Warning: This contains spoilers. Not seen Episode 5? Click here to see how to catch up.
After last episode’s astonishing pyrotechnics, everyone took a few moments to calm down and get back to good old politics, rather than killing each other. This was intrigue and mistrust rather than swords and hellfire. As a result, it was perhaps a trifle on the tame side, and occasionally a little too stately in its pacing, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t mostly compelling.
Not that Dany was calming down too much, once again displaying that side of her ambition that means serious questions are being raised by those closest to her about her methods. And rightly so, as she’s looking more and more like a tyrant with each passing week. Her take-no-prisoners approach saw the barbecuing of the Tarlys when they wouldn’t bend the knee. Something is going to have to give soon, one way or another.
To no one’s particular surprise, Jaime was, indeed, not dead, not yet. But now he knows what the Lannisters are up against, he’s ready for a more diplomatic approach. It was a week for, if not exactly in-fighting, then the sowing of a real potential for disharmony among those who have, or should be, the closest of allies.
The most curious goings-on were up at Winterfell, where the Stark sisters are really starting to eye one another with suspicion, as Arya takes exception to what looks like Sansa’s queenly ambitions. A protracted game of hide and seek with Lord Baelish looked like fun for a while, but didn’t quite pay off in ways that were that satisfying, and mostly revealed that Arya isn’t as good a spy as she thinks she is.
Meanwhile, Bran has seen the army of the dead as they near the Wall, and so a plan is hatched for Jon and pals to travel beyond the Wall, capture a zombie… alive?… and bring it back south to convince Cersei that they all need to team up to fight them. Amazingly, everyone seems to go along with it. Let’s hope not too many corners are going to be cut in terms of logic to get the story where it needs to be.
Teaming up and re-teaming was something that was happening in abundance. Perhaps as a result of the shorter season, people seem to be getting places a lot faster and with a lot less explanation than we have often been used to. But, hey, the gang’s all here! There was Gendry back, complete with a nice in-joke about whether he was still rowing. In truth, although we’ve waited a number of years to see the return of the king, his comeback didn’t appear to be of much import, but, once again, we shall wait and see.
Handily waiting for them at Eastwatch were a bunch of ne’er-do-wells that included the Hound and the Brotherhood. Out they went, into the snow, and this has the promise of finally getting us somewhere with the White Walkers, after a lot of talk and promise.
All in all, this is unlikely to linger long in the memory as a classic, but as one of those breath-catching episodes that’s needed every now and then, to set us up for what will no doubt be testing times to come, it’ll do ’til the mess gets here.
Game of Thrones Season 1 to 7 is available to watch on-demand through Sky Box Sets. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on-demand on NOW TV, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription. A 7-day free trial is available for new subscribers.
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