Game of Thrones is back and so is Arya! Also, we finally go south to Dorne and we may have gotten a visit from a missing dragon! Daenerys surely needs his help in ruling Mereen, as she continues to cause trouble and conflict with literally everyone in the city. But first, let’s start in everyone’s favorite capital…
***** SPOILERS BELOW *****
Kings Landing: Cersei is doing a great job ruling… *crickets*… no one else agrees? She does have to maintain her relentless search for her younger brother’s head. Unfortunately, no one has been able to find Tyrion. Luckily, her new BFF, creepy Qyburn (Anton Lesser), has uses for the unwanted dwarf heads. She also gets a message from Dorne: a viper with her daughter, Myrcella’s necklace in its mouth. This obviously upsets the already paranoid Cersei and she enlists her brother/lover, Jaime, to go down to Dorne on a secret mission to bring back their daughter. Jaime (who has nothing else to do, really) agrees, but he is going to need help. Enter: “Lord” Bronn, former sellsword, former bachelor. Jaime convinces Bronn to accompany him on his journey to Dorne, promising a better wife and a better castle. We hardly knew ye, dimwitted Lollys Stokeworth (Elizabeth Cadwallader). Better for her, though.
Meanwhile, Cersei takes control of the King’s small council as King Tommen is busy somewhere doing… something? They all want to be The Hand of the King, but Cersei says Tommen will appoint a new Hand when he comes of age. Until then, she will be “helping out” with the small council. She appoints Qyburn the Master of Whispers (ousting Grand Maester Pycelle) and tries to anoint her uncle Kevan (Ian Gelder) as Master of War. But he isn’t a fan of Cersei, thinking Tommen should be there in person, and he refuses her post before walking out. Don’t you just love Lannister family bonding? Cersei’s small council is a recipe for disaster that I can’t wait to see.
Dorne: We finally arrive in Dorne, the most southern part of Westeros, where our beloved Prince Oberyn (RIP) resided. But, he is gone. And his older brother, wooden wheelchair bound, Doran (Alexander Siddig) contemplates life in his beautiful water gardens. He seems at peace until Oberyn’s paramour, Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), shows up, hisses insults and calls of revenge against the Lannisters. Ellaria wants to go to war and send back pieces of Cersei’s daughter, Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free), but Doran tells her they do not hurt little girls in Dorne while he is in charge. Ellaria wonders aloud how long that might be. I smell trouble and I can’t wait to see more!
Braavos: Arya? Is that Arya? It is! Mini-whoop for fan-favorite Arya Stark! She made her way across the narrow sea, through the Titan’s legs, and into the canaled free city of Braavos. Anything seems possible here! Her boat captain friend takes her to the House of Black and White, which sits austerely by itself. This is where “faceless assassin” Jaquen H’Ghar told Arya to take the coin he gave her. A creepy guy answers the door and basically tells her to get lost. Defeated, Arya muddles around for a while before throwing her coin in the water, killing a pigeon like a badass, and fighting off some street hooligans.
The creepy guy returns and reveals himself to be Jaqen H’Ghar! Shock and awe! He takes Arya into the House of Black and White and thus her training to become “no one” begins. I am geeking out and can’t wait to see Arya transform.
Riverlands: Back in the Riverlands of Westeros, Brienne of Tarth and squire Podrick Payne stop at an inn to get some munchies. Podrick happens to notice Littlefinger and Sansa Stark sitting over in the corner of the same inn. Holy coincidence! He tells Brienne, who immediately springs into action, telling Pod to ready the horses, even though they only have one!
Brienne approaches Littlefinger and Sansa, loudly announcing to the inn that it is indeed Sansa. This is her second chance with a Stark girl, after the failed attempt at helping Arya. She kneels down to Sansa (as she did to her mother, Catelyn) and urges her to come with her if she wants to live. Littlefinger starts rambling about Brienne’s failures and such and Sansa ends up rejecting Brienne and telling her to leave.
Brienne senses a change in the room and charges out of the inn, slicing an Arryn’s man with her sword before racing through the woods on her horse as they pursue her and Pod. She ends up saving Pod in a thrilling moment and declares that she will follow Littlefinger and Sansa as they travel up the road, despite Pod trying to tell her to get another hobby.
The Wall: Lots of developments at the wall. Firstly, young Shireen Baratheon is teaching Wilding Gilly to read! Apparently, she is the only one in Westeros who can teach basic reading skills. She also tells us a bit about her “dragon skin” disease, Greyscale. Her mother, Selyse, is not impressed and tells Shireen to stay away from the Wilding girl.
Meanwhile, Stannis is mad that Jon Snow mercy killed Mance and isn’t a fan, but needs his help to secure the North. He offers to legitimize Jon Snow, making him Jon Stark. This is something Jon has longed for his whole life and he should totally do it! But, Jon is honor bound to the Night’s Watch. And like his “father,” his honor is his rock. So, he is conflicted. Plus, the Night’s Watch is about to elect a new leader. The only two candidates are a really old man and Alliser Thorne, a thorn in Jon Snow’s side. But, luckily for all, Sam nominates Jon at the last minute and makes a case for him. The voting begins and it is a tie between Jon and Alliser. Blind Maester Aemon casts the deciding vote for Jon! Jon Snow is the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch! He seems generally happy about it too, which surprises me. But, alas, congrats Jon!
On the road, in Essos, Tyrion and Varys are traveling in a very nicely decorated carriage on the way to Volantis. Tyrion is still weary from his journey in a box across the narrow sea. But when you are wanted for king slaying and kin slaying, what can you do?
Mereen: Oh, Dany, Dany, Dany. What a tangled web you weave! There is so much muddled drama in Mereen between the former slaves and their former masters, plus the golden masked Sons of the Harpy. Plus, Drogon is missing. Poor Daenerys must have a headache. When Daario and Grey Worm arrest a member of the “Sons of the Harpy” for killing an Unsullied, Barristan Selmy urges her to give him a fair trial, warning her about the psychotic descent of her father. Daenerys agrees.
However, Mossador, one of the first slaves to join her rebellion, disagrees, killing the prisoner and displaying his body above the city. That pisses off Daenerys and she stages a public execution of Mossador, for reasons that baffle me. She orders Daario to kill Mossador and now all of her supporters hiss (literally hiss) their anger at her while her old enemies continue to hate her. So, now everyone hates her and she has to be rushed back into hiding as a riot breaks out and people throw rocks at her. Oh, Dany, what are you doing?!
The episode ends with the return of Drogon! Dany is so happy to see him and calls out to him like a mama missing her cat. But like a cat, Drogon doesn’t play and immediately takes off, flying into the night sky over Mereen. Did Daenerys make the right move or is she one step closer to joining her father in the “crazy ruler” category?
It was great to finally catch up with Arya and be introduced to Dorne, but I want more, more, more of all of it! Also, the surprise interaction between Sansa and Brienne (which is not in the book) was different, but welcome. I love anytime characters come together and interact. It seems that both Dany, Cersei, and, now, Jon are gonna be grappling with being leaders – and that means lots of drama. I just hope Dany sorts it all out, because I’m pretty sure everyone is sick of the conflict in Mereen.
What did you guys think? Let me know in the comments below!
New episodes of Game of Thrones air on Sunday at 9/8c on HBO.