Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones was comprised mainly of very important conversations that set the tone for the explosion of shit that next week is bound to bring us. Jaime vs. Edmure, the Hound vs. Beric, Blackfish vs. Brienne: all of these interactions were significant in their own way, and yet none as important as Bronn discussing the likelihood of Brienne and Jaime fucking. Every Sunday I pray to Westeros’ many fake Gods that he sticks around to be a crass piece of shit for another week.
Every once in a while we are gifted with a brief scene that has zero bearing on the plot except to remind us that although Westeros may be a fictional place, the people are just as depraved and immature as they are in reality. This week, we got that scene.
It opens with four men, presumably of the Brotherhood Without Banners, sitting around a campfire. One of them, a bald man, brags to two clearly uncomfortable younger guys about his kissing prowess.
“Do you want to learn my method?” he asks them, clearly a set up for something terrible. “Yes,” they respond. Having not spent their entire lives suffering inappropriate and unwarranted sexual advances from men, they were unprepared for this moment. I guess being a woman really does have its advantages.
The trick? Holding a girl close and then slipping a surprise pinky into her ass, of course. A tried and true crowd favorite. Poor kid; this is only the second worst thing to happen to his body today. The first, decapitation by The Hound.
He happens upon them while out on his hunt for vengeance, and in a scene that would be better suited for a Tarantino movie he beheads, disembowels and straight up cuts the four men in half over the course of twenty seconds. But these were not the men who slaughtered his cult, so his journey continues.
When the Hound does find the murderers they’re in the hands of Beric Dondarrion, the leader of the Brotherhood, about to be hung for their crimes. A haggle ensues over who should actually get to kill them and the Hound comes out of it with two of the three men. Only issue? No needless brutality.
Beric: We’re not butchers.
The Hound: No, but you are giant fucking pussies.
After an afternoon of lighthearted execution, The Hound joins Beric and the Brotherhood for dinner. While the conversation is heavy (recruiting, White Walkers, etc.), the tone is light. Almost friendly, even. If we hadn’t gotten a wholly unnecessary shot of The Hound whipping his dick out, I would have considered the scene enjoyable.
It takes some needling on the Brotherhood’s part, but Beric appears to win The Hound over with the line “you can help more than you’ve harmed,” a sentiment very similar to the one that Ray was preaching before he was killed. Honestly, I’m a little more confident in the outcome of the White Walker War with him on our side.
In Mereen, Tyrion and Varys are wandering around a town which has significantly improved since we saw it last. People are working, buildings are being rebuilt, and a red priestess is preaching the wonders of Danaerys to a crowd of onlookers. Tyrion is pleased. Varys is skeptical. I am delighted by the two.
Until, that is, Varys reveals that he is leaving on an expedition for Westeros to garner support and ships. Their brief breakup is the saddest thing yet to happen this season. Sorry Hodor.
Now down to a party of three, Grey Worm and Missandei are sitting around watching Tyrion drink wine while they look miserable, their favorite/only pastime. Tired of having to spend his days with sober people, Tyrion gives them both wine and guilts them into drinking it. Just one more tally on the “We Are All Tyrion Lannister” count.
Over the next several minutes, Tyrion and Missandei attempt to explain the premise of a joke to Grey Worm. It takes a couple of tries, but eventually the three of them are drinking and laughing. This is further proof that wine fixes literally everything, except for the aggressive fleet of ships outside who are hurling balls of fire at the city. The masters are here to collect, which means that Tyrion’s great plans for diplomacy have failed.
Tyrion: So uh, this may or may not be my bad.
Grey Worm: Fuck you and your jokes.
Things are looking dire until the arrival of Danaerys, who gets dropped off on the balcony by Drogon. Dragons seem like super convenient pets when they aren’t eating children and breathing fire at you. It would be an understatement to say that Dany looks pissed, and I don’t think a little wine and joke time will alleviate her rage.
Former sex slave, current fanatic and all-time terrible decision maker Lancel Lannister arrives at the Red Keep with a crew of faith militant to deliver a summons to Cersei. Based on the tone of this conversation, I imagine their sex was just terrible.
Lancel: The High Septon kindly invites you to come speak to him.
Cersei: You can kindly tell the High Septon to go fuck himself.
Leaving the Red Keep would be bad news for Cersei, Mountain or not. Lancel gives her two options: to obey or suffer the consequences. Idk if the forehead carving causes a loss of sight or something, because it’s like he doesn’t register the sheer mass of the giant fucking zombie standing right in front of him.
Lancel: Move your hulking pile of muscle or there will be violence.
One of the faith militant tries to axe the Mountain in the chest, and has his head torn off as a result. Decapitation seems to be a theme this week. Lancel and company realize that they are no match for the 400 lbs of dead monster standing in front of them, and bail pretty quickly after that.
Later, Cersei arrives to a very crowded throne room for a royal announcement that she was deliberately not told about. Uncle Kevan doesn’t even try for the “I totally texted you, if must have not gone through” defense because this man clearly has a death wish. Like, pixie cut or no, you don’t fuck with Cersei Lannister. As if she isn’t a force of nature all on her own, she literally has a zombie in her employ. Why is no one catching onto this??
Tommen’s announcement: in accordance with the Faith, there is to be no more use of trial by combat. The High Sparrow finds it barbaric, which (while true) is a hilariously hypocritical view point coming from the man who carves membership symbols into his soldiers' foreheads. The obvious motive here is to fuck Cersei over, and either Tommen is too dumb to figure it out or too whipped to argue. Possibly both, tbh.
Cersei and Loras’ trials are set to take place on the first day of the Festival of the Mother. Is that tomorrow? Three weeks from now? Next year? No one knows.
Creepy Master Qyburn materializes out of the darkness to tell Cersei that the rumor she had him investigate has actual merit. Either this conversation didn’t happen on screen, or I was too drunk when it did happen to remember and write it down. Either is highly plausible as watching this show mandates a lot of wine. Drinking to keep up with Tyrion is no joke.
The scenes at Riverrun are made up of many reunions, the most entertaining easily being the one between Podrick and Bronn. Both are waiting outside of the tent where Brienne and Jaime are meeting, one daydreaming about food and the other daydreaming about whether or not some intense reunion sex is happening inside. I’ll let you guess which is which.
Bronn: I’d for sure fuck her. You?
Podrick: I’m her squire. She’s like family.
Bronn: Eh, I’ve been hanging out with the Lannisters a lot.
Inside, Jaime and Brienne’s conversation is not nearly so lighthearted. Despite all the sexual tension and unrequited love nonsense, they don’t exactly see eye to eye on politics. Brienne wants Jaime to concede Riverrun so that the Tulley army will be free to help Sansa. Jaime just wants to go home and a bang his sister, which he can’t do until he takes the castle. This is what one would call an impasse.
They manage to come to a compromise, which is that Brienne can cross the siege line and try to convince the Blackfish to give up and take his men to Winterfell. Jaime allows it because he doesn’t think for a second that it will actually work. He drops the realest line of the episode: “Not everyone wants to die for someone else’s cause.” If I was on this show, that would be my house’s fucking motto.
Brienne trying to give Jaime his sword back is vaguely reminiscent of that awkward exchange of clothing after a breakup. He stops her with a meaningful and slightly heartbreaking “It’s yours, it will always be yours.” If only any of my exes felt that way about their sweatshirts.
The Blackfish is unmoved by Brienne’s request until he finds out that Jaime is the one who sent her to find Sansa in the first place. This is at odds with everything he’s been saying about the King Slayer since he arrived at Riverrun, and is enough to get him to read Sansa’s message.
He is clearly touched by the letter (“she is just like her mother”), but still can’t offer any help. After all, the Blackfish is fighting for his home as well and just doesn’t have enough men to do both. Naturally, Brienne takes this as a personal failure.
That night, Jaime goes to visit Edmure in his prison tent. Remember that the situation was once the exact opposite, with Jaime the prisoner of Catelyn Stark. He wasn’t exactly kept in the best condition, but still promises Edmure that he will be. This olive branch doesn’t seem to do much in terms of hostility. Most important, Edmure is jealous of Jaime’s jawline and honestly, same.
Edmure: You’ve been a giant dick to my family.
Jaime: We are literally at war with each other. That’s kinda how it works.
This entire conversation is incredibly important to Jaime’s character arc. In case you’ve missed it, for the past five years, Jaime kind of has a thing about his honor. To the rest of Westeros, he lost any shred of it when he literally stabbed Aerys Targaryen in the back, even though the guy was literally trying to burn King’s Landing to the ground. He’s underestimated and undervalued by everyone from the Blackfish to even Bronn at times, and only the truly important people in his life have any faith in him (Cersei and Brienne).
Despite his best efforts and intermittent acts of true heroism Jaime is still seen as an oath breaker by the majority of the people on this show, and he’s really fucking over it. With all that in mind, this interaction truly exhibits his devotion to Cersei. He utilizes one of my favorite strategies by mocking himself before Edmure can do it, and then proceeds to make a very passionate speech about how dedicated he is to his sister.
Edmure: How do you sleep at night?
Jaime: Wrapped around my sister on top of 1200 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, motherfucker.
Reputation be damned, Jaime will do whatever it takes to get back to Cersei, even if that means killing every Tully in sight. He tells Edmure as much and it’s obvious that he means it, which is undoubtedly the reason for what happens next.
Edmure strolls up to the castle, is allowed entry despite the Blackfish’s concerns, and immediately orders his men to surrender. Say what you will about Jaime’s honor, but never underestimate a Lannister's proclivity for manipulation. He demands that his uncle be chained and handed over to Jaime, who managed to win this siege in like, three fucking days with zero violence.
The Blackfish helps Brienne and Podrick escape in a boat before heading back upstairs to fight to his death. His last remarks are about embarrassing himself by being out of shape, and in that moment I identified with him on an almost spiritual level.
Up on the ramparts, Jaime spots Brienne and Podrick but doesn’t alert any of his men. Instead, the two of them manage to make eye contact in the dark over a distance of at least two hundred feet. The power of love.
In Braavos we are back with Lady Crane, who is just about finishing up her dead Joffrey monologue. She took Arya’s advice and introduced an angry thirst for vengeance to her character. This woman could start spitting on the crowd and still not encapsulate 1% of Cersei’s rage, but it was a valiant effort.
She heads backstage after her scene and discovers Arya, who is not looking so hot. There go those fan theories that she planned her own attack and was wearing some Westerosi Kevlar. Lady Crane patches her up, a skill she had to pick up after stabbing all of her boyfriends. Respect.
Lady Crane: I never did learn to cook. But man can I stab a man.
Me, at home on my couch, never having stabbed anyone ever: Same.
She invites Arya to join their acting troupe, but Arya turns her down. She says she wants to head west of Westeros, whatever the fuck that means.
Arya: I would literally rather be lost at sea than return to any of the places that I’ve been.
Lady Crane gives Arya milk of the poppy so she can sleep. Arya hesitantly accepts, kind of the way we all did the first time we tried vodka. That shit appears to work instantly as she immediately falls asleep, and I would like to order six gallons of it.
An undertiminate amount of time later, Arya wakes up to find Lady Crane dead and the Waif waiting for her. With more energy than I have on the best of days, Arya throws her recently stabbed body off the balcony and a Bourne Identity caliber chase scene ensues in the streets of Braavos. The Waif is clearly not only an Olympic athlete but also has the most terrifying running face I’ve ever seen. If anyone looked at me like that I would also repeatedly dive from high surfaces in order to escape.
Their chase ends in a candlelit room where Arya is waiting with Needle. She waits until the waif arrives before slicing the candle in half, plunging them into darkness. She is not going to be able to see anything like that. It’s a bold move Cotton, let’s see how it works out for her.
Clearly her time spent in blind Fight Club worked out, because the next shot we get is of Jaquen following a trail of blood at the House of Black and White to the newest face in his collection: the Waif’s. Arya appears behind him, Needle out and ready to fucking go.
Looking like a proud father at a dance recital, Jaquen tells Arya that a girl is finally No One. She responds with the mic drop of the year. If you didn’t cheer from your couch, you’re a liar.
Arya: A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I am going home.
Everyone in the entire world:
Get ready for next week's episode, which is ominously titled The Battle of the Bastards. I am predicting no less than three important character deaths, four gallons of tears, and at least two blood curdling screams coming from me, much to the dismay of my roommate, neighbors, and anyone in a three mile vicinity of my apartment.
Stabbing men who’ve wronged her and handing out opiates to children. We all need a friend like Lady Crane.