Game of Thrones: Breathers unite!
Holy exposition episode, Batman! Let’s see, we got the legitimization of Jon’s Snow’s birth, Cersei’s pregnancy, the triumphant return of That Rowing Guy, and Littlefinger getting exposed for shadiness again (possibly on purpose?). We’ve also got characters moving all across the Game of Thrones map at implausible speeds—folks that haven’t seen one another in six seasons—magically reuniting to spread tidbits of intel like FedEx packages. But most importantly, we’ve got a small but scrappy, army of randomly assorted fan favorites heading North of the Wall to go fishing for a zombie to give Cersei as an early Christmas gift.
Let’s do this thing, shall we?
Bronn is still alive, and he wants his castle, dammit!
In a turn of events that is sure to surprise absolutely no one, Bronn and Jaime survived their Dragon Evading Synchronized Swim Routine from last week. So, they’ll both live to be snarky with one other for at least another episode.
Bronn, for his part, is too macho to admit to Jaime that he saved his life, because he likes hanging out with him. So the mercenary blames his heroics on good old-fashioned opportunism. “I’m not going to let you die until I get my fucking Castle,” Bronn quips.
Aww, don’t be sad, Jaime. Bronn is just playing hard to get. But seriously, after saving you and your brother’s butts countless times over seven seasons, all the man wants is his own uncomfortable chair. Is that too much to ask?
RIP Rickon, Brickon, whatever your name is…
Literally across the lake from Bronn’s and Jaime’s Bromantic Rendezvous, a concerned Tyrion surveys the charred wreckage of the Lannister army left in Drogon and the Dothraki’s wake. Meanwhile, Dany speaks with the few Lannister army survivors, offering them the ability to retain both their lives and their freedom if they pledge fealty to her. “Join or die,” she tells the men, more or less.
Most of the men bend the knee without question, because they see Dany’s Dragon chilling out about five inches away from where they’re standing, and they aren’t stupid. Papa Tarly, though… he’s kind of stupid, so no kneeling for him. (Side note: I totally recall Papa Tarly getting burned to a crisp by Drogon in last week’s episode. Guess it was just some other old bald guy. Either that, or I’m psychic like BranBot3000, and “predicted” how this guy would ultimately bite it a week in advance.)
Dickon wants to die with his dad because of honor, or something. Or maybe the poor sexy dumb-dumb is just tired of people always getting his name wrong. Tyrion warns Dany against the bad PR that may result from her effectively murdering the entire Tarly house. In doing so, he conveniently forgets that the Tubbiest Tarly remains alive, well, and shoveling poo over at the Hogwarts School for the Old and Unattractive.
But Dany will not be deterred, and so a single dragon burp literally evaporates yet another house on the Game of Thrones game board… most of it, anyway.
I wonder if they pooped their pants before they died?
In which Lady Olenna gets her dying wish.
Jaime eventually returns home to Kings Landing with his tail between his legs, to tell Cersei that they are so effing screwed. By way of elaboration, Jaime explains to his sister/lover that the Lannister army has no chance in hell of winning this war against an army of insane Dothraki warriors fighting alongside not one, not two, but three giant fire-breathing dragons.
Cersei, of course, has never been one to listen to reason and surrender, particularly when we’ve still got a season left of the show. So she changes the topic of conversation to Tyrion, their little brother turned “enemy combatant.” The siblings’ relationship with Tyrion has always been touchy with these two, and one that Jaime would prefer not to broach. But when Cersei casually brings up Tyrion’s “murder” of Joffrey, Jaime reluctantly grants Lady Olenna’s death wish, by admitting that it was the Queen of Thrones, and not Tyrion, who ultimately caused this beautiful scene to occur…
Initially, Cersei refuses to believe that Olenna could pull this off. However, when Jaime explains Olenna’s rationale for wanting Joffrey dead (namely that it would offer then-Queen Margaery a more docile and obedient husband to control in her quest for power), Cersei is forced to grudgingly admit that Tyrion was wrongfully accused.
Game, set, match, Lady Olenna. From the grave, no less.
Tyrion still gets credit for the whole “killing his dad on the toilet” thing, though… which was also pretty cool.
Hi, Drogon, I’m home!
After a long day at work burning people’s faces off, Dany and Drogon arrive back at Dragonstone where Jon is patiently waiting for them. Though the King of the North is still a bit creeped out by Dany’s “kid”, he doesn’t want to seem rude. So, Jon extends his hand and gently caresses Drogon’s face, because, let’s face it, having all five of your fingers is overrated. Just ask Jaime Lannister!
Interestingly enough, Drogon doesn’t bite off Jon’s fingers or burn his face. Instead, the dragon gets surprisingly wide-eyed and puppy like, as he moves in closer to Jon for more neck rubs and kisses. (If you recall, Dany’s other dragons had a similarly docile reaction to Tyrion last season.) Is it possible that dragons are actually kind, cuddly, creatures that are just misunderstood by the world at large? Or perhaps dragons are just kind to folks with Targaryen blood…
Anyhoo, Dany gets a major Lady Boner over this Jon/Drogon exchange, and is all ready to whip out her phone so she can show Jon an entire album worth of dragon baby pictures for him to coo over. “Aren’t dragons beautiful?” The Mother of Dragons inquires breathily.
“Ummm… if by beautiful, you mean totally fucking terrifying, than yes,” Jon replies, more or less.
Well damn, Jon! Haven’t you learned by now that it’s never cool to call a mother’s kid ugly to her face? You have to learn to lie better, and fast, or cave sex is never going to happen for you again.
We interrupt this recap to bring you a message from BranBot3000:
BranBot3000 sees the White Walkers in the promo for next week’s episode, so he sends out a group text to all the other characters in the show about his vision. No, seriously, it literally took about ten seconds for the entire rest of the cast all across the Westeros globe to get this information. The Three-Eyed Raven may not have downloaded emotions or a personality onto his server, but the dude definitely has an excellent cell phone data plan with unlimited text messaging capabilities.
In which Gilly actually tries to say something important, but Sam Tarley only wants to talk about shit.
When the Maesters at the Hogwarts School for the Old and Unattractive get the text from BranBot3000 about the White Walkers invading Westeros, they naturally dismiss it as spam. This infuriates Sam, who came to Oldtown for the sole purpose of learning how to defeat White Walkers… also, because he really likes books.
Sam is so mad about the Maesters’ nonchalant attitude toward the upcoming apocalypse, in fact, that he totally ignores Gilly when she casually lets slip what may very well be the most important piece of information ever to be revealed on this show.
In a book Gilly is reading, one that is undoubtedly titled The Game of Thrones Reddit Page, she inadvertently discovers that Rhaegar Targaryen (Jon Snow’s secret father) actually got an annulment from Elia Martell, in order to have a secret marriage outside of Dorne to Lyanna Stark (Jon Snow’s secret mom).
You know what that means don’t you, Thrones fans? Not only does Jon have Targaryen blood running through his veins, he might very well also be a legitimate Targaryen, one with a claim to the Iron Throne that rivals that of Dany herself.
“I don’t care how many times a day the Master takes a dump! I want to fight White Walkers, dammit!” Sam responds angrily. Umm, Sam? Just because you spend most of your day shoveling feces doesn’t mean every piece of intel on this show is about poop.
And so, Sam and Gilly ultimately decide to leave Old Town and return to the North to join the fight against the White Walkers. And if the new time logistics on this show are any indication, they should probably arrive there in about fifteen seconds.
The Dragonstone crew also get their text message about the White Walkers from BranBot3000 this week. So Jon comes up with this bizarre plan to get Cersei to put the battle for the Iron Throne on pause, and join the rest of the houses in fighting the Undead by… retrieving a zombie from North of the Wall, and offering it to her as a gift? (Just because Dany made dragons into her pets, doesn’t mean you can make zombies into yours, Jon!)
Anyway, the plan involves Tyrion meeting with Jaime in an effort to grease the proverbial wheel. The problem is that Tyrion and Jaime have been a bit on the outs, ever since Tyrion murdered Jaime’s dad on the pooper. So, matchmaker Bronn arranges a surprise date for the pair underground, under the guise of engaging Jaime in a Dragon Killing Machine training session.
Jaime isn’t particularly thrilled to see his brother, naturally. And the two exchange some harsh words about their now-deceased daddy dearest. Nonetheless, Jaime brings Tyrion’s request regarding putting the war on hold in exchange for a zombie prize to his beloved Queen. Cersei is unexpectedly amenable to the idea, especially if it means potentially getting Dany alone in a room, where she can murder her. As it turns out, Cersei was aware of Jaime’s meeting with Tyrion before it happened, but allowed it to take place for this very reason.
As if those weren’t sufficient bombshells for one scene, Cersei also reveals that she’s currently pregnant with Jaime’s child. But this time, unlike with her other three kids, she’s going to publicly out this one as the incest baby that he or she happens to be.
Jaime is thrilled by this news! (Because they’ve done such a great job at making children in the past.) He tearfully embraces Cersei, who returns the affectionate gesture, but not before threateningly whispering in her brother’s ear, “Don’t ever betray me again.”
Hey Fredo, I wouldn’t go on any fishing trips anytime soon, if I were you…
Littlefinger: Pot Stirrer Extraordinaire
In other sibling news, Littlefinger seems to have caught on to the tension between Arya and Sansa, and has decided to work toward alienating the sisters from one another. The first part of the plan involves having the men of the Vale publicly denounce Jon and pledge fealty to Sansa, while Arya is present. Though Sansa reminds the men that Jon is their King and not her, Arya doesn’t feel she defends her brother’s honor firmly enough.
Arya tells Sansa as much when the two meet in their parents bed chambers later that day. Arya then accuses Sansa of secretly wanting to rule the North. It’s an accusation that Sansa not so convincingly denies.
Later that day, Arya spies Littlefinger doing his Littlefinger thing of creeping around and whispering in people’s ears. So naturally, she decides to follow him around like the good little stalker she is. Littlefinger seems blatantly aware of Arya’s presence, but that doesn’t stop him from paying off a servant right in front of her into giving him a “secret” scroll written by Sansa. “The Lady Stark thanks you for your service,” Littlefinger stage whispers, before hiding the scroll (rather poorly, if you ask me) under his bed.
Arya, of course, breaks into Littlefinger’s room and reads the scroll. In it, she finds Sansa’s letter from season one, in which she begged her brother Robb to pledge fealty to then King Joffrey as the true ruler of the Iron Throne. (And we all know how well that turned out for both parties.)
Now, as viewers, we know that Sansa only wrote this letter out of fear for her life, after witnessing her father’s beheading. But Arya will likely not see it that way. Which, I suspect is precisely why Littlefinger arranged for Arya to find this information in the way that he did.
Did Sansa instruct Littlefinger to retrieve the letter out of fear that its discovery would harm her potential future claim to the throne as Queen of the North? Probably not. But Arya doesn’t know that… at least, not yet.
But when did he stop rowing?
Meanwhile, Davos is on a mission of his own. It’s a recovery mission. Specifically, Davos wants to recover Gendry, aka Robert Baratheon’s bastard son, aka the guy Melissandre once tried to murder, in order to prevent his possible claim to the iron thrown, aka THE GUY WHO HAS BEEN ROWING A BOAT FOR THE ENTIRE SERIES.
As it turns out, sometime in the past few years, Gendry stopped rowing and began forging weapons for the Lannisters, waiting out the war for the Iron Throne by hiding in plain sight. Gendry is thrilled by Davos’ offer to go on a suicide mission to retrieve a zombie, because it’s the only way he’s going to get any more screen time on the show, at this rate. So, the Rowing Guy heads with Davos back to Dragonstone, but not before murdering a couple Lannister guards with a hammer like he’s Thor.
(Naturally, the pair, with Tyrion in tow, make it across the globe in approximately two minutes.)
Once in Dragonstone, Gendry, against Davos’ advice, quickly outs his true identity to Jon, who seems to like the guy almost instantly.
In other reunion news, the newly cured of greyscale Jorah Mormont has also arrived at Dragonstone. He and Dany embrace fondly and reunite for about five seconds, before Jorah also agrees to kill himself in a zombie hunt with Jon Snow! Because, why not?
The rag tag group of warriors then set off on a boat toward the Wall, right when Dany is finally getting the chance to question Jon about the offhand commend Davos made last week about Jon surviving a knife to the heart, and being just a little bit undead himself.
Hold that thought, Dany…
Like the Suicide Squad (only entertaining!)
Jon, Jorah, Davos, and Gendry make it back to the Wall… in about sixty seconds. There they meet with Tormund, who agrees to help them in their zombie retrieval mission, though he’s a bit disappointed that his lady crush Brienne of Tarth won’t be joining them.
Also on the scene and ready to fight some dead guys is the Hound, who if you recall rented BranBot3000’s Game of Thrones DVD and as a result knows all about the White Walkers, and his new pals Beric Dondarrion (another fellow un-deader) and Thoros.
There’s some initial squabbling amongst this rag tag crew of would-be zombie fighters who have multiple grudges against one another for things that happened in prior seasons. But count on Super Diplomat Jon Snow (who is clearly the Captain America of this Avengers crew) to get everybody to play nice with one another.
“We are all on the same side,” Jon explains to his mini army. “We all breathe.”
The episode ends with the freshly-minted Team Breathing heading North of the Wall, armed and ready to kick some zombie butt, or possibly fail miserably and become zombies themselves… whichever comes first.