GAME OF THRONES Recap: Creeptacular Spectacular

It’s over, folks. My brief willingness to not only give the benefit of the doubt to HBO — nay, to actually express a positive opinion on their rail-jumping choices — was not rewarded. No amount of Bronn can assuage my anger at this week’s episode. Crazy internet theorists, I’ve got to give you this one: you were right. Sansa went to Winterfell to marry Ramsay Bolton. Let the gnashing of teeth begin.

Things didn’t start out that badly, though. For those of you who may not understand WTF was happening in Braavos, the House of Black and White has shrines to pretty much every known god in the world, whom they view collectively as one god with many faces. And the “gift” the Many-Faced God gives is a peaceful, voluntary death for those who drink from the pool. What’s happening with Arya is generally as expected, though accelerated, and with an extra dose of creepiness. She’s learning the mysteries of the House and those who serve — cue creepy dudes carting dead people off behind a mysterious door, and a psychotically creepy girl (presumably the “waif” of the book) whose idea of a playful good time is a little too Fifty Shades for Arya’s liking. Arya is asked to cast off “Arya Stark’s” things (literally) and become no one. She does, for the most part, but refuses to cast Needle into the river, hiding it in a pile of stones. I cheered her when she did it in the book, and I cheered here when she did it here too. That’s my girl! As a reward, she got to go into the mysterious death room… and graduate from sweeping floors to cleaning dead bodies with the Wednesday Addams waif. Good times.

Despite what I said earlier, I could almost forgive HBO the Sansa thing for Bronn combined with the Margaery angle they’ve taken. In the books, I’m pretty sure King Tommen is still in the single digits, MAYBE early tweens, so though he does marry 16-or-so-year-old Margaery, they most definitely do NOT consummate the marriage. Margaery herself is portrayed very differently in the books — you actually kind of believe she is as she appears, a very sweet and innocent maiden blind to the machinations of her family and of Cersei. It’s hard to disapprove of HBO aging Tommen up, giving him a wedding night, and letting us see what Margaery’s really thinking, when the results are what we saw here — a war far more subtle but no less deadly than the ones the dudes in armor are always fighting. Cersei and Margaery’s battle of breeziness is a sight to behold! All smiles and sweetness, dripping with honey and butter-won’t-melt with each other… not to mention the work each of them is doing on Tommen. That crack about the wine, though — I’ve got a big “OH, SNAP!” in my notes on that one. Maybe the whole Sansa thing isn’t a bad as all that…

No, wait, it totally is. We’re back at Winterfell, folks, where Reek a.k.a Theon is doing his best to remain anonymous, while Ramsay Bolton is winning friends and influencing people with a healthy dose of flaying them alive. His Dad is more circumspect, remembering that he’s only Warden of the North thanks to Tywin, now inconveniently deceased. He intends to secure alliances in a slightly less bloody way. En route to who-the-hell-knows where, Sansa recognizes Moat Cailin, and finally puts two and two together to equal HELL TO THE NO. But alas, Petyr being Petyr, he convinces Sansa to follow through and return to Winterfell to marry Ramsay. I can only hope that she’s got a grand, secret plan to slit his throat on their wedding night or something, because otherwise this is a load of BS. Also, Roose and Littlefinger don’t trust each other, and there are some creepy looking chicks looking on when Sansa meets Ramsay. As you may have guessed by my ire, none of this happens in the books (the last we saw Sansa was when she came down from the Eyrie and Littlefinger revealed his plan for her, which was definitely NOT this), and I just can’t get on board. The only ray of light is the reveal that Pod and Brienne are trailing behind. Throw in some Pod along with your Bronn and sexed-up Tommen, and MAYBE there’s something salvageable here. It was so sweet to hear them share their stories and have Brienne agree to train Pod like a proper squire.

Elsewhere nothing nearly as interesting is happening. Jon has made the kid who killed Ygritte his own steward/squire, and Stannis uncharacteristically takes the news of Jon’s refusal to accept lordship of Winterfell quite well and even lets him do whatever he wants about the wildlings. (Who is this and what is he on?) Lord Commander Jon displays strategery by assigning a ginger to latrine duty (as you do), appointing Ser Alliser as First Ranger, and assigning command of an abandoned post to Janos — and chopping off his head when he refuses to obey said direct order. (For those who think this was a bit harsh and a bit fast, in the book he did give Janos much more time to come around and follow orders before separating his head from his neck.)

For the last entries in our creep-fest, we return to King’s Landing, where a dude who turns out to be the High Septon is playing the creepiest game of musical chairs (musical whores?) ever. After being outed and shamed by some Sparrows and complaining to the Small Council, we finally meet the “High Sparrow,” the leader of the new breed of faithful in King’s Landing. Cersei sees which way the wind is blowing and makes nice with the High Sparrow, insinuating that she agrees with the Sparrows and that the crown and faith must protect one another. We all know about how religious Cersei really is… can her act really work? Stay tuned to find out. Oh, and Cersei give us our final creep-out when she asks Qyburn to send a letter… I was seriously WTFing at that loooong shot of him writing… until that table thrashed. LOL! I hope it’s what’s left of the Mountain under there. #Oberyn4ever

Last but not least, Varys and Tyrion finally make it to Volantis, answering my question about whether or not the river crew are going to get introduced (uh, HBO, you’ve read the books, right? That’s some important shit you’re leaving out… ). Tyrion is a smart man in a lot of ways, but not in this, insisting he has to leave the carriage or go mad, because who could possibly be out there to find him? Well, how about Ser Jorah, skulking around the brothel eyeballing a Dany lookalike? SHIT JUST GOT REAL.

So there you have it, Thronians. Arya’s an apprentice, Sansa’s marrying a Bolton, Margaery and Cersei have claws out, Jon’s serious about this whole Lord Commander thing, and Tyrion’s been kidnapped. Thoughts? Reactions? Crossing fingers for a Sansa-led Bolton bloodbath? Let me know in the comments.

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