In the wake of the Purple Wedding, Game of Thrones has been examining changing alliances. But what “Oathkeeper” showed, in the wake of “Breaker of Chains,” was that while the world of Westeros is one that is quickly changing, it is also a placed steeped in the past. Jaime has Brienne read from the history where his page is mostly blank (and before that, unflattering). There is still much to be written, but much of what happens on the show hinges on the past. Hit the jump for why you should always confuse your foes.
“Oathkeeper,” written by Brian Cogman (a small writing departure, though he has been at the head of some of the series better episodes) moved forward by looking back. Starting off with Dany and her ever-growing former slave flock in Meereen, Missandei teaches Grey Worm a new language by evoking his past. Though he tells her that before the Unsullied he was nothing, she begs to differ, and tells her own memory of being taken into the slave trade. Grey Worm’s experiences help him to galvanize the slaves of Meereen, using his new-found language to convey a very old idea: Kill The Masters.
Back in King’s Landing, Jaime is forced to confront his past every day when training with Bronn. But Bronn also uses what he knows of Tyrion — and what Jaime knows (including some old allusions to how Bronn and Tyrion met, and his reliance on Jaime) — to send him to see his brother and suss out the truth. Cersei, on the other hand, has none of it, and uses Jaime’s oath to Catelyn Stark against him as she questions his loyalty (more on that below). That old promise still resonates with Jaime, and so he sends Brienne (the original carrier of that burden) to set out in search of Sansa, for Lady Catelyn’s sake. It’s hard out there for a Stark, and they could certainly use some friends (especially those with blades of Valyrian steel).
The past was heavily involved in the teaming up of Littlefinger and Oleanna Tyrell as well, who worked together (potentially) for a very necessary present cause (and against a very present danger). The Queen of Thorns reminisces to her granddaughter about bad marriages and how to get off on the right foot, while Littlefinger reminds us of the Eyrie (mentioned also in Bronn and Jaime’s interaction), his marriage to Lysa Arryn (Sansa’s aunt) and, for careful viewers, some leftover creeper lust from his devotion to Sansa’s mother Catelyn.
And all the way up at the Wall, Jon seeks to avenge the Lord Commander’s death at the hands of the mutinous men, led by Karl (Burn Gorman), as well as hushing them up when it comes to Mance Rayder and the Wildlings looking for information on how to storm Castle Black. But things at Craster’s also reminded viewers of a strange tradition — the Wites taking babies from the woods. What were they doing with them? Pretty much exactly what you would expect: turning them into part of their legion. It was a great way to finish off an episode about the melding of past and present; alliances are growing stronger. So is death.
Episode Rating: B+
— As a workhorse episode (moving characters into place), “Oathbreaker” was a slow, but very good hour. Game of Thrones is dense, and it’s easy to forget the connections among the current characters, let alone past actions. But the show is also about consequence, and “Oathbreaker” did a good job of showing some of that playing out.
— Dany has never looked more like a “great white hope” than in this episode. Sigh.
— “Sometimes it’s better to answer injustice with mercy” – Ser Barristan.
— Speaking of Sers (and not Brienne, Pod!), yes, Tommen’s kitten is named Ser Pounce!! He is a world away from Joffrey ….
— Joff’s ghost is still haunting, particularly Cersei (she’s back on the wine!) and Tommen. Not many children would enjoy sleeping beneath a boar’s head with an arrow through it. And if they do, they are probably the kind who would love to skin a cat and feed it to their younger brother.
— So, last week I kinda glossed over the Cersei/Jaime scene, and was surprised to find how much it had blown up in general on the blogs by Monday morning. Basically, it comes down to whether or not Jaime raped Cersei. Either way, I don’t see the point of including it (it’s not in the books — Cersei pursues him in that scene). The writers and director of the episode essentially came out and said that wasn’t the intent, but the scene was far too ambiguous. Regardless, I don’t really understand what the point of it was (happening the way it did) regarding Jaime’s character, especially after “Oathbreaker” essentially acted like nothing happened between them. Mistake.
— Speaking of mistakes, I probably should have initially posted that link to the G.R.R.M. article with a book spoiler warning last week. My read of that interview suggested they weren’t going to address the whodunnit that overtly in the show (only because I was surprised G.R.R.M. would come out with such an clear statement about it before this episode aired), but obviously, after “Oathbreaker” we all know now! Still, it was something I didn’t need to include, and apologize if it lessened your enjoyment this week!
— “Kingslayer brothers, do you like it? I like it” – Tyrion.
— Nice turn of phrase when Littlefinger told Sansa that his new alliance was “growing strong” (the house motto of the Tyrells).
— “A man with no motive is a man no one suspects. Always confuse your foes” – Littlefinger.
— This episode had excellent segues. It helped unite a generally fractured story, and really made things flow well.
— I would watch a spin-off of just The Adventures of Pod, Brienne and Oathbreaker.
— “When we marry I become yours, forever” – Margaery flirting with Tommen, who looked *terrified*.
— The character development with Jon has been nice this season (with him becoming more of a leader), but it still feels like last season didn’t even happen.
— I love that the talks between Margaery and her grandmother are becoming like a weekly Between Two Ferns.
— The stuff with Bran being captured by the mutinous men isn’t in the books (I don’t recall), so that’s all news to me. We’ll see where it goes! The men hurting Hodor though was sad (and also, their treatment of Caster’s daughter-wives … as if their lives couldn’t get any worse!)
— Baby zombies!
— #FreeSummer. #FreeGhost.