Recap: Was Last Night’s Game Of Thrones The Sexiest Episode Ever?
A bunch of skin, and a whole heap of tension. (Spoiler alert.)
This is a recap of last week’s episode. Consider your spoiler alerted.
Game of Thrones certainly has a sexploitative reputation, but this episode was sexier than just showing tits and arse – though of course, it did that too. Sexiness is also about the frisson between two people in a vulnerable, intimate moment, when their true relationship comes into focus. It can be about brothers, sisters (and not just in the Jaime/Cersei way), mentors and friends. Do they bring the other close, affirming their love? Or do they callously push them away?
Hot Pie! Hot Pie! I actually shouted this. I can’t remember being more excited to see anyone on Game of Thrones. I love that Arya Stark’s chubby baker’s apprentice mate has found his niche at the inn. And when Hot Pie approached Brienne and Pod with, “M’lady, can I have a word?”, I adored Gwendoline Christie’s line delivery of Brienne’s reply, “What about? Not kidney pie?”
But Hot Pie’s love goes into his cooking. He never gives up on gravy, which is a lesson everyone should learn. Just look at how his wolf-bread skills are coming along!
Arya’s killing skills are also coming along – and she’s showing an interest in existential philosophy beyond that of a mere murderer. But while she’s dispatched Rorge, the crown’s bounty on the Hound has drawn its first blood. It’s a nasty wound, too. It’ll totally fester.
The show rarely stops to consider why the Hound behaves as he does — and nor does he. But he’s now told Arya, indirectly, why he puts so little stock in loyalty: he’s always been betrayed. What hurt him most wasn’t that his brother Gregor, then but a hillock, held his face in the fire. It was that, rather than come to Sandor’s defence, their father covered up the crime.
It’s the most vulnerable we’ve ever seen The Hound. He says he’s only with Arya to ransom her, but what if he’s actually drawn to her fierce loyalty to her friends and family, and her determination to punish those who’ve wronged her?
Now, of course, her sister — whom the Hound once called a “little bird” — is high in the Eyrie. But there’s a mockingbird in the nest now. So, to Littlefinger’s favourite karaoke song (of course he’s an R Kelly fan):
Littlefinger, more than Hot Pie, knows never to give up on gravy. His love for Catelyn, and his desire to avenge her death, has only got richer the longer he has let it simmer. And now another piece of his plan has, ahem, fallen into place.
Usually we speak of sex dungeons, but I love that the Eyrie is basically a sex attic. I’m almost sorry that the show didn’t make more of the creepy tension between Littlefinger, Lysa and Sansa. Do you think she was into that kiss? She closed her eyes and everything.
Though I do feel sorry for Sansa, stuck playing her mum’s role in what is essentially a reprise of the Riverrun kinky threesome of 30-odd years earlier. Perpetually enmeshed in others’ plots, Sansa has always been one of the most mysterious characters on Game of Thrones. What are her own desires? This week, they briefly flash into view as she agrees with Robin that making someone fly would really be something… then deals him a richly deserved slap.
One of the things that’s always made Jon Snow one of the show’s sexiest characters is his open, vulnerable face. He may know nothing, but he feels everything — and he can’t stop it showing.
We all know Jon is totally right – they’ll need to seal the gate to keep out Mance Rayder’s forces – but at least he’ll be on the top of the Wall to see ’em coming. And because it’s no secret in the Watch that he and Sam are bosom buddies, Sam has to go up there, too.
Meanwhile at Dragonstone, Queen Selyse seizes the opportunity to check out Melisandre in the nud. But let’s not forget that Stannis’s wife was the one who introduced him to Melisandre and the worship of R’hllor, and so in turn it was Selyse whom Melisandre really had to seduce.
We’ve always seen Selyse as a silly sausage keeping her babies in jars and reminiscing about eating seagulls and book soup, but Melisandre knows just how to woo her: by flattering her love of truth and drawing back the curtain behind the sorcery. Does this mean Melisandre didn’t really birth those smoke assassins? If not, those were some heavy drugs indeed to fool both Brienne and Davos.
It’s clearly a terrible idea to take Princess Shireen to the Wall. But she has her dad’s royal blood, so will she be sacrificed to the flames because this sorcery works, or because Melisandre needs to get rid of anyone on whom her wiles don’t work?
When Daenerys pours herself a glass of wine, she might as well be pressing play on ‘Pony’ by Ginuwine. Because now it’s time for Magic Daario.
Luckily, the Khaleesi of the Dothraki knows how to ride without even falling off. And it must’ve gone well, because the next day she’s wearing the slutty wedding dress from John Carter.
Daenerys is still new to ruling, but she’s been an object of desire her entire life and she knows how to work it. First, she’s allowing Daario Naharis to do both of the things he’s really good at. Second, in sending Ser Jorah as the diplomatic face of her Yunkai death squad, she’s indulging Ser Jorah’s own twin appetites: for morality and respect. And all in pursuit of her own goal: abolishing slavery throughout the former Slaver’s Bay.
But in the dungeons of King’s Landing, Tyrion is still in chains. Obviously Jaime is pretty pissed off that Tyrion didn’t stick to their deal, but Tyrion gets – as Jaime still doesn’t – that the deal played right into Tywin’s hands, and so ruining it was the best fuck-you Tyrion could muster from an increasingly limited repertoire.
It’s a sign of Tyrion’s lifelong adoration of his big brother that he still thinks Jaime has it in him to go up against the Mountain. And it’s a sign of his predicament that Bronn no longer responds to his bribes or his pleas to friendship.
Their final handshake is the act of two men who completely understand one another. It’s perhaps even more moving than Podrick’s farewell, because it’s so pragmatic. “We had some good times together,” says Bronn, and this understatement, too, is beautiful. Their relationship has never been love or, as Tyrion stumbles to call it, friendship. But from one trial by combat to another, they’ve had an intimacy. And it continues still.
As Prince Oberyn tells Tyrion the story of how they meet when Tyrion was a baby, Tyrion’s face is simply heartbreaking. Oberyn doesn’t decide to champion Tyrion because Tyrion is innocent, or because both of them are crafty libertines, or because their political goals align.
It’s because he is repulsed to see another sister demonstrate only hate for her brother. Cersei wished only death upon her brother, but Oberyn loved his sister so deeply that he will pursue her honour to his own death. He never gives up on the gravy. And in saving the one man Cersei hates most, he can now avenge Elia in the most satisfying way.
Game of Thrones airs on Showcase at 3.30pm on Mondays, fast-tracked from the US.
Mel Campbell is a freelance journalist and cultural critic, and author of the book Out of Shape: Debunking Myths about Fashion and Fit. She blogs on style, history and culture at Footpath Zeitgeist and tweets at @incrediblemelk.
Follow her Game of Thrones recaps here.