Oberyn Martell recaps “The Dance With Dragons,” episode 9, Season 5 of Game of Thrones

Episode nine has arrived! I’ve been wondering how things would go after last episode. Watching the White Walkers kill your friends and then raise them from the dead to fight against you, was a lot to digest. Many bottles and bodies were needed to ease my fears!

Let us see what’s happening in this messed up world…

Things get hot in camp Stannis, thanks to Ramsay Bolton!

Things get hot in camp Stannis, thanks to Ramsay Bolton!

In the North, Ramsay Bolton continues to succeed at being a complete pain. He and his “20 good men” set fire to the food and weapon stores in camp Stannis. So much for guards, eh? Things are bleak in the camp, leaving Stannis to make hard decisions about how to continue his campaign to win the Iron Throne.

So he makes the choice to sacrifice his only child to the fire. I can not even understand how one gets to this point. To be a King is no small feat, it can give one great power. But it can always be taken from you, one most work constantly to keep it. But the love of a child? That is freely given and one only need to love the child back to be sure that love will never disappear. That love won’t buy you riches, but it is irreplaceable. I can not fathom how and why a father would trade one for the other! Especially for a child as sweet and adorable as Shireen, so intelligent and willing to help her family.

But I suppose we should not be surprised. When we first met Stannis he, along with the red witch, were burning family members alive. She foretold that he would betray everything he holds dear to get the Iron Throne, and that’s coming true. So much destruction, just for a chair.

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Will Ser Alliser let us in? I hope so, it’s cold out here.

Further North, Jon and the Wildings (including one giant) finally make it back to the Wall. Ser Alliser reluctantly lets them back in to Castle Black and who can blame him? All his life the Wildings have been his enemy. Now, the pretty boy Commander he hates wants to forge a peace alliance with the Watch’s enemies. But at least there are women in the camp now and fresh male bodies. Hopefully that will do much to ease the tension!

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Heeeey, I’m the Prince.

Speaking of bad feelings, it’s amazing how quickly and easily my brother, Prince Doran of Dorne, is willing to forgive Jamie for trying to steal away Myrcella. He is a magnificent leader, always going with a gentle touch, but not afraid to be fierce.

Much like my love, Ellaria Sand. She still wants war and vengeance against the crown for my supposed “death”. I’m proud of her fire and am joyful to see her in action yet again. But she pushes too hard against my brother and she underestimates his own fire. Her repeated defiance and mocking of his rule can only go so far.

Which is why it comes down to a choice for her, either swear allegiance to Doran or die. Being no fool, she falls to her knees and kisses his ring. But her immediate visit to Jamie Lannister and the sweet words she utters come a bit too quickly I think. Ellaria is not one to easily give up a grudge.

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Hey Arya? Jaqen knows you’re lying.

Much like Arya, over in Braavos. She’s still on her first assignment for the Faceless Men, watching the thin man gambler and planning his murder under the guise of the oyster seller Lana. But the arrival of Mace Tyrell, guarded by Ser Meryn Trant, draws her attention. Trant is on her death list, for crimes against her family. She forgets her assignment, then lies about it to Jaqen and instead follows Trant around the city, looking for a chance to kill him. His disgusting taste for young girls at brothels may be her way to achieve that task. We all must do things we don’t like at some point, to achieve our goals.

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Oh dear, children can be such a handful!

In Meereen, Daenerys is discovering that fact yet again. It’s opening day of the fighting pits, a long and wonderful traditional of the city. But Daenerys does not care for this tradition and only goes along with it in the hopes of quieting the recent rebellion by the Sons of the Harpy.

In my travels, I visited Meereen and its pits. It was glorious to see the brave men fighting for honor and money, so many styles and weapons were used! The roar of the crowd and the defeating of foes! But Daenerys has a point about slaves forced to fight. A man, either low or high born, should be able to choose his destiny, not be forced into it for the amusement of others! But I digress!

There only two fights that matter here. Though the talk between Daario and Hizdahr zo Loraq was entertaining. Had latter events not occurred, Daario was talking himself into a very lovely evening with Daenerys. But it was not to be, back to the only fights!

The first was Jorah fighting to prove his loyalty and yes, love, of his Queen. For him there is no greater glory than either fighting for Daenerys or dying for her. And he’s such a magnificent warrior! Strong, determined and quick. It’s he who’s the final victor in his round and thankfully so! For he spots a Son of the Harpy sneaking up behind Daenerys and hurls a spear to slay him. What a throw!

Then the Harpys appear throughout the crowd in the arena and the attack against Daenerys truly begins. Jorah rushes to her side as Daario and the Unsullied defend their Queen and her council. Even the Imp, Tyrion Lannister manages to wield a sword and save Messandei from an attack. He may be half a man in height, but truly he is all man where it counts! A shame we never spent time at a brothel together!

But even with fierce skills of Daario, Jorah and the Unsullied against the untrained rich and lazy men of the Harpy, the latter numbers are too great. They manage to surround Daenerys and her council and all seems lost. But the fiery shriek from the sky announces the arrival of Drogon, first and largest of the dragons. He’s a beautiful sight as he glides into the stadium and lands, spitting fire and roasting Harpys. It is like nothing I’ve seen, imagine having such a weapon on one’s side! One would be unstoppable!

Or so you’d think. The Sons rally themselves a bit and hurl spears at Drogon. Several manage to pierce his hide and wound him. Ah, now we see what happens with an untrained weapon. Fierce he may be, but Drogon is still young and wild. The Targaryens of old raised and trained dragons, uniting Westeros under them. Except for Dorne, of course. We are and shall always be, Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken and will not be defeated, even by dragons! Forgive me, I digress yet again.

My point is merely that for all his power, Drogon has not be taught how to wield his fire, tooth and claw effectively, much like his mother. He fights on the ground, within reach of spears, instead of remaining in the air, roasting all from above. On the ground, there’s a chance he could become beaten. Yet he will not leave his mother, not when she is in such danger. So she goes to him and climbs on his back, telling him to take flight and get away and off they go.

Meanwhile, back in the arena, Daario, Jorah, Tyrion, Messandei and Unsullied soldiers remain to face greatly thinned Harpys. That doesn’t seem like a fair fight at all, no? The Harpys have no chance here!

 

Musings over wine…

I do hope the recounting of the White Walker tale will convince Ser Alliser to help young Jon. Please let there be no more boring politics…

I do hope all this talk between my brother, Doran and the others, leads to more interesting things. I know Doran can not fight with weapons, but he is skilled with words and wields his guards as weapons instead. The ‘fleabite’ given to Bronn was worth a chuckle.

I have no words for Stannis. As for his remaining family and friends, watch your backs. A man who would burn his own daughter for power, is not a man to have behind you. I shall need some beautiful bodies behind me to wash those horrible images from my mind…

I am finding the training of Arya ever delightful to watch. I always preferred the forward approach, but these background deadly schemes are fascinating. I do hope she achieves her goals.

Would Dany have been smarter to follow Daario’s advice and rounded up the former slave owners? Would this have hamstrung the Harpys in advance? We may never know. I eagerly await to see what she does next.