(Photo Courtesy of Screenrant)
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.
With Sunday’s episode we are now halfway through season five, and by all accounts, it seems likely that we have a thoroughly enjoyable second half to look forward. However, while I can appreciate the merits of plot development over speedy plot advancement, this week’s episode was, for me, a dreary one.
Although there were certainly some positive moments this week, such as Grey Worm being alive and in love with Missandei, there was far more scenery that left me shaking my head or cringing as I expected the worse. No characters were more responsible for that negativity than the worst family in Westeros: The Boltons.
If you would’ve told me two seasons ago that I’d be rooting for Theon Greyjoy, Sansa Stark, and Stannis Baratheon, I would’ve laughed at you. Now, I find myself eagerly rooting for each of those aforementioned parties to kill off the most reprehensible, irredeemable, and unlikable characters on the show.
From Theon’s perspective, I really hope he snaps out of the layered trance that Ramsay Bolton has put him in. Though he still obeys his “master,” there does seem to be a newfound level of hesitation in his obedience. Perhaps that belief is simply a result of wishful thinking on my part, but Theon has become one of the most sympathetic characters on the show because of Ramsay. I’d love nothing more than to see Theon obtain some level of revenge for the misery that he’s been put through.
From Sansa’s perspective, I hope she heeds the advice of the notably absent Littlefinger and carefully plots revenge against the Boltons for their actions against her brother and mother. As Ramsay paraded Theon, who she still wrongfully believes murdered her younger brothers, Roose’s bastard only further incentivized his own demise. While Sansa has occasionally drawn scorn for her attitude and assorted other annoying tendencies, I’d love for her to triumphantly kill the men who were responsible for The Red Wedding.
Meanwhile, Stannis has somehow become one of the more likable members of the show during season five, and that was aided this week as he plans to march on Winterfell. Though he has been one of the more uninteresting members of the cast over the course of the first four seasons, I’d happily forget all of the boredom if Stannis marched north and quickly removed the Boltons from power.
In addition to the Boltons and their (hopefully) looming conflicts, there were a number of other happenings.
In Meereen we saw Daenerys deal with the fallout from the alleyway battle that saw the death of Ser Barristan. At Castle Black we witnessed Jon Snow make a less-than popular decision to aid the Wildings. Just outside of Winterfell, Brienne started making friends with the hopes of protecting Sansa. Lastly, we concluded the episode with Tyrion getting a long-awaited look at the Dragons, and also escaping an encounter with a series of Stone Men in Valyria.
With yet again no shortage of talking points at our disposal, here are my questions for you to lead us off this week:
Were you similarly bummed out by most of this week’s episode?
Are you as hopeful to see the Boltons die?
And finally, what else in this week’s episode stood out to you?
Marci: Zac, I’m sorry that you’re feeling gloomy after watching this week’s episode, but I actually thought it was the most interesting and entertaining installment of the season thus far! Things are ACTUALLY FINALLY STARTING TO HAPPEN! FINALLY! YAY! If I had to go through another episode watching Tyrion bitching about being tied up while Jorah stoically ignored him and steered their boat, I was gonna LOSE MY MIND. The attack by the Stone Men in Valyria was a nice way to end the episode, especially with that very last frame that showed us that Jorah was touched by a Stone Man!! Though I’m not entirely sure was that means, is he now going to morph into a Stone Man?
Like you, as I watch the terrible Roose Bolton be a real A-hole to everyone around him, I’m hoping that Sansa figures out a way to kill his ass. I find the woman who keeps telling her “You have friends in the North” to be pretty compelling, and am wondering what will happen if Sansa lights a candle in the third window of whatever tower she said to. The Theon storyline is quite compelling as well. I’m thinking that he is going to reveal to Sansa that her brothers are, in fact, alive – perhaps while he’s walking her down the aisle? That scene at the Bolton dinner table was so weird, I’m glad I don’t have to ever attend one of their family events. So far all I’ve seen of them is that they kill their guests and engage in really awkward small talk. Hopefully the imminent arrival of Stannis & Co. will help speed along the process of killing all Boltons. In other news, I think Stannis & Co. would be a cool name of a hipster Game of Thrones themed coffee shop.
I was happy to see Grey Worm alive, and it was nice (though not really surprising) to hear him tell Missandei that he loves her. LET THE SCISSORING BEGIN! I was also glad to see Daenerys start to realize that she may have to be a little flexible in order to get Meereen back to its less violent ways. I think it’s very odd that she’s decided to marry that dude in order to show her allegiance to Meereen – it seems like she may never end up moving on from this place! I think Tyrion needs to get there quickly and talk some sense into her – she’s wasting time, and the Iron Throne could be hers if she would just stop diddling around in Meereen!
I thought it was interesting that Brienne and Pod have followed Sansa to Winterfell and are creepily lurking at a Bed & Breakfast at a nearby castle. I know Brienne is well intentioned, but her activity is starting to veer into STALKER LEVELS. I am, however, interested to see what happens when Stannis arrives at Winterfell and big ol’ Brienne is there to greet him – I predict a sword fight for the ages!
I’m interested to watch Jon Snow travel to the Wildings and try to make peace – I have a feeling something crazy is going to happen with that – but I have NO IDEA what it could be.
Do you have any BOLD PREDICTIONS about what’s to come in the second half of the season?
Zac: Although I was ready to lose my mind if we had to witness another scene dedicated to the character development and back-story of the Boltons, I can completely see where you’re coming from in your happiness that there was some actual movement across the Game of Thrones landscape.
I’d assume that Jorah’s contact with the Stone Men would ultimately lead him to become a Stone Man himself. The writers have dedicated a fair amount of time talking about the Stone Men, be it this past Sunday, or our continued season-long involvement with Stannis’ lovely daughter. Last week, Stannis described the lengths at which he went to cure his own daughter, so perhaps Jorah will manage to similarly halt the effects of ‘Greyscale.’ At the very least, I hope for his sake that he makes it back to Meereen to reconcile with his beloved Queen.
We also were witness to Daenerys beginning to become more active in her decision making in Meereen. Her initial rage that led to her feeding of her dragons was quite fun. Her decision to marry her wealthy Meereenese advisor Hizdahr zo Loraq was a little less fun. For one, his stoicism in the dragon pits kind of hinted that he might have been involved, or at the very least sympathetic to the attacks launched last week by the Sons of the Harpy. Second, Daenerys’ decision likely keeps her in Meereen for a while longer. While it’s nice to see her demonstrate a belief in keeping your enemies close, I really was hoping to see the Queen of Dragons venture out of her current city this season. Though the possibility of Tyrion influencing her plans is certainly realistic, The Imp seems at least another few episodes away from meeting his potential new ally. In the meantime, I at least hope to see the dragons as often as we did this week.
Brienne is certainly developing the characteristics of a stalker. Her desire to fulfill her vow clearly meets no bounds. While her dedication to fulfill her promise to Cat Stark is admirable, I wouldn’t mind if she and Podrick hoofed it elsewhere for greener, less complicated pastures. That potential showdown between Brienne and Stannis would be difficult to watch. Brienne has continuously proved to be one of the show’s most virtuous characters. Stannis on the other hand, has become increasingly lovable with each passing episode. If I had to guess who’d win that duel, I’d likely choose Stannis. His death doesn’t make sense at this point in the show, and Game of Thrones has a habit of killing off characters that are both lovable and morally accountable.
I also have no idea what lies ahead for Jon Snow, but I too hope that we’re in for something crazy to happen during his recruitment of the Wildlings. I don’t know about you, but I’d definitely be excited to see those giants again.
As far as bold predictions, I unfortunately don’t boast nearly the same creativity that you and Rusty possess when it comes to outlandishly forecasting the future. However, I will hazard a single guess, and that is that we will see the White Walkers feature more prominently before the season wraps to a close. The fearsome frozen beings were mentioned during this week’s episode and I think that foreshadows an appearance from the show’s greatest unknown sometime soon.
Marci, while it feels like winter has been coming for three seasons now, do you think the White Walkers will ever have a significant impact on how things play out in Westeros?
And in addition to hearing any bold predictions that you might have to offer, were there any characters or story lines you were disappointed to see absent this week?
Marci: I do think the White Walkers will be creepily going around killing people again quite soon, in fact. I mean, we know that summers in this world can last a really long time, but Winter’s gotta come some time, AMIRIGHT?!? My guess? Something really great and triumphant will happen to a character we all really love and who deserves it, and while we are basking in the happiness that comes along with viewing that…the White Walkers will show up and kill that person. Gloomy, I know, but this is GoT we’re talking about here!
In much the same manner, though we’ve both been talking a big game for Sansa and the will-she-or-won’t-she nature of revolting against the Bolton clan, I’m thinking that ultimately she will either be complacent in her gross marriage, or killed somehow. I know that’s a big stretch of a prediction, and the show does seem to be hinting that Sansa has friends and that it’s time for her to rise up and avenge her family’s deaths BUT… honestly, do we believe that Sansa really has the balls to do it? I don’t. That’s something I look forward to seeing through to resolution as the season progresses.
In terms of characters we didn’t see this week, although we missed out on some heavy hitters (Arya, Cersei, Jamie…) I can honestly say I DIDN’T REALLY MISS THEM! SORRY HEAVY HITTERS! Interestingly enough, in a season where most episodes felt a little bit like letdowns, this episode managed to entertain and engage me, even without some of our faves. I think that’s a testament to the rich world of GoT, which can be alternately frustrating and rewarding, depending on the week.
I think that’s about all I have to say about this week, Zac! It’s been real. Can’t wait to get the whole band back together next week, and I hope we have some real juicy plot twists to dissect!
Until next time, DON’T TOUCH ANY STONE MEN!