Game of Thrones is about people dying. That’s undeniable. Some of its biggest twists and most shocking moments have revolved around the concept of valar morghulis: all men must die. But rarely has Game of Thrones really considered what happens after death—not to the living, but to the dead. This is an episode about death.
Cersei and Jaime, in particular: once again reunited, once again over the body of one of their dead children. They discussed the first dead body they saw (do we ever forget that moment?) and what will happen to Myrcella now that she is dead. Her body will putrefy. And Cersei will accept it, at least for now, as the whimsy of cruel fate.
While Myrcella’s death is mostly important for how it affects Cersei, Jon Snow’s death is important in that it affects the entire future of Westeros. (Well, if you, like me, suspected he’d swoop in to save the day at some point.) Whatever doubts we may have had about his death are now erased: that kid is dead. Deader than a doornail dead.
Will he stay dead? Melissandre used to think Jon had a bright future ahead of him, but in this episode she seemed worn down with grief and confusion. If what she saw in the flames was a lie, what does that mean for her faith? What does it mean for her purpose? Those questions are even more poignant in light of the revelation that she is an old, old woman who has been using a glamour to appear young. Can she not die? Was the battle for Westeros supposed to be the culminating event of her life?
Many of those questions remain unanswered this week. Not surprising, since season premieres of Game of Thrones tend to be less about big moments or thematic unity than reminding us of where we’ve been and where we might be going. But I do hope Jon Snow comes back, and we can use the Spoiler Thread to talk about some of the ways that might happen (nudge nudge).
This episode wasn’t all death and despair, of course. As always, the Boltons provided some much-needed comic relief…oh, who am I kidding? Their plot was about death, too, although they were focused less on past tragedy (the death of Ramsey’s paramour Myranda) and more on facing a “well-provisioned Lannister army”—a valid concern. Roose’s callous pragmatism may be effective, but it can also make him blind: his wife’s pregnancy puts Roose, Walda, and the babiest Bolton in Theon’s crosshairs. Does Roose know that? Is he daring Ramsey to try something?
Let them try! That’s what I say, since I can now safely commit my superdelegate votes to Sansa, whose PAC has tripled its fund with the addition of Brienne. (Those of you who are not Americans: that’s all electioneering lingo.) The perilous journey of Sansa and Theon seemed doomed to failure until Brienne came riding in. I basically loved this with 100% of my heart: they needed a knight in shining armor, and they got the best of all possible knights (Brienne) and the best of all possible squires (Pod). Not only does this mean that Sansa might truly be safe, at least for a while, but Brienne gets to serve a noblewoman now that she’s tidied up the last of Renly’s affairs by killing Stannis.
As Sansa’s star is rising, though, others are falling. Margaery is trapped in a cell. Jorah “Friend Zone” Mormont is getting grayer and scalier. Arya is still blind, and not in a superpowered Daredevil way. Dany has been sentenced by Khal Protocol to a cushy retirement in Vaes Dothraki, where the widows of former khals live, raising cats and knitting innumerable booties for their grandhordies while basking in the Florida sun. I don’t think she’ll stand for that, do you?
Grumpkins and Snarks:
• Ramsey’s eulogy for his former lover: “She smelled of dog.”
• Sansa forgetting the words of the lord’s promise to the knight when she was accepting Brienne’s fealty—and Pod reminding her—may have made someone tear up a little. Someone on my couch. Not me, of course, because I’m a stone-cold bastard. It was Sam T. Cat. I swear by the old gods and the new.
• Cersei’s pixie cut is very cute.
• Random Dothraki: “I like to talk when we’re finished. Otherwise we’re little more than dogs.” Aww.
• What’s better than seeing a beautiful woman naked for the first time? Well, it depends on how you’re counting and how much you like fighting.
• From my notes: “Dorne has been overtaken by a bunch of women.” That pretty much covers it.
• Also from my notes: “Tyrion and Varys in Mereen. Exposition and lots of walking.” Will this plot become relevant or interesting soon?
Three out of four dogs.
Reminder: The comments on these episode reviews are appropriate for newbies. If you haven't read the books, you're safe! If you have read the books and would like to talk about upcoming events, please do so here, in our Season Six book spoiler thread.
Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones, and various other things that take her fancy. She is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)
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