(Spoiler Warning) The Sons of the Harpy has just become one of my all time favorites, as it contained a bit of everything exciting about Game of Thrones, crammed into a single episode. There's more murder, intrigue, and political maneuvering than you can shake a Valyrian steel blade at.
The show opens on Jorah and the kidnapped Tyrion, making their way to Mereen by boat to see Queen Daenerys. Tyrion, being the smart guy he is, guesses who his kidnapper is, and even guesses what Jorah hopes to gain by presenting a Lannister to Dany. Jorah remains silent, until Tyrion pushes him too far. It gains Tyrion a smack on the head. It's hard to try to guess just what Dany will do if the disgraced Jorah Mormont presents Tyrion to her. Tyrion and Varys were going to see Dany anyway, but the trailer I saw suggests that things don't go quite as Jorah plans.
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I used to enjoy listening to Tyrion and Bronn verbally sparring, and now it's Jaime and Bronn's turn to team up. Jaime lacks Tyrion's sharp tongue and wit, and twice he let Bronn insult him about his incestuios relationship. It was said in that matter-of-fact way that Bronn does. They pair are headed for Dorne, where they hope to rescue Jaime's niece. "Your niece?" Bronn enquires, clearly meaning "don't you mean your daughter?" It shows you how desperate Jaime is, if he's letting insults like that go. Bronn also guesses that Jaime let Tyrion go, and the suicide mission they're on, is Jaime's punishment from Cersei. "If you ever see the wee f*cker, give him my regards" Bronn tells Jaime. Jaime replies, "He killed my father, if I do see him again I'll cut him in half." It's good to see that Bronn's lost none of his charm.
The pair are betrayed by the captain who dropped them off secretly at Dorne. Bronn warned Jaime that this could happen, but being a Lannister, Jaime thought a large bag of gold would secure the captain's silence. It didn't. Now, the dead Prince Obyron's widow and children know Jaime is in Dorne to try to rescue Princess Myrcella, but they want war with King's Landing, which goes against the wishes of Prince Doran.
The Iron Bank have started to put the squeeze on the Lannisters. They're demanding 10% of what they're owed, which is a fortune. Cersei bought Lord Tyrell's obedience by making him the Master of Coin. However, when Tyrell offered to lend the money to help out the crown, Cersei tells him he's given enough already, and that he should go personally to Braavos to talk to the Iron Bank. For protection, Cersei sends Ser Meryn, which probably means we've seen the last of the bumbling Tyrell.
Next Cersei has the High Sparrow visit her, where the pious man finds that he does indeed have his price. By arming the Faith Militant, and putting the High Sparrow in charge, Cersei has created a powerful ally. But she's also given them carte blanche on punishing all sinners. Cersei has set all this in motion, so that Loras Tyrell is arrested for indecency, just to get back at Margaery. That's why she needed Lord Tyrell out of the way. She even tells Tommen that if he wants Loras freed, he'll have to go to the High Sparrow himself. We last saw an angry Margaery walking away from a confused Tommon, as she goes off to send a bird to her grandmother. If anyone can fix this mess it's Lady Olenna.
Cersei is demonstrating just how cunning and dangerous she can be, especially when backed into a corner. It does appear that her plan could work, but the way I see it, these religious crazies could very well turn on her. After all, she's the one who had three inbred children with her twin brother Jaime.
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Tending to official Night's Watch business, and about to send out birds, Sam is having Lord Snow put his mark against messages to all the Lords, requesting men from them to take the black -- Lord Bolton included. Melisandra enters just as Sam is leaving. Melisandra asks Jon to accompany Stannis' army when they march on Winterfell, as he's familiar with the lay of the land and the castle itself. Of course, Jon refuses. The witch then turns on the charm, then sitting on Jon's lap naked, in the hope she can persuade him using her skills of seduction. "I can't. I made a vow" Jon explains, "I loved another." "The dead don't need vows" she says while still trying to undo his garment. Grabbing her hand, Jon warns her, "I know, but I still love her." Unfazed by the rejection, Melisandre is about to walk out the door, then turns and says "You know nothing, Jon Snow," to the stunned Lord Commander. Jon is already wary of Melisandre's witchcraft and visions, but he was well and truly rattled hearing Ygritte's favorite phrase being uttered by the priestess.
King Stannis and his daughter, Princess Shireen, have a moving scene together, and was really a pleasant change seeing Stannis simply being a loving father to the sad little girl who just needed comforting. I honestly didn't think he had it in him. I'll now look upon Stannis in a new light after this excellent scene.
Last week saw Littlefinger align himself with Lord Bolton, going against the Lannisters. And we learned that his plan was to deliver the North to Bolton by using Sansa to marry Ramsey. This week now casts some doubt on whether Lord Baelish is actually playing a bigger game, where Sansa is still very much under his protection. If Baelish is simply using Bolton, and everyone else for that matter, he's playing a very dangerous game indeed. What could cause him problems in the long run, are the newly rearmed Faith Militant, as they crash into his brothels, smashing up property and killing the customers. (For a detailed description of exactly who the Faith Militant are click here.)
We end on some real excitement, as the Sons of the Harpy strike hard and fast, slaughtering many of the Unsullied. This is going on while Dany is discussing whether the fighting pits should be reopened. Ser Barristan happens to be walking by a lane where Grey Worm and his men are heavily outnumbered and under attack, and even though both men fight very bravely, killing many of the Harpy in the process, it looks like one, or maybe even both men are dead or dying. It's a bit too soon to call it, but I'm pretty sure Barristan the Bold is no more. This was most unexpected, and it could be just the right time for Mormont to step back in to assist Queen Daenerys in her time of need. It could also force her hand into releasing the dragons.
This episode blew me away, and if the rest are anywhere as good as this, Game of Thrones will have no problem breaking more records. Benioff & Weiss have proven they can stray as far as they like from Martin's source, and produce equally, if not better material for the show. I'm counting the seconds until episode 5!Share: