Game of Thrones has much to offer its audience by way of killer battle sequences, deep history, and long-arcing character development. But there’s one thing that can be just as gratifying, though so exceedingly rare in this brutal world that we could probably count the number of times we’ve seen it on Jaime’s one hand. Thanks to Gilly, we saw it this week: genuine happiness. It’s likely she’s gone the furthest south of any Wildling ever, and she was beaming on the ship that she and her Big and Little Sams are sailing to Old Town. Well, not quite. Since the Citadel doesn’t admit women, she’s actually going to be staying with Sam’s family in Horn Hill, which will likely result in some uncomfortable questions for Sam. Namely: Who’s this chick? This your kid? What have you been DOING up there?!
But amongst the unexpected news, dark stormy sea, and Sam’s incessant vomiting, Gilly’s spirits are way up. Even Sam is unsure of his decision to leave her with his family and is so surprised by Gilly’s understanding that he says, “I’d feel better if you threw something at me and stormed off.” To which she responds, “I’d never do that to the father of my son.” How cute is she! I mean, the real father of her son is her father, but so cute!
It seems like we’re at a point where we should stop concerning ourselves with timelines. Gilly had Little Sam in season three and he is still an infant. This kid can’t even walk and Bran seems about the age of Ned in this flashback! And speaking of killer battle sequences, this episode’s time-warg to the legendary fight at the Tower of Joy was one of the best little fights in recent memory. Let’s hear it for fight choreography!
Bran wasn’t quite as impressed with the water dancing as I was. He’d heard of his father’s bout with Ser Arthur Dayne his whole life, imagining the Great and Honorable Ned Stark as the illustrious victor. But history has a way of smudging out details. In this case, Howland Reed ending the brawl by sticking a dagger through Ser Arthur’s jugular, just three inches away from literally stabbing him in the back.
But this little historical hiccup doesn’t change Bran’s love for his father, and he calls after Ned as he’s climbing the stairwell to the tower. (Because he hears a woman screaming! Theories!) Ned pauses and turns, seemingly hearing an echo of Bran’s call to him. But of course, the wet blanket that is the Three-Eyed Raven pulls Bran back to reality before he can scribble over the past. It’s already written, TER says, “The ink is dry.”
This is the second time he’s warned Bran that if he stays too long in the past he won’t be able to come back to the present. Impetuous as any Stark child, Bran pushes back on why he should even want to return: “So I can be a cripple again? So I can talk to an old man in a tree?” But TER, being said old man stuck in a tree because dude sat there for a thousand years, has understandably more patience than his protege. He knows Bran has to stay in the present in order to learn. Learn what? “Everything.” That’s reasonable. Here’s to hoping that the Three-Eyed Raven’s warnings are just that, and not foreshadowing of Bran getting stuck in a time all Interstellar style.
Also from this episode:
Daenerys Is Not Special, and Other Meereen Thoughts
Little Birds with Giant Mountains
The Two Degrees of Forgotten
On Jon Snow and Where You Go After Being Stabbed