HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 7: “The Gift”

After last week’s traumatic episode, one couldn’t be blamed for no longer wanting to stick with HBO’s Game of Thrones. From U.S. senators to popular feminist geek websites to individual fans of television that doesn’t make you (a) really pissed off and disgusted, or (b) curl into the fetal position while weeping, everyone’s feeling that events in the North are getting more dire than direwolves. Who are actually pretty scarce until the perfect dramatic moment calls for one.

We’re still in the quiet before the storm of swords that is set of rain down upon Winterfell. There’s no solace there, not for us, not for Sansa. But there were two gifts of great importance given that could go a long way towards improving fans’ moods.

Major episode spoilers ahead.

Spoilers for the currently published George R. R. Martin novels are discussed in the review and fair game in the comments. We highly suggest not discussing early preview chapters, but if you must, white it out. Have courtesy for the patient among us who are waiting and waiting (and waiting) for The Winds of Winter. Play nice. Thanks.

While Tyrion’s historic first meeting with the Dragon Queen of Meereen will certainly get everyone speculating and Cersei’s much-deserved imprisonment had everyone cheering, there’s still a lot to unpack from last week’s conversation about Sansa’s wedding night.

A week later and I’m still disheartened to witness the continued awfulness of Sansa’s situation, where she’s being kept as a prisoner in a freezing little room to be mistreated by Ramsay Bolton, who remains a bastard in the colloquial sense, if not the formal. Sansa is the only known living Stark heir—she is not Jeyne Poole pretending to be a Stark in a lie agreed upon by the Boltons. Sansa has a true name and she should have true power. And allies. Ramsay should be treating her like gold, not abusing her. Not that he should be abusing any woman, but, really, he is an idiot when it comes to political dealings. I can only guess that he likes to knock nobles down a peg any way he can instead of learning to protect alliances.

While the tiniest part of me is relieved in a strange way that Theon didn’t immediately spring into action trying to help Sansa escape, his newest betrayal had me feeling so disappointed. Oh, look, things are still shitty for the Starks on Game of Thrones. How original. This isn’t even the first time a psychopath forced Sansa to look at the mutilated corpse of someone she had her hopes pinned on.

Basically, Mad Max‘s Furiosa needs to drive her feminist war-rig down the Kingsroad, pick up Sansa, Gilly, and Shireen and make Brienne an Imperator because I’m tired of watching women get kicked in the teeth every week.

Yeah, Gilly.

Nothing puts a woman in the mood like having someone help rescue her from another one of Game of Thrones‘ sexual assaults. (Damn, if Gilly had gotten raped, I think I would have had to ragequit this show. Not another one after last week.) Of course I love Sam and Gilly and do root for them as an odd couple, but I really didn’t like their tender moment coming so soon after Sam got his ass kicked fighting off two crows. Can’t they both get an hour to recover? Anyway, that rescue was about 90% Ghost’s growl, though Sam definitely earned his “Sam the Slayer” swagger. I really think he had a shot at killing one of his brothers.

snowy jon snow

Between protecting Gilly and his own neck in Jon’s supremely dumb absence, Samwell had best high-tail it to Old Town. Or anywhere not Castle Black. Alliser Thorne basically told Jon that a new mutiny is going to happen. It feels like Jon Snow’s going below just so the show can have an excuse to show a White Walker this season.

I’m very sad that Aemon couldn’t go with them. I do think this is the first death on five seasons of this show that was natural. No boar, poison, chamberpot “accident,” smelting mishap, or beheading. All of the history that died with him. We will never see someone as old as him for a long time. Where’s our Dunk and Egg miniseries?

So, yes, The North is a land of snow and sorrow. Everyone sane should flee.

But they shouldn’t go to King’s Landing.

Watching Cersei get some well-deserved comeuppance certainly went a long way towards saving this episode from further frustrations.

The look on her face when the High Sparrow brought Brother Lancel into the chapel just when Cersei was at the very height of her smugness. Oh, how I laughed and laughed. Then laughed some more.


That was Littlefinger’s “gift of a handsome young man” to Olenna Tyrell. My, these two need more scenes together. Perhaps they shall get it, seeing as Littlefinger is basically running everything, everywhere. And Olenna is providing the coin.

That’s a pretty good gift, true. But I’d prefer an Imp of my very own.

I’m happy Jorah didn’t have to do much time in the fighting pits; I think we’ve all seen Gladiator on TBS countless times. Tyrion couldn’t get free of his shackles fast enough. Of course this gifting of a Lannister happened in the last few minutes of the show. This is where those fans who have sworn off the show for fear of book spoilers should probably leave. We are officially in Winds of Winter territory here. While I still don’t want to see early published chapters spoiled here, we can all speculate on what might happen next week when Dany and Tyrion have their first real conversation.

What will be Tyrion’s first piece of advice?


Final Thoughts:

  • Line of the night: “Egg, I dreamed that I was old.” No contest out of respect for Aemon’s memory.
  • “The Gift” didn’t feature Arya giving the gift of death to anyone. Nor did it refer to Brandon the Builder’s gift of land south of The Wall to the Night’s Watch for their provisions. Brandon was the founder of House Stark and Bran (remember that kid?) was named after him. At one point, Jon suggested housing the wildlings on this land.
  • Bronn got the gift of an antidote to the poison Tyene stuck him with last week. So that was nice. Maybe he will get to hang around Dorne long enough to enjoy some fucking after his poorly-edited fight. It was a meet-cute by GoT standards.
  • And yet my eyes rolled as hard as Obara and Nym’s when Tyene started undressing for the slowly panning camera. The straight female gaze will find no purchase on this show lately. Daario didn’t even show his butt in bed with Dany. Come on.
  • I’m fully Team Daario 2.0 now. He’s just full of bright ideas. Like killing all the Wise Masters. A+ pillowtalk.
  • Jonathan Pryce owned all his scenes: grumbling about old age pains with Olenna, telling her that he can’t be bought, and of course informing Cersei that she was under arrest. As terrifying as the High Sparrow is in his religious hard-lining, it is pretty refreshing to see a man who gives no fucks for fancy surnames. What’s next for the many of the Faith Militant?

Next week: Lannister Gold is the New Black as Cersei and Margaery rekindle their relationship in Religious Jail.

Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights at 9PM E/PT on HBO.

Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to covering TV, book reviews and sometimes games. She’s also gotten enthusiastic about television for Boing Boing. Send her a raven through Twitter.


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