Previously! I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a man without honor (in the Game of Thrones) is a man who keeps living. (Do a quick tally. See?) And a reminder for any new folk who are coming over (and welcome!)—this is a spoiler-free zone. I’m not a book reader, so it’s all new and exciting to me and a large portion of the readers here.
Now that I’ve got you properly wooed with my sweet talk, let’s get to some naked Theon! (Pfft, what a boner-killer.)
Theon wakes up to find his bed Tonks-less. Outside, a group of his men stand around the dead body of the guard she de-throated. King Kong Bundy gets chewed out by Theon for not only letting a cripple escape, but a little boy, a halfwit and—
“That bint what you spent all night banging like a screen door? M’lud?” Um, King Kong Bundy? You need to shut your trap, bro. Evil-Gilligan—who is totally Dick Cheney now, so let’s call him that—gives Theon the “are you going to let him talk to you like that?” look.
Theon clocks Bundy in the face then starts kicking him, finishing with a crunchy face stomp. “Well. Let’s go hunting!” He rounds up his men, the horses, and the hounds, and they take off. Luwin tries to get through to Theon, reminding him that Bran and Rickon are just little boys. Yeah? So was Theon when he was given to Ned, and he never tried to run away! (That’s because the Starks were good people and your family lives on Incest, No-Face-Washing, Sour-puss Island, Theon.)
And besides, it’s not like Theon is going to hurt them. Okay, so he plans on hurting them. But just a little. Older jerky step-brother type hurting. Noogies and emotional scarring, that’s all. Not enough to kill them, god. “Don’t look so grim! It’s all just a game!” You know what, Theon? It’s all fun and games until someone gets their eyes burned out, okay?
And we have our first direwolf spotting! Bran and Rickon’s puppies (roughly the size of Great Danes) scamper along a riverside with our band of escapees on their tails. (And they should all be walking IN the river to throw off their scent, but whatever.) Tonks reminds them that all they have is a Hodor-pocket of walnuts to eat (M-O-O-N! That spells starvation!) and eventually they’ll need to nap and take a wee.
That’s when they come across a farm, a farm that is owned by the old man who asked for help and got two orphans to help around the place. Why, they should stop there! Oh, Bran thinks that is a terrible idea, because what if Theon finds the house and tortures everyone? HEY, PORTENT. But that is very honorable, Master Bran. And that’s precisely the sort of thing that gets a Stark killed, by the way.
Up north, Jon’s got a leg over (good for you!) Ygritte and let’s just say that winter isn’t the only thing coming. Hey-o! He wakes up with a start. Ygritte is hilarious with her dirty mouth (my favorite kind of lady) with her joke, “Did you pull a knife on me in the night?” Jon isn’t used to dick jokes (What? Sansa knows some? Exactly.), plus he has the whole sworn celibacy thing screwing him over, so he would just prefer if they kept this kidnapping strictly business, okay Patty Hearst?
Oh. He’s a virgin, she realizes. Only a virgin would blush like that and not want to engage in a little dirty joking. Not only does he not like dirty jokes, he’s anti-euphemism, too. So if they could just stop referring to his bait and tackle as his Northern night stick, if you please? He chose to not have sex—to never wet his fun truncheon, thank you very much.
She’s having a hard time understanding celibacy (Me too, Ygritte. Me too.) and wonders if the Watch all just bang each other (no comment) or possibly the sheep? Look, Ygritte. Pip was just trying to help push that sheep over the wall, okay? Just your hands, then? “No wonder you’re all so miserable.” Ha!
She goes on to explain that she’s a Free Woman (a concept; not literally, as she’s still tied at the hand and waist) and where she’s from there are no rules, no kings, no oaths. And all the sex you could want!
Jon: This land is my land! This land ain’t your land!
Ygritte: You built a wall and! You claimed it’s your land! But…we’ve been here the whole time, Columbus. You can’t discover things that already exist.
Jon: I’m Ned Stark’s son and the blood of the First Men runs in my veins!
Ygritte: Duly noted important information, thanks. And if you’re the Real North, then why are you fighting us? Don’t have an answer, do you? Wonk.
Out at Harrenhall the Lannisters are having a little afternoon tea and torture, hanging their new guards until someone tells the Powers That Be who killed Amory the Wannabe Snitch. Tywin is convinced that the assassin was after him, which is reasonable, if wrong. He’s talking with The Mountain, who believes it was an infiltrator from the Brotherhood Without Banners. (They’re like Doctor’s Without Borders, but they take more lives than they save.)
Arya is setting the table for Tywin’s meal, listening to everything. Tyrion sees that it’s mutton, remembers a rumor that he heard about sheep and the Wall, and begs off dinner, offering it to Arya instead. While she tucks in, he explains that this will be his last war, and as such, it better be a good one. This is his potential Waterloo – he’d much prefer it to be his Hastings. This all leads to the awesome tale of Harrenhall.
The Tale of Harren’s Hall
Once upon a time a man named Harren the Black built a house out of stone. (He bypassed the straw and sticks and left those to the peasants.) It was more a castle than a house—hundreds of stories high and a fireplace in every room. There were even fireplaces for the fireplaces. A golden toilet in every corner of every room! Opulent, is what I’m getting at. And a million trillion men could have fought the walls and not gain entrance.
Harren and his sons lived there for many years, confident in their safe, strong house. Until Aegon Targaryen came and blew their house down with dragon fire. It’s always the dragon fire that’s least expected, right? And Aegon’s dragon huffed, and he puffed, and Aegon and his dragon—
“And his sisters.”
Tywin stops short in his story telling. “I beg pardon?”
“And his sisters,” Arya fills in. “They were there, too. Stop mansplaining life to me and let me remind you of the awesome Visenya Targaryen, who was bad ass and rode a freaking dragon and had a sword made of Valerian steel (imbued with fire damage and a soul trap!) that she called Dark Sister.”
Huh. Tywin is shocked at how smart this little peasant girl is. Also, aren’t most girls interested in songs and hair ribbons? Uh, Tywin? Have you not taken a gander at the tomboy in front of you? We don’t all like gender-defined things, okay? Tywin then reminds her how to address him—like a peasant. Because clearly she’s not a peasant with all of her book learning and diction. She pulls it together, though, and explains that her mother was a handmaiden for a lady, and they made a point of teaching her ‘ow to speak all proper-like, innit?
I love that he admires her, and that he kind of wishes he could love her a little. I think he’s that mean, hard dad on his boys that is super sweet to his little girl. (But his little girl is slutting it up down in King’s Landing, so…) And this is a nice way of giving us an idea of how it could have been for Theon in the house of the Starks, growing up. You’re supposed to hate your captor, but they’re being cool and nice, so what do you do?
Sansa walks past the Hound at the castle at King’s Landing and tries to thank him for saving her from the gang rape. She’s a nice young lady; that was totally the Emily Post thing to do, Sansa. Too bad the Hound is damaged goods, because not only does he not want her thanks, he doesn’t give two shits about her thanks because he’s just doing what he’s supposed to be doing. Man, is he sour and angry. I guess getting half of your face burned off could do that to a fella.
Xaro tells Daenerys that a meeting of the Thirteen has been called. (Ooh, a meeting! That should solve things. Hey—hang in there, pessimist.) But why the hell should Daenerys trust him? Maybe Xaro stole her dragons and wants to sell them for money. Uh, woman? Did you not see the key on his neck to his Grigotts vault? He’s got more bank than he knows what to do with, so it’s pointless to sell dragons for money. (Please note that he didn’t say that he didn’t take them. Just that selling them is meaningless.)
She informs him that there is no “we” involved when he tries to say how they’ll fix this together. Except here’s the thing, Dany. He vouched for you, and that actually means something in their town. So he’s going to get to the bottom of this. (Girl, you are in over your head.)
Way up north of the Wall, Jon leads Ygritte along for a bit (this is important) and we assume he knows where they’re going. (Hint: he doesn’t.) She babbles about how awesome it is to live in a giant freezer. There’s, like, all the snow you could want, one, and two, it’s super cold. So…. pretty sweet, right? Also, Free People bang like rabbits, so there’s that, too. And you know, she could show Jon a thing or two? Or twenty-three (positions in a one-night-stand)? Hey, Jon’s pretty handsome, she’s realized, so she’d like to teach him some of her special tricks, like how to not expose any flesh to the dangerously frigid environment whilst sexing. (She assumes he doesn’t know how to do “it.”)
“NO. Thank you.” He makes her get going. And let’s her walk in front. Oh, Jon. Tsk.
Robb sees the Lannister Emissary Alton, who explains that Cersei has a special type of OCD with paper, and she just can’t help herself but tear it into tiny pieces. All paper, really, not just his offer that she didn’t like anyway. So his offer became confetti. Robb is decent about it, thanks Alton for his service, and even asks for a new pen-jail cell to be made for him. In the meantime, he can bunk with his cousin Jaime, the Kingslayer. (Which would make an awesome Death Metal band name. With umlauts on every vowel: Kïngsläyër!) He puts Torrhen on the task of watching them and sends them on their way.
Talisa the hot nurse comes in all sexy with blood, dirt, and exhaustion coating her everything, and explains that she needs supplies. Robb starts immediately gathering everything off his table to give her when she mentions that no, she meant medical supplies. Robb starts ripping his tunic into strips when she offers to maybe just making a list for him, and he could have someone pick things up for her when he goes to the Crag for that surrender thingy?
Oh, right. That makes sense. Except for how he’d rather she just come with him to get what she needed, because she would be able to see the supplies and pick out the Oreo items instead of the Hydrox bunk. (There’s totally a difference, come on.) She agrees, all nervous and pretty, and that means something horrible is going to happen, doesn’t it? (Don’t tell me!)
Theon and his men are at the farmhouse that Bran saw earlier; the hounds have lost the scent. Luwin tries to calm Theon down, but Cheney gives Theon the stink-eye, so Theon gets all up in Luwin’s face about how he will rule with an iron fist! Iron Islands, right? Where do you think that name came from? And he’ll do anything to find those boys! Even stand there and scowl mercilessly!
The owner of the farm is brought out and Theon tries to up his Melee with a few gut punches (he’s an old man, for crying out loud!) but the farmer claims to know nothing. Just then, Cheney’s all side-mouthing “WMDs” and head-nodding at a hay pile, and Theon gets a gleam in his eye. Cheney tells him to send Luwin home, and Theon officially is the worst leader ever and does it. (Theon? Protip: don’t follow orders from your second and think you can be a leader to the rest of the men. Eventually you’re going to have to lead, you know.)
In Qarth, Dany stares at her empty cages, which are completely filled with the lack of dragons, when Jorah comes in breathing all sexy and passionately. He says, “Khaleesi!” and I think I just got pregnant. She has a mild panic attack about how all of her people were killed and she wasn’t there to help them. And that means that now she has no people—none!
Jorah: You have me, Khaleesi…. (Jesus, warn a girl! [fans self]) Trust me!
Dany: Stop with the “trust me” bullshit. That’s what got me into this mess.
Jorah: But I’m all intense and older (read: experienced, eyebrow waggle) and reaching out slowly to touch your bare shoulder with pain and longing in my eyes.
Dany: I’m way too young for you, oh, and also your leader, buddy. Hands off.
Jorah: I’ll just smolder all sexy over here in the corner, if that’s all right?
Dany: Uh, no. FIND MY DRAGONS.
Jon and Ygritte wander through an icy gully. Ygritte is leading the way, because Jon is very very pretty and very very dumb. She asks some pointed questions (because she is very clever and smart and sassy, and I really like her) about just how far away does he think his men are. (Where is Ghost? I keep waiting for Ghost to come out of nowhere and be all with the growling and protecting.)
She tries to get him to have sex with her again. He turns her down again, and she explains how she’s going to tell Halfhand how Jon beat her about the lady bucket with his angry club-like man pole, and even took her from behind, so they may as well get on with it, since everyone will think they’ve already done it, right? Better make the best of things; trousers off, Ser Jon!
Uh, Jon has been imagining this for years, Ygritte? How he would take his lady onto his bed—lined with only the finest of pelts—and have candles burning and a harpist in the corner and he would totally not be a two-pump chump. Having an untidy shag in a muddy ice hole isn’t quite the romantic experience he imagined, okay?
She knocks him off his feet and takes off running. Again. She dives over a hillock and when Jon grabs the end of the rope that had been around her waist and wrists, she pops back up. With several of her men.
Jon’s surrounded. Ruh roh!
Sansa has a nightmare about her attempted rape, except they stab her with a literal knife, instead of a figurative one. She wakes up screaming, and finds that she’s gotten her first period in a seriously messy way. She freaks out, because now she has to have sex with Weaselteat (reasonable to freak out about that). She grabs a knife off the table and tries to cut the blood stain out of the mattress, and prays “Are you there Gods? It’s me, Sansa.”
Shae comes in, points out that it’s much easier to flip the mattress when another handmaiden comes in, one in the favor of the Queen. Handmaiden #2 runs off to tell Cersei when Shae goes after her. Shae presses a knife to #2’s throat, telling her to shut her gob about the mess , then runs back to Sansa. Only to find the Hound in there (awkward…) and Sansa sobbing. The jig is up.
Sansa is brought to Cersei, who tells her all about her special flower, and how sometimes girls get that “not so fresh” feeling. Just when she reaches for some floral scented Lady Spray, Sansa is all, “Bitch, I’m a third-wave feminist, and I don’t buy into that whole ‘my vagina shouldn’t smell like a vagina’ bullshit. It’s a vagina! That’s what it’s supposed to smell like, not a gardenia!”
Cersei blinks for a moment and then changes the topic to the most favored of older women when in the company of younger girls: the living hell that is childbirth. “And then it rips you apart as it shoulders its way out, and there’s blood everywhere and—”
(Seriously. We do this. It’s hilarious.)
Cersei then explains how women shouldn’t ever love anyone, aside from their children, even the shitty ones. But certainly not their husbands. Brothers are okay. In fact, you should love your brother so much that you make a few babies with him. (And we learned that Jaime made a point of being in the delivery room. Damn, those are some weird twins.)
“The more people you love, the weaker you are.” Boy, Cersei is one cynical broad, right?
Jaime and Alton are in their cozy little jail-pen for two when Alton (son of the only fat Lannister) tells Jaime how he’d once squired for him. And it was awesome. And Alton even smelled the inside of Jaime’s armor after Jaime had taken it off. And he licked Jaime’s shield, and held his sword tenderly, and wouldn’t go in for dinner because he’d just had the best day of his life.
Aww. That’s sweet. And Jaime can understand how Alton felt because he remembers being 16 and infatuated with a knight that he’d squired for. It’s like stepping into a dream, only the dream is what’s real and life is like a distant, fading dream, you know? And Jaime was like, so good at it. Fortunate that he was, because he didn’t really have any other skills. Good times, man, good times.
Jaime then gets Alton close and asks him if he’s ever had a Glasgow kiss. Head Butt! And then Jaime uses his manacles to beat the every-loving-shit out of poor Alton’s brain box! Alton twitches (dude, it’s just like in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre when Leatherface conks that first guy on the head and his leg is all twitching from the jammed signals, and his foot is flailing and flopping in the chicken feathers? GAH.). Torrhen the guard comes in to investigate, which is when Jaime wraps his chains around Torrhen’s neck and pulls off a power-move with a bonus neck snap. Jaime yoinks the keys, undoes his cuffs and makes like a tree and leaves.
The man has style, let’s just all admit that much.
Jorah finds Chain Face—painting Qarth-henna tattoos on someone’s back with a little Ram Face #3 (Burnt Umber just looks so lackluster)—and he wants to know if she has any information on the dragons. Evidently her chain-mail is made of Terrazine and gives her psychic powers because A) she says she knows he’s in love with Dany and B) knows that he’s betrayed her once. Is he going to do it again?
“Never.” Seriously, everything he says is sexy and breathy and intense, right? She tells him that the thief is with Dany right now, and goes back to drawing runes with ram-face blood.
Daenerys is in a meeting with the Thirteen, and Baron Harkkonen is all “Good riddance!” about her dragons. They were peeing on the tapestries, poop was everywhere, and the constant noises! Pain in the neck, and he’s glad they’re gone. Dany is shocked by this, because they are her children.
Blue Lip stands up and is all methy and twitchy, saying, “I love your dragons! And you! Everyone? They are her babies! Oh, and I have them.”
Xaro smiles and says, “Yep! And I helped. Now I’m King of Qarth, hooray!”
Blue Lip goes all Jango Fett and multiplies himself (but they’re dressed like Tusken Raiders) behind the seated Eleven, and they all get their throats slashed for the effort. Dany takes off running, but is stopped short by Blue Lip. BLADE THROUGH BLUE LIPS’ CHEST! Jorah saved the day, yippee!
Blue Lip says, “A mother should be with her children!” and Obi-Wans into a pile of cloth. And then reappears behind Dany and says that she should totally come with him to see her babies in the House of the Undead. (I’m thinking you should call it Meth Manor or the Krazy Kastle because “House of the Undead” isn’t exactly an inviting name. You’re not having many Bunco parties there, you feel me? People aren’t coming to your Yankee Candle sales party, Blue Lip.)
Jorah, Dany, and her Dothraki dude run off.
“So that’s a no, then?” Blue Lip calls out. “I only ask because I want to make sure there’s enough baked salmon.”
Billy Bob Thornton tries to burst into Lady Catelyn Stark’s tent, but is stopped short by Brienne. “Uh, were you raised in a barn? Knock first!”
“Mm hm, I lived in a ditch outside the house eating biscuits ‘n mustard. It’s just that they found Jaime, some folks call it a Kingslayer, mm hm.”
Jaime is being led through an angry mob being hit, kicked, and spat upon. Torrhen’s dad is all “I’ll have your head!” to which Catelyn says, “Um, excuse me? I’m the leader here while my son is away, or have you forgotten? There will be NO HEAD GIVEN TODAY!” A sad groan from the crowd.
But Lady Catelyn is just bad ass enough to make them all stop. Jaime thanks her for helping him and smarts off, leaving Catelyn no other choice but to put him in the stocks with every chain ever. And a gag for his mouth.
Cersei makes her chambers all romantic with candlelight while Tyrion reads a letter. (I assume some other Lannister is coming to “service her” since she can’t stand the sight of Tyrion.) He reads the news of Stannis’ ships and talks strategy (no, it’s called tactics, Cersei) and he reminds her that her son is a complete wonk. Seriously, Joffrey sucks. He is going to be the death of them all, quite literally. Cersei knows, but she can’t help it: Weaselteat just won’t listen to her.
Also, she thinks he’s punishment for her sins with Jaime. He looks like his father, you know. God, she misses Jaime.
“So…we’re just openly talking about that now?” Tyrion edges close to Cersei as she begins to cry, clearly wanting to be supportive but they don’t know how to be nice to each other, so instead they just look uncomfortably at one another.
At the Stark Camp, the men are getting shitted and ready to kill Jaime, wait for the King be damned. Brienne cautions Catelyn that they’ll just get drunker and more violent if this isn’t stopped. Catelyn goes to speak to Jaime, telling the guard to leave her. Brienne stays, however.
Jaime is guessing that he’s going to die tonight. He smarts off, and is really such a deliciously wicked prick, isn’t he? He tells her how stupid it is to vow, swear oaths, the lot of it. Something is always going to go wrong, and there you are, forswearing an oath to maintain another. Who needs the aggravation? Not Jaime, that’s for sure!
Oh, and about that honor thing… Ned had honor, right? Is honor code for screwing outside of wedlock? Because he did that, didn’t he? Banged some northern woman and brought home a boy for you to raise? And about your honor, Lady Catelyn: you cared for that boy like he was your own, right? Oh, right, you hated him. (Oh, Jon.) Jaime never cheated on Cersei, not once. (What a waste. Dude, your sister is going through guys like they’re going out of style. Clearly she didn’t get the memo.)
Catelyn asks Brienne for her sword. Oh, snap! Jaime sighs, smiling. Oh, I see: he wants a quick death at her hand (because his family will go apeshit on the Starks) instead of being torn apart like a Cinnabon by the drunk mob. Clever.
Theon addresses the people of Winterfell. “I warned you! Be nice and I’ll be nice, or don’t be nice and I remind you all of what a sorry jackass I am! Well, I hope you’re all proud of yourself. Because this—” He waves his hands towards some drapes which are raised as he finishes. “—is what happens when you’re not nice to me.”
And we see the burned (charred, really) bodies of two small children. Maester Luwin freaks the hell out, as does the crowd, and even Theon looks sickened. Cheney, however, is all smiles and “that’ll show them! Damn, I could go for some Peking Duck…”
We’re clearly meant to think it’s Bran and Rickon, but I’m guessing it’s the two orphan boys.
NEXT WEEK: Robb retaliates! Dragon hunts! Cersei smirks! Exclamation points! I can’t wait!