Last week, the clever creators of Game of Thrones left us with a dead, possibly murdered, king and a huge, swarming pool of likely suspects. Fast-forward one week (one second in Westeros time) and King’s Landing is still a hive of frenetic suspicion but we, the faithful viewers, may be one step closer to solving the puzzle.
If you’ve managed to avoid the internet, you may have missed the revelation that Joffrey’s killer can easily be spotted if you watch last week’s episode in slow motion. We won’t ruin the fun by exposing the killer in all of his/her masterful glory (if you want to know, check out this helpful Imgur post), but we can now rule out who it’s not.
It’s not Sansa, who fled the scene of the wedding with Ser Dontos, only to be taken to Lord Baelish whose intentions seem far from innocent. Baelish kills Dontos and asks Sansa whether she had anything to do with Joffrey’s death. She denies it and we believe her because, as Tyrion later says, “no one had more cause to kill Joffrey than Sansa, but the girl’s no assassin.”
It certainly wasn’t Margaery Tyrell, who seems royally peeved that she’s not entirely the next Queen of the Realm, thanks to Joffrey dying before consummating the marriage.
It’s definitely not our beloved Tyrion because, firstly, he wouldn’t do such a thing to his sister despite his hatred for her and, more to the point, he’d be much better at planning it if he did.
Finally, it’s not Cersei, who is grief-stricken and coming to terms with the fact that her youngest son, Tommen, will now become king like another lamb to the slaughter. While mourning Joffrey, Cersei lets Jaime into his tomb and begs him to “defend your son, kill Tyrion.”
Jaime refuses and, in one of the more disturbing scenes of the series (which is saying something), he rapes his sister next to her son’s dead body.
Just when we were starting to like him.
Similarly, Gregor “The Hound” Clegane reveals a less-than-savoury side during his seemingly never-ending journey with Arya. A kind farmer lets the unusual pair stay for the night and Gregor robs him blind. Little righteous Arya can do seldom else but to protest vehemently, calling him “the worst s**t in the seven kingdoms.”
A bit harsh, perhaps. We can think of worse (Ahem, Ramsay Snow).
Stannis Baratheon has just got word of Joffrey’s death which reinvigorates his faith in Melisandre’s witchcraft. Now, what to do? The “one true king of Westeros” needs an army and is not happy with the speed at which Ser Davos is attempting to find one. In an effort to seek respite from all the pressure, Davos goes to a reading lesson with Stannis’ daughter Shireen.
Through her teachings, Shireen brings Davos to a powerful, but as yet unexplained, epiphany. He urges the girl to write a letter to the Iron Bank of Braavos. We’re not sure where this will lead but we’re cheering Ser Davos on, even if Stannis has lost the plot.
Back to the royal heartland and another prime murder suspect, Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne, is engaged in an orgy. Somehow, we’ve come to expect this from him and it even seems a bit passé. He is rudely interrupted, however, by a visit from Tywin Lannister, who wants to get the powerful prince on his side before it’s too late.
They must join forces, Tywin says, because the king is dead, the wildlings are coming, the Greyjoys are in revolt and that darn Targaryen girl has dragons. Tywin promises to introduce Oberyn to his sister’s killer, the Mountain, if he agrees to be a judge in Tyrion’s murder trial. In exchange, Oberyn will be made one of the new king’s key advisors. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.
The men of the Night’s Watch are in a panic because an army of wildlings, lead by former Night’s Watch ranger and wildling king Mance Rayder, are nearing the wall. They’re a fearsome bunch, as proven when they attack a small town, slaughtering women and children without a second thought and leaving their bodies for the Thenns to hack up and eat. They send one surviving boy from the town to warn Castle Black.
It’s clear why the Night’s Watch, a group of just over 100, need to act and Jon Snow knows they have to do it fast because, quite frankly, they don’t stand a chance.
Daenerys Targaryen has reached her next conquest – the slaver city of Meereem. She approaches the impressive walled facade tailed by her army of Unsullied with confidence. Meereem reacts by sending out their champion fighter as the citizens of the city look on. He’s a charming chap, urinating in front of Daenerys to ridicule her army, all of whom have been castrated.
The Khaleesi asks for a volunteer to kill the champion so she can deliver her message to the people of Meereem uninterrupted. Gray Worm, Ser Barristan Selmy and Ser Jorah Mormont practically fall over each other to offer their services. Daenerys decides she cannot live without any of them, which leaves the swarthy casanova Daario Naharis. As he calmly prepares to fight the champion, who is atop a horse and carries a rather large jousting stick, Daenerys struggles to hide her doubt.
Thankfully, the cunning Naharis is able to dismount the champion, injure his horse, blind him and behead him in one fell swoop. Now it’s Dany’s admiration she’s struggling to contain.
In typical fashion, Daenerys steps in after the carnage to take control. She urges the slaves of Meereem to, like those of Astapor and Yunkai before them, turn on their masters and join her as free people. To prove her point, she fires barrels of broken slaver collars over the city walls.
As per usual, we have the feeling the mother of dragons will get her way.