WARNING! GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS!
After last week’s controversial ending, The Gift ended up giving us the best episode of the fifth season so far as the series continued to take a massive divergence from the books by sending Tyrion into a Gladiator-esque fighting pit along with Jorah, aware that both were being observed by Dany, but she wasn’t exactly aware that they were there. It made an interesting proposition for the end of the episode for sure, as we got plenty of strong moments in an episode that even though it may have lacked Arya, gave us plenty of things to think about.
Was The Gift too packed? There were lots of things happening, that’s for sure, but let’s start with Jorah and Tyrion. I loved how Tyrion was able to beat one guy in a fight and that was enough to convince that he was capable of fighting in the pits, and this storyline again served up one of the most interesting aspects of this week’s episode especially now that we have Dany and Tyrion meeting each other. It’ll be great to see what happens next and after several seasons of having Dany’s story kept separate from the rest of the major characters, we’re finally starting to see some connection here which is pretty awesome. Another good part of this episode that was handled well was seeing Jorah still rejected by Dany even though he fought for her, so again, it’ll be interesting to see where these two converging plot threads go from here.
Just as busy as Jorah and Tyrion’s storyline was the time that we spent at the Wall, with so many interesting things going on. Ghost continues to be the best Direwolf, intervening with Jon’s absence to save Gilly, and Maester Aemon met his end this week (He may be one of the few people to die of natural causes in this series) in a touching moment that was executed strongly. And on top of that, we got Stannis standing up for Shireen this week as well, fully flipping out at Melisandre when she suggested sacrificing her because Shireen has “King’s Blood”. We got the revelation as to her involvement in both Joffrey and Robb’s death as well, but evidently, Shireen was one step too far for Stannis.
It’s also clear that Sansa isn’t in a great place this week, again, if that much was evident from the previous episode. After surviving both the ruthless Joffrey and the manipulations of Littlefinger, it seems likely that she isn’t going to get a break anytime soon (but when do any of the characters on this show ever do?), but it was pretty good to see her stand up to Ramsay this week even though she still has to endure his brutality. She tried to get Theon to help this week as well, but “It can always be worse,” is something that he has an all too great an experience of.
We also got to spend a bit of time in Dorne with Jamie and Bronn. Both characters went to Dorne on a rescue mission in an attempt to save Mycrella, but it turns out, she’s doing quite well for herself and doesn’t actually want to be saved. So there’s that. There was also a decent scene with Bronn and Tyrene, whilst he was locked in the dungeon, However, that said, not everything about Dorne was as good as it could have been this week with the Trystane and Mycrella scenes feeling rather dull, even if we didn’t spend a lot of time with these two.
And back in King’s Landing (see, I told you this was a packed episode), we got the further schemes of Littlefinger who’s still continuing to prove that he’s on nobody’s side but his own, having a hand in putting Loras and Margaery in jail, giving up Olyvar and on top of that having Cersei locked up as well, with this just happening after she’d visited an imprisoned Margaery. In any other episode, the “My Name is Tyrion Lannister” line being uttered to Dany would have been enough to make that the centre of attention, giving fans what they’ve been craving for most of the show, but the powerful stuff happening to Cersei took centre stage this episode, and it was handled very well, with things certainly increasing a notch in tension as we get towards the final episodes of Season 5. We’re only two away from that ninth episode remember, where we’ve had big shockers in the past, and hopefully that trend will continue in this season. Needless to say, I can’t wait.