Game of Thrones “Oathbreaker”

Game of Thrones S6E3 “Oathbreaker”

When a main character such as Jon Snow ends an episode by coming back from the dead, one might think that they’d be a central focus in the next episode. In the show’s typical fashion though, the happenings at the wall get no more than a scene or two, and that’s really the strength of Game of Thrones. The show plays a balancing game by having so many plot lines active but by keeping them at relatively the same pace, they can all payoff close to the same time. “Oathbreaker” is one of those episodes that lacks a wow moment to resonate with you, but it certainly feels like we’re getting there. In “Oathbreaker”, Jon hands out some final orders, Bran trains to learn everything, Arya trains to become no one, the High Sparrow extends his influence, Dany runs into her past, Varys discovers critical information, and Ramsay is pleasantly surprised. Let’s begin.

The episode wisely starts at Castle Black immediately after Jon’s resurrection and that’s where we’ll start as well. Coming back to life, Jon takes assessment of his stab wounds and everything else that’s happened. He struggles to find his feet while standing up so Davos helps him up. Melisandre comes in to see what the commotion is and is shocked to see that the ritual worked. She asks Jon to recall what he saw after he died and is disappointed to hear Jon say that he saw nothing. While that’s a big blow to her faith, she doesn’t let it get to her and wonders if she mistakenly thought that Stannis was the prince that was promised when it’s really Jon. Davos asks her to leave which she does and Davos helps Jon come to terms with what’s happened. Jon steps outside to see his brothers and the wildlings are just as shocked at his resurrection as he is. Can’t blame anyone for their reactions here.

Sometime later on, Edd comes to Jon’s chambers and tells him it’s time, time for the mutineers to die that is. Jon approaches the courtyard where the public hanging of Thorne, the two other officers, and Olly will take place. Jon goes to each man and asks if they have final words. Thorne is the only one with any real significant words and as much of a jerk that Thorne has proven to be, what he ends up saying has some merit. By allowing the wildlings south of the wall, Jon is responsible for their fate and he’ll continue to be responsible for them until the day he dies. Last up is Olly, who declines saying anything and simply scowls at Jon. Jon approaches the rope and gives it a swing with the sword, as the mutineers are hanged to death. Edd approaches Jon and tells him that they should burn the bodies. Jon corrects him, saying he should burn the bodies. Jon announces that he’s leaving the night’s watch which I think he’s legally allowed to do considering he died and everything. With his last order, Jon makes Edd the new lord commander and promptly leaves Castle Black. This is obviously a big deal. One of the most important characters on the show is now free to go where he wants, or really rather where the story dictates. Without the night’s watch oath tying him down anymore, it’ll be fascinating to see where Jon goes now.

A good guess for Jon’s next destination is Winterfell, and that’s where we’ll check in next. Smalljon Umber, the lord of House Umber of Last Hearth, has come to visit Ramsay. Last Hearth is the northernmost castle in the North, just barely south of the wall. Because of this, the wildlings that Jon let in earlier have made their way south and are very close to invading Umber lands. Smalljon wants to propose an alliance to get help defending against the wildlings but is not interested in swearing fealty to Ramsay, noting that fealty has meant very little to House Bolton in the past. Ramsay ponders why he would send men to fight the wildlings for the Umbers if their lord won’t swear fealty to him, but Umber sweetens the deal. Smalljon has brought a very important gift to Ramsay, Osha and Rickon Stark, confirmed by the head of Rickon’s now dead direwolf, Shaggydog. The sadistic Ramsay Bolton now has Jon’s brother. I would say it’s a very good bet that Jon will be heading to Winterfell at some point this season.

Let’s keep the Stark check ins rolling and head beyond the wall for some more greensight training with Bran and the three eyed raven. In this trip to the past, the three eyed raven brings Bran to the Tower of Joy in Dorne, very shortly after Robert’s Rebellion has ended. A young Ned along with his friend and Meera’s father, Howland Reed, lead a small party to the tower to see if Ned’s kidnapped sister Lyanna is being held inside. Raising suspicions are the fact that Arthur Dayne and Gerold Hightower are waiting for them, two kingsguard for the now deceased Mad King. It becomes very obvious that there’s not going to be a peaceful resolution to this meeting and once the fight gets underway, we’re treated with one of the better fights that the show has offered to this point. Bran, along with everyone else in Westeros has heard the story of how Ned defeated the mighty Arthur Dayne at the Tower of Joy. So when Arthur disposes of most of Ned’s party with ease, Bran begins to wonder how his father did it. When Dayne turns his attention to Ned, Bran becomes even more confused because Dayne is clearly miles better than Ned. Bran is shocked to learn that Ned did not win this fight fair and square. When Ned seemed to be on the brink of death, Howland Reed gets up in spite of his injuries and saves his friend by putting a dagger through Dayne’s neck. Ned seems bothered they had to win this way, but he doesn’t contemplate it for long because he hears a scream coming from the top of the tower. Ned goes to investigate, while the three eyed raven insists that this is the end of Bran’s lesson. Bran ignores this and calls out for his father. Ned does look back but Bran isn’t there. Could he hear him, or did he look back at something else? When the three eyed raven brings Bran back to reality, he insists it’s the latter, saying that the past cannot be changed, the ink is dry. I’ll talk more about what could have been up there in other thoughts, for now let’s move on.

In Braavos, Arya has redeemed herself enough to continue her training. A rare instance of montage is used here as Arya continues to practice blind sparring with the Waif, as well as playing the game of faces, and the new addition of potion making with Jaqen. Arya’s definitely on her way now and by the end of the montage, she’s able to parry the Waif’s blows and deliver ones of her own. Jaqen once again offers Arya her sight if she says her name, but Arya insists she is no one. Satisfied, Jaqen pours Arya a bowl of water from the poison water fountain. Arya is hesitant to drink it but Jaqen reminds her that “no one” wouldn’t be afraid of anything. Arya decides to drink the water and Jaqen was right, she had nothing to fear as the water restores her sight. Now that Arya can see again, I imagine she’ll get another mission. For her sake, let’s hope she doesn’t get sidetracked and kill the wrong person again. Strike one made her blind, I worry what strike two could bring.

Got to get Sam out of the way sometime, so why not now? Sam, Gilly, and Gilly’s son find themselves at sea and Gilly is eager to see Oldtown, claiming she’s been told it’s the most beautiful city in Westeros. The problem is that Gilly isn’t actually going to Oldtown. Sam tells Gilly the news and while she is initially upset, Sam runs through the reasons why his plan is better. Sam plans to take Gilly to his home growing up, Horn Hill. Sam defends the plan by saying that the Citadel in Oldtown doesn’t allow women or children. While this was a rule up as Castle Black, Sam only got around it by being friends with the Lord Commander and he will have no such luck at the Citadel. Sam concedes that his father isn’t very nice but says that his mother and sister are very kind and will make sure that Gilly is happy and that little Sam grows up like a lord. That ends our check in with Sam, I imagine we’ll be seeing Horn Hill the next time we see him.

King’s Landing is up next and we start in Qyburn’s chambers, where he is convincing Varys’ little birds to do the same job for him now that Varys is gone. Cersei pays him a visit, along with Jaime and the Mountain. Cersei is pleased to see that Qyburn has little birds in the capital working for him but insists that he expand his network until it can match Varys’ network. A tall task.

At a meeting of the small council, Pycelle is voicing his displeasure of Qyburn to Kevan, Mace, and Olena (not on the council, just complaining about her grandchildren’s arrest) when Cersei interrupts, again with her same crew. Everyone proceeds to tell them that they don’t belong here but Lannisters are a stubborn people and the two siblings decide to sit down anyway, saying they can’t make them leave. To that Kevan agrees but provides an alternative solution, Kevan and the rest of the small council walk out on Jaime and Cersei. They were going to discuss the very serious issue that the Sand Snakes have taken over Dorne, but it seems as though Cersei has rubbed too many people the wrong way and won’t be finding many people going out of their way to help her if this scene was any indication.

By the end of his screen time last episode, Tommen was ready to show some strength and courage and he puts his new desires to the test in “Oathbreaker” by paying the High Sparrow another visit. This time, Tommen actually gets to see the High Sparrow and could have used violence if he wanted, but the High Sparrow convinces him to peacefully talk. The High Sparrow once again proves his speech skills by working around the questions and not giving Tommen what he wants. In fact, it seems he’s starting to connect with Tommen. It’s not explicitly said or anything, but you get the feeling that the High Sparrow is starting to use those masterful manipulation skills to gain influence with Tommen. The High Sparrow has done so much without having the permission of the king, just imagine what he could do if Tommen was backing him. It’s certainly a scary thought.

In Vaes Dothrak, Dany is brought before the Dosh Khaleen. Dany again voices her displeasure of being here. She can’t convince anyone to help her, but her complaints don’t really fall on deaf ears either. The elder at the Dosh Khaleen sympathizes with Dany, saying she too thought her Khal would conquer the world with her at her side, but at the end of the day, if your Khal falls, you have to end up here. This actually presents a problem for Dany because seeing the outside world and not going to the Dosh Khaleen immediately after your Khal dies are both very much illegal in Dothraki law. The Khals are all gathering for a congress of sorts, and the elder tells Dany that her fate will be up to the khals, and if she’s lucky, she will be allowed to join the Dosh Khaleen. Dany won’t very much like that and in the past, she’s had dragons with her to avoid things she doesn’t like. This time, that’s not looking like the case. Dany is going to have to make her own luck here.

In Meereen, the Unsullied arrest Vala the prostitute on Varys’ orders. Varys has a discussion with Vala, revealing that he knows she’s in with the Sons of the Harpy and that she has a son. Varys presents Vala with a choice, she and her son can set sail to Pentos with a big bag of silver if she tells him who’s running the Sons of the Harpy, or she can keep her mouth shut and be executed. Vala picks the former and Varys goes to tell the good news to the rest of the group, saving Tyrion from awkwardly explaining drinking games to Missandei and Grey Worm, people who have never really played games before. The Sons of the Harpy are being funded and run by the slave masters of Astapor and Yunkai, as well as the masters in the free city of Volantis. Grey Worm reacts to the news by wanting to attack them but Tyrion decides against it, saying an attack would leave Meereen extremely vulnerable. Instead, Tyrion asks Varys to use his little birds to send a message to the masters of Volantis, Astapor, and Yunkai. Violence hasn’t really worked out for either side yet, so maybe diplomacy is the way to go.

Other Thoughts

So, about the Tower of Joy. It is widely believed that Ned’s sister Lyanna is up there and that is part of a much bigger theory. The theory states that Jon isn’t actually the bastard son of Ned. The show has reminded the viewer that Rhaegar Targaryen stole Lyanna Stark a few times already, but Rhaegar is almost always painted in a negative light there. The theory goes that Rhaegar and Lyanna actually loved each other and had a child, we know him as Jon Snow. Rhaegar “taking” Lyanna started Robert’s Rebellion so Rhaegar had to go back and fight, leaving the pregnant Lyanna at the Tower of Joy, protected by Arthur Dayne and Gerold Hightower. Lyanna was betrothed to Robert Baratheon, who hated Targaryens and vowed to kill every single one of them. So if Rhaegar is Jon’s father, Lyanna asked Ned to raise Jon as his own son, so Robert would never find out and kill him. The theory has a lot of merit to it, and something important has to happen at that tower to bring it up as one of Bran’s history lessons. I imagine we’ll get to the bottom of this real soon.

Arthur Dayne looked real badass destroying everyone while wielding two swords. I don’t know how practical dual wielding would be in real life, but it sure does look cool.

RIP Shaggydog. Doesn’t matter that it was off screen, any direwolf death is incredibly sad.

I think we’re all with Jaime here in wanting to know what exactly Qyburn did to Gregor. I don’t think we’ll ever find out but nevertheless, I would love to know.

In news that that surprises absolutely no one, Sam is the kind of guy who gets sea sick.

Tyrion’s got his work cut out for him if he’s ever going to make Missandei and Grey Worm his friends. One was a slave nearly all her life and the other is an Unsullied, it’s no wonder neither of them understands small talk or games.

I reckon the producers know that nobody likes Olly. Why else would we get such a long shot of his corpse?

The wildlings think Jon is some kind of god, Melisandre thinks he might be the prince who was promised, and Tormund isn’t buying any of it. Tormund claims to have seen Jon’s manhood during his resurrection. “What kind of God would have one that small” he tells Jon. Nothing like a dick joke to cheer you up after you’ve been brought back to life, right?

No Sansa and crew this episode but they’re still on their way to Castle Black. I’m going to be real upset if they get there after Jon leaves. Hurry up Sansa, I want to see a Stark reunion!

“Oathbreaker” doesn’t sacrifice quality for quantity, as it checks in on a plethora of story lines and moves them all forward as well. 

Grade B+

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