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Episode 3 - Oathbreaker

11 May 2016

I was very unsatisfied with events at the Wall. Yes these men have seen the dead rise. So John doing so is not as shocking as it might be. But is this really all we get? Melissandre didn't seem nearly as moved as you'd think she'd be. Ser Alliser was positively nonchalant. It felt so flat and uninspired.

Davos' motivations are bizarre. He seems to be hanging around just to give people pep talks.

I sooooo don't want to see Rickon tortured by Ramsay. Why did all the northern Lords have a-holes for sons? 

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  • another good episode and one that makes use of visual metaphors a lot to convey complex ideas.

    Looking at the story at the Wall, we saw Melisandre doubt herself enormously in the last two episodes so the fact that the resurrection happened, must have given her back some self-confidence. She also already met Beric so she's likely not THAT surprised by Jon Snow rising IF it turns out that her god's magic works. The way it seemed to affect her was that she'd had a rekindled interest in her faith by asking about Jon's experience after death, which ironically might contradict the existence of any gods at all. Yet, it is symptomatic of religious belief systems to fit narratives that contradict the religious doctrine into that doctrine so despite Jon and Beric telling her that there was nothing, she seemed strengthened in her faith again in this moment because she needs something to believe in. It might also be important that she acknowledged that Stannis was not the Prince who was Promised but that 'someone has to be', which implies that Jon is the most likely contender here and tells us about her need to have the universe make some kind of sense through her faith.
    Davos admits that Jon's resurrection is 'completely f-ing mad' because he has not witnessed the dead coming back to life yet. Edd and Tormund have seen the White Walkers. Comparatively, this is relatively harmless for them so I didn't really expect them to fall on their knees and start praying to Jon like some god, which is why it was important that it was Davos who discovered Jon alive.

    I find it interesting that Jon killing the kid is the thing that pushes him out of the NW but since the oath is only valid until death he's allowed to do so. It feels like if we compare this to him executing Janos Slynt, this felt harder for Jon because he has to kill the boy, a boy who was the Lord Commander's steward and whom Jon trusted until he betrayed him. He's essentially killing a kid like himself there and it's interesting that we get the Targaryen musical cues here as it happens. I also appreciate that Ser Alliser is not a one-dimensional villain and he died, and Jon left the Night's Watch, exactly 5 seasons after he arrived there. These details matter a lot.

    I'd say Davos stays around because a) the wall was where Stannis told him to go and b) without Stannis he has no real purpose but his speech to Jon and his overall handling of the entire situation at the Wall sums him up perfectly: he finds himself a new purpose. Why does he do all this? Because it is the right thing to do and because he needs a new purpoe in life. When he fails he obviously thinks that he needs to try again, even if it means failing again but the path is forward. The most honourable and umabiguously good-natured man in the story is undoubtedly Ser Davos and the closest to Eddard Stark that we had on the show.

    Dany's story seems to be about humility, given that the Dosh Khaleen all gave up their dreams and ambitions once their husbands died out of respect for their traditions. Dany's quest is selfish to some extent and she thought the rules of Dothraki society did not apply to her. I think in a story about ambition, having characters who are ok with having abandoned their own ambition is pretty relevant.

    The Umbers are an intriguing element. On the one hand the Smalljon insults Ramsay and Karstark to their faces and does not swear any oaths of fielty or kneel to pledge his loyalty but he also brings another Stark back to Winterfell. I have my theories about this one so I won't talk too much about this but it'll be interesting to see where it goes. I don't see the Starks getting rid of the Boltons unscathed so maybe Rickon is destined for death, since his spirit animal has been killed. sansa's direwolf Lady died and it arguably spelled misfortune for sansa for a long time and greywind died at the Red Wedding as well so we will see what happens. It also plays into the resurgence of the Starks, which were previously thought to be almost completely wiped off the face of the earth. Even if the Umbers are copletely honest with Ramsay here, it would be strange not to acknowledge that they seemingly have good reasons for approaching the Boltons. The presence of the wildlings does have long-term consequences for the rest of the North and so Jon's decision was the right one but it definitely seems to lead to unintended consequences, including now a potential threat to the life of one of Jon's family members.

    Bran's visions will be important and that fight was not only well-choreographed but also revealing of Eddard's own choices. Turns out the facts are less beautiful than the legend, even though people tend to only ever print he legend. Howland Reed saving Eddard's life might also partly explain Jojen and Meera's connection to Bran.

    The High Sparrow influencing Tommen reminded me very much of the scene of Tywin talking t Tommen bout what makes a good king. The answer of both the priest and the rich man to the question was wisdom but the source of wisdom is different, since with Tywin the implication was that he himself would be a good advisor to te king, whereas the High Sparrow attributes all of it to divine providence....and yet, for someone who says he is so pious and honest, the fact that Tommen is so innocent makes him vulnearble to suggestion and so the High Sparrow is able to manipulate him...if that is indeed what he is trying to do.

    When everyone left the small council, it felt again very much like the twins are left to their own devices and given hw much Qyburn knows about the Mountain, I do not know how much control Cersei has over him and how much control Qyburn allowed her to have over the Mountain. We also may get another trial by combat, since the possibility of the trial came up again as well.

    I would also applaud Varys for making a good anti-torture point and I know that to many people the show might revel in the violence but I hold that depiction is not endorsement and if art is not challenging you or making you uncomfortable then it's not doing anything. We have not seen him be menacing in a while and to see him reject torture for efficiency reasons rather than moral reasons fits the character and should remind us that he is still morally questionable and gray figure who we should maybe question more. It's also funny that Tyrion's jokes fall flat in the presence of very serious, simple people like Missandhei and Grey Worm.

    The Arya scenes were visually and narratively compelling. We get confirmation that she hated and yet did not hate the Hound. It seems like Arya closing a chapter of her life and ready to invite outside opinion into her course of action (what name would she want a girl to name indeed). It is also intriguing that she is later seen praying in front of the heart tree statue (whose eyes are bleeding in most representations, which is interesting considering her temporary blindness). So either she's just getting better at playing the game of faces and getting capable of fooling them or she believes that she is Noone enough to where she might pass the assassins test.

    Viewer score: 85 / 100

    Posted by Beric, 09/05/2016 10:18pm (11 months ago)

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