Previously on Game of Thrones: Melisandre gave birth to Stannis’s freaky smoke-baby. Arya and her fellow prisoners were taken to Harranhal, a rather horrific place where they were nearly tortured to death. Fortunately Tywin Lannister saved them and made Arya his new cupbearer. Theon took the first steps toward being welcomed back into his family fold, and Daenerys found refuge for her tribe and baby dragons.
I’m so woefully behind on these. I’m sorry, everybody. I spent the weekend getting caught up with The Borgias, mostly because the names in that are easier to spell. Yeah, I know, lazy. But here I am, back in Game of Thrones Land, so let’s get started.
Cate’s having a meeting with Renley at his camp. She swears Robb has no interest in the Iron Throne, so Renley agrees to let him continue calling himself King in the North, as long as Robb swears a loyalty oath to him as king—the same oath his father swore to King Robert. Now that he won’t have to worry about Robb, Reneley feels confident saying he’ll crush Stannis’s army in the morning. As Brie helps him remove his cloak and armor, Cate begs him to reconsider the battle and negotiate with his brother. Renley laughs that off, and wouldn’t you know it, a few seconds later SmokeStannis floats in, stabs Renley to death, and dissipates. Cate’s all WTF? and Brie screams and catches Renley as he falls. Two guards rush in, see Brie standing over their fallen leader, and immediately assume she killed him, despite there being no weapon or real motive, and despite the fact that Cate’s trying to tell them it wasn’t Brie. The guards charge and I guess her instincts kick in, because Brie arms herself and kills them both in about 10 seconds flat. Cate, being the sensible one, tells her they have to get out of there fast, and when it seems Brie would rather stay and indulge in some serious grief, Cate reminds her she can’t avenge Renley if she’s dead.
Petyr takes a moment to check out Stannis’s fleet of ships, which are anchored off the coast, as Renley’s camp devolves into chaos around him.
Renley’s all laid out, with Flowers tending to him and Margery pacing nervously and telling her brother they’d really better hit the road soon. Petyr joins them and tells them Stannis is on his way, and Renley’s former bannermen will flock to him as soon as he arrives, so they really should get out of there. Flowers is prepared to stay, just as Brie was, and just like Cate, Petyr tells him he can’t get his vengeance from the grave. Margery seconds that and together, they finally get through to her brother. With one last, anguished look at dead Renley, Flowers goes to ready the horses.
When he’s gone, Margery looks down at her dead husband and observes that he was very handsome, but he wasn’t a king just because he said he was. Petyr asks if she wants to be a queen and Margery tells him no, she wants to be the queen.
News of Renley’s death has reached King’s Landing, where Cersei celebrates by drinking a bit too much while Tyrion tries to talk sense and reminds her that there’s still a really big army out there, ready to attack them. Cersei’s more concerned about the proposed marriage for her daughter, which she’s still seriously pissed off about. Tyrion tells her Marcella will be safer in Dorn, and I’m a bit surprised this is still going on, because I thought all the marriage talk was just a ruse. Guess not. Cersei sneers at her brother and tells her that Joffrey’s taking care of the siege preparations personally, and he’s leaving his mom completely out of the loop, which means Tyrion’s out of the loop.
Tyrion meets with his cousin Lancel, the one who’s sleeping with Cersei, to find out if she really knows anything and he tells him Cersei’s preparing wildfire. Tyrion doesn’t believe him at first and plays around with him a bit until Lancel manages to convince him. Even after that Tyrion jerks him around some, but then gets rather bored and lets him go.
Davos catches up with Stannis and tells him how sorry he is about his brother being killed by a demon and all. He also wants to talk to Stannis about the horror movie he recently witnessed, but Stannis doesn’t want to hear it, because whatever that thing was, it got him a hell of a lot of extra soldiers. Davos backs down and asks when they’ll head to King’s Landing and whether they’ll bring Melisandre with them. The answers are: soon and none of your business. Davos warns him against bringing her, because it’s starting to look like Stannis is her puppet, and she’s a fairly unpopular foreigner. Stannis agrees to leave Melisandre behind and tells Davos he’s going to lead the sea attack on Blackwater Bay. Davos isn’t keen on that, because his time was mostly spent evading ships, not captaining them, but I guess this is punishment for laying out those hard truths for Stannis.
Tyrion and Bronn travel through the market discussing the armies and how badly outnumbered they are. They stop to listen to some street preacher talking about how rotten Joffrey is and how he dances to the tune of a twisted demon monkey. Tyrion agrees with what he’s saying, completely missing that the demon monkey allegedly pulling the strings is him. Bronn quickly fills him in.
Theon takes a moment at the coast to smile at his ship—the Sea Bitch—which rides the waves a little ways out. His bliss is interrupted by the arrival of his very rough-and-tumble crew, who quickly make it clear they have no time or respect for him. Theon fills them in on their mission and one of the crewmen tells him he’s been doing this job since before Theon was even thought of, so why does he need this crappy captain at all? See, Theon, this is the point where you assert yourself with violence. I don’t usually advocate that, but that’s clearly the only thing these guys will respond to. Punch that man in the face or something. You have to show them you’re not a little weasel. But he doesn’t, he just stumbles around until Yara shows up to make fun of him and throw it in his face that she has a giant fleet to command and men who’ll do whatever she says. She also seems to be buddies with Theon’s crew, to some extent.
She leaves, and so does Theon’s crew, leaving behind Theon and the first mate, who tiredly offers to row Theon out to the ship and gives him some sound advice: prove yourself, if you really want these men to follow you. Theon, like a child, whines that he can’t prove himself by pillaging tiny villages and First Mate’s like, well, yeah, obviously. Theon finally gets it and realizes the Stony Shores aren’t far from Torrhen Square, which is a better prize than a few fishing villages. He doubts they could hold it for long, because as soon as Winterfell hears about the attack, they’ll send soldiers to take it back, but it’ll certainly make a point. Looks like they’re taking a little detour.
Tywin’s meeting with his captains while Arya serves his dinner. One of the captains thinks Robb’s army will get impatient soon but Tywin thinks they’ve been underestimating him for too long and they need to do better. Arya goes to serve him some wine and he asks for water instead, because he’s got a long day ahead of him. Before she leaves, he asks where she’s from. She tells him she’s from Maidenpool and he quickly reveals that as a lie and guesses she’s from the north. She admits she is but lies again about where she’s from, doing better this time. He asks what they say about Robb in the north and she says they think he can’t be killed and that he rides into battle on the back of a direwolf. He asks if she believes the stories and she says no, that anyone can be killed.
As she goes to get the water, she spots Jaqen, the man from the cage who talks like a weirdo in the third person all the time and whose life she saved during the attack that eventually brought them all to Harranhal. He’s a soldier now, and possibly a leader of some sort, because he’s all kitted out in armor and Lannister arms. She hides from him and he fails to notice her as he passes. They run into each other by the rain barrels, though, and he suggests they have a little chat. He reveals that he always knew she was a girl (geez, was there anyone who didn’t figure it out?). She angrily says he’s one of “them” now and he points out that she is too. She claims not to have had a choice by he says she did—they both did, it’s just that they both preferred to stay alive. He reminds her that she saved three lives from the burning cage, so he now owes her three lives—any three she wants. She asks him to kill the executioner first—the guy they call “the tickler,” probably because of his particularly horrible rat-fueled torture method. That seems like a wasted assassination, Arya. Nonetheless, he agrees.
North of The Wall, Mormont, Jon and the others are on the move, planning to camp out and meet up with someone—another member of the Black Watch, I think. Sam chatters cheerfully about how much Gillie would love it there and one of their fellow Wallians rolls his eyes and says how gross it is to see a man in love.
They all finally reach the top of some mountain and Sam goes on and on about how old the place is. Well, yeah, Sam, rocks tend to be pretty old. He wonders what early men were like and Jon moodily says he thinks they were afraid, and that they came to escape from something. A horn sounds, far off, and someone identifies it as the signal that Rangers are returning. Jon spots the Rangers they’re waiting for approaching, way off in the distance.
Tyrion has managed to track down the man making Cersei’s Wildfire (which is probably spelled Wyldefyeire in this world). However it’s spelled, it’s some seriously damaging stuff, capable of melting stone, metal, and flesh. Lovely! Bronn thinks it’s all bullshit, and incredibly dangerous even for those wielding it. He makes a fairly good case for not using it, though Cersei has been stockpiling for some time, by the look of the storeroom the old man shows them. Tyrion informs him he’ll be working for him from now on.
Qarth. Daenerys is teaching one of her baby dragons to barbecue his meat and eat it. One of her slaves shows her a dress their very wealthy host, Daxos—the same man who vouched for them and allowed them into the city—sent for Daenerys. Daenerys says that the last time a rich man gave her a dress she was being sold to Drogo. Well, that didn’t totally turn out horribly, did it, Daenerys? I mean, you two were fairly happy while he was alive, weren’t you? One of the slaves says Daenerys would look like a real princess in the dress and the other slave, who’s had a lot of attitude in this scene, snaps that she’s not a princess, she’s a khalisi. Can’t she be both? The slave backs down and says she should wear the dress after all.
Daenerys does, and she looks lovely at the garden party, where she balances between making small talk and keeping her khalisar from stealing everything in sight. The work of a leader is never done. She chats a bit with Jorah before she’s approached by a really creepy looking guy with blue lips and the look of a cancer patient. He’s some sort of magician, but Daxos is unimpressed by the man and thinks the man’s got a soft brain after doing too many drugs.
He leads Daenerys away, leaving Jorah in the dust. A woman nearby, wearing a crazy mask, observes that Jorah watches over Daenerys. She knows exactly who Jorah is but won’t reveal her own identity. She warns him to be careful and guard over Daenerys, because her dragons are serious commodities.
In the woods, Cate and Brie are taking a break from what has, no doubt, been quite a ride. Brie says she’s certain the smoke monster looked like Stannis, though Cate’s not quite sure. She tells Brie she’s going to her son’s camp to report on what she saw, and then she’s back to Winterfell to look after her two youngest. Brie asks if Cate will give her leave to go kill Stannis once she’s safely back with her own people. Why does she need Cate’s permission to do so?
Cate warns her that Stannis has a huge army around him, which doesn’t concern Brie. She’s got rage fueled by what sounds like a hopeless crush on her side. Cate suggests Brie sign up with Robb, but Brie would rather serve Cate, because she recognizes she’s pretty awesome. All she asks is that, when the time comes, Cate not hold her back from killing Stannis. Cate promises and gets herself a totally kickass lady knight. This is gonna be cool.
Bran’s once again listening to the locals’ complaints, while Rickon annoyingly pulverizes nuts on the table next to him. Bran’s more patient than he was last time and makes a pretty good call for a sheep farmer before ending council and calling Hodor so he can go for a ride. Before he can go, Ser Roderick comes in and announces a recent attack on Torrhen Square. Bran immediately dispatches Ser Roderick to go take the place back and Roderick goes, confident they’ll have the place back in their hands shortly.
Bran finally gets to go out for his ride and chats about his dreams with Osha. He tells her he dreamt that the sea came to Winterfell and drowned everyone, including Ser Roderick. Well, that’s a bit less difficult for us to interpret than all those three-eyed ravens, at least. He asks her what people north of The Wall say about three-eyed ravens, but she won’t tell him.
Mormont and his crew spot a fire some distance away, which worries one of the others, because it means the people sitting around it will see them coming…somehow and will be able to warn Mance Rayder that they’re on their way. And Mance has apparently gathered all the Wildlings to his side, which is a big ass army, according to the Ranger who’s recently joined them and brought all this news. He reminds them that Mance used to be a Ranger, so he knows their ways, so they need to think more like Wildlings and adopt their ways of doing things—sneak in, kill Mance, and get the hell out. But before they can do that, they need to send out small groups of soldiers to get rid of these outlying camps. Jon volunteers to be one of them and new guy—Coren? I think someone called him Halfhand, so let’s go with that—agrees to take him along, because Jon’s actually beaten a White Walker, which is sufficiently badass. After some reluctance, Mormont agrees to let him go.
Daenerys is still at her garden party, strolling around with Daxos, who apparently is not one to beat around the bush. He asks her how long Jorah’s been in love with her, which surprises her because she is not at all observant. Daxos asks her what she wants and she says she wants to reclaim the Iron Throne, which is hers by right. He can appreciate that, being a conqueror himself, though a mercantile one. She asks him what he wants and he takes her to his vault, which holds enough riches to outfit a vast army. All Daenerys has to do to access it is marry him. This isn’t a romantic proposal, though he seems like a nice enough guy. This is business: he’s gotten to the top of the heap in Qarth; now he wants sons and daughters who will be princes and princesses.
Daenerys takes the proposal to Jorah, who, unsurprisingly, isn’t supportive. He thinks she should look for support in Westros, though, where the hell is she going to find that? He warns her that Daxos will own her if she does this and claims he only wants to see her on the Iron Throne, because it’s her birthright and because her gentle heart will make her a good and just ruler. She gives him a good long look and then asks him what he would advise her to do. He suggests she make her own way and get her own ship. He even promises to find it for her. She gives him leave to do so, and he bows to her before withdrawing.
Arya’s hanging around Gendry, who’s now hard at work forging swords at Harranhal. She corrects his handling of said sword, when he briefly wields it, but fun time is over when someone starts screaming, and they run over to find the executioner dead on the ground with a broken neck. Arya looks up into the nearby walls and sees Jaqen there, calmly eating an apple. He holds up one finger and her face basically says, “Oh, shit.” Yeah, Arya, this guy actually does mean business.