Archive for February, 2019

Game of Thrones, Season 6, Ep 3 “Oathbreaker”

Tuesday, 19 February, 2019

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

I’ve now sourced a set of DVDs for both season 6 and 7, so I’m ready to continue with the episode commentaries!

North of The Wall: Bran and the Three-eyed Raven are once again in a visit to the past sequence. They see some young men approach a small tower, guarded by two formidable looking men in armour. The approaching group is led by a young Ned Stark, who Bran recognises as his father. The Raven says the man at his side is Lord Reed, father of Meera (and the late Jojen). Okay, that’s interesting. The guards don helmets and prepare for a fight as the group approaches, wielding two swords each.

Ned walks up and exchanges some words with the guards. He says something about the Mad King being defeated, and asks why the guards were not present at the battle. They respond that they were ordered to guard this tower. Ned asks where his sister (Lyanna, who we saw last episode) is. Rather than answer, the guards start to fight. The presumption must be that she is being held in the tower, but for what reason is not clear.

In the fight, pretty much everyone is wounded and falls, leaving Ned facing one of the guards. Bran comments to the Raven that he heard his father tell this story a hundred times, of how he defeated this swordsman at the tower. But Bran is puzzled, because he can see that the guard is a far superior swordsman to his father at this age, and he wonders how his father can possibly win. Indeed, the guard disarms Ned, and is about to strike a killing blow… when the wounded Lord Reed stands up and stabs the guard in the back with a dagger, taking him down. Ned stands with relief as he is surrounded by the dead and dying. Bran is shocked – he realises his father has lied, and that the great foe he bragged about defeating in combat was actually stabbed in the back by Reed.

Ned and Reed start running into the tower. The Raven tells Bran it’s time to leave the vision, but Bran is defiant and calls out to his father – and Ned turns around, apparently having heard his voice, but sees nothing. The Raven grabs Bran and pulls him back to the cave under the tree. Bran complains and says his father heard him. Raven says it was just a coincidence, he probably heard a bird or something. Bran says he wants to see what was in the tower. The Raven goes into Mr Miyagi cryptic mode, and says, “Do you think I enjoyed sitting here and letting this tree grow over me for a thousand years?” Bran asks him why he did it than. The Raven tells Bran that he was waiting – for him! – and that before he can see more visions he must learn more things. Bran asks what things, and the Raven replies, “Everything.”

At least that seemed to be the gist of it. The Raven keeps warning Bran that spending too long in these visions of the past is risky, and he might end up not being able to return. And that he can’t change the past; it’s a story that’s already written and “the ink is dry”. This may be ominous foreshadowing of a time when Bran is tempted to stay in a vision for too long and may end up trapped, at least for a while. The fact that Ned seemed to react to Bran’s shout may also be foreshadowing that the Raven is wrong – maybe Bran can change the past. And what is in the tower? Logically, it should by Ned’s sister Lyanna, but in what state? She’s not present in the story at the beginning of season 1, so presumably she met some ill fate. Comments on my previous write-up pointed out that Lyanna was mentioned in passing near the beginning of season 1 – references which I didn’t note as being very important at the time. I guess more of this story will come out soon. And it sounds like the Raven is preparing Bran for a fateful future in which he will play a large part (a bit like Arya). The kids growing up to continue the story of their father.

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Game of Thrones, Season 6, Ep 2 “Home”

Monday, 11 February, 2019

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

I’ve now sourced a set of DVDs for both season 6 and 7, so I’m ready to continue with the episode commentaries!

North of The Wall: We open with Bran and the Three-eyed Raven sitting amongst the roots of the underground cave where they are sheltering from the snow, with eyes glazed over, apparently in a trance. The scene changes, to Winterfell, and Bran is standing on a balcony, watching some kids practising swordplay with wooden weapons and shields. It could be a scene from Bran’s own life, just before he was crippled, practising with other boys of the town – and at first that’s exactly what I think it is.

But no, someone calls the boys Ned and Benjen. We’re seeing a young Eddard Stark and his brother Benjen, in a flashback to before Bran was even born. A slightly older girl rides up on a horse, named Lyanna (the girl is named Lyanna, not the horse – I didn’t catch the horse’s name). It’s not clear, but this seems to be an older sister of the other two – I don’t recall ever hearing about a sister of Eddard Stark before. So maybe this is the first time we’ve really heard of her? She says something about heading off to the Eyrie. I’m just trying to integrate this into what I can remember… I’m guessing Lyanna was sent to marry a noble over at The Eyrie as part of an alliance. We know Lysa was there, Catelyn Stark’s sister (so Eddard’s sister-in-law). Hmmm… and Lyanna and Lysa would be roughly the same age. So what happened to Lyanna? I’m guessing we’re going to find out some more about her later.

Also joining the scene is a large stable boy, who the boys encourage to start fighting. They call him Wylis, but Bran instantly recognises him as a young Hodor. Wylis speaks, being reluctant to join the noble boys in sparring, but they say that with his size he’d be a great fighter. Wylis’s mother appears and ushers him back to the stables, saying there’s no way she’ll let her son learn how to fight. Bran is astonished that Hodor used to be able to speak properly.

The Raven tells Bran it’s time to leave the vision, but Bran wants to stay. The Raven grabs Bran and pulls him back to reality. Bran wakes up and protests, but the Raven says that too much time spent in a vision will lead to “drowning”. Bran looks at Hodor and tells hi he saw him when he was younger, and he could speak. “What happened, Hodor?” Bran asks, but Hodor merely replies, “Hodor.” This exchange makes me think that Hodor is perhaps the name of the thing that so shocked him that it removed his ability to say anything else. Also, I think we’re going to learn more about Hodor’s background in the future. At least I hope so, because before it was just a low level thing that you didn’t think about, but now it’s become a tantalising mystery. Setting it up like this and then failing to deliver more information would be terrible story-telling.

Outside in the snow, Meera Reed stares into the distance. She is sullen and fed up. The dryad-like figure talks to her. Meera questions what they are doing here, how pointless it all is. Dryad tells her that soon Bran will need her help. Hodor carries Bran out and he speaks briefly with Meera before going back into the cave. Meera returns to her watch.

Well it’s good to see something about Bran again, after so long. And it looks like his story is about to ramp up again. We’ve added three mysteries to be expounded upon in the future: Lyanna, Wylis, and what he’s going to do that Meera will be needed to assist with. Let’s hope we get to them soon, rather than not seeing Bran for another season.

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