Young Arya arrives in Braavos via ship. Time for a new adventure in a new land! She enjoys the tale of the Titan wading into the bay to fight enemies. I wonder what is under the Titan of Braavos’s skirt!
Braavos is a beautiful city, but Arya does not spend anytime in it. She’s headed to the House of Black and White. It’s a magnificent structure on a small man-made island. It looks somewhat ominous though, with its two large doors, one white and one black.
When Arya knocks on its door, a very old man answers. She tries the ritual Braavosi greeting but he does not answer. When she shows the coin and mentions Jaqen H’ghar, the old man says there is no one there by that name and shuts the door. Not a friendly place. What does a young girl, with everywhere else to go, do? Why, sit on the step and recite names of off her death list. Perhaps try knocking again, but on the other door? Or simply give up and throw the coin in the river? Foolish youth! You should have kept it to buy something important like wine! Perhaps food or a bed!
Somewhere in Westoros, Pod and Brienne stop at an inn to eat. As Brienne simmers in a dour mood, Poderick at least enjoys himself, stuffing sausages into his mouth and admiring the serving girl. She is a bit plain for my taste, but are we all not beautiful to someone? As Pod’s eyes follow the woman around the room, he spots familiar faces.
Surprise, Baelish and Sansa are also at the inn! Now would that not be a party?! When Pod tells Brienne who’s seen, she tells him ready the horses. But they only have one horse Pod notes. Brienne growls at him to find more. She actually growls! She would be a joy to have on the party caravan!
Brienne goes to greet them, but neither is truly glad to see her. Baelish points that she’s failed to prevent Renly from being killed and was in fact, charged with his death. And despite being in Lady Stark’s service, she failed to prevent that death also. Baelish may be no better than a donkey, but he does have a point here. Brienne appeals to Sansa, but she is also dismissive of the tall warrior woman. She doesn’t care about Brienne’s oath to Lady Stark. Neither does Baelish, though he’s not eager to see her leave his sight.
But no one will stop Brienne! She plows through Baelish’s guards like a young man in a brothel for the first time, runs outside, scatters their horses and takes off with the waiting Pod who did manage to find a horse of his own. It is a lovely bit of chaos to watch, this warrior has some skill.
They race off into the woods, with a few of Baelish’s men chasing them on horseback. But Pod loses control of his horse and heads off in a different reaction before it dumps him in a river. Still a squire in training! A guard catches up to him, but luckily Brienne finds them before it’s too late and quickly dispatches him. And a few others. She commands Pod to get on his horse so they may follow Sansa and Baelish, but he points out both Stark girls have refused Brienne’s service. He might not ride a horse well, but the boy does have a point. Brienne notes his point and counters that Sansa is not safe with Baelish. No one is safe with Baelish except Baelish! Pod agrees.
In King’s Landing, Jaime meets with Cersei to receive a letter from Dorne. It’s in one of our special boxes, containing a model of a red viper with the necklace of Cersei’s daughter, Myrcella, in its mouth. This threat is in poor taste, but what can you expect from my people. We care for each other and news of my supposed death was sure to anger my people. Who would throw all the magnificent parties now? Who would shower and bathe with them in wine? What will the tradesmen who make mirrors do without me to buy so many?! But I digress.
Cersei is understandably upset at this threat and begins spouting threats of her own. Jaime attempts to reassure her, but she points out that he’s never been much of father to his children. He points out that children of incest are generally stoned, so he’s actually been doing pretty good by not acknowledging them. Well, except for Joffrey’s death. And Myrcella being wed to one of the younger princes of Dorne. Then there’s the death of Tywin, who isn’t his child, just his father. Truly, Jaime hasn’t been the most awe-inspiring Commander of the King’s Guard, father or son. He promises he’ll get Myrcella back. Cersei sneers that there’s no way he can get her back by himself. He agrees and wanders to get a helping hand for his adventure.
Bronn is walking on the beach with his bride to be. She is not very interesting, but quite eager to be married. She explains that they will not be moving into her families grand castle when they marry. Bronn assures his bride that her mean sister will get what’s coming to her. I suspect he will be the one to give it to this mean sister and it will not be in the enjoyable way that a woman would like!
This pleasant conversation is interrupted when Bronn spots Jaimie waiting for him. The bride is shooed away, so that Jaimie may inform Bronn that his marriage has been called off. Bronn is heartbroken on such news as he sees his plan to be rich fading away. No matter, Jaime promises him he’ll have a prettier wife and a bigger castle if Bronn comes with him to that most loveliest of places, Dorne.
Speaking of my beautiful homeland, my paramour Ellaria Sand is fuming over my supposed death and demands revenge. Hmmm, she’s also cut her hair. How could she, is this how she grieves for me? The nerve! And she’s become so bloodthirsty, wanting to mutilate the little Lannister girl. But luckily my brother Doran has a cooler head and forbids any official acts of revenge. It was a trial by combat after all, he points out. But Ellaria does not care. She knows my daughters, the Sand Snakes, would happily avenge me and she care not for Doran’s more peaceful rules and reign.
In Meereen, Daario and Grey patrol thes street looking for the Sons of the Harpy. Grey Worm and the Unsullied have had no luck in finding them. Daario leads them to a home, they burst in, but it is empty. Or so it seems. Daario finds someone hiding behind a wall.
Back in Daenary’s council chambers, her advisers discuss what to do about the captured Harpy. There is dissent about the fate of the one they found. Some counsel mercy, but Mossador, one of the freed slaves believes the Harpies are working for the former Masters of Meereen and no little of mercy. All they understand is force. Daenerys listens and dismisses them. Even Daario, her lover, leaves.
Ser Barristan lingers behind and attempts to give further advice. He tells of her father’s madness and harsh rule and her desire for a form of justice that would make her feel powerful. She decides to give the Son of Harpy a trial to decide his fate. Interesting, Daenerys seems pulled in various ways and attempts to follow them all. She has much to learn about ruling. And certainly to be as unlike the Mad King is wise.
On the road to Meereen, Tyrion is still in a dark mood, while Varys tries to talk sense to him. One is moping over power, while the other extolls the virtue of wise control of it. If ever a man needed to visit a brothel…
Back in King’s Landing, Cersei looks at the head of severed dwarf. She has offered a bounty for them, in the hopes of finding and killing Tyrion. But no one is perfect, mistakes will be made.
After that lovely scene, she heads to the Small Council and seats herself in the chair of the Hand. She is a subtle one, no? Others take note of the move, but she quiets them with either offers of more power and a stripping them of what power they had. Her uncle Kevan is less than impressed when she makes him Master of War. He wants to hear it from the King Tommen himself and wants him here so he can learn how to govern. As if Cersei would share power! Kevan wants no part of this and heads back to Casterly Rock. Having defied Cersei, it is indeed probably wise to leave the capital!
At the Wall, Stannis’ daugther Shireen is teaching Gilly to read. Things are going slowly, but they are going. Sam is sitting in a corner reading, and commenting. Gilly is not amused, not does she care for any comments from him about her reading. She knows ‘S’ and that makes her happy. Speaking of ‘S’, Queen Selyse comes in and rancidly spews hatred of the Wildings. What a tiresome women. Will no one make her happy?
Stannis berates Jon for killing Mance with an arrow instead of letting him be burnt alive. A king does not like letting his sentences be changed, especially out of kindness. But he’s willing to overlook that and make Jon an official Stark, if he will pledge his service and sword to Stannis. With a stroke of a pen, Jon could have what he’s wanted for most his life, to be an actual Stark.
Jon tells Sam about the offer, but decides he will turn it down. His reasoning is a bit odd, saying if he can’t follow his oath as a member of the Night’s Watch, then who would follow him? Perhaps most of the North, the largest part of the Seven Kingdoms and his homeland? The foolishness of youth!
Meanwhile, it’s time to vote in a new commander of the Night’s Watch. You know how this will go and there’s little reason to dwell on it. The important thing to note is that Sam threw Jon’s name into the ring and when the vote comes down to a tie between Jon and Thorne, it’s maester Aemon who casts the deciding vote for Jon. But considering how quickly the heads of houses have been disposed in Westeros, that may not be quite the honor it appears to be.
As Arya wanders around Braavos, she slays a pigeon, no doubt for food. As she goes to somewhere to cook it, three men follow her and attempt to steal her food. She is a delight to watch as she stands tall for herself. But they are scared off by the old man from the House of Black and White. Intrigued, Arya follows him back to the house, where he returns the coin she threw away. Then he changes his face and reveals that he is actually Jagen H’Ghar, with his lovely locks. Arya is not amused and demands to know why he lied to her. He replies that he did not, for his is no one, which is what she must become. He opens the door to the house and beckons her inside.
Back in Meereen, Daenerys has a new problem. Mossador got a bit eager and killed the captured Son of the Harpy, left his body for all to see and painted “Kill the Masters” on it. That does not help anything and Daenerys feels his actions might be punished, to show that no one is above the law, not even a newly freed slave. She decides to have a public execution and many former masters and freed slaves turn out for it.
As the ex-slaves chant “Mhysa” (their word for mother), Mossador begs for forgiveness. The Mother of Dragons is clearly conflicted, wanting only to prove that no one can break the law, but the mood of the crowd is clearly not with her. Not seeing a clear direction and thinking only in black and white, she orders Daario to proceed with the beheading. He does and the crowd falls silent for a moment. Then the ex-slaves hiss at her and begin attacking the Masters, who reply in kind. Rocks are thrown at Daenerys and she is rushed to safety.
Leading is not so black and white. Daenerys has freed the slaves and angered the Masters. Now she has angered those she freed and sparked more unrest. As she huddles in her chambers, she hears a noise on the balcony. She goes outside to see what it is, and discovers Drogon, the largest of her dragons sitting out there. She’s overcome with joy, to see him and goes to pet him.
But he doesn’t let her touch him, merely sniffs her and then flies off. The Mother of dragons and breaker of chains is truly alone.
Musings over Wine…
Yes, do away with these ridiculous stigmas towards bastards, bring them out of the dark! If Stannis and Stark lead the way, so be it.
Would Arya’s fate have been different if she had knocked on the white door? Is it just for show? Ah to go back to Braavos and see!
I do wish the value of brothels was widely known.
Sansa herself refuses Brienne’s help because the sworn sword bowed to King Joffrey at his wedding. These young people are so limited in their views and understandings of how the game of thrones is played. Hopeless? We shall see.
So many would find their tempers relieved and their attitudes and thoughts cleared. Tyrion, Brienne, Cersai would all benefit from a session or two. Perhaps one could even find a way to make Selyse happy?
This Bear Island sounds interesting. Women warriors, stubborn girl leaders, disgraced knights, bears. I must visit this place…