This week in Westeros: Have I told you about Rhaegar Targaryen?
In King’s Landing Scarsei continues her reign of terror. For the last few weeks she’s been playing nice with the Tyrells but having her hyenas in place has given her the confidence to go on the attack. She sends Mace on a mission to deal with the bank, and I’m pretty sure the guard she sends along is meant to make sure he doesn’t come back for a while, preferably at all. Then she tips off her new bestie the High Sparrow that Loras likes boys and thus Loras gets arrested by the newly incorporated army of faith fighters. Which sends Margaery straight to Tommen and Tommen straight to Cersei and then Cersei does something weird and wildly out of character: she sends Tommen straight to the High Sparrow.
Now, maybe she really truly trusts her favorite hyena but that would also be out of character? I don’t know, except that Cersei is becoming even more Scarsei and it’s Scare-sei. Tommen, being Tommen (a simple, kind boy with no guile and no chance), chooses not to start a fight with the Sparrows even when the rest of the city start to heckle him for being a bastard abomination. Poor baby Tommen is too nice for this world.
In Winterfell Sansa is reconnecting with dead Aunt Lyanna (not to be confused with dead Aunt Lysa) or more probably, trying to get some alone time and the crypt is the most logical place. Unfortunately Littlefinger shows up to reminisce about dead Aunt Lyanna and dead Prince Rhaegar, who chose to love the wrong woman and started a war. Sansa counters that kidnapping and rape isn’t the same as love and she’s not wrong (though Petyr’s face says she may be misinformed about this particular bedtime story).
So Petyr finally lets Sansa in on his Grand Plan for her life — Stannis will take out the Boltons and make her, the sole surviving Stark, Wardeness of the North, which will help him rally the people to get him back his throne. Besides ‘wardeness’ not being a word, I can totally get behind this plan. Sansa, however, is hesitant because no other plan she’s ever made has worked out even a little. And so we get a wonderfully layered exchange in which Petyr encourages Sansa to use her whole arsenal against the Boltons: “Even the most dangerous men can be out maneuvered and you’ve learned to maneuver from the very best.” And then he kisses her and it is super gross but it is also wonderful because he is the most dangerous man and he just dared her to out maneuver him. That is some Dumbledore level audacity and I am here for it! Because my girl Sansa is up to the challenge. She will be Wardeness of the North, she will not be anyone’s plaything, she will win.
Up at the wall, Stannis and his army are indeed preparing to march on Winterfell and take back the North. Stannis wants Jon to come with him but Jon continues to choose Starkian honor over well, everything else. He made a vow to the Watchers and he will not break it. Melisandre takes it upon herself to tempt him with well, her everything but he made a vow to the Watchers and he will not break it! Melisandre’s not buying it since she knows he already broke that vow with another redheaded temptress but Jon counters that he’s still in love with her, dead or not, so take your breasts and go. Melisandre and her magic dress (the only explanation for how fast that dress is opened and closed is magic) sweep out but not before crushing Jon’s heart with the words “You know nothing.”
Princess Shireen finds her would be king father in his tower office and everything about their scene is perfect. She confesses that she knows her mother didn’t want her to come — because she told her so — and it’s clear she worries her father doesn’t want her around either. So Stannis tells her the story of her sickness and how he stood up to everyone and demanded she be made well, because she is his daughter and clearly the best and most important part of his life.
And Shireen moved around his battle pieces and I kinda want her to accidentally win the war, except what I really want is for Stannis and Shireen to settle somewhere nice and be a happy family. I know, let’s make him Warden of the North and let Sansa be Queen. Anyway, also of note, they’ve talked about Greyscale every episode this season so it’s clearly important.
Jaime and Bron’s road trip on a boat takes them past Tarth
and into Dorne. Where they are almost immediately attacked, first by a literal snake and then by figurative snakes. They win because Bron’s the best sell sword and these Dornish were indistinguishable and didn’t have names (stakes, there were none).
But it doesn’t matter because the boat captain who smuggled them in has already confessed to (three of) the late Oberyn’s daughters collectively known as the Sand Snakes. They were only slightly more distinguishable than the Dornish soldiers on the other beach — there was the cute one, the one who gets to talk, and the other one — but this is merely their introduction and it was important for them (and Ellaria) to be a cooperative united in a thirst for vengeance than individuals. I have hopes, please don’t dash them.
Jorah and Tyrion are also on a boat, heading as suspected to Daenerys. Tyrion continues to talk too much so Jorah knocks him out.
We hope they get to Mereen soon because Dany’s losing ground every day. She and Ser Barristan look out over her queendom and she waxes poetic about how pretty and peaceful the city looks from way up here. Barristan tells a story about her brother that makes him sound like a wiser version of Tommen, or maybe just more confident. The take infects them both with a nostalgic hope and Dany sends him into the streets to enjoy the day.
Down in the real world, her city is in chaos, her army is undone and her bravest knights are felled. Ser Barristan deserved better. I mean, he did get that nice swelling theme song to accompany his badass bravery but it’s too soon for Obi-wan to die! I liked him so much more than Daario. And don’t get me started on Grey Worm. Grey Worm is not allowed to be dead. He is NOT.
Next week: the dragons return
Winning: Stannis Baratheon
Dead: Ser Barristan Selmy, a crowd of Unsullied and Sons of the Harpy, the poor soul who smuggled Jaime Lannister into Dorne