The disappointments, however, come with Bran and his continuing Circus of Symbolic Dreams. Seriously, unless that three-eyed crow begins to do something soon – like maybe speaking or offering up some advice or direction – I’m going to be ready to just tune out whenever I see the crippled kid running through the forest. We’ve dealt with over two seasons of symbolism laden dreams, and so far they’ve come to nothing. We’ve long passed the point of interest, and now it just seems maliciously unhelpful.
Speaking of Maliciously Unhelpful, it turns out that Theon’s supposed knight in shining armor was actually a pathological liar with psychotic tendencies and a love of needlessly complicated deceptions. He leads Theon through the woods, gets a bit of soulful confession out of him, and then leads him right back into the torture room he had just escaped. Theon is back on the rack, and we just wasted two episodes for no reason.
I’m not an unforgiving man, but that’s the type of narrative contrivance I simply cannot forgive. What is the point of that? What does it add? It’s right up there with the sudden and seemingly inexplicable mutiny that we have to watch the Night’s Watch go through. After stopping at the wooded hovel of the daughter-raping wildling we saw last season, the Night’s Watch decide to stick around for a while to regain their strength. This despite the full knowledge that a zombie army is marching on the Wall.
Why? Especially after Mormont, their seasoned leader, gave a rousing speak about how everyone they loved would die if they didn’t make the wall. Well, it doesn’t matter, because he was this week’s character who was sacrificed to the gods of shocking plot developments. This, while Pointless Sam – as he shall now be known – runs off with the girl he had a crush on last season and her infant child. If his past effectualness is any measure, we can expect her and the baby to be dead by the end of next week’s opening credits, while Sam spends two episodes crying.
So this leaves two storylines left to recount. One is with Arya, who continues to just hang around while things both obscure and un-cared-about go on around her. It turns out the Hound is on trial and some guy with one eye wants to fight him in a cave. There is literally no point to this scene, aside from some further explication of the Brotherhood Without Banners, which stopped being interesting right after that arrow failed to kill Hot Pie in the second episode.
So that leaves us with Dany, Dany, who last week was gonna sell one of her dragons for a slave army, even against the wishes of Jorah and Barriston. But oh did I make the same mistake as everyone else on this show when I doubted her. The moment Dany took possession of that whip, making her the new owner of an army of unquestioning Spartan-style warriors, the game truly was afoot. She sacked the slaver city, got her dragon to melt down the villainous slaver chief, and then set the army free, before asking them to fight with her as free men. And they agreed, and the dragons soared, and it was awesome.
Awesome, yes, but enough to keep me on? I think at the very least this cemented Dany as the one character I want to see win in this world. Last night I caught a bit of flack for saying no one was likeable – though I stand by that, because Jaime, who is not pathetically lamed, was getting none of my sympathy when he was being abused by his captors. This week, I guess I have Dany now. Because – and this is the sticking point – even the characters who are “good” are all worthless, being dragged along by characters with more agency. Dany, at least, has proven she will take the reins, do what needs to be done ruthlessly, but strangely with some good intentions at heart.
So let’s all cheer for Dany, because if a character can keep this season of Game of Thrones afloat, it will be her.