In Westeros, faith holds many forms. For some, it is purely a religious matter. For others, their faith is rooted in love. And some even put their faith in the belief that there is nothing to believe in at all. With so much uncertainty surrounding the seven kingdoms, it is these different forms of faith that are keeping Westeros from falling into a permanent state of chaos.
Faith through love is on full display as Jon Snow and the Wildlings prepare to climb The Wall. Despite the peril at their doorstep, Ygritte takes time to playfully rib Snow about their recent roll in the hay. She then goes on to confess not only deeper feelings for Snow, but a deeper understanding: She knows Snow still remains loyal to the Night's Watch.
Entrenched in the belief that they are pawns in a game not worth playing, Ygritte vows to be loyal only to Snow, asking for his loyalty in return. Snow pledges to faithfully stand by her side, but not before Ygritte drops the devout lover act and threatens to wear Snow's genitals as a necktie if he betrays her.
A meeting of the religious minds comes to in the Riverlands, as Melisandre meets up with the Brotherhood Without Banners. She is astounded by the amount of times Thoros of Myr has brought Baric Donadarrion back from the dead, wondering where Thoros picked up the power of resurrection.
He proceeds to tell Melisandre that at one point, he had lost faith in the Lord of Light, believing the prayers were nothing more than fairy tales. But a prayer that brought Donadarrion back to life after being stabbed in the heart also resurrected his belief that the Lord of Light is the "one true God," and "all men must serve Him."
In that quest to serve, the Brotherhood gives Gendry to Melisandre in exchange for a few sacks of gold. After Gendry challenges their action and proclaims his desire to fight for the Brotherhood, Melisandre tells him his potential far outweighs anything he could accomplish by the Brotherhood's side.
In Riverrun, Robb Stark is trying for resurrection in a figurative sense, making up for past transgressions with House Frey so he can save his army. In order to wipe the slate clean, the Freys demand control of Harrenhal and a suitor for one of Frey's daughters – only this time around, the Freys have selected Stark's right-hand man, Edmure Tully, as the suitor.
Tully strenuously objects to this, but after a mix of threats ("The laws of my fists are about to compel your teeth"), ultimatums and obligations, Tully agrees to the arrangement, putting his faith in Stark's plans.
Second chances aren't solely property of House Stark, as Jaime Lannister is granted a golden opportunity by his newfound captors. Despite his allegiance to Stark, Roose Bolton grants Jaime extradition to King's Landing, a free pass after Bolton's sellswords lopped off his hand.
In return, he expects no blowback from Tywin Lannister over Jaime's wounds. However, Lannister will have to make this trip sans Brienne, who will stay under the watch of House Bolton, and tried for treason on the grounds of letting Jaime loose in the first place.
In King's Landing, Westeros's favorite matriarch, Lady Olenna, is at odds with another member of the Lannister clan: bickering with Tywin Lannister over the wedding arrangements he recently laid forth. In one of the best scenes of the season, the two poetically hurl insults and innuendo at one another about each other's children and their sexual proclivities.
Realizing that family legacies are on the line, Tywin decides if Olenna does not want Lorys to marry Cersei, he will make him a member of the King's Guard, thus rendering him unable to marry. The move would leave the Tyrell stronghold of Highgarden to King Joffrey after he marries Margarey, leaving Highgarden in Lannister hands, which would eventually cripple the Tyrell name. Olenna relents, bowing to the pressure from The Lion of Lannister, leaving Tywin's plan in place.
Not far off, Tyrion and Cersei are bemoaning their roles in their father's arrangement, but not before Tyrion pries out of Cersei that she and Joffrey were responsible for Tyrion's brush with death at the Battle of Blackwater Bay. Despite this grand revelation, Tyrion bares a level of apathy, given the way his father has marginalized his role within the family power dynamic since taking over as Hand of the King.
While Cersei is sullen over her role, she openly hopes Jaime returns to rescue her from her commitment. Tyrion, on the other hand, is much more despondent: "I'm truly f-cked." It doesn't help that he informs Sansa of the new wedding plans in front of secret lover Shae.
It is in the Great Hall where we see how the absence of faith is responsible for Westeros's downward spiral. Varys and Littlefinger have a confrontation about disrupting each other's secret operations. While Varys claims that he was operating for the good of the realm, Littlefinger calls the entire idea of the Seven Kingdoms a lie.
And when faith in that lie erodes, chaos is the true ruler of people, Littlefinger notes. Faith in country, love, or god is a worthless illusion that can be manipulated by those looking to sit at the pinnacle of power, he says.
"Chaos is not a pit, but a ladder," Littlefinger hisses. "The climb is all there is."
That brings us back to the Wall. After nearly plummeting to their deaths when a large chunk of The Wall broke, we find that Jon Snow and the Widlings have completed the Herculean task of scaling the 700-foot-high monstrosity. Ygritte, who was rescued by Snow mid-catastrophe, is in awe of the panoramic views the top of the Wall presents. Overcome with emotion, Snow and Ygritte embrace, solidifying their faith in each other.
Does Littlefinger's "ladder" speech really ring true in Westeros? Is faith really an illusion if it can bond the love of prior enemies, give second life and allow for second chances? Could faith in the realm be the saving grace for the Seven Kingdoms?
- Joffrey Baratheon and Theon's torturer are really racing toward that "most sadistic" title.
- Melisandre says Arya will "shut the eyes" of people with "brown, blue and green" eyes – just something to make a note of.
- The song Tarly sang at the beginning is called "Songs of the Seven." Here are the lyrics.