|Li'l swipe from Ralph Waldo on the title. Follow the greats, yo.|
We get that from the very beginning on Dragonstone, when Daenerys lays out the basic truth about Varys and his ever-malleable loyalties. Varys responds with what is largely the same truth he relayed to Kevan Lannister (while killing him) in A Dance with Dragons: Varys doesn't care about any regime. The only thing he really cares about is the people suffering under all of them, just as he did as a child, subject to the whims of others. Despite his ruthless application of the knowledge provided by his little birds in the name of whichever king he's been serving, his basic goal has been to try to serve the public weal.
|Hey! You're my dog! Wait. No.|
|You guys and your book-learnin'! What good are ya?!|
|Heroic death or wasting away on a log in the Narrow Sea?|
|Believe me, you need this.|
|You guys aren't gonna like this. Again. But...|
Of course, Varys protecting Dany and Viserys as children didn't stop him from following through on Robert's order to hire the Sorrowful Men to try to kill her. We can always have the ends justify the means, but if you'd like to claim that Varys was protecting his own ass by following through on a direct order, we have to remember that Varys was looking for a replacement for Robert because he considered him (accurately) to be incompetent as a king. Would he really have known that Varys didn't follow through? Unlikely. Plot/character hole? Maybe. But this stuff gets complicated.
|But it's huge, man. Really.|
Cersei doing the "loyalty out of fear" thing with the Tyrell bannermen was mildly hilarious in an obvious-parallel-to-modern-politics kind of way. "You see all those people from the east with their weird religions and dark skins and flying, firebreathing behemoths!" [well, OK, that last one is fair] "If you don't line up with me, they're all coming to get you!" The obvious response here is: "Well, no, they're all coming to get YOU. If we work with them, we'll be fine." But it's easy to give into base emotions because fear of change and the unknown and being herded like sheep is another prominent part of human nature. (Oh, hai, Mr. President!)
The costumes that Grey Worm and Missandei had on (for a while) in their scene were remarkably dull. I mean, I get that what the Unsullied walk around in when not in their armor is purely functional, but to have both of them in what looked like placeholders for their actual wardrobe was kinda weird.
As with most of Jaime's scenes, the conversation with Randyll Tarly has huge implications on a number of levels. On the one hand, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in terms of the Tyrells' most powerful bannerman deciding to stick with them or go with the Lannisters. OTOH, it's also fascinating to see the interplay that that conversation let loose. Here's the supreme stuffed shirt of Westeros, Randyll Tarly of Hightower, being encouraged to break his oath of allegiance to Highgarden in order to follow his oath of allegiance to the Iron Throne. On top of that, he's being encouraged to do so by the man he reviles (as so many do) as the Oathbreaker, Jaime Lannister, who assassinated his king as a member of the Kingsguard. But part of Jaime's argument is that House Tyrell is essentially gone, since the only remaining member of the bloodline is the elderly Olenna Tyrell, while House Tarly still has heirs (one of them standing next to him) and could replace Tyrell as the Wardens of the South. Like I said, this stuff gets complicated, but that's an excellent character conflict that can be chewed on for a while.
|You guys are so dead!|
Again, the emphasis on women having assumed control of the overall situation continues to be prominent. The strategy meeting was between Dany, ruler of House Targaryen; Olenna, ruler of House Tyrell; Ellaria, ruler of House Dorne; and Asha, kinda ruler of House Greyjoy. Combine that with Cersei ruling House Lannister and King's Landing and Sansa assuming command of the North by the end of the episode and the transfer of power is just about complete.
Lines of the week:
"You're not here to be Queen of the Ashes." Yeah? Maybe it depends on whose ashes?
"All your spies, your little birds, did they tell you Viserys was cruel, stupid, and weak?" Layin' down the truth.
"I know how you wage war. We don't poison little girls here." No, but: Crucifixion? Good. Out of the door. Line on the left. One cross each.
|Just to get a pic of the Hand of the Queen in somewhere.|
"If they can be wounded, they can be killed." Predator reference.
"The lords of Westeros are sheep. Are you a sheep? No. You're a dragon. Be a dragon." I'm really going to miss Dianna Rigg when the show is over.
"Friends don't pay." Hot Pie, showing how it's done.
"If you want people to read your histories, you need a bit of style." Every writer in the world waiting to be recognized winces like someone's peeling greyscale.
And the winner:
|Don't ever leave the inn. Seriously.|
"Cersei would do that." Can't argue.