- Hibberd Recap
- Interview with Ian McElhinney (Ser Barristan Selmy)
- Interview with Carice van Houten (Mellisandre)
- If you overanalyze the opening credits, I'm sure most don't, you would've realized that we got to Winterfell and The Wall much more quickly than normal. It was good hint that we were going to hit the southernmost point of Westeros by the end. We went from Westeros to Essos and then back to Westeros to catch a glimpse of Dorne at the end. Good stuff.
- As a side note, the fact that Lyanna Stark was mentioned from the pilot episode of Game of Thrones in the "previously on" should have made any book reader excited about content that might be in the episode! We'll get to that a couple times before the end.
- Loved watching Tyrion's mind at play in this scene. From the clues around him he figured out pretty much all of Jorah Mormont's story up to this point in the show. He spied for Robert Baratheon, Dany found out and banished him, he's going to attempt to use Tyrion as leverage. Maybe she'll kill Tyrion and pardon him. Tyrion mentioned it might go the other way.
- Tyrion also tried to convince Jorah they're on the same side. For now Jorah isn't impressed and knocked the imp out!
Gotta love a Game of Thrones road show with 2 entertaining actors! Jaime and Bronn traveled by ship then by rowboat to get to Dorne.
- Nice shout out to Brienne's homeland of Tarth as they were sailing. Jaime appeared to miss his former traveling companion.
- Bronn expressed his doubts about the trip and disappointment that he won't get time to be with any of the women who are more than open down South. (Just realized that could have multiple meanings, but I just meant the geographic location of Dorne. But Cue Michael Scott's "That's what she said")
- I loved his comments about Jaime not being able to fight so he'd have to pretty much do everything.
- Jaime mentioned that the ship was originally planned to go through Oldtown (or maybe it still was). Regardless, it was a nice nod to a locale used in A Feast for Crows. 2 characters from the books that are still on the game board in Game of Thrones met by the end of that book in Oldtown. It's looking like that storyline won't happen, but I had to at least mention it.
- Bronn also questioned Jaime about him going to save his "NIECE"? The implication being that he knows the truth, just like the rest of Westeros.
- Jaime implies that it has to be him that saves Myrcella. Bronn, must've been a student of Tyrion's deduction skills, figures out that it's because Jaime let Tyrion out of his cell. Jaime says it was Varys but also says he will split Tyrion in 2 if he ever sees him again.
- Once ashore Bronn still questions the mission thinking that the ship captain could let some key Dornish folk know that he was bringing Jaime Lannister to Dorne and the whole surprise rescue would be off.
- They spoke about how they want to die and how they don't care about the songs sung about them. Jaime wants to die in the arms of the woman he loves. (we assume Cersei) Bronn questions if this is reciprocated by the other. I would think less and less so! Bronn stated he would like a boring death because he's had an exciting life.
- They come across 4 Dornish soldiers on horseback. Jaime mentions he might be able to take 1 of them if he's slow. Great comedy in this episode! They go with the ol' "pretend surrender then surprise kill everyone" trick. Bronn took care of most of them and then de-horsed someone and said he might be slow enough for Jaime. Jaime struggled in the fight but then used his metal hand to his advantage. The man's sword was stuck and Jaime stabbed him to death. It wasn't clean, but it worked. And Bronn said Jaime had a good teacher! Hysterical, and accurate. Doesn't have to be an honorable fight. You just have to win.
- Jaime rewards Bronn with having to dig a grave or multiple graves to bury all of the bodies. Jaime does not want to start a war.
- I can't say the same for Ellaria Sand. She definitely wants a war with the Lannisters. She came to the Sand Snakes (Oberyn's bastard daughters all with different bothers) with the news that Prince Doran will not be aiding their cause. The sisters had captured the ship captain that brought Jaime and Bronn to Dorne (wow, just like Bronn suggested might happen!). They buried everything except his head in the sand. Even from the pictures I had seen of these Sand Snakes, I wasn't impressed. I figured it might be better when we see them on the show. Eh. I wasn't too interested in it in the books, but I think the show may have dropped the ball in the casting department. We'll see. In any case, Ellaria recruited the 3 snakes to help her start a war. They have to stop Jaime and Bronn before they rescue Myrcella. Obara Sand killed the ship captain with a quick shot of a spear to his exposed head. Okay, maybe that was cool, but I'm still on the fence about this storyline!
(EDITED AFTER POST - I'm not sure how I forgot to convert my notes into actual rational thought! I'll blame the 1 year old daughter who was up all night!)
A small council meeting, more Sparrow stuff and more Cersei vs. Margaery. Doesn't get much better! Well, maybe less Sparrow stuff.
- At the small council session we learn that the Iron Bank of Braavos is asking for 1/10th of the crown's debt. I'm sure this is partly due to Stannis reaching out to them last season. Cersei has decided to rid herself of Tyrells this episode. She is sending Mace Tyrell (patriarch) to the Iron Bank to speak on their behalf. Not good news for Mace! Though kiss-up that he is said he'd be honored to go. The bigger thing I think that happened is that Cersei is sending Ser Meryn Trant with him. If you recall, Arya's narrowed down kill list clearly brought up his name this season. I predict that by the end of this season, ol' Trant will regret possibly killing Syrrio Forel back in season 1! (For the record, this prediction is totally off book)
- Pycelle made a comment that the small council keeps getting smaller. Cersei acknowledged it's not small enough. I'm sure that was a slam on Pycelle himself. Good stuff!
- Cersei rewards herself with more wine and a discussion with the High Sparrow. Long story short, she's arming the Sparrows to fight for their cause. Why? Because she has some more Tyrells on her list.
- First up -> Loras Tyrell. The sparrows, including Lancel Lannister, are branding themselves and righting the wrongs of the city. They attacked a brothel to bring some to justice and then went after Loras for his bedroom antics that he his proud to bring out in the open. He has been captured which sets forth Margaery's quest for the upper hand again. Let's pause to discuss book differences. Cersei certainly does try to alienate Margaery from her allies/family in the books. But she sends Loras to Dragonstone (former home of Targaryan's and where Stannis was calling home). His whereabouts are questionable after that encounter. So, this is a slight change.
- Margaery tries to get Tommen's ear, which she does. But Tommen demands Cersei to release Loras and she denies having captured him (which she technically hasn't). She sends Tommen to the High Sparrow. The sparrows refuse the king access. Poor Tommen is just a pawn. And while these sparrows were disobeying their king, some random common folk was yelling at Tommen for being a bastard and an abomination. OUCH! I wonder how much Tommen has been shielded by the very true rumors of his parents.
- Anyway, Tommen goes back to Margaery empty handed, and she keeps her pants closed for the night and instead calls for Lady Olenna's help who is back in High Garden. If she gets involved, this will be a change from the books, but a welcome on!
A few separate scenes up here focusing on Stannis or Jon.
- Stannis spoke with Selyse about Jon Snow. She observed how much she admires the boy. She apologized for not giving him a son and spoke lowly about their "deformity of a daughter" Shireen.
- Mellisandre showed up and mentioned how Shireen's blood is still Stannis's blood and how there is power in blood. Lots of book readers have speculation of the role Shireen might be playing up at the Wall. I forget if she was there in the books, but there was an additional character/plot device that is not present from the books and she may take that place. That's all I can really say at this point.
- Stannis and Selyse had a touching scene too where he basically told her she is his daughter and he did everything he could to save her from Greyscale. She was incredibly happy to hear this news and it was followed by the most awkward Father/Daughter hug in history. At least Stannis finally hugged back after a few seconds too late.
- Stannis also had a discussion with Mellisandre about his failings at Blackwater and how he's planning to march on Winterfell before the snows hit. She insisted not to leave her behind.
- Jon meanwhile was signing recruitment request letters to various lords of the North. Many lords he had never heard of. It seemed Sam was saving Roose Bolton, warden of the North, for last. Jon did NOT want to send him any letters acknowledging he is warden of the North. But Sam convinced him it was necessary. They only have 50 men at the wall. Jon reluctantly signed.
- Mellisandre then came to visit Jon. She tried to convince him to come to Winterfell and liberate it from the Bolton's. Jon spoke of his oath to not get involved in the conflicts of the 7 Kingdoms. Mellisandre suggested there is only one war and it's the Living vs. the Dead. Then she started trying to seduce Jon with her nakedness. From her speech, it seemed like she was trying to create another shadow baby. She certainly has noticed something about Jon Snow that has her interested. He is the bastard son of Ned Stark. But, is that why she noticed something about him? We can't get into it just yet but there are popular theories about Jon Snow and this episode now has given much more credence in the show to them.
- Regardless of what she was trying to do, Jon Snow refused and spoke of his oath and how he still loves Ygritte even in death. Something tell me this won't be the last time Mellisandre and Jon Snow have a "chat".
We spent the entirety of our trip to Winterfell in the crypt! And it was pretty darn exciting. We've been waiting 5 years for the information that was shared in this scene to be shared on the show. I never expected it to be a discussion between Littlefinger and Sansa, but it worked great!
- Sansa lit a candle of her Aunt Lyanna Stark. She mentioned that her father Ned Stark used to do it all of the time but never talked about her. All he said was she was beautiful.
- Littlefinger mentioned how he saw her once when he was a boy. The infamous Tournament at Harrenhall was discussed. This is the first time this tournament was brought up in the show. Over the course of 5 books we got clues here and there about this tournament. Basically, everything about King Robert Baratheon's war on the Mad King traces back to this tournament. Everyone who was anyone was there. The Mad King Aerys Targayan, Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon. We were reminded that Lyanna Stark was promised in marriage to Robert Baratheon and he loved her very much. He loved her so much that even in death, he could never love Cersei Lannister. Rhaegar Targaryan was married to Elia Martell. You may recognize the name as the woman who Oberyn accused The Mountain of raping, murdering and then killing her children during the siege on King's Landing. I should remind everyone that Rheagar was Dany's older brother and both, along with Viserys were children of the Mad King Aerys Targaryan.
- The tournament whittled down to 2 final jousters. It was Rhaegar vs. Ser Barristan Selmy (now able to be seen for a very short time in Meereen with Dany). Rhaegar won the match. As tradition the winner would crown the fairest lady at the tournament (or something like that). He rode straight past his wife and gave Lyanna Stark a crown of winter roses. Littlefinger then implied that Robert's war started that day and thousands and thousands died because Lyanna Stark was chosen. Sansa retorted with a different version of the story where Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna and raped her.
- If you can judge from a look, Littlefinger does not think the events occurred as the popular tale implies. I'm sure it was not by coincidence that Ser Barristan Selmy also spoke fondly of Rhaegar in this episode and even earlier this season. He even mentioned Rhaegar as someone who hated killing. He was a musician and would sometimes pose as a minstrel in King's Landing.
- It's tough to be spoilery here because it's only a very popular theory and not fact just yet. I also wondered if the show would even go there because George R. R. Martin has not revealed it in the books yet either. But, they certainly are laying the tracks. At this point, I'd say about the same amount of information that was shared in the books has now been shared on the show, so I have no problem throwing this out there. But I will give a warning that what I am about to discuss until the end of this bullet is a potentially HUGE BOOK AND TV SHOW REVEAL to come (and I'd say about 95% probable). Let's just say Rhaegar didn't kidnap Lyanna and that they actually ran off together because they were in love. What if Lyanna actually ended up having a child? That child would be all sorts of important, wouldn't you say? A bastard yes, but one that is part Stark, part Targaryan. One that even the most honorable man would want to keep secret from his darling wife and everyone else alive. Someone that even a red headed priestess might be interested in. Well, it certainly is something to think about. You might even want to considera little math problem R + L = J. And hey, even a google might bring up more background on how to solve that problem.
- The rest of Sansa/Littlefinger's discussion occurred above ground. Littlefinger has been summoned back to King's Landing. He must return to not raise suspicion of Cersei. He promises that it won't be for long. Littlefinger mentions he's a betting man and puts his money on Stannis and his army overtaking Winterfell and making Sansa, the last known living Stark, Wardeness of the North. Sansa, of course, had to ask what if that doesn't happen? Well, he suggested that she makes Ramsay Snow hers. I still find this hysterical that Littlefinger shows no awareness that Ramsay is a psycopath. While his main goal is always the advancement of self, he did love Catelyn Stark unconditionally and appears to love her daughter as well. He wouldn't knowingly pair her up with a nut job, at least in my personal opinion (and that of many book readers who are also commenting on the same thing). Littlefinger shows confidence in Sansa, though. While she fears Roose, as she should, he mentioned she has outmaneuvered the very best and she'll be strong without him there. Let's not forget that Brienne and Pod won't be far behind as well.
Dany and Ser Barristan have a chat about Rhaegar Targaryan until she heads to court. Then the Sons of Harpy went on a little killing spree!
- We discussed Dany and Ser Barristan's chat a bit already. Barristan's job while Rheagar sang in the streets was to make sure no one killed him. Of course, he collected the money too. They wanted to see how much he could make. He also mentioned how he got drunk one time on the job. Barristan seems like an honorable man and not one who would make up stories about a man. From everything we hear, other than Robert Baratheon's mouth, Rhaegar seems like a stand-up dude. Granted, he did overlook his wife at a tournament.
- Hizdar Zo Loraq begged Dany once again to open the fighting pits. They traditionally opened every year on this day. He said it was one thing that former slaves and former masters could agree on. It's a start, not the solution. Dany still was against the idea, but maybe the current Sons of Harpy raid will change her mind.
- What ensued was a battle between Unsullied and the Sons of Harpy. Grey Worm was involved and even got stabbed. His fate remains uncertain. Ser Barristan Selmy heard the battle cries and headed to battle. All we have heard over the years is how Ser Barristan Selmy is the greatest swordsman alive, even in his older age. We finally got to see him in action. I'm going to guess, in the end, he saved Grey Worm's life but at the cost of his own. He took many soldiers down, but went down by the blade himself. This is a VERY BIG change from the books. First of all, RIP Ser Barristan Selmy.
- Barristan actually just started getting centric chapters in A Dance With Dragons. The actor, indicated in his interview, had actually read the books and was looking forward to this season. Alas, the show needs to consolidate. I can't say if Tyrion and Jorah make it to Meereen by the end of A Dance With Dragons yet, but imagine if Dany had the 2 of them, plus Grey Worm, plus Daario, plus Ser Barristan trying to give her advice. It might be a little crowded, wouldn't you say? I'm sure there's a method to their madness, this is just my theory. They're speeding up this story and will go past where the books currently are. Who knows? Maybe this means Barristan will die early in book 6. Maybe us book readers are getting spoiled now! I think it's more about consolidating the story for television more than anything.