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Game of Thrones 5×3 Recap – High Sparrow

sansa-and-littlefinger

House Stark/Baratheon

Here we are, inside the House of Black and White. It’s damp and a bit spooky with a lot of statues along the walls. Arya is grumpily sweeping as Jaqen sits with a man by the pool of water in the middle of the floor. He gives the man a cup of water and they exchange “Valar morghulis. Valar dohaeris.” The man then drops dead; all men must die and these people are no joke.

Arya is over the sweeping. That’s not what she’s here for; she wants to serve. She’s got a kill list! Come on let’s get going! What must she do to become a Faceless Man? The answer? She must become no one.

Later, Arya is confronted by another girl that’s in training at the House of Black and White. “Who are you? You, who walk in here with a coin you never earned, whose value you don’t respect. Who are you?” Arya, ever the quick learner, replies “no one.” The girl whips Arya. With every objection, the girl continues to whip her. “Who are you?” the girl asks again. “You’re about to find out!” says Arya as she reaches for Needle and I applaud my television but Jaqen enters before it can escalate into an all out catfight. Jaqen scolds Arya for wanting to become “no one” while she is still holding on tightly to all of her personal belongings. Time for a makeover!

After her first costume change since season 1, Arya throws her personal items into the Narrow Sea. The last thing is Needle. Can she do it? Images of Jon Snow and a happy Stark family at Winterfell flash through my mind. Don’t do it, Arya! Whew! She doesn’t do it. Instead, she hides Needle in some rocks and continues sweeping.

Jaqen shows up and leads Arya down a scary staircase to a room with the latest body and the bully-girl that was whipping Arya. Together, Arya and the girl undress the body and begin to clean it. “What do we do after we wash them?” she asks. No answer.

Speaking of Winterfell, we’re baaaaack! It’s now decorated with House Bolton flags, some gross looking bodies, and there’s poor Theon. Back to the bodies, they’re victims of Ramsay of course. He went out collecting taxes but decided to flay and collect bodies instead. When Lord Cerwyn refused to pay anyone but a Stark, Ramsay calmly explained that he “flayed him living along with his wife and brother, made his son watch. The new Lord Cerwyn paid his taxes.”

Roose Bolton is nervous. Not only is his son a psychopath but also he doesn’t have enough men to hold the North. Yes, he made a pact with the Lannisters but that pact was with Tywin, who is now deceased. The remaining Lannisters won’t send someone this far north. Roose explains to Ramsay, “We’ve become a great house by forming alliances with other Houses and parlaying those alliances into greater power. The best way to forge a lasting alliance isn’t by peeling a man’s skin off. The best way is marriage. It’s high time you married a suitable bride. And as it happens, I’ve found the perfect girl to solidify our hold on the North.” It’s then that my stomach sinks. It makes perfect sense. It’s Sansa.

Side note: I loved watching Theon eavesdrop during this scene. There’s still a small part of Theon left in there. He still understands the game being played. The subtleties by Alfie Allen make that crystal clear. I hope Theon rises up and protects Sansa.

Sansa and Littlefinger arrive at Moat Cailin. That’s when Littlefinger reveals his plan. He’s taking Sansa “home” to Winterfell and he’s made a marriage proposal for Sansa, not for himself. She objects, naturally. Roose Bolton murdered Catelyn and Robb. Littlefinger gives her the pep talk he’s probably been preparing since the Red Wedding:

“Winterfell is your home. Always. You’re a Stark. Dying your hair doesn’t change that. You’re Sansa Stark, eldest surviving child of Ned and Catelyn Stark. Your place is in the North. You’ve been running all your life. Terrible things happen to your family and you weep. You sit alone in a darkened room mourning their fates. You’ve been a bystander to tragedy from the day they executed your father. Stop being a bystander. Stop running. There’s no justice in the world. Not unless we make it. You loved your family. Avenge them.”

So that’s it, Sansa escapes one psychopath only to marry another. She will wed Ramsay Bolton and hopefully avenge her family by murdering him in his sleep. Fingers crossed.

Now this is the biggest deviation from the books to date. It changes everything. At first I found it strange, shocking even. Sansa would never marry the man responsible for killing her family. Then I warmed up to it.

First, it brings a Stark back to Winterfell—Winterfell is the closest thing us viewers have to “home” and seeing a Stark there just makes things feel a bit better. I’m sure the warm and fuzzies won’t last. Surely Ramsay has wreaked all kinds of havoc on our beloved home but let’s just live in this happy place and remember simpler times for a few minutes longer. As the servant said, “Welcome home Lady Stark. The North remembers.”

Second, it gives Sansa a mission. Why should Arya be the only Stark girl out for vengeance? Poor, naïve Sansa with her lemon cakes is no more! She’s grown. She’s evolved. She is pursuing vengeance in her own way. We have to remember that Sansa was bred to be married. She was told from a young age that she would be a princess and that she would marry for power. She now is simply using the tools she has available to avenge her family.

Third, it gives Sophie Turner something to do. The actress has been severely underused. Her character has been pretty one-dimensional from the start so I like this change. If the actress can handle it, I say let’s see it. And judging from soundbites in December, it seems like we will. “There was one scene that I did do which was super, super traumatic, and I love doing those scenes,” Turner said. “It was just really kind of horrible for everyone to be on set and watch.”

When Sansa arrives to Winterfell and meets Roose Bolton for the first time I just knew she was going to slap him. Instead, she smiles and curtseys. Ramsay and Sansa meet. Each is falsely charming. Myranda (Ramsay’s like-minded, torture friendly girlfriend) angrily watches from afar. Later, Ramsay and Littlefinger watch Sansa cross the courtyard. “She really is lovely, I hope I can make her happy…I’ll never hurt her. You have my word,” says Ramsay. Ha, yea right. Littlefinger remarks that he hasn’t heard much about the young Lord Bolton. Ramsay clarifies that he is actually Roose Bolton’s bastard. Can we just pause for a second and take a look at Littlefinger’s face:

Petyr Baelish Littlefinger - What is Petyr Baelish thinking?

Things running through Littlefinger’s mind at this very moment

  • Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t.
  • Is it too late to change my mind?
  • Thiiiiiiiis is the bastard?
  • Joffrey>Ramsay
  • What did I get my precious Sansa into?
  • Can I request a do over?
  • Wait, isn’t she technically still married to Tyrion?
  • I’m definitely going to hell now.
  • I hope he lets me keep my little finger.

Moving on, when Roose arrives Littlefinger assures him that Sansa is still a virgin. They discuss their histories with the Lannisters. “The Lannister name doesn’t mean what it used to.” Littlefinger explains to Roose that every ambitious move is a gamble and “the last time the lords of the Eryie formed an alliance with the lords of the North they brought down the greatest dynasty this world has ever known.” This union has potential.

Nearby, Brienne and Podrick are following Sansa and Littlefinger. I’ve never been so happy to see Brienne in my life. Surely, she will act as Sansa’s guardian angel in this wreck of a situation.

Brienne and Podrick have what has to be their first ever real conversation. She knows she hasn’t been very kind, but he tells her, “You’re the best fighter I’ve ever seen. You beat the Hound. I’m proud to be your squire.” With that, you can see Brienne perk up. Maybe Podrick isn’t so bad after all? She decides to train him. She will teach him how to fight and properly ride a horse.

Brienne then talks about her service to Renly and how their friendship came to be. Her father once held a ball so she could find a good match. It was wonderful. No one noticed how tall she was. They all whispered sweet nothings into her ear. She was so happy. Eventually she realized the boys were toying with her. She tried to run away but Renly Baratheon stopped her and said, “Don’t let them see your tears. They’re nasty little sh*ts and nasty little sh*ts aren’t worth crying over.” He danced with her all night and no one bothered her after that. “He saved me from being a joke, from that day until his last day. I couldn’t save him.”

Then we learn Brienne’s plan for vengeance; she’s going after Stannis.

Heading over to The Wall, Jon Snow is hard at work as the new Lord Commander. He’s everything we thought he would be: kind, patient, stern, loyal.

During a meeting with Stannis Baratheon, he refuses the opportunity to become Jon Stark. His place is on The Wall. “You’re as stubborn as you’re father and as honorable,” Stannis tells him. Jon Snow wants to know how much longer they’re going to be crashing at Castle Black. Stannis is basically that drunken friend that passes out on your couch and eats all your frozen dinners before dawn. Castle Black is running out of food and winter is coming. Stannis says he plans to march on Winterfell within the fortnight.

But, what to do with the Wildlings? Will Tormund compromise? Stannis thinks that Jon Snow should execute them. The other Brothers don’t want the free folk around. And what to do with Ser Alliser Thorne? Dismissing Stannis’ advice, Jon Snow says he intends to keep his enemies close.

After Stannis exits Davos says to Jon Snow, “he sees something in you. Might not be apparent from his tone but it’s the truth. He believes in you.” Stannis only wants to do what’s right for the Seven Kingdoms and he thinks he needs Jon Snow to do that. Davos reminds Snow of the line within the Night’s Watch oath—the shield that guards the realms of men. “That’s what you swore to be. Maybe people need you outside of The Wall. As long as the Boltons rule, the North will suffer.” I wonder how this is going to play out with Sansa? Could Jon Snow potentially rescue the North and Sansa?

Later, Jon Snow appoints Ser Alliser Thorne as First Ranger. He decides to send Lord Janos Slynt to Greyguard, which is apparently a ruin. Slynt does not want any part of that dump. Snow tells him “that was a command, not an offer.” Slynt refuses, repeatedly.

Slynt’s refusal is punishable by death. Snow cannot start his reign as Lord Commander by being soft so he has Slynt hauled to the courtyard for execution. If there’s one thing that Jon Snow has learned, it is how to properly behead someone when it’s needed. He marches to the podium.

“If you have any last words my Lord, now’s the time.” Slynt begs for forgiveness. He declares Jon Snow the true Lord Commander. “I’m afraid. I’ve always been afraid.” The Night’s Watch is not a place for scared men, not with winter coming. With that, Snow chops off his head. Stannis nods approvingly.

House Lannister

We check in at King’s Landing with a little Tour de Cersei Lannister. Under the sound of ringing bells, Cersei is carried in her litter toward the Great Sept of Baelor to celebrate the wedding of King Tommen and Queen Margaery. The street is lined with people from the Capitol adoringly shouting the name of the new Queen. Cersei is seething as she realizes that Margaery has succeeded in winning over the people of the city.

Margaery exchanges yet another set of wedding vows (third time’s the charm, right?) and finally becomes THE Queen that she always wanted to be. I loved how in this scene, we see Cersei through the silhouettes of the new couple as they exchange their first kiss. It’s evident that this wedding is the last thing Cersei ever wanted to happen. Boy, no one can deliver a scowl quite like Lena Headey.

After the wedding, we cut immediately to Margaery and Tommen consummating the marriage. Margaery knew better this time and didn’t spend any time waiting. When they finish, the new King is practically squealing with pleasure and expresses concern for hurting Margaery. Oh sweet innocent Tommen. You didn’t hurt her. Is he really so different from his cruel brother, Joffrey? I hope so for Margaery’s sake.

Speaking of the late King Joffrey, Tommen confides in Margaery that he often thinks about how everything he has – a new, beautiful Queen and the title of King – is only his because his brother is dead. Margaery tells him that he shouldn’t feel guilty about that but Tommen insists that he feels no guilt. Maybe he isn’t so different from Joffrey at all. Margaery starts to carefully sink her claws into the Boy King. Instead of revealing her true feelings toward Cersei, she feigns admiration of the Queen Mother’s motherly affections. She tells Tommen that it is so wonderful how Cersei is always looking after him like “a lioness guarding her cub.” Tommen insists that he no longer needs his mother looking after him because he is officially a man. But Margaery reminds him that as long as Cersei is in King’s Landing, Tommen will always be her baby boy.

The next scene takes us immediately to Cersei and Tommen strolling through the Capitol arm-in-arm.   The two discuss the new Queen and the new marriage and then Tommen reveals that the seeds of doubt planted by Margaery have successfully taken root. Tommen suggests that Cersei leave King’s Landing to return home to Casterly Rock where she can finally be happy. Tommen probably does want his mother to be happy but these words are not his and Cersei knows exactly where they are coming from.

She heads right to the source and visits Margaery and the ladies of the court. This is my favorite Margaery vs. Cersei scene to date. Cersei enters the room as Margaery recounts the four different times that her and Tommen consummated the marriage. When Margaery spots Cersei, she jumps from her chair and greets Cersei with a hug and an exclamation of “Mother!” Now that Margaery is Queen, she is fearless, almost careless, wasting no time to take jabs at Cersei. “I wish I had some wine for you, it’s a bit early in the day for us.” Cersei dismisses the comment, though she does appear to be a bit shocked, and claims that the reason for her visit is just to make sure that her new daughter-in-law knows that she is always there for her. Margaery expresses gratitude and reveals to the Queen Mother that she may soon be a Queen Grandmother, since she is so exhausted from Tommen’s “enthusiasm.” Cersei doesn’t linger and as she excuses herself, Margaery throws one last jab. “What’s the proper way to address you now? Queen Mother or Dowager Queen?”

Cersei maintains her cool, insists such formality is not required, and marches out of the gardens. The laughter of the girls rings through her head as she’s leaving. She may have been calm and level-headed in that moment, but we know Cersei will not go down without a fight. Margaery better watch her back (and her drinks!).

Back in Baelish’s brothel, we find the creep-tastic High Septon selecting from amongst the Seven Whore Gods. The Septon’s fun is interrupted by the Sparrows, led by Cersei’s favorite Lannister cousin Lancel, who are there to reprimand the Septon for his promiscuous behavior. As punishment, they force him to walk through the streets naked, flogging him whenever he attempts to cover himself, while the crowds hiss “sinner, sinner.”

The re-clothed Septon marches directly to the King’s Council and asks Cersei to throw the head of the Sparrows, the High Sparrow, in the black cells as punishment for the assault against him. Pycelle spoke up in his defense, but that doesn’t surprise me. (We remember you, Ros!) The wheels in Cersei’s head are spinning…but why?

Despite warnings from her King’s Guard, Cersei weaves her way through the poor in Flee Bottom (I’m guessing) to find the High Sparrow, a shoeless man feeding soup to the poor. The High Sparrow (hey you, Governor Swann) and Cersei discuss his choice of nickname, which he finds humorous, and his decision to give away his shoes, which he made to remind himself who he really is. The High Sparrow then reveals that he knows why Cersei has visited – to arrest him for what he did to the High Septon. Cersei reveals that the High Septon actually requested for the High Sparrow to be executed but rather than doing that, she has thrown the Septon into the Red Keep. “The faith and the crown are the two pillars that hold up this world. One collapses, so does the other. We must do everything necessary to protect one another.” Oh really? Since when has Cersei become so religious?

After her visit with the Sparrow, Cersei heads to see the mad scientist/healer Qyburn and asks him to send an urgent message to Petyr Baelish “wherever he’s slithering about.” She also asks Qyburn how his project is coming along and tells him to keep at it. After she leaves, we see what we thought was an inanimate body on a table come to life under a blanket! What is under there, Qyburn? Is it a Franken-Mountain of sorts?! Whatever it is, Cersei knows and I don’t have a good feeling about it.

We catch up with our favorite Lannister, Tyrion, as he starts to lose his mind on the road to Meereen. Tyrion insists that he is sick of seeing Varys’ face and he needs to get out of the cart for a bit before he goes crazy. Lord Varys warns him that there is a price on Tyrion’s head and if he’s recognized, it’s all over. Tyrion insists he’s just one more drunk dwarf and the two step out in Volantis. Reminder – Volantis was the home of the late Robb Stark’s wife (RIP, the North Remembers) and through re-tellings of her childhood, Talisa revealed Volantis to be a major slave city.

We find Varys and Tyrion walking through a gigantic, organized slave market. We learn that the slaves are marked by tattoos on their faces as to be easily recognized. But word of slave revolutions from Slaver’s Bay have made their way to Volantis and the slaves are not happy. Tyrion and Varys stumble upon a Red Preacher of the Lord of Light surrounded by a chanting crowd. The preacher is talking about slavery and claims that the Red King hears their misery and has sent them a new savior. “From the fire she was reborn to remake the world; the Dragon Queen!” Tyrion mocks the speech and jokes about how they are on their way to the savior. The Red Preacher hears him and a dark, foreboding look is exchanged between her and Tyrion.

Tyrion and Varys head to a brothel and we learn that the influence of the Dragon Queen has reached even the most desperate of places. A prostitute walks around dressed in an ass-less Dany get up, hair and all. Tyrion and Varys sit in a darkened corner and don’t realize that there is another Game of Thrones character/Dany lover in their presence.

Tyrion leaves Varys to talk to “someone with hair” and finds a bitter brunette prostitute. “They all want to f*ck a queen,” she says as she glares at the Dany imitation. She knows Tyrion has no money but the two share a connection and she offers him pity sex. To everyone’s surprise, including Tyrion’s, he rejects! “I’m sorry, I can’t.” She reassures him that she can and coaxes him to join her but he insists it’s something he cannot do. “Believe me, no one is more shocked than I am. I hope it passes!”

Defeated, Tyrion leaves and goes to piss into the sea. He hears someone walk up behind him and thinks its Varys. Alas, it is not! It is Ser Jorah Mormont, who we spotted earlier in the crowd.   Jorah seizes and gags Lord Tyrion. “I’m taking you to the Queen,” he says as he carts off Tyrion on his shoulder. We’re left to wonder the question of the hour….WHICH QUEEN?! I would bet all of the Lannister gold that it is none other than the love of his life, Daenerys Targaryen.

Side Note – Tyrion made an off-handed comment while listening to the Red Preacher about the disease, greyscale.  We also heard Stannis’ daughter, Shireen Baratheon, discuss the illness from which she suffers with Gilly in last week’s episode.  Something tells me that this is no coincidence but foreshadowing and we can expect a major character to go down from the illness before all is said and done.

Rock Paper Watch’s Top Quote of 5×3:

Jenn’s Pick –  “It’s a perfectly good face.”  – Varys in response to Tyrion’s angst against only seeing him for days on end.

Elizabeth’s Pick – “Stop being a bystander. Stop running. There’s no justice in the world. Not unless we make it. You loved your family. Avenge them.”

Game of Thrones Recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera (Lannister and Targaryen) and Elizabeth Bond (Stark/Baratheon and Martell).  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.

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Everything You Need to Know for Game of Thrones Season 5

the-sand-snakesMeet the Sand Snakes, the bastard daughters of Oberyn and Ellaria.

1. New House & New Location

We met our first member of House Martell, Prince Oberyn, last season.  (Who can forget his sultry voice, his disdain for Lannisters’, and his way with candles?)  Sadly, the Mountain crushed our handsome prince (pun definitely intended) during a battle by combat that resulted in the infamous Oberyn Headsplosion.  For those of you that didn’t read the books, House Martell is the head family in the Kingdom of Dorne ruling out of the castle of Sunspear.  Dorne, the southernmost point of the Seven Kingdoms, has been mentioned in Game of Thrones before.  You may recall that when Tyrion was serving as Hand of the King, he orchestrated a plot to have Marcella Baratheon (Lannister) sent away from King’s Landing.  The little lion princess is currently trapped living in Dorne.

Dorne is different from the rest of the kingdoms of Westeros in that it was never truly conquered by the Targaryen’s.  Dorne swore fielty to the Iron Throne by choice centuries after Aegon’s invasion.  Like their ancestors that came before House Martell, Dornish noble Houses follow gender-blind equal primogeniture, in which the eldest child is the heir regardless of whether they are male or female.  The words of the Martells are “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” and bastard children assume the name of “Sand.”  The Martells are deeply resentful of the Lannister family and blame Tywin for the death of Elia Martell, wife of Prince Rhaegar Targeryen, and her children.

This season, we will meet even more members of House Martell.  Oberyn’s paramour, Ellaria Sand, will be returning to report the dreadful news of Oberyn’s death to the reigning Prince of Dorne and Oberyn’s older brother, Prince Doran Martell.  We will also be meeting the Sand Snakes, the bastard daughters of Oberyn and Ellaria.  The Sand Snakes are skilled fighters trained by their father and will most certainly be seeking revenge against the Lannisters.

Rumor has it that Jaime Lannister will be departing King’s Landing and riding south to broker peace in Dorne.  Bookreaders know this is a change in Jaime’s story and I’m interested to see how they fit this into Jaime’s character progression.  Perhaps the Kingslayer will arrive just in time to save Princess Marcella from the deadly grasp of the Sand Snakes?

Sand_Snakes_torture_with_scorpionsSand Snakes using scorpion torture. NBD

2. No Bran, No Hodor.

‘Nough said.  This season will not include Bran Stark or his gentle giant companion, Hodor, as the TV series has caught up to his storyline.  Who will be around to “Hodor” for us?!

3. Who Crossed the Narrow Sea?

When we left, Arya had set her sights on Braavos. For those of you in need of a refresh, remember Jaqen H’ghar? Jaqen helped Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry escape Harrenhal in season two and then he changed into another person like whoosh. That’s because he was a member of the Faceless Men, a trained group of assassins. Arya used the coin given to her by Jaqen to gain passage to cross the Narrow Sea. Is Arya on her way to become an assassin?  Will she soon be just as deadly as Jaqen?

The last we saw of Tyrion, he was being packed into a box by Varys and boarding a ship set sail for freedom. This was all after he killed Tywin on the toilet and strangled Shae with her own necklace. Can we all just have a slow clap for Tyrion?

But, where is he going? Judging by this season 5 poster, we can make one guess:

game of thrones season 5 dragon and tyrion

Also, in recent clips we’ve heard this exchange between Varys and Tyrion:

V: The Seven Kingdoms needs a ruler loved by millions with a powerful army and the right family name.
T: Good luck finding him.
V: Who said anything about ‘him’?”

4. The Wall is Getting Crowded

The Brothers of the Night’s Watch are no longer alone.

At the end of last season, we saw the arrival of Stannis Baratheon at The Wall where he saved Jon Snow from certain imprisonment and possible death at the hands of Mance Rayder. The goal here for Stannis is to protect all of Westeros from the White Walkers and prove himself the One True King.

The Night’s Watch also needs a new leader (RIP Lord Commander Mormont).  Who will be chosen to take the lead?  Will Stannis insert himself, or will he allow a new Brother to rise to the top?

Bonus, rumor has it Melisandre will set her eyes on Jon Snow. Man, this guy’s got a thing for redheads, I VOLUNTEER!

5. And everyone else?

Dark Sansa

Sansa has officially made a deal with the devil, as in Littlefinger. (Reminder: Littlefinger revealed at the end of season four that HE was the one who killed Jon Arryn, which instigated King Robert riding North and setting Game of Thrones in motion).  Now that she’s dyed her hair and decided to join the “game,” what’s next for these two? I don’t know but I bet it’ll be a little creepy.

Third time’s a charm?

Poor Margaery is set to marry a king, again. Will sweet, innocent Tommen survive the wedding? Only time will tell.

It’s a man’s man’s man’s world

…but all her men are gone! What will Cersei do without Tywin, Tyrion, or Jaime to manipulate and whine to, or about?  Will there be anyone to protect her when it’s time for her to pay for her many, many crimes?

This is a real mystery

We already know that Brienne of Tarth’s storyline is deviating pretty dramatically from the books. After taking down The Hound but losing Arya, what’s next for her and Podrick? Will she stay on her mission to find the Stark girls?

Oh, Reek

Things are still pretty bad for Theon/Reek. Our favorite Ironborn has spent the last two seasons as the tortured servant of Ramsay Bolton. Will he ever escape? Sometimes I watch season one of Game of Thrones just to remind myself of cocky, self-absorbed Theon. Gah, so attractive. Just me? Okay.

Trouble in Paradise

At the conclusion of the season, Daenerys finally learned the truth about Jorah Mormont’s original reason for seeking her out and “protecting” her.  (He was a spy for King Robert working to regain his freedom in Westeros.)  Dany banished Jorah from her encampment and sent him to the #FriendZone4Life.

Breaker of Chains Used Chains

After Dany learned that the dragons committed the horrific crime of killing a child, she was forced to put them in chains and lock them away. Something tells me this is not going to end well considering Drogon is MIA.

Budding Romance?

When we last saw Greyworm and Missandei she was teaching him the Common Tongue. As their lessons progressed, they bonded over the loss of their homelands. While swimming, Greyworm noticed Missandei bathing naked. When she notices him watching, she stands up slowly to let him get an eye full before covering herself. Later, he apologizes but she says she wasn’t uncomfortable. Is this the Westeros version of flirting?

And lastly…

Where in the Seven Kingdoms is Gendry?!

gendrymoving

6. In Memorandum

To the characters that didn’t survive season four, we remember you fondly (or not so much).

Tywin Lannister
Joffrey Lannister
Shae
The Hound (maybe, maybe not? I don’t believe it until I see him dead.)
Lysa Arryn
Oberyn Martell
Jojen Reed
Grenn and Pyp
Ygritte
Lord Commander Jeor Mormont

Game of Thrones recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera and Elizabeth Bond.  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.


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Top 7 OMG Did That Just Happen?! Moments from GOT 4×8

danytoppost

Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, “The Mountain and the Viper,” could have easily been the penultimate episode of the season.  But alas, we were treated to a jaw-dropping eighth episode that had more ‘OHMYGOD’ moments than I could count.  In honor of the Seven Kingdoms and the Seven New Gods, here are my top seven favorite ‘DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!’ moments from Sunday’s action-packed episode.

7. Reek becomes Theon Greyjoy (again) and helps Ramsay Snow become Ramsay Bolton.

reek4x8

Everyone’s least favorite character, Ramsay Snow, finally got what he wanted and became Ramsay Bolton, thanks to his pet dog human, Reek.  Reek pretended to be his former self, Theon Greyjoy, and coaxed the Iron Islanders holding Moat Cailin into opening up their doors to earn “freedom” from the Northerners.  Instead, much to our dismay, they were flayed and killed by the Boltons and the creepy duo of Ramsay and Reek just became much more powerful (and much more disturbing).  Pleased with his bastard, Roose Bolton granted Ramsay his biggest wish and gave him the family last name and all that comes with it.

6. Ygritte shows mercy for Gilly and Baby Sam.

ygritte4x8

I don’t know about you, but Ygritte is the worst scorned woman I’ve ever seen.  She’s taken to killing innocent men, women, and children of the North to get back at her former lover, Jon Snow.   So when she came face to face with Gilly, and showed her mercy, I literally cried and clapped at the same time.  I knew that the Ygritte that Jon (and the audience) fell in love with in Season 3 was still in there somewhere.  Now I wonder, will Ygritte show Jon the same mercy if she comes face to face with him in the Battle of Castle Black?  Tune in next week to find out.

5. Arya finds out everyone in her family is dead and laughs it off, hysterically.

arya4x8

When Arya and The Hound learned that Lysa Arryn had died just three days before their arrival, and The Hound was stripped of yet another bounty, what else was Arya to do but laugh?  It almost felt like she was laughing at the viewers for thinking a Stark reunion was going to happen.  Haven’t we learned by now that the Starks will never run into each other no matter how close they get?

4. Sansa becomes Dark Sansa & lies and dyes for Petyr Baelish.

darksansa

When Petyr was questioned about the mysterious “suicide” of Lysa Arryn, Sansa was called in to witness.  As she stood giving her testimony, Petyr watched on silently and in awe.  Here stood this young, naïve girl, whom he once told was a terrible liar, spinning a brilliant and intricate web of truth and lies.  Sansa painted a picture of Petyr as a saint who was motivated by his burning desire to rescue Sansa.  Later, in an attempt to cover her famous Tully-red hair, Sansa steps out as Dark Sansa, with dyed dark locks to help her look more like her “uncle” Petyr.  The weird thing?  She almost appears to be flirting with Baelish.  It is clear that Sansa doesn’t know the extent of Petyr’s hand in the destruction of her family, but she knows he is dangerous.  Has she fallen under his twisted spell or is Sansa playing a long con?

3. Tywin sentences Tyrion to death.

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The moment we’ve all been waiting for – the verdict from the Trial by Combat.  As you’ll find out in our top moment, Tyrion Lannister lost the trial in the most head-splitting way.  In the final moments of the episode, Tywin Lannister, Hand of the King and father of Tyrion, stands and sentences his son to death.  Dun dun dunnnn.

2. Dany permanently dismisses Jorah Mormont.

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Tywin was a part of more than one verdict this week.  In a twist from the book storyline, Tywin Lannister sent Daenerys’ Queen’s Guard, Barristan Selmy, a letter, which was a copy of the Royal Pardon that was granted to Jorah Mormont in Season 1. (Remember, Jorah was leaking confidential secrets to Robert and his Council and assisted with an assassination attempt on Dany’s life). Despite his deep admiration and love for Dany, and his change of loyalty (he ultimately prevented the assassination), the Mother of Dragons showed no mercy and exiled Jorah from her Council and from Meereen.  Poor Jorah. The old bear looked heartbroken as he rode on horse-back out of the city.  While I normally stand 100% behind the Breaker of Chains, I had trouble supporting this decision because of the way the TV show played it out.  It comes off like Dany is another puppet being manipulated at the hands of  Tywin Lannister.  Is this the beginning of her downfall?

1. Oberyn’s Headsplosion.

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Thank you to Game of Thrones for creating yet another scene that I couldn’t bear to watch – the epic trial by combat between the Mountain and the Red Viper of Dorne, Oberyn Martell.  (Who knew anything could be worse than the Red Wedding?)

Oberyn, who was fighting as Tyrion’s champion to gain revenge for his sister, bopped around like Inigo Montoya waving a spear.  The Rep Viper repeated over and over again, “Elia Martell of Dorne.  You raped her, you murdered her.  You killed her children,” as he fought and stabbed the Mountain.  Oberyn was quick with his spear and took down the Mountain with apparent ease.  But he was too cocky and too confident and wouldn’t kill Gregor Clegane until he got his confession.  Before Oberyn could realize what was happening, Clegane punched Oberyn’s teeth out of his face.  The Mountain then climbed on top of The Viper, held his head in between his gigantic hands, and squashed it like one of the beetles Tyrion’s cousin squashed, all while confessing to his heinous crimes.  The worst part of this entire scene was knowing Oberyn was warned to wear a helmet and his Paramour stood completely helpless as she watched the worst moment of Game of Thrones – Oberyn’s Headsplosion.

And this perfectly sums up how we all feel. 

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Game of Thrones 3×10 Recap

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Well, there you have it folks.  Another season of Game of Thrones down and now begins the waiting.  We breakdown the final episode and discuss where things could go moving forward.  Feel free to comment with your thoughts!

House Stark

Are you still grieving from last week?  I know I am.  Every time I close my eyes, I see Talisa getting repeatedly stabbed in the stomach or the episode-ending blow to Catelyn.  This week’s episode picks up right after the massacre.  Roose Bolton overlooks the mass violence from Frey’s castle.  The Hound is trying to sneak Arya away from the slaughter.  A group of Frey’s men are loudly chanting “King in the North.”  I was afraid we were going to see this.  The men have Robb’s body on a horse with his direwolf Grey Wind’s head in place of his own.  Poor Arya, naturally she chooses this moment to wake up and see her brother’s mutilated body being paraded by his murderers.

After things calm down, Lord Frey is having a celebratory snack as Roose Bolton parades around the dining hall absorbing the carnage.  From their conversation, we learn that Catelyn’s uncle, The Blackfish, escaped and the groom, Edmure Tully, wasn’t murdered, but spent his wedding night in the dungeon.  But all of that is old news.  Frey is getting all worked up thinking about his new bride to replace the one Catelyn killed.

Finally, we get an explanation from Roose about why he turned on Robb.  Being his right hand man, the Young Wolf constantly ignored his advice at every turn.  Now, Robb will just be “Forever Young.”  As Roose and Frey continue their conversation, we FINALLY learn who has Theon and what happened at Winterfell.

Theon Greyjoy is being held captive by Roose Bolton’s bastard, Ramsey Snow.  Ramsey also set fire to Winterfell and is using Theon as a way to persuade the Iron Islands out of the North.

Did you figure it out?  Does this mean anything to you?  From conversations I’ve had with watchers (not readers), they were unclear about the identity of Roose Bolton.  Truthfully, he’s been on screen since Season 2 but always lurking in the shadows and easily missed by audiences so this may not feel like an impactful reveal, but the GOT creators have been carefully planting hints for a few episodes.  Read more about them here.

We catch up with Ramsey and Theon during dinner as Ramsey is suggestively chomping on a sausage while poking fun at Theon for losing his best quality.  Yes ladies, we have another reason to mourn.  Theon is now a eunich.

Ramsey has now figured out that physically torturing Theon is no longer enough.  He has to take his pride, any last shred of identity and self respect.  After beating him for a bit, Ramsey forces Theon to identify himself by a new name—Reek.

Moving to the Iron Islands, Balon Greyjoy is opening a letter from Ramsey Snow ordering Balon’s men out of the North.  As Balon is reading the letter, Theon’s sister Yara is opening a box.  Before she even unwraps it, we know what’s in there and I’m just glad we didn’t have to see it.  Ramsey has sent Theon’s “member” to his family as a threat.  Theon’s sister is deeply impacted by her brother’s loss.  Balon could care less.  In his eyes, Theon can no longer continue the Greyjoy line.  What use is he now?  Balon has no interest in saving Theon.  Yara has other ideas.  She plans to march on Dreadfort and rescue her brother.  She’s gathering the strongest men and the best ship and is on a mission.  It will be interesting to see this play out in the next season.  I know this time last year, we all hated Theon.  Have your thoughts changed?  Do you pity him or still think he got what he deserved?

Arya and the Hound are making their way to the next destination.  On the way, they pass some of Frey’s troops making jokes about the Red Wedding and Robb’s mutilation.  She triumphantly jumps off the horse.  Unlike we’ve seen Arya in the past, she’s not approaching them confidently but sheepishly.  She’s using her youth to her advantage to gain their trust.  She offers one of them her coin in exchange for food.  The coin was giving to her by her assassin friend Jaqen last season.  When the man goes to grab it, she stabs him and stabs him and stabs him.

The Hound quickly jumps in the kill off the rest of them men. “Next time you’re going to do something like that, tell me first,” says The Hound.

This is a big turning point for Arya. It’s her first direct, intential kill.  Arya reveals that she stole The Hound’s knife without him realizing it.  I’m curious to see how hanging out with The Hound will help Arya to grow.  I have a feeling he will provide an outlet for her anger.  I hope he continues her training that we saw in season one.

Bran and company have taken up camp in another abandoned castle, this time closer to The Wall.  Hodor (providing some much needed comedic relief) does his hodor-ing, this time down a well.

Bran tells Jojen and Meera a ghost story about a man who was condemned for killing a guest beneath his room (the gods are coming for you Frey).  Later that night, there’s a noise that wakes up Bran.  It’s Sam and Gilly and I’m so happy to see them!  They made their way through the secret passageway through The Wall.  Sam immediately figures out that Bran is Bran, Jon Snow’s brother.  Bran tries to pretend there’s some other young lord who’s crippled wandering around the North with a direwolf.  Once Bran “reveals” who he is, Sam promises to do anything he can to help them.  “Take us north of The Wall,” requests Bran.  That’s probably the last thing Sam wants to hear.  Is this Bran’s purpose?  Is he essential in defeating the White Walkers?

Sam guides Bran and company to The Wall, provides them with some dragonglass and stresses the importance of staying safe.  The whole time I couldn’t help but think “Man, when Jon Snow finds out he’s gonna be PISSED!”

Later Sam and Gilly make their way to Castle Black and explain to the Maester what they saw beyond The Wall.  The Maester inquires about Gilly and her son (who is now named Sam, awwww).  Sam defends keeping Gilly at Castle Black and points out that The Wall was not erected to keep out Wildlings.  Aemon decides that Gilly will stay as a guest.  After that he sends a blast mailing to all of Westeros alerting them of the White Walkers and the impending danger.

Speaking of Jon Snow, we catch up with him as he licks his wounds from that eagle last week.  Ygritte has tracked him down and we get this exchange:

Jon Snow:  Ygritte you know I didn’t have a choice.  You always knew who I was, what I am.  I have to go home now.  I know you won’t hurt me.
Ygritte:  You know nothing, Jon Snow.
Snow:  I do know some things.  I know I love you.  I know you love me.  I have to go home now.

Then, in probably the most shocking part of the episode, SHE SHOOTS HIM!  Ygritte shoots him with three arrows as he’s trying to board his horse and get away.  Later, Snow’s frail body approaches Castle Black and is immediately let in.  Hanging on to life, he reunites with Sam.  God, I love a bromance.

House Baratheon

Ser Davos, while visiting Gendry in the dungeon, bonds with him over their humble beginnings in Fleabotton.  Gendry defends his actions with the Red Woman.  “You’re me.  Never been with a woman, never talked to a woman really.  Then she comes at you.  Big words, no clothes, what would you have done?”  Davos then tells Gendry of his son.  Obviously Davos feels some kind of remorse and blame for what happened to his son during the Battle of Blackwater.  He sees some of his son in Gendry and feels the need to protect him.

Later, Stannis and Melisandre learn of Robb’s death and are tickled that their leech trick worked.  It’s obvious what they must do next.  They plan to burn Gendry alive.  Davos is not having it.  He warns Stannis of using black magic to win a war.  Stannis counters with the story of the Targaryens and how they won Westeros with dragons aka black magic.  “What is the life of one bastard boy against a kingdom?” Stannis asks.  “Everything,” replies Davos.

Davos decides to take matters into his own hands.  He sneaks Gendry out of the castle and puts him on a boat and tells him where to row to escape.  Gendry, we’ll miss you and your abs.

Later, Daavos is being reprimanded by Stannis, and he condemns him to death.  Davos, as the Hand of the King, advises against it and then whips out his secret weapon.  It’s the letter from Maester Aemon expressing the dangers beyond The Wall.  Melisandre inspects the letter and then throws it into the fire.  I guess we can assume she got some type of vision from the fire about the future.  She agrees, “The true war lies to the North.”  She advises that Stannis spare Davos, he’ll need him in the future.

House Lannister

We meet up with the Lannisters’ with Tyrion and Sansa (odd that she’s now a Lannister) walking through King’s Landing with Shae trailing behind. The pair of them are peculiar – one the daughter of traitor Ned Stark and the other a demon monkey – so as they walk, people are mocking them. The two have developed an odd friendship and they try to help each other suffer through their situation. It turns out that Tyrion also keeps a list, just like Sansa’s sister. But he doesn’t intend to kill the people on his list, just make them suffer and wish they were dead. The two of them begin to plot ways to punish Tyrion’s listees when Sansa suggests they “sheep shift” their beds.  “Why sheep shift?,” Tyrion asks his new wife. It’s almost cute – the poor girl thinks it’s the correct vulgar word for dung. Just another little reminder for Tyrion about the young age of his new bride.

Pod calls Tyrion off to the Small Council meeting. King Joffrey is in attendance now, and he’s bursting with joy with news to share with Tyrion. Tyrion reads a note from a raven. “Roslyn caught a fine fat trout. Her brother’s gave her a pair of wolf pelts for her wedding. ~ Walder Frey” We wish it was bad poetry, Tyrion, but it’s not. Joffrey ecstatically reveals that Robb Stark and his “bitch mother” are dead, and he demands that Frey send Robb’s head to the capital so Joffrey can serve it to Sansa at his wedding. Cersei tries to pretend like Joffrey is joking but he insists otherwise until Sansa’s new hubbie speaks up. Tyrion declares that Sansa is no longer his to torment. “Everyone is mine to torment,” Joffrey replies. Tyrion then reminds Joffrey that kings are dropping like flies. He essentially threatens to kill him and Tyrion probably crossed the line this time, but he doesn’t back down. Joffrey yells about how he’s the king and you can’t talk to him like that, like he always does, until Tywin Lannister speaks up for his son. “Any man who must say I am the king is no true king,” says Tywin. Joffrey is shocked.

And (finally!) Tywin and Joffrey go at it. Joffrey touches a soft spot when he mocks Tywin for “hiding under Casterly Rock” during Robert’s Rebellion. Even Cersei realizes that Joffrey is overstepping his safe boundaries. Tywin Lannister is the most powerful man in Westeros. He made that clear when he executed the Red Wedding, when he squashed the entire Northern Rebellion with one strategic move. Joffrey may be the king, but like Tywin says, a crown does not give you power. Power is power, and Tywin has all of it. Then, Tywin does something really unexpected. He puts little King Joff to bed, and as Tyrion so aptly puts it, even without dinner. Joffrey honestly looked like a toddler when he yelled “I’m not tired!” I was waiting for him to stomp his feet in a tantrum. But he doesn’t and he goes off to bed like his grandfather commands.

Tyrion tries to leave, until he hears the infamous line, “Not you.” It’s not ever you, Tyrion, why do you even try to leave? Tyrion and Tywin talk about the great crime that Tywin just committed. Tyrion recognizes immediately that Frey would have done nothing that grievous without Tywin’s backing and he eerily warns his father that “the Northerners will never forget.” Tywin tries to morally justify the Red Wedding. He argues that it’s better to save the lives of thousands and kill a few royal men at dinner than it is to fight in war.  He dismisses Tyrion’s fears about the North. “Let them remember what happens when they march on the South.”

Tywin tells Tyrion that Roose Bolton is going to be Warden of the North until Sansa and Tyrion’s son comes of age. Hold up, speaking of son. Tywin reminds Tyrion that he needs to get to work on that, but Tyrion refuses to rape his wife. How…sweet? The whole conversation was completely disturbing. Tywin then tells Tyrion the key to success in Westerosi politics. “The House that puts family first will always defeat the House that puts the whims and wishes of its sons and daughters first.” Tyrion laughs at his father, and asks Tywin when he ever did anything that wasn’t of his own selfish desires. Tywin (of course) has a shocking response – the day that he decided not to kill infant Tyrion. Tywin even cries a little bit during this speech when he talks about saving Tyrion’s life only because he was a Lannister. Wow, allowing his infant son to live must have been really painful for him.

Tyrion goes back to deliver the horrible news about the Red Wedding to Sansa but thankfully, we are not subjected to the pain of seeing Sansa find out. She already knows.

Varys and Shae have a touching scene where he asks her to leave King’s Landing. He gives her a sack of diamonds, and tells her the reason she needs to leave is because she makes things dangerous and complicated for Tyrion. Varys and Shae bond over the fact that they are both commoners, and will never truly be able to sit among the royals. “You have one name, as do I. Here, only the family name matters,” Varys reminds Shae. It seems Varys truly does believe that Tyrion is a good man, and the best chance Westeros has in becoming a better place. But with Shae around, Tyrion will accomplish nothing. Shae refuses to leave until Tyrion asks her to leave on his own. Though, I’m not sure if Tyrion actually has anything to do with this visit from Varys. I’m almost sure that he doesn’t, and that he’d be furious if he knew it was happening.

Pod and Tyrion are drinking. Pod is having trouble keeping up. “It’s not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy,” Tyrion drunkenly educates Pod. Cersei Lannister enters from the shadows to spend some QT time with her baby brother. Cersei finally explains how she manages to sleep at night – she doesn’t think about the cruel things that happen to anyone. She also insists she won’t marry Loras, but doesn’t share any plans of how she’ll avoid her destiny. She implores Tyrion to give Sansa a baby, claiming that she wishes for that only so Sansa can have happiness in her life. Cersei reveals that her children are the only reason she hasn’t committed suicide, even her demented child, Joffrey. She shares some cute baby Joff stories, and openly acknowledges how awful he is now. Tyrion then asks his sister how long it will all go on, and she knows exactly what he means. Their fathers’ wars will go on as long as he has enemies, and he will always have enemies, so they better buckle up for the violent road they’re heading down.

I was a little disappointed with this final Cersei/Tyrion scene. Cersei seemed a little underused and overshadowed this season, with all the power players cooped up in King’s Landing. But, I know there is a lot of Cersei’s story left to come, so I can deal with it for now.

Jaime Lannister makes it back to King’s Landing with Brienne of Tarth. The two can say so much with just a look. He’s upset no one recognizes (or respects) him, and she lets him know that it’s okay. He’s still Jaime to her, not the Kingslayer, no matter what. But, as much as I want these two to be together, I doubt it will happen. Jaime goes to see Cersei right away. He says her name, and she turns knowingly. She looks shocked? relieved? dismayed to see him? It’s not really clear. He looks ashamed. I don’t get it — it’s not his fault he’s been missing all this time, and mamed in the process. Is she really that mad over a hand? Sheesh.

House Targaryen

We finally catch up with the Dragon Queen in the final scene of the episode. The episode is entitled “Mhsya,” and up to this point, there was no mention of the Valeryian word. So one could assume that it would tie heavily into the Targaryen storyline. And boy, did it.

Dany is waiting outside of the gates of Yunkai, the city that she most recently “sacked” or killed all of the slave masters, flanked by Ser Jorah Mormont, Missandei, Ser Barristan Selmy, Daario Naharis, three dragons, and 8,000 Unsullied. She looked fierce and magnificent, and also a little terrifying.  Dany is unsure how the slaves of Yunkai will receive her – Is she a conqueror or a liberator? – and she seems unnerved as the gates slowly began to open. The slaves of Yunkai began to march out in droves.  Missandei introduced Dany as “Daenerys Targaryen, the Stormborn, the Unburnt, the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, the Mother of Dragons.” Dany steps forward and tells the people that they don’t owe her their freedom, because their freedom is not hers to give. She encourages them to take their freedom back, and stands waiting for a response. Slowly, they begin raising their hands and shouting “Mhysa.” Missandei, shocked, tells her that this means “Mother.” Dany realizes that they won’t hurt her, and moves forward into the crowd on her own while the dragons fly above.

She walks among them, and then is carried rockstar-style above them, all the while they shout Mhysa and look at her with adoration and love. Her Queen’s Guard watches on in shock and awe as Dany is carried among the people. Then, the camera pans into an aerial shot, where you can see the immense size of the group of people flocking towards her, and she stands as the lone silver beacon among a sea of thousands and thousands of slaves.

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The entire scene took my breath away, and it ended Season 3 on an inspirational and uplifting note. Dany has truly come full circle.  At the end of Season 1, she is left childless and widowed. She has three dragons, but no army, no money, and no ships. At the end of Season 2, she finally has managed to get money and ships, but still no army. By the end of Season 3, Dany has a horde following her, and thousands of people who look at her as their liberator and their mother. It’s almost as if she had to lose her own child, and suffer through great personal tragedy and loss, in order to become this powerful ruler. Recall early in Season 3 when her advisors tell her it is critical to gather a following not based on fear, but love. Dany did that, and now she has a force that truly can beat any army in Westeros. But, is that the destiny of Dany’s horde, or is there a greater purpose for Dany and her dragon army?

Final Thoughts on Season 3:

As we conclude Season 3 and wait ten months for a new season, we can’t help but think that GOT is entering a whole new ball game. With so many major characters dying, and the Northern Rebellion ending, the story is advancing into new and unknown territory. The main source of conflict is over, so we’re left thinking – now what?

Melisandre laid it out best when she said that the War of Five Kings means nothing now and the true threat lies to the North. What does this mean for the rest of Westeros, who are mostly ignorant of the impending doom? When will Tywin Lannister pay attention to the real threat, or will he ignore it? If so, will that mistake cost him? Also, how will Bran and his friends tie into all of this? Was Sam right, will this peculiar group of wargs and Hodor save the world? Can Bran really warg into anything? If so, that must include dragons. Can Bran use the dragons to burn all of the walkers? More importantly, when will Dany learn about everything that’s happening, and finally return to Westeros?

Only time will tell. For now, we just want to thank the GOT showrunners for producing another phenomenal season of television. We also want to thank you, our readers, for following us all season long. We hope to catch up with you next year when we recap GOT Season 4!

Rock Paper Watch’s Top Quote of 3X10:

Jenn’s Pick – “Monsters are dangerous and, just now, kings are dying like flies.” – Tyrion Lannister to King Joffrey

Elizabeth’s Pick – “You really think a crown gives you power?”   – Tywin Lannister summing up Game of Thrones in one, incredible sentence

Game of Thrones Recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera (Lannister and Targaryen) and Elizabeth Bond (Stark and Baratheon).  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.  


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Game of Thrones 3×9 Recap

Robb Talisa Red Wedding

Every year, Game of Thrones watchers know that the ninth episode of the season is going to be a doozy.  The first season, it was the death of Eddark Stark.  The second season, it was the Battle of the Blackwater.  This time it was the Red Wedding.  The Red Wedding has been a scene dreaded by book-reader fans since the series was announced.  It didn’t disappoint.  The show delivered one of the most brutal and horrific sequences ever aired on television.  I am still in shock and will probably be mourning for the next few days.  Before we dive into the wedding, let’s check in with the rest of Westeros.

If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones episode 3×9 “The Rains of Castamere” stop reading, spoilers ahead.

 

House Targaryen

In what feels almost like a side story this week, we catch up with Daenerys and Co. Dany and her flock of men are discussing strategy on how to best infiltrate Yunkai.  Dany needs help figuring out the map and Daario is more than happy to assist her.  Jorah can’t take the flirtation.  Daario points out a location where he can secretly enter the city – a back gate that the Second Sons used to sneak in and out prostitutes.  Jorah wants to know how he knows about it; Daario rebukes him.  He didn’t use this gate as Daario believes you cannot make love to property, or slaves.  So Daario knows Dany’s weak spots, interesting.

Daario presents a plan – the best three fighters will infiltrate the city through the back gate.  They will then move to the front gate, open it for the army, and unleash Dany’s forces on the city, sacking it in no time.  Jorah doubts Daario and his intentions, believing it to be an ambush.  “You’re a suspicious person.  In my experience, only dishonest people think this way,” Daario responds.  Ouch, Jorah. He knows your weak spots, too.

Dany asks Grey Worms what he thinks and he trusts Daario and the plan.  So it’s decided.  The trio will leave that night.  Barristan tries to join the group but Jorah won’t let him.  He insists that Barristan is the Queen’s Guard and that his place is by the Queen’s side.   He reminds Barristan that they must “do whatever needs to be done, no matter the cost, no matter our pride.” Hmm, this is interesting.  These two clearly have a lot of tension together and trouble has been brewing in paradise for a while.  I think this is foreshadowing to something happening that ends up shaking up Dany’s group of advisors very soon.

Daario, Jorah, and Grey Worm are next seen preparing to enter the back gate of Yunkai.  Daario says he will enter, kill the guards, and whistle a signal. “I’m a great whistler, greatest whistler in the land. “  Jorah can barely hide his eye roll.  Pretty quickly we hear a whistle and he actually is pretty good.  So the three men are in, and they are preparing to face what they think will be a few guards. They are soon faced by way more than a few guards.  But with some impressive sword and arakh (Dothraki weapon of choice) work by Jorah and Daario, oh and spear work by Grey Worm, can’t forget him, they are through them pretty quickly.  And I feel like I have to point out that Jorah has some impressive skills.  But he is not pleased. “That’s what you call a few guards?”, he grumbles to Daario.  As if on cue, a huge group of guards come storming in, encircling them.  How can they make it out of this one alive?

Dany is waiting at camp with Missandei and Barristan.  “How long does it take to sack a city?,” she asks impatiently.  Jorah and Grey Worm suddenly return, bloody and beaten but alive.  The plan worked, and everyone in Yunkai surrendered or died.  But Dany seems disinterested.  All she wants to know about is the whereabouts of Daario Naharis.  The look on Jorah’s face is devastating.  He finally realizes Dany definitely doesn’t return his feelings, and cares way more about the new young captain in her ranks.  Daario gallantly enters the tent kneeling down in front of the Queen presenting her with the flag of Yunkai.  “The city is yours, my Queen.”  Dany has won, and her horde has just grown to a terrifying size.

Interesting Viewing Party Commentary – “At this point, the only thing that can take down Dany and her forces is if she somehow can come face to face with Bran.  Why couldn’t Bran figure out a way to warg into a dragon and turn her own greatest weapon on her?” ~ Insight from my roommate

We guess only time will tell.

House Stark

Samwell and Gilly – Sam and Gilly have finally made it to The Wall.  As they march through the woods, Sam tells Gilly about a secret passageway through The Wall.  She wants to know how he knows about it.  Sam tells her he learned it by reading.  Gilly replies, “you know all that by staring at marks on paper…you’re like a wizard!”  Sam immediately lights up, he’s so cute and smitten!

As they approach The Wall, Gilly tells Sam that her father once said that no Wildling ever looked upon The Wall and lived.  “And here we are, alive!”  Oh Gilly, its not that easy.  But, speaking of Wildlings…

Jon Snow – Snow and the Wildlings find the Night Watch’s horse breeder.  Giantsbane wants to steal the horses and kill the breeder.  Snow is against the idea, arguing that it’s not worth killing an innocent man, they should just take the horses and go.  Giantsbane replies that this is part of the plan, to lure the Watchmen out and kill them away from their camp.  With that, they storm the breeder’s home.  On the way in, Snow bangs his sword on a rock warning the breeder.  As the breeder climbs onto a horse Ygritte draws her bow and arrow.  Snow says her name tenderly and she misses.  She looks at him shocked.

Snow and the Wildlings catch up with the breeder; Orell demands that Jon Snow cut his throat, “Make the crow kill him, you’re one of us now. Prove it!” Snow picks up his sword and holds it to the man’s throat.  He hesitates.  Those Starks and their big hearts, it gets them every time (more on this later).  Meanwhile, in a nearby tower…

Bran/Rickon – Bran and the gang are taking refuge from a storm in a tower that overlooks Snow, the Wildlings, and the breeder.  The thunder upsets Hodor, he starts Hodoring and storming around the tower.  It’s loud enough to attract the attention of the Wildlings down below.  Bran, desperate to get Hodor to be quiet, knocks him out with his mind.  Hmm, interesting.

Jojen convinces Bran to use his Warg powers to enter the minds of the direwolves, who are down there hunting so they can see what is going on outside of the tower.

Jon Snow is holding his sword to the breeder’s throat.  Everyone around him is telling him to do it, even the breeder!  Ygritte, knowing he can’t do it, shoots the breeder.  “He’s a crow, he’ll always be a crow, and here’s his crow wife guarding him.  He’ll stab us in the back first chance he gets,” says Orell.  “Kill him,” replies Giantsbane and it’s on.  Snow immediately pushes Ygritte out of it so she’s not fighting his battle for him.  Giantsbane grabs her and forces her to watch, “You’re not going to die for one of them!” he screams at her.

The direwolves (via Bran) help Snow by attacking the Wildlings.  There’s a brief moment where Snow looks around and is like wait a second, where did these direwolves come from!? He stabs Orell in the stomach and says, “You were right the whole time,” proving to the Wildlings and viewers that he never intended to abandon the Watch.  Orell uses his Warg powers to get an eagle to attack Snow.  This part made me squirm; I was really worried he was going to lose an eye.  Snow hops on a horse and leaves Ygritte and the Wildlings.  Man, that’s a sucky way to get dumped.

After things quiet down, Jojen explains to Bran that although Wargs exist North of the Wall, he’s a special kind because he can enter other people’s minds.  Jojen reiterates their need to go North of the Wall to find the three-eyed crow.  I’m not a 100% sure of why this is so important, but okay, let’s go with it.  Osha protests going North of the Wall and you can’t blame her; she worked hard to get south of it.  Bran makes a decision; Osha will take Rickon to one of the Stark bannerman while the rest of the gang continues north.

Arya – The Hound and Arya are on their way to the wedding.  They come upon a wagon.  The Hound helps the old man fix his wagon and then knocks him out.  He moves to kill him and Arya jumps in front of him.  Much like Jon Snow, she protests the death of a man who didn’t do anything wrong.  “You’re very kind,” he says “Some day it will get you killed (foreshadowing).”  Oh the Stark family and their big hearts, I just can’t deal with it.

Later, Arya and The Hound arrive at The Twins.  The Hound stops just outside the grounds for a little snack.  Arya is getting anxious she won’t really get to meet up with her family.  Like Bran and Jon Snow, she’s almost there.  She’s been crossed too many times to be optimistic.  When The Hound teases her, she replies, “Someday I’m going to put a sword through your eye and out the back of your skull.”  Damn.

Robb – “Are you sure about this?” asks Catelyn.  They are standing over his map discussing the plan to go after the Lannister home of Casterly Rock (hello there Theon hint, click at your own risk).  Catelyn is surprised to be back in her son’s inner circle, he explains that she was right about sending Theon to bargain with the Greyjoys and he respects her ability to think strategically.  Now, he’s asking for her advice.  The plan hinges on getting Frey’s forgiveness and troops.  Catelyn gives her blessing, “Show them how it feels to lose what they love.”  Oy, that was like a blow to the stomach.

At The Twins, Frey greets the Stark entourage with a tray of bread and salt.  In the Seven Kingdoms, it’s said that you cannot harm a person in your home once they’ve partaken of your bread and salt.  Robb begs for forgiveness since he is responsible for breaking the oath to marry one of Frey’s daughters.  Frey brings out his daughters and explains that Robb could have had his pick of any one of them, including both twins!  Robb explains, “My ladies, all men should keep their word, kings most of all.  I was pledged to marry one of you and I broke that vow.  The fault is not with you.  Any man would be lucky.  I did what I did not to slight you but because I loved another.”  Talisa, that’s your cue.  Frey wants to see what all the fuss is about.  She steps forward. “Very pretty,” Frey says. “Prettier than this lot.”  He says she’s trying to hide her figure under her dress but he has always been able to see what goes on under a dress. “You wanted to hide her you shouldn’t have brought her here in the first place,” says Frey.  He then continues as Robb stifles his anger and Talisa braves his remarks “I say he betrayed me for firm tits and a tight fit, and I can respect that. When I was your age I would have broken 50 oaths to get into that without a second thought.”

During the ceremony, Frey brings out a heavily veiled bride for Robb’s uncle Edmure.  After seeing Frey’s daughters earlier, Edmure is expecting the worse.  But surprise, she’s gorgeous.  Edmure breathes a sigh of relief and the ceremony continues.

We then move into the grand hall for the feast.  Everyone is in good spirits.  Catelyn and Roose Bolton are, dare I say, flirting.  Edmure and his wife are totally smitten.  Robb is looking at Talisa like his heart could just burst he loves her so much.  Frey interrupts and declares that it is time for the bedding ceremony.  It’s kind of creepy that this is the girl’s father saying it’s time for her deflowering, but whatever. The bride and groom are escorted out by the opposite sex to the bedroom, where they basically get to watch them mess around.

Robb and Talisa hang back and discuss the peculiar tradition.  He explains that it provides proof that the marriage has been consummated.  She redirects his attention to her growing belly and explains there are other ways of providing proof.  Robb asks Talisa if she’s having a boy or a girl.  She says if it’s a boy she wants to name him Eddard.  Oh man, my heartstrings.  They kiss.  Catelyn, looking on, smiles.  The family is joyous again and soon Arya will be joining, oh happy day!

Then a man marches to the back of the chamber and closes the door.  Catelyn watches him.  She seems concerned.   Then the band begins to play “The Rains of Castamere.”  As we learned from Cersai last week, the song was dedicated to Tywin Lannister after he crushed the House Reyne of Castamere.  The song is the Lannister anthem.  As soon as it starts, we know and Catelyn knows this is not good.  She cautiously returns to her seat.

Outside Robb’s direwolf Grey Wind begins to whine.  He is trapped in a cage.  Robb’s men are getting drunk.  Arya and The Hound arrive in their wagon, but they’re told they cannot enter since the feast is over.  Soldiers run past them into the gate.

The music stops and Lord Frey addresses Robb.  Catelyn, in full panic-mode, looks at Roose Bolton and he gives her a look.  It could only be described as Come on; you know what’s going to happen next, don’t you?  He then glances down at his sleeve.  She pulls the sleeve back and he’s wearing chain.  He’s dressed for a fight.  You don’t wear chain to a wedding.

While all of this is going on, Frey is saying that he hasn’t given Robb a wedding present.

Catelyn rushes to stand and slaps Bolton screaming “ROBB!”  Bolton runs away.  A man runs up behind Talisa and stabs her, repeatedly, right in the abdomen.  He won’t stop stabbing her!  Robb sees it and is genuinely shocked.  He can’t understand what is happening.  His love, his baby, all the blood.

Crossbows begin to fire from the balconies.  Robb is struck and he falls.  Catelyn is shot through the shoulder.  His men are being killed.  It is a massacre.

Outside, Arya sees Robb’s men being killed.  She notices Grey Wind in the pin and moves towards it to free him.  Then Frey’s men storm out and surround the pin, firing crossbows killing Grey Wind.  The Hound tells Arya “it’s too late” and knocks her out to take her away.  She was so close.

Robb struggles to stand, he crawls over to Talisa.  “The King in the North arises,” says Frey, obviously entertained at all this bloodshed.  Robb’s love is dying alone on the floor; he has to be with her.  Catelyn sees one of Frey’s young wives cowering under a table.  She drags the girl out from under the table by her hair.  Catelyn holds a knife to the terrified girls throat.

She begins to plead with Lord Frey to let Robb go. “Enough! Let it end! Please! He is my son, my first son! Let him go and I swear we will forget this.  I swear it by the old gods and the new we will take no vengeance.”

Frey replies “You already swore me one oath right here in my castle you swore by all the gods that your son would marry my daughter.”

Catelyn continues her plea, “Take me for a hostage, but let Robb go.”

She then turns to her son, “Robb, get up! Get up and walk out, please.  Please!”

Frey smugly asks, “And why would I let him do that.”

Catelyn gathers the remaining of her strength and announces, “On my honor as a Tully.  On my honor as a Stark.  Let him go or I will cut your wife’s throat.”

Behind her, Robb stands.

Frey goes “I’ll find another.”

Robb says,  “Mother…” like he wanted to say, it’s okay, it’s done, we can rest.

Bolton comes up to deliver Robb’s killing blow, “The Lannisters send their regards.”

Robb falls. Catelyn wails.  She kills the girl.  Then she’s killed.  Silence.

That’s it; there you have it, the Red Wedding.  I cried on my couch in the fetal position for a little bit.  Robb was supposed to be our hero; he was avenging his father’s death.  He was winning the war. They ate the bread and salt.  Arya was just outside.  Everything about it was so wrong and harsh and heartbreaking.  They killed everybody.  He was in love; there was a baby on the way, a little Eddard no less!  And that was his biggest mistake.  Robb Stark died because he fell in love.  Like I said, those Starks and their big hearts.

What’s next?  Where can it go from here?  Does this mean the Starks are no longer major players?  When did Bolton change sides?  Our guess is when he freed Jaime Lannister.  Remember all those letters Tywin was writing while we enjoyed a little comedic relief?  Now we know he was pulling the strings for the Red Wedding, he was behind all of it.

Keeping with this season’s theme of love versus honor, love  continues to come at a very high price in Westeros.  What does this mean for the other characters dealing with the same struggle?  Now that Jaime will be back in Kings Landing, what lengths will he go to reunite with Cersei?  Is it really that easy for Snow to abandon Ygritte and choose the Night’s Watch?  What about Tyrion and Shae?  How far will he go to keep his intentions with Sansa hidden from his father, and the love of his life safe from a familiar fate?

Rock Paper Watch’s Top Quote of 3X9:

Jenn’s Pick – “The blood wine will flow red and the music will play loud and we’ll put this mess behind us.” ~ Walder Frey describing what will forever be known as the Red Wedding

Elizabeth’s Pick – “You’re very kind. Some day it will get you killed.”  -The Hound summing up all the Starks’ problems

Game of Thrones Recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera (Lannister and Targaryen) and Elizabeth Bond (Stark and Baratheon).  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.  


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Top 10 Moments from GOT 3×8 “Second Sons”

Okay, so we know we dropped the ball with our Game of Thrones recap from two weeks ago, but RPW was actually on vacation in Jamaica so we hope you can forgive us.  Since we’re now all officially suffering from GOT withdrawal [since there was no new episode last week;  I’m still bitter], I’ve decided to help combat our pain with a top 10 list.  Here are our top 10 favorite moments from “Second Sons” featuring not one, but all four of the major houses.

10. Arya’s face when she realized she was going to her family

The last we saw Arya, she was captured by the Hound. We catch up with her again as the dynamic duo travel through Westeros. The Hound takes Arya to the Red Fork river which she mistakes for the Blackwater.  The Hound shocks her when he finally tells her of his plan to return her to the Twins. “Why there?” she asks because she has no idea about the impending wedding between Edmure and Frey’s daughter.  The Hound informs her of the news, and his plans to sell her back to Catelyn and King Robb.  This is not what she was expecting and Arya’s face is priceless.  She looks like a kid who was just told Santa is real. 

HoundArya

9. Cersei threating to have Margaery killed 

We saw Margaery initiate some soon-to-be sister action and Cersei was not having it.  After a pathetic attempt by Margaery to get friendly with Cersei, Cersei scares the crap out of her by threatening to have her murdered in her sleep. 

cersei-margaery-strangle

Cersei 1 Margaery 0

8. Stannis wishing death upon the Usurpers

After some sick experiment with Melisandre and Gendry (we’ll discuss further down the list), Stannis makes some big death requests from the Lord of Light.  He asks for the LOL to kill the three usurpers to the Iron Throne – Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, and Joffrey Baratheon.  

Stannis_and_leeches

7. Sansa’s composed strength during her horrendous wedding

Poor Sansa suffered the wedding from hell.  She was forced into marrying Tyrion, threatened to be raped by Joffrey, and something just felt wrong about Sansa’s family (or who is left of it) being completely absent from the ceremony.  But through it all, Sansa showed amazing grace, composure ,and strength well beyond her years.  As Tyrion Lannister once said, “Lady Stark, you may survive us yet.”

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6. Olenna mocking her grandchildren for their twisted family tree

olenna-grandchildren
Enough said; Olenna Out. 

5. Tyrion telling Joffrey he can screw his wife with a wooden c*ck

Joffrey pushed Tyrion’s buttons quite a few times during the entire wedding ceremony.  But nothing was worse than when Joffrey tried to force Tyrion and Sansa into performing a public bedding ceremony.  Tyrion was quite drunk and not interested in publicly consummating the marriage.  After Joffrey continued to endlessly push him, he stabbed the table with a knife and threatened the king with this line: “You’ll be f—ing your own bride with a wooden cock,” if the king continued.

tyrionjoffrey

4. Tyrion defying his father by refusing to sleep with Sansa

Tywin Lannister set up this wedding, so he was determined to make sure the marriage was consummated.  He made a point to visit Tyrion at the wedding table and order Tyrion to impregnate his new bride with a Lannister child ASAP.  Instead of heeding his father’s request,  Tyrion got plastered during the wedding.  After Tywin put the fire out on the whole Joffrey incident, Tyrion left the reception with his wife.  They returned to their chambers where they discussed Sansa’s super young age, and Tywin’s orders.  Sansa finally started drinking and undressing, accepting her fate and preparing to do the deed with Lord Tyrion.  But, in a shock to everyone, Tyrion tells Sansa he won’t do it.

 

3. Gendry survives the Red Priestess

Gendry

Melisandre used Gendry as a pawn in a disgusting experiment to prove to Ser Davos that the LOL was the real thing.  She seduced Gendry and slept with him, then deceived him and literally used his blood (and leeches) so Stannis could offer symbolic sacrifices to the LOL in the form of  the three usurpers to the throne.  The big shock here is the Gendry actually survived the Red Priestess.  After some convincing from the Onion Knight, Stannis must have demanded that his nephew be left alive.  Thank you, Stannis. #TeamGendry

gendrymoving

2. Daario bends the knee and swears fealty to the Dragon Queen

daario

Let’s take a minute to appreciate the new man in Dany’s life, Daario Naharis. Those eyes! Those cheek bones! OMG! Okay, back to the list.

Daario Naharis (previously lieutenant in the Second Sons) fights for beauty above all.  When Dany met with the captains and lieutenant of the Second Sons in an effort to buy their swords, he saw her beauty.  His captains did not.  When they ordered Daario to assassinate Dany, he refused and he killed both of them.  He brought their heads to Dany after sneaking through her camp and holding Missandei hostage.  But he quickly revealed himself, their heads, and his intentions.  All we can say is, we want more where this came from.

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1. Sam stabs the White Walker with a piece of dragon glass (and then leaves it behind like an idiot)

Our favorite moment of the last episode of GOT was also the last scene. Intentional? Probably. Regardless, here’s what happened.

Sam and Gilly are holed up in a cabin, trying to build a fire (again) and talking about baby names for Gilly’s son (it won’t be Russell).  Sam notices a large gathering of crows outside their cabin and the crows are making a lot of noise.  He decides to go out and investigate and orders Gilly to stay put.  Sam goes outside, sword in hand, only to see his worst nightmare – a White Walker is approaching.  The White quickly destroys Sam’s sword and makes a move for Gilly and the baby (who obviously came outside).  So in a moment of panic, Sam reaches for the only weapon on him – the black dragon glass that he’s been carrying around.  He stabs the White in the back and the creature explodes.  The two run for their lives with a flock of crows chasing after them, but they left the glass, and their best chance of surviving, behind.

WhiteWalker


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Game of Thrones 3×2 Recap

This week’s episode was titled “Dark Wings, Dark Words” an obvious shout out to the crows that constantly plague Westeros with bad news.   This week’s episode addresses the story lines of everyone we missed last week, setting us up for the drama that is sure to happen in the episodes moving forward.  With that, let’s get started.

House Stark

Jon Snow – Jon Snow is now best buds with the King Beyond the Wall, Mance Raydar.  The two are out for a leisurely stroll discussing Mance’s ability to unite several tribes that hate each other.  How did he do it?  “I told them we were all going to die if we don’t get south,” he says.  Is Mance taking Jon under his wing?  Does he see some of himself in the Stark bastard?  Could he be training him to be potential king?  At this point and time, we still don’t know what Jon Snow is up to.  Has he officially abandoned the Night Watch?  Or is he trying to infiltrate Mance’s inner circle?

During their walk they meet a “warg” or an ex-pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean.  A warg is a man who can enter the minds of animals.  Jon Snow is impressed.  Ygritte is appalled that he’s never met one before.  God, this guy cannot catch a break!

The warg sees dead crows (reminder Dark Wings, Dark Words), which could be symbolism for the White Walkers taking the wall and killing the “crows” (Night Watch).

Sansa – Shae expresses her concern about the conversation Sansa had with Littlegfinger last week.  Naturally, Shae is concerned that Littlefinger will now take Sansa as his own little plaything.  Definitely a reasonable concern, I mean the guy is strangely obsessed with her mother, Catelyn.

Sansa has been asked to meet with Margaery and her spit-fire of a grandmother Lady Olenna (I love this woman, she reminds me of every southern grandmother).  There to escort her is Renly’s ex, Ser Loras.  During their walk Sansa reminds them of the time he gave her a red rose before a joust, he doesn’t recall it, we remember he was too busy making googly eyes at Renly instead.

Lady Olenna greets Sansa warmly, and with lemon cakes (man, I’d love a lemon cake right now).  But the kindness doesn’t come without a price.  Lady Olenna and Margaery want to know about Joffrey’s true nature, and they think Sansa is a reliable source.  Sansa reacts how she always reacts, carefully and with poise.  She’s got to protect herself from the dreadful king.  It’s obvious that she’s terrified, but its time for the girl to start making allies.

“He’s a monster.”
“That’s a pity,” Olenna replies.

Anyone else think that Sansa will eventually be betrothed to Ser Loras?  It would be a great way for Sansa to protect herself and remain inside the inner circle.

Robb – The eldest Stark is still married (rats) and found flirting with his wife, Talisa.  Their affections are interrupted by Roose Bolton who has bad crow news (see title).  Catelyn’s father is dead and Winterfell has been burned down.  Rickon and Bran are nowhere to be found and there’s no word from Theon.

Robb is still dealing with grumpy bannermen.  One in particular isn’t afraid to let Robb know that “[he] lost this war the day [he] married her,” nodding to Talisa.  Robb can no longer use his hand in marriage as a bargaining chip, and he dishonored his previous promise to Lord Frey’s daughter.  But what’s done is done; it’s time to figure out a new strategy for winning the war.

Later Catelyn bonds with Talisa (something tells me we’ll never see something like this between Cersai and Margaery).  Catelyn is making what looks to be an over-sized dream catcher to protect her children (since they’re all missing or being held captive).  She discusses the previous times she has made a dream catcher like thing.  One child was sick with the pox and the Stark’s were told he wasn’t going to make it through the night.  She sat by his bedside the entire night, praying for his recovery.  It’s heartbreaking when she confesses that the child was Jon Snow.  Turns out Catelyn bargained for his recovery by promising to love him like her own, to accept him into her family.  When Snow recovered she couldn’t follow through.  She blames everything that has happened since on her inability to love a motherless child.

Theon – Guess what guys, Theon’s not dead!  But I’m sure he would rather be than stuck in his current situation.  Theon is locked in some dreary dungeon (we’re not sure where) being tortured by someone (we’re not sure who).  The torturer wants to know why he attacked Winterfell, Theon spews out any possible answer.  None seem to satisfy the torturer.  He’s fingernail is torn off and screws are driven into his feet.  I cringed.  Did you find some satisfaction in seeing Theon in pain or did you feel sorry for him?  Call me a traitor if you must, but I kind of felt sorry for the guy.

A boy (hello Iwan Rheon of London’s Spring Awakening) there to clean the dungeon (good to know the torture is sanitary) let’s Theon know that he’s here to help, was sent by Theon’s sister, Yara.

Bran – The episode begins in Bran’s head.  In his dream, he is hunting the three-eyed crow (see title), the viewer is reminded of simpler times as he’s seen learning to shoot with Jon and Robb.  Did anyone else get sentimental when Ned’s voice made an appearance?

A boy appears in Bran’s dream and gives him some advice “You can’t kill it because the raven is you.”  When he wakes, he’s back in the woods, still paralyzed and with Osha and Hodor.  Bran begins to tell Osha of the dream but she doesn’t want to hear it.  Whoa, Bran’s voice has dropped, he sounds like a little man now.

Later Bran is asleep (again) but wakes to find Osha and the direwolf ready to pounce on a mysterious rustling noise coming from the woods.  I don’t know about you guys but if I was in a fight, I would want Osha on my team.  The mysterious young man from the dream approaches.  We meet Jojan Reed and his sister Meera.  Jojan and Meera are the children of Howland Reed, a friend and bannerman of Eddard Stark.  He has been looking for Bran; he can see Bran’s visions and recognizes that Bran possesses the sight or the ability to see the past, future, and present.  This explains the opening scene; it wasn’t just a dream after all.  If Bran has the sight, does this mean Rickon does too?  You may remember they both saw the death of their father in Season 1.  Man, those Stark kids are a complex bunch!

The way Bran’s face lit up when he realized his special talent was precious.  It’s as if he finally realizes his purpose.

Arya – Finally!  The moment we’ve all been waiting for.  First of all, Bran isn’t the only Stark child that’s grown a lot since last season.  There’s no way Arya could hide being a girl now.  We find her walking through the woods with Gendry and Hot Pie.  Gendry is asking the questions we’ve all asked since last season.  Arya could have killed off anyone, why not kill off someone important?  “You could have picked King Joffrey!  You could have picked Tywin Lannister! You could have ended the war!”  Preach.

They are found and taken in the woods by a group called Brotherhood Without Banners.  The Brotherhood is an outlaw group who fights the Lannisters in the name of former King Robert.  The Brotherhood is led by Thoros of Myr, who is more interested in how two young boys and a very dangerous girl managed to escape Harrenhal.  He wants to treat them to lunch and hear their story.

Arya is waiting for the other shoe to drop, like their captivity is imminent.  She’s not giving any details away about how they escaped Harrenhal.  The Brotherhood has a laugh at her claiming to be a fighter; Arya draws her sword in an effort to prove herself.  Thoros immediately knocks the sword out of her hand.  Impressed by her nerve, Thoros honors his word to let them go.

It’s then that the men bring in another captive, an “uncommonly large person.”  It’s The Hound.  Arya tries to sneak by but he sees her. “What in the seven hells are you doing with the Stark bitch?”  Just kidding, Arya.  You’re not going anywhere.

House Lannister

The first Lannister sighting that we have this episode is finally the Kingslayer himself, Jaime Lannister. Portrayed by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jaime Lannister is a wonderful character. My only regret for him in his current state is that he’s filthy and covered in rags. I miss the beauty of Jaime Lannister and I hope we see it again one day!

But, as we catch up with Jaime Lannister, he is being transported on foot to King’s Landing by Brienne of Tarth. Brienne is acting upon the orders of Lady Catlyn Stark. Brienne reminds Jaime of this, and her intention to trade his life for the lives of Arya and Sansa, as the episode begins. As the scene first started, my first thought was, “Still? We’re STILL seeing these two just walk and talk?”, but I was quickly reminded of why these scenes work so well. Brienne and Jaime have so much chemistry. Not chemistry in that “let’s have sex” kind of way, but chemistry in their banter and contempt for each other and their purposes in life. Jaime is desperate to break the will of his captor so he begins verbally attacking Brienne. He mocks her size and personality, and he pushes her about her relationship with the late Renly Baratheon. Jaime quickly figures out that Brienne had feelings for Renly, and he doesn’t hesitate to inform her that she wasn’t Renly’s type. “You’re far too much man for him,” mocks Jaime. “It’s a shame the throne isn’t made of c*cks. They’d have never got him off it.” Brienne doesn’t let Jaime get to her, but her patience quickly grows thin. Jaime actually surprised me in this scene when he tells Brienne that he doesn’t blame her or Renly, because you can’t choose who you love. I guess that helps to explain why Jaime, the gorgeous golden lion, would choose his demented twin sister as a lover instead of any other woman, or all the women, of Westeros.

Jaime and Brienne’s argument was interrupted by the passing by of a farmer. The farmer calls out to Brienne and Jaime, but acts as if he doesn’t recognize either one of them. He informs them that he is headed to Riverrun, and assures Jaime he is in safe hands with the massive woman, Brienne. As he leaves, Jaime warns Brienne that the farmer recognized the Kingslayer, and that she needs to keep him quiet. Brienne’s morals seem to prevent her from killing the innocent man, but this will prove to be very important later in the episode.

The next Lannister we see is King Joffrey, playing dress up with his mother. I couldn’t help but think that Joffrey is clearly the client from hell. After Joffrey sends his designer to find all new options, Cersei begins to question Joffrey about Margaery. “Tell me what you think of her.” Joffrey seems to think it’s an ideal match, if you’re only thinking in terms of beating the North. He won’t indulge his mother in this conversation, and one wonders if its on purpose or if Joffrey is ignorant to the happenings of the women around him. Joffrey seems to think intelligent women are only those women who do what they are told. I wonder if he truly has any idea who he is living with. I’m also beginning to sense trouble in paradise with the mother lion and her cub.

Tyrion walks into his new and improved Lannister digs only to find Shae waiting for him. Tyrion is disturbed at her sight, and worries that someone saw her. He seems truly frightened that Tywin will kill Shae if he catches her, and it seems like he’s not willing to take any more risks. But he softens as he listens to Shae warn him about Sansa’s involvement with Littlefinger. Tyrion is no idiot, and he realizes that Baelish can’t be trusted. But as he mentions his knowledge of Ros, both politically and horizontally, we see Shae grow quite jealous. (Though I’m not sure what she expected. A virgin imp? His life would’ve sucked!) That jealousy grows worse when Tyrion accidentally calls Sansa a great beauty with an old name. I thought this was kind of weird, as Shae has never really displayed any jealousy towards Sansa, or Tyrion with other women before. That makes me think that this scene was carefully inserted into this episode for a reason. I have a feeling that this will prove to mean something later this season.

I’m not going to lie, I was kind of disappointed with the PG-13 sex scene between Tyrion and Shae. These two have great chemistry, and I hope we get to see some of that action soon.

In the next Lannister scene, we see Joffrey welcome Margaery into his suite. As she enters, she finds Joffrey pointing his new bow directly at her. It’s clear that he is testing her, and thanks to Lady Sansa, she is more prepared for this test. He begins by pretending to be sweet and caring, but quickly changes and questions her marriage to Renly. She doesn’t falter in her poise or attitude, and even manages to give answers that turn the tables so he feels sorry for her. She tells Joffrey that she married Renly because she was told to, and she did her duty to him as any wife owes a man. She tells him that they never made love because he seemed to prefer other things. She is careful in her words but while she talks, she doesn’t stop moving forward until she is sitting next to him. This is a bold move, and one that Joffrey isn’t used to. Margaery understands where Joffrey places women in society and she knows not to push it. So she belittles herself and her intelligence, and assures Joffrey that he has the right to do whatever pleases him, no matter how cruel or twisted it might be.

One thing that I thought was peculiar was Joffrey’s level of discomfort when she describes Renly’s sexual desires. He even backed off from her touch. He starts to warm up to her eventually, but only because it seems that she knows exactly how to play his sadistic side. Is Joffrey accustom to the same preversion as Renly? Only a sex scene with Margaery can show us otherwise!! Let’s make it happen, writers.

Margaery truly is a perfect match for Joffrey. She sees what excites him and probes it. She shows interest and excitement in his weapon and she applauds him for his skills. He doesn’t seem uncomfortable anymore, as he shows her how to use the weapon, but he seems enthralled that a woman could be into death and murder. “Would you like to watch me?”, she asks him as she describes the thrill of pulling the trigger here, and watching something die over there. I don’t think he could contain himself anymore after that. Their chemistry is so insane and I loved this scene, even if it made me a little uncomfortable. I think Margaery is the only woman who might be able to outwit and outsmart Joffrey, but I hope it takes her a little bit, because watching these two tango with medieval weapons is more entertaining than Dancing with the Stars this season.

Jaime and Brienne conclude the episode. “It’s wonderful to watch you wrestle with these dilemmas, which will she choose.” Jaime mocks Brienne as she has to choose between crossing the bridge on the road that is out in the open, or finding a long way around to avoid the King’s Road. “Gambler at heart, wouldn’t have guessed.” As they begin to cross over the open bridge, Jaime sits down and actually complains of suffering from corns. This made me laugh, but I laughed even more when he managed to get away from Brienne and arm himself with her sword with this ploy. I can’t believe she fell for it! She almost deserved his feeble attempt at escape.

When I realized that these two were finally going to have at it with swords, I was excited! But I really thought that it would be more of a competition. I understand that Jaime is still handcuffed and weak from traveling, but he talks a mighty big game and he is the Kingslayer! But Brienne puts him down with ease. The great beast of a woman that she is barely breaks a sweat when she knocks Jaime to the ground. In fact, it didn’t seem like much of a competition at all. Then, when it seems like Brienne can collect her prisoner and move on, in enters Robb’s bannermen, the Flayed Man of House Bolton. It turns out Jaime was right and the innocent farmer did recognize him. Jaime tried to barter for his life with his father’s gold, as did Tyrion back in Season 1, but the Boltons’ didn’t bite. As the episode ends, Brienne and Jaime are apprehended by the Northmen once again, or so it seems!

House Baratheon

Not much on Baratheon this week, a few “sentimental” remarks from Margaery about Renly.  Hopefully, we’ll get an update on Stannis next week!

House Targaryen

Unfortunately, there was no Dany or Targaryen action in this episode. That means we also didn’t have any dragon sightings. Let’s just hope this means we will have a double dose of Dany & the dragons next week!

Game of Thrones Recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera (Lannister and Targaryen) and Elizabeth Bond (Stark and Baratheon).  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.