The episode started with images readers of the book were expecting last week—the Frey men burning and slaughtering the rest of Robb Stark’s (Richard Madden) men, and the King of the North’s mutilated corpse.
The Hound (Rory McCann) escaped with Arya (Maisie Williams), who eventually came to with confirmation of her family’s slaughter. She saw the head of Grey Wind sewn onto Robb’s body, as the Frey men rejoiced.
Later, Arya came across some of Frey’s men callously reliving the deaths of Robb and Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley). She lured in the one who claimed to have sewn on the wolf’s head by playing docile, and offering him Jaqen H’ghar’s mystical coin. Then, she pounced, stabbing him repeatedly in the neck, to death. The Hound dispatched of the others.
The return of the coin makes it seem like “the faceless man” will somehow be making a return to Arya’s storyline next season.
Meanwhile, Roose Bolton and Lord Frey celebrated their “victory” over the Starks. They were coming up in the world now because of their alliance with the Lannister’s. Bolton was made Warden of the North, and revealed it was his bastard son Ramsay who’d been torturing Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) all this time.
The Dread Fort
The sadistic Ramsay taunted a newly castrated Theon by eating sausage in front of him. Theon begged for death, which pleased the psycho. Instead, he told the fallen Lord he was nothing but a smelly bag of meat. He decided Theon's new name should be “Reek.” He then beat Theon until he gave up his former identity, and claimed that of Reek.
The Iron Islands
Ramsay sent Balon Greyjoy his son’s severed man-part, along with a note. More pieces of Theon would turn up, unless Balon handed over his lands in the North. With his line dead because of Theon’s castration, he had even less use for the son he never cared for. He wasn’t going to give up his new territories to save him.
Theon’s sister, Yara, was appalled by her father’s decision. She informed him she was taking their fastest ship, 50 best men, and going to rescue her little brother. She set off immediately.
Just as Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) were getting on, as much as any two people in a forced marriage can, Tyrion was summoned to an emergency Small Council meeting. An excited Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) blurted out how Frey had killed Robb and his mother for them. Joffrey insisted, with glee, he’d serve Robb’s severed head to Sansa at his wedding. Tyrion balked at Joffrey's plot.
Even Cersei (Lena Headey) was appalled at his poor taste. It all culminated in an argument between Joffrey and his grandfather (Charles Dance). The Fool King basically called Tywin a lazy coward for not fighting in the last war. You could hear a pin drop because no one interjected. They knew it was really Tywin who ran things, including the current and prior war. Tywin sent a petulant Joffrey to bed.
Privately, he told Tyrion he was must carry out his Lannister duty, and make Sansa pregnant with a son. He’d get the North back from Bolton, once the child came of age. Tyrion found this unlikely, since their family had just killed more of hers. He insisted he would not rape her.
If Tyrion weren’t already my favorite character, since he’s the only character on this show that would say he wouldn’t rape someone and mean it, he’d be it now. (But, come on, Tyrion’s been everyone’s favorite character since the pilot, right?) There is a crazy amount of rape on this show, so the expression of this sentiment was very welcome.
Tywin also dropped a bomb, when he insisted he practiced what he preached, and always did put family above personal desires. The day Tyrion was born (and Lady Lannister died in childbirth), Tywin wanted to drown him in the ocean, but didn’t since he was a Lannister. Ouch.
Later, Cersei and Tyrion had a chat. She insisted she wouldn’t be forced into marriage with Loras, but didn’t explain how. She also said the kindest thing Tyrion could do for Sansa was to give her a child. She would have someone to love that fully belonged to her. Was Cersei showing a moment of compassion and selflessness, or did she just want to gain daddy’s approval by helping create the Stark-Lannister heir?
Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) went to Shae (Sibel Kekilli) and gave her a bag of diamonds to start a new life somewhere. He believed Tyrion was one of the few people in King’s Landing who could actually be what’s best for Westeros, as a leader. He said their love and her presence threatened him. Although still bitter over Tyrion’s marriage, she refused to go unless he personally asked her.
Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) finally made it back to the capital. The fallen Kingslayer waded through the disrespectful mob, and ended up in Cersei’s chamber. Her relief became mingled with horror and sadness, when she finally saw her mutilated brother/lover after more than a year.
Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), Jojen, Meera, and Hodor made camp at the abandoned Night’s Watch post on their way North of The Wall. Bran told a moral story about how the Gods could never forgive someone who kills a guest who’s under their protection. Stark fans, take heart Bolton and Frey will probably meet gruesome deaths!
Sam (John Bradley), Gilly and her baby happened upon them, and a fight nearly broke out amongst the war-weary bunch. Sam declared himself as a member of The Night’s Watch, and recognized Bran as Jon’s brother. Bran tried to insist it was some other crippled noble boy with a pet direwolf at first, but Sam said any brother of Jon’s was a brother of his.
Sam offered to take Bran and his band back to Castle Black, so they could reconnect with Jon. However, Bran insisted they had to go North of The Wall in search of the three-eyed raven. Sam was not going back, and told them about the White Walkers. Bran and Jojen insisted Bran might be the only one who could stop the White Walker army.
Instead, Sam showed them the secret underground passage, which led North of the Wall. He also gave them the dragon glass weaponry he had, since it was the only thing that killed White Walkers. They thanked him, and continued on their journey.
Sam took Gilly and her baby, which she named Sam, to Castle Black. He insisted to Maester Aemon he’d broken no vows, since the child was not his. He took them there for safety from White Walkers. Maester told him to start writing letters, and send them with their carrier-ravens.
Ygritte happened upon Jon (Kit Harington), as he tended to his facial wounds (which better not scar!) at a pond. He was sorry, but mentioned she always knew he’d have to leave at some point. John told Ygritte he loved her. He knew she wouldn’t hurt him. Ygritte pulled back her bow, and shot him with an arrow... three times! Since she could have killed him with one, the wounds were probably just the Wildling way of saying “I love you, too.” Anyway, an injured Jon escaped on horseback.
Jon passed out almost as soon as he entered Castle Black’s walls. He also had a little reunion first with friends and Night’s Watch brothers Sam and Pyp before losing consciousness.
Davos bonded with Gendry (Joe Dempsie), and helped the boy escape before he could be sacrificed by Stannis (Stephen Dillane) and Melisandre to The Red God. The latter two condemned Davos to death for his betrayal, until Davos told them about Sam’s message.
White Walkers were coming, and the Night’s Watch needed men to come help them defend The Wall. Davos said Stannis needed him to help raise an army and fight, and Melisandre agreed. The troubles in the North took precedence over the war for the Iron Throne.
Across the Narrow Sea
The freed slaves of Yunkai quickly embraced Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), and dubbed her “Mysha,” their word for “Mother.” Dany was ecstatic about the outcome of her good deed, and let the Yunkai people give her the Rock Star treatment, complete with crowd surfing.
To this I say, guuuurl, get your head back in the game. You still need to get back to the continent where your usurped kingdom lies, and retake the throne. Also, instead of having those dragons fly around namby-pamby, start having them crank out the dragon glass. A White Walker attack is imminent!
Favorite Scene: Sansa and Tyrion bonding over how to make the lives of their petty tormentors uncomfortable, before she learned of her mother and brother's demise. Sansa, being a “sheltered”14-year-old girl, wanted to hide sheep shift in their mattresses, so their room smelled like dung. The unacknowledged faux pas amused Tyrion and Shae. Since he already said he wouldn’t resort to murder, this seemed like as a good as revenge as any! I mean, how many times can you just throw someone in a dungeon?
Favorite Moment: Man-child Hodor playing with the echoes in the well of the Nightfort. (“HOOOODDDdddooooorrr....”)
Favorite Line: “Killed a few puppies today?” -Tyrion, when he first saw the malicious Joffrey looking gleeful.
Most Missed: Rickon Stark. LOL, J/K. Rickon was an adorable prop. The Tyrells, especially Olenna, the Queen of Thrones (Dianna Rigg)! Her addition had been one of my favorite things from Season 3. I’ve also really enjoyed Margaery (Natalie Dormer), who’s followed right in her granny’s footsteps. Their intrigue at court from earlier in the season included some of my favorite scenes of the series thus far.
Photo Credit: HBO