In the Great Frozen North: Sam and Gilly
Sam babbles along about the various forts on the wall, including the oldest one, the Night Fort, that was abandoned long ago because it was just too damn big to maintain but that it has a secret passage through the wall, he knows how to use. Gilly is stunned by how much he knows and that he learned it all simply by reading – considering him a wizard from her very simply and narrow point of view.
Also North – probably still cold: Jon the Pouty (who knows nothing), Ygritte (who tells him so) and random wildlings who need to die soon so I can stop remembering their names.
The gang contemplates stealing from a horse breeder, with Jon the Pouty trying to convince them all not to kill the old man and steal everything he has; something even Ygritte doesn’t understand since, in the harsh view of the Wildlings, dying of old age is something to fear. Jon tries the excuse that the Nights Watch will send more troops to chase a murderer than a thief – but Tormund things that’s great - killing Nights Watch in the open is much much easier than killing them in castles.
That’s very logical tactical thinking. Careful their Tormund, Jon’s a Stark. This thinking stuff may leave him hopelessly confused.
As they advance on the hut, Jon deliberately bangs his sword on a rock, alerting the horse breeder. He jumps on a horse and escapes – as Ygritte tries to shoot him Jon distracts her.
Cold cold North: The Psychic Starks & crew
They’ve arrived at the Gift, a piece of land the Starks gave the Nights Watch long ago to support themselves – but it’s abandoned since most of the farmers fled from repeated wildling raids (with lots of apologise to Osha – especially after Rickon mentions Old Nan telling stories about Wildlings drinking blood – which Osha plays to).
Sheltering in a tower, Brandon considers how they’re going to go over the wall – yeah, it’d take more than psychic woo-woo to convince me to go to the great and frozen North. I’d need Maple Syrup at least. Osha came south by the sea, taking a boat round the wall. Jojen points out only 3 of the 19 castles are still manned, so one of them will have a way through despite Brandon being sure the gates were sealed. Poor Hodor panics with the thunder
And out the window Meera sees a rider – the fleeing horse breeder Jon and the Wildlings attacked (he mocked their band name). Osha tries to calm poor Hodor while the wildlings on horseback catch up with the man. In the tower they try to remain quiet, but Hodor panics more and more loudly as the storm continues. Bran’s eyes turn white – as do Hodor’s – and Hodor quietens. We’ve seen eyes turn white before when Wargs have ridden in the minds of animals. The whole tower looks at Bran in several kinds of shock.
Outside the tower, Tormund dismisses Orell’s (who is a Warg) claim that he can hear shouting inside since it’s all quiet, and they focus on the old horsebreeder. Tormund prepares to kill him, giving the old man the dignity of standing first – but Orell wants to make Jon kill him. 2 Direwolves – Summer and Shaggydog, look on.
Inside the tower, Jojen encourages Bran to contact the wolves – as he had with Hodor.
Jon draws his sword and gets ready to kill the man – but can’t. And after considerable delay, Ygritte shoots him instead. All the wildlings come on guard, Orrel accusing Jon of still being a Crow. Tormund tells the wildlings to attack – Jon and Ygritte fight but Tormund takes Ygritte captive.
Inside the tower, Bran does his wargy thing and Sunmmer and Shaggydog attack, slaughtering several Wildlings. Jon kills several more – and Orell though Orell wargs himself and attacks Jon with an eagle. Bashing it aside he runs for a horse and rides off – leaving Tormund and Ygritte behind. Ygritte watches him leave with an extremely well acted expression of shocked and outraged disbelief.
In the Tower, Bran admits he can get into Summer’s mind whenever he wants and Jojen is more impressed by him being able to enter Hodor’s mind. There are wargs north of the wall who can get into the minds of animals, but none that can get into the mind of a person. He talks to Osha and she insists, again, that she’s not going north of the wall, but Bran says he doesn’t want her to – he wants her to look after Rickon – who he wants to go with Osha to the Umbers. Rickon wants to stay with him but Bran is wiser: Robb’s at war and he is going beyond the wall – if they both die Rickon is the heir.
That sounded suspiciously like common sense coming from a Stark. Maybe losing their ever loving mind is something that happens to them when they reach 20?
Osha reassures Rickon and reminds Bran what she owes the Starks – for taking her in and treating her kindly when they had no reason to – and agrees to take Rickon. She tells Meera and Jojen to keep Bran safe because “he means the world to me.” They leave right away, in the night.
In Exotic Foreign Parts: White And Delightsome Daenerys
Daenerys and her council discuss war strategy, especially the back door into the city that Daario knows in between lots of flirting with Daenerys. He plans on him leading in another through the city to open the gates – but Jorah is suspicious; in the end, Daenerys asks Greyworm if he trusts Daario since it’s his life on the line and he leads the Unsullied – he agrees. Ser Barriston wants to join in the killing but Ser Jorah points out he’s Queensguard, his job is to guard the queen.
That night, Daario, Greyworm and Jorah enter through the back gate – Daario going first to kill the guard. And they arrive in a square and are surrounded by a large force of soldiers which they slaughter easily (because they’re that awesome). Then the second wave turns up
Daenerys anxiously waits their return until a blood stained Jorah and Greyworm appear. Jorah tell them the slave soldiers threw down their weapons and surrendered. And Daario appears – waiting just long enough for Daenerys to worry that he’d died. He kneels and presents her with a banner – the city is hers.
I’m not entirely sure what happened there – but presumably they told the slave soldiers of Astropor how wonderful Daenerys is and they put down their weapons?
In Riverlands: The Hound and Arya
Heading off to see the Starks, the Hound sees someone on the road and knocks them out before drawing his knife to silence them. And Arya intervenes and chews him out for attacking and killing the weak and the helpless, children and old people. He keeps trying to advance and Arya keeps pushing him back. He finally agrees but tells her her kindness will get her killed; just as the old man stirs and she knocks him back into unconsciousness with a block of wood.
Not THAT kind. The Hound looks on with his mouth open. Ok, +10 points of Arya.
They pause while the Hound munches his way through a cart full of pig extremities within sight of the Twins. The Hound points out she’s scared – scared now she’s so close to her goal and she might not reach it, telling her she can’t hide it from her. So she throws back his fear of fire.He retaliates with her dad’s execution and she calmly informs him that some day she will put a sword through his eye and out the back of his skull. Leaving the Hound looking a little shaken, again.
+20 points for Arya. The amount she has hardened has been incredibly shown with on brief action and one short line.
Also in The Riverlands, at the Twins: The Starks, who left their single family brain cell in Winterfell, alas.
Robb has a cunning plan laid out on his battle map which Catelyn the Spunky is unsure of. I don’t know where to leap here. I mean Robb has the brains of a concussed marmot – but Catelyn doesn’t even have the brains of a concussed marmot.
The chances of a cunning plan coming from this tent seems unlikely.
Anyway, it’s Robb’s plan to take Castlery Rock, steal the Lannister gold and say “nah-naaaah!” to the Lanisters. And why is he telling Catelyn? Because he ignored her advice before and it all went wrong – sio he wants her advice to ensure he makes a good plan!
BWAHAHAHAHAHAH! Oh that’s classic! Hey, do you have any more high value hostages to release? No? How about kidnapping random people on the road to start a war? I’m sure Catelyn has lots of great advice! Hey hey, they could find their biggest ally and supporter and execute him! Doesn’t that sound like an awesome plan?
Catelyn considers then backs the plan (this plan is endorsed by Robb and Catelyn. DOOMED! DOOOOMED I SAY!) but more based on emotion than deductive reasoning. And, of course, it depends on the Freys co-operating (which, y’know, they would have if you hadn’t screwed THAT up as well).
The Starks are astonishingly talented at defeating themselves.
The Starks are welcomed by Lord Fray and offered the traditional host gift of bread and salt and Robb presents his apologies for screwing him over on the marriage thing. Walder Frey presents his many many many daughters and granddaughters who were disrespected – while showing them very little respect himself (and even forgetting one of their names). Robb makes a flowery apology and Walder demands to see Talisa and then launches into the skeeviest, most repellent objectifying summation of Talisa’s looks you can imagine. However, being a nasty letch, he understands Robb breaking an oath for a beautiful woman (not his words).
Edmure’s wedding begins, Walder Frey leading in the veiled bride, the Starks in attendance. Walder Frey unveils her – and she’s beautiful (much to Edmure’s shock). She kneels and says she hopes she isn’t a disappointment. Far from it. He cloaks her, according to Westeros wedding ceremony – and recite the wedding vows.
There’s a huge feast after the wedding celebrating in grand style. Catelyn and the Blackfish celebrate happily seeing Edmure very content with his new bride, and learn that Lord Bolton has also married a Frey granddaughter – since Lord Frey promised her weight in silver as a dowry, he has a “fat young bride”. Catelyn’s face shows how little she thinks of such a summation. Robb and Talisa flirt (and Talisa is convinced that Catelyn still doesn’t approve of their marriage) but Talisa stops him kissing her since it could be seen as a slap in the face to the Freys.
And Walder speaks out for a grand old tradition of the “bedding” which we heard referred to at Sansa’s wedding. The crude way Walder describes it doesn’t fill me with confidence. Robb, still creeping to Walder, naturally agrees. A gang of men converge on Rosalyn (Edmure’s new wife) and carry her away, and a gang of women lead Edmure away – both groups throw loose items of clothing from the two into the crowd. Catelyn expresses sympathy for her but Lord Bolton thinks every bride goes through it – but Catelyn says Ned forbade it. (The actual tradition involves both couples being stripped by their respective gangs who make lots of lewd jokes and bundle them in bed together – then spend all night outside the door making lewd suggestions. How romantic) Talisa also finds the custom odd – but Robb puts it down to tradition – and proof that the marriage is consummated. Talisa, being pregnant, points out she has her own proof and adds that she wants to name the child, if it’s a boy, Eddard.
Then a Frey son closes the grand doors and Catelyn becomes suspicious, and more as the band plays a new song which also worries her
Outside, the Hound and Arya arrive – but the guards won’t let them in the castle. Arya takes the chance to slip out of the cart and run off.
Walder stops the music and begins a speech –and Catelyn realises Lord Bolton is wearing armour under his clothes. She slaps him and shouts a warning to Robb. Lord Bolton runs – and the man behind Talisa stabs her repeatedly in the stomach. Crossbowmen around the gallery of the hall launch a hail of bolts into the crowd, killing the guests and hitting Robb several times, one bolt hits Catelyn in the back. Frey men move through the crowd, slaughtering the Starks and Tullys
Arya sneaks into the keep – and sees Frey men ambush the Stark guards. She sees Robb’s direwolf, Grey Wind, in a cage – but before she can release him, Frey men shooting him with crossbows. She watches as the fallen wolf closes his eyes. She tries to run to a horse, but the Hound catches her, tells her it’s too late and knocks her unconscious.
Inside, the injured Catelyn drags herself under a table and Robb drags himself to Talisa’s body. Walder orders the fighting to stop so he can watch Robb reach Talisa. Catelyn moves from her hiding space, grabs Walder’s wife and holds a knife to her throat, begging for the life of her son. Offering herself as a hostage, she desperately begs Robb to get up and walk out, to leave. She swears if Walder doesn’t let Robb go she will cut his wife’s throat.
Walder says he will find another – and Lord Bolton comes from the shadows and stabs Robb again, telling him the Lannisters send their regards. Catelyn screams and cuts Walder’s wife’s throat. And stands, frozen in shock, until one of the guards slices her throat. She falls.
Well… I knew it was coming and it was still extremely, powerfully, mightily well done. The acting and the whole presentation of it
It beggars any other comment really.
And to those of you who are utterly shocked by killing off main characters like this – especially if you are horrified and appalled by it, I remind you this George R R Martin