I understand that it’s a challenge to coordinate the many storylines of the show in a way that doesn’t take away from the pacing, but after six seasons you’d have thought they’d have the hang of it. As it stands, the fifth episode advanced certain storylines to far beyond the 5th episode mark -narratively speaking- while others seem to only now be starting, and others still keep treading water.
-For anyone struggling to understand Sansa’s motivation in this episode let me just say that the arrival of Littlefinger is a bitter reminder that she can only really depend on her self. She also wants to put as much distance as possible between them so I don’t find it that hard to believe that she hid his presence -and his army- from people that don’t know Littlefinger as well as she does and may therefore think they can control him. Spoiler Alert: They can’t.
-Her new dress is spectacular and I’m happy Jon got a makeover even if that coat is like his father’s for the simple fact that when he wears it he looks like a teenager borrowing his parent’s clothes to go to a formal event (IT’S HUGE!).
-I’m really liking the art direction this season, from the different trees, to the children of the forest and Sansa’s new dress. The driftwood crown looks strange and absolutely appropriate. Also good to see Daenerys back in Dothraki gear.
-Arya’s storyline is finally getting some traction. Seeing her emotional response to the play lets us know Arya Stark’s identity is nowhere near lost, and her moral doubts about killing the actress show that she is not the ruthless killing machine many suppose her to be.
-The Blackfish lives!
-Just a couple of episodes ago we were told that being Balon’s heir was no guarantee to the throne, so it’s a weak reason to nominate Theon for the job. I also find it hard to believe that Theon Greyjoy would have been considered a suitable candidate by the Ironborn, even before the traumatic events at Winterfell. What irks me the most though, is that a speech that should have been Asha’s, who was fighting to be respected, was given instead to Theon and was more platitude than substance. Yes, it was admirably delivered, and yes, it’s nice to see some of the old Theon back -it’s nice to see him make conscious decision- HOWEVER, the Kingsmoot was what solidified Asha as one of my favorite characters not only for her determination, but also for her extremely strong argument. An argument that was never properly made.
-I adore stories within stories, especially if they’re telling the story we’re being told. The sheer meta enjoyment I get out of things like the play makes me not want to completely discount it, even though the troupe was nowhere near the caliber of the Ember Island Players. It was fun seeing at least three actors I know from other things (Robert, Cersei, and Ned) and Robert as usual stole the show, being pretty much accurately portrayed. It also makes me wonder if this is Lannister propaganda, since Cersei and Joffrey are nowhere near as ridiculed as they could have been.
-I still have reservations about the show proving Tyrion right even though he is making… questionable choices. I am in love with Varys’ categorical atheism and I can’t wait for their decision to lean on religious fanatics for support to go terribly terribly wrong. It did for Cersei.
-Yes, Euron was loud, but he should be louder. Since he doesn’t have his supernatural accoutrements on the show he could at least yell “I am the Storm!” a couple more times. And blacker clothes.
-The argument that Bran was not at fault for what happened isn’t strong. It was absolutely not his fault that he wasn’t informed about the danger of being touched by the Night King, yet what happened to Wyllis was entirely his doing. If he had not gotten into the habit of invading his body and using him as a puppet, Wyllis would never have become well, Hodor.