A Storm of Swords is a deceptive book. The Red Wedding happens right smack in the middle of it, and it immediately unbalances the reader. One wonders who the series is even about after that. The back end of A Storm of Swords, though, is filled with payoffs that go a long, long way to making up for the Red Wedding. There are multiple moments where nasty characters, often in dramatic ways, get their comeuppance.
Last night's episode ended with one of those moments. Spoilers after the jump.
Let’s get this out of the way first. I’ve mentioned it before, but I am far less interested in what’s going on at the Wall than in anything else on this show. Last night Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch talked about the invading Wildlings. Should they seal up their tunnels or not? Debate! Excitement! Maybe this will get eventful in, like, two episodes!
Nudity! Daario Naharis, Dany’s mercenary crush, showed up in her room last episode. That’s the sort of thing that is maybe cute in popular entertainment, but in real life would probably get you arrested. After some banter, the Khaleesi poured herself some wine, ordered the mercenary to strip, and sat back to take in the show. For a brief moment, the screen was filled with a nicely shaped man butt. More than one female member of my viewing party said “yeah.”
Later on, Jorah ran into Daario outside of Dany’s chambers, and it was a skosh awkward. Daenerys announced that, post sexytimes, she’d ordered Daario to retake Yunkai, and that Jorah was going with her. Jorah also said some stuff about how there are good and bad people on every side of every war. Thank you, Jorah, for summing up one of the main themes of the series so clearly. Daario still has a nicer butt than you.
Additional nudity! Game of Thrones cut from Daario’s butt to Melissandre’s boobs. Never change, HBO. Mrs. Stannis walked in on Melissandre as she was enjoying some private naked time and Melissandre, instead of putting on a robe or a towel or something was just like, “Nah, it’s cool, have a look.” Melissandre admitted that most of her supposed powers were tricks and illusions as opposed to actual divine powers of the Red God. That’s not surprising. Melissandre maintains, though, that her powers of prophecy are actually real, and that her god has need of Shireen, Stannis’ daughter. Uh-oh.
Travel buddies, murder, and pie.Two pairs of travel buddies figured prominently on last night’s episode. Arya and the Hound are getting along now, forging a friendship based on killing. The Hound put a suffering commoner out of his misery, and helpfully telling Arya “that’s where the heart is” after performing blade-based euthanasia. Arya, for her part, killed a bandit guy. The Hound looked on like a proud dad at a middle school play, except instead of a middle school play he was watching death.
Also notably Arya says: “Nothing isn’t better or worse than anything. Nothing is just nothing.” I try to avoid book spoilers in these things but… Foreshadowing!
Brienne and Pod, meanwhile, are stomping around aimlessly looking for Sansa Stark. They took a break to grab some pie and ran into, of all people, Hot Pie, Arya’s old friend who kinda-sorta looks like Ian Karmel. Hot Pie, after giving a delightful disquisition on the nature of pastries filled with stuff, tipped off the duo about Arya. He told them that she’s still alive and possibly with the Hound. He gave them a direwolf bread to give to Arya if they ever found her, and more than one member of my viewing party said “awwwww.”
A hero comes along. As fun as it might have been to watch, Tyrion’s impassioned speech at his trial was not a good move. He could have gone up to the Wall, hung out there, and enjoyed a lifetime of not being executed. But, instead of that, he’s still in a dungeon and needs to find a champion for his trial by combat. It can’t be Jaime. Jaime, despite formerly being a formidable sword guy, is missing a hand. It’s clear from the interaction between Tyrion and Jaime that, if things were slightly less amputated, the older Lannister would be there for his brother. But, given that Jaime is unable to magically regenerate his right hand, there’s no way that he can fight the Mountain, Cersei’s chosen champion.
A bit about Gregor Clegane, aka, the Mountain. The guy we saw in this episode killing slaves for fun is Mountain number three—two other actors have portrayed the walking wall of murder meat. But it doesn't matter. The Mountain is less of a character than a force of nature. His job is to be scary and highly large, and that’s about it. He’s Westeros Hulk. He’s Evil Hodor. He’s not really a character. He’s something that other characters react to. So, if you didn’t notice the recasting, don’t worry. Not a big deal.
Bronn, who previously fought for Tyrion, had no desire to take on the gigantic death beast that is Gregor Clegane. Everyone’s favorite mercenary has been pretty well integrated into Westrosi society, and now has fancy clothes, a wife, and plans to get himself a nice inheritance. His walking out on Tyrion was entirely understandable (again, he’s being asked to fight Sword Hulk) but still heartbreaking. All looks lost for Tyrion until…
Oberyn. Oh, Prince Oberyn. So handsome. So dashing. So confounding to my purported heterosexuality. Years ago, Gregor Clegane (at Tywin Lannister’s orders) killed Oberyn’s sister (then the Princess of the Seven Kingdoms) and her children during Robert’s Rebellion. Oberyn still wants revenge, and he announced to Tyrion that he’d be happy to fight a juggernaut of rage and facial hair on his behalf.
I’m sure that this will go great for everyone.
Flight of the Arryn. The House of Arryn, ostensibly one of the major movers and shakers of Westeros, has been in a bad way for the entire series. Last night the great house’s situation degraded to the point where it is now merely an asset to be moved around and manipulated by Littlefinger. The Long-suffering Sansa Stark, recently abused by her monstrous aunt Lysa, was diverting herself, decided to amuse herself by making a snow castle version of Winterfell. Sweetrobin, the young Arryn who’s technically the Lord of the Vale, showed up and soon revealed himself to be a proper little shit.
Joffrey might be dead, but if you’re a fan of asshole children who are obsessed with murder, don’t worry. A new challenger has appeared. As far as Sweetrobin is concerned, being a lord of a thing is all about tossing people out of the Moon Door, a hole in the Eyrie’s throne room made seemingly only for executing people. Sweetrobin thinks every castle should have a Moon Door. He’s mad that Sansa’s snow Winterfell doesn’t have one. He stomps on her castle, declaring any keep that doesn’t have a high-elevation murder hatch to be “broken.” Again, this guy is technically a lord of things.
Littlefinger swooped on in to console Sansa, and then got creepy on her with his lips. He is literally old enough to be her dad. Petyr Baelish revealed that the only woman he’s ever loved has been Sansa’s mom. However, she’s somewhat dead at the moment, so he’ll creep on her daughter instead. Gross.
Lysa, who saw the interaction, blamed Sansa for Littlefinger’s unwanted advance and threatened to throw her niece out of that Moon Door that her weirdo son likes so much. Littlefinger steps in, talks down Sansa’s batshit insane aunt, takes his wife in his arms and then… Moon Door! And with that, Littlefinger is Lord Protector of the Vale. He has a castle, land, and a bunch of dudes with spears. What will he do with this newfound power?
Probably sex things.
There’s no episode next week due to Memorial Day. See you in two weeks!