“There’s so much good in all of us. The best we can do is help each other to bring it out”
It can be a struggle to remember everything that has happened throughout the five years GoT has been on the air. With the constant juggling of storylines, characters and locations, it is a constant struggle to try and hold onto everything in an instant, just in case the information may be important later on. I was having a conversation with a friend about last week’s episode and as we discussed Jon Snow’s resurrection I brought up Beric Dondarrion, the leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners who was also brought back to life in season three. They had no idea who I was talking about and to be fair, it was a while ago and the Brotherhood has not been seen nor heard from for some time. I bring this up because even though we know Rickon Stark has been missing from the narrative for a few seasons, the shock of finally see him and Osha back in Winterfell is something unique to Game of Thrones. The memories flood back in, the parting of the ways, the fact that all the Stark children used to have direwolves accompanying them. I do wish we could have a little bit more time between having Starks in Ramsay’s clutches but as GoT continues to prepare for the end, it is intriguing to see these characters come back into the fold.
As the Dothraki once more become a part of Dany’s story, the Meereen crew continue to learn their lessons in ruling. Her intentions may be pure and she may have a legitimate stake for the Iron Throne, but Dany is still being taught how to rule. As she is taken to meet the widow Khalessi’s, the elder one states she remembers the time Dany ate a horse’s heart. Dany does not remember this woman as she parted with the Dothraki yet they were her subjects. She has had her eyes set to Westeros and her dragons and she had learnt last season that ruling is about choosing to stay. This is the second time in quick succession that Dany’s usual speech concerning her many titles has failed to help her situation and the upcoming reflection on a single problem at hand will help her understand the headspace for ruling whenever she heads across the Narrow Sea.
In the ruling city of Westeros, the battle for King Tommen’s mind and soul has begun as the High Sparrow begins to show him the religious path. If this was Joffrey, the High Sparrow would never stand a chance but with a meeker and more willing personality, the High Sparrow has now placed himself in a position to take his power and push it further into the public eye, becoming the solitary pillar of the civilised world. He tells Tommen we all have some good inside of us and in the world of Game of Thrones, believing in that is a true strength in and of itself.
Strength is something Arya has quickly built up over the course of her life and it faces its biggest test as she is beaten in a brutal montage to build up to becoming No-One (what an odd sentence for people who don’t watch this show). Sure, the timeline is all wibbly-wobbly but as she tells the Waif the story of Arya’s life, it pivots her character away from the childish kill list that defined her for so long. While being a tool to remind the audience that Arya had a brother called Rickon, it also informs us of the lengths she has grown and warped into the Faceless Woman over the seasons.
Speaking of seasons, winter is still on its way and a certain undead Lord Commander is well aware of what this means and Jon Snow’s first episode back begins to drive a wedge between him and the Night’s Watch. Ever since season one, Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch have been a staple of Game of Thrones and now he is in the midst of dealing with his biggest failure, Jon has begun to re-evaluate just what his role will be in the coming war. After killing the men who killed him (any Olly fans out there?) he uses the loophole that if you die while wearing the black, you are free of your duty to the Night’s Watch, to wash his hands with the whole convoluted mess to find himself anew. There is a reason The Wall has been bookending the episodes this season, because it will be ground zero for the coming invasion and with Jon attempting to find a new path, there may be less defence than ever before.
Now to Bran. If you are a book reader than you probably would have had a very similar reaction to the Tower of Joy scene that I had, giddy anticipation followed by a groan as you realised the reveal would be continued to be teased for episodes to come. The battle outside the Tower of Joy is a favourite amongst book readers, appearing in the first book, A Game of Thrones, within a Ned Stark memory scene. The fight choreography is brilliant in the show version, and having Eddard Stark back on screen (even if he is not Sean Bean) is really exciting. As Bran learns that the past that has been told differently than it happened as Eddard wins not by being a better swordsman like he told Bran, but by a stab in the back, viewers of this show are being taught a lesson as well. Just what that lesson may be is another long play that Game of Thrones does so well.