Previously on Game of Thrones: Theon pledged himself to his Iron Islands family, while Renley looks like he’s going to throw his hand in with Robb. Goldcloaks found Arya and Gendry, but Arya lied that Gendry was already dead. We’ll see how much time that buys them.
We’ve got Harrenhall in the credits today—I’m pretty sure that’s a new locale, though the name sounds familiar. There’s a place called Qarth too, which looks like it might be in some desert-like area.
A couple of soldiers sit around in the rain, discussing who’s likely to win this war. Also, it sounds like Renley’s sexual orientation is no secret. One of the soldiers notes the horses’ restlessness and thinks there’s something out there, but the whole thing is just a joke so he can scare his partner. Then a huge direwolf appears and bites one of the men’s faces off. Robb and his men, concealed in the woods, charge, and by the sound and look of it, kick some serious ass by the next morning. One of Robb’s right-hand men suggests they take the officers prisoner and torture them for information. Robb tells him that’s a no go, because he doesn’t want to give the Lannisters an excuse to hurt his sisters. His attention’s drawn by a woman attending to a wounded man nearby. She’s all no-nonsense and tells the guy his foot has to come off. Robb jumps in and lends a hand, holding the man down and giving him something to bite down on. Later, he asks the woman’s name and she tells him, but I’m afraid I couldn’t quite catch it. They argue over who’s in the right in the war (she’s not a fan of all the carnage, naturally). As she leaves, Robb tells her the boy was lucky she was there. “He’s unlucky that you were,” she calls back.
Joffrey has Sansa in front of him in the throne room, and he’s aiming a crossbow at her and telling her she has to answer for her brother’s latest treason. She cries and begs him to remember that she has nothing to do with that, like he cares. Joffrey contemplates killing her, but his mother is insisting on keeping her alive. Instead, he has her rather savagely beaten and half stripped in front of everyone. Unfortunately for Joffrey but luckily for Sansa, Tyrion shows up and puts a stop to this and calls Joffrey a half-wit and reminds him that the mad king acted this way too. Then he shuts up Joffrey’s annoying guard and helps Sansa up and escorts her out, apologizing to her for Joffrey’s behavior. He asks her if she wants an end to her engagement and she slips back into robot mode and calls Joffrey her one true love. Once she’s gone, Bronn and Tyrion discuss the Joffrey issue and wonder if getting him laid might help relieve the tension a bit.
Later, when he arrives at his bedroom, Joffrey finds two lovely ladies waiting for him. They help each other strip and begin putting on a show for his benefit, but of course what he wants to see is the two of these women beating each other. There’s some light spanking, so he hands over a belt and tells the woman to use that instead. The two ladies start to get a little scared, but they have no choice but to do it. Then, he picks up a wicked looking staff and holds it out to one of them, who reluctantly takes it. She tries to tell him that too much pain will ruin the pleasure, but he doesn’t care. One of them tries to hold the threat of Tyrion over him, but Joffrey wants Tyrion to know what he’s done. What a sadistic little prick. Not that we didn’t know that.
Camp Baratheon. Petyr’s come to see Renley, who’s not particularly happy to see him. Petyr tells him he still has lots of friends at court, and Renley realizes Petyr’s come to suck up so he doesn’t end up losing everything when Renley takes King’s Landing. In return, Petyr basically promises to hand over Kings’ landing on a silver platter.
Later, Petyr runs into Margery and asks her to show her how to get to his tent. He quickly winnows out of her that she does not share a tent with her husband, and that said husband tends to share his bed with Margery’s brother. She tells him that her whole loyalty is to her king and husband, who are one in the same.
Red Waste. One of Daenerys’s riders actually manages to come back with his head and body attached. He tells her happily that Qarth is happy to welcome the Mother of Dragons. She asks Jorah what he knows of this place and he tells her that the area around it is known as the garden of bones. Promising!
Arya and her fellow prisoners are taken to a miserable, burnt-out castle that’s been half melted. One of the others asks what kind of fire melts stone, and Arya says it must be dragon fire. They’re imprisoned with the other captives, forced to listen to another being tortured. An older woman catatonically says that man was her son, and that it was her sister before that, and her husband before that. Gendry figures they take someone every day, and Arya asks if anyone lives. The woman’s silence is her answer.
At night, Arya prays for the Lannisters to live in pain.
Petyr next heads to Robb’s encampment, where he’s not exactly welcomed with open arms by Cate, who reminds him that he betrayed her husband. Petyr insists that fate has given the two of them a second chance, which is so not the line to use with this woman right now. She quickly pulls out a knife and tells him to get lost. So, he switches tactics and asks her if she wants to see her daughters again. He also lies he has Arya. He adds that he fears for the girls’ longevity if they remain at King’s Landing. Cate lowers the knife and asks what he wants. He says the Lannisters will trade Jaime for the girls. She says Robb will never agree to it, but it might not be entirely up to him. He brings in a gift from Tyrion as a sign of good faith. It’s a large box that I’m sure contains her husband’s remains. She struggles to hold it together as she opens the box and tells Petyr to get out, though in a less fierce tone than she used earlier.
Arya wakes to the sound of shouting and chaos. Soldiers come around yelling at the prisoners ahead of the arrival of the man who does the choosing of the torture victim of the day. He picks some guy with piercing blue eyes. The fat kid who came in with Arya and the others pisses himself in fear.
BlueEyes gets strapped to a chair and is asked about the Brotherhood. He says he doesn’t know anything, so they strap some rats to his chest in a bucket and scare them so they…start doing something really, really awful to him. That night, Arya adds a few extra names to her curse list.
Stannis and Renley are meeting at last, with Melisandre and Cate in attendance. Renley makes fun of his brother’s new banner and sigil and age, which is a great way to make allies. They bicker and Cate plays mama and says they should have their heads knocked together until they can get along. They go right back to bickering again and Renley tells his brother that nobody wants him to be king, because he has no friends and nobody likes him. Stannis tells Renely he has until that night to reconsider his position, and if he joins Stannis, he’ll be named heir, until a son is born. He gallops off, and Melisandre warns Renley to look to his sins before she follows.
Qarth. Daenerys and her khalisar wait outside the city gates as soldiers and assorted officials come out to greet them. She starts to introduce herself, but the leader knows exactly who she is. He has no name, apparently, that we can pronounce, but he’s a spice merchant, so Spicy it is. He wants to see the dragons, but Daenerys stonewalls, asking for food and water for her people before show and tell. Spicy wants to see the dragons first. Daenerys won’t play, so Spicy goes to return to the city. Danerys gets pissed, reminding him that he promised to receive them. He says he has, then insults her khalisar and heads back to the gates. Daenerys tells him that, when her dragons are grown, she’ll be laying waste to any city that pisses her off, and Qarth will be first, if they turn them away. This seems to impress Spicy and he calls her a true Targaryen. One of the other members of the Thirteen (the ruling council) steps forward and speaks up for Daenerys and the others. Spicy won’t bend, so other guy invokes something or other that allows him to vouch for the visitors and let them into the city. The gates open, and in they go. It looks a lot like they got their set design from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Which means, this looks like a pretty cool place.
A new head is hammered onto a pike above where Arya and the other prisoners are held. And then Gendry is taken out. Like the man before him, he’s asked about the brotherhood, but he has no clue what that is. They start their usual rat torture, but then who should show up but Tywin Lannister. Good timing, Tywin. He asks what’s going on and calls the torturers out on just disposing of able-bodied workers. He asks Gendry what he can do and Gendry says he’s a smith. Then Tywin wanders over to Arya and calls her out on being a girl in all of three seconds. She makes the worst fake boy ever. She says she’s disguised because it’s safer to travel that way. Tywin orders her to attend him as a new cupbearer.
One of the Lannister cousins arrives at Tyrion’s rooms with orders from Cersei to release Pycelle. Tyrion takes it and invites him for a drink of wine. Cousin begs off rudely and Tyrion notes that he must have a lot of trust in him to allow him into her chamber “during the hour of the wolf” whatever that means. He notes the cousin smells like her favorite lavender oil and correctly deduces that Cersei’s sleeping with this cousin, which I think we saw back in season one. Talk about keeping it in the family. He tries to deny it but Tyrion’s on a roll and threatens to tell Joffrey. Cousin protests that this wasn’t his fault, because he was told to do whatever he was told. He begs Tyrion for mercy and offers to leave the city at once. But that’s not what Tyrion wants at all. He wants this cousin to spy for him. He really does play this game well, doesn’t he? Oh, and he’ll release Pycelle, he just won’t let him back on the council.
Davos joins Stannis on the deck of one of his ships and they talk a bit about the fingers Davos had hacked off by Stannis himself (for smuggling). Stannis asks if Davos has forgotten his smugglers’ tricks, because he wants to quietly bring the “red woman” ashore. Davos is reluctant, but Stannis says that “cleaner ways” don’t win wars, so off Davos goes.
The “red woman” is Melisandre, and she’s soon in a boat being rowed to shore by Davos. They chat a bit about good and evil and how she’s a sort of knight herself, being a champion of good and evil. Davos deposits her on shore and she asks if he loves his wife, despite having been with other women. He says he does. She thinks he wants her, and furthermore, he shall have her. Eventually. Together, they descend to an underground passage that’s been barred. Melisandre drops her cloak to reveal she’s now hugely pregnant. Davos’s lantern starts to glow very brightly as she drops into the birthing position and starts to go into labor. Her belly pulsates in a rather creepy way, and then some sort of demon creature emerges from her, all smoke and clothes and black oil-slicked something or other. Ew.