GAME OF THRONES S6E3: “Oathbreaker” Discussion

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Scott: Hey guys, remember on our podcast when I predicted Jon Snow would come back from the dead in Episode 3? I’m gonna go ahead and say basically nailed it. The most surprising thing to me is that “Oathbreaker” is so light on Zombie Jon scenes. The (former) Lord Commander bookends the episode, but doesn’t exactly own it.

Speaking of that title: Game of Thrones likes to use episode names to give us viewers a hint into the themes of that week’s hour. So it should come as no surprise that “Oathbreaker” is all about people breaking oaths. The big one is at the end, when Jon tells the Night’s Watch to go fuck off (he’s taking the whole attempted murder thing super well), but the episode is filled with others. From the Umber’s betrayal of the Starks by turning in a dire-wolfless Rikkon (RIP Shaggydog), to Dany breaking her Khaleesi duty to be an old maid, and all the way up to poor Sam breaking his promise to his boo that they’ll be together forever, everyone in Westeros seems to be making promises, promises that they knew they’d never keep.

We even learn through Bran’s visions that old faithful Eddard Stark wasn’t being 100% honest when he told everyone he defeated Ser Arthur Dayne at the Tower of Joy. Just cause you got a good slash in AFTER Dayne got neck stabbed from behind, doesn’t mean you won the duel, Ned. Speaking of the tower…with all the oathbreaking going on, it’s easy to forget the biggest broken promise of the night: the showrunners teasing the long awaited reveal of what actually went down at the Tower of Joy only to cut away right when things get interesting.  Not cool, Game of Thrones.  Not cool.

Matt: This episode felt a bit limp. And it leaves me with nothing but questions.

We don’t get a firm answer as to whether death has changed Jon. I am leaning toward “no,” because I feel like pre-dead Jon would have done all the same things that post-dead Jon did in this episode. Although one thing’s for sure, now he really does know “nothing.”

Arya takes the poison and gets her eyesight back. Does she survive the trial of poison because she is really “No One,” or is it because she doctored the poison formula in those scenes where we saw that she was still the one responsible for making it? Or was it really just a test of faith in the first place?

Dany’s, Tyrion’s, and the Kings Landing plotlines inch along imperceptibly. At least now we’re not pretending that Ser Strong isn’t Zombie Gregor.

A lot of people seemed to enjoy the Tower of Joy fight with Ser Dayne, but I have this weird problem with context-less and emotion-free highly choreographed action scenes.

I don’t know. Am I being too hard on this episode?

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Gentry: I waited a very very long time to finally see some rendition of Tower of Joy. However, I never thought it would come in GoT. I always pictured some fanboy’s version would come out first using animation to bring the scene to life. Wishful thinking I guess. When I found out they would be adding it to this season, my ears perked up and I got pretty excited, but with much reservation. The show already didn’t do flashbacks so I wondered what the motivation what to start adding them in. The only other flashback we’ve been given since the show’s start was Cersei and Maggy the Frog. Obviously they decided to add this in preparation for Jon’s rebirth, or that’s my guess.

Overall I guess it was okay…? A bit underwhelming. First off why were there only 2 Kingsguard there? I assume the other was Oswell Whent? Soooo you can add all these random ass made-up characters in other story lines for one episode but you can’t have a 3rd Kingsguard for one scene, let alone the Lord Commander? wtf man. come on. Having the Lord Commander there changes the weight of the situation greatly. Imagine if that was Barristan in a more recent situation. You’d be like whooooa, if BARRISTAN is guarding the tower, then it MUST be important. But I guess maybe you were supposed to get that with Dayne being present. He was Rhaegar’s closest friend after all.

I agree with Scott in that it was a total tease. Also, did Arthur Dayne NOT use Dawn in that fight? It looked like he just put it in the ground and then took out two random blades instead. Whaaaaat? That makes zero sense regardless of the disadvantage. There wasn’t much said in the actual dream so they got that right, but I agree because we don’t truly know what took place after those words were said, the show runners went with a more action/choreography moment.

Lastly, I don’t think Ned ever said he defeated Arthur Dayne, did he? I don’t recall that in the books or the show. In fact, in the book he mentions he would have perished if not for Howland Reed. Why the F would they change that?? Seems like a little bit of an unfair dig on Ned’s character.

Scott: Gentry, you just talked about a whole bunch of stuff that I don’t remember at all from the books so…maybe it’s time to start my rereads? I’m with both of you on this though, the interesting part of the Tower of Joy was never the fight out front, at least not to me. It’s the stuff that goes on at the top of the tower that matters. Show us that! As for the fight itself, the decision to have Dayne duel wield seems to be visual shorthand for “he’s a really good swordsman”, so I was ok with it.

We haven’t much talked about Arya’s plotline so far this year because, well…there hasn’t been that much to talk about. She’s not blind now, so maybe she’ll actually start doing stuff again, which would be nice. I still find myself unable to care about her story or where it’s going. Like you touched on, Matt if she is truly just another faceless person with no name and has (at least mentally) lost her Stark identity, what was the point of all this?

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While I agree that the Dany, Tyrion, and King’s Landing scenes are just inching their plots forward at continental drift speed, I can’t help but love tiny scenes where Peter Dinklage gets to play. That’s what the “drinking game” scene from this week’s episode was to me and I loved every moment of it. As for Dany: we learn this week that all the Khal’s are gathering for some kind of giant meeting. Putting all army leaders in one, easy to set fire to place seems like a really perfect moment for some sort of fire breathing flying lizard to show up. Right?

Matt, I think you’re being a little tough on the show. If this was episode 7 or 8 I’d be a little worried that things weren’t really starting to move yet, but Game of Thrones seasons are like chess. The board is set and the pieces are moving. Things will start to pick up soon.

Also, I think I just inadvertently quoted Lord of the Rings.

Matt: I’ve gotta admit, I care infinitely less about Arthur Dayne and the logistics of a particular sword fight than I care about seeing more Howland Reed, The Most Mysterious Character In The Story. And we learned nothing about Reed from that scene, except that he was there, but maybe we’ll see more of his next time.

Gentry: I agree in that the episode felt a little empty compared to last week. I was enjoying seeing a reborn Jon react to his current situation, so I was a bit let down too getting just the book-end scenes. Although I was told this past weekend that the rumor is that showrunners Benioff and Weiss supposedly focused a ton of screen time and resources to Jon’s character this season. I wonder if they are just teasing us to start, and by the last episode the most prominent story and climax will take place in the North. Looks to be headed that way.

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I didn’t sense much of a change in Jon either, and I think they put that in our face with his dialogue exchange with Davos. They want us to understand that it’s still just Jon in there. Now when/if they decide to highlight his surname we will find out, but most likely that’s coming when he leads the wildlings. Oh it’s coming…get ready. I loved how he still hanged the traitors and dropped the mic. At the moment I think he’s the only character who is mentally aware his vows were taken away when he was murdered. Dolorous Edd’s reaction showed us no one else thought of that.

I dunno, Matt. It’s possible Jon Snow now knows something. He is done with the Night’s Watch and it’s shaky vows.

Regarding Arya, I don’t know if it was the music in this sequence or what, but this was my favorite Arya training moment so far this season. I enjoyed the flow of the montage and for the first time in what seems like forever I see her potential in becoming a very lethal force.

Speaking of Shaggydog, this scene although saddening was fantastic. Firstly, welcome back Rickon and Osha! Second…I wonder how people in general will react to Shaggydog. I’m still trying to figure out if it was more story or cost/effects/logistics related. Thoughts?

I’d like to see some more discussion between the Northern lords if we are heading towards a “battle for the North” situation. Would be nice to get some perspective on the state of things leading up to the season’s climax. Make them contemplate what they are doing!! aka continuing to defy the Starks.

Scott: Shaggydog is probably just logistics. It’s not like the direwolves (outside of Ghost) have mattered much to the show’s storyline at all. So, if they’re bringing in another character, they might as well remove his dog from the equation and save some money on CG. Also, I’d be hard pressed to believe that Rickon’s wolf wouldn’t have fought to the death rather than let his master get captured again. The complete lack of Summer in any of the Bran scenes has reinforced this. I honestly forgot Bran still had a wolf. Ironically, I also forgot that Rickon existed.

Matt: I was really just annoyed that Ramsay has Rickon now. I don’t care about Rickon at all, the only reason he’s being involved is to give Jon a reason to come retake Winterfell. It feels a little bit manipulative. I understand that they need to put the chess pieces in place, but I wish they would do it a little bit more subtly.

I know, I’m being hard on it, but I think this was the weakest episode of the season.

Scott: Hopefully you’re right and it remains the weakest episode all the way til the end. We will find out.  Next week on Game of Thrones: “Book of the Stranger”  What does that title mean? I don’t know, but I’m sure Gentry will…

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