Game of Thrones, season 5, episode 7

28 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Game of Thrones’ Recap: Smells Like Team Spirit.

Has the internet broken yet? In tonight’s episode Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen finally meet. *Woo-hoo!* It might not have happened in George RR Martin’s books (the published ones, anyway), but for Throneheads this union couldn’t have come soon enough. After spending the entire season either stuck in a box or tied up in shackles, it’s a huge relief to see Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) about to do something exciting – and the same goes for Dany (Emilia Clarke) whose presence has been decidedly flatter in season five as she sits atop her Meereen pyramid. This week, Hillary Busis and Darren Franich cover “The Gift,” an episode that puts two of Martin’s most popular characters together for the first time ever on page or screen.

Pretty much the only character missing was lovable galoot Podrick. (We also didn’t see Arya, but she could have been hanging around wearing a different face for all we know.) The tides turned quickly in King’s Landing this week. When Mormont (Iain Glen) learns his Queen is only metres away and strides out, helmet on, sword in hand, you get that tingling feeling – you know, the one we used to get from GoT in season 1 – and it’s wonderful. The different cities each have their own societies, cultures and practices much like our current state of international relations and global commerce.

Be sure to check out the recap of the episode by Thrones guru James Hibberd, then join us as the venture into the narrative borderlands of A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons, and beyond. (You know there’ll be spoilers for both the books and the show, right?) HILLARY: This week’s GOTTVBC is a little late. GoT’s warring clans and plot twists keep us captivated but there is strategy, alliances, disruption and change that takes place in each episode — and a few lessons for anybody looking to make it in business. (Spoilers below) You’ve heard the story before; company X started out doing Y only to make millions of dollars years later doing Z. This week several very precious gifts are either demanded or offered: the life of a daughter, vengeance against a hated foe, the antidote to a deadly poison, and Tyrion Lannister himself. What this means for the Mother of Dragons’ hold on power is unknown: will she marry the man who said bringing back the fighting pits wouldn’t bring back slavery? Really, though, I think it’s just taken me a full day to digest what happened at the end of “The Gift.” No, not Cersei’s arrest—though that sequence was just as rich and satisfying as any book reader could’ve dreamed it would be.

As they lie in bed together, Daario offers a proposal to the newly engaged Daenerys: “Marry me instead.” She rolls her eyes a little, and essentially says that she’s way too smart to pull a Robb Stark. I’m speaking, of course, about five little words that quite literally could change everything: “My name is Tyrion Lannister.” That’s right: TYRION. When ancient Maester Aemon dies — his haunting last words: “I dreamed that I was old” — shortly after Jon rides north of the Wall on a rescue mission, newly minted First Ranger Alliser Thorne is quick to note that the Slayer’s allies are growing thin.

Indeed, only Lord Snow’s direwolf Ghost saves Sam and his girlfriend-in-all-but-name Gilly from his own supposed brothers. “You’re losing all your friends, Tarly,” Thorne growls. He offers another suggestion, this one far more practical: on the day of the great games, gather all of the opposition leaders together, and slaughter them. “I am a queen, not a butcher,” says the woman who crucified 163 men when she conquered Meereen. “All rulers are either butchers or meat,” Daario replies. Not so far away, Jorah and Tyrion get sold off by the slavers and quickly find themselves at a fighting pit, preparing for their glorious deaths in a scene ripped straight out of Gladiator. The obvious saying that comes to mind when I think about learning from mentors: “respect your elders.” The saying and concept apply not only to growth in life, but business, Daenerys Targaryen realises her inexperience and responsibility to lead so immediately finds mentors, Jorah Mormont and Barristan Selmy, to help her in her quest as the rightful queen of the Seven Kingdoms. And what impact do you think it’ll have on TV Thrones’ story—beyond simply moving things along at a faster clip than they’re going in the books?

As the men start to murder each other “for [her] glory,” Dany seems disgusted, and almost leaves—until Jorah bursts into the arena, his identity obscured by a helmet, and dashingly defeats every man in the pit without killing a single one. She still seeks advice and affirmation from her mentors because she doesn’t trust herself to make a decision on what to do with the landowners of Essos. They eventually end up as sellswords in the Second Sons company, which is currently fighting against Daenerys (not for her), though Tyrion hopes to turn them to her side.

Just after Cersei taunts/visits Margaery in her cell, the High Sparrow has Cersei imprisoned, as well, because of the affair she had — not to mention the murder plot she hatched — with her cousin-turned-tattoo-sporting Sparrow, Lancel. The following conversation with her husband, Ramsay (a brilliant Iwan Rheon), is all the worse knowing there’s very little hope of escape. “You make me very happy,” the he says. My first instinct is to say that TV-Tyrion will step in for Book-Barristan—and he’ll become the de facto leader of Meereen if/when Dany pulls her dragon-assisted disappearing act. His Hand, Davos Seaworth, is counseling retreat from their march on Winterfell due to a raging snowstorm, while the King sees it as a now-or-never deal. His advisor-slash-lover Melisandre has an even more unpleasant tactic in mind: sacrifice his daughter to the Lord of Light in exchange for the power to plow through and take down the Boltons.

Only forward,” says Stannis, who is facing a fierce winter storm, dying horses, deserting sellswords, and a dwindling food supply en route to Winterfell. To be honest, though, I have no clear idea what’s ahead for Meereen—and it seems just as likely that Tyrion and Dany could become a new-wave Hound and Arya, with Drogon as their animal sidekick. Stannis has typically been the Man-nis where his kid is concerned; the question now is whether their blood ties will win out over the Red Woman’s blood magic. She’s not particularly thrilled to watch men stab each other in the tracheas, and she’s considering making up some excuse — maybe her dragons need feeding? — when a helmeted warrior comes barreling out of the holding pen and dismantles every last gladiator. Unfortunately though, it’s all slightly sullied when Gilly decides to mount Sam in a cringeworthy and pointless sex scene, as if to just remind us what Game of Thrones is really all about – Has there been enough violence and nudity this week?

Naturally she is, thanks to her magic fire visions, but she announces there will be a previously unmentioned cost for this victory: the blood of his daughter, Shireen. Furious at the idea, Stannis throws Melisandre out of his tent, but afterwards we see the opposing impulses warring on his face: his love for his family, and his ambition. Between Sansa’s continued abuse (which does at least have book precedent), Gilly’s almost-rape (which definitely doesn’t), and that ridiculously gratuitous Sand Snake peep show in the Dornish prison (which, COME ON), I’m really starting to grow weary of how the show is handling its female characters this season. While the answer might seem obvious—don’t murder your daughter!—he faced a somewhat similar struggle once before with his brother Renly, and it didn’t end well for the family side of things.

After a funny bit of business in which the Imp bullshits his way into becoming a package deal with the exile knight when the two are brought to a gladiator auction, they wind up rather unexpectedly in front of the Queen. I had been really excited to see the Snakes as their father, Oberyn Martell, was the standout character of series 4, but now I fear they’re taking up precious screen time. As Tyrion says, “a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it’s to keep its edge.” If you have limitations and hindrances find how to add value in ways you know how and become an expert in those skill sets.

Actor Iain Glen’s face is a marvel to watch in the minutes leading up to his long-awaited reunion with the Khaleesi — a pit fight between surprise, love, fear, hope, and dread. Fortunately in Dorne there is a great scene between Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his niece/daughter Myrcella Baratheon (Aimee Richardson) who refuses to leave, bluntly saying: “You don’t know me!” With Cersei’s influence looming over him, it will be interesting to see if he forces her to return home or allows her the freedom to marry a Martell. I still really wish it could cut back on including these things when they do nothing to propel the story forward, or convey stuff we don’t already know. But his hoped-for welcome never materializes: She orders him removed from her presence, and only a last-minute appearance by Lord Lannister appears to stay her hand. Theon brings a plate of food to Sansa, who now spends her days locked in her room, crying softly, until Ramsay arrives in the evening to rape her again.

Whether it is co-founding your company, or saving a master of slaves’ life, one must be cognisant of what that relationships mean to one’s business and wellbeing. It was, of course, Aiden Gillen’s Littlefinger (phew, after last week we thought he was on her side) and Grandma Tyrell (the wonderful Dianna Rigg) who set it up.

But a snowstorm is thwarting his Bolton-skewering plans. (And ours, too, frankly.) Horses are dying, soldiers are deserting and food is getting scarcer. I’d love it if the show could really own the idea of him and Sansa as a perverted power couple—didn’t you love her teasing Ramsay with the notion of his trueborn little brother? Every episode Littlefinger’s plan’s get more and more intriguing, hopefully we’ll see the play off soon – either that or I hope he meets a dismal end for leaving Sansa to suffer just for his own gain. Finding the right people to align with is always a difficult task but just as Jon Snow learned in trusting the Wildlings, these individuals will eventually lead to your success or failure so understanding how you both can symbiotically benefit one another is crucial.

But as it is, this story arc has become Theon’s Neverending Castration all over again. (Side note: Theon’s Neverending Castration is the name of my acid rock band.) I might actually be even more bummed about the Sam-Gilly stuff than you. The Lannister queen may be finding that her son the King now has feelings of his own — just as her brother/lover Jaime learns of their daughter down in Dorne, that land of sex, skullduggery, and silk pants — but as long as she’s got the Sparrows on her side, it hardly matters.

Which brings me to one of our least-beloved regular segments here at EW’s GoTTVBC: Darren Defends Long Plotless Road-Trip Story Arcs From Books 4 And 5. Which is ultimately her undoing: Like the Queen of Thorns before her, the Queen Mother soon discovers the High Septon cannot be bought or bullied, and she winds up in a cell just like her hated daughter-in-law. When Sam and Gilly get together in “Crows,” it’s a direct reaction to Maester Aemon’s death—they’re drunk, sad, lonely, and desperate for human connection. A faith that respects neither family nor friendship is a game-changer — and fanatics play to win. 2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don’t see ’em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don’t bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings. We see Theon holding the candle, climbing the long circular steps… not to the Broken Tower but to Ramsay’s room, where he immediately sells Sansa out.

The show gave Sam a big FanFiction-worthy hero line — “I killed a White Walker, I killed a Thenn, and I’ll TAKE MY CHANCES WITH YOU!”—which is, let’s be honest, exactly the kind of Fantasy Hero speech that “A Song of Ice and Fire” specifically avoids as a rule. Sansa has taken a lot of shitty walks with self-congratulatory, sadistic fiancés, and she fearlessly deflates him by saying the dreaded b-word not once but twice: “You’re a bastard.” It’s a comment that might cost Theon a finger or two, but even Ramsay knows that he needs to keep Sansa in one piece, his nightly rapes not withstanding. After months of escalating protests and grassroots organizing in response to the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, police reformers have issued many demands.

In the same episode when we saw Daenerys Targaryen in bed with Daario—demurely pulling up the covers to hide her nudity—one of the newest characters on the show (played by one of the show’s newest/youngest performers) gives Bronn and the viewers a very long, seductive, impossible-to-defend-on-any-plot-level strip show. The moderates in this debate typically qualify their rhetoric with “We all know we need police, but…” It’s a familiar refrain to those of us who’ve spent years in the streets and the barrios organizing around police violence, only to be confronted by officers who snarl, “But who’ll help you if you get robbed?” We can put a man on the moon, but we’re still lacking creativity down here on Earth.

While law enforcers have existed in one form or another for centuries, the modern police have their roots in the relatively recent rise of modern property relations 200 years ago, and the “disorderly conduct” of the urban poor. Like every structure we’ve known all our lives, it seems that the policing paradigm is inescapable and everlasting, and the only thing keeping us from the precipice of a dystopic Wild West scenario. After they are married and Ramsay starts to abuse her, the cries are heard throughout the castle; it’s said that the weeping of Ned Stark’s “daughter” could be more dangerous to the Bolton cause in the North “than all of Lord Stannis’ swords and spears.” Jon heads north with Tormund to recruit the remaining Wildlings to his cause, prompting unpleasant glares from both Allister Thorne and that little kid whose parents were murdered in a Wildling raid. It’s unfortunate timing, as Maester Aemon is in the midst of dying, muttering about his younger brother Egg (aka King Aegon Targaryen V) as he fades away. I’m with you on all counts—and I think the moral of the story, really, is something we’ve discussed before: that on a molecular level, Thrones often feels more like fan fiction than an adaptation.

Rather than be scared of our impending Road Warrior future, check out just a few of the practicable, real-world alternatives to the modern system known as policing: Unarmed but trained people, often formerly violent offenders themselves, patrolling their neighborhoods to curb violence right where it starts. That’s all it will take for Brienne to come to the rescue. “You’re Theon Greyjoy,” she insists, and for a moment it seems as if he might believe her. Stop believing that police are heroes because they are the only ones willing to get in the way of knives or guns – so are the members of groups like Cure Violence, who were the subject of the 2012 documentary The Interrupters. I do think, though, that an adaptation a) should stand on its own (i.e. a viewer doesn’t need to be familiar with the source material to understand what’s going on, and an adaptor shouldn’t feel obligated to include characters/plot points/etc. just because they appeared in said source material) and b) may engage in fan service, but only sparingly. There are also feminist models that specifically organize patrols of local women, who reduce everything from cat-calling and partner violence to gang murders in places like Brooklyn.

While police forces have benefited from military-grade weapons and equipment, some of the most violent neighborhoods have found success through peace rather than war. You’ve got topless kickass babes!” (Is Game of Thrones’ continual reliance on rape as a plot point intended on some level to be fan service as well? If so, the implications of that are… not great.) DARREN: I know it can sometimes feel like the purpose of this TV-Book Club has gotten a bit hazy—and I would never want this space to become just a list of changes marked with binary “Love it/Hate It” judgments. Violent offenses count for a fraction of the 11 to 14 million arrests every year, and yet there is no real conversation about what constitutes a crime and what permits society to put a person in chains and a cage. This is the most exciting season to talk about, I think, because it constantly forces me to ask myself what I loved about George R R Martin’s books when I started reading them (almost ten years ago!) and what I have enjoyed about the TV show—and how different they really are.

Decriminalization doesn’t work on its own: The cannabis trade that used to employ poor Blacks, Latinos, indigenous and poor whites in its distribution is now starting to be monopolized by already-rich landowners. Before seeing the aftermath of that horrific murder, Sansa manages to grab something — a corkscrew maybe? — and we can all hope she finds a way to lodge it in Ramsay’s jugular the next time he pays her a visit. To me, the absolute best thing about Martin’s books—better than the dense world-building, better than the zippy dialogue, better than the devastating plot twists—is how good he is at suddenly and completely shifting your perspective on a character. To quote investigative journalist Christian Parenti’s remarks on criminal justice reform in his book Lockdown America, what we really need most of all is “less.” Also known as reparative or transformative justice, these models represent an alternative to courts and jails.

She and Sam do develope a sexual relationship, however, including an infamous scene where his penis is hilariously described as a “fat pink mast.” George R. Dany and Jon in Books 1-3 are lovably underdogs; in the later books, they’re toughminded authority figures making impossible decisions, and they’re not always particularly likable. From hippie communes to the IRA and anti-Apartheid South African guerrillas to even some U.S. cities like Philadelphia’s experiment with community courts, spaces are created where accountability is understood as a community issue and the entire community, along with the so-called perpetrator and the victim of a given offense, try to restore and even transform everyone in the process.

Ned Stark’s a noble hero, but his death proves that he’s also a simple man—and proves that the whole idea of an honorable Ned Stark-ian fantasy hero is helplessly naive. And to paraphrase Joss Whedon—another geek icon who’s had a rough go of it among fandom recently—sometimes it’s better to give people what they need than what they want. Without ever making him a remotely likable person—credit Stephen Dillane for finding a million variations on the Mopey Face—the show has humanized him.

This has been my home for years,” she shouts, every bit the teenager. “I love Trystane and I’m going to marry him.” She sounds quite a lot like Sansa did once, though her Romeo seems considerably kinder than Joffrey. Obviously these could become police themselves and then be subject to the same abuses, but as a temporary solution they have been making a real impact.

As he crumples to the ground, she opens her dress and asks him who the most beautiful woman in the world is. “You,” he whispers, and she tosses him the vial. HILLARY: I agree that the Stannis stuff is much more gripping than I expected it’d be—not least because Melisandre’s new focus on Shireen adds a cool layer of Greek tragedy to the proceedings. Beyond that, and Tyrion and Dany’s big meeting (a moment that was somehow both wish fulfillment and a smart adaptive choice at the same time), I’d also have to single out Olenna Tyrell and the High Sparrow’s brief but juicy confrontation. Jaime and Bronn never went to Dorne, the Sand Snakes never fought them—or tried to kill Myrcella—Bronn was never injured, and we see no conversation between Jaime and Myrcella.

In New York, Rikers Island jails as many people with mental illnesses “as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York State combined,” which is reportedly 40% of the people jailed at Rikers. We have created a tremendous amount of mental illness, and in the real debt and austerity dystopia we’re living in, we have refused to treat each other for our physical and mental wounds.

We’re also told that she seems to have inherited the high intelligence of her uncle Tyrion (and grandfather Tywin), and is particularly good at the chess-like game of cyvasse—perhaps an indication that she might good at other games as well. Mental health has often been a trapdoor for other forms of institutionalized social control as bad as any prison, but shifting toward preventative, supportive and independent living care can help keep those most impacted from ending up in handcuffs or dead on the street. Clever as she is, she just can’t figure out how to beat him—maybe because she hasn’t yet realized that he’s playing a different game altogether. DARREN: I’m sad to lose Cersei’s “Caligula” arc—the one Book 4 subplot that positively DEMANDS shameless nudity and extended M-for-Mature orgy scenes!

There’s a fundamental assumption that, in book and TV form, this story will end with someone new—and probably unexpected—winding up on the Iron Throne. (My money’s still on Rickon!) But maybe the story is veering in a different direction. Margaery lies on the floor, dirty and unkempt, as Cersei practically slathers her in faux-sympathy. “We are making every effort on your behalf,” purrs the Queen Regent. He offers a little parable about vanity and humility that quickly turns personal. “What will we find when we strip away your finery?” he asks, his once-kindly eyes now glittering with accusation.

I’m not saying that I expect her to join the Silent Sisters or anything—but I wouldn’t be surprised if she emerges from that ordeal meeker, more thoughtful, and less inclined to threaten murder. John O’Hoolian: [quoting Hillary] “time and time again, it’s been clear that she’s the true inheritor of Tywin’s mantle, and that the realm may not have found itself in this mess in the first place if she’d been born a man.” Huh? She thinks she has come up with the ingenious plot to hurt the Tyrells, but has failed to see how arming the Faith Militant could hurt her in the end.

This is a religious order that clearly has a thing against sexual behavior they consider immoral (which would include incest), and has a member that presumably knows about her and Jaime. HILLARY: I definitely see where John is coming from, but I want to defend what I said in last week’s book club about Cersei as Tywin’s true heir—mostly because I wasn’t careful enough about how I phrased it.

But because she had the misfortune of being born female in a world that’s not exactly Lilith Fair, society has twisted her into becoming who she is—ambitious and clever, but unable to use those gifts the same way a man might. What makes Cersei so interesting, I think, is that she’s both a victim AND a schemer—a woman who is both a passive participant in a male-dominated society and an active aggressor in society’s breakdown. I think that comes off a little more clearer in the book—the TV show has turned her time as Regent into a faceoff with Margaery, a grudge match that’s painfully close to a catfight.

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