With winter approaching from the north, new alliances forged and family ties torn, events continue to intensify across the world in this week’s Game of Thrones.
If you haven’t seen this week’s episode yet, switch of now as this post is dark and full of spoilers.
Following last week’s tear jerker of an episode, an exhausted Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Meera (Ellie Kendrick) are still on the run from rampant white walkers. The relentlessly icy aesthetic only steals hope that they might find a warm cabin with a burning fire to help with, you know… not freezing to death. Kendrick conveys an eerily realistic sense of hopelessness when Meera embraces Bran, ready for the approaching dead to claim their lives, until a cloaked figure emerges to save the pair – Benjin Stark (Joseph Mawle). Sharing with Bran and Meera what happened to him while missing, we can breathe a sigh of relief at Bran’s reassured safety. Ellie Kendrick took centre stage last week when proving Meera’s usefulness. This week, she graduates into a valued character, whose fate we’re keen to discover.
Reaching his home, Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) endure judgement from his disapproving father. While his mother and sister seem to be the nicest people we’ve encountered yet, family feuds ignite when Sam’s father discovers Gilly is a wildling. Swearing he’s a better man than his father claims he is, Gilly and Sam steal his father’s Valyrian steel sword and flee the castle. Their storyline has mostly tested our endurance, but with new characters and fresh plot twists, Sam and Gilly’s story may actually prove interesting for once. Over in Kings Landing, King Tommen (Dean Charles Chapman) visits his wife Margery (Natalie Dormer) as she prepares for her Walk of Atonement, her faith seemingly renewed: “It’s not an easy thing admitting to yourself what you really are”, Margaery begins. “I’ve had lots of time to think about how good I was at seeming good”, she confesses to Tommen. “The gods have a plan for us all”. Ms Tyrell has gone unnoticed most of this season. Here’s to Natalie Dormer’s charisma captivating us for the remainder of the season. We’ve missed Margaery’s calculating ways.
We’d honestly thought Arya (Maisie Williams) had finally graduated into an impenetrable servant of the many-faced god, void of distraction and desire. We were wrong. Caught back stage after poisoning the drink of her target, Arya’s empathy is tested once again whilst befriending the actress. Arya knocks the poison out of her hands – disobeying the will of Jaqen (Tom Wlashciha), and the watchful waif (Faye Marsay) observes everything. “Don’t let her suffer”, orders a disappointed Jaqen. We knew the waif couldn’t wait to take Arya’s life, and we’re not surprised by Jaqen’s empathy. With all her training throughout the last year, we foresee a bloody confrontation between Arya and the waif. Here’s to Arya surviving and taking all she’s learnt back to Westeros. Cersei (Lena Headey), you’re still on the list. Wlashciha has been captivating as Jaqen since season two. Hopefully this season won’t be his last.
Jonathan Pryce continues to captivate audiences this season with his calm but unnerving demeanour as the High Sparrow, influencing Tommen in ways Cersei wished she could. The Tyrell and Lannister forces interrupt Margaery’s walk of atonement, but the faith militant pulls a trick from under its rags – an alliance between the crown and faith. With Margaery’s fragile time in captivity combined with Tommen’s naivety, the faith militant overcomes threats of war with the merging of faith and crown. Tyrells and Lannisters alike know they’ve been played. None too pleased, Cersei proves calmer than her royally pissed brother: “How should we treat people who tear us apart?” Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) cries. “Without mercy, and we will.” Cersei begins, “Show them what Lannister’s are, what we do to our enemies.” Stealing the attention of all, Lena Headey continues to convey bitterness in Cersei like never before. We can’t imagine anyone else portraying Cersei’s heartlessness quite like Headey does.
Elsewhere, Walder Frey (David Bradley) does his best to motivate his forces to re-take Riverrun, but his aspirations hold no weight, as his men inform him they are down to their last numbers. Here’s to his blood being spilled. The time is well overdue.
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) seems to graduate to unchallengeable status this week when solidifying the Dothraki’s allegiance. After Daario tells her it will take more than a thousand ships to take her and her army across the narrow sea, Daenerys’ discussions of conquering are interrupted when she spots something in the distance. No doubt jacking up HBO’s budget significantly, Drogon soars over the sandy desert aesthetic, landing at the helm of the Dothraki. Mounted by his mother, Drogon holds Daenerys as she crushes any remaining doubts regarding her power. If their faith wavered before, it was set in stone when Khaleesi riles up the Dothraki, making them swear their devotion to her. With the second sons, the unsullied and the cities of Yunkai, Astapor and Meereen under her control, perhaps Daenerys will be sailing for Westeros as early as the seasons end. It’s about time.
Emilia Clarke remains one of the show’s most captivating characters, her confidence strengthening with each passing episode. We want her over in Kings Landing ruling the seven realms ASAP.
Six down, four to go. A highly entertaining episode setting many things in motion, we move closer and closer to the end game. Continuing progression on a scale not before seen with a season of GoT, the next four weeks look to no less than impress. We’ve seen the dead resurrected (in more ways than one), we’ve seen all three dragons, and we’ve seen alliances broken and forged, all conveyed by the dedicated and talented cast. Bring on next week!