DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS EPISODE— SPOILERS BELOW!
Well folks, we’ve come this far, and things are getting very serious, very quickly. After last week’s climactic escape of Bran, Rickon, Hodor, and Osha, Theon wakes up angry and embarrassed. He gathers his men, and they all leave to hunt for the escapees. On the other end, Hodor and Co. see a farm that was once friendly to the Starks and consider hiding out there and seeking food.
Back up North, Jon wakes up, still spooning Ygritte. Whether he’s sincerely enjoying the cuddling or experiencing the “morning wood” familiar to men the world over, Ygritte is quick to tease him. Their back-and-forth banter borders on excessive sexual tension, but Ygritte is more than willing to tease him relentlessly. Jon swears to uphold his oath of the Night’s Watch.
At Harrenhal, many people have been tortured and hanged in the search for the assumed assassin of Lord Tywin, but no ones suspects Jaqen. While Tywin tells The Mountain to continue searching out the assassin, he has another honest moment with Arya. There’s legitimate care here, and it seems safe to assume that Arya is safest under his watch. They discuss the history of Harrenhal and dragons, and Tywin admits that Arya is perhaps too smart for her own good.
Meanwhile, at King’s Landing, Sansa wanders past Claegon and thanks him for saving her. His thoughts on mercy are light because he honestly seems to relish in killing others, yet there’s a soft spot for Sansa in his own way.
All the while, things continue to be confusing and out of control at Qarth. Daenerys is beyond pissed that her dragons are gone. Despite Xaro’s promises that he’ll find the dragons and honor his word, she is reluctant. At this point Daenerys comes off as little more than a spoiled child.
The short scenes of this week’s episode continue, and we jump back to the winter wastelands. The winter wastelands scene is of little importance, other than that it features Ygritte continuing to taunt Jon. The only reason that I bring it up is the quotation that everyone was hoping to hear last week—”You know nothing Jon Snow.” This apparent fan favorite should bring a smile to all those dedicated to the books.
After what to this point seems like a loose end, Robb appears again. He speaks with Alton, the Lannister cousin, and thanks him for passing along the message to Cersei. He agrees to put Alton in Jaime’s cell for the time being. Shortly after reaching this agreement, he talks with his nurse and new crush about helping get supplies for the wounded. Robb is a true and compassionate king. If this tells me anything, it’s that Robb’s compassion doesn’t bode will for him in the long run—Martin seems to enjoy killing off the noble.
At Qarth Ser Jorah returns from looking for a ship to Daenerys’ side. Initially, she rejects his pleas for trust and help before she finally sends him off to find her dragons. Her desire for her dragons outweighs her common sense of knowing her allies. Even though it’s now perfectly clear that Jorah loves her, Daenerys is little more than being stubborn. She is tough to empathize with at this point. In fact, her storyline has easily been one of the weakest points of the entire series so far. She is clearly a fan favorite and while I’m not going to give up on her story, it has been good to at least see her arrive at Qarth. It’s an advancement plot-wise.
We return to the North and the aimless wanderings of Jon and Ygritte. At last, it seems like Jon will finally bend to Ygritte’s sexual taunts and just then, she escapes. As Jon runs in pursuit, she emerges behind the snow, and he’s surrounded by Wildlings. Jon’s luck just ran out.
In a quick, jarring, and disturbing cut, Sansa awakes from a terrible nightmare to see that she has had her first period. Immediately she realizes the terrible consequences and attempts to destroy the evidence. Shae enters and also tries to help. A second handmaiden then enters, sees what’s going on, and goes to alert the Queen. In the next scene, we witness by far the most human moment of Cersei to date in the series. Cersei sits with Sansa to discuss what her future and now being a woman who can bear Joffrey’s children mean. Sansa puts on a brave face, but Cersei openly admits her difficulties with raising Joffrey. It’s a sincere and honest conversation. The constant feeling of evil displayed by Cersei is for once forgotten. Game of Thrones continues to amaze and challenge the audience’s expectations.
Back at Robb’s camp, Alton is talking to Jaime. He tells the story of having served as Jaime’s squire once and his pure and passionate admiration for the Kingslayer. Jaime sympathizes and relates to him. As the conversation turns to discuss a possible escape, Jaime admits he has a plan—and then promptly kills Alton. The guard comes in to inspect and Jaime strangles him to escape.
We pick up back in Qarth, and Ser Jorah, Xaro, and Daenerys talk to the Thirteen about what has transpired. The Spice King suggests that he’s blissfully unaware of what has happened. Yet quickly, the Warlock from a few episodes ago chimes in that he knows perfectly well where the Dragons are—they’re with the King of Qarth. He says that he will see to it that Daenerys gets her dragons back. As Xaro and the Warlock challenge the Thirteen, the Warlock speaks his riddles and in an instant, all thirteen are slain by their assistants. Daenerys and his pack rush to leave before the Warlock can do the same to them. He apparently does have some magical skill as his “doubles” vanish in thin air when killed. Wisely, Daenerys, Jorah, and Xaro make a run for it.
In the final ten minutes of the episode, the plot rapidly accelerates in drama. The Kingslayer is recaptured and only saved by the mercy and requests of Catelyn to the angry men of Robb’s army, who want him dead. Tyrion and Cersei, in King’s Landing, discuss Joffrey. Tyrion says that Stannis’ army is on its way and will be at King’s Landing within days. They talk about what it was like to raise Joffrey, and Cersei once again shows true heart and frustration. It’s another honest moment from her and a possible bonding moment for the siblings. Back in Robb’s camp, Catelyn confronts Jaime because she’s aware that the men are restless and will slay him soon. Jaime seems resigned to his fate but not without spitting venom first and belittling Cat and her marriage to Ned, especially concerning his bastard son Snow. Brianne waits patiently by her side, ready to strike the Kingslayer down in a moment’s notice.
We end the episode back near Winterfell, at the farm where Hodor and Co. presumably hid. Theon proclaims his victory and says he has found the boys. As he stands on a stage, he turns to look behind him. Two small, badly burned and mutilated bodies are raised by nooses in the background. Even Theon looks shocked at the bodies. I assume that his instructions to his men were not to do this should they find the Stark children. While the audience is to assume that Bran and Rickon are dead, I don’t think it’s actually them. Earlier, Theon had mentioned it was all a game. I assume this ploy is to demonstrate his dominance over the lands and people and is merely a show. At least I hope so.
It’s another solid episode for the season and with only two more episodes, the various threads and story lines seem to be meeting up, or on their way to some conclusions. Given what readers of the books have told me—G.R.R.M. loves to leave plot threads wide open for books at a time, but that doesn’t work well with TV, so I’m guessing that some more concrete endings will be seen in the next two weeks. Stay tuned fans—shit is about to get real!