Previously on Game of Thrones: Petyr took Sansa to Winterfell to marry her off to Ramsay Bolton, Ellaria tried to convince Oberyn’s brother to go to war and avenge his brother, and Tyrion got kidnapped by Jorah.
Dorne is our cool new addition to the opening credits.
A man ties up his fishing vessel at night, returns to shore, and is immediately knocked unconscious by Jorah, who drags him onto the beach and steals his boat, tossing a bound and gagged Tyrion in first.
Meanwhile, on a slightly larger boat, we catch up with Jaime and Bronn, just passing by Brienne’s hometown of Tarth. Belowdecks, Bronn asks why they’re travelling so incognito and Jaime explains that they’re going to sneak ashore.
Bronn: You ever been to Dorne? Those people are crazy. All they do is fight and get laid.
Jaime: Sounds like your kind of place.
Bronn: Totally! But I doubt we’re going to be able to stick around for all the mad sexing once we’re done with the killing bit and running off with their princess.
Jaime: Not their princess, my niece.
Bronn: Right, your ‘niece’. Why not send an army in to do this nasty work? Why do it yourself? You do know you’re seriously recognizable, right?
Jaime: You know the answer to that, but I’m not going to answer in any way that actually requires me to admit to having committed incest for more than a decade.
Bronn calls Jaime out on freeing Tyrion, though Jaime insists that Varys was behind that. Bronn asks him to pass on a hello if he sees Tyrion again, and Jaime coldly informs him that Tyrion killed their father, so he plans to split Tyrion in half the next time they meet up. But then he’ll pass along Bronn’s best wishes. That’s polite, I guess.
At a meeting of the small council, Tyrell announces the Iron Bank has called in a tenth of the crown’s debt, which they don’t have nearly enough money to pay. Cersei tells him that, in his capacity as Master of Coin, he’ll have to go negotiate a deal, accompanied by Ser Meryn as a guard. Tyrell’s tickled to get his very own Kingsguard and toddles off to get ready to leave.
Cersei next meets with High Sparrow, who turns down her offer of wine, claiming not to like the taste. She reminds him of a day when the Faith Militant helped keep the peace and offers to resurrect this long-defunct group of armed zealots and allow High Sparrow to recruit members and root out great sinners. Sure, those types of plans usually work out. She even has a tip for one they can go after.
The Sparrows set out to begin wreaking havoc as only fanatics can. They bust barrels of ale and figurines being sold in the streets, break into Petyr’s brothel and attack the whores and customers, reserving some special punishment for two men found together. Apparently that’s the worst of the worst. Even in fantasyland, religious nuts hate homosexuality. Oh, and while all this is going on, Lancel Lannister is having the symbol of the Sparrows etched into his forehead with a knife. That’s some serious dedication to your cause. Once that’s done, he takes some Sparrows to arrest Loras for breaking the laws of gods and men.
Margaery gets word and immediately goes to her husband and demands to know what’s going on. She tells Tommen that his mother has done this because she’s jealous that Tommen isn’t hers anymore. Tommen cluelessly asks Margaery if she and his mother aren’t getting along. She tries to remain calm and tells him she can’t bear to think of her brother locked away. He offers to set him free for her and goes to see his mother, who’s drinking, of course. He demands, a bit weakly, that Loras be released. Cersei says she didn’t arrest him. He points out that she gave the High Sparrow a frigging army (and, honestly, how long does she think this’ll go on before Lancel turns on her and she’s the one being thrown in a dungeon?). Cersei suggests her son go talk to the High Sparrow and have him release Loras.
Tommen goes to do just that, but he’s blocked from entering the sept, where Sparrow’s praying, by a collection of armed Sparrows. The kingsguard accompanying Tommen offers to kill their way into the sept. Tommen seems uncertain and definitely unenthusiastic about that. He starts to hear the poor people in the street behind him calling him an abomination and a product of sin. Aww, poor Tommen. He tells his kingsguard they’ll find another way to get this done.
He returns home and tells Margaery that they couldn’t free Loras without violence. She reels off all his titles and then asks why he, with all his alleged power, allowed his brother in law to be arrested by a band of fanatics. He promises to go speak to the Sparrow…eventually. Clearly realizing just how weak her husband is and how much that sucks for her and her family right now, Margaery goes to send word to her grandmother and to be with her family. Aww, poor Tommen. And poor Loras, that just sucks.
Stannis and Selyse watch Jon training with some of the Night’s Watch. Selyse notes that Stannis seems fond of this boy, whom she dismisses as the bastard of some tavern slut. She sighs that she should have given him a son, as if that’s within anyone’s power, adding that all she’s given him is weakness and deformity. She turns to look at little Shireen as she says that last bit. Thankfully the kid’s out of earshot, but Melisandre’s not.
Melisandre: Bitch, that’s a shitty way to talk about a girl who has royal blood in her veins. The Lord of Light doesn’t care about her scars.
She gives Selyse a hard look and Selyse retreats. Melisandre figures they’ll march on Winterfell soon and makes Stannis promise to take her along this time. He says he needs her. She says he only needs the Lord. He asks what she needs. ‘To serve my Lord,’ she answers.
Sam is having Jon sign letters to various lords and ladies, begging them for men and supplies. He saves the worst for last: Lord Bolton. Jon refuses to sign. Sam apologises, but reminds Jon that this man is the warden of the North, and they need his men. Jon reluctantly signs, looking disgusted. Sam gathers the letters and hastily retreats as Melisandre comes in.
Melisandre wastes no time inviting Jon to come along with them on their march south, to help them chase the rats out of his former home. He tells her that Castle Black is his home now and the Night’s Watch has no part in this war. She offers to show him what they’re fighting for. He scoffs at the notion of being shown visions, but she promises there’ll be no magic and opens her dress, taking his hand and placing it on her bare breast. She tells him not to resist the power in him, but to embrace it. He hastily removes his hand. She straddles him and tells him that men and women were meant to be together, and their joining is powerful. Though he’s clearly tempted, he tells her that he can’t be with her, because he swore a vow, plus, he’s still in love with his dead girlfriend. Aww. Melisandre does up her dress and goes to leave, stopping at the door and turning to say, ‘You know nothing, Jon Snow.’ Woah. Jon looks a bit freaked out.
Shireen goes to see her father and admits she’s bored. He says that his father said that boredom indicated a lack of inner resources. ‘Were you bored a lot too?’ she asks. HA! She tells him she likes being at Castle Black and is glad he didn’t let her mother leave her behind. She asks her father if he’s ashamed of her and he tells her about how she got sick, catching the illness from a doll that Stannis bought from a Dornish trader. He was advised to send her to a leper colony in Valyria but he basically told everyone to go to hell and called in every maester, healer, and apothecary he could find and they managed to save her. Aww. She gets a bit teary and hugs him.
Petyr finds Sansa down in her family crypt, where she’s lighting candles and finding the feather that, I believe, Robert left at her aunt’s grave years ago now. Petyr tells her about a tourney he went to many years ago, before Robert’s rebellion, and how Rhaegar Targaryan won the last bout and ignored his wife to lay a wreath of roses in Leanna’s lap. Yowch.
Petyr draws her aside and she notices he’s dressed for riding. He tells her he’s getting ready to go to King’s Landing, having been sent for by Cersei. She’s aghast at the idea of being left alone at Winterfell, so Petyr tells her how things are going to go: Stannis is going to march south soon, and he’ll take Winterfell from the Boltons and install Sansa, as the last remaining Stark, as Wardeness of the North. She’d further alarmed by this idea, because she definitely hasn’t been raised to rule. She asks what happens if Petyr’s wrong about all this, and he tells her that she’ll marry Ramsay and make him hers, using her feminine wiles. He reassures her that Ramsay’s already fallen for her. She’ll have to watch for Roose, though, but she’s learned to outmaneuver from the best. He leans forward and kisses her, and she lets him, then, with a bit of dark humour, says she’ll probably be a married woman by the time he returns. He chuckles and leaves her.
Bronn rows himself and Jaime to shore, stopping briefly to glare at Jaime, who holds up his one metal hand all, ‘sorry, bro, can’t help you.’ They catch a bit of shut-eye on the beach, where Jaime narrowly misses being bitten by a poisonous snake. This leads to a conversation about how they hope to die. Bronn hopes for a pretty boring death, at home, drinking some wine. Jaime wants to die in the arms of the woman he loves. Excuse me while I shudder, since I assume he’s talking about Cersei.
They get moving and Bronn asks Jaime what’s stopping the captain of the ship they were on from raising the alarm that Jaime’s in Dorne. Jaime says he paid the guy off and Bronn sighs that Jaime doesn’t seem to appreciate how hated he is in this part of the world.
They spot some guards riding and try to hide, but their footprints are found in the sand, so they pop out of their hiding place and pretend to be King’s Landing men whose ship capsized in the night and man, are they glad someone found them! The guards seem doubtful and tell the men to throw down their swords, leveling spears at them both. Bronn takes out his sword, but then sends a knife right into the throat of the lead guard. He swiftly rearms himself and takes out another guard. A third one is unhorsed and left for Jaime to deal with while Bronn goes after the fourth man. Jaime does decently, considering he’s only got the one hand and is fighting on sand dunes, but the man very nearly gets in a killing blow. It’s stopped by Jaime’s golden hand, luckily. He kills the guard and rejoins Bronn, telling him they’ll have to bury the bodies, so people won’t find them and ask questions. Bronn’s not pleased by that.
Elsewhere in Dorne, llaria rides to a small encampment where the Sand Snakes—Oberyn’s illegitimate daughters (one of them hers)—are waiting. They ask if there’ll be a war but she informs them that Oberyn’s brother is not in a revenge mood, so it’s up to them. She hopes to use Myrcella to get things going. One of the young women says they might have a problem there, before revealing a man who’s been buried up to his neck in the sand, with scorpions crawling all over him. Damn, these ladies don’t mess around. The girl says this is a ship’s captain who found her, saying he had information to sell. He claims to have smuggled Jaime to Dorne. Ellaria says they don’t have any time to waste and asks which side they chose: Doran’s way and peace, or her way and war? Her daughter is with her, of course, as is Nym. Obara remembers Oberyn encouraging her to either choose the way of the warrior or the way of the weakling, and naturally she went with warrior. Yeah, she’s happy going to war. Also, she’s amazing with a spear.
Tyrion’s muffled conversation gets so annoying that Jorah ungags him. Tyrion immediately asks who he is. ‘Your captor,’ Jorah replies. Tyrion asks if he has wine. Nope. This is going to be a rough trip. Tyrion notes that they’re not heading to Westros and Jorah informs him they’re going to the queen he serves: Dany. Tyrion laughs and calls this a waste of a good kidnapping, since he was already heading that way. Since they’re on the same side, can he be untied? That’s a no. Tyrion figures out who Jorah is and also quickly realizes that Dany must have found out about Jorah spying on her. He guesses Jorah hopes to win back her favour with a gift, but he warns Jorah that she could very well execute him instead of Tyrion. Jorah shuts him up with a hefty blow.
Barristan joins Dany on her balcony and tells her how her brother Rhaegar would often go out onto the streets of King’s Landing and sing. Apparently he was a decent busker, and nobody knew who he really was. Barristan got to collect the money, which they would sometimes distribute to orphanages and other minstrels. Once they got wasted.
Daario comes in and tells her that Hizdahr is there to see her. She sighs and goes to meet with him. He urges her once again to reopen the fighting pits. Today is the traditional start of the fighting season, and the men of the city want a chance to let their names live on in glory. She thinks this is savage butchery. He tells her that traditions like these are one of the few things that the slaves and masters have in common, and they need things like this.
Sons of the Harpy mass together and attack some men hanging around a brothel. Some of the Unsullied patrolling the streets hear the ruckus and go to investigate. One prostitute, weeping, points them in the right direction. As they run off, she rubs away her crocodile tears.
The Unsullied find themselves lured into a trap. The fighting is fierce and extremely well choreographed. Grey Worm is amongst the Unsullied. Oh dear.
Barristan, out for a walk through the streets, hears bells ringing frantically and sees people fleeing from the fighting. He draws his sword and prepares to step in.
The Unsullied are great at their jobs, but there are just too many Sons. Before long, only Grey Worm is left standing. That’s when Barristan finds them. He bravely joins the fight, but there are about 10 sons and just him and Grey Worm, and Grey Worm is wounded. The two men manage to take down several Sons, but Barristan is stabbed through the chest and falls. Grey Worm kills the man who stabbed Barristan, then lies down beside the man to, presumably, die.