Well, let's tackle the 800lb elephant in the room at the outset --
Nope. That was not Emilia Clarke naked.
A season or two ago, the actress, whom no one could pick out of a line-up prior to being cast in the role of Daenerys Targaryan in this series, decided she wasn't going to appear in the altogether anymore. Now if you've stumbled across any of my posts in the past about this little pet peeve of mine, you may know that I don't care if actresses don't want to do nude scenes or roles that require nudity, that's their choice and I respect that decision. What rankles me is when an actress pursues and wins a role that demands some nudity and then refuses to do any and expects writers and directors to rewrite and set up scenes to accommodate their modesty.
Anyway, after this proclamation from Clarke, I was curious what was going to happen when she emerged from the burning building. Body doubles? Lots of crazy camera angles and obstructions? Nope. They did the same thing that was done last year with Cersei's walk of atonement as she leaves the Great Sept in Kings Landing -- CGI.
The church that doubles as the Great Sept of Baelor (I think it's in Romania or some such) wouldn't allow a naked woman inside. Nor would the city that serves as the streets for Kings Landing. So they CGI'd a naked body onto Lena Headey for the walk. It was pretty well done too. When I created the montage below, I added a bit of contrast to the images to overcome the washout from the yellow flames. I also added a bit of sharpening to clean up the image. The result:
It's pretty obvious when you see these images -- the stark contrast between the definition on her facial features and the blur of her body, that there's some computer magic going on here. I can see a future in the movies for this tech -- actresses who eschew nudity suddenly appearing with a cgi rockin' naked body when the need arises. I'm looking right at you Jennifer Aniston.
But as to the show -- the situation that got Daenerys into the fire was well handled as she had to meet with the Khals of the Dothraki to learn her fate -- lifetime with the Dosh Kaleen as an advisor or sex slave to the animalistic Khals. I was expecting the dragon to come down and save her, but her decision to burn the building down around her should have been obvious. She'd been through that before when they had tried to burn her with Drogo. That's what kickstarted her legend in the first place. So, well done by the writers there. The question now is whether the Dothraki will accept a female leader and if so, do they follow her to Meereen to solidify her reign?
In Meereen, still the weakest link in the storytelling so far, Tyrion works out a truce with the leaders of the other cities of Slavers Bay to stop funding the Sons of the Harpies and end the insurrection with the understanding that Daenerys will help them transition away from slavery within 7 years. Grey Worm and Missandei aren't too keen on the 7 year bit and again, showing the weakness of the writing, Tyrion doesn't do much to explain his reasoning to them.
Cersei works out a deal with Lady Olenna Tyrell (the unrecognizable Diana Rigg) to spare Margaery from the same walk of atonement Cersei endured months earlier. Interesting question here is whether this is a trap for the Tyrells whom Cersei hates. They come in and kill the High Sparrow and the Lanister army wipes out the Tyrells in the name of The Seven, Margaery dies in the fray allowing Cersei to select Tommen's wife, etc. Seems probable to me. We'll see.
Sansa arrived at Castle Black and reunited with Jon Snow. That was pretty well done. The two have changed a lot since their early lives. Sansa is harder now and determined to fight and regain their home -- Winterfell. Snow has lost any desire to stand for anything anymore. As he says repeatedly -- he did what he thought was right and was murdered for it. He feels as if he's failed at everything and has basically lost his faith in himself. A letter from Ramsey Bolton helps force his hand as Ramsey admits he has Rickon, their younger brother, and dares Snow to come get him. Snow doesn't have the army to take what he believes are 5000 Bolton soldiers at Winterfell.
Help may come in the form of Petyr Baelish who rules House Arryan and the Eyrie by proxy as he easily manipulates the simple-minded boy-child Robert who is the true successor to the throne. Baelish decides to send the army of the Eyrie to Castle Black to help Sansa who he knows is there. It's possible this may work as supposedly the warriors of the Eyrie are the best in the seven kindoms. Of course, they say that about every fighting force in the novels, so the praise is sort of hollow. You know?
The writing and situations in this episode were clearly the best of the season save the continuing disappointment of Meereen. Next week (this Sunday since I'm so late with this) promises an angry meeting between Snow and Baelish and some problem with Bran and his reverie that may include the White Walkers.
All in all, a good episode. I'm happy.
Here's a few images of Emilia Clarke from her pre-ain't gonna do it time on the show: