Author’s Note: Spoilers Ahoy!
“Oathbreaker” was great in that it introduced many new and interesting dynamics to explore amongst our favorite/least favorite Game of Thrones veterans. The show has focused a lot on its roots recently, with large amounts of time spent reminding us that the Stark kids once had dire wolf pups, parents, and happiness. Look how far they’ve fallen.
The show opened on Jon Snow, fresh from the grim beyond. The camera lingering on Davos’ face was great, and it’s a testament to actor Liam Cunningham that a prolonged close-up of his shock, horror, and awe was so captivating. We knew exactly what he was looking at without having to see it. Melisandre attempted to reaffirm her shaken faith by asking Jon what he had experienced after being knifed, but all she got out of him was a terrified “nothing.” Yikes. Score 1 for oblivion.
The series again left us hanging as to what the cost or even source of the power of resurrection might be. Melisandre made it look so easy, so why isn’t everyone doing it? It seems like there should be a red priest in every keep, castle, and hamlet ready to reverse death on a moment’s notice. Does the victim need to have a great purpose / destiny? Is there some cost to the priest / priestess? Is the Lord of Light even the source of the power? It’s all unclear. In fact, other than being a bit chilly and limping, Jon Snow appears unaffected. Still has those brown eyes, right? It would’ve been nice to see a hint of change, like some twist or permanent scarring to his character. Perhaps a malevolent smile when he saw that turd Olly hanging from the noose? (By the way, I don’t think the world has been this excited to see a kid hang in at least a few centuries)
Jon’s decision to give up the mantel of Lord Commander and walk off also seems a bit odd. I get the neat loophole about being dead so he got released from his vows, but don’t the remaining Night’s Watch / Wildlings want and need his leadership? Maybe stay and help fight off the White Walkers? Nah, he’s off! To where? Not sure! Maybe to Mole Town? Lord of Light knows he deserves it. Maybe the cost of his coming back is he longer cares about duty or responsibility and is singularly focused on vengeance? Hopefully more to come!
The other standout place, shockingly, was the ruined city of Mereen. The shadows creep ever closer to our thread-bare ruling counsel. The stark throne room, once bustling with attendants and hangers-on, is now a desolate and dark place. Varys wheedled some intelligence from a co-conspirator of the Sons of the Harpy, learning that all three sister cities in Slaver’s Bay: Astapor, Yunkai, & Volantis are funding the insurgency. Their utter lack of friends and allies is closing the noose around their necks too.
In related news, it seems that no one has ever had any fun ever in this part of the world. Poor Tyrion! All he wants to do is drink, chat, and play games to lighten the mood a little while waiting out the interrogation in the next room, and the over-seriousness of Grey Worm and Missandei was hilarious for him to play against. Their quizzical looks were great. They are literally stupefied by small-talk. I hope they hang out more. They could all learn something from each other.
Back in Bravos, Arya finally graduated from murder college with a degree in Namelessness! Like that cousin everyone hears about at Thanksgiving, it only took six years to get that two year degree. Everyone make sure to get her something nice and nonspecific. At least they finally montaged it a little. After she was asked for the 1,000th time what her name was and her answering “A girl has no name,” I was hoping she would figure out that they literally wanted some other response and she really just kept getting it wrong. Would’ve been funny. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see what happens now that she’s a full initiate after literally drinking the Kool Aid. I wonder if that’s how Heavens Gate felt as they drank their own deadly brew. Panacea and after life? Damn, just death. Infinite oblivion, too, right Jon?
Tommen the Impressionable (I’m convinced that will be his name) spent a nice few minutes weakly threatening the High Sparrow before sitting down to hear his wisdom. Whomp whomp. The guy does make some sense and, strangely enough, is completely right. He is the perfect foil to the hard line dealer in lies: Cersei. The hard line dealer in truths! It’s strange rooting for the lies. What is good and evil, anyway? Stop making me think, Game of Thrones!
Also in King’s Landing, Qyburn got to let his little birds spread their wings, but only after giving them their sweeties. *shudder* Cersei & Jaime also instructed him to begin retrieving intelligence from around the kingdom. Are they finally going to attempt to consolidate their power? Can King’s Landing even assert authority over much of the seven kingdoms anymore? Dorne and Pike are in open revolt and the North (Boltons) and the Riverlands (Freys) are sitting atop a Ramsay-shaped powder keg.
Also, the Tyrell-dominated Small Council did not seem at all interested in helping the Lannisters with their problems or ruling the kingdom. When Cersei and Jaime attempted to steal a seat at the table, they got up and left. Maybe try consolidating power within your home castle first before reaching out to the three farthest kingdoms? Getting Margaery & Loras out of holy prison, or even seeming concerned for their well being, might be a good start.
Daenerys also found herself at the mercy of an old lady on the Dothraki Sea. It seems her unprecedented run at ruling alone might leave her vulnerable to something other than spending the rest of her life trapped in Crone Palace (we are led to assume the something else is a bad thing). Drogon, you cold bastard, come back and help your mother.
Ramsay also got a present: Osha and Rickon on a silver platter! And Shaggy Dog’s head on a hook! Thanks, Umbers. It’s amazing they remain even moderately loyal to the Boltons, and it seems only their desire to fight off the wildlings are keeping them that way. I wonder what will happen if a Sansa- & Jon-led army of them comes through on their way back to Winterfell? Could go either way. Looking forward to seeing what might happen (especially if it involves Ramsay being strung up; Jon could really be on a roll).
Bran has also learned that he can meddle in the past. Maybe? A little? Better not, kid. You don’t want to become your own grandfather.
Episode 3 set up many interesting new conflicts and dynamics. It also pushed an overextended plotline to its conclusion *cough cough Arya cough cough.* The developments in King’s Landing and Mereen took center stage as far as great potential, leaving the story completely open as to how all these knots will unravel.