Noted: the theme for this season of HBO’s Game of Thrones appears to be “Now Under New Management”. We have a new Lord of Winterfell, new King on the Salt Throne, new Great Khaleesi of the Dothraki, new Head Bitch of Dorne, new Lord of Riverrun, new Interim Dolorous Lord Commander, new Interim 3-eyed Raven. The only notable leaders not yet murdered and replaced are Tommen, the HS, and the Night King.
So if anyone wants your job this season, keep your back to a wall. Except Killer of Tonks. You should relax a bit.
Our latest episode begins with Bran still white-eyed and tripping balls, and Meera at the end of her endurance. And the woods are running with zombie trash.
And who is that masked man? Who fucking cares, he’s a zombie wrecking machine. And he’s got a horse.
(What did we see in Bran’s last vision that we haven’t seen before? The Mad King, mucking about with wildfire, and bellowing about burning them all. And getting run through by Jaime. This will probably be important at some point.)
In greener climes, it’s How to Spot All Kinds of Trees from Quite Far Away, with your terrified host, Sam. Gilly reads him for being a nervous talker, and he focuses on the plan, such as it is. (It is not a good plan.)
Sam’s dad has some sweet digs, considering his not-a-great-house status. And Sam’s mom and sis are over the moon that he’s back. Mom wants to hold the baby, who is being deadly cute.
Back at the Great Sept, the HS is at the peak of his powers, and therefore both smug and magnanimous. And Marge is looking very smiley and at ease. Which is to say that she has gone Squeaky to the HS’s Manson.
Gilly in a gown! Looks like cosplay. She and Talla must have had a ball.
Lord Tarly does not disappoint. He’s an asshole to the soles of his feet and proud of it. He relishes bullying and belittling Sam, listens to no one, and talks like a pissed off cartoon bullfrog.
Sam takes it, silent and sweating, for the sake of Gilly and Wee Sam, and appears to resign himself to his dad’s shitty offer. That lasts about five minutes, and then, fuck it, it’s time to steal the family sword and hit the road. Do some donuts on the lawn while you’re at it, Sam.
Meanwhile, a girl is having a hell of a day at the theatre. Once she’s done snickering at Joff’s death scene, her target manages to choke her up with a speech.
It gets worse, when she’s caught backstage, and winds up having a heart to heart with Miss Fischer. Ha ha, eyebrows. And as with Sam, it looks like she’s going to go against her conscience until she stone cold does not. And like Sam, she’s gonna take her sword and roll.
And in an amusing parallel, it appears that the purpose of this hit was Ginger Bitchface taking out her rival. Good luck, GB.
Down in the capitol, the buffoon Mace Tyrell is armored up and leading his forces to the rescue. Jaime suffers through his (clearly memorized) rally speech, and they ride.
It’s an ugly scene, as expected. A company of armored pikemen, forming up at the entrance to the Sept, a vast crowd of restless commoners behind them. The HS answers the threat with calm and resolve, and Jaime showboats up the steps to talk more shit. (Scarhead Lancel looks like there’s nothing he’d rather do than die in service of the gods, besides maybe clocking Jaime with that nasty club.)
The HS, however, had a way better showpiece planned than Marge doing a bell walk. Ahhhhh, so that’s why she’s still got her hair. It turns out she’s allied with the HS and brought Tommen into the fold. They’ve even rebranded the Kingsguard with fancy new breastplates.
So yes, the Lannister/Tyrell alliance just handed the HS everything, in front of everyone.
(Wait, are they leaving Slow Loras in the dungeons?)
And for good measure, Jaime gets fired from the Kingsguard. Last guy that got fired from that gig wound up taking the black, and getting his head removed. Not good.
Meanwhile at the Twins, the repellent Walder Frey is ordering his useless sons to besiege Riverrun. Riverrun is in the hands of Brynden Tully, as we recall from last week, and he knows the capabilities of the place thoroughly, and will no doubt hold against any siege while his allies gather strength. But the wounded pride of Walder Frey is what gave us the Red Wedding.
Back in King’s Landing, Jaime is dreaming of a necklace of dead sparrow heads. It turns out his first assignment not in this city is going to be backing up the repellent Walder Frey’s idiot sons in the siege of Riverrun. Cersei is excited to an all but unseemly degree by the notion of him commanding the Lannister army, even in a pointless outing like this.
Up north in the zombie-infested woods, Bran and Meera’s protector is wringing out rabbits into a cup. Gross. The reveal here is that this is what remains of Uncle Benjen, who was last seen in season one, and has been touched by the magic of the Children. Which means he is operating on the same communications protocol that runs the tree network that the 3-eyed Raven used to be sysadmin of. Also he’s blue-ish.
So apparently if you want to get two Starks in the same scene, one of them has to be undead. It’s a rough winter to be a Stark.
Across the Narrow Sea, Dany pauses for some logistical thinking. That 1000 ships thing is becoming a theme. And her new recruits look a little squirrely. Well, the thing to do, clearly, is deliver a rousing speech. But first, we need to get everyone’s attention. Perhaps with a dramatic entrance?
Well, let’s work with what we’ve got. How about DROGONNNNNN!!! Pretty good speech, but what a hype man…