On the heels of the “just okay” premiere episode of Game of Thrones, we were gifted a wonderful second episode ripe with character development even as the realm threatens war at every turn. From this point forward there may some spoilers, so please read at your own risk!
Right away we are taken to the Free City of Braavos, complete with towering Titan statue, and our favorite wayward Stark orphan brought to the steps of the House of Black and White where she is promptly turned away (Kindly Man, my ASS!). Arya must make her way in the strange city with no friends, no money, and nothing to keep her company, save for the grim prayer she whispered to herself every night. She knows she has no choice but to make this work, and after a brief encounter with thugs in an alleyway, she is whisked off to the House by a familiar “face.” Will she find safety in future episodes?
To the north, in the city of Meereen, Daario lead a small group of Unsullied to find a hidden outpost of the Sons of the Harpy, and after a rousing (yawn) speech about fear, one guy is found hidden in the walls. Daenerys’s council discussed what to do with the Son, and opinions differed on how best to deal with the traitor. Barristan lingered behind to warn Dany about showing crazy displays of power, and she heeds him…for now. Her already fragile grip on the city as she decided on her courses of action reached a head, as her prisoner is executed out of loyalty without her consent. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Dany has impossible decisions to make, and the ominous hiss of the freed men and women of Meereen left us all wondering what’s to come for our dragon queen.
Tyrion’s journey to Meereen is devoid of his fascination with the history of Essos as we see in book, and we instead get a rambling sort of conversation from Varys about Tyrion’s purpose and colorful symbolism about boxes. Insert witty dry remarks from Varys about the amount Tyrion has been drinking, and that’s literally all we have to go on this week for this odd couple.
Back across the sea in King’s Landing, Cersei started to unravel as she received a gift from Dorne: a snake with teeth bared, and a one of a kind necklace belonging to Myrcella dangling from its fangs. Her biting tongue wounds the only person willing to listen to her, and so Jaime vows to travel South to Dorne to bring Myrcella back, and enlists Bronn for help. Her paranoia disappears into a cold, condescending demeanor at a meeting of King Tommen’s small council and she names creepy Maester Qyburn as new Master of Whispers in Varys’ absence in the name of the King. Tired of her imperious attitude and lack of good direction for the realm, Kevan Lannister spurns Cersei in front of the others after he is not granted position of Hand (a title she took as well as being Queen Regent).
Tensions also rise in the royal court of Dorne as a vengeful Ellaria, paramour of Oberyn, exchanged heated words with Prince Doran Martell about a course of action following Oberyn’s death. She mentions the country wants war and action, and the Sand Snakes stand with them, but Doran recommends restraint much to her anger.
In one of the bigger deviations from the books, Brienne and Pod encountered Petyr Baelish and Sansa Stark in an inn. Brienne confronted the two, exchanging a quick banter with Baelish after swearing fealty to Sansa, who will not have her in her service. Needless to say, Petyr expertly delivered a veiled threat, and Brienne fled at the first opening with Pod right at her horse’s hooves, and her eyes staring after Sansa Stark. They watch Baelish and Sansa ride West, their destination still unknown.
At the Wall, Stannis tempts Jon with legitimacy and the official surname of Stark if he would bend the knee to him as the true king, and hand him the loyalty of the North. It’s all Jon has ever wanted…before he swore the vows of the Night’s Watch. What’s a bastard to do?! The rest of the Wall is preoccupied with the election of the newest Lord Commander and the choice seems clear, until Samwell Tarly nominates Lord Snow. His character shines here as he vouched for the character of one befitting of the title, no matter how young Jon Snow might be, and no matter how many enemies that would make for the young man.
Tons still awaits us this season, and we are practically beside ourselves with the angst of waiting since we are playing the good game and watching weekly with the masses!!