Yet another Tuesday is here, which brings the next installment of The Wars to Come: The Game of Thrones rewatch project for the seasons that we weren’t embarrassed to admit we watched. Last week, we bemoaned the start of the Craster’s shack plotline, while this week Kylie, Julia, Danzie, and Jana tackle Season 4’s halfway point in “First of His Name.”
There’s a new king in Westeros! Tommen Baratheon is crowned, while Margaery watches on encouragingly. Cersei finds her alone and surprisingly tells Margaery that she’ll need help with Tommen, and he needs guidance. Cersei says that she wants Margaery to marry him, which Margaery underplays, saying she hasn’t given it much thought, but she will talk it over with her father.
Cersei then meets with Tywin to tell him about the marriage arrangement. She surprisingly also agrees to marry Loras just a fortnight after that, which Tywin praises since they need the Tyrells as allies. He reveals to Cersei that the mines of Casterly Rock went dry years ago, and that the looming debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos will be an increasing problem. Cersei makes a subtle dig at Tyrion, though Tywin insists that as a judge he cannot talk about him. Cersei says she understands, but as she leaves, she points out how Tyrion lit their family’s future “on fire.”
Cersei finishes out her busy day with a visit to Oberyn, who is writing in the gardens. They talk about his many daughters, including the one named “Elia” after his sister. Cersei expresses concern for her own daughter, though Oberyn assures her that they don’t hurt little girls in Dorne. Cersei dismisses this, but asks Oberyn to gift Myrcella with a new ship for her name day, which Cersei purchased and points out to him.
Up in the Vale, Petyr Baelish tries to be just as subtle by having Sansa raise her hood to disguise herself when they reach the gates to the Eyrie. Once there, however, Lysa and Robin are told of her identity and she is welcomed with open arms. As soon as Sansa leaves the room, Lysa begs Petyr to marry her right there. He wants a big wedding with the Lords in attendance, but when she begins to talk about the things she did for him—like poison Jon Arryn and write Cat that it was the Lannisters—he agrees to wed her on the spot. That night, Sansa is kept up by Lysa’s screams of pleasure.
Later, Lysa gives Sansa lemon cakes, and tells her that Cat used to have a sweet-tooth too. However, the conversation turns very quickly when Lysa begins berating Cat for liking Brandon despite Petyr loving her. As she talks, she digs her nails into a distraught Sansa’s arms. Lysa then accuses Sansa of having sexual relations with Petyr, but when Sansa berates herself for being an idiot, Lysa seems satisfied.
In Meereen, Dany is told about Joffrey’s death and that Daario stole her a navy. This means that she has both the means to sail to Westeros, and a decent window of opportunity. Barristan Selmy seems convinced there are Targaryen loyalists who would flock to her side, but Jorah is less sure of these odds. Dany dismisses everyone but Jorah. He then tells her that the council she installed in Astapor has been overthrown by a “butcher” king that now rules. Dany worries she can’t hope to be the queen of the Seven Kingdoms if she can’t even control Slaver’s Bay. She decides that instead of turning west now, she’s going to stay in Mereen—to rule.
On the road, Pod struggles with his new squire duties, since his time serving Tyrion was not spent with very practical activities. Brienne seems very fed up by him, but softens once she learns he killed Mandon Moore.
Elsewhere (probably the riverlands), Arya recites her list before bed, notably including “The Hound.” The next morning, Sandor finds her practicing her water dancing, and makes fun of both her and Syrio after she explains who taught her. She tries to stab him, but because of his armor, Needle doesn’t do much of anything. Sandor hits her and tells her Syrio died because the other men were bigger and had armor.
Finally, up north, Jon’s party of Night’s Watch brothers have reached Craster’s Keep. Locke scouts the area first and sees Bran’s party tied up in a shed. He reports back to Jon & the others, though tells them to avoid the shed because there’s dogs chained up in there.
Karl goes into the shed so that he can rape Meera, and Jojen stalls by telling him about his sight. It’s long enough for the brothers of the Night’s Watch to arrive and begin killing them all. Locke enters the shed and deduces who Bran is. He attempts to kidnap and make off with him, but Bran skin-changes Hodor, breaks out of his shackles, and breaks Locke’s neck. Once Bran leaves Hodor, the stable-boy looks distraught at what just happened.
Jon and the Night’s Watch make fast work of most of the mutineers. Bran tries to crawl towards Jon, but Jojen convinces him that they need to go north now; if Jon finds him, he’ll be taken back to The Wall and will never allowed to leave. Bran reluctantly agrees, freeing Summer and Ghost on his way.
Jon and Karl face off inside Craster’s Keep, but just as it seems like Karl might win, one of Craster’s wives stabs him, allowing Jon to kill him. Jon tells the wives to come back with them to The Wall, but they say that they’ll find their own way. They burn the house and the bodies, and Jon is reunited with Ghost.
Initial, quick reaction
Kylie: So I kinda…liked this episode? I mean, I found it genuinely decent, and it actually brought back memories of when I was earnestly engaging with the show and excited about it. There’s definitely issues I have here and there, especially with what’s to come, but this episode reminded me of why I used to call myself a Thrones fan.
…Then the Craster’s sequence came, and everything was beyond atrocious, and I began to question my own sanity for having spent the past 35 minutes decently content.
Jana: I’m completely with you on all of that. Other than Rape Shack 2, now featuring Meera Reed, to the fighting, I was actually okay with the beyond the wall stuff. Though I remembered the almost meeting between Bran and Jon to be a lot more…tense? I guess? Now it was only something like a thing for three hot seconds and then off they were. Ah well.
Maybe we’re both just too damaged from last week, but yeah, this was actually a solid episode.
Julia: I must be a more negative person than you guys. Maybe it’s because I spent the whole time just waiting for the Rape Shack stuff to start. All the parts that can be seen as objectively competent (Carol, the stuff in the Vale) was at most, like, cute, because all I could see is clumsy attempts at adaptation. Everything that’s good about this show at this point kind of exists independently from the story and doesn’t feel like it contributes to it. If that makes sense.
Danzie: I’m joining Julia in our negative Canadian corner. I spent the first half rolling my eyes and the second half praying for death. It’s just two different definitions of bad: a) bad because it lacks good, and b) bad because bad. Karl Tanner is just a massive fuck you to the audience in every sense of the word, as was sending Locke to the edge of the world just to kill him. I recently re-watched my review of this episode from way back when I first started out on YouTube — and I don’t even recognize the light and love in my own eyes that I once had for this show. It feels like a million years ago. Also, learn how to frame a shot, 2014 Danzie. Jeez.
Kylie: My highlight was Good Queen
Cersei Carol sucking up to the judges. I’ll get into why I made the Carol call a little bit later, but once you see the pattern of what she’s doing, it’s actually a bit devious, and it’s in a way that creates more intrigue. Is Oberyn fooled? Also, it’s worth pointing out that these scenes were done with some of their most talented actors. It’s not just how Lena Headey played it, but how Charles Dance, Natalie Dormer, and Pedro Pascal all reacted too. These were subtle performances (of bemusement, mostly) and they worked.
My lowlight is once again, the worst goddamn sequence that pulls the entire season apart: Craster’s. Rape fakeouts! Questions of Hodor’s agency that will only get a big door slammed on it! Karl clicking his daggers as if we’re supposed to care! Craster wives peacing out! It was just so nonsensical and so gratuitous.
Jana: Locke on his stealth mission made me chuckle a little; it was kinda like when I try to play Skyrim. And that’s all the merit there ever was to anything in the vicinity of Craster’s this season. Well, I also liked them burning it down. Not the best strategy given that they’re now, like, 12 women running around with no shelter and no weapons just doing their own thing, but, well, cathartic?
The Meera rape fake-out is an easy lowlight. I was honestly considering putting the Mereen sequence here, too, because it was one of he most deadpan-iest scenes so far, but good god, Karl fooking Tanner makes Ramsay look subtle.
My highlight is basically everything in the Eyrie. Carol was great and all, but goddamn Sophie Turner’s performance is so captivating, and not just because she’s a literal oil painting this episode. Between her and Lysa, they even somehow make Batfinger seem like himself. There were some stupid things in those scenes that I’ll complain about at length later, but all in all, I really liked it. I might even consider this lemon cake scene to be a more brilliant performance by Sophie than the last one. She and Kate Dickie have a great and kind of terrifying chemistry.
Danzie: My highlight was the Lysa/Sansa scene. I’m not gonna lie, the idea of Catelyn loving pudding as much as Sansa loves lemon cakes is kind of adorable. In a better world this would have been the go-to meme instead of the Hound and his bucket of KFC.
…but then it dissolved into the writer’s obsession with Sansa’s virginity and my happy mind vacation of Catelyn/Sansa’s mutual love of sweets vanished. The actor who plays Lysa really is great though, she’s trying 100x harder than Aiden Gillen, who just looks…tired (and sounding more Irish by the minute).
In the interest of being different, I am going to make my lowlight Arya “practicing” with Needle. What is she doing with that poor sword? What part of her technique is being honed here by flailing around? She’s like that early-internet video of the lightsaber kid on Newgrounds.
Julia: For me, The Good Queen Carol stuff was both a highlight and a lowlight. It’s a highlight because it was actually subtle and moderately clever, and so well acted it hurt. But on the other hand, those three scenes were just the purest form of all the adaptational choices they’ve made in the King’s Landing plot line that amuse me on a good day and infuriate me on a bad one.
Firstly, I’m sure we’ll discuss it more below, but this was the most Carol-like train of Carols to ever come to Carolville. Marg was an emotionally manipulative liar, and there’s no point talking to Mace, the actual judge, since she’s clearly the real power in the family now. Carol and her dad are super-tight, you guys. He tells her things. About how stoic and poor the Lannisters are. Family is everything to them. The Oberyn scene would be the closest to an actual highlight (oh hai Oberyn, nice to finally meet you!) but seasons 5 and 6 happen so there’s no chance of me hearing Oberyn proclaim “we don’t harm little girls in Dorne” without throwing something at my computer screen. Which is unfortunate, but there’s nothing for it.
The only other candidate, as far as I’m concerned, is the Eyrie. Or more specifically, Kate Dickie just going all into this part. And the child actor playing Robin was delightful too, even if that character bore zero resemblance to the young Robert Arryn.
The Meereen scene was competent at best.
I don’t see how anyone could not choose the Rape Shack as a lowlight. I guess the competition is between the specific aspects of it. Do I go with the idea that I was supposed to take Karl seriously as a threat in that fight, or the fact that one of the wives was allowed to stab Karl for the #empowerment, but it was important that Jonny actually kill him? I would talk about Hodor being used as a murder puppet against his will, but the director did seem to be trying to do something with it. My two final contenders are the entire Locke subplot and what a giant underwhelming beer fart it was, and the dozen women just standing there after willingly burning their only shelter but also not agreeing to go to the Wall.
On the one hand, Jonny had no clue the Locke subplot even existed and will end his days thinking he was some guy who randomly joined the Night’s Watch. But then… where the f-ck are those women gonna go? What is their plan!? I don’t blame them for wanting to watch that Rape Shack burn, but…. What!?
Quality of writing
Jana: The scene in Mereen drove me nuts. “I will not […], I will not […], I will […], I will […]” Deadpan, you are not giving a speech in front of an audience, you are having a conversation with your closest advisor, friend, and stalker. No need for anaphoras here. Did these lines even make it into the trailer? Everyone else is almost talking like real people, even Batfinger for a change, why does she get hit with the trailer line stick?
Julia: My favorite detail of that was when she was all, “who told you to take the navy”? Um, why would you not? If you could.
There’s some kind of sea change with the Dany scenes that happens sometime around here. The whole “standing there making statements” style that characterize her in season 7 is pretty evident here.
I think we’re all aboard with the idea that there are two sections to this episode, the “good” part that is King’s Landing and the Eyrie, and everything else. In the good parts, the quality of the writing is there in terms of, like, this one given scene by itself, but the problem is the quality of the decisions made at some point in the writers’ room.
Kylie: Brienne and Pod worked fine for me, even if Brienne is quite a bit colder than her book counterpart ever would be. I think a lot of that is just Gwendoline Christie and Daniel Portman selling their dynamic, though. Arya and Sandor’s scenes were fine too, and Arya’s frustration was just so palpable.
They really do stop knowing how to write for Deadpan here though, once she’s actually a ruler. It’s kind of the George Lucas trap when he’d try to make Padme sound regal or senatorial, or whatever. We’re just a few clicks away from, “I didn’t come here to make friends.” Though of course, half the problem is the directing with her scenes, too.
Danzie: The line that drove me craziest was pretty small but for whatever reason it really got under my skin. The writers insist that Littlefinger is clever but then they have him give advice to Sansa that is literally just, “know your strengths”. Like, thanks buddy. I’m sure this ultra vague platitude will serve her well. Such wisdom. Much insightful.
But yeah, Mereen was super slow and painful (with the most uninteresting blocking this show has ever had in a scene OH MY GOD YOU ARE SO RIGHT ABOUT THE DIRECTING). Something about ships and Qui-Gon the butcher? Whatever. It’s just more wheel spinning.
Our 8th grade book report (on themes)
Jana: Nothing related to the title, but, like, deviousness? Deception? Stealth missions? Manipulation? We have Carol sucking up to the judges, with more subtlety than we will ever see again on the show, Locke on his stealth mission that went nowhere, Batfinger existing and having Lysa word vomit their past plots at him, and then Lysa being very bad at trying to play Sansa. It’s not very much, but it’s what I’ve got.
Julia: Okay, let me try. So the title, “First of his Name” refers to Tommen’s coronation, that is, him taking on the mantle of leadership. You can argue that this is also relevant to Dany and Jon. He has his command characteristics on display by leading this raid, and Dany is showing her wisdom with her decision to stay in Slaver’s Bay and learn rather than jump head first and invade Westeros.
This could apply to Carol too, who is showing a similar kind of maturity by not going with her fist violent instinct, and as a consequence is finally regaining some influence after being shut out by Joff and her dad.
No clue how Sansa or Arya figure into this.
Kylie: Bran kinda fits in though, right? He makes the choice to pursue his magical destiny over saying ‘hi’ to Jon in a way that actually parallels Jon sticking with the Night’s Watch over joining Robb’s cause a bit. It’s less leadership, but definitely coming into his role.
Sansa is tough to reconcile into that, and given how many scenes she had, it kind of paints the episode as a bit more scattered than it otherwise could feel.
Danzie: I think unfortunately it’s a look at women constantly being treated like cattle or as being lesser and the effects it has on them. Lysa/Cersei/Sansa were all forced into arranged marriages and it shaped them negatively (Cersei worries the same will happen to Myrcella). Brienne/Arya have never fit into feminine roles and still struggle to get out from under the thumb of men who sneer at the idea that women can compete in martial areas. The women beyond the wall are seen as dehumanized sex objects. Daenerys’ grip on her cities is slipping (at least in part) because there are those out there who don’t take her female authority seriously.
It’s actually a pretty decent theme (or at least it could be) but D&D have no idea how to pose their own questions to the audience so we end up with RAPE IS SO BAD YOU GUYS. LOOK HOW TERRIBLE WOMEN HAVE IT IN THIS UNIVERSE. All while having no understanding of the systems that make it so bad or any interest in examining them in any meaningful way.
The Butterfly Effect
Kylie: Biggest Butterfly Effect in action I can think of is with poor Pod. Aging him up really changes the nature of his lack of training. Like…how old are we supposed to think he was when he first began serving Tyrion? At least seventeen, right? It’s fine that Tyrion never made him learn those Martial Skills™, but you’re telling me dude never thought to skin a rabbit?
Julia: I’m surprised I didn’t think to mention this in my lowlights, but they also made a huge change in terms of his whole relationship to Brienne and her character as well. In the books, Brienne acknowledges how every single adult in Pod’s life had failed him and is impressed by how determined and eager to learn he is, relating it to her own determination to be trained at arms despite all the obstacles. Here, like, the thing that turns her around seems to be Pod telling her about how he killed Mandon Moore, which…
Jana: Both their scenes and the scenes with Arya and Sandor dance around the line between being decent and being insufferable for me. At least Brienne isn’t disparaging women right now, and Sandor isn’t just a walking meme, but still. The entire extended Arya and Sandor storyline rubs me the wrong way anyhow because it reinforces the bad, bad priorities they had with his character.
Julia: I guess that scene characterized her, but it was also a bit…nothing. I’m also not super compelled by revenge obsessed Arya.
Kylie: I don’t think it was particularly new characterization in any way. I guess that she was willing to stab him here, and by the end of the season she is not willing to stab him?
Danzie: I think Pod/Brienne works a lot better than the Hound/Arya. Like watching a squire who is played by a man in his twenties struggle to ride a horse and cook food is a bit too dumb to be funny to me, but I appreciate the rare attempt at wholesome humor. Arya and the Hound is just so flat and uninteresting. You could play pretty much all of their scenes this season in a random order and lose nothing.
Jana: It helps that this was the first scene with Pod and Brienne and that we didn’t have to endure basically the same conflict and resolution between them for the better part of an entire season already. Also, something about Pod being befuddled and put-upon is really endearing to me, I don’t know.
Kylie: He is just so dang good at selling it.
Jana: I am…conflicted. On the one hand, it is really dumb and anticlimactic for Lysa to just tell us all about the shocking reveal of how Jon Arryn died. That was an actual whammy in the books. But I guess since the show dropped both murder mysteries from season one the second Ned’s head hit the ground, who even cares? It was especially funny that she had to clarify “Jon Arryn, my husband” while talking to goddamn Batfinger. I’m not sure whether that tells us more about how bad the writers are at keeping their plot threads in mind, or how little they expect their audience to remember what happened three seasons ago.
On the other hand, the Watsonian justification for her having a villain monologue is that she’s trying to yank Batfinger’s chain so he’ll marry her immediately, and that’s actually not the worst thing that could happen.
And while we’re on adaptational changes in the Vale specifically, I really, really like about 90% of the things they do there this season. Cutting out the parts at the Fingers is fine. Not even bothering with dying Sansa’s hair and coming up with the persona of Alayne for even a little bit is dumb, but, ugh, fine. I wouldn’t trust Sweetrobin with that information in the slightest, but it’s not like Lysa is well-known for her good judgement. The story about Cat always eating dessert first might have been a nice thematic turn-around for Lysa, so it stands to reason she made it all up. It still feels off, but not too much. The emotional punch of seeing Sansa so happy to meet family and then so utterly devastated that she just exchanged one vindictive captor for another was really well-executed. Ugh, I kind of hate that I enjoy all of this so much, given what’s to come.
Julia: The fat!Cat story is a little perfect in a “worthy of Martin” kind of way. Like, the only person who didn’t deserve any blame for the whole Petyr/ Lysa/Brandon kerfuffle is Cat, but Lysa blames her anyway. Mostly because patriarchy. And here, the one person who didn’t do anything wrong at all is Sansa, and she still get slutshamed for existing.
Kylie: Probably not the point, but I’d imagine in a society like Westeros it’d make more sense for plumpness to be a desirable trait. I know that’s not in the books either; I’m just saying it was something in the back of my mind.
In general, Martin set something really good up here, and they executed it…more fine than not. It’s really hard not to feel for Sansa here.
The hair dye drop in this episode actually bothered me quite a bit though, only because they then stick it in later. She’s disguising herself as “Alayne” to the Vale Lords (and the dudes at the gate), so this is where she’d need the dye. Littlefinger even remarked on how noticeable her hair color is. But she doesn’t dye her hair until after she reveals herself to the Vale Lords in 4×08 and for her upcoming trip to what ends up being Winterfell, where she is only ever called “Sansa Stark.” Do D&D not know the function of a disguise? Why even have Littlefinger call attention to her hair in the first place?
Julia: No seriously, the Venn diagram of her being called Alayne and her having dark hair are two separate circles. I guess maybe the beer wench at the inn was fooled?
Jana: At that point, it was probably just an aesthetic choice to make the imagery during her wedding stand out more, or something. Justification for having Miranda bathe her? Because that’s so rare for highborn ladies? Ugh, I don’t even want to go there.
Kylie: It’s strange enough that it makes me question at what point they decided they’d sub Sansa in for Jeyne, but that’s probably a discussion for when we get to 4×08.
What the hell are they doing in Meereen? Why did they have Daario steal a navy? Just so that it seemed as if Dany were presented with an actual choice here and very well could have sailed home?
Jana: Setting up how roguish and dreamy he is? Because that’s sure going somewhere.
Danzie: I’d like to point out how the bad pussy trio clearly hadn’t been written in yet, unless we are meant to believe that those three were the ones Oberyn said were playing in the water gardens with Myrcella. I sure hope so.
Jana: Oberyn drops a line this season about how the murder of women and children is considered distasteful in Dorne, so it’s safe to say NONE OF THAT has been written in or been thought up yet. Thank you for the image, though, I needed that in my life.
Kylie: Maybe it was planned, and it was all to set up that only Cersei understands how this cruel world operates.
Carol Watch: who is Cersei this week?
I remember back when this episode aired, everyone was complaining about Cersei being out-of-character. As a good old show defender back then (no, seriously), I pointed out how there was clearly a pattern to what she was doing, and it was sucking up to the judges. Obviously she wasn’t earnest.
Well, she wasn’t, but that still doesn’t make her Cersei, either. Cersei would have been about 50 times less subtle and 50 times more sexually aggressive with whatever undoubtedly terrible plan she would have hatched. But this is Carol we’re talking about. Carol of the joint-Larrol poses, Carol. She has her game face on. And also her deep concern about Joffrey.
Julia: Like you mentioned already, Kylie, yeah it’s obvious that Carol is telling all three judges what they want to hear. I don’t think she thinks Tommen needs Marg, or that she intends to marry Loras in a month, and I doubt she finds Oberyn charming. I’d even be willing to believe she was just reflecting Marg’s view of Joff back at her. But you’re also right, Cersei would never in a million years be that subtle. She would never had spoken to Marg over Mace, and she would have just thrown sex at Oberyn. (You know, like she canonically did.)
Jana: In a roundabout way, this is a great set-up for how competent she becomes as a ruler next season. Doesn’t she also eventually prove Tywin right (albeit post-mortem) next season, when she sends Mace to Braavos to actually talk to actual people from the Iron Bank who then actually do renegotiate with them? That entire conversation about the mines running dry and them not having any money at all was just…well, interesting.
Kylie: Yeah, it makes all of her decisions in Season 5 seem more motivated, even despite the ominous musical cues she’s going to get.
I can’t make heads or tales of the broke Lannisters, to be perfectly honest. It’s especially bad by Season 7, when Highgarden is apparently the places with heaps of gold, and Casterly Rock is worthless enough to be abandoned. Is this supposed to be dramatic irony about Tywin’s reputation, or something?
Jana: That would require the showrunners to perceive Tywin with anything resembling irony, so I’m gonna say no to that.
Julia: I think maybe Lannisters all have to rely on their wits? Like Tyrion? I have no clue.
Danzie: I will say this, Charles Dance continues to put these drab scenes on his back and carry them over the finish line.
Exposition Imposition: good or clunky?
Julia: Did you know that Jon Arryn was Lysa’s husband? Or that Karl Tanner was the highest paid cut throat in Gin Alley? I guess we find out pretty organically about Oberyn’s brood, but you know how that will turn out.
Kylie: “Your Sister” is definitely coming. There honestly wasn’t a ton of exposition in this episode, but you’re right that other than Oberyn talking about his family, it was all super clunky. Lysa really just vomited everything out there. Maybe she and Littlefinger bond over their exposition-factory natures.
Jana: You know you’re bad at expositing when Littlefinger thinks you’re taking it too far.
Danzie: Exposition (other than Karl Tanner) isn’t that bad. Reestablishing the Vale and it’s characters didn’t bother me too much. We hadn’t seen them in a while so it’s pretty needed for non-book readers who might only be on their first watch-through.
How was the pacing?
Danzie: The King’s Landing scenes felt like they went on for hours to me. Other than that amazing eye-roll.
Julia: For the second week in a row, the Craster’s stuff started and I was, like, “how are they going to fill the rest of this episode with that?”
Kylie: And for the second week in a row, it made the episode come to a complete crashing halt.
Jana: As I said earlier, Locke’s stealth mission felt a bit like I was playing Skyrim to me, and I do not like Skyrim. But it was sort of suspenseful enough to keep the momentum, well, not exactly going, but present for the time being. Until Karl Fooking Tanner decided to visit Bran and friends in the attempted rape shed. That was so unnecessary and also dragged on for so long that I was actually happy once the fighting started.
Julia: Like GoT, the best part of Skyrim is the music.
Kylie: And the worst part is the under-saturation/visual darkness. My eyes are starting to hurt already.
Julia: In this season, everything and everyone is stalling for the trial, Oberyn’s duel, and the Wall battle. And the Moon Door too, I guess. But there’s no way to make that last six episodes, so here we are. Watch Carol do things.
Let’s talk about sex, baby
Kylie: Get it, Lysa. You only had to fuck up an entire seven kingdoms to see this one through.
Jana: At least this time it was mostly consensual. That’s both an improvement for her and for the show at large.
Julia: Is it a thing that the only women being shown enjoying sex are villainous?
Jana: Hm. Depends on where we count Deadpan on that scale. Her sex scenes became less graphic when she started enjoying it, admittedly, but other than that…I know that from a Doylist perspective, we think of Marg as a villain for raping a minor and all that, but I don’t think that’s how we’re supposed to interpret that whole issue next season, are we? And what about the MissWorm scene, or is that just the exception that proves the rule? A function these two have for a lot of things in this show…
Julia: I’m not sure how this jives with what happens later. At this point, though, Marg’s slutiness is more or less an informed attribute. (Like, she once took her top off for her husband, I guess.) And Carol’s isn’t much better. There was like, one scene where Lancel was naked, I think. In terms of women other than background sex workers being shown as actually enjoying sex… I think all we have are Ellaria in that orgy and Lysa screaming here. And Talisa too, I guess. Isn’t it hilarious how we’ve all already totally forgotten her?
Jana: I mean “women on Game of Thrones who enjoy sex” is already a pretty tough thought experiment to begin with. Not a very long list. And I like to just pretend Talisa never happened, kind of like the show does at this point. It’s not like she’s ever mentioned again, is she?
Julia: I think Arya-as-Walder-Frey makes a reference to her.
Kylie: She does. And this topic deserves its own examination. I did write about the Madonna-Whore complex of the show in between Seasons 5 and 6, but there’s certainly more to take into account now. Like #boatsex.
In memoriam…the mutineers, Locke
Julia: I… what a f-cking waste of time.
Jana: That pretty much covers the entirety of it, yeah.
Kylie: I guess Locke was this “fun” wild card so that even book readers wouldn’t know what was coming? Which…is not a very good motivation to create a situation.
Jana: But it is the entire motivation behind the northern theater so far this season, isn’t it?
Danzie: Locke was honestly one of the weirdest original characters. Why does the same guy who cut off Jaime’s hand also need to be the one who goes after Bran? Like, the distance they make this guy travel is crazy when you consider how they could have just made up a second character. He’s a walking magic bullet theory.
Also, poor Burn Gorman keeps playing characters I absolutely despise.
Jana: Locke had early access to next season’s teleportation technology.
Kylie: Well thank god the mutineers are now dead so that Mance’s attack is…different somehow.
But we can save that for another day. With just 5 weeks left in our rewatch project, how is this season striking you? Do you think this episode was (mostly) stronger, or is was it just nice to have a mild change of pace in some scenes? Did the mutineers plotline land for anyone?
We’ll discuss below, and until next time, we wish you good fortune in The Wars to Come.