With so many book-to-show changes this season, and the fact that many plots are caught up with George R.R. Martin’s text, we’re only doing one Game of Thrones recap: this one. Please try to talk about last night’s episode, not plot points half a season away (context from the books will be provided as needed, though nothing will be spoiled). Also, each week’s recap will be broken down into (Faith of the) seven questions that need answering, beginning with…
1. What’s the deal with that flashback?
You’re supposed to read that in a Seinfeld voice. Anyway, Game of Thrones‘ first flashback takes us to when Cersei was a confident brat. But, like, a younger confident brat. She and her friend visit swampy fortune teller Maggy the Frog, who tells Cersei that she will be queen, “for a time; in comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all you hold dear.” It’s suitably creepy, and Nell Williams does a great Lena Headey impression, but much like the Young Nucky scenes during the final season of Boardwalk Empire, I’m not sure how much extra detail it provides. Especially because an important line was curiously left out.
TV Maggy says, “The king will have 20 children, and you will have three. Gold will be their crowns, gold their shrouds.” Then, maniacal laughter, instead of Book Maggy, who finishes, “And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” “Valonqar” is High Valyrian for “little brother,” adding an extra sense of dread to an already disturbing fortune. It’ll be interesting to see if we return to Young Cersei.
2. Who the hell is this again?
That would be Lancel Lannister, last seen getting his injured arm punched by Cersei during the Battle of the Blackwater. He was Robert Baratheon’s squire (and played a large role in his death), but Lancel is now a Sparrow, a religious group that we’ll eventually learn more about.
3. Where is Tyrion?
Taking a page out of the Don Draper season six playbook, Tyrion is getting drunk on the beach with his main squeeze, Varys. Also, like current Don Draper, he’s stuck in self-pitying mode. He killed his father, he can’t return home, an entire kingdom wants him dead, and the only person keeping him alive is a different kind of half-man affectionately known as the Spider. In short:
Tyrion is in Pentos, the first stop on his trip to Meereen, where Varys wants him to join forces with Daenerys. She’s not the right man for the job as king; she’s the right woman to become queen and rule over the Seven Kingdoms. The house they’re staying at belongs to Illyrio Mopatis, who’s been absent since season one, when he “gives” Dany to Khal Drogo. Sometimes, it’s the smallest characters who make a big difference. Other times, it’s the smallest vomiting man.
4. Does Robin fight like a girl with palsy?
5. Where are Sansa and Littlefinger going?
The fun thing about this season is that book and non-book readers are on equal footing. When Littlefinger tells Dark Sansa that they they’re going “to a land so far from here, even Cersei Lannister can’t get her hands on you,” he’s being mysteriously, almost comically vague to not just her, but viewers at home. TV show Sansa has caught up with Book Sansa, so we’re in uncharted territory here. I hope she’s going to whichever island has the most Cure albums.
6. How will Jon Snow shooting Mance Rayder affect his relationship with Stannis?
Stannis will presumably be uptight and pissed because Stannis is always uptight and pissed (even when he’s winning our Game of Thrones Deathmatch Tournament), but he needs Jon Snow more than Jon Snow needs him. Now that he’s killed the free folk’s leader, they’re prone to revolt, but Jon, while not exactly on friendly terms with those living beyond the Wall, is familiar with how they self-govern. He’ll likely be able to get further with them than Stannis could.
Honestly, while I liked Mance as a character, and really enjoyed the actor who played him, I’m okay with Stannis roasting and Jon shooting him. In A Dance with Dragons, everyone minus Melisandre thinks he’s been killed, but the body actually belongs to Rattleshirt, and there’s a whole lot of nonsense about glamouring and spearwives. It’s all endlessly unnecessary, and his burning to death now means we have one less character to follow. Considering we’re about to gain a whole lot more, that’s not a bad thing. Also, a much improved, take-charge Jon Snow arrowing him looked cool, and that guy can use all the cool points he can get.
7. Did anyone get their neck sliced open while a prostitute spooned them?
How did you know! He’s credited as “White Rat,” and he was murdered by one of the Sons of the Harpy, a resistance movement that opposes Dany’s anti-slavery law. They want more than just the fighting pits to re-open; they demand things be the same before the Mother of Dragons came along, and for her to be gone. As gone as Drogon. Poor Drogon.