The title of this week’s episode comes from the funeral chant for a deceased brother of the Night’s Watch. I’m sure there were a great many of us who thought this might have referred to Jon Snow when we first saw the name of the episode, but worry not; it was just somebody at Craster’s Keep. There are quite a lot of deaths this week as it happens, not to mention all of the betrayals, double-crossings, investigations, fights, and things catching fire as they so often do in the world of Game of Thrones. With this week’s episode containing arguably the best scene of the whole series so far, it made for some good watching and some equally enjoyable reviewing. Read on, if you so desire, but do beware as the review is dark and full of the usual spoilers…
1. The now left-handed Jaime Lannister and Brienne find themselves in further trouble as the Kingslayer loses his temper and attempts to overwhelm their captors. A brief and bodged swordfight takes place, culminating in Jaime unsuspectingly drinking a flask of horse piss.
2. Theon, who was nearly raped last week, is taken to Deepwood Motte (which is under the control of his sister Yara) by his rescuer, “Boy”, only to find out he’s been returned to where he was released from in the first place. He’s now strung back up on the torturing rack he was on before.
3. Arya and Gendry are taken to the secret cave lair of the Brotherhood Without Banners, and get to meet Beric Dondarrion. Whilst there, The Hound is brought in to the centre and an impromptu trial takes place wherein Beric accuses him of war crimes his brother Gregor is actually guilty of. Arya finally gets to pin the death of her friend the butcher boy from season one on him, however.
5. Varys seeks some info of his own, regarding his colleague Littlefinger. He visits Ros at one of Baelish’s “establishments” and the two slowly realise he intends to marry into the North by wedding Sansa Stark.
6. It all kicks off beyond the wall; a miniature civil war breaks out at Craster’s Keep when some of the remaining Night’s Watch demand more rations from their host. Craster himself, Commander Mormont, and some other loyal watchmen are killed in the ensuing fight. Sam attempts to flee with Gilly; one of Craster’s daughters who he first met on his way to the Fist of the First Men in season two.
*it’s only seven, I know.
It was the usual fare of finely acted, finely produced scenes this week. There were some particularly strong performances from Emilia Clarke (Dany), Nicolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime) and Conleth Hill (Varys), who were some of the stand-out characters in the episode.
There wasn’t a great deal of emphasis on anybody else; we caught a glimpse of Bran as he had another one of his three-eyed-raven dreams, and Tyrion appeared for all of approximately five minutes as he conversed with Varys. Other than that it was the usual fare of brief interludes from various characters spun into a larger plot involving a conspiracy in King’s Landing and/or some things catching fire in Essos. Jon Snow and Robb Stark, however, didn’t even appear. To be honest though, there isn’t a great deal going on in Robb’s world at the moment, and all Jon would be doing is walking towards the Wall with Tormund Giantsbane and some of the other wildlings raiders.
But, as I said earlier, it was Jaime, Varys, and Dany in particular that caught my eye this week. Jaime Lannister has been reduced to a grovelling cripple since his hand was sliced off in the previous episode, but he can’t be blamed; the one thing he was famous for (besides sleeping with his sister) has been taken from him, his “my father” excuse has been made completely redundant, and he’s sunk so low that he now has to take abuse off of Brienne of all people. This lead to a brilliant scene between the two of them; as their captors set up camp for that night, Jaime and Brienne sit by a fire as the former stares off into nothingness and laments the loss of his sword-hand. Cut to Brienne and we see a genuine look of concern for the Kingslayer. She asks him what the matter is and he simple says “I’m dying”. There’s a brief pause as we momentarily see a bond between the two of them in the wake of their capture, until Brienne cuts it short by chastising Jaime’s reaction to his dismemberment, summarising her rant with “You sound like a bloody woman”, which is funny considering the Kingslayer spent the entire of his time in Brienne’s custody mocking her for being of the female persuasion and by association an awful swordsman. She of course still has both her hands and can actually use a sword, so who’s come out worse Jaime?
But it was Emilia Clarke who really stole the show this time around. I’m a massive fan of Danaerys as it is, and a strong follower of her cause, but this week my opinion of her soared to new heights. Here’s the reason why, in a nutshell; she brokered a deal with an Unsullied merchant for the purchase of eight-thousand soldiers in return for one of her dragons. After arriving on the day of the deal, with said dragon, she hands it over to Master Kraznys and is given said army in return. After that, she reveals she can speak fluent High Valyrian, much to Krazy’s surprise (he had been referring to her as “that whore of a westerner”, among other things, on the assumption she only spoke the Common Tongue), and orders her new army to slaughter everyone in the courtyard bar her, Jorah, Barristan Selmy, and Missandei (Kraznys’ “translator”).
I’ll be back again next week with more of the same.