Wednesday, May 21, 2014

RECAP: Game of Thrones 4x07 - Flying Lessons at the Eyrie

Does anyone else feel like it's been way too long since we last saw the dragons? I know that the dragons cost a fair bit of money to animate, so I get why HBO isn't showing them, but I also feel like it's been too long. Just saying. I need me some dragons.


So, Jaime's a little bit miffed that Tyrion decided to throw away that sweet plea-bargain he'd arranged, but Tyrion's resolute that he did the right thing. Yes, he's sad that Shae turned on him. Yes, he's aware that he will probably now be super murdered. But dang was it good to finally tell everyone the truth and the whole truth of what he thinks of them. Besides, Bronn saved his life in combat once, he can do it again.

Unfortunately for Bronn and Tyrion's desires to continue breathing, Cersei has called in Ser Gregor Clegane to be her champion. You may recall him as that dude nicknamed "The Mountain", the psycho so murderous and sociopathic that he burnt his little brother's face off. Said little brother being, of course, Ser Sandor Clegane, the Hound.

Who is riding merrily (sulkily) along with Arya as they approach yet another hut and possible ambush. Still digging the buddy cops vibe from these two. The hut has been destroyed by someone or another before they got there. There's a dying man sitting outside, and Sandor and Arya ask him why he hasn't bothered to kill himself yet. Arya creeps the hell out of the guy with her deep and meaningful philosophizing about death and nothingness. Arya tells the guy who she really is, because who cares? He's dying.

The Hound gives him a drink, and then kills him. It's a mercy. Sort of. Then he uses the death to teach Arya about anatomy before being attacked by some random guy - one of the men who was to take Arya to the wall, and who threatened to rape her. She kills him. Such a happy child.

Up at the Castle Black, Ser Alistair and Jon Snow continue to get on about as well as two girls trying out for head cheerleader in a stereotypical high school comedy. By which I mean not at all. Alistair insults Jon's direwolf, Ghost, so Jon comes back by insinuating that Alistair can't do his job, etc etc etc.

The real issue of the day is fortifications. The army is coming, and Jon wants them to seal the tunnel through the Wall to keep the army out. He's seen it and he knows that they can't hold them off. Alistair is of course going to systematically ignore literally anything Jon says. This bodes well. Eventually Alistair puts it to a vote, and Jon loses. 

The saga of Tyrion and his epic sadness continues. Bronn comes to see Tyrion in his cell and it's pretty clear from the get-go that Bronn isn't going to fight for Tyrion. Cersei's set him up as a match to marry some rich girl. But Bronn does remember that Tyrion offered to double any offers he got. Tyrion can't do that, and Bronn has a better point: why the heck should he fight The Mountain when he could just not fight The Mountain and keep on breathing?

Tyrion begs him to do it out of friendship, but Bronn's retort actually is one of my favorite moments so far this season. "Why should I risk my life for you?" he asks, and Tyrion responds with, "Because you're my friend."

Then Bronn goes, "Aye, I'm your friend. And when have you ever risked your life for me?"

It's perfect because it so thoroughly skewers Tyrion's pretensions. Yeah, he's on trial and he's got the short end of the stick right now. But he still has lived his life in a degree of luxury and protection that Bronn frankly can't even fathom. Tyrion is the hero, so we rarely see things from the perspective of those around him, but between this and Shae's testimony last week, I can at least hope that the writers are trying to remind us that the dominant narrative is not always the correct one. At least, that's what I'd like to think is going on. At any rate, bully for Bronn for looking out for his own interests.

Finally, we get to check back in with Daenerys and her awesomeness. Unfortunately, her awesomeness is faced with a creeper who climbed up through her window and into her room. Not cool dude. Said dude, Daario Naharis, that mercenary who follows Dany around, is there because he really wants to have sex with her and he thinks guilting her into it is the way to go. He seems to have forgotten that Dany isn't a girl. She's a queen.

What follows is one of the most interesting and personally appealing sex/power scenes the show has given us. Why? Because it is a scene explicitly about power, and it's about Dany proving how much power she has in this situation. She has the power to remain completely clothed while the creepy dude who crept into her room strips naked. Rock on.

Speaking of naked people, Melisandre is taking a bath and decides that now is the perfect time to talk to Selyse. One of those nice, "Hey, we're both religious fanatics who are sleeping with the same unsmiling dude," conversations. Super fun times, eh?

Selyse has to get around some complicated doublethink about Melisandre sleeping with Stannis. She's religious enough to think it's all in the greater good, but human enough to be bothered. She also wants to know why the heck her daugher Shireen, who Selyse doesn't like at all, is coming with them when they set sail. The answer is not comforting. "Because the Lord needs her." Historically, that hasn't worked out very well for anyone on this show.

Jorah strides up to Dany's bedchamber to find Daario coming back out, shirt undone. Oh man this must be hard for Jorah "I would do anything for you seriously anything why don't you love me" Mormont. He's quick to state his disapproval to Dany, and she totally doesn't care. She does, however, care about his opinion of what's she's doing next. She's sending Daario and his sellswords back to Junkai, to take care of the revolt there. Her orders are to kill all the masters and free the slaves (again), but Jorah talks her down. Instead, she offers them a choice: live in her new world or die in their old one. She also gives Jorah a little boost by letting him tell Daario that it was him who changed her mind.

Daenerys is very good at making sure that her rival factions keep straight who's in charge. And if she has to set them against each other to do it, she will. I like this about her - that she's willing and able to use her attractiveness as a weapon, and that she is not unaware of how necessary it is for her line of work. I mean, it's sad that she needs to, but I appreciate how good she is at it.

The Hound is trying to stitch up his wound from the skirmish by the hut, and Arya wants to help by disinfecting it with fire. Only The Hound is kind of meaningfully afraid of fire. Also a little bitter about how the Lannisters want to kill him and he's sad he kidnapped Arya. Awww, what a pity. He's depressed that he's gotten into trouble because he kidnapped a small girl. Yeah. I feel super bad about that.

He then gets all deep and personal about that time his brother tried to kill him and how he feels about it. Which is fine and all, but I really do have trouble sympathizing with The Hound. Just, generally. Arya is super nice and still washes out his wound and sews it up for him.

Brienne and Podrick the Inept Squire have stopped at an inn for the night, and Brienne is explaining to Pod how normal people behave. He's still...having trouble getting used to it. Fun moment, though, because this inn happens to be the one where Hotpie (Arya's friend from like season two maybe?) works! And Hotpie is way too eager to talk about his cooking. Like, talk people's ears off eager.

Eventually Hotpie wangles it out of them that they're looking for the Stark girls. But he's spooked (and with good reason, people looking for the Starks aren't usually good people) and he runs. Pod doesn't think they should be telling people they're looking for Sansa, because the Lannisters kill people. And Hotpie does come around. He admits to knowing Arya, and tells Brienne what happened to them. He also gives Brienne a wolf-shaped cookie to give to Arya.

So, point for Brienne on the telling people they're looking for the Starks idea.

Pod happens to know exactly where Arya is being taken - the Eyrie. Which is true. Pod is, as it turns out, very helpful sometimes. And Brienne should probably pay attention to those times, because Pod is useful in precisely the ways that Brienne needs help.

Back in King's Landing, Oberyn and Tyrion reminisce about their brothel moments. Oberyn admits that Cersei is trying to sway him against Tyrion. He also brings up a very old memory - the first time he met Tyrion. Tyrion doesn't remember because he was a baby, but Oberyn recalls how everyone talked about the "monster" that had been born to Tywin Lannister. Only, when Cersei finally showed them Tyrion, the "monster", Oberyn was disappointed. Because it was just a baby.

The story's pretty grim, but it does make one thing clear: Cersei has literally always hated Tyrion. Good to know? 

But there is a larger point. Cersei may usually get what she wants, but Oberyn wants something too. He wants to bring all those who hurt his sister and his nieces and nephews to justice. And all those people happen to be here, in King's Landing, siding against Tyrion in the trial. So Oberyn knows what he's going to do. He's going to kill Ser Gregor Clegane for raping and killing his sister, and he's going to be Tyrion's champion.

Did not see that coming.

Up in the Eyrie, Sansa Stark sees snow for the first time since she left home. She builds a little snow castle, that heart-breakingly resembles Winterfell. Robyn comes out to see her, and they have a cute little weird bonding moment about how many people they want to kill, and how Robyn can throw them out the moon door. The moment doesn't last, but hey. They tried. She slaps him. He deserved it. Ah, what a lovely couple.

Then Littlefinger comes up and in a culmination of the epic creepiness that is his attachment to Sansa, he gives her a long speech about how much he loved her mother, and that's she's more beautiful now than Catelyn ever was, and then he kisses her and it is gross and uncomfortable and weird.

Also Lysa is watching, which isn't exactly what anyone would call "good". She freaks the crap out and suggests that Sansa come have a chat with her. Next to the moon door. She tells Sansa she saw what she did, and Sansa, thinking this is about the whole slapping Robyn thing, apologizes. It's not about the slapping Robyn thing. It's about Petyr. It's always about Petyr.

Lysa tries to toss Sansa out of the moon door for daring to tempt Petyr. Petyr comes to the rescue and tries to talk her down. He at least gets her to let go of Sansa. Then he pulls her close and tells her that he only ever loved one woman in his life. Her sister, Cat. And he throws her out the moon door.

End of episode.

There's a lot in this episode that I do like. I love the scenes with Tyrion. Not just because Peter Dinklage is really lighting it up this season, but also because they were all really interesting scenes. The one with Bronn was well written and acted, and strikes to the heart of Tyrion's main problem: he's so used to being the underdog that he forgets how privileged he really is. And the scene with Jaime is just satisfying because it's out there once and for all that Jaime and Cersei have had sex and Tyrion knows about it. 

But most of all, the scene where Oberyn establishes Tyrion's humanity and his own motivations for helping him is just plain really good. It's always amazing to see a character finally hear the words they've needed their whole life. And this was no exception. Tyrion needed to be told he isn't a monster, because he's never really believed it. Good, good scene.

Also Daenerys is just generally awesome, and I liked that they showed a scene of her allowing herself to be swayed in opinion. The sign of a good ruler is someone who is capable of heeding her advisors. Someone who is aware that she is not always right. So rock on, Dany.

But most of all, of course, this episode is memorable for the scenes at the end, with Sansa and Robyn and Littlefinger (Petyr) and Lysa. Memorable because those scenes are super disturbing, and also because they don't really leave us in a happy place. I mean, it's easy to look at it and say, "Yay! Petyr killed Lysa and saved Sansa, now everything is okay!" But that's not even a little bit true. Now Sansa is stuck in a castle with her cousin, whose mother has just been murdered, and the murderer, who has made it clear that he wants to have sex with her, whether or not she wants it.

Sansa's situation has not improved.

While I like that the writers make Lysa a bad guy for her accusations of Sansa "tempting" Petyr, I dislike that this is even a thing. Like how I feel about Jaime and his being a rapist, that the plot has totally ignored, I find that Petyr is not sufficiently castigated by the show or the viewers for his definite statutory rape-vibe. Because make no mistake, this is very wrong.

And on that happy note, I leave you for the hiatus (at least I leave off recapping Game of Thrones for the hiatus - I'm not actually going anywhere). Let's hold out the dim hope that on its return, the show isn't going to be quite as obsessed with rape and the sexualization of girls. I doubt it.

You use that cunning and ruthlessness, girl. Use it and save yourself.


  1. Then Bronn goes, "Aye, I'm your friend. And when have you ever risked your life for me?"

    I hope a similar point is made by or for Shae. Most especially because unlike Bronn, she doesn't have any way of saving Tyrion; his ass is grass no matter what she does, so standing up for him isn't risking her life, it's throwing her life away for no purpose.

    One other thing I'd like to see given a mention: Tyrion really is a logical suspect, and it's not a given that no one involved in this show trial thinks he might be guilty. (Mostly, I think this in relation to Cersei, who still managed to love Joffrey the little shithead, and I can't see being unconcerned about getting the right murderer).

    1. True! I wish more people on the show would sort of be out of the obvious Tyrion influence - you know, shown to have differing views that could also be correct. He is a good suspect, and it actually totally makes sense that he would have killed Joffrey. He had opportunity, motive, and a LOT of prior actions that make it look like he did it. To ignore that is just bad writing.

      This show better be nice to Shae. All I'm saying.

  2. Up in the Eyrie, Sansa Stark sees snow for the first time since she left home.

    Having seen it now, I loved this moment. The sheer joy she takes in it, after a positively hellish few years.

    He's depressed that he's gotten into trouble because he kidnapped a small girl. Yeah. I feel super bad about that.

    I can't believe I missed this line when I first read this recap. That's a brilliant skewer.

    1. Ugh, that is one of the most painful scenes for me, just because it makes me think about how horrible her life has been. But also it's beautiful and Sophie Turner is amazing.

      Thank you.