Lancel has divulged all the details of his relationship with Cersei. Cersei decides it’s time to leave, but the Sparrows stop her. She yells out threats as she is thrown into a cell, but it doesn’t help. It’s Karma, what else can I say?!

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