Well, he’s mostly dead. Physical life has been extinguished, but in a world where people can warg into animals and call upon the Lord of Light to reanimate flesh, it still remains to be seen if no magical aid will come to his rescue. Until the body is burned, there may yet be some hope he can be retrieved.
But like most season openers of the series, last night’s episode, “The Red Woman,” was about positioning the characters for the season ahead. Sansa and Reek have made it out of Winterfell and met up with Brienne and Podrick in what was possibly the best sequence in the episode; from the dogs to the fight — to Pod holding his own — to the shaky exchange of oaths.
At Winterfell, Ramsey manages to show compassion and disregard for his fallen lover and is immediately updated on the state of the North by Roose. If Ramsey cannot find Sansa, he cannot hold the North and Roose threatens to hand over claim to the region over to his child by Walda Frey. But most interesting to me was Roose’s mention that Reek — er, Theon — is still the heir to Iron Isles despite an inability to producer an heir himself. Will he still be able to sit the Seastone Chair should his father actually fall victim to Melisandre’s curse from season three?
She doesn’t seem too sure of her powers these days, does she?
Moving across the Narrow Sea to Bravos, Arya is still blind and grasping at training with the Waif. She always seems to get the short end in season openers. There’s still so many ways her story could go, but it seems she’s still committed to becoming no one.
And while it seems we should care about Daenerys’s fleet getting burned back in Meereen, the biggest take away from that sequence is Tyrion’s poor command of Valyrian and his attempt to give a woman money being interpreted as an offer to buy her baby for dinner. But it is delightful to see him and Varys reunited and sparing again.
Daenerys’s scene seems to merely set up another puzzle for her to escape from, but perhaps she’ll yet sway the khalessar to her side. The whole point of this is to unify everyone against the Long Night, right? Or at least to prepare for a eon under the ice?
Back in King’s Landing, we have a touching moment with Cersei and Jaime as she learns about the death of their daughter. It brings Cersei one child closer to her prophesied destiny, which she finally shares with Jaime, but I hope she finds some resilience before her trial. Though, with that mysterious knight in her corner, she’ll probably do okay.
The most shocking moment, though, goes to the surprise shankings of Prince Doran and his loyal bodyguard Areo Hotah. The latter is a great character in the book series, but was sadly relegated to standing next to Doran in the television show and, ultimately, proving to be ineffectual at his appointed task.
The Dorne plot has always been imprecise as it molted into a revenge story for the death of Oberon Martell. It is unclear if Ellaria Sand will make a play to rule Dorne and break from the Seven Kingdoms, but she’d do well to note that the Dornish — in both the television and book series — always seem to run up against failure.
The final scene reveals Melisandre to be much older than she appears. A surprising turn, to be sure, but still quite a mystery. Some seem to think her necklace held a glamor all this time — despite a scene last year where she was not wearing it — while others suggest she had to be truly naked for some reason. To me, it plays into her doubts about her powers. She cannot read the flames accurately. Her attempt to use Shireen’s death to sway Stannis’s siege of Winterfell his way ended in a rout. And now her last hope — the possible King in the North — is dead. Dropping her youthful appearance may yet prove to be her regrouping or just getting a good night’s rest, but with so many assuming her presence at Castle Black will lead to Jon Snow’s return, her every movement will be scrutinized carefully.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO.