Thursday, June 30, 2016

I Drink and I Know Things: Game of Thrones Sn 6, Ep 10 – "The Winds of Winter"


The Winds of Winter

The season 6 finale of Game of Thrones started off with a bang, literally, and it didn't stop for just over an hour of fantastic television. Typically, the finales in this series have been epilogues that set up the next season and leave us all wondering what will happen next. While this particular episode achieves that, it is also so much more. Many storylines are wrapped up and give us satisfying endings while simultaneously paving the way to epic beginnings. We have a LOT of things to discuss and since this finale pretty much covered every inch of the map that makes up the world of "A Song of Ice and Fire," I'll try and break up this recap by locations. We'll begin at Queen's Landing. It's what it should be called now anyway...

King's Landing

If there was any doubt about Cersei's ability to reap vengeance upon her enemies (ALL of her enemies) then that doubt is now buried under the rubble formally known as the Sept of Baelor. As many had predicted, and the show mercilessly hinted at, the casks of wildfire underneath the city came back into play in a big way. Even though we knew it was coming, the show somehow managed to make the entire opening sequence suspenseful and thrilling. It was a masterclass in directing, cinematography, and editing. The build up of showing us every player preparing for the trials, the intimate shots that put us in the mindset of the characters, the wide shots that made us aware of the sheer scope of the landscape, and the music that kept the scene moving and our adrenaline pumping. It was up there with the end of "The Godfather." The realization of what is about to happen occurs to us at the same time the characters themselves begin to realize something is amiss. All of this is brilliantly crafted with hardly any need for dialogue. The characters even walk into the sept as if they were at a funeral procession. They were. Maester Pycelle doesn't even make it to the trial as he is led astray by Qyburn's birds, who turn out to be "The Children of the Corn." The payoff in this sequence is tremendous and the wildfire consumes the entire audience at the trial and in an instant we lose some major characters. The High Sparrow, (and his minions) Kevon and Lancel Lannister, Margaery, Loras, and Mace Tyrell, are all turned to ash faster than Lord Voldemort. (Sorry. Spoiler alert for the Harry Potter fans.) Rising from those ashes is Cersei Lannister, looking down upon the destruction she has caused from the safety of the Red Keep. With a satisfied grin on her face she makes her way down to the dungeons where everyone's favorite nun, Septa Unella, is bound to a table; which has been turned. After gloating over her for a moment or two, Cersei informs the septa that she will have a new god to worship, The Mountain. As the torture begins, Cersei leaves them behind closed doors reciting the words Septa Unella taught her last season. "Shame, shame, shame..." I must confess, I loved this scene. The tragedy here is that Cersei is so focussed on revenge that she takes away the one person who might have been able to save her son. Without The Mountain around to guard him, King Tommen swan dives from his chamber window to end both his reign and the opening sequence of the finale. Masterclass.

The Twins

The Freys and the Lannisters send their regards, but the North remembers. After Jaime reluctantly breaks bread, and balls, with Walder Frey he leaves the Twins and head's back to King's Landing. (Looking forward to seeing Cersei and a city without a huge smoldering crater in the middle of it no doubt.) When we come back to this location later in the episode, things get a bit Shakespearean. Titus Andronicus anyone? It turns out that the pies Walder was enjoying had a little more baked into them than he bargained for, and Arya Stark of House Winterfell was the chef. Before Walder's two sons can even give him indigestion, Arya removes her disguise and cuts the old man's throat. Did she kill the servant girl and take her face or was she the girl the whole time? Doesn't matter. It was awesome and satisfying either way. I think it was also the show being very clever again as this brutal ending for Walder was foreshadowed back in season three. If you remember, Bran Stark shares a story with his companions on his way to The North called the tale of "The Rat Cook." 


This scene happens right after the Red Wedding. It must have been one of Arya's favorite stories as well.

"Why, there they are both, baked in that pie; 
Whereof their mother daintily hath fed,
Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred. 
'Tis true, 'tis true; witness my knife's sharp point."


Meereen

Daario gets dumped; Tyrion gets a hand. It looks like we are finally leaving Meereen forever, but before we did we were treated to a bittersweet scene in which Dany has to leave behind Daario. However, we are given a heartwarming scene right after when Dany names Tyrion the Hand of the Queen. After a season that didn't give Tyrion much to do, (still waiting for that dragon scene to pay off) this was worth the wait. He's perfectly positioned to do what he does best for the show's endgame. As is Dany thanks to a little help from Varys, Ellaria, and the Queen of Thorns. Seeing that huge fleet sailing to Westeros with her multiple armies, allies, and dragons made me forget to be skeptical and question how fast Varys is able to travel across the world. They might look unstoppable,  but they don't look dressed for Winter. Cue the contrived segue...

Winterfell

Winter is co...here. Just like Sansa and Jon's father, Ned, always promised. Well, Sansa's father anyway. A final flashback from Bran shows us the biggest reveal of the series. (Finally inside that damn tower!) A young Ned comforts his dying sister, Lyanna, in her last moments. She makes him promise to protect her newborn baby. That baby, as the art of film editing reveals to us, is Jon Snow! Although we don't hear who the father is (and I re-watched it multiple times to make sure the sound didn't cut out) we did hear Lyanna say that, "If Robert finds out he'll kill him. You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned." We know that Robert (Baratheon) was killing off all remaining Targaryens after his rebellion, including children. It's the reason why Dany and her brother were hidden away in the first place. At this point we can only assume that Rhaegar, Dany's deceased older brother, is the father. (Insert Maury joke here.) This would make Jon both a Stark and a Targaryen, "Ice and Fire" if you will. For many fans of both the books and the show this has been a theory that has been bounced around for some time now. Even though it's only about 99% confirmed at this point, it's a game changing reveal and it was beautifully presented in this finale. If that weren't enough, Jon Snow is named the King in the North back at Winterfell. Considering he was dead in the beginning of the season, it's a pretty big deal. All of the major houses in the North swear their allegiance to Jon and all who are present cheer him on... All but two. 

Thoughts and Theories

  • Sansa appears to be picturing something in her head. Let's hope it's not the same picture that Littlefinger mentioned to her.
  • Sam is really bad at hiding priceless swords, but really good at finding huge libraries. He's got the better part of a year to read all of the books in Oldtown. 
  • I would love to see Euron Greyjoy intercept Dany's fleet and just get blown out of the water in five seconds. Season seven can open with that. 
  • Jorah: "Hey Khaleesi, I found a cure for my Grayscale!... Khaleesi?" 
  • If Dorne took next season off too would anyone notice?
  • Benjen: "This is where I leave you. No, Bran, you can't have my horse. I need him. Crawl your three-eyed ass to The Wall!" 
  • Lyanna Mormont should sit on the Iron Throne! Who's with me? Oh, that's right, the entire internet.
  • Those other two dragons need riders. Tyrion is one I hope. Who would the other be?
  • Jaime: "You know sis, I killed the last king that did something like this. Just saying. Hey, where's Tommen by the way?"
  • The Red Woman got off easy, but she's heading straight for Arya. I seem to remember Arya having her name on a certain list.
  • Hodor
Well, that's it for season 6! It was a great (maybe even the best) season of Game of Thrones and I have fully enjoyed watching it and sharing my recaps, thoughts, and crackpot theories with you all. It's been a lot of fun and I truly appreciate all of the feedback you've given me these past few months. Let's keep it going! I'm always on board to talk shop about this show. Well, anything TV or film related really. So keep the comments coming and if you want me to recap something else (another show, movie, video game, etc.) I'm up for that as well! If you want me to stop...well...keep it to yourself! As always, thank you for reading and feel free to check out our other blogs and videos right here at kickarock.com. This particular blog will be back in about 40 weeks or so for season 7. It is known.

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things."

Cheers,

Bill

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I Drink and I Know Things: Game of Thrones Sn 6, Ep 9 - "Battle of the Bastards"



Battle of the Bastards

Throughout the seasons of Game of Thrones the 9th episodes have been famous for standing out among the crowd. Think back to "Baelor" or "Blackwater" or the infamous Red Wedding episode,"The Rains of Castamere." The penultimate episode of season 6 does not stray from that trend in the least bit. In fact, I have to say that it is easily one of my favorite episodes ever in the series. I might be jumping the gun here because the season finale is set up to be a fantastic ending to arguably the best season yet. However, it's not a stretch at all to say that "Battle of the Bastards" was epic. What makes the episode even more amazing (and somewhat ironic) to me is that it starts in a place that I really haven't loved that much this season, Meereen. We've been waiting a very long time for something...anything to happen there and the show delivered exactly what we've been hoping to see since the end of the first season when Dany's dragons are born. Are you ready? 

"Good. Shall we begin?" 

OK. I did not expect to see any location featured in this episode aside from Winterfell, but oh my Lord of Light I am so happy with what we saw in Meereen! The show has slowly adapted its audience to the elements of high fantasy (Dragons, Direwolves, White Walkers, Magic, etc.)  throughout the seasons and now they can create beautiful scenes like these. Granted, they probably used up their entire special effects budget on this one episode, but I don't care! Dragons! (We've previously established my love for dragons.) Dany soaring into Meereen on the back of Drogon made me stand up and cheer! It reminded me of the first time I read "The Hobbit" or "The Lord of the Rings." It took me back to having movie nights as a kid and watching "Willow" for the first time. Was it a VHS rental from Blockbuster Video you ask? I don't know, was Madmartigan the greatest swordsman who ever lived? (Ah yes, nerd sarcasm.) Where was I? It doesn't matter. I could watch the first ten minutes of this episode over and over and enjoy the hell out of it every single time. Dany's three dragons attacking the Slave Masters' armada, Grey Worm busting out some Unsullied ninja skills, Tyrion speaking like a boss and dropping the mic, all of it. In a word... "Dracarys."

After all of that we get the first meeting between Jon and Ramsay. They discuss terms of surrender and battle, neither of which are agreed upon. Lord Bolton somehow makes us hate him even more, but not before Sansa looks him in the eye and tells him that he better sleep well considering he will die tomorrow. Badass. Then she gives Jon some advice on how to deal with Ramsay. It doesn't go over so well with Jon, but as we find out later on, she was all too right. Melisandre gives Lord Snow some advice as well. Hers is much more simple. "Don't die." (Been there, done that.) Davos and Tormund discuss their own traditions the night before a battle and while Tormund sets off to indulge in some vintage sour goat's milk, Davos does some detective work and finds a justifiable reason to kill the Red Woman.

Thank you show runners for "yada yada-ing" through the whole arrival of the Greyjoys at Meereen. We got a short scene that showed Dany and Yara forming an alliance while Tyrion chided Theon for making midget jokes back in the day. When Tyrion finds out about Theon's "predicament," I wonder if he'll throw as many jokes at him as he did to Varys. Seriously, where did that eunuch run off to anyway? The scene was good and it served its purpose as a nice intermission before the main event.

Poor Rickon. Whenever Ramsay says he wants to play a "game" it's never good. We knew the youngest of the Stark siblings wasn't long for this world, but it was still a tragic end for this character. In any event, Ramsay's ploy works and he lures Jon out just far enough to be in the range of his archers. Our hero bravely (or foolishly) charges in as his army follows. The best shot of the episode, and maybe the series, follows as Jon unsheathes Longclaw and faces down a charging cavalry.


The best sequence of the episode, and maybe the series, follows immediately after as the armies collide and the battle begins. The camera follows Jon through a series of swordplay and near misses as the bodies literally pile up on both sides. (By the way, did anybody else see Wun Wun charge into a headless horseman. Watch it again. Fantastic.) Anyway, as it turns out Ramsay must have just watched "300" considering his army of Spartans builds a wall of shields and spears to surround Jon's forces. Things begin to look grim for Jon as he is almost killed by his own men. (Again. Been there, done that.) As many had predicted, the letter Sansa wrote two episodes ago was to Littlefinger, and the army of The Vale shows up in the knick of time to play a deadly game of dominos with the Boltons. Ramsay tucks his tail and runs as Jon, Tormund, and Wun Wun give chase. The walls of Winterfell may have never been breached, but the wooden door at the main gateway is no match for a giant. If Hodor had been there it would have been a different story... Too soon? Wun Wun gives his life to break down the door and Jon comes face to face with Ramsay for their second (and final) meeting.

This time Ramsay accepts Jon's one on one challenge and before he can say "Ned's your uncle," (Come on. It is known.) Jon Snow...well...he Jon Snaps. As he relentlessly beats Lord Bolton's face in the only thing that causes him to hesitate is Sansa. Jon realizes that it is not his life to take and leaves the battered Bolton unconscious in the snow. Ramsay awakens bound to a chair in the dog kennel. Sansa reads him his last rites and vows that everything about him will disappear. In a twisted act of poetic justice, Ramsay's starving hounds chow down on an "all you can eat Bolton buffet" as Sansa walks away leaving us to wonder if that smirk on her face will ever fade. Considering what she's been through, I don't believe it ever should.

Thoughts and Theories

  • How is the finale going to top that?
  • Did Rickon never learn how to "zig zag?"
  • How do you not bring Ghost to the battle? Oh. Right. The budget was used up for the dragons.
  • Hopefully Bran gives us one more flashback before it's over. Hopefully of the damn tower!
  • Tyrion made a point to mention Dany's "Mad King" father and the casks of wildfire that still are below King's Landing. I'm telling you it's burning to the ground next week!
  • Tiffany Brouwer wrote in with a theory about what Qyburn actually told Cersei. It involves his little birds hearing songs from the far east about a certain Mother of Dragons. What's really interesting is that Varys has his little birds everywhere as well. Could Qyburn and Varys be working together or are they primed for a battle of wits? The show wouldn't mention them both having their "birds" without it paying off somehow. Great call Tiffany and thanks for the feedback!
  • Bravo (not Braavos) to the show runners for having Dany, Tyrion, and the Greyjoys all admit that they had terrible fathers... On Father's Day. Well played.
  • It's interesting that season 2 and 3 Showed us a bunch of Kings fighting for the throne and now the pieces are falling in place for the world to be run by a number of Queens. Dany in Westeros, Sansa in the North, Yara in the Iron Islands, and Ellaria Sand in Dorne. (Where have they been?)
  • I suppose if Cersei has anything to say about it we may have a "Battle of Five Queens" instead. 
  • I'm glad the Stark side won, but Littlefinger saving the day is NOT good. He's the best player in the game.
  • "I'll always be a part of you." Was Ramsay being creepy until the end or is there a deeper meaning here?
  • Predictions: Tommen, Loras, and the High Sparrow are going to bite it. Maybe the Red Woman too if Davos has anything to say about it. Cersei will snap. Dany will start officially heading to Westeros. The last thing we will see this season is the Night King reaching The Wall.
That's all for now kids! As always, thank you for reading and let me know your thoughts and theories below. The trailer for the season finale is below and it shows us some potentially great things happening in almost every plot line this year. One line that I am excited and nervous about is "The Freys and the Lannisters send their regards." Nothing good ever comes after those words.The Kingslayer might need to watch his back...


"That's what I do. I drink and I know things."

Cheers,

Bill

Monday, June 13, 2016

I Drink and I Know Things: Game of Thrones Sn 6,
Ep 8 – "No One"



"No One"

Some plot lines are resolved, many are not. Once again we are given an episode that moves the chess pieces around (some quicker than others) to set up the final two episodes of the season. The show has been slow burning a few of these stories and I do believe the payoff will be worth it when all is said and done. We'll talk more on that later, but for now let's start with no one in Braavos.

A few stitches, some chicken soup, and a little milk of the poppy are all Arya needs to mend her wounds. It looked like she was stabbed one too many times to make such a speedy recovery, but when an experienced man shanker like Lady Crane is around I suppose anything is possible. Unfortunately for the acclaimed actress her final curtain call came in the form of the Waif (Faceless Girl) and a gruesome "death by step stool." A foot chase ensues that looked like something out of a Bourne/Bond film and involves Arya knocking over all of the orange baskets in the city. Seriously, there were more oranges on those stairs than there are in the entire "Godfather" trilogy.  All citrus aside, the ending of this sequence was perfect. The Waif is baited into Arya's dark alleyway and comes face to face (see what I did there) with Needle. Another face has been added to the hall and Jaqen H'ghar seemed content to let Arya Stark of Winterfell begin her quest back home to Westeros. Hopefully he finds a new servant soon because those faces aren't going to cut themselves.

The Hound puts his skillful wood chopping abilities to use on the Brotherhood without Banners and takes out four of them in a matter of seconds. He catches up with the remaining stragglers a little too late as the Brotherhood led by Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr already have their defectors strung up and ready for a hanging. After much negotiating, The Hound is given the honor of taking out 2 of the 3 men which he considers a win (although he would have preferred a more brutal ending for them). The Brotherhood's plan to head north to fight the undead and presumably the White Walkers is revealed and they attempt to recruit Sandor to their cause. The Hound fighting a horde of zombies with an axe? Yes. All of that please. 

Speaking of the Clegane family, The Mountain gets unleashed in King's Landing when Cersei chooses violence! Well, sort of unleashed. He gets to bust out his best Sub-Zero impression and takes out one of the Faith Militant anyway.



(It's been eight episodes, you knew a video game reference was coming from me sooner or later.) Tommen continues to play into the High Sparrow's hand and forbids a Trial by Combat from happening ever again. Our "king" is beginning to annoy me. One of our readers, Ryan Purdy, wrote in this morning with a very interesting theory about the fate of Cersei and King's Landing. Maester Qyburn was looking into something for her that turned out to be "much more than rumors." Ryan is guessing that this is a stash of the remaining wildfire buried underneath the streets of the city. (I think he's spot on with this theory. Thanks for writing in!) This season has hinted at Cersei snapping and burning the city to the ground and she may be doing that before she even has a chance to go to trial. I'm in 100% agreement of this theory and I think we will see a "Mad Queen" Cersei before this is over. If history repeats itself, we may see the emergence of a "Queenslayer" as well.

Riverrun was overrun. Kind of... I guess... In any event the show seemed to streamline this part of the story in order to free up the characters involved for, hopefully, bigger and better things. I did enjoy the scenes between Jaime and Brienne, Jaime and Edmure, and especially Pod and Bronn. I really would have loved to see some sort of a siege happen here though. Instead the Blackfish defended his castle until the end (which was sadly done off screen) and the Lannisters and Freys reacquired it from House Tully. Riverrun gets an "A" for dialogue, but an "F" for sieges. It still passes overall. I'm glad it's over. 

I'm sorry, but why is Varys leaving Meereen? The most famous dwarf in the world needs a companion to talk to other than Grey Worm and Missandei. Tyrion tries to joke around with them and get them to unwind again and it's alright, but we've seen it before. I love Tyrion. He's my favorite character by far. He needs more to do this season. If he winds up taming some dragons by the end then this whole Meereen story will be worth it. Hopefully Dany arriving means that the Slave Masters' fleet will be quickly destroyed (possibly with some help from the Greyjoys) and we can leave Meereen forever. 

Is Tyrion ever going to finish his "I once walked into a brothel with a honeycomb and a jackass" joke?

Thoughts and Theories

  • I know he's not technically on her list, but I would love for Arya's first stop in Westeros to be at the Twins to visit Walder Frey.
  • Varys leaves Meereen just before it gets attacked? Convenient? That would be a nasty twist. I hope it's not. 
  • Haven't seen Dorne in a while. I'm not sure if that means anything, but speculate all you like.
  • My money is on Littlefinger showing up in the eleventh hour to save the day during the battle of Winterfell.
  • Speaking of which, next week's episode is called "The Battle of the Bastards" and judging from the preview (below) we will be getting a single location based episode like Blackwater, The Watchers on the Wall, and Hardhome. These "epic battle" episodes have been some of my favorite in the series. Let's get hyped! 
  • It also looks like Davos finds out what happened to  Princess Shireen. Run Red Woman! Run!


As usual, thank you for reading and let me know your thoughts and theories in the comments. We should have a lot to talk about with the last two episodes of the season ahead of us.  

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things."

Cheers,

Bill


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I Drink and I Know Things: Game of Thrones Sn 6,
Ep 7 – "The Broken Man"



"The Broken Man"

Before we see the opening credits we are treated to a very big reveal. The Hound (Sandor Clegane) is back! It turns out he was only mostly dead and Ian McShane was his Miracle Max.



From the looks of things, The Hound now spends his days chopping wood that is used to build churches in the middle of nowhere. He appears to have chosen a peaceful life under McShane's guidance. Speaking of whom,  McShane is great as the leader of this community and gets a fair bit of screen time in this episode. It looks like the show was just getting the most they could out of his performance because, sadly, he is found dead (along with the rest of his people) by the end of the episode. It turns out this whole mini plot line was just a set up for The Hound to go on a revenge driven killing spree. That sounds wonderful actually. Bring it on!

In King's Landing we find out that Margaery has been playing possum with the High Sparrow (and in the marriage bed apparently). She is doing what she has to do to survive and makes it clear to her grandmother, Lady Olenna, that it would be in her best interests to leave the city and go back to Highgarden. She obliges, but not before earning her title as the "Queen of Thorns" by giving Cersei a piece of her mind. As much fun as it is to watch Diana Rigg verbally abuse someone, it doesn't seem to amuse Cersei at all. The Queen of Thorns may be in danger of getting pricked herself. 

Bronn also makes his return in this episode and joins Jaime on his siege of Riverrun. The Freys aren't doing such a great job and the Blackfish (Brynden Tully) isn't buying their threats. Jaime and Bronn quickly take over the operation and Jaime attempts a parlay with the Blackfish. Looks like there will be no truce and we'll all have to wait two years for the Riverrun army to use up all of its supplies. All in all these scenes were a lot of set up, but it looks like it's going to get rowdy in the Riverlands soon. Fingers crossed. 

Jon, Sansa, and Davos go on a couple of recruiting trips. They get the Wildlings on their side with Tormund's help (and I'm sure nobody wants to argue with Wun Wun) and they head to Bear Island. The Lady of House Mormont is about ten years old, but don't tell her that. It was a fun scene that ended in the Starks retaining their allies and gaining a whopping 62 soldiers. It didn't go so well at House Glover as they were not so easily reminded of their loyalty to the King of the North. Eventually Sansa gets frustrated and sends out a raven. Hopefully with a letter asking for more help. Hopefully soon. Littlefingers crossed.

Arya narrowly escapes an assassination attempt before she can leave Bravos. She's still alive, but definitely not well. The way that Faceless girl was smirking made me want to rip her face off...well, her real face that is...

Thoughts and Theories

  • Sad to see Ian McShane go after only one episode. I hope it's because he is needed on the set of "Deadwood" for a long awaited season 4. Are you listening HBO? 
  • The last time we saw the Brotherhood without Banners they didn't seem like the murdering and pillaging type. I wonder why they would attack a peaceful community like that. Strange.
  • The High Sparrow was creepier than usual when he was chatting with Margaery. I'm going to guess that he knows what she's up to and will use her brother against her at some point.
  • Do you think Cersei is going to let Lady Olenna leave King's Landing? I don't. 
  • Nothing beats a good series of "one liners" from Bronn. We got plenty this episode and I still want more.
  • Lyanna Mormont was named after Lyanna Stark. The show is reminding us about Ned's sister again. Show us the inside of that damn tower already!
  • Aren't the Faceless Men supposed to kill without emotion? Pretty sure Arya's would be assassin is treating this "hit" a little too personally. Jaqen H'ghar isn't going to like that very much. 
  • Oh, hey! The whole Dany needs a thousand ships and the Greyjoys have a thousand ships thing is finally happening. I'm glad the show didn't severely hint and foreshadow this a dozen times this season. 
  • No Tyrion for two straight weeks! Not cool GOT! Not cool.
That's it for this week. Let me know your thoughts and theories in the comments and, as always, thank you for reading! Looks like next week's sneak peek (below) has The Hound going all Paul Bunyan on some people while the Mountain gets let loose! We need to bring these two brothers back together again. I'm sure The Hound has an "axe" to grind with his older brother! Get it! Ok...I'll stop. 


"That's what I do. I drink and I know things."

Cheers,

Bill

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I Drink and I Know Things: Game of Thrones Sn 6, Ep 6 – "Blood of My Blood"


"Blood of My Blood"

In a season that's been telling its story at a very fast pace I started to wonder when the show would take a breather and give us a "set up" episode. Enter: "Blood of My Blood."  I did like parts of this episode, (even a "boring" episode of GOT still tops most other shows) but I think we have been so spoiled this season with break neck storytelling that this episode just seemed to be slow by contrast. Upon a second viewing (I like to be thorough) I found that this episode actually sets up a LOT of exciting plot points that we are definitely going to want to see as this season wraps up. Let's head to the North first...

When all seemed lost for Bran and Meera they were saved by a Ringwraith. Wait, no... I'm getting this mixed up with my Lord of the Rings blog: Talking Tolkien. Anyway, their hero is a mysterious looking hooded figure on a black horse. He quickly disposes of the wights with a flaming ball-and-chain-and-scythe weapon, picks up Bran and Meera with one hand, and rides off to safety. Who is this badass on horseback you ask? Uncle Benjen Stark! He's back and better than ever! Well, aside from the whole "I was about to turn into a White Walker until the Children of the Forest stuck a piece of dragonglass in my heart which saved my life, but now I am cold like ALL the time which is annoying, but at least I got a cool flaming scythe thingy." In any case, he tells Bran that he has essentially become the new "Three-Eyed Raven" and that they must head south and prepare for the Night King's attack. It was interesting to see the Mad King in Bran's visions yelling, "Burn them all!" I really hope we'll get more to that story soon. 

We get our first glimpse of Horn Hill,  which is the seat of House Tarly, and Sam's hometown. Things get a little more awkward (at what was already the most awkward dinner ever) when Gilly slips up and reveals that she is a Wildling. Sam's father, Randyll Tarly, is just a little upset by this and banishes Sam from his home. Sam reacts as you would expect at first, but then grabs Gilly and Little Sam (Talking about the baby here, it's not that kind of blog) and they run off to Old Town. Before they leave Sam stops and grabs his family's Valyrian steel sword, "Heartsbane," and proclaims that he shall henceforth be known as Samwise the Brave! (Sorry, getting mixed up again.) 



A girl decides that she is Arya Stark after all. She comes very close to completing her assigned task, but ultimately cannot go through with it. Maybe she wanted to see if Lady Crane would take those acting notes and use them in the next show. This decision comes with great consequences as we find out that the Faceless Men have already put out a hit on Arya. She reunites with her old friend "Needle" and prepares for a showdown with her assassin, who may already be lurking somewhere in the shadows of Bravos. 

The Tyrell army arrives in King's Landing and we finally get our big battle with the Faith Militant! Wait... No we didn't. Instead it is revealed that the High Sparrow has fully manipulated King Tommen and for all intents and purposes is running the city. From a strategic standpoint I applaud the move. From a fan's standpoint... just fight it out already! Show me The Mountain! Tommen really botched this plan up for his family. It's almost like our king is just learning how to play checkers while everyone around him is using him as a pawn. He even fires Jaime from the Kingsguard and sends him to reclaim Riverrun. Good move, Tommen! You've just sacrificed your knight and allowed a bishop and a queen (I don't believe Margaery has atoned for a second) to move in for the kill. Checkmate.

Walder Frey returns and is somehow even older and more crotchety than ever. Can we get some vengeance for the Starks this season please? How great would it be for Walder to get his own "Red Wedding?" The North remembers. 

Dany's dragon sense is tingling on the way back to Meereen. She leaves her khalasar on the back of her horse and flies back on the back of a dragon! Drogon looks like he's been eating very well since we last saw him. Amazing what a steady diet of goat (and most likely Dany's horse as it did not return with her) can do for you. Using many of the same words that Khal Drogo once spoke, Dany rallies her troops and seems more determined to take the Iron Throne than ever. There's just that matter of getting back to Meereen first...and then dealing with the slavers...and possibly some red priests...and somehow acquiring roughly a thousand ships, but after that we are going to Westeros for sure! Whatever, she was on the back of a damn dragon!

Seriously, that poor horse.

Thoughts and Theories

  • I really want a flaming chain-scythe thingy.
  • Randyll Tarly is a douche, but does Sam really have it in him to fight his own father if it comes to it?
  • I hope the pointy end of Needle finds its way to the Faceless girl before she finds her way to Arya.
  • I think I would actually like to see that troupe of actors in Bravos recap every big event we've seen so far. 
  • I was wrong about Tommen. I only gave him three more episodes. He may have passed that, but I still don't see him making it to the end of this season. 
  • Cersei seems way too confident about her trial by combat. The High Sparrow is way too crafty to not have a plan to take out The Mountain. 
  • It sure seems like Margaery is playing him though, maybe he's not so crafty after all?
  • The Brotherhood without Banners was mentioned in this episode. Just saying.
  • Dany needs a thousand ships. Euron Greyjoy told his people to build him a thousand ships. We should see the significance of that by season 10 if all goes well.
  • Yara and Theon have a few ships...
We had some interesting comments last week for the recap of "The Door." Terry Anders pointed out that Arya was playing herself in the audience and she once again had to relive her father's death and Tom McMahon rightfully called me out on not mentioning the origin of the White Walkers. Who was that guy before he became the Night King? Is that important? As usual thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts and theories in the comments. It looks like the Blackfish is back in next week's trailer below.


"That's what I do. 
I drink and I know things."

Cheers,

Bill