Game of Thrones Oathbreaker Review
HBO‘s Game of Thrones: Season 6, Episode 3: Oathbreaker was the best episode of the season and was in no way hampered by three story-lines that were almost completely vapid. The Tower of Joy scene was arguably the best scene of the episode as it commented on numerous topics coterminous: The past and how it was manipulated, people being perceived by past actions, fiction versus reality, and the mystery surrounding Lyanna Stark.
Watching the Kingsguard stare at Lord Eddard Stark (Robert Aramayo) with no fear, following the orders of their prince, even though he and their king were dead, was impressive. “He wanted us here.” That line and the Kingsguard’s countenance said volumes about the character of Kingsguard of that time period.
The sword fight in this scene and the commentary that surrounded it were fantastic. Ser Gerold Hightower (Eddie Eyre), Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and Ser Arthur Dayne (Luke Roberts)’s brief scene in Oathbreaker was far more interesting than Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), King Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman), and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)’s scenes (which were nothing more than dull bricks in storylines that have grown uninteresting. Tyrion’s scene in Oathbreaker was a particular waste of time and episode budget money). The Tower of Joy may have had the best dialogue in the episode as it seemed like a small play unfolding in front of the viewer’s eyes.
The stories that people tell both aggrandize and diminish, are strained and manipulated over time, especially by those not trained in the oral history tradition. This was what happened to the story of Ned Stark and the Tower of Joy. There was the reality of what happened there, that only three people knew (by Stark, Reed, and the mystery person in the Tower that isn’t really a mystery) and the fiction that was propagated afterward. This scene was a blessing to the episode and to fans of the book series that had conjectured over this moment in Ned Stark’s past. The screams at the scene’s end put a lot of fan theories to bed while ameliorating one, single theory.
The single theory (the only one that I believe still exists) about the Tower and the noises emanating from it (potential spoiler): it was Lyanna Stark in the Tower screaming, in the throws of labor.
The Three-eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) obviously knew everything already and was keeping certain truths away from Brandon Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) until the time was right, until they could have the greatest, positive effect on him, his training, and the obligation that would come when his training was complete. The Three-eyed Raven was clever.
Digression Begin – “Riddle me this”: Why did the Three-eyed Raven refer to Ser Arthur Dayne as “The Sword of the Moon” when he was called “The Sword of the Morning?” Ser Dayne was called this because he welded the star-metal sword Dawn. You can clearly see the sun emblem on the bottom of Dawn in the header image of this review. Was “Moon” a goof by Oathbreaker writer David Benioff? – Digression End.
Ayra Stark (Maisie Williams)’s scenes in Oathbreaker were the second best of the episode behind the Tower of Joy segments. Seeing Ayra lose herself in the Faceless Men training, adapting to sightless sensing and combat, edited tightly and precisely (though Ayra didn’t bruise from the strikes she took to the face, which was curious, she only bled), made her scenes a joy to behold. Her adaptation and tenaciousness surprised, and in some instances, infuriated, her ‘instructor’ Waif (Faye Marsay). When No One regained her sight, the viewer saw a new being, determined and cold, staring out of her eyes (wonderful facial acting on Williams’ part).
Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson) and Osha (Natalia Tena)’s reappearance was a big surprise. They have not been a part of Game of Thrones for three years (The Rains of Castamere was their last appearance). As soon as they appeared on-screen, one of the viewer’s immediate thoughts had to have been: Where’s Shaggy Dog? How in the world could Rickon and Osha be captured with the most violent of the Dire Wolves as their protector? Then the fate of Shaggy Dog was revealed. I wonder how many of Smalljon Umber (Dean S. Jagger)’s men Shaggy Dog killed before he was brought down. It was a shame that point was not broached when Shaggy Dog’s head was laid on the table. If Tyrion’s scene had been deleted from this episode, perhaps it could have been.
Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) dominated her first scene in Oathbreaker but partially misused the spy network at her disposal. The viewer knew Cersei was petty and vindictive but she picked the wrong moment to go after people that were laughing at her. Her daughter and her would-be husband were both murdered at sea (why Prince Trystane Martell, with a seat on the small counsel, was still on that ship after arriving at King’s Landing is a mystery – and very convenient for the writers of that scene, too convenient and illogical) and Cersei wasted resources on story-tellers and hecklers. Her father would never have made such a mistake, especially while potentially under siege.
Lord Commander Jon Snow (Kit Harington)’s executions and his decision to leave The Night’s Watch were both expected. He could not and would not let traitors to The Night’s Watch live and his death canceled his oath to The Night’s Watch (their “watch” is not over until death. Since Lord Commander Snow died, so did his obligation to The Night’s Watch). Even Maester Aemon would have agreed with the logic of that assertion plus returning from the dead was unprecedented. Because of that, Jon Snow could have chosen to stay or go. He chose to leave.
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