Game of Thrones Recap Spectacular! – Stormborn

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Well, that escalated quickly… so let’s get right to it.

JIM: We kick things off this week with Khaleesi and her coterie of castoffs. While studying the Westerosi version of Stratego, she turns on Varys and questions his loyalty. Seems like a conversation they could’ve (should’ve) had before now but Dany seems satisfied with the eunuch’s answers, which leads them to agree “the people” are the most important consideration in her quest for the Iron Throne. Melisandre has made her way back to Dragonstone to offer her shadow baby services and whatnot while Khaleesi also explains her attack plan to the rest of her allies – Yara & Theon, Ellaria Sand, and the always prickly Queen of Thorns. They all seem annoyed that she isn’t just attacking King’s Landing with her dragons and getting it over with already until Tyrion mentions that the Unsullied will attack and topple his home turf of Casterly Rock. All of a sudden they’re all on board, save for Olenna Tyrell who implores her to be a dragon already, bish. Before we get to the shocking ending of this episode, did you agree with Dany & Tyrion’s slow & steady plan to not make her the Queen of the Ashes? Where do you think her questioning of Varys came from all of a sudden? What about this sudden revelation of Melisandre’s translation snafu that the prince that was promised could also mean princess – words matter, people! And does Grey Worm and Miss Andi’s love feast mean that one of them is gonna die cuz no one gets to be happy on this show?

Side note – Miss Andi and her…uh, translation skills…went a long way toward making me get over the loss of Queen Margaery. Episode MVP – Miss Andi!

ES: Due to my extensive past experience managing massive and exceedingly complex military campaigns (thanks, Civilization IV video game and my utter nerdiness!), I am well aware that if you can conquer a city while keeping its infrastructure in tact, that is always the best course of action.

Well… until it isn’t.

This being the case, I am fully behind Dany not wanting to be Queen of the Ashes. I also feel the peoples may love her lots, lots more if, you know, she doesn’t slaughter all of them while taking the city.

So, all that said, I don’t know that I agree with the Queen of Thorns here. I mean, I think she’s saying that this is a rough game, so, girl, you best bring it, but right now I see Dany feeling the waters out. Now that Euron has set them ablaze, however, that may change her course of action.

I also don’t know why NOW, out of all times, she starts questioning Varys. Like, wouldn’t this have been more useful AGES ago?? Maybe girlfriend wanted to put them all on notice now that shit is finally getting real? I don’t know what’s going on inside her head, but I thought that, along with Varys’ monologue about whom he supports, one of the more interesting things about this scene is Tyrion’s reaction to it all. He comes to Varys’ defense, but then you can see (due to some great subtle acting by Peter Dinklage) just how unsure HE is of where she’s going next… like assessing if they have another Mad King on their hands. It very much spoke to the point that they are really STILL all feeling each other out.

I do think she acquitted herself favorably in his eyes. Though I also wonder how much of his “you won’t want to be Queen of the Ashes” bit was to protect his brother. Speaking of his family, big props to the shade he threw at Ellaria Sand for murdering his sweet, innocent niece with deadly poison.

And finally here, I was just saying to someone today that Mr. Worm and Miss Andi’s love story seems to be the purest on the show…. and it just bores me to tears, so I don’t even know that I care if either of them die. I could have done with that scene being a lot shorter, or eliminated completely. Does that make me an evil person who doesn’t believe in love? Maybe. And it’s also probably a fairly accurate assessment of where my love life is at. However, before I digress into the maelstrom of personal turmoil, loneliness, and self-loathing that is my existence, we should probably move on…. but hey, at least my cat (kinda) loves me. #OldCatLadiesFTW!!

MissAndi

JIM: Meanwhile, in King’s Landing, Jaime & Cersei have begun shoring up their army by gathering those still loyal to the crown. Randyll Tarly, perennial Father of the Year frontrunner now that Daddy Lannister is gone, has been tapped for a top general position, probably cuz he’s really nice & stuff. Qyburn cryptically says they are working on a solution to their impending dragon problem and later reveals to Cersei what he’s been working on – a crossbow? Really? That’s the big reveal? Is Darryl from “The Walking Dead” gonna shoot that bitch? Clearly we can see how I feel about it, so I put the question to you – are they gonna need a bigger boat? Wouldn’t it make for a better weapon if they simply launched the Mountain through the air at the dragons? How do you feel about Papa Tarly & his charm offensive playing a bigger role this season?

Speaking of Tarly’s – Samwise Gamgee, pardon me, Samwell Tarly has taken a keen interest in your boy Ser Bad Decision and his psoriasis problem. After writing a farewell letter to his unrequited love, SBD has accepted his fate until Sam, who has discovered SBD is the son of his former Night’s Watch Commander, steps in with a ancient, forbidden, voodoo cure that turns out to be – uh, just cut it off and put a balm on it. Do you think it will work? Will SBD be reunited with his beloved Khaleesi? Is this treatment more or less underwhelming than Qyburn’s crossbow?

ES: I found it interesting that Cersei tried to rally the lords of Westeros by talking about “foreign savages” invading the country. While there is sort of a point here, I couldn’t help relate this to ALL the worries about what’s going on in our government now in regards to foreigners. I’m not here to make a political statement, but I wonder if the showrunners were alluding this this? Anyway…

The giant crossbow is weak… I mean, how are they going to cart that around? And good luck hitting a moving dragon with that! I mean, I guess they could have hundreds of them made and fire them all and play the numbers game, but if a dragon gets killed by one shot from one of these, I will be fantastically annoyed. I’m not sure if they’re setting this up to be a real weapon here, or if it’s an illusion meant to foster the idea that the playing field is equal between these two armies.

I wonder what they’re setting up old Randyll for? While he was the only one to beat Robert Baratheon during his rebellion, he ultimately fought for the wrong side. It seems like it’s the wrong side here as well, as I don’t see any way Cersei is going to be victorious in this one. He also then starts taking shots at Jaime, which I was like… oh wow, these are the only supporters you have? Those who find you deplorable? You are ALL sorts of fuuuucked!

Speaking of fucked, how bad is it that Jaime didn’t remember ol’ Randyll’s kid and he had to correct Jaime by saying “Dickon!”? Much like Chandler Muriel Bing, Dickon’s parents never really gave him a chance with that name.

I have no idea where they’re going with the Sam/SBD storyline. It’s like, ALL THE MAESTERS in history can’t come up with a cure for the greyscale, but Sam can figure it out after a few weeks at the Citadel. Well, that’s if it works. A more realistic outcome is if Sam gets the greyscale too, but somehow I can’t see that happening. Maybe SBD puts in a good word for Sam to Dany after this? I don’t know. They are spending a good bit of time with this, so I do hope there is SOME kind of payoff here.

Lastly, I would be a bigger fan of Randyll Tarly if he moved from place to place like the other, better Randal I know…

Randal

Here comes Randal… he’s a berserker….

JIM: Hats off to the editor for his flawless transition between Ser Bad Decision’s pus-filled skin and the oozing meat pie where we find stone cold killa Arya Stark breaking bread with her old traveling partner, Hot Pie.

HOT PIE!!

After Hot Pie catches Arya up on all the gossip of the North, Arya decides to head north to a family reunion rather than south to lop off Cersei’s head. While camping for the night, the Wolf Girl is surrounded by wolves, led by none other than Nymeria, her old direwolf, who ran for its life way back in Season 1. Arya approaches and hopes they can go back to being best buds but Nymeria ain’t having it. Arya mutters “That’s not you” and beds down for the night. Do you think she was talking to Nymeria or was it more of a realization that she can’t go back to her former life? Will she continue towards Winterfell and family or head to King’s Landing to tick more names off her kill list?

ES: Okay, so I should preface this by saying that I fangirl about Arya as much as anyone I know (side note: I don’t know what that says about me with her being an unapologetic killer and all), BUT, that said, I thought Maisie Williams was great in this episode. Exhibit 1: The deadpan greeting and interaction with Hot Pie (side note… HOT PIE!!!) that was tinged with a very subtle kind of happiness to see him… as much as someone who seems dead inside can be happy to see anyone.

The showrunners have said that the “That’s not you” line was meant to echo the “That’s not me” line she said to Ned in the first season when he started talking about her marrying a lord and being the lady of a castle. I think she realized that Nymeria was not one to go back to this domestic life, and that she now is the leader of her own pack, and she needs to prowl and hunt and do direwolf stuff, which leads to Exhibit 2: While I found this scene to be sad, and she plays it as sad, I believe there was just a hint of a smile on Arya’s face after Nymeria left and she said “That’s not you.” A small but interesting reaction to what could be seen as heartbreaking to her… well, if her heart is still existent.

That’s an intriguing thought about this coming into play with the direction Arya is going in, as in literal direction: home or King’s Landing. I think she’s still going to Winterfell, however. Why do I say this? Two quotes. One from Melisandre when she tells Arya that they will meet again. And while they could meet again anywhere, the North is a more likely place for this to happen. The second is from the Wolf Girl herself: “A girl is Arya Stark, and I’m going home.” Seems like that’s where she truly wanted to go all along. Now THAT will be a reunion. I wonder if any of her siblings will even recognize her after what she’s been through and what she’s become.

Nymeria

JIM: Speaking of Winterfell, Jon receives word from Sam about the dragonglass at Dragonstone while also receiving word from Dragonstone that Tyrion wishes him to come see Dany. Did it strike you odd that the Mother of Dragons added in that Jon Snow should come to Dragonstone to “bend the knee” especially after Tyrion spoke so glowingly of him?

Jon decides that he and Davos will make the trek to Dragonstone to persuade them to become allies against the White Walkers – always with his eye on the prize, that Jon Snow – and that Sansa will be the boss of everyone while he’s gone. He bitchslaps Littlefinger for good measure before he leaves, after Littlefinger asked for a thank you for saving him at the Battle of the Bastards.

Now that Littlefinger has Jon out of the way for a bit, will he be any more successful in his quest to land Sansa? Will Littlefinger try to have Jon killed on his way to Dragonstone or will he just spend all his time smelling Catelyn’s old clothes?

ES: First off…. him smelling Cat’s old clothes? You’ve reached a new level of creeper there, James!! And while we’re on that topic, I’m not sure Littlefinger would try to have Jon killed, but I wouldn’t put it past him. I think that Jon peaced-out so quickly, however, that LF probably didn’t have time to put much in motion. It seemed very sudden on his part, and part of me is wondering why he DIDN’T send someone in his stead. I get that “a king must convince a queen” logic, but maybe send someone to get stuff started? Though maybe he figured they don’t have the time for playing around with the back-and-forth and need to just dive headlong into talks.

Dany was like the Queen of Randomness this episode with her out-of-the-blue questioning of Varys, and then this “bend the knee” comment. She’s obviously feeling some kind of way and needs to like show off her power or something? Maybe the thought of another ruler threatens her? It’s hard to say. As I mentioned earlier, I have no idea what was going on inside her head this episode.

Also, and lastly here, there is no mistake about it… Littlefinger (via Sansa) saved Jon and the North’s collective ass during the Battle of the Bastards. I get that Jon doesn’t like LF, but at least give him a MODICUM of respect…. maybe? I don’t know. Jon seemingly doesn’t play any kind of games, though…. much like his father/uncle… which doesn’t exactly bode well, because, as we all know, Ned’s dead, baby. Ned’s dead.

Littlefinger

JIM: So that was about all that happened this week, right? Oh, right…there was that one other thing. That sound you heard at roughly 9:58 on Sunday was me finally giving up on Theon Greyjoy and accepting that you were right and he’s the worst. HOWEVER, now that I’ve had a little time to think it over, is it possible he saw the futility of the fight and realized that he could help Yara by living to fight, and free her, another day? Is that possible?? No need to answer, it’s probably not. Ahh, Theon… I’ve defended you for 7 seasons but, alas, I think my watch has ended.

Anyway, as part of Tyrion’s plan, Yara, Theon, and The Sand Snakes were sailing to King’s Landing when Euron not only cockblocked Yara & Ellaria’s sexy time, but quite frankly, stole the show by screaming bloody murder from the top of gangplank as it crashed down on Yara’s ship. Ambushed and unprepared, Euron’s fleet made quick work of them and in the mayhem at least two of the Sand Snakes were killed.

Since I’ve learned never to trust anything you don’t explicitly see on this show, I’m going to assume Yara, Ellaria, and her snake daughter snake were all taken prisoner. Do you agree with that assessment? I guess I was wrong about Tyrion being the prize that Euron was going to get for Cersei… instead that dishonor goes to Ellaria, who killed Cersei’s daughter. Yeah, she’s gonna have a bad time.

What are your thoughts on this dark, fire-filled ambush at sea? Do you think after this major setback, Dany will finally heed Lady Olenna’s advice and “be a dragon,” laying waste to King’s Landing? Also, we’re moving along pretty quickly…do you think we’re gonna see who wins the Iron Throne this season and then next will be all about the Army of the Undead?

ES: Firstly, who are you to make assessments? (And will our Clerks references that no one will ever get ever end?) Ed. Note – No.

Secondly…. wow… I don’t even know how to say this, but I think we have flip-flopped on Theon, as I actually found myself sort of defending him and his cowardice at the end of this episode.

My thought is that, along with his PTSD, he saw the battle as lost. And after going through what he went through the last time he was a prisoner, he was just like “FUCK. THAT. NOISE.” and bailed… because I don’t think he would (or could) perceive anything as worse than being a prisoner again. And really, can you blame him? I mean, it’s SHITTY that he ran like that and left his sister to suffer a prisoner’s fate, but I found it to be true to the character. I get his motivation here, even if it makes us all hate him a bit more.

Other assorted musings about this scene…

  • Did you take a good, hard look at Euron’s mother fucking boat? It was quite BAD. ASS.
  • With that said, the actor playing him is a rare miscast for me, because I think the show has overall done an excellent casting job. I get that he’s supposed to be ass-up crazy, but dude is just CHEWING up scenery. He has become the subject of my abject hatred now that your boy Daaaaaaaarrrriiiiiooooooo is back on Essos and seemingly out of the game.
  • Yeah, things don’t look so good for Ellaria and Sand Snake #3 (is that Tyene?). And speaking of them, while I love the show and think most things are amazing, they REALLY shit the bed with anything having to do with Dorne outside of the Red Viper. Here they set the Sand Snakes up as these great and deadly warriors, but Euron takes two of them out like it’s NBD. The fact that the Dorne storyline is apparently nearing its end is probably nothing but a good thing.
  • And speaking of Euron, is he just like shaking hits off and not getting wounded? It was tough to tell with the way that battle scene was shot, but it almost seemed like he was impervious to harm. Or maybe I’m just seeing things….Ed.Note – What is dead may never die. Just sayin’…
  • It does seem like they are setting this season up as the battle for the Iron Throne, then the next will be the war with the Army of the Deadz. Though I do expect us to get some intense White Walker action later this season.
  • I’m more afraid for Yara than anyone else here. I’m a fan of the character, and was very disappointed she didn’t defeat King Scenery Chewer. Sadly, I think her days are now numbered… unless Theon somehow Theon’s up and saves her? Eh, yeah, that’s probably a long shot, but I can hope she makes it through this somehow, right? RIGHT!?!?

Let us know what you think in the comments and to cap things off this week, a loving tribute to Theon/Alfie Allen in much simpler times:

 

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7 thoughts on “Game of Thrones Recap Spectacular! – Stormborn

  1. Great recap as usual. One question – is it me or does Ayra remind you of Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. You think she will pick up a horse with Pussy Wagon written on its back? Also Theon has no balls (no plum intended) – f him you should not ever feel bad for him – he deserved everything he had coming to him damn traitor. Ok off my soap box – thanks for the weekly read.

    • Actually, I think if Arya reminds me of anyone from Kill Bill, it’s Gogo Yubari. Just another nasty, murderous youth.

      And I don’t feel bad for Theon…. because fuck Theon… though I get why he would bail like that because he’s been so decimated…. even if it does make him an even bigger asshole than he was before (which it does).

      Thanks for reading and the comment!

  2. Is it just me? Does the pace of the story feel forced this year? It’s like D&D have a checklist for Arya’s reunions. Hot Pie – check! Nymeria – check! Two down, three to go.

    • I tend to agree. I feel like they’ve painted themselves into a corner with the seven-episode season, and so the pacing is blowing up on them a little bit (or a lot in some instances).

      That said, I feel like the pace picked up after the got through the stuff covered by the books, and maybe even a bit before then. I’m sure going back and rewatching Season 1 would be like watching a different show.

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