'Game of Thrones' Forced You to Pay Attention to the Details This Week
Behind the mysterious letters, books, and theories at play in Episode Five.
BY matt miller | Aug 15, 2017 | Film & TV
Game of Thrones can often be a show as blunt as Gendry's warhammer—smashing through its story with all the crazy sex and dragons and a record number of dudes on fire. But often, the show's many elaborate little details—down to the number of shits a random guy took in his lifetime—can be as fun as 200 flaming Lannisters. In Episode Five—after delivering a stunning slaughter of Jaime's army last week—Game of Thrones returned with its most subtle hour of the season.
And since there's a lot of important, nerdy particulars to unpack, let's start with the easy stuff right away—namely two characters' fates that Game of Thrones wasn't fucking around with. Last night's episode opened with Jaime and Bronn safe and sound and a very long way from Daenerys, her dragon, her entire army, and the hundreds of people watching him stupidly charge a giant fire-breathing beast. It apparently doesn't matter how they evidently swam such a far distance while holding their breath and loaded down with hundreds of pounds of armor and weapons. It's not clear, exactly, how Bronn was able to successfully drag Jaime's worthless ass back to the surface. I guess we just assume no one bothered to check to see if they were, like, actually dead? Correct me if I'm wrong, but how did Tyrion, in a later scene, know his brother was alive to suggest he set up a meeting with him? THESE details don't matter, but the annulment of a marriage two decades ago (more on that later) somehow does ?
ANYWAY, Jaime and Bronn are back. But they're shook. And for good reason. They just watched a dragon annihilate their entire army. And immediately, Bronn informs Jaime that it's a no for me, dawg with the rest of this war. "Dragons are where our partnership ends," Bronn, who is the only smart man in Westeros, says to Jaime.
Jaime goes back to Cersei to inform her that these dragons are coming to mess them up. But, once again, Cersei chooses violence—resolving to go down in flames, which is an all-too-on-the-nose cliche. He also tells her that Olenna Tyrell (RIP the Shade Queen of Westeros) was really the one who orchestrated Joffrey's death. It takes some convincing, but rather than show sympathy for her brother—whom she incorrectly implicated and sentenced to die—she wishes she had killed Olenna more violently. A fine quality of a queen: to regret not killing one person a little harder rather than regret attempting to behead your brother.
And speaking of flames, Daenerys torches Samwell Tarly's father and brother Randyll (Game of Thrones's short-lived racist uncle) and Rickon (Dickon!) for not bending the knee. It's a move that kinda peeves Tyrion. Because, you know, it's hard to take a continent and make people loyal if you're cooking members of their very important families.
Here's some more good news: Drogon is apparently fine, despite some concerning theories. That massive missile lodged in his wings was NBD, I guess. After providing a very convincing example for why the Lannister troops should bend the knee to Daenerys, he flies her back to Dragonstone. There, Jon Snow, greets the Queen for a little dragon petting zoo time. Awww, he has such a way with the terrifying dragon! But why was Jon so chill with Drogon? The answer was actually in Sam's hands.
After failing to once again convince these lazy-ass Maesters that the White Walkers are back, Sam is dejectedly looking through some of those old records. More good news in there, too. Don't you worry for a single goddamn second, because the Game of Thrones writers have once again figured out a way to work shit Sam's storyline in the Citadel. How's it about shit? Well, High Septon Maynard made a record of every shit he took. But that doesn't matter (other than to reinforce that whole shitty theme). But what Gilly reads next is very important:
"He issued an annulment for a Prince 'Raggar' and re-married him to someone else in a secret ceremony in Dorne."
Though she mispronounces the name, she's likely talking about Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, who was married to Elia Martell before Robert's Rebellion. But during a tournament, he shocked Westeros by riding past his own wife to name Lyanna Stark, Ned's sister, the tournament's Queen of Love and Beauty. In other words, the dude was crushing hard. This was extra scandalous because she was betrothed to marry Robert Baratheon. Later, he mysteriously abducted Lyanna and brought her to the Tower of Joy, where in Season Six we saw young Ned pick up her child in a vision.
What Gilly describes is Maynard marrying Rhaegar and Lyanna before she gives birth to her child, Jon Snow, who Ned brings back to Winterfell after the war to raise as his own.
That would be why Drogon and Jon were such instant BFFs—Jon is a Targaryen and Daenerys's little nephew. And this is all heartwarming, but Bran, who Animorphed into some crows, has some chilling news about the White Walkers: Those fuckers are still white and still walking! And they've apparently gotten closer to The Wall at an average pace of .00003 miles per hour.
This information leads to what is likely Jon's dumbest plan yet: He wants to go capture one of the things in the White Walker army—and bring that to the totally rational Cersei Lannister in order to convince her to set aside the whole war to fight the White Walkers. Again, this is a bad plan. Has Cersei ever once demonstrated the ability to listen to reason? To be selfless? How exactly do they just pluck a wight from the White Walker army? Do they march up and very politely offer to babysit one of their zombies? Okay, sure, good call! Might as well send your king on this genius mission. Meanwhile, Tyrion offers to go try and convince Jaime (again, how does he know he's alive?) to do this thing that Cersei is definitely not gonna do.
Davos offers to use his smuggling skills to get Tyrion into King's Landing. So naturally, in the next scene, they're already there. Under the pretense of training him with the sword, Bronn brings Jaime to a meeting with Tyrion. All that was easy! Speeding right along here, Jaime and Tyrion hadn't seen each other since the end of Season Four. Unlike Tyrion and everyone else in the Lannister family, he and Jaime actually love each other. Jaime always protected Tyrion and recognized that what he lacked in physical ability, he made up with intelligence. Unfortunately, the emotional weight of this long-awaited brotherly reunion is breezed over to get to more important matters: Tyrion asks Jaime to get Cersei to agree to an armistice while the fighting the real threat. While the brothers are talking, Davos heads back to Flea Bottom, where he tracks down Gendry—Robert Baratheon's bastard son, who Davos saved from getting sacrificed by Melisandre. We last saw him at the end of Season Three in a rowboat back to King's Landing. And that's where he's been! Making armor for the Lannister army. But the kid has his bags packed, his warhammer on hand, and is ready to roll. He's pretty good with the warhammer, too, smashing a couple of horny King's Landing guards on their way out.
They all regroup back at Dragonstone, where Jon Snow and Gendry meet for the first time—a man of Baratheon blood, and one of Stark blood. They immediately share a bastardmance (like a bromance, but with two bastards) with a greeting that mirrors Robert and Ned's meeting in Season One. Jon and Gendry team up with Davos and Thirst Trap Jorah Mormont (who's cured and briefly reconnected with Daenerys) on the dumb plan up north. I will point out that the mild sexual tension seems to keep growing between Dany and Jon. There appeared to be much left unsaid between the two when they parted—including a little jealousy on Jon's part when she and Jorah hug. That'll be an awkward boat ride. (Good thing it only took about five minutes between scenes.)
Back in Winterfell, Bran's still going through his awkward, teenage Three-Eyed Raven phase, Arya is an absolute psychopath and encouraging Sansa to randomly behead people, and Sansa's doing a pretty good job leading the loyal northern lords. And, as we predicted, Littlefinger is becoming the Gossip Lord of the North and is worried about an incriminating letter in Maester Luwin's records. He gets his hands on it, but Arya finds it hidden in the most typical spot possible: in his mattress. As the letter reads:
"Robb, I write to you with a heavy heart. Our good king Robert is dead, killed from wounds he took in a boar hunt. Father has been charged with treason. He conspired with Robert's brothers against my beloved Joffrey and tried to steal his throne. The Lannisters are treating me very well and provide me with every comfort. I beg you: Come to King's Landing, swear fealty to King Joffrey and prevent any strife between the great houses of Lannister and Stark."
This, of course, is the letter Sansa was forcibly made to write after Ned's beheading—one filled with lies at Cersei's command. Unfortunately, Arya doesn't know this. And since we see Littlefinger approvingly watch Arya leave his room, he obviously planned this to pit the Stark sisters against each other.
At Tyrion's request, Jaime asks Cersei to broker a truce to fight the White Walkers. And, uncharacteristically, Cersei seems willing to do that. But only because she characteristically wants to use that as a way to betray and take down Daenerys. She also tells Jaime she's pregnant, which could be true—or she's just telling Jaime that to keep him in her control. What we do know is that when she was a kid, Maggy the Frog made the prophecy that Cersei would only have three children—all of whom would die. That means either she's not really pregnant or something will happen to the baby or Cersei before it's born.
The episode wraps up at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, where Jon and Co. have teleported to set their very bad plan into motion. They meet up with Tormund, who has also captured the Hound and the Brotherhood. And unfortunately for The Hound and the Brotherhood, they've also joined up on the dumbest quest in Westeros history. It's probably not going to go well! But we'll have to find out next week when these brave fools walk up to the Night King's army and kindly ask for just one of their zombies.
While all the heroes on Game of Thrones didn't think through all the details of their scheme, at least the show's writers did, cleverly dropping hints to historic marriages, theories, and letters all while the great war marches ever closer.
From: Esquire US