Cameron McMillan: Screw you Tommen. Bring back Joffrey. Trial by combat is such a great law. This was all leading to a Clegane vs Clegane showdown and you've ruined it for everyone. Are you too busy praying to read the Thrones message boards? This is what the fans wanted: The Mountain vs The Hound.
The upside is we may get to see more of the Hound because along with Bronn and Tyrion he delivers the best lines. "You're shit at dying" sure beats any Schwarzeneggerism. I'd be happy to see two scenes each week of the Hound killing random bad guys.
It was a fairly predictable episode last night which is worrying heading into next week which is titled Battle of the Bastards (By the way: great heavy metal band name. Same goes for Imp's Delight). It looks like the entire episode will be the battle of Winterfell. Are the showrunners setting us all up for a big fall?
Siena Yates: We're just killing time now, aren't we?
My three most favourite characters in the franchise dominated this episode and even I was bored.
Tyrion's not-so-witty banter with Missandei and Grey Worm gets more tedious with every episode. We get it, you drink, you talk, it's what you do. Now do something else, for the love of god. Remember that time you were in a battle and got your face sliced open? Or the time you shot your own father with a cross bow? Or the time you slapped Joffrey at the stables? Where's that guy?
Even Varys is doing more than Tyrion, running back to Westeros to find Dany a fleet - aka set up a meet cute with Yara (I wonder if gay marriage is allowed outside of Westeros, I bet Dorne is significantly more liberal).
Meanwhile, Arya spent another whole episode running from the Waif, and finally killing the girl we've dubbed the Terminator of Game of Thrones.
That's all well and good, but to be fair, she could've done that in the last episode. And other than that, there was just Brienne and Jaime basking in sexual tension for an entire episode, simply for it to all end in an awkward wave in the dark as she sailed away.
I'm all about Braime becoming a thing, but this is Game of Thrones, not Twilight. I don't have time for your teen romance nonsense.
Past that though, full points to The Mountain who simply outdid himself this episode by literally ripping a man's face off. With. His. Bare. Hands.
Which is probably lucky because now that Cersei isn't allowed a trial by battle (RIP in advance, Queen) we probably won't get to see The Mountain in action until he finally crosses paths with The Hound at some other point down the road, and who knows when that's going to happen.
However, this season seems to be the season for a boring episode to be followed by an exciting one, so let the countdown begin.
Rachel Bache: I was literally bashing my head against the table waiting for that tedious scene of bad jokes and peer-pressured drinking to be over. Seriously, Tyrion, don't you know that there are only two more episodes left in this season of Thrones? We don't have time for awkward, forced, boring banter - and neither do you! Unfortunately, it's the slavers sails in the distance, not Yara, Theon and their Iron-born crew there to sweep you and Daenerys away to Westeros, not yet anyway. And where's a dragon when you need one ... Oh, right here ... Drogon and Dany to the rescue! Yay.
Tommen, I really don't like you right now - you're making me feel bad for Cersei - which is so very, very wrong. Stop it, stop it right now! Hopefully, the zombie Mountain will still get to crush a few more skulls before the finale, even without a trial by combat. Although, it looks like 'that rumour' Cersei asked Qyburn's 'little birds' to investigate (totally forgot about that storyline) could be about Wildfire, which means that Cersei could go all Mad King on High Sparrow and his flock. I goddamn hope so. Burn them all! ... But knowing Cersei's luck, if that plan succeeds it could end with the death of her son, fulfilling the witch's prophecy that all her children are gonna bite the dust.
I'm glad Brienne of Tarth didn't have to fight her BFF Jamie Lannister. Their friendship (?) is such a strange one - but obviously built on honour and respect. And maybe that's why it was so touching to see Jamie wave goodbye to Brienne as she floated away from Riverrun instead of sending his men after her. Brienne is the type of knight Jamie wishes he was, but will never be and he knows it. That's why he admires her so much.
Also, lord bless the Hound, that scene stealer.
Robert Smith: Game of Thrones can be a bleak and depressing affair sometimes, with main characters brutally killed off, evil men triumphant and a literal war between the living and the dead, but it also gets great rewards from the small moments of friendship, compassion and decency between all that horror.
It's there in the easy banter and comradeship of Poderick and Bronn, and in Tyrion's painfully slow attempts to bond with his greatest allies, and in the actress' tender care of Arya, and it's there in the place the Brotherhood offer the Hound (which also apparently wipes out the possibility of both Cleganebowl and Lady Stoneheart, which is weird, when they made such a point of evoking her previous incarnation in the latest episode.)
And it's also there in the fierce and confusing friendship of Brienne and Jaime. Their devotion and respect for each other is so strong it confuses the hell out of them, as if they're not sure how they ever got to this level connection. Brienne's mission is the Riverlands was a waste strategically speaking, but paid off dramatically and emotionally, with all the pained silences and furtive glances you'd expect, especially when she tried to hand the sword back.
Things are getting epic towards the end of the series, with Daenerys and Arya both dramatically claiming their names and titles. Battles of both ice and fire are looming, and the whole world faces its doom, but there is always time for a bit of banter.
Sophie Ryan: Was I the only one feeling Thrones fatigue? I vaguely remember feeling this way at about episode seven and eight of the previous season, so maybe it's just the show's narratives gearing up to a massive two concluding episodes. My Westeros blues was cured by a visit to Meereen where Tyrion is wildly pleased with how everything has worked out for him and the slaves in Daenerys' absence. The scene of him telling jokes and peer pressuring Greyworm and Missandei into drinking wine was classic Tyrion gold, and it was nice to see the warmth between the hand maiden and general.
The relationship between the pair was hinted at last season and it was about time the show revisited it. Meereen is the site of some of the greatest Thrones scenes ever, but the visuals of the slavers attacking the city was poor CGI, I thought. All was forgiven when Daenerys Stormborn appears and we see Drogon flying about in the background. She looks really unimpressed with the state of her city and everyone is thinking, what is she going to do about it? Is she going to ride Drogon while he burns all the slavers to a crisp? That'd be one way to get her message across. And will she banish Tyrion, or agree that he did the best he could without her around?
The trailer for next week's episode shows the state of affairs in Westeros get serious as the Starks take on the Boltons, so an episode with some good old fashioned banter might have been the perfect lead in to a full on 40-minute battle scene.