(Note: to help clear up the discussion thread congestion, we’re publishing two Game of Thrones recaps this season, one for book readers and one for non-book readers. Doing it this way means those who have read A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows don’t have to begin every conversation with “SPOILER,” or those who haven’t won’t need to worry about learning something they shouldn’t.)
In a busy episode of Game of Thrones, full of Stannis yelling and Davos reading and Jon Snow scheming and Gilly hiding and the Hound and Arya playing daddy/daughter, there are three scenes I keep coming back to, all involving death. In the first, Littlefinger makes his grand season debut aboard a misty boat, looking less like Mayor Carcetti and more flamboyant pirate who speaks in a snake-like hiss. He reveals to Sansa that he was the mastermind behind Joffrey’s death, though not before killing Ser Dontos. Why? “Money buys a man silence for a time. A bolt in the heart buys it forever.”
Later on, the action heads back to King’s Landing, where Tywin is taking Tommen on a tour of the sept and, oh look, there’s Joffrey’s corpse. The world’s most intense grandfather is speaking to the new king, but with the way the scene is filmed, with the camera lingering on Cersei, it’s clear he’s ACTUALLY talking to his daughter, taunting her with all of Joffrey’s plentiful f*ck-ups. After playing “Let’s Make a King,” Tywin explains the difference between a good ruler and a great one: “A wise man knows what he knows and what he doesn’t. You’re young. A wise, young man listens to his council. He heeds their advice until he comes of age. And the wisest kings continue to listen to them long after.”
Finally, at the end of the episode, because it’s apparently in the Game of Thrones bylaws that she shows up last, Daenerys arrives outside Meereen. Thing is, she wants to be inside Meereen, but those mean old slavers won’t let her in. So she does what she does best, beside wear blue dresses: convince the slaves to revolt against their masters, using the time-honored tradition of symbolically hurling chains at rocks. Her plan works, though if I were Dany, I’d just say, “Join me, you can ride a DRAGON for free.”
Littlefinger, Tywin, and Daenerys accomplished a lot in “Breaker of Chains” by using three different tried and true methods of obtaining power. One got all sneaky and, to coin a phrase, poisoned the petulant puke; another used his influence on his family to make sure the new king is his puppet; and the last threatened physical force but instead played the “you deserve better” card, and now her army is that much stronger for it. They’re all power plays, with a Joffrey’s googly-eye toward the long-term (Lord Baelish didn’t save Sansa because he’s a good guy; he’s doing it because he’s a master manipulator). Tywin preaches wisdom as the breakfast of attributes a king must possess. That’s true, but paying attention to what’s coming, and not just what’s already here, also ensures you won’t end up a concrete slab at the age of 19. You need to be three moves ahead to win the Game of Thrones.
-TWIST: Sansa grows up to be Melisandre.
-Margaery is the Spinal Tap drummer/Boyd’s bartenders of queens.
-Jack Gleeson’s finest performance yet.
-OK, fine, one last time:
-Arya and the Hound at dinner: more or less awkward than Sally and Don in the car?
-Never trust a man who slurps his stew.
-I like to think the Hound hit the nice father on the head with an acoustic guitar.
-“Dead men don’t need silver.” But they should listen to “Silver” before they die.
-It’s actually impressive that Stannis HASN’T killed Davos yet.
-“Breaker of Chains” was a good episode for close-ups of butts.
-Oberyn Martell must constantly reek of sex sweat with a hint of potpourri.
-“Categorically.” Charles Dance is an amazing actor.
-“I don’t know…they, they! The ominous they!” Peter Dinklage might be even better.
-Pod has a really good sad puppy face.
-This isn’t a spoiler, but in the books, Daenerys’ champion isn’t Daario, but an amazing character named Strong Belwas. Just how amazing is he? Here’s how:
When Daenerys besieges Meereen, Oznak zo Pahl rides out of the city on a white charger with a fourteen foot lance, challenging the besiegers to send forth a champion. Daenerys decides that Belwas is perfect since she can easily spare him, his death as an ex-slave would not give Oznak prestige, and a defeat to an ex-slave would be an insult. Belwas wounds Oznak’s horse in the duel, leading to a sword fight. Belwas allows himself to be wounded in the stomach before he kills Oznak, severs his head, and holds it up high for those in Meereen to see. The defenders of the city fire arrows, but Belwas is too far away. He squats to defecate towards the city, wipes himself on Oznak’s cloak, loots the corpse and kills the horse. (Via)
The lack of Strong Belwas is the worst thing about the TV show.
-I could listen to Dany give grand proclamations all day.
Book Readers Spoiler Section: Jaime and Cersei’s sept sex, and how it was framed as something consensual in the books, is obviously the big difference in this episode. Though I am curious about how long Tyrion will locked in a cell before Prince Oberyn volunteers to be his champion. If we assume the fight with the Mountain won’t happen until much later in the season, it could be awhile, which means it’ll be even longer before we get to the adventures of Brienne and Podrick, though perhaps Tyrion’s banishment of his faithful squire could speed that story up.
Five Other Items for Tyrion Podrick Hid From the Guards
1. Piece of pie that Tyrion never got around to eating at the wedding.
3. Novelty “I Am the God of Tits and Wine” t-shirt.
4. VHS copy of Tiptoes.
5. His love (awwwww). And also a copy of Westeros Girls Gone Wild (yayyyyy).