Sh!t has gotten real on Game of Thrones! For the first time in quite a while, the episode ends without an impromptu cliffhanger, but there are still so many unanswered questions. Tyrion has finally met the Queen of Meereen, Jorah is back in the company of his Khaleesi, Jon Snow has left Castle Black in the hands of his biggest rival, and Cersei’s secret weapon has backfired on her, horribly. Oh, and quite possibly one of the sexiest scenes in the series took place when Bronn flirts with Tyene Sand, and Death itself. “The Gift” is a great episode on its own, and sets up the series for the kind of progression that there will be no looking back from.
Chain of command: The hierarchy of the Night’s Watch is getting more and more complex as the show goes on. Jon Snow has all the respect he deserves as Lord Commander – at least, to his face. Ser Alliser Thorne is a capable First Ranger, but let’s not forget that the camp is full of his supporters, and with him gone, and with Maester Aemon now gone, there is really nobody left on Team Snow aside from Sam. We see his mettle tested when the two Crows try to forcibly take Gilly, and that’s just day one. The Night’s Watch is full of traitors, murderers and
rapers rapists, so if Jon Snow ever returns, he could be coming back to a very hostile environment.
Sansa spits venom: Sansa surprised everybody with her verbal jabs this week. She spent the beginning of the episode curled up in the fetal position frightened and badly battered, reminding us of the horrible end scene to “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.” With how meek her character was, I did not expect her to use such venom in her words when she spoke to Ramsay, calling him a bastard to his face and filling him with doubt about his place as heir to Winterfell. Sansa clearly learned a thing or two from Littlefinger: “Even the most dangerous man can be out-maneuvered.”
Iwan Rheon: He’s undoubtedly the most hated character on the show – I’d venture to say I hate him more than I ever did Joffrey, but Joff has been dead a whole season, so maybe time has healed wounds – but there is no denying that Ramsay Bolton is a charismatic character. He flashes his smile, and says something clever, and you almost forget that his two biggest hobbies are: hunting down ex-girlfriends and flaying people alive. I got to give it up to the acting chops of Rheon. Ramsay is so horrible, yet I want more and more screen time with him just so I can watch him fall – where as Joffrey, I just wanted that little bastard to die.
Cersei’s depth: Another character that’s easy to hate is Cersei (it’s SO easy a caveman could do it), but for completely different reasons. She has her father’s ambitions, but none of the diplomatic sense that came with it. Through all her hatred, nothing will change that she is a mother who is willing to do whatever is necessary to protect her children. This leads to a quite unexpectedly touching moment where she tells Tommen what she is willing to do to keep him safe; it almost endears viewers to her. Well, that is, until she taunts Margaery about being in the dungeon. Karma is a Cersei, I guess.
You. Don’t. Know. Me.: Myrcella brings up a very good point to Jaime as they speak. Jaime has traveled half-way around the world to “rescue” his niece/daughter from Dorne, but never really thought about how she would feel about it. It was all just some idealistic excursion meant to impress Cersei (which is ironic in the sense that staying there meant he would have convinced her not to give power to a group of religious fanatics). Dorne has been so good to Myrcella, and she is betrothed to the Prince. Of course, it doesn’t change the fact that she is in legitimate danger from Ellaria Martel. Hopefully, Jaime and Doran get to talk about that before things get blown out of proportions, but with the way the show loves chaos, probably not.
Team Littlefinger/Olenna: The two biggest schemers in Westeros met at Baelish’s broken whorehouse to run games one more time. Together, they orchestrated the Purple Wedding. Killing a boy king is one thing, but they have a whole new set of problems that I’m not sure they realize yet. The Sparrows play by a set of rules they are unfamiliar with, and Littlefinger’s plans to plan all sides is going to fail quickly if he is outed. Olenna, likewise, will have no power is House Tyrell is to lose their fortune. As intelligent and diabolical as this tag team is, they are not used to playing defense.
Something Reeks: I smell a rat, and it’s in the form of the dickless Theon Greyjoy. Reek is weak, we know that, but there was some real hope for redemption in this episode. All he had to do was go to the stupid Broken Tower, put a candle in the window, and go on about his meaningless existence. The way he interacts with Sansa, there’s a very “I owe you” tone about the way he talks to her, and it still might happen later on down the line, but Brienne is freezing her tits off in the cold and now an innocent old woman has been tortured and killed due to Reek’s cowardice. Just add it to the body count, I suppose.
Dany – awful leader, even worse spouse: Good job on opening up the fighting pits, Daenerys, but not every negotiation is satisfied with a half-assed commitment on paper and a public appearance. She’s still boning Daario Naharis after she offered herself in marriage to Hizdahr. Dany is convinced that the marriage is purely to keep up appearances. You think the same people who slaughtered slaves in the name of tradition are just gonna let adultery slide? If she keeps this up, she’s gonna have a big ass A branded on her forehead.
Tommen is bad at his job: It pains me to say it, but… I miss Tywin. Yeah he was an awful father to Tyrion, but he knew how to rule a kingdom, and Tommen was his second chance to wipe the slate clean of Joffrey. Tommen is kind and malleable, but he’s just a stupid little kid who needs guidance. In the end, it’s not his fault he sucks at being king, but the blame still falls on him, because age is not an excuse for weakness in these dire times.
Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things (Odds and Ends)
You are not alone: It’s been a while since anybody from the Stark family has been mentioned to Sansa. Her and Jon were never close, but hearing his name took her aback. I couldn’t see Sansa being enough motivation to have Jon come to Winterfell, but I could see Jon being enough motivation to see Sansa escape Winterfell for the Wall.
Gily givin up the goods: Sam’s first time!! This is the proudest moment I’ve felt on the show in a long time. Sam has killed the boy, and let the man live. He got the crap kicked out of him, and then he got laid for it. I hope Jon told him about pulling out, because a pregnant Gilly would mean bad, bad things for both of them.
Our little slave auction: The irony of black slave merchants sell white slaves was not lost on me. I was, however, confused at how the guy who supposedly killed Khal Drogo in hand-to-hand combat only fetched 20 gold coins. The whole ordeal was pretty awkward, especially when Tyrion tried to convince everybody that he was a prized fighter and that he and Jorah were a team. All I could think about was Jorah wielding Tyrion like a giant club and swinging him at other people.
Singing chops: After hearing Bronn finish the “Dornishman’s Wife” song he started last week, I had to look up and see if he was a singer. Turns out that the actor who plays Bronn, Jerome Flynn, used to be part of a two-man boy band called Robson & Jerome. It’s quite hilarious, but the music is pretty good, too. On top of that, Iwan Rheon, the guy who plays Ramsay Bolton, was making music under his real name up until he started on GoT. It’s all quite unexpected, and before this show ends for good, I’m expecting an All-Star compilation album, or a Buffy “Once More With Feeling”-type musical episode. Make it happen!
“Sister”: Cersei makes one last mockery of Margaery before leaving her in the dungeon. She calls Margaery “sister,” a name that she threatened to kill Margaery over if she ever referred to Cersei as. It’s all to taunt Margaery, I’m sure, but there could be a bit of subconscious denial there to dispute what the mage Maggy said to her as a young girl. Calling Margaery sister refutes the idea that a younger, more beautiful woman would replace her in power.
Hodor Hodors (Best Quotes)
“He was the blood of the Dragon, but now his fire has gone out.” – Samwell Tarly on Aemon Targaryen
“All rulers are either butchers or meat.” – Daario
“What will we find when we strip away your finery?” – High Sparrow
Who won the Game of Thrones this episode?
The High Sparrow is no dummy, and he is able to out-maneuver both Cersei and Olenna, two of the most cunning characters in the show. He is not motivated by the same things that these ladies are accustomed to manipulating men with. Not Olenna’s money nor Cersei’s sex appeal will bend him. Forget playing the by the same rules, this guy isn’t even playing the same game. He threatens Olenna on some straight up Occupy Wall Street shit, and used Cersei’s own blind ambition to persecute Margaery to build up the power to charge the Queen Regent.
While this is sure to throw the entire kingdom into chaos and warfare again, it’s really hard to argue with the logic. King’s Landing is a place of filth and corruption, so a major overhaul doesn’t actually sound that bad. The High Sparrow might look like a crazy old man, but his sense of timing in bringing Lancel forward reinforces that he is a sly and calculating man.
Hush Comics gives “The Gift” an A for becoming the launching point for chaos and rebirth. Daenerys and the High Sparrow both want to metaphorically (less so in Dany’s case) burn the world to the ground and start anew.
All media credited to HBO