In the Grimm and Cold North: Sam & Gilly
Sam and Gilly are on the run, and Gilly knows far more about the practicalities of fire building and surviving than he does and she realises he is highborn, noble, and used to servants building fires. He tries to impress her with an obsidian knife he found at the Fist of the First men (which I suspect will be relevant later) but she’s not that impressed by pretty things that do nothing. He tells awkward tales of the wall and Castle Black
In the North: Camping trip!
Osha and Myra play who is the toughest wilds master of them all. It escalates until Bran speaks up and intervenes calling for them to behave and make peace for them to reach the wall. Why are they heading to the wall again?
Yeah, I’m not happy with that. I suppose I’m supposed to see the natural leadership talents of Bran? Because it’s hard to get past 2 grown women acting like bad tempered children and a boy acting like an adult and telling them to cut it out.
Jojen starts fitting in his sleep, having a vision and Myra rushes over to put a thong of leather in his mouth so he doesn’t bite his tongue or crack his teeth. He had a vision of Jon – on the wrong side of the wall surrounded by enemies.
Even further North with lots of Pouting: Jon Snow
Several of the men with Jon comment on how the Nights Watch has declined. They’re preparing to climb the wall with much trepidation at the sheer size of it and Ygritte is embarrassing Jon with sexy talk in public which she mocks of course – he can kill zombies but is scared of naked girls! Then it turns serious – she knows Jon Snow is nothing if not loyal and there’s no way he stopped being a Crow. But now she’s “his woman” he’s going to be loyal to her. As far as she’s concerned, the Nights Watch doesn’t care if Jon lives or dies and Mance Rayder is the same about her – they’re both disposable soldiers. Jon promises not to betray her.
The wall climb is cold, long and impressive. Half way up an iceaxe causes a huge amount of the wall to collapse, dropping several wildlings to their death and leaving Jon and Ygritte dangling from a robe. To save themselves, the man above Ygritte begins to cut the rope, dooming Ygritte and Jon to fall. Swinging on the rope, Jon manages to reach the wall and sink in an ice axe, when the rope is cut, Ygritte falls but is supported by Jon, he pulls her onto a ledge.
Eventually they all reach the top of the wall and Ygritte sees the green south for the first time.
In the Riverlands: Brotherhood without Banners and Arya
Arya succeeds in impressing with her archery as she chants her kill list with each shot. She’s accurate, but she’s slow and she gets some pointers from Anguy about firing at more than just targets. Target practice is introduced by a Red Priestess of R’hollor, Lord of Light (same god the Brotherhood worships that puts them back together again) – that would be Mellisandre, Stannis’s priestess. Apparently Thoros of Myr was sent to the kingdoms by the High Priest to convert King Robert. Didn’t really go to plan.
Thoros takes her to see Lord Dondarrion and she examines his many scars – she calls it impossible that he could have been brought back from the dead 6 times. She doesn’t believe Thoros has this much power – but he puts it down to the god. Thoros had lost his faith until he managed to resurrect his friend Lord Dondarrion. But she’s been sent for a reason not chit chat
She’s been sent for Gendry, ignoring his and Arya’s protests. Arya calls her a witch and she looks in Arya’s eyes and sees both darkness and eyes staring back at her, many coloured eyes. “Eyes you’ll shut forever”. Mellisandre looks a little disturbed and tells Arya they’ll meet again. A reference to Jaqen H’ghar?
Who Knows Where: Theon not having a fun time
The nameless man is Ramsay Snow (making him illegitimate) and I know I shouldn’t know that but I’m tired of him not having a name. He’s playing a little game with Theon and having great fun tormenting him. He mocks Theon for all the whining he did about his past when Theon promises to tell him everything – Theon has nothing left to tell. He also plans to hunt Bran and Rickon before having immense fun playing games about cutting bits off Theon. Theon manages to guess where they are as Karhold – and that he is the son of Lord Karstark and he’s being tortured for betraying Robb. Ramsay says he’s right! He’s free! Actually, no – all lies! Actually he’s doing it for the funsies.
And the winner for creepiest guy in all Westeros goes to Ramsay Snow.
Riverrun: Starks and Tullys – abandon all sense all ye who enter here
In exchange for an alliance, Walder Frey wants a formal apology for Robb screwing him over and title to Harrenhal. Sounds quite reasonable actually, all things considered. Edmure is huffy but Robb agrees. Then there’s clause 3 – Lord Edmure needs to marry a Frey daughter – a 19 year old. Edmure is reluctant and wants to see her first, the Freys don’t have the patience for that and want the answer tomorrow before they leave for the wedding because old Walder isn’t very trusting of long engagements.
Y’know, if Robb tries to force Edmure he is the biggest hypocrite ever – and the whole “a lord carries out the sentence” thing his dad taught him is stunning bullshit.
Edmure is not pleased – especially since he is Frey’s liege and having no choice at all annoys him. The Blackfish suggests he explain the situation to Edmure with his fist. Catelyn is outraged that he’d risk their war over dickering for a prettier Frey and Robb says he has no time to dicker when they have a war to fight. Robb is winning every battle but losing the war (yes by SELF-SABOTAGE!). Edmure agrees to marry the lady Frey
Harrenhall: Jaime and Brienne
Brienne is in a dress for dinner with Lord Bolton and not best pleased with it – and Jaime still has a learning curve to go with eating with one hand though he handles it with grace and Brienne’s help. Lord Bolton is trying to decide what to do with Jaime, where he will get the most profit. He could give Jaime to Robb, but Tywin will pay more – also if he delivers Jaime he may not be put on the Lannister’s eternal shit list for his men lopping off Jaime’s hand. So Jaime can go to Kings Landing
But Brienne is not included in that. She is charged with abetting treason. Jaime tries to insist and is warned not to overplay his… position.
Kings Landing: Bring on the plotting
Olenna vs Tywin. Get your popcorn, folks! They’re arguing over the marriages and whether to marry Loras off to Cersei. Olenna considers Cersei too old and they both join in mutual homophobic abuse of Loras. Of course they do, it’s Game of Thrones. Olenna doesn’t care too much about discreet “buggery” while Tywin considers it completely abominable. She throws back incest at him which he dismisses and threatens to recruit Loras into the Kingsguard if she doesn’t agree to the wedding – therefore rending him chaste and unable to carry on the Tyrell name, leaving Joffrey and Margaery’s children as their heirs. Olenna capitulates.
Tywin beat Olenna… I suspect “for now” may be closer to the truth. She respects him as an opponent at least.
In the gardens, Sansa and Loras have a stilted conversation – she about how happy she is, and he about how he always dreamed of an amazing wedding. And the bride’s wedding dress (seriously? Medieval manscaping and now he dreams of bridal gowns – with “French sleeves” no less?). At least they both agree that Kings Landing is awful
Watching them are Cersei and Tyrion predicting abject misery for all 4 of them; though Tyrion points out that Cersei is the architect of this disaster. She claims she made the mistake trying to protect their family which makes Tyrion snap – because he protected the family even though no-one admits it. Cersei, though, does – she fully credits him for saving them from Stannis.
Tyrion objects that someone tried to have him killed – Ser Manden tried to kill him and only 2 people had the authority to order a kingsguard to kill him. She remains silent – which isn’t an admission but shows the truth anyway. Tryion realises it was Joffrey who tried to have him killed – which he understands since he’s the only one who treats Joffrey as he deserves. But rather than being subtly poisoned, the King orders a kingsguard to kill the Hand of the King in full view of the army. It’s idiotic. Cersei offers that he’s safe now that Tywin’s there controlling things, which annoys Tyrion as well, that all 7 kingdoms are united because they’re afraid of Tywin. Cersei has a different view – soon Joffrey will belong to Margaery (complete with calling her a “whore”) and the Tyrells will then rule. Tyrion does offer her the hope that Loras may come down with a terrible case of “sword through bowels” when Jaime comes back.
Sansa is getting all giddy over the wedding, talking with Shae when Tyrion comes to talk to her. And asks to speak alone – which Shae is shocked and angered by and Sansa insists that it’s ok, she trusts Shae even though she tells her not to.
Because Shae is wise. And Tyrion’s spy. BUT YOU KEEP TRUSTING PEOPLE SANSA! Your trust Shae and you trusted Clegane and you trusted Baelish and you trust Margaery – stop stop stop! Here’s a list of people you can trust:
Oh look, it’s EMPTY! Learn already!
So Tyrion gets to explain the wedding plans to Sansa AND Shae, his lover, at the same time. FUNSIES!
To more funsies – Baelish and Varys in the throne room, sparring away. Baelish considers Loras and Sansa’s marriage to have been Varys’s plan – which he foiled. He also makes it clear he knows Roz is Varys’s spy – and that she has come to harm. Varys seems to have lost this round and says he did everything for the realm – but Baelish doesn’t believe in the Realm, it’s a lie, a story. Varys counters that without that lie, what do they have but chaos, a pit. To Baelish, chaos is a ladder – a way to advance if you know what you’re doing
While Baelish makes his speech on climbing that ladder and the dangers of it – we cut to Joffrey leaving his room with his crossbow, and Roz’s corpse hanging from the bed post, filled with crossbow bolts. Someone who tried to climb the ladder and failed, it is heavily implied.
And Sansa watches the boat sail off – the boat Baelish offered as her chance of salvation – in tears now she knows her wedding with Loras is off.
I’m curious about Ygritte, is this genuine love or her using his loyalty as a way to get herself a genuine ally? Or a bit of both. She has a hard but very accurate view of the situation very apart from Jon’s idealism.
I always knew he was a good actor but Ramsay Snow takes creepy to an excellent level. Line of the week goes to “if you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.
Am I supposed to see Edmure as some kind of whiny brat because he’s picky about his bride? Well, yes, he does look a lot like one. But the whole reason he has to is because Robb decided to marry Talisa and not fulfil his promise to Frey.
Loras (and Renly’s) tokenistic inclusion on the show exist only to maintain a constant level of homophobic jokes and derision, that’s the full and complete point of his existence. And nice to see that being gay is debated in the same breath as incest.
With Olenna losing a bout to Tywin, Ygritte being saved by Jon, Catelyn’s single line, Sansa’s tragedy, Margaery and Daenerys’s absence, Roz’s death and Cersei having to admit she was the architect of her own undoing; the women of Game of Thrones took a massive depowerment this episode just when it seemed things were pulling away from the last 2 season’s ineptitude. Olenna needs to take back the baton and fight back next episode.
I do like Tyrion realising that Joffrey tried to have him killed. He doesn’t particularly resent the attempt on his life since he understands it but the foolishness of the attempt leaves him quite irritated.
Baelish and Varys – watching these 2 spar back and forth makes you wonder just how much of the whole thing isn’t the Starks or the Lannisters or the Tyrells – but Varys and Baelish, playing their games and moving their chess pieces? At least in Kings Landing. And the grand ladder speech – there is Varys with his position of stability and (theoretical) common good and order – and Baelish with his image of personal power and advancement above all else.