(Photo Courtesy of Tech Insider)
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: After the action packed beginning of Season 6, we knew a relative lull had to be coming sometime – and last night GoT delivered one of its world renowned slow burn setup episodes. I will admit that I’m probably being unfair, because if we look back on last night’s episode there was a huge flashback swordfight, the hanging of four dudes including that little jerk traitor Ollie, the immediate aftermath of a man rising from the dead, and lots of vomit from Samwell. But alas, with a show such as GoT, we’ve come to expect thrills from start to finish, and last night we had a lot of…well, talking.
We start off at an interesting moment—right after Jon Snow has resurrected, which is cool and all, but basically all we do for the first ten minutes is have people be like “OH SHIT WHAT THE — HE’S ALIVE?!” and then Jon hugs all his buddies one by one. I was kinda sad he didn’t hug Wun Wun, but I can’t have my cake and eat it too.
Then, after watching Samwell fill up 12 buckets with seasick vomit, we’re taken to another Bran flashback – this time watching his dad in a swordfight against some really great swordfighter dude. So I’m pretty terrible at details and knowing who everyone is BUT…after doing some research, I can tell you what was going on—young Ned and his crew were trying to rescue his sister Lyanna, who was supposedly kidnapped. Standing in their way was Ser Arthur Dayne, the greatest swordsman in Westeros. After a riveting swordfight, Ser Arthur kills err’one except Ned and is actually about to kill Ned when Howland Reed comes from behind and stabs Ser Arthur in the back, much to Bran’s dismay. This isn’t how the story was recalled to him as a child. Which honestly makes sense. I’m probably not going to tell my kids all the idiotic stuff I did when I was a young lass—they’re going to think I was a super refined lady—not someone who once drunkenly threw up out of the window of a car on her way home from a party. Anyways, Bran wanted to continue watching the memory as his father ran towards a cry in the tower—but the Three-Eyed Raven shut him down again. Talk about some real memory cockblocking there, Raven. Don’t ever bring him out on a night on the town. As soon as you’re ready to take someone home he’ll make you go back to his magic tree.
I’m looking forward to watching more of these flashbacks occur, but I’m hoping we get to see more of this interesting backstory soon, and that it doesn’t get drawn out for way too long, like some storylines…
Speaking of, Arya continued to get the shit kicked out of her and answer questions until FINALLY she gets her eyes back. I’m glad her eyes don’t resemble those of my parent’s 13-year-old chocolate lab anymore, but I really have no interest in her storyline these days.
Anyways, that’s only about a third of the relatively boring stuff that happened last night. I’ll let you guys touch on the rest—what’d you think of Varys and Tyrion’s plotting in Meereen, the Lannister’s progress in King’s Landing, Ramsey Bolton’s newest “present,” and maybe most importantly: predictions of where Jon Snow is headed now that his watch has ended? Was this episode just kind of “meh” for you guys, too, or did you enjoy it?
Rusty: Yes, I was a little ‘meh’ on the latest goings on in Westeros… The biggest thing I’m thankful for is that Arya has her eyesight back after only three episodes. Last year we spent a whole season watching her story unfold sooooo slowly. The fact that they were able to wrap this obstacle for Arya in a few hours makes me hopeful we’ll speed through some of the other threads we have going on right now – specifically with Dany in the Dothraki widow compound.
Once we got to the widow’s temple, or whatever it’s called on the show, it was decidedly less of the spa atmosphere that I was envisioning. It doesn’t look like Dany would be able to indulge in any hot stone massages or sea salt scrubs where she’s at. And, the lighting is terrible! Jorah and Daario need to rescue her, stat. Like Marci said, this was a pretty static episode. I understand why these connector episodes need to exist, but there is a LOT of story to tell over the next 2-3 seasons. We need Dany back with her dragons! Or, do you think Dany and Jon will cross paths this season? I hope so.
Who knows where Jon is heading at the end of the episode. I thought he was pretty committed to working with the Wildings to figure out a way to defeat the White Walkers, but I’m wondering if Jon is still reckoning with why exactly he was brought back from the dead. I thought there was an interesting parallel last night between Melisandre’s expectations of what Jon saw when he was dead (nothing), and Bran’s expectations of his father’s legacy against what actually happened. This show is interesting because it’s a place where magic and dragons exist, but so many of our character’s needs are met with disappointment (or a super violent demise). That’s life! One minute you’re hanging out with a centuries old man in a tree, and then you find out the story your Dad has been bragging about is really just trumped-up locker room talk.
The biggest revelation of the night for me was when Ramsey received his ‘gift’ – Rickon Stark! And Osha! I forgot all about them. Also, is there a Humane Society or SPCA in Westeros? Can’t a direwolf catch a break?? I honestly have no idea where that story is headed, but think it’s such a shame that the Stark children haven’t been reunited since, like, Season 3. The winds of change are coming this season, so eventually some of these kids have to hook back up. I predict that the first two Starks to be reunited will be Sansa and Jon Snow. Then they’ll go on a Donny and Marie type of tour throughout the North, release an EP, then probably just settle in Branson Missouri for a yearlong residency. Sansa’s a little bit country, and Jon’s a little bit rock and roll! DO YOU SEE IT, GUYS??
Zac: Rusty, that potential narrative you just ended with would truly be a curveball that no one could honestly say they saw coming. However, time will tell if Jon and Sansa (Jansa?!?) team up to form what would surely be the most popular singing duo in all of the Seven Kingdoms.
I completely agree that this week’s episode failed to match the pace of the first two weeks. However, that kind of has to be expected. Despite the fact that the showrunners are operating with a new sense of freedom due to George R.R. Martin’s failure to publish the newest book in time, setup episodes are necessary in order to build characters up. While it might be fun to see significant plot developments each week, this week signaled a time to regroup so that future happenings carry a little extra meaning.
As far as stuff that I enjoyed this week, I’m obviously intrigued by where Jon Snow goes from here. I’m happy that he and his small pecker (Tormund is quite the jokester!) have officially returned to the fray. I was moderately surprised at the decision to hang Olly and Alliser and the other two traitors. While he was obviously entirely justified in doing so because of that whole “being stabbed relentlessly and left for dead thing,” I thought the Bastard Stark would’ve opted for some resemblance of compassion. It’s clear now that the Lord Commander isn’t playin’ around anymore. And though his “watch” has ended, I still think that he plays a role (likely along with his wildling and Night’s Watch allies) in fighting the looming White Walkers. I mean that stare down between Jon and the Night’s King last season was just too tantalizing to be a one-off.
I continue to enjoy the Bran flashbacks. Much like the show did with Cersei last season, I really like the decision to provide current (or past in Ned’s case) characters with interesting backstory. I think I said this last week, but after being mostly irrelevant for five seasons, Bran has become very interesting this season. I also like the cliffhanger that was Ned’s ascension to that tower. I think the showrunners know full well that the “R+L=J” theory is present in the majority of it’s audience’s minds. By delaying the potential realization that Jon Snow’s parents are Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, I think it seems fairly certain that Kit Harrington’s parentage will be revealed and confirmed in the weeks to come. Quick prediction: Bran discovers the truth about Jon’s parents and sets out in search of his half-brother to share the news.
I obviously continue to hate Ramsay. We really didn’t discuss his execution-by-hound of his baby brother last week, but then to follow that up with the joyful discovery of Shaggydog’s (R.I.P.) severed head… RAMSAY NEEDS TO DIE! I DON’T EVEN CARE WHO DOES IT! Seriously though. On a show that contains so many terrible characters, he is far and away the worst. No one, living or dead, comes close. The show has built him up as the worst possible human being so much that I think it’s inevitable that he will die quite the death when it indeed happens. Who do you guys think will do the honors? Sansa? Jon? Brienne? GHOST?!? AVENGE YOUR DIREWOLF BROTHER GHOST!!!
As far as Arya and Dany, I’m at least a little happy that there was some development in their storylines. Between Arya regaining her eyesight, and the Queen of Dragons meeting her fellow Khal widows, I’m hopeful that neither character will fall into a lengthy holding pattern. The sooner that Arya becomes a faceless assassin, and that Daenerys is rescued by Jorah, Daario and her dragons, the better off the show will be in the short and long-term future.
Did we miss anything else that happened this week? And what are you guys hoping to see next week in Episode 4?
Rusty: One thing that I did enjoy this week was the small scene Tyrion had with Grey Worm and Missandei while waiting for Varys to return with some news. It totally reminded me of when you might be at a party with people you don’t know, and those people just DON’T KNOW HOW TO TALK OR SOCIALIZE EVEN. Like, trying to pull conversations out of a wall. Hilarious. Tyrion couldn’t even play a drinking game with them! Party poopers. At least they’ll drive you home at the end of the night. Don’t drink and drive, kids.
Another thing that I learned from that scene was that Varys’ little birds are, in fact, little! They are literally children. Did we know this already? Smart move, Varys. Whatever he seems to be plying them with must be doing the trick – I guess those were sweets in the tiny boxes Varys was handing out at the end of the scene? Wouldn’t it be funny if it was some high-grade black tar heroin? Varys’ greatest forms of currency are information and druuuuugs, man! Those little birds did come in handy however; it seems the Sons of the Harpy are being funded outside of Meereen. It will be interesting to see what Tyrion can think up in order to nip this little rebellion in the bud.
Next week… I want to see a dragon again! And, hopefully, a big payoff in a Bran flashback. What about you, Marci?
Marci: I also enjoyed the awkward scene with Tyrion and the world’s most boring couple, Grey Worm and Missandei. Some other boring people we haven’t talked much about from this week’s episode are Samwell and his lady Gilly. They seem to be heading to his hometown, where he plans to drop his love off with his mom and sister, so she’s in good hands. I’m kind of curious to see what happens with this storyline, if only because with this show, we’ve got to be setting up something good. Right? If not, why do we have to endure so much vomit?! And didn’t we see Samwell kill a White Walker at some point? Is he the key to conquering them?? Only time will tell.
Onto next week’s episode – here are some predictions I’m hoping for:
- The dragons find Khaleesi and bring her somewhere more exciting than a tent full of widows.
- Theon gets his sister and murderous uncle to rally the troops for a go against Ramsey’s crew.
- Sansa runs into SOMEONE – ANYONE (!) that she knows – be it Jon Snow, Arya, Bran or even incarcerated Rickon…heck at this point I think she’d even be happy to see Cersei.
- MURDER. DEATH. DESTRUCTION. MAGIC. FIRE.
My one last thing before I pass this week’s discussion off to Zac to finish up is: all the Stark kids look so different than Season 1! I know GoT has been on for a while now, but in its sixth year I’m starting to markedly notice how the Stark chillin’ are growing up. This was trigged by not realizing who Rickon was at first when he was given to Ramsey, since he looked so grown up, and also from this fun 90’s style intro video to GoT that’s been going around Facebook for a few days (sent to me courtesy of Kimmy Sendlak):
It’s a fun watch, but it also shows you how different all the young actors and actresses on this show look from when we started on this crazy journey. Time flies when Winter’s coming!
Zac: Marci, that video was highly enjoyable, and you’re absolutely right in saying that the Stark’s, and everybody for that matter, looks quite a bit different. Almost every character has a suffered a significant amount of wear and tear over the years. Clearly living in Westeros doesn’t bode well for one’s appearance.
Also, before we disperse until next week, I have to admit that I had completely forgotten about Sam and Gilly. I have never been invested in Sam or Gilly, and while I certainly don’t wish anything bad upon either of them, I wouldn’t be at all heartbroken if we didn’t check back in with them anytime soon. Or ever again really.
Some brief predictions and hopes for the next few episodes…
- A battle at King’s Landing between the Sparrows and the Ser Gregor-led Lannister family. The show has not so subtly hinted at Ser Gregor opening up a substantially sized can of whoop ass on the religious uprising. I have to imagine that happens sooner rather than later.
- Ramsay Bolton Dies. How many more weeks of despicable activity can we take?
- A Reintroduction of the White Walkers. They have long been the awaiting doom (how long can winter be coming for?) and I hope we see the timeline accelerated for the arrival of the Army of the Frozen Dead.
- Jon Snow Realizes His Destiny. If R+L=J is true, that means he is part fire and part ice. And likely the hero to end all heroes.
That’s all I got!
Until next week!