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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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