Facebook has been adding the On This Day feature to my feed lately, which is occasionally funny. This morning it burped up this gem from four years ago: “Watched Game of Thrones. Never read the books, zero weight of expectation. So: Revolting men killing stuff, plotting evil and treating women like shit. Also anyone half likeable gets destroyed. 2nd season picked up already. I’m going to keep watching, but I’m not sure I like what that says about me.”
I also posted a Mastodon video. Not sure I like what that says about me either, but here we are, two episodes into season five. And yes, I’ve read the books now. Let’s get on with it.
Who’s that nervously looking up the Titan’s skirt? It’s Arya Stark. Little Miss Eyebrows has come to the charming port of Braavos to join up with Project Mayhem, and is given the traditional novice’s welcome. Which is to say, the novice gets told to fuck off, and must persevere without encouragement before allowed entry. This being Arya, the novice will recite her dwindling kill list and eventually just say fuck it.
Brienne and Pod’s tavern luck is ridiculous, or it would be if it ever paid off. Pod’s just eyeballing barmaids and hey ho, there’s Scratchy the Pimp and Sansa, sharing a booth. Sansa’s hitting the ale, which seems ominous.
I have no idea how Brienne ever got through a job interview that didn’t involve kicking someone’s ass. Because she has no concept of fudging a bit on her CV. At least she doesn’t mention being chums with Jaime. Regardless, she winds up fleeing the interview after Littlefinger inimitably orders her murder.
Luckily Scratchy’s mercs are useless, and Brienne has been taking good care of Oathkeeper. And fate has conspired to keep my favorite double act together on the road for a while longer.
Back in King’s Landing, there’s no pleasing Cersei, who is taking her anguish and grief out on the only person left in the world who gives a shit about her. Jaime can’t do a thing for her here, so he’s concocting a scheme for a diplomatic mission to Dorne.
With who? With Bronn, oh thank you very much. I think I’m going to be spoiled for choice as to my favorite double act on the road this season.
Meanwhile, as far south as south goes, Myrcella is rocking a pink princess dress and walking the castle gardens with the prince she was promised to in that deal Tyrion struck a few seasons back. And Illyria Sand is thinking bad thoughts.
And we meet Prince Oberyn’s brother, Prince Doran, ruler of Dorne, and his very nice wheelchair. He takes a very measured tone in the face of Illyria threatening to usurp his authority and vivisect a royal hostage. Cersei and Illyria are a matched set…
In Mereen, Daario is teaching Grey Worm about on-the-ground intelligence work. Very different sorts of mercenaries, these two. Anyway, Daario has found a Son of the Harpy, hiding behind a shelf. What to do with him? Ser Grandpa says try him, everyone else says waste him. Since Dany is trying to actually govern her conquered territories, and doesn’t plan on being Mad Queen Dany, she goes with the law & order route.
Speaking of double acts on the road, Tyrion and Varys are sharing a large, comfortable box for the trip to… Volantis? I have a map somewhere… Varys is still trying to recruit Tyrion, and Tyrion is still trying to make his liver drop out his ass. They are at least being witty about it, in a dark and dry fashion.
How can you tell someone is a dwarf just by the head? Forget I asked, I don’t really want to know. Especially because the person to ask is Qyburn, who is like a charmless version of Algernop Krieger from Archer. Although Cersei clearly finds him charming. This might be because he annoys Pycelle, or she might just be out of her skull with grief.
Cersei is attempting to stack the small council with sycophants, and her uncle is helping the cause by storming out. Nice work.
Up at Castle Black, Shireen is very sweetly teaching Gilly to read. Both of them could use a pal, of course. And we learn a bit about greyscale, and get reminded that Selyse is a stone-eyed headcase.
Stannis is trying to bully and cajole Jon Snow into breaking his oath and joining the cause, and for good measure promises to legitimize him and restore a Stark to Winterfell. Stannis has a thing for presenting impossible choices.
Elections are being held for class president, too, which presents Sam with a chance to really stand tall and stick his dick out on behalf of his buddy. His stunning oratory not only gets plenty of laughs and some table pounding, it appears to buck up Jon Snow.
The votes are counted, and the tie is broken by Maester Eammonn. It’s not exactly a mandate to rule, but being elected Lord Commander solves nearly as many of Jon’s problems as it creates.
Back in Braavos, an increasingly filthy Arya is keeping her skills in order by hunting pigeons. Which is impressive, but might not translate to taking out three bros with knives. Luckily the doorman from Project Mayhem shows up, and the bros flee in terror.
Who are you, Arya demands. I am Jaquen H’ghar’s enigmatic invitation. Welcome to Project Mayhem, Space Monkey.
In the basement of Dany’s pyramid, our friend Mossador has decided to go rogue. It ends badly, with Dany embracing the law & order reformist stance that sort of contradicts her claim to rule in the first place.
The finer points of the debate are lost in a maelstrom of hissing, rock-throwing, and barely managed crowd control. The honeymoon is truly over.
And let’s face it, you know you have fucked up when your favorite dragon comes home and then won’t let you pet it. Poor Dany. That had to hurt.
So this ep, nobody really got quite what they wanted, but everybody got something. Brienne and Pod got a mission, Tyrion got an itinerary, Snowbastard got leadership position, Jaime got out of King’s Landing, Arya got in the door, and Qyburn got a dwarf head. Dany got a lesson in making unpopular decisions in front of emotional mobs. Next week perhaps we get to see what everyone does with what they’ve been handed. Looking forward to it.