All hail, Daenerys Targaryen: Queen of dragons, multilingualism and the double-cross.
“Game of Thrones” is at its best when one of its major, fan-favorite characters (I call them the Big Four: Dany, Arya, Jon and Tyrion) has a big scene, and it doesn’t get too much bigger than Sunday’s move by Daenerys.
The writers dedicated the last 10 or so minutes of the episode solely to Daenerys and it paid off with the show’s most successful moment of television so far this season.
The Khaleesi promised the slaver Kraznys of Astapor that she would give him one of her three dragons in exchange for his slave army of 8,000 skilled warriors called The Unsullied. But when the time came to make the deal, things. Got. Dark.
Dany not only revealed that she speaks Valyrian – meaning she understood all the trash Kraznys was saying about her in earlier episodes – but commanded her slave army to kill all their former captors and her dragon to roast Kraznys alive.
And when Dany started talking in Valyrian, she sounded downright malevolent. This was vintage ‘Thrones,’ with the more manipulative and deceitful characters (thus far, usually Lannisters) winning. But it also had a streak of Stark-like honor. After slaughtering her foes, Daenerys granted the slaves their freedom and they uproariously agreed to fight for her anyway.
On the road to Harrenhal
The episode opened with a gruesome reminder of how last week’s segment ended: The severing of Jaime Lannister’s hand.
Jaime now has his dominant right hand swinging from his neck as he rides with the Brave Companions, who have captured Brienne of Tarth and him.
He’s suffering, depressed and dehydrated, and falls from his horse into the mud. The Brave Companions give him horse urine to drink, mock him and beat him.
It should be hard to pity the guy who pushed Bran Stark from a window, but you can’t help feeling empathy for Jaime as he’s so cruelly mistreated. This is why this series is so good: Because its characters, like real life, are incredibly complicated.
Elsewhere, a lot is happening in the capitol city.
Varys, the eunuch, had some of his most poignant moments on the show to date. He tells Tyrion Lannister of the horrors of his maiming at the hands of a Myrish sorcerer.
In a scene replete with profundities, Varys shares the wisdom he’s gained through his trials in life (such as: “The contents of a man’s letters are more valuable than the contents of his purse,” and “Influence grows like a weed.”).
Finally, he reveals to Tyrion a box in which he has captured the sorcerer who castrated him.
“The revenge you want will be yours in time,” Varys says.