This recap obviously contains spoilers from season 5 episode 9, so don’t read it unless you are weird and want to be spoiled before watching it.
Shit is not going well for Stannis the Mannis. Melisandre is just chilling in her tent, doing her red god prayer stuff and she gets a fire alert…before it happens. Apparently, that’s a thing she can do? Tents are going up in flames, there’s a horse on fire running through the encampment; basically shit is cray. Ramsay and his 20 men done fucked things up for Stannis and he’s real pissed about it. Davos is sure that this is the straw that will break the camel’s back and suggests going back to Castle Black one more time but Stannis says “nah man” and walks over to talk to Melisandre.
Stannis wants Davos to ride to Castle Black with some men to get more supplies in exchange of a promise to Jon that Stannis will send so many men once he wins that Jon could guard all 19 castles if he wants. Davos tries to protest saying his place as Hand is with the King but Stannis does not budge. Then, he tries to get Stannis to send Selyse and Shireen, or at least just Shireen, with him but Stannis does not give in to that either saying “my family stays with me.” So, sad Davos walks over to Shireen’s tent (their men are in bad shape). Shireen is reading The Dance of Dragons: A True Telling. She tells him about the story she’s reading – Byron Swan’s polished shield and the dragon that was not fooled. Davos gives her a parting/thank you gift, a stag, for teaching him to be a grownup. He kisses her on the forehead and says “you’ll totally be here when I get back in a couple of days…you will totally not be burned.” UGH.
Stannis also goes to see Shireen while she’s reading that book and she explains to him the plotline: family fought against one another for the throne and ended up destroying the realm instead. He asks her who she would’ve picked and she says neither because it destroyed everything. Then he goes on a “but I did it because I had to” speech which ends with her telling him she will do whatever is needed to help because she’s Princess Shireen of House Baratheon. He hugs her and whispers “forgive me.” I WILL NOT FORGIVE YOU STANNIS.
A couple of soldiers walk Shireen, who is holding the stag, out to a pyre. She does not seem to know what is going to happen to her until she sees the pyre. She then asks for her father and tells them not to do it, while Melisandre assures that this is what is needed and it will be over soon. Selyse is by Stannis, also saying that Shireen has King’s blood and this will help their cause but right before the pyre is lit, she has a change of heart and says she can’t do this but Stannis holds her firm. They light the pyre and all you hear is terrible screams from Shireen. Selyse breaks free from Stannis and tries to help her daughter but is restrained by soldiers. Soon the screams stop and Selyse is left in a heap on the ground, crying. Stannis looks sad but fuck him. In the end, Selyse, who seemed to dislike Shireen through the whole show, seems more affected by her death than Stannis, who seemed to actually love her? I don’t get it. Is there a way both the Boltons and Stannis can lose? Can Sansa kill them all? Kthanxbye.
Jon and co. have returned to the Wall but the Night’s Watch hasn’t raised the gate for them to pass through and Jon is reallllllllllllllllllllll worried. Alliser Throne looks down upon Jon and the people he has brought. For a split second, it doesn’t look like he will raise the gate but he does. As the Wildlings pour in, Jon laments to Sam saying he failed the Wildlings but Sam reassures Jon saying he didn’t fail the ones who lived. People are in awe of Wun Wun as they should be because he is awesome. The Night’s Watch brothers look mad as hell and Olly is pissed. Alliser walks up to Jon and tells him that he has a good heart and it will get all of them killed.
Jaime is NOT impressed with how low cut Myrcella’s dress is but she likes it; the Dornish climate agrees with her. Her boyfie, Trystane, wasn’t hurt by Bronn’s punch at all because he all tough and shit. When Doran asks Jaime why they snuck into their kingdom, Jaime tells him about the threatening message received by Cersei. Doran does a side eye to Ellaria. He tells Jaime that he’s not going to execute Jaime because that would mean war and he has seen what war means – dead bodies piled high. More side eye to Ellaria. When Doran toasts to Tommen, Ellaria turns her drink sideways and lets her drink spill out, to show protest. Doran has decided to comply with Jaime’s request – Myrcella is going back to King’s Landing but Trystane is going with her and he will take Oberyn’s seat on the Small Council. This pisses Ellaria off even more and she tells Doran “no wonder you can’t stand, you have no spine”. Doran says “you are my nieces’ momma so I’m gonna let this one slide but if you come at me like this again, I’m gonna have you killed.” Jaime tried to take responsibility for Bronn’s punch but Doran lets Trystane decide what happens to Bronn. He agrees to let Bronn go free on one condition. So Areo Hotah goes to get Bronn from the cells, where the Sand Snakes are playing a really painful game. Nymeria and Tyene are in a heated game of hand slap. Nymeria is taunting Tyene but Tyene gets into Nymeria’s head and she finally misses. Then, on her turn, Tyene straight up slaps Nymeria in the FACE. Shit is about to go down when Areo Hotah arrives at the cells to get Bronn. Jaime tells Bronn that he is to go free under one condition and Areo Hotah elbows Bronn straight in the face. Ouch. Doran offers Bronn soup instead of the pie he wanted.
Doran also releases the Sand Snakes and tells Ellaria that the rebellion is dead; she must swear allegiance or die. So she kneels and kisses his ring, whilst crying super hard. Doran believes in second chances but not third. Ooooooooooooooooo. Ellaria goes to see Jaime, who is busy writing with his left hand. Ellaria does not disapprove of Jaime and Cersei’s relationship, saying 100 years ago, no one would have blinked an eye at them if they were named Targaryen and that the only thing that does not change is we want who we want. She acknowledges the fact that Myrcella had no part in what happened to Oberyn and that maybe even Jaime is innocent in that. Do she be flirting though?
Arya is still selling oysters and trying to kill the Thin Man. Gross dudes stop her and ask her a rude question. SMH. SHE’S JUST A CHILD!! A child who kills, but who cares about that. Arya sees the Thin Man and puts the poison bottle in her hip satchel. While she is doing this, she sees Meryn Trant in a boat that is rowing to dock and she’s like “OH FUCK!” and completely forgets about the Thin Man, who calls out to her because he hungrryyyy. Mace Tyrell is in Braavos to treat with the Iron Bank and Meryn Trant is a part of Mace’s guard. Mace is his ever awkward self, saying shit that no one wants to hear and singing when no one wants him to. It is HILARIOUS. You do you, Mace.
It seems like Meryn almost recognizes Arya but we find out later the reason he could’ve been intently staring at Arya. Perv. Later that night, when Meryn and two soldiers visit a brothel, Arya follows them in pretending to sell oysters. She is not turned away by the graces of a hungry prostitute. She goes further in the brothel where Meryn and the soldiers are sitting, whilst Meryn chooses a girl. The main brothel lady (brothel hostess?) shows him 3 girls and his answer is the same for each one of them: too old. While the lady scoots off somewhere to find a younger girl, one of the soldiers finds Arya in the hall and takes her in the room with Meryn because they hungry. Meryn is again staring at Arya and she seems afraid that he will recognise her but she’s saved by the main lady, who shoos her away. She has found a young girl (who, from her clothing, seems to have been a maid or something) and Meryn approves. YUCK.
Arya goes back to the House of Black and White, where Jaqen is helping another man die. She tells Jaqen that the Thin Man was not hungry that day but tomorrow she will definitely do some murder. Jaqen comments saying “maybe that’s why a man is thin” and sends her on her way to clean the man that just died but he does not look like he fully believes her story.
Dany and friends are at the Great Games, watching the crowd be crazy loud. Hizdahr finally comes to his seat, saying he was making sure everything is in order, which I think is a little suspect. I mean it could be that he was making sure that the games would go off without a hitch OR could’ve been making sure the Sons of the Harpy shit would happen. I’m getting ahead of myself. As the games begin with Dany’s clap, Hizdahr and Daario have an argument about who is a better: the strong or the quick. Daario does a lot of showing off with his knife and is very confident that he is right…until the strong dude beheads the quick dude. Hizdahr says “larger men beat smaller men” and the camera pans to show Tyrion being like “meh”. Then, 6 dudes enter the pit and one of the them is Jorah. You can almost see Dany’s heart drop into her stomach. The dudes start fighting and Jorah is killing but then this one dude almost kills him. But don’t worry – that dude gets stabbed up by another dude. WHEW. WHAT LUCK, AMIRIGHT? Jorah beats that dude and is the victor, when he picks up a spear and throws it into the royal host is sitting. I was like “holy shit, he trying to kill Dany” but nope; he killed a Son of the Harpy trying to sneak murder Dany-boo. They all look around and there are Sons of the Harpy everywhere. Daario literally could not. Daario is killing and Jorah is up there real quick to help. He and Daario exchange a look like “neither one of us like each other but lets do this for the woman we love.” I know guys, I can read a lot into a look. Also, Hizdahr tries to take Dany to “safety” and gets stabbed up. So either he died trying to really help her or he got murdered by his friends.
Jorah helps Dany down to the pit (HE TOUCHED HER, YOU GUYZ! DOES SHE HAVE GREYSCALE??) and Tyrion murders a dude to save Missandei. I guess Greyworm is still recovering? They are trying to find a way out but they soon find themselves surrounded on all fucking sides. They’re still trying to hold their ground but its clear that there are too many of them. Dany and Missandei hold hands and Dany closes her eyes, ready for what is to come. But wait. What’s that sound? Is that a bird, or a plane, or Superman? No. Its Drogon, come to save his mummy. He just flies down, lights people on fire, and chomps on some people. (Side note: if I was a Son of the Harpy, I definitely would’ve stabbed up Dany while everybody was distracted and looking up at the dragon). He is hit by a couple of spears which seem to penetrate his dragon hide pretty easy. Dany pulls one of the spears out and he screams at her bloody murder. But really, we just think he was super mean to her because we don’t speak dragon. I think he was really saying “oweeeee Mom, that realllllly hurt. But thanks. Want a ride?” Dany climbs up on him and they fly off, the Neverending Story style (or the Harry Potter on a broomstick style).
Next week: Mother’s Mercy
This issue of “usury” in Medieval times is about the mindset of the people of the time. Their view of money was different. If you are a good, productive citizen you will get money as a by-product of your “worthiness”. You don’t seek to make money, — a rich man will be a “good” man. If, however, you get money without “earning” it by being a good citizen, then you are being dishonest. You are pretending that you are a better person than you are, so that is wrong. Now, because it tends to be lords and kings who borrow money, the “guilt” for the dishonesty was displaced onto the lender, who is complicit in the deception by lending the money. This was compounded in the real wold by Christianity, which venerates unworldliness, and therefore money-lending was left to non-Christians. (Note: a gift, even with conditions attached, was considered more honest)
Also, the notion of sacrifice is not well understood today. A sacrifice should be something that is of value. Killing Shireen was horrible, but it would not be regarded as the crime it appears to us today. The sacrifice goes directly to the presence of the supernatural power being called on. So Shireen is suffering for a few minutes to be forever in the grace of the god. I don’t think a sacrifice does not fall under kin slaying. It should also be noted that Shireen could not inherit the Iron Throne, so Stannis was not destroying his future.
Have to disagree on the comment about usury, since the definition is:
“the illegal action or practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest.”
It is like going to a loanshark now where the interest is 50% on your loan vs. something much lower from a reasonable lender.
The biblical injunction against usury was to prevent loaners from taking unfair advantage of financially desperate people to saddle them with a debt they would have no chance of ever paying back, normally resulting in they or members of their family being sold into slavery to try to pay it back.
It as not about “unworldliness”, but a practical limit about treating your neighbors with love and compassion vs. being greedy.
You are right from a 21st Century perspective, but that wasn’t the point I was making. I put usury in quotation marks exactly because I was not referring to the current meaning. All money lending for interest was condemned, and it’s practitioners were referred to as “usurers”, a corruption of the latin word usura, meaning “interest”.
Profitless usurer, why dost thou use
So great a sum of sums, yet canst not live?
For having traffic with thy self alone,
Thou of thy self thy sweet self dost deceive:
Then how when nature calls thee to be gone,
What acceptable audit canst thou leave?
–William Shakespeare, The Sonnets , IV.
“Whatever exceeds the amount owed is usury.”
— St. Ambrose of Milan (c. 340-397 CE)
Some version of the idea that a man’s wealth is the measure of the man, not his goal, presumably exists in Westeros.
Again, in terms of Medieval Christian poverty and “unworldliness” were important, driving concepts, as indicated by orders like the Knights Templar — known as the “The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon”, ironically, as they became very rich!; and the Cistercians, for whom austerity, manual labour and self-sufficiency were key. It is a different mindset to modern man. The mindset can be gleaned from such literature as The Quest for the Holy Grail where the purity of Sir Galahad allows him to achieve the quest, while his father, Sir Lancelot, fails because of his worldly love for Queen Guinevere.
I confess that I should have said “venerated unworldliness” rather than “venerates unworldliness”.