Last week’s season premiere of Game of Thrones had a lot of introducing to do – new characters, new places, new motivations. And we still have a lot of that in “The Night Lands”. There’s some typical GoT sexposition (exposition done during a sex scene) and there were still times when I said “Wait, wait, who’s that? Why does he have a dog in this race?” But overall, I found the episode to be more intriguing and less confusing than last week’s. (Which isn’t to say I disliked last week’s episode. I just did a lot of Googling afterwards.)
It’s easiest if we break these recaps down by location, so here we go! I’m bound to make mistakes, so if I do please correct me in the comments.
At King’s Landing Tyrion is asserting his strength as Hand of the King, and chastising his sister for foolishly slaughtering babies. When winter comes, half the people will starve to death and the other half will revolt, he says. Cersai doesn’t care about the people, because Cersai is a terrible ruler – both selfish and stupid. Tyrion’s scenes are some of the best, and although he’s replaced the untrustworthy leader of city watch with Bronn, one who likes him, it’s only a slight improvement. Bronn would still kill a baby, but for a price. Still, it’s one way Tyrion has seized some power from Cersai. Considering the animosity between them (their mother was killed during Tyrion’s birth) I’m really interested to see how things play out in King’s Landing.
No Joffrey or Sansa this week, unfortunately.
Meanwhile, Arya has revealed herself to Gendry, the last remaining bastard son of King Robert. When knights from King’s Landing showed up, she assumed they were looking for her and asked him to hide her. They were looking for Gendry, but the Night’s Watch man who’s meant to protect her, Yoren, took care of that.
Arya is in a very precarious position. She’s traveling to The Wall, hoping to be dropped off in Winterfell instead. She must pretend to be a boy, which is pretty easy for her unless she has to pee. I liked how we got a little taste of Arya’s spunk again. She’s ten times tougher than any of the boys, and she had everyone fooled by Gendry.
Gendry’s embarrassment about how he’d been acting around a noble lady – he thought she was just any old ragamuffin girl, not the daughter of Ned Stark – was almost as cute as Arya’s disgust at being called m’lady. I like these two as partners in crime.
Pyke is one of the newer places we’re being introduced to on Game of Thrones, and the storyline there this week was incredibly intriguing. I had trouble remembering who Theon was at first. He was sort of won by Ned Stark in the Greyjoy rebellion. He’s also the only son and supposed heir of Balon Greyjoy, who rules the Iron Islands and has proclaimed himself King but, apparently, cannot keep the title.
Theon was sent back to Pyke to try and convince his father to join forces with the Starks, because Robb knows he needs ships to take King’s Landing and that’s where he’ll get them.
Something is definitely off with Theon, and I’m guessing his character was more fleshed out in the books. Hopefully we’ll get more of that this season. On his way up to see his father he rode a horse with a woman, who he touched and obviously intended to sleep with. That ended up being his sister – and she just let him stuff his hands down her pants! Gross.
Balon wasn’t impressed with Theon’s armor or clothes, and he intends to let his daughter, Yara, rule. Balon wasn’t interested in Robb’s offer of independence for the Iron Islands if they’ll join forces against the Lannisters. That could be a big problem for Robb.
Beyond The Wall
Meanwhile, Jon Snow is still staying with that weirdo Craster and his daughters. Sam befriended one of the wives, a girl named Gilly who wanted to be rescued by the Night’s Watch because she’s pregnant. Snow refuses though, partly because she won’t even tell him what will happen if she delivers a boy.
Later, Jon Snow follows Craster as he abandons the newborn son, seemingly leaving it for some kind of monster…? This is probably one of the plot points I’m fuzziest on, so if someone wants to jump in in the comments section and explain what’s going on with Jon Snow, please do. At the end of the episode he’s hit in the head by Craster.
We saw very little of Khaleesi this week, but one of the men she’d sent out on horseback was slaughtered by rival Dothraki. They hate the idea of a woman in charge, so they beheaded the guy and sent the head back on his horse. Gross.
That was basically it, and unfortunately this storyline is lagging a bit.
A lot went on with Stannis Baratheon and Dragonstone this week, and for me it was a bit hard to keep up.
Davos has recruited a pirate to help him, a guy who mostly just wants to rape Cersai after they take King’s Landing. Davos is more like his pirate friend Salladhor Saan, more cutthroat and devious. But Davos’s son is religious and cut-and-dry, more like Stannis is now. I need to know more about Stannis, I think, to truly understand what’s going on.
Stannis has a sick wife who he planned to remain faithful to, even though she’s given him no sons. But when Melisandre said she could provide him a son, they had sex right there – on top of their map! Yikes. Understanding Stannis obviously has a lot to do with understanding Melisandre, her red god, and what kind of hold they have over Stannis.
Stannis and Melisandre are at odds when it comes to the war – Stannis is concerned about his brother having a bigger army, but Melisandre wants to leave it all up to god, or fate or whatever.