Previously! Not one minute is wasted from right out of the gate this episode, so better take your potty break, get a fresh drink, and snap into a Slim Jim right now, because it’s a hold-your-breath event from here out. (Mostly because Slim Jim breath is really gross, you guys. Never trust a food that you can wring grease out of, or that “Rowdy Rod” Piper endorsed. He’s dead, okay? I hope you’re proud of yourself, now.)
Utter chaos in Winterfell! Maester Luwin is up in the owlery scrambling out a hasty note (“Theon’s a dick! Stabbings! Chaos! I’d go into more detail, but my life in danger, etc. etc. Most sincerely, Maester Luwin, the only one taking care of your paralyzed family member and his even younger brother, oh, and your home, and FOR THE LOVE OF NED, GET HOME. XOXOX ”).
Luwin “Fly, my pretties!” the raven out of there – three eye check? Nope, only two, which means this is not a dream, crap! – just as the door bursts in with Theon’s men.
(A smart move would have been to set an archer near the Post Office to shoot down any ravens.)
Theon Greyjoy of Pinchface Sister-Finger-Lickin’-Good Island bursts into Bran’s room and acts like that dickish step-brother who has just come home from rehab. Bran wants to like him, because he’s older, and older brothers are always cool, but Theon is such a dick. He’s totally the “Why are you hitting yourself?” guy who calls the kid stupid for finally crying. Theon’s all, “I did this! This is mine now! I keep it! Bran? I’m better than your other brothers aren’t I? …do you think your dad ever loved me?”
Bran is freaking out because 1) he’s a kid, 2) his legs don’t work, and 3) his Seg-Hodor is nowhere to be found. Theon sends someone to look for Hodor and then tells Bran that he’s going to go out to the square and tell the people of Winterfell that Theon is the new Lord of the Keep. Bran, who is more a man than Theon and only 11 (or 12?) asks, “Did you hate us the whole time?” Ooh, sick burn!
Outside, Bran is propped up on a wagon of goods with Luwin, Hodor, and his little brother Rickon as Theon makes him yield Winterfell. Theon is a total jerk about this, too. The crowd jeers Theon, because they know he’s a puking little ferret. We learn a cool detail about the world of Westeros, though: a Maester is basically attached to whomever is Lord of the keep. So Luwin gets to keep his life; he just has to support Theon to do it. Hm, maybe not such a sweet gig after all, then.
Luwin is ordered to send a raven to Elder Greyjoy saying how pretty and popular everyone thinks Theon is, and then another raven to his sister Yara telling her the same, and to also send Theon 500 men to control the masses. Tonks swaggers over and I seriously want to tell that actress to chill the hell out with the head forward, bug-eyes over-emoting, because it’s crazy distracting.
But anyway. She tells Theon that she hates the Starks, too, so give her a spear and she promises to not kill Theon in the neck with it. Fat chance, sister! She slinks off behind Bran, who looks utterly betrayed. She whispers, “It’s your dream, Little Lord. The ocean has come to swallow this place. I ain’t letting it drown me.” Well…she has a point.
The soldiers drag in Ser Rodrik who immediately spits (metaphorically) in Theon’s face, because Theon was raised here, etc. Theon tries to assert dominance, so Rodrik immediately spits (literally) in Theon’s face. Oooooh! Theon wants to throw him in the slammer for such insolence but Gilligan tells Theon that he’d better kill the old man if Theon wants to earn any respect. And to Theon’s credit, he doesn’t want to kill anyone. Bran starts freaking out and the ensuing calamity doesn’t go far to calm Theon down. When Luwin puts a hand on him, calmly saying to let cooler heads prevail, Theon snaps and tells Luwin that “You’ll address me as Prince Theon, or you’ll be next.”
Bran is beyond upset now, begging and crying, when Rodrik turns to him and says that he’s off to meet Ned. Rodrik, nooooo! He offers his last words: “May the gods help you, Theon Greyjoy. Now you’re truly lost.”
Theon has a shitty iron sword (pfft. That’s basic level weaponry, didn’t you get the manual, Theon?) and chops Rodrik’s head…well, not off. Barely broke the skin. Oh, jeez… Two, three, four whacks and a kick, and we see Rodrik’s head roll across the courtyard. Theon’s face is wild, splattered with blood, and someone is having one hell of a freakout. He just wanted Prince-level snatch and some nice things, he didn’t know there was going to be all of this dirty work involved!
Jon Snow, Halfhand (they didn’t make it clear for us non-book readers who Halfhand was. So it’s Qhorin Halfhand, got it.) and the other dudes (and Ghost!) trek across the snowy, rocky expanse looking for a band of Wildlings. Ghost wanders off to track…something, and Halfhand uses that as a metaphor for why you can’t tame a wild beast. Well, why Jon can’t. (Foreshadowing for another bitch! Wait, is Ghost a female dog?)
We also learn that the Wildlings will come out at night when the Watch is safely holed up in a cave – our fellas don’t know anything about crevasses and ice floes, so they best not chance it with any moonlight hunting. Halfhand also tries to get Jon to understand the harsh, unromantic reality of their situation. There is no romance there. NONE! Ahem.
At Harrenhall, Tywin Lannister chews out one of his NCOs for almost successfully ravening a letter to the wrong person – a letter detailing precise troop movements, to be sent to a house that supports Robb Stark. D’oh! In the course of insulting him, he learns that Arya can read (and better than most of his men, too). His respect for her increases that much more as he side mouths, “Maybe you should devise our next battle plan while you’re about it.” Guys? I really like the dynamic between Tywin and Arya, I have to say.
Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish is introduced and Arya has a quiet freak out, trying to keep her face down. Tywin wants her to stay and serve them food and wine, so she tries to keep turned away anytime Littlefinger has the chance to spot her. But this is Littlefinger: he notices everything.
He tells Tywin of Renly’s death, how Loras blames and hates Stannis, and how they might be persuaded to throw in behind the Lannisters. Well, except for how technically they’ve already not supported the Lannisters (via Joffrey) but that’s a technicality that can be corrected once they’ve gotten the Tyrell’s money. And this is about when Petyr sees Arya and does the tiniest of doubletakes.
She then spills a little wine on his hand and yep, he knows it’s her. As she moves back to the shadows he tells Tywin about having a meeting with Catelyn Stark (le gasp!) about her daughters and sits there with a pointed smirk, looking so cool butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.
Back up in the mountains, Jon and the Watch circle a group of three Wildlings in their snow camo, and are ready to attack. One of the Watch is all, “Yer arrow’d!” and the rest fall onto the group crying, “Wolverines!” slapping with the flat of their swords (come on, Halfhand! Use the pokey part!) when Jon gets one of them pressed against a boulder. He rips their hood off to stab (he knew to use the tip, Qhorin, I’m just saying) and LE GASP number TWO! It is a girl! A ginger girl with defiance and lust in her gaze. Oho!
Jon doesn’t want to kill her because they can get information from her, right? Oh, Jon. You’re still operating under the Ned Stark honor code, which costs you your head. Qhorin looks on, sad, and says that she won’t tell them anything. She smirks, says there are hundreds and thousands of Free People (Wildlings) just beyond the pass, will not say what their plans are, and is left for Jon to kill. Qhorin and the rest mosey off to let him get to it.
Jon: I’m gonna kill…for the first time. And I’m gonna do it with a girl! A special girl who makes my heart kinda flutter, makes my eyes kinda blur. I can’t believe I’m about to behead her….
Girl: He will behead me, he will also hack my arms. And he will behead me right in front of everyone and it will set me free – when he looks into my eyes!
(Seriously. Book of Mormon The Musical – you need to have it in your life.)
He sticks his tongue out between his teeth and swings his Orcish Blade (exquisite, with Fire damage) except what the hell? He missed on purpose! She’s shocked! She shoves him and scrambles away and goddamn it, Jon! She’s getting away! (Yeah! She wasn’t going to sit there like a dummy, come on!) So he chases after her, slipping and sliding over the rock and ice until he’s able to tackle her.
Oh, but now they’re lost. She knows where they are, but he doesn’t. Hope you’re proud of yourself, Jon. She’s all Smirky McGee because this land is her land, this land ain’t his land, he’s going to die, and she couldn’t be happier.
In Queen’s Landing, Queen Bitter Brother Banger watches as her beloved Myrcella is rowed off to join the Dorne in an elaborate oceanside ceremony. Cersei says to Tyrion that she hopes he loves someone someday. “I pray you love her so much when you close your eyes you see her face. And then I will cut it off and hand it to you on a pillow so you can go to sleep with it nightly.” Cersei? Let it go. Yeah, Tyrion’s birth ripped your mother in half, killing her, but you’re a grown-ass woman now. JFC, I’m thinking your bro has paid for it by, you know, living as he has with the steady insults and hate.
The youngest of Cersei’s children sniffles as his sister leaves, which means it’s time to remember why we hate Joffrey. Weaselteat calls him a cry baby and Sansa says softly, “I’ve seen you cry.”
“Bitch who wants to die says what?”
I like Sansa, guys. I know she’s controversial, but whatever. I see someone surviving. She covers by saying, “Tickle in my throat, m’lud. Nothing.”
The group walks back to the castle through the increasingly angry crowd, who start mocking Weasleteat. And then? The second greatest event ever: someone throws a turd at Joffrey’s cheek. (First greatest event was the first epic Tyrion-delivered face slap.) Joffrey reacts in a totally reasonable way by ordering that all of his subjects be killed. (Then who will you be king of, dummy?) Pandemonium!
Cersei is escorted one way, the youngest another, and The Hound (who really doesn’t like Joffrey even if he has to keep working for him) wraps an arm around Joffrey to bodily carry him back to safety. Which Joffrey hates.
Joffrey: What are you doing? I want those people executed!
Hound: They want the same for you.
Sansa is separated quickly (shit!) and the priest (septon?) is pulled apart like a Cinnabon. One of the peasants holds his arm aloft like that perfect little crescent in the middle with all of the gooey frosting. (It’s the tastiest part.) Tyrion freaks the hell out (well, he allows himself three seconds of “oh, shit!”) notes that Sansa isn’t with the party, and goes to deal with Lesser Draco, who is raging at his people being assholes for not letting him do what he wants.
Tyrion tells him how stupid he is, how horrible a leader he is, and then – slaps Joffrey again! Oh, it is glorious. Joffrey sputters how that’s not allowed because he’s a king! Whatever, dude, you’re a terrible king. You are starving your people and then mad when they beg for food because you’re a stupid, angry little boy.
Tyrion: We’ve had vicious kings, we’ve had idiot kings, but I don’t know if we’ve ever been cursed with a vicious idiot before! [Achievement Unlocked: KING SLAPPER.]
Sansa, all alone now, runs down an alley after being confronted by a few angry men, and they corner her, preparing to – JFC – gang rape her. Let’s take a moment to realize that four grown men had to act out this scene with a teenage girl, asking if she’s ever been fucked. I’m thinking that wasn’t a fun day on set for anyone. (I was seriously disturbed. Sorry. The day I’m not disturbed by potential rape is a black day in my life, I think.)
Just as it’s about to get really horrible, the Hound shows up, disembowels one, snaps another guy’s neck and kills the third one leaving the last guy cowering in the corner. He tosses Sansa over his shoulder and tells her, ‘You’re all right, Little Bird.” I think he likes Sansa. He brings her to the castle where Tyrion frets over her (because he’s ultimately a gentleman) and then thanks The Hound, who is all Honey Badger about it. “Don’t give a shit if you’re proud of me. Didn’t do it for you.”
Far south in Qarth, Daenerys Targaryen and Xaro chill out in Baron Harkonnen’s courtyard (the Spice King? The dragons are the spice – the spice are the dragons!) waiting for him to show up. He finally does show all insulting and condescending, calling her “Little Princess” and making pouty faces while telling her how idealistic and foolish she is to expect people to support her because she has dreams.
“Do you have an army? No, you do not. Do you have powerful allies? Nada. So…I’m just supposed to give you my four fastest ships –” I will not make a Kessel Run joke, no I will not – “ because you have a dream?”
Uh, maybe you’ve not picked up on something important, Buddy? Dany’s dreams come true. The eggs and the fire? Yeah. But he isn’t swayed by her passion and pretty silver hair, and “good day’s” her. Her purple eyes flash: AND YOU WILL KNOW MY NAME IS THE LORD WHEN I LAY MY VENGEANCE UPON YOU! Yeah, he’s still not giving you his ships, Dany.
Back in Harrenhall, Arya sees a note on the table that details information about Robb and Tywin’s plans. Oho! Tywin comes in and tells her a story about how Jamie is dyslexic and how Tywin still taught him how to read. He asks her who her father is. “A stonemason.” Hm, and he taught Arya to read? “He was pretty cool like that.” She also mentions that he’s dead.
Tywin: What killed him?
Arya: Loyalty. (ooooh.)
Tywin: You’re a sharp little thing, aren’t you? (Yes!)
Guys? I really love these two together! This is some fine television right here.
He tells her that he watched his own father grow old, and it’s overrated. His dad was a bit of a shit, leaving Tywin to restore the family’s good name. While he’s distracted with this story, she manages to steal the note. Oh, Arya. I love you, kid.
She slips away to the courtyard, reads it, and as she runs off with it, she runs into Amory Loreh, the illiterate dummy from the meeting earlier. He’s still smarting over the whole “bested by a young girl” thing and manages to get the note, wonder what’s going on, and tries to drag her before Tywin. Arya slips away “What do we say to Death? Not today!” and she finds Captain Cupcake.
“KILL AMORY. NOW.”
“Uh, it is not for a girl to tell a man to—”
“Whatever, you said a name, here’s a name. Hurry!”
He eye rolls, but walks off. We see Armory at Tywin’s door, but that’s not a step forward, that’s a fall down dead. With a poison dart in his neck! Captain Cupcake is 2 and 0! Better use that last name wisely, Arya, because Captain does not play around. I like him a lot.
Robb Stark wanders through his camp making nice with all of his men when he spots Talisa “I don’t really want job security, thanks ever so” the Amputater ahead, and the sun shines on her lovely face. The guitar chords ring out and he sings to himself, “Kiss me! Out of the bearded barley, nightly beside the green, green grass. Swing, swing, swing those spinning steps. I’ll wear some shoes and you can wear that dress, oh! Kiss me!”
(My goal is to torture you with ear worms with each recap.)
They flirt hard and fast, and Robb doesn’t really have a lot of game. Plus his mom shows up right when he’s about to ask her out and Catelyn’s all smirky with the “I know what you want to do! But you can’t. Because you’re betrothed,” and isn’t that a bucket of cold water? Robb has to marry someone to pay his dad’s debt? God damn, Ned, your honor is the ultimate cock block, yo.
And that’s when they get the raven from Winterfell. Uh oh.
Jon, meanwhile, is out on the frozen expanse, still, with his dear Ygritte (if you love old school LL Cool J, you now have been infected with that ear worm. You’re welcome.) who is lassoed at the wrist and waist. It’s getting dark, he has no idea where they are, and he is not interested in her help, thank you. He wraps her up with the rope like a bundle of wood and shoves her to the stony ground (ha), tells her there will be no fire (except in her pants), and says that yes, he believes his men will find him. (Did we all forget about his magic wolf? Can’t his magic wolf help out?)
He grudgingly agrees that it would be better for them to “pool their warmth” so to speak and lays behind her. She’s all hip roll, “How’s about a stiffy, eh?” and Jon has sworn himself to a life of celibacy, thank you very much! So be still! That lasts for about three seconds when she’s all with the hippy-hippy shake and he is trying to be a gentleman here, Ygritte! Yes, it’s lovely that you think he’s brave (but stupid) but really. He can’t give a 21-gun salute when it’s freezing out, okay? There might be…shrinkage. It’s pretty hilarious.
Robb has been told of Winterfell’s attack, and he’s shocked. Shocked! But his forced companion Theon was like a brother to him! Roose Bolton – the man with the news – says that well, all Greyjoys are treasonous whores, which sounds about right. Catelyn is simply livid upon hearing that Rodrik has been killed and there is no word about Bran and Rickon. Robb, because he’s still very young, thinks that he needs to pack it up and pack it in, but Roose explains that it’s good to be king: it’s called OUTSOURCING. His son, in fact, would be most honored to bring Robb Theon’s head!
No, bring Theon to Robb so Robb can ask an unanswerable question and do the killing himself. That’s actually a good idea, Robb! You’re well on your way to being a good king.
Tonks approaches Theon with a plan: how about you let me “serve” you. Theon isn’t the swiftest boat in the Iron Islands and thinks she means as a cupbearer or something. She rolls her eyes (then promptly bugs them out again) and says, “I know things? Savage things?” and pulls off her clothes. TONKS! What would Lupin say?
Theon matches her bug eyes (and hey, she is pretty damn hot under those robes) and is all, “Oh, you want to service me. For your freedom, I see. Yes. Okay, then! Twice, and once in the bum.” He is such a wonk.
In King’s Landing, Shae treats Sansa’s cut over her eye as Sansa tries to cope with her day. Why would a stranger want her harmed? “Because your horse eats better than his children,” Shae explains. But see, if only they knew that she hates Joffrey more than any of them…
SHUT UP! Girl, that is a quick way to get yourself killed, even if you think you can trust your handmaiden! Shae gives her great advice: never trust anyone. Anyone. (Sorry, Tyrion.)
Tonks, naked in bed with a snoring Theon, sneaks out of his chamber without slitting his throat. Pfft. Amateur. Outside, she has a run in with one of Theon’s men, says that she’s been sent to “make the rounds” and while kissing him, gets his knife and slices his throat. Now go back and kill Theon, dummy!
Nope, instead she whistles the coast is clear and Bran climbs his Seg-Hodor and with Rickon in tow, they all slip away into the night with their direwolves at their side. I like that Hodor has shown back up. M-O-O-N, that spells Hodor!
Back in Qarth, Dany is raging over the lack of turn in events, how people don’t automatically give her things (Um, remember your brother and his demands? Maybe dial it back a bit.) and as she and Xaro get back to his house, sees that all of her men have been killed. THE FUCK? She races upstairs and sees Irri (or is it Dorreah?) dead, then realizes the worst of it: “WHERE ARE MY DRAGONS?!”
(Any Metalocalypse viewers here? “FIND me a dragon!”)
Cut to someone with a cloak over their face and a cage on their back. The dragons are there, and they are making the worst noise, like children screaming. (The Mother of Dragons!) The thief walks steadily up a path to a huge tower, where it’s presumed the dragons will be Rapunzeled.
If I may. They have wings. And will presumably grow. And breathe fire. Not the best animal to “steal,” I’m thinking. Also, my suspicion is that the Blue Lipped Vampires are behind it.
Next Week: The Mother of Dragons is going to go nuclear on some bitches!