“A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell. And I’m going home.”
There’s only so much a die-hard fan can take of appetizing and table-setting; even on a brilliant show like Game of Thrones, and especially when a lot of it doesn’t make narrative sense. If the last few episodes were all about slow-burning buildups, this was much more of the same, even as the fantastic preview of this week’s episode promised so much more. Alas, it was not to be. So without further ado,
1. Ser Jaime Lannister: Who knew our favourite Kingslayer had the tactical acumen and the gambling instinct one would associate with his better at drinking brother? Not only did he take Riverrun back but, he did it without shedding much blood. It would seem that the Blackfish did underestimate Jaime and his own nephew. Oh, poor Edmure.
Kudos to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau too. His scenes with Edmure and Brienne were very effective, easily exhibiting why Jaime is the most exciting, morally ambiguous character in the Westeros universe. His silent wave as Brienne rowed into the darkness, was especially saddening for those who wanted Jaime to cast aside his wretched sister.
2. The Hound and the Mountain: It doesn’t take long for a Clegane to get his hands bloody, right? Whereas the Hound slaughtered a small company of a wannabe Brotherhood, Ser Robert Strong ripped apart a Sparrow’s head and spinal cord in one quick motion. Shame neither of them are on the market for hire, though.
3. Arya Stark: So, two seasons of training as a Faceless assassin has led to well, Arya abandoning the Faceless Men to return to Westeros. I admit, a part of me whooped when she said those final lines. Even though the buildup to this moment was often dull and for the past two weeks, implausible and anti-climactic (I mean seriously, who here thought Arya was really going to die?), those final two minutes, where Arya retrieves her Needle and declares her intentions to be homebound, partly redeems her story in Braavos.
1. Book Jaime: Jaime Lannister is by far, the best-written character in the books. Show Jaime however, less so. As well as Jaime did this week, I am constantly confounded by Jaime’s love for Cersei. Maybe this is a plan. Maybe, this is a plan to make the endgame of the Valanqar seem more profound. This is understandable but, that doesn’t make him a better character. And, that’s disappointing.
2. Fan Theories: Last week, I discussed the possible fruition of two popular theories, Cleganebowl and the return of Lady Stoneheart. After this week, it would seem that HBO was just messing with us. Probably no Cleganebowl (Not in the manner imagined), and definitely, no Lady Stoneheart (You see, Beric had to die for that).
In a season full of expected and sort of unexpected returns, this episode just shit on the best of our theories. Damn.
3. Cersei Lannister: Cersei is, without a doubt, the loneliest character in the universe. No Jaime, her son wouldn’t talk to her and now, she can’t have the Mountain kick ass for her because trial by combat is banned. Something tells me, Episode 10 will be ‘the’ episode for our favourite queen of madness.
Kudos to Lena Headey though. She deserved to win the Emmy last year for her devastatingly powerful act last year. Let’s hope she gets one this year, at least.
4. Riverrun Detour: In the books, Riverrun is an opportunity for quiet reflection and introspection on Jaime’s part. Here, as it would seem, Riverrun was just a detour, a detour that achieved nothing other than killing time. No character I care about, whether it is Jaime, Brienne, or even Pod and Bronn come out any different out of this, and that is a shame. Personally, I had expected Jaime and Brienne being on opposite sides to touch upon that tricky question, which is Ser Jaime’s honour and conscience. Alas, I’m disappointed.
Also, Lord or not, feudal authority or not, I don’t buy the soldiers choosing Edmure over the Blackfish.
And to think, the show killed off the Blackfish off-screen. Damn.
Missing in Action: The Northern Storyline, Greyjoys and Dorne (As bad as it was logic and Myrcella’s murder considered, Dorne should have been a priority over Riverrun. She was, after all, the King’s sister).
Stray thoughts: Screw you, Tommen. Way to kill the hype for Cleganebowl. Say what you want but, at least Joffrey wouldn’t have seen his mother humiliated like this.
Varys is off to Westeros (To meet a certain Hand, I presume). Shame the show under-utilized Tyrion and him this season. Also, I was hoping to see Varys chair a Eunuch support group with Greyworm and Theon.
How bland and predictable was Dany’s return to Meereen? Personally, I believe the show will be better served by making her the villain, not the Queen. Not as long as her idea of ruling involves theatrics, naïve idealism, mean streaks and dragons with an exceptional sense of timing.
Best Scene: That sad farewell across the river. Although, Bronn fooling around with Pod was quite a hoot.
Here’s the preview for next week, ‘The Battle of the Bastards.’
Until next week, Hodor.
Image Sources: Google Images
For last week’s review see,