This Sunday's 'Game of Thrones' examines childhood trauma, in the way the show's children "have been robbed of their youth," The Washington Post notes, and how "grown-ups everywhere seem to be caught in their pain, and taking it out on everyone around them." Both these elements converge in the Eyrie for Sansa. For Littlefinger, Sansa is in part "the daughter he never had" and "young Cat – his teenage fantasies returned again," George R.R. Martin explains. The Atlantic comments on Sansa's complexity: "She builds a snow-castle Winterfell, but says she realizes she'll never see the real thing again – an image of a child who has kept her sweet, sentimental spirit alive while also becoming quite savvy."
Sansa is learning from the masters – "Lysa and Littlefinger have arguably had more influence on the events in this world than any two people in the story," series creator D.B. Weiss remarks in this week's Inside the Episode. Time notes that the episode is titled after "Petyr’s sigil: a mimic, an imitator – His means of ascension has been simply to acquire the homes of others... By playing a certain part for Joffrey, he got Harrenhal, by playing the brief role of Lysa’s lover, he moved on up to the Eyrie." New York Magazine comments on Littlefinger's strategy: "Lysa Arryn was only a means to an end for Littlefinger, someone he could manipulate… being aligned with Sansa could be another strategic move to gain the North, but for Littlefinger, this is what love looks like."
"Sansa's life has been a nonstop parade of betrayal," Rolling Stone observes, "just as her sister Arya's life has been a cavalcade of brutality." This week "Arya and The Hound became closer besties," Entertainment Weekly quips. The pair is bonded by "their spectacular loneliness," New York Magazine recaps: "The two share a Special Moment as he tells her how his brother, the Mountain, scarred his face with fire for stealing his toys when they were children, and how his father covered it up by telling everyone the younger Clegane’s bedding caught on fire."
Oberyn Martell also tells a story of childhood cruelty, this one about Cersei's longstanding hatred for her brother Tyrion. "Oberyn ultimately volunteers to be Tyrion’s champion," The A.V. Club applauds; "The men don’t say as much, but after the last few weeks that Tyrion has had, he and Oberyn share the desire to see the lion endure a public humiliation." New York Magazine calls the Red Viper's speech "a great, noteworthy example of how telling can sometimes be more powerful than showing," adding that "sometimes all of the show’s intensely visual, pitilessly action-packed scenes make a simple moment of good storytelling stand out all the more."
Rewatch the exchange in the video below:
What was your reaction to Oberyn's big scene? Were you shocked to see Lysa's demise? Share your response to this episode in the comments below.
Icing on the Lemoncake
• Fans cheered the return of Hot Pie.
• You can officially toast with your favorite Valyrian expression. GOT fans voted Valar Morghulis as the newest show-inspired beer.
• Vulture spoke to Daniel Portman, aka Podrick, about squiring for Brienne, Pod's popularity at the brothel and his character's incompetence on horseback: "My horse was called Concorde, and he was slow and lazy, but he was very obedient... He was a very professional horse!"
• What happens with Super Mario meets GOT? THIS.