So here’s what Thoros of Myr and the Brotherhood are about, what the group of horrors that just picked up Jaime and Brienne are about, and what the next couple of seasons are about. Thus far in the show, we’ve been watching the game of thrones. Who’s king, who’s winning, which great royal family will rule. Who will win the throne. We’ve heard a lot of big talk, from big men, about who has to rule in order to save the kingdom, about who has the most right to sit in a chair.
I love this filthy little chicken-rat like she is my own child.
What we’re not talking about, not quite yet, is what happens to that kingdom in the meantime. What the War of Five Kings is doing to the countryside, and how much of the kingdom will be destroyed so that someone can say he saved it.
Tywin Lannister sent Gregor Clegane out to raid the riverlands, to pillage and burn and distract the Starks and Tullys. His men torture and kill, and Thoros and Anguy and possibly Lem if we get to him rise up in the shadows to take care of what’s left. The Bloody Mummers rise up, too, because when you’ve unleashed murder and chaos there are always hangers-on, copycats, people who will gnaw on the land’s bones.
Mance Rayder is a king, leading an army that speaks seven languages, and the Hornfoots hate the Ice River clans. They’re all going to die if they don’t get south, and something cold and dark follows behind them.
Joffrey and Margaery play at crossbows, dancing around one another, but out in Flea Bottom are orphans of this war, and she sees what Joffrey can’t: Their numbers. They are many, and the Lannisters are few, and the only way the Lannisters hold onto that city is by making sure it never occurs to the many that if they wanted to rise, nothing could stop them.
That’s where Arya is right now, in the graveyard they’ve all left behind. That’s what she’s starting to see. It’s what her brother Bran starts to see as well, the world beneath the world where they grew up, dark things whispering in the woods and all the unintended consequences spun out from the center. Remember, Sandor Clegane rode down the butcher’s boy, and Cersei had Lady killed, would have killed Nymeria if Arya hadn’t driven her away. This all started to go bad so long ago.
Quick takes: The REEDS! I was afraid we’d never get to them! Jojen is older than I thought he’d be, but the actor, that little otherworldly thing, is perfect for him, and Meera’s wonderful. In the books Osha and Rickon have split off by now, so I hope they’re sticking around for a reason. I always felt Rickon got a raw deal in the books; he disappears and you never hear from him again.
Theon’s about to go down deep. And speaking of deep, holy hell, Catelyn. In the books she’s so much kinder to Robb’s wife; I can’t blame her for thinking her kid is an epic dumbass and this girl isn’t a good idea, but ouch, was that harsh to hear. I wish we’d spent more time with her and less with fucking Rickard Karstark who WE GET IT ALREADY, just so that she’d seem less stereotypically Horrid Old Witch.
The countryside is burning, and Robb is marching to a funeral.