What a defeated ending to an episode that starts out so promisingly! It started off with Dany finding new allies, and more allies pledging to her cause, and ended up with two major new allies incapacitated.
We open with a dark and stormy night. Varys and Tyrion talk about how Dany was born on such a night, but Dany soon turns the conversation to Varys, whom she has never spoken with properly before, and how he has double-crossed all of his previous masters. Varys is left on the defensive, but he’s able to talk his way out of getting kicked out, and says that he serves masters who are good for the common people. Dany then gets his oath to tell her when he thinks she’s failing the people, and she also promises to burn him alive if he should ever betray her. He smiles and says that is no less than he would expect from the Mother of Dragons. (Tyrion totally breathes a sigh of relief when Varys passes the test.)
At that moment, Dany gets a visitor. It’s Melisandre, whom we last saw leaving Winterfell after Ser Davos confronts her angrily about burning Shireen alive. She came to pledge her service to Dany, and tells her about the prophecy about the Prince — no gender, so it could be male or female — who was promised who will bring the dawn to the Long Night. (Does Dany know about the White Walkers though? Does she think of them as a threat at all?) Melisandre also wants to unite her and Jon, as she believes both have a part to play in the war. Tyrion likes Jon, having met him in Season 1, so he advises Dany to summon him. (But will Melisandre have to scram when they come? Jon and Ser Davos swore that they will kill her the next time she crosses their paths after all.)
Jon gets the message, and he, Sansa and Ser Davos discuss whether he should go meet Dany. They all agree that it’s too dangerous, but oh, how useful her dragons would be for breathing fire on the White Walkers and killing them.
Cersei calls a gathering of the Tyrells’ bannermen, and asks them to fight for her. Ser Randyll Tarly — aka Sam’s horrible dad — asks her how she’s going to deal with Dany’s dragons. After the meeting, Jaime manages to convince Ser Randyll to fight for Cersei by instigating anti-foreigner sentiment against Dany and her horde of Dothraki and Unsullied. And promising to name him Warden of the South when all is over and done with.
Sam and the Archmaester see Ser Jorah in bright daylight, and we discover how far his infection has spread. The Archmaester tells him he has six months or less before he loses his mind. He gives him one more day before he sends him to live with the Stone Men in Valyria, and hints that he can consider committing suicide if he doesn’t want to become like them.
Cersei and Maester Qyburn go to see Robert Baratheon’s dragon bones in the basement tunnels. Qyburn shows her a crossbow weapon that can pierce through dragons’ bones (and possibly their hides). Oh no for Dany and her dragons!
Theon and Yara, Ellaria Sand and Olenna Tyrell are strategising with Dany at Dragonstone. Tyrion tells them his very sound plan for the Iron Islanders, Dornish and Tyrells to lay siege to King’s Landing, while the Dothraki and Unsullied go to take Casterly Rock. But after the meeting, Dany asks to speak to Lady Olenna alone, who advises her not to listen to Tyrion, and basically do what she wants — because Lady Olenna has seen many wise men and yet outlived them all. Which sounds like terrible advice, because Dany has been known to be impetuous and stubborn to her detriment. But as we are reminded once again later — because remember Tyrion’s great ideas for dealing with the nobles in Meereen that didn’t work out? — even the best of plans made by the wisest of men fall apart.
Missandei comes to say goodbye to Grey Worm, who is leaving for Casterly Rock. She’s hurt that Grey Worm wasn’t going to say goodbye to her, but Grey Worm tells her it’s because she’s his weakness and he’s afraid. Aww. They confess their love for each other and have one-sided sex, because Grey Worm is a eunuch. (Poor guy. He was so ashamed about it! Of course Missandei accepts him anyway. Which reminds me: Why are women’s clothing on this show so much easier to take off than they look like they should? And they never wear undergarments! It’s almost as though the garments are made for the fastest way to have sex.)
Sam tells the Archmaester that he might be able to cure greyscale, but the Archmaester says that the man who wrote the book about curing greyscale died of greyscale, because the cure is too dangerous. Nevertheless, Sam comes to Ser Jorah that night and attempts the operation in which he carves off the scaly bits of Ser Jorah’s skin while yellow pus oozes out and poor Ser Jorah tries not to scream. :S
The scene transitions immediately to an image of a crackly bread bowl being carved up and a man in an inn drinking the yellowish soup within. Bleargh. Last week it was with Sam cleaning up shit and ladling soup. What’s with this show and its perverse pleasure in showing disgusting things and juxtaposing them with shots of food immediately after?!
Anyway, we’re back with Arya, who met Hot Pie again! He thinks she’s different. She looks colder, definitely. He tells her that Jon is now King of the North, and she is shocked! (He also tells her that she is pretty, but Arya doesn’t care.) Arya changes her mind about going to King’s Landing to kill Cersei and turns back on the road to Winterfell. I hope nothing happens to stop her from reuniting with her siblings at last! But will they recognise this new, colder-blooded Arya? :S
Jon receives Sam’s message that Dragonstone is on a mountain of dragonglass. He holds a council meeting and says that he’s going to Dragonstone. No one trusts Dany, due to the reputation of her father the Mad King, so no one wants Jon to go. Jon says he has to though, because they need allies and they need dragonglass, and he leaves Winterfell in Sansa’s charge. She seems shocked that he is willing to entrust her with Winterfell (and no wonder, since he hasn’t really listened to her advice for the most part since they reunited).
As Jon looks at Ned’s statue in the crypt, Littlefinger comes to be the snake in the grass. He tells Jon that he loves Sansa and is generally a creep about it, and Jon puts his overprotective big brother skills to use. Too late, Jon, too late. Sansa watches Jon and Ser Davos ride off to Dragonstone, while Littlefinger watches her from afar. Now Winterfell is in Sansa’s hands, what will she do? With Littlefinger hovering about her, she sure looks like she’s going to make unwise decisions. :S
Back to Arya in the woods with a very skittish horse. Is she going to meet Jon on the road? No, she meets a pack of wolves instead. Who are led by — SURPRISE, SURPRISE! — Nymeria, her direwolf whom we have not seen since the second episode of the first season! Technically, Arya only owned Nymeria for a few days, so I’m not sure if Nymeria still feels a sense of loyalty to Arya. Apparently not, since she refuses Arya’s request to go back with her to Winterfell, and leaves. Arya looks disappointed at first, but then says “That’s not you”. I didn’t understand what it meant, but this article explains that it references what Arya told her father when he pitched to her the idea of being a lady, and she said “That’s not me”. Nymeria has found her pack, and it’s not in her nature to be a pet anymore.
Yara Greyjoy flirts with Ellaria Sand, and they’re kissing when the Iron Islanders fleet comes under attack from Euron Greyjoy! Two Sand Sisters (whom I have no clue what their names are) fight Euron and die. Yara is taken hostage by Euron, who goads Theon to protect his sister, but to his sister’s heartbreak, after everything they’ve been through together, after what she told Ellaria Sand about Theon being her advisor and protector, Theon takes the cowardly way out and jumps off the ship. Euron’s ship sails off with Yara, Ellaria and the last Sand Sister as hostages, “gifts” for Cersei, while Theon floats alone in a sea of wreckage.
And so we see that even the best of plans made by the wisest of men fall apart. What will Dany do now?