Now we’re getting somewhere. A girl gets trained, Jon Snow gets a head, Tyrion gets taken, and Sansa…gets powerful?
Let’s start in the North and work our way south. Jon refuses what he always wanted in order to maintain his honor. It certainly seems laudable, and it’s certainly ironic that acting like a Stark keeps him from being a Stark. But, can any of us really say that Stannis is wrong when he tells him that Ned’s honor is what got him killed? Yet, if not honor, what is Stannis’s operating ideology? I can’t figure him out. I feel a bit like Davos, “The King is a complicated man.” He certainly appreciated Jon’s execution as a means of establishing control. So, maybe he’s a brutal man attempting to mask his utter cruelty and naked ambition behind a mask of harsh honesty and hard justice. In the end, he only seems to appreciate brutality.
Speaking of brutality, Ramsay Bolton. Flaying people is not an effective means of control. Thanks for that insight, Roose, but your son is insane. However, the show gives me a ray of hope here. Sansa is a far more powerful and important match for Ramsay than Jeyne Poole masked as Arya Stark. It seems like she might - might - be able to avoid some of his violence as he tries to please his father. But, then again, his father kept a straight face and gave him a mild tongue-lashing for flaying people alive, so, probably not. But, beyond all that, what’s Littlefinger’s motivation here? Everything he does seems like a chess move, so what’s the gambit here? I can’t quite sort it out.
Man, I hope Brienne kills Melisandre.
King’s Landing proceeds interestingly. Anyone else creeped out by a full grown woman schtupping a fourteen year old boy? All I can say about that is Cersei can never again compete with the “whore from Highgarden,” because the Queen can give Tommen sex, and his mother can’t. But, then again, she has Qyburn, and he appears to be reanimating The Mountain. Her big problem is that she thinks she can control the High Sparrow, and she can’t.
The House of Black and White looks pretty close to what I pictured in my head, which is fun. And now Arya begins her training in earnest. I will say that it’s pretty progressive of Braavos to have an entire temple dedicated to assisted suicide, but they do. Arya asked the question in her final scene, “What do we do with them after we wash them?” I’m hoping they stick pretty close to the source material here, but how realistic are they willing to make it look? Also, the most fascinating part of using a dead person’s face as a disguise was always the interaction of the deceased’s memories and the wearer’s consciousness, and that doesn’t exactly read from the TV. But don’t worry, revenge hawks, she kept Needle, so she still has her list in mind.
I was bummed when the show cut the suitor with whom Tyrion travelled in the novels, but now we’re back on track. Mormont took him to win his way back into Daenerys’s graces. Though, why wouldn’t he have been the one “worshipping” the look-alike in the brothel? It seems like something he would’ve done to me. But, what he did do was kidnap Tyrion and move him more quickly towards his destination, albeit against his will. Those plots will soon converge and, as a reader of the novels, I would still like to know to what end.
One thing’s clear, though: Winter is coming. And when it does, many of the plans of gods and men will be cast aside in the quest for survival.