The recap is dark and full of Spoilers

Let’s start with that final shot. Daenerys again unburnt. The Dothraki bowing before her.

Her character arc is one of slow builds punctuated by a few moments of intense shock and awe- the birth of the dragons, the takeover of the slave masters, the escape on Drogon, and now this. While her strange Valyrian anti-fire blood and Dragon “controlling” abilities certainly cause excitement (and talking points), those scenes have never prompted me to place my money on the Khaleesi taking the Iron Throne. She certainly has the might now, but does she have the motivation? Does she even deserve to rule a land she’s never set eyes on?

It all comes down to the people she cares about. Daenerys cares about the Dothraki, the Mereenese, the Unsullied. She had undoubtedly touched the lives of thousands, and has served as their protector and champion, albeit with varied success in the actual day-to-day management. But does she actually care about the people of Westeros? She claims that landmass as her birthright, but she does not know those lands or those people. Will invading with a massive, foreign speaking army really endear her to the common Westerosi? Daenerys seems best suited toward ruling in Essos; the people she’s traveled and lived among and feels deeply for. She can do a great deal of good there- create a new economy and a better way of life free of slavery.

Of course, that won’t happen. Daenerys will cross the sea at some point, since we do have Dragons and White Walkers to deal with afterall. But the thought of her ruling it all doesn’t sit right, and doesn’t even seem to be the most logical step for her character to take. I guess maybe the south would be alright, since there aren’t better leadership options at present, but a unified Westeros under one king (or queen) would do a disservice to the Stark family who has all of the local respect and loyalty that Daenerys lacks.

There are two assertions that I had during this episode:

  1. The North must unify, and rule as its own entity. I don’t even care which Stark takes that crown, but the Jon and Sansa reunion was everything I’ve ever wanted and her immediate responses to the Bolton threat demonstrate how smart she’s become. If that family can muster the North, take back Winterfell, create a new peace between Westerosi and Windling, AND assist in the quelling of the Walker threat? They deserve to rule their own lands and people, and we certainly seem to be moving towards that possible outcome.
  2. Tormund and Brienne is the couple I never knew I wanted, but now need to see happen. I’m going to ship that pair forever.

Anyway, back to point 1- We’ve moved a few more pieces into place for the upcoming northern war (Snowbowl?) Littlefinger reappears, manipulating situations and doing what he does best in order to muster the armies of the Vale and bring them into the fray. The death of Osha and the inclusion of the “Pink Letter” from the books cast some doubt towards the “SmallJon Umber is actually going to betray the Boltons” theory, but we’ll see where that one goes. And the Ironborn finally see the return of their son just in time for a Kingsmoot. Will they join the North against the Walkers? Time will tell.

South of the Neck we visit with Margaery, the Lannister power couple, and the Small Council. I’m unsure where these actions against the High Sparrow will take them, but it feels like they are walking into a trap. I wouldn’t be sad to see Cersei go, but the Queen of Thornes is too awesome to get run over by a man who wears no shoes. I hope this plan works out only so that she can escape and just chill in the Arbor.

Additional random notes:

  • No Dorne (yay!) but no Arya (boo)
  • Brienne dropping the mic on executing Stannis was perfect, literally perfect
  • Tyrion is killing it in Mereen. If Daenerys really feels the need to invade Westeros, she needs him along. He’s smart politically in all the ways she is not.
  • Bets on how soon Daario tells her about Jorah’s greyscale?
  • I can’t emphasize enough how happy I was to see reunited Starks. Tears. Tears to my eyes. Additionally, tons of sibling emphasis this week- Startks, Greyjoys, Tyrells, Lannisters. And all very different interactions.
  • Osha was dead as soon as the camera panned to that knife. RIP.