Game of Thrones 3×04 “And Now His Watch Is Ended” Recap

“He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.”

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Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth

Oh my god, they’re making Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) wear his severed hand around his neck?! That’s the first image post-hand-chopping that you give us, GOT? For fuck’s sake.

Jaime is so traumatized, he’s barely even talking or reacting – not even when he falls off of his horse into the mud and horse shit.

Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) – who’s still bound up with ropes, but now riding on a separate horse – looks really worried about him, and tells their captors to help Jaime.

The Bolton men, however, continue to humiliate him by pouring water on his head when he raspily asks for a drink, and giving him a jug of horse piss that he unknowingly chugs down. He becomes enraged enough to steal a sword from one of the men with his remaining hand, and his captors engage him in a three-way fight that he obviously loses.

When Brienne jumps off her horse to help him, she manages to get a few punches in before she too is held helpless at sword point, watching as Jaime is beaten further into the mud.

That night, the Boltons leave Brienne and Jaime mostly to their own devices at the edge of their campsite. Brienne does her best to get Jaime to maintain his will to live, saying that living is the only way he can get his revenge, but Jaime has completely stopped caring.

Frustrated, Brienne gives Jaime some tough love, and manages to spark a little life and fight back into him. Damn, this fast-developing friendship is awesome.

After a few moments of silence, Brienne reveals that she knows what Jaime did for her; that he had lied about her father’s lands being full of riches so that she wouldn’t get raped. When she asks why he did it, he looks away and doesn’t answer.

King Joffrey

Photo: HBO

Photo: HBO

Joffrey the actual bastard (Jack Gleeson) is back to his grossly sadistic ways. This time, he’s escorting his fiance Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) around, delightedly telling her about his favorite depraved historical events – such as a dragon eating a woman as her son watched. She smiles and laughs at everything he says one moment, then offers some well-phrased insights the next. He seems to be taking a real shine to her. A few feet away, Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) make plans for Margaery and Joffrey’s wedding.

Margaery speaks to Joffrey’s ego, trying to convince him that if he shows kindness and love to the people that they will return it to him in spades. Though he looks afraid at first, Joffrey ends up listening to her, and arm in arm the pair leave the safety of the building to wave and smile at an adoring public.

Cersei isn’t at all happy about this turn of events, since this shows that Joffrey is beginning to trust someone else.

Cersei and Tywin Lannister

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Cersei takes an audience with her father, Tywin (Charles Dance), so she can ask him what they’re doing to get her brother Jaime back. He answers her with a flippant “whatever I can,” and goes back to Hand-of-the-King-ly duties, essentially dismissing her.

Cersei refuses to leave, however, instead questioning why Tywin puts all his care into making sure his sons carry on his legacy when she, his daughter, is the one best equipped for the task.

She goes on to describe the Tyrells as a problem because Margaery is manipulating Joffrey. Tywin replies that the real reason why he doesn’t trust Cersei isn’t because she’s a woman, but because she’s not quite as smart as she thinks she is – because she can’t even figure out how to manipulate her own son.

When Cersei snaps that he should give stopping Joffrey from doing what he likes a try, he stares her down with an ominous, “I will.”

Varys AKA “The Spider”

Photo: HBO

Photo: HBO

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) goes to Varys (Conleth Hill) in secret to ask him what The Spider has heard about the Battle of Blackwater and Cersei’s alleged plan to kill him. Tyrion says he wants proof, even though nothing could really come out of it; it’s not like he can bring Cersei to trial for attempted murder, after all.

Varys answers that he has no proof, only whispers, then continues to tell the story of how he became a eunuch. When he was a young boy, a sorcerer used him as part of some ritual by castrating him.

When Tyrion interrupts, impatient for advice on how to increase his influence to find out who it was that plotted to kill him, Varys gives him a key piece of advice: that the contents of a man’s letters are more valuable than what is in his purse, and that influence is a thing that must be developed slowly, with great care.

He then shows Tyrion the fruits of his own patience and labor: Varys has the badly tortured yet somehow still alive body of the sorcerer squirreled away in his chambers. Years and years after the trauma he experienced, Varys is finally able to exact the revenge that Tyrion now seeks.

Later, Varys and Ros (Esmé Bianco) have a mini-gossip session about the sexual talents of Podrick, before settling down into the real meat of their conversation: Littlefinger’s (Aidan Gillan) upcoming nuptials to Catelyn’s sister, Lady Arryn of the Eyrie.

Ros gives him information about Littlefinger’s interest in Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), along with a copy of his shipboard inventory, which has an interesting detail. Littlefinger is bringing two featherbeds to his ship cabin – and as Varys says, there exist few people who are important enough to Littlefinger to warrant bringing two comfy beds.

Varys later approaches Lady Olenna in her gardens under the guise of welcoming her to the city, but his real aim is to ask her about her interest in Sansa Stark. Being both very clever and manipulative people, they seem to immediately vibe with one another.

Together they concoct a plan to stop Littlefinger from stealing Sansa away because “if Robb Stark falls, Sansa Stark is the key to the North. And if Littlefinger marries her, he’ll have the key to the North in his pocket.”

Sansa Stark

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Photo: HBO

Sansa and Margaery spend some quality time together. They get along very well, and Sansa seems genuinely happy for the first time in ages talking to her.

Margaery tells Sansa about the Tyrell estate, Highgarden, and when Sansa hesitantly says that Cersei won’t allow her to leave King’s Landing, Margaery assures her that once she marries Joffrey, she’ll be the Queen, and she’d let Sansa go wherever she wanted. She even slyly suggests that if her brother, Loras Tyrell, were to marry Sansa then she could go live in peace at Highgarden.

Sansa’s face when she hears that is absolutely adorable. Too bad there’s like a 99% chance that totally is not what is going to happen. Goddammit, Game of Thrones, why can’t we have nice things?!

Bran Stark

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Photo: HBO

Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) is dreaming again, running through the forests as Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) encourages him to go after the three eyed raven, by climbing up a tree. When he gets up to the top, he sees his mother, Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley), extremely distraught, shaking him and screaming at him to promise her: no more climbing.

Bran falls out of the tree and wakes up to Jojen staring at him sadly from across the flames of their latest campsite.

Theon Greyjoy and Mysterious Boy Who Everyone Should Know Is Actually Ramsay Bolton (This Means Don’t Trust Him Or You’re Gonna Be Disappointed)

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Photo: HBO

After the events of the last episode, where Theon (Alfie Allen) was rescued just in the nick of time, Theon and Mysterious Boy (Iwan Rheon) are skedaddling off into the woods on their stolen horses. Boy tells Theon that his sister Yara sent him to save Theon, and that he’s bringing him to her now.

They sneak into a stronghold where Boy says Yara is waiting. As they stroll through the sewers, Theon begins to confide in Boy. His father never trusted him, he says, believing Theon to have become a Stark after all those years in their care. Theon sneers that he could never be a Stark, that Robb had made that very clear to him every day just by existing.

He then tells a surprised Boy that Bran and Rickon might not be dead after all, that he’d lied about killing them so he could keep Winterfell and impress his father. “I made a choice,” Theon cries, “and I chose wrong.” Ugh, I can already tell this next scene is gonna hurt.

And hurt it does, because when Mysterious Boy brings Theon up the tower, it’s not Yara who’s waiting for him, it’s a torture rack. The guy has brought Theon right back to his torturers. With a depraved grin, he tells the other men to “put Theon back where he belongs.”

Samwell Tarly

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Photo: HBO

The brothers of the Night’s Watch are getting restless in Crastor’s village, being forced to do menial labor in exchange for being allowed to stay and rest there. They start talking about leaving the village, escaping from the White Walkers that they know are coming.

Meanwhile, Sam (John Bradley) meets up with Gilly (Hannah Murray) who is doing her best to keep her baby boy a secret for as long as possible.

She gives Sam back the thimble he gave to her in Season Two, frustratedly telling him that she doesn’t have time for him or anyone but her baby, because he “doesn’t have much time” left at all. Did you hear that? That was the sound of my heart breaking.

As Sam gazes at the crying baby, he gets a determined look on his face.

A while after, the Night’s Watch hold a funeral for one of their fellow brothers who apparently died of starvation while they were in Crastor’s camp. Everyone’s anger and restlessness is getting worse as time passes, culminating in the men confronting Crastor. Seriously, why hasn’t anyone mobbed this guy yet? There are at least twenty of them, and only one of him.

Two seconds after I have this thought, Burn Gorman, reprising his role as Random Ranger # 42 (just kidding, his name is Karl) provokes Crastor into attacking and then stabs him in the gut with a knife.

Chaos ensues. Jeor Mormont (James Cosmo) threatens to kill Karl for his treachery but is himself killed by another one of his men. As everyone begins to brawl with one another, Sam runs off to find Gilly and her son, and they all manage to escape into the forest during the commotion.

Arya and the Brotherhood

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Photo: HBO

The Brotherhood Without Banners are taking Arya (Maisie Williams) and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) to places unknown with hoods over their heads, explaining that “it’s best for them if they don’t know where they’re going.”

They arrive at some underground caverns, where the Brotherhood’s base of operations is. The Hound – Sandor Clegane – sneers at the state of his surroundings, deeming the Brotherhood to be nothing more than a band of tanners, masons, and swineherds, before he’s interrupted by Beric Dondarrion’s dramatic entrance.

Beric then states the true purpose of the Brotherhood: to protect the weak from any who might prey on them, no matter what banners those predators may wield.

The Brotherhood intends to kill Sandor for the crimes that his family has wrought upon helpless children. Sandor tells them that he had nothing to do with any of that, and that if they plan on cutting his throat anyways then they should just “get on with it.”

Arya speaks up then, telling everyone that Sandor had killed her friend Mycah early in Season One, an accusation which Sandor combats by saying he was only doing as he was told to do by the prince. Beric announces that since they don’t know the true nature of Sandor’s crime, they cannot judge and execute him. What they can do is sentence him to a trial by combat, against Baric himself.

Daenerys

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Photo: HBO

Dany’s (Emilia Clarke) army has been bought, and as promised, she brings out her largest dragon in payment to Kraznys (Dan Hildebrand). As she hands her baby off to the slaver, she asks one last time “if it’s done” – if the Unsullied now belong to her. He confirms that now that she holds the golden whip in her hands, she controls the slaves.

Dany walks slowly back towards her newfound army as her dragon viciously fights Kraznys’ hold on its chains. She then reveals what most everyone has suspected from the beginning – that she knows how to speak Kraznys’ language, so she’s totally understood all the shit he’s been saying about her.

And then, like a badass biotch, she orders her army to kill all the slavers. Turning her gaze upon a screaming Kraznys, she speaks a single word to her dragon, who burns the asshole to a crispy crisp and razes the city to the ground.

Once all the fighting is over, the Unsullied return to their perfect formation and await further orders. Dany tells them they are free, and that any man who wishes to leave can do so, but if they fight for her, they will do so as free men.

The army is silent at first, but soon express their support for her. As they all march off into the sunset, Dany throws the golden slaver’s whip Kraznys gave to her onto the ground.

Rating: A

Memorable Quotes

Varys: I still dream of that night. Not of the sorcerer. Not of his blade. I dream of the voice from the flames. Was it a god? A demon? A conjurer’s trick? I don’t know. But a sorcerer called, and a voice answered.
And ever since that day, I have hated magic and all those who practice it. But you can see why I was eager to aid you in your fight against Stannis and his Red Priestess. A symbolic revenge of sorts.
Tyrion: Yes. Ahem. I feel the need for actual revenge, against the actual person who tried to have me killed.

Lady Olenna: We mothers do what we can to keep our sons from the grave, but they do seem to yearn for it. We shower them with good sense, and it slides right off like rain off a wing.
Cersei: And yet the world belongs to them.

Tyrion: My real father lost his head at King’s Landing. I made a choice, and I chose wrong. Now I’ve burned everything down.

Brienne: You coward. A little misfortune and you’re giving up?
Jaime: Mis- misfortune?
Brienne: You lost your hand.
Jaime: My sword hand. I was that hand.
Brienne: You have a taste, a taste of the real world where people have important things taken from them, and you whine and cry and quit.

Girl: Do you like it, nana?
Lady Olenna: Another golden rose – how original. I eat from plates stamped with roses, I sleep in sheets embroidered with roses, I have a golden rose painted on my chamber-pot – as if that makes it smell any better.

Lady Olenna: You must despise [Littlefinger]. You’re working so hard to undermine him.
Varys: Actually, I rather enjoy him. But he would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.

Daenerys: A dragon is not a slave.
Kraznys: You speak Valyrian?
Daenerys: I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyria. Valyrian is my mother tongue.

Watch the preview of next week’s episode below:

Game of Thrones airs Sunday at 9 PM on HBO.

Game of Thrones 3×03 “Walk of Punishment” Recap

HOLY SHIT, SON

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This episode randomly started us off with a lot more inappropriately lighthearted humor than usual, which nine times out of ten means that the night is going to end oh so badly for at least one person. And that is exactly what happens. Naturally.

King Stark and Mama Tully

The Starks and their army are at the funeral for the father of Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley), and Cat’s brother Edmure Tully (played by Tobias Menzies, who I’ve loved so hard ever since Rome) really, really sucks at archery.

What he’s supposed to do is launch a flaming arrow onto his father’s funeral pyre as it floats away down the river. And what does he do? He misses, like, twenty times (and I’m sitting here practically pointing and laughing.) Robb (Richard Madden) is super exasperated while Catelyn just side-eyes her sibling like “wow, really bro?”

Later, Robb is yelling at Edmure for going against Robb’s orders in leading a battle where they lost over 200 men. Meanwhile, Catelyn and her uncle reminisce about her father and she breaks down thinking about how Bran and Rickon are most likely dead.

The Lannisters and Co.

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Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) calls a meeting with Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillan), Cersei (Lena Headey), Super Old Guy Whose Name I Don’t Remember, and Varys (Conleth Hill) in which everyone looks extremely anxious and no one is happy. Cersei is forced to carry her own chair to the other side of the table because nobody offers to help her out with it, while Tyrion patiently waits for everyone to get settled in before dragging his own chair up to the table with a long, drawn out squueeeaaking noise. You annoying bitch, I love you so much.

Tywin asks where his son Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is, but no one knows. He’s understandably pissed, because it is literally everyone’s job to know things.

Tywin and Petyr eventually start scheming for Petyr to leave King’s Landing for the Eyrie, where he would marry Catelyn’s sister Lysa and become Lord of the Vale. Tyrion brings up the point that it might not be a great idea for the guy who manages their finances to leave right before a lavish and expensive royal wedding, something that Tywin fully agrees with – which then leads to him appointing Tyrion as the new Master of Coin.

Later on, Tyrion and Petyr have a loaded conversation about Tyrion’s latest job description as Tyrion collects all of papers and things that he needs from Petyr. Shortly thereafter, Tyrion buys Poderick (Daniel Portman) three prostitutes with a big bag of gold to reward him for being a loyal servant and for saving his life last season.

As he goes through the Petyr’s extensive collection of records, Tyrion discovers that Petyr has been borrowing money for the crown every time they needed things, and that they now owe the Iron bank of Bravvos, tens of millions. If they fail to pay them back in time, the bank will fund the Lannister family’s enemies – because “one way or another, they always get their gold back.”

Pod comes back from his devirginizing experience and gives Tyrion his pouch of gold back, informing a confused Tyrion and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) that the girls liked him so much they gave him their time for free. The two men sit Pod down to quiz him on his “techniques”.

Poor sweet Pod.

Arya and the Brotherhood Without Banners

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Arya (Maisie Williams) is pissed off because the Brotherhood have taken her and her friends as unofficial prisoners after they found out her true identity, but as one of the men tells her, “It’s not safe in these woods for the daughter of Ned Stark.”

As they all prepare to leave the village, Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey) tells her and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) that he’s not going to continue with them on their journey, instead deciding to stay and work in the village at the bakery. Hot Pie, Arya, and Gendry share a sad goodbye. Man, I’m gonna miss that dude.

Jon Snow and the Wildlings

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After coming across a field of decapitated and dismembered horses, with the presumably also dead bodies of their riders conspicuously missing, Mance Raydar (Ciaran Hinds) sends some of his men on a mission to climb the Wall. He also tells Jon Snow (Kit Harington) to go along with them because Jon knows where the weak spots are. Judging by the look on his face when he hears that, Jon is beginning to realize the severity of the situation he’s in.

Samwell Tarly and the Night’s Watch

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The men wearily trek their way back to Craster’s (Robert Pugh) village – remember him from Season 2? He’s the deranged fucker that rapes all his daughters and leaves his baby sons out in the woods to die – and though he tries to deny them entrance at first, he eventually lets them come in out of the cold (probably because he knows he can’t defeat them in combat.) Burn Gorman, known best for his role as Owen Harper from Torchwood, makes his debut as unnamed Ranger #43.

As they’re warming up by the fire, Craster cracks an uncreative fat joke about Sam (John Bradley), that none of his friends or comrades try to defend him against. Flustered, embarrassed, and angry, Sam leaves.

He’s walking around the village when he comes across a hut where a woman giving birth is wailing in pain. When he pokes his head into the house, he sees that the woman is Gilly (Hannah Murray), whom Sam got a huge crush on the last time he was in the village.

Naturally, because we didn’t already have enough tragedy and infanticide in this show, she gives birth to a baby boy. This means if Craster finds out he’s gonna drop kick the baby to the White Walkers.

Theon Greyjoy

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Oh, great, more torture scenes.

Iwan Rheon, playing Dude-Who-Is-Unnamed-In-The-Show-As-Of-Yet (anyone who’s been paying attention to casting news or has read the books knows it’s Sadistic Bastard Ramsay Bolton, though) rescues Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) and sends him riding away on a horse, telling him that his sister is waiting for him.

This is not the case. Theon’s recaptured in a little over a heartbeat, but when the men that caught him are about to rape him, he’s again rescued by Iwan Rheon. One of the men, before he dies via arrow to the forehead, calls Unnamed Man “You little bastard” in a clever bit of foreshadowing.

Stannis and Melisandre

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Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) has gone cray. He asks Melisandre (Carice van Houten) to make him another creepy shadow assassin baby so he can “defeat his enemies,” but she tells him that he’s too weak and that trying again would likely kill him. Before she leaves for places unknown, she gives him some cryptic parting advice concerning who he needs to sacrifice to get his pretty iron throne.

Daenerys

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Haaa they did the thing! The thing where someone says the title of the episode in casual conversation! Haaaaaa.

Jorah (Iain Glen) tells Dany (Emilia Clarke) about the Walk of Punishment, where slaves who did something “wrong” are tortured then chained up in the hot sun to die, so that other slaves learn not to make the same mistakes. Dany listens as Jorah and Ser Barristan (Ian McElhinney) do their best to convince her to follow their advice – Jory thinks she should buy the army, while Ser Barristan thinks it’s dishonorable to fight with a slave army.

She eventually decides to buy all 8,000 of the Unsullied, as well as the ones who are still in training.

When she goes back to meet with Kraznys (Dan Hildebrand) and tells him of her intentions, he practically laughs in her face, saying that she with her single ship and measly amount of gold cannot afford to buy all 8,000.

Dany then offers to sell one of her dragons for the army, which immediately catches Kraznys’ interest. She also asks for the translator, Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) – who is great by the way, A+ her everything – and the guy readily agrees.

Jamie and Brienne

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Captured by the Boltons in the last episode, we next see these two bound in ropes and seated awkwardly on a horse as the Bolton men presumably lead them back to Robb. They are still bitching at each other the entire way there.

After trading a few snarky barbs, Jaime starts to drop his attitude to warn Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) of what’s going to happen to her when the Bolton men stop to make camp later that night: that she’ll probably be raped, many times, by many of the men. He tries to get her not to fight back by telling her “If you fight them, they will kill you, do you understand? I’m the prisoner of value, not you. Let them have what they want, what does it matter?”

Brienne points out that if their roles were reversed, there’s no way in hell Jaime wouldn’t resist – to which he replies that if he were a woman, he’d make them kill him instead.

Later that night, several of the men try to drag her off. She fights them off as best as she can, until a visibly conflicted Jamie ends up saving her by telling the men that her father would pay a hefty ransom if she were returned to him unharmed and her honor “unbesmirched.” Oh god that was terrifying to watch.

Brienne’s safety now successfully bargained for, Jaime then begins to try and bargain for his own freedom. This goes about as well as you’d expect, because the Bolton men don’t take so kindly to Jaime’s big words and smirk-y, lightly condescending tone.

So they chop off his sword hand. Fuuuuuck. Knowing that it was coming was in no way whatsoever enough to prepare me for that traumatically graphic scene.

Comments + Verdict

This week’s episode was great, with just the right balance between humor, action, and story.

That last scene, though. I have no words. No words. That image is going to burned into my retinas until the next episode, where I’m sure something equally as terrifying is going to happen to someone. Most probably it’s gonna be Theon.

Rating: A

Memorable Quotes

Tyrion: I’m quite good at spending money, but a lifetime of outrageous wealth hasn’t taught me much about managing it.

Brienne: All my life, I’ve been hearing, “Jaime Lannister, what a brilliant swordsman.” You were slower than I expected. And more predictable.
Jaime: I’ve been sitting in a muddy pen wrapped in chains for the past year!
Brienne: And I’m a woman, I was still beating you.
Jaime: You were not beating me!

Gendry: Be safe.
Hot Pie: Yeah, you too. Don’t get stabbed.
Gendry: You don’t… burn your fingers.

Jory: Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, and Rhaegar died.

Missandei: Valar morghulis.
Dany: Yes, all men must die. But we are not men.

Watch the preview of next week’s episode below:

Game of Thrones airs Sunday at 9 PM on HBO.

Game of Thrones 3×02 “Dark Wings, Dark Words” Recap

This Week’s Episode Comes Dragon-free

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Bran Stark

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 Stark

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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.

Theon Greyjoy

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

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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.

Joffrey Baratheon

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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.

Sansa Stark

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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 Snow

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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.

Samwell Tarly

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 Stark

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 Lannister

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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.

Rating: B+

Memorable Quotes

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.