The second to last episode of each season so far is always filled with bloodshed! This isn’t any different.
Open on Stannis’ camp at night. Melissandre is in a tent looking at fire when she senses something amiss. She goes outside in the cold and fires begin to erupt everywhere, soldiers are panicking, horses are on fire, it gets chaotic very quickly. The next morning Davos is giving Stannis a run down: no food, many dead. Stannis is still adamant about not returning to the wall. Sees Melissandre and his wife standing in the distance, ominiously.
Next, Jon leads Wildlings to the gate. Alastair looks down from the wall at Jon, reluctantly opens the gates. Wildlings parade through Castle Black to get through to their new home. Jon doesn’t feel like he did enough. He looks around, many men of the Nights Watch are disapproving.
Back to Stannis in his war tent. He orders Davos to go back to The Wall for food. Davos is reluctant –a messenger can do his job–but Stannis insists that Davos will be able to convince Jon to help them with food supplies. Davos visits Princess Shireen and gives her a gift of a woodwork deer, says his goodbye.
In Dorne, Jamie speaks to Doren Martell, with Ellaria, Trystane, and Mrycella. Doren toasts to King Tommen, which Ellaria refuses to do, insulting both the king and Doren, she leaves in a huff, appalled by Doren’s actions. Doren asks if Tommen summons his sister back to the Throne. Jamie insists, yes. Doren agrees that he will send Mrycella and Trystane to Kings Landing, and since Tywin appointed Oberyn a place on the small council, Trystane will take his place when he arrives. Jamie promises that it will be done. Bronn is freed in the condition that he’s punched in the face, like he did to Trystane when they first met.
In Braavos, Arya is at the market selling oysters when she see Lord Tyrell and Ser Meryn Trant arrive to speak with the Iron Bank representatives. Arya follows them instead of poisoning the man she was was tasked with killing. She waits outside the Iron Bank until they finished and return outside. Tyrell makes a fool of himself by singing. The meeting seemed to go well, but we do not know. Later that evening, Arya follows Trant to a brothel. She is summoned into the viewing area to sell oysters and Trant sees her, but can’t place where he’s seen her before. She leaves the room and Arya watches him choose a very young girl. This time she’s shooed out of the brothel. When she returns to her home, she lies to Jaqen about why she didn’t do her task today.
Ellaria is forced to swear allegiance to Doren or face death. As her daughters watch, she kneels before Doren and kisses his hand. He says, “I believe in second chances, but not third.” She has tears in her eyes. Then she visits Jamie, speaking about how no one in Dorne would have batted an eye between him and Cersei, “you love who you love.” She also says that neither Jamie or Mrycella were involved in Oberyn’s death, but there’s a thinly veiled threat that she blames Cersei.
In the north, Shireen retells “The Dance of Dragons” to her father. It is a story about the Targaryan’s rise to the throne, how the fighting between the two brothers tore the country in half. Stannis asks what she would choose and Shireen, very wisely decides not to choose either one because both bring bloodshed. Stannis speaks about choices, how sometimes choices forced his hand. Sherieen offers her help in any way she can. Stannis whispers in her ear, “forgive me.”
Shireen is holding the deer Davos made for her as she walks through the cold and hungry soldiers. When she sees Melisandre, she immediately asks for her father and resists as soldiers force her to a stake. She’s yelling and pleading with her father to stop and yelling for her mother. Her parents watch and do nothing. They see it as a necessary sacrifice. Shireen screaming.
In Mereen, at the Colosseum-like fighting pits, Dany is overseeing the re-opening of the fighting pits. Hizdahr, the fiance, arrives late. Once the fighting begins, Daario starts bragging about his former fighting days and how the little guy always wins against the big guy (a metaphor for his relationship to Dany). Hizdahr says he’s seen enough fights to know that the big guy usually wins, and is proved right in the beheading of the little guy. Jorah in the pits, declares his win for the glory of the Queen. Everyone who stands with Dany in her box is holding their breath: Tyrion, Dany, Missandei. He looks like he would lose against one, but a third fighter kills Jorah’s opponent, then Jorah kills him, winning the pit. Everyone boos. Jorah throws a spear at Dany, but it hits a Sons of a Harpy who was going to kill Dany. Then at once, the arena is filled with Sons of the Harpy, killing innocent people, trying to kill Dany. For a brief moment, I wondered if Hizdahr is to blame, but then he’s stabbed by a Harpy. Tyrion grabs a dagger and kills a Harpy that was going after Missandei. Dany is escaping with Jorah while Daario fights off more Harpy in the box.
They all regroup in the middle of the arena trying to escape. Soon the small group is surrounded by Harpy. All are panicked. Dany takes Messandei’s hand and closes her eyes. We hear the sound of a dragon roar, it’s Drogon! The dragon lands in the arena and starts destroying anyone who attempts to hurt his mother. Sons are fighting Drogon, throwing spears into his hide. Dany pulls out a spear and Drogon thanks her with a large roar. She climbs on his back and says to fly, they go over the city. End shot of Tyrion, Jorah, Daario, and Missandei in awe.
Once again Dany was amazing. But I’m overwhelmed with disappointment in Stannis! HOW COULD YOU!