Another week, another Game of Thrones. Book fans got to see some scenes only spoken about in the books and a fan theory (R+L=J) looks set to be revealed this season. Otherwise, has the show managed to maintain its early good start three episodes in? Read on and find out.

Season 6 Episode 3: Oathbreaker
Written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
Directed by Daniel Sackheim

Recap:

At the wall Davos sees Jon wake up (and we see a sneaky bit of Snow buns). Jon is a smidge freaked out by his current situation, as is the Red Woman who wants to know what Jon saw between stabbing and resurrection. Nothing, says Jon and Davos dismisses Melisandre, who is already back on the Prince of Light train. Davos comforts Jon and tells him to get back to work no matter how much he feels that he failed.

Jon reveals himself to the Watch. Giantsbane greets him, lets him know the men think he might be a God, and then makes a dick joke.

Sam and Gilly (finally!) are on a ship being battered by a storm. Gilly is all cute naiviety while Sam pukes in a bucket. Sam reveals to her that, because the citadel will not allow women, she is being sent to his home to be cared for by his family while he trains to be a maester. She isn’t super keen on the plan but Sam convinces her and then pukes some more.

Book fans rejoice. We travel to the Tower of Joy with Bran and the Three-eyed Raven. Ned Stark leads a group of five men (including Meera’s father, Howland) to the tower where they are met by two Kingsguard, one of whom is the greatest swordsman ever, Ser Arthur Dayne. We are seeing the final days of Robert’s Rebellion. Ned wants to know where his sister is and the guards attack, two against five. Eventually, Dayne is facing four opponents, then three, then two, then Ned. He gets the better of Ned but is stabbed in the back by Howland, who was only wounded. In the tower a baby cries. Ned heads to the tower and Bran calls out. Ned stops as though he has heard it and the Raven wakes Bran up.

Bran is pissed at being woken up (again) and demands the Raven take him back but the old man in the tree is having none of it.

Daenarys arrives at Vaes Dothrak where she is greeted by the head Khal widow, stripped, and given new less flashy clothes to wear. She talks with the head Khal widow/Khal Savo’s widow and finds out that her fate is to be decided by the Khal widow council.

Varys talks with Vala, the prostitute from last season who helped the Sons of the Harpy kill her Unsullied clients. He makes veiled threats with honeyed words, but in the end offers her free passage away with a bag of silver in exchange for information. He takes the information to Tyrion, interrupting his awkward attempts at conversation with Grey Worm and Missandei. Varys informs them that they have enemies on all sides. Grey Worm and Missandei advise violence. Tyrion has Varys send his “birds” to the Masters.

In King’s Landing, Qyburn is turning Varys’s birds in to Cersei’s birds with candy and fratricide. Ser Gregor arrives (not Robert Strong as I’ve been calling him… well, me and George RR Martin) with Jamie and Cersei. Jamie wants Gregor to kill the High Sparrow but they realise he’s too well-protected.

The small council meet and Pycelle talks shit about Ser Gregor and has a “He’s behind me isn’t he?” moment. Lady Olenna talks some smack about Cersei to Cersei because she DGAF. Jamie and Cersei insist on joining the council and talking about Dorne, but the council simply leaves them at the table.

Tommen confrtons the High Sparrow and demands that Cersei be allowed to visit Mycella’s grave. The High Sparrow says “nah” and explains that Cersei must still stand trial. Tommen grows a pair and gets in the Sparrow’s face but the Sparrow wins him over with talk of love, faith, and bad knees.

Braavos, and Arya is getting her ass whipped by Waif (again) and being asked her name (again). She tells her life story, or the life story of Arya Stark, amid scenes of ass whoopings and smelling things. By scene’s end she is dishing out beatings and blocking hits. Jaqen tells her he’ll give her sight back if she tells him her name. She replies that she is no one and he has her drink from the well. She does and her sight returns.

At Winterfell Ramsey meets with an Umber (who has a great vocabulary). They discuss loyalty and how the Umber is pissed at the Wildlings being allowed through the Wall. Ramsey pledges to fight Snow and the Wildlings if the Umber bows to him. The Umber says no but that he has a gift: Osha, Rickon Stark and the head of a Direwolf (Shaggy Dog).

At the Wall, Jon Snow speaks to his murderers and hears their last words, though Olly says nothing. Snow cuts a rope and sets them all dancing in their nooses. He then hands his giant fur coat to Edd, relinquishes command, and declares that his watch has ended.

Review:

This episode is a clear example of a major weakness of Game of Thrones. With so many characters and settings, it’s hard to dedicate lots of time to each storyline without losing track of others. Unfortunately that means we get episodes like this one where we only get little spots and tastes of each plotline and character.

This season is suffering from the fact that too few plotlines are intersecting so everyone seems to be in a vacuum. An example is the King’s Landing plot. In the past, during the War of Five Kings, everything that happened there reverberated outwards, to be felt by other characters. At the moment the High Sparrow stuff, while very good, has no consequence outside of the characters within that plot so if we’re not with Cersei or Jamie then that story stops dead.  The same goes for the Meereen stuff, Arya’s story, and a variety of the other plots.

After the first two bursts of rejuvenation, tonight’s episode felt like auto-pilot. We darted around and saw what people were doing, but we didn’t linger long enough for anything to happen so plots moved by inches instead of leaps.

With the exception of the Bran plot, which is falling into a pattern of interesting backstory flashback, which gets cut off too soon, so Bran whinges and the Three-Eyed Raven tells him off. Yes, some of that sounds rubbish but the flashback stuff is strong. The Tower of Joy sequence is one spoken of many times in the book and will become vastly important to quite a few characters if the reveal of what’s in the tower is what some of us think it is. It’s possible that the writers will save the reveal until the end of the season, but if they’re smart and we’re lucky, they may give us our presents early and we can see what’s next. If you have no idea what I’m talking about here, don’t worry, all will be revealed.

Overall, Oathbreaker was a poor episode that needed less scene setting and more movement. The Arya plot seems to have progressed very quickly though, which is good, and I’m hoping we get some more Bran craziness as we move deeper into the season.

Body count: – 9 (and a Direwolf)

Nudity count: – 0. We got a bit of Snow bum and some tasteful back nudity from Emilia Clarke but not the show’s usual propensity for T&A.

Best line: “You are not the queen, because you are not married to the king. I do appreciate these things can get a bit confusing in your family.” Lady Olenna – Welcome back, Diana Rigg.

Predictions for next week: Has there been any sex yet? Violence, my dawning realisation that Stannis is dead, “Promise me Ned.”

Featured Image: HBO