Just when you thought you had this show figured out, something like this comes out of the blue to remind you that no one and nothing is safe. The climax of this episode is on a par with the Red Wedding for shock value, and the reaction all over the internet has been extraordinary. Spoilers to come.
The wildling army continues to bear down on the Wall, and the raiding party led by Tormund this week reached Mole’s Town. Gilly was lucky that only Ygritte found her, or she would have been slaughtered along with everyone else. Back at Castle Black, our favourite rangers were reacting to the news of their brothers being killed. Dolorous Edd got some good lines for a change – one of my favourite characters in the books, he’s been severely underused in the show so far.
Then it was time for the unnecessary nudity of the week, as the Grey Worm/Missandei romance continued. It’s a sweet little subplot but I’d rather the time was spent with more important characters. Later on in Meereen, it was time for the big event of Dany’s storyline this season, as she found out that Jorah was initially spying on her. When she sent him away, she was incredibly cold and even cruel, whereas in the book it was an agonising decision for her. This has been a recurring theme this season, when Dany has seemed a lot more cold and emotionless than she should be.
We visited a new location this week, Moat Cailin, the castle that must be passed if you with to enter the north. The Bolton’s needed the Ironborn holding it to be cleared out so that their armies could pass through, and Ramsay sent Theon to do it, since the Ironborn should respect their prince. The leader refused to flee like cowards, but the axe that someone put through his head soon sorted that problem out. Ramsay of course didn’t actually let them go. Later, he rejoined his father Roose, and they shared a Lion King-esque moment as they looked out over the North, the land they now ruled. Roose then told Ramsay that he had been legitimised – he was no longer Ramsay Snow, but Ramsay Bolton. The Boltons and Theon then made their way to their new home, and for the first time in two seasons, we got a glimpse of Winterfell.
Littlefinger was facing the consequences of his actions last week, as he was questioned about the death of Lysa Arryn. Sansa was called in to giver her side of the story, and she bailed him out. Sophie Turner’s acting continues to be very impressive this season. Later, Petyr and Robin prepared to go on a tour of the Vale. A dark haired woman appeared at the top of the stairs, and for a few seconds I thought it was Catelyn – but of course it wasn’t, just Sansa who has finally dyed her hair to conceal her identity.
Elsewhere in the Vale, the Hound and Arya finally arrived so she could be sold to Lysa Arryn. I feel like the writers are misunderstanding Arya’s character – she isn’t a psychopath who loves killing, she was forced to do it, but the way she was talking about killing Joffrey seemed really wrong. As it did when she burst out laughing when they were told that Lysa was dead. It was a really bizarre moment, if a little amusing to see the Hound’s reaction.
Finally, we came to what we were waiting for – the trial. But not before a long conversation between Tyrion and Jaime about simple minded cousin Orson Lannister who loved to crush beetles. It was an interesting conversation with some possible deeper meanings, but it really did go on for a bit too long. Finally, Tyrion went out to the arena where Oberyn and the Mountain would fight. Oberyn absolutely nailed the whole fight – it was so well done, that even though I knew what was going to happen, for a few moments, I was thinking that Oberyn would really do it. So when the Mountan tripped him up, gouged out his eyes and smashed his head in, it was like experiencing the initial shock when I read it all over again. Ellaria’s scream deserves a mention as well, it really added to the horror of the scene. It is one of the best moments in the books and it was recreated perfectly.