Though almost all the major plots have went forward with this episode, only two of them stood out- Sansa-Jon reunion and of course, Denaerys gaining control over her Dothraki fellows. The latter is vintage for Dany’s plot- people bending before her as she stands there with a badass attitude! But that works. Even today.
So what else happened? Ramsay is getting unpredictable after each episode, Olenna and Cersei have joined hands against High Sparrow, Theon also gets to hug his sister, Littlefinger is back and Tyrion is not really terms with his council members.
That is getting interesting after each episode. A Westeros person trying to manage, solve the problems of the Free Cities is not an easy task. And I’m glad to see the writers chewing in on this culture difference and putting none other than Tyrion at the center.
The politics of Essos, a continent consisting of the 9 free cities, thrives on feudalism. Slavery and class divide is more prominent than in Westeros. Recall the cities Denaerys has been to till now- Yunkai, Astapor, Qarth, Vaes Dothrak and Meereen. There have always been a few masters ruling the city who treat the poor with absolute cruelty. This can be drawn parallel to the real-world Africa.
Their weakness in strategy and planning is what, I think, the main reason behind Denaerys being able to conquer these cities with the guidance of just two Westerosi knights. “Slavery is our way of world” says one of the masters. To which Tyrion replies ” You don’t need slaves to make money. There haven’t been slaves in Westeros in hundreds of years and I grew up richer than any of you.”
That may be partially true. Some men, like Xaro Xhaon Daxos, are as rich, if not richer, than the houses like Tyrells and Lannisters. But abolition of an age old practice is very difficult for them. Such a drastic change in lifestyle isn’t acceptable to anyone, even if the change is for a greater good. Dany didn’t realize that but Tyrion “knows things” and is looking for a middle ground. Both these continents are world apart from each other.
Essos, though, is culturally richer and historically more significant than Westeros. There are different languages spoken in every free city, whereas in Westeros there are just two languages- The Common Language and Valyrian that are prominently spoken. We haven’t seen much of Essos only because our story has been mostly around Westeros. Maybe in the coming days we will see more and more of the Free Cities.
Some complained that showing Dany as a hero each time isn’t right. But I think it is one of the qualities of Dany that she could win over people and take brave decisions without batting an eye. This has been happening forever. And besides there is a falling administration of Mereen, Jorah’s greyscale, the slave masters and her uncontrollable dragons to worry about. But just imagine the army that she has now with the massive army of Vaes Dothrak with her! When and how will she finally land Westeros is yet to be seen.
The monologue by High Sparrow about his backstory-
It was a feast.
I bought old fine wine and young pretty girls and invited my friends to
come and share it all.We passed around the wine,
passed around the women, and soon we fell into a stupor. I woke before dawn. I could barely stand. Everyone else was asleep on the couches or on the floor, lying in heaps next to their fine clothes. The truth of their bodies laid bare. I could smell them beneath the incense and the perfume and the fine food that had
already started to turn. And I saw it with perfect clarity. I saw what my sins were. The gold I had, the wine I drank, the women I used, my ceaseless struggle to
maintain my position. It was all part of a story.
A story I was telling myself about who I was. A collection of lies that would disappear in the light.The people I was trying
to climb away from-the beggars in the street, the poor. They were closer to the
truth than I ever was.
A little big, I know. But it helps in knowing that man even more. But he still hasn’t come across as menacing.
For which I’m grateful. We don’t want to deal with another such character when we have Ramsay.