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For the region of land immediately south of the Wall belonging to the Night's Watch see "The Gift".

"The Gift" is the seventh episode of the fifth season of Game of Thrones and the forty-seventh episode of the series overall. It premiered on May 24, 2015. It was written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and directed by Miguel Sapochnik.

PlotEdit

Jon prepares for conflict. Sansa tries to talk to Theon. Brienne waits for a sign. Stannis remains stubborn. Jaime attempts to reconnect with family.

SummaryEdit

At the WallEdit

Jon departs for Hardhome with Tormund and a group of rangers, after speaking with Ser Alliser Thorne and Sam. Before they leave, Sam gives Jon some of his dragonglass weapons, reminding him of their use against the White Walkers. Afterward, Sam and Gilly visit Maester Aemon, who is bedridden and dying from old age. Gilly brings her baby Little Sam for him to hold and cheer him up a little. Aemon happily notes that her son has a laugh just like his little brother Egg (King Aegon V) had when he was a baby. In a moment of clarity, Aemon gravely warns Gilly that she and her son must leave the Wall while they still can, before winter comes (and the White Walkers with it). Aemon's condition steadily deteriorates during the night, and he fades in and out of consciousness. Near the end he wakes up delirious from a dream, still lost in memory from his youth: he calls out to his brother Egg, and says that he had a strange dream that he was an old man. Aemon passes away soon afterwards.

507 Samwell Gilly sex scene

Samwell loses his virginity with Gilly.

In the courtyard of Castle Black, Sam eulogizes Aemon before lighting his funeral pyre, declaring for all to hear that he was the blood of the dragon - "but now his watch is ended." Ser Alliser whispers that Sam's friends are abandoning him one by one. Afterward, Gilly is attacked in the dining hall by two brothers, but Sam and Jon's direwolf, Ghost, come to her rescue. Sam is badly beaten, and Gilly tends to his injuries. Still in grief at Aemon's death and impressed by Sam defending her, Gilly climbs on top of him and they have sex.

In the NorthEdit

At Winterfell, Reek brings food to Sansa. She begs him for help, telling him how she has been locked in her bedchamber since her wedding and is visited by Ramsay every night and he forces himself on her. Reek simply tells her to obey Ramsay or else he would do worse things to her. Sansa asks what Ramsay did to Reek to break him to such an extent, but he can't bring himself to tell her. He tries to leave but Sansa grabs and reminds him that he betrayed her family, making Reek apologize profusely. Sansa informs him that her family still has allies in the North and tells him to light a candle at the top of the Broken Tower which will signal them that she is in danger. When Reek refuses to do it, Sansa reminds him of his true name, Theon Greyjoy, and makes him promise that he'll help her. Reek hesitantly agrees. He trudges through the snow with the candle, up a flight of stairs and into Ramsay’s room.

Later, Sansa is taken to see Ramsay on the ramparts, which are still under construction. While he is distracted, Sansa grabs a workman's tool lying on a nearby barrel and pockets it. Ramsay speaks of his thoughts on how they will easily defeat Stannis's army since their soldiers, unlike Stannis's, are trained to fight in the snow, and how he'll one day be the Lord of Winterfell and the Warden of the North.

Sansa reminds him of the unborn baby, who, if a boy, will have a stronger claim on the North since he'll be a true-born. Ramsay tells her that he is Roose Bolton's eldest son, legitimized by the king, who Sansa reminds him is another bastard. Ramsay is obviously angered by Sansa's remarks, but doesn't act on it, simply stating that bastards can rise in the world too, informing her of Jon's appointment as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Ramsay then brings up the reason why he summoned her, and shows her the crucified and partly flayed corpse of the old woman who promised to help Sansa if she lit a candle in the Broken Tower. Ramsay then reveals to Sansa that Reek, who seems miserable to have squashed Sansa's only hope of an escape, came to him and told him everything. Sansa chokes back tears as a gleeful Ramsay orders his men to take her back to her chamber. Meanwhile, Brienne stares intently at Winterfell castle from her room in the inn, waiting for the sign to rescue Sansa.

Stannis's troops make camp during a violent snowstorm. Davos Seaworth meets with Stannis and informs him that forty horses died the previous night and more will die come sunset. The Stormcrows, a sellsword company, have fled in the night. Davos thinks that they should go back to Castle Black and wait out the weather since they do not have enough food, but Stannis stubbornly tells him that they will not retreat to Castle Black because he will not risk being known as "the King who Ran". As winter will soon arrive, they also run the risk of being stuck at Castle Black for years, during which the Boltons will regain their strength. Seeing no other way to convince Stannis otherwise, Davos leaves.

Stannis asks Melisandre if she is sure of their victory at Winterfell. Melisandre assures him, reminding him that he also saw the vision of his victory in the flames, but Stannis is not so sure what he saw anymore. Melisandre reassures him that her visions will come true, but also states that a sacrifice, one with King's blood, must be made in order to ensure their victory, implying that they sacrifice Shireen. Stannis is infuriated by the suggestion and orders her to leave.

In DorneEdit

Prince Doran has Areo Hotah bring Myrcella to Jaime in the quarters where he is confined, as Jaime is concerned for her safety. Displaying a somewhat more critical mind than her brothers, Myrcella is suspicious about Jaime's "diplomatic mission" to bring her back to King's Landing, to which Jaime only replies that there are "complicated matters" involved. Myrcella flatly refuses to return with him, stating her intent to marry Trystane.

Bronn is singing The Dornishman's Wife in his jail cell, while in the adjoining cell, the Sand Snakes listen with a mix of annoyance from Obara and Nymeria and amusement from Tyene. After he finishes, the two parties trade barbs, and Tyene inquires about Bronn's arm, which she cut with her daggers during their earlier fight, with Bronn brushing it off as "a new scar". The two begin to talk about Tyene's beauty, which Bronn dismisses until she begins to disrobe. Bronn stares intently, and begins to change his mind about her. Tyene once again inquires about his arm, and then his head, at which point Bronn's nose starts bleeding and his vision blurs.

Bronn collapses and tries to play off his sudden illness, but Tyene reveals that her daggers were coated with a slow-acting poison called The Long Farewell, and her attempts to seduce Bronn were to get his heart pumping faster, thereby allowing the poison to act quicker. She points to an ampoule on her necklace, which contains the antidote, but only offers to give it to Bronn on the condition that he agrees that she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Growing weaker, Bronn barely manages to reply affirmatively, and she tosses the ampoule to a relieved Bronn. Tyene smiles smugly at him and remarks that she finds him handsome as well, before re-robing and sitting down next to her mildly amused half-sisters.

In King's LandingEdit

In the Great Sept of Baelor, Lady Olenna meets with the High Sparrow to discuss the imprisonment of her grandchildren, Ser Loras and Queen Margaery. Although they briefly bond over the infirmities of age, she demands that he release them and he declines, stating they will be punished for their crimes. The High Sparrow tells her that the Gods' Laws must be applied to everyone equally. Olenna first tries to bribe him, but learning that he cannot be bought, threatens to end the Tyrell support for the capital by ending shipments of food. Again the High Sparrow is unfazed, remarking that the nobility of Westeros have forgotten they are outnumbered by the common folk and tells Olenna to ponder what happens when the many stop fearing the few. Returning to her palanquin, Olenna receives a letter bearing Petyr Baelish's seal.

Meanwhile, in the Red Keep, King Tommen rails over his inability to help Margaery. He wants to start a war for Margaery, declaring his love for her to a dumbstruck Cersei. To maintain control of the situation, she offers to speak with the High Sparrow for him and advocate for Margaery and Loras's release. Although clearly suspicious, the still-overwhelmed Tommen agrees.

Littlefinger meets with Olenna in his ransacked brothel, where they share a tense conversation. Olenna reminds him of the role they both played in Joffrey's murder, and that, should her House fall, she will have no reason to keep his involvement a secret. Littlefinger explains why he returned to King's Landing - he dared not refuse Cersei's summons, and was obliged to give her information. He tells Olenna that he will give her the same thing he gave Cersei: a handsome young man — implied, in this instance, to be Lancel.

In the Sept's cells, Cersei meets with Margaery and brings her food but Margaery refuses, revealing that she knows her mother-in-law is responsible for having her and Loras imprisoned. Cersei, fearful of being overheard, denies this. Margaery mocks Cersei for her unconvincing lies of trying to save her, going as far as to say that while she knows how to lie and scheme, she doesn't understand innocence and decency, which Margaery suspects is why Tommen loves her, Margaery, and was willing to send Cersei back to Casterly Rock. Cersei, concealing her fury, tells Margaery her trial will soon begin and that her son needs his mother more than ever. Margaery throws the stew at Cersei, and yells at her to get out. Cersei leaves the cell, smiling smugly at Margaery.

On her way out, a still gleeful Cersei meets with the High Sparrow in a chapel that predates the Great Sept. The pair briefly discuss the legal process that Margaery and Loras will face. As the conversation goes on, however, it's clear that the High Sparrow is about to turn the tables on Cersei. When Brother Lancel appears, Cersei realizes what is about to happen, and her triumphant smile begins to crack. The High Sparrow has an irate Cersei taken into custody by a group of Septas who ignore Cersei's threats and lock her in a cell.

In MeereenEdit

Jorah is sold by Malko to Yezzan zo Qaggaz. Before Yezzan leaves, Tyrion convinces him that Jorah and he are a team, and is also bought. In Meereen, Daenerys and Daario discuss her impending marriage to Hizdahr zo Loraq. After rejecting his suggestion that she marry him instead, Daario advises her that, on the day the fighting pits are reopened, she should gather all the Great, Wise and Good Masters and kill them. Dany is reluctant to do so, as she believes it will give her the reputation of a butcher, to which Daario replies that "all rulers are either butchers or meat".

Yezzan takes his fighters to Meereen, to test them in the lower pits and seek out those who are worthy to fight in the Great Pit of Daznak. They fight in front of a reluctant Daenerys, as Hizdahr has convinced her that Meereen's ruler occasionally makes the rounds to the lower pits ahead of the main tournament. Jorah enters the Pits early, upon realizing that she is watching and will be repulsed by what she's seeing, and elbows down Yezzan who tried to berate him. Jorah easily defeats the other fighters without killing them, impressing Dany enough to prevent her from leaving. When he reveals his identity, however, her face swiftly twists into a scowl and she orders him taken away. Before the Unsullied can comply, Jorah declares that he brought her a gift, and Tyrion enters the arena and reveals his identity to the astonished Queen.

AppearancesEdit

Main: The Gift (episode)/Appearances

FirstEdit

DeathsEdit

  • Maester Aemon, natural causes
  • Old woman, flayed alive by Ramsay Bolton

ProductionEdit

CastEdit

Starring

Guest Starring

Uncredited

Cast notes Edit

Mentions Edit

NotesEdit

  • The title of this episode refers to Tyrion, who was initially kidnapped by Jorah Mormont as a "gift" for Queen Daenerys, and he refers to himself as such when he presents himself to her. Perhaps it also refers to the "gift" Littlefinger says he has for Olenna, the same kind he gave Cersei. It does not, as was initially assumed, refer to "The Gift", the region of land immediately south of The Wall which was "gifted" to the Night's Watch when the Wall was constructed, for their sustenance and support.
  • Arya Stark and Braavos do not appear in this episode. Brienne of Tarth briefly appears for one shot as she waits for a signal but she has no speaking lines. House Greyjoy has not yet appeared this season.
  • As of this episode, Tyrion Lannister has officially surpassed his current material from the most recent novel. The fifth and most current novel ends with Tyrion in Meereen and in the fighting pits, and he catches sight of Daenerys at one point, but they have not met face to face yet. It is implied that their meeting is on the verge of happening soon, at the beginning of the next novel. Daenerys's storyline is also going to finish all of her material from the fifth novel by the end of Season 5.
    • Executive producer David Benioff explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that they moved the meeting between Tyrion and Daenerys up slightly like this because they felt it wasn't good dramatic pacing to hype up earlier in the season that they would meet, only to leave viewers hanging across the break until Season 6. As Benioff said: "Creatively it made sense to us, because we wanted it to happen. They’re two of the best characters of the show. To have them come so close together this season then have them not meet felt incredibly frustrating. Also, we’re on a relatively fast pace. We don’t want to do a 10-year adaptation of the books, we don’t want to do a nine-year adaptation. We’re not going to spend four seasons in Meereen. It’s time for these two to get together. It’s hard to come up with a more eloquent explanation, but this just felt right. [Varys] puts Tyrion’s mission out there [in the season premiere] and the mission ends in Meereen....There will always be some fans who will think it’s blasphemy, but we can't not do something because we're afraid of the reaction. I like to think we've always done what’s in the best interest of the show and we hope most people agree."[1] Benioff and Weiss have frequently said in the past that they feel they are adapting the story as a whole and not trying to neatly match one book to each season, i.e. Jaime didn't do much in the second novel so they moved some of his more interesting material from the beginning of the third novel (when he starts traveling with Brienne) up to the end of Season 2.
  • Daenerys and Daario Naharis mention that she is facing "enemies within and without" Meereen. In the novels, while the attacks of the Sons of the Harpy are an ongoing problem within Meereen, Daenerys is also threatened by the slave-masters from Yunkai who reasserted control over that city. In Season 4 it was mentioned that the slave-masters retook Yunkai, and that Daenerys was sending Hizdahr and Daario as envoys to treat with them. In the novels, Daenerys has disrupted the international slave-trade so much (because Meereen is a major exporter of slaves) that the major slaver factions of the region, particularly the Wise Masters of Yunkai, mass armies against her, and much of her narrative in the fifth novel involves a dangerous series of political moves to try to stave off open war with the slave-masters from outside Meereen. The TV series has condensed events by focusing more on the threats within the city - but apparently the Yunkish slave-masters are still applying external pressure on Daenerys, "off screen": note that Yezzan zo Qaggaz is a Yunkish slave-master, and Tyrion and Jorah are sold to him at a slave-auction being held on the outskirts of Meereen, apparently at a Yunkish camp.
    • The slave-masters from each of the three major cities in Slaver's Bay are addressed by different titles: those from Meereen are the "Great Masters", from Yunkai the "Wise Masters", and from Astapor the "Good Masters". When Daario is talking to Daenerys in bed he flippantly says she should gather up and kill all of the Great Masters, Wise Masters, and "Worthy Masters". There are no "Worthy Masters", but Daario seems to be just sarcastically referring to "Good Masters" by slightly misnaming them on purpose.
  • Daario's suggestion to round up all of the slave-masters and kill them all has a few more details in the novels, absent from the TV series: in the book version, he casually suggestions to lure all of the slave-masters into a trap by inviting them all as guests to her marriage ceremony to Hizdahr, and then massacring them all under flag of peace: "Winkle them out of their pyramids on some pretext. A wedding might serve. Why not? Promise your hand to Hizdahr and all the Great Masters will come to see you married. When they gather in the Temple of the Graces, turn us loose upon them." (A Dance with Dragons, Daenerys IV) This has clear narrative echoes of the Red Wedding, though the overt comparison is not made in the text. Daenerys is so appalled at his suggestion, however, that it drives her in the other direction, to seek peace through the marriage-alliance.
  • When Malko presents Jorah Mormont at the slave auction he mixes up several facts in his sales pitch, some clearly on purpose. He says that he is a Westerosi knight from an ancient house trained in sword and lance, who fought beside the stag king Robert (which is true). He goes on to say that he was first through the breach at the "Siege of Spyke", wielding a flaming sword with which he killed 50 men - at the Siege of Pyke, Thoros of Myr was actually first through the breach and wielded a flaming sword; Jorah was through the breach right after him, and performed so valiantly in the battle that King Robert knighted him (and he probably killed quite a few enemies). Malko finishes by claiming that Jorah killed Khal Drogo in single combat - when Jorah told Malko directly in the last episode that he killed Drogo's bloodrider, Qotho, in single combat (so on that point at least Malko is exaggerating on purpose).
  • At the slave auction, the currency that is used in Meereen is mentioned by name for the first time: Gold Honors. Jorah is bought for 20 Gold Honors by Yezzan, which based on the bidding seems like a relatively substantial price for a pit fighter. Several places in Essos use currency called "Gold Honors", but they have different appearances and values in each (just as "United States dollars" and "Canadian dollars" are two separate things). There are Meereen Gold Honors, Volantis Gold Honors, and Qarth Gold Honors. Yunkai and Astapor apparently also use their own Gold Honors. The exchange rate between Westerosi "Gold Dragon" coins and Meereen "Gold Honor" coins is unknown.
    • In the novels, 5,000 Gold Honors for a pair of slaves sent to the fighting pits is actually thought to be insultingly low. References to Gold Honors in the Season 5 "Histories & Lore" video (for "The Fighting Pits of Meereen") use figures closer to the novels, saying that a champion gladiator-slave can be worth 300,000 Gold Honors. It might be possible to reconcile this if it were established that the slavers at the auction in this episode were simply speaking in clipped phrases, i.e. "I bid twenty" as short for "I bid twenty (thousand)".
  • When Jorah and Tyrion go out to the fighting pit, the way the camera shots are framed (and particularly Yezzan's pre-fight pep talk to them) seem to be homages to the film Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2000. Incidentally, actor Jack Gleeson stated that while he based his performance as Joffrey Baratheon on several major film villains, one of his strongest influences was the main villain in Gladiator, the arrogant and petulant Emperor Commodus.
  • While filming the fighting pit training scenes, actor Iain Glen {Jorah) scratched his left eye, which made it fill up with blood. Instead of writing that into the script, every shot of him in episodes seven and eight ("The Gift" and "Hardhome") had to be digitally fixed in post-production.[2]
  • Maester Aemon's death makes Daenerys the last known full-blooded Targaryen in the entire world.
    • Through intermarriage, a few of the other Great Houses have some Targaryen blood in them, specifically House Baratheon and House Martell, but then, most of the Houses are interrelated on some level. Aemon considered Daenerys to be the last Targaryen after him, and all other characters conceive of her as the "last Targaryen".
    • Maester Aemon's death is highly unusual for a death in the TV series, in that he is the first on-screen character to simply die from old age, and peacefully in his bed at that (as the producers even point out in the Inside the Episode video). Historical characters mentioned in the narrative have died of old age, but they lived before the events of the narrative. The only other character to die of old age and natural causes during the time frame of the TV series itself was Hoster Tully, Catelyn Stark's father, early in Season 3 - but he was never a "speaking role" nor did he ever appear alive on-camera; he died off-screen and he only appeared as a corpse at his funeral. Thus the point stands that Aemon is the only "on-screen character" to ever die simply from old age.
  • On his deathbed, Aemon talks about his younger brother Aegon, nicknamed "Egg", who went on to become King Aegon V Targaryen after Aemon refused the throne. He is one of the two titular protagonists in the Tales of Dunk and Egg, and ongoing series of prequel novellas written by George R.R. Martin which begin 90 years before the start of the main A Song of Ice and Fire series, detailing Egg's rise from a young boy to king on the Iron Throne. Martin has discussed optioning the rights to the prequel novellas to HBO to make a Tales of Dunk and Egg TV adaptation, though negotiations are in a very early stage as of this episode, and due to the extreme workload it would only possibly be produced after the main TV series is finished.
    • Aemon and Egg had two older brothers and neither was expected to become king, so Aemon became a maester. Both of their older brothers later died, yet because maesters give up all claims to inheritance and title, the crown passed to his younger brother Aegon. Aemon still "refused the throne" because Aegon was a populist reformer who wanted to raise taxes on the rich, making him unpopular with many powerful nobles, who urged that Aemon ask permission to be released from his vows to become king ahead of Egg. Aemon easily could have become king with their support, but he felt it would be dishonorable to renege on his vows and refused their offer. He also did not want to be used as a political pawn against his own brother, so he then joined the Night's Watch - at the Wall he was as far removed as possible from the intrigues at the royal court, and he then had taken two sets of vows abdicating any right to inheritance (and the Watch's vows are held to be even more sacrosanct than maesters' vows). Many others take part in the political intrigues and wars to take and hold the Iron Throne, and usually end up getting killed or betrayed. Aemon, in contrast, was outright offered the throne, but instead of being consumed by ambition he simply declined and was content to selflessly provide advice to others throughout his life - and unlike those who fought over the throne, he ended up dying peacefully in his bed of natural causes at over a hundred years old.
  • Aemon refers to Gilly as "Gillyflower". In the Season 3 finale, "Mhysa", when Aemon first met Gilly, he realized she had been named after Gillyflowers, which are a real-life kind of flower.
  • In the novels, Gilly is not attacked by two men of the Night's Watch who want to rape her (though many members of the Watch are indeed convicted rapers who were given a choice between exile to the Wall or castration as punishment). Instead, after Aemon dies Samwell and Gilly have a toast to his life and both end up getting very drunk, and in their shared grief they seek comfort together physically (as in the TV series, Gilly is actively moving this forward - she pushes him back onto her bed and she is on top as they have sex - while Samwell is reluctant because this is breaking his vows of celibacy, but he soon gives in). The TV series entirely invented the additional element that Gilly is nearly raped but saved by Samwell - multiple professional critics complained that this was unnecessary and formulaic, and also insensitive given that there were already several other sexual assaults in the TV series (some of which had more reason to be in the TV series than this scene, given that they were in the novels, i.e. the description that Gregor Clegane brutally raped and killed Elia Martell, or Ramsay Bolton hunting, raping, and killing young women for sport).[3]
    • The brief scene in which Ghost defends Gilly and Samwell from their attackers may have been filmed on a sound stage in Calgary, Canada. In Season 5 (in this episode and his last appearance in the season premiere), Ghost has been played by a real trained wolf named Quigley. The production team wanted to hire a full-sized wolf to play Ghost now that he is older. They had been trying to work with Quigley's owner for several years now, but their schedules in past seasons did not match. Originally they wanted to simply ship Quigley to Northern Ireland, but due to several restrictions on international transport of large animals, they ultimately decided it was easier to just fly out to Canada and film the actors with Quigley in an interior set constructed in Calgary. This is similar to how back in Season 3, Bart the Bear could not be transported from the United States to Northern Ireland, so Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) had to film the bear-pit scene at Harrenhal in a small set constructed on a studio lot in Los Angeles.[4]
    • When Gilly has sex with Samwell in the novels, she whispers "I am your wife now" to him. When Jon Snow had sex with Ygritte, it was later pointed out to him that the wildlings don't have formal "laws" so much as loose customs about Marriage: essentially if a man has sex with a woman and she stays in a relationship with him, this is enough for the wildlings to consider them a husband and wife, without any ceremony - and thus from a wildling point of view, Ygritte could call herself Jon's wife (bluntly, "Jon's woman") and Gilly can call herself Samwell's wife. A major element of wildling marriage is missing from Sam and Gilly's relationship, though - the kidnapping: Ygritte explained to Jon that a wildling man is supposed to kidnap the woman he wants, while risking serious injury or even death from her and her family, but if he succeeds, it means he is strong and brave and cunning - and that's what wildling woman wants as a husband, and Jon fulfilled that term (although he insisted that the act of kidnapping Ygritte by him was not meant for sex). Sam could be said to have absconded with Gilly when they fled Craster's Keep (but in the novels it was actually Craster's other wives that urged Sam to flee with and protect Gilly). Either way, in the novels after they sober up Gilly doesn't call herself Samwell's "wife" again, and after they both lost control like that he is reluctant to have sex with her again, due to his vows.
    • John Bradley (Samwell Tarly) commented on Sam and Gilly's intimate scene together: "That scene says a lot about the treatment of sex on Game of Thrones. I'm very reluctant to call it a sex scene. I think it's a love scene. There's a difference, and I think sex can be treated on the show in almost animalistic terms. It can be seen as a very base symptom of the human condition, to want that. And a lot of times on the show, it can very guttural and scatological and dealt with very practically, as just a physical act. But when you see a love scene on the show, there's a difference in tone. It's treated with more respect, and that's where the layers come from in that scene. You're seeing two people physically demonstrating their love for each other. Gilly's changed him. She saved him. Sam saved Gilly's life, in a very literal sense, but Gilly has saved Sam's spirit. They saved each other.[5]
  • Although not directly stated, Jon Snow and Tormund are not riding directly to Hardhome: Castle Black is in the middle of the continent, so they are riding to the eastern end of the Wall to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, one of only three remaining manned forts on the Wall and the Watch's only port. Hardhome is also on the east coast. Stannis explained previously that because he is going inland he would loan his remaining ships to Jon for this mission. When they arrive at Hardhome next episode they indeed arrive by ship.
  • Ramsay Bolton says that he is no longer a bastard but was "naturalized" - this isn't an actual legal term in Westeros, the correct one used previously is "Legitimized". The polite term for bastard children is "natural children" - though given Ramsay's half-educated and wild condition, it is possible that in-universe Ramsay himself is mistakenly using an incorrect, slurred term (sort of like saying, "I've been un-bastard-ized").
    • This episode's dialogue makes it explicitly clear to viewers that Ramsay's legitimization was a decree issued by King Tommen, which Roose then delivered to his son Ramsay - Roose himself never had the power to legitimize Ramsay, only a king can do that. The dialogue in Season 4's "The Mountain and the Viper" left this somewhat vague to viewers, when Roose handed the legitimization decree to Ramsay but didn't mention Tommen. Promotional images from that episode did show a close-up of the decree Roose handed to Ramsay, and it indeed had Tommen's stag-and-lion sigil on the seal, but casual viewers who only watched the aired episode wouldn't have been able to know it was a decree from Tommen and the Lannisters.
  • Sansa spars with Ramsay by bringing up that his father Roose is going to have a baby with his new wife Walda Frey, and if it is a boy he would be ahead of Ramsay in the line of succession. This isn't a "mistake" of dialogue but Sansa is making a slanted argument to make a jab at Ramsay. Martin has stated that legitimization of bastard children happens so rarely in Westeros that there is simply no official legal precedent for where they stand in the line of succession. If a lord has a legitimized bastard son but then a younger, legitimate son with a new wife, which of them will be heir is simply up to the lord's discretion - whether he wants to go by absolute age, or to rank his legitimized bastard behind his born-legitimate children. For that matter, some even argue that a legitimized bastard son ranks behind a younger but born-legitimate daughter. Such disputes are a frequent cause of civil wars in Westeros. If Walda has a son it wouldn't automatically be the new heir, as Sansa's line might imply, but she is trying to unsettle Ramsay by pointing out that there are many who nonetheless feel that Roose's new born-legitimate child will outrank him.
    • Ramsay and Roose discussed Walda's pregnancy two episodes ago in "Kill the Boy", and Roose reiterated that he considers Ramsay his heir, even if Walda has a son - but as the TV producers pointed out in the behind-the-scenes videos, he is now holding it over Ramsay's head that he needs to shape up and behave himself, because if he doesn't Roose now has a fallback option and can disinherit him if he wants to.
  • In this episode, Ramsay informs Sansa that her half-brother Jon Snow has become Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. In the books, Sansa has not returned to Winterfell and does not marry Ramsay Bolton but remains in the Vale. Sansa learns of Jon’s recent election as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch from Myranda Royce in the fourth book, prompting Sansa to think how “so sweet” it would be to see Jon again and that he is the only surviving member of her immediate family she has left. She has a few more distant surviving family members but her uncle Edmure Tully is a Lannister prisoner, the rest of the Tully garrison are hopelessly besieged at Riverrun and her cousin, Sweetrobin Arryn, is little more than a sickly puppet of Littlefinger.
    • At this point in the TV series, Jon and Sansa have never actually exchanged dialogue. In the books, they haven’t shared dialogue in present time but only in memory. They briefly appeared together when the entire Stark household gathers in Winterfell's courtyard to greet King Robert's arrival. Sansa was very close to her mother Catelyn, who avoided her husband's bastard son by another woman, and she also pursued different interests such as needlework and dancing. As a result, Sansa might not have spent much time with Jon, unlike the tomboyish Arya, who was very close to Jon. Nonetheless, in Sansa’s current predicament, it is obvious that Sansa would turn to Jon for help or shelter, which Jon would certainly provide. Despite Sansa and Jon apparently not having as much interaction growing up, other than in shared family memories, they think of each other at various points in the books after their family’s separation. Some examples include Jon missing his family, including Sansa, when he first experiences the hardships of the Night's Watch; recalling Sansa’s advice to him on how to talk to girls; and, upon regarding the beauty of a winter morning, fondly recalling how Sansa would call this an “enchantment.” Likewise, Sansa thinks about Jon when she meets a member of the Night’s Watch in the first novel; remembers Jon with the rest of her family while she sings in the sept during the Battle of Blackwater; and thinks of how "so sweet" it would be to see Jon again in the fourth novel while she is hiding in the Vale with Littlefinger.
  • Ramsay mentions that Stannis has bolstered his forces with "thousands of foreign sellswords". At Stannis's camp, Davos later also mentions that they have hired sellsword companies (though the Stormcrows ran off in the night). This is a major running subplot in the novels which has apparently been heavily condensed in the TV series. It isn't even directly explained how Stannis got the money to hire so many sellswords, but simply mentioned in passing that he has them.
    • Essentially, in the novels, as it progressively becomes clear that Cersei and the Lannisters cannot pay back the Iron Bank of Braavos, the bank correspondingly becomes more willing to give even more new loans to Stannis, so he can hire more sellswords. Apparently this happened "off screen" in the TV series, though it was explained three episodes ago in "Sons of the Harpy" that the Iron Bank has called in its debts, and the Lannisters only physically possess one twentieth of the total debts they owe the bank.
    • Time moves more slowly in the TV series than in the novels, about one year per season, and Stannis spent about half of Season 5 at Castle Black. It stands to reason that he stayed there longer in the TV continuity, perhaps a few months while he reconsolidated his remaining army (and sent letters to Northern leaders like Lyanna Mormont to try to win their allegiance). It is therefore entirely possible that, off-screen, in the past weeks Stannis was exchanging letters back and forth to the Free Cities, getting more loans from the Iron Bank, and also hiring and transporting new sellsword companies. Stannis said in Season 4 that he had about 4,000 men left - he visibly had around 3,000 men in the Battle of Castle Black, though he may have left a few hundred men behind to garrison Dragonstone. In the next episode the Boltons say that Stannis's total forces number about 6,000 (minus the Stormcrows who left), so about 2-3,000 of his remaining force must be sellswords.
    • In the novels, there are more scenes at the Small Council in which Cersei ineptly tries to deal with the debt crisis, as representatives from the Iron Bank come to the council but Cersei's only response is to insult them. This culminates in Cersei bluntly telling the bank that, despite the huge amount of money she owes them, she has no intention of paying them back even a fraction of what they are owed for the duration of the ongoing rebellions by Stannis or the Greyjoys - which might take years to be completely crushed. The Iron Bank responds by officially switching its support to Stannis as the acknowledged rightful king, and sending Tycho Nestoris to the Wall in person to extend him a massive new loan, enough to hire 20,000 new sellswords. Stannis signs the contract (in his own blood), then dispatches one of his knights (Ser Justin Massey) to go to the Free Cities to hire these new forces (needed for when he hopes to march on southern Westeros), though he then proceeds in his march towards Winterfell with his current forces. Given that Cersei is already imprisoned by the High Sparrow in this episode, these scenes of Cersei insulting the bank, causing them to officially switch support to Stannis with massive new loans, seems to have been heavily condensed and is only somewhat implied that the bank must have been giving Stannis even more loans as they get more angry at Cersei for not paying them back.
    • Davos mentions to Stannis that the Stormcrows are a sellsword company that they hired, 500 men strong, but they lost heart at the rough march through the snow and ran off during the night. This is a nod to the novels, in which the Stormcrows play a larger role. When Daenerys arrives in Slaver's Bay, there are actually two sellsword companies that she wins to her allegiance: the Second Sons and the Stormcrows. The TV series simplified this by only having her encounter the Second Sons (but then doubling the number of soldiers that the Second Sons have in the TV series). In the novels, Daario Naharis was actually the captain of the Stormcrows, not the Second Sons, but he was made leader of the Second Sons in the TV series after this was condensed together. The Stormcrows are currently at the Slaver's Bay and have nothing to do with Stannis and his military campaign at the North.
  • Melisandre reveals that she wants to sacrifice Shireen to the Lord of Light to ensure victory. She has made no mention of this intention in the novels - yet, though it is implied that she might want to in the future (not necessarily against the Boltons but in the war against the White Walkers). Melisandre also mentioned last season that she wanted Shireen taken with them when they left for the Wall because the Lord of Light's plans involve her.
    • In the novels, when Stannis receives his new giant loan from the Iron Bank and sends Ser Justin Massey to Braavos to hire a major new army of 20,000 sellswords, he specifically says that even if he dies in battle and the assault against Winterfell fails, he expects his remaining forces elsewhere to return and keep fighting to put his daughter Shireen on the Iron Throne.
  • Melisandre and Stannis mention that she threw leeches containing "king's blood" (Gendry's blood) into a fire back in Season 3 as a spell to kill the rival kings in Westeros, after which Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon did indeed die (though by betrayals planned out some time before - though in the books Melisandre insists that the Boltons and Freys were merely the Lord of Light's instruments). They do not mention that Stannis also named Balon Greyjoy during the spell as another rival king that will die.
    • Perhaps not coincidentally, the episode makes it a point for Sansa to emphasize to Reek that he is really Theon, son of "Balon Greyjoy". Balon has barely appeared or even been mentioned in the TV series since Season 2 ended. He only briefly appeared for a single scene in the Season 3 finale. The only other time that Balon was even mentioned between the Season 3 finale and this episode was back in Season 4's "The Mountain and the Viper", but again, only in the sense that Ramsay has Reek "pretend to be Theon", and he introduces himself as "Theon, son of Balon".
  • Myrcella Baratheon says that she has been in Dorne "for years". In the novels, Myrcella has only been in Dorne for about six months at this point. However, the TV-Timeline moves more slowly than in the novels, at a rate of one TV season equal to about one year of in-universe story-time. Given that Myrcella went to Dorne in mid-Season 2, and it is now mid-Season 5, TV-Myrcella has indeed been in Dorne for about three years now.
    • This does raise a separate issue: Gilly's baby Little Sam was born in mid-Season 3, meaning that he should be nearly two years old at this point. He can't plausibly be "a baby" much longer going into Season 6. Also, in the novels, wildlings don't actually name their children until they are two years old, due to their high infant mortality rate living north of the Wall. After Aemon dies, Gilly says that she wants to name Mance Rayder's baby in his honor once he turns two years old.
  • Bronn finishes singing The Dornishman's Wife, which he started singing in the preceding episode and insisted that the whole song really hinged on the ending - which is the punchline to an obscene joke. The subject of the song keeps praising the beauty of the Dornishman's wife while describing what a dangerous fighter the Dornishman is; ultimately the Dornishman challenges him to a duel and he is mortally injured, but as he lies dying he tells his companions that he is unconcerned, for while the Dornishman has taken his life, he has "tasted" the Dornishman's wife. Jerome Flynn, who plays Bronn, is actually a professional singer and gets to show off his talents in this episode (much as he did back in Season 2's "Blackwater" when he got to sing The Rains of Castamere).
  • Tyene mentions that the poison she coated her daggers is from Asshai. This is where Melisandre is from, and it is infamous as a city of sorcerers and alchemists, and a major exporter of many poisons (Tyene didn't go to Asshai to obtain it herself, the poison made its way west along trade routes).
  • Some TV-first viewers may have been confused or thought it contrived that Cersei Lannister comes to the Great Sept without guards, purely to gloat at Margaery Tyrell, and that it takes a very long time for her to realize that the High Sparrow is talking about her sins and has turned on her. Actually, this is essentially what happens in the novels: Cersei has mentally deteriorated and she is no longer behaving rationally (even compared to her already unstable personality at the time of the first novel). Cersei becomes a Point of View character for the first time in the fourth novel, on which her current storyline in the TV series is based. After Joffrey and Tywin die, combined with the stress of her own inability to rule effectively (and handle the debt crisis or the Tyrells' growing influence), Cersei starts drinking heavily, and her already paranoid and vindictive traits grow to extreme levels. Cersei spends much of the fourth novel in a drunken fog, staggering from one folly to the next, her thoughts so fixated on destroying Margaery (or Tyrion) that she becomes oblivious to any other threats around her - for entire chapters, her skewed and rambling inner thought monologue focuses almost exclusively on her plans to have the Faith put Margaery on trial, only to mention in passing for a single sentence that Pycelle gaped at her in shock when she revealed that she re-armed the Faith Militant. Cersei smugly thinks she has a brilliant plan to have Margaery put on trial by the Faith, even though it really isn't a fool-proof plan, and she hasn't thought out its long-term consequences at all. Olenna even voiced her shock about this to Cersei's face in the previous episode, bluntly pointing out to her that the Lannisters are dependent on the Tyrells as their only major remaining source of money, food, and extra soldiers (in the middle of an already huge debt crisis), but Cersei blithely ignores these obvious points. Cersei also cannot comprehend that she is making her son look politically weak and ineffectual by conspiring to have his queen imprisoned: even if Cersei thinks that overall she is preventing him from becoming the Tyrells' puppet, she is really more focused on making him her puppet.
    • Tommen briefly imitates Joffrey by saying he should summon the army to storm the Great Sept and "kill them all" to get Margaery back - unlike his older brother, however, Tommen is a sane and moral person, and only says this because he is worried about the safety of the wife he loves (in contrast to Joffrey, who would have people killed over slight insults real or imagined). Moreover, he only says this in a brief moment of anger, but when reminded that it would be impractical (Margaery would be the first to die) instantly recognizes he shouldn't do that and just meekly drops the suggestion (again, in contrast to how Joffrey couldn't be talked out of crazed and violent actions).
    • The High Sparrow points out that the Great Sept of Baelor wasn't in King's Landing since the founding of the city, which was about 300 years ago. The Great Sept was commissioned by King Baelor the Blessed, who died about 130 years ago.
  • Putting the scene between Cersei and Tommen and then Jaime and Myrcella right next to each other helps raise a large point: Cersei never had a substantial relationship with her younger children, but doted on her eldest child Joffrey, spoiling him rotten while almost ignoring Tommen and Myrcella. Certainly, Cersei convinced herself that she was a good mother and "loved" all of her children, but she was never greatly concerned for their happiness. She was angered when Myrcella was sent off to Dorne, or that Tywin and then Margaery took control of Tommen away from her - but even then, it was more in the sense that something which "belonged" to her was being taken away. Tommen also mentioned back in Season 4's "Oathkeeper" that Joffrey would often terrorize him, threatening to kill his pet cat Ser Pounce, but Cersei never did anything to protect him from her favorite son. In this episode she lies and manipulates Tommen while mixing in half-truths: he is upset at what is happening to his new wife, not realizing that Cersei herself caused it (though she thinks she's doing what is best for him). In contrast, Myrcella then flatly tells Jaime that she's actually happier in Dorne than back in King's Landing with Cersei, and they don't even know her very well.
    • Myrcella says that Cersei told her she had to go to Dorne (in the books Myrcella is sent without Cersei's knowledge and consent, and against her will): this did not appear directly on-screen, but that is not just an accident of the TV adaptation, because Tommen and Myrcella barely had any scenes together with Cersei in the novels either (in direct contrast with Catelyn Stark, who would have earnest conversations with all of her children, even young Bran). Cersei never had a heart-to-heart scene in which she discussed with Myrcella that she had to go to Dorne for the marriage-alliance. Because Cersei was denied POV chapters in the first three novels, along with her children, conversations she would have obviously had with them do not occur in the books - not because they didn't take place, but because no POV character would have been present to describe such personal interactions. Cersei's internal monologue prior to her being consumed by the prophecy, paranoia, and alcoholism (something which disgusted her about Robert) does not exist in the books, as she does not get her own POV chapters until the fourth novel, after the deaths of Joffrey and Tywin and her growing dependency on alcohol.
  • Littlefinger's brothel remains abandoned, after being trashed by the Faith Militant, who also painted angry graffiti on the walls. Olenna Tyrell and Littlefinger secretly meet in the the abandoned brothel. Diana Rigg (Olenna) remarked in an earlier interview on what she thought was a hilarious detail which might not be immediately noticeable to viewers: because it is a brothel, there are dildos and sex toys strewn all over the floor - the dildos are made of clay and the idea is that they were smashed when the Faith Militant trashed the brothel, so when Rigg was filming the scene there were bits of smashed clay dildos strewn all over the floor. Rigg joked that it would have made a great photo for her next birthday card.[6]
  • Olenna has reverted to her Season 3 and 4 costume of teals, pale greens, and dull golds, after wearing House Tyrell's bolder "true colors" in the previous episode. It's likely she does this because she ostensibly goes to negotiate with the High Sparrow, instead of being overtly intimidating. A more mundane possibility is that Olenna might have rushed from Highgarden and is making do with whatever Tyrell wardrobe was on hand in the Red Keep.
  • This is the first time since Season 2 that Game of Thrones has aired during Memorial Day Weekend. As in seasons 1 and 2, there was an associated decline in ratings.

In the booksEdit

See: Differences between books and TV series - Season 5#The_Gift
  • The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Feast for Crows:
    • Chapter 15, Samwell II: In his illness, Maester Aemon hallucinates he is young again and, confusing Sam for his brother Aegon, he tells him: “Egg, I dreamed that I was old.”
    • Chapter 35, Samwell IV: Aemon dies of old age and Sam eulogizes him as a great man, a maester of the Citadel, chained and sworn, and sworn brother of the Night’s Watch, ever faithful. Sam exalts that no man was wiser, gentler, or kinder, and that he had counseled a dozen Lord Commanders. Finally, Sam recites: "He was the blood of the dragon, but now his fire has gone out. He was Aemon Targaryen. And now his watch is ended." Afterwards, Sam and Gilly have sex for the first time.
    • Chapter 40, The Princess in the Tower: The Sand Snakes remain imprisoned at Doran’s orders.
    • Chapter 41, Alayne III: Sansa is told her brother Jon is the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
    • Chapter 43, Cersei X: Cersei goes to the Great Sept to gloat at Margaery, who she finds barefoot and shivering in a dark little cell. Cersei feigns sympathy and support, yet Margaery abandons all pretenses, confronts Cersei about her part in this and screams at her to get out, calling her a "vile, scheming, evil bitch." Cersei claims she will forgive those words, as Margaery is understandably upset, and walks out. Then, Cersei talks to the High Sparrow, who asks her if she spoke to Margaery, and says the Queen will be tried by the Faith, with seven judges. However, he also reveals a witness against Cersei for the crimes of murder and fornication. She tries to run away but is apprehended by a group of septas, who don't pay heed to her commands, her screams of "I am the queen!" or to her threats, and imprison her instead. Cersei threatens Septa Unella, telling her she will have her killed.
  • The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Dance with Dragons:
    • Chapter 23, Daenerys IV: Daenerys expects Hizdahr zo Loraq to put a stop to the Sons of the Harpy’s attacks as a condition of their betrothal. In bed after sex, Daario says she should have all the Great Masters of dubious loyalty executed, which horrifies Dany.
    • Chapter 30, Daenerys V: Just as expected, the Harpy attacks stop after Dany's betrothal to Hizdahr.
    • Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell: Ramsay's bride begs Reek to help her escape. He refuses.
    • Chapter 38, The Watcher: Prince Doran hosts Cersei’s Kingsguard, who is concerned about Myrcella’s well-being after her assassination attempt. He asks to see her and Doran concedes.
    • Chapter 39, Jon VIII: A wildling envoy is sent North to offer the Free Folk shelter South of the Wall.
    • Chapter 41, The Turncloak: Winter has hit Winterfell. A Bolton muses that, while Stannis is at the mercy of the weather, they are sheltered in the castle. Ramsay keeps his wife locked away in her room, and Theon has seen the bruises on her body. He warns her that Ramsay only hurts people when they make him angry, so she should do as he says.
    • Chapter 42, The King’s Prize: A snowstorm stalls Stannis’ army in its way to Winterfell. The king is advised to perform sacrifices to appease the Lord of Light, and also to make camp until the weather improves instead of marching forward, but he ignores them all.
    • Chapter 43, Daenerys VII: In bed together, Daario expresses his unhappiness at Dany’s betrothal to Hizdahr, and asks Dany to marry him instead. Knowing she can't follow her heart, she denies him.
    • Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell: Reek is let in a plot to rescue Ramsay’s wife, but he is afraid of what Ramsay may do to him and refuses to help.
    • Chapter 47, Tyrion X: Tyrion and Jorah arrive to a slave auction just outside Meereen, where they are sold to a slaver named Yezzan. Then, Tyrion is told that they are to perform at Daznak's Pit.
    • Chapter 49, Jon X: Jon sends Night’s Watch men in ships to Hardhome in order to bring the wildlings south of the Wall, so that they are safe from the White Walkers and don’t become wights.
    • Chapter 57, Tyrion XI: In a Meereenese fighting pit, Tyrion sees Daenerys for the first time.
    • Chapter 69, Jon XIII: Jon plans his rescue mission to Hardhome with Tormund.
  • The sixth novel, The Winds of Winter, remains unpublished, so there are some events brought forward from it that may occur in the story, yet the specific chapters are unknown. This may include Sansa's wedding and her return to Winterfell, both of which are also part of Littlefinger's plan in the books but have not happened yet. The meeting of Tyrion and Daenerys has been confirmed to take place in the sixth book.

Memorable QuotesEdit

Ramsay Bolton: "You should hold on to your candles. The nights are so long now."


Samwell Tarly: "His name was Aemon Targaryen. He came to us from King's Landing. A Maester of the Citadel, chained and sworn, and sworn Brother of the Night's Watch, ever faithful. No man was wiser, or gentler or kinder. At the Wall, a dozen Lord Commanders came and went during his years of service but he was always there to counsel them. He was the blood of the Dragon... but now his fire has gone out. And now his Watch is ended."
Bronn: [Singing] "Brothers, oh Brothers, my days here are done, the Dornishman's taken my life, but what does it matter, for all men must die, and I've tasted the Dornishman's wife, I have, I've tasted the Dornishman's wife!"
Tyrion Lannister: "I am the gift."
Margaery Tyrell: "Lies come easily to you. Everyone knows that, but innocence, decency, concern, you're not very good at those, I'm afraid. Perhaps that's why your son was so eager to cast you aside for me."
Margaery Tyrell: "Get out, you hateful bitch!"
High Sparrow: "Strip away the gold and the ornaments, knock down the statues and the pillars, and this is what remains. Something simple, solid, and true. The Tyrells' finery will be stripped away. Their lies knocked down, their true hearts laid bare for all to see. And so it will be for all of us, high and low alike. What will we find when we strip away your finery? A young man came to us not long ago, broken in body and spirit. He had so much to strip away, so much weighing him down. But piece by piece he unburdened himself. Let go of pride, vanity, sin. Now his soul is so light, he will float through the Seven Heavens like a bird. And he has much to say about you."

[Lancel Lannister, Cersei's cousin and former lover, steps into the room in the uniform of the Faith Militant. Cersei starts to exit, but the door opens and she is blocked by a tall Septa.]
Cersei Lannister: "Move. Let me go, immediately. You will order her to let me go! I am the Queen! I am the Queen, have you lost your mind?! Let me go!


Cersei Lannister: "Look at my face. It's the last thing you'll see before you die."

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ReferencesEdit

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