Tonight’s episode “Oathkeeper” had even the book-reading fans of “Game of Thrones” wide-eyed from the shocking finish. Enjoy our book reader’s recap and feel free to share your thoughts on the episode in comments below.
Spoiler Note: This post is for those who have read the A Song of Ice and Fire series. As such the post itself and the comments will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read the books yet, you can discuss this episode in our non-book-reader recap. Thanks!
In a tent outside Meereen, Missandei is educating Grey Worm in the Common Tongue. The former slaves learn about one’s another background, before Grey Worm departs to lead a foray into the city itself with the Unsullied in disguise. Under the city, the slaves of Meereen debate the pros and cons of siding with Daenerys in her uprising, citing past failed revolts. Grey Worm silences their protests by providing weapons and reminding them that they outnumber the slave owners greatly. The slaves take up the cause and bring down the masters quickly.
Like the people of Yunkai, the newly freed people of Meereen embrace Daenerys as Mhysa, but she is not done with the masters of Meereen. The men who chose to nail 163 children to crosses along the path to the city will not be forgiven. Barristan cautions her to choose mercy, but Daenerys won’t hear of it. Nailed along the path now are 163 masters, and the Targaryen dragon flag flies triumphantly over the city.
In King’s Landing, Jaime has regained some of his old swagger, as his sword skill with his left hand grows while sparring with Bronn. However he’s reminded he has a ways to go when Bronn uses Jaime’s own golden hand to knock him down. While chatting after their practice, Bronn reminds Jaime of his duty to Tyrion, still sitting in prison.
Bronn’s guilty reminders having been successful, Jaime stops by Tyrion’s cell and the men exchange uneasy words about the murder of Joffrey and the severity of Tyrion’s situation. He confirms he didn’t kill the king, but Jaime won’t help him escape, despite his desire to help his brother, and Cersei’s conviction that Tyrion and Sansa are guilty.
Safely sailing away from King’s Landing, Littlefinger clarifies the status quo further for Sansa, who questions why he would want to kill Joffrey when the Lannisters had helped him come to power. Littlefinger has “new friends,” he declares, and Joffrey’s death was something they wanted very badly.
Taking another turn around the gardens with her granddaughter, the Queen of Thorns reminisces about the seductive actions she took to ensure she got the husband she wanted as a young woman. She also makes it clear to Margaery, without actually stating it, that she had a hand in the king’s unfortunate end. Margaery is shocked- it seems the king’s bride is innocent of any wrongdoing.
Practicing with raw recruits in the courtyard at Castle Black, including the boy who survived last week’s wildling attack, Jon encounters a new member- Locke. The man who was sent north by Roose Bolton to seek out Bran and Rickon has joined the Night’s Watch. Locke fights another recruit and brutally takes him down, much to Jon’s chagrin. He suggests Locke take it easier, but Alliser Thorne interrupts to remind Jon that he’s a steward and has no place training men like a ranger.
Considering the future, Janos Slynt points out that sending Jon to Craster’s Keep like the young man had wanted might be a good idea, as Jon may be competition in the inevitable election for the Lord Commander position. While the men contemplate this, back in the yard Locke reintroduces himself to Jon, lying about his reasons for joining the Night’s Watch.
Drinking in her chambers, Cersei challenges Jaime’s reasons for being released, and his promise to send the Stark girls to Catelyn. She presses her brother, and though he hesitates, Jaime agrees he would break his oath and give her Sansa’s head if she demanded it.
Acting on her grandmother’s advice regarding her own husband, Margaery approaches Tommen in his bedchamber late at night. The boy protests at first but is charmed by the beautiful older woman. Tommen’s cat Ser Pounce joins them, and he recalls his brother’s cruelty toward his pet. After he promises not to tell anyone about her visit, she kisses him goodbye- on the forehead.
Brienne reviews Jaime’s notable acts in the White Book of the Kingsguard, but there is little on his pages but his misdeeds. Jaime presents to Brienne the Valyrian sword that his father had gifted him, and a new suit of armor custom made for her. Overwhelmed, she vows to find Sansa for Lady Catelyn- and for Jaime. Jaime then recalls he has one more gift- a squire.
Podrick Payne will be joining her when she leaves King’s Landing, in order to save the young man’s life. Bronn sees the squire off, presenting him with Tyrion’s axe from the Battle of the Blackwater. Before they bid farewell, Brienne gives the sword a name- Oathkeeper. After saying goodbye, she rides away with Pod at her side.
At the Wall, Sam frets over his decision to leave Gilly in Mole’s Town. Jon reassures him about making tough decisions, and admits he wishes he had been strong enough to go after Bran when Sam saw him beyond the Wall. Their conversation is interrupted by a lurking Locke, who brings word that Thorne wants to see Jon. Thorne will allow the dangerous mission to Craster’s Keep, but with no assigned men, forcing Jon to go alone or find volunteers.
Jon speaks eloquently of the need to find the mutineers before Mance Rayder does, to keep the Wall safe. The mutineers also killed Lord Commander Mormont and he deserves justice. A handful of men volunteer, including Grenn, Dolorous Edd- and Locke.
Karl, Rast, and the surviving mutineers are holed up in the keep, enjoying Craster’s daughter-wives while Karl lords over the other men. As he is about to send Rast out to feed “the beast,” as he calls it, a newborn baby is carried in.
It’s Craster’s last born child, a boy. The women explain that the boys are not killed, they’re offered to the gods- the White Walkers, Karl understands. He sends Rast outside with the baby to handle the offering. Rast lays the baby in the snow, and tends to the ‘beast’- it’s Ghost, in a cage. He taunts the direwolf, but runs off terrified when the cold winds begins to blow, signaling the arrival of a White Walker.
The cries of the baby disturb Bran and his traveling companions, camped around a fire nearby. He wargs into Summer to investigate, and finds Ghost in his cage. The vision disappears however, and it seems his wolf is trapped somewhere. The group is captured then by the mutineers, and brought before Karl.
Karl realizes Bran is highborn, and Bran is soon forced to reveal he’s Brandon Stark of Winterfell. Rast recognizes the name, knowing he’s Jon’s brother. Karl is thrilled, knowing he has a valuable hostage.
A White Walker has collected the baby and is returning home. He brings the child to a ring of pillars, and places it in the center. Another White Walker steps forward from a line of figures, picks up the baby, touches his cheek…and the baby’s eyes turn electric blue like a White Walker’s.
Things I Liked
Essos Rising- From Grey Worm and Missandei’s getting-to-know-you session to Daenerys’s ruthlessness with the masters, the Essos portion of the show was perfect.
That finish- I’m still processing it, but it blew my mind. Does this line up with what’s planned for book canon? Who knows? Either way, wow.
New recruits at the Wall- I wasn’t sure what to think about moving Locke to the Night’s Watch when we heard the rumor last year, but I like what I’m seeing so far. More Noah Taylor is always a good thing. And it seems like the boy from the village may be something of a Satin equivalent this season, with his archery skill and him joining the Watch now. I’m thinking he’s destined for another encounter with a redhead this season.
Oathkeeper- Though the effect is diminished by last week’s debacle in the sept, the Jaime and Brienne scenes were still very strong.
Ser Pounce- What’s not to love?
Things I Didn’t Like
More sexual mistreatment- I get that it happens in the GoT world, but I’m bored with it onscreen, especially when it’s for no necessary story purpose. We know that Karl is creepy and dangerous and the mutineers are no good already. We don’t need to belabor the point that way.