The titles of Game of Thrones episodes usually refer to the most climatic scene of the episode. Usually. Not always. The High Sparrow fed the hungry and weak last episode. The important aspect of his introduction was his neutrality, his non-violent nature, contrasted with his murderous followers. “Sons of the Harpy” had no sons of the harpy until the final seven minutes of the episode. It’s an expertly crafted final minutes of the episode. Littlefinger told Sansa about his memory of Ser Barristan and Rheagar dueling in the old days when Ned and Robert still lived, when the Mad King reigned over the Seven Kingdoms, and when Lyanna received winter roses from Rheagar. Barristan remembered those days, too, when he spoke with Dany before meeting his valiant death. Ser Barristan represents the last link of the old and dead past, the old and dead ways as it were-the age of honorable Ned Stark. The sons of the harpy sneak, deceive, corner, hide their faces behind masks, as part of an effort to return their city to the old ways of fight pits and slavery. So, the sons continue to win. They murdered every Unsullied except for Gray Worm, who may or may not have died beside Barristan; they murdered Dany’s last link to her family’s kingdom. Dany’s battle—and hell the entire battle for Westeros and Essos—involves a clash between the old, the ideal, and the present. She locked her dragons in a dungeon after a child’s father brought the child’s bones and laid the bones at her feet. She wouldn’t use the dragons. The ideal for Dany is granting freedom to slaves and punishing their oppressors. Ideals aren’t practical. It worked, but it stopped working. Ser Barristan became the knight he was during his fight with the sons. Dany’s next move is the only move left for her to utilize.
-My review structure of the show has changed. Last week I wrote a paragraph. I felt tired and not so good. I also had little insight/analysis/interpretation to offer. I dislike writing recap-style reviews, though I have found myself summarizing not only Game of Thrones episodes but also other episodes I’ve reviewed in the past. For example, what’s there for me to write about Tommen, Margaery, and Cersei? Besides several sentences of summarization, I might offer that the scene between the Sparrows and Tommen revealed Tommen’s essential nature as ordinary boy and king-he’s the opposite of Joffrey. He’ll learn and maybe change when he understands the game his wife and mother play against one another. Beyond that, I’ve nothing else.
Littlefinger, that scamp, reveals his next master plan for the benefit of those watching at home. Melisandre became very literal in her scene with Jon, the purpose of which was to continue putting Jon between Castle Black and Winterfell. He felt her left breast, denied her, and returned to business. The takeaway, perhaps, is Jon’s conflicted expression after Melisandre quotes Ygritte. Perhaps he will join Stannis in the fight for Castle Black.
The best scene of the episode belonged to Stephen Dillance’s Stannis when he, in many words and with unfeeling typical of him, told Shireen what he did for her when she contracted greyscale, why he refused to let her die without trying to help, when her mother would’ve. Stannis is a great character. His scenes may not pop for the audience. He’s dry, stiff, unexciting, but he’s layered, full of considerable depth, which the scene with Shireen showed. I’ll admit this specific depiction of the character is rare and practically non-existent in the show.
-I think it’s best for me to write about Game of Thrones after the season concludes or not at all. I re-read my review of last season’s penultimate episode and was astounded by how empty and hollow it was, nothing more than a piss poor paraphrase. Sometimes a particular scene will capture my imagination and engage me, such as the climatic end of the tonight’s episode, and I’ll want to write about it; however, my heart’s not into reviewing it anymore.