‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 5, Episode 7: The Gift

Every Monday, our resident Game of Thrones fanatic E. Spencer Kyte will recap the previous night’s episode. Here’s his take on Season 5, Episode 7 —The Gift.

Warning: what follows is a review and analysis of what happened on Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones. If you haven’t watched it and don’t want to encounter spoilers, we suggest you go read something else on this site. Consider yourself warned.

Business is starting to pick up in The Realm. It may not feel that way to everyone, but week-by-week, bit-by-bit, the storm that has been brewing all season continues to draw closer. Sunday, the storm clouds rolled in and the first drops of rain started falling.

Sam the Slayer

With Stannis having already departed Castle Black en route for Winterfell and Lord Commander Jon Snow out rallying the Wildlings, Samwell Tarly is running out of allies at The Wall and he lost another one Sunday when Maester Aemon Targaryen finally faded into the good night. His watch has ended. At Maester Aemon’s funeral, Aliser Thorne leans in and reminds Sam that his friend count keeps dwindling and when he happens upon two brothers of the Night’s Watch looking to get a little frisky with Gilly, he catches a beating before Jon’s direwolf Ghost shows up to scare them off.

But Sam’s chivelry comes with a reward as he and Gilly finally consummate their relationship. Things are going to be difficult for Sam and Gilly around Castle Black going forward, but at least they have each other and Baby Sam. That’s going to have to be good enough until things in the North get resolved.

Sansa Tries… and Fails

Sansa begs Theon/Reek to help her, telling him that Ramsey’s violent advances continue each night, imploring him to remember who he is and asking him to place the candle in the Broken Tower to signal the Northerns that remember that she needs help. Because he’s a broken soul, Theon/Reek instead tells Ramsey and Sansa’s malicious new husband has the old lady that offered to help her killed and flayed because that’s what he does.

Before he reveals the dead and peeled older woman to Sansa though, they have an interesting conversation about bastards where Sansa is trying to cut at Ramsey with her words, suggesting the male offspring Roose and Walda are expecting would have a more legitimate claim to being Warden of the North. Ramsey counters that bastards have been moving up in the world, informing Sansa that her bastard brother, Jon Snow, has become Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.

It’s an important revelation since there is a very real possibility that things come to a head at Winterfell before season’s end with the joint Jon Snow/Wildling Army and Stannis’ troops battling Team Bolton.

Speaking of Stannis

He’s losing men every day that he’s in the North. A band of sell swords have already peaced out. Ser Davos suggests retreating and waiting out winter, but Stannis will not. He retreated in King’s Landing and has no interest in being known as the guy that always retreats.

After dismissing Ser Davos, however, Stannis’ frustrations come out, as he questions Melisandre about her visions and how things are supposed to play out for Team Stannis. Melisandre’s solution to Stannis’ concerns is a familiar one: let’s just sacrifice someone with royal blood again, suggesting that Stannis turn over Princess Shireen for the greater good. Stannis declines, leaving us to wonder what the hell is going to happen on the cold road to Winterfell.

Down in the Dornish Dungeons

Jaime gets a little face time with Myrcella, his niece/daughter who wants no part of being rescued. She was dispatched to Dorne against her wishes years ago, but is happy there now and wants to marry Prince Trystane. Jaime, unable to pull the “But I’m your father” card because we can’t go revealing the big family secret that only the two remaining children of incest don’t know just on a whim, so he has to let his niece/daughter storm out.

Singing a little number about Dornish women in a cell across from the Sand Snakes, Bronn and Tyene start having a little back-and-forth. She wants to know who the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen is and she starts to disrobe, the poison that tipped her dagger that cut him last week starts to kick in and old Bronn starts getting woozy. First, we nailed that part, so yeah us! Second, Tyene is a naughty little minx. She gives Bronn the antidote to the poison after he says she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen and she says he’s rather attractive as well.

Straight Out of Gladiator

Sunday’s scenes in a random small fighting pit beyond Meereen felt like a complete Gladiator remake, the only difference being the talented fighter – in this case, Jorah – is saddled with a sidekick, Tyrion, and doesn’t make any “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius” speech. Instead, he takes off his helmet after humanely stopping his fellow fighters, only to have Dany sneer at him and demand he be taken away.

But that’s when Tyrion rolls out and introduces himself. Turns out, it’s the imp that gets the “My name is” opportunity, dropping a perfect, “My name is Tyrion Lannister” on Queen Dany, who recognizes the name right away.

The Many vs. The Few

Lady Olenna tries to reason with the High Sparrow, but the religious fanatic isn’t interested in playing the traditional political games that “The Queen of Thornes” has been able to employ over the years. Rebuffed, she meets with Littlefinger, confirming for the first time on screen that they conspired together to off King Joffrey. Lady Olenna doesn’t exactly trust him since Littlefinger came rushing back to King’s Landing as soon as Cersei beckoned, but he’s got a plan (doesn’t he always?) and some sneaky news that he didn’t share with the power-hungry Queen Mother.

King Tommen is beside himself about Margaery being locked up and Cersei volunteers to speak to check on her and speak to the High Sparrow on his behalf. Of course, she’s the same old Cersei when she visits Margaery in the bowels of the sept, and Margaery doesn’t even try to hide her contempt, basically telling Cersei to GTFO. Please with herself, Cersei stops in to speak with the High Sparrow, but that’s when things go sideways for the usually wine-soaked Queen Mother.

You see, everyone has to pay for their sins and there was a young boy that came to the sept riddled with sin and guilt looking to be saved. He slowly relieved himself of his secrets and redeemed his soul, in the process, confessing a number of sordid truths about old Queen Cersei. That’s when Lancel Lannister – now one of the religious militants at the High Sparrow’s command and put into power by Cersei herself – walks in and Queen Cersei is taken into custody.

She’s tossed in a similar cell to the one Queen Margaery inhabits and promises the female fanatics that chucked her behind the big steel door that her face will be the last thing they see before they die.

Fade to black.

Roll credits.

# # # # #

Things in the North are going to get interesting pretty soon; they have to. With the Boltons ready for battle and two different armies amassing to fight them, we should have some action in and around Winterfell before season’s end. We should also have some resolution to the internal troubles within the Night’s Watch.

One of the great things that the showrunners have done throughout this season is turn what seemed like small little moments into bigger points later in the year, like when Margaery walked on on Loras getting busy with the guy that eventually dimed them both out to the High Sparrow. This week, we got the payoff from Stannis’ cold heart melting a little earlier in the year with his daughter, Princess Shireen, when he denied Melisandre’s request to spill her blood for the cause.

My guess is that “The Red Woman” will take her proposal to Queen Selyse and Stannis will be forced to choose between his wife and his spiritual advisor or his daughter.

The little teasing between Tyene Sand and Bronn was fun, but hopefully it doesn’t lead to a teaming up of the two sides. After all, one was out to save Myrcella and the other was out to end her live in order to get revenge for the death of their father. That being said, jointly shifting their focus to ending the Martell family rule in Dorne could become a common goal with a “we promise to take this her Lannister girl with us” caveat.

Dany and Tyrion meeting is going to be pivotal – everyone knows that. The question is will they form a Dream Team with their sights set on the Iron Throne or will we have to spend a season with them not quite trusting each other? Hopefully, it’s the former and not the latter, which leads to Team Targaryen-Lannister turning Slaver’s Bay over to someone else (Hizdahr Zo Loraq?) and setting off together (with dragons) for King’s Landing.

Littlefinger always has secrets and it’s hard to know what he’s teasing Lady Olenna with. What didn’t he tell Cersei? Is it something we already know? Hopefully this one plays out quickly too.

As for Cersei being tossed in the dungeon and looking like she’s going to have to answer for her numerous sins against The Seven, it’s a long time coming, but let’s be honest: we need Cersei to be the Baddest Bitch in King’s Landing for this show to be as excellent as possible, so something tells me we’ll see this resolved in a manner where she comes away unscathed before the season is over.

Tags: Game of Thrones, HBO

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