Welcome, everyone, to another suspenseful edition of Doctor-Improbable-Tells-You-What-Happened-On-Game-Of-Thrones-This-Week! Readers, take heed, the showrunners are once again trying to knock us down a peg by throwing stuff in that is non-book-related. Bastards.
Messandei is teaching Grey Worm how to speak the Common Tongue. We hear a bit about her past and being captured, as well as learning that the Unsullied have no past before they are Unsullied. Before their lesson gets too sexy (after all, Grey Worm is lacking in the necessary anatomy for an HBO-approved gratuitous scene), Daenerys interrupts them. Grey Worm leads the Unsullied in a mission into the city, and they give the slaves weapons and tell them the uprising must be their own doing.
Saving us several chapters from the book (gotta keep production costs down), this uprising happens mostly offscreen. Dany ignores Barristan’s suggestion of offering mercy to the slaveholders, opting instead to nail them to crosses. Payback’s a bitch.
Bronn successfully guilts Jaime into seeing Tyrion during their sword practice. He goes to see his little brother (no pun intended) and is… sort of useless. Jaime knows Tyrion is innocent; Tyrion knows Jaime can’t really do anything to prove that. Tyrion mentions he likes the sound of “The Kingslayer Brothers,” and I have to admit that would make a pretty great post-industrial prog rock band. (I assume that’s a genre.) They do speculate on the mysterious nature of Sansa’s disappearance, though Tyrion is sure she’s not Joffery’s murderer.
Speaking of which! Petyr monologues to Sansa a bit about his motivations for killing Joffery (though in his eyes, he wasn’t the one physically responsible for the poisoning, so it’s not like he really killed the king) and whisking Sansa away. She doesn’t trust him (duh) but also doesn’t seem to understand that he’s 100% creeping on her (though, in her defence, it doesn’t come across as strong here as I think it does in the books.) Also implied is that he’s made a new alliance to improve his standing in the world, and the murder was related to the desires of his new friends –the Tyrells.
Speaking of which, again! (Subtle transitions here, guys.) Lady Olenna all but confesses to arranging Joffery’s murder, along with voicing her exhaustion of wandering through the gardens, which I hope is a nod to South Park. This is an understandable motivation but doesn’t exactly align with the books from what I recall. What is more disturbing is that we hear an old grandmother talk about how great she is at sex! Who is the real monster of this tale?
Up at the Wall, Jon trains the Crows to fight wildlings. Acting Commander Alliser Thorne chastises him for this, seeing as he’s only a steward. Thorne is quickly reminded that he’s only acting commander, and everyone likes Jon way more than him. (Probably -and this is just a theory- but probably because he’s such an asshole.) Anyhoo, Jon meets another Crow named Locke, who was sent to the wall for skimming some partridge off the royal hunting lands whilst acting groundskeeper.
Cersei is drinking wine as usual when Jaime comes in. She’s mad at him for going to see Tyrion, though apparently not for raping her. –Sigh- Cersei is terrible, and we learn that she has her own motivations for being terrible -which are basically a combination of single-mindedness, amoral cunning, ruthlessness, and lack of agency- and I do feel a weird kind of sympathy for her (though if I recall it evolves a bit later in the story) but that stupid rape scene last week really broke up the dynamic between her and Jaime. She’s supposed to be the one with the power over him, but now nothing reads that way. It’s distracting because if she ever gets a proper comeuppance for her hubris, it won’t feel half so deserved and satisfying. Okay, end feminism for the night. Anyway, she asks if Jaime would bring Sansa back to her if she asked, and without actually saying anything he says no.
Margery goes to Tommen’s room in the night. Did you guys know Tommen is eight in the books? Because Tommen is eight in the books. Anyway, she begins her war of attrition against Cersei and succeeds in giving Tommen wet dream fodder for weeks. Great success!
Jaime gives Brienne the Valyrian steel sword Tywin gave him, along with a shiny new coat of armour. He sends her off with Podrick to find Sansa. She gives the reforged sword a name –Oathkeeper.
Jon receives permission from Thorne to mount the cavalry to bring in the mutineers from Craster’s, but only volunteers. Jon stands before his brothers and delivers a call-to-arms, and not a few good men agree to join him. This does not escape the notice of Thorne and his cronies.
Karl is running a real tight ship up at ol’ Craster’s place, raping his daughter-wives and drinking wine from the skull of Jeor Mormont. (Note to self: skulls make terrible wineglasses.) One of the wives brings in Craster’s last son, and Karl sends Rast out to offer the baby to the White Walkers. He does this on his way to “feeding” (i.e. teasing) Ghost, who they have locked up in a cage. The water ices over ominously quickly and the wind picks up, sending Rast running back to Craster’s Keep.
The breeze carries the sound of the baby’s wails to Hodor, waking him up. Bran wargs into Summer to investigate and sees Ghost just before Summer falls into a trap. When daylight comes, the group goes to investigate. Meera quickly realises that though they were once men of the Night’s Watch, they aren’t anymore, but Bran refuses to leave without Summer. Before they can extricate the direwolf, they are captured. The mutineers poke at Hodor for sport whilst Karl interrogates the children; Bran admits his lineage. Things get interesting because what the fuck, none of this happened in the books?
To end, we see the presumed leader of the White Walkers bring the infant left for them back to a large icy mountain (I guess the Game of Thrones set designers were also fans of Frozen?) where it is offered up as a sacrifice in an icy Stonehenge. Another, possibly higher-ranked White Walker touches it and its eyes turn blue like theirs. What?
Another week of Game of Thrones down, and once again we have some elements to keep book readers on their feet. I hate when the writers destroy my sense of superiority! It’s so fragile! Just let me have this, guys.