Did the same horrible thing happen to Sansa in the books? What is the deal with Arya’s boss at the House of Black and White? Where, exactly, are Tyrion and Jorah?
As we’ve done with every episode so far this season, we’ve put together a list of scenes, references, and characters that deserve a special comment or mention. There’s no way we got all the good stuff (and we might be wrong on some of the things we’ve left below)—so please help expand our appendix.
“I’m from Westeros, just like you. Daughter of a lord, just like you. Except I was an only child. Heir to his fortune. My mother died. My father remarried, and his new wife gave birth to a girl.”
It’s a bad idea to trust anything the Waif tells Arya, but given that some portion of this story is likely true, let’s ask: Who is the Waif? (Besides “The Westerosi Lena Dunham.”) Westeros succession practice operates under male-preference cognatic primogeniture—i.e., woman inherit after all of their brothers but before their male uncles or cousins—so she could be from anywhere, though that she specifies her status as an only child may imply that she is not from Dorne, which practices absolute primogeniture. (That she is pale and fair similarly makes Dornish heritage unlikely, unless she is a so-called “stony Dornishman” from the Andal-influenced north.)
Assuming the Waif is, like her book counterpart, in her 30s (and young-looking because of the poisons she deals with), and that the Waif was at least 12 when she contacted the Faceless Men to off her stepmother, we’re looking for a rich, non-Dornish, Westerosi noble house with a disappeared or disinherited female heir born 20 years before Robert’s Rebellion, and another female heir, no older than 30, with a dead mother.
“So, those villages we were supposed to find?”
So, uh, where are Tyrion and Jorah, exactly? From a quick glance at a map and listening to the dialogue, their confusing journey, which started two episodes ago in Volantis, seems to have involved them traveling east from Volantis (on a river, even though the only direction the Rhoyne goes from Volantis is north), then to the ruins of Valyria (nearly a thousand miles, as the crow flies, though Jorah and Tyrion appear to have hugged the coast), and through a suspiciously narrower smoking sea. The best I can figure is that they’ve wound up near the Black Cliffs on the western edge of Slaver’s Bay, near the city of Tolos—from where Meereen, Yunkai, and Astapor might be visible, and where villages are likely to be found.
The only other candidate for their location is the Isle of Cedars, which would be a quicker trip from the Smoking Sea, but which has by most accounts been abandoned and would therefore be free of settlements.
One final possibility for Tyrion and Jorah’s journey: They traveled northeast up the Rhoynish tributary Volaena, which connects somewhere unmapped to the Sea of Sighs, where they encountered the Stone Men. From there, the pair traveled on another river to the Black Cliffs.
Of course, none of these alternatives explain how they made a thousand-mile journey so quickly.
“I have nowhere else to go. I’ve taken her to every healer in Braavos.”
Taking a sick person to “every healer in Braavos” is not particularly difficult, as they are all located in the House of the Red Hands. (Left unanswered is the question of why this Westerosi guy is even in Braavos in the first place!)
“A girl is not ready to become no one. But she is ready to become someone else”
The Faceless Men are merciful practitioners of euthanasia, yes, but they are also an international guild of assassins, and in an inspired bit of corporate synergy they have found that they can use the skinned and cured faces of the people to whom they give “the gift” of a cup of poisoned water as disguises on their assassinating adventures.
“As I recall, the Mormonts fought against the Targaryens.”
You recall correctly, Tyrion. In fact, Jorah may have even been the head of House Mormont when Ned Stark compelled the noble houses of the north to join Robert Baratheon in his rebellion against the Mad King; while we don’t know when his father Jeor abdicated and joined the Night’s Watch, becoming its Lord Commander, it was around thirty years before the series, placing the abdication at the same general time as the rebellion.
“The Targaryens are famously insane.”
While the Targaryens themselves loved to play up the myth of Targaryen madness—connecting it implicitly to their greatness, and sometimes wielding it as a kind of threat—it’s not necessarily the case that the family has a genetic predisposition to insanity. There have been hundreds of Targaryens of whom only a handful are generally understood to be “mad,” and even these are not necessarily insane in the way the mad king Aerys II was. Prince Aemond, Prince Aerion, and King Maegor, for example, were cruel and violent but not properly “mad”; while King Baelor and Prince Rhaegel were, while maybe not entirely sane, not deranged. Queen Helaena, wife of Aegon II, was depressed, not mad; and the pretender Viserys, Danaerys’ brother, was just spoiled and stupid.
Aerys II was definitely mad, though.
“He won the tournament at Lannisport, unseating Ser Jaime Lannister himself.
This is true: The Lannisport tourney was held after King Robert defeated Theon’s father Balon and put down the Greyjoy rebellion. Jorah, who had distinguished himself in battle during the rebellion, and who was at this point the Lord of Bear Island, defeated eight knights, the final being Jaime. (In the books, he never unseats Jaime, just breaks nine lances.) Jorah declared Lynesse Hightower his queen of love and beauty and married her soon after; eventually, her demand for luxury led Jorah into the slave trade, and, ultimately, exile. (At least: That’s how Jorah tells the story.)
“It’s no lie. His name was Qotho. He was bloodrider to Khal Drogo.”
Qotho was one of Khal Drogo’s three bloodriders—the Dothraki warriors bound to Drogo and serving as his immediate protection. When Drogo fell ill and Daenerys attempted to have the witch woman Mirri Maz Duur heal him, Qotho attempted to stop her, shoving Daenerys to the ground and sending her into labor. Jorah interceded and killed Qoho.
“Take me to Slaver’s Bay. Put a sword in my hand. I’ll prove my worth.”
Well, for fuck’s sake, if you’re not in Slaver’s Bay where are you?
“And if you succeed?” “Name me Warden of the North.”
What is Littlefinger playing at here? Is he actually going to invade the North with the forces of the Vale, which are smaller in number? Is he going to go against Stannis—the finest military commander in Westeros, as he himself has claimed? Or is he just buying an excuse to muster the knights of the Vale against another enemy?
“You haven’t had to use that axe in a long time. I hope you remember how.”
Areo Hotah is Prince Doran Martell’s personal bodyguard and the captain of the guards at Sunspear and the Water Gardens. Originally from Norvos, he took up the city’s traditional weapon as a boy, when he was sold to the city’s ruling bearded priests (a sect so powerful and secretive only initiates know the name of its god) and branded with an axe symbol across his chest, taking the vow “Serve, obey, protect.” Hotah came to Dorne with Prince Doran’s wife, Mellario of Norvos, and when an unhappy Mellario left Doran to return to Norvos, the deeply loyal Hotah stayed behind.
“The Dornishman’s wife was as fair as the sun, and her kisses were warmer than spring.”
“The Dornishman’s Wife” is an old Westerosi ballad that tells the story of a man killed by a Dornishman for sleeping with the Dornishman’s wife. “But what does it matter”—the man asks as he dies—”for all men must die,/And I’ve tasted the Dornishman’s wife!”
“Your grace, I have traveled a long way.”
About 700 miles from High Garden along the Kingsroad.
“Has the Crown suddenly stopped needing the troops, gold, and wheat my house supplies?
The Reach, ruled by House Tyrell, is the wide area south of the Crownlands and north of Dorne. It’s the breadbasket of Westeros, a populous area with a mild climate and fertile land, and without its people or food, the Lannisters—near-bankrupted by war—would find themselves in danger of the Iron Bank calling in its loans. Mace, Margaery’s father and Olenna’s son, is a weak-willed idiot, and would be unlikely to break the alliance—but Cersei has sent him to Braavos with Meryn Trant to petition the Iron Bank.
“The Faith is satisfied there is enough evidence to bring a formal trial for Ser Loras and Queen Margaery.”
It’s not entirely clear how the many different systems of justice in Westeros operate, but it seems as though the trials of Loras and Margaery will be overseen by judges of the faith and not by the king, a ceding of specific temporal power that Cersei will come to regret. Regardless, Margaery and Loras will both be given the opportunity to demand trial by combat over trial by judge—or, if they prefer, the even more intense Trial by Seven, a trial by combat in which each side marshals seven combatants.
“Reek. I told you to watch.”
This horrifying scene represents a fairly significant and somewhat disturbing departure from the books. As discussed previously, Sansa has not reached Winterfell (nor is even traveling there) by the fifth book; rather, Ramsay has been married to Sansa’s old best friend and handmaiden, Jeyne Poole, who is being presented publicly as “Arya Stark.” As in the show, Jeyne is horrifically assaulted and Theon humiliated.