Oct 9, 2020
Game of Thrones: How to Lose Friends and Alienate Mereeneese
Arya is back, even if she’s half a world away. Plus, Jon Snow gets a promotion, Dany starts a riot, and Tyrion makes a brief appearance just so you won’t bitch about not seeing him in this week’s Game of Thrones.
(Cross-posted at TV Recappers Anonymous)
While last week’s Game of Thrones premiere marked fans’ much awaited reunion with the beloved Sansa Stark and Jon Snow-sort-of-Stark, one surviving Stark child was woefully absent. Well, Bran and Rickon Stark were also technically absent. But, let’s be honest, no one really gives two shits about them. This week was Arya’s time to shine! And by shine, I mean “mope and look pissed off at the camera for fifty minutes, but also stumble upon some kind of cool adventure with old dudes.” Plus, girlfriend’s rockin’ a sassy new hairstyle . . . and you can’t go wrong with that.
Also this week on GOT, Jon Snow accidentally embarked on his political career. And he did so in an unassuming “aw shucks” kind of way that would have made Francis Underwood from House of Cards hate his “brooding man-child turned Prom King of the Wall” guts. And finally, Dany learned that, even when you’ve managed to turn an entire city against you, if you are pretty enough and have cool enough hair, you can still manage to get the “D” . . . and by D I mean “dragon lovin’,” but also actual “D” from this guy . . .
Thus proving it’s damn good to be a Khaleesi! Let’s review shall we?
[Special thanks to my pal Andre for the kickass screencaps you see here.]
Arya Goes to Black and-White Castle . . . But Doesn’t Order Hamburgers
While on a boat with some old guy whose name I didn’t catch, Arya realizes she’s arrived at Braavos after she rides through some giant man’s legs. Yes, I recognize it was just a statue. But my inner twelve-year-old girl can’t help but giggle at the “sexual awakening” metaphor of it all.
“He creeps me out,” Arya admits of the giant well endowed man she’s just inadvertently gotten to hard third base with.
“Naw, he’s just welcoming you to town,” says the old guy, whose clearly no virgin to hearty “welcomes” of this sort.
Old Guy drops Arya off at the House of Black and White, which looks a bit like the Lincoln Memorial, but with these funky art deco black and white doors added to the front. The doors remind me a bit that store, White House, Black Market . . . which I don’t like to frequent because the people who work there always make me feel like I’m Julia Roberts at the beginning of Pretty Woman before Richard Gere gives her all his shopping money. I mean, if I want to buy a black tank top, I can get it at Old Navy for $10 bucks without the added emotional abuse. Just saying . . . Anywhoo . . . Arya knocks on the white and black door, and this old, grumpy, vaguely homeless-looking guy answers. “Hmm, vaguely homeless-looking guys usually like change,” Arya thinks to herself, pulling out her much-prized Valor Morghulis coin as an offering.
Unfortunately for Arya, old, grumpy, vaguely homeless-looking guy is sooo not having the Valor Morghulis coin. He’s kind of like the homeless guy you give your spare change to on the subway while feeling all generous, kindly and Mother Theresa-like, only to have him throw it back in your face because he expected a dollar at least. Long story short, the dude unceremoniously slams the white and black art-deco door in Arya’s face, and she’s understandably pretty miffed about it. Arya is so miffed, in fact, that she starts doing that name thing she does, where she lists all the people on the show she wants George R.R. Martin to murder in the book series. (Has no one thought to make this “name game” into a YouTube mix thingy yet? Because, they absolutely should.) What’s odd, and a little disappointing, is that the list is down to only three names, because half the people that were on this show in Season 1 have already croaked. So, basically, what we’ve learned from all this is that being on Arya’s List is pretty bad news for your longevity. So, if you are on there, you shouldn’t invest in anything long term. Like green bananas. She’s pretty much the Anti-Santa Claus of Game of Thrones. If you are on Santa’s nice list you get a video game or a bike on Christmas morning for your troubles. If you are on Arya’s list, you get a knife to your wiener while you are shitting on the john . . .
“You Can’t Sit with Us!”
If Game of Thrones was high school, Dark!Sansa would be the shy quiet freshman who got a senior boyfriend (Littlefinger) and a makeover, causing her to morph into a popular girl/uber bitch overnight. At some random bar, Brienne and Podrick are thrilled to find Sansa casually drinking ale with Littlefinger, like she owns the place. Brienne quickly rushes to swear her fealty to the much prized daughter of the ill-fated Eddard and Catelyn Stark. “I’ve been traveling the world looking for you,” explains Brienne. “Let me and Pod be your minions. And we will gladly beat the sh*t out of anyone who tries to get the world to remember that you used to be a ginger.”
“Seriously,” scoffs Littlefinger. “I know the fans of this show all love you because you have this strange, reverse “Beauty and the Beast” love-hate thing going with Jamie, but as a bodyguard? No offense, but you kind of suck. Remember that time when you vowed to protect Renly Baratheon, and he got murdered by a gust of smog? Or when you tried to protect Catelyn, and she got stabbed at her son’s wedding by these inbred ugly people?”
The Lady of Tarth then turns to look at Sansa, awaiting her final decision. “Yeah, I’m going to go with the middle-aged murderous pedophile who’s weirdly fixated on my mother,” Sansa replies. “I hope this doesn’t affect your vote for me for prom queen.” At which point, Brienne hightails it out of the bar on her horse, freeing all of Littlefinger’s men’s horses in her wake. Podrick rides faithfully behind her . . . way behind her.
Good ole Pod may be a stud with the ladies, but he’s sure a lame mare about to be sent to the glue factory when it comes to riding horses . . . or fighting . . . or forming complete sentences with his mouth.
Brienne, on the other hand, is a spectacular fighter and quickly mortally dispatches of a number of Littlefinger’s Redshirts (steel shirts?) in a number of minutes. (If this was a modern-day show, a vaguely inspirational soundtrack would be playing in the background while she did this, Katy Perry’s “Firework” maybe, or perhaps Megan Trainor’s “All About that Bass.”
All Hail, Jamie Fucking Lannister . . . and Bronn When a thinly veiled threat to young Myrcella Baratheon’s safety comes to Cersei Lannister all the way from Sunny Dorne via the head of a snake carrying one of Myrcella’s price pieces of jewelry in its teeth, Cersei is outraged. In response, Jamie vows to the sister he sometimes screws and spawns with that he will most certainly save his secret incest daughter/“niece” from certain harm, even if it means traveling to Dorne and retrieving her himself. Of course, there’s the teensy weensy problem of that whole “one hand” thing. It’s hard to kick ass and take names when one is incapable of completing even the most essential tasks . . . like, for example, clapping. Fortunately, Jamie has no intention of kicking ass and taking names alone. And so he seeks help from the same person Tyrion goes to when he is expected to kick ass and take names, despite, you know, being short and stuff. It’s Bronn, of course. Jamie finds Bronn walking along the beach with a woman named Lollys, whose hand in marriage Cersei Lannister offered him as a thank you for his bravery in battle during a recent round of Game of Thrones. That’s one of the shitty things about being a woman during Game of Thrones era, your hand in marriage could be issued as a prize for good game performance, like a stuffed bear in a carnival game. Other bad things about being a lady during the Game of Thrones era include the whole toilet situation, and never being able to wear jeans . . .
“Jamie Fucking Lannister,” shouts out Bronn, upon seeing the Artist Formerly Known as Kingslayer (and really, when you think about it, Fucking is pretty much the most appropriately descriptive middle name for Jamie Lannister ever).
“Help me win back my secret incest daughter from Dorne, and I’ll let you marry someone way hotter and richer than Lollys . . . no offense Lollys,” Jamie proposes to Bronn.
Bronn agrees, because Dorne is pretty much the Cancun/Cabo San Lucas of Game of Thrones. SPRING BREAK, BABY! But also because Lollys = meh . . .
Sorry, Lollys, better luck next “Be the first to pop a balloon in a clown’s mouth using a water pistol, win a wife.”
There Will Be Sand Snakes
Much like Emily Thorne on Revenge, Ellaria Sand of Dorne is very much ready to pull out her Red Sharpie and draw a murderous circle and, eventually, an “X” on everyone indirectly involved in the violent death of her deceased lover Oberon Martell, including young prepubescent Myrcella, whose only involvement in Oberon’s death is that her mother’s last name rhymes with “Bannister.”
“We do not mutilate young girls in Dorne,” exclaims Oberon’s sensible older brother, Doran. “Nor do we own Red Sharpie Markers, very tacky. Writing in one’s own blood is so much classier and less expensive.”
“Yeah, whatever. We’ll see about that,” replies Ellaria, who jets off in search of her daughters, the Sand Snakes, in hopes that they will not share Doran’s uptight, old fashioned views about the whole “mutilation of tweens” thing.
“The Best Part of Her for the Best Part of Me.”
Growing bored and restless from his interminable travels with Varys, Tyrion tries out some of his best comedic material on his bald and ball-less friend. “Did you know that Cersei has offered her hand in marriage to the first man that brings her back my head on a platter?” Tyrion begins gamely. “My head for her c*nt. The best part of her, for the best part of me.”
“People like you and me were never meant to be satisfied with life in a box,” Varys replies sagely.
“I don’t get it,” answers Tyrion, in frustration. “Does that mean you liked my joke or you didn’t?” They keep riding, and nothing much else happens with them throughout the course of the hour.
Derek Zoolander Shireen Baratheon School for Kids Characters Who Can’t Read Good
In other non-essential-to-the-plot news, Shireen Baratheon teaches Samwell’s new nagging Wildling sort-of wife to read, while the two girls casually gossip about grayscale, the disease that makes Shireen’s face look a little crumply on one side. “I had a sister with grayscale once,” offers Gilly conversationally. “My parents thought she was a monster and threw in an outhouse, where she lived for three weeks, screaming like a monster until she ate herself alive.” Thus proving that you can teach a Wildling to “read good,” but you can’t teach them tact . . .
What a Girl Wants . . .
Back near the Lincoln Memorial with Fancy Doors White Castle that doesn’t sell hamburgers House of Black and White, Arya goes shopping for groceries and gets into a tussle with some hoodlums, who want to take her precious sword away. But before Arya can add these dickwads’ names to her Anti-Santa list, old, grumpy, homeless-looking guy comes by and scares them all away. Intrigued, Arya follows him back to White Castle.
“Why were those guys afraid of you?” Arya asks. “Is it just because you are old, grumpy, and homeless-looking?”
“Nope,” replies old, grumpy, homeless-looking guy, who takes off his face to reveal his true identity, which is . . . SURPRISE Jaqen Hagar! “Cool! Teach me how to do that,” replies Arya. “A girl must become no one,” replies Jaqen cryptically.
“OK, but that doesn’t explain how I rip off my face and become an old, grumpy, homeless-looking guy,” Arya replies.
But she follows Jaqen into the House of Black and White anyway. Hopefully, he shares Doran Martell’s philosophy about not mutilating young girls; otherwise Arya is SCREWEEEEEDDDD!
Jon Snow – Prom King For Change
Back on the Wall, Stannis offers to recognize Jon Snow as a true Stark, son of recently decapitated Eddard Stark and heir to Winterfell, if the long curly-haired man is willing to leave his post on the Wall and fight on Stannis’ side in the battle for the Iron Throne. (You can do that? Legitimize the birth of someone you are not at all related to, just by saying so? In that case, I am proud to announce I’m actually the daughter of Warren Buffet. Now, give me my money.)
Jon Snow thanks Stannis but feels a lifelong obligation to remain on the Wall, where he is popular and, more importantly, alive. After all, everyone knows that carrying a name like Stark means certain death, unless you are a woman, or a boring character nobody likes like Bran . . .
Later on that day, Jon Snow attends a meeting where the men on the Wall vote the most popular among them to be Commander . . . basically it’s a popularity contest like prom queen, only without the ladies, and the goofy corsages. During the nominations portion of the meeting, two old guys nominate two other popular old guys for the position. Because, apparently, on the Wall, being old is the high school prom king equivalent of being the quarterback of the football team and dating the head cheerleader.
Then, Samwell Tarly surprises everyone and nominates Jon Snow. “My buddy may not be old, but he’s super attractive and popular with the ladies,” Samwell offers. “Also, the last time we had a battle, he didn’t pussy out and hide in an outhouse with the pregnant women and babies.”
Since none of the men on the Wall have attended Shireen Baratheon’s School for Characters Who Can’t Read Good, filling out ballots for Wall Prom King is out of the question. So, the members of the Wall vote for their prom king by putting blocks on the stick representing the candidate they think is the most popular.
In the end, there’s a tie between Jon Snow and one of the other old guys. “I’ll break the tie,” offers the blind guy, who is heading up the proceedings. He places the winning block on Jon Snow’s stick. But who knows if that’s what he actually wanted to do, or if he was just making an educated guess . . .
Long story short, Jon Snow wins Prom King and, in doing so, gives up the chance to (1) be referred to as Jon Stark and (2) possibly be murdered in a brutal and disturbing fashion, mere episodes after the name change. All Hail, Jon Snow. Sorry, old dudes. But hey, winning Mr. Congeniality is nothing to sneeze at either . . .
In Which Dany Loses a Head and Gets Back a dragon.
While Jon Snow is winning his popularity contest, Dany screws hers up in a major way by making a political blunder that is so misguided, it makes Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal look like a mere hiccup. It all starts when Daario and Greyworm find and arrest the dude that killed their ball-less friend last week.
Dany insists that the murderer receive a fair trial for his potential misdeeds. But then one of her young sycophants gets the grand idea to sneak into his jail cell and murder him before all that can happen. “I did it for you,” whines the sycophant, pathetically.
Dany’s advisors warn her against behaving rashly in response to this direct disregard of her authority, which was probably committed as a way to get into the Khaleesi’s royal bloomers anyway. “Don’t make your father’s mistakes,” sagely remarks one of these advisors.
“You mean, becoming a doddering nutjob who talks to himself, cross dresses, and burns people alive for fun?” Dany inquires.
“No, by inflicting your own morals on your people and not ruling them in harmony with their own value systems,” corrects the wizened advisor. Dany reminds everyone she’s a teenager who is allergic to taking good advice and publicly orders the beheading of the sycophant for flouting her authority, despite the Mereenites outcries that she offer him mercy.
Even the former slave owner/upper class Mereenites, who, you would think, would support Dany for being an equal opportunity beheader, don’t seem particularly impressed. Then the formerly enslaved Mereenites start doing this weird hissing thing, like fans at a basketball game attempting to distract the opposing team from scoring points.
At this point, I was very confused. Were they hissing at Dany? The former slave owner Mereenites? The beheaded sycophant? Dany’s sexy boyfriend Daario?
Then, the former slave owner Mereenites and formerly enslaved Mereenites start kicking one another’s ass, and it all becomes clear to me. So much for unifying the people of Mereen, Dany. Perhaps you are better off sticking to what you are good at, conquering and having your dragons blow up sh*t, and leave the actual ruling to someone else . . . for now, anyway. Speaking of dragons, Dany’s favorite eldest scaly son stops by for a quick visit with mom before heading back on his quest to burn down the world . . .
He’s like a college kid, popping home for a solid meal and clean laundry, before returning to campus for a kickass keggar, basically. But mother Dany doesn’t mind being used in the least. Instead, she takes comfort in the reminder that, even when the entire human world is giving her a big fat middle finger, she will always be the Mother of Dragons.