Daenerys got free! But of the many scenarios we imagined—dragons swooping in, Daario and Jorah slicing and dicing some Dothraki, Dany living the rest of her days in totally chill Vaes Dothrak—how it all went down was unexpected, to say the least.
Tyrion’s back in Mereen giving the Caesar-haircut fuckboys of Slaver’s Bay a full seven years to phase out their practices of enslavement—I’m not sure if the writers want us to believe that’s the only way or if they’re setting up Tyrion for some future outrage from the Breaker of Chains—while Daario and Jorah are bumbling through the Vaes, almost a slapstick odd couple, if you consider smashing a man’s head to smithereens with a rock slapstick. They’re so feckless Dany knows their efforts will never do, and her plan, seemingly out of nowhere, to essentially torch the Dosh Khaleen and lead the Dothraki, is both gangster and full of foresight. When she emerges from their man-hut naked and walking through fire unscathed (her clothes burned off, obvs), the Dothrakis’ immediate response is to bow before her, their new and magical Khaleesi.
We’ll have to see if this constitutes liberation, and once again we’re offered an image of a silver-haired savior rescuing a society of brown people (recall “Mhysa”), which at its most innocent is just optics, the way it played out. Perhaps Slaver’s Bay idiot’s comment to Greyworm—that he’s still taking orders, even if he defines it as loyalty—was a kind of foreshadowing? Still, I’m going to be very glad when Dany finally gets to lord over some other white people for a damn change, at the very least for racially equitable queening.
The real foreshadowing, though, was within the set-up for the coming battle between the Boltons and everyone else. The most important chess move in Dany’s respect is that, as the presumptive Dothraki Khaleesi, she has now amassed an army of untold numbers, and one with a ferocity that could feasibly overtake the disgusting bloodlust of Ramsay and his own army. Pair that with the Wildlings—who, as Sansa tells Jon, definitely know they owe their lives to him—and we’re potentially facing down one of the bloodiest battles in show history.
Oh, right—SANSA AND JON REUNION, PEOPLE! Against all odds, Sansa, Brienne and Podrick made it to Castle Black before Jon bounced South to get a tan or whatever, and the look in their eyes when they finally took each other in was a triumph we’ve been waiting for, and deserved, for SIX SEASONS. You cried, I know, and so did they, at least in their hearts.
Sansa’s grown up so much since the dainty, spoiled girl of Season 1, as she notes in her apology to Jon for being so “horrible” to him. Having been to hell and back—first with the horrible Joffrey, then with the even worse Ramsay—she’s becoming a true badass, with the leadership, character and sensibleness of her mother, ready to take back Winterfell from the Boltons with a horde of Wildlings and a prayers. It’s telling that Jon’s not into it at first—he’s done fighting, but you get the sense that moreso he’s scared because he’s seen death and there’s nothing beyond—but a subliterate missive from Ramsay threatening to rape Sansa (oh, again, asshole?) and murder Rickon pushes Jon into action. COME AND SEE, the letter repeats, a threat with poetic license but also an indicator of what an idiot this Ramsay muhfucka is. COME AND SEE. A real dumbass. He can’t even kill Osha in an interesting way, just stabs her in the neck and goes on peeling his stupid apple. RIP Osha.
Still, it must be underscored how lovely it is that two members of the Stark family are finally together after so many close calls. Sansa especially deserves some reprieve, and there’s a light sense of humor running through the episode, despite the foreboding tone. Tormund Giantsbane is so clearly sprung for Brienne of Tarth, shooting bedroom glances across the dining table as he gnashes on a leg of meat, and her disgust/sideeye is relatable, though these two warriors romancing one another is a glorious prospect.
What was most interesting about this episode, far better than last week’s, is how oblivious King’s Landing is to the coming threat—White Walkers, the Mother of Dragons, the bloodhound Boltons. Of course, the Lannisters have their own shit to worry about—allowing the High Sparrow free reign in the city was about the dumbest thing Cersei has ever done, and now that he’s got Tommen’s ear, it’s unclear whether he’s using the young king to dupe Cersei and Jaime or if he was truly attempting to sway Tommen to his side. Luckily Margaery sees through it, and what’s most remarkable is how full of basura his narrative is—he says he self-abnegates because he wants nothing to do with power, but it’s exceedingly clear that, like almost every major player in this show barring the wounded Stark clan, that’s exactly the very thing he wants. Never trust a guy who instills piety and makes himself top dog.
Boners: Do we think Ramsay got a boner with Osha? Probably, but it most certainly had more to do with killing than sex. Also, the Slaver’s Bay dudes with the prostitutes. Maybe Tormund?
Dany was nude but it was because her clothes burned off, and was a plot device to remind us how she is impervious to fire, so did not seem gratuitous.
Dead: Osha! Two Dothraki in the alley. The entirety of the Dosh Khaleen. Tormund’s heart if Brienne shuts him down.
Images via screenshot/HBO