I’m a couple weeks behind, and considering that neither of these two episodes were particularly eventful, I’ve decided to lump them together in to one post. And I’ll put them together by character, rather than writing about what happened in order — it’s a bit easier.
I’ll be back later today or tomorrow with my Episode 9 post.
For now — spoiler space!
So let’s start with the Hound, since he was our big reveal. I could not be happier that he isn’t actually dead. The Hound is one of my favorite characters. Book Hound has been absent since Arya left him to die, though there were some subtle hints he might be hanging out with some religious folk…and it looks like he is! Being with them has clearly given him some time to think, and you can tell he’s remained a bit conflicted about his life and his past actions. Awesome. Now, my initial excitement was for CLEGANEBOWL (get hype) but as it turns out, looks like that isn’t going to happen (more on that later).
His Septon pal was generally interesting for the 10ish minutes of screen time he had before being hung by a few jerkoffs from the Brotherhood without Banners. And thus, the Hound is back on his vengeance trip, and I’m totally okay with that. After them! With an axe!
And look who else is back…Beric Dondarrion! This totally removes all question of whether or not Lady Stoneheart will make an appearance, really, ever. If not because she’s been dead for like over a year instead of a few days, then surely the fact that Beric is still leading his band of merry men. Oh, and hi Thoros! His return marks our 3rd current red priest, all three with different interpretations of their faith.
The Hound negotiates the opportunity to kill 2/3 of the murderous assholes, and has a lovely scene with the Brotherhood. Interesting that they’re somehow knowledgeable about the White Walkers now? I guess they’re headed North to fight? Maybe make a pit stop at Winterfell? Maybe Hound + Sansa = 4ever? (Non-readers — Sansa kinda has the hots for him, even if she doesn’t realize it.) We shall see.
I’m pretty content for the Hound to do just about anything, as long as we keep getting quality lines like, “I beat you because I’m better than you, Beric. I was better than you before you started yammering on about the Lord, and I’m better than you now.”
Over to Margaery, Tommen, Cersei and the High Sparrow drama in King’s Landing.
We finally find out that Margaery has been playing the High Sparrow, which is pretty sweet. These Tyrells are straight up the best at scheming. Cersei seems to pride herself on being the best manipulator in King’s Landing, but I have to say — I haven’t seen the Tyrells make a single mistake. Even when they took Joff out, they managed to fly under the radar.
Lady Olenna is instructed to get the hell out of King’s Landing. Margaery has a plan. Right now, she seems to have control of both Tommen and the High Sparrow, so things are going well.
Tommen then has a special gift for his ma — he announces there will be no more Trials by Combat. This comes as a complete shock to me (meaning there will be no Cleganebowl — the Hound and the Mountain will not battle it out) and to Cersei, considering she’s just had her bodyguard rip a sparrow’s head off (the religious kind, not the bird).
I have high hopes Margaery is gonna make it through this whole thing pretty unscathed. Cersei, though…not so much. Book readers will note that her specific prophecy states that all of her children will die before she does. 2 down, 1 to go — not sure when we’ll see this happen, as we’re nearing the end of the season. Her trial may not happen before next year…except one small detail — Qyburn mentions a “rumor” that his little birds have confirmed.
My guess? Wildfire under the city. Cersei’s ready to take the whole place down with her.
This move should surely anger Jaime, who’s off in the Riverlands throughout these two episodes. Hopefully this gets him back on track with book Jaime. He’s had about enough of Cersei and her BS.
Jaime shows up at Riverrun to retake the castle. He gets a nice golden backhand onto a Frey face and has a pretty snarky conversation with the Blackfish. Things are not looking easy. Book Jaime remembers the promise he made to Catelyn never to take up arms against the Tullys again, so he’s working to get through this without any violence. Show Jaime just wants things to be simple, it seems.
And, guess who shows up looking to recruit the Blackfish to the side of Sansa Stark…Brienne! Reunion time!
She gets to keep her special sword gift. Also there’s an odd scene where I thought she and Jaime were going to kiss. But they didn’t. Hopefully because B only has eyes for Tormund now (a girl can dream). However, Jaime does respect her, and grants her the opportunity to try to get the Blackfish rallied to her cause. No selfish reason for wanting him out of the castle at all, right?
We also get a solid Bronn & Podrick scene. Meeeemmmmoriesssssss.
Jaime has a talk with our old friend Edmure Tully. He ends up surrendering the castle, and the Blackfish apparently fights to his death? Not even really sure what the purpose was of him being in the story again other than for them to drag out the season. Same with Brienne’s visit, really — she can’t get what she needs, then Jaime lets her go. She has absolutely no impact on the story whatsoever. She won’t even make it back in time for the battle at Winterfell! I digress.
Our pals at Castle Black — Jon, Sansa, Davos, and Tormund — are working to gather an army to make an assault on Winterfell.
With Tormund’s help, Jon rallies the Wildlings; then they start cruising the minor houses of the North looking for some support. In the meantime, Sansa sends a letter off to Littlefinger asking for his help (but keeps it secret from Jon).
We also get to meet Lyanna Mormont, who may be the best show character of all time. SASS CENTRAL. YAS LIL KWEEN.
Off to Essos, where we catch up with Miss Arya Stark. She’s chillin, making plans to take a quick boat ride back to Westeros and seems to have conveniently forgotten that the Faceless Men threatened her life, and also could basically be wearing any face at any time.
Yep, that lil old lady is (drumroll, please…pause for dramatic effect…) the waif. Ready to carry out orders and give Arya a quick, painless, death. Except for like, how, she stabs her in the gut with a knife and gives it a twist.
Luckily, Arya has recently made friends with Lady Crane (Cersei from the play). She seems to have some kind of crazy magical skills, because apparently a butterfly bandage and a piece of gauze manage to heal what I can only assume are massive internal wounds. All the fun theories I’d read online about how the show wouldn’t make it this simple were wrong, it was Arya who was stabbed, and she was saved by the woman whose life she spared. Anyhoo, Lady Crane is still on the Many-Faced God’s list, so she basically lives just long enough to save Arya. And of course, the waif shows back up again to go T-1000 on her ass.
Arya leads her down into a cave and takes her out with Needle in the dark (YASSS) and then puts her face up in the hall of faces (gross). She has a convo with Jaqen, who’s apparently like hey great work, you’re in now…? This whole scene was incredibly odd. But apparently Arya Stark is now “going home”, so we’ve got that to look forward to. Feels like that whole bit with the Faceless Men was kind of pointless though, other than to give Arya some assassin training. Fingers crossed she’s headed directly back to Winterfell.
We also make a quick stop by Theon and Yara, who have arrived in Volantis. Theon’s feeling pretty down, so Yara gives him a pep-talk that’s the equivalent of trolling by the many-faced Egg profile on Twitter. “Kill yourself.” Astonishingly, it works. Theon decides he’s ready to buck-up and be Iron Born.
And finally, over to Meereen.
These two are out pal’in’ around, enjoying their handiwork after making a deal with the slave masters. Also watching a nice red priestess say good things about Daenerys. They give each other a good pat on the back, then Varys leaves (heading back to Westeros, I presume, so that he’s back in line for his book role…since, of course, he should never have traveled here anyway).
We get some really ridiculous filler in Meereen over these two episodes. Let’s get to the good stuff. There’s 10 eps a season, and you’re wasting my time forcing me to sit around and watch Missandei and Grey Worm try to make jokes? No, thank you. Also, Peter Dinklage is just tremendous. These are the scenes he gets this season?
ANYway, as we suspected they would be, the slavers are back and ready to battle. Meereen is under siege. Things start to look a bit dire until…Mom gets back to straighten everything up.
The return of Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons, Resolver of Conflicts, Rider of Drogons, Chastiser of Tyrions, Giver of Angry Looks, means that shit is about to go down. Relief!
I’m ready for a real battle. Let’s do this, Battle of the Bastards.
All images courtesy of HBO.