Previously On Game of Thrones
, a Wham Episode
happened. We now rejoin our intrepid reporters live on the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor...
There is a sword, and it's wet with blood. There are a couple of strands of hair sticking to it as well. Behind it, someone picks up a head and waves it around. As the crowds cheer for the beheading, Yoren takes Arya in hand, claiming this new "boy" Arry for the Wall. Behind them, gold cloaks drag away the headless body of Eddard Stark, while Sansa faints dead away.
At Winterfell, Bran is having another crow dream. Once again the three-eyed crow leads Bran into the crypts below Winterfell. Upon waking, he convinces Osha, who went from captive to trusted servant in lightning speed, to take him to the actual crypts, as he has seen his father there. Instead of Lord Stark, they find the littlest Stark, Rickon, and his barely-tamed direwolf Shaggydog. Rickon has dreamed of Ned as well. Osha still tries to brush this off as a coincidence, but as they exit up into the yard, Maester Luwin approaches with a letter from the capital...
Catelyn makes sure to leave the camp of her son Robb's army before allowing her feelings to rule her face. In the copse of trees, she finds Robb hacking away at a tree in helpless rage. They embrace, and Robb announces his intention to let the Lannisters pay. Catelyn reminds him that they'll have to save Sansa and Arya first. "And then we will kill them all."
In King's Landing, Sansa, her eyes red from weeping, is required to attend the court of King Joffrey, to whom she is still betrothed even after he murdered her father - those family dinners are sure going to be awkward. At the moment, His Grace is listening to a lovely ditty describing the latter days of Robert's reign (choice quote: "the lion ripped his balls off and the boar did all the rest."). Joffrey gives a Slow Clap
and then asks whether the singer would prefer to keep his fingers or his tongue: pick one
. (His mutilation forms a semi-comedic
background to the remainder of the scene.) Joffrey then goes on to "flirt" with his fiancée, taking her out to the castle walls to see something. Specifically? Heads on spikes
! Oh, Joffrey, you sure know how to show a girl a good time.
Sansa doesn't want to look at the heads, especially since one of them was once on her father's shoulders. "You promised to be merciful," she sobs. "I was!" Joffrey protests. "I gave him a clean death." He suggests that the next head he makes her look at will be her brother's, after Joffrey defeats him in the field. Sansa pins Joffrey with a Death Glare
, saying, "Or maybe he'll give me yours
Joffrey: "My mother tells me a king should never strike his lady." So he makes a knight of the Kingsguard do it instead.
Sansa looks down and realizes that they're up on a wallwalk. With some judicious pushing, she might be able to push Joffrey over the drop. Her eyes fixed, she lurches forward... And the Hound intercedes, turning her round by the shoulder. He uses a kerchief to wipe the blood from her face. "Save yourself some pain, girl," he advises her. "Give him what he wants."
And that is our last image of Sansa Stark for this season: Poised on a thin bridge over a tall drop, with the death of her old life behind her, and before her a castle of cruelty.
Robb Stark's army is in a bit of a turmoil. They've captured the Kingslayer, given Lord Tywin something to think about and relieve the siege of Riverrun From the books...
But their victory doesn't give them any ideas of what to do next. They debate whether to declare for Renly or Stannis Baratheon
, but it's The Greatjon who comes up with a palatable third option
sits the only king I mean to bend my knee to." And he kneels... before Robb. "The King in the North!
" Robb seems dumbfounded, Catelyn worried.
Catelyn leaves the coronation to talk to Jaime From the books...
. He admits that he pushed Bran from the tower on purpose, but remains quiet on the actual reason.
Back in King's Landing, Cersei receives news from the war while being to subjected to babbling from her new bedwarmer, Cousin Lancel: "Was it as exciting the last time, when you were young?" Judging from her expression, this relationship isn't exactly built to last.
Meanwhile, Lord Tywin is meeting his own war council out in the field. The situation looks dire: in addition to the loss of Jaime and his army, both Stannis and Renly Baratheon have called their banners and the Lannisters are now facing three armies. (From the books...
) Kevan Lannister suggests suing for peace. In response, Tyrion dashes his wineglass to the floor: "There's your peace. Joffrey saw to that when he decided to remove Ned Stark's head. You'll have an easier time drinking from that cup than bringing Robb Stark to the table now. He's winning
—in case you hadn't noticed."
Tywin Lannister's only contribution to the discussion is the same four words, twice: "They have my son
He dismisses everyone except Tyrion and reforms his strategy session. He starts with pouring wine for Tyrion, which—to judge by Tyrion's expression—is a completely unprecedented courtesy. Lord Tywin will set The Mountain loose in the riverlands whilst the rest of his force regroups at Harrenhal. Tyrion is being dispatched to King's Landing, where he will work as Hand of the King in Tywin's stead, to control both Joffrey and Cersei. "You are my son," Lord Tywin says, which—to judge by Tyrion's expression—is another completely unprecedented event. Though Lord Tywin does attach a constraint: "You will not take that whore to court." Shae, of course, isn't having any of it; with a little bit of Loophole Abuse
, she helps Tyrion come to the decision he wanted to come to anyway.
Somewhere in the Dothraki sea, Ser Jorah keeps vigil. Daenerys stirs awake and asks for her son. Ser Jorah's silence is ominous; it's Mirri Maz Duur who answers the question. She says Rhaego was a monstrous, lizard-like creature who was already dead when she pulled him free. "I warned you that only death can pay for life. You knew the price." Daenerys, unable to look back, asks to see Khal Drogo. "Show him to me. Show me. What I bought. With my son's. Life.
Khal Drogo is a Soulless Shell
. "You paid for life
," Mirri Maz Duur tells Daenerys. "[S]ee what life is worth when all the rest is gone." Without his leadership, the khalasar has dissolved, and Daenerys is alone with only Ser Jorah, the remaining speaking parts and a handful of extras
. Mirri Maz Duur is unapologetic. Her town was raped by Drogo's khalasar, and herself as well; Dany saved her only from the fourth rider, and many others were beyond her help before she even arrived. And her son would have been worse: "He would have been the Stallion who Mounts the World. Now he will burn no cities. Now he will trample no nations into dust."
Jon Snow saddles his horse and prepares to ride south, to join his brother and his war. Sam, like another chubby boy
, tries to bar his way in vain, but as Jon continues to ride he sees others chasing him. ...Until, of course, one of them dashes himself to the ground on a low-hanging tree branch. Jon reins up and finds that his pursuers are Sam, Pyp and Grenn. They encircle and remind him of his oaths, and Jon relents.
Daenerys brings her sun-and-stars to their tent and begs him to return in every way she can. But before long she must admit defeat. There is no one to call back. She pushes a pillow down over his face, sobbing as his body begins its last feeble struggle.
Grand Maester Pycelle begins to ramble about all the kings he's served. You'd be forgiven for thinking he was talking to himself; it's only when a pair of arms reaches into frame and grabs some clothes that we realize he's not alone. It's—who else?—Ros. She cleans herself and doesn't seem to be listening to her client, for which we can't blame her, but as it turns out Pycelle has some fairly astute observations on both Mad King Aerys and Robert Baratheon after him. In particular, he has nothing bad to say about Joffrey—which either means that Pycelle is a Horrible Judge of Character
, or that he knows when to keep his damn mouth shut. After Ros leaves, he stretches with surprising spryness before (visibly) adopting his doddering-old-man persona. Shall we assume it's the "keep his mouth shut" thing then?
Littlefinger and Varys stand before the Iron Throne—evidently this is their coffee spot—and trade some more quips. There a serious "Worthy Opponent
" vibe going on here, interrupted only when Joffrey bustles in.
Meanwhile, "Arry" the Street Urchin
and her—sorry, his—new friend Yoren link up with the rest of the sots, rapers, cravens, exiles and felons who are bound for the Wall.From the books...
Two boys try to bully Arry and take his sword, but with some judicious threats ("I'm good at killing fat boys! I like
killing fat boys!" ) and unexpected backup from Gendry—remember him? Robert Baratheon's bastard? The armorer's apprentice?—her tormentors are dissuaded. The convoy sets off with a yell from Yoren: "Come on, you sorry sons of whores! It's a thousand leagues from here to the Wall, and winter is coming
Jon serves Lord Commander Mormont his breakfast, bleary-eyed from his midnight ride. Mormont knows about it, but has no intention of punishing Jon: brothers ride off for the night all the time, particularly to the whorehouse in nearby Mole's Town. "Honor made you leave, and honor brought you back," Mormont proclaims. ("My friends brought me back." "I didn't say it was your
honor.") All the Old Bear wants to know is where Jon's loyalty actually lies. The cold winds are rising, the dead are coming back to life, and captured wildlings report that all their people are gathering together for unknown purposes. The Night's Watch will go ranging in force
tomorrow, two hundred strong, and Jon is invited to come with... but only if he's able to put his concerns about his family aside, and commit himself to the Night's Watch for good and all. The final shot is of Jon riding out through the tunnel that goes below the Wall, so one assumes that he has chosen to honor his vows. (Spoiler: he has.)
It's nighttime in Essos, and Khal Drogo's funeral pyre is being assembled. Daenerys, wearing her wedding finery, gathers the remains of her Khalasar together, freeing any slaves that remain, and gives the command that her dragon eggs be placed on the pyre as well. Ser Jorah protests, assuming that Dany means to throw herself on the pyre, but Dany assures him that this is not her intent (and kisses him on the cheek, which helps shut him up
). Finally, she orders Mirri Maz Duur be bound to the pyre.
The wood takes the flames merrily. Mirri Maz Duur begins to sing, and then to scream. With one last glance at Jorah Mormont, Daenerys walks into the inferno. The maegi flails, wreathed in flame, screaming, screaming, but fire cannot kill a dragon. And only death can pay for life.
Ser Jorah finds her at dawn, huddled in the ashes, wedding gown burnt away but otherwise completely unharmed. She is not alone. As he and her kos approach, something climbs up onto her shoulder... It has horns and scales, two wide bat wings of sable and red. There's another wrapped around her leg which is cream and gold; a third, green and bronze, curls in her arm. Mormont and her Khalasar fall to their knees in awe. And, for the closing out of the season, we'll let George R. R. Martin
's final paragraph do the honors:
"As Daenerys Targaryen rose to her feet, her black
hissed, pale smoke venting from its mouth and nostrils. The other two pulled away from her breasts and added their voices to the call, translucent wings unfolding and stirring the air, and for the first time in hundreds of years, the night came alive with the music of dragons.
Tropes exhibited in this episode include:
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Robb proclaimed "The King in the North" by his bannermen.
- There's also Daenerys proclaiming herself leader of her new khalasar (formed from the freed slaves) and proving her right to rule by climbing onto Drogo's funeral pyre and emerging not only unharmed, but holding three freshly-hatched dragons.
- Badass Boast: Jaime gets a nice one, despite being a captive at the time.
"There are no men like me. Only me."
- Arya gets in a few on two boys who try to steal Needle.
"I'm good at killing fat boys. I bet you've never killed anyone. I bet you're a liar. But I'm not."
"Oh, you like picking on the little ones, do you? You know I've been hammering an anvil for these past ten years. When I hit the steel it sings. You gonna sing when I hit you?"
"I am the dragon's daughter, and I swear to you that those who would harm you will die screaming."
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- Sansa is pretty well snapped after the events of the last episode, and tries to kill Joffrey. She tries to push him off a bridge, but the Hound stops her.
- Daenerys proves she's no longer someone to fuck with, by having Mirri tied to Drogo's funeral pyre and burned alive.
Mirri: You will not hear me scream.
Daenerys: I will. But it is not your screams I want, only your life.
- Bifauxnen: Arya passes for a very young, effete boy.
- Big Brother Instinct: Gendry sticks up for the disguised Arya, and helps her to see off some bullies.
- Blood Knight: Jaime Lannister is shown pretty clearly as this trope; see his little spiel on how he doesn't fear death.
- Break the Haughty: It's safe to say Sansa is now officially broken.
- Breaking Lecture: Mirri Maz Duur's lecture to Dany about what she really did by "saving" her. Could double as a What the Hell, Hero?, depending on your point of view.
- Burn the Witch!: Dany does this to Mirri Maz Duur as punishment for deliberately misleading her about the outcome of the blood magic.
- Came Back Wrong: Mirri Maz Duur's Blood Magic did technically save Drogo's life... but seems to have left him braindead.
- Continuity Snarl: in the books, Marillion shows up again, during events covered in 4x05 and 4x07, with both tongue and fingers intact. In the DVD commentary for the episode, the showrunners explain that they were aware of Marillion appearing in the third book, but they wanted to have him appear in the episode as opposed to a nameless minstrel that the audience wouldn't have any sort of attachment to. Curiously, though, they haven't introduced a replacement for him (at least not yet).
- Dead Guy on Display: Type 2. The heads of Ned Stark and his retainers are put on spikes on the battlements at King's Landing — and Joffrey makes Sansa look at them.
- Epic Fail: Marillion's song, by any standard. (Even better: the singing is in a completely different key than the harping. Is it a post-production error or was Marillion scared shitless?)
- Probably the latter, seeing as he had the eyes of the entire court, including the Queen, King, and Princess-Consort, fixed upon him as he insulted them directly to their faces.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Hound is still creepy, but it's clear the abuse Joffrey heaps on Sansa doesn't sit right with him.
- Exact Words: Tyrion uses them to get around some of Tywin's more inconvenient orders.
- Joffrey has a nasty version. He tells Sansa that his mother told him it's not right to hit girls—so he has one of his bodyguards strike her instead.
- Mirri Maz Duur said she would save Drogo's life but only bringing him back in a comatose state.
- Fan Disservice: After we're lulled by more fun with Ros, we have to endure Pycelle doing stretches while wearing a robe and nothing underneath.
- Fat Bastard: Hot Pie, a chubby child who tries to bully Arya.
- Ha Ha Ha No: Joffrey applauds and smiles at the minstrel's song before giving him a Sadistic Choice.
- Held Gaze: Dany and Ser Jorah share a long, lingering gaze into each other's eyes before Dany goes forward into the fire of the immolation pyre for Khal Drogo.
- Heroic BSOD: Several Starks have them on receiving news of Ned's death, most notably Robb, who freaks out and beats up a tree, Catelyn, who attempts to kill Jaime before coming to her senses, and Jon, who tries to desert from the Night's Watch and join Robb before his friends bring him back to his senses. Sansa is also still BSODing from the previous episode.
- It Was a Gift: Arya's explanation for Needle. Given that it's a castle-forged steel blade, everyone else just assumes she stole it.
- Kick the Dog: Joffrey follows up his crossing of the Moral Event Horizon last episode by having a minstrel's tongue cut out, taking Sansa to the battlements to see the heads of her father and his retainers up on spikes, having one of his bodyguards beat her for him, and declaring his intent to rape her the second she's fertile.
- Killed Off for Real: Khal Drogo and Mirri Maz Duur join an already-long list.
- Kissing Cousins: Cersei appears to be having a fling with Lancel. Those Lannisters sure like to keep it in the family...
- Kubrick Stare: Sansa gives one just just before she tries to push Joffrey over the ledge.
- Lame Comeback: During their Passive-Aggressive Kombat, Littlefinger tells Varys that he's one of the few men in the city who isn't a man. The eunuch finds the jab dull and tells Littlefinger he can do better than that.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Subverted. Everyone thinks this trope is in play with Daenerys when she throws herself onto Khal Drogo's funeral pyre, but she's really just collecting her dragon hatchlings.
- The Magic Comes Back: Daenerys hatches her dragon eggs on Drogo's funeral pyre.
- Mathematician's Answer:
Catelyn: Why did you push my son from the window.
Jamie: I hoped the fall would kill him.
- Mercy Kill: Daenerys smothers the catatonic Drogo with a pillow.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: While Daenerys' concern over Drogo's wound was reasonable, it was rather Genre Blind to ask a healer from a recently-sacked town to aid him. Mirri herself highlights the idiocy in the move.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Pycelle is revealed to be a good deal more spry than he lets on.
- Pet the Dog: The Hound cleaning Sansa up after Ser Meryn slaps her.
- Rape Of The Lock: Yoren cuts Arya's hair to facilitate disguising her as a boy.
- Sadistic Choice: Joffrey asks a minstrel who performed an unflattering song whether he'd prefer to keep his fingers, or his tongue.
- Screw Destiny: Mirri Maz Duur, of all people, regarding the Stallion who Mounts the World (Rhaego): she kills him in his mother's womb.
- Sarcastic Clapping: Joffrey does this to the minstrel.
- Serious Business: "Robb! You've ruined your sword!"
- Sex God: Jaime Lannister clearly sees himself as one.
- He was obviously just trying to piss Catelyn off.
- Especially considering that he was still hitting on her while watching her very blatantly pick up a heavy rock and start walking toward him with malicious intent. Then again, it could be both.
- Soulless Shell: Khal Drogo, post-blood magic.
- Street Urchin: Yoren has Arya pretend to be one of these so he can smuggle her safely out of King's Landing. Several of Yoren's Night Watch recruits are also urchins.
- Suddenly Shouting: Lord Tywin remains quiet while his bannermen argue about what to do, then...
"THEY HAVE MY SON!"
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Arya
Hot Pie: He ain't no squire — look at him, he looks like a girl!
- Thousand-Yard Stare: Cat after she gets the news of Ned's death, though it only lasts until she gets out of sight of the Northern soldiers, then she breaks down in anguish. Khal Drogo after becoming a Soulless Shell.
- Tranquil Fury: Catelyn Stark at the death of her husband. Her words echo Robb's, but Robb was Chewing the Scenery while she was icy calm.
Catelyn: We will kill them all.
- Villainous BSOD: Tywin has a minor one on learning that the Starks have Jaime.
- Vorpal Pillow
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Tyrion shows shades when what seems to be the first time ever, his father acknowledges him as being competent and, more importantly, "You're my son." From the books...
- Wham Line: Not for the entire series, but for a single character.
Sansa: ...or maybe he'll give me yours.
- You Shall Not Pass: Sam tries it when Jon leaves the Wall, but is just knocked out of the way. His second attempt with backup goes better.