Previously on Game of Thrones: Theon took over Winterfell, Stannis bore down on King’s Landing, Robb got a crush, and Jon got taken hostage by his own hostage.
With this recap, I will, at last, be all caught up. Whew!
Hell, hell, Winterfell. Someone dumps a bunch of dead ravens out a window as Theon watches. Then the gates open and in rides Yara with the men Theon wanted. Inside, Yara enjoys some lunch and emasculates her brother a bit, calling him out on killing children and mockingly calling him a great warrior. She thinks the kids were brave to try to run away and tells Theon he’s weak and stupid. He observes that she didn’t bring enough men and she says she’s not there to defend Winterfell, she’s there to bring him home so daddy can spank him properly. They’re not interested in holding Winterfell, which is hundreds of miles from the sea, and furthermore, now that Theon’s killed the Stark boys everyone in the North will want him dead. Theon doesn’t think too many people, Robb especially, will find out, since they killed all the ravens, like that’ll stop the gossip train.
She switches tactics and tries gentle persuasion to convince him to come home, but Theon’s too stubborn.
Jon and his Wildling captors reach a larger Wildling base camp and Ygritte tells the guy in charge that Mance will want a word with Jon, because he knows where the other Rangers are. The guy in charge is unimpressed and wants to kill Jon but Ygritte stands up for him, telling them he’s Ned Stark’s bastard and Mance will definitely want to talk to him. The guy finally agrees and she turns to Jon and tells him they’re even now. Jon’s plunked down next to the other Ranger captive: Halfhand, who tells Jon they went looking for him when he didn’t return (I was wondering about that…) but the Wildlings found them first and killed the others. Jon feels bad that the others died for him, but that’s all water under the bridge now, I guess.
On their way back to camp, Talisa asks Robb about his future bride, but he knows very little about her, not even her name. Has one actually been picked? I thought he was just going to go and choose one from the lineup. Talisa jokes that she’s sure they’ll be happy and they grimly laugh. Robb explains the circumstances that brought about the engagement, which brings up the subject of fathers. It seems Talisa isn’t too fond of hers.
They talk about the war and Robb tells her this is about seeing justice done, not about gold or glory. Their chat is interrupted by the arrival of some of Robb’s soldiers, who inform him that Jaime escaped during the night, apparently aided by Cate.
Wait, what? Why the hell would she do that? He was their only bargaining chip! What a MORON!
Robb immediately goes to his mother and asks her what the hell she was thinking. She says she’s afraid for her daughters and worries that she’ll only have one kid left when this is all over. Right, so why did you release the one reason the girls might be kept alive and safe? With no Jaime, nobody has any reason to keep them around. What would they gain from that? I thought Cate was smarter than this.
The man whose son was killed by Jaime is there too, and enraged, of course. He accuses Cate of treason and, in a dangerous voice, tells her she has robbed him of his vengeance. Robb chimes in and tells her she’s just sown discord in his camp and behaved selfishly and gone behind his back, He puts her under guard and goes in search of Jaime.
Jaime’s being taken far from the camp by Brie, who pulls him off his horse, removes the hood over his head, and marches him into the woods. He tries to bait her, wondering aloud if she could beat him in a fair fight. Honestly? My money would be on her. Brie prepares a boat on the river and tells him that, essentially, she could kick his ass, but they’re not going to find out today, because she’s not brainless. She dumps him in the boat and starts rowing.
Someone’s bringing Tywin word of the danger to King’s Landing, which is expected to fall very shortly after Stannis shows up. There’s still time to get Cersei and Joffrey out, though. Tywin won’t hear of the king running and confirms that Stannis is still two days away, meanwhile Robb’s still at his doorstep. One of the captains says he doubts Robb’s going to do anything just now, because he’s a bit distracted by all the goings-on in Winterfell. Tywin thinks Robb’s young and confident and willing to take a few risks. Arya, as usual, putters about and listens in. Tywin orders Clegane to remain at Harranhal with Arya to look after him while the rest of them hit the road at nightfall.
As soon as she’s free to do so, Arya heads out into the camp, passing several hanged men, looking for Jacqen. She can’t find him, so she asks Gendry where he is. Gendry doesn’t know, but that obnoxious fat kid does, so Arya gets his location, just as Tywin mounts up and rides away.
The Wildling captors have Jon and Halfhand bound up and walking together, which seems a bit unwise, but I guess they figure that, even if they escape, they don’t have anywhere to go. Halfhand starts a ruckus and accuses Jon of being a traitorous bastard, all in an effort to convince the Wildlings that he’s not in the least on Jon’s side.
Tyrion’s rather tense and taking it out a bit on Bronn, who’s annoying him by cleaning his nails. He tells Bronn he should wear the gold cloak that denotes his rank as commander of the City Watch. Bronn subscribes to the Edna Mode school of No Cloaks and refuses to wear one. Tyrion, it turns out, is currently reading giant history books in the hopes they’ll help him devise a strategy for winning the upcoming battle against Stannis. Bronn already knows they won’t.
In comes Varys, who compliments Bronn on his work bringing down the local crime rate, particularly doing away with the thieves. It seems Bronn rounded up the thieves and totally did away with them, and when Tyrion disapproves, he lays out exactly how bad it can get in a city under siege and how much worse it is when there are a lot of known thieves operating. This is a man who operates in the real world, whereas everyone else is in Idealand. Tyrion moves on to discuss their weaknesses, which include Stannis’s knowledge of King’s Landing and its weakest point: the Mud Gate. Apparently, the only thing they have to hold him back is pig crap. Well, wet it down enough and it’ll slow them up considerably.
Sam and some of the other Rangers are trying to dig latrine pits in the frozen ground. Sam wonders where Jon is and the others think he’s probably dead, since it’s taken way too long for him to come back with Halfhand. One of the men finds something and, when they wipe away the snow, they discover the carved top of a chest or something. Inside is a Night’s Watch cloak wrapped around obsidian spear heads. Curious.
Jacqen finds Arya and asks for her third name. She gives him Tywin Lannister. Jacqen can’t kill him, not as fast as she wants, so he asks for another. Arya gives him his own name, then. She promises to unname him if he helps her and her friends escape. He agrees.
Tyrion’s having dinner with Cersei, who has heard that Joffrey plans to help fight. Tyrion thinks that’ll be good for the troops’ morale. She thinks he lacks the gift to be successful on the battlefield and accuses Tyrion of orchestrating this. Tyrion tells her that Joffrey needs to get out there and prove himself somehow, instead of hiding behind her all the time. And, let’s be honest, maybe he’s hoping just a little that Joffrey bites it and rids them of his problematic presence.
Cersei gets a little creepy and informs Tyrion that she has his girlfriend and she’s been using her for a bit of a punching bag. She found her because she had a Lannister lion on her. Tyrion pretends not to care and says he was just renting her for a bit but Cersei knows better and says that, if Joffrey’s hurt, Shay will pay for it dearly. To prove that she hasn’t killed her already, Cersei has her brought in and…it’s not Shay. It’s Roz. Tyrion goes over to her and says he’s sorry they hurt her and that she must be brave. When did Roz get a Lannister token from Tyrion? Back when he was up at Winterfell? She hung onto that thing for a long time, didn’t she? Anyway, she plays along impressively and asks him not to forget her before she’s bundled out by the guards. Tyrion turns back to his sister and promises to hurt her for this. I believe his threats a lot more than I believe hers.
Tyrion hurries back to his rooms and calls for Shay. She appears and he’s just happy to see that she’s not beaten to a pulp or anything. He tells her they have to be more careful, because there are people who want to hurt him. She doesn’t quite appreciate the danger she’s in, until he very sincerely says that he’d kill for her, and he thinks he’ll have to before all this is over. He makes her promise that she’s his and she does, adding that he’s hers as well.
Robb’s stressing about his brothers’ safety, but one of his men reassures him that Theon wouldn’t be stupid enough to hurt them, because they’re his only hope of escaping the North in one piece. Robb says that any Ironborn who surrenders willingly will be allowed to return home, but Theon will be paying a price for what he’s done.
Talisa comes by to ask how Robb’s doing and the short answer is: not great. He apologizes for complaining and says that’s not the kind of king he wants to be. He was raised to be a good man, and a good Lord of Winterfell. She says she was raised to be a proper little lady, so yeah one’s life trajectory can change. He asks how she went from that to battlefield nursing. She tells him that when she was a kid she was left at home with her little brother, and one day they went swimming and he drowned when she wasn’t looking. After she pulled him out of the water, a fisherman slave managed to bring him back thanks to the wonder of CPR. And that’s when she decided to be a healer.
She apologizes for blathering on and Robb suddenly blurts out that he doesn’t want to marry the Frey girl. Of course not, he wants to marry Talisa, and he starts making out with her to prove it. Before long, they’re pulling each other’s clothes off and it’s really kind of hot, I have to admit.
Arya’s waiting for escape with Gendry and Fatty, who’s whining about a pie or something. Why is Arya even taking him? He’s useless and annoying. Oh, because he managed to pilfer some food for them. Which he’ll probably just eat himself. Gendry wonders how they’re going to do this and Arya tells them Jacqen said to just walk through the gates at midnight. So, they do, noticing that all the guards supposedly on duty are dead.
Davos and Stannis are aboard ship, and according to Davos they’ll reach King’s Landing in a day or so. Stannis says he admires Davos, who’s a totally self-made man and refuses to be offended by those who remind him of it. Stannis bitterly remembers a very long siege at Storm’s End he withstood during Robert’s wars, during which he and the others were finally saved from starvation by Davos and a very timely shipment of food. And then after all was said and done, Robert turned around and gave Storm’s End to Renley, who’d never fought a day in his life. Yeah, that’s kinda shitty. But now Stannis will be king, and he promises to make Davos his Hand when it’s all official.
Joffrey walks the walls of the city with Varys and Tyrion and cockily promises to slit Stannis’s throat when he meets him. Once he swaggers off, Tyrion and Varys prepare to have a somewhat honest conversation. Varys tells him he’s a good Hand and is good at playing this political game. Much better than the last two Hands, certainly. Varys says he’s heard a rumor that Daenerys is alive and has three dragons. It’ll be years before they’re fully grown, but once they are, nobody will be safe. Tyrion suggests they take care of one problem at a time.
In Qarth, Daenerys pokes around the gardens of what is now her prison. Jorah warns her that she’s being watched closely. They stroll and he tells her he’s found a ship that’s sailing the next day. She refuses to leave without her dragons, because she’s really bought into this “Mother of Dragons” title. He warns her that, if they stay in Qarth, they’ll die and she snaps that he should just go ahead and flee. A bit offended, he says he’ll die for her; his duty is to serve her. She tells him to take her to the House of the Undying, where the dragons are, if he wants to serve. He says that’s what the creepy warlock wants, and creepy warlock has some powerful magic. Daenerys says she does too—remember how she managed to survive her husband’s funeral pyre? He says he remembers, and he always will. She cradles his face and tells him that the dragons are her children, and they’re the only ones she’ll ever have.
Theon looks up at the bodies on the gate and tells his first mate they should bury them. The guy thinks they should leave them a few days, but Theon’s pretty sure everyone’s gotten the message. He goes to give Mate some gold to the farmer for his “trouble.” Jesus—his trouble? You killed his children! At any rate, Mate says the farmer’s dead, and his wife too, because when you want to silence someone, you silence them. While they’re talking, Luwin wanders through the courtyard and catches a glimpse of Osha stealing away into the shadows. He tracks her down to a hiding place, where she tells him they got as far as the farm and doubled back, figuring the castle was the safest place to hide, because who would think to look there? Certainly not Theon. Luwin finally figures out that the dead kids are the farmer’s boys and makes her promise not to tell the kids, but Bran’s awake and seems to hear everything, so well done there, you two.