In the latest Game of Thrones recap, Daenerys receives a gift from an old friend, Cersei finds out what happens when the few challenge the many and a dragon dies….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
One of the most important lessons that ‘Game of Thrones’ has ever taught any of us is to pay attention to the details. The smallest hints and clues can often times lead to huge monumental shifts in story and character.
For the latest episode titled ‘The Gift’, the details that stretched back to season two are more about a word of advice or a word of warning that was given long ago when Petyr Baelish encountered Queen Cersei Lannister in the streets of King’s Landing. It was season 2, episode one when Cersie was asking Baelish about the whereabouts of Arya Stark and the conversation eventually slipped into a series of jabs between the two characters.
Cersei poked at Baelish about his adoration for Catelyn Stark and how she chose another man instead of him. To counter, he mentioned how sometimes even brothers and sisters living in close quarters can find themselves romantically entangled, a clear stab at her relationship with her brother Jamie. Baelish mentions to the queen that knowledge is power. She quickly seizes him and nearly has her guards slit his throat before warning Baelish that power is power.
Now three seasons later with Cersei deceptively running over the Tyrells by using the militant arm of The Faith and the Seven to do her dirty work, she had best remember that absolute power corrupts and knowledge is something that never fades away. So when she cackles at her latest coup that ended with Loras and Margaery Tyrell living in a grungy basement, Cersei failed to remember that despite her royal standing, she still has a graveyard full of skeletons living in her closet.
And guess who knows about them — Petyr Baelish.
So when Lady Olenna Tyrell is looking for the way to turn the tables on Cersei, Baelish doesn’t need armed guards or swords to do his dirty work. He just mentions to the ‘Queen of Thorns’ that Cersei’s indiscretions with family members goes beyond the hushed rumors of her brother Jamie to a cousin named Lancel, who is now a member of the Faith Militant after forgoing his last name in the process. Of course, Lancel should want to unburden his soul of such sinful activities with his cousin.
And as Cersei gets ripped away from the room and tossed in a cell (probably next door to Margaery because what wicked irony would that be!), she realizes that for all her power, for all her gold and all the influence she carries in the world, it was a simple whisper of her proclivity towards bedding family members that landed her in the dungeon waiting to be held on trial.
Knowledge is power, Cersei, you’d be kind to remember that from now on.
And with that, let’s recap this week’s episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ titled ‘The Gift’:
And Now His Watch Is Ended
At the Wall, Jon Snow is preparing to ride north with Tormund Giantsbane where he hopes to gain the loyalty of the remaining Free Folk so they can move into Westerose as opposed to becoming part of the army of the dead.
Needless to say, Ser Alliser — who will be in charge of Castle Black while the Lord Commanders is away — doesn’t like the idea of Jon going to make a peace treaty with people the Night’s Watch have battled with for centuries. Then again I wonder if it’s such a bad idea is Alliser concerned it will work and he’ll be praised because otherwise, I’d imagine he’d welcome Lord Snow meeting his end at the hands of a Wildling. Either way, he protests the move before Jon leaves camp.
“It is my duty to tell you I believe this mission to be reckless, foolhardy and an insult to all the brothers who have died fighting the Wildlings.”
~ Ser Alliser Thorne
Jon appreciates the counsel but ignores it just as quickly. He takes the shackles off of Tormund as the two of them prepare to ride north along with a garrison of ships left behind by Stannis Baratheon to hopefully join the Free Folk with the Night’s Watch and finally stop a war while quietly starving out another one (no people north of the Wall means no new White Walkers).
While Jon is gone, the brothers of the Night’s Watch lose a trusted member as Maester Aemon passes away at more than 100 years of age. Most of Westeros forgot long ago that before he was Maester Aemon of the Night’s Watch, he was Aemon Targaryen, a prince with a claim to the Iron Throne, who eventually gave it up and took the black instead. His wise advice helped a slew of former Lord Commanders and his vote helped Jon get elected to his post earlier this season.
Maester Aemon will certainly be missed.
“His name was Aegon Targaryen. He came to us from King’s Landing. A maester of the Citadel, chained and sworn and sworn brother of the Night’s Watch, ever faithful. No man was wiser or gentler or kinder. At the Wall, a dozen Lord Commanders came and went in his years of service, but he was always there to counsel them. He was the blood of the dragon. But now his fire has gone out. And now his watch is ended.”
~ Samwell Tarly
At Maester Aemon’s funeral, Ser Alliser notes to Samwell that all of his friends are either gone or dying. Prophetic words as it turns out later in the episode when a pair of brothers of the Night’s Watch corner Gilly in a room while looking to break their vows by violating the poor girl. Sam shows up and tries his best to fend them off, but they beat him brutally before turning their attention back on Gilly.
Despite his beating, Sam rises from the ground and gives a rather ominous warning to his brothers.
“I killed a White Walker. I killed a Thenn. I’ll take my chances with you.”
As it turns out he doesn’t have to take any chances because Jon Snow didn’t leave Sam unguarded after all. His direwolf Ghost shows up in the nick of time and chases off the would be attackers, saving Sam and Gilly from further harm.
Back in his room, Gilly tends to Sam’s wounds while telling him that he should suffer for the sake of saving her. All she asks is that he saves little Sam if anything should happen to her. Sam promise nothing will happen while they are together. Gilly takes the tender moment as an opening to straddle Sam, kissing him gently and one thing leads to another and it seems Sam is joining his friend Jon in breaking their vows to the Night’s Watch by laying with women they love.
Hopefully Gilly won’t befall the same fate as Ygritte down the road.
Back at Winterfell we find that Sansa Stark hasn’t left her chambers since her awful wedding night with Ramsay and now all she does is have food brought to her by his pet Reek while she lays waiting for her husband to come abuse her each and every evening. Bruises cover her arms, tears cover her face.
She’s tortured both physically and mentally each day and it doesn’t appear things are going to get any better. Reek offers her some sage advice.
“It can always be worse.”
~ Theon Greyjoy
Sansa decides to engage with Reek aka Theon while trying to reach the boy she grew up with for so many years while her family was still ruling the North. It appears she’s reached some part of his fractured psyche while explaining that she needs his help. Sansa instructs Theon to take a candle and light it in the window of the Broken Tower — that will alert help (aka Brienne) to rescue her.
Theon looks as if he’s going to help Sansa and protect her from Ramsay until she gets called to the courtyard to meet with her husband.
There Ramsay first tells Sansa about the pending war that’s heading their way from Stannis Baratheon and his army that’s charging towards Winterfell. It’s going to be a massive battle, but the Northerners have been aided by a winter storm that’s attacked the area, which will leave the invader trudging through snow to try and make his attack, which gives the Boltons a strategic advantage.
Ramsay is more than happy to explain how his family will win and how one day he will be the new Lord of Winterfell and the Warden of the North while Sansa will be the new Wardeness of the North. Sansa may be beaten, but she’s not broken and she has no problem pointing out a very obvious obstacle that stands in his way of living those dreams — namely a child on the way with Roose Bolton as its father and Walda Frey as its mother. A highborn father and a highborn mother trump the bastards.
Sansa: “But you’re a bastard and a true born will always have the stronger claim.”
Ramsay: “I’ve been naturalized by a royal decree.
Sansa: “By Tommen Baratheon — another bastard.”
Never to be outdone, Ramsay finally plays his bigger hand in this conversation as he reveals that Sansa’s older half-brother Jon is a bastard also but he made it all the way to becoming the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. He also reveals that the candle she gave Theon quickly made its way into his hands thanks to the loyalty he receives from his pet Reek. In response to this candle in the window junk, Ramsay sought out the chamber maid who waited on Sansa when she first arrived, flayed her alive and left her corpse dangling in the courtyard at Winterfell.
She died before Ramsay could get any information from her, but the message is clear. Sansa isn’t going anywhere and no help is one the way (at least not right now).
It appears the charge towards Winterfell to conquer the North and place Roose Bolton’s head on a spike isn’t going as planned for King Stannis. His troops ran into rough winter weather, 40 horses died and one of the troops of sell swords he hired just high tailed it out of there, knocking his number of men down by 500.
Still, Stannis is insisting on charging forward to attack the Boltons right now. Davos tries to warn him against him and says that they should consider returning to Castle Black and waiting out the winter. Stannis knows that if he does that, winter could last for years, and then that would be two occasions where the rightful king and claimant to the Iron Throne would have tucked tail and ran in the face of trouble.
Stannis is going to make his charge now or go down in flames trying to take back the Iron Throne.
Melisandre is able to offer up her assistance where Davos gives him only surrender. She reminds him that he’s the only one that can sit on the Iron Throne and lead the army of the living against the army of the dead. She saw in the flames that it was meant to be, but now the only way she can guarantee it is to super charge her ‘spell’ to ensure his victory.
Remember the trick with king’s blood? She used some of Gendry’s (Robert’s bastard from King’s Landing) blood after sucking it out of him with leeches to cast a spell on Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon and Balon Greyjoy for making false claims to the throne that rightfully belongs to Stannis. Two out of three are dead (no clue what happened to Balon, at least in the show universe) and she believes that’s due to her blood magic.
Now Melisandre is ready to offer him up victory over the Boltons but it’s going to require a little bit of self sacrifice because king’s blood isn’t exactly easy to come bay these days.
Melisandre: “I have shown you the power of king’s blood. The usurper Robb Stark. The usurper Joffrey Baratheon.”
Stannis: “We don’t have Robert’s bastard here.”
Melisandre: “No, we have someone better. And your blood runs through her veins.”
Melisandre wants to sacrifice Shireen Baratheon for the sake of winning her father’s war. Needless to say Stannis was not amused and told her to get the f–k out.
The thing is when Melisandre wants something, she’s usually rather single minded of purpose and poor Shireen might want to watch her back. Hopefully Davos is around with a sharp sword whenever the Lady Melisandre is wandering by.
The Most Beautiful Woman in the World
Back in Dorne, Jamie is given an audience with his ‘niece’ Myrcella where he tries to implore upon her the inherent danger that awaits her thanks to her future husband’s uncle having his head smashed open like a watermelon last season. Myrcella fires back by telling him that she’s in love with Trystane and Dorne is her home now. She didn’t want to go when she was a child, but her mother forced her to do it. Now she’s part of Dorne and marrying into the royal family and she’s not going anywhere.
Jamie just can’t win for losing this trip.
Meanwhile down in the cells, Bronn gives a stirring rendition of ‘The Dornishman’s Wife’ to a captive audience of Sand Snakes, who are sitting in the dungeon right next to his. He begins to engage with the girls, but doesn’t realize that these snakes are coiled up and just ready to strike a moment’s notice. The Sand Snakes keep mentioning the cut on Bronn’s arm that happened during their fight at the Water Gardens before they were all arrested.
He’s still feeling fine, but then Tyene Sand engages him in conversation after Bronn mentions that the most beautiful women in the world come from Dorne. When he says that Tyene, despite being Dornish, isn’t the most beautiful woman in the world, she decides to play a little game with the sell sword.
She invites him to take a peak as she strips off part of her clothing and with each inch of flesh revealed, Bronn’s memory about these other more beautiful women quickly fade from his mind. Tyene’s planned seduction wasn’t done without purpose, however, because she’s made Bronn’s heart beat about a million miles per second and that sudden rush of adrenaline has kicked in the poison that’s running through his veins as a result of that small nick on his arm from the battle with the Sand Snakes.
“My dagger was coated with a special ointment from Asshai. They call it ‘The Long Farewell’. It takes time to work. But if a single drop makes contact with the skin…death.”
~ Tyene Sand
Tyene then asks Bronn once again, who is the most beautiful woman in the world?
Of course this time he answers correctly and she gives him the antidote for the poison from a small vile that she had on her necklace.
Never mess with a Dornish woman but if you do make sure you make her feel like the most beautiful woman in the world because she might already be the deadliest.
The slave traders we met a week ago have unloaded their stock at auction including Jorah and Tyrion, who are purchased by a man looking to put on a show at a local fighting pit ahead of the great games that will be held in Meereen in front of the queen and her new chosen king, Hizdahr zo Loraq.
While Jorah and Tyrion prepare for battle, Queen Daenerys shares some pillow talk with Daario about her choice to marry a man from Meereenese royalty for the sake of silencing the Sons of the Harpy and hopefully bringing the forces from Slaver’s Bay under her control. At this point from a distances it seems Daenerys has virtually forgotten about her conquest of Westeros, but hopefully that will change given the encounter she has a little bit later.
Amidst the conversation, Daario offers up his alternative plans, which include marrying him instead of Hizdahr zo Loraz as well as a plan of treachery that could be unleashed at the upcoming great games in the fighting pits. He also suggests that the reason the Sons of the Harpy have stopped killing is because their leader is about to become king.
Daario Naharis: “On the day of the great games, gather all of the great masters and wise masters and worthy masters you can find. And slaughter them all.”
Daenerys: “I am a queen, not a butcher.”
Daario: “All rulers are either butchers or meat.”
Dany is down a couple of advisors at this point and she’d be wise to listen to Daario considering his knowledge of Slaver’s Bay and the politics that kept people in chains for centuries while the masters just got richer and more powerful. She still seems hesitant, however, and that may cost her in the long run.
Back at the fighting pits, the new master has selected his group of men to go out and fight until all of them are dead but one and that person will move on to participate in the great games. What they don’t know is that Queen Daenerys and her chosen husband have decided to attend as well as a matter of honor to pay respects to the men who live and die in the fighting pits.
Jorah is not one of the men originally chosen to go fight, but once he spots Daenerys he makes a bee line for the front of the line. While he’s charging to get onto the field of battle, Daenerys is disgusted to watch men tearing each other limb from limb in the most horrifying ways possible.
But out of nowhere one man emerges from behind the gate, cold cocking the master, and heading out into the field where he disarms men, knocks them out, breaks an arm or two but doesn’t kill anybody. Daenerys is pleased to see this kind of action from a man in the fighting pits.
Her pleasure turns to turmoil when the man removes his mask and it’s revealed to be Jorah Mormont. She quickly tells the guards to take him away, but he shouts that he has a gift to give her. The melee pauses just long enough for Tyrion to emerge from the shadows as he runs into the fighting pit to meet the woman he traveled halfway around the world to hopefully serve and place back on the Iron Throne in Westeros.
“It’s true. He has. I am the gift. It’s a pleasure to meet you, your grace. My name is Tyrion Lannister”
A look of shock and awe washes over Daenerys as she has a member of the royal family currently ruling in Westeros right in front of her. While it’s not likely this meeting will result in a partnership right away, Tyrion is the exact kind of mind that Daenerys needs if she’s going to conquer the Seven Kingdoms and put a Targaryen back on the Iron Throne for the first time in nearly 20 years.
It’s a meeting five seasons in the making and it appears the fire and blood of the Targaryens may soon have a debt to pay to at least one Lannister when this game of thrones is completed.
Only three episodes to go this season so make sure to come back for ‘Game of Thrones’ next Sunday night at 9pm ET on HBO.