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Tales From Westeros – Season 6, Episode 2: Home and Episode 3: Oathbreaker

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Hey guys, so obviously there was no review last week for the titanic episode “Home” because I was caught up with my final exams and turning in my senior thesis, so in order to preserve my sanity, the lovely C-Mart gave me the week off.  Now, onto episodes 2 and 3, and as always, spoilers ahead!

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Now, I won’t go into my usual full detail but real quick, Jon Snow is back! He’s returned from the dead. This was a carefully (or attempted carefully) kept secret by the showrunners but the important thing is that Jonny boy is back in action. Other important things: Ramsay killed his father, his wife and their newborn baby and achieved status as both Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, and Euron Greyjoy returned to the picture in Pyke, killing his older brother and the current king, Balon. This, according to Ironborn tradition, will execute a “Kingsmoot” in order to determine the next ruler. We saw a vision of Lyanna through Bran and we learned that Hodor was once able to say something other than “Hodor”.

Alright so onto episode 3, which was an excellent turning point for the series.

We open on Davos, looking freaked. Jon breathes heavily and rather teasingly gets up without showing off the goods.  He examines his wounds and freaks out, understandably. He almost falls and Davos supports him. Mel returns and has either a “goddamn I just brought a dude back from the dead” look or a “goddamn, check those abs” look. Davos asks Jon what he remembers about being dead. Maybe he wants to see what his man crush Stannis is up to on the other side. “They stabbed me,” he says. “Olly. He put a knife in my heart. I shouldn’t be here.”  Jon is obviously freaking out. I mean, talk about a wakeup call. “After they stabbed you, where did you go, what did you see?” Mel asks. “Nothing,” Jon replies, “Nothing at all.” Mel relates to Jon how he is the Prince that Was Promised, or Azor Ahai, to which she used to believe Stannis was. Davos asks for some privacy and Mel leaves. Davos, clearly hoping to comfort Jon, states how “fucking mad” the situation is. Jon isn’t having it, and remembers why he was killed. “I did what I thought was right.” Davos counsels Jon to take his resurrection as a gift and “clean up as much of the shit” as he can.  Jon seems pretty lost in this scene, but can you blame a guy who was dead five minutes ago? “I failed.” He laments. “Good. Now go fail again.” Davos replies. This is an interesting thing to say, even for the down to earth Davos, as it implies life is about trial and error, shortcoming and failure leading to success. I’m reminded of a quote by Teddy Roosevelt saying how the credit should always go to the “man in the arena” and not the “critic”.

 

Jon then goes outside, the Night’s Watch brothers most loyal to him gathering. He is helped down the stairs and through the crowd. Tormund comes forward, and tells him the men think he’s some kind of god, which Jon quickly denies. Tormund, classy guy that he is replies that he knows Jon isn’t a god because he saw his “pecker” and doesn’t think it’s of godlike size. Jon stumbles toward Edd. Edd questions if it’s truly Jon “in there”, and Jon says that he thinks so and to hold off burning his body. Edd smiles for the first time since the final episode in the last season, and it’s a great moment of reunification.

Out at sea, we’re treated to a ship in which Sam Tarly, our favorite fat guy and Gilly, his Wildling girlfriend/baby mama are sailing toward Oldtown, where Sam is to learn how to become a maester. Sam is clearly seasick and Gilly tries comforting him. It doesn’t work and Sam retches into a bucket. Gilly expresses excitement to see Oldtown, but Sam tells her that she can’t stay with him in the Citadel because it does not admit women, and that he’s taking her to his home, Horn Hill. Now, let’s do a little recap. Sam was sent to the wall by his father Randyll Tarly, who isn’t exactly the most touchy feely dude in the world and since Sam wasn’t exactly a fighter, his father told him to go to the Wall or that he would kill him and make it look like an accident.  So, this is a tricky sitch. However, since Sam has dropped both a Thenn and a White Walker since then and has earned the name “Sam the Slayer” amongst his gents at the Wall, maybe Papa Bear might be slightly more amenable. He tells Gilly that his mother and sister will take care of her. Gilly reminds Sam that he told her, “Wherever you go, I go too.” Sam goes on to explain that he’s doing what he does for them and Gilly relents, perhaps thinking she’s been too hard on him. The two share a heartwarming exchange, and then Sam retches again.

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TOWER OF JOY, GET HYYYYYYPE! So we switch over to the much awaited Tower of Joy flashback. We cut to who I can only assume is Arthur Dayne, sharpening his greatsword, Dawn. Bran and the Three Eyed Raven look on in silence.  Flashback Ned Stark gets off his horse and the TER details that Meera’s father, Howland Reed is beside him. Arthur Dayne and Ned speak, Ned talking about how he looked for him at the Battle of the Trident, yet he wasn’t there.  He tells them that Rheagar Targaryen wanted them posted at this tower. Ned asks where his sister Lyanna is and Dayne replies “I wish you good fortune in the wars to come” and dons his helmet. Now, if we remember, this is the same thing Mance Rayder said to Stannis right before he was burned at the stake.  I’m not entirely sure of the significance there, but there has to be some. And then the fight is on. Dayne brandishes two swords, which is a dumb move on the show runners’ part. I mean, Dawn is a Valyrian steel greatsword that is known throughout the Seven Kingdoms and is a big deal in the books, so to show Dayne fighting with two swords rather impractically seems like an action movie hype move, especially since we can clearly see Dayne stab Dawn into the ground before he starts talking to Ned. So, it’s down to Dayne, Ned and Howland Reed, and Ned gets disarmed, but a gank from Howland from behind puts down the “Sword of the Morning”.  Raven tells Bran that it’s time to go, and Bran, disobeying, calls out to his Father, who looks around confused before ascending the tower steps. TER brings Bran back to the present, and the two begin to argue. The Raven tells Bran that before he leaves he “must learn everything”.  This is likely a teaser to tell us that the Tower of Joy storyline is not yet over and that a pretty stunning reveal is likely to come our way this season. #R+L=J

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Back in the Dothraki horde, Dany is seen entering the sacred Dothraki city of Vaes Dothrak. This is to be Dany’s new home and she is obviously displeased. She is led into what we can only assume is the Temple of the Dosh Kahleen, where the widows of dead Kahls live out the rest of their lives. She is stripped of her dress and necklace and handed new clothes. Dany threatens whoever seems to be the head woman in charge and the woman claims to have remembered Dany eating the stallion’s heart in the first season.  The woman goes onto explain what I’ve been trying to explain about Dany all along, she ain’t that special and that she will learn if she is “fortunate enough” to stay with them. When queried by Dany, the woman explains that she’ll basically be on trial for going out into the world and that likely the punishment for that would be way worse than living with a bunch of old women.

Back in Mereen, Varys awaits a visitor, a woman, who was seen involved with the Sons of the Harpy last season. He bids the Unsullied go and the woman asks if she’ll be tortured. Varys declines and reveals that the woman’s name is Vala. Varys power plays, saying he knows that she’s helped the Sons of the Harpy murder the Unsullied and Daario’s gang of mercenaries, the Second Sons. The woman explains that they’re all “foreign”, “brought by a foreign queen to destroy our city and our history.” An interesting line, possibly accusing Dany of cultural appropriation or outright erasure.  Vary s goes on that this is a matter of perspective, and mentions that he wishes to make her “and Dom” happy. Vala looks shaken, and it’s revealed that Dom is Vala’s son. She reveals that any information she gives out will earn her death by Son of the Harpy, so Varys offers her passage on a ship to Pentos for her and Dom and a bag of silver for their trouble. Varys’s ultimatum goes unanswered to the audience, but it appears clear to both Vala and the audience which is the better deal.  

Tyrion, Missandei and Grey Worm sit around a table, and Tyrion asks how they should pass the time. It’s clear that they aren’t going to talk much, and Tyrion suggests they play a game, and only further loses the crowd. Varys comes in and reveals that the pro-slavery Masters of Astapor and Yunkai, with help of Volantis are funding the Sons of the Harpy. These, as Tyrion points out are the three richest cities in Essos. Missandei says that the masters speak “only one language” and Grey Worm offers the Unsullied to go and fight, but as Tyrion points out, this would leave Mereen defenseless.  Tyrion says that a “conversation” needs to be had and bids Varys to get a message to the masters of the three cities. This will be interesting, and will likely test Tyrion’s chops as a leader and a political negotiator.

Back in King’s Landing, Qyburn treats a gaggle of children, who are revealed to be ex-“little birds” of Varys’s spy network and offers them sweets, as Varys used to. He claims that all he needs in return are “whispers”. Qyburn is basically jacking the King’s Landing arm of Varys’s spy network. Cersei, Jaime and Robert Strong enter and Qyburn calls him Gregor by name.  Jaime queries Qyburn on what exactly he did to Gregor, mocking him to the point of reaction thus proving that Gregor is still sentient. Jaime suggests that Gregor kills the High Sparrow. Cersei says that with the hundreds of Faith Militant surrounding him, it’d be impossible and says that instead he “will only have to face one.” Jaime remarks that it will be a “trial by combat” he’s looking forward to. You know what that means? CLEGANEBOWL, GET HYPE! Cersei tells Qyburn to expand the network of little birds before we switch over to the Small Council chamber, where Grand Maester Pycelle is dragging Qyburn, calling him “arrogant” and “dangerous”.  Pycelle rambles on about Qyburn’s experiment as Gregor, Cersei and Jaime walk in. The Lannister’s uncle Kevan sits as Hand of the King and Margery’s father and Grandmother are also present. Cersei gets absolutely dragged by aforementioned granny, who makes an incest quip and reminds Cersei that she isn’t the queen. Jaime uses his position of Lord Commander of the Kingsguard to gain a seat on the Small Council. Cersei brings up Myrcella’s death and what her uncle stands to do about it. It’s clear by now that the entire council, with the exception of perhaps Badass Grandma, is collectively shitting their breeches.  Cersei comments that she cannot be made to leave, and Kevan fires back, retorting with the fact that she cannot make them stay and the entire Small Council chamber is vacated, leaving Cersei, Jaime, and the looming Gregor alone. Kevan swiftly took away his niece and nephew’s power play and it was masterfully done, solidifying Kevan as one of my favorite characters throughout the series.  

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The High Sparrow is seen praying. King Tommen and some Kingsguard enter, while some Faith Militant appears out of the shadows. With no words, tensions are already high.  The Sparrow rises and Tommen demands that Cersei be able to see Myrcella’s resting place, which the Sparrow denies, as Cersei has yet to stand trial. Tommen does not relent, and is seen putting some bass in his voice for once.  The Sparrow calls off his Faith Militant and Tommen his Kingsguard, a move of mutual respect. Sparrow goes on to say how Cersei has “falsehood” to her. Sparrow goes on to reveal that he did not have a mother, and he is actually envious of Tommen. He goes on to basically sway Tommen into making his rule a bit more religious, a move that would only bring the Faith Militant closer to the crown than it already is. It’s a dangerous game Tommen is playing and I’m not entirely sure he’s ready to play it right.

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Back in Braavos, Arya, still blind, trains with the Waif. She is basically learning to use her blindness as an advantage in a fight, as well as reinforcing the whole “No One” identity. She is seen sniffing random substances, possibly learning about poison. The Waif questions her about her family, her relationship with the Hound, and about her “list”. Arya is clearly learning how to be a better assassin.  Jaquen offers her sight back if she says her name. Arya replies, “A girl has no name.”  Jaquen pulls a bowl of water out of the weird pool we’ve seen kill people, and Arya is hesitant. “If a girl is truly no one, she has nothing to fear”, consoles Jaquen. She drinks, and the music swells, leaving us wondering if she’s going to die. She opens her eyes, clear now. Arya can see clearly now, the weird blindness spell is gone. She can see all obstacles in her….way….sorry. “Who are you?” Jaquen asks. “No one.” She replies. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m super hyped to see Arya is back in business. She’s really given herself over and is a true Faceless Man. However, there may be a snag in the future. Needle. Arya couldn’t bring herself to throw away Needle, her sword, and has it stowed somewhere.  This could cause another relapse, and I’m not entirely sure how the Faceless Man three strike policy works.

In the North, Ramsay gets a visit from Lord Umber. We can only assume of course that this is Jon Umber, famously called “Smalljon”, with his father, also named Jon Umber being called “Greatjon”. Sadly enough, Smalljon informs us that his father has died. This was a huge blow for me, and as we can remember, in the end of Season 2, Greatjon Umber famously led the “King in the North” speech. “There sits the only King I mean to bow my knee to!” That one. I’m a huge nerd about the Umbers, I love them. Their sigil is badass, (in the books anyway, it’s a giant breaking out of chains, in the show just chains), they’re known for being badass and berserkers, and Greatjon was the personal fave. Also, Smalljon’s presence indicates the possible return of Rickon Stark, who traveled with Osha to Last Hearth after they separated from Bran, Jojen, Meera and Hodor. Anyway, Smalljon goes on to say that the amount of Wildlings Jon let past the wall are too much for the Umbers and he needs aid. He goes on to solidify this by saying that if Jon led the Wildlings, he could take back Winterfell, which is something Ramsay does not want. Ramsay asks for Smalljon to bend the knee, and he refuses, instead offering Ramsay a “gift”: Osha. And then, unsurprisingly, Rickon Stark.  Ramsay disbelieves Smalljon, asking for proof. Which he provides, the head of Rickon’s direwolf, Shaggydog. This effectively leaves Ghost and Nymeria as the last surviving Stark direwolves, provided Nymeria is still alive. “Welcome Home, Lord Stark.” Ramsay says.  This is an interesting momentum shift, and it puts the cards back in Ramsay’s hand. God forbid the guy loses a little momentum, Benioff and Weiss! And I’m not digging you putting my favorite Northern house on the wrong side either.

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Back at the wall, Jon sits alone until Edd enters, telling him “It’s time.” Jon takes his sword and goes outside. We saw this before, when he beheaded Janos Slynt, except now, all the four brothers who betrayed him, Thorne and Olly included, set to be hung. He asks them all for their last words. Thorne says he had a choice: betray Jon or betray the Watch. Thorne goes on to say that he fought and lost, but will now rest, but that Jon will be fighting the Wildling’s battles forever. We can see how hard it is for Jon to look up at Olly. Olly however, has nothing to say. Sometimes it hurts more to be silent. Jon is visibly struggling, and we see that he’s tentative to cut the rope and hang his brothers.  The music swells and I remember physically tensing as the moment mounted. In the end, Jon cuts the rope; the brothers fall, choke and go limp. They do not have hoods, and Jon looks into Olly’s dead, blue, twisted face. After a moment or two, Jon goes to Edd, who advises they burn the bodies. “You should.” Jon says, handing Edd his cloak. When queried on what to do with it, Jon replies, “Wear it. Burn it. Whatever you want. You have Castle Black. My watch is ended.” Jon is naming Edd Lord Commander, which is an interesting move.  Jon, just returned from the dead, finally getting revenge on his conspirators, quits. This could work in his favor however, as his death frees him from his duty to the Night’s Watch. “It shall not end until my death”, says the oath, and so Jon is free to do as he pleases….like stake his claim to the throne.

Thanks for reading guys. I promise things will be more consistent in the future. Berate me in the comments.

-Zach P.

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Posted on May 11, 2016, in Geekology, Tales from Westeros, TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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