If you were still tired from last week’s ice bath of White Walkers, you probably should have sat this week’s baptism of fire out.
There is no respite for the weak on Game of Thrones – this applies to both the characters and those of us watching them.
Parental advisory: don’t trust yours.
Camp Stannis is no fun, especially for those under the age of 15.
Excuse us, we’re just using humour to deal with the fact that we just saw a young girl get burned alive BY HER OWN PARENTS.
The show was building up to this, with too much soppy father/daughter stuff between Shireen and Papa Baratheon, but that didn’t make it any easier to watch.
Many predicted disaster for poor little Shireen and those who hadn’t should have gotten the hint when Stannis sent Ser Davos back to The Wall.
Davos was Shireen’s only protector and his reaction to her death at the hands of her father will be interesting to watch.
As we know, he has a soft spot for Melisandre’s victims after freeing Gendry from her bastard-loving clutches back in season three.
Stannis may have just lost his closest (and cleverest) ally.
(Gendry, by the way, still hasn’t surfaced – hopefully he’s off on an island somewhere off the coast of Essos sipping a cocktail).
In this scenario, Melisandre is the ultimate evil stepmother figure.
There’s no limit to how low she will sink to get what she wants, but unfortunately it always seems to pay off for her.
While Stannis’ sacrifice is atrocious, it does seem to be working towards a bigger purpose. Or maybe that’s just Melisandre’s unshakeable confidence rubbing off on us.
Regardless, Stannis did a bad, bad thing this week. So bad that the only way he can possibly get us on his side again would be to kill Ramsay Bolton.
The only thing to say at the end of this episode was “HELL YEAH!”
Even the show runners were not immune to its awesomeness, with David Benioff admitting he read it in the book and emailed George R.R. Martin straight away.
“I remember reading the scene in the book and emailing George saying, ‘That’s one for the best scenes in any of your books and I have no idea how we’re going to do it’.”
Seriously, seeing Daenerys reunited with, and riding, her beloved Drogon inspired a certain level of elation rarely found in this wonderfully arduous show.
Plus Ser Jorah was restored to his old post, several Sons of the Harpy were skewered and flame-grilled and that mopey Hizdahr zo Loraq was killed, paving the way for Dany and Daario to officially become Westeros’ hottest, coolest power couple. (We’re allowed to dream).
Special mention goes to Tyrion for slitting that guy’s throat to save Missandei. For a guy who claims to be no good in combat he’s got some impressive skills when the situation calls for it.
Dany’s ability to not only summon Drogon telepathically but to ride him is potentially really important for the rest of the show.
If you want to avoid speculative rumours about the show, skim down to the Braavos chapter. If you want to read on, highlight the below text:
There’s a popular reader theory that there is more than one rider of dragons. In fact, there could be three, one for each dragon.
There is much speculation about who the other two riders will be as they’re set to hold plenty of power in Westeros, but the general consensus is that they should have Targaryen blood.
If you want to know more, have a Google (we won’t ruin it for you) but the options are more numerous than you’d imagine.
Notably, many readers believe Jon Stark is actually the bastard son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaeger Targaryen, making him the real heir to the Iron Thone and imbuing him with the necessary amount of Targaryen blood.
If you refer to the title of the entire book series – A Song of Ice and Fire – it could be alluding to Jon as he could be the perfect combo of Stark ice and Targaryen fire.
Arya Stark is still Arya Stark – her quest to become “no one” isn’t complete just yet.
Jaqen H’ghar gave her a job and she was all set to do it until a blast from the past arrived fresh off the boat from Dorne.
That blast from the past was named Ser Meryn Trant – you may remember him from famous works like “Arya’s list of people who must die a long and painful death for their betrayals”.
Trant killed Arya’s fencing instructor Syrio Forel. He’s also a nasty guy who likes raping little girls. That boosts him to number one on Arya’s list.
How she’ll get to Trant’s throat will be interesting. Will she be forced to pose as a child prostitute to get close to him?
We’re not sure we can handle another Stark girl getting sexually assaulted.
“You have a good heart Jon Snow. It will get us all killed.”
Ser Alliser may have a point, but Jon certainly saved more free folk than expected thanks to his quick thinking.
But judging by the look on little Olly’s face when he sees his parents’ murderers, Jon Snow’s downfall may not be his good heart but a prepubescent boy.
Lots of politicking happening this week in Dorne, with Jaime promising to place Prince Trystane on the small council in King’s Landing in exchange for the safe return of his “niece” to her mother.
Meanwhile, Ellaria Sand and her Sand Snakes are pretty miffed they haven’t been allowed to show off more of their killer kung-fu moves.
Unfortunately for them, levelheaded Prince Doran knows the importance of maintaining the Martell/Lannister alliance.
It would be just peachy if Myrcella and Trystane were allowed to sail back to King’s Landing with Jaime and Bronn unscathed, but we have a feeling Ellaria won’t let that happen.
If she doesn’t get to them, the Sand Snakes and their terrible accents will.