SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
The episode plot lines develop characters in pairs. The broken are too obvious. It is more important to pay attention on how brokenness serve as momentum to either rise or fall.
[Pair 1] Jon and Sansa
We’re too invested in these two at this point that we will not believe that they can’t get out of the allegiance cr*p they’re at. Sure they have unreputable but reliable allies in the Wildlings; they have but a few houses on their side. But you just cannot accept that at this point, their brokenness is going to last long.
And that is a grounded guess. I will assume Sansa writes Littlefinger to summon the Knights of the Vale. We know that the Wildlings will deliver for Jon (giant Wildling is back!). Plus I assume Melisandre is around there somewhere, hopefully over her existential crisis and getting ready for battle. There’s hope all around.
The brokenness in Jon and Sansa is that they both have no clear claim to the House of Stark because Jon is a snow and Sansa is a “Bolton plus ex-Lannister”. So they need a new rhetoric to claim the North. And we might just be set up for precisely that.
UPDATE (June 6, 11:44PM) The earlier version of my post links the location of the camp to Bran’s visions. A friend (thanks Adrian Garcia!) pointed out that those are quick-a-glance-and-you-miss-it scenes from Hardhome. And this is confirmed in this CLIP. However, I’m taking a leap of faith here by hoping that Jon versus Night King Round 2 comes earlier than Bastardbowl. If Night’s King comes or doesn’t, here is what we work with:
- If Night’s King mah mehn comes, Jon suddenly has a claim to the north beyond any house or throne (as skillfully imbedded in Davos’ speech with Lady Lyanna Mormont). Jon will rise as Lord Commander, the prince that was promised, blessed with fire by the Lord of Light. (And I dunno, maybe Sansa can help out a bit as Jean Grey. Nyahahaha) While Night’s King’s arrival is worrisome, come on, we’re in GOT. In this world, you win or you die.
- If Night’s King does NOT arrive though, boring. Instead we will have Bastard Bowl. Jon versus Ramsey. Not bad. But still, Night’s King arrival will be exhilirating.
Another critical element in the scenes of Jon and Sansa is the introduction of a character named Lyanna. If Bran is on his way to the cliff camp, may his encounter with the young fierce lady Lyanna trigger his visions of the Tower of Joy? #Please #TheoryConfirmation #JonStarkTargaryen
[Pair 2] Cersei and Jaime
Very quickly. Too broken. These two are smashed to the lower limits of their pride this episode. Cersei feeling like she found an ally in the Tyrells, but got humiliated by Olenna. Then Jaime feeling like he could actually win something for his name after he’d been stripped off of his duties as King’s Guard. But how was he greeted by Blackfish? “King slayer”. Boom. We all get reminded.
In the books, Jaime’s storyline should be somehow like the Hound’s (we’ll get to that in a bit). He was broken; he kinda feels something for Brienne too; and he wants redemption. In the A Feast For Crows, Cersei would outright send a letter to Jaime about being her champion in her trial by combat. But Jaime would refuse because he’s a changed man and the nature of his allegiance to Cersei would have changed. In A Dance with Dragons, Jaime should be reunited with Brienne who would tell him that she has found Sansa (but we’re way beyond that already in the series). And well, in the books, Cersei’s just on a colossal downward spiral. #MoreWine
So I don’t know if the series is trying to deliberately pulling these siblings’ storylines together, because the treatment is quite different in the books. But I’m not going to complain. The Jaime-Brienne love angle might reappear, given that Brienne is currently towards Jaime’s direction. But come on. Jaime-Brienne versus Tormund-Brienne? You know my vote’s on the Wildling.
[Pair 3] Olenna and Margaery
Even more briefly. These two are the great female political animals. As I said in my previous blog, and quite accurately about the producing heirs part, Margaery cannot be broken by the Sparrow. And Olenna’s taught her well. So I suppose it’s only a matter of time before these girls get their way. For now, subtly. For later, bluntly.
What a b*tch statement from the Sparrow. It’s not about the desire, but the patience? Wrong move. You don’t say that to someone like Margaery Tyrell. The Sparrow’s breast will bleed from the Rose’s thorn soon enough.
[Pair 4] Arya and The Hound
First things first. I really did not feel surprised about the Hound coming back. In GOT, when a character of significance dies, they really show you how they die. Example: Ned Starks’s head displayed, Red Wedding gruesomeness, Oberyn Martell crushed head, Joffrey’s blue-purple face, and the list goes on forever. If they leave someone’s fate unresolved, that person is likely still alive. (Oh yeah, like Gendry Snow-Baratheon who has been rowing for a hundred motherfriggin years already.) So there. The Hound is alive. Not a surprise. Plus there were clues in the books.
Now, Arya and the Hound. These two come a long way. Similar storyline here. Both tried to do what they can to survive; find a path that takes them out of their miseries, only to find out they need to come back to it anyway. And now they’re set for survival and vengeance.
Arya’s too much of a fan favorite to get killed. I know that in GOT we’re never really sure, but come on. Kill Arya and GRRM’s sure to go to hell. She might get back to Lady Crane. Or there might be some twisted interface (huh! Inter-face! LOL) with Jaqen here. But what we can be sure of is that Arya will find a way. (You know, it would be crazy amazing if she’d be helped by some guy and then the guy would say, “What do we say to the god of death?” “NOT TODAY!” That would be such a win.) Let’s leave Arya at that – bleeding til next week.
To the Hound. Okay, so he wants repentance, a new life, some purpose. And he was quite finding it through the Faith of the Seven septon. The Hound is one of those characters who are severely portrayed as an underdog that I feel annoyed about it already. Yeah sure, so sulk now. Passive aggressive style of yearning for love and attention. Take a quick search about “Cleganebowl” and you’ll know from explosive amounts of fan theories why the Hound is meant to smash his undead-brother’s head soon enough in the name of brotherly justice.
I am refreshed with the septon here (portrayed by one-episode-only Ian McShane). He’s of the Faith, but he treats the religions with a sense of peace, i.e., the only thing we’re sure of is that “there is something greater than us”. Perhaps that’s why his character is out with nature, living some more grounded way of living a faith, rather than marching with the Faith Militant in King’s Landing. But behold, he died. Because #TheNightIsDarkAndFullOfTerrors. Such small references about the religious war undertones of GOT make me happy.
So, the most exciting part of the episode’s ending scene is not the return of the Hound per se, but his sudden connection to the Brotherhood Without Banners (henceforth, BWB). The BWB are those riding horses who confronted the priest-guy of the Seven, and warned him that (again) #TheNightIsDarkAndFullOfTerrors. For those who read the books, it is widely known that the BWB became a force to reckon with when the Starks fell and there was no clear order in the North. Their leader eventually became Lady Stoneheart, who is Lady Catelyn Tully-Stark turned undead. Lady Stoneheart knows no allegiances; she knows only that she needs vengeance over the engineers of the Red Wedding, and that she is looking for her children. She also makes the BWB hang everyone, you know, like how the septon-priest ended up.
So why is the last scene exciting again? Because we might be in for a big undead surprise by next episode/s. And this makes sense to me. Why would the minor Freys be pulled into the picture again, if not to set up something more significant in the upcoming episodes, like, remembering the Red Wedding? Because the North remembers, and if they cannot remember their promise to the House of Stark (referring back to Jon and Sansa), they will remember what the Starks said all the time: WINTER [KING] IS [FREAKING] COMING. The effort to set-up the return of a major Stark is deep and massive and rather obvious now in my viewing.
If Lady Stoneheart does not appear in the next episodes, I will be truly disappointed.
P.S. I don’t know if it’s a deliberate joke. But telling Theon to man up WHILE being in a brothel is the cruelest pun of them all. And I’ll leave it at that.
One week of waiting again. Who knows, we might have tons of undead next episode. The Mountain. Stoneheart. Benjen. Night’s King and his army. I’ll be happy just to have Night’s King motion the “come at me bro” once more.