Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 7 “The Gift”

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

The Wall: Jon prepares to leave north with Tormund to make his offer of safe passage south of The Wall, as snow begins to fall more heavily. Winter is definitely coming, apparently. Jon tells Ser Alliser that as First Ranger he is in charge of Castle Black until Jon returns. Alliser says it’s his duty to inform Jon that he thinks this mission is reckless, dangerous, and stupid. Jon thanks him for his “usual honesty”. Sam gives Jon a dragonglass blade, telling him that it’s what he used to kill a White Walker. Jon says thanks, but hopes he won’t need it. He and Tormund head off north. Alliser, the boy whose village was wiped out by wildlings, and a few other rangers give Jon dark looks as he leaves. You can tell there’s trouble fermenting here. Castle Black may not be the same, or as loyal to Jon, when he returns.

Sam and Gilly sit with Maester Aemon as he succumbs to illness and old age. Aemon babbles a story about his brother, who became the king, before slipping away. The next day, Sam gives a eulogy before they burn Aemon on a pyre. More dark looks from Alliser. He knows Aemon was the deciding vote that gave Jon the title of Lord Commander over him. With Aemon gone, he may start to question the validity of the ballot, and perhaps use this as justification for a mutiny of some sort.

Later, Gilly is doing some cleaning work when two members of the Watch walk in on her. She tries to leave, but they prevent her, and start to make rude comments and request a kiss from her. Then Sam walks in and tells them to leave her alone and get out. The two are primed for a fight, and think they can take Sam. They nearly do, pummelling his face and giving him a good kicking, when Jon’s wolf Ghost comes in and growls at them in no uncertain terms. The two flee, leaving Gilly to pick up Sam and tend his wounds. A bit later, Sam is resting in bed, with Gilly dabbing his bloody face. Then she stops and kisses him. Then she straddles him, and loosens their clothing… and Sam violates the Night’s Watch oath of chastity. Although as he pointed out to Jon, not technically, since the oath is to abstain from marriage, not sex.

Well, Castle Black is prime for a mutiny, and Sam and Gilly may end up caught in it if they’re not careful. And we’ve yet to see if Tormund can really be trusted in his bargain with Jon. It feels like he’s not one to make a deal with the enemy, so I’m suspecting a better than even chance that Tormund will betray Jon at some point.

Winterfell: Theon brings Sansa food in her room. She is beaten and bruised. She complains that Ramsay keeps her locked up all day, and brutalises her at night, and begs Theon to help her. He claims to be Reek, not Theon, but Sansa tells him he’s Theon, last of the Greyjoys, son of Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands. There seems to be some recognition in Theon’s eyes, and he agrees to take a candle and light it in the top window of the Broken Tower, as Sansa had been instructed by Brienne’s message to signal for help.

But Theon takes the candle to Ramsay. Later Sansa ventures outside to join Ramsay on the battlements. Ramsay tells her that Stannis is trying to march on Winterfell with his army, but Stannis is from the south, and the Boltons are from the north and are used to fighting in the snow. Stannis has no chance, he says. And then he leads Sansa to the old woman who brought her the message from Brienne… Ramsay has had her flayed alive. Sansa is suitably shocked, but recovers her resolve in time to steal a corkscrew from a nearby barrel and hide it in her sleeve. Aha! Now she finally has the idea to use a weapon against Ramsay. I’m looking forward to her attacking him there and then, but she bides her time as she is led away back to her room.

A brief shot shows Brienne looking at the tower from her inn room in the distance, seeing it still dark. I wonder how long she’ll keep her patience before simply marching in anyway and trying to get Sansa out. She must suspect that Ramsay isn’t exactly treating her well.

Meanwhile, in the countryside between The Wall and Winterfell, Stannis’s army is bogged down in camp under snowy skies. Ser Davos reports they’ve lost a bunch of horses in the cold night, and will lose more the next night, and some of the mercenaries following them have deserted. Davos argues that they can’t prevail in the snow, and should return to Castle Black. Stannis says they must march on Winterfell now – if they retreat Winter could close in and last for years. Davos is unimpressed, but bites his tongue and leaves. Stannis asks Melisandre if she’s sure about this attack. She says he saw the visions himself. She also says that he’s seen the power of sacrificing royal blood, the good things that happened for him following the deaths of Robb Stark and Renly Baratheon. She says she could ensure success by using Shireen… But Stannis is angered and says he’s not sacrificing his daughter, and tells Melisandre to get out.

Hmmm. Okay, firstly I really hope Sansa uses that corkscrew on Ramsay some time soon. Although another possibility just occurred to me – maybe she’ll use it as a lockpick to escape her confinement and make a run for it. That doesn’t seem like a great idea, which makes it likely that that’s what she’s planning. Poor Sansa can never get a break. And as for Stannis… gosh. Well, I don’t think even if he thought it would guarantee victory that he’d let his daughter get hurt. Melisandre seems keen on death and mayhem, I’m still not convinced she’s actually on Stannis’s side. Before the snow began, it sounded like Stannis had victory at Winterfell sewn up, but now it seems more like an even battle, or even leaning towards the Boltons. I guess like everything, it’s completely unpredictable.

Dorne: Jaime gets to see Myrcella. He says he wants to rescue her and take her back home to King’s Landing. She says she doesn’t need rescuing, Dorne is her home now and she’s going to marry the young prince. Jaime doesn’t really have a good answer to this. In the dungeons, Bronn is singing a song, and gets applause from one of the Bitter Woman’s daughters in the next cell. She starts talking to him, asking him if she’s the prettiest girl he’s ever seen. he’s non-committal, but then she starts undressing provocatively and asks again. He dithers a bit more… but then starts getting short of breath and collapses. She says the wound from her dagger on his arm was poisoned, and she has the only antidote in a small phial on her necklace. Now, is she the prettiest girl he’s ever seen? Bronn gasps out yes, reaching for the phial, which she tosses to him. He drinks it down and recovers.

Well, not much going on here really. Jaime and Bronn are just stuck for now. They really need to see the ruling prince to get some diplomacy going. Or possibly a war.

Mereen: The slavers run a makeshift market to sell their slaves. They talk Jorah up as a fighter and he fetches a good price. As he’s led away, Tyrion demands to be sold with Jorah, as they are a team. The buyer is sceptical, but Tyrion uses his chain to bash one of the slavers into submission, and the buyer tosses the head slaver another couple of coins and takes Tyrion.

Daenerys is in bed with Daario, talking about her forthcoming marriage to the noble petitioner guy who suggested reopening the fighting pits. She asks if he’s jealous but he says no, the marriage is just for show, he’ll still be the one in the Queen’s bed. Daario says when the fighting pits open, Daenerys should round up all the heads of the noble houses of Mereen and execute them. I’m not sure why he says this – it seems an odd bit of advice. Daenerys is repulsed and says no.

Before the fighting pits open, there are preliminary tryouts for fighters, with only the winners going through to fight in the pits. The guy who bought Jorah and Tyrion take them to a place where several fighters are battling. Daenerys has come as a surprise to watch and show support to the locals. Jorah sees her and races into the arena to fight everyone, easily winning. He stands before her and removes his helmet, and asks to be heard. Daenerys is still angry at him for spying on her and orders him taken away. People come to drag him off, but then Tyrion emerges and says Jorah brought her a gift: him. He introduces himself as Tyrion Lannister. Daenerys looks appropriately astonished, and the scene cuts.

Okay, firstly I don’t understand why slaves are being primed for the fighting pits, because Daenerys’s condition on reopening them was that no slaves were to fight, only free men. So somebody’s concealing something from someone. Not much else to say here, except to wonder what Daenerys’s reaction to Tyrion will be. Will she take him prisoner? Interrogate him? Or listen to him as an advisor? I dare not speculate.

King’s Landing: Olenna Tyrell meets the High Sparrow to ask for the release of Margaery and Loras. He declines, saying the laws of the faith are supreme. Olenna offers to pay him off, but he refuses. Then she threatens to cut supplies of food from the Tyrell holdings to King’;’s Landing, which will cause the people to starve. The High Sparrow doesn’t care. He tells Olenna to be wary of what happens when the many poor get angry with the few wealthy. Defeated for now, Olenna leaves.

Tommen is angry that he can’t do anything to help Margaery, and rants at Cersei. He says she’s the Queen and he loves her, and why can’t he do anything to help her? He says he’ll go talk to the High Sparrow, but Cersei says she’ll talk to the High Sparrow for him. I presume she doesn’t want Tommen to start taking things into his own hands. She’d rather keep him well under her thumb. First she goes to visit Margaery, bringing some food to her rather dingy cell. Margaery looks the worse for wear. Cersei offers the food, saying it’s venison, and it was quite good when she had it the day before. Nicely passive aggressive. Margaery goes for plain aggressive, telling Cersei to get out, and that she knows it was her who orchestrated getting Her and Loras into prison. Cersei leaves with a smirk.

Olenna meets Petyr Baelish in the ruins of his brothel, destroyed by the Faith Militant, and they discuss the current situation. She accuses him of playing a dangerous game. They talk about their conspiracy to murder Joffrey, and the danger they’d be in if anyone found out. She says if House Tyrell suffers, then she will ensure that he will too.

Cersei goes ot chat to the High Sparrow, probably intending just to make a show of seeing him, but not really caring what he does with Loras and Margaery. The High Sparrow however has other ideas. He tells her that Brother Lancel, ex-Lannister, has told her some interesting things about her. Things violating the laws of the faith… He orders her taken away to the dungeons. A group of women drag Cersei away as she screams at them and the High Sparrow. They throw her into a cell. Cersei glares at them and tells them to look at her face and remember it, because it’ll be the last thing they see before they die.

Wow. Cersei made the High Sparrow, and gave him enough power to deal with Queen Margaery and Loras, but she inadvertently also gave him the power to deal with the Queen Mother as well. And now there’s nothing she can do about it. Well, until she can talk to someone, I guess. Tommen might take charge here, now that his mother can’t advise him to mind his own business. I’m sure he’ll be upset that not only his wife but also his mother has been incarcerated. I could imagine him raising troops to attack the Faith Militant. But then again he might be too indecisive to go ahead.

There’s another option too. The renegade ex-Maester who is turning Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane into a half-zombie monster. He might unleash his creation and I can imagine Gregor rampaging his way through the Faith Militant single-handed. That’d be cool. Someone needs to reel the High Sparrow in anyway, lest he set up an effective theocracy and the Iron Throne becomes irrelevant. Maybe Petyr can do something about him, and thus earn more brownie points from Cersei. Earning favours from everyone seems to be what he does best.

2 Responses to “Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 7 “The Gift””

  1. Glen says:

    Another interesting recount; thank you. I think you had some good insights (better than I did at several points) during this episode. Predicting which ways the story will turn is difficult but the predictions are fascinating either way.

  2. Javier says:

    “Okay, firstly I don’t understand why slaves are being primed for the fighting pits, because Daenerys’s condition on reopening them was that no slaves were to fight,
    only free men” Told you is the worst season of GoT, a lot of this non-senses occure here and there as you already noticed

Leave a Reply