Watch that last step, Lysa gurl! It’s a doozy!
Lysa Arryn’s poorly planned physics experiment kicked off what should be a string of deaths over the next few episodes. I don’t think that’s spoiling anything -- people die on this show all the damned time. But by my count we should see at least five more fairly major characters die between now and season’s end. So that should give you something to look forward to in the two weeks before the next episode (no new episode on Memorial Day weekend).
Tons of plots to cover this episode. Let’s get right to it. Spoilers on.
-In King’s Landing, Tyrion tried to find a champion to fight on his behalf in his trial by combat. Cersei’s champion has been selected: The Mountain, played by a new actor who can barely speak English, but that is hardly the point. He is a wall of flesh and my tongue was hanging out for his entire shirtless scene in which he obliterated a whole group of randoms. Take me, Mountain! I am yours. As for Tyrion’s stand-in, Jaime’s out because he’s still useless as a one-handed combatant. Bronn declined after Cersei made him an offer he couldn’t refuse (more on that in a second). And just as Tyrion was making peace with meeting his end as a smear on The Mountain’s boot, Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne offered up his services against Mr. Mountain, the better to get legally sanctioned revenge for the murder of his sister and her children years ago.
A few thoughts. First, once again, Peter Dinklage was acting the shit out of those scenes. The dynamic between him and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is so good that I hate how few scenes we’ve had between them. Second, I was curious how they would handle Bronn, because this is basically the last we see of Bronn in the books (the ones published thus far, at least). I hope that we don’t lose Bronn altogether, because I have truly enjoyed Jerome Flynn’s take on the character, and he’s very popular with viewers. Third, that sequence in which Oberyn recounts the first time he met Tyrion was, I believe, almost verbatim what was written in the books. But it was so much more affecting on the show. I adore Pedro Pascal and what he is bringing to this role.
-In the Riverlands, The Hound and Arya came upon a dying man who had been set upon by marauders. This was a fairly pointless sequence except it furthered the odd bond between the two main characters, and then provided an opportunity for them to be attacked by people seeking the bounty on The Hound’s head. The bit with Rorge was almost ridiculously silly, but I’ll admit that it did make me laugh. Rorge also called back to S2 Arya buddy Hot Pie, who made an unexpected appearance in the Brienne/Podrick plotline. My memory of the Brienne plot in the books is awfully fuzzy, but I recall that it meanders quite a bit, and that she continues to search for Sansa, not Arya, who Brienne honestly believes to be dead. So Hot Pie’s tipoff to Arya’s continued existence is a fairly big change from the book. So is Pod’s encouragement that they head to the Vale, which would be the logical place for anyone with either Stark girl to ransom them, given that Lady Lysa is their aunt. If the show is streamlining the Brienne plot, I would be conflicted. On the one hand, it is fairly extraneous to most of the major arcs. On the other, Brienne goes to some pretty far-flung locations which some interesting history, and I’ve read some fascinating theories on the significance of the sequence at the Whispers in particular.
-In Essos, Daenerys was asked by Daario Naharis to let him do what he does best: fight or fuck. After making him take off his clothes, she let him do both. (I’m making this more lascivious than it was, but we did get a nice butt shot, and I’m more glad than ever that they recast Daario.) The morning after, Dany dispatched Daario to take his crew to Yunkai and retake the city, murdering all of the former slave masters who have once again rebelled against her. Jorah Mormont, who totally knows that Dany broke off a piece of Daario, kept his Friend Zone frustration in check long enough to council her against murdering hundreds more people. Dany made a point of having Jorah tell Daario that Jorah had convinced her to change the plan. A few interesting changes in this situation. In the books, Dany is basically so strongly attracted to Daario that she cannot help but take him into her bed. I thought the way the show handled this was a better reflection of the Dany we’ve come to expect: she slept with Daario, but not out of blind lust. She did it because she felt like it, and she never lost control. It felt more mature and regal to me, and less teenaged girl incapable of saying no to a bad boy. (We have ALL been there, right ladies?) But I was surprised at how well Jorah took Dany sleeping with Daario. He was awfully clinical about the whole thing, whereas you would expect him to be consumed by jealousy. I guess it boils down to all of those characters behaving more like adults and less like pouty, hormone-riddled children. So I really shouldn’t complain.
-At The Wall, the current command of the Night’s Watch continued to be The Worst, dismissing Jon Snow’s suggestions to seal the tunnels beneath The Wall, which he said would be useless against an army that would feature honest-to-god giants. That’s really all that happened there, but it was important to remind viewers of that plot point, since next week will see the south-of-the-Wall wildlings attack Castle Black, and we literally haven’t seen them since like episode 2 or 3 this season.
-At Dragonstone, Melisandre and her nipples took a bath, while the never-not-creepy Queen Selyse came in for a frank chat. The two women talked about faith, tricks, and truth, and they both acknowledged that Selyse knows all about what’s going on between Mel and Stannis. The really interesting part of that scene was Selyse trying to get out of taking her daughter, Shireen, on whatever trip they’re all going on. (Did I miss the part where they said where they were heading? I mean, I know where they’re heading. But did the show say it?) Melisandre made it very clear to Selyse that Shireen has to come with them, because she will be called upon by the Lord of Light. There has been a lot of speculation on the part of book readers about Shireen’s role in the overarching story -- throughout the books that have been published she is a tertiary character, but there have been many hints that she will have a key role to play. There are a few prophecies in which she could fit, and her once-dead fool, Patchface, has raised eyebrows from his first appearance. This scene between Mel and Selyse, which never happened in the books, certainly feeds those fires, both literally and figuratively.
-Finally, in The Vale, Sansa spent some time with her weirdo cousin Robin, and slapped the little shit after he threw a fit. This was a very bad move, as it was seen by Littlefinger, who urged her to maybe keep it together…before putting the pervy moves on her literally seconds after saying that he could have been her father. And THAT smoochy moment was caught by notable crazy person Lysa Arryn, who of course then tried to push her niece out of the Moon Door, sending her free falling to a brutal death on the rocks thousands of feet below. But fear not for Sansa: Littlefinger arrived in time, assured his wife, Lysa, that he would send Sansa away, and then told Lysa that there is only one woman he has ever loved: her sister, Catelyn. And then he pushed the bitch out the door. End scene (and episode).
So, yeah, Lysa’s dead. Petyr is probably very happy that she pushed to move up their wedding night, so that he could be the lawful Lord of the Vale -- although expect that to be contested. In the books there was a whole other character involved in this arc, a bard on whom Littlefinger pinned Lysa’s murder. So it will be interesting to see how the show handles that trial. I wouldn’t worry too much about Petyr Baelish, though. As has been proven again and again, he is basically made of Medieval Teflon. He makes bigger moves that just about anybody else in that universe, and he never, ever ends up on the losing side.
Next: Tyrion’s trial by combat, wildlings attack Castle Black, TheonGreyjoy tries to take Moat Cailin, and maybe we’ll check in with Bran. But probably not. Free Coldhands!