I’ll have you ingrates know that I am ignoring the 3rd period of a very close and crucial semi-final hockey game so I can recap this god damned nonsense for you in real time. I only mention this because I know that GRRM is a New York sports homer and it might actually mean something to him that my Caps are going to destroy his worthless Rangers. If not tonight, Wednesday.
Meanwhile, deep inside of the massive collective hallucination that GRRM has created and that we have entered of our own volition, Missandei is grieving over the wounded body of Grey Worm, and Dany can’t fucking believe Ser Barristan Selmy, a hero of the highest order, met his end on top of a pile of hired killers in an alleyway. Daario the Sleaze, being a mercenary, counsels a tactical retreat.
Dany, being a Targeryan, has other ideas. And as I have said before, when entering into negotiations with hostile parties, it’s good to have a couple of enraged dragons on hand to punctuate your major arguments.
Up north at the wall, Maester Aemon is listening to the dispatches (from whom?) regarding his grandniece. And he despairs, which seems to have been his fate since taking the black. Lord Commander Snowbastard seeks his counsel and is told in no uncertain terms: Sack up.
And sack up he does, offering Tormund Gingerbeard his freedom and flipping the switch on 8 millennia of conflict between the Crows and the Wildlings.
(Also: Stannis is a dick, and a cheap bloody pedant.)
Snow’s unprecedented paradigm shift hinges on the whole of the Night’s Watch buying into the notion of the endless army of ice zombies headed their way. That is a big, big ask. Add on Tormund’s insistence that he join the diplomatic mission north of the wall, and we are looking at a very hard sell for a the second youngest Lord Commander ever.
On the outskirts of Winterfell, Brienne and Pod are co-opting room service waiters. I love Brienne, but she is an idiot.
In the depths of Winterfell, Barry the Bastard seems to think he is keeping his pimp hand strong with Myranda. He might be very wrong. And in Sansa’s lonely room, word seems to have arrived from the local room service underground.
(The broken tower is not an auspicious place. I remember this as the spot where Bran got shoved out a window, for starters.)
Further evidence that legitimization has gone to Barry’s head: pissing off the kennel-master’s daughter when you have the carved-up wreckage of a ward of Winterfell boarding with the rest of the pups.
Theon, having been thoroughly broken, is terrified of keeping secrets, which sets up an endlessly awkward dinner service, which gloriously backfires on Barry. He’s an unspeakable piece of shit, but he is only half a Bolton. And we are treated to a far less heartwarming companion piece to Stannis’ heart-to-heart with Shireen last week.
Back at the wall, Sam is reading and and GIlly is bored shitless. And Stannis is a dick and a bully, but he isn’t stupid. He may or may not be insane, but there is order and reason in certain parts of his mind. I’m saying these things because I want there to be a scenario in which Shireen doesn’t wind up as some sort of art installation hanging from the walls outside Winterfell. That little wave goodbye from Gilly was a heartbreaker.
Grey Worm, upon waking, asks how long he was out, and his second thought is the fate of Ser Grandpa. Missandei gives the sorrowful head shake, and he turns to face the wall, which anyone in patient care will tell you is a terrible sign. But he turns back, and confesses his shame and also his love.
And Dany pulls off a power move like WHOA. Hizdar the Lorax did not see this thunderbolt of luck coming his way.
Out on the placid sea, Jorah and Tyrion are developing their double act a bit. Both are highborn and educated men, and the mysteries of old Valyria hold wonder for them. And seriously, who isn’t going to stop and stare at a dragon in full flight?
And unfortunately, we get a payoff for all that chit-chat about greyscale in previous eps in the form of an angry boarding party of Stone Men. Way to ruin the moment, Stone Men. Tyrion survives drowning, which is lucky. Jorah survives for now, which is not. Let’s be frank here.
This was a table-settting episode, and the big meal is yet to come. Combine that with last week, and holy crap. This season is looking like some serious fun.