Welcome back to Game of Thrones everyone! Last week was a heartbreaker, although we did get some important backstory. And proof that George R.R. Martin builds the most intricate plots EVER. I have more bad news, too, it will just be me this week, my awesome recap buddy Veronica is on vacay with her own pool in her very own room and I swear to gawd, I'm not even a little jealous. Honest. We rolll!
Oh man. Oh man. The Previously On tells us we're gonna find out how Samwell is doing, and maybe even see Walder Frey get what's coming to him since the Red Wedding so long ago. It was so awesome to see Robb Stark again, even if just for a second. Hodor made me cry again.
We open at Meera dragging that USELESS BRAN WHO JUST GOT HODOR KILLED!! through the forest, that was so brutal, y'all. I can't even. Bran's still not awake, pieces of the past flashing through his brain in a neverending loop while Meera finally sags to the ground, covering his cold body and holding his face. He finally wakes up, to her saying "they found us" and indeed they have. The white walkers are held off by a man on horseback with a chain ending in fire, which he uses to protect Bran and Meera. Is that BenJen???
Samwell and Gilly are heading to the Tarly homestead at Horn Hill, I cannot say how much I hope they welcome her and the wee bebeh. Nervous talker Samwell's explaining forest trees to Gilly, he's worried he'll be killed or her hurt. They will be lying about wee Sam, saying he's Samwell's son and also about Gilly being a Wildling, his dad doesn't like Wildlings, and really, who likes Wildlings 'sides Jon Snow? Hopefully Brienne...
Samwell's mom Lady Tarly (Samantha Spiro) is so happy to see him! As is his sister Talla (Rebecca Benson), who has to marry old yellow-toothed Symon Fossoway, she's a woman now! Lady Tarly calls Gilly beautiful, and reaches for the baby! Awww, so sweet, maybe some welling up. Of course Lord Tarly isn't there, having gone hunting, but he'll be there for supper. Talla takes Gilly under her wing, offering her a dress to wear.
Tommen the Useless is negotiating with the High Sparrow, Margaery is about to do her walk of shame and Tommen's "are you sure there's no other way?" isn't very reassuring for those thinking Tommen will be ANY protection. As a little incentive, the High Sparrow asks if maybe he'd like to see Margaery perhaps? Tommen leaps at it, and is shown into the High Sparrow's room, where Margaery is all bathed and clean and reading a book, not bedraggled and beaten as she usually is. They hug and it is so hella creepy in that moment how clearly you can see the age difference.
Margaery pretends to have bought into the High Sparrow's rhetoric, she's pretending, right? She's trying to spur Tommen into action, right? Her long red hair is GORGEOUS and I am not biased. Tommen asks about Loras, she loves him, but all have to atone. She must know she's being watched right now, she's better at subterfuge than ANYONE, except maybe Lady Olenna.
Samwell is waiting nervously in the hall to see his father, I can't WAIT to see this psycho who threatened the life of his own son, but first, Sam gets to see Gilly all done up! Her hair looks really pretty, but we're all looking at those extremely painful looking bewbs. Especially Samwell. He tells her she's beautiful and she is!
Lord Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner) looks very...slender. And has no hair and a permafrown. Sort of like a penis with ears, glaring over at Sam and Gilly. Samwell's brother Dickon Freddie Stroma) is quite the hunter, apparently, but Samwell's prowess with a bow and rabbit, squirrels and the like isn't impressing as it should maybe. He says Gilly hunts too, which Lady Tarly smoothes over, saying she met someone who taught his daughters to hunt. Talla says their father would never teach them, perhaps Lord Tarly could learn from Gilly's father. Er-ooh, maybe not.
Ol' fat-shamey Randyll isn't giving Samwell seconds on the breadbasket, and what's this about becoming a maester anyway? Gilly steps in to defend Samwell, he's killed a Thenn! He's killed a white walker, she saw it with her own eyes! On the way down to the wall. All of our hearts sunk just then; UP to the wall, Gilly!
So. Now he knows she's a Wildling, not the Mole Town whore he thought she was. A Wildling whore what seduced his son and blah blah bastage blah Gilly can stay, is the upshot, working in the kitchens, but that's for the grace of Lady Tarly. Samwell will be leaving after this night and will never get Heartsbane, the sword made of Valyrian steel in their family for 500 years meant for the first born son. It's a brutal speech and Lord Tarly has allls the gravitas necessary to pull it off, but I'm just A) sad Samwell never says a word and B) excited that there's more Valyrian steel kicking around for Sam! Lady Tarly drags Gilly and Talla out, chastising her husband as she goes, but I doubt it will make a difference. Maybe if someone gets stabby? Sword right there!
Back in their room, Gilly's not disappointed that Sam didn't stand up for himself, just that jerks like that can be horrible to people and get away with it. He kisses her and leaves; no last night?? Come ON!! Just then Samwell turns right around and marches back in and just when I think he wants a little cuddle for the road, it's even better than that. He wants her to grab wee Sam and come with him, they belong together, all of them. AND he's taking Heartsbane, fankyouverymuch YAY!! Gilly's worried that will make things worse, won't Lord Tarly come for it?
We're back in Braavos with that farty play again; warty-cocked Joffrey's dying in this vignette, making Arya laugh. Lady Crane the actress is KILLING it on stage, while her understudy mimics her in the background and prepares to show her tatas again. We've gotten to Tyrion killing Tywin on the can, this involving all the farts as well.
I think our doomed actress is perhaps in the wrong play. Arya sneaks backstage to poison her wine anyway then doesn't get out in time, she gets snagged by Lady Crane who saw her in the audience twice. They talk and Arya as Mercy gives her advice about what the Queen would have really said, not sadness, but anger.
Arya leaves, but returns in time to knock the glass of poisoned wine out of Lady Crane's hand. "Careful of that one. (pointing at the understudy) She wants you dead."
The Waif smirks in the background and thank the GODS that fecking storyline is OVER! And if she doesn't stick the Waif with the pointy end of Needle, I will be very disappointed. I know it's all been very interesting for other people but I HATED Arya's time in stupid Braavos being beaten up by that stupid Waif, calling herself that stupid No-One, we all KNOW she's Arya Stark, is she old enough to start murdering the people what killed her family? IS SHE?? FINALLY! Can she find The Hound??
As could be predicted, Ja'Qen sends The Waif to kill Arya, laisse the bon temps roulet!
In Westeros, Jamie is meeting with Lord Tyrell and his army, the hour has come! Madness has had it's day, now it's their turn! Jamie listens politely, he's such a smug smirky bastage, hey? They head to where Margaery will be starting her Walk of Atonement, blocking it from beginning. I love how Lady Olenna gets carried to the front lines in a box and steps out looking like murder on a good day, tiny fan moving. I wouldn't bet against her.
Jamie challenges the INCREDIBLY FECKING FILTHY High Sparrow, I mean, come ON! Isn't cleanliness next to godliness or some such shite?? He looks like he crawled out of the sewer! The High Sparrow professing his and all the other sparrows yearning to die in the service to the gods (Lancel's like "whhuuut??"), but, oh, not today! Margaery's play comes into effect, she's converted Tommen and now she gets a pass from her nekkid walk! No blood or bewbs today, townspeople!
I love Lady Olenna so much, the look she gives Jamie after that pronouncement is EVERYTHING, like, well, you should have seen it coming, you dozy pillock.
There's new armour and everything! A holy alliance between the crown and the faith just proves the High Sparrow is always one step ahead. Maybe start with the stabbing bit? Lady Olenna knows when they're beaten, even if her son is clueless.
Tommen's first royal / faith act is to remove his daddy/uncle from the Kingsguard and send him away to Riverrun to help take it back.
Walder Frey (David Bradley) is confused as to how his family manged to lose Riverrun, especially since they had Blackfish during the Red Wedding and didn't manage to keep him. Why can't they take it back? They don't have enough men, the Mallisters and other have joined in with Blackfish. Walder's got a plan, though, they're going to remind Blackfish of all the horrible killings that happened when the Freys collectively betrayed the Tullys and Starks! That's a GREAT idea! Do THAT!
Oh. Walder Frey has Lord Edmure (Tobias Menzies - AWESOME name), the groom from the Red Wedding. Why do cockroaches like that stay alive and brilliant people like Robb Stark get murdered brutally? He's going home, anyway.
Jamie's filling Cersei in on the news of his re-deployment, he's not going to help the Freys take back Riverrun, he wants to stay here and make sure Cersei is safe when her trial comes up. She thinks she's covered with The Mountain in a trial by combat, but I bet that High Sparrow has some tricks up his sleeve, he's always a few steps ahead. She tells him to go take that castle back because he can and it's THEIRS, damnit and I have to say: this is why I love Game of Thrones. You kind of love and hate everyone; I want Cersei and Jamie to succeed in spite of all the terrible, horrible bloody things they've done, and even though I know them succeeding means that someone else that I like will not. This show makes you THINK! And swear. I curse a LOT watching this show. They seal their talk with kisses, er-ohh, so awesome and yet: so gross, all at the same time. I want them to be happy! But they're brother and sister and he kind of sexually assaulted her next to their dead son. Complicated.
The mystery man on horseback has killed some animals for food, he's dressing them by the fire (bleeding a rabbit into a cup, whut?) who is he? And what does he mean the Raven sent for him? And it IS Benjen (Joseph Mawie) !!! It is!! And he looks AWFUL. All pale and spotty, is he gonna drink that rabbit blood? He's all gross and white, a white walker stabbed him with a sword of ice and the Children of the Forest saved him the way they made the white walkers in the first place: a shard of dragon glass to the heart. He looks like he's disintegrating.
Oh yuck, the rabbit's blood was for Bran, ick. And Bran's supposed to fight the Night King, when he reaches the world of man. And I'm so sure Bran will be ready for him. May still be holding a grudge for Hodor's completely horrifying death last week.
Daenerys is traveling with the Dothraki horde, discussing strategy with Daario, who calls her a conqueror, not a ruling queen and just then, something is disturbing the sand up ahead. She rides off by herself, it's gotta be a dragon lurking! And it is!! Drogon got so big! There's the Mother of Dragons perched on top and this is a great time to ask the notoriously water-shy Dothraki to get on boats, presentation is everything!
Side note: the dragon looked a tiny bit cheesy, yes?
And we're oot! What did you think? This whole chapter was about family, of course, given the title, it's just interesting to see how differently family is treated in the Seven Kingdoms. In Samwell's case, not well. In Jamie and Cersei's case, too well, too well, back it up, attic flowers! The Tullys do not forget their family, but babyking Tommen has forsaken his for the proposed divine rescue of his (sooo much older) wife. Lady Olenna will do anything for her kin, including even her nimrod son. I would love to have her as my grandmother, I'd keep her in tiny fans and fetch her poison vials all.day.long. It's lovely to see Daenerys perched on her offspring, I just wonder. I've heard musings that she is the real villain and while I can't see that, I am sort of at a loss for her endgame. Also: slavery. Get on that, Dany, nobody else will and Tyrion's made a really stupid deal.
I think Blackfish will have no trouble holding Riverrun; the War of the North is about to pick right back up toute suite, but I also believe Cersei is going to surprised during her trial. I've no doubt she'll be somewhat ready for it, but if I were her I'd include Lady Olenna, just to be on the safe side. I wonder about Samwell and his daddy issues, I hope he pokes his father with his new-to-him steel really soon! Does anyone think Samwell will kill his daddeh and raise that army to help the Starks? Anyone? I just can't see him leading an army, but I do like that he has something pointy for protection. And hey! Who gave Jon Snow the week off? Veronica? Are you hoarding? Until next week, cheers!
**much fanks to OneEyeCharlie for all the gifs!