The Only Game of Thrones Episode Reviews from a Business Perspective.
The cold opening threw many for a loop, but the payoff was the resurrection of Sandor Clegane, the Hound, incongruously embedded in a peace cult – chopping wood instead of limbs. Alas, the craggy Brother Ray (Ian McShane), if he survived, could have put the red priestesses, Sparrows and other religious fanatics in their place.
We learned: The Hound has enough humility to confess (he didn’t need to) that he was beaten by a woman – something that should never be an issue admitting in the modern world. And we learned from the eventual massacre of Brother Ray and his followers – sometimes, looking at the big picture and engaging in realpolitik may be necessary to grow a movement or a business. One cannot thrive unless one survives a cut-throat, competitive environment first.
The 10-year old Lyanna Mormont stole the show, effortlessly taking command of the room, and putting both the Christ-like resurrected Jon Snow and the newly-confident Sansa Stark (nee Bolton, she claims) in their place. They were asking for soldiers to (eventually) fight the Night King’s White Walkers. With precise questions, that placed the interests of her people first, she went about getting counsel from her advisers (who were at least five times older than her) as needed. Finally, it was Ser Davos Seaworth who was able to connect with her, and helped her see the importance of this quest, although all that riveting theater was for a mere 62 soldiers!
We learned: We should not judge people based on age or appearance, and we do so at our peril. Tyrion and Varys, a dwarf and a eunuch, are the strategic minds we look up to. Here, the young Lady Mormont, judiciously seeks (and waves away) advice, is decisive, and fair – does not let ego get in the way of making a good decision. In a professional world where fresh-faced executives can find themselves with older professionals reporting to them, balancing respect and professionalism (in both directions) is important.
We all knew the old woman approaching Arya was the Waif as a Faceless assassin (Arya didn’t hear our collective “watch out!”). We had worried for her as she merrily strutted around the market, throwing around money, not seeming to worry about rebelling against the unforgiving cult of the Faceless Men. But we were not prepared to see our favorite daughter stabbed repeatedly. Now she has to find her friend in that acting troupe and get patched up…and get out of Braavos, preferably after some vengeance on the Waif.
We learned: Be careful when strange old women approach you. Just kidding – be nice to strange old women. But in business strategy or office politics when an unfavorable reaction can be predicted, it’s foolhardy not to game out what the other side may do, and take preventive measures. Like having your Needle at the ready, and staying in the shadows. Keeping a low profile. But she showed presence of mind in rolling off the bridge and into the water. Perfect first move in crisis management.
We saw Blackfish Tully dealing with his nephew’s captors outside Riverrun and calling their bluff. And then get the better of the exchange when he faced off with Jaime Lannister, who had assumed command of the siege. It’s not often that someone verbally out-duels the one-armed Jaime, now that real duels are not his forte.
We learned: Don’t make promises you can’t keep, because you lose reputation and credibility. Fast. Even if you’re not wearing silly hats like the Frey boys (of Red Wedding infamy).
She’s back in her royal clothes, having avoided the walk of atonement like Cersei’s, and keeps her poise through the High Sparrow’s creepy pushiness to make an heir with the boy-king Tommen. The High Sparrow’s Machiavellian tendencies are on clearer display even though he occasionally tricks us with Bernie Sanders-styled hair and egalitarian principles. Worried her grandmother Olenna Tyrell may come into the Sparrows’ cross-hairs, she makes a supervised visit to the Queen of Thorns, and does a convincing impersonation of a convert – enough to upset Olenna. But then gets close enough to her to pass a sign that reveals her true allegiance – and a warning.
We learned: Sometimes you just have to fake it till you make it. The men (and especially the women) of Westeros have to navigate their office politics well – or they die. Their stakes are a tad higher than for us.
Yara and Theon
On their voyage to make a deal with the Mother of Dragons, they stop by a brothel. Conveniently, Yara, like the men under her command, also likes women. She initially mocks her brother’s mutilation, but then shows her broken brother tough love in saying she wants Theon back, and to leave ‘Reek’ behind – helpfully suggesting he slits his wrists if he can’t come back. It seems to work, assisted by some forced chugging of alcohol. Now will Theon meet Ramsay Bolton again and take his time with his vengeance? We can only hope…
We learned: What do you do to encourage colleagues and shore up their confidence? We wouldn’t recommend a trip to a house of disrepute or prodigious amounts of liquor. Here’s an alternative.
She is seen writing a letter to be delivered by crow (more memorable than getting an email), after not getting much confidence by the allies she and Jon have gathered. This is almost certainly an appeal to Littlefinger, whom she upbraided in spectacular style in an earlier episode. The Knights of the Vale are a-coming.
We learned: Sometimes, you get past your personal feelings and ask for help when there is a larger objective to be served. However, there may be consequences to her not being honest with Jon. They may see each other as half-siblings and family, but as a leadership duo that isn’t on the same page, it may spell trouble.
With three episodes left (the season finale will be super-sized), get ready for some non-stop action – and subscribe to our newsletter’s entertainment articles to not miss a review!
Bonus feature: Did you know that a Bond girl and 3 Bond villains are GoT characters?
Jonathan Pryce (High Sparrow) was Bond villain Elliot Carver, a psychopathic media mogul in “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997).
Sean Bean (Eddard “Ned” Stark) was Bond villain Alex Trevelyan in “Goldeneye” (1995).
Julian Glover (Grand Maester Pycelle) was Bond villain Aristotle Kristatos in “For Your Eyes Only” (1981).
Diana Rigg (Olenna Tyrell) was Bond girl (and wife) Tracy Bond in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969). This was George Lazenby’s only movie playing James Bond.