Game Of Thrones, for its Season Five premiere, gives us something we haven't seen before: a flashback!
We begin our episode years before, with a teenage Cersei and her companion (Melara Hetherspoon) making their way through the woods near Lannisport. Cersei's friend really doesn't want to be there. Amusingly, she's less scared of being alone in the often bandit-infested forest and more scared of Tywin Lannister. Cersei cajoles her on anyhow. They eventually reach their destination, a creepy hut owned by a creepy soothsayer, Maggy The Frog. Cersei wakes the witch up and demands to be told her future. Maggy is reluctant to do so, telling her that most people who have their futures revealed to them come to regret it. But Cersei is not deterred and, already showing traces of that special loveliness, convinces Maggy to tell her her future. A drop of blood is all the woman needs, and Cersei is told that she will answer three questions. Cersei will not marry the prince, but a king and be queen for a time, but another, younger and more beautiful, will cast her down. Her royal husband will have twenty children, and she three. Gold will be their crowns, and gold their shrouds. Maggy starts laughing ominously after making the last prediction, and Cersei looks genuinely disturbed as a very anxious Melara begs her to leave the hovel...
We jump to the present, where Cersei arrives at Tywin's funeral outside Baelor's Sept. Many nobles traveled through the night to pay their last respects, and Cersei lets them wait a little longer while she goes in to see Tywin's corpse resting in state. Jaime's already there. He starts fretting, reasonably, that all those nobles out there are going to tear them down at the first sign of weakness. As far as Cersei is concerned, the real enemy is Tyrion, who at this point has managed to kill both of her parents as well as her son. She asks Jaime point-blank if he freed Tyrion, takes his silence as a yes, tells him what she thinks of him, and leaves. The Kingslayer can only stare at his father's decaying body, the consequences of his mercy to his brother.
Meanwhile, Tyrion is being carried through the streets of Pentos, still in the claustrophobic little box he ended Season Four in. Varys crowbars him open once they reach the mansion of Illyrio Mopatis. After a little back-and-forth on the subject of defecating through air-holes, Tyrion staggers over to the wine jug. Varys starts to discuss politics and future plans, telling him that he and a group of well-connected individuals envision a Targaryen restoration as the best bet for a united and prosperous Westeros, and have been working in secret to achieve that goal. But Tyrion merely answers that no matter what, the future still looks pretty shitty to him and is far more interested in drinking his wine and not keeping it down.
We return to Meereen, the enormous golden statue of the Ghiscari Harpy is yanked off the top of the Great Pyramid by tonnes of rope lines and dragged down the side on wooden scaffolding ramps until it crashes down at the base. A Captain of the Unsullied, after leading his men in the demolition, hits the red light district. Apparently, he's in the habit of paying the ladies of the oldest profession to lay next to him, singing lullabies. The appointment seems to be all calm and tender when, suddenly, a knife-wielding hand jumps into shot and slits his throat. The last thing he sees as he drowns in his own blood is the prostitute, standing smugly next to the anonymous slave-holder who killed him, who is wearing a rather disturbing golden mask. Barristan Selmy informs Queen Daenerys of the murder soon afterwards. The mask was left on her man's corpse as a message, marking it as the work of a shadow organization known as The Sons of the Harpy, who are very unhappy with the changes Dany has brought to the Gulf of Grief. She orders Grey Worm and Mossador to give the first fallen of her 8000, (White Rat), a public burial with honours in a Temple of the Grace's, hoping that this further rankling of their customs will draw out the sect so that they can be caught.
Missandei approaches Grey Worm in the Pyramid's armoury. She's heard stories about the Unsullied going to brothels, and is curious to know why. Grey Worm looks rather uncomfortable at this question, and eventually says he doesn't know.
At The Wall, Jon is training with Olly until he is called up by the Red Woman to speak to King Stannis, (Melisandre makes her interest in the Bastard of Winterfell known by having No Sense of Personal Space). Stannis plans to take back Winterfell and the North which is now occupied and ruled by the Boltons. This hinges on recruiting the defeated wildlings to bolster his armies, who would then be declared citizens of the realm upon completion of their service and he wants Jon to convince Mance Rayder to bend the knee to him as the first step, or else he will burn him at the stake to prove Southron superiority, in lieu of the carrot. Jon has till nightfall.
And so we move back to the Mountains of the Moon and the keep of Runestone, where Littlefinger, Sansa, and Lord Royce watch as Lord Robin Arryn trains in the art of the sword - turns out, one's combat ability is kind of impaired after being babied by your mother to the extent of being breastfed till the age of 12. Who would've thunk it? Littlefinger states, however, that "some boys develop more slowly; he's still young" (though his tone suggests that even he has difficulty believing what he says) and that he has 'other gifts' - the gift of a great name for one. As they leave, Sansa thanks Royce for all he's done and Littlefinger says that he's confident an improvement in Lord Arryn's skills will be forthcoming on his return... Bronze Yohn tells him not to hold out for a damn miracle.
Not too far way in The Vale, a scarred and weary Brienne is oiling Oathkeeper, clearly despondent after losing Arya, while Podrick tries to bolster her resolve and remind her of their mission. But the Beauty pushes her itinerant and inept squire away, she is in a dark place from all her failures, she lost Renly to black magic, she lost Catelyn to the Red Wedding and now she cannot even fulfill her oath to Jaime.
- Brienne: I don't want anyone following me. I'm not a leader. All I ever wanted was to fight for a lord I believed in. But the good lords are dead and the rest are monsters.
Yet at that very moment, not a hundred yards away from their camp, a contingent of Arryn men-at-arms ride by, escorting a carriage. A carriage ferrying the elder Stark daughter to a place Westwards, where Petyr assures Sansa that not even the Lioness of Lannister will be able to find her.
Back at King's Landing Cersei navigates her father's wake, ignoring Loras and Pycelle as she watches Margaery ply her charms with Tommen. When surprise, surprise; who should we see again but cousin Lancel Lannister. Who we last saw being shoved in the arrow wound by Cersei all the way back at the Battle of Blackwater during the penultimate episode of Season Two. The former knight and queenly bed-warmer is now a shorn, barefoot, shift-wearing ascetic monk known as a Sparrow, of an extremist denomination of the Faith. The pious zealot informs Cersei of certain elements we've been wondering about since Season One. That he was indeed a factor in Robert Baratheon's death. And that his religion can deliver the Lannister family name out of darkness. This only amuses Cersei, who is openly derisive of the gods just as her father was.
That evening, Loras is being entertained by Olyvar in bed when Margaery bursts in and informs her brother that he is keeping her betrothed waiting for dinner. Upon sending the gigolo out, she advises her little brother to wise up and maintain some measure of secrecy regarding his sexual preferences. But Loras retorts that it has been an open secret in court for years and he does not fear idle gossip. Their discussion turns to Cersei, who now that she is free of Tywin, will certainly not be marrying the Knight of Flowers; meaning that the Queen mother will be breathing down Margaery's neck when she herself becomes Queen. "Perhaps..." The Maiden of Highgarden muses.
Over in Pentos, Tyrion has cleaned up a bit but is still drowning his sorrows while Varys admonishes him for the self-pity. Ever curious, Tyrion susses the Spider out, why did he free him from captivity? For the same reason Varys does anything. For the realm. He puts forth that any true ruler must earn their authority through hard work and sufferance and when combined with a sharp intellect and empathy; a monarch who lives for their people can be the greatest asset to continued peace. Tyrion understandably mocks Varys' hopes as idealistic dreams.
- Tyrion: The powerful have always prayed on the powerless, that's how they became powerful in the first place.
The spymaster lays out his end game, the Seven Kingdoms must be united again behind a single will, someone not too timid and not too cruel. With old loyalties and love from remembered supporters in their homeland, a military force unwaveringly loyal to them and of course, the heritage and emblem of a noble family. Varys has put all his chips down on the Last Dragon. And he gives Tyrion a final resounding offer, he can wallow in fermented grapes until his liver gives up the ghost, or they can travel to Meereen and lend their not inconsiderable minds in support of the rise of Daenerys Targaryen.
Onto the city in question, which is being actively patrolled by the Unsullied in a form of martial law. Daario and Hizdahr have returned from their successful campaign to retake Yunkai from the Wise Masters. Now operating as a form of quasi-republic with representatives from both classes forming a council that will defer to the Dragon Queen. However, they also want concessions. The reopening of the famed fighting pits. Though Hizdahr assures her that any future fights will be performed voluntarily by free men and not slaves, Dany is sickened by the tradition and flat out refuses his compromise. But Daario has her ear in the bedroom and advises that she lift the ban to give her subjects some entertainment, as she can ill-afford an insurrection while her enemies in the other Free Cities, (angered at the economic disaster the death of the slave trade has caused them), surround her, testing for weakness. She must utilise the living weapons that gives her her divine authority; as the Mother of Dragons. Or what else can she claim to be?
In the dead of night, Daenerys enters the dragon pit under the Great Pyramid where she had Viserion and Rhaegal chained up. The tension builds as she wonders in the dark... until her boys leap out at her. They've grown as big as Drogon was at the beginning of last Season, the pair snapping their jaws, jetting tongues of flame around her that warn her back, both furious at Dany's abandonment. Though she tries to calm them, it's a lost cause and she can only flee back up and out of their prison, hyper-ventilating in fear and despair as the two smaller of her children wail after her...
We end the premiere at The Wall and Jon has come to visit Mance and plead with him to promise fealty to Stannis. Mance explains that it is not just a matter of pride that keeps his knee unbent, but a fundamental aspect of his authority among the clans. If he capitulates, the clans will lose all respect for him and they will devolve back into anarchy. But even that doesn't matter. Mance will not stand to allow his people to bleed for a Southern king against the Boltons. Jon appeals to him on the grounds that the White Walkers will kill and convert the thousands of free-folk that still reside in the Haunted Forest if he does not make this sacrifice and that his own fear should come second to his subjects. Especially when being burned at the stake alive is the alternative? Mance admires Jon's unshakeable loyalty to duty compared to his own unassailable loyalty to the tenants of freedom but they are at an impasse and neither choice is clear-cut.
Nightfall has come and Mance is led out in manacles to his pyre in the centre of the courtyard, with Stannis' retinue, the Night's Watch and seven chieftains of the clans he spent a lifetime uniting, including Tormund up front, all watching the proceedings.
- Stannis: Mance Rayder, you have been called the 'King Beyond The Wall'. Westeros only has one King. Bend the knee, I promise you mercy.Mance: (looks at both Tormund and Jon)Stannis: Kneel and live.Stannis: (approving nod)
Mance is seized up and shackled to the stake. Melisandre gives her usual Red God spiel sales-pitch and rubs it in the free-folk's faces that there's is a "king of lies" that she will send into darkness with a single blazing torch. The Red Woman ignites the tinder under Mance's feet. Mance attempts not to panic, not wanting his friend's last memories of him to be screaming and shitting himself as he's cooked alive. Jon and Tormund are visibly grappling with their innermost thoughts, Mance tries desperately to remain composed but the heat and pain becomes too much as the flames tickle his legs and he begins to chatter and whimper. Jon makes up his mind and walks away while Tormund is threatening to charge in, damn the consequences to hell. As the fires consume Mance's lower body and he is just about to break and cry out an armour piercing arrow takes him straight in the chest and severs his spine. Mance can only stare up in shock and relief at Jon on the castle's walkways, with his bow in hand; before the leader of the free-folk expires peacefully.
Jon descends the stairs to await the consequences of his actions. And here endeth the episode.
Tropes in this episode:
- Absentee Actor: Arya (Maisie Williams) doesn't appear, as she's presumably still on her way to Braavos.
- Adaptational Attractiveness:
- Maggy the Frog is described in the books as old, squat and warty, with crusty yellow eyes, no teeth, and pale green jowls. Here she's blond, young, and attractive despite her dirty appearance. Cersei even lampshades this, saying she expected her to be uglier.
- Lancel is said to look infirm and prematurely aged in the books due to his injury at the Battle of Blackwater. Here not only does he still look very healthy, he seems more muscular than when last seen.
- Adaptation Distillation:
- All the stuff about the discovery of Tywin's corpse and the funeral in which everyone is disturbed by the smell of his ruptured bowels, which the flowers can't hide.
- Maggy the Frog's prophecy is trimmed down; in the books, she finishes off by saying that the "valonqar" (little brother) would wrap his hands around Cersei's throat and choke the life out of her. This has been a major source of her lifelong antipathy towards Tyrion.
- Adaptation Name Change: The murdered Unsullied was called Stalwart Shield in the books. On the show he's called White Rat.
- All There in the Manual: The name of Cersei's friend: Melara Hetherspoon.
- The Atoner: Lancel Lannister has become super-pious and appears repentant for his past sins, to the point that it's difficult to tell it's him at first glance.
- Badass Boast: Sam, who is not training like some others, produces a very casual one when he says that he must be the first brother in history to kill a White Walker and a Thenn.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: When Cersei demands her future told from Maggy the Frog, the witch remarks that everybody wants to know their future... until they find out what their future is.
- Blood Magic: For Maggy the Frog's powers to work, she needs to taste the blood of her "customer", if only a drop.
- Book-Ends: Pointed out by Mance to Jon. One is a prisoner of the other during their first and last meetings.
- Both Sides Have a Point: Again, Jon Snow and Mance Rayder have this going on. Jon urges Mance to bend the knee to Stannis, as this will save his people from the terrible state they're currently in and give them a chance to survive the coming winter. Mance on the other hand states that his people follow him out of respect for their leader, not any oaths to him, which would evaporate the moment they see him kneel before a southerner and cause disunity once again. He also argues that a leader who gives a damn about his people would not send them to fight a foreigner's battle just to save his own skin.
- Bread and Circuses: The appeal to Dany of reopening the fighting pits fits with this, as it would give the local populations a distraction from other problems.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Varys tells Tyrion that he has a choice between drinking himself to death, or accompanying him to Meereen to meet Dany. Tyrion asks if he can drink himself to death on the way to Meereen.
- Brutal Honesty: Baelish gives Lord Royce his typical diplomatic sweet-talk about how he hopes Robin will be a better warrior the next time they meet. Royce doesn't mince words about the matter: the boy sucks at fighting and that's not going to change much.
- The Bus Came Back: Both Kevan and Lancel Lannister reappear after three whole seasons; Lancel in particular has a new look and a new found faith.
- Call-Back: After Jon Snow kneels to King Stannis, the king silently beckons him to rise, just as King Robert did to Lord Stark in the first episode.
- The Cameo: Charles Dance is listed in the opening credits and plays Tywin Lannister lying in state.
- Composite Character:
- In the books, Cersei is accompanied by two friends: Melara Hetherspoon and Jeyne Farman. Melara is also interested in having her future told, whereas Jeyne is afraid and flees the second Maggy opens her eyes.
- Daario seems to be taking on even more traits of Strong Belwas - a character Adapted Out of the show - who was a champion in Meereen's slave pits in the books.
- Coordinated Clothes: Sansa and Littlefinger wear identical black cloaks, emphasizing how she's now his understudy.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Subverted. Mance Rayder looks like he'll be burned to death before Jon puts him out of his misery with an arrow to the heart.
- Damned by Faint Praise:
- When Loras gives his condolences to Cersei, all he can really say is how an intimidating and imposing figure Tywin was, rather than describe him as another noble ideal like wise, kind, or just. Played with in that Tywin cultivated and relished that image; the departed would in fact find the words highly praising.Loras: Just being in his presence was enough to make it so clear just how formidable a person you were dealing with. What a what a force to be reckoned with.
- When Lord Royce remarks on Robin's utter lack of martial prowess, Baelish responds that the boy has other gifts. What other gifts? The right last name, suggesting he has nothing praiseworthy to say about Robin himself.
- When Loras gives his condolences to Cersei, all he can really say is how an intimidating and imposing figure Tywin was, rather than describe him as another noble ideal like wise, kind, or just. Played with in that Tywin cultivated and relished that image; the departed would in fact find the words highly praising.
- Dramatic Irony: Brienne vents that Arya fled and Sansa is nowhere to be found... right as a cart flanked by Arryn riders passes by her, with Sansa and Baelish inside.
- Distracted by the Sexy/Not Distracted by the Sexy:
- Margaery zigzags between these two when she walks in on her brother and Olyvar gettin' busy. While understandably she seems unfazed by her brother's nudity, she does seem to appreciate Olyvar's butt.
- Danys gets distracted by her Hot Consort playing with his woman-shaped dagger. The next scene has them naked in her bedchamber.
- Drowning My Sorrows:
- Tyrion is drinking non-stop until he pukes, then immediately reloading. Though it's not difficult to see why, given how distraught he is over Tywin and Shae.
- Cersei. In every scene after the first one when she visits Tywin's body laying in state, from the funeral feast onwards, not a moment passes that she doesn't have a wine glass in hand. Much moreso than Tyrion, Cersei has been drinking more ever since Tywin arrived in the city at the end of Season 2, after which she felt she was losing control of the throne. Even Jaime noted at the beginning of Season 4 that she was drinking much more than she used to - and that was before her firstborn son and then her father were murdered. At the funeral feast she is visibly going through glasses quickly, picking up a new glass from waiters every few minutes.
- The trope is lampshaded by Daario who says his mother drank more as her looks faded. The foreshadowing for Cersei is obvious.
- Evil Laugh: Maggy after she tells Young Cersei her future.
- Exact Words:
- The witch tells Cersei that she will have 3 golden children once she marries a king and becomes queen... and the king will have twenty children. Since this refers to Robert's bastards out of wedlock and her own bastards she will have with Jaime, the young Cersei is understandably confused by this prophecy.
- She also says Cersei will never marry the prince, but the king. This, of course, means Rhaegar (who Cersei hopes to marry) will become engaged to Elia of Dorne instead of her, subsequently die in combat, and she'll marry Robert. She seems to assume that it means Aerys will die and Rhaegar will be crowned king before they marry.
- When speaking with Littlefinger, he remarks that under Lord Royce's tutelage, Robin Arryn's swordplay will improve immeasurably. To judge by what we see, one meaning of the word is far more likely than the other.
- Exposed to the Elements: Everyone else at the Wall is well wrapped up, but Melisandre seems perfectly happy in a simple silk dress. Lampshaded when Jon specifically asks her if the cold doesn't bother her, and she replies "The Lord's Fires live within me," and holds his hand to her cheek to show how warm she is. Jon is rather unsettled.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Besides Sansa now wearing a black cloak similar to Littlefinger's, even her hair colour has changed from red to dark.
- Face Death with Dignity: Subverted; Mance refuses to kneel to Stannis or scream when the flames start licking at his feet, but we can clearly see the fear on his face.
- Fanservice: We are treated to a few prostitutes' breasts and several bare-body shots of Daario, Olyvar, and Loras.
- Flashback: A first for the series, the episode opens with a younger Cersei visiting a witch and hearing a prophecy about her children.
- Feet-First Introduction
- The season opens with Young Cersei and her friend stepping through the mud.
- The newly repentant Lancel, showing that he Does Not Like Shoes.
- G-Rated Sex: Not exactly G-rated, since nudity is involved. Some Unsullied have become prone to satisfying their need for intimacy by visiting prostitutes for cuddling and lullabies. This also has a strong motherly angle.
- Hands-On Approach: To show she's impervious to the cold, Melisandre takes off Jon's glove and places his hand on her cheek.
- HeelFaith Turn: Lancel seems cocksure that becoming a Sparrow did this for him. Though it's highly debatable if a militant cult is really that much better than involvement in your family's morally ambiguous schemes.
- Heroic BSoD:
- Tyrion is having an epic one after the events of last season's finale.
- Brienne seems like she's given up after all her efforts have been for naught.
- Hesitant Sacrifice: Mance makes it clear he doesn't want to die, let alone by being burned at the stake, but he'd prefer that fate to kneeling and giving up everything he ever believed in.
- Honey Trap: The prostitute visited by White Rat is definitely in on the Sons of the Harpy's murderous agenda.
- Honor Before Reason: Subverted Trope. Jon thinks this is in play for Mance rejecting his offer for his survival if he bends the knee to Stannis, but Mance brings up that if he does not keep his honor by refusing to bend the knee, the Free Folk will lose their cohesion and fight each other at his loss of stature, making this not a matter of honor or reason, but both.
- Hot Witch: Young Cersei is disappointed that Maggy isn't the hideous crone she's been described as.
- A House Divided: While Jaime is justifiably concerned with the Lannisters' rivals now that the dreaded Lord Tywin is gone, Cersei cares far more about killing Tyrion and blaming Jaime for putting them in this situation to begin with. Jaime points out that Lannister infighting is exactly what the other houses want, but Cersei doesn't give a crap.
- Important Haircut: We don't actually see Lancel's hair being cut, but the loss of his long, flocking locks and his shorn head give us a pretty good idea of his change in priorities, even before he opens his mouth.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Being caught with a male prostitute is bad enough. Being caught by your sister must be extra embarrassing.
- Ironic Echo:
- In the third season, Tyrion came across Varys opening a box with a person inside it. In this episode, Tyrion is the one in the box, and Varys is once again the one to open it.
- Jon Snow training Olly in swordfighting, and Lord Robin being trained likewise. Olly also doesn't know much about the art (being a peasant boy) but is aggressive and determined to learn. Robin presumably does know about the art (being a noble lord) but just whimpers pathetically.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Maggy the Frog takes perhaps a little too much enjoyment in telling teenage Cersei what's in store - but, considering how rude/outright threatening Cersei was, you can't exactly blame her.
- Kneel Before Zod: Again, Mance refuses to bend the knee to (what he sees as) the King South-Of-The-Wall.
- Law of Conservation of Detail: Varys' clothing in Pentos is the same one worn by Illyrio and other Pentoshi magistrates in the show's premiere.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Jon is seen sparring with Olly, presumably training him to fight. When the boy complains about keeping his heavy shield up, Jon retorts that a lightweight shield is useless at stopping swords.
- Malevolent Masked Men: The Sons of the Harpy wear ornate gold masks, and leave one at the scene of a murder of an Unsullied.
- Manly Tears: Tormund looks like he's about to start leaking tears as he shakes in rage at Mance being burned alive.
- Meaningful Look:
- After remembering the prediction that she'll be deposed by a younger beautiful queen, Cersei gives Margery a cold stare as she walks past her up the steps.
- Sam looks at Gilly's baby when it's mentioned that Alliser Thorne hates the wildlings, which will be bad news if he's made Lord Commander.
- Mercy Kill: What Jon gives to Mance at the end of the episode, giving him a quick death by an arrow in the chest while he was being slowly burned alive.
- Missed Him by That Much: Brienne and Podrick pause in their discussion about finding Sansa to watch a passing carriage. Three guesses who was riding inside.
- Modesty Bedsheet:
- Used by Daenerys around Daario. Notable given the fact that she has shown no shyness around him before they started sleeping together, with her brazenness being part of the reason he wanted her so much.
- Loras Tyrell quickly throws a blanket on top of his lower half when his sister interrupts his little tryst. Olyvar, on the other hand, has zero shame about his nudity and even walks out of the chamber bare ass-naked.
- Mythology Gag: Young Cersei tells Melara she needn't be afraid of her father. In the novels it's implied that Cersei murdered her friend shortly after hearing the prophecy.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!
- Varys lampshades the chain of disasters that (partially) resulted from his conspiracy to put the Targaryens back on the Iron Throne.
- Jaime having indirectly caused the death of their powerful and feared father, the supremacy of House Lannister is now precarious.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Cersei, never having done a good deed in her life, doesn't quite get that Jaime has been living with consequences of doing good deeds ever since he killed the Mad King, but she does tear Jaime a new one for freeing Tyrion. She also points out that at least Tyrion killed Tywin with a purpose instead of Jaime killing him by proxy.
- Nobody Poops: Notably averted by Tyrion, much to Varys' chagrin. And Tyrion's.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After Cersei chews Jaime out about releasing Tyrion from prison, it starts to sink in for Jaime that he is indirectly responsible for the death of his father. The look on his face as he looks at Tywin's body says it all.
- Non-Action Guy: Robin Arryn is looking pretty hopeless as a warrior-in-training. Understandable, since he spent his first twelve or so years over-protected and spoiled by his mother and has probably never picked up a sword in his life before, practice or otherwise.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Jon Snow's reaction when he finds out he has less than a day to convince Mance Rayder to kneel to Stannis.
- Mance himself subtly twitches and looks disturbed when he finds out that he will probably be executed by burning.
- Tyrion upon learning that, since there is no man fit for the Iron Throne, Varys intends to aid Daenerys.
- Open Secret: Loras argues that since everyone already knows he's homosexual, there's little point in being discreet about it.
- Palm Bloodletting: Averted; Young Cersei cuts her thumb.
- Pet Baby Wild Animal: Daenerys has officially lost control over her dragons, as she barely makes it out alive when visiting Viserion and Rhaegal, notably named for the first time on screen. It remains in question how she can keep her 'Mother of Dragons' title now.
- Platonic Prostitution: Since the Unsullied have been deprived of both their childhood and their balls, some of them hire prostitutes to cuddle with while they sing them a lullaby to sleep.
- Pragmatic Hero: King Stannis sees no problem with using wildlings to recapture Winterfell from the Boltons, since they're his most readily available source of men and he intends to make them citizens of his realm after the fact. Most of Westeros would consider letting wildlings live unthinkable, let alone recruiting them into one's army.
- Properly Paranoid: Littlefinger is wary of letting even Sansa view the message that arrived for him. When Sansa points out that he's heading in a different direction from what he told Lord Royce, who's unlikely to betray them at this point, Littlefinger points out that someone in Royce's household might do so. As for his own people, he pays them well and they know what happens to those who disappoint him.
- Reality Ensues: Tyrion was in the crate for a good long while, and had to take matters into his own hands when nature called. In other words shoving his shit through the crate's air holes.
- The Remnant: Daenerys faces her newest threat: a Meereenese guerrilla group called the Sons of the Harpy. From their point of view, they would probably be La Résistance fighting against their city's conqueror.
- The Reveal: Varys has repeatedly made it clear he himself doesn't covet the Iron Throne, but his manipulation has still had some kind of purpose. Now we finally learn what that purpose is: to help Daenerys acquire the Throne.
- Rule of Three: Should you dare to ask Maggy the Frog about your future - and are willing to spill a little blood - you get three questions and three answers.
- Running Gag: Pycelle keeps being ignored. This time Cersei strolls past him wordlessly when he starts to condemn Varys.
- Samus Is a Girl: A rare non-visual version.Varys: If you sat on the Iron Throne, would you spread misery throughout the land?
Tyrion: I will never sit on the Iron Throne.
Varys: No, you won't. But you could help another climb those steps and take that seat. The Seven Kingdoms needs someone stronger than Tommen, but gentler than Stannis; a monarch who could intimidate the High Lords and inspire the people. A ruler loved by millions with an powerful army and the right family name...
Tyrion: (sarcastic) Good luck finding him!
Varys: Who said anything about him?
- Self-Made Man: Daario reveals he rose to the position of mercenary company leader through the Meereenese slave fighting pits.
- Series Continuity Error: Young Cersei is told she will have three children, but that leaves out the child she mentioned to Catelyn in "The Kingsroad", who died of a fever. Since Cersei mentions this child again to Robert in "The Wolf and the Lion", it's possible the prophecy only counted children who lived to adulthood, a real practice in medieval times.
- Seriously Scruffy: Tyrion's beard has gone from stubble to full-on bushy.
- Shout-Out: The episode's director previously worked on Breaking Bad, and the sequence of Tyrion's voyage seen through his air hole is straight from that show's visual style.
- Slashed Throat: White Rat the Unsullied gets killed this way. It's not pretty.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Every conversation between Varys and Tyrion is filled with this.
- Spared by the Adaptation:
- In the books Cersei's friend Melara dies the very night she and Cersei consult their future with Maggy. In the show, nothing is seen of her one way or the other.
- This could also apply to the Lord of Bones/Rattleshirt, since it actually was Mance that Melisandre burned instead of the glamoured Lord of Bones.
- Stealth InsultCersei: What can I do for you?Lancel: You can forgive me.Cersei: What could you possibly have done to warrant my forgiveness?Lancel: I led you into the darkness.Cersei: I doubt you've ever led anyone anywhere.
- Teens Are Monsters: In the opening flashback, teenage Cersei threatens Maggy that she'll have her eyes gouged out.
- Time-Compression Montage: Tyrion's airhole view of Pentos as his crate is taken off the ship and carried to his destination.
- Title Drop: Done by two different characters, Varys and Mance:
- Varys: "I believe men of talent have a part to play in the war to come."
- Mance: his dying words are "I wish you good fortune in the wars to come."
- Tranquil Fury: Cersei just barely keeps a lid on her seething rage at Loras' rambling condolences about Tywin.
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Jon is visibly uneasy on his way to the top of the wall with Melisandre. After he breaks the ice, she gives him a hint about her powers and asks him if he's a virgin. After a long pause, Jon replies no, to which she creepily adds a simple "good."
- Understatement: Mance's reaction upon finding out he is going to be burned alive is to simply say, "Bad way to go."
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Tyrion pukes out wine shortly after being un-boxed in Pentos then proceeds to pour himself more.