Since most of the action in any “Game of Thrones” season happens in episode nine, the season finale has to bear the brunt of dealing with the repercussions of various murders and awesome battle scenes, while also closing out the season. Since the Purple Wedding happened in the second episode, however, “Breaker of Chains” doesn’t not have to struggle under the weight of every single “Game of Thrones” plot, making for an incredibly brisk episode.
One of three major events in the episode comes right at the beginning, as Sansa is whisked away from the wedding to a ship shrouded in fog. Littlefinger waits for her, because of course Littlefinger had a hand in Joffery’s death. I only realized it a few days after “The Lion and the Rose,” but Littlefinger wasn’t at the wedding, which seemed extremely odd. And now we know why. There’s undoubtedly more to this plot, and I’m glad that the mystery is not being too drawn out.
Another major event is Jaime’s rape of Cersei, first against Joffery’s death bed and then on the floor beside where their son’s corpse resides with unnerving eyeball coverings. As the internet tends to do when anything happens on “Game of Thrones,” it exploded into think pieces like this one, and this one, and this one.
Unpacking absolutely everything about the scene will take forever, but I do have some quick thoughts. It’s a horrifying scene, and though it’s not the best way to show the darkness at Jaime’s core, it certainly gets the job done. Ever since his capture by the Starks, and then his trek back to King’s Landing with Brienne Jaime has become softer and softer, and dare I say even likable. He’s still a Lannister however, and let’s not forget that he tossed Bran out a window. Now that he’s back home, and most importantly away from Brienne, Jaime is reverting back to being a bastard. Like I said, it’s certainly not the best way to get that across, especially since it does open up HBO to a huge amount of fair criticism about their portrayal of women on their shows, but it’s not the worst thing ever since it does add to Jaime’s character, and ties into the themes of the episode as a whole.
“The world is overflowing with horrible things, but they’re all a tray of cakes next to death.”
Once more Westeros has been thrown into confusion and chaos. More aptly, what little sense of clarity and order there was has now gone. “Breaker of Chains” is all about safety and protection, and how one should go about securing both of those. After two major bloody incidents in less than…a month it seems, no one is safe, and the whole concept of being safe has been tainted since both of those major deaths were at weddings. If you aren’t safe with your loved ones, you’re super fucked in Westeros.
The Hound offers protection to a farmer, fair work for fair wages, but then knocks the farmer on the head and walks off with the silver, while up in the North Sam relocates Gilly to a whorehouse, to save her from all the horny Crows. He doesn’t consult her about it, instead forcing her to live there with the promise that he’ll check up on her. In this lawless world men are doing whatever the Hell they want whenever the Hell they want, as long as they feel justified. I know Sam thinks he’s doing the right thing, but it’s still the wrong thing. “Breaker of Chains” is full of wonderful character moments like this, which is what gives the episode its lively pace. Everyone is doing something, whether right or wrong, and no one stands around moping (except for Stannis, but that’s kinda what he does).
“Your father lacks an appreciation of the finer points of bad behavior.”
Across the sea Daenerys acts as a much more like-able reflection of the Lannisters, as she rolls up to Meeren with her army. Her connection to the Iron Throne is just as tenuous as the Lannisters, and much like them she works through intimidation, consolidating power through her massive army and dragons instead of her checkbook (or coffers, or whatever). My hope is that this season will tease out the flaws of Daenerys’ idealogy, and deal with her trying to keep control of her army. Sure she’s freeing all the slaves that she meets, but for the purpose of bolstering her army. Do any of the Unsullied look free as they march behind her in perfect formation?
Catapulting barrels full of unlocked shackles is a potent image, though not as cool as watching her dragons fry some bastards. Daario also gets a nice, very Indiana Jones moment in his duel against the Meeren ambassador that shows us how much of a badass he is and also how ruthless he is, since he kills a horse in the duel. After trekking across the desert for so damn long, it was nice to see Daenerys’ story kick into high gear so early in the season.
“I am not your enemy”
“Breaker of Chains” is another fantastic episode of “Game of Thrones,” though individual enjoyment of the episode will stem from your opinion of the Jaime and Cersie scene. Regardless, everything around that scene is quickly paced and manages to emphasize the themes of the episode without being too obvious, and has so far been the best mixing of plot and character moments.