If there’s one thing I realized about Game of Thrones this episode, it is that I can’t wait for future episodes. It is clear that the show is just going to drip characters’ plotlines slowly each episode and maybe they’ll come to a head at some point. Obviously, spoilers are ahead.
So last week, I was absent and didn’t really find the time to write about last week’s episode. In short, it was good. Really good even. But the one thing I will talk about from that episode is the revival of Jon Snow. It happened, as everyone and their mother knew. The show even killed off Roose Bolton but absolutely no one seemed to care. Jon Snow is alive. That is all anyone could talk about. I’m not going to say I don’t care about Jon Snow’s story, but I think the most interesting thing from last week and this week is Bran and the removal of Ned Stark as a myth.
It is clear this episode that Bran’s story is more Ned’s story through the eyes of his son. Ned, the one character who was proven to have no flaws beyond being too nice and his death resulted in the entire Stark family fighting for their lives and the safety of Westeros. Now we see the showrunners taking a stab at turning Ned into a flawed man. A story once told to be this great moment in Ned’s fighting career is reduced to him taking advantage of a man stabbed in the back, without even flinching. There is no remorse or hesitation about his honor. Ned kills a man through foul play.
The reason this story is interesting is because it is trying to fight the audience’s perception of Ned, as well. I haven’t cared about Bran at all before this season, and I’m still not sure I do. But what I, and everyone who likes Game of Thrones probably cares about is Ned Stark. If it wasn’t for his death, the show would not be able to get to the point that it is at. Anyone can die, but the reason we say that is because we believed Ned to be the main character. It’s not that anyone can die which makes the show interesting, but that any good character die.
Even then, this season’s most interesting ideas seem to be that of breaking tradition. Aptly titled “Oathbreaker,” Game of Thrones is focusing largely on what happens when rules are dismantled. Take the High Sparrow and his religious crusade, one which in a world with Joffrey would have ended in so much blood. But Tommen proves he has a bit more diplomacy, yet also just enough fear. And Cersei and Jamie continue to fight everyone, including the Queen of Thorns who makes her return with very satisfying insults. Also, what is that Maester doing to those kids? Boy, I hope it’s not sinister.
Or let’s look at Daenarys, who is essentially being punished right now for breaking tradition. As the widow of a Khal, she was supposed to stay with all the other widows immediately after Khal Drogo’s death. Now she is going to be tried for breaking the rules. Meanwhile, she has a city to rule and a dragon to find. I’m sure those two things won’t intersect and cause her to get out of that mess, right? It’s an interesting plotline, but it doesn’t actually feel like one that matters because chances are Daenarys is not going to be imprisoned with a bunch of widows for the rest of the series. It would actually be one of the most shocking things to happen in the series, but I’m serious, it will not happen. If it does, I am sure there will be riots.
Before I take a look deeper into Jon Snow’s arc – because it really is the focal point of the season – I just want to mention how utterly pointless Arya has been for the past three episodes. She goes blind, continues to do the same training she had to do before (be convincing as no one), and then can see again because she did the thing she has been doing since last season. This is, once again, a consistent problem with Game of Thrones. We knew Arya would become like Jaqen, but what we didn’t know was she would go blind. Except guess what? She’s not blind now. The surprise is taken away and proven inconsequential. Just like how I can safely say Daenarys is walking out of widow camp no problem. Or how we all knew Daenarys would get her dragons back in Season 2 and continue on her way. This is not a new problem, but it is one that might actually become a huge one in this season based on the plotlines happening.
There was also a little more of the Tyrion and Varys Show, which was kind of interesting. But watching Missandei, Grey Worm and Tyrion try to have a conversation was boring and not the laugh-inducing moment it was trying to be. It wasn’t even painful, other than to see an amazing character like Tyrion try to liven up a scene against two fairly flat characters.
I’m just gonna also quickly mention that Rickon coming back was actually shocking to me. I don’t know why but seeing Rickon with Osha now being held hostage by Ramsay (without the supervision of Roose) made me curious where the show will go with that plot. They couldn’t possibly just have Osha get raped and turn Rickon into Reek 2.0, could they? Actually, nevermind, that plotline could end up being the worst one and prove again why no one even cares about Rickon.
Okay guys, let’s talk about Jon’s thread because this is where the season clearly wants to focus. I am still in love with the idea of the politics behind bringing the Wildlings beyond the wall, breaking tradition, fracturing an age-old army (the Night’s Watch), and possibly creating the biggest impact in Westeros. With Jon’s decision to end his watch, that means either A) a new Night Commander must be selected, or B) the Wall is unprotected for Whitewalkers to get past. I’m banking on option B just to see the world burn. The impact of Jon’s decision is perhaps not immediately noticed, but knowing that Jon let the Wildlings beyond the Wall, incited a small mutiny, came back to life, and then exacted revenge means the Wall is extremely messed up right now. Jon leaving might be the worst thing that happens to it. But Jon leaving also means there might be some exploration of the world done by Jon Snow.
All of the above fascinates me in so many ways and despite the fact that I actually think Jon Snow isn’t that interesting himself, I think his plot has always been captivating. The same is the case with Bran, who I think is only kind of interesting but his plot right now is fascinating as well. I look forward to the next episode when maybe we get some Jorah and Daario time or at least find out what sadistic thing Ramsay will do to Rickon.
Game of Thrones "Oathbreaker"
- Traditions are being broken all throughout the Night's Watch
- Ned Stark's mythological self is being dismantled
- Arya's plot is actually really meandering and pointless right now
- There is very little that feels impacting this episode
- Missandei and Grey Worm are not developed characters at all