We open on the Lannister forces, lugging their Highgarden loot towards King’s Landing. Jaime’s still burning from Olenna’s epic last words, but at least he has carts full of gold to show for it. Bronn’s dirty about not being paid what he was promised because he doesn’t have a castle yet. Jaime tells him to shut up; the purpose of this scene is to explain all the gold is to pay the Iron Bank, not complain like a whiny bitch.
…which leads us to another thrilling finance meeting between Cersei and Mycroft Holmes, aka Iron Bank muscle. Next week: Mycroft takes us through a PowerPoint preso outlining the Iron Bank’s brand mission statement and corporate values.
Mycroft continues with his you’re-truly-Tywin’s-daughter bullshit, which even Cersei finds boring now. Then it’s back to looking at the floor map of Westeros, which must have been quite an investment for the GoT art department given how much time we seem to be spending on it.
Ceresi tells Mycroft that her only venture right now is regaining control of Westeros and all its inhabitants. Mycroft happily volunteers investment from the Iron Bank…as soon as the Crown’s debt is paid. Smarmy smile.
To Winterfell, where Littlefinger is giving Bran a present; the Valyrian Steel dagger the assassin used to try and kill Bran waaaay back in season one. Bran seems unimpressed; clearly Littlefinger doesn’t have Euron’s knack for choosing gifts.
Littlefinger pulls out all the vacuum-salesman stops to tell Bran just how much he wants to protect Catelyn’s children, and wow – he just can’t imagine what Bran saw beyond the Wall.
Bran cuts through the shit by quoting Littlefinger, circa season three: ‘Chaos is a ladder’. Littlefinger’s eye twitches, which is probably the best indication we’ve ever had of genuine emotional turmoil from him. It’s fun watching him squirm. Seriously though, Bran – you know you’ve reached peak weirdo when you manage to creep out Littlefinger.
Meera arrives to break the tension…or make it worse? Basically Bran = guaranteed awkwardness these days.
Bran already knows why she’s here; she’s leaving. Meera tells him he doesn’t need her anymore. Bran: No. I don’t. I’m not sure if Bran’s humanity has been consumed by his expanding omniscience, or if he’s just your average teenage boy with the emotional depth of a Cheezel. It’s hard to say.
Meera’s heartbroken and points out that her brother, Hodor, Summer, and pretty much all the Children of the Forest died for him. She nearly died for him. Bran explains that he’s the Three-Eyed-Psychopath now, and thus can’t remember what empathy feels like anymore.
Meera tells him he died in the cave, and leaves.
We cut to Arya, contemplating Winterfell from a distance. The musical theme of the North kicks in. After so many years of turmoil and solitude, she’s finally made it home. I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying.
Upon arrival she’s confronted by two incompetent guards. They argue about who’s going to tell Sansa about her. Arya soaks up the Winterfell-vibes before doing a runner.
Sansa knows where she is, though. Sisters know these things. But I have to say, I wouldn’t be looking for mine in a crypt; the first place I’d check would be my shoe cupboard.
Sansa and Arya’s reunion isn’t unpleasant, by any means. There’s hugging. But it’s a bit matter-of-fact. I know they never had the closest relationship and they don’t have much in common, but hell – any surviving Stark should be pretty stoked to see another one, right?
Arya doesn’t think her father’s statue looks like him. Sansa points out that pretty much everyone that knew his face is dead. Arya: ‘We’re not.’ They smile at each other, and it’s a nice exchange between the two Stark girls who have proven themselves the ultimate survivors – true wolves. Until Arya mentions her kill list, which Sansa assumes is a joke. Arya: Um…yeah….sure.
Sansa tells Arya that’s Bran’s home as well, and the look on Sansa’s face tells Arya something’s not kosher.
Bran’s parked in the Godswood, ready to pass on his new dagger to Arya. Clearly he knows she’s going to do something momentous with it, and I’ve been trying to figure out what. Kill Littlefinger? Awesome, but you don’t need Valyrian Steel for that…a can of Mortein would probably do the trick. Although I suppose it would be poetic if he was killed with a weapon that originally belonged to him. Alternatively, Arya will be instrumental in the war against the White Walkers, and given the mad skillz she shows later in the episode that could be a showdown to look forward to.
Brand gifts the knife to Arya, and I have to feel a bit sorry for Sansa; Arya reunites with Bran and gets a priceless Valyrian Steel weapon. Sansa reunites with Bran and gets cruel commentary on how beautiful she looked the night she was brutally raped. Could Bran be any more of a prick at this point?
To Dragonstone, where Missandei and Daenerys are indulging in some boy talk. Eunuch talk. Whatever: Missandei got some action. Daenerys is all: DETAILS! Not now, Dany – Jon Snow wants to lead you into a dark, sexy cave and talk about uniting your ‘houses’. Clearly he learnt this trick from Ygritte. I miss Ygritte.
Jon shows Dany the sparkly rock paintings of the Children of the Forest, which show that they teamed up with the First Men to defeat the White Walkers long ago. Dany tells him she’ll fight for him – and the North – if he just bends. The Freaking. Knee.
Jon tells her that the North won’t accept a Southern ruler after what they’ve been through. Dany echoes what he once told Mance Rayder: Bend the knee to save your people, moron. As my husband points out, there’s a viable – if incestuous – compromise staring them in the face.
Jon and Dany exit the caves to find Tyrion and Varys waiting for them, looking forlorn. Cue Dany completely losing her shit after she finds out Casterly Rock was a setup. The best part is when Jon rolls his eyes at Davos. You’d never see Ygritte have a tantrum like this, Jon…she’d just shoot you full of arrows and be done with it.
Dany questions Tyrion’s loyalty, given his backfiring strategies and insufferable reluctance to roast thousands of people alive. Then she asks Jon what he thinks she should do.
Jon clearly wants to get one of his friends to call him with a faux emergency so he can makes his excuses and get the fuck out of this hellish Tinder date, but he tells Dany that using her dragons to kill thousands of innocent people will just show she’s the same kind of arsehole as everyone else. Dany buys this from Jon, even though Tyrion essentially just said the same fucking thing.
Back to Winterfell, for my favourite part of the episode. Brienne’s training in the yard with Pod, who is receiving his daily arse-kicking. Is it just me, or is he not improving? Like, at all?
Arya approaches, and I’m geeking out. What can I say – Arya’s filling the void in my heart left by Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Brienne admires what Arya’s packing. Arya asks to train with Brienne, because hey – totes smashed the Hound.
Arya and Brienne have at it while Sansa and Littlefinger watch from the battlements. To Brienne and Pod’s surprise, Arya easily holds her own. In fact, she appears faster than Brienne – though not as powerful.
Realising she’ll need to the arse-kicking up a notch, Brienne knocks Arya off her feet with a kick to the chest. Brienne and Pod are all sheeeeeeeiiit, but Arya jumps to her feet and looks insanely happy to have found a challenge. Sorry Bran – this is my kind of psychopath.
The fight ends in a draw of awesomeness, and Arya and Brienne realise they are each other’s spirit animal. Sansa looks glum and whispers to herself: I’m good at clothes. Arya stink-eyes Littlefinger, and I have a question: Bran’s clearly privy to things that happened in King’s Landing, so why hasn’t he discovered/told anyone that Littlefinger betrayed Ned in the Throne Room? Or will that be the eventual impetus for Arya to add his name to her list?
Back to Dragonstone, and this time it’s Jon and Davos indulging in girl talk. Davos asks Jon what he thinks of Daenerys. Jon acts all coy, even after his Cave of Seduction routine – but tells Davos he thinks Dany has a good heart. Davos has apparently noticed Jon staring at her ‘good heart’. So this means that at some point, maybe during Dragonstone post-work drinks, Jon stared at Dany’s boobs, while Davos stared at Jon staring at Dany’s boobs.
Jon dismisses this with an I-stared-into-the-Night-King’s-eyes excuse. So there’s no time for Dany’s boobs? The producers gave them plenty of air-time last year.
Missandei’s hanging out up ahead. Davos is totally crushing on her again. Is it weird that I find this cute? Missandei asks Jon why his surname is different to his father’s. Jon, for the 467th time, tells everyone he’s a bastard. Naath doesn’t have marriage or bastards. Davos is titillated. Jon wonders why Missandei is serving Dany if she was liberated. Missandei tells them Dany’s the Queen they all chose to follow. You know, back when Dany offered people reasonable choices.
Jon spots a Greyjoy ship approaching. Theon pulls ashore with the other remaining Ironborn. He and Jon have it out. Well, sort of – Jon tells him he’s only letting him live because of what he did for Sansa. Theon’s back to get Daenerys to help him rescue Yara. Jon tells him she’s gone. Theon: ‘Where?’
Cut to the Lannister forces, still pushing shit towards King’s Landing…and it’s at this point I got nervous. Prior to watching this episode I made the mistake of checking Facebook, saw everyone’s cryptic freak-out posts, and ended up convincing myself some arsehole was going to kill Drogon with Qyburn’s fucking ridiculous wooden crossbow. So whilst I was pretty damn excited about finally seeing Dothraki screamers in action and the Lannisters getting a caning, I was also pretty fucking anxious.
Jaime and Bronn ask Rickon-Dickon about his first battle experience. Rickon-Dickon seems a lot nicer than his Dad; I hope he lives.
Bronn hears the Dothraki horde and alerts Jaime. The Dothraki appear on the horizon, and everyone pretty much shits themselves. Personally, I’m grabbing for the popcorn. What was it Robert Baratheon said back in season one? Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field. Jaime: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.
Daenerys descends from the clouds on Drogon and torches the Lannister front line. The Dothraki break through and the slaughter begins, while Drogon destroys the food supplies taken from Highgarden – turning Lannister soldiers to ash in the process.
It’s pretty gruesome, and as with nearly every great battle on Game of Thrones (with the main exception being Battle of the Bastards) I’m left appalled by my own fickle loyalties. I’ve always been Team Targaryen and am irrationally invested in the wellbeing of the dragons, but this is a holocaust.
Tyrion seems to reach the same conclusion when he comes upon the scene. His father’s army is in chaos, men are dying agonizing deaths, his brother is in the midst of it – and he’s responsible. Where will Tyrion’s loyalties go from here?
Jaime sets his archers to the task of taking down Drogon. Drogon proves impervious to tiny wooden arrows, because duh – dragon. Which means it’s time to crack open the big guns. And by big guns, I mean one gun, And by one gun, I mean creaking, shitty crossbow on a wooden platform.
Look, I’ve always been ambivalent about Bronn. He’s comic relief at least. But when he starts shooting at Drogon, I want him melted like a birthday candle.
On his second attempt Bronn pierces Drogon through the wing, and Drogon and Dany fall from the sky. Drogon pulls up though; right in front of Bronn and the crossbow, and – thank fuck, because it was an illogical piece of shit – he torches the whole thing. Did Qyburn make back ups?
Dany jumps off to pull the bolt from Drogon’s torso. Jaime spots his opportunity to commit suicide and gallops toward the dragon.
This all got a bit contentious in my house, because my husband has an enormous man-crush on Jaime Lannister. So whenever we play ‘Who Would Win’ (i.e. who would win out of the Hound VS Khal Drogo? Who would win out of Barristan Selmy VS Brienne of Tarth?), and one of the opponents is Jaime Lannister, he’s always adamant that (two-handed) Jaime would best pretty much anyone. It’s cute.
But really? Go towards the dragon? My husband reckons it proves he’s a true knight of valour. Personally I agree with Tyrion: you fucking idiot.
Nonetheless, Jaime gallops towards Dany and Drogon. Drogon sees him coming and gets ready for a barbecue – but at the last minute, Bronn (I think?) knocks Jaime out of the way, and into the water…where he sinks straight to the bottom. I’m filled with relief – don’t get me wrong, I like Jaime’s character – but I was just glad no fictional CGI dragons were killed in the making of this episode. I’m a sick, sick woman.
Is this the last we’ll see of Jaime Lannister? No chance. He’s got a destiny to fulfill and redemption to find. Besides – Bronn has to fish him out if he wants that fucking castle.
Next week: Dany’s losing touch with her humanity, Tyrion must find a way to make her listen, Bran’s seen the Night King heading for Eastwatch, and Jon meets Drogon up close!