*Warning Spoilers Below*

Major power shifts occur in a fast paced episode designed to satisfy fans longing for some season long answers.

Ramsay Bolton establishes himself as a force not to be reckoned. It comes as no surprise that Ramsay would take drastic measures to insure his place. Killing his father, step-mother, and newborn baby brother (The latter of the two suffer a rather gruesome off-screen) places Ramsay as head of House Bolton and Winterfell. Roose Bolton being quite the unsympathetic character is given an almost repeat performance of his betrayal to Robb Stark, this time on the other end of the knife. It’s fitting to see a long-hated character get his comeuppance, yet even less bitter sweet now that Ramsey has his psychotic hands on the North’s major armies at his disposal. Roose at least had a long term plan for acquiring dominance; while Ramsay is literally now, a dog without a leash prepared to attack the Night’s Watch in order to retrieve Sansa.

Jamie’s subtle threats to the High Sparrow are delivered with a whimper. Not quite so easy to intimate a man with a fanatical religious army at his disposal, but also one who seems to have a death wish (Someone’s been drinking their own kool-aid if you ask me) for his own cause. One of Cersei’s disastrous attempts at leadership resulted in her providing the High Sparrow with the authority necessary to become a more major player in King’s Landing, as well as a thorn in the side of the ruling class who operated with anonymity until now. Bringing Tommen into Cersei’s hands may be the final nail in the Lannister’s coffin as neither of them are prepared for a Holy War. As intimidating as it is to have The Mountain 2.0 on your side, it’s no match for religious zealots ready to die in the name of their gods.

Edd returns in the nick of time with wildlings to save Davo’s and the Jon loyalists from Alliser and his followers. Davo’s gives Melisandre a hearty pep talk into resurrecting Jon Snow as a last ditch effort to secure some semblance of peace at the Wall. The Night’s Watch needs all the help including the wildlings to protect the north from the impending White Walker invasion. Melisandre does some of her funky fire magic on Jon’s corpse to no avail. This leads to a c lassic Game of Thrones troupe, once everyone leaves the room in utter defeat. Suddenly, Jon’s corpse arises and we cut to black. It only took the writers by the second episode of the season to bring back our beloved character (Come on, we all knew he wasn’t going to stay dead long), which makes for 8 more episodes to tell whether bringing him back showed any purpose to the greater story playing out. Or if it was merely out of fan-service?

Food for thought…

  • Bran’s flashback to young Ned, Benjen, and Lyanna Stark, as well as Wilyas (aka Hodor) made for interesting parallel. We see that at one point in history things didn’t look so bleak for our heroes. Knowing the future events that would befall these youngster is a haunting remind of how far we’ve come. Having Bran and the Three-Eyed Crow stand in similar observance that Ned and Catelyn did at the beginning of the series is a haunting reminder of how much we’ve witnessed, yet are not close to the end. One lesson that is taught to all students, but rarely heeded is how,”History has a way of repeating itself.” Prepare yourselves for some deja vu.
  • Tyrion releasing the dragons came about unexpectedly. As the conversation appeared to be geared toward Missandei being the one who had a better relationship with Daenerys, hence more approachable to the dragons, than a drunken dwarf.
  • Jaqen’s light questions to Arya was rather a dull plot advice for a story that seems to be leading to her transforming into Daredevil. Just as we were lucky enough to miss out on Bran’s training to become a Time Master. Maybe the writers taking a break from Arya and giving her a faster track to progression might help avoid these bland lessons she’s receiving.
  • Welcome back to the Iron Islands. It’s literally been two seasons since Balon Greyjoy received his son’s severed penis via UPS. To make matters worse, his long believed to be dead brother returns with aspirations for the crown. This leads to one of the better filmed and moodier set pieces in the Game of Thrones series. As Balon and Euron Greyjoy have a rather frank talk on rickety bridge as heavy rains and wind thrash on top of them and the sea beating against the cliffs from below. This leads to Euron tossing Balon off and beginning a fight for the crown as his successor is decided at the Kingsmoot.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays 9pm on HBO.


Fred Yampolsky

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