Previously on Game of Thrones: Petyr threw Lysa through the Moon Door. I’d say he did the world a favour, but she’s already reproduced, so too late. Roose Bolton sent Ramsay (and Theon) to take Moat Cailin, the wildlings got some horrible cannibalistic allies, and Oberyn volunteered to be Tyrion’s champion.
At the Mole Town tavern/brothel where Sam stashed Ghillie, it’s business as usual. One woman is exhibiting her belching prowess. Sexy. She then goes upstairs to give Ghillie crap about her baby making noise. When she threatens little Sam, Ghillie gets all mama bear and warns the woman never to touch him. There’s a noise outside that catches Ghillie’s attention: it’s the wildlings and their teammates, here to do some slaughtering. They make their way to the brothel and slash their way through the customers and whores. After dispatching the baby-threatening bitch, Ygritte hears little Sam crying, and she finds Ghillie hiding with him. She gestures for them to stay quiet and then leaves them, so we know she hasn’t totally lost her humanity, at least.
Word of the attack reaches Castle Black, where Sam weeps over Ghillie’s presumed loss and others get good and pissed off about the slaughter of some of their Night’s Watch brothers. They do rather sweetly take a break to reassure Sam that Ghillie might have managed to survive, somehow. Jon’s more focused on the fact that they’re next in the line of fire, and that’s not good.
Grey Worm and some of the other Unsullied bathe/swim in a river near the city. Grey Worm spies Missy washing her clothes naked nearby, as you do, and he can’t help but stare at her. She notices and slowly stands up, so he can get a good look, and then she covers her breasts with one hand.
Later, she tells Dany about it and Dany shrugs it off, since the Unsullied aren’t particularly interested in naked ladies. Missy begs to differ.
Later still, Missy meets with Grey Worm in the throne room, where he’s come to apologise to her. She reassures him there’s no need, but he goes on to say he didn’t mean to frighten her and he doesn’t want to make her so uncomfortable she stops their language lessons. She, in turn, tells him she’s sorry he was castrated, but he says that because he became Unsullied, he was able to join up with Dany and meet Missy. Awww. Talk about taking the glass-half-full position, though I think there are better ways of meeting interesting women than having your balls cut off. He apologises again and turns to leave. She calls him back and tells him she’s glad he saw her. He says he is too. That was an unexpectedly tender and sad scene.
Ramsay gets Theon all suited up in armor and coaches him on what he’s to say: he’s to tell the Ironborn at Moat Cailin that he’s Theon Greyjoy, but always remember that he’s Reek. He’s put on a horse and sent in under a white flag. When the men on the walls ask who he is, he looks sick and terrified.
He’s brought inside to the leader and, sounding more sure of himself than he has in ages, he tells the man who he is and hands over a message from Bolton, reminding them that they’re doing really poorly and maybe it’s time to give the place up. The leader is disinclined to do so, so one of the other men lands an axe in his head and asks if they’ll be permitted to live if they give up. Theon promises that’s true. When we next see this man, he’s been flayed and only has one eye, and it doesn’t look like the other men have fared any better under Ramsay’s takeover.
Petyr is taking a meeting with the other lords of the Vale, who snobbishly disapprove of him (foreign blood, new money) but are mostly interested in getting to the bottom of Lysa’s death, so to speak. Petyr insists it was a suicide but they doubt she would have abandoned her son like that. They want to talk to the only witness: Sansa, whom they think is actually Petyr’s niece, Helaine. She’s brought in and starts to spill quite a story. She tells them she’s really Sansa Stark, and that she was kept prisoner and tormented by the Lannisters after her father’s death. She had few friends, but Petyr put himself on the line to save her. She has a very sympathetic audience, since her father grew up there. They gently ask what happened to Lysa and she backs Petyr’s suicide claim, saying it was because she was jealous of Sansa after seeing Petyr give her a peck on the cheek. Petyr watches her performance with a rather impressed look on his face. The Lords give Petyr a pass, so he moves on to politics and accuses them of letting the Lannisters run roughshod over the country during the war. The one Lord who’s actually a lady asks whom they should be backing and Petyr says they need to unite behind young Robin, and he, in turn, needs to start learning to be a knight and tour the Vale to get to know his lands.
In Meereen, the masters are finally being taken down from the crosses. Barristan watches and receives a message with the Hand’s seal on it. He opens it immediately.
His next stop is Jorah’s hangout. He hands over what he received: a royal pardon signed by Robert Baratheon, which was promised to Jorah back when he agreed to spy on Dany. Barristan was the head of the Kingsguard back then, right? He didn’t know about this plan? Well, I guess it was more Varys’s project. Jorah begs to be allowed to speak with Dany but Barristan tells him he’ll never be alone with her again.
Jorah goes to meet her in the throne room, where she’s surrounded by Missy, Grey Worm, and Barristan, who’s clearly already filled her in on the details. She coolly tells Jorah to explain himself, but there’s not much to explain. He admits that he used to send information on her back to King’s Landing, including news of her marriage and subsequent pregnancy. He begs for forgiveness and reminds her that he’s served her loyally and loved her. She doesn’t care and orders him to get lost.
Ramsay delivers the Moat Cailin flag to his father, who draws him aside and tells him he’s now officially recognized as a legitimate son of Roose Bolton. He’s Ramsay Bolton now. Ramsay drops to his knees and swears to be worthy of his father.
Petyr visits Sansa in her room, where she’s calmly sewing. He notes that she was just a child when they first met, but she’s no child now, and he asks why she helped him. She essentially tells him that the Lords would have executed him, and she figured she’s better off with the devil she knows than those she doesn’t. She’s really learned a lot during her hellish time in King’s Landing, hasn’t she? Interesting that brains and survival instinct seem to run in the ladies in this family. At least in this generation.
Hound and Arya finally arrive at the Vale, Arya whining that she didn’t actually get to see Joffrey die. Hound comments that poison’s a woman’s weapon, and that men kill with steel. Arya frankly informs him that that’s a stupid way to think; that you should kill your enemies with whatever you have to hand. A guard at the gate asks who they are and, after being given Arya’s name, they inform her that her aunt’s dead. Arya, met with this latest bit of bad news, responds by bursting into hysterical laughter. What else can you do at this point?
Robin and Petyr are preparing to go on their trip through the Vale. Robin worries about it not being safe, but Petyr says being scared of death shouldn’t keep him from living. They’re then joined by their other companion: Sansa, now with her hair dyed black, wearing a very striking black, feathered gown and looking surprisingly badass.
Jaime and Tyrion spend one last evening together, getting a little drunk. Tyrion asks if Jaime thinks Oberon has a chance. Jaime does not, and Tyrion kind of freaks out a little. He then starts talking about a cousin of theirs who was simpleminded and used to spend hours killing beetles. Tyrion once asked him why he smashed beetles all the time, but he couldn’t get an answer from the cousin or books. So, instead, he just watched the man smashing away and started getting pretty obsessed with it. But he never did get any answers, and eventually the cousin died from a mule kick to the chest. He still wonders why his cousin did it. Maybe I missed something, but I don’t really know quite what the point of that story was.
A bell starts tolling: it’s time. Jaime wishes his brother luck and leaves.
Tyrion is taken out to the sunny arena where the battle is to be held. Oberyn is getting one less makeout session with Ellaria in. Tyrion worries about his champion’s light armor, lack of helmet, and choice of wine as a pre-battle refreshment. The Mountain comes out and Ellaria can’t quite believe Oberyn is going to fight him. She’s clearly worried, but he’s cocky. She begs him not to leave her alone in this world and he promises not to before going out into the arena, showing off for a bit, and telling the Mountain who he is. They start fighting in earnest, and Oberyn tries to goad the Mountain into confessing to the murder of Oberyn’s sister and her children. At one point, he’s disarmed, but he manages to recover and begins to get the upper hand, to Jaime’s delight and Cersei’s disappointment. He finally manages to bury his spear in Mountain’s chest, but he doesn’t want the man to die until he’s confessed. He pulls the spear out and starts circling the fallen Mountain, repeating his accusations again and again. Oberyn, STOP MONOLOGUING! I know this isn’t actually a monologue, but the idea is the same. You’re giving the guy a chance to recov—oh, look at that, he just did.
The Mountain lashes out, tripping Oberyn, and once he falls, it’s all over. The Mountain gets on top of him, gouges out his eyes, gives him the confession he wanted, and then smashes his head with his bare hands like a cherry tomato. Holy shit! And dammit, because I liked him. That’s it, I’m not getting in any way attached to any new characters. I should have probably learned that lesson a while ago with this show, but I definitely have now.
Ellaria screams in such a genuinely horrified and terrified manner I kind of wonder if Indira Varma managed to not know exactly what was coming. Although I sort of did and I was horrified. I’m also starting to think that George R. R. Martin is a little bit of a sicko, because this story is rapidly becoming 1001 horrific ways to die. What have we seen so far? Just off the top of my head: gut stabbing, gut stabbing in a pregnant belly, slit throat, axe to head, beheading, defenestration via moon door, scalding to death with molten gold, crucifixion, evisceration, poison, immolation via dragon, flaying, wolf attack—and now this? Yeesh.
Cersei, of course, looks satisfied. Tywin rises and sentences TYrion to death. Tyrion’s face says: fuuuuuuuuuck.