EUGOTSOC Committee review of Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 3: “Oathbreaker” written by – Haavard Haugvaldstad: Treasurer.
Episode 3 of the season starts right back up from where episode 2 left off, Jon gasping for breath, and Davos looking perplexed, as if this wasn’t exactly what he was hoping for. Even Melisandre can’t seem to believe her eyes. Jon seems just as perplexed as anyone, but after a quick pep-talk from eternal right-hand man Davos, Jon manages to wince his way out into the courtyard of Castle Black. Jon has a touching moment with Edd, and Tormund responds to resurrection in exactly the same way he responds to everything, penis jokes. Later Jon meets four of his killers at the gallows, ready to hang. He hears their last words, Ser Alliser Thorne is unremorseful and has his head held high. Olly says nothing at all. Jon seems to hesitate before he cuts the rope, but in the end the conspirators die. Presumably the rest of the conspirators receive the same treatment. Jon promptly hands over his coat to Edd, saying it’s his turn to be lord commander, Jon’s watch is ended.
Immediately following the Wall is Sam and Gilly spending time under deck as their ship makes its way through a storm. Sam breaks it to Gilly that girls aren’t allowed in Oldtown. Gilly must be getting pretty annoyed at how many places are “boys only” in the south. Sam wants to send Gilly and her son to his home Horn Hill to have his family look after the pair. All in all, it’s a pretty good scene, but I admit I think the scene suffers from having Sam being sick. It feels a bit too much like a cheap joke that shouldn’t have been there in an otherwise good scene. But that aside I certainly look forward to a potential look at Sam’s home town Horn Hill and seeing his father for the first time. Sam was a coward when he left home and I think it’ll be interesting to see how the relationship dynamic between the two will work after all this time.
The Tower of Joy sequence has been highly anticipated by the lore obsessed fans of the series since the season trailer was released, but this episode only teases the Tower of Joy, although we did get a pretty kick-ass fight scene to enjoy. Featuring Arthur Dayne, and Gerold Hightower as the last loyal undefeated Targaryen men, and a young (very northern) Ned Stark and Howland Reed with friends as the opponents. 6 men from Robert’s rebellion vs. 2 of the Mad King’s kingsguard, oh and Bran and the Three-eyed raven are there too as spectators. The scene is interesting in several ways, it shows Ned Stark winning in a less than honourable way with the help of Howland Reed (must be rouge spec’d for that backstab crit dmg), and also it seems that Ned could hear Bran when he called out to him. Exactly what that means is hard to tell as They are clearly viewing the past, could magic have some effect even through time? This is surely a setting we will return to this season I’m looking forward to it a lot. The ToJ hype is real.
Daenerys arrives at Vaes Dothrak this episode, for some reason on foot, you’d think a khal’s widow would be shown a bit of respect even though she ran away and was later captured. The Dosh Khaleen greet her in their temple and inform Daenerys that since she has broken the law and gone into the world rather than return to the Dosh Khaleen as she should have according to Dothraki law, her fate will be decided by the Khalar Vezhven. This is a gathering of the Khals to agree on different matters that concern them. It’s probably a good thing that the dothraki can’t spill blood in their holy city or I imagine this type of gathering of khals could get pretty interesting from time to time. It should be an interesting scene anyway when (if) we get to see the actual meeting take place, but that’s for another episode.
In Mereen Varys struggles with the heat, but persists. He holds a meeting with a harpy sympathiser who has information he wants. It’s a chilling scene as Varys channels Hannibal Lecter and plays with his guest’s mind in a cold and almost cruel manner. The background music in this scene was particularly good, a very low ominous chord for the duration of the scene. But as we find out Varys doesn’t need to kill or torture, he says it himself, he likes to make his informers happy. Meanwhile Tyrion tries to pass the time by getting on Missandei and Grey Worm’s good sides. It doesn’t seem to work. Tyrion cracks jokes and tries to get the others to drink, also unsuccessfully. This scene feels a bit too much like filler to get the run time up, nothing really comes from it plot wise and there’s no real character development. But at least we get to hear who funds the Sons of the Harpy, Astapor (unsurprisingly), Yunkai (unsurprisingly), and more interestingly the slavers from Volantis. We haven’t seen or heard much of Volantis and it could be very interesting to have this large rich player enter the game of thrones.
From one royal court to another, Qyburn has taken over command of Varys’ “little birds” and Cersei wants him to develop a Stasi style spy network to gather information on everyone in the Seven Kingdoms, from lords to common folk. At the Small Council meeting Pycelle voices his disapproval of Qyburn yet again, but that ends when Cersei, Jamie, and undead Gregor crash the meeting. Mace (The Oaf) Tyrell is back from Braavos but makes no mention of any missing Kingsguard (sadly). Also present is the Queen of Thorns and Kevan Lannister. Jamie argues that the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard has a position on the Small Council, and Cersei refuses to leave. It all ends at an impasse as the members of the council all leave rather than continue. Meanwhile Tommen meets with the High Septon to argue on Cersei’s behalf. The High Septon quickly defuses the tense situation with some wisdom and pious talk, and manages to make Tommen leave empty handed again. These scenes showcase the political intrigues ongoing in King’s Landing, and I think they were perhaps the best part of the episode. King Tommen is weak and easily manipulated, he’s in a mess of someone else’s making and he doesn’t know how to get out. Cersei is scrambling to regain some power and pride; Jamie mostly just goes with it but shows that he doesn’t really know how to play the game. But most importantly, I think, House Lannister is split between Kevan and Cersei, and with the Queen of Thorns in King’s Landing House Tyrell is back in the game. The alliance between the lion and the rose is on shaky ground and House Lannister is especially splintered. I think we’re in for a treat this season with the political intrigue in King’s Landing.
Right at the end of the episode are a few short scenes, the first of which is Arya undergoing training to become no-one. We briefly see Arya smell different powders, probably poisons, and as the montage progresses Arya becomes increasingly proficient at fighting blind, and at lying. It culminates with Jaqen-not-Jaqen giving Arya a bowl of the deadly water from the fountain in the House of Black and White, saying that if she truly is no-one then she will live. Arya regains her eye-sight and confirms, she is no-one.
The second scene is Lord Umber meeting with Ramsay in Winterfell, he claims the northerners need to help each other with the wildling threat. Especially if the wildling host is led by Jon Snow. The Lord Umber in true northern style proves hard to work with and refuses to kneel to Ramsay. The big shock this episode is the appearance of Rickon Stark the long lost Stark son, handed over to Ramsay as a gift, with proof of his lineage, the head of his direwolf. The viewers can only shiver at the thought of what might happen to the poor boy.
Overall this was a decent episode, betrayal and dishonourable actions are a central theme throughout. The oathbreakers at the Wall pay for it with their lives, and Jon lawyers his way out of the Night’s Watch on the technicality that he’s already died for it. At the Tower of Joy Howland Reed wins the day with a literal backstab, and honourable Ned finishes Dayne off. Daenerys is a lawbreaker in the eyes of the Dothraki and the prostitute Varys meets with betrays her ideological convictions for the safety of herself and her son. Lord Umber joining the ranks of the traitors by betraying Rickon was a harsh blow, House Bolton and Karstark were bad enough, but the Umbers were supposed to be “loyal Stark banner men”. This episode had a bit slower pace than the first two, like the dust settling after the previous weeks, which by all means is fine, but I felt there were a bit too many filler moments and easy jokes for my taste. Pycelle farting at the sight of undead Gregor in particular stands out. On a scale from 1 – 10 I rate this episode a 7/10, not bad by any margin, but not great either. And great is what we expect from our favourite show. I’m really looking forward to seeing the continuation of the series, all the storylines are interesting and as always there are unexpected twists. I think we’re in for a great season.