Watch The Throne: Game Of Thrones – “Book Of The Stranger” (Season 6 Episode 4)

As is always, MAJOR SPOILER! If you’ve yet to watch, take heed; it’s a goodun (you’ll need a cuppa after this one).

After years of misfortune and misery, it seems dear Sansa (Sophie Turner) is on a stroke of luck. After escaping Ramsay Bolton’s clutches by jumping from Winterfell with Theon/Reek and being found by Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Pod, she has now been delivered (finally) to one of the remaining members of her family after 239751 false starts. Seeing Sansa and Jon set eyes on each other for the first time since Season 1 Episode 2 (yes, really) is surprisingly emotional; she’s all grown up whilst he is dead-undead. If the laws of nature were paramount, then their reunion would never have happened and we would have false-start-part-239752 on our hands – but alas, thankfully, they are not, and deservedly so; that poor girls needs a break.

This is as happy a reprieve as Game Of Thrones would ever get, and of course, it never lasts for long. With Jon (Kit Harington) at a loss of what to do following his resurrection, hanging of his mutineers and abdication of the title of Lord Commander, Sansa’s appearance gives him, if not hope, then at least a purpose. She is hellbent on revenge against the Boltons and retrieving Winterfell and the wider North from their clutches. It’s somewhat unnerving, watching Sansa speak words so often uttered by the Lannisters, but in wanting to take back what is theirs it transpires that she has matured into a woman, and not a moment too soon. A letter is delivered to Jon outlining Ramsay’s intentions for the Starks, including the fate of their youngest sibling Rickon. Sansa’s loathing for Ramsay is palpable; rue the day she finally get to stab the foul bastard through the heart, eh?

Ep 4 - Jon Sansa

The Starks aren’t the only ones out to get Ramsay. Behold the return of Peter Baelish (Aidan Gillen), he of the Littlefinger, the master manipulator. He returns to glorified mouth-puppet Lord Robin Arryn, Lysa’s son (you know, Littlefinger pushed her through the moon door) and cousin of Sansa. He’s also grown at Branflake’s weed like pace, yet is still pathetically awful at everything and spoiled to the core. Those who babysit him are either too servant or dim to control the power he can so readily dish out, which of course leaves him a sitting duck for being twisted around Littlefingers, er, little finger. His powers are in full swing in this short appearance; in five minutes flat he succeeds in subliminally threatening Ser Royce via Robin and convincing him to aid Sansa’s plight up North by offering the support of the Arryn army. After all, they are cousins, but what is Littlefinger set to gain? Sansa’s hand? Winterfell itself? We shall see.

It seems that most people tend to have a negative reaction to the heinous Ramsay, and suitably, Theon (Alfie Allen) is still running. Or sailing, should I say, for he’s fast on his way to the Iron Islands. His sister, Yara (Gemma Whelan), isn’t pleased to see him after she risked herself and her reputation to rescue him from Ramsay’s cells. She presumes he is there to stake his claim for King of the Iron Islands, but he surprises her by offering his support for her own. Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) himself makes a brief appearance doing bad things as he always does, though thankfully not to Rickon. Unfortunately, a knife in the throat leaves Osha (Natalia Tena) not so lucky; you would think she’d have had a less trivial death given her importance in prior seasons, but hey ho. An unfortunate waste of an interesting character.

Ep 4 - Ramsay Osha

Down in Kingslanding and the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) decides that it is high time to release Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) from her cell. It’s been a while; she is unaccustomed to the light, her hair is matted and she’s caked in her own shit but, as is expected for a woman of such conviction, her resolve is still strong. We can only assume that she has been released for a reason, as she has definitely not “Confess!”ed to her sins. What game is the High Sparrow playing? He recounts the Book of the Stranger and an anecdote about his own moment of awakening from a life of sin. He even allows Margaery to see her brother Loras , who is in a far worse state than she.

Whether Margaery knows it or not, it appears that the High Sparrow intends to have her repent by marching her through Kingslanding as he did with Cersei at the end of season 5. Surprisingly, Cersei (Lena Headley) has her back, not because she has grown fond of her daughter-in-law in her absence, but because allowing the queen to be humiliated as such could have dangerous repercussions for the monarchy. For once, she has both Olenna Tyrell (the wonderful Diana Rigg) and Kevan Lannister onside. They intend to intercept the walk of shame and storm the Sparrows, but having learnt of the High Sparrow’s plan via naive King Tommen, who vowed to keep it secret, we can only assume that in their acting as such, the Lannister-Tyrell coalition are walking in the exact direction that the High Sparrow would love them to. Various chips are being moved into place…

Ep 4 - Margery Sparrow

Over in Meereen and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) has decided to bargain with the Masters of the other slave cities. Grey Worm and Missandei are not impressed, and rightly so for Tyrion, for all his misfortune, will never understand their experiences of being a slave. That said, in his giving the Masters a seven year buffer period to transition from slavery to liberation for the people of Slaver’s Bay, it may prove more sensible than Daenerys’ previous seize-and-deliver tactics, and may abate the Sons of the Harpy. But that is presuming that everyone sticks to their agreed terms of course, and when was the last time you’ve known a character in Game of Thrones to do that?

Elsewhere and hot on Daenerys’ heels, we finally rejoin with Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) and Daario Narharis (Michiel Huisman). They’re staking out Vaes Dothrak, the Dothraki capital in an attempt to retrieve their Queen. Not that they’re getting along, with Daario intent on taking the piss out of the elder knight at every opportunity and Jorah’s increasingly stony arm weighing him down. Their initial attempt to breach the city isn’t very successful, but luckily for them Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) does the hard work for them. Riling up the Khals like a bunch of hissing snakes during her hearing may not seem like a smart move, but it doesn’t really matter when she proceeds to burn both them and the place down. The Dothraki tribes look on, bewildered, and even more so when Daenerys emerges from the flames Unburnt, like the Mother of Dragons she is.

Ep 4 -Dany

So, Daenerys has expanded her army. A storm is brewing (once again) in Kingslanding and unbeknownst to them, Sansa and Jon have the Knights of the Vale on the way. What a jam-packed episode.

What does this mean for Daenerys; is she somehow a magical exception to the laws of physics? Can she burn at all? Will the Lannister-Tyrell alliance pay off, or are they walking straight into the High Sparrow’s trap? Will Jon and Sansa encounter Littlefinger and the Arryn army, and if so, what are Littlefinger’s intentions?

The ante is upped,and the pieces are falling into place.

Watch The Throne: Game Of Thrones – “Oathbreaker” (Season 6 Episode 3)

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.

Ep 3 - Jon D M

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.

Ep 3 - Tower Of Joy

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!

Ep 3 - Arya

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.

Ep 3 -Dany

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.

Watch The Throne: Game Of Thrones – “Home” (Season 6 Episode 2)

PLEASE NOTE: THIS POST CONTAINS THE MOTHER OF ALL SPOILERS! (Yes, really.)

Well, ladies and gents, there we have it; after almost a year of fervent speculation, the speculation that we speculated has become an actuality. Jon Snow is risen from the dead, and Kit Harington is relieved to finally be able to talk about it. He’s sorry about lying to everyone for a year (he really is) and for a series whose basis is in lies and deceit, in “Home” we find a surprisingly honest and upfront episode.

This instalment opens with everyone’s favourite Branflake (Isaac Hempstead-Wright). Remember him? It’s only been more than a season since you saw him last. He’s no longer a fragile “flake” it seems, he’s cut his hair and he’s grown some – oh, and he’s taking a leisurely stroll down memory lane with a man who appears to be the Three-Eyed Raven. But if it is a memory, then who’s memory is it? It’s certainly not Bran’s, as it is clearly from far before he was a twinkle in his father’s eye. A young Ned and Benjen spar in the yard before their sister Lyanna gallops in on horseback. They invite a young Hodor – one who can talk and whose real name is Willas (what happened?) –  to practise with them. Bran is visibly excited at being showed these happier times, but like anything pleasant in this show, it doesn’t last for long. He opens his eyes to find himself back on the floor, the Raven in his nest and Hodor sitting in the corner. Meera is getting restless with all of the waiting (let’s assume its been at least a year, given Bran’s growing like a weed), but the Child of the Forest assures her that Bran will need her .

Ep 2 -Branflake

His sister, Sansa (Sophie Turner) is also in the snow with her own limited company, and as she and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) discuss what happened to her at Winterfell, it is apparent the shadow of Ramsay’s cruelty is shallowly buried in her mind. Theon (Alfie Allen) is also agitated (and so would we be, if we were watching Pod try to start a fire bad taste joke central), so much so that he decides to leave for the Iron Islands, breaking Sansa’s heart in the process. He believes that, should he go to Castle Black, that Jon will kill him for treason and for “murdering” Bran and Rickon, and even though Sansa reassures him that she would convince Jon otherwise, Theon cannot stay.

As it transpires, there is tension in the Iron Islands; his sister Yara and his father Balon Greyjoy argue over Balon’s desire to invade the mainland. The Greyjoy’s are sea folk with no strength onshore, but like a blinkered steed Balon cannot accept sense. Yara reminds her father that the last time they tried such, two of his sons died and Theon was taken as Ned Stark’s ward. In a rage, he exits the tower – only to find a shadowy figure blocking the exit to the ricketiest bridge to ever exist. It’s Balon’s younger brother, Euron, and he’s decided its time for him to try his hand at ruling the Isles – but not before he tries his hand at throwing Balon off the bridge. It’s wobbly and there’s a vicious storm. It looks like an accident: it’s fine. Euron evaporates into the mist and the Iron Born release their dead king to the waves to be reclaimed as fish food. Yara states her intention to be crowned the first Queen of the Iron Islands but it is to be determined by kings-moot, and of course, Euron will have other ideas.

Ep 2 - Septon Jamie

Down in Kingslanding, and we’ve another funeral and Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) throw threats around Myrcella’s body. On her way to say goodbye to her daughter, Cersei (Lena Headley) finds her way blocked by a sheepish looking Kingsguard (suitably so, given the size of her zombie bodyguard, formerly known as The Mountain). Apparently the King want to keep her safe by cooping her up in her tower, but Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman)  later reveals to Jamie that Cersei won’t be allowed to enter the Sept due to her sins. He expresses guilt over not doing enough to protect both his mother and his wife Margery from the will of the High Sparrow, and asks for Cersei’s forgiveness and guidance. The Cersei of a few seasons past would have relished this opportunity to use her son as a puppet, but is she the same woman now?

Over in Meereen and the talk is of dragons. The freer the dragon, the happier and healthier (who would’ve guessed), and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) reminds Varys (Conleth Hill) that the last Targaryen dragons were no bigger than cats due to their years in captivity. So naturally they head downstairs to unshackle the beasts; Tyrion is greeted by a lovely view into a dragon’s maw but reasons that their intelligence will prevent them from making him into a barbecued snack. His hunch proves true and Viserion and Rhaegel are free – but to what end?

There’s a lot of savage beasts doing the rounds at the moment and none more so than Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon). As always, Ramsay’s bloodlust is at the front of his brain when declares he wants to attack Castle Black, but Roose (Michael McElhatton) shoots him down stating that “If you act like a mad dog, then you will be treated like one: taken out back and slaughtered for pig feed”. Ramsay handles the burn seemingly well; with the Karstark’s on board they’d have a large enough army, he claims, but before Roose can respond the Maester dashes in to declare that Lady Walda has given birth – to a boy. “Don’t worry,” says Roose to Ramsay, “You’ll always be my first born.” They embrace…

And then Ramsay stabs Roose in the gut.

That afternoon Ramsay finds Walda and his half-brother in the yard; he offers to escort her to Roose, and leads her to the kennels. She begs for him to let she and her newborn go to her homeland, but this is Ramsay, and Ramsay doesn’t like loose ends. The fear in her screams leave you feeling sick.

Ep 2 - MeliJon

It’s death and brash decisions all around, it seems.

Following a stand off with the power hungry Alliser Thorne and his cronies that is dissolved quickly thanks to help from the Wildlings, Davos (Liam Cunningham) asks Melisandre (necklace back in place) if there is any way of resurrecting Jon. He admits that he is not a religious man, but that she is the one who made him believe in miracles. His words seems to shake Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) from her crises of faith and she agrees to try; after all, she knows it is possible thanks to her witnessing Thoros of Myr reviving Beric Dondarrion. She cleans his wounds, cuts his hair (what!?) and chants – to no avail. One by one they leave the room, with only Ghost staying by Jon’s side. Silence. Ghost’s nose twitches. The camera zooms in and –

Gasp.

Jon Snow opens his eyes, and yes, he’s alive.

It is claimed that this is to be Jon’s biggest season yet, but to what extent? Will his parentage be revealed? Will he have a claim to the Iron Throne? If he is released from his Night’s Watch vows, will he go to reclaim the North and Winterfell (and finish off Ramsay, the spiteful turd)? 

Who can say, we can only wait. If only we could see it in the flames, eh?

Watch The Throne: Game Of Thrones – “The Red Woman” (Season 6 Episode 1)

Ep 1 - Theon and Sansa

MAJOR SPOILER: HEED THE WARNINGS

It’s been a whole nine months (give or take) and after burning speculation and arduous anticipation, Game Of Thrones is back on our screens. And not a moment too soon; there’s only so long Kit Harington can pretend that his continued curly tangle is a lifestyle choice and not a contractual one, but thanks to an interview from back in March we know that Jon Snow will definitely return in Season 6… as a corpse.

But how long will he stay that way? Well, as it transpires, for the entirety of episode one at least. After what feels like an eternity (in the real world) he is finally found in his pool of cherry slush by Sir Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) – everyone’s favourite Onion Knight – and his dwindling harem of loyal Nights Watchmen. At this point, it is quite clear that the Jon Snow we know is now nothing but a frigid corpse, and it is in this manner he shall stay – for now at least – for whilst Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) pops her head into his chamber, she offers no resolution other than that she foresaw him in her flames. It seems her confidence is shook following Stannis’ abysmal defeat at the hands of the Bolton army and Brienne of Tarth’s mighty swing, but she had best gather her wits (and her tits), if she is to prevent Sir Alliser Throne (Owen Teale) and his cronies from slaughtering the remains of Jon Snow’s troupe.

Seeing Melisandre age before our eyes is certainly a suitable shock to end on, but this is Game Of Thrones, and as we all know by now, one shock per episode just will not do. Our brief flit to Dorne sees a double dose of treacherous murder in a matter of as many minutes when Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) and her Sand Snakes impale both Prince Doran (Alexander Siddig) and his heir Trystane (Toby Sebastian). It’s hot on the heels of their murder of Myrcella – the bastard of incestual twins Cersei and Jamie Lannister – and as Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) pulls into the bay at Kingslanding, he leaves Cersei (Lena Headley) distraught at the plight of their only daughter. They vow to avenge anyone who has wronged them and their children, and knowing from experience that Lannister’s always pay their debts, we can all cringe at the thought of the reparations to come.

Ep 1 - Arya

Elsewhere at Kingslanding, and Septa Unella is still badgering Queen Margery (Natalie Dormer) (formerly of House Tyrell) to “Confess!”, which surely we would have done, had that beast been forcefully brandishing a stick at us, and talking of sticks, Arya (Maisie Williams) is subject to a blind stick fight by her own vindictive tormentor. It’s all a bit Gladiator and more than a bit unfair, yet it seems Arya must pay the price for her disobedience at the House of Black and White.

Things are faring better for her sister, Sansa (Sophie Turner) and their former ward, Thoen (Alfie Allen) – now christened “Reek”; after their desperate jump from the parapets of Winterfell into the snowdrift below, their flee into the forest whilst being pursued by Bolton horsemen appears to be the end of their road, until Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Pod arrive just in the knick of time to save our unfortunate duo from being Bolton dog dinner. This time, Sansa has the sense to accept Brienne’s vow of protection, which will no doubt fare well, given Ramsay’s (Iwan Rheon) certain fury at the escape of his two favourite plaything’s.

Ep 1 - Daenerys

Casting our gaze back to warmer climes, and Meereen burns. What is Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) to do, as the city’s surrogate guardian in the absence of the Mother of Dragons? He is certainly trapped in between a rock and a hard place, where a masked group of renegades terrorises a city he knows next to nothing about and has little to no method of which to control. Should he attempt to act and risk their wrath, or cross his fingers and hope for their Queen’s return? Not that Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) ever did really fare better, but we’d hasten a bet that her previous situation would be preferable to the one in which she finds herself now. Abandoned by a temperamental Drogon and captured by a Khalasar, she is dragged to their leader, Khal Moro, to do as he will. Presuming to gain their respect as the widow of Khal Drogo, she is instead informed that – as a widow – their is only one suitable place for her: Vaes Dothrak, the capital where bereaved Dothraki wives enter a pious life of servitude. Never fear, however; Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) and Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) – her vying pillars of love – are hot on her trail.

But will they reach her in time? What is in store for Dorne? Has Melisandre lost faith in the Lord of Light? And are we set for a world without Jon Snow?

Seven days and counting…