TV Review: Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 3: “Oathbreaker”
*****WARNING MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW*****
Synopsis: Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch deal with the complexities of his resurrection. Dany meets her fate at Vaes Dothrak while Varys and Tyrion discover who is backing the Sons of the Harpy. Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven experience a key moment in Ned Stark’s past. Cersei and Jamie plot to restore some of their lost power just as Tommen confronts the High Sparrow. Arya comes full circle at the House of Black and White. Ramsay Bolton seeks to form an alliance with the Umbers and the Karstarks and receives and unexpected gift.
Review: As great as last week was, the third episode of season six of Game of Thrones, “Oathbreaker,” was a bit of a let down. Perhaps it was inevitable with the big reveal of Jon’s return from the dead, but still.
Speaking of, despite Jon Snow pulling the greatest resurrection trick since Beric Dondarrion, he’s far from stable. In fact he’s downright PTSD. Yet I don’t think it’s because he crossed the veil of death and saw nothing, but rather that as he told Ser Davos, Jon thought he was doing the right thing but STILL got murdered. He’s begun to question not only his leadership capabilities but if the actions he’s taken as Lord Commander were in the fact the right things to do. At least Tormund was able to break the tension by commenting on Jon Snow’s apparent micropenis.
Much farther away, the man Jon Snow sent to Oldtown, Samwell Tarly, continues an “uplifting” trip south aboard ship. Other than the fact that Sam is sending Gilly and her son to live with his family at Horn Hill, there’s not much of consequence in this brief scene. In point of fact if Sam’s storyline is going to be this exciting the rest of season six, I hope his scenes are few and far between. Until something more exciting than watching Sam puke occurs, I’d prefer to be left in the dark.
Bran Stark however is a completely different story. His storyline has become much more interesting and if fan theories are to be believed, possibly much more integral to the overall plot of Game of Thrones as a whole. The flashback we were teased with last week was one of the more exciting parts of “Oathbreaker.” Here we have the oft hinted at confrontation of a young Ned Stark and his men against Mad King Aerys’ Kingsguard including the legendary Arthur Dayne, nicknamed “The Sword of the Morning.” They were both put there by Rhaegar to guard Lyanna at the Tower of Joy. Yet the fight doesn’t go as Bran was told. Ned in fact did not defeat Dayne in single combat. Rather Meera’s father Howland Reed stabbed him in the back and Ned finished him off. Unfortunately, fans will have to wait for Ned and Lyanna’s reunion as the Three-Eyed Raven brought Bran back to his body. It’s important to note however that Bran was able to make his father aware of his presence. Could this mean Bran has the ability to change the past? Or at the very least communicate across vast distances? It’s something to ponder.
Sadly for Dany fans her brief appearance was just as boring as Sam’s. Finally deposited at Vaes Dothrak and given to the Dosh Khaleen, the only thing we learn is that she may actually not end up staying with them. Because she broke custom after Khal Drogo died by not going directly to Vaes Dothrak, a council of Khals will decide what to do with her. Her ultimate fate remains uncertain at this point. I’m more than ready for Ser Jorah and Daario to rescue her as Dany’s storyline really needs to get kicked into high gear. Somehow I feel she may end up uniting the other Dothraki under her. In fact it may have to happen in order for her to retake the Iron Throne.
Dany’s need to return to Westeros is reinforced by Varys’ discovery. After a meeting and some not so veiled threats to a woman who serves the Sons of the Harpy, Varys discovers some choice tidbits. Apparently the slavers of Volantis, Astapor, and Yunkai are ALL funding the Sons of the Harpy looking to see Dany deposed. While Missandei may be in the right, that they need to fight fire with fire, the fact is they don’t have the manpower. Furthermore, they don’t even have the ships to return to Westeros. The only card Dany and her cohorts have to play (assuming she’s rescued) are the dragons. And they may not be enough.
Jamie and Cersei appear to have similar odds stacked against them and yet their Fucks to Give Well has apparently run dry. I couldn’t help but smile to see Cersei and Jamie charge into the Small Council and basically say they are back and they aren’t going anywhere. Her command to Qyburn that she wants little birds everywhere to find out about anyone who would seek to bring her and Jamie down–gave me chills. Both want some heads to roll starting with Dorne. The fact that Kevan Lannister (Tywin’s brother and the new Hand of the King) and the rest of the Small Council got up and left proves that they are afraid of those two. Bottom line they blinked first. Also it’s interesting to note that pretty much everyone has given up the pretense of calling FrankenMountain, Ser Robert Strong. They are now openly calling him Ser Gregor. Call him what you want, he’s the one Cersei will call on for Trial by Combat.
Her trial and treatment is somewhat of a sore spot with King Tommen who openly confronts the High Sparrow and tries to throw his weight around as a king. He doesn’t understand why Cersei has to endure more after being paraded in front of King’s Landing naked. The High Sparrow employs an interesting tactic to talk Tommen down. He in fact focuses on the love Cersei bares Tommen and how it might not always be in his best interests, particularly when it comes to the gods. The High Sparrow is like that coach who knows which players to yell at and which to coddle. King Tommen is the later. Moreover, he sees Tommen as a path to true power for the faith. He knows he needs Tommen’s support. The High Sparrow’s machinations to get Tommen on his side are something Varys would admire.
After two weeks of Arya getting her ass kicked with a pole we get…another week of Arya getting her ass kicked with a pole. Guys I really need more cowbell here. I mean this is getting old. Arya is one of your strongest characters. You’ve got to get her back on track. However, I feel they are starting to course correct here as Arya finally earns her sight back and is one step closer to becoming No One. She’s also becoming a better fighter and a better liar. And don’t ignore the fact that Arya mentioned The Hound. I think it’s significant that Arya never actually saw him die. The Hound may resurface yet this year…
We can probably all agree that the biggest “Oh shit!” moment came at Winterfell where Ramsay and Lord Karstark met with Lord Smalljon Umber of House Umber, one of the Stark’s biggest supporters. (You may recall that Greatjon Umber was Robb’s most important bannerman from the first few seasons.) Ramsay needs these two houses if he hopes to stabilize his hold on the North. He still plans to march on The Wall. Umber gave Ramsay a big ace to play, delivering Rickon Stark (last seen with Osha) and sadly the head of Rickon’s direwolf Shaggydog. (R.I.P. Shaggydog.) How Ramsay will play this card is anyone’s guess though. Either way it spells bad news for the North and Jon Snow.
Although maybe not for the latter. You see a funny thing happened on the way to Jon returning as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Snow hangs Alliser Thorne and his cronies for treason, including Ollie. Ollie has no final words for Jon. Just a withering glare. And in the end that pretty much says it all. Alliser Thorne was not silent however. To his credit Thorne said he’d do it all over again if he had the chance. He may be a myopic asshole but he’s a myopic asshole who holds to his ideals. In any event his final words to Jon, that he will be, “fighting their battles forever,” as it pertains to the Wildlings, feels more like a curse than a warning. Maybe Jon took those words to heart because he gives up his cloak to Edd, tells him he holds Castle Black now, and stalks out saying, “My watch is ended.” The episode was called “Oathbreaker” and I thought it referred to Alliser Thorne and his group but maybe it means Jon? Yet now that he actually died can he still be beholden to the bonds of the Night’s Watch? The oath says, “I shall live and die at my post.” Well technically Jon has done that. Is he now free? Either way I figure after some soul-searching he’ll be back.
Next week’s episode “Book of the Stranger” looks to contain a rescue attempt for Dany, Sansa’s arrival at The Wall, and more developments in The Iron Islands among other things. Let’s hope episode four will be a bit of a rebound.
“Oathbreaker” rates: 7/10 Severed Ned Heads
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