This Week’s Episode Comes Dragon-free
This week’s episode starts off with Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) in another one of his creepy yet awesome prophetic dream sequences. It’s obvious that it’s a dream because he’s running in a forest – and if you recall, Bran hasn’t been able to walk, let alone run, since early in the first season.
A three-eyed raven appears, and Bran aims his bow at it. Dream!Jon and dream!Robb are next to him urging him on, hearkening back to the scene in the very first episode of the show, where Bran was getting an archery lesson from the two as his father and mother watched. Bran misses, just like in that other scene, and as Jon and Robb laugh, Bran hears his father’s voice coming from behind him. Barely three minutes into this episode and already my heart is breaking.
As he turns to look for his father, an unknown boy pops up from behind him to give him an ominous message: Bran can’t kill the raven, because he is the raven. Cue raven swooping down and into Bran’s poor wittle face, and he wakes up with a start.
Bran’s brother Rickon, Hodor and Osha (Natalia Tena) are visibly worried about Bran. He tries to tell Osha about his dream, but she doesn’t want to hear it, saying that they’ve got enough to worry about without adding black magic on top of everything. They all continue onward, heading towards the Wall.
The next time we see the group, they’ve made camp and are resting in some woods when Bran is woken by the sound of cracking twigs. Hodor and Rickon aren’t there – they went to gather food – but Osha is already up and in a defensive position, with Bran’s direwolf, Summer, next to her growling at whatever it is that’s approaching them.
When Osha runs forward into the mist to find the intruders, Bran is left behind, helpless save for the still growling Summer. That’s when the boy from his dream shows up, walking menacingly up to Bran, seemingly unafraid of what the huge scary wolf could do to his innards. Osha turns up just at the right time to save Bran by pointing a spear at the back of the boy’s neck, but she herself is taken hostage by his sister, who is “better at weapons” than he is.
Osha gleefully tells them that if she dies, the wolf will tear them to bits, but in a shocking turn of events, Summer ends up liking the boy – who reveals himself to be Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), with his sister being Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) – and he very dramatically tells Bran that they’d gone a long way to find him. Looks like Bran’s merry band has grown in size.
As they continue to travel onward, Jojen tells Bran that he’s a warg, a person who can enter the minds of animals and see through their eyes. Jojen reveals that his appearing in Bran’s dream was real – or as real as it gets, anyways – that they’d seen the three-eyed raven together, and that the raven brings to them visions of events that they otherwise had no way of knowing about.
The two of them bond over having the Sight, and over their fathers being old friends. It’s unclear what Jojen’s purpose is as of yet, but whatever it is, it’s got everything to do with Bran.
Robb (Richard Madden) is angsting by the fire as Talisa (Oona Chaplin) tries to comfort him, when Lord Bolton (Michael McElhatton) comes in with terrible news from Riverrun and Winterfell: Catelyn Stark’s father is dead, the people at Winterfell have been massacred and torched, and Bran and Rickon are missing. Robb keeps hope that they could be alive, perhaps taken hostage by Theon and his men, but a heartbroken Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) points out that they haven’t gotten any demands or word from Theon at all.
Later, Robb and his men ride to Riverrun for his grandfather’s funeral. Robb mentions that his uncle Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies) has forces stationed there as well, and he plans to ask for his uncle’s help.
Meanwhile, Talisa and Catelyn have a heart-to-heart as Catelyn weaves a charm for the safety of her children. She tells Talisa a story about how she had prayed to the gods to take Jon Snow (Kit Harington) away when he was a little boy, and how he’d gotten sick with the pox afterwards.
She felt like “the worst woman who ever lived” then, and sat through the night with her husband’s bastard son, praying again to the gods that if they let Jon live she would be a true mother to him. She didn’t keep her promise. Catelyn believes that her breaking that promise caused all these terrible things to her family.
Oh, god. I knew this scene was coming and STILL I was absolutely not ready for it. Theon (Alfie Allen) has been far from my favorite of characters lately, but seeing him captured and tortured by Lord Bolton’s sadistic bastard, Ramsay (Iwan Rheon, who until recently starred in Misfits) was not a fun ride.
Theon is terrified, naturally. He has no idea where he is or who has taken him, and they don’t even ask him any questions or interrogate him at first – they just go straight to the gruesome torture.
Eventually they start to ask him to tell the truth about why he took Winterfell, and though he gives them any and all of the the answers they could want, they keep on torturing him, and it is the worst thing ever.
Ramsay, masquerading as a servant, tells Theon he’ll get him out later that night.
Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth
The road trip to King’s Landing continues! It’s gonna be a loooong trip, because these two are still on foot. Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is hilariously bitching all the way, as Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) gives him dirty looks and stares around them suspiciously for enemies.
Eventually, Jaime gets to asking Brienne who she’d served before Catelyn Stark, and deduces that it was Renly Baratheon based on her unfavorable opinion of Stannis. He starts bad-mouthing Renly, which causes Brienne to snap (he accuses her of being in love with Renly). They’re interrupted when an unassuming and seemingly friendly man walks by, engaging them in jovial conversation before walking away.
Brienne has to make a decision, now: either she lets the man leave, risking him knowing who they are and telling someone before she can get Jaime to King’s Landing, or she kills a potentially innocent man. Jaime whispers in her ear that she needs to kill him before he gets away, but Brienne refuses to do so.
They come across a bridge over a really strong river, and Brienne is faced with yet another decision: cross the bridge and risk being seen, or cross the river and risk being swept up in the current (and Jaime escaping from her). Jaime takes an inordinate amount of glee in watching her struggle with her choice.
She ends up choosing the bridge. Jaime decides to be a brat and sits down right in the middle of the bridge, where anyone could see them, and as Brienne tries to tug him upright again he steals her sword, cuts his bonds, and the two of them duke it out right then and there. Naturally, Brienne is a humongously awesome badass and defeats him easily, but they’re soon approached by men on horses from House Bolton.
Turns out Brienne really should have killed the man from earlier, because he ran straight to them and told them all about Jaime, and now they’re both going to be taken prisoner back to Robb.
King Joffrey “The Douchebag” Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) is getting fitted for some more clothes. His mother, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), asks him what he thinks of Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), with whom Joffrey is now engaged to be married. Joffrey tells her that Margaery is an ideal match for him, and that together they would crush any rebellions.
Cersei tries to warn him about Margaery, but Joffrey shuts her down right quick – essentially telling Cersei to shut up and do as she’s told. Oh, no, you did not just say that to your own mother. That boy is out of control.
In a later scene, Margaery comes to his private rooms, and he starts to question her, asking if “the bedside of a traitor is the place for a lady” like her. Margaery is aware of the shaky ground she’s on right then, and chooses her words carefully and wisely, taming his anger.
Joffrey is won over by how well she seems to understand him, and as he teaches her how to hold and aim a crossbow, they have a creepy conversation about killing things that’s totally laced with icky sexual tension. I forgot how much being sadistic turned Joffrey on until just now.
After last week’s Sansa scene, Shae (Sibel Kekilli) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) talk about Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillan) and his suggestion that Sansa come away with him the next time he’s able to sneak her out. Sansa tries to convince Shae (and herself) that Petyr is offering his help out of kindness and residual love for her mother, but Shae doesn’t believe it for a second – help never comes free, especially when it’s a man offering to help a pretty girl.
Shae tells her that if Petyr tries anything, anything at all, to let her know about it and she will make him stop. Sansa looks surprised at her concern, but before they can say any more to each other, Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones) comes calling to invite Sansa to dine with Margaery in the gardens. Sansa’s face as Loras speaks to her is adorable; gurl is totally fangirling over his pretty face.
When Sansa arrives at the gardens to meet with Margaery and Margaery’s grandmother, Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), she’s a little shocked at how Lady Olenna speaks her mind so bluntly, immediately upon meeting her. Olenna begins asking her about Joffrey, urging her to tell the truth. Unsure of what to do at first, Sansa says what she’s supposed to – “King Joffrey is fair and handsome and brave as a lion” – but with Olenna’s comforting words she soon finds her courage and tells the truth about Joffrey for perhaps the first time out loud: that he killed her father, and that he’s a monster.
The scene was extremely powerful, and Sophie Turner brings Sansa’s grief, anger, and hatred towards Joffrey to life. However, even with this information, the Tyrells seem unsurprised and decide to go forward with the marriage between Margaery and Joffrey anyway.
Jon and the Wildlings are marching through the snow, heading South. Mance Raydar (Ciaran Hinds) walks with Jon and tells him how he managed to get all these different groups of people – all of whom come from different cultural backgrounds and speak different languages, and many of whom hate each other – to fight for the same cause. “I told them we were all going to die if we don’t get South, because that’s the truth.”
Jon then learns about the existence of wargs when a Wildling man in Mance’s army is scouting for them in the mind of a bird. When he comes to he tells them about dead “Crows” – which means men of the Night’s Watch. Jon makes a slightly sadder facial expression than his usual upon hearing that news.
Back with the Night’s Watch, Samwell (John Bradley) is struggling to keep up with the rest of the men marching back to the Wall. One of the men, Rast (Luke Barnes), bitter that he watched his friends die in the battle at the end of last season while Samwell lives on, tells him to lie down and rest for a while, even though he knows stopping in that freezing cold means certain death for Sam. Tired and depressed, Sam sits down in a sad heap and refuses to get up, even as his friends try to get him to move again.
Jeor Mormont (James Cosmo) eventually swans up and tells Sam that he forbids him to die, appoints a protesting Rast to be responsible for Sam’s well-being, and that if Sam dies then Rast will die as well.
Arya (Maisie Williams), Gendry (Joe Dempsie), and Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey) return to Game of Thrones in this episode, as well. They’re trekking through another forest, lost, when they come across the Brotherhood Without Banners. Their leader seems amused by Arya’s bravery, and invites them to come eat with them and tell the story of how they escaped Harrenhal.
The three of them are taken to a pub, where they quickly recount their tale and are released. Before they can go, however, a group of Brotherhood members enter the pub with a prisoner: The Hound (Rory McCann), a man who could recognize and identify Arya if he sees her. Which, of course, is exactly what he does. Fuuuck.
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) returns to his rooms to find Shae waiting for him. He immediately asks her if anyone saw her come in, afraid that if his father hears of it he’ll have her killed. She assures him that no one saw her, and that she came to him with a problem that she needs his help to solve: she’s worried about Sansa and Petyr.
He tells her that no one in their right mind would trust Petyr, and before they hook up he warns her that she shouldn’t come to his rooms anymore in case she’d get hurt. Why does this feel like foreshadowing to me? I like Shae, can she not die anytime soon please?
Comments + Verdict
This episode scores much better than the opening episode of the season. Consisting of great dialogue and acting, it leaves off on several cliffhangers that I’ll be interested to see resolved in the next few episodes.
Jaime: You weren’t Renly’s type, I’m afraid. He preferred, ah, curly-haired little girls like Loras Tyrell. You’re far too much man for him. It’s all true about Renly. His proclivities were the worst kept secret at court. It’s a shame the throne isn’t made of cocks, they’d have never got him off it.
Brienne: Shut your mouth!
Jaime: I don’t blame him. I don’t blame you, either. We don’t get to choose who we love.
Cersei: Margaery Tyrell dotes on filthy urchins for a reason. She dresses like a harlot for a reason. She married a traitor and known degenerate like Renly Baratheon for a reason.
Joffrey: She married Renly Baratheon because she was told to. That’s what intelligent women do – what they’re told.
Sam: You left me. When the White Walkers came, you left me.
Ranger: Aye, we left you. Yer fat, and yer slow, and we didn’t wanna die.
Arya: If we were going north, we should have come to the Redfork River by now.
Hot Pie: Maybe we already passed it.
Arya. It’s a hundred feet wide. How could we have passed it?
Shae: A great beauty?!
Tyrion: Yes, she is. Objectively, very… her face is quite pleasing… to other men! And to women. People in general. But not to me, of course. I only have eyes for you. … This is cruel and unfair. Cruelly unfair.
Watch the preview for next week’s episode below:
Game of Thrones airs Sunday at 9 PM on HBO.