Once again, here’s my superfan take on the latest Game of Thrones episode. If you haven’t watched “Oathbreaker” yet, be warned: this post is nothing but wall-to-wall spoilers glued together with wild speculation and a heavy dose of denial.
Jon Snow I confess, I was very surprised when Jon awakened STILL knowing nothing. That blows my cherished and long-held (3 years) theory out of the water: that during his time between resurrection and the Great Beyond, he would learn the truth of his origins. Since Bran can do all sorts of telepathic and time/space continuum tricks, I thought Bran would help Jon realize who his mother was, which would in turn (if my other theory is correct) turn Jon’s sights on the Iron Throne. Wrong! Poor Jon wakes up right where he left off, reeling from the betrayal of his Night’s Watch brothers. I do wonder why Ghost didn’t bound up and behave like a creature whose beloved human has risen from the dead. Is that a clue? Or just an oversight?
Let me add that I thought Ser Davos’s response to Jon’s fear of reengaging with the world that destroyed him was terrific, delivered with the Onion Knight’s trademark candor:
JON SNOW: I failed.
SER DAVOS: Good. Now go fail again.
(By the way, Jon’s earlier statement, “I did what I thought was right and got murdered for it” could easily be co-opted into a Westeros tourism slogan. Westeros: Come to Do What You Think is Right, Stay to Get Murdered For It! No wonder nobody wants to visit.)
Sam and Gilly Is it just me, or has Gilly become more spirited as she journeys away from the horrors of Craster’s Keep? I look forward to her arrival at Horn Hill. Sam never did stand up to his father, but I have the feeling Gilly might. After all, Randall Tarly can’t possibly be any scarier than Craster.
Bran and the Tower of Joy I enjoyed this flashback and didn’t want it to end. Not before Bran entered the Tower and saw the truth, anyway. But clearly the showrunners are feeding us these long-awaited facts slowly, in conjunction with the big picture. Ser Arthur Dayne fighting with two swords was a terrific spectacle. Kudos to the stunt coordinators and the swordsman who played Ser Arthur. I can’t say I was shocked when Howland Reed saved Ned by stabbing the legendary knight in the back. It was clear from the outset that in a fair fight, Ser Arthur outclassed them all.
Perhaps the most interesting moment was when Bran called out to his father, and Ned heard. Does this mean Bran can change the past? Or prevent a calamitous future?
Danaerys and the Dosh Khaleen How convenient that Dany was frog-marched back to the Mother of Mountains just as all the tribes are returning for their annual horse lord hoedown! All the warriors will be assembled when her dragons show up. Alas, I was disappointed in the Dosh Khaleen itself. I hoped it would be revealed that these widows are actually the Dothraki puppetmasters, controlling their hypermasculine counterparts so deftly, the menfolks never realize a circle of women is pulling the strings. But I saw nothing to support this theory.
King’s Landing The pieces are moving on the chessboard, but no big revelations yet. I’m glad to see the Queen of Thorns back in the capital. (If Tommen wants wise counsel, he should go to her!) I want to know what’s under Ser Gregor’s helmet. Perhaps a missing lower jaw or something equally horrific?
Arya Always more questions here. Was the water truly poisoned? Did she survive drinking it because she has genuinely abandoned her identity as a Stark? Or was that merely another mind game that she bluffed her way past? In either case, she can see again. In the book it was clear that her blindness let to greater powers–specifically, the ability to literally see through the eyes of other people. Such an advantage for an assassin! But I didn’t get that message from “Oathbreaker,” so to me, it felt like her blindness in the show was a throwaway plot device.
Meanwhile, at Winterfell Now we come to the part of my blog where I plunge into full-on denial. Smalljon Umber a traitor? (Remember when Robb’s wolf bit off his dad’s fingers, and the Umbers liked Robb MORE?) Osha and Rickon at the mercy of the loathsome Ramsay Bolton? Shaggywolf dead?????
Okay. I can’t deal with this. And yes, yes, I know George R.R. Martin kills at will. But for now, I prefer to believe the following: 1. This is a trick hatched by the Umbers to get rid of Ramsay once and for all. 2. Osha and Rickon are entering Winterfell to help retake it from within, since they know the castle, the hidden passages, etc. 3. That wasn’t Shaggydog. It was some other unfortunate creature, perhaps the offspring of Shaggydog and a beguiling bitch from House Umber’s kennels? And maybe Shaggydog has been smuggled into Winterfell, and when the moment is right, he’ll EAT Ramsay. Preferably from the feet up, like the shark from Jaws did to Robert Shaw.
I know the above is fanciful madness. Still. I cling to my denial.
Castle Black I don’t know why I thought Ser Allister and Olly would beg Jon’s forgiveness. The living dead aren’t such a novelty anymore; probably they considered Jon’s return further proof of his wickedness. And for a moment I was surprised that Jon executed them. I expected mercy. But then I remembered that Ser Allister would surely rebel again, and his fellow conspirators would no doubt follow his lead. As for Jon’s departure, I’d been waiting for it from the moment Ser Davos said, “Now go fail again.”
My prediction: Jon intends to take back Winterfell. And not just out of loyalty to his family. The White Walkers are coming, and they’ll either boil over the Wall or bring it down. Castle Black can be flanked easily. But Winterfell can be held, even against the army of the dead. Ned used to say 500 men could hold Winterfell against 10,000. I think we’ll soon find out if that is true.
Until next time! And I refuse to say goodbye, Shaggy. Not yet.