Seriously, why are there so many kings all of a sudden? Mark my words, this will only end in tears.
What began as a relatively straightforward story flitting between major players of rival houses has now splintered off to feature more characters than there are in the Bible. Is this a problem? No, not yet. But I could see how it would be difficult to get into this show if you weren't paying really close attention.
Let's catch up with the major players of this episode, shall we?
Arya Stark and Gendry the Bastard Armorer are making their way north with the new recruits of the Night's Watch. Both of them are being hunted by the Crown, and have developed a close bond. Can they please get married and rule the world together omg I just love them so very much they're so adorable. Do they get together in the books don't tell me I don't want to know!
What's Tyrion doing down in King's Landing? Oh, just kicking ass and taking names. No big deal. And ruffling the feathers of literally everyone he meets. I am so pleased that it's come to this because Tyrion is perfect person to be the King's Hand and I think everyone's slowly realizing that. I love every conversation he has with his sister and the eunuch guy, they are pitch perfect. Honestly, if this show was just a sitcom called The Lannisters...I would still probably watch it.
Theon is heading home for the first time in like a decade to convince his father that he should join in the fight against the Lannisters. In exchange for allegiance to Robb, he would get his crown back. Theon's father proceeds to emasculate the hell out of him and basically cut him off at the knees.
Also, finger banging your sister on horseback. #awkwardfamilyreunion
Is anyone not screwing their sister? It just seems odd to me that the people who would check the box that says, "Prefer sexual relations with people who are not my actual relations" are vastly outnumbered in this world.
I don't exactly know what the deal is with the red-haired priestess lady, but I don't like it. She reminds of the witch who screwed over Daenerys, and she just doesn't seem like someone you should be trusting. Even Lord Stannis has his doubts, but those seem to evaporate once she strips and promises him a son. Men.
North of the Wall, Jon and the rest of the rangers are still up with the creepy father/husband/cult leader, and Sam decides it's a good idea to talk to one of the girls. No, Sam...bad. Although he is sort of delusionally sweet, wanting to help Gilly escape so that if her baby is a boy, it will have a chance. Because apparently, this guy gives all of his infant sons to...THE WHITE WALKERS??
What?? Why?? Also...WHAT??
What do they do with them? Do they raise them as their own? Eat them for breakfast? I do not know what to do with this revelation.
The story does seem to suffer a little bit from being split into so many smaller pieces, and it makes it difficult for any one episode to form a cohesive whole. Luckily, all of the characters and smaller segments of story are still so engaging that it doesn't really bother me too much. Also, it's a sign of complicated and layered storytelling, which keeps it all exciting. There's a sense that this world is fully real, because it has as many people and conflicts as our own does. Most of all, though, the fact that I only get to see the characters I like for a few minutes every episode makes me hungry for more. Why isn't it Sunday yet??