Gift? Gift of what? And to whom? HBO synopsizes the Game of Thrones season five episode seven thusly: Jon prepares for conflict. Sansa tries to talk to Theon. Brienne waits for a sign. Stannis remains stubborn. Jaime attempts to reconnect with family.
Stannis remains stubborn?! Color me shocked!
In any case, a lot of that makes it sounds like “The Gift” will be an episode designed to set the stage for the final three episodes of the season (what? Already?!) since there will be a lot of preparations and then waiting. Let’s find out, shall we?
We open at Castle Black as Jon Snow (Kit Harington) prepares to leave with the big, red, craggy Wildling, Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) while Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) gives them the stink eye. He tells Jon he’s an idiot for leaving and reckless for putting the rest of them in danger just to save some ungrateful Wildlings. Sam (John Bradley), at least, wishes Jon well. He gives Jon his Dragon Glass dagger to protect him. Hopefully Sam won’t be needing it while he’s gone.
Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughan) is in bed, giggling with Gilly’s baby. He says “Get him South, ‘Gilly Flower’ (apparently a pet name for Gilly), before it’s too late.”
Cut to Winterfell where Theon (Alfie Allen) is bringing Sansa (Sophie Turner) her dinner. Sansa, who is covered with bruises, begs Theon (who insists she call him Reek) for help. She tells him that Ramsey keeps her locked in her room and then rapes her every night. Theon is still absolutely terrified of Ramsey. He tells her it can always be worse (which I don’t doubt for a minute). It falls to Sansa to get through to him and remind him of who he really is. Did it take? He seems to promise her he’ll help, but will he? The next thing we see is Reek and Ramsey… and Brienne (Gwendolyn Christie) watching Winterfell from too far away.
Back at the Wall, Maester Aemon is dying, apparently of natural causes. How novel.
Samwell speaks for him at his funeral bier before the torch is lit. His body is burned because he’s a Targaryen, but also…White Walkers. “He was the blood of the dragon, but now his fire has gone out. And now his watch is ended.” Of course Ser Happy Thorne chooses that moment to say to Sam the line we heard in the preview, “You’re losing all your friends, Tarley.” I have no doubt that that was a threat.
Bounce back to Winterfell. In the snow, Ramsey (Iwan Rheon) is complementing his bride, telling her that before he met her he was sure she’d be hideous and how happy he was to be wrong. But of course he has an ulterior motive. He babbles about Stannis’ impending arrival. Sansa decides the wisest course of action is to bait him about being a bastard. Ramsey lets slip that Sansa’s “brother” Jon Snow has risen to the position of Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Sansa says nothing to this news, but she’s clearly taken aback. Did she think he was dead? Is she hopeful because she has a relative (or at least a friend) not only in a position of some power, but also relatively close?
Ramsey’s main objective, however, was to show her the body of the old woman who’d told Sansa that she wasn’t alone, whom he’s had flayed and crucified, effectively quashing any flicker of hope his bride might have been harboring. Reek stands by looking pitiful. He should, since it took him about a nanosecond to rat her out. Poor Sansa. I’ll bet the honeymoon suite will be rocking extra hard on this night.
Under the big tent with Stannis (Stephen Dillane). He and Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) are having a difference of opinion about whether or not to go forward. Ser Davos is talking about low supplies and dead horses. He also wants to go back to Castle Black because of the weather. Stannis the Obstinate wants to keep moving so he doesn’t become “the King who ran”.
One new development, he is beginning to distrust the Red Witch’s visions. But Melisandre (Carice van Houten) is nothing if not supremely confident. She’s starts talking about sacrificing sweet little Shireen. She may have overstepped. This is one sacrifice that will not be easy for Stannis to make, if in fact he can bring himself to make it at all.
Now that Jon is gone, the other men of the Night’s Watch are pawing at Gilly (Hannah Murray). Sam, who is now a man and has grown a set, pulls a sword on them and tries to stand up for her. They beat the crap out of him and start to carry Gilly off. Sam actually gets to his feet and threatens to kill them all. The timely appearance of Jon’s direwolf, Ghost, helps to scare them away. As soon as the thugs are gone, Sam collapses.
Nursing Sam, Gilly wants him to promise he won’t do that again. They share their first kiss and then Sam gets his first…well, let’s just say a few vows were broken.
Giving them some privacy, we move to Volantis, or wherever it is. I know it’s across the Narrow Sea, where the slave traders have Jorah (Iain Glen) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) in chains. Jorah’s on the auction block. The auctioneer, Malko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), sells the crowd on Jorah’s accomplishments (with a little embellishment). He’s sold separately, but as he’s marched away, Tyrion yells out that they’re a matched set and he must be sold with him. When his claims that he’s a great fighter, too, are met with laughter, Tyrion manages to make sure the laugher chokes on his chortles and Jorah’s buyer coughs up the coins for him, too.
In Meereen, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is in bed with Daario (Michiel Huisman), discussing her upcoming marriage to Hizdahr zo Loraq (Joel Fry). Even in the middle of sex they’re talking politics. Daario wants her to marry him instead. She says she can’t, which puts a damper on the festivities. He’s still advising her to kill all the masters of Meereen as well as anyone else who gets in her way.
In King’s Landing, Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) has found a new verbal sparring partner in the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce). She tries to bribe him, but he’s got her number and he’s not biting.
As she leaves, a messenger hands Olenna a sealed message.
Boy-King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) is very upset that his Queen is in prison and he can’t do anything about it. Cersei (Lena Headey) is pretending to care. Tommen threatens to go to war and kill all of the Faith Militant. When he pledges his love for Margaery, Cersei almost looks sympathetic. Then she tells Tommen how much she loves him and what lengths she’d go to protect him. Her love for her children does seem genuine. It might be her only redeeming quality.
In Dorne, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), under some sort of house arrest is having trouble with his petulant teenaged daught…I mean niece, Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free). He tells her he’s there to rescue her, she says whatever, she’s staying and stomps out of the room because the grown-ups just don’t understand her love for Trystane! As if!
At least Jaime’s accommodations are better than the prison Bronn (Jerome Flynn) is occupying. His cell is adjacent to that currently holding Ellaria (Indira Varma) and the three Sand Snakes. One of them, Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers), I think, makes Bronn think she’s trying to seduce him by flashing him through the bars. What the hell?
He’s singing one moment, then suddenly Bronn’s dying from a poison that this poisonous Snake used to coat the blade with which she sliced him during that truncated brawl in the town square. She watches him suffer for a minute, makes him tell her she’s the most beautiful woman in the world, then tosses him the antidote. I suppose we’ll learn the point of all that in a later episode (or season. You know how these things go).
Back in King’s Landing, Olenna is meeting with Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) in his brothel, which is still a mess from the raid by the Faith Militant. Olenna casually drops that Littlefinger was in on Joffrey’s murder! To solidify their mutual blackmail pact, he tells Olenna he has a gift for her. (Gift #1 from the title.) He says it’s the same one he gave Cersei: “a handsome young man.” Does he mean weird cousin Lancel (Eugene Simon)? Will the news that Lancel shared Cersei’s bed be enough to free Loras and Margaery?
Ser Jorah’s being fitted for his armor, the fighting pits are about to open. Jorah’s “owner” bows to Dany in the royal box. Jorah knows she’s out there and begins to hope. Surely she’ll see him and remember how much they meant to each other, forgive him and then save him, right? Dany is clearly not enjoying the “games”. Her betrothed, however, looks well pleased. She wants to leave, Jorah makes his move.
He starts to kill all of the combatants single-handedly. Dany is intrigued by this mystery warrior. Meanwhile, Tyrion is still chained in the locker room and missing the festivities until some huge guy does him a solid and breaks his chain.
Jorah kills everyone and takes off his helmet. His Khaleesi is not only not moved, she tells them to get Jorah out of her sight. I thought Jorah was going to cry, until he says he has a gift for her. Tyrion comes forward, meeting the Great White Hope at last, and says he’s the gift and tells her who he is. (Gift #2 – as usual, the meaning of the title doesn’t become clear until the last ten minutes of the episode.)
In the King’s Landing state prison, Cersei visits Margaery (Natalie Dormer), bearing food and speaking in that soft Cersei way that means whatever she’s saying is lies. Margaery hasn’t been in jail long enough to believe anything Cersei says. She calls Cersei a hateful bitch and Cersei smiles that Cersei smile that looks like the cat that’s eaten a thousand canaries.
Another acolyte with a head carving brings Cersei back to the High Sparrow. Cersei is gloating, the High Sparrow is prattling on about history and boring her, until he starts talking about stripping away HER finery and telling her a tale of a young man…
Oh yes, I’m ready for the comeuppance to begin. Cersei looks like she still doesn’t get it, until, oh snap, weird cousin Lancel enters the chamber. Suddenly it’s Cersei who’s in custody and screaming that she’s the Queen. It’s déjà vu all over again. Of course, even as she’s thrown into a dungeon, she’s threatening her jailers with death.
And we’re out. Ahhhh, now that’s how to end an episode! With Cersei on her knees in a prison cell. I think THAT’S the real “gift” to us! I can’t wait for next week!
Join me here again next week, same bat time, same bat channel for episode 8: “Hardhome.” Here’s a preview:
Oh yes, things are definitely heating up – despite the fact that Winter is Coming.
Some memorable lines from season 5, episode 7:
“I’m a queen not a butcher.” – Daenerys Targaryen
“All rulers are butchers.” – Daario Naharis
“I serve the Gods. The Gods demand justice.” – High Sparrow
“You live among murders, thieves and rapists and you punish Loras for shagging some perfumed ponce and Margaery for defending her brother.” – Olenna Tyrell
“A lifetime of wealth and power has left you blind in one eye. You are the few, we are the many.” – High Sparrow
“We march to victory or we march to defeat, but we go forward, only forward.” – Stannis Baratheon
“My family still has friends in the North.” – Sansa Stark Lannister Bolton
– Recap by Sheri Young
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