The Game of Game of Thrones is a fickle mistress. No literally, the Game of Game of Thrones is run by an actual fickle mistress, aka yours truly, the Thronesmaster. By now it should be clear that's a feature, not a bug, but over the last two weeks I've gotten increasingly angry feedback from folks who are upset that I am not taking this seriously enough. "It's fantasy, not opinion," said one livid tweeter. It's neither, actually — it's a fake game revolving around a made-up TV show. If you are confused and angry, I'd encourage you to read last season's recaps or any of the introductory posts for this year's game in which I stated multiple times how susceptible the rules are to tweaks and adjustments based purely on my gut reading of a situation. There is a scoring item for "best line of the week," an inherently subjective idea.
Why? Well for one — and I feel like this should be self-explanatory, but here goes — it's impossible to "100% accurately" score the proceedings of a television show that does not work from a fixed list of possible events. Secondly, the characters who "win" Game of Thrones are often not the ones with the most kills or power moves, and I often have to find ways to help out characters (i.e., Davos) who aren't doing anything from a scoring standard, but we can all agree are the best and we enjoy watching them on screen.
Be nice or I'm turning this car back around and nobody gets to go to the Citadel
That said, there were a couple valid complaints regarding a lack of points for Bran's vision last week. It read to me as more of the Old Gods' equivalent of microfiche, but it is a vision, visited upon him because he is powerful and mysteriously important. I'm adding a retroactive +20 to Week 2. (The Three-Eyed Raven doesn't get a score, seeing as he's the one generating the vision and it seems like he does this all the time.) And sure, Arya gets +25 for no longer being a beggar.
But sorry — Euron didn't kill a king. The Game of Game of Thrones only currently recognizes Tommen Baratheon and Daenerys Targaryen (though the latter could be debatable right now) as monarch rulers. Balon Greyjoy hasn't been on the last three seasons of this show. He may call himself a king, but he's not a major character on the HBO television show Game of Thrones. We miss him terribly, but he's no more a king than Robb "King of the North" Stark or Stannis "R'hllor's Little Helper" Baratheon was. And besides, a kingsmoot sounds an awful lot like an electoral college.
Goddamn. Can I have back the half-hour I spent writing all that? No? Okay, Let's talk about this week. Help me, Onion Knight:
We ended last week with the totally shocking and unforeseen return of Entertainment Weekly cover boy Undead Jon Snow. In case you missed that episode, Davos Seaworth, aka the character mostly likely to be tweeted "dad" at by Westerosi teens, is here to bring you up to speed. "You were dead, and now you're not," he tells Jon. "That's completely fucking mad, seems to me." (Again, Davos speaks for us — +5.) Jon, whose butt we can see (+15) helps flesh out more details for those just tuning in. "I did what I thought was right, and I got murdered for it, and now I'm back." I was not prepared for Jon Snow's new career as Game of Thrones recapper, but here we are. I'd maybe reconsider this career choice, Jon. People will get just as mad at you as they did when you were Lord Commander. Maybe get back out there and do what you're good at — being on the receiving end of a Tormund Giantsbane dick joke ("I saw your pecker. What kind of god would have a pecker that small?" +5) and exacting some justice.
Farewell to Alliser Thorne, Olly, and two other guys whose names I can't be bothered to know — I kind of wish Jon had executed them the Stark way, but he still gets a whopping +90 for the communal hanging. Olly can only muster a glare, but Alliser gets some farewell points for his ice-cold final words. ("I fought, I lost, and now I rest. But you, Lord Snow — you'll be fighting their battles forever." +10.) Jon hands his robe to Dolorous Edd and declares his watch over (+10 for that mic drop, bringing his total this week to 115 points).
Bran has turned into a full-blown vision addict
It's about time we catch up with Samwell Tarly and Gilly on their slow boat to Oldtown! What's new with them? Well, Sam is seasick and Gilly is in strangely fabulous spirits. Gilly is like Splash, except if you put her in water she turns into Cassie from Skins. Sam tells her she'll have to stay with his mom and sister when they get to Oldtown, and she's like, "Oh, wow."
Side note — I just looked at where Oldtown is on the map, and goddamn! Those two crazy kids might get some bonus points if they make it there in one piece. TBD.
Moving on. It's time for another episode of This Is Your (Father's) Life with Bran Stark (+20) and your host, the Three-Eyed Raven. We see young strapping lad Ned Stark and Meera's dad Howland take on someone called The Sword of the Morning and the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard Gerold Hightower, both people I had to look up online. Bran tries to chase after his dad, but the Raven cuts the vision short. Bran, who has quickly become a full-blown vision addict, is not happy about this. But the Raven assures him that as soon as the history lesson is over he'll be able to get back out into the world. ("You won't be an old man in a tree," are his exact words, which made me LOL and thus earns +5.)
Daenerys arrives at the Khaleesi retirement home, where she gets a nice dressing down by the Dosh Khaleen. They're basically like, "Oh, you thought you and your boo were going to rule the world together? Welcome to the crone club." Except it's not even a real welcome — apparently Dany might not get to stay, probably depending on the whims of some men. Shit deal. Anywayyyyy.
It's time to get back to Meereen, which is officially On Notice for reasons I'll get to. After fashion policing the Unsullied ("I just don't know how you stand it in all that leather," +5) Varys brings in one of the Sons of the Harpy's assassins and bribes her into telling him who's behind all the recent mischief in town. But before we can find out, we go to one of the most pointless, bad scenes I've seen on this show in some time.
You'll never guess who's really into slavery
The coalition of Tyrion, Missandei, and Grey Worm is (I think) supposed to be a clash of personalities who are stuck together and forced to make their city-state run. The problem is that Missandei and GW are both underdeveloped characters, and Tyrion is so overcooked as a presence and meme both within and outside the world of the show that the scene is terribly unflattering to all. Missandei and Grey Worm are exposed to be the bores that they are; Tyrion spouts obnoxious internet-pandering one liners we saw coming so long ago I think they actually popped up in Bran's flashback. And nobody's even doing anything — they are literally staring at each other across a table. This shit is not a good look! And to make matters worse, Varys comes in with the secret identity of the shadowy slavery-loving individuals who orchestrated the Siege of Meereen. You'll never guess, you guys — it was your neighbors who are really into slavery. Mystery solved! Tune in next week for another episode of True Detective: But With Dragons.
Thank goodness Cersei Lannister is putting Varys' whispers to some actual use: destroying everyone who says anything remotely bad about her, naturally. As someone who also depends on little birds for information, I feel like Cersei should be warned — they're still pretty slow when it comes to stopping harassment. Anyway, our new power trio of Cersei, Jaime Lannister, and The Mountain head up to the High Council to make sure Crushing Our Enemies (i.e., Jaime and Cersei's Enemies) is on the royal agenda. And who's waiting for them there but the Goddess Olenna Tyrell!!!! And thank god, because Cersei does that thing where she forgets she's not the queen, and clearly needs help. "Margaery is the queen. You are not the queen, because you're not married to the king," Olenna explains patiently. "I do appreciate these things can get a bit confusing in your family."
Welp, that's line of the week for Olenna (+15) plus the bonus audacity for burning Cersei directly to her face (Level 4 read of a Level 5 character = +20.) Olenna Tyrell, netting 35 points for a single line, showing everyone how it's done. At any rate, she's forced a reality check on Cersei — maybe it's futile to worry about what peasants are saying behind your back when your fellow royal mum can't even be bothered to check herself in your presence.
Cersei and Jaime both appoint themselves to the high council (+25 to each) and won't leave until they all talk about Dorne, but Kevan Lannister is like, "UGH, I am SO SICK of fucking DORNE." (Actual words: "We can't make you leave. But you can't make us stay." That's a Level 2 burn on Cersei for +10. Poor Cersei.) All the olds hightail it out of there, leaving Cersei and Jaime alone with their zombie pet. Keep the family close, indeed.
I was so looking forward to awarding some Grown Up points to Tommen Baratheon this week, who is clearly smarting over his inability to do much of anything. Things start off well when he brings the Kingsguard with him to confront The High Sparrow, but soon enough his need for a kindly, wise father figure wins out, and they just end up sitting and having a classic bench chat. "Tell me all your thoughts on god," asked Tommen, "'Cause I'd really like to meet her." The High Sparrow tells him he already has, through his mother's love. Holy shit, dude, that's deep. Tommen pretty much signs up for 50 auditing sessions right then and there.
The High Sparrow is the smartest person in the known world
So yeah, no points for Tommen, but The High Sparrow continues to be one smooth motherfucker, not to mention probably the smartest person in the known world. I hate to say it, but Cersei might not stand a chance against him. There's no score for just being super competent and charismatic, but I'm going to throw him +20 for his performance so far this season.
Almost finally, let's get back to the House of Black and White, where no-longer-a-beggar Arya Stark is back in full-on training mode. I've been dreading the Jedification of Arya Stark for a while, if only because Jedis are kind of boring, but this sequence was great. It was smartly edited and truly cathartic, with all the tension and growth that's been missing from this storyline for the last several episodes (even into last season). Arya is even beginning to be able to fight back in her blind state, getting in a nice wallop to the Waif at one point. But the real test comes when Jaqen H'ghar offers her a drink of water from the same pool that she saw poison a dude early on in her tenure as no one. "If a girl is truly no one, she has nothing to fear," says Jaqen. This episode is blowing my miiiiind. Arya takes the
red pill poison water and gets her sight back. That's great, and I think that means she's leveled up (+25) but I was kind of enjoying the idea of blind assassin Arya Stark. Still happy for a girl.
That would have been a great ending for a pretty boring episode, but for some reason Benioff and Weiss decided we needed to check in with human 8chan thread Ramsay Bolton. Nobody wins any points in this scene (though if that House Umber guy had been drafted, he'd be picking up all kinds of snark points), but it's notable for the return of Osha, the MYSTERIOUSLY ENORMOUS Rickon Stark, and the sadly dead Shaggydog. This is supposed to make us excited to catch up with them next week, but I can't imagine anything good is going to happen to them under Ramsay's roof, where nuance and development go to die (along with an awful lot of C-level characters). The best-case scenario is that Osha castrates Ramsay, which would be a pretty interesting dramatic development considering what Theon tried on her way back in Season 1. If we've learned anything after six years in the realm, though, its that no matter how far we think we've come, everything always comes back to dicks.
The Verge's league rankings
- Kwame Opam: 268 (Top scorer: Jon Snow, 115)
- Loren Grush: 140 (Top scorer: Varys, 5)
- Bryan Bishop: 105 (Top scorer: Cersei Lannister, 25)
- Liz Lopatto: 80 (Top scorer: N/A)
- Michael Zelenko: 70 (Top scorer: Arya Stark, 25)
- Kaitlyn Tiffany: 65 (Top scorer: Kevan Lannister, 10)
- Ross Miller: 65 (Top scorer: N/A)
- Andy Hawkins: 55 (Top scorer: Bran, 20)
- Jamieson Cox: 40 (Top scorer: Jaime Lannister, 25)
- T.C. Sottek: 25 (Top scorer, The Three-Eyed Raven, 5)
For the full list of updated stats visit The Game of Game of Thrones on Fantasizr.