This might have been my least favourite episode to date and we had Gendry!!! Okay, in all fairness, it wasn’t a bad episode. There was just one particular conflict that I am not looking forward to seeing continue.
And no, it’s not Jon3rys. I couldn’t give two shits about that right now.
But let’s begin, shall we?
For anyone who still believes Dany to be a good person, I honestly suggest going to an optometrist or retaking high school English because how much more obvious can this show get? I didn’t get to write down her full speech, but following this:
“I’m not here to murder…”
“Bend the knee and join me or refuse and die”
You’re kind of a hypocrite and a really obvious one at that. War is horrible, I get it, and good people do atrocious things in war, but that’s why we, as modern somewhat enlightened (although questionable) human beings, have war trials. People may die in war, as that is inevitable, but there are certain acts that no decent human should perform even in the midst of war.
I know I’m quoting Wikipedia here, but whatever:
Examples of war crimes include intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, torture, destroying civilian property, taking hostages, perfidy, rape, using child soldiers, pillaging, declaring that no quarter will be given, and serious violations of the principles of distinction and proportionality, such as strategic bombing of civilian populations.
Do you think a man as concerned with portraying war as a clusterfuck of morally grey characters would place an entitled figure with weapons of mass destruction which she uses indiscriminately, who commits war crimes, as the main protagonist? Do you think that is a good conclusion? And this is simply going by this episode and not the mess Dany made in previous seasons.
She had Randyll and Dickon Tarly as her prisoners. There was no need to execute them, or at least no need to execute both of them. If she wanted to make an example, she could do so with Randyll, but fine, let’s concede the fact it had to be done. She burned them. A slow, horrible, agonising death. She could have beheaded them, as was customary in Westeros, but no, she chose to burn them because you know why? She likes it. She’s done it before. Burning her enemies gives her great satisfaction of her power, but also it spreads fear into the hearts of everyone there because she knows it’s the only way to get them to submit.
If she allowed them the third option of becoming a prisoner of war, she knows they’d choose that over her. She even says so to Tyrion, because guess what? The people of Westeros doesn’t like or want Dany as their queen. Cersei may be a Grade A Bitch, but she’s the bitch they know. She doesn’t have dragons to burn those who defy her at her will. Yes, she’s powerful and could still easily execute people at a moment’s notice, but they’ve seen her humiliated and frightfully human when she was made to walk naked in shame through the streets of King’s Landing. She is human and she can fall. To them, Dany wields her power like a god and not the kind they worship out of love but out of fear. What kind of ruler is that?
And let’s talk about execution in general here. We’ve seen a lot of it over the seasons, and what we always come back to as a code of honour and true morality in this grey world is this quote from Mr Honour himself, Ned Stark:
“The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.”
Mr Honour Jr aka Jon Snow lives by this rule like a life motto. If he must sentence a man to die, he will swing the sword himself, and throughout the show, we’ve seen Jon do this and we’ve seen how this weighs upon him, though the culprits may be deserving. Yes, people die in war and Jon has killed on the battlefield for survival, but executing someone is a deliberate act. It’s taking the life of a human while they are powerless to stop you. Jon doesn’t take any pleasure in it.
But Dany… She’s executed people left, right and center. Burning them in the most unnecessarily cruel way because she can and because it instills fear. Feeding them to her dragons which is even worse. That’s not at her hand. That’s cowardly and sadistic.
You know who else rules through fear?
“The only way to keep your people loyal is to make certain they fear you more than they do the enemy.”
Cersei bloody Lannister.
Yeah, let that sink in. And let’s move on.
Jon meeting Drogon. I hated this scene, although I see how it’s important in establishing Jon as a Targaryen. I didn’t like it mostly because I was still reeling Drogon burning the Tarly’s alive, and yet right after, they have Jon bonding with Drogon like some special moment. But do you think Jon would even touch that dragon if he knew the horrors Dany had made Drogon do? Or the fact that she just executed Jon’s best friend’s family in the worst way possible? Yeah, Sam hated his father, but he didn’t hate his brother. And no matter what animosity there was between them, Sam is a good person and he would still be devastated by this. Not to mention we weren’t given all those Dickon scenes where the man acted with honour, kindness and bravery, just to dismiss him as another faceless enemy of Dany’s. He was Sam’s brother and so much like Sam in a way. I think that’s what made his death in spite only knowing him for 2 episodes so heartbreaking. Also, why this meeting between Jon and Drogon made me angry and disgusted.
Of course, it also establishes some Jon3rys bonding, although more so on Dany’s side. Let’s face it, the Dragon Queen wants familial Dragon D. Her heart eyes for Jon throughout this episode was at least 100x more convincing than previous episodes between them. Jon, on the other hand, has moments where he does seem to think Dany is alright, but I still don’t see the same level of affection on his end at all. As always, he has a one-track mind and that’s the war up North.
And I’m sorry but Dany’s attraction towards Jon seems to predicate on her notion that he’s as heroic and powerful as her. I get that he is and that’s a wonderful reason to fall in love with him, but it’s still falling in love with the idea of him and not who he is, because who Jon is, isn’t that person. He doesn’t want to be a hero or to be powerful. I know Show Jon doesn’t go into this, but Book Jon wants a family, to settle in Winterfell and live peacefully and honourably like his pseudo father. But Dany will never know that about him because she doesn’t know him. Take her asking Jon about whether he got a knife to the heart, the wonder and awe in her eyes as she asks him. She wants him to be just like her (or her delusional perception of herself as some kind of prophesised princess that was promised). Jon is who she thinks she is and she’s attracted to that, which is basically some Game of Thrones version of Narcissus. When she realises he’s a Targaryen, she’ll feel threatened more than relieved she’s not alone, because if she thinks he’s her then she’ll think he wants the Iron Throne and he’s a threat to her ambitions.
There’s a reason why after all that Gilly discovers the Rhaegar and Elia annulment (which btw is such bullshit but whatever). Jon has more right to the Iron Throne than she does.
What’s funny about this episode that even Dany’s Second Biggest Fan struggles to support her. Yes, he still will, but that entire conversation he has with Varys just sounds a lot like he’s trying to convince himself that ‘yes, all rulers burn their prisoners like a sadistic pyroqueen, and yes, Dany is so not like her father’. And the fact that her own loyal subjects are questioning her? Yeah, tell me again how she’s a hero.
Now onto the main reason why I hate this episode: StarkBowl. But oh ho, not Jon and Sansa StarkBowl but Sansa and Arya.
I’ve always loved Arya. She was my favourite character for so many seasons, until I fell madly in love with Sansa, although Arya remains in my Number 2 spot. But this episode, I felt such a burning anger towards her. After all they’ve been through, everything Sansa’s endured, Arya would still hold her accountable for the beliefs Sansa held as a young child. She’s changed and grown so much on account of her experiences yet she will not lend her own sister the same courtesy. It pisses me off because what Arya is doing (judging and accusing Sansa of things she didn’t do or for who she was when she was a child) is exactly what Anti-Sansa’s have been doing for years. And her own short-sighted, ignorant inability to grasp that this woman before her is not the same Sansa she once knew has now led her to being manipulated and conned by Littlefinger.
What I can only hope is that Sansa is smarter than Littlefinger. Bran wouldn’t give Arya the dagger if he foresaw Arya using it on Sansa. And I feel like it is so uncharacteristic of Arya, who has longed for so long to be reunited with her pack, to suddenly break down by childish prejudice at the first miscommunication. Sansa is far more cunning than anyone gives her credit for and I feel that this could all be a long orchestrated con on Littlefinger himself. Arya’s not that stupid. I refuse to believe she’s stupid enough to underestimate LF that way and let herself be manipulated so easily. I feel like perhaps that fight between Sansa and Arya was for LF’s benefit because it felt so contrived, so out of nowhere. I know this speculation is also heavily biased by my refusal to believe that the Starks would fight amongst themselves after all they went through, but I do believe that LF will die this season. It won’t be at Sansa’s hand but it will be because of Sansa’s machinations.
Now, onto Gendry!!!!!
The happiest part about this hell episode because fuck, he’s so hot still. That cropped hair, those muscles, that smile… Yeah, swoon. He’s also hilariously bullheaded (very like a Baratheon) when he ignores Davos, hits those soldiers with his hammer and immediately tells Jon who he is.
In fact, there was this instant spark of chemistry between Gendry and Jon in their first meeting.
“You’re a lot leaner.”
“You’re a lot shorter.”
The gentle ribbing of two strangers is adorable, but it also reminds me of Ned and Robert’s first scene together:
"You’ve got fat.”
Now the parallels of Jon as Ned is nothing we haven’t seen before. Gendry as Robert is newer, and Jon and Gendry together as Ned and Robert is so satisfying to watch. It also makes me, a trash shipper, so happy because you know if Jon is being paralleled as Ned in this episode, you know who is being paralleled as Cat?
Yes, that’s right. Strong, confident Sansa, who was called only Lady Stark in the Great Hall meeting.
I know I’m crazy but I’m still not worried about Jonsa. That scene in the Great Hall just kept making me think of Sansa as Penelope. She’s there holding onto Winterfell for Jon’s return as he gallivants off on his many missions and overcomes his many trials. She’s there, always loyal and true to him, and maintains his kingdom for him.
Boatbang may happen (likely), but Odysseus also slept with Calypso, before ultimately returning to his lady love. I believe the same will happen for Jonsa.
Also, who thinks Cersei’s not actually pregnant? I think she’s beginning to question Jaime’s loyalty and needs to firmly hold him in place. And I think when he finds out she’s not after all he’s done for, all the sinful things he did, it might make him plunge that sword into her heart prophecy-style. Or not a sword. I don’t know.
But that’s it for me. My head hurts. My heart hurts. And I maintain that I hate this episode because fuck StarkBowl. And fuck disrespecting Sansa like that.
Before I begin my unsolicited recap of the episode, I beg you to please excuse the disorderliness of the piece and lack of direct quotes. I’m at work at the moment and I can’t fact check the quotes right now, so this post is pretty much based off of my impressions of last night and general scrolling through Tumblr. Please excuse the following incoherent jumble of thoughts.
Ok. First impression, Fire Beast Castle is straight up sinister. It gives me the creeps. It’s all dark and brooding and I don’t know how those poor Targs of Valyria the Old were holed up in there for 100+ years. I would have gone crazy.
D is headed down the path of insanity and I HAVE NO REGRETS. Her little speech to Varys was vaguely threatening AF. Be my dude and bow at the altar of my greatness, and you may live. Poison me like you advised Good King Bob and I will feed you to my dragons. Tell me, o readers, is this what one calls a kind, benevolent, and just queen? It’s becoming clearer and clearer just how opposite Jon and D are. One is, like I said, just and benevolent, and the other is ruthless, power hungry, and much much much too self-confident.
I gotta say, though, I have a soft spot for wise old ladies, and I loved the little conversation with Olenna, and how she inspired the great and mighty Mother of Dragons to listen to her sage advice. Ignore the men and you’ll survive. Advice that I wholeheartedly agree with, though at this point, I’m kinda rooting for D to disregard said advice because *whispers*I don’t want her to survive. There. I said it. Make it quick, GoT Fandom. I don’t want to suffer.
And don’t even get me started on the Lady Mel’s sudden appearance! Did you see how D’s eyes light up when she hears that the prophecy may not necessarily be referring to a prince?? That lady is headed down the rabbit hole and I am here for it. And D, from one gal to another, you are NOT Jon Snow’s QUEEN until he kneels to you (which I hope and pray that Jon will not be stupid enough to do). He has his own kingdom and until he decides to proclaim you as such, you really need to get a hold of that self-titling obsession you’ve got. It’s not pretty.
Ok, but GWxM killed me. KILLED ME. “I have one weakness” ahjdhflhlsfhlgsjlgsjlgjslg. But to be honest, you know how it is when you play the Game of Thrones. They’re both basically walking corpses now :(
“In Essos, her brutality is already legendary. She crucified hundreds of noblemen in Slaver’s Bay. And when she grew bored of that, she fed them to her dragons.”
Cersei, pal, I never thought I’d say this, but I agree with you, lady. I agree with you! This woman knows of that which she speaks.
@heathergee25 has a Tarly theory that looks to be on the right track. Go check it out!
Otherwise, idk, bored.
Ew, Samwell, ew. That scene was basically me browsing through another window on my screen while crackling flesh and unholy grunts made their way through my headphones. Poor Jorah and his love letter to his Khaleesi.
But I love the fact that, as JBW pointed out, bookish, shy Sam was never good at anything, yet here, in the library, here he finds his battleground, and I firmly stand behind all those underappreciated BTS players who ultimately save the day!. Sam “I killed an actual White Walker with a blade of glass” Tarly is not here for your “no can do” attitude. Looking at you, Maester Slughorn.
My baby Arya is going home!!! Hot Pie called her pretty!!! I think that’s the first time in her life she’s been called pretty and she liked it!! And her face when she finds out that her beloved Jon Snow is now King in the North!! Damn you, D&D, making my baby Starklings just miss each other. Can’t say I’m surprised, though.
I don’t cry often when watching things, but I literally had tears of joy welling in my eyes when Arya spotted Nymeria and she let herself be petted. Man, that wolf if huge! And then, of course, when Nymeria backed away, my heart cracked just that wee bit. *sniffs* WHY?????
Somewhere in the Narrow Sea
I’m not one for battle scenes, so I didn’t really follow along. Sorry if that’s your thing. BUT, Yara and Ellaria get it on, obviously, mere moments before their ship is ransacked by Pirate Uncle Euron. Obviously. Never really cared for the Sand Snakes, so I’m glad they’re gone. And Theon. I don’t know what set him off, but that guy has some serious PTSD and that breaks my heart. Are you dead, Theon? Please don’t be dead, Theon. I have so many questions.
Saved the best for last. *rubs hands gleefully together* Let’s get down to it!
I’mma be honest here for a sec, we got wayyyy too few North scenes and they were much too rushed. I would be happy to watch an entire 8 seasons of just my Starklings home in their ice castle. But that’s just me.
Boy, they are really laying it on thick with the Ned/Cat parallels. They’re not even trying to be subtle at this point. The first scene begins just the way the Ned/Cat scene begins in S1. An arrow hitting a target with the lord and lady figures looking down from on high. I swear though, that’s a scene straight out of a Jonsa future-fic. Mother and Father gazing down proudly as their Stargaryen babies become the best archers and swordsmen in the land.
Jon looking to Sansa for her take on Tyrion great and if you still think StarkBowl is an actually feasible possibility as cast and crew love to claim, just watch the episode. You’ll have no doubts whatsoever.
Ok. Meeting scene. I know that we all may not agree with Jon’s decisions all the time, but he is just, benevolent, and decisive. All good things in a king. Now, if he would only listen to his platonic-hot-sister-wife-hand-queen, that would be even better.
He makes his decision with listening to the dissenting voices and you know what, I understand him. “The North is my home. It’s part of me and I will never stop fighting for it, no matter the odds”. Jon has no desire to meet D. He has no desire to bend the knee. He needs the dragonglass and that is the one and only reason why he is going south. Sansa knows that he needs the weaponry and the army that D can provide. She knows that the WW are the biggest threat right now. But she protests because she’s SCARED. The last two times that the Starks rode south, they never returned. Also, kinda awkward that one grandfather roasted the other one. Oops.
But that look when Jon turns to Sansa, looks her straight in the eye, and says “I will accept”, did me in. It’s like no one else exists in the room and Hubby just asked Wifey for her consent in their secret married language. But what absolutely killed me was Sansa’s face when Jon leaves her the North. Props to Sophie and Kit, you guys, I have no words. Sansa haters will say that this is all she wanted, for Jon to leave her in charge to do with Winterfell what she wants. I say no. Sansa has been through so much, and as another blogger pointed out, they both have been constantly told that they know nothing. To suddenly have her experiences acknowledged and validated, and to be put in a position of trust by the ruler of Winterfell, I think that is the most gratifying, humbling thing she has ever experienced. And that all is clearly written on her face. Sophie, I love you.
One last thing. When Sansa gives her speech that Jon is abandoning the North, his people, etc, I SWEAR it’s on the tip of her tongue to say “you’re abandoning me”. I swear it. Fight me.
THE SCENE which I have literally been looking forward to since the trailer came out was everything that I could have wanted, and more! Jon staring teary-eyed at the statue of his “father”, LF creeping up behind him like the creepyfinger he is, muttering unnecessary nonsense about Cat and how she never loved Jon. Jon is all like “why are you here, tho. Go away, asshole”. And as he’s about to leave, LF let’s slip about Sansa. And Jon FLIPS OUT. My lords and ladies, let me tell you, LF had a suspicion and that suspicion was just confirmed. The most fascinating thing about this episode, TBH, was watching Jon’s face transform from calm, annoyed indifference to snarling dragon-wolf hybrid ready to attack. I mean, his lip twitched and he actually snarled! I am always here for baby Jon going all Crazy Grandpa Aerys when somebody insults his platonic hot sister wife. Always here. And that smirk on LF’s blue face as Jon exits the crypts in a huff, that man knows things.
Not gonna lie, super bummed that we got no formal goodbye scene, and Jonny galloped out of Winterfell way too fast. But I do have some thoughts on what we did get. That wave. Now, I don’t remember the Jaime/Brienne scene, but seeing the gifs floating around, yep, I agree. But what I got from that brief moment was that there was a general feeling of controlled, conscious restraint. Sansa agrees that it’s necessary for Jon to leave. But she’s freaking terrified, and I think that if she lets slip something more that a curt wave and shy smile, the whole dam will break loose and she’ll never recover. That’s what I got.
Ok, time to wrap it up. Thanks for getting this far, hope you enjoyed my ramblings, and tell me what you think.
I haven’t been writing these because I feel like everything is all a bit more straightforward these days, and people don’t need recaps because everyone is an ~expert~. I got close last week because it was such a badass episode, but this one. I. AM. Shook.
while y’all keep swooning over the idea of jon and dany having a child i’m just out here in the back thinking of my fine dude khal drogo who -according to the loophole in mirri maz duur’s little prophecy- is said to come back once daenerys bears a living child. just imagine the horror in dany’s eyes once jorah knocks on her bedroom door elusively mumbling something about how it looked as though the sun rose in the west today.
“is something wrong,my queen?”
“it worked….aND NOW I HAVE TO EXPLAIN HOW I BORE MY NEPHEW A CHILD IN ORDER TO RESURRECT MY DECEASED HUSBAND SO IDK JORAH,YOU TELL ME.”