Hello everyone and welcome back to our Game of Thrones season 6 discussion. Another solid effort for the show reaching past the novels for a majority of the episode. We are getting a clearer picture of where things are headed this season and, for some storylines, even possibly further than that. I'm short for time this week so let's dive right in!
I'm going to go a little out of order here to save the meat of the episode for the end.
- Littlefinger is working his magic in support of Sansa Stark. He has brought a present of some rare falcon to Robin Arryn of the Vale and threatened his #1 officer to comply with his demands. He used his bond with Robin to get Robin excited about throwing Royce through the moon door if he didn't swear absolute loyalty. Royce's distrust for Littlefinger is evident, but there wasn't much he could do about it. He got outplayed.
- Littlefinger updates Robin on Sansa's escape and that she's heading to Castle Black which is not safe. He intended to Robin to call in the Knights of the Vale to help his cousin and that's exactly what he succeeded in doing. Looks like Jon may have some help afterall. But, what's Petyr's game here? Chaos still? Or does he truly have a soft spot for Sansa?
- Also, we can add Robin of the Vale to the awkwardly aging Kids of Thrones.
- Tyrion worked on compromising with the enemy much to Missendei and Grey Worm's disliking. He brought the leaders of Yunkai (we saw him in season 3 when Dany freed the city) and Astapor (Just happened to be Tyrion's slave owner from last season) to negotiate a truce and for them to stop funding the Sons of the Harpy (which they declined doing).
- Long story short, Tyrion offered them a transition plan of 7 years to stop their slave trade. He insisted slavery will not come back to Meereen. Tyrion brought up Westeros as an example of surviving financially without slaves for hundreds of years. He sealed the deal with offering them women as well.
- The people of Meereen were displeased that this meeting was even taking place. Missendei and Grey Worm were forced into an unenviable position of defending Tyrion's actions and calling them the Queen's wishes. Tyrion spoke to them afterwards and says he is trying to honor Dany's work but also bring peace. He doesn't trust the masters but their self interest. Contempt is their weakness and they will use it to their advantage.
- Also important to note Tyrion mentioned Dany will not be staying in Slaver's Bay forever. We all know that, but it's nice to hear once in a while! And at least this episode had her discussing moving West again.
- We revisit Margaery's plight with the High Sparrow and Shame nun this week. The High Sparrow gives more of his backstory which apparently sounded a lot like the Book of the Stranger (Name of Episode alert!) to Margaery who attempted to finish his story. Basically, he tried to identify with Margaery as being the same as her once. Desiring money and finer things. But he found himself to be a fraud and left it all behind even the shoes (He was a shoemaker just like his father who died young).
- The Sparrow allowed Margaery to see Loras who is not doing well in his confinement. He wants it all to stop. Margaery thinks the Sparrow wants her to help tear her brother down and she insists they must not give in. But, she seems to be only concerned in helping her brother.
- On the other side of the city, Cersei is still plotting her revenge against the sparrow. She walks in on Pycelle comically giving Tommen advice on the situation and then still playing his act as he limps out of the room.
- Tommen confesses to talking with the Sparrow, and apparently told Cersei something he wasn't supposed to tell anyone about their meeting. I don't remember any secret information divulged, but please correct me if I missed something!
- I can only assume that scene tied into Cersei and Jaime going to the small council to reason with Olenna Tyrell and Kevan Lannister. They insisted putting their bickering aside as it was all part of the High Sparrow's plan to keep progress from happening. (is that what he told Tommen?) They all are on the same page from preventing Margaery's walk of Atonement as a they need to maintain respect for the "office" of the Queen. The sparrow has no respect for their roles. Cersei and Jaime pitch bringing in the Tyrell Army to come into the city and end this Faith Militant occupation. Kevan protested that he is not to fight the Faith per the King's orders. He warned of civil war. Jaime brought up how they can get Lancel Lannister (his son) back. In the end everyone bought in. I can't help but think the Sparrow will see this coming.
- Also, it should be noted that Cerise's trial is in a few days. They have already pitched a trial by combat last week in which the Mountain would have to fight someone. For it to be an impactful fight you would imagine it would have to be someone we know. There are strong theories out there, but I don't want to bring them up in the recap for fear it may spoil the fun of a reveal.
- The Kingsmoot is coming! I didn't think they'd draw it out too much across the season, but we had to make time for a Theon/Yara reunion. It was pretty emotional as Theon knew he hurt Yara when she came with her men to rescue him. Some of her men died and he refused to go with her. He spoke to how Ramsay broke him into 1000 pieces and she acknowledged the one she saw.
- Yara was more concerned Theon was there to claim his place as King of the Iron Islands since his timing just happened to coincide with their father's death. But, he really just wants to support his sister's claim to the throne. We'll see how that goes!
- Ramsay met with Osha. The scene was looking way too much like the season 2 scene where Osha seduced Theon, so we knew Ramsay had to have something else in mind with his line of questioning. He knew she was a Stark loyalist even though she pretended not to be. He knew this because he broke Theon and Theon told all. The implication is that Theon told Ramsay that Osha seduced him and then escaped with Bran and Rickon.
- Osha was plotting to kill Ramsay, but Ramsay had one up on her and stabbed her in the neck. Ugh. RIP Osha. Characters are dropping like flies this season. But, we have amassed a large amount of excess characters of the years so they are able to write many off as we approach the end of the show! (Note: Rickon and Osha are still alive and "off screen" in the book world)
- As many had predicted Jon Snow didn't quite leave Castle Black just yet. He had a discussion with Edd about where he plans to go. He plans to go South and get warm. Edd is very confused on how Jon can leave in their time of need. They all were at Hardhome. They know what's coming. Jon insisted that he pledged his life and gave his life to the Night's Watch. His own brothers killed him. (It should be noted that Edd did kind of imply Jon shouldn't be able to get out of his vows on the technicality that he died, but he's still doing it anyway) It's been stated in the show and in the books that when people come back they're not quite the same. They're missing something. I'm not sure we know what Jon is missing, but he does seem to be missing some sympathy to the threat from the North. We all know Jon has a role to play in the long night to come, but right now he is at a low point and is reluctant to play his part. Happens in every hero's journey. I'm willing to watch this thing through. And if anyone can pull him out of his stupor, perhaps his half-sister can?
- Yes folks, we finally got a Stark Reunion! No, no one was ever envisioning it would be Sansa and Jon Snow as they never shared an on screen minute even in season 1 (confirmed, go back and see!), but we were all overwhelmed with emotion when they embraced!
- The 2 reminisced on Winterfell and Old Nan's cooking. They discussed how they weren't terribly close growing up, but they've been through so much now that bygones are bygones. And let's just say Sophie Turner's performance has been evolving well over the years but was exceptionally well in this episode.
- It would seem that Jon shared all that has happened off screen including bringing the Wildlings south and I guess dying? That didn't surprise her? Or they saved her reaction for off screen? Odd, but okay. Sansa insists that they must take back Winterfell. It's their home. She still has hope that they will all be reunited one day: Arya, Bran, Rickon, and the 2 of them. If Jon won't help she says she'll do it herself. The problem is Jon no longer wants to fight. He recapped what he's done since he joined the Night's Watch and all of it involved fighting. He's killed his own brothers, wildlings, men he respected (The Halfhand) and even hung a young boy (No one blames you for Olly, Jon!)
- Davos and Melisandre have a moment. Mel says she will go wherever Jon Snow goes as he is The Prince Who Was Promised. She walked away when he mocked her saying he thought that was Stannis. Davos asked about what happened to Shireen, but before Mel could answer Brienne came in and discussed her contempt for Stannis's former advisors. She admitted to killing Stannis, accused Mel for her part in the murder of Renly Baratheon and mentioned she does not forget easily. Looks like we'll have some conflict brewing for people on the same side of an upcoming fight.
- Later, a rider with a Bolton Banner arrives and delivers a letter to "Lord Commander Jon Snow" to which Jon insists he isn't. The letter is from Ramsay and accuses Jon Snow of being a traitor and attempting to lure him South. He allowed thousands of wildlings through the Wall. Ramsay says he has Rickon. He wants his bride back. He gives an ultimatum to if she is not returned. Lots of rape and hounds involved and spooning of eyes. All sewn together into a repetitive theme of "COME AND SEE". This letter was, believe it or not, in the books. It is referred to by fans as the PINK LETTER. But the timing is much different. In the books Jon received the letter before his death and it was the primary reason he was accused of breaking his vows and what led to his death. He ordered the Night's Watch and the Wildlings to help him march South to take out the Boltons. The contents of the letter were different too. The Boltons had Sansa's friend Jeyne Poole, but they insisted it was Arya Stark. Sansa took the place of fake Arya last season and now Rickon is taking the place of fake Arya this season.
- But all of that comparing is fun yet pointless. Here, we have Sansa taking charge and insisting they have to go save Rickon and take back Winterfell. Tormund seems on board with his 2000 men (the rest of the wildlings are older or children). Sansa believes the North will come to fight for a Stark. Jon is the son of the last true Warden of the North. Jon agrees to lead the fight! (surely something will happen on this quest that gets him believing in the bigger cause again)
- Oh and funniest part of the episode has to go to Tormund taking a liking to Brienne and Edd's reaction to the whole thing. Classic!
- Daario and Jorah arrive to the Dothraki city. Daario makes more comments about how he got into Dany's pants (Ride the Dragon. Nice one.), but then also says he has no interest in fighting with Jorah.
- Jorah removes his weapons as the city has a strict policy against them. Daario notices the grey scale. Jorah acknowledges that he knows what happens. Something tells me a self-sacrifice is coming at some point. He has no intention of finding a cure.
- The duo wait until night and head into the city. They get into it with a couple Dothraki. Jorah is almost choked to death but Daario stabbed the Dothraki dude in the heart with the knife he confiscated in. He smashed the chest to try and conceal the knife wound.
- Meanwhile Dany is making the best of her confines to the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen. She bonds with one of the younger Khaleesis who was enamored with Dany's story. They run into Jorah and Daario who planned to help her escape. But, come on, we can't let an empowered woman be rescued by 2 men who love her right? Dany has a plan and she needs their help to execute the plan.
- Later, all of the Khals have gathered in the Temple and are deciding what to do with Dany. Dany offers her unrequested opinion. She remembers being there before when she ate the heart of a horse and when Drogo swore to take his hoard south to conquer Westeros for her. Now, she said she will lead the Dothraki for larger ambitions than raiding a small city. The Khals laugh and question why they would ever serve her. She responds saying that she doesn't expect them to serve.
- Then she sets fire to the entire temple and burns all of the Khals! WHAAAT? Of course, she survives the fire and puts on a spectacle for ALL of the leaderless Dothraki to see. She walks out of the flaming temple to the gathering crowd of thousands upon thousands (if not more) all taking the knee and swearing allegiance. Daario and Jorah, who had killed the guards and barred the doors, also took the knee in disbelief in what they have seen.
- I don't think it's any surprise that Dany figured out her own escape plan or that she recruited the Dothraki, but how she went about it was pretty surprising! I was reading one of the Entertainment Weekly articles about this episode (which I'll link to) and apparently there is still debate about BOOK Dany and if she truly has this superpower with the fire. It was played up in the show that way, but apparently George R. R. Martin has mentioned before that her surviving the pyre with the birth of the dragons was a one time thing. It doesn't matter at this points the show and books are going in slightly different directions, but this may cause a bit of stir with purist book fans. Both book and show are trying to end in the same place, but are going to take different routes there. This at least is entertaining us on the way!