It’s been 7+ days since GoT 3×09, guys. Have you all emotionally/physically/spiritually recovered yet? No? Me neither. It doesn’t help that the first image we see post-Red Wedding shenanigans is Roose Bolton peering over the edge of the Frey castle to see the rest of Robb’s army being slaughtered.
Arya Stark and Sandor Clegane
Sandor, carrying a barely-conscious Arya, is trying to escape from the battleground when loud chanting rises up from behind them: “Here comes the King in the North, the King in the North!” Arya comes to just in time to see her dead brother strung up on top of a horse and the head of Grey Wind, Robb’s direwolf, attached to Robb’s decapitated body.
Sandor gallops away on his horse as Arya gazes numbly off into the distance.
They’re traveling silently through some woods when they come across some Frey soldiers cackling about the part they played in The Red Wedding. When Arya overhears them, she hops off of the horse, pretends to be a sweet little kid asking for food and the warmth of the fire, and then very smoothly stabs a guy to death with a knife while he’s distracted. When the other soldiers pull their swords on her, Sandor comes to her rescue and kills the rest of the men.
Arya stares unflinchingly at the body of the first man she’s ever killed, then whispers “Valar morghulis.”
Sansa and Tyrion are going on a stroll through the castle gardens. They have a surprisingly comfortable conversation with each other, even joking around at some points. Their conversation is cut short, however, when Podrick runs up with news for Tyrion: his father, Tywin Lannister, has called a meeting of the small council.
When Tyrion gets there, Joffrey gleefully tells him that Robb and Catelyn Stark are dead – and that he intends to serve Robb’s head to Sansa at his wedding feast. Joffrey, you freak. Tyrion is unamused, and threatens Joffrey – Sansa is no longer his to torment.
Joffrey starts throwing a hissy fit, and in the process insults his grandfather, Tywin – saying “My father won the real war … while you hid under Casterly Rock!” Oooh, not a good move, Joffrey.
Tywin gives his grandson the iciest glare ever, then dismisses him and everyone else from the room, save for Tyrion. They talk about what just happened with the Freys and the Starks, with Tyrion pointing out how Tywin basically won them the war while barely lifting a finger, and how the Lannisters will reap all the benefits while the Freys reap most of the consequences. It was a very craftily planned maneuver, indeed.
Tywin announces his plans for the North now that they’ve won: he will appoint Roose Bolton the Warden of the North, until Tyrion and Sansa’s son comes of age – heavily implying that Tyrion needs to put a baby in her ASAP.
Tyrion refuses to rape her, though, which causes Tywin to snap that a good man does what’s best for his family no matter the personal cost.
Tyrion goes to tell Sansa the her mother and older brother are dead, but she already knows. She’s sitting by the window crying silently, and Tyrion leaves her to her grief.
Elsewhere, Shae and Varys discuss Shae’s relationship with Tyrion. He tries to pay her to leave the city, knowing that her love for Tyrion complicates certain matters and endangers Tyrion’s life. Shae refuses to go unless Tyrion tells her to.
Meanwhile in Tyrion’s chambers, Tyrion is on a mission to get completely wasted. His sister Cersei swoops in to interrupt his process of getting drunk so she can try to talk Tyrion into impregnating Sansa, and in the process opens up to Tyrion concerning her feelings about Joffrey.
Tyrion asks in a defeated tone of voice how long “this” is going to go on for, and Cersei replies that it won’t end until their enemies are defeated.
Bran Stark, The Reeds, Samwell Tarly and Gilly
The group makes camp. Again. Because all we ever get to see these guys do is camp. Bran is nervous about that night’s campsite, though, because there are creepy tales about the place that they’re in, called the Nightfort. He starts telling the others some campfire stories, and then says a line that’s full of foreshadowing: the gods do not forgive those who harm guests under their roofs. I guess that means vengeance is most definitely coming for the Freys.
They eventually fall asleep, but are awoken by some shuffling and thumping noises just outside their shelter. Meera Reed pulls out a knife and attacks… none other than Samwell Tarly! He and Gilly have come to the Nightfort for shelter as well.
Bran and co. are wary of the newcomers, but Sam quickly realizes he’s stumbled across Jon Snow’s brother and eagerly offers his aid. That is, until Bran asks Sam to take them north of the Wall.
Sam protests that there’s nothing north of the Wall except death. Jojen convinces him that the White Walkers are going to come for everyone, and that no one can stop them, no one except Bran.
Later, Sam shows the group the dragonglass that he found and how he killed a White Walker with one. He gives Hodor and Meera two of the pieces, then he and Gilly separate from the group.
Sam and Gilly finally arrive at Castle Black and come before Maester Aemon, who thinks the baby Gilly carries is Sam’s. Sam tells Aemon that Gilly is one of Craster’s wives, and that the baby is also Craster’s. And then in a very ominous tone, informs him that bad things are coming.
Aemon accepts Gilly and her son as guests of the Night’s Watch – and asks her to help feed the rest of the “ravens”, because they’re all going to be “flying tonight.” As cool as that sounds, Maester Aemon, that is a very vague thing to say. Where exactly are they flying to?
Walder Frey and Roose Bolton
Lord Frey is gloating over his victory as a maid cleans the blood stains from his dining hall. Roose Bolton is less enthusiastic, though, pointing out that the Blackfish (Catelyn and Edmure’s uncle) managed to escape the slaughter, but Frey doesn’t care about that. In his eyes, he’s a winner.
They toast each other over their new titles: Frey, the new Lord of Riverrun, and Roose the Warden of the North. Roose tells Frey about his bastard, Ramsay, taking Theon Greyjoy hostage.
Theon Greyjoy and Ramsay Bolton
Segue to Bastard Bolton and his captive, Theon. Ramsay is a right sadistic little bastard, but I can’t help but snicker every time he shows off his particular brand of crazy. This time, he’s sitting in front of Theon nonchalantly talking about Theon’s dick – which he cut off the last time we saw them – and eating an intentionally phallic-shaped food item for dinner. Theon watches Ramsay eat what he thinks is his dick in absolute horror.
Ramsay laughs that it’s just pork sausage (“You think I’m some sort of savage?”) and then goes on to mentally torture Theon some more until Theon begs for death.
Ramsay doesn’t kill him. Instead, he tortures Theon until he gives up his old identity of Theon Greyjoy and accepts his new name: Reek.
Back at the Iron Islands, Yara and Balon Greyjoy receive orders from Ramsay to pull their forces back out of the North, else they and their armies will be flayed alive. Yara opens the enclosed box to find Theon’s penis – and the letters warns that if the Ironborn don’t leave the North immediately, more boxes will be sent with more of Theon’s body parts.
Balon doesn’t intend to do as Ramsay suggests, saying that “Theon disobeyed my orders… and he cannot further the Greyjoy line. I will not give up the lands I have seized.” Yara, feeling protective over her brother, is disgusted with her father’s decision, and in a badass speech tells him that she’s going to go rescue her brother whether he likes it or not.
Davos goes to visit Gendry in the dungeons, and they bond over having both been born in Flea Bottom. Davos tells Gendry the story of how he became a lord, and why he accepted the title – for his son, who’s now dead because he followed his father into war.
We’re then treated to another adorable scene of Davos trying to read. Shireen offers him some of her more interesting books, but Davos tells her now that he’s Stannis’ right-hand-man again, he has to help Stannis read his boring mail. The next letter he picks up is far from boring, though – it’s a message from the Night’s Watch, asking for help.
The bells start to toll, and Davos leaves behind a scared Shireen to see what’s going on. Stannis informs him that Robb Stark is dead thanks to Melisandre’s blood magic. Davos tries again to make Stannis see reason, but Robb’s death has cemented Stannis’ faith in the Red God. He intends to burn Gendry alive in order to appease the god and win his throne, because as Melisandre says, “a great gift requires a great sacrifice.”
When Davos realizes that Stannis isn’t going to listen to him, he runs to the dungeons to let Gendry go, giving him a boat to escape in and advice to head for King’s Landing.
Of course, Stannis sentences Davos to die when he finds out, but Davos advises him against it, saying Stannis is going to need Davos soon – and then he hands Stannis the note from the Night’s Watch, saying that the White Walkers are coming for them all.
Melisandre and Davos are finally on the same page, as they both advise Stannis to join in the war to the north – and he’s going to need them both if he plans to win.
Ygritte has caught up to Jon, and she has her bow and arrow pointed at him. Jon tells her he loves her, but he has to go back home. Ygritte shoots him anyways, three times, and watches with tears in her eyes as he manages to drag himself back on his horse and gallops away.
Jon blacks out sometime during his travels, but his horse brings him right back to Castle Black, where the other Night’s Watch men are elated to see him.
Jaime, Brienne, and that one healer guy have finally arrived at King’s Landing. Jaime goes almost immediately to see his sister Cersei, who is as shocked to see him alive and in front of her as she is to see he’s lost his hand.
Dany and her army wait nervously outside the gates of Yunkai after having conquered the city last episode. Eventually, Yunkai’s citizens shuffle out and surround them as Dany gives a speech about freedom and blah blah blah. The citizens chant “Mother” at her, then carry her reverently above their heads.
As badass as she can be sometimes, I’m so over the white savior-ness of Dany’s storyline.
Comments + Verdict
Though I did really like this episode, that last scene with Dany really soured the experience for me. If I were to rate that scene alone, it would be a big fat F. Honestly, if I factored that scene into my rating of the entire episode, it would bring the episode down a full letter grade. As it is, my rating for Game of Thrones‘ season finale minus that scene is…
[Joffrey runs in with a bright smile on his face]
Tyrion: Killed a few puppies today?
Tyrion: The northerners will never forget.
Tywin: Good. Let them remember what happens when they march on the south.
Bran: He killed a guest under his roof. That’s something the gods can’t forgive.
Yara: He’s your son! He’s my brother. He’s a Greyjoy.
Balon: I’ve made my decision.
Yara: And I’ve made mine. I’m going to pick the fastest ship in our fleet. I’m going to choose the fifty best killers on the Iron Islands. I’m going to sail up the Narrow Sea all the way to the Weeping Water. I’m going to march on the Dreadfort. I’m going to find my little brother, and I’m going to bring him home.
Varys: I know you love him. And I know it’s true love not bought by gold or silver. I’m not asking you to leave him for money, I’m asking you to leave because your presence in the capital endangers him.
Cersei: You always hear the terrible ones were terrible babies. “We should have known, even then we should have known.” It’s nonsense. Whenever he was with me he was happy.
No one can take that away from me, not even Joffrey. What it feels like to have someone… someone of your own.
Davos: Why is there a ‘g’ in night?
Stannis: What’s the life of one bastard boy against a kingdom?