I’ve been away for a couple of weeks, so I didn’t have the great pleasure of covering the past 2 episodes in detail (which would have been fun, but we can only move forward).
Here’s a mini-cap before I head straight into this week’s ep. Since The Old Gods and the New, Game of Thrones continues to punch us in the face with these developments.
SKIP THE BULLETS FOR A MAN WITHOUT HONOR
- Renly is dead, Brienne and Catelyn Stark have fled the Stormlands, pledging honorable allegiance to each other; Margaery wants to be queen, Ser Loras is sad
- Tyrion has Lancel under his thumb, sends Myrcella away to Dorne, learns that Cersei has been hiding thousands of pots of lethal wildfire under King’s Landing, saves Tommen during a riot of crazy poor people, slaps Joffrey again, continues to be brilliantly clever
- Stannis gives Davos charge of his fleet to bring down King’s Landing, while being fully aware that Davos is a loyal man who’s truly concerned for him
- Theon, stupid weasel, betrays the Starks who raised him just to prove he’s a true ironborn Greyjoy, beheading always-BAMF mutton chop king Rodrik Cassel during the takeover of Winterfell where Bran yields, who then escapes with Rickon, Hodor, and their direwolves Summer and Shaggydog thanks to naked Osha
- Arya regularly eavesdrops on Tywin’s conversations as a cupbearer, nearly blowing her cover several times; has a personal hitman in Jaquen H’gar whom she rescued previously and repays her with a triple opportunity for revenge, two of which she’s used on village torturer The Tickler and Yoren-killer Ser Armory Lorch
- Petyr Baelish hatches a plan regarding the Stark girls with Tywin Lannister
- The Black Brothers hold camp at the Fist of the First Men, Jon meets legendary Qhorin Halfhand, travelling with him to the Frostfangs and eventually getting lost after he fails to behead Ygritte, a redheaded wildling with potential for sexy times
- Sansa is still emo, nearly getting raped during the riots but saved by The Hound, wants to be besties with Shae her handmaiden
- Dany is in Qarth being courted by Xaro who promises her riches and refreshingly takes a dump on all her dreams and aspirations; has her dragons kidnapped and part of her khalasar massacred in her quarters
- Robb gets distracted again by Talisa, a self-proclaimed liar who’s really a noble nurse from Volantis if she should be believed
After today, there are 3 episodes left. Can you feel the buildup? The final act is on the horizon. There’s Lannisters and psychological warfare aplenty. Here’s the recap for A Man Without Honor.
Theon awakes to find his key hostages missing. As if the weasel needs more ways to appear even more of a weasel – he beats down one of his Sea Bitch crewmen for pointing out the big fat truth that he’s just as responsible for letting them escape as everyone else is.
Hodor, Osha, Bran and Rickon are on the run, contemplating if they should stop by a nearby farm. Are they going to stay and risk lives, or keep running?
On horseback, Theon takes his Ironborn posse and hunts the escapees with dogs and chides poor old maester Luwin for wanting to protect the Stark kids, eventually sending him home after finding clues of their whereabouts. I have no idea what magical walnut husks or shells they picked up, but those must definitely point to two little boys, a halfwit giant and a wildling woman!
Awhile later, Theon dangles two little fried corpses (or are they tarred?) from the walls for a taste of what a Winterfell rebellion would look like. I can hear everyone ripping off their sleeves in pure frustration how much of a dweeb this guy is. His icky daddy issues, crazy bang-anyone libido and repulsive need to prove himself that he’s worth a damn are all things that make me want to snort saltwater up my nose with a straw. No wonder Balon and Asha laugh at his wannabe macho persona. Here’s to Alfie Allen for being the second most magnificently hateable and most pity-able douchebag in all the Realm.
Poor maester Luwin. His sad face makes me sad.
Beyond the Wall, on the Frostfangs:
Ygritte finds out that Jon is still a maid after his morning wood says hello, and Jon has to endure her curious horny talk about how men spend their time on the Wall without women to keep their beds warm. It turns into an argument about territory, and dissolves into cheap seduction as their journey prolongs. Jon’s weakness is apparently slutty talk, which becomes his downfall when Ygritte tricks him and he finds himself surrounded by more wildlings pointing their weapons at him.
If not for how cheesy all the obvious one-sided flirt bombs were dropped, I would have noticed the cleverly deliberate way Ygritte was pointing out Jon’s predicament so well at first viewing, and how she used her dalliances to plant poison against the Night’s Watch in his head. “You’re a bastard, Jon, everyone already loathes ye, you’re just subjecting yourself to unnecessary rules and oaths and honor when it gets in the way of who we really are, which are freefolk, nanny nanny. Now get into my cunny in the middle of this romantic-looking mud schlop, won’t ye?” I’m just paraphrasing, but that’s just the short of it.
It kind of makes Jon seem a bit of a prude, and yes, I know it’s just his shiny, hereditary honor badge glimmering in winter’s sunlight. He’s definitely his father’s son. Like an honorable version of Theon, maybe? I suppose being a bastard is somewhat equal to being an estranged Ironborn prince, just craving for father’s acceptance and wanting to prove to everyone that they’re not as small as others make them out to be.
Also, if you’ve been paying attention, Ghost is not around. I wonder where he went…
Within the broken walls of Harrenhal:
Soldiers are being hung (or in Westeros, “investigated”) for the death of Ser Armory Lorch. Tywin speaks to the Mountain, Ser Gregor Clegane about hanging every man until he finds out who tried to assassinate him, because he’s that ruthless. Compared to ordering knights to cream baby’s brains on a wall, this is petting a puppy! Papa Lannister then makes Arya stuff her face with his meal through the power of manners. He’s never lost a war, he says, while she pinpoints the nape of his neck for her dinner knife. No, taking aim would be silly. Doesn’t she have Jaquen H’gar for that? Where is his handsome mug anyway?
Their talk of the history of dragons makes me so excited because the scene chemistry (platonic, ew!) between Arya and Tywin is so amazing. It’s like cat-and-mouse dialogue, a game of tip-toe and cunning. When the lord speaks, Arya finds a way to inject her cleverness and knowledge to be in a place that makes her retain her ego yet keep her cover. But Tywin’s too sharp for that. Now we know that he knows she’s a highborn girl, but no idea which one she is, exactly. They’re observant and smart and careful. It feels so dangerous just watching them talk in the same room. Too much IQ! I bet when the Lannister knights and sworn lords sit at the table, everyone’s mind is just static because there is a certain frequency of brain required to engage in coherent conversation. And there’s only Tywin and Arya, with their sly bantering and word maneuvering. I’m so impressed. So, so impressed. Such badass characters and writing.
Sansa approaches the Hound for a bit of thanks, after the whole riot ordeal and how he saved her from an almost rape, but he’s really a mean old grump who still loves killing people and figuratively slapping idealistic girls into ugly reality. She’s been through so much so far with that wretched king but here she’s earnest and innocent in the sense that she still trusts that there must be some good somewhere in Sandor. I could be reading it wrong. Just the vibe I get from how Sophie Turner plays it.
She freaks out about having her period after a bad dream. Shae tries to help her by threatening the handmaid who saw them hiding the evidence, but it’s too late; the Hound already found out.
Cersei waxes lyrical about childbirth and motherhood, neither of which she is particularly good at, apparently. And she also speaks openly, yet in secret about Jamie. Do you need to love someone to marry them? No. Is it supposed to be good food for thought for our little dove Sansa? Oh please. She ensures that it’s pretty much Sansa’s destiny to do what Cersei wants. She just has to learn to deal with it.
There is a very special scene after this, that I consider to be one of the best this season. As Tyrion and Cersei are clashing over Jamie and the wrong choices they’ve made so far with Joffrey, things take a surprising turn when Cersei reveals a deep sadness. And it makes her face the very real failure of her parenting, her role as a wife, her place in this world. You can see Tyrion’s demeanor continue to soften as she, in a private moment of rare vulnerability, unloads her miseries and breaks down. While not actually doing anything except stepping closer toward her, Tyrion had such a wonderful “I’m here for you” comfort that might have surpassed the embrace of anyone else. Though the gesture was portrayed slightly as awkward, due to the conflicting nature of their relationship, Cersei’s brief second of acceptance of it made my insides turn a little gooey. It makes her so human, so easy to sympathise with, if only just for a flicker. The world is collapsing around her, and there’s only Tyrion left. In the end, they’re still brother and sister. It shouldn’t be a surprise that they would one day have a moment like this but the delivery of it just completely caught me off guard.
The actors delivered that perfectly. Is this ep a Lannister special or what?
Dany is not only upset about the dragon-napping, but she’s also mourning for Irri, and worried about Doreah, who’s also gone missing. No one will wash her hair or feet or dress her now. She has to use her arms, the horror. Her insecurities are at at all time high, doubting her cause, her claim to the throne, doubting Jorah, who later goes on to the mysterious masked lady delicately painting a nude sailor with goat’s blood in order to find out the baby dragons’ whereabouts. For some strange reason, the woman knows that he’s somehow double crossed his beloved khaleesi. She’s so mysterious and her accent is driving me crazy. And that fetish mask. Who are you?!
At what appears to be a council meeting during which Danaerys makes her plea for everyone to just show her where the dragons are and demonstrates terribly low EQ. This girl needs to work on her negotiation skills. Fortunately for her, the Voldemort-looking Pyat Pree thinks The Thirteen are a bunch of prissy weakling merchants too. In fact, he’s so sympathetic to her plight that he just tells her straight away that he took her dragons and put them in the House of the Undying.
It is then revealed that Xaro is not only sassy, but he is a MASTERMIND! Because he thinks the Thirteen sucks as well, and sneakily made himself king of Qarth. By now, Dany’s like wuh? and in a matter of seconds, cloaked dopplegangers of Pyat Pree appear to slit the throats of the uncooperative members of the Thirteen simultaneously. That’s it. No more.
Dany and her accompanying Dothraki guard get the hell out, but the pale-lipped warlock stands in her way, only to be stabbed by Ser Jorah. Pyat Pree really wants Dany to visit the House of the Undying. Of course, a mere stab doesn’t kill him, and he vanishes instantly, leaving behind a clothes pile on the ground. Somewhere in my mind, I hope that there’s no naked skeleton named Pyat Pree teleporting around the markets.
A bunch of guys are watching Robb be kind to Ser Alton, who previously delivered Robb’s treaty terms to Cersei (she shredded the parchment). The Karstarks are not happy that they have to build a new pen for him. But Alisa is. Because he’s so kind. Not because he struts out his tent with swagger, no, that’s just kindness oozing from his armpits. She’s smitten by his total kindness. /eyesparkle
In the makeshift prison cages, Ser Alton rooms temporarily with Jamie. We find out that Alton used to be Jamie’s squire and cousin, and Jamie used to be the legendary Barristan Selmy’s squire. I can’t imagine Jamie to be obedient and compliant under anyone except Tywin. They seem to be bonding comfortably over their experiences, until Jamie bashes his ex-squire’s face in with his manacle, and strangles Torrhen Karstark when he stupidly rushes into the cage. Wuh-oh.
Nothing like a bloodythirsty northman to perk up the morning. Lord Karstark has demanded Jamie’s head in exchange for his son’s life, but Catelyn commands him to stand down, taking him down a peg like a badass. Sansa and Arya’s lives (whose fate is still unbeknowst to her) hang in the balance; it’s the only reason why she’d even keep Jamie alive at this point. But a parent’s love is more stubborn than honour.
Drunk Karstarks are brawling by nightfall. Catelyn decides to have a little chat with the Kingslayer, who’s ever the smug smartass of perpetual arrogance. She thinks she can try to guilt him into repentance, but Jamie’s a Lannister – mindgames are in the blood. It’s a mistake. He makes her feel small by talking about Ned’s single evidence of unfaithfulness – Jon Snow – and somehow manages to make it seem a lesser evil that he, on the other hand, has always been faithful to his sister, despite the incest. Apparently, Lannister logic, twisted as it may be, can still affect the heart with a pinch of truth, and we close the scene with Catelyn ordering Brienne to hand over her sword. Maybe his method works because Catelyn is such a malleable emotional target, but if you think about it, he brought Joff into the world. What could be more evil that that?!
This is one of the more predictable endings, but I could be wrong. We could very well end up with Jamie’s head on a pike the next episode. The writers are schizo like that.