Editor’s Note: This recap contains spoilers for this and previous episodes in the Game of Thrones series.
Fans of Arya will be delighted to know that she returns this week. Having finally made it to the free city of Braavos, with only the clothes on her back, the coin given to her by Jaqen seasons ago and her trusty sword, Needle, Arya heads to the house of Black and White only to be turned away by a sour old man.
Not one to give up, Arya sits through rain all night outside the building while repeating to herself the names of the people she wants to kill. Finally her patience gives in and she tosses the coin into the water in anger.
But luck comes her way when the same man who turned away away saves her from a group of bullies in an alley. The man reveals himself to have been Jaqen all along, and Arya’s segment ends with her entering the House of Black and White.
The paths of two major arcs finally cross when Brienne’s squire, Podrick, recognizes Sansa Stark and Littlefinger at an Inn. Despite Brienne’s best attempts to honor her oath to the late Catelyn Stark, Sansa refuses to come under Brienne’s protection.
Brienne and Pod are forced to flee the inn on horseback and Sansa and Little finger escape to whereabouts unknown, with Brienne vowing to follow them and fulfill her promise to Catelyn.
Things are still as tense as ever in the Lannister family after the death of Tywin. Cersei is flustered over a threat received from Dorne, the very kingdom where her only daughter, Myrcella, is living.
She accuses Jaime, her brother and her lover, of never truly being a father to their three children. In response Jaime declares he would have gotten them all killed if he did so. Nonetheless, he vows to head to Dorne and rescue Myrcella, even though doing so may be seen as an act of war.
As Jaime plots with the sellsword, Bronn, to get Myrcella, Cersei attends a small council meeting as the mother of current king, Tommen. For the time being Tommen is still too young to rule in his own right, so Cersei starts making changes on the council while she can. One of these changes is installing her own servant Meester Qyburn into the position of Master of Whispers.
This angers her uncle Kevan Lannister, who came all the way to the Red Keep from Casterly Rock to aid his nephew’s reign. Kevan storms out of the council meeting in a huff and with that, the already dwindling number of Cersei’s supporters drops by one more.
This episode marks the first appearance of the home of the Martell family.
After the death of Oberyn Martell at the hands of The Mountain last season, Oberyn’s paramour Ellaria Sand is out for Lannister blood.
She tries to persuade Prince Doran Martell to avenge his brother’s untimely death, but Doran is adamant that Dorne must not get caught up in the politics of the rest of the seven kingdoms. Below them, Myrcella plays with her betrothed, a Martell himself, and is unaware of just how precarious her place in the game of thrones is.
After finally finding one of the Sons of the Harpy, the group that has been going around killing Dany’s Unsullied, Dany is faced with the daunting task of how to administer justice. A former slave on Dany’s council demands that the Harpy be executed for his crime, but Ser Barristan Selmy convinces Dany to give him a fair trial first and reminds her of how her own father justified needless cruelty during his reign of Westeros.
However, before the trial can occur, the former slave murders the Harpy and comes to Dany claiming to have helped her in the way she once helped all the slaves of Meereen. Upset that one of her own betrayed her orders, Dany executes the former slave publicly. This causes the former slaves, who once loved Dany, to riot in the streets.
As she contemplates all that has happened through the day, her dragon, Drogon, returns for the first time since last season, only to fly off once again before she can even touch him.
Meanwhile, on the road, Varys and Tyrion have a deep talk about being outsiders and what it means to rule. Varys is still certain that Dany is the best hope Westeros has in having a just ruler, but Tyrion seems to be done with talks of kings and queens. Before they arrive in Meereen, the unlikely duo must make a stop in Volantis, where no doubt something interesting will occur.
In the snowy north, Stannis Baratheon is less than pleased at Jon for his mercy kill of wildling king Mance Raydar. Jon shows little remorse for his actions and almost dares Stannis to punish him. Instead, Stannis offers to legitimize Jon as a Stark and make him Lord of Winterfell, provided he bends a knee to him.
This offer is everything Jon has ever wanted, but the oath he swore to the Night’s Watch prevents him from taking it. Before he can tell Stannis, however, the time comes to elect a new Lord Commander for the Night’s Watch. There are initially two candidates, one of whom hates Jon’s guts, but at the last second Sam Tarly throws Jon’s name into the pot. Jon manages to win the title by a single vote, and he rises as the new Lord Snow. However, there is sure to be more trouble for him on the way.
Just like last week, this was an episode that focused more on setting things up than moving the plot along. It was nice to finally see Arya and how much she has (and hasn’t) changed after leaving Westeros.
The crew got a chance to show off the show’s ridiculous budget this episode; all of the CGI was gorgeous. From the intricate scales on Drogon to the Titan of Braavos, all of the virtual aspects blended in perfectly with the real sets.
There was some blood this episode, courtesy of Brienne, but those who enjoy Game of Thrones for its roaring battle scenes might find this episode lacking. All these slow scenes will finally pay off as we start to move towards the meat of the series.
In case you missed it, here’s a link to the previous recap!
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Rosie Brown is a sophomore prospective journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.