Hello, my name is Oberyn Martell. Many believe I’m dead. I am fine with that belief. It allows me to rest and enjoy myself on a distant island, while observing the affairs of the world. Come, let us see what is occurring in the game of thrones.Young Arya is in a dark place, but at least this time she’s supposed to be there. It’s a chamber in the House of Black and White, lit only by fires that ring the wall. Jaqen H’ghar is giving an old man some water while Arya simply sweeps the floor. The man rises and walks across the room, then knees before a statue.
Arya puts the broom aside and approaches Jaqen. She complains about having to sweep, it seems she has been doing it for days and wishes to begin her training as a Faceless Man. Jaqen points out that all men must serve, and Faceless Men most of all, for they serve the Many Faced god. Arya listens but does not really hear. Youth are so impatient to learn.
The man who was kneeling is now dead, from poison I believe. That must have been what Jaqen was giving him, not water. Strange hospitality! Others come into the room and remove his body on a stretcher. Arya asks another young girl where the body is being taken, but there is no answer.
In that wretched dungpile known as King’s Landing, Cersei rides in a litter to the marriage of Tommen and Margaery. Because she is the Queen mother and not the soon to be Queen, rides behind Margaery, forced to listen to people express their love of her. She is not happy about this. No one pays any attention to Cersei, and who can blame them? She wields her power like a cudgel, instead of like a jug of wine. Everyone loves someone with wine, me most of all!
At the wedding the couple appear happy, especially Tommen, who’s looking at Margaery very hungrily. Understandable, especially considering that no one dines at this wedding. What is becoming of Westeros?!
Naturally, their wedding night is a busy one and Tommen is ridiculously happy over finally being with a woman. Who can blame him, especially with a wife such as Margaery. Thankfully, Tommen breaks family tradition and does not have sex next to a dead body of a relative. Youth’s energetic impatience can sometimes be quite useful.
Afterwards they talk and Margaery continues to weave her spell over the eager young king. She flatters him constantly and showers him with kindness, while slowly sliding up to the subject of his mother, Cersei. Gently she asks whether she’ll be staying in the capital, pointing out she’ll be carefully looking over Tommen’s every movement and how lucky is to have such a protective and loving mother who will never leave him. The poor boy, he doesn’t stand a chance against such a skilled foe.This all plays into a later talk between Tommen and Cersei on the next day, as he question whether she’ll return to Casterly Rock. He, of course, only wants her to be happy and believes she’ll be happiest where she grew up. Which is away from far away from him.
Thus Cersei visits Margaery, who greets her with the phrase “Mother” and offers her food or wine “though of course it’s early in the day for her.” Someone is settling into their new position very well. Cersei inquires whether there’s anything she can help Margaery with. She replies no, and as Cersei takes her leave among girlish giggles, Margeary asks how she should refer to Cersei. It’s all delivered with a knowing smirk. All Cersei can do is reply that she’ll be there if Margaery needs anything and then leaves. She does not grovel or pay attention to the taunts. Be careful Margaery, Cersei is most dangerous when so obviously threatened.
In Winterfell, Reek walks among new construction and flayed bodies. Roose Bolton talks with his son Ramsay, who’s busy stuffing his face. Roose cautions about torture adn how it will turn the Northern people against them. Ramsay pays him little heed, until Roose orders him to stop eating and pay attention. It’s then that Roose informs him that he’s arranged a marriage for Ramsey, to solidify their hold on the North. That can only mean one thing, or one person!
Next we see Baelish and Sansa overlooking Moat Cailin, the crumbling tower gateway in the Neck, that narrow passage that connects the North and the South. Recognizing the location, Sansa quickly realizes where they’re going and the marriage proposal that Baelish arranged. She is to be married into House Bolton.
She wants nothing to do with it, pointing out that Roose murdered her brother and the Boltons have taken over her former home, Winterfell. Baelish points that the North is her home and she’s been running since most of her family has been killed. He advises her to stop running and begin working to extract the revenge her family deserves. Sansa pauses for a few moments and then mounts her her horse as Baelish smiles and they proceed North.From a mountain top Brienne and Pod watch them go and make plans to follow. But for now they’ll rest and make a camp for the night.
Brienne notes that Pod is a bit old to be squire and inquires how he came to be one for Tyrion. Pod explains he was originally squire for another knight, who stole a ham and shared with Pod. When the guards discovered the ham bone on the night, he was ordered hung, along with Pod. But Tywin Lannister recognized Pod’s family name and spared his life, making him a squire to his son Tyrion, the Imp. It was meant to be an insult to them both, but it worked out well instead.
Brienne apologizes for being so nasty so often, but Pod doesn’t mind. He rightly notes she’s a great fighter and he’s learned much. So Brienne offers to begin training him as a knight. Though she can’t knight him, she can teach him how to fight, which he notes is more important.
As he helps her take off her armor, Pod asks Brienne how she came to be in Renly’s service. She recounts the story of her father setting up suitors for her. Though she didn’t want to go, she was forced and wound up having a lovely time as suitors flirted with and charmed her. Then she noticed they were playing games with her, toying with her, making a game out of being her suitors. She realized she wasn’t attractive and was instead “a lumbering oaf of a woman”. She tried to run away, but Renly took her in his arms and told her to ignore “the little shits”. Then he danced with her and none of the other boys could make fun of her then.
Pod asks if she knew that Renly was gay. Such a pity that people cannot see the beauty in the forms the gods gave it, but I suppose that means more for myself. And Brienne did not care about Renly’s taste in men. He was kind to her and saved her, in a fashion. For that how could she help but love him?
And how could she help but feel sadness at her inability to protect him from shadow magic that killed him? That loss is still keenly on her mind. What can she do but avenge his murder? Stannis would be wise to careful, as Brienne is a driven warrior. It would not be wise to have her as an enemy.
At the wall, Stannis meets with the new Lord Commander, Jon Snow. He asks if Jon has considered his offer to be named a Stark and Lord of Winterfell. He has, but ultimately Jon must turn down what he’s always wanted most out of life. He’s the Lord commander now and has to live by his words and his oath. His dream to be a Stark in name will never be.
Stannis notes he’s as honorable and stubborn as his father. It’s not a compliment, since honor got Ned Stark killed. I see his point, but Ned Stark died because of his own ignorance and blind faith to laws and a moral code that others did not follow. Honor is a good thing, but it not the only thing.
But since Jon made his choice, Stannis will leave him, to march on Winterfell and take it from the Boltons. He hopes to slowly build his army by conquering the North. But what of the Wilding prisoners that his army already captured? Stannis says this fate is up to Jon and leaves.
Davos lingers for a moment and talks to Jon. He notes that Stannis admires Jon, believes him worthy. Then he points out that the Night’s Watch is sworn to protect the realms of men. Jon reminds him that the Night’s Watch stays out of politics and the affairs of the rest of the kingdom. Davos press his point, noting that staying at the Wall doesn’t protect much of anyone and that as long as the Boltons rule Winterfell the North will suffer. Fair points from a seasoned warrior. Jon appears thoughtful over the comments, but makes no obvious move at this point.
At the House of Black and White, a unnamed girl enters Arya’s room and asks who she is. Arya is confused, but replies “No One”. The girl slaps her and Arya warns her to cut it out. The girl slaps her again and asks her who she is. Arya, now visibly angry, reaches for her sword and tells her she’s about to find out. Jaqen enters and asks what is going on. The girl says they were merely playing the game of faces.
He points out that someone who is no one has Arya Stark’s swords and clothes. The girl leaves, smirking as Jaqen wonders how ‘no one’ has so many of a Arya Stark’s things.
Then she changes her clothes and heads out to the dock where she throws away her clothes and money. But she cant’ bear to throw away her sword Needle. So she buries it in a pile of rocks. Clearly she will never truly be no one. But perhaps she will come close.
Back in the House, Arya sweeps as another body is led from the chamber with lit fires and statues. But this time she tries to follow. Jaqen stops her briefly, then walks through the door and down some step. She follows him to the room where the bodies are placed on table and where the unnamed girl begins taking off the body’s clothes. As she begins she looks at Arya and Arya begins to help her.
Let me tell you, I have studied at the citadel and been all over the world and few things bore me as much as unexplained rituals and mindless drudgery. If you are to train someone, then train them, teach them. These silly glances and eternal silence among all this darkness is terrible. Perhaps a bit of wine would make things go better!
But it I digress…Once the clothes are removed and the genitals tastefully covered, the girl begins washing the body. Arya asks what they do after they wash them. There is no answer, only another of those damn looks, so Arya begins to wash the body also. I find that stabbing someone produces many answers, but that is just me.
In Winterfell, Sansa and Baelish arrive as Reek looks on. Roose Bolton greets them and after a moment, Sansa warmly greets him and Ramsay. To the side, Ramsay’s bed warmers look on in anger. Jealously is ugly and also dangerous. Sansa has been be careful, she is no fighter.
Sansa is led to her room by an old lady. As the woman leave she welcomes Lady Sansa home and notes that “The North Remembers.”
As his first meeting as Lord Commander, Jon begins handing out assignment. First up is a latrine pit. Thorne seems like the perfect choice, as he’s tormented Snow repeatedly and then lost but to him in the race for Lord Commander. But Jon has some wisdom and instead appoints him First Ranger, a task more fitting to Thorne’s abilities and experience and one Thorne clearly appreciates. It will also cause Thorne to be gone away from the Castle for long periods of time, which allow Jon to operate with little conflict.
Or so it seems. Janos Slynt, Thorne’s right hand man, is appointed Ranger of the sea gate. He does not like it and vocally says so. Jon reminds him that it’s an order. Slynt still isn’t impressed and tells Jon he will not have it. Jon asks if he’s refusing an order. Slynt tells him to stick his order up his bastard ass.
Jon orders that Slynt be taken outside and then commands that Ollie bring him his sword. Slynt still isn’t impressed and proclaims that he isn’t scared at all. Jon pauses to drink and think for a moment and then walks outside. He unsheathes his sword and then tells Slynt that if he has any last words he should say them. Slynt begins begging for mercy and admits that he’s afraid that he’s always been afraid. Jon pauses and then cuts off his head, in front of everyone.
Stannis looks on approvingly. Because he admires strength and likes disorder being dealt with forcefully.
In Kings Landing, a man is kneeling as a group of naked woman walk around him. There are shapely women, very becoming and wasted on this old and hypocritical man who appears to be some of priest.
Newly religious Lancel Lannister enters the room with many followers and leads the man naked outside to a crowd. As the man attempts to cover himself, his hands are slapped away. The crowd whispers “Sinner”. I whisper “half man”
The man, the High Scepter of the Faith of the Seven and now clothed (thank the gods), appears before the Small Council and reports the attack to them. He demands justice. Qyburn points out he was attacked in a brothel, which the High Scepter claims he was simply ministering too. Ha, no one believes him.Cersei asks where this high sparrow can be found. She goes to meet him, amidist foul conditions of the wretched poor.
She finds the High Sparrow, an old, but friendly man ladling soup out for others. He doesn’t like the name, but what can he do? They talk a bit, with the man telling the tenets of the faith. Cersei gently chides him about attacking the High Scepter, but she doesn’t really care.
Cersei points out that the Scepter wants him arrested. Cersei agrees that the High Scepter’s behavior was bad and had him thrown in the dungeon. She tries to make an ally of the High Sparrow, but it’s unclear whether he agrees to this. Doubtful, he looks to be a religious man with not time for politics.
Then she visits Qyburn in his lab, where he’s cutting up rats. She commands him to send a raven to Littlefinger then leaves. He continues writing in his journal. The body on the table moves. Qyburn gently hushes it.
At Winterfell, Sansa walks among the construction. Reek notices her, but hides his face. Baelish and Ramsey overlook the construction and Sansa. Ramsey promises never to hurt Sansa, which is an odd thing. Roose comes along and asks for a private moment with Baelish.
They talk and prepare for the future, preparing for the Lannisters anger over Sansa begin wed to Ramsay.
But it’s an uneasy alliance. Bolton doesn’t trust Baelish (who would) and of course Baelish doesn’t trust anyone.
Tyrion and Varys arrive in Volantis. Tyrion is itchy, wanting to get out of their wagon. He’s going nuts, so demands to be let out, despite Varys worry over him being found. Tyrion doesn’t care. He’ll put on a cloak an at last see a face a that isn’t Varys.They walk among the slave market, where they discover a preacher of the Lord of Light. They pause and listen to her. The greyscale is mentioned..but Daenearys is mentioned.
The priestess pauses and looks at Tyrion, He wisely decides to move along and find a brothel. Good man. He sounds if he is feeling better.
But is it a small world after all, So they run into Jorah Mormont, Danaerys’ disgraced advisor. As Tyrion attempts to woo one of the prostitutes, then he decides not to go with her. He’s shocked at his own reluctance. As am I. The Tyrion Lannister has formidable reputation as visitor of brothels, yet he refused my offer in Kings Landing and here he is doing it again. I do not understand this behavior.
He goes outside to pee. Buts Mormont find him and kidnaps him, saying he’ll take her to the queen. Clearly one should be careful about going outside in this world.
Musings over wine…
I do wish Arya had gone to Dorne to train to be an assassin. My daughters would have trained her well. And she would have learned poetry.
Or perhaps Sansa would have benefited from learning with my daughters? I suspect Baelish has many tricks up his sleeve. She may learn from him. If she survives the Boltons.
Ah there is hope for Jon Snow after all yes? You must draw a firm line in the sands early to be a good leader.
Cersai enjoys interesting bedfellows no? I wonder if this religious order will be more trouble then it’s worth. They often are. And Cersai would certainly be of interest to them.
Stannis is a bore. I suppose ruling is difficult. Like my brother he is resolute and I find it unpoetic.