In the latest episode of Game of Thrones, Jon returns to The Wall, Arya strays from her task, Stannis does the unthinkable and Dany finally lets her Targaryen flag fly.
In the North, Melisandre is staring into the flames when she realizes something is amiss. Ya think? Ramsay and his goons have snuck into the camp and set fire to the food stores, destroyed weapons and killed horses. Hello?? Isn’t she supposed to see this stuff before it happens? Stannis is beyond pissed, but of course, blames his men for not keeping watch. The same men who are freezing to death in a land they don’t know for a king they don’t like, especially now. Ser Devos tries to tell Stannis that the Northerners know the area better than they ever could, but of course, his advice falls on deaf ears. Stannis, Melisandre and Selyse have other plans, ones that do not involve the Onion Knight.
Meanwhile, Lord Commander Snow and the Wildlings return from the horror that was Hardhome. They arrive at The Wall, and for a moment, look like they’ll be out there for good. First Ranger Thorne looks down at them, pondering whether to let them in, but against his better judgment, commands that the gates be opened. Jon breathes a sigh of relief and they all enter. Inside, the Night’s Watch look at the arriving Wildlings with outright hatred. Thorne comes up to Jon and tells him he has a good heart, which in a place like Westeros will get you killed. Sam tries to soften the blow by pointing out to Jon the number of lives he’s saved, but Sam wasn’t at Hardhome. He has no idea how many were truly lost, but Jon sure does and that knowledge will probably haunt him to the end of his days. He sees Ollie and smiles, but his steward has no love for the Lord Commander.
Back at Camp Baratheon, Stannis sends for Ser Devos and orders him back to Castle Black. He wants him to relay a message to the Lord Commander: send his “King” food and horses and once he’s on the throne, Castle Black will have all the men they will ever need. Devos reminds Stannis that the Hand of the King is never to leave his side, especially during times of war. But again, deaf ears. “Don’t come back empty handed,” is his command. But Devos is uneasy and wants to take the Queen and Princess Shireen with him. Stannis, in a dead voice, states that his family will stay with him. Afterwards, Devos goes to see the young Princess, walking by almost‑frozen soldiers. When he arrives, Shireen is reading the aptly-named “The Dance of Dragons,” and describes the story to her friend. He gives her a carved stag as a present, thanking her for teaching him how to read and to be a “grown up.” The two say farewell and Devos leaves on his silly quest.
In Dorne, Jaime meets with Prince Doran, Myrcella, Tristane and, of all people, Ellaria Sand. The Prince is trying to keep the peace even though his people want war with the Lannisters for Prince Oberyn’s death (I know I’m not the only one who misses Pedro Pascal). Prince Doran agrees to let Princess Myrcella go back to King’s Landing but wants his son Tristane to go with her so their marriage goes forward. He also asks that Tristane be named to the Small Council to replace Oberyn. All are in agreement, except Ellaria who pours that good Dornish wine on the floor when they toast King Tommen and then insults Doran. That man may be crippled, but he is the Prince for a reason. “You are mother to four of my nieces, girls I love very much. For their sake, I hope you live a long and happy life. Speak to me that way again and you won’t.” Exactly. Jaime then asks about Bronn, who is eventually released to his custody. But not before Doran’s guard punches him out for assaulting Tristane. They definitely do things differently in Dorne.
In Braavos, Lana formerly known as Arya is selling her “oysters, clams and cockles” to get closer to the Thin Man. He sees her and beckons her forward, but she is distracted by the arrival of Lord Tyrell and Ser Meryn Trant, Cersei’s bootlicker. Both men have traveled to meet with the Iron Bank on behalf of the Crown. Arya follows them to the Iron Bank and watches as Lord Tyrell makes a complete buffoon of himself. Later, she follows Trant to a brothel and sneaks her way in so she can watch him. We already knew he was a creep, but watching him haggle with the Madam for a young girl was just too much. We get it, he’s a pig. One of the guards drags Arya into the room and Trant looks at her either because she’s just young enough or because he knows her from somewhere. Before he can figure it out, the Madam returns and shoos Arya out of the brothel and makes her way back to the House of Black and White. Jaqen asks about the Thin Man and Arya comes up with some lame excuse as to why he isn’t dead. But Jaqen knows better.
Back in Dorne, Prince Doran gives Ellaria an ultimatum: swear allegiance to him or die. Yep, it’s that simple and she chooses wisely, although her daughters are visibly pissed. But there are only three Sand Snakes standing there, where’s Number 4? After her humiliation, Ellaria visits Jaime and speaks of his love for Cersei. She seems pretty cordial but as upset as she’s been about Oberyn, I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her.
At Camp Baratheon, Stannis visits his daughter Shireen, who talks of the book she was reading earlier. He asks her if she had to, which Targaryen would she choose. She says neither, because the choosing is what screwed things up. Stannis starts going on about staying true to oneself and following one’s destiny, but it’s all a bunch of hooey to talk himself into doing something truly horrific. Unfortunately, his daughter offers to help him in any way she can, which that bastard takes to heart. He has some of his soldiers walk the girl outside, until she sees the pyre and Melisandre. She asks for her father, but the coward waits until Shireen is tied to the post before coming out. Queen Selyse stands beside him, convincing him and herself that this sacrifice is necessary. It isn’t until Shireen begs her mother to help that Selyse changes her mind. But Stannis tells her it has to be done. Shireen screams and screams for help, but no one steps forward. Her mother tries to save her daughter, but the soldiers stop her and they all stand by and watch the young, innocent, vivacious Princess Shireen burn. When the Princess’ screams finally die down, her mother lets out a wail that seemingly brings Stannis back to reality. Yes, you awful fool, you have murdered your daughter to become King.
In Meereen, the fighting pits have reopened and the crowd is energized. Dany, Tyrion, Daario and Missandei are waiting for the show to start, Dany being the least enthused. Her intended Hizdahr finally shows up and things begin. The Meerenese version of a WWE announcer comes out and basically says, “Let’s get it on” before the crowd goes nuts. The fighters come out and then everyone waits for Dany’s signal. Hizdahr tells her to clap her hands, which she does and the fighting begins. As expected, it’s bloody and Dany is not pleased. Meanwhile, Hizdahr and Daario measure penises and go on about fighting, betting against smaller men, yada yada yada. It’s all very boring until Jorah comes out to fight. That man is loyal. He does his best to impress his Queen while getting his ass handed to him at times. Tyrion looks grim as he watches his former captor fall. Dany is torn between letting Jorah live or die, but another fighter makes
that decision for her. He kills the fighter ready to stick his blade into Jorah’s chest and Dany’s biggest fan lives a little while longer. Jorah shoves his blade into his savior and the crowd boos. He stands before his Queen before taking the other fighter’s spear and throwing it towards Dany. But it’s not the Queen he is aiming for but a Son of the Harpy! Daario looks around the arena and the Sons come out of nowhere. Panic ensues as the Sons start killing people left and right, making their way towards Dany and her crew. Hizdahr tries to get Dany to safety before he’s stabbed by the Sons. Eventually, Dany and her people are surrounded on the arena floor (someone needs to teach Khaleesi how to wield a sword). But wait a minute! What’s that sound? It’s Drogon and he’s ready to protect his mother! The dragon drops down on the Sons and spits fire on them. When one tries to come at Dany, Drogon grabs that punk and tears him into pieces. The Sons try to fight back, throwing spears at the dragon, piercing one of his wings. But Dany is a Targaryen dammit, and that’s her baby. She calls to Drogon before walking over to him and removing one of the spears. He screams in her face before realizing who she is. They have a moment before one of the Sons sticks another spear in him. Drogon turns and basically bites dude’s head off. Dany then climbs onto her baby and simply says, “Fly.” And fly he does with Dany on his back. Tyrion and crew, who until then were on high alert, watch this spectacle in complete awe, as mother and child fly the hell out of dodge. Where will they go? Will Dany come back to set things right in Meereen?
Game of Thrones airs on Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.