MAJOR SPOILER. Watch it before you read it, etc, etc.
After the rip-roaring, mass murdering (like, more than usual) affair that was last week’s episode it is only fair that we have a bit of a break to recover, so thank you, Beinhoff, Weiss and co., for giving us the comparatively lull-some “Oathbreaker”, and letting us gather our wits to speculate wherever this is going next.
Not to say that nothing happened, of course it did, and as any viewer knows by now, when there is a slowing down of action it is normally putting all of the pieces into place to boggle our brains thereafter. Episode 3 was packed full of important information, so let us begin the breakdown.
Seconds in and we are met with the bewildered Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who is – unlike the rest of us – surprised to find that he is alive. He was betrayed by his men. The
spiteful whelp troubled Oli finished the deal when he stabbed him through the heart. He knows he should be dead, everyone does, but like Davos (Liam Cunningham) has the grace to say, it is “completely fucking mad”. Even Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) is shocked at what she has done, but aside from inquiring as to his health the first thing she asks is what is on the other side. “Nothing” says Jon, and he knows all about nothing.
His best friend Sam (John Bradley-West) (good ol’ Sam, we’ve missed you!) is completely non the wiser and the demise and resurrection of his best ol’ buddy ol’ pal. He’s too busy hurling his guts as he, Gilly (Hannah Murray) and Little Sam traverse the oceans blue. Gilly and Little Sam can’t accompany him to the male-only Citadel, so he intends to drop them off at his homeland instead. We all know how emotionally damaged Sam was thanks to his austere father, but as he digresses, his mother is a “kind woman”. We’ll take his word for now.
Further south, in Ramsay’s (Iwan Rheon) Winterfell of Misery and Woe, we find the wretched bastard conversing with the Umbers. They refuse to kneel before him but instead offer a gift of goodwill. No, it’s not Ramsay’s ideal of a red haired woman, but instead a sibling of one such girl. The hoods come off and there we find a grimy Rickon (Art Parkinson) and a twitching Osha (Natalaia Tena). Remember him? Branflake sent them away to stay safe, except with most instances of best intention, they rarely pan out, do they? And worse, the Umber place Shaggydog’s severed head on the table as proof of Rickon’s identity. Poor Shaggydog. Poor Rickon.
And talking of Branflake (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), he is, once again, walking through a memory. This time it’s an important one, the much mythologised Tower of Joy scene. Not familiar? Well, long story short, a young Ned and his guard go to retrieve his sister Lyanna who has been kidnapped by crown prince Rhaegar Targaryan. Lyanna was betrothed to Robert Baratheon, which is what spurred Robert’s Rebellion against the Mad King Aerys Targaryan. It’s all a bit complicated. At this point in time, Aerys is dead (already stabbed by Jamie Lannister – the Kingslayer), but the Targaryan guard are still protecting Lyanna’s tower – even though Rhaegar isn’t there. If you’re unfamiliar with R+L+J then watch this video at your own peril, but the fact that we are progressing down this path may mean that a big reveal could be occurring sooner than we think. Anyway, the Stark and Targaryan guards fight, and it’s an impressive one. We see Ser Arthur Dayne – the Sword of the Morning – prove why his one of the most revered swordsman to ever exist. It’s breakneck, breathtaking stuff, until he is stabbed through the throat from behind by Howland Reed who is, coincidentally (definitely not) Jojan and Meera’s father, both of whom accompanied Bran to the Three Eyed Raven. We need a reveal. We need an unravelling. We need rewarding for being such patient fans!
On Braavos shores and Arya (Maisie Williams), the far-flung Stark sister, is still trying to convince everyone that a girl is “no-one”. Apparently, this week she is actually getting somewhere.Her blind stick fighting has improved for starters, to the extent where you almost begin to think that she will succeed at life as a blind sleuth (even if she does omit quite a few names from her kill list). Jaqen rewards her progress by giving her her sight back. What is a girl to do next?
Over in the warmer lands and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) has been delivered to the Vaes Dothrak, and the widowed wives. Apparntly, due to her pursuing life as a free woman after the death of Khal Drogo, she could face a fate worse than lifetime imprisonment. Time will tell, but in her absence in Meereen, Varys (Conleth Hill) is back to doing what Varys does best – spying and finding out everything he can about anyone that he can use to his advantage. He blackmails a female aide of the Sons of the Harpy into telling him who exactly is funding them. Turns out that we have met them before, for they are the Masters of the other slave cities that Dany had previously liberated, and they’re angry at the prospect of their culture being erased. Being a naive good doer doesn’t necessarily pay, it seems.
Back in Kingslanding and Qyburn is fancying himself as he new Varys. He’s training his “little birds” to do his bidding in return for sweets, if only every aspect of life was so easily played, eh? Why? Because Cersei (Lena Headley) wants to hear everything, especially if enemies intend on making Lannister losses their gains (or, if someone titters at a beggar throwing human shit at the humiliated Queen Mother). They intend to exercise their will by inviting themselves to the Small Council (yay for Olenna!) who upon their sitting down, stand up and walk out. It must be hard to be so unpopular in your own royal household. Elsewhere and Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) finally grabs his gonads and demands the High Sparrow allow Cersei to see Myrcella’s resting place. Except that doesn’t last for long, with the calm and charismatic Sparrow practically convincing the impressionable young king that parading his mother through the streets was the right thing to do. What’s a boy to do, when he has two conflicting people whispering in his ears?
We are reminded throughout the episode that crown and Gods sit side by side, and with Tormund informing Jon that the wildlings and Night’s Watchmen think he is a God, it is apt that he should exercise his will in hanging the four traitors who stabbed him. Some beg for valour, others forgiveness. Alliser Thorne says he would do it again, whilst Olly says nothing at all. It is evidently playing on Jon’s mind, as he cuts the rope. We watch them swing and twitch until their faces turn blue, and when their legs fall still he remove his furs and hands them on. He is no longer Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, for as far as he is concerned, in his death, his watch has ended.
Technically, his vows are unbroken, but what is he to do now? Will Jon go to find Sansa, only to find Rickon instead? Will the wildlings go with him? Never mind that, where are Daenerys’ dragons? Are they celebrating with an extended barbecue? And what is occurring in Dorne?
Onto the next, for a new watch has begun.