Oberyn Martell here. Watching from my island paradise while enjoying life. I like to check in with those Seven Kingdomers. Especially the beautiful ones. Let me pour a glass of wine and we’ll have a look…
Ah Greyworm survived the brutal attack. Missandei sits by his bed, looking over him with a worried face. She’s beautiful as ever, as is he and hopefully too gorgeous to die from his wounds. Unlike poor Ser Barristan. He may have been a legendary fighter, but age dwindles us all. It’s not surprising that he fell, nor that he took so many with him.
Daenerys is understandably upset, she’s lost a good friend and soldier. But her desire to round up the heads of all the great families in Meereen is short sighted. Never mind that feeding them to her chained dragons won’t help. But if she uses the dragons to scare the families. Or at least most of them, that at least sends a message. It is a shame about the one man, whom the dragons roast and then tear apart to eat, but one does want one’s message to get across.
At least Hizdahr zo Loraq, who has been advising her, faces his seeming death bravely, muttering “Valar morghulis”. Daenerys spares him, saying she wouldn’t want to overfeed the dragons. Does this mean she has been feeding them when we are looking in at the brothels? If so what and is this their first taste of human flesh? What if the dragons decide humans taste better than cow or goat?
News of Daenerys antics reaches everyone, even old Maester Aemon at the Wall, her only living relative. He’s disappointed he can do nothing to help, as his age prevents him from traveling. Sam tries to comfort him, but then Jon enters, asking for advice on a thorny problem that will split the men of the Night’s Watch. Aemon councils him to do whatever it is, to “kill the boy” inside him, because he’s the Lord Commander and is at least aware of the difficulties ahead. His tasks do not involve being liked, but doing what needs to be done. Aemon believes that if he can do that, then things will alright. This is like my brother’s ruling sentiment. I would disagree, it’s important to be not only liked, but loved by your men. It’s important that they have your back.
Then Jon goes to meet with Tormund, the great bushy red bearded Wilding. Because Jon has a surprisingly good idea and offer. He will allow the Wildings to live on the south side of the wall, give them land to live and farm on, in return for their help in fighting the White Walkers when they finally come. Tormund agrees to that deal after a bit of disbelief, but insists that Jon come with him North of the Wall to round up the Wildings. They’ll need to hear from his lips, to prove the offer is real. Jon agrees, even saying he’ll borrow ships from Stannis to help sail them back. But you have to wonder whether this is a trap from Tormund. What’s to stop him from slaughtering Jon once they’re alone in the woods?
The rest of the Night’s Watch isn’t keen about the idea at all. Why should they be? The Night’s Watch has been fighting the Wildings for centuries, killing each other a hundred times over, while the Watch had only each other to keep warm in the night. There’s not just a lot of bad blood, but a lot of blood period. This is a good idea, to unite against those ugly white walkers, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to do.
In Winterfell, Brienne and Pod are on its outskirts, pledged to watch over or rescue Sansa Stark. Brienne begins to egg on a rebellion of sorts, with the help of older northern man. She reminds him of what the North was like and that Sansa is the last known member of that honorable family. If this sprouts into an quiet rebellion against the Boltons, that would be brilliant. Ah, I do wish I had seen this woman work, up close.
Ramsey entertains himself with one of his bedwarmers, Myranda, a shapely specimen. She was the one who helped Ramsey hunt and kill the other bedwarmer, so she’s not someone to be trifled with, but definitely one that he’ll appreciate. She’s upset that Ramsey will no longer marry her, despite his pledge to do so. He explains about having to marry Sansa to keep the north, but Myranda isn’t mollified. It’s only when he reminds her of what he does to people who bore him that her attitude changes. So she kisses him, biting his lips and drawing blood. That gets his interest! These Boltons are not just wild, but crazy. They mix their fighting and fucking a bit too much.
An old woman visits Sansa in her chambering, telling her she has friends. If she ever feels she’s in trouble, she should light a candle in the broken tower (the one Bran was pushed from. Lannister child care again!). It is difficult to tell whether the woman speaks truth. This could all be a plan of Ramsay’s, to test her loyalty. Or it could be legitimate. They say the North is a harsh place, but its people loyal to their own. We shall see.
Sansa goes to visit the tower, for memory’s sake. Myranda meets her there and begins a conversation. It’s awkward, with memories of Lady Catelyn being brought up, along with her death of course. To change the subject, Myranda offers Sansa a present and leads her to the dog kennels. There, in a filthy pen, she finds Theon, broken and abused, ashamed to see her. His manhood was cut off, he’s just a shell of someone who was nothing but a shell. Death would have kinder for him.
Reek tells Ramsey what happened, but reluctantly. He’s chastised for keeping secrets, and Ramsay appears ready to punish him. But in the end, he forgives Reek, but with a smile that only Ramsey could give. It’s almost worst than torture, because we all know, including Reek, that this won’t truly be forgotten. Ramsay is not that kind of man, nor a kind man.
Later at dinner, Ramsay gives a toast, talking of how the Northerners are all one family. He doesn’t mention that his family betrayed the Starks. No need to, the North remembers. Sansa doesn’t appreciate or enjoy the toast and refrains from drinking. When Reek enters to pour more wine (always a good idea) for the others, Ramsay tells Sansa he’s been punished for all his deeds. And then demands that Reek apologize to Sansa for murdering her two younger brothers, Bran and Rikkon (Not really, but few know that they’re still alive). It’s an odd encounter, tense and full of menace. It does not get better when he says Reek will give away Sansa at their wedding, as he’s the closest person Sansa has to family. Ramsay’s delighted with his idea, which only shows how twisted he is. Sansa has her work cut out for her, if it’s even possible to manipulate him.
Roose has news himself. His new wife is pregnant and and it seems as though she’s carrying a boy. Ramsay pauses at thought, since that puts his own position at risk.
Later, in a private chamber, Roose then tells Ramsey about his mother. It’s terrible story and reveals where the child got cruelness from. Roose raped a woman underneath the hanging body of her dead fiancé. But when she brought a baby to his keep a year later, he recognized the baby as his. Despite his own cruelty, Roose recognizes family. Ramsay is his son and he’ll need his help to keep the North from the army that Stannis is marching south.
Stannis is a brilliant commander, but the combination of the deviousness of the Boltons and their own intelligence might put a stop to him at Winterfell. Whichever way it goes, the battle for Winterfell promises to be brutal and epic.
Back at Wall, Gilly is with Sam in the library. She’s ashamed for knowing so little about academics, but Sam rightly points out she knows plenty about living and surviving, things he has trouble with. Stannis enters and they start talking about the White Walkers. Sam is the only known person to have killed one, despite his lack of warrior skills (it was a bit of mistake after all). It’s the black dragon glass, something Stannis has plenty of at his keep, Dragonstone. He sees that Sam’s reading and his academic skills could be useful a in the coming war and encourages him to continue going through the books for more information. The kingdom is going to need everything it can find to deal with an army of the Undead.
Then Stannis visits Davos and announces it times to leave and march South in the morning. More awkwardness ensues as everyone goes to see them off. Davos is chastised by Queen Selyse to not scare Princess Shireen with talk of battle. Melisandre looks linger on Jon. Sam and Gilly look on sadly as the procession files out the courtyard and heads south. It looks very much like funeral procession
Back in Meereen, Missandei is sitting by Greyworm’s bed when he finally wakes. She tries to comfort him, but he is ashamed for failing his men and Ser Barristan and for being afraid. Not of death but of never seeing Missandei again. She’s clearly moved and they finally kiss. He may be a eunuch, but he still has has emotions. It’s not clear where this relationship can go, but it’s going somewhere, at last.
When Missandei goes to meet with Daenerys, she is asked to advise the queen on the situation. She stumbles at first and then reports on what’s she’s seen: Daenerys ignoring her advisors when she’s seen a larger picture that needs attention.
Then Daenerys goes to visit Hizdahr zo Loraq in his cell. When she enters, he knees before and begins to beg for his life. Ha, not so brave now, with fewer witnesses! She stops him and then admits she was wrong and he was right. She agrees to re-open the fighting pits, but to free men only. She’ll also marry a member of one of the high families. She says that thankfully one is already on his knees. Now that is a shocked face! Quite a change of fortune for him!
Next, we catch up with Mormont and Tyrion, sailing to Meereen. Mormont is no fun at all, denying wine to Tyrion and rarely talking. He’s still having visions of getting back into Daenerys good graces and quite possibly her bed. It’s hard to tell with Mormont. He clearly loves her, but it’s a worshipping type of love where he doesn’t quite see her as a person. Locking himself in room for private time to enjoy himself while thinking of her might be more his style, because to touch her would be to defile his goddess. Daarios doesn’t have that problem at all, hence the he gets invited to her bed. He sails them through the ancient doom of Valia, to avoid pirates. They pass through ancient ruins. They notice something in the sky. It’s Drogon, lazily flying about. Tyrion stares on in astonishment.
Then they’re attacked by the Stone men, people inflicted with the greyscale that Stannis’s daughter Shireen has on her face. Struggles ensue and numbers overwhelm them. With nowhere to go and Mormont busy fighting and his hands still bound, Tyrion goes into the water to try to escape. But he’s pulled down by another stone man and passes out.
He wakes on the beach, with Mormont. There is no boat or supplies, but at least Mormont cuts the rope around Tyrions hands. If only he had done that earlier, Tyrion might have been able to help fight off the attack. The half man wielded an axe an battle and has killed, after all! Had he been free, perhaps Mormont wouldn’t have gotten touched by a Stone man and been infected. But the past is the past. The least he could do is tell Tyrion what happened to him. After all, secrets can be dangerous things. We’ll see how this one plays, but one thing is for sure: Now he can never touch Daenerys, only himself.
Musings over wine…
Has Daenerys finally grown up and learned to play a better game of thrones?
Will Tyrion ever get to a place more interesting? What is Varys doing with himself now?
I appreciate that Stannis can see value in people no matter their standing. He even enjoys the language enough to correct those who speak it incorrectly. This warms my poet’s soul.
The Boltons are fun to watch from afar, particularly since they seem to be oblivious to the enemies they create close by. Will some of these people slide a knife between some Bolton ribs? I eagerly await such events…