Game of Thrones: The Gift. Life after Sansa’s Wedding Night.

Everyone was in an uproar after last week’s episode that showed Sansa’s wedding night so thankfully no one else gets married this week, but we do get to hear Dany plan her own up coming nuptials.  That should be a fun time too right?

So this season we’ve had a lot of misdirection with the episode names (Kill the Boy, Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken, etc) and this one has a few meanings as well. On one hand we have Jorah taking his gift to his queen, we have Dany giving the gift of the fighting pits to her people, and lastly in the books Jon offered “The Gift” or an area of land between the wall and Winterfell to the Wildlings who wanted to come over and down. They would have to answer to Winterfell and the Seven Kingdoms, but they wouldn’t have to worry about White Walkers. So although all the Watchlings out there probably assume this title is talking about Jorah giving over Tyrion, it’s totally derived from that 5 minutes you see Jon and try to remember what he’s doing right now.

The Wall

Speaking of Jon we see him saying his goodbyes so he can go off and try to talk the rest of the Wildlings into either settling in the Gift or populating the abandoned castles along the wall to try to fight against the White Walkers. The Wildlings aren’t all crazy about this idea and neither are the men of the Night’s Watch. It’s very important you remember that they are super unimpressed by that and think Jon a traitor for what he’s doing. It plays a big role in things to come.

We also see Maester Aemon playing with Gilly’s baby and confusingly talking about his baby brother Egg (who later became King). You can tell Sam in worried about Aemon and it looks to be his last days. This is yet another departure from the books. In the books Jon send Maester Aemon and Sam off to the Citadel with their stories of White Walkers (and for Sam to become a maester to replace Aemon) and switches Gilly’s baby with Mance Rayder’s kid. Gilly takes this other baby off to safety with Sam and Aemon and Sam plans on telling his parents that her baby is his bastard. Gilly is heartbroken to leave her child, but eventually bonds with the other baby and the eventually bonds with Sam numerous times as well. Aemon does die in the books, but he does so on the journey while in Braavos (where Arya kills one of the men from the Night’s Watch for abandoning Sam). Sam thinks he died because the Wall and the cold were keeping him alive.

“He was the blood of the dragon, but now his fire has gone out. And now his watch is ended.”

So instead of taking an epic journey Aemon just dies (in the books he is super upset that he died before reaching Dany. He heard about her during the journey and he wants to tell her things about her family– I think he wants to tell her how to control her dragons). Sam and Gilly just have sex (in the most realistic sex scene yet in the series) and Ghost for some reason isn’t with Jon (but he saves Sam’s life which is awesome).

Sansa

Sansa had a rough week to say the least. Last week we saw her wedding night raping and evidently the fun hasn’t stopped for her. She’s being kept a prisoner with no contact with anyone besides Theon. In an act of desperation she gets Theon’s help signalling that old woman that offered her help before. The thing she doesn’t know is that Theon is 100% scared of Ramsey and instead of going and lighting a candle like Sansa asked he went straight to the Bastard and told on her. Which didn’t go quite so well for the old lady.

Sansa and Ramsey walk around the castle discussing their future– or really just discussing Ramsey’s future as the Lord of Winterfell. I have to admire Sansa’s guts at pointing out the obvious, but she’s crazy. You don’t call Ramsey Snow Bolton a bastard to his face. She’s given him something to think about though even if she’ll definitely pay for it later. (She did manage to grab a weapon for later on this walk about– but will she be able to use it?)

Ramsey: Call me Bastard one more time!

Seriously though– I’m pretty sure she just guaranteed a pregnant woman’s death. Do you think the Frey’s will be cool with it when it’s one of their own?

Sansa: Yeah, about him. . .I didn’t like him either.

After viewing Ramsey’s work on the old lady help I think Sansa is finally realizing what kind of person she married. As much as I cannot stand Sansa in the books and wish that she’d been killed off in place of any of the other Starks, I have to say she’s much more in control of herself on the show than in the books. In the books she’s just concerned with what is happening to her and where her next lemoncake is coming from. Of course she’s also not married to Ramsey so she has that going for her.

Stannis

Stannis is stuck in the snow trying to march on Winterfell and losing people by the day. Either deserting or dying from lack of heat and food. He’s losing before he’s even started and he can’t go back to the Wall because he will just be stuck there. Defeated. Melisandre states that she knows how to take Winterfell and that all they need to do is sacrifice someone with King’s blood. Which just happens to be his daughter who she wants to burn alive. Yeah totes sounds like good idea. I love Stannis for not only rejecting this idea but sending the Red Woman away after she suggests it. It truly is a despicable plan (and not at all in the books).

In the books she’s wanting to burn Mance’s baby which is why Jon sends the baby away from the wall. Melisandre really is a horrible person, but she might play a role in helping Jon with all those people that think he’s a traitor now so I don’t wish her dead. Yet.

Jorah

Jorah and Tyrion manage to get sold together (after some quick action on Tyrion’s part) and are headed to the fighting pit of Mereen (you know the pits that Dany just opened back up under the condition that no slaves would be used. . .yeah about that).

In the books Tyrion actually saves Jorah here. Jorah is in a somewhat in a catatonic state at this point and Tyrion is being sold with another dwarf  Penny. (Be super glad they cut the whole Penny and her dog and pig show out of the series). He says that Jorah plays the bear in the act and all good acts must have a bear. They also don’t get sold into the fighting pits, but Tyrion ends up there later on and gets saved at the last minute by Dany (it’s more complicated then that, but pretty much that’s what happens).

We see Dany getting some lovin’ time with her man Daario who she claims she cannot marry because she has to marry the Master from Mereen for political purposes. Let me say though that Daario has the right idea about killing all the masters and showing people what’s up. If she did marry Daario they would make a pretty BA team. She has become too careful (and gotten a rather odd wig too).

Now we have come to a meeting between Jorah and his queen. In a scene copied from Gladiator they are all fighting in front of the queen and Jorah realizes it and runs out to fight too. I’m pretty sure Russell Crowe was in the group of fighters, but Jorah manages to kill them all. Dany is shocked and appalled by this sight and obviously is having second doubts about opening the fighting pits again (as she should). Jorah reveals himself to her at the end and before she can have him removed he tells her he has a gift for her. On cue Tyrion runs out and announces he is the gift. When asked he proclaims himself Tyrion Lannister. Oh you know just the son  of the man that ordered the slaughter of your family. She seems to take it like you’d expect.

Queen of Thorns

The Queen of Thorns and the High Sparrow have words together. He seems to genuinely like her and spars verbally with her for a while. She can’t figure him out though and doesn’t exactly win this exchange. This of course frustrates her and she is obviously trying to figure out a way to bring down the High Sparrow.

She meets with Petyr who tempts her with a deal to take down the Lannisters. He’s playing all sides to make sure that he has an agreement with the winning party. . .no matter who that is.

Cersei

Well, well, well. She’s still oblivious as to what is going on with the church and thinks everything is going her way. After Tommen threatens to go talk to the High Sparrow to get his wife freed Cersei steps in tells Tommen that she’ll go on his behalf to try to get her freedom.

She does visit the High Sparrow and Margeary as well. She’s super smug about what’s going on with Margeary and obviously thinks that everything is going her way. Well that is until she starts talking to the High Sparrow. He tells her about how Lancel came to them broken and slowly unburdened himself to the church. He told them about the horrible things that he did with Cersei and that gives them grounds to arrest her as well. Yeah she tries the same reasoning that Margeary did and it gets her just as far.

In the books Cersei’s plan to get rid of Tommen’s bride is much more complicated and it looks like she has framed Margeary successfully until the men she had swear that they had sex with Margeary were tortured until they admitted they were lying. I do hope they keep the punishment the same in the show as in the books though. Let’s just say that it’s very very satisfying. Plus boobs.

Dorne

Back in Dorne Myrcella doesn’t want to leave because she loves her betrothed and wants to marry him. Jamie doesn’t quite know how to handle her. Bronn mocks and taunts the Sand Snakes in their cell which is amusing until one of them feels the need to make sure we see some breasts this episode. It’s totally unnecessary and ridiculous. All of you people that were up in arms last week about Sansa should be kicking up a fuss about the show’s use of naked women to keep viewer’s interest. I don’t need to see someone naked every five minutes to keep my attention. Bronn of course was poisoned by his cut and after boobs were seen he receives the antidote. Because boobs. I don’t know this whole scene is confusing. But there are boobs so I guess we’re not supposed to question it.

On the bright side– no rapes this week!  Plus Cersei is getting a taste of her own medicine so it’s almost a cheerful episode even if we did lose a main character.

Game of Thrones: The Watchers on the Wall. You know nothing.

We are quickly approaching the season finale so we know we’re going to see a good bit of action between this episode and the next. This episode starts out with Jon and Sam talking on the top of the Wall about love and loss and death.  Sam gets Jon to talk about Ygritte and Sam admits to his desire to have sex with Gilly and pretty much says the only thing stopping him is the fact she didn’t offer.

What the Watchlings don’t know

Sam probably wanted to have sex with Gilly the whole time he was helping her, but he never would have admitted that.  In fact in the books she comes on to him pretty strong (after this time) and he turns her down repeatedly because of his vows.  Sam says that he’s a coward, but he is one of the strongest willed people on the Wall.  He sees things in right and wrong even if his idea of what is right isn’t exactly what others would agree with.  Also Jon probably wouldn’t have talked so freely about Ygritte.  He does love her and dreams of being able to truly be with her, but is ashamed of his actions with her even though The Halfhand ordered him to do whatever it took to blend in.

Moving on to Ygritte we get to hear Tormund Giantsbane tell part of his story about sleeping with a bear. Tormund is one of my favorite characters in the books and I’m sad we didn’t get to hear the whole story.  Ygritte however interrupts him and fights with the cannibal Wildlings. More specifically the leader of the Thenns.

What the Watchlings don’t know

The Thenns in the books weren’t cannibals and although they were scary dudes they weren’t creepy like these guys.  I’m guessing that the Thenns are being used to combine all the bad things about the Wildlings and to take the place of a character named Rattleshirt.  I’m not horribly upset with this change though.  I can see the sense in consolidating.

Here is that story from Tormund since it was cut short on the show:

I was in me Ruddy Hall, with only a cask o’ mead to keep me company and nothing to do but drink it. The more I drank, the more I got thinking about this woman lived close by, a fine strong woman with the biggest pair of teats you ever saw. She had a temper on her that one, but oh, she could we warm too, and in the deep of winter a man needs his warmth.

“The more I drank, the more I thought about her, and the more I thought the harder me member got, till I couldn’t suffer it no more. Fool that I was I bundled meself up in furs from head to heels, wrapped a winding wool around me face, and set off to find her. The snow was coming down so hard I got turned around once or twice, and the wind blew right through me and froze me bones, but finally I come on her, all bundled up like I was.

“The woman had a terrible temper, and she put up quite the fight when I laid hands on her. It was all I could do to carry her home and get her out o’ them furs, but when I did, oh, she was hotter than even I remembered, and we had a fine old time, and then I went to sleep. Next morning when I woke the snow had stopped and the sun was shining, but I was in no fit state to enjoy it. All ripped and torn I was, and had me member bit right off, and there on me floor was a she-bear’s pelt. And soon enough the free folk were telling tales of this bald bear seen in the woods, with the queerest pair o’ cubs behind her. Har!” He slapped his meaty thigh. “Would that I could find her again. She was fine to lay with, that bear. Never was a woman give me such a fight, nor such strong sons neither.”

There is the theory that the “bear” he slept with was a Mormont woman, perhaps Lord Mormont’s sister. I don’t know that I buy that, but that would make for an interesting twist!

Image

Swap back to Sam still talking about sex. Seriously Sam I don’ t think you’re supposed to tell everyone about how you want to break your vows? OK we get it you think Gilly in all her incestuous glory is hot. But wait! I bet all of you Watchlings had forgotten about Maester Aemon told Jon Snow that before he became a Maester he was Aemon Targaryen. Don’t worry they are reinforcing that again for you.

And then all of a sudden Gilly shows up with the baby and Sam suddenly gets his courage. . .right before the Wildlings show up.

What the Watchlings don’t know

Once again Sam felt strongly about Gilly, but he didn’t flagrantly flaunt any desires to break his vows or “go with her wherever she goes.” I’m guessing they are setting up this storyline to help you out a little later with some stuff that happens. . .and stuff.  But unless they speed that part of the plot along it’ll be a while before anything develops on that front.

So Maester Aemon once again brings up his heritage, probably just to remind everyone that had forgotten it since it was first told a few seasons ago.  This is important though because The Red Woman is on the hunt for King’s blood to do spells with and Aemon comes from kings.  Also it’s important because eventually even Maester Aemon will hear about Dany and her dragons.

Enter the beginning of the Wildling battle. Now I’m not one for epic battle scenes, but the show does this really well.  It was very much reminiscent of The Battle of Helms Deep.  All we needed was an elf and a dwarf competing over the number of kills and it could have been straight from The Lord of the Rings. I’m not going to break down every bit of this battle so I’ll just hit the highlights as they come about.

What the Watchlings don’t know

Janos Slynt is being used to manipulate the Wall from King’s Landing– not very well, but that’s one of the reasons he is such an ass to Jon Snow. Janos is really a horrible human being even more so than the show makes him seem. This episode showed Ser Alliser pretty much tell Jon that the was right, but he didn’t care that he was right. Yeah him and Janos get along well.  That’s all.

Also Sam is getting braver, but not quite so brave as it looks here.  I do love that they have Sam encouraging all the brothers.  He’s the last person you’d think would lend courage to others. Finally the giants should be important later on. Know that most people thought giants extinct too so just the sight of giants attacking was disconcerting for the Black Brothers.

 

Continued death and destruction from the Wildlings– all the blood and guts you could desire. Scary giants, scary mammoths, scary Wildlings. Many people die and it’s hard to keep track of all the deaths, but 0f course there is just one death that they want to you be sure to have emotional damage about. Ygritte.

“Jon Snow, is this a proper castle now? Not just a tower?”“It is.” Jon took her hand.“Good,” she whispered. “I wanted t’ see one proper castle, before … before I …”“You’ll see hundred castles. The battle’s done. Maester Aemon will see to you. You’re kissed by fire, remember? Lucky. It will take more than an arrow to kill you. Aemon will draw it out and patch you up, and we’ll get milk of the poppy for the pain.”She just smiled at that. “D’you remember that cave? We should have stayed in that cave. I told you so.”“We’ll go back to the cave,” he said.” You’re not going to die, Ygritte. You’re not.”“Oh.” Ygritte cupped his cheek with her hand. “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” she sighed, dying.”

“Jon Snow, is this a proper castle now? Not just a tower?”“It is.” Jon took her hand.“Good,” she whispered. “I wanted t’ see one proper castle, before … before I …”“You’ll see hundred castles. The battle’s done. Maester Aemon will see to you. You’re kissed by fire, remember? Lucky. It will take more than an arrow to kill you. Aemon will draw it out and patch you up, and we’ll get milk of the poppy for the pain.”She just smiled at that. “D’you remember that cave? We should have stayed in that cave. I told you so.”“We’ll go back to the cave,” he said.” You’re not going to die, Ygritte. You’re not.”“Oh.” Ygritte cupped his cheek with her hand. “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” she sighed, dying.”

What the Watchlings don’t know

Jon didn’t see Ygritte die exactly like this.  He found her after the battle with an arrow through her and then worried/dreamed that he had been the one that had killed her during the battle and didn’t realize it. She did die in his arms, but it wasn’t quite so poignant as this scene.  This is one time I will say that I prefer how it was changed to how it was written.  There was closure here.  Jon saw her, felt relief at her presence even if she did look like she was about to kill him, and then got to say goodbye after she was shot. It was nice to have a good end to this love story. And by good I mean heartbreaking end, but I think everyone knew how that would end.

Sam and Jon are walking around and leading the clean up from the battle.  Then Jon announces his intentions to go and treat with Mance Rayder and try to put an end to this without more loss of life. I want to know where Ghost is? He was let out so why is he not at Jon’s side.  I would think Jon would want him by his side during this interaction with Mance.

Last comment from the episode is that the variations on the theme song were amazing.  It was dark and pulled at one’s emotions just by hearing that familiar, yet different, line of music.  Beautiful.

What the Watchlings don’t know

Ser Alliser and Janos Slynt were not present during this battle, but showed up after it was done to talk about what should have happened.  They then forced Jon Snow to go out and meet with Mance Rayder fulling assuming that Mance would kill Jon for his betrayal.  That’s the way it appears to be going until. . . something happens that I’m assuming we’ll see next week.

I love that Jon is a strong character and seems to be in control, but also miss that level of desperation that Jon felt being sent to his most certain death.

Next week will be so very very eventful.  We have a wedding to plan, a wife to kill and Guilder to frame for it.  Or maybe a peace to negotiate, a dwarf to kill and a whore to blame for it.

Boob count: 0 (! Really HBO? I’m surprised you didn’t throw in a female giant’s boob)

Major Character Death: 1 (Ygritte)