Arya Stark returns in Game of Thrones this week… but there’s plenty else going on in Westeros.
With a lot of big things promised for this year’s season of GoT, it’s no wonder we’re still in the setup process for the second episode. Having said that, it’s understandable that people’s thoughts on this one have been a bit less praising than usual.
The aptly named episode is a mixed bag. Starting off with things that weirded me out: Brienne and Podrick encounter Littlefinger and Sansa. Suffice to say, it can’t be nice being Brienne right now. Both Stark girls have refused her service, and both times has led to a fight. In this case the Knights of the Vale get utterly trounced by Brienne (seriously, the only person to give her any trouble to date was an injured Sandor Clegane).
What I take away from this scene is Littlefinger quite neatly pointing out exactly why Sansa shouldn’t trust Brienne: her track record is hardly glowing. In any case, Brienne publicly identifying Sansa is not a smart move, as the girl is still wanted for her apparent involvement in Joffrey’s murder. The action scene is good, but feels unnecessary.
Tyrion and Varys don’t have a lot going on this week, relegated to one scene, presumably to give the audience their Tyrion fix. Sure enough, even at the height of drunken depression, Tyrion can still quip with the best of them. The evolving story line here will be great once we get Tyrion to Mereen, but in the mean time, this buddy road trip could wear thin very quickly.
Jaime and Cersei receive a message from Dorne: Myrcella’s necklace in the jaws of a snake. Cersei is all but ready to wage war, whereas Jaime (remember, the man who once attacked the Hand of the King in the streets of King’s Landing) suggests a more subtle approach. Cersei is doing her best to take control, filling the small council with people in her pocket. Her uncle Kevan is having none of it though, her transparency is fairly obvious and he refuses to play ball with her.
We finally meet Bronn’s betrothed, Lolly Stokeworth, who only seems to take her character’s dim-wittedness from the books. Another road trip is in the works as Jaime enlists a semi-reluctant Bronn to accompany him to Dorne.
Speaking of Dorne, we finally get to go there. Ellaria Sand appears to be playing Arianne Martell’s roles from the books, namely demanding vengeance against the Lannister’s for Oberyn’s death. Doran Martell, the patriarch of House Martell clearly misses his brother, but isn’t letting it effect his judgement making. Suffice to say, it makes me wonder who sent the message to Cersei/Jaime. In any case, he immediately dismisses Ellaria’s suggestion of sending pieces of Myrcella back to King’s Landing.
Jon Snow receives an offer from Stannis: Lordship of Winterfell and legitimacy. This comes in the wake of Stannis seemingly realising that most people aren’t entirely keen to follow him (even ten years olds will express as much in letters it seems). In any case, it shows Stannis isn’t entirely without his cunning. However, Jon is a Night’s Watch man through and through, and they’re just about to elect a new lord commander.
The voting is fairly standard, I consider Sam’s speech to be the highlight. This is mainly due to him calling out Janos Slynt for his cowardice during the Wildling attack on the Wall. Obviously the scenes from the book are more extensive, but with television there are just some things that would take too long, and the voting process is decided unnaturally quickly.
Daenerys’ woes of ruling continue as one of her freed slaves kills a Harpy member before his trial. Daenerys dishes out justice for the crime, but it has the opposite of the desired effect. Evoking memories of the King’s Landing riot of season 2, Daenerys is forced to retreat. For a show that focuses on gray morality, the characters don’t seem to be thinking of it that much lately.
Finally, Arya makes her customary second episode appearance. Arriving in Braavos, she finds the House of Black and White, and a familiar face. It’s worth noting that we now get to see Braavos in all its glory, compared to season 4 where we saw the Titan and the interior of the Iron Bank. Hopefully this location will be explored more in the episodes to come.
Do you think Brienne should abandon her quest to save Sansa? Will Daenerys ever be able to control her dragons? Let us know what you think in the comments below…