Game Of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 7 “The Gift”
Game Of Thrones doesn’t follow the structure of a typical season of television. However, in terms of the narrative arc, “The Gift” is still in the rising action phase as a number of storylines are building their way towards a climax (insert your Samwell Tarly joke here). The most notable series of events is the convergence of Tyrion and Dany’s storylines. We also saw Cersei’s smug grin get wiped off her face and discover things can actually get worse for Sansa. Speaking of Sam the Slayer, giving a shard of dragon glass to Jon appears to be setting up a battle with possibly a White Walker and their undead horde against the wildings in Hardhome.
Let’s start off with the story lines in Dorne which have yet to find their footing. There hasn’t been enough time allotted to develop the Sand Snakes, Prince Doran and Myrcella into compelling characters who can stand on their own. Myrcella reminds me of a young Sansa from early season one. She’s living in this fairytale dream of princes and water gardens while not seeing how much danger surrounds her. It’s how her relationship with Jamie might play out which will likely determine how invested I am in her fate.
I guess one could make the case that the Dornish are open with their sexuality and that Tyene Sand held the power over Bronn in more than one way. Yet, without knowing anything more about her, in that jail scene she comes off more of a caricature than someone I can take seriously. It also leaves me wondering why Tyene would want to save a guy working for the Lannisters, her sworn enemy. Aside from the “if you got it, flaunt it” modus operandi, does she have a long con in mind by giving the antidote to Bronn?
In Essos, enslaving Tyrion and Jorah worked well as a plot device that led to them coming together with Dany. And Jorah got a mini-Gladiator moment without actually having to kill anyone which seemed to impress Dany until he took off his helmet. I’m not surprised by her initial decision to send Jorah away, but I would have preferred a more emotionally conflicted look in her eyes. I thought I would have been more excited at Jorah’s reunion with Dany and Tyrion introducing himself to her.
I don’t know what to make of Dany acting so squeamish at the sight of men killing each other. I get that she doesn’t believe in killing for the sake of entertainment but it sort of highlights how roasting a possibly innocent man alive in gruesome fashion didn’t feel consistent with her character.
While I’m sure Brienne will eventually get something to do, it’s kind of disappointing that her storyline consists of waiting for a candle that might not ever light up. As flawed as Sansa’s plan was to ask Theon for help I did like a few developments. Sansa will now have to rely on herself. She has no other option but to take matters into her own hands if she hopes to make contact with Brienne or make it out of Winterfell.
I also liked that even though Sansa is beaten, she’s not broken like Theon. She was trying to pull Theon together with “You’re name is Theon Greyjoy” speech which echoed what she said to Myranda last episode, ‘I am Sansa of House Stark”. One other thing I noted is how Sansa is replanting the seeds in Ramsey’s psychotic mind that his step-mom’s baby is a potential threat to him. Ramsey is like a loose cannon that can go off at any given second, maybe she’s hoping she can use that to her advantage.
Further up North, Stannis going against Melissandre’s wishes is a strong moment for him. In previous seasons, he was overly dependent on the Red Priestess. But what made this decision great is that while Stannis is willing to risk his army and his own life, his love for Shireen supercedes everything else. Let’s not forget how ruthless Stannis has been to get to where he is. By not using Shireen’s blood, he’s possibly giving up Winterfell and the Iron Throne. What’s impressive still is that because Stannis’ development has been thoughtfully built up this season it feels true to his character.
At the Wall, I worried at how close Gilly was to being assaulted after what happened to Sansa last episode. It would have been funny if Sam didn’t know it was Ghost behind him that scared off the two Night’s Watchmen, but because that scene very tense, switching to a different tone wouldn’t have meshed. However, it’s funny how actor John Bradley can make his bedroom scene with Gilly comical “oh my, oh my”. On a sadder note, we bid farewell to Maester Aemon, he shall be missed.
The King’s Landing scenes are solid but I think something is missing from making them great. First off, it’s always a good writing choice to let two great actors in Diana Rigg (Queen Of Thorns) and Jonathan Pryce (High Sparrow) go opposite one another. I also liked seeing this raw emotive side to Tommen but especially Margaery because she usually dresses up her true thoughts with sweetness. But because Cersei is so transparent here, there isn’t another layer at play, the aspect which made her scenes with Tyrion so memorable. I do like how the tables of have turned on Cersei, of course all by her undoing.
Nitpicks aside, there aren’t any major low points in this episode. At the same time, “The Gift” didn’t have that one big moment everyone is raving about the next day. Tyrion meeting Dany could have been that moment but it didn’t land as strong as I hoped. Maybe it’s because the episode didn’t end on this scene. Or maybe I was hoping for an epic fight where Jorah had to work together with Tyrion to survive against all odds before the final reveal of who they were to Dany. The convergence of Dany and Tyrion’s storylines is a pretty huge event to me. They are two incredibly important characters and I think the landscape has changed in a interesting way. Their convergence opens up a lot of story possibilities. For example, will these two eventually work together to take back the Iron Throne? The fact that the show burned through entire books and beyond to get to this point is a sign this is a crucial development to the end game.
What do you think about Tyrion introducing himself to Dany? What did you like or dislike in this episode?