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Tales From Westeros – Oathkeeper

The enslaved all have stories of how they became captives. During a conversation disguised as a language lesson, Dany’s interpreter Missandei and the Unsullied leader Grey Worm discuss their pasts and the horrors that led them to slavery. Despite everything, Grey Worm still harbors pride in being Unsullied, saying “Before Unsullied, nothing.” Yet he still wants to kill the masters, and it’s evident that something is afoot when Dany breaks up the intimate moment to let them know that “It’s time.”

Dany

What it is time for is soon evident, as we witness a band of Unsullied dressed as Meereenese slaves slip through the gates of the city. They find a crowd of actual Meereenese slaves heatedly weighing the pros and cons of rebelling against the Grand Masters. Their concerns are legit, and when they look up to see Grey Worm in their midst, dressed like them, you realize the powerful psychological ploy Dany is playing. She’s parading her success story in front of these miserable, enslaved people; he’s standing in front of them claiming that yes, they can break their chains and take their freedom by force. And so it begins: Dany arms the slaves and takes Meereen, raising the Targaryen flag over the Meereenese harpy, the walls of the city graffitied ominously with “KILL THE MASTERS.” The people call her “Mhysa,” meaning “Mother,” and Dany begins to show exactly how a mother protects her children—without mercy, and with bloody justice. Remembering the 163 slave children the Grand Masters staked to poles, she nails an equal amount of the offenders, leaving them to roast in the harsh sun as they slowly die. Daenerys Stormborn may seem like a softy, saving the children and the like, but her Targaryen nature is beginning to show more strongly.

lannister 2

Back in Westeros, Jaime continues his lefty training with Bronn—he’s getting better but not great, and the sparring is becoming a stand-in for unsolicited advice. Both Bronn and Jaime are of the opinion that Tyrion is innocent, but both know the obstacles ahead. Guilt trip time: Bronn is extremely loyal (in his own irreverent way) to Tyrion and gives Jaime shit for not having seen him in prison yet. And it works—the next scene is of the brothers sitting on the floor in Tyrion’s squalid dungeon digs in the Red Keep, discussing the upcoming trial. Tyrion’s usual dry humor now leans toward the dark side, and is getting darker, but can you blame him? We know that he stands wrongfully accused while the perp is sailing to the Vale scot-free, with Tyrion’s own wife in tow to add insult to injury. Some things need to be cleared up between the brothers, though: “Are you really asking if I killed your son?” “Are you really asking if I’d kill my brother?” These are simply things Lannisters must ask each other from time to time.

Meanwhile, poor Sansa is learning some lessons in scheming on the Littlefinger Party Cruise. She stands like stone, peppering him with questions, while he circles her both physically and with his twisted logic. At first, Sansa is defiant (and is finally showing some smarts and/or backbone) but then he pulls out his hidden blackmail: the poison that killed Joffrey came from Sansa’s own necklace. She doesn’t really have a choice but to rely on Littlefinger now. Our own crash course in his special brand of manipulation is also underway—if you recall from seasons past, even Lord Varys, the Master of Whispers, has no idea what in the hell Littlefinger wants. Now we learn that he is being purposefully obtuse, and that “a man with no motive is a man no one suspects.” Interesting.

In case you thought the scheming was over for the episode (in which case you are being silly, this is GoT after all), there sit Margaery and Olenna in their usual garden spot…scheming. They need to get Margaery married to Tommen ASAP, and the saucy Olenna tells the tale of how she stole her sister’s intended husband (a dick move, FYI) by seducing him. Apparently she expects Margaery to make the little prince unable to forget her before Cersei steps in and ruins everything. To her credit, Margaery looks genuinely surprised when her grandmother confesses to being part of Joffrey’s murder plot.

Jon

Lest we forget, there is still a shitstorm brewing at Castle Black. Jon is trying to train the Crows, teaching them the specific ways wildlings fight so they can be better prepared. The fact that the mutineers are still at Craster’s Keep, harboring dangerous knowledge that will put the Night’s Watch at a disadvantage against the wildlings, is plaguing him and causing him to brood excessively and attractively. His old nemesis Thorne is both negging him and plotting against him, listening to the advice of weaselly Janos Slynt. Slynt suggests letting Jon’s own plan to get to the mutineers do the dirty work before there is a “choosing” for the new acting commander of the Night’s Watch. Later in the episode, we learn that Sam is pissed off about sending Gilly away from Castle Black— this means it wasn’t his idea like we thought. Jon also knows now that Bran is out there and really wants to get to him somehow, but first—the mutineers must be dealt with. Jon does a bit of ol’ mess hall democracy and asks for volunteers to accompany him to probable certain death, and he does get some loyal dudes to go as well as some shady ones (this is, after all, the venerable Night’s Watch, where honorable men volunteer as tribute, er, their lifelong services, and thieves and rapers get sent as punishment). If you remember, the man with the enviable mustache is Roose Bolton’s man Locke, the one that cut of Jaime’s hand, and presumably sent to the Wall to somehow prevent Bran Stark from becoming the Lord of Winterfell.

Chilly at the Wall, chilly in Cersei’s quarters. She’s in her cups, you know, drinking a lot, but can you blame her? Bitchy as she is, her son just died and the only person she trusts raped her. Coincidentally, it’s this person that shows up at her door. Cersei’s biggest concerns right now are keeping her other son Tommen safe and spitting venom at Jaime. She peppers him with questions and demands, trying to get him to admit that all his current vows and beliefs (saving the Stark girls, Tyrion’s innocence) are directly opposed to hers. She wants Sansa and Tyrion dead, as well as four guards at Tommen’s door day and night, and they part ways icily, calling each other“Your Grace” and “Lord Commander” instead of with their former intimacy.

It seems like Cersei was a bit late in posting those guards, because Margaery has begun visiting Tommen at night…you know Margaery is a master manipulator in training because she knows that Tommen is young and innocent, so she doesn’t go all out—she just makes him feel safe and comfortable, with a promise of nice adult things to come. Well played. Also—Ser Pounce!!

Brienne

Cersei keeps screwing up—no guards at Tommen’s room, and instead of warning Jaime away from fulfilling his vow to Catelyn Stark, her words only made him renew it. Only this time he decides to outsource the task to someone he knows is more honorable: his old pal Brienne. The Kingslayer doesn’t want his pages in the hallowed Lord Commander book to be empty of great feats. Catelyn is dead and everyone assumes Arya is too, but Sansa is still out there and goddammit he’s going to send someone else to find her! Brienne gets a few badass gifts out of the deal (as well as a mission in life, something she always accepts hungrily): some insanely awesome black armor I wish was sold on Etsy, a sword made of Valyrian steel that (aptly) used to belong to Ned Stark, an eager-to- please squire, Tyrion’s battleaxe—and let’s not forget the gift of being out of the range of Cersei’s rage, for both Brienne and Pod. Brienne is touched and declares she’ll find Sansa “for Lady Catelyn, and for you.” Jaime, not used to such sincere displays of affection, is taken aback and allows Brienne to name the sword. “Oathkeeper” it is. And they’re off!

Karl

At Craster’s Keep, it’s one grim scene after another—Craster’s daughters and wives have been passed around from one abuser to the next and must suffer more rape at the hands of the Night’s Watch mutineers. Head mutineer Karl is even drinking from the skull of Jeor Mormont with absolute glee. They are the WORST. Soon another one of Craster’s male babies is born and the wives ominously tell the Crows that the males are a gift to the gods. As the cold winds rise, the little thing is taken to the woods, its cries making their way to Bran’s group camped not too far away. Bran wargs into Summer to see what’s going on and finds Jon’s direwolf Ghost in a cage. Of course, he wants to save Ghost but the rest of the group recognize the dire (heh) danger they are in. Consequently, Meera gets brained HARD, and the lovely folks that now inhabit Craster’s Keep capture them. Karl recognizes them as highborn and his cruel face lights up at the implications. Three highborn captives? One of them Jon Snow’s brother? That’s a pretty power play in the making. (At least he didn’t kill them.)

And as the episode closes out, we’re reminded that there’s something else going on in the realm, something that hasn’t been explored as fully as a lot of viewers would like. It’s White Walker Time. Craster’s son is snatched up by one of the Walkers and taken even further into the frozen wasteland. The baby is placed on an altar of sorts while a crew of more Druid-like Walkers watch on in the distance. The baby gets a gentle caress on the cheek AKA a gnarly cut. The baby’s eyes freeze into ice. The baby turns into a White Walker.

The realm is doomed. Or is it? What do you think?

-Izzy Vassilakis Eden

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Posted on May 1, 2014, in Geekology, Tales from Westeros, TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Nice review. I definitely enjoyed Daenerys’ conquest of Meereen – at first, I found myself wishing it had been a little longer, but realized that if you can get 2/3 of a city to fight on your side (since it’s said that there are two slaves for every master in Meereen), it can’t be that difficult to sack it.

    I’m not sure that Sam’s regret of taking Gilly to Molestown means that it wasn’t his decision, though. I think that he decided it was for the best, and then it was difficult for him to follow through because she didn’t want to go. Now that the wildlings are sacking towns south of the Wall, and he’s had some time to miss Gilly being around, he wishes he had made a different choice.

    I was not expecting the bit with the White Walker and the baby, since it’s not in the books. I hope they follow up and we see more White Walkers this season.

    Like

    • Thank you! Yeah, I like how Dany uses psychology to conquer a city by getting a huge mass of people on her side. We still got more of her story this episode than we usually do. Did you see how HBO accidentally dropped a big book spoiler in this episode? It has to do with the White Walker ending…

      Like

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