GAME OF THRONES Recap: I’m On a Boat

I don’t know if I can do this anymore, Thronians. In this weird no-man’s-land of epic plot changes and post-book storylines, I think I’m finally starting to understand how all you non-book-readers have felt the last four seasons. I’m a huge bundle of many conflicting emotions, not the least of which is anger — because if Barristan Selmy is truly dead, someone at HBO is going down. How did we get from “I’M ON A BOAT” to “OH NO THEY DIDN’T” in just 50 minutes??

Well, we started out ON A BOAT. Jorah is sailing away with a captive Tyrion — east, not west, as it turns out. That’s right, the queen to whom Jorah is taking Tyrion is Daenerys, not Cersei. Because he’s pretty damn smart when not drowning in wine, Tyrion deduces Jorah’s identity and backstory in about 30 seconds. Will Dany be happy to see her bear knight return, even with a valuable captive? Is anyone else not sorry they scrapped the whole Penny storyline from the books? I don’t even miss the Quentyn Martell story, though I’m still legitimately puzzled how they’re going to move the story forward without the Griffs!

Next, we find Jaime and Bronn — ON A BOAT — sneaking into Dorne for a little fucking and fighting. So, you know, Bronn’s best case scenario. These two road buddies are shaping up even better than expected, offering some laugh out loud moments. Such bromance! Unsurprisingly betrayed by their boat captain, our bros are set upon by a patrol of four Dornish guards, and Jaime gets to test his mettle (and metal) with a for-real left-handed fight. So long, unnamed Dornish patrolmen! Then, at last, we finally meet the three of the Sand Snakes, Oberyn Martell’s fierce bastard daughters — Obara, Nym, and Tyene. They know about Jaime, and are down with Ellaria’s suggestion of war — because, you know, you probably don’t earn a nickname like “Sand Snakes” from a reputation for contemplation and cool-headedness.

In King’s Landing, Cersei continues maneuvering, seemingly doing a far more competent and rational job of it than book Cersei. She whittles away at the “not small enough” Small Council, sending Lord Tyrell to Braavos to placate the Iron Bank, which has called in the crown’s debts (good luck with that, Mace). She also continues to play nice with the High Sparrow, reinstituting the Faith Militant, a long-since-disbanded military arm of the Faith of the Seven. She then betrays Ser Loras as gay, and he is imprisoned by the Faith along with the gaggle of occupants of Littlefinger’s brothel. Margaery is not pleased, to say the least, but her boy king can’t find a non-violent solution to set Loras free. Margaery and Cersei’s cold war just escalated a few notches. And what will happen to poor Loras?

At the Wall, the internet has spoken. There’s a vocal minority out there who are Team Stannis all the way (or at least Team Stephen Dillane), and HBO has responded by upping his level of badassery, giving him a sweet father-daughter moment with Shireen. Did you hear that, book-readers? Stannis. Doting dad. Does not compute. He’s, like, totally chill when Jon refuses his offer of Winterfell, assures Melisandre he’ll take her along on his campaign rather than leaving her at Castle Black, and actually gives Shireen a hug. Who is this, and what has he done with book Stannis?? In further Wall news, Melisandre attempts to seduce Jon — because boobs — and, when he refuses, hits him with a You Know Nothing, Jon Snow. WTF? At this point, I know nothing either.

Speaking of not knowing any more, in Winterfell Sansa is visiting the tombs of her ancestors, lighting a candle for her late aunt Lyanna. Littlefinger appears and recounts the story of Lord Whent’s tourney at Harrenhal that essentially led to the start of the war that took down the Targaryans and put Robert Baratheon on the throne, when Rhaegar Targaryen won the tourney, then bypassed his wife to name Lyanna Stark the Queen of Love and Beauty. But no time to reminisce — Petyr has been recalled by Cersei to King’s Landing, and is leaving Sansa to her own devices with the Boltons. He puts his cards on the table — he’s counting on Stannis to come south, re-take Winterfell from the Boltons, and name Sansa Wardeness of the North. But, barring that, he’s counting on Sansa to seduce Ramsay and outmaneuver him. Good luck with that, Sansa.

But then… then… we’re back in Meereen with more stories of Rhaegar, as Barristan Selmy tells Dany happy stories of Rhaegar’s signing and charity and stuff. Good times! All is well! Hizdahr zo Loraq has come back again to plead for the reopening of the fighting pits, but that’s no big deal — Selmy can take a break. Happy fun times! He can take a nice quiet stroll through the streets of Meereen, right? Or, you know, he could come upon Grey Worm and a patrol of Unsullied getting their asses kicked in broad daylight by some Sons of the Harpy and charge in to save the day. OR HE AND GREY WORM COULD JUST BE KILLED. This was my Ned Stark moment. This never happened in the books, and I ended the episode mad as hell — Stannis gets a makeover and Barristan the Bold gets KILLED??? (Pro tip, Team Stannis: Selmy > Stannis any day.) If next week’s episode doesn’t start with those two convalescing in the Temple of the Graces or somesuch, I might just lose my shit. I’m sorry, non-book-readers — five seasons in, I can finally sympathize. It’s a scary new world, not knowing what’s going to happen, and I don’t like it.

Previous post MOMMY — Festival Favorite Arrives on Home Video
Next post TWILIGHT TIME Brings the Insanity of ZARDOZ to Blu-ray