Episode title: Dragonstone
Director: Directed by Jeremy Podeswa
Written by: David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Summary: Disguised as Walder Frey, Arya Stark kills all the House Frey men with poisoned wine. While traveling south, Arya makes camp with friendly Lannister soldiers. The Brotherhood and Sandor Clegane take shelter in the farm Sandor once robbed. Thoros of Myr shows Sandor a flame vision of White Walkers at a point where the Wall meets the sea.
The White Walkers and wights march south. Bran Stark and Meera Reed arrive at the Wall. Edd lets them in. Jon Snow forgives children Alys Karstark and Ned Umber for their fathers’ betrayals; the two heirs swear loyalty. Jon orders Tormund Giantsbane and the wildlings to fortify the Wall at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, and all Northerners, including women and girls, to train for battle. A message from Cersei Lannister orders Jon to bend the knee; Jon believes the Lannister army poses no threat to the North in winter, but Sansa knows Cersei is dangerous. Littlefinger attempts to ingratiate himself with Sansa, who remains aloof. She tells Brienne of Tarth that she can’t dismiss him because they still need the Vale’s military support.
Euron Greyjoy arrives in King’s Landing with the Iron Fleet, offering Cersei an alliance and marriage. Cersei rejects Euron because he is untrustworthy. Euron leaves, promising to win her over with a priceless gift. Samwell Tarly finds his maester training includes less research than he expected and instead an excessive amount of menial labor. Sam steals a key to the restricted area and snatches a few books from it late at night. He learns of a dragonglass deposit under Dragonstone, and informs Jon via raven. Jorah Mormont, his greyscale progressing, is a patient in isolation.
Daenerys Targaryen and her fleet arrive at Dragonstone. She and her advisors enter the castle. Alone with Tyrion Lannister in the war council room, she asks him, “Shall we begin?”.
My take: That bed pan sequence was both disgusting and hysterical. More entertaining than Ed Shereen’s cameo anyway. However, I did like that scene with the soldiers. It was just a bunch of young men who wish they were home. Then you have the Hound revisiting the scene of his crimes. Arya killing the Freys was satisfying. I feel this is the last piece moving episode. Once Dany comes to Dragonstone, it is on. The episode also has two queens contemplating two large maps of Westeros, making plans, while Jon only has eyes pointed north. Jon forgiving the Umbars and the Karstacks reminds me of something Tywin Lanister said about if you don’t let your enemies bend the knee, then no one will. Euron’s ship is ridiculous. Only a man with an incredibly small penis would design a ship like that. Dany’s winter wear is on point. Her walk through of Dragonstone reminded me of Househunters International. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper.
Changes from the books: Although the Freys are killed, it’s more gradually, by the Brotherhood and the Manderlys. Alys Karstark is Rickard’s daughter, not granddaughter. She discovered her treacherous great-uncle Arnolf’s scheme against Stannis, came to Castle Black and told Jon. Thanks to her warning, Stannis is warned in time about the traitor in his host. Later Alys was married to Sigorn, Styr’s son and successor as the Magnar of the Thenns.
Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Dragonstone, The Twins, Winterfell, The Wall, Oldtown
Death Count: The Frey family, killed by Arya by poison.
Quotes: Arya Stark: Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe.
Sansa Stark: No need to seize the last word, Lord Baelish. I’ll assume it was something clever.
Episode title: Stormborn
Director: Mark Mylod
Written by: Bryan Cogman
Summary: Edit Dany confronts Varys over his previously shifting allegiances. She grants an audience to Melisandre, who urges her to meet Jon as they both “have roles to play.” Tyrion vouches for Jon and recommends the Starks as allies. Daenerys instructs Tyrion to summon Jon to bend the knee. Her Westerosi armies will besiege King’s Landing, while the Unsullied will take Casterly Rock. Before departing to lead his army, Grey Worm reveals to Missandei that she is his weakness, because he never feared before loving her.
Archmaester Ebrose tells Samwell that Jorah’s greyscale is untreatably advanced. Jorah has about six months of sanity left, and suicide is his only alternative to exile among the Stone Men of Valyria. Samwell discovers a treatment. Ebrose tells him it is forbidden because it risks transmission, but Samwell performs the agonizing procedure in secret. Jon receives Dany’s message, which Tyrion has worded diplomatically as an invitation. After receiving Samwell’s information about dragonglass on Dragonstone, Jon decides to go, despite uniform opposition from his loyalists. Jon names Sansa as regent, surprising her, and threatens Littlefinger to stop pursuing Sansa.
Hot Pie tells Arya that Jon has retaken Winterfell. Beset by a wolfpack, she recognizes the alpha as her direwolf Nymeria, having driven her off years earlier, and invites her north. Nymeria instead leaves her in peace. Cersei appeals to the lords, including House Tyrell’s bannermen, for support against Daenerys. Qyburn demonstrates a scorpion, for Cersei; its bolt pierces the skull of a dragon.
Euron’s Iron Fleet attacks Yara’s navy. Euron kills Obara and Nymeria; his men abduct Ellaria and Tyene, while he takes Yara prisoner. Theon, triggered by the violence, jumps overboard, abandoning Yara and surviving the battle.
My take: I think this episode demonstrates why the Sand Snakes suck. They’re pretty good at killing teenagers and men in wheelchairs, but in a real battle, they’re rather terrible. It was great to see Hot Pie again. It’s nice to think that whatever happens, Hot Pie keeps his head down and keeps baking. Theon behaves exactly as you would think a broken man would. Is it me, or is Qyburn the dark version of James Bond’s Q? We’ve also been waiting for the return of Nymeria, and it was as bittersweet as expected. It does seem like Jon keeps getting put in positions of authority, followed by people immediately complaining about his decisions.
Changes from the books: In the novels, the fate of Ned’s bones is unknown. Lady Dustin, who resents Ned for not bringing her husband’s bones, intends to feed his bones to her dogs. There is no romance (let alone sexual activity) between Grey Worm and Missandei in the novels, given that she is ten years old.
Nudity: Grey Worm and Missandei enjoy each other’s company.
Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Dragonstone, Pyke, Wintetfell, The Wall, Oldtown
Death Count: Obara and Nymeria Sand. Numerous other Ironborn and Dornish fighters.
Quotes: Arya Stark: That’s not you.