Game of Thrones’ version of justice involves heaping punishment on those who …

25 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Winter Is Coming Live’ recaps the latest Game of Thrones episode, ‘The Gift’.

In a surprising turn of events, two of the most iconic Game of Thrones’ characters met for the first time Sunday night: Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen. Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors are coming up more frequently on Game of Thrones, suggesting that there are parts of her family’s past that Dany could stand to learn from. While the two are expected to have their first real conversation next week, the question remains as to whether Daenerys will actually be able to trust the smooth-talking Lannister. With Sansa still trapped in an abusive marriage, Cersei’s chat with the High Sparrow, and Tyrion and Daenerys finally arriving in the same show (!!!), “Winter Is Coming Live” hosts Adam Rady, Alison Haislip, and Xavier Brinkman had plenty to discuss during this week’s episode. After years of getting away with murder, both literally and figuratively, it looks like the most detested character on might finally get her karmic comeuppance after tonight’s episode, which saw her arrested by the very army of zealots she empowered to take down her daughter-in-law.

Todd VanDerWerff: After last week’s whiff of an episode, “The Gift” makes up for lost time, layering in lots and lots of scenes viewers have been waiting for. With Cersei removed from her position of power — and stuffed inside a cell where she has none of either — loyalties are shifting with houses colluding everywhere else in Westeros. 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. 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.

Sansa’s new husband has been keeping her locked in her room all day, and brutalizing her every night. (It’s unclear how long it’s been since the wedding, but she’s got what looks like weeks worth of bruises on her arms.) Desperate, she asks for Theon’s help in sending a signal to the remaining Stark loyalists in the North. Why, about the only thing here that doesn’t feel like a payoff (or the start of one) is Brienne standing glumly outside of Winterfell, checking her watch to see if it’s episode nine yet. 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. Instead, the Reek formerly known as Theon betrays Sansa immediately to Ramsay, who in turn sniffs out and flays the old woman who offered help to his bride when she arrived at Winterfell.

If the last episode felt a bit like the show getting trapped by its own storytelling devices, then “The Gift” aims to let viewers know that the show still has some tricks up its sleeve. 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. It’s more successful at this in some plotlines than others (the Sansa story is still a bit of a mess), but at least the series has regained the momentum it misplaced in some of the previous hours. As the men start to murder each other “for [her] glory,” Dany seems disgusted, and almost laeves—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.

When she sees his face, her expression hardens: She has not forgiven him. “Get him out of my sight,” she shouts, right before Jorah blurts out that he’s brought her a gift, and moments later, Tyrion Lannister walks out and introduces himself. “I am the gift.” In the books: Rather than heading immediately to the fighting pits and meeting up with Daenerys, Tyrion and Jorah get trapped in what feels like an endless, humiliating purgatory, getting bought and sold by horrible people and having horrible things happen to them. Stannis says no, because winter is coming. (Stannis must know something I don’t, because considering the amount of snow falling on everything in this episode, it seems like it’s about time to change winter’s status from “coming” to “came.”) However, his faith is flagging, which means it’s time to consult Melisandre — who suggests that Stannis could help ensure his success at Winterfell by spilling some more royal blood.

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. I’ve had friends tune out, unable to take it any more, after the Red Wedding, after that fight between the Mountain and Oberyn, and after Sansa’s rape. Only forward,” says Stannis, who is facing a fierce winter storm, dying horses, deserting sellswords, and a dwindling food supply en route to Winterfell.

And then, with the ashes barely cold on the old man’s funeral pyre, Sam finds a pair of his Night’s Watch brothers harassing Gilly — and gets beaten to a pulp trying to intervene (although he displays admirable toughness despite it all.) Happily, both he and Gilly are saved from deeply unpleasant fates by the arrival of Ghost the Direwolf. Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) goes from an enjoyable roll in the hay with Daario Naharis to a miserable seat at the slave fights with fiancé Hizdahr zo Loraq, where she’s obviously unsettled by the stupid brutality of watching men kill each other for no good reason. 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. But there’s a surprise under one of those gladiator helmets: Jorah Mormont, who runs onto the field like a conquering hero and knocks out every fighter in an incredible display of both skill and restraint.

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. 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. While Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) tries unsuccessfully to convince Princess Myrcella to return to King’s Landing, Bronn is killing time in the dungeons by belting out dirty ballads in a surprisingly fantastic baritone. Right around the time that Tyene gets very, very nude, Bronn realizes he’s actually feeling very, very ill, thanks to the slow-acting poison on the blade she nicked him with. And even more interesting than that is that Cersei’s relationship with her brother is one of the few things about her that makes her more than a one-dimensional villain.

Things are looking dire for poor Margaery, thrown in the clink last week for her perjured testimony about her brother’s sexual proclivities.But hey, at least she’ll have company now! But it stands to reason that now that the country will see her accused of the thing she’s always been rumored to be guilty of, everybody can fill in the blanks themselves.

It’s not a coincidence that the episode featured two scenes where characters reminded us neither Tommen nor Myrcella has any real claim to the throne. 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. Later, Ramsay summons Sansa to meet him on the ramparts, where he waxes egotistic about how awesome it’s going to be when he’s the Lord of Winterfell.

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. Perhaps that’s why he punishes her for the escape attempt not by laying a finger on her, but by showing her the flayed body of the Northern woman who tried to help her. 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.

The attempted assault leads directly to a Sam-and-Gilly sex scene, because nothing gets a woman who’s been chronically raped for most of her life ready for lovin’ like two more men trying to rape her. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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. She threatens to reveal his role in the death of Joffrey if her house falls, but like Jorah, Littlefinger has a gift of his own to offer: a mysterious, unnamed man. While Myrcella and Jaime argue in Dorne, Tommen and Cersei have their own parent/child confrontation over Margaery’s imprisonment, or at least as much of a confrontation as the young king can muster. 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.

While Cersei’s brand of sadism is different from Ramsay’s, this is the sort of role play they both enjoy: pretending to be the perfect lord or lady on one hand while dishing out abuse with the other. 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. Loras is never arrested for homosexuality (which is also implied and not explicit), but Margaery does find herself in a cell when Cersei falsely accuses her of adultery with several men.

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