In the Game of Game of Thrones, millennials are proud to be total sellouts. While the previous generation would gladly fall on their own swords to stand up for what they believe in (mainly the honor of noble houses), the young people of the realm, having grown up amid political and economic turmoil, have realized that self-preservation is the only thing of any substance worth fighting for. You can get involved with a terrifying religion, or walk away from your internship with no notice, but as long as you keep getting those likes, you're solid. Defending the family honor is a great career path to fall back on, but wouldn't it be better to be your own boss / dad?
Samwell Tarly and Gilly finally arrive in Horn Hill, home of House Tarly and, apparently, the odd willow. Sam is stressed because he hasn't told his family that his girlfriend is a wildling, mostly owing to the character limit on ravens ("It wasn't a very large piece of parchment," +5). They are welcomed with unnervingly open arms by Sam's mother and sister, who are either the nicest people in the realm or extraterrestrial spies who have come to conquer the seven kingdoms and harvest human organs for fuel for their ships. (After last week, nothing's off the table.) There's nothing like kindness in Westeros to set me on edge — seriously, Gilly arrives in a wet burlap sack and a thin layer of algae, and Lady Melessa is like, "Vintage! So adorable."
We cruelly miss out on the Gilly-Talla makeover montage sequence, but the end result is a new look for Gilly (+10) and Sam narrowly evading a cleavage-induced seizure. This struck me as very typically male, because aside from the décolletage, Horn Hill fashion is woefully basic. Unfortunately, so are the Tarly men, who appear to just be a bunch of jocks (if you can be a jock for hunting). Sam's awful dad, Randyll, body shames him for going for a second roll and hunt shames him for only killing squirrels and rabbits, when, as I recall, those were definitely the hardest animals to kill in Oregon Trail.
Mace Tyrell's going for a whole new style
Gilly, bless her soul, defends Sam's capabilities as a warrior and walker-slayer, but in doing so lets it slip that she's from the wrong side of the Wall, sending ol' racist Randyll into a furor. He points to the shiny Valyrian steel sword on the mantle and says "You see that plot device? It's a sword called Heartsbane, a sword which you shall never have! Don't forget that name! Heartsbane! (Wink!)" He banishes Sam from Horn Hill, but Sam has other ideas: he and Gilly and Little Sam run off in the night and — you'll never guess — totally steal Heartsbane (+50 to Sam for acquiring Valyrian steel) which I guess made that whole side trip worth it. Don't listen to Sam though, Gilly — give Talla her dress back. Trust.
Also pissing off their parents this week: Margaery and Tommen Baratheon, who are just going all in with the Faith Militant (+10 to Tommen, +25 to Margaery for getting out of prison fucking FINALLY, and +25 to the Faith and to The High Sparrow for getting the full support of the crown). Poor Mace Tyrell, who assembled his troops and the most fabulous outfit of Season 6 for nothing (+15). But he shared that flub — he and Olenna Tyrell and Jaime Lannister all took it for granted that their offspring would be faithful to their noble houses first, and feel nothing but burning, vengeful rage for any organized religion that would compromise their power. But the kids know which way the wind blows — Margaery especially knows a thing or two about faking piety for her own benefit, which she boldly admits while faking piety for her own benefit. Tommen might not have the power-hungry gene that his wife has, but he knows he stands a much better chance of getting fatherly approval and guidance from The High Sparrow than from his duncle (dad / uncle, obviously) Jaime. Plus, didn't you catch the vibe on the street? Religious fundamentalism is all the rage.
Arya is having a Don Draper career meltdown
Walder Frey is another disappointed parent this week, following the news that two of his sons have lost Riverrun to the Blackfish. Walder Frey is still a gross old barnacle, if you were wondering. He's still got Edmure Tully held hostage from the Red Wedding, though Tobias Menzies has been in so many shows recently that when he showed up I was like, "Oh my god, was the gynecologist from Catastrophe a spy this whole time?" (+10 to Tobias Menzies' agent). Anyway, the Frey folk are going to retake Riverrun, because Walder says. And they're going to be helped by Jaime Lannister, who gives his true love Cersei Lannister a big sloppy kiss before heading out for the Riverlands.
The remaining Stark kids might be the only ones who feel any sense of loyalty to their family, maybe because their dad died before he could do anything super douchey. Arya Stark's time with the Faceless Men has taught her that endlessly shifting identities as a soulless mercenary will leave her feeling even emptier than she was before (or was that what she learned in the theater? Heyo!). Disillusioned by her dream job, she's having a Season 6 Don Draper career meltdown, and Needle is her Esalen. So she gives Lady Crane some scene notes ("good, but more murdery"), botches her own job, and hits the road, with the Waif evidently on her tail. She may have resigned from her job, but it seems like the big reveal this season is that the House of Black and White is as morally compromised as any other entity in the realm, so I'm going to give Arya +25 for no longer being, well, you know.
Okay, I know, I know, it's time to talk about Benjen Stark. Benjen Stark is back, everyone! He got stabbed by a White Walker, but he's feeling much better now. He also killed a bunch of wights with a mace made of fire, and gave some hot cocoa to Bran Stark, who is still a bit shook up from his vision of the entire Wiki of Ice and Fire (+20). So yeah... Coldhands, though, right? *nods significantly like I know what any of you are talking about*
And finally, Daenerys Targaryen and her khalasar are wandering through the desert, when Dany halts so that she can ask Daario Naharis some questions she probably should have asked a long time ago — stuff like: "How many ships should I have built for this invasion I'm planning?" and "How long of a trip is it to Meereen?" When Daario tells her it'll be another week til they get there, she's like, "Fuck that noise!" and wanders into the hills to hop onto Drogon, who was there, evidently. A big, screaming Dragons display is just the adrenaline shot that the weary khalasar / Danaerys' plot needs right now! She flies around and yells at her men inspirationally, and it's much better than poor Mace's King's Landing pep talk, but it's also a little wheel-spinny. Why not have Drogon burn her clothes off again, just to be safe? Why not end every episode with Daenerys either riding a dragon or walking out of a fire with a big CGI mob bowing before her? That could be her Moon Tiara — they could even use the same clip every episode to save money. Burn them all, again and again and again.
Fresh blood of my blood
Before we get into this week points, a quick announcement: I will be adding new characters that can be drafted and whose points I will start counting next week. They will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis later this week -- if you are playing along on Fantasizer there will be a league update when they are added. Til then, the new characters, in no particular order (obviously):
- Kinvara (aka High Priestess Rachel Weisz)
- Edmure Tully
- Benjen Stark
- The Waif
- Eddison Tollett (aka Dolorous Edd)
- Smalljon Umber (who?)
- The Night's King
- Randyll Tarly
- Gendry (just for fun!)
- Catelyn Stark (just for fun!)
Get 'em while they're hot! And now, our scores:
The Verge's league rankings:
- Kwame Opam: 387 (Top scorer: N/A)
- Andy Hawkins: 375 (Top scorer: Bran Stark, 20)
- Loren Grush: 370 (Top scorer: N/A)
- Michael Zelenko: 325 (Top scorers: Arya Stark and The High Sparrow, 25 each)
- Kaitlyn Tiffany: 220 (Top scorer: Gilly, 10)
- Bryan Bishop: 165 (Top scorer: N/A)
- Liz Lopatto: 160 (Top scorer: Faith Militant, 25)
- Ross Miller: 135 (Top scorer: Samwell Tarly, 55)
- Jamieson Cox: 65 (Top scorer: Margaery Tyrell, 25)
- T.C. Sottek: 25 (Top scorer: N/A)
For the full list of updated stats visit The Game of Game of Thrones on Fantasizr.