I will start every one of these posts off with this warning about spoilers. There will be plenty of spoilers. Seriously, if you have not watched the episode, do not read this post. I will also be mentioning stuff from the books. These are not straight up recaps of episodes, nor are they reviews. I will just mention the stuff I liked/disliked and probably give some opinions about what could happen next.
It seems like there are two different opinions of this episode: either it was one of the best episodes of all time OR that it was a complete mess. I am probably somewhere in the middle. It was good, but there were definitely some problems. I will get into those things I liked/disliked in a second, but I want to address the problem of the frenetic pace of this season. It took six seasons to slowly move the characters into positions and then it seems like in the first three episodes we are just killing and ending plot lines left & right.
The problem is that they (Benioff & Weiss…or just B&W) wanted to remain as true to the books as possible, which is usually a great thing…except when the writer is not finished and writes at the slowest pace possible. They are left with a tough decision: wait for GRRM or go head on their own. The slow pace of GRRM (both in writing and in the actual books), means it would probably take about five more seasons to actually wrap shit up in a satisfactory way. So B&W are left with the task of getting us to what we really want: Ice & Fire. We want Jon Snow and Daenerys to battle the White Walkers. And the quickest/easiest way to that final, major war, is to wrap up all of this other stuff (and secondary to that, would be bringing down Cersei, which we are all want as well).
It just feels weird having so much happening in such a short time frame. Or maybe it is great to finally be rid of so much of those dead weight story lines…
-I thought the best part of the episode was the beginning. So I was totally wrong and that was not Ellaria and Yara hanging from the prowl of the ship. That was the other two Sand Snakes. Instead, Euron delivers Ellaria and Tyene to Cersei. He gets to keep Yara for himself (as he mocks her about how Theon was a pussy). Cersei places Euron in command of the Kingdom’s navy and says that after the war is over, they will be married. Obviously Jaime is not cool with this (especially after Euron asks him if she likes a finger in her butt).
But then things went from slightly funny to moderately horrible. Cersei informs Ellaria and Tyene the punishment. It is cold and brutal. She kisses Tyene with the same poison that killed her daughter. The two women are chained apart and Ellaria will be forced to watch her daughter die and then rot. Cersei orders the guards to keep the torches burning so Ellaria does not miss a moment of her daughter’s slow death.
-One of the things I did not like was the meeting between Daenerys and Jon Snow. It was not terrible, but I just hated how Daenerys came off. In fact, most of the season she has come off as a little crazy. Jon Snow handled himself about how I figured he would. Davos actually stole the scene though. He was funny during the announcement of his king, but then his passionate speech about why she should trust him was what really sold the scene to me. And yet, Daenerys was unmoved. She is too busy reminding everyone that it is her birthright to rule, instead of showing the people why she should rule.
-I enjoyed that Sam was able to cure Jorah. I also loved that the way to cure greyscale is through meticulous peeling of the skin and applying medicine. There is a reason it is barred from being practiced: one slip up and the maester will be infected too. All it would take is one outburst of pain from the patient and Sam could have himself a case of the disease. And what is Sam’s reward? He is allowed to copy some old books. As it should be! Damn reckless fool.
-Okay, so we were all expecting it to be Arya when Sansa was told someone was at the gate. And then we got Bran. Not only did we get Bran, but we got creepy Bran. Who then told his sister how beautiful she looked the night she was married and that he was sorry for everything that happened to her. Oh and then he did his best to not explain anything about what he has been doing.
-Speaking of Arya…I was 93% sure after I wrote this post last week that she was not going to return to Winterfell. I know, easy for me to say now. However, her line to Nymeria “that’s not you girl” or whatever she said, was basically the same thing she said to her father in season one (about needle point or something). I think she realized that returning to Winterfell and being with her family is not in the cards for her yet. So she probably turned around and went to King’s Landing. And I think she is already there. Why else would they show us that serving girl who comes to inform Cersei about Mycroft Holmes from the Iron Bank being there. They focused a good bit on that girl. My guess is that she will turn out to be Arya.
Also, while on the subject of Arya being the one to kill Cersei. I noticed something during a rewatch of season five that the witch never says the valonqar part of the prophecy. For those unaware, in the book, Maggie the Frog tells Cersei “And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” This is one of the reasons why she hates Tyrion. But also why so many people think it will be Jaime who actually kills her (since he was born second). HOWEVER, the show omits this part. So they can do whatever they want. Unless they show the flashback again and we hear the witch say it, I am assuming everyone is still on the table. OR perhaps Arya will try to kill Cersei, but only mortally wound her. Jaime will come to her aid, but it will be too late and he will strangle her to put her out of her misery…
-And finally, we had the Battle of Casterly Rock. I liked how it played out…with Tyrion narrating what would happen. And then seeing the battle unfold. Especially the surprised look on Grayworm’s face when there are not that many soldiers there. I am guessing that after Euron destroyed Yara’s fleet, he had his men sail to Casterly Rock to take down the Unsullied ships and he just took his ship to King’s Landing (although, it seemed like that one ship the focused on was Euron’s huge ass ship). If that is not the case, then Euron has the fastest ships ever, or they are using different wind.
-When it comes to moving fast though, nothing tops Jaime Lannister. In one scene he is getting BJs from Cersie and in the next, he has met up with the Casterly Rock army and marched on Highgarden. Think about that for a second. Ten thousand men just sneak up on Highgarden, which is about 600 miles from Casterly Rock and maybe 1000 miles from King’s Landing. If the army was really pushing it, say 25 miles per day, then you are looking at 24 days. So little less than a month. For Jaime to make it 1000 miles? Ready for something interesting: if Jaime rode a horse at a good speed, not changing horses every few hours or anything crazy, he could get about 40 miles per day, which would mean it would take 25 days to get the 1000 miles. So it is possible that they could link up.
Anyways, the Lady Olenna scene was also one of my favorites. She slammed the poisoned wine like a champion. And before she dies, she tells Jaime that it was her that killed Joffrey and to let Cersei know. She also continues to help sow the seeds in his mind that Cersei is evil.
-Damn it. Now I am totally obsessed with whether or not that was Euron’s ship at Casterly Rock. If we assume that Jaime’s travel time was correct, it was about a month after Ellaria was delivered by Euron. So, the fastest ships like Euron’s could do about 40 mph. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say he got some really great wind and the currents were in his favor, so he averaged an insane 50 mph. Sailing around Westeros, from King’s Landing to Casterly Rock is still a long way. Just a rough finger measurement makes it well more than 5000 miles (I may be really low-balling the number, I am not a cartographer). We would be looking at 100 days to get there. Over three months. NOW, if that is the case, that makes total sense that Jaime and Sam’s dad could join forces together, then march on Highgarden. It just would not be much of a surprise attack.
Oh, if anyone is wondering where I am getting these distances from…the interactive GOT map is one of my favorite things.