Total Power | Game of Thrones “The Gift” Review
Game of Throne’s “The Gift” continues the ongoing trend of slower episodes rounding out the season. Compared to other seasons, this season has been abnormally slow, but that wasn’t so much a problem early on in the season. The first handful of episodes did a great job of setting up what is to come, but the episodes still doing that this far into the season are a bit worrisome. It’s not that we need tons of action and deaths during every scene; it would just be nice for the episodes to have some kind of resolution, versus just acting as setups for the next episode.
Last week’s controversial episode with Sansa and Ramsay (I guess you could add Reek here too) caused quite the stir, and nothing in this episode would quell that notion. Reek is seen going to Sansa’s room where she pleads for him to help her. She keeps trying to reinforce to him that he is a Greyjoy, the last of his kind, and heir to the Iron Isles. But Ramsay really did a number on him in the previous seasons, and Theon Greyjoy may be gone forever. Sansa, in her aloofness, believes that she was finally able to crack through his damaged state and is having him go up to the broken tower with a candle to call for help. Presumably, the candle in the window would be a beacon to send help, and it just so happens that Brienne is looking in the direction when we think Reek is going to place the candle in the window. But, he actually did quite the opposite.
Reek’s complete fear of Ramsay has forced him to becoming nothing but a lap dog. Instead of saving the day, he revealed Sansa’s plan to Ramsay. The aftermath was quite brutal, and an elderly woman of Winterfell paid the price. Ramsay flayed the skin of the woman and mentions that she died too quickly, alluding that he couldn’t really enjoy it. Ramsay is one of the most demented and retched characters in the show, and even worse, he revels in it. Sansa tries to outsmart her way out of any more awkward Ramsay encounters by saying that he isn’t the rightful heir to Winterfell if Roose Bolton’s baby is indeed a son. But, he quips that Jon Snow is also a bastard, and he’s Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.
There’s no one quite like Ramsay in the entire show. Just about every character has their redeeming factor, or is at least semi-relatable; Ramsay is just straight up despicable in every sense of the word.
Sticking with Winterfell, we learn that Stannis’ army is running into quite a few issues, and it seems that winter is actually coming. Since Stannis’ belief in Melisandre is unwavering, he is constantly placed in terrible positions. His army is quickly dying off due to the cold, and the Stormcrows just decided to leave during the night, all 500 of them. With the ranks thinning, you’d assume that Stannis would pull back, but the Red Priestess urges him to push forward. She says the first thing that turns Stannis against her. Similarly to how Stannis killed his own brother, Renly, she explains that there’s always a cost to win the throne; there is just one more person that must meet the gods. She says that they need someone with king’s blood running through their veins, and the only one left is his daughter, Shireen. Thanfully Stannis resents this idea and banishes the flirtatious priestess out of his chambers.
I didn’t think Stannis had it in him to say no to her. She has this insatiable desire that no man can seem to deny. That he chooses his daughter over her really shows that, while Stannis always seem to have a screw loose, there is one person whom he will never out in jeopardy.
In Dorne, the Sand Snakes and Bronn are locked up in some sort of dungeon. Tyene Sand constantly asks Bronn how his arm is. Being naïve, Bronn assures her that his arm is fine. She asks him if he’s ever seen a woman who is more beautiful than her. Since Bronn is as confident and cocky as ever, he starts to describe a woman in King’s Landing, that is until Tyene starts to undress. It seems that when she got his blood pumping, Bronn became dizzy. Tyene reveals that her blade was soaked in a type of poison, “The Long Farewell Ointment,” that will kill him without the antidote. In order to retrieve the antidote, Bronn has to answer one question, who is the most beautiful woman in the world? He tells Tyene that it’s she, and she gives him the antidote. I’m curious as to why she saved Bronn.
Meanwhile, Prince Doran had Myrcella Lannister brought up to see her “uncle” Jaime. The name Lannister always seems to go a long way since Jaime isn’t locked up with Bronn. Myrcella doesn’t understand why he is in Dorne to take her away. He only tells her that it is complicated, but Myrcella isn’t buying it. She exclaims that Dorne is her home now, and she loves Trystane.
Onto our favorite Lannister, Tyrion and his kidnapper and pseudo-friend Jorah Mormont have finally made it to Slaver’s Bay. Jorah is bought for a nice sum of coins, and Tyrion slyly explains that they are a team and that he can fight. He proves this point by beating up the captor that has him in chains. Onto the fighting pits they go.
The fighting pits are a tradition in Meereen, and since this is the reopening under Dany’s rule, Hizdahr zo Loraq says that she must be in the low pits for the fighters. Finally, Jorah’s moment is coming to fruition. He isn’t in the first group of fighters, but once he does realize that she is present, he jumps into the fray. He knocks almost all the other fighters out and is ready for the grand reveal. But, the reveal didn’t go as planned. She immediately tells them to take Jorah away, but Tyrion, again saves his life. Tyrion says that he is the gift for which she has been waiting. Ironically, she doesn’t even know who Tyrion is at first sight. He introduces himself and, presumably, will have a large impact in the remaining three episodes.
It will be interesting to see how Tyrion fits into Dany’s plans. It’s doubtful it would go this way, but he could be a great advisor to her rule in Meereen. While he is a shady character and almost always looks out for only himself, he is one of the smartest people in Westeros.
Back in King’s Landing, Lady Olenna Tyrell is trying to free Queen Margaery from Cersei. She goes to see the High Sparrow to ask for him to let her grandchildren go. He tells her that he only serves the gods, and God’s laws must be applied to all equally. She tries to threaten him by saying that House Tyrell will stop sending crops to the capital. He only replies that a “lifetime of wealth and power has left you blind in one eye.” The Sparrows are taking a hardline approach to the way they are ruling King’s Landing, and if history is anything to go by, there is only one outcome. A Rebellion. But the Tyrells don’t go down that easily. In a scene with Littlefinger in his torn up brothel, he and Lady Olenna talk about how their fates are intertwined. They were both crucial parts in killing King Joffrey, and Olenna reminds him that if House Tyrell falls, she will spill everything she knows about Littlefinger. The conversational intensity in this scene was quite spectacular.
While Tyrion has been able to outsmart his way to Dany, Cersei believes everything is looking up. She is such an interesting character because she thinks she’s a lot smarter than she actually is. She has given the Sparrows complete power over King’s Landing. Little does she know how much this will affect her very own standing in King’s Landing. Early on in the episode she is seen taunting Margaery in her cell, explaining that she did everything in her power to help Magaery. Of course she is called out on this bluff, and Margaery lashes out on her telling her to leave. She then talks to the High Sparrow and is trying to manipulate how the trial will pan out. She is trying to see if he will be on the counsel in determining the fate of Loras and Margaery. But he counters this by saying everyone will be judged under by the Gods, and that includes her. To become part of the Sparrows, they have to strip the prospective followers of their sin. That is revealing every sin of their lives, a cleansing of sorts. And if you remember, Lancel and Cersei had an intimate relationship for quite some time. With all that power, the High Sparrow jails Cersei.
It is about time Cersei got what was coming to her. She has always managed to slip out of any fallout, but this time she is in the thick of it. Now, with the Queen and the Queen Regent jailed, what is to come of King’s Landing? Will the Sparrows rule the lands with absolute power? It’s an interesting storyline to follow, and is one of the better aspects of this season.
In an episode that was pretty easy to predict, there was one big surprise to be had. Two people in Castle Black are heckling Gilly, and Sam steps to the plate defend her. But, it’s safe to say that Sam’s sword skills haven’t gotten any better since season one. He is easily beat up, but to his benefit he continues to get back up. When all hope appears to be lost, and the two men would have their way with Gilly, we have our first Direwolf sighting in quite a while. Ghost steps out of the shadows and scares off the two hecklers. Even though Sam wasn’t able to completely defend her, she thanks him, and Sam finally gets under the sheets with her. Although it was a bit awkward since he was beaten pretty badly.