Previously on Game of Thrones: Tyrion and Jorah were set upon by Stone Men who managed to infect Jorah; Jaime and Bronn arrived in Dorne, unaware that the Sand Snakes are also after Myrcella; and Cersei organized the arrest of Loras Tyrell by the Sparrows.
Arya’s still at work washing bodies at the House of Black and White, and she’s starting to get a wee bit tired of it. After her current body is taken away, she tries to steal through the door it’s removed through, but the other girl slams it shut and orders her to get back to work. Arya demands a reason why she’s doing this and the other girl tells her she’ll know why when the proper time comes. Arya asks when she gets to play the Game of Faces again and the girl just reminds her that she failed once and tells her to get back to work. Arya asks who the girl is and the girl says that she was the daughter of a Westros lord, an only child, and her stepmother had a daughter and tried to kill the older girl with poison. The girl sought help from the Faceless Men and rewidowed her father. Sounds pretty standard for Westros’s elite families.
She walks slowly over to Arya and asks her to determine whether that was true or a lie. Caught off guard, Arya can’t answer. She’s once again told to get back to work, as yet another body is brought in.
She’s wakened in the middle of the night by Jacqen asking who she is. She sits up and replies that she’s Arya, from Westros. She continues that she’s from Winterfell, her father was a great lord who died in battle. He hits her with a switch and calls her out on the lie. She continues that she fled the capital, killing a stableboy by stabbing him in the back. Another lie. She says she was kidnapped by a man called Polliver (whip!), ok, a man called the Hound, and she left him in the mountains to die, because she hated him. He hits her again. She insists that wasn’t a lie but gets hit twice more. Jacqen asks if she really wants to be no one. She says she does and gets hit. She shouts that she’s not playing this stupid game she insisted on playing in the first place anymore. ‘We never stop playing,’ he murmurs before leaving her.
Jorah and Tyrion have failed to find those villages they were expecting and have been living on berries and roots, which doesn’t please Tyrion. Talk turns from food to what Tyrion was doing in Volantis and he admits that he killed his father for condemning him to death for a crime he knew Tyrion didn’t commit. Also for sleeping with Shae. He tells Jorah that at least Mormont Sr was a good man who cared about the people under his command. What a shame he’s dead now. Jorah’s response is a silent, ‘what, now?’ and Tyrion apologises for ungracefully breaking the news. Jorah asks how it happened and Tyrion tells him about the mutiny and how he was murdered by his own men while leading an expedition beyond the Wall. Jorah absorbs that and tells Tyrion they need to keep moving.
Arya’s moved on to scrubbing the floor. A man walks into the HoBaW carrying his frail daughter. He lays her down next to the pool in the centre of the room and asks Arya to help her, because the girl’s in chronic, debilitating pain and nobody can seem to do anything. Arya looks around, sees that there’s no one else to help, and goes over to the girl. Arya gently tells her that she used to be in pain all the time too, but her father brought her here and drank the waters and was healed, and now she serves the House. She takes a cup and fills it with water, handing it to the girl, who drinks. Jacqen looks on from the shadows. Later, after Arya has washed the girl’s body, he comes and gets her, leading her through the mysterious door.
Arya follows him deep underground, to a room filled with what appear to be clay faces set into the soaring walls and massive pillars supporting the roof. She stares up at them and Jacqen asks if she’s ready to give up everything that makes her her. He thinks not. Arya strokes one of the faces. He says she’s not ready to become no one, but she is ready to become someone else. Well, that’s a start I guess.
On the road, Tyrion asks why Jorah’s so devoted to Dany when his family fought against the Targaryens in the war. Jorah says he used to be a cynic, but then he witnessed an actual miracle when she hatched those dragons, and suddenly he was a believer. Tyrion says that doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll be a great queen, since she comes from pretty lousy stock. Eh, who doesn’t, in this world? Seems like all the high-up families tend to breed crazy people, sadists, and sociopaths.
[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]Seems like all the high-up families tend to breed crazy people, sadists, and sociopaths.[/cryout-pullquote]Jorah suddenly spots a slave ship anchored in the bay below and he and Tyrion hide behind a rock. Unfortunately, the crew of that ship is right behind them. They start beating up Jorah, presumably just for the fun of it, and discuss what to do with him: salt mines or galley slave. They have no need of Tyrion and the captain orders his throat cut. And then his dick is to be cut off, because dwarf dicks apparently have magical powers. Tyrion thinks fast (as always, especially when his neck’s on the line) and says nobody’s going to just take their word for it that it’s a genuine dwarf dick, they’ll need the dwarf attached to it. ‘The dwarf lives until we find a cock merchant’ the captain decides. Is that an actual job in this world? I’d believe it. Conveniently, they’re heading in the direction of Meereen. Tyrion tells them that Jorah’s a great fighter and would be great in the fighting pits. Jorah agrees, telling them he killed a Dothraki blood rider in single combat, which is seriously badass. Looks like we’re all off to Meereen!
In King’s Landing, Petyr’s intercepted by Lancel Lannister and some of his fellow Sparrows. Lancel informs Petyr that they’ve been busy in the city and warn him to tread carefully, because they have no tolerance for ‘flesh peddlers’. Petry smirks, because he knows he plays this game, and every game, a billion times better than everyone else combined and he doesn’t really have anything to fear just now from crazies who want to outlaw drinking and sex.
He goes to meet with Cersei and wonders if arresting Loras was a good idea. She insists that the Faith arrested him. He warns her that the Tyrells won’t take that lying down. She brings up Lysa and feels out Petyr’s loyalty, asking if the knights of the Vale will fight for Westros if war kicks up again. He says he’s always been loyal to the throne. Note that he doesn’t say he’s always been loyal to its current occupant. He goes on to tell her that he failed to find Arya, but he did find Sansa, now living at Winterfell and planning to marry Ramsay. She’s not pleased to hear that and threatens to skin the Boltons alive for allying themselves with the Starks, and in particular the Stark she thinks helped murder Joffrey. Petyr tells her to relax, let Stannis and Roose battle it out and, once they’ve spent themselves, seize Winterfell from whomever survives. She doesn’t think they have time to get up to Winterfell, with winter so much upon them. He suggests she get Jaime to muster a force but, as we know, Jaime’s away. Petyr offers up the knights of the Vale, in return for being named Warden of the North. And, presumably, getting Sansa in the bargain, though that’s never mentioned.
Down in Dorne, Myrcella is spending some time with her fiancé, Trystane, who’s really into her and wants them to get married ASAP. They start making out, like teenagers, but she tells him they really shouldn’t, because someone might see them. From above, his father watches them and comments on what a lovely couple they make, though the pairing of a Martell and Lannister is dangerous. Can’t be more dangerous than any other hookup on this show. He points out that his captain of the guard hasn’t had to use his axe in a while and he hopes he remembers how. The man reassures him he does.
Jaime and Bronn, now dressed in the dead guards’ clothes and riding their horses, approach the Water Gardens. Jaime admits he doesn’t have much of a plan yet, but it seems to potentially involve bribery.
Unknown to them, Ellaria and the Sand Snakes are planning their own attack on Myrcella’s blissful afternoon. The Snakes arm themselves and head into the gardens just as Bronn and Jaime do the same. The guys find Myrcella first, mid-makeout session with Trystane. She’s understandably surprised to see her uncle there. Trystane introduces himself and swiftly realizes something doesn’t smell right here. Bronn warns him not to do something stupid, and when the boy reaches for his sword, Bronn knocks him out cold. Myrcella freaks, and as Jaime tries to wrench her away from her boyfriend the Snakes swarm in. Bronn’s like, ‘Really? Come on.’ Fighting commences. Everyone’s fairly badass—clearly Oberyn believed in teaching his girls to defend themselves and fight with the best of them. One of the Snakes starts to drag Myrcella off, but the head of security arrives with a bunch of guards and orders everyone to drop their weapons. They do, reluctantly, Jaime going last. They’re taken away, and Ellaria is also found and taken into custody.
Oleanna’s back! All right! She’s on the road, not to happy to have to return to the despised King’s Landing. Once she gets there, she reassures Margaery that they have nothing on Loras, so this should be a simple thing to take care of. She knows Cersei’s behind this and promises to take care of her.
[cryout-pullquote align=”left” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]Petry smirks, because he knows he plays this game, and every game, a billion times better than everyone else combined and he doesn’t really have anything to fear just now from crazies who want to outlaw drinking and sex.[/cryout-pullquote]Cersei keeps her waiting while she pretends to do something, but Oleanna calls her a famous tart, and that gets her attention. She offers an apology once she gets Loras back. She also threatens to withhold the food Highgarden provides the capitol. Cersei tells her that doing so might provoke war again, and that this whole thing should go away as soon as the inquest is over. It’s not a trial, just a few questions.
The inquest gets underway. Loras denies having been Renly Baratheon’s lover, saying only that he and Renly were really good friends. High Sparrow dismisses him and calls Margaery, to her surprise. Apparently kings and queens aren’t exempt from questions at a holy inquest, so she has no choice but to take the hot seat. She tells HS that her brother is innocent of these charges. He thanks her and dismisses her, and then Loras’s most recent lover, Olyver, is brought in. He’s the charming lad Margaery stumbled upon at the start of the series. He was Loras’s squire and tells the inquest that he and Loras slept together. Loras calls him a liar. Olyver goes on to say that Margaery walked in on them and didn’t seem surprised to see them. Cersei plays the outraged lady, saying this is a terrible insult to a great house and why should they believe a squire, anyway? He tells them about Loras’s Dorne-shaped birthmark. Isn’t that something a squire might have seen in fairly innocent circumstances? Like, when he was helping his lord in and out of armour and such? I guess nobody considers that, because Loras launches himself at the young man and is dragged away. Also, Margaery is arrested for bearing false witness. She appeals to Tommen, who just sits there, useless as ever. The Lannisters really need to stop having children, because they universally suck. Well, except for Tyrion. Oleanna gives Cersei a burning look that says, ‘you are going to fall so hard your grandchildren will feel the impact, lady.’
Up in Winterfell, Myranda goes to Sansa’s room to draw her a bath, because she’ll want to be all clean and fresh for her new husband, right? Oh God, is it her wedding day? I just kept praying that Stannis would get there before this could take place, but apparently the sand has run out of this particular hourglass.
Myranda starts washing Sansa’s hair and tells her about the other women Ramsay’s been with and what happened to them when he got bored with them. She asks Sansa’s if she’s ever seen a body after the dogs have been at it. Sansa’s had enough of this shit and mockingly asks Myranda if she really thought Ramsay would love her forever? She then coldly tells the girl that she’s Sansa Stark of Winterfell, this is her home, and Myranda can’t scare her. All right, it’s nice to see a bit of steel creeping into this character. Also, Myranda can just get lost. She does, poutily.
Later, dressed in her wedding gown, Sansa paces her room. Reek arrives, nicely dressed, and says he’s come to escort her to the godswood. He asks her to take his arm, as Ramsay has ordered that it be so. She refuses. He begins to tremble and begs her to take it, because otherwise he’ll be punished. Sansa’s like, yeah, IDGAF.
[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]I just know there’ll be dozens if not hundreds of idiots putting this all over their bridal Pinterest boards and squealing: ‘Just what I want for my fantasy winter wedding!'[/cryout-pullquote]She follows him to the Godswood. It’s nighttime, snowing, and the place is lit by lanterns. And this is where this all starts to get really horrifying, because what we have here is a fantastic fantasy being turned on its head. The setting is gorgeous (I just know there’ll be dozens if not hundreds of idiots putting this all over their bridal Pinterest boards and squealing: Just what I want for my fantasy winter wedding!), the bride is gorgeous. Her gown, plain but perfectly fitted and in sharp contrast to the one she wore to marry Tyrion, which was an astonishingly elaborate work of art, is just what you’d expect a Winterfell lady to wear at her wedding. It’s lovely, but unfussy (dare I say it—it’s a bit stark), and it suits her. Everything about this is romantic and wonderful and just what you’d want for your wedding day—except this poor young woman is marrying a complete monster. It’s Beauty and the Beast, but without the happy ending or the cute talking furniture. And we all know it’s going to be awful, which makes the lovely setting and the equally lovely, simple ceremony all the more horrifying to watch.
All right, let’s get through this. Theon introduces her, and Ramsay steps forward. Theon gives her away, using his true name for the first time in a long time. He kind of chokes over the statement that he was her father’s ward, no doubt remembering the many kindnesses Ned Stark visited on him and just how he’s repaying them now. Sansa plays her part, agreeing to the marriage, and Ramsay responds with the creepiest smile.
Afterwards, they go up to Ramsay’s room, accompanied by Reek, and Ramsay starts pressing her on the matter of her virginity, asking how that can be the case when she’s already been married. She explains that Tyrion was kind and gentle. He warns her that lying to her husband on her wedding night would be a bad way to start a marriage. She promises she’s not lying. He kisses her, then orders her to take off her clothes. Reek tries to escape, but Ramsay orders him to stay and watch. Oh, dear God. Sansa’s horrified, as is Reek, but nobody has any choice in this matter. She very slowly starts undoing her sleeves as Reek closes the heavy door with a dull thud. Ramsay gets impatient and tears open the back of Sansa’s gown, laying her face down on the bed. She begins to cry, clutching at the furs on the bed. The camera then, thankfully, focuses on Reek’s face as he begins to tremble and weep as Sansa pitifully cries out in pain.
Ok, let’s all go curl up in a foetal position somewhere for a while. That one was rough.