Sorry for the melodrama- but I gotta admit when I saw the title for this week’s episode it scared me a little 😉 (okay a lot!)
And there’s a fair amount to be theatrical about here. *SPOILERS AHEAD* The episode has a strong start- beginning on the same note the battle of Winterfell ended on (I swear the people who do the music need a round of applause!) The goodbyes were poignant- especially Sansa pinning the Stark sigil on Theon.
Buuut it very quickly went downhill from there and I ended up mildly frustrated. While I guessed this would mostly be setup, it was vastly overshadowed by its powerful predecessor. It was as I feared: after the big battle nothing feels as awe-inspiring. Believe me, they tried spur on the momentum- I just wasn’t feeling it. For me, it was like all the energy had been sucked out of the show and it didn’t strike me in the same way. I think this line ended up summing it up:
I mean, don’t get me wrong- it’s a strong statement, but it’s also the crux of the issue. You can’t kill the Night King and then expect Cersei to look even half as scary. Worse still, Euron *STILL* comes across as a pantomime villain (and is too thick to realise he’s not the father of Cersei’s child?!) It actually angers me that he’s given this Great Villain status.
I may as well address the dragon-falling-into-the-sea symbolism. This did not have the effect I’m sure the showrunners wanted- cos I AM PISSED. And not in the “oh what are those Game of Thrones folks like”- I’m just annoyed that this is the lamest way for a dragon to go. Maybe if Lena Headey had turned up and personally shot it out of the sky I’d have been more impressed. Or Qyburn. But Euron?! Ugh. (Perhaps I’m just in the *RAGE* stage of grief though- we all know how I feel about dragons!)
I’m guessing this is major symbolism for Jon to NOT GO SOUTH! (as if poor Ghost’s whine when Jon doesn’t give him a pat on the head isn’t enough). Really though, it feels like they’re axing GRRM’s “the dragon has three heads” storyline. I could be totally wrong and maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’m not convinced the books are heading in this precise direction (at least I’m hoping Martin’s not so cavalier when it comes to his dragons- please Lord of Light no!)
And I know people are coming at my QUEEN Sansa for leaking Jon’s secret, but I just think she knows how to twist the situation to her advantage and this is a sensible strategy. To paraphrase what Varys said: of course the man that wants the throne the least should have it.
Roping in the Lannisters was a nice stroke on her part as well- not just because a Lannister pays his debts, but because the Lannister lion is a protector of the realm and won’t stand by to watch Dany destroy King’s Landing. At least not without consequence. Of course then, Jaime is headed to get himself killed in the crossfire, yet it also looks to me like Tyrion is about to betray Dany for love.
Dany looks like she’s about to have it coming. She’s acting jealous, selfish and a little unhinged. Sure, she’s trying to play the game, making Gendry a lord (called it) and is understandably upset about Missandei (also called it), BUT that doesn’t give her the excuse to roast the citizens of King’s Landing alive. There’s pretty much no way she wins this fight without coming out the other side a monster. So I guess kudos to the writers for pushing her into this corner.
Relationships are fraying at every edge of the board. Disappointingly, Tormund has cleared off to the North, leaving Brienne to share a brief moment with Jaime (sadly the teased Tormund/Brienne union was just a distraction after all). Gendry and Arya ended as I suspected. And let’s not even get into the old Bronn-Lannister bromance. Still, Sam/Gilly shared some cute moments. I also liked Arya and the Hound going south together- what a great parallel to draw with the old seasons.
Forgive me if this was a bit more muddled than usual: there was a lot of going up-and-down Westeros to get players where they needed to be this episode. They’ve definitely decided to resurrect the whole time-jumping, news-travels-fast, who-cares-about-pacing style from last season. Plus, I’m beginning to have the sneaking suspicion that they’ve jammed two storylines together that don’t meld well (aka I’m thinking the whole North storyline is likely to be in Winds of Winter and the south might be in a Hope for Spring… though perhaps more on my guesswork there another time). Needless to say, this wasn’t the tidiest of episodes.
So what did you think of this episode? Were you let down after episode 3 or did it capture your attention just the same? Let me know in the comments!