Game of Thrones Recap: “The Gift”

Game of Thrones season 5

After last week’s rant, we now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Thus far in season 5, our huge ensemble cast has gotten themselves into the following situations: Cersei has allied herself with religious fanatics hoping to regain the power she once had; Jaime is on a suicide mission in Dorne; Tyrion has been kidnapped by Ser Jorah and subsequently captured by slavers; Arya is beginning her mysterious training at the House of White and Black; Sansa has been married off to Ramsay Bolton at Winterfell while Brienne waits and watches from afar; Jon has become Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch; Daenerys has decided she must wed for political reasons; and last, but not least, Stannis Baratheon marches from Castle Black to Winterfell on his mission to take back the North and put Roose Bolton’s head on a spike.

*Spoilers ahead*

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King’s Landing

Lady Olenna is back, and she’s pissed. She’s not called the Queen of Thorns for nothing, and she is already conspiring to free Margaery and Loras from prison. After a fruitless conversation with the High Sparrow, she finds her former accomplice, Petyr Baelish. (In case you missed it, they’re the ones who murdered King Shithead.) Littlefinger tells Olenna that he had to give Cersei the gift of information so that she would continue to trust him, but that he has information for her as well. What they have up their sleeves now, I can’t guess. But since they’re two of the three craftiest characters in Game of Thrones, I can only imagine that the High Sparrow and Cersei will get theirs when they least expect it.

Meanwhile, Cersei attempts to console Tommen, who is distraught that he cannot do anything to free his wife. Cersei tells him not to worry, that she will do what she can. Tommen, being the sweet gullible boy that he is, hasn’t figured out that Cersei had a hand in the arrest of the Tyrells. Cersei goes to visit Margaery in the black cells, bringing her some leftovers from her dinner the night before. Margaery isn’t fooled by the charity, and calls Cersei out for her involvement. Cersei leaves the cell with a grin on her face, and goes to visit the High Sparrow. Her glee is shortlived, however, when she realizes that her cousin Lancel has told her secrets to the High Sparrow. That’s right, Lancel is a tattle-tale . Cersei should have gotten rid of him when she had the chance. Cersei is thrown into a cell just like Margaery’s, and will likely face the same fate, if not worse. After all, she didn’t just lie in front of the gods—Queen Cersei is guilty of both incest and regicide.

The North

The Wall

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Property of HBO

Jon departs from Castle Black on his new mission to gather the Free Folk, leaving Ser Alliser in charge. Before he leaves, Sam gives him a dragonglass dagger to help defend against White Walkers. Will we see Jon use it before the season is over? Not long after his departure, Sam and Gilly watch over Maester Aemon, who has fallen ill. He passes away in the night, and the Brothers burn his body. (Hear that sound? It’s my heart breaking because Aemon will never meet his last remaining relative, Daenerys.) After Sam gives Aemon’s eulogy, Ser Alliser whispers maliciously that all of Sam’s friends are leaving him.

We see later that night that Ser Alliser is, of course, wrong. Gilly is attacked by two Brothers, but Sam tries to protect her. He gets beat up, but Ghost comes to their rescue. It would seem that Jon purposefully left his direwolf behind to care for Sam. Who needs people for friends when a freaking direwolf has your back? Gilly tries her best to patch Sam up, and eventually decides to thank him with, well, herself. That’s right, they finally get it on, and my little shipping heart is happy. (Nevermind that the scene was awkward turtle times 1000.)

Winterfell

Our first glimpse of post-rape Sansa is of her curled up on a bed, crying. She is bruised and beaten, but her spirit is still strong. We realized that Ramsay locks her up during the day, and abuses her every night. Sansa begs Reek (whom she still calls Theon) to light a candle for her and place it in the broken tower, like the old woman said to do when in trouble. And because things can’t get better for Sansa, apparently, Reek goes to Ramsay instead. Ramsay, the sick bastard that he is, flays the old woman alive before showing her corpse off to Sansa.

I still have major issues with last week’s episode, but I’m glad to see that thus far, the writers haven’t simply dismissed the rape as another sex scene. Whether or not they will continue to explore the physiological and psychological effects of sexual abuse on Sansa remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Brienne watches Winterfell from her temporary lodgings, waiting for the sign to rescue Sansa.

On the Road from Castle Black

Stannis is losing horses and men to the harsh snows. Winter is coming, after all. The onion knight suggests returning to Castle Black and waiting until the time is ready, but Stannis refuses to turn back. He asks the Red Woman if everything she told him is true. She says it is, and that he now knows the power that is in King’s Blood. After all, according to Melisandre, it is King’s Blood that has killed the usurpers. She reminds him that they have such a thing with them if he wants to use it again—his daughter. Stannis appears horrified at the suggestion, but since he always seems to do what the Red Woman wants, I fear for Shireen’s life.

Dorne

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Property of HBO

Jaime is under house arrest for breaking into the palace, but is allowed to see Myrcella. She tells him she doesn’t want to leave with him, because Dorne is her home now and she wants to marry Tristayne. After all, she’s only done what her mother told her to do. Jaime seems perplexed by her answer, obviously not having figured in the possibility that she wouldn’t obey him without question.

Bronn is in the dungeons with the Sand Snakes, not having been treated to the same comforts as the Kingslayer, where he succumbs to poison. What he had assumed was simply a scratch turns out to have been inflicted with a poisoned blade. Tyene Sand gives him the antidote just in time, but not before flaunting her naked body in front of him. What purpose that scene served, I have no idea, other than to prove that the Sand Snakes are as beautiful as they are deadly. Honestly, I would have preferred a badass fighting scene to the mild pornography.

Across the Narrow Sea

Tyrion and Jorah are being sold at a slave auction. Jorah is purchased quickly, and Tyrion insists on being bought by the same man. What ensues is the best scene we’ve had so far this season.

While I must say that I feel a little bit bad for the kid, I do love watching Tyrion surprise everyone who thinks he’s just a useless dwarf.

Jorah and Tyrion’s new master takes them to some fighting pits, where they will fight and “level up,” so to speak. Those who make it out alive will be allowed to fight in the Queen’s presence. What they don’t realize is that Dany is actually already there on Hizdahr zo Loraq’s advice. Jorah knocks out the remaining fighters before taking off his helm and revealing himself to Dany. She’s still pretty pissed at him, and orders that he be taken out of her sight. “Khaleesi, please,” he begs. “I just need a moment of your time. I brought you a gift!” But before he can be dragged away, Tyrion runs out. “It’s true,” the dwarf confirms. “He has.” When Dany asks incredulously who he is, Tyrion simply raises his hands.

“I am the gift,” he says, before uttering the five simple words that will change the course of Game of Thrones forever. “My name is Tyrion Lannister.”

What comes next?

Jon meets with the Wildlings, who don’t look too happy to see him in their midst. Jorah and Tyrion are at the mercy of Dany, who has yet to decide what to do with them. Cersei is in rags in the dungeon, and isn’t happy about it. And best of all, Sansa threatens Reek with all the rancor she can muster.

Winter is coming,

The Collected Mutineer

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