Previously on Game of Thrones: We played catch-up with about half the cast. Dany’s on her way to Westros by sea, stopping off to pick up a brand-new army and a new sidekick—a former member of the Kingsguard. Robb’s still on the move and still mad at his mom; Sansa’s still trapped in King’s Landing, where Margaery’s winning over the common folk and pissing off Cersei. Tyrion’s being crapped on by his family, and Jon’s trying to fit in with Mance Rayder and his Wildlings.
We start with Bran running through the woods, so looks like we’re once again kicking things off with a Bran Dream Sequence. He’s out with a bow and arrow and sees that three-eyed raven. He loads an arrow, and suddenly Robb and Theon are there, reminding him to relax his bow arm, just like they did in the very first episode. Bran misses his shot, as he did then, and they laugh, and from somewhere off in the trees we hear long-dead Ned reminding the older boys that they weren’t exactly marksmen at Bran’s age. Bran looks up into the trees at the sound of his father’s voice, and when he hears a noise he loads the bow again. Except now instead of the raven there’s a boy close to his own age standing in front of him, telling him he can’t kill the bird, because the bird is really him. That’s sort of how dreams tend to work, Bran.
Bran wakes with a start and Hodor comes over to check on him. Bran says he’s ok. Osha asks if he dreamed about the wolf again, and he starts to tell her about the dream, but she cuts him off and says they need to get on the move. Bran sounds tired of running, but Osha insists, probably as much out of self-preservation as concern for Bran and Rickon. She helpfully tells us that they’re heading for The Wall.
Robb’s all moody, staring into the fire at Harrenhal, I believe. Talisa starts to bring him around, but then one of the bannermen comes in with news from both Winterfell and Riverrun.
News from Riverrun is that Cate’s father has died. Robb delivers the news to her personally and tells her they’ll go to the funeral together. I get the desire to be with family and all, but doesn’t that seem like a rather poor idea? Anybody who wants to put a target on you would be heading there in the hope of catching you off guard, right Robb?
Robb’s got more news: Winterfell’s been razed to the ground, Bran and Rickon are gone, and everyone else is dead. Robb thinks Theon may have taken the boys to the Iron Islands as hostages. So, does that mean someone cut down the two little boys who were clearly supposed to look like dead Bran and Rickon, then?
If someone did, it wasn’t Theon, because he is currently tied up to a big wooden X, being tortured by persons unknown for reasons that are unclear to all of us, even him.
Bree! Woo hoo! She’s still on her long, long countryside walk with Jaime, who’s the bitchiest road trip companion ever. And she has the patience of a goddamn saint to put up with it. He tries to get information from her about how she came to be in Cate’s employ, but she knows better than to give up any info on that. He does correctly guess that she was on Renley’s side. He also guesses that she fancied him. He says she was far too much man for someone like Renley, who preferred curly-haired girls like Loras. They’re met by a man heading to Riverrun with a horse who basically promises not to mess with them. Wise man. As the man continues on his way, Jaime whispers that he knows who Jaime is, and what if he tells someone? She insists that he doesn’t know anything, and she won’t go killing an innocent man. Someone in this country needs to have standards.
Joffrey’s getting fitted for a new suit while Cersei watches and approves. He snits at the tailor for producing something with flowers, and Cersei suggests he give it to Margaery for her wedding gown. She snarks that the little square he’s holding should be more than enough fabric. Heh. She goes on to ask what Joffrey thinks of Margaery and he says it’s a good match, since the Tyrells are rich and powerful. Cersei presses him to say what he thinks of the actual woman. He gives her nothing. Cersei warns him that everything Margaery does has an agenda attached, and I guess she of all people would know, but this whiff of her trying to boss him around puts his pretty little nose out of joint and he stomps back to the tailor.
Sansa and Shae talk about Littlefinger. Sansa thinks he only wants to help her because he once loved her mother, but Shae, knowing men—and people in general—better than Sansa, tells her that the man wants something more from her than just a good word with her mom. Sansa somehow doesn’t quite get what she means. Shae tells her to tell Shae if he ever lays a finger on her, and she’ll put a stop to it. I’ll bet she will. Loras shows up and invites Sansa, on his sister’s behalf, to take a stroll in the gardens.
On the way, Loras tells her how lovely she is and she reminds him of the day he gave her his favour at the joust. He claims to remember. Sansa is delivered to Margaery, who presents her to her grandmother, Lady Olenna, who’s played by Diana Rigg, so you know there’s some awesomeness to come. Everyone politely exchanges condolences on the losses of Ned and Renley, whom Oleanna clearly didn’t think too much of. Nor does she think much of Loras. Or Margaery’s father. She thinks Renley should have stayed out of the whole fight since his claim to the throne was tenuous at best, and then pretty much in the same breath she invites Sansa to have some lemon cakes.
The three ladies sit down, and Olenna wastes little time asking Sansa for an honest appraisal of Joffrey. Sansa is, understandably, reluctant to slag him off and instead unconvincingly sings his praises. Olenna tells her there’s no need to be frightened, and Sansa finds her spine and tearfully tells them how Joffrey cut her father’s head off and made her look at it. She immediately begins to backpedal and Margaery realises she’s terrified. Olenna gently urges her on, and Sansa admits that Joffrey’s a monster. ‘Oh, that’s a pity,’ says Olenna as Margaery unconcernedly eats a cake. Sansa begs them not to stop the wedding and Olenna says there’s no risk of that. She does thank Sansa for telling the truth, though.
Robb’s on the move, and one of his bannermen is not happy to be taking time out of the war to go to a funeral. He grouses, and Robb asks if he’s lost faith in their cause. He hasn’t, but he thinks Robb lost the war the day he married Talisa.
The lady in question rides up to where her mother-in-law’s relaxing and making a dreamcatcher or something. Talisa offers to help, clearly trying to establish some sort of bond with this woman, but Cate refuses, explaining that mothers make them to protect their children. A little late for that, then, Cate. Talisa settles down nearby and asks if Cate’s made them before. She has. Talisa asks if it works and Cate says it does, after a fashion. She remembers one time when Jon was small, he came down with the pox and Luwin said that if he survived the night he’d pull through. So, Cate sat with him all night, feeling guilty because she had wanted him to die for being proof of her husband’s infidelity. She prayed to the gods to let him live and promised to love him and be a mother to him. He lived, as we all know, but Cate wasn’t able to keep her promise, and now she thinks that all the bad things that have happened to her family were because of that. No, Cate. They were almost all because of that time you took Tyrion Lannister hostage. Blame yourself for that.
Up north, Jon’s got a new non-Ranger outfit and a new buddy in Rayder, who says he likes Jon but if he’s playing him, he’ll kill him. Jon understands and knows that all Rayder wants is to protect his people. Rayder sets him right on one score: these aren’t his people. They’re a motley crew of folk who all hate each other, but they hate the idea of dying more, and Rayder told them they would all die if they didn’t head south.
The two men reach some other guy who’s sitting in the snow, eyes rolled up in his head while a hawk circles above him. Rayder explains that the man is able to see through animals’ eyes and Ygritte can’t believe Jon’s never met anyone else like him. The man comes to and tells them he saw dead crows. Guess that’s bad.
The Rangers, meanwhile, are walking along, heading back to the Wall. One of the others pokes fun at Sam for being upset and being alive when others are dead. He urges Sam to just sit down and die, and Sam obligingly drops to his knees, exhausted. Two of the others notice and come back to try and get him back on his feet. Sam whimpers that they don’t care about him and reminds them that, when the White Walkers came, they up and left him. To be fair, Sam, can you blame them? They try to help him to his feet, and their douchy colleague comes back and urges them to just leave him. Mormont joins them and flat-out forbids Sam to die. He then tells Douchy that it’s his job to get Sam back alive, and if he doesn’t manage it, he won’t be alive long either. Douchy is not delighted.
Bran wakes suddenly and finds both Osha and his direwolf on high alert. Osha goes running off to investigate, and while she’s gone, the boy from Bran’s dream appears and approaches him, unconcerned by Bran’s snarling wolf. Osha comes up behind him and puts a sharpened stick to the back of his neck, warning him not to move. He says he’s unarmed, but his sister isn’t. And here she is, getting the drop on Osha and telling her to drop the spear. Osha does, but warns them the wolf won’t be so merciful. The boy—he’s Jojen Reed—approaches the wolf, calls it by name, and lets it sniff his hand. Like a friendly dog, the wolf sniffs and trots off. Jojen introduces himself and his sister, Meera, to Bran and tells him they’ve been looking for him, and they have a long way to go yet. For those of you who frequent this site, Meera’s played by the same actress who played that incredibly annoying housemaid, Ivy, in the first series of Upstairs Downstairs, take 2. I desperately hope she’s less horrible in this role. Jojen’s played by the kid who was Liam Neeson’s son in Love, Actually, except it seems his voice has finally changed. Which makes sense, because Love, Actually came out, what, about 10 years ago now? Wow, now I feel kind of old.
Also on the move are Arya, Gendry, and their fat companion, Hot Pie. Gendry’s bitching at Arya for wasting her promised deaths on people in Harrenhal instead of telling Jaqen to kill Joffrey or something and just end the war. Arya brings them back to the present and tells them they’re clearly lost. She wants them to go to Riverrun, where her grandfather’s the lord and can protect them. Before they can really get into an argument, they hear someone approaching, singing, and they take cover. The singer’s accompanied by several very well-armed men, and one of them looses an arrow very near where the happy trio’s hiding. The singer jovially wonders who’s hiding there, and Arya shows herself and boldly tells him to go on his way, and she won’t kill him. Oh, Arya. Don’t write cheques you can’t cash, sweetie. The men laugh and call out Gendry and Hot Pie, who show themselves and rather unconvincingly pull out swords. The singer introduces himself as Thoros of Myr and immediately guesses they’ve escaped from Harrenhal. He and his men fight for the Brotherhood Without Banners. Oh, and he also knows that Arya’s a girl, maybe because she makes a really, really unconvincing boy at this point. The three amigos get taken prisoner, but not before one of the men mocks Hot Pie for being fat.
Tyrion’s got much nicer rooms now, and they’re being graced with Shae’s presence, even though he warned her not to come there, thanks to his father’s threat to kill any woman he found in Tyrion’s bed. But Shae’s a woman on a mission: she wants Tyrion to help protect Sansa from Petyr, but before she gets to that, she gets a bit of an attitude when she realizes Tyrion slept with Ros. She also gets jealous when Tyrion refers to Sansa as a great beauty. Jesus, Shae, when did you get so possessive? Their bickering turns into foreplay, and though Tyrion’s into it, he once again warns her not to come to his rooms anymore.
Margaery arrives at Joffrey’s room, having presumably been summoned there. He’s sitting there cradling a crossbow and tells her he’s going on a hunting trip and wanted to make sure she had everything she needed before he left. She reassures him she has all she wants. A bit nervously, like a teen boy talking to his crush, he asks how she likes King’s Landing. She says it’s a welcome change from an army camp. He gets a bit dangerous and asks if this is a welcome change from a traitor’s bed as well, and she sobers a bit and explains that she tried to do her duty as a wife. Joffrey asks why she failed to provide Renley with children, and though she tries to demur for a bit, she tells him Renley wasn’t interested in girls. Joffrey seems appeased and says he’s been thinking of making Renley’s ‘perversion’ a crime punishable by death. Stroking his crossbow suggestively, Margaery says that’s his right, and he should do whatever he needs to do. He is, after all, the king. He seems pleased that someone’s acknowledging that. He asks if she likes the bow and she agrees that it’s beautiful and asks him to show her how it works. He demonstrates it and she laughs and claps delightedly, then asks him to take her hunting sometime. He seems to like the idea and invites her to hold the weapon. He helps her hold it properly and she says it must be exciting to squeeze a trigger and watch something die at the other end. Rather excited, he asks if she thinks she could manage it. She isn’t sure, but she asks if he’d like to watch her. Yes, he would. Because what Joffrey really wants is for someone to indulge and join in his sick puppy fantasies.
Theon’s still being tortured. His torturers ask him why he took Winterfell and he admits he did it without orders so he could bring glory to his father’s house. That doesn’t seem to be the right answer. Theon just tries guessing, saying he did it to hurt the Starks, because he hated them. Torture recommences for a bit, and then the torturers leave after draping him in a hood. When they’re gone, a young man pulls the hood off and tells Theon that his sister, Yara, sent him. He promises to come back that night when the castle’s asleep.
The Stark boys, Osha, Jojen, Meera, and Hodor are back on the move. Jojen, after observing Bran for a bit, guesses that he’s a warg, one of the people who can see through animals’ eyes, like the guy Jon saw. He also knows all about the three-eyed raven, because he remembers that dream Bran had. He explains that the raven brings the Sight, showing things that happened many, many years ago, as well as things happening now.
Osha’s walking with Meera a little further back and clearly showing her suspicion of Jojen. She asks Meera if he’s ashamed, needing his sister to protect him and Meera laughs that there’s no shame in that. Osha begs to differ.
Bran tells Jojen that he dreamt of his father’s death, when it happened. Jojen corrects that he didn’t dream it, he saw it. Jojen did too, and reported it to his father, who cried for the first time that Jojen knew of. His father, Howland Reed, is a loyal Stark bannerman.
The Three Musketeers are being fed and entertained by their captors, or whatever they are. Thoros asks how they escaped from Harrenhal and Arya says it was all thanks to Gendry and his mad smithing skillz. Thoros asks where Gendry trained, and Gendry (probably pretty stupidly) tells the truth. Thoros recognizes the name of the smith, too. Arya says that Gendry knows how to use a sword, and so does she. When the men laugh, she gets up and draws Needle, which just amuses them more. Thoren manages to disarm hear in the blink of an eye and returns to his ale. Abashed, Arya retrieves Needle and goes to sit down. Thoros tells them they can go, but before they leave, some others come in with a captive: the Hound. Great. Arya turns away from him with an ‘oh, shit’ look on her face. She and her buddies try to slip past him, but he notices her and asks Thoros what he’s doing with the Stark kid.
Bree and Jaime have reached a river, and Bree’s weighing her options: cross by bridge and risk being seen, or cross by water, and risk being swept away by the fast-moving current. She opts for bridge, and midway across, Jaime plunks down and says he needs a rest. When she goes to drag him to his feet, he grabs one of her swords, cuts the ropes on his wrists, and gets ready to fight as she draws her other weapon. He wonders aloud why some knights think it’s necessary to carry two swords, and I’d guess it’s for situations like this, so you’re not left unarmed if someone grabs one of them. He and Bree circle each other for a bit, and then get to fighting, with him even offering pointers, not that she really needs them. After some really masterful swordplay that makes me want to applaud whoever choreographed this, she kicks his ass, just in time for some mounted men to arrive, along with that guy they met on his way to Riverrun earlier. They pay him his silver for the intel and get ready to deliver Jaime to Robb.
I think we’re all caught up with the major players now, right? This week felt quite a bit like last week’s episode—lots of ‘where are they now?’ and not too much plot movement. But that’s ok—you kind of need that with a cast as big as this one, with action as wide-ranging as this show has. Still, now that we have a handle on things, I’m hoping they really start moving next week.