I fell asleep and didn’t see the episode yet so I can’t read this and the image upload on the site is broken so I am trying to fix it but I can’t really look at the post so you can see my challenge.  So you get one pic of Cersei looking incredulous because that’s kind of how I assume you all look right now – Acadia

cerseiislisteningWhen Hodor gets all the really great lines in a GOT episode you know it’s a set up for the BIG THINGS TO COME. That’s usually about Episode 9 in case you’re wondering when to wake up.

Still by now we’re all fans so it’s interesting even if the pace was slow. There were Starks all over the map and Daenerys has decided to learn how to rule justly. Sansa got to wear big girl makeup for the first time and so did Jorah Mormont. Jorah is supposed to be balding, swarthy, and hairy like a bear. What is he suddenly doing looking like he stepped out of GQ?

Are you confused where everyone is? We’ve found a great map that’s guaranteed not to provide spoilers. Just set it to the chapter or episode you’re on and you can track almost every major character. Interactive map of Westeros

Tommen is the first of his name to sit upon the Iron Throne. Even Cersei thinks he’ll be a good king. For the Lannisters and almost everyone else this translates into: We’d better do a lot more scheming in order to get what we want. The rehabilitation of Cersei is proceeding apace. She’s worried about her children and even manages to have a conversation with Tywin without having a snit like her brothers. Turns out the gold machine has run dry and the Lannisters are in hock to the Iron Bank. When kings default, new princes well funded for war soon appear. That would be Stannis. He’s shown in the promo for the next episode presenting his case to Tycho Nestoris of the Iron Bank.

Tommen is not the only crowned head with troubles. Across the Narrow Sea Daenerys has discovered that it’s not enough only to conquer. The Wise Masters have retaken Yunkai and Cleon the Butcher is making a mess of Astapor. She’d better learn how to actually rule before she retakes the Iron Throne so the decision is made to surround herself with hunky men and practice on the city of Meereen. It’s a turning point for Dany but she’s still young and inexperienced so it’s not going to be an easy ride.

The Eyrie always reminds me of the movie Deliverance. Maybe it was different when Jon Arryn was alive but it turns out Littlefinger and Lysa poisoned Jon so there’s nobody up there now but the crazies playing banjos. Auntie Lysa is convinced that Sansa is sleeping with Littlefinger even though all the knights in the Eyrie just figured out why they call her Lassie. (It’s a Porky’s joke) What a horrible time for Sansa to start actually wearing makeup.

There’s something terribly endearing when Arya promises to kill the Hound at the end of her prayer of death. It’s like a hissing kitten that’s not nearly as fierce as she thinks she is. There’s a hard lesson about attacking a man wearing full armor. It’s quite likely that Syrio Forel would still have been cut down by Meryn Trant even if he’d been armed with a steel rapier. Despite what you see in the movies it is hard to puncture good plate armor. This explains the popularity of warhammers like the one Robert Baratheon used to batter Rhaegar Targaryen to death.

Let’s hand it to Kristian Nairn. The actor turns in an incredible performance and all he ever gets to say is Hodor. This might be the only truly gentle person in all of Westeros and you can see it on his face after Bran forces him to brutally kill Locke. I had figured Locke to stick around. He was a compromise that condensed Vargo Hoat, leader of the Bloody Mummers, into something manageable for TV. This has been good for quite a few characters and Locke was turning into someone interesting on his own merit when Bran/Hodor did the old head twist. Oh well; Hodor is traumatized, Bran is headed to the magic trees, and the whole plot marches on.

The outrage machine had a lot to say about Cersei’s rape. For a short while it looked like Meera Reed was destined for the same fate at the hands of Karl. “You left your father’s castle looking for trouble.” is the mediaeval version of: “It was your own fault for dressing like that.” What hope do ordinary women have when women protected by family and power can be abused so easily? In the far crueler world at Crasters Keep the daughter/wives finally got a say in their own destiny. “Burn it to the ground.” One says. “And all of the dead with it.” There’s something satisfying about that decision and the right good bloodbath before the bonfire. “We’ll find our own way.” is a beacon of hope in a cold cruel world.