Game of Thrones S5 E3 Recap: Brienne of the Ball

(Photo Courtesy of Vulture)

Three “television enthusiasts,” the dynamic brother-sister duo of Marci and Rusty Buehler and Zac Hirschbeck, watch Game of Thrones each Sunday night and exchange their thoughts on the show’s happenings.

Marci: I don’t know about you, Zac, but I really enjoyed last night’s episode of Game of Thrones – it was by far my favorite of this season so far – and not just because Arya was in it a lot. We got to see Sansa betrothed to a mad man (Ramsay Bolton), Tyrion get Imp-napped, Brienne wax poetic on her terrible childhood, Jon Snow BRING DOWN THE HAMMER (I mean sword…). But most importantly, we found out that TOMMEN LOVES HAVING SEX!

I think his exact quote was: “This is all I want to do, all day, every day, for the rest of my life!” Get ‘er done, Tommen. Despite the humor, I actually find that storyline quite interesting – I love seeing Margaery lay the groundwork for turning Tommen against his mommy – or at least trying to keep her at arm’s length. And Tommen is eating it up. Queen Margaery must have a magical vajay – it works wonders on brainwashing men.

On a more somber note, we got a up close and personal moment with Brienne and Podrick this week, where big, goofy Brienne spills her heartache over being made fun of as a big, goofy girl. The boys at her own ball were mean to her – what A holes. But luckily, Renly was there to tell Brienne “It gets better.” I liked this scene, not only did it emotionally connect us a bit more with Brienne, but it gave her and Podrick a more realizable goal (Killing Stannis) than just following Sansa Stark around aimlessly.

Speaking of Sansa, she is now back at her home digs, WINTERFELL! I liked the scene this week where Littlefinger told her to stop being a bystander, which I think sums up why I hate Sansa – she’s USELESS DEADWEIGHT! Let’s see if she takes him up on his pep talk and tries to avenge her family. I hope she does. I yearn for the day when I see Sansa and think “YOU GO GIRL!”

We also got to see Jon Snow’s first order of business as Captain of the Knight’s Watch – digging a new latrine! LOL, JON, keeping it light! But then he totally flipped the mood when he had to go kill that dude. I liked that he put his foot down. No one gives the Captain of the Knight’s Watch ‘tude.

What’d you think of this week Zac? Did you enjoy all the Arya QT we got? And how about Tyrion’s (mis)adventures? And those weird crazy Sparrow peoplez?


Zac: Much like the second episode, this week’s installment of Game of Thrones managed to re-direct many of the story lines that are featured regularly on the show. Although I share your enthusiasm in regards to enjoying the episode, there were also several moments that contained fairly significant bummers.

Margaery Tyrell became pretty unlikable to me. Though I would never say that I was a huge supporter of hers, her blatant manipulation of Tommen, and her eagerness to shove it in Cersei’s face was pretty unappealing. While one could argue that Cersei certainly isn’t deserving of sympathy, Tommen really represents the only family she has left in King’s Landing. Her father his dead. Her eldest son is dead. Her brother (and lover) is leaving to rescue her daughter in Dorne. And now, due to the handiwork (literally) of Margaery, her youngest son is dropping heavy hints that she should leave him be and go back home. Also, and perhaps I should’ve led with this, but is it not thoroughly gross that Margaery is sexing up Tommen? A season ago we were all collectively cringing as Margaery flirted with a young Tommen in his bedroom. Now, despite Tommen’s amusing (and understandable) enthusiasm, are we all supposed to disregard and simply accept the age gap between the new king and queen?

Much like Margaery’s actions, I was also less than excited to watch Brienne, Sansa, and Jon Snow this week.

Brienne’s back-story was heartbreaking, and it certainly provides further incentive to root for her as she plans to help Sansa and kill Stannis. However, I can’t help but feel pessimistic about her longevity on this show. While she’s a fearsome (and awesome) warrior, I find myself worrying each week that her death is drawing closer. Hopefully I’m wrong.

Likewise, I’m pessimistic about Sansa’s chances going forward. While I totally understand why you (and most people) find Sansa fairly annoying, she’s still led a terrible life through five seasons. I am without question rooting for Sansa to murder a whole heap of Boltons and avenge the deaths of her family members. However, the last time I rooted passionately for someone to avenge a death on this show, it didn’t end so well (R.I.P. Prince Oberyn). But you can do it Sansa!

Jon Snow’s decision was a little disappointing for me as well. I could care less about the man that was beheaded (only within a Game of Thrones recap could I say that), but I don’t like that Jon appears interested in winning the favor of Stannis. That little nod to Stannis after he completed the task at hand was discouraging. Can Jon Snow really continue on a heroic and interesting path on this show if he aligns himself with Stannis?

As far as your questions go…

I have no idea of what to make of the Sparrows. Their leader (“The High Sparrow”) seemed like a pretty cool cat, and their decision to expose the high priest as he was attempting to yet again enjoy himself at Littlefinger’s brothel was enjoyable to watch. Religion really hasn’t played a prominent role in Game of Thrones to date. I’m interested to see how they involve the Sparrows in the happenings within King’s Landing going forward.

All of my excitement regarding Arya’s new adventures in Braavos was tempered a bit this week. Perhaps it was unfair of me to expect Arya to immediately undergo faceless assassin training with Jaqen H’ghar, but it also appears that she’s far off from learning to obtain Jaqen’s same unique set of skills. That doesn’t mean my intrigue is altogether gone though. What is going with those bodies? And is the House of Black of White really that small? It looked so big from the outside!

Lastly, Ser Jorah’s kidnapping of Tyrion was an interesting swerve. The main question that now lingers is whom will Jorah be taking The Imp to. Will he return to Daenerys (who was notably absent this week) with his newfound bargaining chip? Or will he return to King’s Landing and offer Tyrion’s head to Cersei?

Where do you think Tyrion is headed Marci? Were there any characters that you were disappointed not to see this week? And what do you hope to see in the weeks ahead?


Marci: I agree with you that Arya’s faceless warrior training is taking way too long. I’m sick of watching her sweep the floor and bathe dead people, I’d like more FIGHTING N SHIZ. On a side note, I’m quite happy that she didn’t throw Needle away, and rather hid it for later – I would have been very sad to see that piece of metal float away.

Like you, I’m very eager to see where Jorah is taking Tyrion. He said they were going to THE QUEEN, which as you mentioned could either be Daenerys or Cersei. If it’s Cersei, Tyrion won’t be with us much longer I’m afraid. BUT…since we know that Ser Jorah has a major boner for the Mother of Dragons, I’m like 98% sure that he’s taking Tyrion back to Daenerys as a bargaining piece to regain her trust. If this is true, then I’m VERY excited, since we’ve been hoping that these two would cross paths for a while now.

While I’m not really expecting Tyrion and Daenerys to hit it off right away, I look forward to their eventually friendship and alliance that I’m rooting for in my head. Excited to see how this begins to play out next week (or be extremely disappointed if it doesn’t turn out how I’ve planned)!

I know you will probably disagree with me, but I was kind of glad to have a week without Daenerys. Her weird stay in Meereen is annoying me and I think she’s gotta get outta there and let the slaves and ex-slave-owners figure their own shit out! (Please don’t read into this politically, as it seems to be a definite allegory of the US involvement in Iraq). I don’t say that she should leave because of any political motives, but merely because I’d like to see the story progress a little faster than it is now.

I missed seeing Jamie and Bronn this week on their journey, but I’m hoping we’ll get to see that play out a bit next week. I’m also eager to see if Sansa grows a pair of balls and murders some Boltons. On a similar note – do we think Theon is going to come out of his slave state to help Sansa? Perhaps seeing an old friend in Sansa will snap him back into reality? Another weird hope I have. I WANNA SEE THE BOLTONS BURN, BABY.

Starks 4life.

What are YOU looking forward to in the coming weeks? Any bold predictions?


Zac: Starks 4life indeed.

I too was happy to see Arya hide Needle rather than throw it away, and I really hope that you’re right about Tyrion. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine Game of Thrones without him. Plus, why would you have Tyrion triumphantly murder his father and escape a death sentence only to have him captured and killed less than a season later? Also, from a spoiler perspective, didn’t we see Tyrion witness a dragon-flyover in a trailer prior to season five?

With that said, I hope we finally see Tyrion meet Daenerys. It’s a moment that we’ve been building to for weeks, and as you said, the Queen of Dragons could really benefit from an injection of life as she continues to spin her wheels in Meereen. One scene that I would love to see before the end of the series: Tyrion riding a dragon into battle. How badass would that be?!?

Your expectations as to what we’ll soon see are hopes that I share as well. Jaime and Bronn’s adventure to Dorne will be an enjoyable one to follow, and I too wish that Roose and Ramsay Bolton will suffer a similarly dismal fate. And although he wasn’t exactly lovable prior to being captured by the worst people in Westeros, seeing Theon finally turn on the Boltons would be somewhat satisfying.

While you and Rusty are far better at offering up BOLD PREDICTIONS, I’ll wrap up our proceedings here with a couple of my own.

The first is a smaller prediction in the grand scheme of things, but I think The Mountain is still alive. The creepy doctor in King’s Landing has gotten a fair amount of face time on the show alongside Cersei in recent weeks. This week he hinted at a project that he was working on under Cersei’s direction, and we even saw something hidden in the doctor’s dungeon under a white sheet.

The last we saw of The Mountain was that he was mortally wounded in his duel with Oberyn. However, we never saw what became of him. As a longtime servant of the Lannister family, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the monstrous specimen that is Gregor Clegane.

My other prediction is that we’ll finally see the Sand Snakes this week. Many characters have made reference to Oberyn’s bastard daughters on this show, and I know we’ve discussed them within our recaps before. However, we have yet to see them introduced this season. I think that changes in episode four.

That’s it from me Marci!

Until we reconvene early next week, remember these words from Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish:

“There is no justice in the world, not unless we make it.”


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