No Kings Landing, Dorne or Braavos this week, and everything happening in Meereen is indoors or underground, as well as being under the black cloud of last week’s loss, so this week’s GOT is gloomy and largely sunshine-free in both plot and weather conditions unless you count Tyrion and Ser Jorah’s boat trip to Valyria which may happen under slightly brighter skies but ends up going grey for entirely non-climate-related conditions.
Concentrating on happenings at the Wall, Winterfell, Meereen and at sea does keep the episode impressively focussed and thoroughly absorbing, though, if also somewhat nerve-wracking to watch.
Any scene with a Bolton in it always makes me deeply uncomfortable – when the brutal Roose is the sane one in the family, you know you have problems – for fear of what appalling thing they might do next, and with good reason; while Ramsay manages not to maim or murder anyone this week, his imaginative, sadistic efforts at psychological torture prompt even his father, Mr Red Wedding himself, to slap him down. Not physically of course, because none of us are that lucky, but enough to raise a grim smile from Sansa Stark, which, given the endless parade of horrors this girl continues to be subjected to at the hands of this lot, is no mean feat.
Good for Sansa for getting in a dig or two of her own, as well, of course, and good for Brienne not giving up on her. But if Stannis could hurry up and get to Winterfell and help out soon as he likes, that would be great.
The Mannis and his army finally start the march there this week, but not before Jon Snow comes up with a Wildling recruitment plan that sends everyone in the Night’s Watch into an apoplexy. Except Master Aemon who alarms me by telling Jon to “Kill the boy!” till I realise it’s a metaphor and he’s not suggesting using poor Olly as target practice. Phew.
Of course, all this means that Jon Snow, now he’s planning on sailing north in Stannis’s ships, has joined the ever-increasing number of characters travelling around the Seven Kingdoms at a super-slow pace. Given how long it’s taken everybody else to get anywhere, I doubt he’ll make it back to Castle Black before season’s end. Sigh.
He won’t be the only one still on the road/water though; Jorah and Tyrion’s “long, sullen silences and…. occasional punch in the face” are interrupted by a glorious overhead shot of REDACTED (for the first time, I actually understood what all the fuss was about these creatures) and a genuinely exciting encounter with REDACTED which are all great but mean they’re now on foot and even less likely to get to Daenerys before season 6. If Jorah makes it at all.
Not that Daenerys is hanging around waiting for them. She’s too busy throwing a tantrum after poor Ser Barristan’s death. Obviously, I’m gutted too – I loved Ser Barristan – but I draw the line at feeding folk to dragons. Even if it does concentrate everyone else’s minds.
Once she calms down, her second plan seems more sensible, right enough, but I have my doubts about her following through. After all, if you have Michiel Huisman’s Daario Naharis right there catering to your every whim, you’re hardly going to give him up and marry Leader of One of Meereen’s Great Families Whose Name I Don’t Know, now, are you? Hmm. LOMGFWNIDK may have escaped dragon-related death this week, but I wouldn’t fancy his chances of making it to season’s end either.