High Sparrow

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We now return to our regularly scheduled (at least for approximately 3 months out of the year) recap of Game of Thrones! 
The Starks: Wax On, Wax Off Edition – The interior of the House of Black and White is appropriately murky; the walls lit with candlelight and the faces of the many deities that the people of Westeros (and Essos) worship…and in the midst of it all? Arya…sweeping. Arya isn’t really into the constant sweeping and wants to know when she will learn to do more? After being attacked by the waif-like girl assisting around the House, Arya is told she cannot possibly learn to become “No One” if she’s hanging on to Arya Stark’s possessions. 
We are treated a cleaned-up Arya tossing her old clothes, her money and even the coin that Jaqen gave her; the coin that got her to Braavos, they all go into the canals of Braavos…but her sword, her Needle… Arya can’t part with Needle and so she conceals it in a nearby rock wall. Once she’s completed those tasks, she is admitted through yet another door – her new task is now…washing a corpse! The corpse of a man she only a bit earlier saw drink from the pool in the middle of the room. She wonders aloud what they’ll do to the corpse when they finish washing him but isn’t rewarded with an answer, so she keeps on sponging.

“No one” comes to Braavos to sweep…

The Lannisters: But I’m a Man Now Edition – In Kings Landing, the very young King Tommen has gotten himself a queen and his new queen knows exactly how to keep her young king wrapped around her finger! After consummating their marriage, Queen Margaery immediately brings up how Tommen’s mother is always nearby, guarding her son…her little lion cub. Tommen is quick to point out that he’s a man now and doesn’t need his mother around to watch over him. Tommen may be King of the Seven Kingdoms, but he’s being ruled by two women and it will be a battle royale to see who wins. Tommen is oblivious to the fact that he’s merely a puppet for Margaery and Cersei to manipulate; all he want is to stay in bed “all day, every day for the rest of my life…” which, point to Margaery.

Only two of these three are pleased – take a wild guess who’s not happy…

Cersei – now the Queen Mother (but maybe don’t call her that) – is enjoying an afternoon stroll with her young son and trying her best to fish for information about how he’s enjoying married life. At one point she even remarks of Tommen’s new bride,”she certainly smiles a lot – do you think she’s intelligent; I can’t tell”….  Tommen doesn’t respond but does suggest perhaps she’d be happier at Casterly Rock; wouldn’t she rather return to her childhood home, a place that made her much happier than Kings Landing ever has. Cersei doesn’t buy for a minute that Tommen came up with this idea on his own but she insists she’s happiest there in Kings Landing, with her family. Nice try Tommen (er…Margaery by way of Tommen…)

Oh Tommen – you are NOT smooth.

Margaery is having a lovely post wedding night brunch with all of her ladies, giggling and recounting the adventures of her wedding night when her new mother-in-law pays her a visit. Cersei has spent almost every moment of Margaery’s time in Kings Landing taking her down a peg or two and now that Margaery has the upper hand (she is Queen now, remember?) she immediately turns the tables. She first lets Cersei know that they have nothing to offer her to drink as they have no wine…a veiled acknowledgement that Cersei drinks just a wee bit too much. She then brags to Cersei about how exhausted she is from her bedroom activities with Tommen and to put the nail in the coffin of insults, she asks Cersei if she should henceforth address her as Queen Mother or Dowager Queen – she might as well be asking if she can just call Cersei “hey there you old hag”. Cersei smiles politely…but that smile never quite reaches her eyes and as she returns to her guards to walk away, you can’t help but feel a little worried for Margaery…

The Lannisters always pay their debts…and that includes pay back for snide comments…

I *almost* feel sorry for Cersei…almost.

The Starks: Vengeance is Mine? Edition – All the way up in the North, Sansa and Littlefinger stop on a hilltop to gaze down at Moat Cailin and it’s here that Littlefinger reveals that Sansa will be marrying Ramsey Bolton…an idea that Sansa is NOT alright with. Littlefinger tells her she has always been told what to do, always cried in a corner while her family was wronged (sidenote: Ramsey Bolton’s dad, Roose..he’s definitely the guy who helped orchestrate the murder of Catelyn and Robb Stark) and it is time for her to avenge her family. Littlefinger assures her that he won’t make her marry into the Bolton family but this is her chance to take charge of her life. She thinks on his proposal for only a moment before climbing back on her horse and leading them back to her former home; Winterfell, now under the command of the Boltons. She is welcomed with more than open arms and as the serving woman shows her to her rooms, she smiles at Sansa and says “Welcome home Lady Stark, the North Remembers.” This plot could go so many places – I guess we’ll have to see what Sansa does with her opportunity for revenge.

Sansa – this is when you should start running. 

North of the Wall: Chop Chop Edition – Lord Commander Snow has his own office – cheers for Jon! He receives Stannis and politely refuses his offer to be legitimized and named as Jon Stark; he has his place at the Wall and needs to command. Stannis advises the new Lord Commander to make quick work of the Wildlings hanging around Castle Black and send Alister Thorne away as he’ll no doubt be a problem. Davos stays to advise Jon that since his oath includes the phrase “I am the shield that guards the realms of men” that perhaps he will need to be more involved in the wars to come than he might think. Later we join the men of the Night’s Watch as Jon begins to hand down his first assignments as Lord Commander – he makes a joke about a ginger – and makes Thorne the First Ranger before assigning Janos Slynt to go to Greyguard. Slynt doesn’t just refuse his Lord’s command, he tells Jon he can shove his sword up his bastard ass (his words, not mine)…and well, Jon is forced to make a decision.

The Night’s Watch has no place for a man who is coward. It also has no place for a man who won’t follow his Lord Commander’s requests. Janos Slynt is both of these things and as he lays over the block, he confesses he’s a coward – he’s afraid and he’s always been afraid – but he’ll do whatever Jon commands him to do. Jon has no room for mercy; he has to take a stand, to make sure no one else will question his order, he swiftly and succinctly separates Janos’ head from his body.

Ain’t nobody got time for this…

The Lannisters: This is Outside my Wheelhouse Edition – We end the episode across the Narrow Sea in Essos; on the bridge of Volantis to be exact. Tyrion is literally going stir crazy inside the wheelhouse he and Varys have been in for weeks and decides that come hell, high water or having his head cut off, he has to get out of the box. The two make their way to a brothel after having an unsettling encounter with a Red Priestess of R’hllor and Tyrion quickly finds a prostitute to chat up and even quicker he discovers that maybe he doesn’t want to spend time with a prostitute. He steps outside to relieve himself and is immediately kidnapped by none other than the exiled Jorah Mormont, who we last saw being banished from Meereen by Daenerys in season four. Jorah announces that he’s taking Tyrion to the Queen…but it’s not entirely clear which queen he’s referring to.

This is what happens when you make drunk decisions…

Other notes from around Westeros (and Essos) – 

We were introduced to Dorne last week and just as quickly left it behind this week…no sign of Prince Doran, Ellaria, Areo Hotah or the Sand Snakes this week..
There was also no sign of Daenerys, her dragons, Daario and the rest of the crew in Meereen. The Jaime and Bronn Sass and Swagger Road Trip was also put on hold this week (sad but true) but I’m sure they’ll be to Dorne in no time. We didn’t see Shireen or Selyse Baratheon, Melisandre didn’t set anyone on fire nor did we check in on Gilly and see how her reading lessons are coming along.
Brienne and Pod shared stories on the road this week – Brienne told of how Renly rescued her from humiliation when they were teenagers and Pod explained how he came to be in the service of the Lannisters after Tywin spared him from hanging. Brienne promised to teach Pod to ride a horse correctly and fight like a true knight and they agreed to keep trailing Sansa because they have a feeling she’s going to need help in the coming weeks.
Jon got the nod of approval from Stannis after beheading Janos Slynt. I don’t know if I’d necessarily seek the approval of Stannis Baratheon, but hey…at least someone thought it was a good idea, right?
Littlefinger got called back to the Capital by Cersei – so now Sansa is left to face the might of the Boltons on her own. Also, Littlefinger says he’s not heard much about Ramsey but I’m not buying that for a minute… Surely a man who so carefully executes his every move wouldn’t put one of the most valuable pieces of the game into the hands of someone he knows nothing about? Wait? Is that exactly what just happenend? Hmmm…

Qyburn is cooking up something crazy in his lab. Could the theories about a Frankenstein’s monster style resurrection for The Mountain be a reality?

What the….
Until next time…just calm down FrankenGregor…calm down…

Open Arms

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In case you needed a good laugh on this Tuesday….

Because some of these are absolutely hilarious and some of them…well, it’s weird how shuffling all 1699 songs on my iPhone lead to these results, ha-ha! 

1. Put your iPod or other music player on shuffle. 
2. For each question, press the NEXT button to get your answer. 
3. You must write that song name down no matter how silly it sounds. 
4. Tag friends who might enjoy doing this as well as the person you got this from. 

“I Paid the Iron Price”
Ramin Djawdi – Game of Thrones Soundtrack: Season Three

“Dirty Dancer”
Enrique Iglesias featuring Usher & Little Wayne

 “Total Eclipse of the Heart”
Glee Cast

“I Want Crazy”
Hunter Hayes 

 “How I Would Die”
Carter Burwell – Twilight: The Score

“Cities in Dust”
The Everlove


WHAT IS 2+2? 
One Direction

 “The Avengers”
Alan Silvestri – The Avengers Original Soundtrack

 “I See You”
Leona Lewis – Avatar Soundtrack

“Turn it Back”
Nik Anmar

The Joy Formidable: Breaking Dawn Part 1 Soundtrack

“Healing Katniss”
James Newton – The Hunger Games Soundtrack

“That’s Christmas to Me”

“Kill Them All”
Ramin Djawdi – Game of Thrones Soundtrack: Season One

“All You Ever”
Hunter Hayes

“I Do but I Don’t”
Tim McGraw

“Way Back Into Love”
Hugh Grant & Haley Bennett – Music & Lyrics Soundtrack


“Miss Murder”

 “Addicted to a Certain Lifestyle”
David Arnold & Michael Price – Sherlock: Music from Series Three

 “This Christmas”

“Bad Things”
Jace Everett

“As Long As You Love Me”
The Backstreet Boys

“Back to Work”
David Arnold & Michael Price – Sherlock: Music from Series Three

“Carried Away”
George Strait

What will be the title of this post? 
“Open Arms”

Baby Snuggles and Bear Sightings

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Oh…where did this past week go? It seriously feels like one of those weeks that I blinked and it had passed! The week itself seemed like it sped by; work, home, eat supper, sleep…repeat! The weekend was wonderful, filled with movies, tea with friends and a beautiful Sunday afternoon spent in the absolutely beautiful Shenandoah National Park. It was certainly a week for the books, even if it passed way too quickly!

A smores bar from Firefly – I mentioned last week, this place is going to be dangerous!

If I look half asleep, it’s because I was.

My grandmother is visiting us for the next few weeks and so we’ve been spending even the weeknights trying to show her around the gorgeous mountains and valleys of Virginia – although this past week wasn’t too eventful. I’m sure she thought we go to Wal-Mart all the time since she went on Monday morning with my Dad and again on Monday evening with my Mom and I. I promise we don’t go to Wal-Mart all the time, ha-ha! I did have a wonderful surprise waiting for me on Monday evening; I received a package from my sweet friend Nickolee, the super cute mug that you see my clinging to for dear life in the above picture. Clinging to it for dear life because I needed my coffee…ha!

A little light reading until the 6th book in the series comes out…

Trying to play peek-a-boo with him…I don’t think he was very amused.

The rear view as I drive to work every day – I love it!

As I mentioned, the new bakery/cafe Firefly…which is located literally a very short walk from my office is so dangerous! I had lunch there on Monday with my friend Trish; the pulled pork on ciabatta was absolutely to die for, and of course I had to try out a Smores bar because it looked way too delicious. Thursday they had something called a Samoa Cheesecake bar and I got a little message from my Mom saying she thought she might need one of those, ha! I walked down to the Cafe on Thursday afternoon with my co-worker Danielle and proceeded to buy out the bakery case (not really, but I felt like it…) so that I made sure I’d gotten something for myself, my Mom, my Dad and my Nanny…I didn’t want anyone to feel left out. Suffice it to say that I’m thrilled they are so close and have such awesome lunches, but I’m going to have to throttle my will power to 110% to avoid the bakery portion on a weekly basis.

Samoa Cheesecake bar, Coconut Macaroons, an Oreo Rice Krispie Treat…& of course, COFFEE!

Walking Watson on the golf course on Thursday evening – such pretty flowers!

Old Navy shoes that I absolutely love!

Friday morning dragon snuggles…

Friday night we wanted my Nanny to experience the Alamo (nothing to do whatsoever with remembering the Alamo, although both are memorable…for different reasons) and so we went to see “Age of Adaline”. I had an absolutely delicious Hatch Green Chile burger – that thing was topped with tortilla chips, queso blanco and hatch green chiles – it was so yummy and also completely difficult to eat! The movie was lovely and I’ll detail that in a later post; however once the movie ended I really had quite the letdown…

A good movie & a good burger – pretty perfect Friday night if you asked me!

Once the movie ended on Friday night, my parents were really wanting to stop somewhere and buy some ice cream..I didn’t really have any interest in that, I wanted some Starbucks coffee and I wanted it with a single-minded determination! We chose to go to Target to buy ice cream because there is also a Starbucks in Target! It was going to be the perfect solution; we’d only have to make one stop and everyone would be thrilled. Except it didn’t really work out that way. When we walked into Target, the lights at Starbucks were still on and I headed straight over, phone out and ready to pay for some delicious, lovely coffee…and the girl (as she hands another customer her lovely, delicious coffee) tells me “we’re closed, I can’t make you anything.” I just looked at her and she said “just go across the street, they’re open…” 

So, yet again the Starbucks in Target completely disappoints me. I by-passed the offer of ice cream a second time because I still had my heart set on that wonderful Starbucks coffee…and after all, it was only right across the street. We climbed into the car (ice cream in bags…) and drove across the street to the stand-alone Starbucks…it was 9:08 PM, certainly not a late hour…especially on a Friday night. As we pulled up to the drive-thru window, the girl’s voice crackled over the line “we’re closed…sorry..” and my mood was just completely shot. I turned down ice cream, having faith in Starbucks and was doubly disappointed. I mean, who closes at 9 on a Friday night?!? Apparently Starbucks. I did finally get my coffee on Saturday morning, but I was feeling pretty moody up until then…

I finally have my coffee – hallelujah!

Apple blossoms in abundance at Marker Miller Orchard.

So pretty!

And soon there will be apples…

Of course I wore my awesome Spring shoes – because why wouldn’t you?

Canola as far as the eye can see….

And it was almost as tall as I am!

Gorgeous Spring blooms everywhere you look!

We did a lot of driving around this weekend – Saturday wasn’t the most beautiful day, but we made the best of it by going to look at the apple trees in bloom at Marker Miller Orchard and stumbling on to a field filled with yellow flowers, which we later discovered was actually Canola. As in, the stuff they use to make Canola Oil. My Mom and I took my Nanny to one of our favorite places; the Coach and Horses Tea Room for afternoon tea and we were joined by some sweet friends, Joyce and Marcie! As always, the tea was absolutely delicious and the food was to die for…as well as more than any one person could ever eat! We rounded out the day with another movie, this time “The Woman in Gold” which was excellent and finally headed home in the rain!

Pimento & Cheese, a lovely fruit tart & some yummy Papaya Ginger tea!

Help yourself to the goodies!

Such a wonderful movie!

Reunited with my sweet Squeaky!

Giving kisses to Jimmy before church started…

She doesn’t do this too much anymore, so I had to enjoy it while it lasted. So sweet.

An Eastern Bluebird has moved in to my little chapel…

We rounded out our weekend by heading into the park on Sunday afternoon after having a delicious lunch from the grill, cooked by Jeffrey! Everything is blooming and really starting to look absolutely amazing and we figured it would be the perfect opportunity to explore. I got pretty tickled because every time we would pass an overlook (or stop at an overlook) my Nanny would say “oh..that is just beautiful…isn’t that beautiful?” Hehehe! She also said all day that all she wanted was to see a bear; she’d never seen bear before. All the way into the park, we saw nothing more than birds and bugs…we had supper at Skyland Lodge (delicious, as always) and then started our journey out of the park. First a bobcat crossed our path, slinking across the road and down the side of the mountain. Second we saw two deer grazing on the side of the road…one wearing a fancy radio collar that I suppose lets him be tracked in the park.

A gorgeous day in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Just being cheesy!

The dogwoods were blooming all over the place!

Nearing the top of the mountain!

Again – I guess I was feeling extra pose-y.

Supper at the Skyland Lodge – so yummy!

We were beginning to despair because we only had about a mile to go before we needed to exit the park and head home… We rounded a corner and a small group of people were sitting on the rock wall, staring down the mountain. I rolled down my window and asked what everyone was looking at and the man simply (and quite happily) announced “BEAR!” Well, there wasn’t just one bear – there were 3 baby bears climbing a tree and the Momma bear was standing guard over her three little charges. I was just so thrilled that we finally saw some bears and I know my Nanny was absolutely thrilled too!

Three little bears, climbing a tree…

Hang on tight guys…it’s a long way down!

I got home on Sunday night in time to take Watson for a spin around the yard, put on my comfy clothes and then crawl on to my bed to watch Game of Thrones. Not a bad way to end a week if I do say so myself…

Friday with A Friend – The Nickolee Roberts Edition

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The first edition of Friday with A Friend that actually involves one of my friends – Nickolee Roberts! I have known Nickolee since we were teeny; seriously, we have been friends since we were about 3! 

Nickolee is a wife, Mom, daughter, sister, friend and most importantly a sincere follower of Christ. She is such a source of inspiration and encouragement to me and I know the Lord is working through her life and the outcome will be – in her own words – glorifying. 

Nothing to do with this…per se, but it is related to an interview….

Okay, if this was a real interview…like on tv, I’d need a theme song. What should it be? 

The Broken Beautiful

When I think about you, I think of someone who is strong, dedicated, compassionate and most importantly, a lover of Christ. Your life in the mission field and the uncertainty that can bring about, coupled with the way you handle all things with such grace has always amazed me. In the last five years, what was your lowest low and how did you rise above it?
You are WAY too generous but you did make me smile and feel very encouraged!
lowest low was realizing I was depressed.  ha – there’s no way I could rise above it – i think it was the most significant time in my life where i realized how i was truly nothing without Christ.  He alone walked me through (and is still walking me through that journey) and allowed my head to come above the waves.  Being honest and vulnerable – laying everything out there for anyone to know about that struggle was a huge deal too.  i believe I had to let go of who I thought I should be for everyone (mostly myself) and just cling to Jesus.  Being open and talking about depression – not being fake about life – that made a huge difference.

And your highest high?
Wow it would have to be stepping off the plane onto the ground in Madagascar – it was a lifelong dream becoming a reality – almost nothing could beat that.

Living the dream.

Every good movie moment has a song playing in the background. What was the soundtrack for that moment – the highest high?
Never Once

What’s the hardest part of raising kids?
Seeing my own sinfulness on such a daily basis in such blatant ways

What’s the best part of raising kids?
0-24 months – watching them grow in such huge ways with becoming mobile and how fast their vocabulary grows and cuddling – always cuddling!
24months-4 years – watching them learn how to make God honoring decisions, hearing how they process the world around them, watching them develop their own opinions about things and a sense of pride, and cuddling – always cuddling!

Sweet as can be.

What quote do you hang on to right now?
It Will Be Glorifying

There’s a woman who thinks she’s hit rock bottom. She feels she isn’t enough, can’t do it, will never make it out of the mess she’s in. What do you have to say to her?
To tell her she’s right.  that we are not enough on our own and can not get out of the mess we are in.  But Jesus.  He and His power destroys all of the can’ts that we say.  He makes us enough through His blood.  He gives us the capability to do all things through His strength.  He is our Savior and Deliverer.  He makes the broken beautiful.  He truly changes things from ashes to beauty.

Okay, tell me about these things and their role in your life and survival through the hard stuff: Creativity, friendship, books and music.


Creativity i think would have to be in our thought process – it’s become a way of life (and will hopefully stay that way) but that’s just to have an attitude of gratitude, on the good days, bad days and everything in between.  To seek out the good, to be on the lookout for the gift in every situation.  Even when the gifts don’t look very beautiful to acknowledge them and to know that He only gives good gifts that are for our benefit to glorify Him the most

I have almost always freely admitted that I am not a good friend – probably one of the worst.  i’m just not good at staying in touch and involved unless we are face to face often – but my gracious Lord has provided such beautiful souls to be a part of every season of my life.  There are a handful of gorgeous gals that He has given me at different times (high school, college, seminary, teaching, madagascar) that are the type of friend that everyone wishes they could be.  These girls are easy to keep in contact with, forgiving, full of grace and desire for our relationships to be open and honest – which is the biggest type of gift.  I love them and daily thank the Lord for them.  I love how we can pick up where we left off and they are the first people I go to with prayer requests and just daily life.  I love that we can talk about Christ and life and struggles and victories and books and movies all in the same conversation.  They are quite special.

Who are these people??

Books and music
I love both.  music is just good for the soul.  my ideal morning involves gorgeous sunshine, a cool breeze, and worship music playing – Ellie Holcomb is hands down my favorite.  Music just makes me more relaxed and focuses me on my Savior in a way that the world can so easily distract me from.  i love having a song in my heart that flows out of my mouth all day long.  I’ve always enjoyed reading but just don’t find the time for it like I want to.  I have a whole list on my kindle that i’m looking forward to reading but am slowly making my way through.  Books encourage me, challenge me in my study of the Bible, and expand my way of thinking.

Compare these two things: Your view of yourself ten years ago and your view of yourself now.
10 years ago – hmm honestly? i thought pretty highly of myself.  I was a “good christian girl” and was engaged to the guy that I had prayed for and knew we were headed to the mission field as soon as i graduated from college.  I knew I had my life planned out and didn’t question it.
Now – geez, I can’t believe I was so prideful and selfish.  It’s pretty sickening to admit.  I’ve learned (and am still learning) that I am nothing with Christ.  I have no goodness that comes from myself.  I am a sinner saved by His marvelous grace.  The gifts of my childhood, teenage years, and young adult life are not because of anything I did or didn’t do but because it’s a part of His mercy, grace, and plan for my life.  I don’t deserve any of it – grace gifts…that’s the only way to explain it.  The past 10 years have sometimes looked like I thought they would and other times it’s been radically different – but what I’ve learned is that what’s happened isn’t nearly as important as why it’s happening.  Sometimes…most of the time…I can’t offer an explanation but I do have hope and confidence in the fact that He will use every detail to bring glory to His name.
Random, but fun. Finish the following. I hate when…
There’s bad weather and when I get a buggy that the wheels are messed up 🙂

And, I love when…
I get to travel anywhere, go on date nights with Steve, have one on one time with my girls

Three of your favorite women…
Ellie Holcomb, Charlotte Cearley, Reese Witherspoon (no judgement – she’s just so cute and so fantastically talented!)

If you had to get a tattoo right now, what would it be?
Oh hmmm probably – a small one that says “it will be glorifying” with little stars and swirly do dads around it 🙂

Let’s end this with an important question. What songs are on your playlist right now?
Because He Lives – Matt Maher
It is Well – Bethel
You Make Me Brave – Bethel
Lord I’m Ready Now – Plumb
After All – Meredith Andrews
King of My Heart – Love & the Outcome
Say Amen – Finding Favor
This is Amazing Grace – Phil Wickham
He Knows My Name – Francesca Battistelli
As Sure As the Sun – Ellie Holcomb
Marvelous Light – Ellie Holcomb

My Portion & My Strength – Ellie Holcomb

That’s all folks!

The House of Black & White

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We return once more to one of my favorite things – a recap of another lovely episode of Game of Thrones…for the three people who actually read this, enjoy!

The Starks: Itty Bitty Badass Edition – Arya is back! Arya arrives in Braavos this week, passing under the Titan of Braavos en route to the House of Black and White (where the episode title comes from). She’s met at the door by an older gentleman who is not fazed by the coin she has and will not let her in. After sitting on the steps repeating her list of names (there are only four now…four!) all day and night, she takes to the streets of Braavos to fend for herself. After slicing up some pigeon for lunch, she is in the midst of talking down some would-be bullies when the old gentleman from the House of Black and White reappears…and so she follows him back to the House of Black and White, only for him to reveal – he is in fact Jaqen H’ghar – although when she calls him this, he tells her he is no one – which is exactly who she’ll have to become. She steps into the house behind him and the doors close.
Presto Change-o!
The Starks: Darth Sansa Edition – Talk about worlds colliding! Brienne and Podrick just happen to stop in at the same inn where Sansa and Littlefinger are also having their road trip lunch break. Brienne approaches Sansa, offering her services and her sword as protection…which Sansa flatly denies. Brienne’s case isn’t helped with Littlefinger expounding on her many failures: Renly was murdered in her care, Catelyn Stark didn’t survive with her around and Jaime Lannister lost his sword hand….so why would you want her protection? Pod argues that since Brienne has found both Stark girls and both have denied her help, perhaps she is released from the vow she made to Jaime Lannister? Brienne makes the point that Sansa is certainly not safe with Petyr Baelish (that’s Littlefinger) and Podrick agrees – so they’ll follow them at a safe distance. There’s also some sword fighting…and man, Podrick really needs to learn to ride a horse.
Westeros should offer anger management….
The Lannisters: So Many Stupid Decisions, So Little Time Edition – Cersei and Jaime have received a snakegram, all the way from the land of Dorne. It’s Myrcella’s necklace in the jaws of a viper – which is certainly a threat (thank you Jaime – you are no longer just Commander of the Kingsguard, you are also bestowed the title Captain Obvious). Cersei berates Jaime for not ever being a father to their children and Jaime (rightly so) reminds Cersei that if anyone knew they were THEIR children, they’d all be stoned in the streets. Jaime decides he’ll go to Dorne to fetch back their daughter – Cersei reminds him he’s a one-handed man and his choice to go along is rather foolish – he tells her he never said he’d be going alone.

Later Cersei works to stack the small council with her own cronies and thugs; naming Qyburn the new Grand Maester event though he’s little more than Dr. Frankenstein. She appoints Mace Tyrell both Master of Coin and Master of Ships and tries to convince her Uncle Kevan to be Master of War – she’s making all these recommendations on behalf of her son, King Tommen, of course. Kevan calls her out and says she’s nothing but the Queen Mother and he’ll gladly help his nephew the King, when his nephew asks…until then, he’s going home to Casterly Rock. Ouch! You see, Cersei has forgotten that she’s a woman and if there’s one thing women don’t do, it’s rule.

The Lannister Twins are not exactly batting a thousand here…this can only mean trouble down the road…
Snakegram anyone?

The Martells: Welcome to Dorne Edition – A new land, we are finally introduced to Dorne! Ellaria Sand is still raging over her beloved Oberyn’s head squashing from last season and wants revenge. Oberyn’s brother Doran, who rules Dorne and is much more cool-headed reminds Ellaria that Oberyn died fighting in a trial by combat – therefore it is not actually murder. Ellaria will not hear it; she wants to send Myrcella to Cersei piece by piece (gross Ellaria…just gross) but Doran tells her they don’t harm little girls in Dorne. Ellaria warns him she has brought the Sand Snakes; she and Oberyn’s daughters, each one dangerous in her own way, and they will have the revenge they want. Myrcella seems perfectly happy, wandering the Water Gardens with her betrothed, Trystane Martell (the son of Doran) and is oblivious to the fact that she’s being used as a bargaining tool…bless her. We also meet Areo Hotah, Doran’s bodyguard…and his very large, extremely shiny axe. Eek!

Ooh look – she got a hair cut!
North of the Wall: Lucky Bastard* Edition – Jon has to answer for last week; he took mercy on Mance Rayder and shot him instead of letting him be burned alive. Stannis doesn’t really have much use for mercy but he likes something about Jon. He likes him so much, he tells him as the true king he’ll name him Jon Stark; legitimizing him and making him Lord of Winterfell. It’s something Jon has dreamed of since he was a child but he tells Sam he’ll refuse him – after all, if he made a vow to the Night’s Watch and broke that vow, what kind of Lord would he be? Which; ironically, is exactly why he’d make a perfect Lord.

 The time has come to elect the 998th Commander of the Night’s Watch; the obvious choice being Alliser Thorne, even though he’s awful. The second choice is Denys Mallister, a man who’s commanded the Shadow Tower for years and years… And all of a sudden, Sam steps up at the last minute and announces contender three: Jon Snow! Sam makes a rousing speech about Jon stepping up to command during the recent battle at the Wall, he speaks out about how Lord Commander Mormont personally chose Jon as his steward; he obviously saw something in Jon. The votes are cast and Maester Aemon has the tie-breaking vote, which he cast for Jon! Congratulation Jon, you are now Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch!

*I do love a good play on words.
Ha! Way to go Lord Snow!

The Targaryens: Power Failure Edition – Daenerys has Daario and Grey Worm find the Son of the Harpy that they believe committed the murder of her Unsullied; since she only believe he is the culprit Ser Barristan tries to convince her a fair trial of the man is her best choice. Other members of her council encourage her to simply kill the man but Barristan tells her the truth about her father, King Aerys: he was mad, he killed people simply to watch them die and ruled with no justice. Daenerys decides the man deserves a fair trial and has him imprisoned until she can get to that trial. One of her councilours decides he’ll take matters into his own hands, murders the prisoner and then confesses to it – telling Daenerys he was only doing what he knew she wanted to do, but could not.

Daenerys assembles a crowd and decides instead of a fair trial for this man, she will publicly execute him – he did confess to the crime after all. On one side, the former masters cheer her decision while on the other, the former slaves she liberated plead mercy for their friend, begging Mhysa (mother) to forgive him. Daenerys has no desire to show mercy and has Daario behead the man. The crowd quickly changes, the former slaves hissing their displeasure, fighting and charging the former masters, leading to a riot that Daenerys must be quickly shielded and taken away from. Later in the evening, Drogon returns to visit Daenerys but sensing she is not quite what she once was, he flies away into the night without letting her touch him – her power is gone and until she embraces what she is meant to be, she will not command any dragons.

Careful…careful…he’s basically nothing but teeth & fire & death…

Other notes from around Westeros (and Essos)….
Tyrion and Varys are on the road to Volantis, which is obviously the halfway point to Meereen…and they’re traveling in what is essentially just a bigger box. They do have this glorious exchange though:

Varys: People follow leaders. They never follow us. They find us repulsive.
Tyrion: I find us repulsive.
Varys: And we find them repulsive, which is why we surround ourselves with large, comfortable boxes to keep them away. And yet, no matter what we do, people like you and me are never really satisfied inside the box. Not for long.

A note from Arya’s story – the coin she’s been carrying around for three seasons is a coin of the Faceless Men; a band of lethal assassins. Arya is already pretty hardcore, but I think it’s safe to say she’s about to learn how to exact some pretty sweet revenge.

Shireen Baratheon is spending her time at the Wall teaching Gilly to read – which is lovely. Shireen and Gilly discuss Shireen’s greyscale and the fact that she managed to be cured. Two of Gilly’s sister had greyscale and they turned into something that she hints is not quite human…which makes you wonder exactly what Stannis had to do to cure Shireen’s greyscale. Of course Selise doesn’t think Shireen should teach Gilly to read…because Selise is just mean and crazy…

Still no Boltons this week – yahoo. I just really could care less about those Boltons.

Until next week – I hope you like pigeon for supper.