[WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, “Breaker of Chains”]
Is Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) ready to add “breaker of chains” to her long list of honorifics?
Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones ended in classic Daenerys fashion, with the Mother of Dragons marching on Meereen. The scene was reminiscent of her previous slave city conquests, but this one came with a new twist: trebuchets.
No dragons were unleashed, and perhaps they won’t be needed. Daenerys‘ plan centered on her winning the hearts and minds of the enslaved population, with the Khaleesi’s new siege weapons firing the unlocked collars of the children murdered by the city’s masters.
“I am not your enemy. Your enemy is beside you. Your enemy steals and murders your children,” Daenerys said. “I bring you a choice. And I bring your enemies what they deserve.”
While things were going well for Daenerys this episode, Cersei (Lena Headey) was at her lowest, mourning the death of Joffrey (Jack Gleeson).
In perhaps the most taboo scene of the series so far, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei began kissing over their son’s dead body. Cersei thought better of it and tried to put a stop to it — but Jaime had sex with her anyway. The rape will surely cause a stir among viewers and discussion among Thrones faithfuls.
In the novel, A Storm of Swords, the sex was disturbing but ultimately consensual, with Cersei protesting at first but then asking Jaime to continue. By making the scene nonconsensual, HBO’s Thrones drives home that despite Jaime’s good deeds (saving Brienne from a bear; murdering the Mad King to save King’s Landing), he’s not the good guy. Yes, he matured in season three thanks to his friendship with Brienne, but part of him is still the same man that threw Bran out the window.
For more on the scene and the creative choices behind it, Read THR‘s Q&A with director Alex Graves.
Moments before the rape, king-to-be Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) got a history lesson from grandpa Tywin (Charles Dance) on the nature of being a good king. Tywin’s speech showed that he really does have what it takes to be a good ruler. Alongside gentle-natured Tommen, Tywin might have a shot of doing some good in Westeros.
Speaking of other charming moments, how adorable was the little family The Hound (Rory McCann) and Arya (Maisie Williams) stayed with?
The scenes presented Arya with two opposing philosophies. The poor farmer has shades of Eddard Stark in him. He is honorable but ultimately doomed. The Hound is a realist and a survivor above all else. A brutal man for a brutal time. The Hound defended robbing the man by saying he’ll be dead by winter, and dead men don’t need silver.
“There’s plenty worse than me,” said the Hound. “I just understand the way things are. How many Starks do they got to behead before you figure it out?”
Earlier in the episode we learned Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) had arranged for Sansa’s (Sophie Turner) escape from the Purple Wedding. He’s always been creepy, but he took it to a new level, caressing the girl and whispering that she is safe with him. Clearly he was involved in Joffrey’s murder — or at least had knowledge of it ahead of time.
Speaking of other potential suspects, Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg) and Margaery (Natalie Dormer) were shedding no tears for Joffrey. Margaery was more upset that her status as queen was in question, while Lady Olenna noted her granddaughter would not have enjoyed being married to Joffrey.
The exchange didn’t point to guilt or innocence on their parts, but Margaery is likely innocent. She just wanted to be queen too badly. As for Olenna? The jury is still out, but it is quite conceivable the pragmatic matriarch had a hand in Joffrey’s death.
And here’s the key line from Olenna: “You did wonderful work on Joffrey. The next one should be easier.” The Tyrell women have their sights set on the next king: young Tommen.
Other odds and ends:
Davos (Liam Cunningham) got the bright idea of writing to the Iron Bank of Bravos without Stannis’ knowledge. What the letter said is unknown, but we do know the Iron Throne owes major money to the bank thanks to King Robert’s extravagances, and that the bank doesn’t take kindly to unpaid debts. Could Davos rally the bank to Stannis’ side?
Also at a brothel, Tywin further strengthened his position by enlisting Oberyn (Pedro Pascal) as a member of the tribunal that will judge Tyrion. (Tywin and Mace Tyrell are the other judges). He also offered Oberyn a seat on the small council and promised him the opportunity for him to discuss his sister’s death with the Mountain. All these moves are presumably to strengthen the Lannister’s ties with Dorne, the only region to resist dragons in the past.
Meanwhile, an imprisoned Tyrion learned Podrick (Daniel Portman) was being pressured to testify against him and ordered his squire to flee King’s Landing for his own safety.
At the Wall, Sam (John Bradley) shipped Gilly (Hannah Murray) off to a nearby brothel, because he was worried his fellow Black Brothers might take advantage of her.
Near the Wall, Ygritte (Rose Leslie) shot an arrow through a man, while creepy cannibal Styr (Joseph Gatt) told the man’s son he was going to eat the boy’s parents. Styr sent the boy to Castle Black to tell of the misdeeds in an effort to lure the Night’s Watch from their castle.
During a meeting of the Black Brothers, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) realized Mance Rayder had all the men he needed to crush the dramatically undermanned Night’s Watch — he just didn’t know it yet. But who had such knowledge? The crows who captured Craster’s Keep. Jon recommended sending men to kill the brothers so they don’t tell the Wildlings how undermanned the Wall really is.