And winner of vilest character on TV.. Ramsay Bolton for deeds most foul on Games of Thrones.
If only that were an awards category because I’m pretty sure there would be no challengers at all. Joffrey could have given him a run for his money in earlier seasons, but now he is the clear titleholder.
In episode four, he does little to redeem himself and kills off another fan favourite. But we’ll get to that later.
With the Starks gone and the Lannisters nowhere as powerful as they used to be, Bolton is shaping up as the key figure in the “New World Order” of the Seven Kingdoms and is casting a long shadow all the way to The Wall.
It’s not long after declaring his ‘watch is over’ that Jon Snow is finally reunited with Sansa. It’s the first time they’ve seen each other since the pilot episode of 2011.
By the glow of a warm fire and drinking dreadful Night’s Watch ale, Sansa admits she was a brat back in the day and begs Jon’s forgiveness. For his part, Jon admits he was in full ‘Emo-mode’ at Winterfell.
“I can’t have been much fun, always sulking in the corner, while the rest of you played”.
It’s regret that dominates their reunion. They don’t mention the loved ones that have been lost or how they’ve been lost. It’s Sansa who puts into words how both are feeling.
“Don’t you wish we could go back to the day we left? I want to scream at myself ‘don’t go, you idiot”
“How could we have known”?
But this is a mature Sansa, who is hell bent on revenge and restoring order to the North. And how that Jon appears to be at a loose end….
“There’s only one place we can go: home”.
“Shall we tell the Boltons to pack up and leave?
“We’ll take it back from them. If we don’t take back the North, we’ll never be safe… I’ll do it myself if I have to”.
It’s later, when he gets a letter from Ramsay taunting him about the capture of Rickon, that Jon starts to consider his options. Two thousand wildlings against five thousand of Ramsay’s followers. Still he hesitates, but Sansa is relentless.
“The monster has taken our home and our brother. We have to go back to Winterfell to save them both”.
Given that the Red Lady has decided Jon is the ‘Prince that was promised’ then his return to Winterfell fits an earlier vision she had of Jon fighting at Winterfell. Maybe she can see the future in the flames?
Regardless, she tells Ser Davos that she will go where Jon goes, even if that puts her in the company of Brienne, Sansa’s sworn protector. That could prove problematic.
“I was King’s Guard to Renly Baratheon before Renly was assassinated with Blood Magic. Yes, it’s in the past. Doesn’t mean I forget or forgive”.
Now, Sansa is in this pickle because of Lord Petyr Baelish. He took her to Winterfell and told her to marry Ramsay and ‘control’ him. Fat lot of good that has done her.
And speaking of the Devil, who should turn up now?
Episode 4 has returned us to The Eyrie and the weakling Lord of the Vale. He’s still pulling the strings and manages to out manoeuvre those he considers a threat.
He manipulates the young Robin, telling him that Sansa has escaped but isn’t safe from the Boltons, even at Castle Black. News travels fast in the Seven Kingdoms.
“She’s my cousin. We should help her”.
“Our Lord has spoken. Gather the Knights of the Vale. It’s time to join the fray”.
So, that’s Jon and the wildlings and the Knights of the Vale, who are heading to the North for a potential showdown with Ramsay Bolton. Anyone else?
Not the Lannisters for the time being. Jaime and Cersei are looking to do something about the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant.
Their storyline has floundered a little, but now we see them start to take control of their situation. They hatch a plot to bring down the Sparrows, but it will mean civil war at King’s Landing.
With Queen Margaery still being held in the prison, Tommen has ordered nothing be done to jeopardise her safety, but tells his mother that she’s to make the same humiliating Walk of Atonement.
Presented with that news, the Small Council of Lady Olenna Tyrell and Ser Kevan Lannister agree to the plan. The troops of King’s Landing will stand aside as soldiers from the High Garden come in and deal with the fanatical Sparrows.
“If it doesn’t go to plan, there will be civil war. Many will die”.
“Many will die no matter what we do. Better them than us”.
Another Lannister is having a little more luck as ruler. Tyrion is running the show in Meereen while Daenerys is MIA. Much to the disgust of Greyjoy and Missandei, he does a deal with the Wise Masters of Slavers Bay.
“As a clever man once told me, we make peace with our enemies, not our friends”.
Speaking on behalf of the erstwhile Queen, Tyrion offers simple terms. Slavery will never return to Meereen, but she will give the other cities seven years time to adjust to the new order.
In return, the have to cut off support for the Sons of the Harpy, even though they deny any involvement in the revolt.
Unbeknownst to Tyrion, it seems the Wise Masters of Yunkai know exactly what’s happened to Dany (news really does travel fast). They’ve offered the Dothraki ten thousand horses for the Mother of Dragons.
But, the Dothraki has really underestimated this particular Khaleesi. Unconcerned that she may be a) handed over to the slavers; b) kept at Dosh Khaleen for the rest of her life or c) subjected to horrific sexual abuse, she makes another suggestion.
She will be the one to call the shots and carry out Khal Drogo’s plan to travel by sea in ‘wooden horses’ to win the Iron Throne.
More fools them because they don’t take her seriously. So, she smiles as she tips over braziers and burns down their temple. With them inside.
And in a scene reminiscent of her walking out of Drogo’s funeral pyre in season one, she emerges from the flames naked and unscathed. Jorah, Daario and the surviving Dothraki fall to the knees in submission.
It ends the episode on a euphoric note. It’s history repeating itself with Dany gathering a new army to conquer Westeros.
That may or may not include a visit to the frozen north and a potential encounter with Ramsay Bolton – that’s if Jon, Sansa and Baelish don’t get there first.
And in his latest act of horror, Bolton slaughters Osha; the wildling woman who’d protected Rickon on his travels through the north.
She tried to convince Ramsay she had no loyalty to the Stark boy and had planned to sell him to the highest bidder
She tried to seduce him and as she reached for a knife, he slits her throat and returns to eating an apple as she bleeds out on the floor in front of him.
I detest Ramsay Bolton and I suspect the Twitter and Facebook will go into meltdown when he finally meets his end.
May it be soon.
Nikole Gunn has been a watcher of TV since the 70s. A writer of words since the 80s. A reader of the news since the 90s; mostly on Triple M, Nova and Gold.
Twitter - @NikoleGunn