This week on the HBO goliath Game of Thrones, we learn that it pretty much stinks to live in Westeros. But that’s really nothing new.
North of the Wall: Kindhearted and totally naive Sam tries to woo an uninterested Gilly by campfire light, but in order to do that Sam has to know how to build a fire in the first place. No luck there. But the less-than-impressed Gilly does seem intrigued by Sam’s highborn status and his intriguing lullaby (who knew the seemingly skill-less crow could kind of sing!) so she gives him a small amount of attention when he’s showing off his dragonglass arrowhead that Sam thinks is useless. (Hello! Pointy thing shaped like a weapon! I wonder what it could possibly be used for?)
The Woods: Looks like rabbit is on the menu! And this lovely scene of animal skinning is complimented nicely by the biting commentary provided by Osha and Meera about whose method of skin removal is the quickest and most efficient. The win goes to Osha, but it’s a short-lived victory when they get interrupted by Jojen’s vision-induced seizure of Jon Snow at The Wall. And thinks aren’t looking good. Cut to-
The Wildlings/Free Folk: Mance and his fur-wearing friends are preparing to climb The Wall with sketchy equipment, leaving Jon rightly terrified. But Ygritte’s got her man’s back with homemade crampons and the surprising knowledge that she’s aware Jon’s still loyal to the Night’s Watch. But then, like every other woman when dealing with her man, Ygritte assures his loyalty to her by threatening his manhood (literally. She says she’ll wear it around her neck.) Naturally, Jon wastes no time in agreeing to devote himself to her.
Brotherhood Without Banners: Oh, passive aggressive anger in the form of shooting arrows at strategic areas of a dummy! Arya obviously hasn’t worked out her issues with the Lannisters and their guard dogs yet, but-
Oh, there’s Melisandre!
Looks like Arya isn’t going to be the only female dancing with the Brotherhood at the moment, and sure enough Stannis’ pyromaniac mistress is after something that Beric has: Gendry. If you’ll recall, the blacksmith with the baby blues is actually the illegitimate son of the late-and-great Robert Baratheon (killed by a pig!) and now the poor guy is getting shoved in a cart and being reassured that he “will make kings rise and fall.”
That sounds promising.
Arya obviously has a thing against the redhead (who wouldn’t?) and accuses Melisandre of having bad intentions for Gendry. But of course the sorceress has to have the last word and predicts lots and lots of death at the hands of the youngest Stark daughter. Maybe her Lannister hate won’t be all that passive aggressive for long?
Theon Greyjoy’s Bad Day: Theon’s in a position where you almost feel sorry for him. He’s definitely looking a little worse for wear, tied back on the X at the mercy of our mysterious dark-haired and seriously upset torturer. Today, he’s decided to play a little guessing game with Theon, using the captured Greyjoy’s pinkie finger as collateral.
Theon eventually believes that he has guessed his torturer is actually the son of Karstark, Robb’s bannerman who lost his head last week. But naturally the dark-haired boy is lying and demolishes Theon’s pinkie until he begs to have it cut off. Should we feel sorry for him yet? The jury might still be out on that decision.
Riverrun: In an attempt to save what is left of his attempt to win the war, Robb has reached out to the Freys (the proverbial trolls guarding the bridge) for another attempt at an alliance. Waldor agrees on three conditions. One. Robb has to apologize for dumping his daughter and marrying the better looking woman. Two, he gets Harrenhal. And three, Robb’s uncle Edmure has to marry a Frey daughter (because that worked out so well last time.) After some whining in typical Edmure fashion, the terms are agreed upon because Robb guilt trips his uncle about the royal screw up at the stone mill. Just another day for the King in the North.
Harrenhal: It’s the dinner party from Hell. Roose Bolton, Robb’s bannerman, is dining with a pink-clad Brienne and a struggling Jaime. But while the tragically left-handed Lannister might not be able to cut his meat, he is still as politely scathing as possible in his efforts to make a return to King’s Landing. Bolton agrees to send the Lannister (without Brienne) in exchange for Jamie’s word that Bolton will not be held responsible for the knight’s handicap.
Can it just be pointed out that the brief hand-holding between Jamie and Brienne was ten times more romantic than any of the weird affair between he and Cersei. I’m thinking a battle of the blondes is in the future.
King’s Landing: It’s the prize-fight, ladies and gentlemen. In this corner, Tywin the Terrible. And the other, Olenna the Obstinate.
Tywin wants Cersei to marry the very uninterested Loras. Olenna refuses the engagement because Cersei is too old to have any more children. Tywin offers the argument that the marriage will keep Loras’ sexual orientation a secret, but Olenna simply makes several sword references, all worth a good laugh in an attempt to rattle Tywin.
When that doesn’t work, she brings out the big guns: the very active rumors of Cersei’s incestuous relationship with Jamie and the legitimacy of Joffrey’s rule. But Tywim just threatens to appoint Loras to the Kingsgaurd, a position that would forever keep him from marriage and children. Olenna cannot allow that to happen, and it’s another win for the Lannisters.
The Wall: Cue a daring action sequence in which everyone almost dies as The Wall cracks and sends several free folk plummeting to their deaths. Of course, Giantsbane, Jon, Ygritte and Orell (the guy who sees through his eagle) all survive. But only after Orell tries to send Jon and Ygritte into the abyss. Can’t trust anyone these days.
Garden/Bird’s Eye View: Sansa and Loras enjoy the most awkward date ever, and we can all be thankful that the two won’t be getting married. The conversations alone would bring the marriage to disastrous ends, even if Loras was interested in the bride over the wedding details. But at least they both agree that King’s Landing is the worst place in Westeros.
Meanwhile, Cersei and Tyrion are finally bonding over their forced marriages, debating the pros and cons of planned murder and who has it worse. Tyrion is also finally given the knowledge that it was Joffrey who ordered Sir Mandon to kill his uncle during the battle of Blackwater Bay, but like everything else the King tries to accomplish, it didn’t work.
Sansa’s Chambers: As Sansa is musing about her upcoming wedding to Loras, Tyrion makes a surprise appearance. Here it is. The big moment when Sansa will discover she’s marrying the dwarf rather than the handsome knight. And in front of Shae, no less! Tyrion begins “Well, this is awkward-”
Throne Room: Cut to the annoyingly present Littlefinger, who is having a chat with Varys about his moves to counter the “Let’s steal Sansa” plot. Littlefinger insists that he got payback on Varys once he discovered Ros was playing both sides of the chessboard and feeding information to the spider. Cue long monologue. We see poor Ros, tied to Joffrey’s bed and riddled with arrows and the young, sadistic king holding the crossbow.
We’re also rewarded with a shot of a sobbing Sansa watching as Littlefinger’s ship sails away from King’s Landing, and with it her hope of escape. Like it would really be that easy.
The Wall: Finally, Jon and Ygritte reach the top of The Wall, exhausted but jubilant. And they are rewarded for their hard work with an amazing view of Westeros with a good bunch of lip-smacking thrown into the mix. Obviously, Jon isn’t that loyal to the Night’s Watch.