Tyrion’s situation gets even more dire until a champion finally stands up for him and Lord Baelish continues to wrap his Littlefinger around anything and everything to get what he wants….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Money and power appear to be the Lannisters greatest weapons when approaching any problem on ‘Game of Thrones’. If someone can be bought, the Lannisters have the gold to buy them. If someone can’t be bought, the Lannisters have the power to make them crumble to their very knees. But money and power couldn’t stop Tyrion Lannister from being born a dwarf, nor could it prevent Joanna Lannister from bleeding out moments after giving birth to her third child. Because he was a Lannister, Tywin resisted the urge to kill his youngest son after he was born, but it seems the family has been attempting to find a way to rid itself of this ill equipped imp from the moment he drew his first breath.
During Sunday night’s episode of ‘Game of Thrones’, Tyrion celebrated if only for a moment that he was able to ruin his father’s plans by demanding a trial by combat, thus nullifying the deal his brother Jamie made to save his life just moments earlier. Tywin wanted Jamie to discard his white cloak and take his rightful place as the oldest heir to Casterly Rock where he would further the Lannister bloodline and reign in his father’s place. In Tywin’s perfect world, Jamie would sacrifice himself while Tyrion would be sent to Castle Black to live out his days as a member of the Night’s Watch. Tyrion’s outburst and subsequent request for a trial by combat forced Tywin’s hand and now he no longer has an heir and his dwarf son will likely be executed in front of thousands as spectacle in King’s Landing.
There was some sense of pride in that moment for Tyrion, but ultimately he still wants to live and that’s going to require a little bit more effort because a trial by combat means two men fight — one for the prosecutor (in this case Cersei Lannister) and one for the accused. The one that lives decides that final outcome of the trial. The last time Tyrion stood for a trial by combat, he asked Lysa Arryn to fetch his brother Jamie, knowing full well at the time that there was no man in Westeros who could defeat him in hand-to-hand combat. When Lysa refused, Bronn stood up for Tyrion, murdered the champion from the Eyrie and he left with his new friend as they ventured back to find his father Tywin.
With his life on the line once again, Tyrion turns to his brother Jamie, but a one-handed knight with little skill in his left isn’t the champion he needs. So Tyrion turns to Bronn, but this time his sell-sword has a higher price and it’s Cersei who found the right amount of reward to sway his loyalty. It seems Bronn will be married to Lollys Stokeworth — the second daughter to House Stokeworth, a wealthy family in Westeros. Bronn has plans to get rid of her big sister, which will then one day make him Lord over House Stokeworth. IN other words, Bronn won’t be fighting for Tyrion this time.
While it seems like a bit of betrayal, what Bronn is actually doing is what he’s always done — sell to the highest bidder. He reminds Tyrion that they are friends, but how many times as the Lannister imp put his life on the line for him? In the end, they part as comrades as Tyrion sinks deeper and deeper into the realization that he’s truly out on an island all by himself with no one sending him any kind of rescue.
To make matters even worse, Cersei has chosen ‘The Mountain’ Ser Gregor Clegane as her champion.
For those that don’t remember, Ser Gregor is the gigantic man from season one who was part of the jousting contest that wanted to gut Loras Tyrell when he lost their match. During the War of Five Kings, ‘The Mountain’ was one of Tywin’s generals, who marched his army all over Westeros killing as many northmen as he could get his hands on. Ser Gregor Clegane has his nickname for a good reason because he’s a huge, monster of a man and when Cersei arrives to receive him (after he’s slaughtered a group of prisoners sent to ‘test’ him in battle) he doesn’t seem to care much about who he’s going to face in battle. His sword slashes flesh and crushes bone the same for everyone that stands in front of him.
It’s here that Tyrion finds an unlikely ally that he never imagined he would receive.
Prince Oberyn Martell pays Tyrion a visit and explains how Cersei came to visit him a few weeks ago to ask about her daughter and obviously attempt to sway his final decision to damn her brother to death. Oberyn sees through her rouse, and then tells Tyrion a story about the first time they met several years ago.
It seems the Martells of Dorne visited Casterly Rock just after Tyrion was born, and on the long trip, Oberyn and his sister Elia heard tales about the newest Lannister child just brought into the world. He was a monster you see. A head two sized too big for his body, claws, a tail between his legs and both male and female parts. When the Martells arrived, all Oberyn and Elia wanted to see was this monstrous child born to the great Tywin Lannister.
But after days of waiting when they were finally brought into the nursery and the cover was pulled back, there laid Tyrion — his head was slightly bigger than average and his body was slightly smaller — but there were no claws, no horrible disfigurations. This was just a baby. A baby who happened to be a dwarf. A baby that was born just seconds before Joanna Lannister met her demise.
When Oberyn and his sister protested to a young Cersei that this is no monster, she replied by grabbing onto her little brother’s privates as he squealed and shrieked in pain until Jamie forced her to stop. She then told the Martell children that this little monster wouldn’t make it much longer anyways so Cersei could do with him as she liked.
There have been plenty of heartbreaking moments on ‘Game of Thrones’, but this story alone brought tears to Tyrion’s eyes as it should everyone else. Here is a baby born out of love, and immediately brought into a world of hate. Here is a baby born with a physical disability, through no fault of his own, and he’s been called a monster since birth. Here is a baby born with a sister who wants nothing more than to see him snuffed out for murdering her mother. Here is a baby born that lived his entire life hated by his family, and yet he’s the only normal one of the entire bunch. The pain in Tyrion’s eyes swelled up after decades of mental anguish and torture, and having his head lopped off by The Mountain just seemed like a fitting end to his tragic life.
That was until Prince Oberyn reminded Tyrion why he came to King’s Landing in the first place. Oberyn was on a mission of revenge. He wanted to avenge his sister’s death. He wanted to avenge the death of her children. And who killed Elia and her children? That would be Ser Gregor Clegane aka ‘The Mountain’. Oberyn proclaims that he will be Tyrion’s champion, and for all the money and all the power and all the whores that he’s tasted in his years on Earth as a Lannister, there was never a moment that he felt happier or more relieved than to know that someone was finally going to stand up for him.
The Road Less Traveled
Let’s start off with this premise — it takes a really long, fucking time for some people to get places in Westeros while others seem to hop from one end of the world to the other in a day’s travel. Consider The Hound and Arya in the former category because they’ve been traveling a long way, and still haven’t made it to the Eyrie where he intends to sell the youngest Stark daughter back to her rich aunt Lysa.
While on the road, they encounter a man who has been attacked and ransacked for his goods and as he sits there bleeding, near death, he explains to Arya that sitting there in a pool of his own blood is still better than the alternative, which is nothing. At least right now he’s still alive. The Hound gives him a drink and then shoves his sword through the man’s heart to put him out of his suffering.
Just then a man who has been imbibing on ye old bath salts jumps on the Hound’s back and starts biting at his neck. The Hound quickly dispatches of him before his friend appears and reveals that they are trying to collect on a bounty placed on his head by the Hand of the King Tywin Lannister. They also reveal that King Joffrey is dead because there’s no raven news service in Westeros, but that’s enough talk out of this guy. Arya finds out his name just long enough to add it to her death list before she stabs him through the heart with needle.
Later, Arya offers to help The Hound with his neck-bite by cauterizing the wound with fire to prevent infection. The Hounds objects rather vehemently and then reminds her of the story of how he got the scars on the side of his face (not in a Joker voice either). He was playing with one of his brother’s toys and as punishment, Gregor grabbed him by the face and shoved him into the fire. Their father protected Gregor by telling everyone that Sandor’s (the Hound) bed sheets had caught fire, thus the massive burns on his face. In an odd way it was almost as if, The Hound was a much bigger and more dangerous version of Tyrion — bullied and belittled by those that were supposed to love him before being abandoned.
Eventually, The Hound allows Arya to clean and sew the wound as they begin back on the road to the Eyrie.
This Can’t Be Good for Shireen
A section of tonight’s show was dedicated to Lady Melisandre taking a bath and that’s not necessarily a bad thing by any means, although the point of her conversation with Stannis’ wife Selyse didn’t seem to serve much purpose other than showing off her impressive array of vials filled with everything from toxins to love potions.
In the end, Melisandre told Selyse that as they embark on a great journey to help Stannis reclaim the throne, and her daughter Shireen is an important piece of the puzzle needed for him to win this time around. Now typically, Melisandre doesn’t seem to ask for anyone to be present unless she needs to do something bad to the for her own good. Ask Gendry about that. But for whatever reason despite Selyse’s protests, Shireen is needed on this journey but what purpose does she serve?
In Meereen, Daenerys returns to her chambers to find Daario Naharis there waiting for her. He’s climbed through her window, which given the height of the pyramid she’s living in currently, that’s no easy task. He informs his queen that he’s good for two things in this world — killing men and banging women and he’s not doing either of them right now.
So Daenerys decides to put him to work after demanding he strip naked in front of her. In past seasons, Daenerys has been the one taking her clothes off at the behest of her brother or her Khal, but now as the real ruler in this story, she’s the one that makes the demands. For all her commands and orders over the past couple of seasons, it was here in this room with no guards, no Unsullied and no dragons that Daenerys appeared the most powerful she’s ever been. She told and Daario Naharis obeyed.
The next morning as Daario exited the queen’s chambers, he ran into Ser Friend Zone aka Ser Jorah as he was about to visit Daenerys. Of course as soon as he stomps into her room, Jorah reminds her that Daario is a sell-sword and a cut throat that can’t be trusted. This poor idiot is one step away from crying in his pillow and wondering why on one goes for the nice guys.
Daenerys then informs Ser Jorah that she’s commanded Daario and his company of the Second Sons to go to Yunkai and take back the city from the masters while killing each and every one of them this time to ensure they don’t return to power. Jorah reminds the young queen that being a ruler isn’t just about enacting vengeance and showing force. If it wasn’t for an act of compassion all those years ago in Westeros when Ser Jorah was found selling slaves, Ned Stark would have cut off his head. Instead, Jorah was banished and his father was left as the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch with no heir to House Mormont. But he was still alive.
So Daenerys sends Friend Zone off to tell Daario he has new orders — they will take with them Hizdahr zo Loraq (the Meereen nobleman who pled for his father’s corpse so they could properly bury him in the last episode) and he will present the masters in Yunkai with a proposal. They can live in her new world or they can die in their old one. Friend Zone saunters off, proud as a peach that he got somewhere with the queen. Not where he wants to be, mind you, but it’s something, it’s hope!
Back at the wall, Jon has returned from his adventure to kill off the lot of traitors who were shacking up at Craster’s Keep. But back at Castle Black, he’s not getting any love from his old pal Alliser Thorne. Besides telling Jon to lock up Ghost in a pen, he scoffs at the idea that Mance Rayder’s army is closing in on them and they need to shut off the tunnel that serves as an entry way between the Wall and the Castle. Jon wants it closed, Alliser has other ideas and the tunnel stays open.
Something tells me with only three episodes to go, Mance’s army is going to arrive and that tunnel will lead them right into Castle Black where Alliser Thorne will have a mighty big surprised look on his face.
The Return of Hot Pie
Brienne and Podrick stop along their weary travels from some kidney pie (that does not sound appealing) and it’s there that they run into a cook at the inn — and it’s Hot Pie! Remember Hot Pie? He’s the other escapee from Harrenhal that went with Gendry and Arya before being captured by the Brotherhood without Banners. He eventually realized he wasn’t made for battle and instead would work better as a cook in the kitchen so Hot Pie said goodbye.
Now it seems he’s working away with a drawer full of recipes while talking the ear off of any customer who compliments his cooking. When he asks Brienne and Pod what they are doing on the road, she replies that they are looking for Sansa Stark. Hot Pie looks a bit shocked, but then replies that they don’t serve traitors at this inn.
Moments later as Brienne and Pod load up the horses, Hot Pie runs out to inform them that he really does know more than he’s letting on and tells them that he traveled with Arya Stark for weeks after they were captured and then escaped the Lannisters at Harrenhal. He also tells them that the Brotherhood also had The Hound with them at the time that he exited the party to start cooking up pies and other delicacies. Brienne deduces that if Arya Stark is alive, and the Brotherhood means to sell her back to family for a price than she must be headed towards the Eyrie (Podrick helps out here because he just happens to know all of the families, who is married to who and who hates who). If Arya is headed to the Eyrie then just maybe that’s where Sansa Stark is as well!
So back on the road they go, this time headed to the Eyrie to find Sansa. If they arrive before the end of this season, I’m also going to be convinced that The Hound and Arya are just walking in circles, eventually destined to end up trapped in a van down in the Pine Barrens.
No Ordinary Love
And speaking of the Eyrie…
Sansa Stark is wandering around her new home when she notices there is snow on the ground. When she was living in Winterfell, all she longed for were the warm days and sunny skies that loomed over King’s Landing, but now with her entire family butchered and her own life tormented while under Joffrey’s thumb, nothing would feel better than the cold on her face and the snow beneath her feet. Sansa gets a lot of hate for her naivety and attitude on this show, but I believe she’s totally misunderstood. I think Sansa is nothing more than a girl who wants to live the mythical story of the princess. She wants to be swept off her feet by a prince, who will one day become king. She wants to be proper and live the life of royalty and really want kid her age didn’t have the same dream? Instead, Sansa has watched her father beheaded, she’s been tormented and tortured like an ant under a magnifying glass, and this is all before she was forced to marry Tyrion, a member of the very family that killed her brother and mother.
So here in the Eyrie when she finally sees snow again for the first time in what we have to imagine is years at this point, she wastes no time building her own Winterfell from the memories she still clings onto like a magical blanket or teddy bear that keeps her safe. When creepy future husband Robin arrives, he first seems sweet enough when telling her about the moon door and how one day when he’s Lord of the Vale, he’ll toss anyone he likes out of it and when Sansa is his wife, she can do the same. He asks to put a moon door in Winterfell, but in the process smashes her snow creation. When Sansa gets angry, he decides to thrash the entire thing and she slaps the taste out of his mouth as he goes running back to mommy.
From the shadows appears Lord Baelish and Sansa wastes no time apologizing for hitting Robin the way she did. Baelish says she did wrong, but only because Lysa should have slapped that boy long ago. Baelish then proceeds to up Robin on the creepy level by telling Sansa about how much he loved her mother and if things had gone differently, she could have been his daughter. Somehow this transitions into Baelish laying a kiss on Sansa, and before we can really react to the ick level of this happening, a very pissed off Lysa is seen storming off into the background.
Sansa is quickly summoned to Lysa’s throne room where it takes her aunt no time to accuse her of trying to steel Petyr away from her. Lysa reminds Sansa of all the people that stood in their way from being together — her father, her husband, her mother — and they are all dead now. Just when it looks like Sansa is about to fly out the moon door, Baelish once again slinks in the room and puts a stop to her madness by proclaiming that he will send the Stark girl far, far away from their new home.
Lysa lets Sansa go, and Baelish then gets close for an embrace before reminding her that there has been only one person on this Earth that he’s ever loved, and only on person that he’ll ever love — her sister. Just as Lysa realizes she’ll never amount to the memory of her now dead sister, and the shock of Baelish’s revelation, she gets pushed right out the moon door. Her Emporer-like descent to the rocky cliffs below once again prove that no one should trust Lord Petyr Baelish, but he’s the only person in all of Westeros that could stand shoulder to shoulder with Tywin Lannister in a scheme-off.
Baelish is slippery and conniving, but he’s not stupid. Not only does he now rule as the Lord of Harrenhal but he stands to inherit the Eyrie as well now that Lysa is dead. At his side is Sansa Stark, the spitting image of her mother at that age. With each plot unfolded and scheme unfurled, Baelish quietly takes an even bigger piece of the Westeros pie while slipping his Littlefinger around the power vacuum currently left open by all the distractions happening in King’s Landing. There have been numerous mentions this season how Tywin Lannister is getting older and his reign can’t last forever. Lord Petyr Baelish might be his best successor, except there won’t be a lion roaring this time with proclamations about how Lannisters pay their debts.
Only a mockingbird singing, ‘I did warn you not to trust me‘.