It’s Shakespearean, it is. Chaucerian, actually. (He’s older, right? I’m pretty sure he’s older than Bill.) Of course I’m talking about the word “see you next Tuesday,” which got five uses in this episode. One thing missing here: the complete lack of Joffrey slapping. Oh, well, we can’t have everything we like.
The gutters are filled with dead ravens, so the Royal Guttersnipe of Winterfell dumps them out in the courtyard as Cheney looks on, pleased. Theon is told that riders are coming and stands in the middle of the courtyard like a jackass just hoping to be trampled. His sister Yara almost complies, but circles him on her steed in an intimidating manner.
And then rides past him with all of her men, all, “Thanks for the new castle, dumb ass!”
I really wish Theon would show up in some Burberry with ‘is track gear, all CHAV. “Is you disrespecting me?” Because he is well pissed, innit tho?
Inside the hall she whoops it up with her men while he’s all sniveling and “But this is my castle, and you can’t just take it from me!” She quickly assures him with one look that she could if she wanted to, calls him a cunt twice, and then says that fortunately she doesn’t want the castle. She’s here to take him home.
See, this castle is great and all—and really, the twist on tradition out front? Where instead of flanking the front gate with evergreens, he did it with matching burned boys? Really great “Prince of Pain” look you’ve got going, Theon—but this place is kind of far from the ocean. And they’re ship-riders, not land lubbers. So…
(And there’s the whole killing two beloved children, putting a mark on your back until the end of your days thing, but mostly it’s the whole “We’re ship folk.”)
She tells a heartwarming story about how Theon was a shitty baby who cried all the time (so he’s always been that way) and once she almost strangled him, but looked down at him in his bed, scowling, and he stopped. And with a soft voice, she says that if he comes home now, she can scowl down at him in bed for the rest of their days. (I’m just saying, we know how it is in their family.)
Up north of the Wall, Ygritte brings Jon Snow to the Lord of Bones (best Frat nickname ever, am I right? High five!), who just wants to kill him. See, he’s already got a Crow, and we see that he has Halfhand captive! No! Um, Ygritte didn’t drag this mook halfway across the ice just to have his balls chopped off, thank you very much. Her captive is an important game piece, and Mance Rayder is going to want to see him. So take your weak ass intro-level armor of ice fox bones and tell him Ygritte brought the goods, okay?
She tells Jon they’re even Steven and walks off, leaving him to gloom at Halfhand. How did this happen? Well, when Jon didn’t come back, they tracked him down and got caught. So we all hope you’re proud of yourself, buddy. “See that it wasn’t for nothing,” Halfhand says to him. A plot? She is brewing.
Robb and Talisa take a romantic stroll in the setting sun with a battalion of men behind them (like in the Godfather when Michael Corleone courts Appolonia! Uh oh. If Talisa says she wants to learn how to drive: do not let her behind the wheel.). She teases Robb about his upcoming marriage to a bridge, well, to a Frey Incest daughter. He’d probably prefer to marry the bridge, come to think of it. He explains the Stark Method of Leadership: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, except they won’t, because people are totally selfish, but be passive-aggressive with your insistence on ‘honor’ so they’ll maybe feel bad one day and apologize and be good people and you can tell everyone, ‘See? My way was the right way!’”
It didn’t all fit on their banners, so they went with “Winter is Coming.” But that’s what it really says between the lines.
A rider comes up and tells Robb that there’s a bit of a problem: Jamie Lannister ran away. I’m sorry, speak into Robb’s good ear? WHAT?
Back at camp we all learn that Cat didn’t kill Jamie when she had the chance, but let him go. What the frelling frak, Catelyn? She let him go because she thinks maybe she can get her daughters back. After all, of her five children only one is free. Robb cannot believe she let herself be tricked by Jamie Lannister. And then she gets told by one of the Bannermen who reminds her that her kids are alive at least, and his are dead. Also? That’s treason.
Robb agrees and has her put under house arrest. Harsh. (Right, but harsh.)
After a beautiful white horse races away riderless, we see Brienne shove a cloaked man off another horse and remove his hood: Jamie! Jamie tries the old Lannister Charm on her (which means being really jerky and condescending) to get her to uncuff him so they can fight. Because he’s pretty sure he’d beat her.
Hey, Jamie? Brienne has been told by men her whole life that they could kick her ass, and she’s pretty much left them behind her clutching their man-stones while crying into the dirt, so maybe check yourself before you wreck yourself. Also, she’s no dummy. You’re not getting out of those cuffs, Bro-Bro Sapien. They find a canoe (wow, that was convenient!) and shove off for a romantic float down the River Something. O, Brave Hiawatha!
While pouring out for Tywin and his men as they discuss the upcoming war, Arya is privy to all sorts of great information. Like how Tywin is going to plan a sneak attack on Robb, who he’s pretty sure will still push on to fight Stannis and the Lannisters. He’s young and unseasoned, after all—too young to know to fear a proper battle, such as the one coming.
Tywin tells Glegane “The Mountain” to stay there, let Arya work for him since she’s such a good worker (aww, praise from Daddy!) and to go ahead and wipe out all of the Dark Brotherhood (Brotherhood without Borders? Bannermen without Banners? Blood Brothers Without Bananas?) They’ve become a nuisance.
Arya, on her mandatory fifteen minute coffee break, runs out to the courtyard, dodging all of the hanging corpses (for the Lannisters it’s like mistletoe!) and goes in search of Captain Cupcake, Jaqen H’gar. She runs into one of the dudes who was locked up with him before the Lannisters captured her; he threatens to rape her with a stick and we have Cunt-use #3, because he’s a total charmer. Fortunately for everyone, he’s called to arms where hopefully he’ll die painfully.
She finds Gendry and Cartman—who is actually moaning about food—and asks if they’ve seen him. Nope. Well, Cartman knows where he is, actually: he left a few hours ago on patrol. Damn it! She finally thought to tell him the last name: Tywin! (Girlfriend, strike when that iron’s hot. And Gendry? As a blacksmith, I would have thought you’d offer that particular advice a long time ago. Tsk.)
Back up north of the Wall, Halfhand and Jon are tied up and forced to march, close enough where they can devise a plan, because the Wildlings aren’t very smart. (The Lannisters wouldn’t have let prisoners talk to one another, I bet.) Halfhand says that Jon should work his way into Mance’s trust and get intel for the Watch. Jon is too busy looking sad and forlorn to know how to do that, so Halfhand starts shouting at him and fighting, calling him a traitor’s son.
Jon goes skidding down a hillside as Halfhand is reprimanded for being H.R. Shovin’ Stuff. Ygritte, however, looks down at Jon, and I’m pretty sure that two and two just became “trying to be a spy” in her mind. (Math is weird for Wildlings.) She’s a clever one, and I think it’s going to be hard to put anything over on her. I like her more and more.
In King’s Landing, Tyrion and Bronn are getting under one another’s skin like an old married couple. Bronn isn’t interested in searching through books to learn how to fight the upcoming battle, while Tyrion keeps sorting through them, looking for a Skill Book to level up his Battle Plans. Aha! “An History of The Great Sieges of Westeros!” Wait, no, it’s just a regular ol’ book. (Nice use of an with an H, though—very old school.)
Uncle Fester joins them, wearing a smashing and sunny yellow kimono, and praises Bronn for the marked drop in thievery in King’s Landing. Oh, it’s no trouble, Bronn asserts: he just had all of the known thieves rounded up. And killed. Now it’s just the unknown thieves they have to worry about. And once again we see that Bronn is really freaking clever as he explains to the two Lords that when a city is under attack, the first thing of importance is ammo. Then food. (That’s how I play the game, at least.) They needed to keep people from going Michael Gross and Reba McEntire in Tremors, so how about a “Thank you, Bronn?”
Tyrion skips past that and mentions that Stannis knows the city well, having lived there. Which means he knows its weaknesses. Like the Mud Gate, and I’m just saying that if you were running a city and knew of a weakness that could be breached, maybe you put something there to keep that from happening? Pile up some of the dead bodies? I don’t know, something.
Uncle Fester wants to know what they have to defend it.
“Pig poop.” I’m assuming that’s code for “Hellfire Bombs of Nuclear Flamening and Hurting.”
In the group of Watch high on a mountain top, Red Leader Porkins, Pip, and Not!Bronn (doesn’t he look like the poor man’s version of Bronn?) are digging latrines, because it’s clear that the men of the Watch don’t know to not eat yellow snow. They’re all bitching about their awful job as Porkins wishes Gilly were there. She’d love digging holes in snow… And Jon would, too, he bets.
Well, the others bet he’s dead, so yeah, he probably would like digging latrines. That would be preferable to being toes up, wouldn’t it? Um, Jon can’t be dead, Porkins assures, because he has a sword made of Valyrian Steel, okay? (And so did Ned. BOOM! Ooh, sick burn on the bastard’s dead father! They’re going to need a salve for that ouchie.)
Just then, Pip hits metal. (No, not rock. I thought it was rock, too, which would be reasonable, seeing as they’re on a mountain.) It turns out to be a seal from the First Men—a sort of holy manhole cover, if you will. (And you will.) Pip flips it over and they find a cloak. Oh, but inside the cloak is a hell of a treasure: dragon glass! A.k.a. obsidian, and I’m hoping that one of them has Arcane Smithing Skills so they can actually use it.
Also, Porkins? You couldn’t pick your teeth with a little bit of bone or bark every now and then? Your tooth meat has a little schmortz on it. That’s going to negatively affect your Health Points, I’m just saying.
Arya, picking up some water buckets after being knocked to the ground, is approached by Captain Cupcake.
CC: A girl needs to give me a name.
AS: A man needs to be here when I want you.
CC: A girl needs to be patient. And give me a name.
AS: Oh, you want to be smart? How’s this for a name? YOU.
CC: Um…that’s not funny.
AS: I’m not trying to be funny.
CC: Good, because you’re not. Now undo it.
AS: Are you five? Undo it? Also, no.
CC: This is offending me and kind of freaking me out. A girl needs to–
AS: FINE, jeez. I’ll undo it if you help my friends and me escape.
CC: A girl is pushing it. And…okay. Walk through the gate at midnight. I mean, a girl and her friends should–
AS: I got it. You don’t have to always talk so creepy, you know.
Tyrion and Cersei share dinner, and I think that study that said that families who eat meals together are closer and happier didn’t study the Lannisters. She makes fun of Tyrion’s “odd little boy” servant, and hey, Varys (Uncle Fester) also likes odd little boys. You know what, Cersei? Tyrion happens to have a soft spot for creepy dudes.
HEY GUYS. HE’S RIGHT THERE, LISTENING TO YOU.
And then we learn that King Weaselteat is planning on joining his troops in battle, and there was much rejoicing, hurrah! Oh, he’ll most likely be killed in the morning, please pass the casserole. Cersei sees through this charade of Tyrion’s, though. She knows that Tyrion is trying to kill off her children, and she is not okay with it. She then goes all creepy with an amused laugh at no audible joke (typical Evil Villain behavior) because ha ha! She has your whore, Tyrion!
Oh. My. God.
Tyrion tries to play it off all, “Whore? What’s that?” and “Her? Pfft, she’s nothing to me,” all while growing increasingly worried. (Nice bit of acting, Sir.)
Cersei throws out Cunt #4 and has her brought out. It isn’t Shae, though. It’s the James Brown of Hookers, Ros! Up is down! Right is left! Tyrion holds it together, promises to keep her safe and plays the part, and so does Ros. Girl is clever and has some strong survival instincts, I’m just saying. She even says, “Don’t forget me,” because when this is all over, she better get a huge bonus and extra vacation time. And maybe a better parking space. And a no sex with Joffrey clause.
Cersei is the cat who caught the slutty bird and is quite pleased with herself, but Tyrion wants her to know that one day, one fine day he will make her pay, and her “joy will turn to ashes in your mouth—and you’ll know the debt is paid.” Damn. He is playing the part well. (And I think he really means it, too, even though it’s not his girl being held captive. There is no love lost in this family.)
He leaves, races to Shae, and I was just sure that he was being tailed because Cersei knew that Ros wasn’t the real girl, but nope—Cersei is that foolish. Shae’s there, safe and sound, and Tyrion falls to her, tells her she’s beautiful, she’s his, and to be safe.
She promises to Hannibal Lecter anyone who comes near him and they are just the sweetest little couple, aren’t they? Those who plot and kill together, stay together. That’s what my grandma used to whisper in my ear every night before she’d go for her “midnight walks.” (Was that weird? Like how she came back stained in blood? We just all thought she was “tetched in the head.” Hm.)
Robb talks shop with Roose Bolton, Micheal’s cousin, and don’t tell me you can’t see the resemblance. This is the time for Captain Jack Sparrow! Roose doesn’t think Theon would actually hurt the boys (ooh, Robb is going to lose his mind when the news comes). Robb says that anyone from the Iron Islands who surrenders will be allowed to go home. But not so fast, Theon. They have a special level of hell waiting for you.
Talisa comes in for a little “how’s your father?” to which Robb reminds her that not only is his father dead, but he had to arrest his mother, his corns are killing him, they ran out of fish sticks by the time he got to lunch, and his siblings are all being held captive. So, he’s doing great.
Her sarcasm sensors are set pretty high, so she apologizes; he realizes that he’s blowing it with a hot chick and changes course. “I want to be a good king where everyone is happy and well fed and safe, but everyone keeps trying to fight me. So! Why do you cut men’s feet off?” he finishes, propping his chin on his fists and giving her a “Go on” smile.
The Tale of Talisa, The Foot Chopper
Well, once upon a time she was raised to play the harp and be a lady with her pinky out. Her parents went away for a rager, I mean, a wedding, and left her at the age of twelve to be in charge of her little brother. The whole neighborhood went out to play in the lake, all naked and laughing, and she got caught up talking to her friends about Jimmy and how he like-likes her, when she realized that she hadn’t been paying attention to her brother. Oopsie doodles!
And he was dead. Good job, Babysitter. You had one job. She then pulled him to the shore and screamed at him to not be dead, and then he wasn’t! (Why do people do this?) No, she screamed at him and he stayed dead. But a slave came over, shoved her aside —which should mean he’s immediately killed—and did Westeros CPR on him. (Pressing his chest while looking intense with a dirty face.) Her brother came to, and she decided to be a nurse. And to never live where there are slaves. The End.
Robb loved this story a lot. In fact, it reminded him of a bedtime story. Time for bed, wink wink. He tells her in a passionate way that he doesn’t want to marry the Frey Freak; she doesn’t want him to marry the Frey Freak, and they rip each other’s clothes off and ‘bed’ one another. And let’s just acknowledge that Talisa is a freaking babe, naked but for her boots and braid, and Robb ain’t too shabby either, and they got paid to roll around naked with each other.
It’s good to be king.
It’s midnight in Harrenhall and Arya, Gendry, and Cartman hide in the shadows, trying to figure out how this whole escape thing is going to work. Do they wait for a signal, or…? Cartman is about ready to say, “Screw you guys; I’m going home,” when Arya rolls her eyes and struts to the front gate. Gendry joins her, Cartman brings up the rear, and they pass the guards.
Who are all be-speared, be-hooked, or be-skull-smashed, hanging or propped up like they’re not dead. Three cheers for Captain Cupcake, hooray!
Stannis is on one of his boats as his men prepare for battle. They should hit King’s Landing in a day or so. He tells Davos how he’s been the unpopular kid in his family since, like, forever. Robert told him to stay put in Storm’s End, and he stayed put, because he does what he’s told. And he stayed there even though he and his men began to starve to death. (There were only so many cats and horses to go around, you see.)
And then Robert told him to come home, because their baby brother Renly was going to be given the joint, and it’s not fair! (Stannis? Maybe Robert thought you wouldn’t want to stay there, seeing as you almost died in that hell hole? Maybe you should turn that high-powered perception onto yourself. Or maybe you’re just too afraid to? Stop being such a negative Nancy.)
Turns out that he didn’t die there thanks to Davos and his black sailboat, which is apparently Klingon in origin as it appears to be equipped with a powerful cloaking device. He sneaked through enemy lines and brought meat-n-taters to the dying men. And because he’s so awesome, Stannis will make Davos his Hand once Stannis is King. Nice!
Fester, Tyrion, and Weaselteat walk along the wall as the troops fortify their regiment and supplies. Joffrey is a complete douchetard, bragging that he’ll give his uncle Stannis a permanent grin. A red one, hurr. Ooh, someone put on their bad boy britches today! He wanders off to see if anyone heard his awesome joke and hopefully will write a song about it, leaving Fester and Tyrion alone to get work done.
They’re both so delightfully droll and sarcastic. And they admire one another, albeit begrudgingly. Fester admits that Tyrion is actually good at being the Hand, and Tyrion admits that he really likes being the Hand. But they do worry about Stannis and the rumor that he burns his enemies alive for the sake of his gods.
And that’s a terrible god, Tyrion thinks. (A vicious cunt, he says, #5!) Where’s the god of Sleeping In and Doritos? Or The Goddess of Margaritas and Nachos? (She’s in my basement, actually, we have service every Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.)
Fester says that it turns out Danerys Targaryen is still alive, and has three dragons with her. And when those dragons grow to full size, no one will be safe. While that’s true, there are more pressing matters. They can deal with the dragons another day. Let’s just get through this unbalanced battle first, shall we?
Speaking of silver-haired ladies… Dany is waiting for Jorah to focus on finding her children. Um…I know that sounds poetic, Jorah tells her, but they’re not really your children. Well, they’re as close as she’s ever going to get. So follow through on that breathy, intense love for her and go get them. She even throws in a face stroke and soft voice to get him to bend to her will. (It wouldn’t have taken much; he’d drink her bathwater if given the chance.)
Theon thinks it’s time to take the burned bodies down, but Cheney thinks they lend a certain air to the estate. They say, “Don’t fuck with me,” but in a tasteful way. Hm, at least give the farmer some gold for his…trouble. (Oho, my suspicion that they weren’t the boys seems to be true!) Cheney thinks that’s weak—if you don’t want someone to talk, that’s what Gitmo is for. They don’t even have to really be guilty of anything, isn’t that great?
Maester Luwin walks by and spies Tonks ducking into a stable or something. He checks out the charred bodies to see if maybe it isn’t the Stark boys, and then follows after her. She tells him how they did the old “Danny walks backwards in his snowy footprints to fool his crazy, murderous dad” trick, because who would look for them in Winterfell? No one, that’s who. And they surmise the burned bodies are the orphaned boys, but don’t tell Bran—he’ll just blame himself, and haven’t they been through enough?
That just makes me think they’re going to tell us all the ways they’ve not suffered, but are going to in the near future. I’ve come to expect the worst. (And I love it.)
Next week: Epic Battle of Epicness! Everyone throws in! Only two more to go, gang. (Remember that I am not a book reader, so no spoilers, please and thank you!)
Episode 9… BLACKWATER. (Hold your socks, gang, they’re gonna fly off)