Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hello Again!

Hello, friends! I know I haven't been around the blogosphere much lately, due in large part to pure lack of motivation, but the blame for getting zero reading or blogging done last week belongs entirely to a certain lady named Irma.

If I had to sum up Hurricane Irma in a few words, I'd say, "scary AF!!!!!!!" This wasn't the first hurricane I'd experienced; around this time last year, Matthew dumped a ton of rain with strong winds. When I lived in New York, Hurricane Gloria hit back in the 80's, and we had plenty of nor'easters, a couple of blizzards, and one blackout. Irma, however, was set to wallop the whole state of Florida, and as the track kept shifting west, Central Florida braced itself for a direct hit.

With the utter devastation that Hurricane Harvey left behind in Texas fresh in everyone's mind, as soon as Irma started looking fairly serious, people here wasted no time beginning preparations. Melissa and I went out early in the week to try and stock up on bottled water, canned goods, batteries, etc., and stores were already chaotic. I hate going to home improvement stores in principle and only do so when absolutely necessary, and this was a case of absolutely necessary. And it was pure hell. We also filled up our cars with gas, and it was good we went when we did because long lines and empty pumps quickly became a common sight.

Forecasts saw us getting hit the hardest last Sunday night into Monday, and our county, like many others in Florida, put us under a curfew. I camped out at Melissa and Ally's house to hunker down with the rest of our family, and as I was packing up what was essentially a go bag, I realized a few things. One, I have entirely too much stuff. As I was looking around trying to quickly determine what I absolutely could not live without if, God forbid, I couldn't return to my own house, it dawned on me how many things were just lying around, taking up space. I told myself that some seriously de-cluttering was in order, if we survived. And let me tell you, with the way the wind roared through the night, I was truly afraid that we were all going to blow away.

I hope this doesn't sound laughably melodramtic, but it was a bit sobering to think that my entire life was briefly contained in a suitcase, or at least as much as I could fit into it. Extra clothes. Basic toiletries. Important documents. The governor emphatically stated in his news briefings that objects were replaceable, but people were not and to heed all safety warnings. I completely understand that an object is an object and nothing can ever take your memories from you, but I still couldn't help feeling torn over leaving things like family photos behind. I wrapped the albums in a plastic garbage bag and put the bag on a closet shelf, then hoped for the best. My anxiety went into overdrive, and I had visions of roofs tearing off and windows being blown out and water gushing in, submerging everything.

None of us really got any sleep as we listened to the wind howl all night. When daylight finally arrived, I was scared to peek out the window to see if my house was still standing. I was beyond relieved to see that it was, although it does need some repairs. A few houses down, a big tree had fallen; fortunately, it had landed in the street and not on the house. We were extremely lucky to have a generator; our neighborhood lost power for almost 24 hours while other areas were without power for days, and some are still without power.

Around where I live, things are slowly returning to normal. It might be a while before I can once again try to bust out of this horrible reading/blogging funk I'm in, but I'm very, very, very grateful that the damage here wasn't as bad as it could have been. I've missed blogging a lot and am going to try to at least blog hop occasionally. In the meantime, I hope all is well with all of you, and I'll get back to blogging—eventually! :D

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

August 2017 Recap

It's another short and sweet monthly recap with zero books read, LOL. August was incredibly busy, so much so that I posted my Game of Thrones recaps super late every week. XD I also had some internet woes, culminating in two calls to tech support that got progressively worse in helpfulness and customer service quality. I had low expectations going in, but apparently they weren't low enough. My internet has been a bit more reliable, and fingers crossed that I don't have to call tech support again any time soon.

Here in Florida, we're preparing for the potential impact of Hurricane Irma. I went out tonight after work to see if I could grab a few extra supplies like bottled water and batteries, and all of the big name stores were already cleaned out, not only of those items but of canned and boxed foods as well. Both Lowe's and Home Depot were also significantly more crowded than usual for a Tuesday night. I live in an area in Central Florida that's hilly, but we're still bracing for the worst. I hope that everyone in the hurricane's path stays safe!

Game of Thrones Recaps:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Dragon and the Wolf & Final Thoughts on Season 7

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Dragon and the Wolf.”

Soooo . . . the GoT Season 7 finale was, like, over a week ago, LOL. I've been having internet issues on and off lately, and they struck again last week. Since I stream HBO through the PlayStation now, I didn't get to rewatch the finale until last night. Enough about technical difficulties, though; it's time to talk some GoT!

I'm Going to King's Landing, and I'm Bringing . . . .

The Unsullied. The Dothraki. A ship with Tyrion, Jon, Davos, Varys, Missandei, Theon, the Hound, and that damned wight that caused a ridiculous amount of trouble in the previous episode. Everyone is gearing up for the monumental meeting between major characters that's been 7 seasons in the making. For her part, Cersei gives Frankengregor his kill priority list: first Tyrion, then Daenerys, then Jon, After that, he can take people out in any order he pleases! That Cersei; she's always so generous!

The Walk to the Dragon Pit

Bronn has the rather thankless job of escorting Tyrion and his companions to the dragon pit, where the meeting will take place. Brienne and Pod are standing behind Bronn, and there's a nice little reunion between Tyrion and his former squire. Pod is such a likeable lad; he's one of the rare characters in Westeros who gets along with everyone. Why can't the rest of them be more like Pod? LOL.

Lots of Staredowns in This Pit

There's no shortage of death glares as everyone files into the dragon pit. There's a tense moment between the Hound and the Mountain, made even creepier by those freaky, soulless eyes of the Mountain's. It looks like the Hound might throw down right there with his bro, but not this season.

That's How You Make an Entrance

Daenerys is conspicuously still absent from the gathering, and Cersei bitchily demands to know where she is. Wait—what's that sound? Could it be . . . dragons? Daenerys has indeed arrived with both Drogon and Rhaegal. Drogon dramatically roars at everyone before Daenerys disembarks and casually takes her seat. Cersei is not amused.

Wight Here, Wight Now

With all of the major GoT players finally assembled, Tyrion starts to speak. Euron, ever the douchebag, interrupts to start taunting Theon about Yara's fate. Cersei actually reigns Euron in, ordering him to shut up or leave. As expected, she thinks the White Walkers and the wights are simply a ploy to get her to pull back her army so Daenerys can swoop in and take the crown. The Hound brings out the box holding the wight, and after opening it, there's this agonizing couple of seconds where nothing happens. I seriously thought the wight had escaped or had died, as much as the undead can die again. The wight is definitely still "alive," however, and runs straight at Cersei. The Hound cuts it in half and also divests it of a hand. Qyburn looks like Christmas has arrived early and picks up the hand. Jon, sounding a bit like he's doing a demo for an infomercial, LOL, illustrates how fire and dragonglass can kill the wights.

Even for Cersei, there's no refuting this proof that the undead exist. Jaime asks how many there are, and Daenerys replies that there are at least 100,000. Euron wants to know if they can swim, and upon finding out that they can't, it's Euron—OUT! Cersei says that she'll accept a truce until the dead are defeated. Cersei being Cersei, of course there's going to be an enormous condition: Jon is to remain in the North and not take sides when the war is over. Oops, he already bent the knee to Daenerys in the last episode, and here he publicly pronounces it. Cersei is like, nope, and walks out.

Just about everyone on Team Not Cersei is pissed at Jon for his brutal honesty in declaring his allegiance to Daenerys at exactly the wrong moment. Now they're just sitting ducks for Cersei, and Tyrion says that their single sliver of hope for escaping this situation alive is for him to go talk to his sister—alone.

Cersei and Tyrion Catch Up

Well, not really. It's more like Cersei nearly orders Frankengregor to go ahead and kill Tyrion after Tyrion tells her to do it. She acknowledges that Tyrion didn't kill Joffrey, but she blames him for Myrcella and Tommen's deaths because killing Tywin left the family vulnerable to their enemies. Tyrion tells her that he loved his niece and nephew and tries to apologize, but Cersei won't hear it. He also realizes that she's pregnant.

He's Alive!

Jon and Daenerys are acting pretty flirty with each other when Tyrion returns—alive! Cersei, Jaime, and their entourage are also back, and Cersei says that her army will march North.

Meanwhile, at Winterfell . . . .

Sansa is venting to Littlefinger about Jon making the executive decision to join Daenerys. Littlefinger hasn't had much to do this season other than fan Sansa's biggest fears, and here he suggests a possible marriage between Jon and Daenerys. Littlefinger also continues to fuel the idea that Arya is out to kill Sansa and become Lady of Winterfell.

Theon Fights Back

Everyone is getting ready to depart from Dragonstone when Theon asks Jon for a word in private. They have a heart-to-heart, with Jon telling Theon he doesn't have to choose between being a Greyjoy and a Stark. Theon is going after Yara, and he tries to rally the Ironborn who picked him up after the battle with Euron. Their leader, however, insists that if Yara isn't already dead she's as good as, and he proceeds to beat the shit out of Theon. The Ironborn thug gets a surprise, though, when he tries to knee Theon where some, um, stuff is missing, and Theon capitalizes on that split second of hesitation to fight back. Theon ends up besting the guy, earning the respect of the other Ironborn.

Justice at Winterfell

Sansa instructs a guard to bring Arya to the Great Hall. Arya looks like she's about to stand accused, but after Sansa rattles off the list of charges, she turns to Littlefinger to answer for his crimes! YASSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!! He denies betraying Ned, and Bran taps into his Three-Eyed Raven database to recount the scene with perfect accuracy. Littlefinger throws himself at Sansa's mercy, and his whimpering was quite pathetic. I was really proud of Sansa in this scene for maintaining complete control over it and steamrolling Littlefinger. The scene could not have ended any better, with Arya playing executioner and slitting Petyr Baelish's throat.

You're Not Stupid, Jaime!

Jaime is hard at work planning the deployment of the Lannister army when Cersei shoos everyone else away. She asks him what he's doing. Um, preparing the troops to head North? Like you promised, Cersei? She calls him the stupidest Lannister for thinking they were *really* going to ally with Daenerys and co. Jaime, who's been soooo wishy-washy all season that I was about to give up any hope of him somewhat following a path closer to the one his book counterpart takes, is going to stand by his pledge. Cersei could care less about the threat in the North; with the Iron Bank's backing, she's hired the Golden Company in Essos to reinforce her army. Let the fighting up North weed out the playing field while she bides her time with a huge army behind her. Jaime can't believe her and is prepared to, AT LAST, walk away from her. For the second time in this episode, it looks like Cersei may order the Mountain to kill one of her brothers. Since Tyrion escaped that fate, I thought for sure that Jaime wouldn't and was screaming, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" in my head. Maybe a little out loud. Jaime does walk away, though, and we see him riding away, covering up his golden hand with a glove, as snow starts to fall. Winter is well and truly here.

Bran States the Obvious

Sam and Gilly arrive at Winterfell, and Sam goes to see Bran. Sam's reaction to Bran saying that he's become the Three-Eyed Raven made me laugh my ass off. Sam was kind of like, "Oh. Okay. Well, then." XD Sam wants to rejoin Jon, and Bran says, in his robo-Bran monotone, that Jon is on his way back to Winterfell with Daenerys and needs to know the truth about his parentage. What smartypants Robo-Bran didn't know, and which Sam fills him in on, was that Rhaegar's marriage to Elia Martell was secretly annulled, and he then secretly married Lyanna Stark. That makes Jon, not Daenerys, the heir to the Iron Throne. That also makes him Daenerys's nephew. While Bran does his voiceover, we see Jon knocking on Daenerys's cabin door. OK, so I'd heard the rumor before the season even started that he and Daenerys were going to get together, but I tried to push that out of my head. Until it actually happened onscreen. I cannot un-see that. What made it even more cringe-worthy for me was Bran saying that Jon needs to know about who he really is just as Jon was banging his aunt. Fantastic timing as usual, Bran. Is it just me, or was Bran the King of Awkward this season?! Too bad he's not the Three-Eyed Hawk instead of the Three-Eyed Raven, because then he'd be the King of Hawkward, hahaha.

The Stark Sisters Forever!

After all of the tension-filled scenes of the past few episodes, it was nice to see Arya and Sansa have a bonding moment.

Remember the Ice Dragon?

Bran is in the godswood when he goes into a vision. The scene cuts to Eastwatch, where Tormund and Beric are. Unfortunately for them, the massive undead army is at their door, led by the Night King riding zombie Viserion. The ice dragon unleashes blue flames and annihilates Eastwatch. With that part of the Wall down, the army can pass right through and continue south. I hope Tormund and Beric survived!

Final Thoughts on Season 7

It's so sad to say that this was the penultimate season! Only 1 more left, and then, THE END. I have so many feelings on that, especially since who knows when the books will be completed. For that matter, who knows when The Winds of Winter will be completed? It seems so strange to me to see the show come to an end before the novels. I could go on and on about that subject, so I'd better move on to the topic at hand.

This was also a shortened season, with 7 episodes instead of 10, and the pacing was noticeably different. Travel times across Westeros became a running joke and the inspiration for many a meme. As exciting as it was to see characters meet for the first time after years of being involved in their individual story lines only, I couldn't help thinking some meet-ups felt rushed, Jon and Daenerys's entire . . . whatever you want to call it being Exhibit A.

Speaking of Jon, I cannot call him Aegon Targaryen. I will ALWAYS call him Jon Snow! The info-dump about Rhaegar and Lyanna felt exactly like that—an info-dump. That's a HUGE plot point, and I definitely wanted more back story than a line or two from Gilly and Bran using his Three-Eyed Raven powers to attend the secret wedding. Speaking of Rhaegar, that flashback gave me flashbacks to Viserys's hairstyle in Season 1. XD

The dragons looked absolutely STUNNING this season! Kudos to the VFX team for making them look so realistic! One of my favorite scenes from this season was Drogon unleashing epic flames on the Lannister troops in Episode 4, "The Spoils of War."

It was only a matter of time before Littlefinger died. Other than whisper like a creep in Sansa's ear and try to turn her against her sister, he didn't have a whole lot to do at Winterfell.

Maybe it's the facial hair, but Euron makes me think of Liev Schreiber as Sabertooth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. XD

It was nice to see Hot Pie and Gendry again! Finally, the closure we've been waiting for as to whether Gendry ever stopped rowing that boat, LOL. On a more bittersweet note, it was also nice to see Nymeria again and to know that she was OK.

And now, for the next to last time, here's the requisite list of:

Peeps We Said Goodbye to This Season

Obara Sand, Nymeria Sand, Lady Olenna Tyrell, Randyll Tarly, Dickon Tarly, Thoros of Myr, Benjen Stark (for real this time? LOL.), Petyr (Littlefinger) Baelish.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Discussing Game of Thrones: Beyond the Wall

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen "Beyond the Wall.”

While late recaps have been the norm for me this season, LOL, this recap almost didn't happen at all thanks to no Internet for 3 days. I finally had time to swap out a crappy cable modem for a new one, and we're back in business!

This episode—WTF???!!!! There were so many WTF moments, I think I'm going to group them all together at the end, after we talk about the plot-y stuff first.

Into the Snow the Snow Bros Go

The Avengers-like super team of Jon, Tormund, Jorah, Gendry, the Hound, Beric, and Thoros are looking for the White Walkers, hoping to capture one and bring it back to King's Landing to show Cersei. Remember that stupid plan? It's just . . . stupid. Anyway, the group is well into this insane mission, and the show takes the opportunity to "reunite" Gendry with Beric and Thoros; Gendry is still quite upset about that time the Brotherhood Without Banners sold him to Melisandre, and she put leeches down his breeches. In a poignant scene, Jon offers to return Longclaw to Jorah, who declines. Later there's an amusing exchange between Tormund and the Hound; Tormund mentions the "beauty" he has waiting for him back at Winterfell, and a horrified Hound realizes it's Brienne. BAHAHAHAHAHA! That's about the last of the humor, though, before the shitshow starts.

That Damn Letter

Arya confronts Sansa about the letter Arya found (or, rather, Littlefinger wanted her to find). Sansa says that she was only a child then, and she was coerced into writing it. It gets pretty vicious between the sisters, with them accusing each other of doing nothing to stop Ned's execution. Arya further accuses Sansa of betraying their family, and Sansa counters back that they never would've taken Winterfell back if the Knights of the Vale hadn't arrived because of her. Sansa tries to defuse the situation a bit by pointing out that this infighting is exactly what Cersei would want to see, but Arya won't back down.

Heir, Heir

Tyrion and Daenerys discuss their upcoming meeting with Cersei, and it gets tense when Tyrion lets her know that he thinks she went too far with the Tarlys' punishment. She says that burning them was necessary and then again questions whose side Tyrion is really on. He also voices his concern over the lack of a successor if something should happen to her since she insists on going into battle herself. Daenerys is suspicious and won't hear any further talk on the matter until after she's actually wearing the crown.

Flame On!

Back beyond the wall, the snow is really picking up and visibility is very poor. Jon and co. spot a bear, but it's not just any bear. It's a freaking ZOMBIE BEAR!!! From this point on with the battle scenes in the North, it becomes really difficult to tell who's who, between the snow and everyone wearing their fuzzy coats. The bear attacks some random dude. Thoros and Beric light up their flaming swords; I never get tired of that—it's just so cool! Zombie bear is torched with flames but continues its savage attack. The Hound's fear of fire completely gets the better of him, and Thoros has to jump in and save him. The bear mauls poor Thoros, and Jorah says they have to get him back to Eastwatch. They all journey on, however, after Beric touches his flaming sword to Thoros's wounds.

Why Is Littlefinger Still Alive?

A panicky Sansa asks Littlefinger where Arya could have gotten the letter from, and he says he doesn't know. Lying bastard. Sansa worries that she'll lose the Northern lords if they find out about the letter. Littlefinger plants the idea in Sansa's head that Arya could pose a real threat to her safety by saying that Brienne is bound to protect both Stark sisters, even if one were plotting to hurt the other.

Ice Spy with My Little Eye

At last, the frozen undead are spotted. Jon wonders where the rest of the army is since there don't seem to be that many of them, and Tormund advises they don't hang around too long to find out. The Snow Bros attack, and when Jon takes out a White Walker, a bunch of wights go down, too. It seems that killing a Walker also kills any wights it's created. The Snow Bros capture their wight, but they quickly find themselves being surrounded by the rest of the army that they didn't see earlier. Jon sends Gendry back to Eastwatch to send a raven to Daenerys, who's their only hope of getting out of this disaster. The remaining members of the group get stranded on an island in the middle of a half frozen lake, with the dead on every side. Good times!

The standoff continues, and poor Thoros dies during the night. Beric uses his sword to burn the body. Oh shit—the Night King has turned up to the battle! Beric tells Jon that the Lord of Light brought both of them back for a reason—perhaps to kill the Night King and hopefully his entire army?

Sassy Sansa

Sansa receives an invitation to King's Landing, and she's like, hell no, I won't go. She tells Brienne to go in her place, and Brienne is totally uneasy with the idea of leaving Sansa alone with Littlefinger and at the very least, asks to leave Pod behind at Winterfell for protection. Sansa gets all sassy, though, and insists that she has all the protection she needs.

Flame On, Part 2!

Raven mail must be faster than UPS or FedEx overnight because the raven has already reached Dragonstone, AND Daenerys has had time to go shopping for a snazzy new coat for the trip North. Tyrion begs her not to go, but she sets off with ALL THREE DRAGONS. ALL. THREE. DRAGONS.

And the Gold Medal for the Ice Javelin Throw Goes to . . . the Night King!

Jon, Tormund, Jorah, the Hound, and Beric are still stranded on their little island, and the ice zombies are still standing around waiting. The Hound hurls a rock at a wight that hits it right in what used to be its face. No reaction. The Hound hurls another rock that lands at the wight's feet, and this time—the wight starts moving. So do the other wights. Soon the fighting is fast, furious, and futile. There's no way the Snow Bros are getting out of this alive, and there's even a slo-mo shot to illustrate how ridiculously outnumbered they are. But wait—what's that? HOLY SHIT—DRACARYS!!!!!!!!!

Daenerys looks magnificent here—truly the Queen of Ice AND Fire. The dragons are spewing flames on the ice zombies, and suddenly, all doesn't look lost for the Snow Bros. Everyone BUT Jon scrambles onto Drogon. But wait—what is the Night King doing????? HELLLLLL NOOOOOOO—HE IS NOT ABOUT TO HURL THAT ICE JAVELIN AT VISERION!!!!!!!!!!

The sight of Viserion falling from the sky and crashing beneath the ice was absolutely heartbreaking!!!!!! I also felt murderous rage at the fucking Night King. This mofo needs to DIE!!!!!!!! He's getting ready to throw ANOTHER ice javelin when Jon spots him and tells Daenerys to leave without him. She's torn, but she goes. Drogon takes flight, and the ice javelin just misses him, as Jorah is nearly lost midair.

Meanwhile, Jon survives a plunge into icy water only to haul himself out and get noticed by the wights. He can barely lift his sword anymore. Fortunately for Jon, Uncle Benjen rides in to save him! They have a nanosecond reunion, then Benjen is sending Jon off on his horse and holds off the wights so they can escape.

Back at Eastwatch, Daenerys and Jorah are in the watchtower, and he gently tells her they need to go. She says they'll wait a bit longer, and then the horn sounds. Once. It's Jon! On board the Targaryen ship, his frozen clothes are removed, and Daenerys sees his six-pack stab wounds. I wouldn't even call them scars.

Sansa Comes Face-to-Face with What Arya's Been Up To

Now it's Sansa's turn to snoop, and she's in Arya's room going through a satchel when she finds . . . faces. They look like cheap Halloween masks, LOL. Suddenly Arya is in the room and wants to play the Game of Faces with her sister. An alarmed Sansa demands to know what the faces are. Arya tells her that if she had Sansa's face, she could become her and casually picks up the Valyrian steel dagger. There's a pause as you wonder whether Arya is actually going to kill Sansa, but Arya just hands Sansa the dagger and walks away.

Another Alliance

Jon wakes up to find Daenerys standing there. He tells her he's sorry and wishes they'd never gone. She says she's not sorry; now she's seen the White Walkers and wights for herself, and they're going to destroy the Night King and his army—together. Jon calls her his queen and says he'll bend the knee.

ICE DRAGON???!!!!!

The wights are using 4 giant chains to pull Viserion out of the ice. The Night King touches the dragon, and when Viserion opens its eye—it's BLUE!!!!!!!

OK, Time for the WTF Moments

I'm a hardcore GoT fangirl, and I know this season is shorter and moving at a brisk pace, but seriously, this episode asked me to suspend A LOT of disbelief. WARNING: This list is going to get rant-y.

  • How the HELL did Gendry get back to Eastwatch so fast? How?????? In the freezing cold and snow! OK, I'm not buffed like he is from doing all the blacksmith work and shit AND I'm used to Florida weather, but I did live up North for a long time and doesn't running in that kind of cold burn your lungs? How fast can you run under those kinds of conditions?
  • The ice javelin. Does the Night King always keep those handy? Do his frosty powers also give him impeccable aim? And here I poked fun at Qyburn's Scorpion/crossbow contraption. HOW did that ice javelin travel so far and with such speed and force to take out a dragon????!!!!
  • I hope that Arya left her faces for Sansa to find on purpose because otherwise, that's some serious carelessness on Arya's part, and for a Faceless (Wo)Man, to boot.
  • Jon and Daenerys making goo-goo eyes at each other made me want to hurl, and I don't mean hurl an ice javelin. XD When are we going to get to the part where they are/aren't aunt and nephew?
  • Where in SEVEN HELLS did the Night King and crew find not one, not two, not three, but FOUR heavy duty chains, strong enough to support a dragon's weight? They looked industrial grade, FFS. And who organized them into such coordinated lines? Don't they usually shuffle about when they're on the move? This was probably the most ridiculous thing about the episode, and I ranted about it through the end credits, LOL.

In the Next Episode

THE MEETING. THE SHOWDOWN. THE SEASON FINALE!!!!!!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Discussing Game of Thrones: Eastwatch

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Eastwatch.”

Hey—I might actually get this posted before Sunday's new episode! It's a miracle! XD

Jaime and Bronn Survive Their Deep Sea Adventure

So last week, we saw Jaime sinking into what looked like some pretty deep water, yet when he and Bronn haul themselves back onto dry land, the water doesn't look that deep at all. I really have to stop nitpicking these things. XD Jaime still appears to be stunned from the crushing, fiery defeat the Lannister army has just suffered at the hands of Daenerys, the Dothraki, and one badass dragon. He tells Bronn that Cersei needs to hear how unstoppable Daenerys is, and Bronn is like, that's great, but I'm outta here!

When You Play the Game of Thrones, You Kneel or You Die

The surviving Lannister troops are brought before Daenerys, who gives them a choice: kneel or burn. A good number choose life, but Randyll Tarly is not among them. He argues that at least Cersei has spent her entire life in Westeros, unlike Daenerys. Dickon Tarly stands by his father. Tyrion tries to intercede, suggesting to Daenerys that she send Lord Tarly to the Wall, but the latter stands his ground; Daenerys is not his queen, and she cannot give him orders.

Eh, We'll Just Hire Some Mercenaries

Back in King's Landing, Jaime tries to get Cersei to understand the decimation he just witnessed on the battlefield and how impossible a victory would be against Daenerys and the dragons. He also repeats Olenna's last words to Cersei.

Jon's New BFF - Drogon!

Daenerys arrives back at Dragonstone with Drogon, and guess who just happens to be standing near where they land? It's Jon, and he and Drogon seem to have some kind of connection, in that Drogon doesn't incinerate him on sight. Daenerys is VERY intrigued by their interaction, but the moment is broken up by the arrival of Jorah. He tells Daenerys he's cured but neglects to mention Sam's role in saving his life.

You Know Nothing, Maesters of the Citadel

Bran has a vision of the White Walkers at Eastwatch and tells Maester Wolkan that they need to send ravens. At the Citadel, Ebrose is discussing the message from Winterfell with other maesters as Sam listens in the background. Most of the maesters dismiss the notion of the White Walkers' existence and even ridicule the message. Sam can't help but speak up and says that he's seen the White Walkers, and the threat needs to be taken seriously.

I Am a King

Tyrion and Varys are discussing Daenerys's recent actions, and Tyrion insists to Varys that Daenerys isn't her father. Varys tells Tyrion that as Hand of the Queen, Tyrion has to make her listen. Varys has intercepted the message from Winterfell that was intended for Jon, and of course the crafty Spider has read it. Jon learns that both Bran and Arya are alive and back at Winterfell, and he also receives the news about Bran's vision. Jon wants to return home immediately. Daenerys doesn't want him to go and tries to pull rank, saying that she hasn't given Jon permission to leave Dragonstone, and that's when he also pulls rank and reminds her that he's also a king. Jon needs to go North, Daenerys can't pack up and leave herself vulnerable to Cersei, and that's when Tyrion proposes that they bring a White Walker to Cersei to convince her that they all need to fight together? WHAT? First of all, even if they did manage to bring a White Walker to her, I still don't think she'd care. Secondly, Daenerys literally has all of the fire power here, not Cersei, and could take King's Landing tomorrow and then head North. I just don't get what ending hostilities with Cersei really adds, but okay.

Sisterly Standoff

At Winterfell, Sansa listens to the Northern lords grumble about Jon heading Beyond the Wall. In private, Arya accuses her first of not defending Jon in front of them and then of catering to them so she'll have their support in case Jon doesn't return.

Brotherly Standoff

Bronn lures Jaime down into the dragon skull room under the pretense of training, but it's really to meet Tyrion in secret. Jaime is angry but sticks around to hear Tyrion out. Meanwhile, Davos, who was the obvious choice for smuggling Tyrion into King's Landing, seeks out . . . GENDRY!!!!! He made it back after all! Davos fires off one of the best GoT one-liners ever: "Thought you might still be rowing." BAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Gendry is ready to rock and roll and fight, with his own warhammer to boot. It's sweet how Davos has kind of taken Gendry under his wing.

SERIOUSLY????!!!!!

Jaime goes to Cersei about his meeting with Tyrion. She already knew about it, of course. Cersei is now not so opposed to coming to some kind of agreement with Daenerys so they can use it to outsmart her. Cersei is also pregnant! I. AM. HORRIFIED. Dammit, TV Jaime! Why can't you be more like Book Jaime?????

Hi, I'm Gendry. I'm a Bastard, Too

That's pretty much how Gendry introduces himself to Jon, LOL, after Davos urges Gendry to keep mum about his parentage. Gendry is ready to fight, fight, fight!

Gilly Says Something Important. Like, REALLY Important

Confession time: I usually tune out whenever Sam and Gilly scenes are on. So of course they give Gilly this bombshell line of dialogue in the middle of her reciting a bunch of boring facts about some maester's records or some shit. I don't even remember, except for the part about RHAEGAR TARGARYEN GETTING A SECRET ANNULMENT AND THEN BEING SECRETLY MARRIED TO SOMEONE ELSE IN DORNE. That's right.

Arya vs. Littlefinger

Arya tails Littlefinger around Winterfell, and she spies him being really sketchy, culminating in him hiding a letter he'd asked Maester Wolkan to retrieve on behalf of Sansa. Arya breaks into Littlefinger's room to find it and read it. Littlefinger secretly watches her lock his door after leaving, making it appear that he meant for her to find the letter all along.

Snow's Bros, Assemble!

Jon and his compatriots arrive at Eastwatch. Tormund inquires after "The big woman," i.e. Brienne, which makes even broody Jon crack a smile. This motley group, comprised of Jon, Jorah, Davos, Gendry, and Tormund, is about to get even more intriguing when Tormund leads everyone to a cell holding Beric, Thoros, and the Hound. So. These are the guys who are going to capture a White Walker and bring it to Cersei. I LOVE IT!!!!

In the Next Episode

Tensions appear to rise even more between Arya and Sansa. It also looks like we're finally going to see a showdown with the White Walkers. That shot of Beric and the flaming sword looks epic!

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