The Gift (Game of Thrones)

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"The Gift"
Game of Thrones episode
Game-of-Thrones-S05 E07 Tyene Sand.jpg
Tyene Sand talking to Bronn in the prison cells of Dorne.
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 7
Directed byMiguel Sapochnik
Written byDavid Benioff
D. B. Weiss
Featured musicRamin Djawadi
Cinematography byFabian Wagner
Editing byCrispin Green
Original air dateMay 24, 2015 (2015-05-24)
Running time59 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"
Next →
"Hardhome"
Game of Thrones (season 5)
List of Game of Thrones episodes

"The Gift" is the seventh episode of the fifth season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 47th overall. The episode was written by the series' creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by Miguel Sapochnik, his directorial debut for the series.

This episode marks the final appearance for Peter Vaughan (Maester Aemon).

Plot[edit]

At the Wall[edit]

Jon leaves for Hardhome with Tormund and some rangers, in spite of Ser Alliser's complaints. Before they leave, Sam gives Jon a bag of dragonglass weapons, reminding him of their use against the White Walkers. Afterward, Sam and Gilly visit Maester Aemon, who has fallen ill. After sitting with him until nightfall, Aemon dies, and in the morning Sam eulogizes him before lighting his funeral pyre. Afterward, Gilly is attacked in the dining hall by two brothers. Sam attempts to intervene and is badly beaten before Jon's wolf, Ghost, scares off the brothers. Gilly tends to Sam and the two have sex.

At Winterfell[edit]

Reek brings food to Sansa, who has been imprisoned in her bedchamber by Ramsay. She begs for him to help, asking him to light a candle at the top of the broken tower, the aim of which is to send a signal to Stark sympathizers to rescue her. Instead, Reek tells Ramsay, who reacts by flaying and killing the old lady from whom Sansa learned the signal. As Ramsay is talking to Sansa, however, she discreetly steals a corkscrew from the top of a barrel. Meanwhile, Brienne and Podrick wait out in the snow for the signal to no avail.

In the North[edit]

Stannis's troops have made a camp and are trapped by the snow-storm. Davos Seaworth meets with Stannis and tells him that supplies, as well as horses, have been lost to the winter. The Stormcrows, a group of 500 sellswords, have abandoned the camp during the night. Davos suggests returning to Castle Black, but Stannis replies that doing so could delay them for years, since winters in Westeros can last for years at a time. After Davos leaves, Stannis asks Melisandre if she is sure of his victory. Melisandre assures him that she saw a vision of Stannis winning, but she asks for permission to sacrifice his daughter Shireen to the Red God. Stannis is disgusted and refuses, and dismisses Melisandre.

In Meereen[edit]

Jorah is sold by the slave traders to a Meereenese man, Yezzan zo Qaggaz, who is looking for fighters for the upcoming games at Meereen. Before Yezzan leaves, Tyrion convinces Yezzan to purchase him as well, by showing fighting prowess by attacking with a chain a slave herder who had been whipping Tyrion during their march to the slave auction site.

Daenerys and Daario discuss her pending marriage to Hizdahr zo Loraq. Daario advises her to kill all of Meereen's nobles when the fighting pits get re-opened, but she declines.

Yezzan takes his fighters to Meereen, where they fight in front of Daenerys. When Jorah realizes that Daenerys is present, he enters the pits and easily defeats the other fighters before revealing his identity to Daenerys, who orders he be taken out of her sight. Jorah tells her he brought her a gift, and Tyrion enters the arena, where he reveals his identity to a stunned Daenerys.

In Dorne[edit]

Myrcella is brought to speak with Jaime, and asks why he came to take her back to King's Landing, when what she wants is to stay and marry Trystane. In the cells, Bronn is taunted by Tyene Sand exposing her breasts to him, before learning that her daggers, with which he'd been cut in the previous episode, had been coated with a slow-acting poison that would activate when his heart rate increased. He slowly succumbs to the poison, but Tyene gives him the antidote after he gives in to her request that he call her the most beautiful woman in the world.

In King's Landing[edit]

In the Sept of Baelor, Olenna meets with the High Sparrow to discuss the imprisonment of her grandchildren, Loras and Margaery. She demands that he release them, but he declines, stating they will be punished for their crimes. The High Sparrow tells her that the laws of the Faith must be applied to everyone equally. Olenna first tries to bribe him but upon seeing that he cannot be bought, threatens to end the Tyrell support for the capital by stopping shipments of food. The High Sparrow, however, remains unfazed. He counters that she and the rest of the nobility are outnumbered by the smallfolk, and tells her to consider what will come when the smallfolk stop fearing the nobility. On her way out, Olenna receives a letter from Petyr Baelish. In the Red Keep, Tommen anguishes over his inability to help Margaery. Cersei offers to speak with the High Sparrow for him, and advocate for Margaery and Loras's release.

Petyr meets with Olenna in his ransacked brothel, where they share a tense conversation. Olenna reminds Petyr of the role they both played in Joffrey's murder, and warns that, should her house fall, she won't keep his involvement a secret. In the Sept, Cersei meets with Margaery and brings her food, but Margaery refuses and angrily orders her mother-in-law to leave, knowing full well that she was responsible for imprisoning both her and Loras. Cersei then meets with the High Sparrow, and after a brief discussion on Margaery and Loras, he reveals that her cousin Lancel has informed against her of their illicit relationship as well as the part they played in the death of her husband Robert Baratheon. Cersei tries to leave but is stopped by a tall septa, who proceeds to take the protesting Queen Mother to another cell. Before she is locked up, Cersei tells the septa to look at her face and warns it will be the last thing she sees before she dies. The septa silently ignores Cersei and locks her in the cell.

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

The episode was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

This episode was written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, the series' creators. It contains content from George R. R. Martin's novels A Feast for Crows, chapters Samwell II, Samwell IV, and Cersei X and A Dance with Dragons, chapters The King’s Prize, Tyrion X, and Daenerys IV.[1]

Like other episodes in season 5, this episode differed considerably from Martin's novels in places. Aemon's death takes place at Castle Black rather than at sea, which Myles McNutt of A.V. Club notes, "establish[es] a shifting of the guard at Castle Black and marking Sam’s reemergence as a more significant character."[2] In what Sara Stewart of the New York Post calls "the biggest departure yet from the books," Tyrion actually meets Daenerys at the end of the episode, which has yet to happen as of A Dance with Dragons.[3] The decision was largely approved by critics from The Atlantic and other publications.[4] David Benioff cited the television adaptation's faster pace as part of the rationale behind this decision.[5]

Filming[edit]

Miguel Sapochnik served as director for the episode, his first episode for the series.

"The Gift" was directed by Miguel Sapochnik. It was his first time being a director for Game of Thrones; he also directed the subsequent episode, "Hardhome".[6]

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

"The Gift" was watched by 5.5 million and a 2.5 in the key 18–49 demographic during the its first airing.[7] This is significantly fewer viewers than the previous episode, "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", which had an audience of 6.2 million. According to Business Insider, likely causes for the lower ratings include backlash from the rape scene in "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", in response to which many fans announced they would stop watching the show, and increased use of streaming through HBO Now.[8] Rebecca Martin of Wetpaint, however, maintains that the Memorial Day weekend air date was probably the only reason for the decrease in ratings.[9] The season two episode "Blackwater", which also aired on Memorial Day weekend, also suffered a notable drop in ratings.[10] Whatever the reason, the ratings for the episode immediately after "The Gift", "Hardhome", were higher than those of either "The Gift" or "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken".[11] With Live+7 DVR viewing factored in, the episode had an overall rating of 8.87 million viewers, and a 4.5 in the 18–49 demographic.[12]

In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 2.293 million viewers, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week. It also received 0.176 million timeshift viewers.[13]

Critical reviews[edit]

The episode received very positive reviews. It scored 91% on Rotten Tomatoes from 32 reviews with a rating average of 7.9 out of 10 and the consensus reading: "'The Gift' is a jam-packed installment that delivers long-awaited plot turns in a satisfying manner, even though it continues a disturbing theme from the previous episode."[14] Erik Kain of Forbes called this a "terrific, exciting, tense episode," though, like Myles McNutt of The A.V. Club, he questioned both the "anemic" Dorne storyline and the gratuitousness of Tyene exposing her breasts in the prison scene.[2][15]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2015 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Tyrell Nominated [16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Garcia, Elio; Antonsson, Linda (May 24, 2015). "EP507: THE GIFT". Westeros.org. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  2. ^ a b McNutt, Myles (May 24, 2015). "Game of Thrones (experts): "The Gift"". A.V. Club. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  3. ^ Stwart, Sara (May 25, 2015). "'The Gift' lives up to its name on 'Game of Thrones'". New York Post. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer; Orr, Christopher; Sullivan, Amy (May 24, 2015). "Game of Thrones: The Meeting Viewers Have Been Waiting For". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  5. ^ Hibberd, James (May 24, 2015). "Game of Thrones: Why those two iconic characters just met". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  6. ^ Hibberd, James (July 15, 2014). "'Game of Thrones' season 5 directors chosen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  7. ^ Bibel, Sara (May 27, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: NBA Conference Finals Win Night, 'Game of Thrones', 'Silicon Valley', 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians', 'Veep' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  8. ^ "'Game of Thrones' ratings are falling: Here are two possible reasons why". Business Insider. May 28, 2015. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  9. ^ Martin, Rebecca (May 28, 2015). "Game of Thrones Ratings Drop — Is It Because of Sansa Rape?". Wetpaint. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  10. ^ Hibberd, James (May 30, 2012). "'Game of Thrones' ratings dip for 'Blackwater'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  11. ^ Bibel, Sara (June 2, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Game of Thrones' Tops Night + 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians', 'Silicon Valley', 'Naked and Afraid' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  12. ^ Bibel, Sara (June 8, 2015). "'Game of Thrones' Leads Adults 18-49 & Viewership Gains, 'Orphan Black' Tops Percentage Increases in Live +7 Cable Ratings for Week Ending May 24". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  13. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (25-31 May 2015)". BARB. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  14. ^ "The Gift - Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 7". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  15. ^ Kain, Erik (May 24, 2015). "'Game Of Thrones' Season 5, Episode 7 Review: 'The Gift'". Forbes. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  16. ^ "Game of Thrones". Emmys.com. Retrieved September 7, 2017.

External links[edit]