‘Game of Thrones’ Recap: Trial by Fire

The ability to deceive and manipulate means nothing when enemies are wielding dragons.

Emilia Clarke is Danerys Targaryen in HBO's "Game of Thrones."

Emilia Clarke is Danerys Targaryen in HBO's "Game of Thrones."

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Clegane becomes very vocal about the brotherhood, calling the members deserters of prominent houses. Dondarrion counters The Hound's argument by saying the brotherhood is a group of born-again vigilantes, ready to fight for those who are powerless to fight for themselves.

The brotherhood then goes onto to claim Clegane killed a number of innocent people over the years, including children. Clegane denies all of it, saying he was carrying out sworn duties and never used a sword upon any child.

Arya then recalls a scene from Season 1, where Clegane killed Mycah after it was thought he drew a sword upon Joffrey and Sansa. Arya confesses that she drew her sword, which Clegane denies. With Arya's word against Clegane's, Dondarrion decides the only option is a trial by combat, where The Hound and Dondarrion will fight to the death.

Three themes that run through the entire episode - deception, justice and chaos - culminate in the final scene. In Astapor, Danerys Targaryen is ready to part with one of her dragons in exchange for her legion of unsullied soldiers. Even as the transaction is finalized, Kraznys continues to belittle Danerys in his own language, dismissing her with a wave and taking possession of her dragon. He would immediately regret his dismissal.

Danerys reveals that she has understood Kraznys (who has been speaking in Valyrian, Danerys's native tongue) the entire time. She then commands her slave army to take the lives of any and all masters and unleashes her dragon upon Kraznys, sending Astapor into myriad scenes of mayhem.

After asserting her might, she gives her army a choice: Go forth with their freedom or join her quest for the Iron Throne. The unsullied bang their spears against the ground in unison, standing in solidarity with their new queen.

In Season 1, Varys warned the Magister of Pentos that war between the Starks and the Lannisters was imminent. When the magister said he needed time to prepare, Varys repiled, "Delay, you say? Move fast, I reply. This is no longer a game of two players."

The all-knowing eunuch was correct, as a number of houses have attempted to seize power. However, all the strategy needed to take the Iron Throne may be for naught, as Danerys Targaryen is ready to make sure there is only one player left standing when the game ends.

Other observations:

– A commenter said last week I am misguided in my pity for Theon Greyjoy. (I haven't read the books, so I don't know what's coming.) However, for some reason, I cannot help but feel sorry him when he says, "I made a choice and I chose wrong." His father despises him, the Starks want him dead and he's back in the torture chamber. His life is pretty terrible, so I can't be that misguided.

– I thought the scene where we learn Varys's backstory was particularly powerful in that it was ruthless without being gratuitous.

– In the coming weeks, these recaps will be published later, as this was the last episode was that HBO let the media screen. Look for future recaps around noon on Monday for the remainder of the season.

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