What do you love the most?
Don’t tell me your kids or your spouse. Don’t tell me your glorious cause. Don’t tell me your dog or your best friend. Don’t tell me the easy thing.
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath.
Do you smell the smoke?
Now tell me again.
Arya Stark loved her vengeance, whispered it night after night after night. Whispered it in the dark, in the mud, in the rain. She wrapped it around her, like her fist clenched on Needle’s hilt, and her lips formed the name without even thinking. Ser Meryn, who beat her sister bloody, who protected the monster boy who beheaded her father. Ser Meryn, she whispered, her tongue against her sharp teeth. She loves it more than anything.
That’s all the Many-Faced God wanted her to offer up.
Alliser Thorne loved the Wall. He stood on top of it and stared the wildlings down, and the howling of the wind in his memory grew faint when he locked the castle gates. He loved the miles of ice that separated him from all that was out there trying to kill him, everything that had killed his friends, and he loved standing between the wildlings and the realms of men.
That’s all the Night’s Watch took from him, when he opened the Wall and let the wildlings through.
Danaerys Targaryen loved freedom. She grew up chained to her brother, to his delusions and fears and plans for her, and in the desert on Drogo’s pyre she set herself free, and then she set out to free everyone around her. She’s screwing it up. of course, but this isn’t about the results. This is about what she loved most, which was the picture of her people, unchained under her rule.
That’s all it took to secure her throne. She clapped her hands, and the first person to show her kindness in her life bled for her in the sand.
Stannis Baratheon loved his daughter. The maesters all told him to let her die, to let her turn to stone like a princess in a fairy tale. He had lost son after son after son, and lost his wife in the process, too, to the horrors in her own head. The best healers in the Seven Kingdoms couldn’t save her, not all of her, but he kept her by his side and touched her when others fled from her scars. Stannis didn’t love his brothers and he didn’t love his wife, and he has no friends who aren’t servants, but he loved his daughter.
That’s all the Lord of Light needed, to melt the snows and lead the way.
That’s all this world will ever ask of anyone: The thing that means the most to you.
And you think you know what it is, up until the moment when you hear the screams of what you sacrificed to get it.
Quick takes: HOLY FUCKING FUCK SHIREEEEEEEN. NO. NO. NO. ALL THE NO. THIS ISN’T HAPPENING. I refuse to believe this is happening. I may need therapy. I may need all the therapy, and a kitten, maybe two kittens, because I feel like I just watched a kitten kill another kitten by slowly smothering it with a third kitten. I can’t decide if I want to hold Stannis and Davos or stab Stannis and Davos or maybe both, and up until the SECOND it happened I thought Stannis, come on. Come on, he’s going to walk into the flames himself. I thought Davos would ride back in yelling brave loud things and save her.
And then just …
If I have a complaint about that story, and I HAVE MANY COMPLAINTS YOU FUCKING MONSTER GARBAGE PEOPLE, it’s that we needed far more buildup to understand just how desperate things were getting in Camp Baratheon. Sure, Ramsay burned all their stores, but it feels like they just left Castle Black yesterday so how are they so fucked already? It’s clear in the books, even though we don’t get to this yet (and I will not be reading this part when it comes out because just thinking about it makes me feel ill), that they were really all on the edge of dying.
This just felt like Stannis was bitching about rush hour traffic. “I will sacrifice my OWN KID to get past the interchange today, I swear to God.”
(And that it was Selyse in the end, who tried to stop it. Selyse, who loathed her daughter, and didn’t want her to come along. Mother, please. I can’t.)
FUCK YEAH DROGON. That was glorious. That was so glorious I almost don’t feel like throwing up anymore. That was amazing: Dany, looking to the sky, and DID I MENTION MY KID BREATHES FIRE? Oh, and that he does not like it when you mess with his mama? That was completely brilliant, and made up for the previous ten minutes of Shut Up Daario and Tyrion and Hizdahr Theatre.
Missandei, who weighs 90 pounds soaking wet and was wearing basically a bikini, did not hesitate for a second before putting her body between Danaerys and the spears. The moment they joined hands I started holding my breath.
Never enough Wun Wun. #bestgiantever
Dorne bores me witless. I don’t like seeing Ellaria Sand neutered like that, or those actresses wasted.
All the Emmys on the planet for Iain Glen and the way he looks at his Khaleesi. He and Emilia Clarke have crazy chemistry, which makes it hard, because they don’t make a lot of sense to me together as characters. The last thing Dany needs right now is ANOTHER boyfriend with boundary issues.
Next week: Cersei, Ser Robert Strong, Where In the World is Danaerys Targaryen, and hopefully Sansa cutting lots of bitches because I cannot take another night of, “So, here is a nice thing you like, watch us sledgehammer it.”