Episode three picks up right after the end of two at Craster's Keep
, with Craster
dragging in a bloodied Jon Snow, insisting that the "bastard's been meddlin' where he shouldn't". The fuming wildling demands that Jeor and his men leave, while the Old Bear orders Jon to wait outside. Jeor confronts his steward, who is being tended to by a distressed Samwell Tarly. Jon confirms to his commander what he (and the viewers) saw: Craster's offering of his male offspring to the White Walkers
. The Old Bear states that the wildlings serve crueler gods than their own... but despite this act, Craster is an asset too valuable to lose.
Cut to Samwell, who seems to be continuing to develop some feelings for Gilly, one of Craster's daughters who we were introduced to in the second episode. She's understandably distraught that the Night's Watch are leaving, especially after her plea to save her son, but Sam attempts to reassure her by giving her a gift — a sewing ornament that his mother used to use. She's skittish of course, partly because her father wants none of the crows meddling with his daughters. But Sam insists: "Keep it safe for me. 'Til I come back", says Sam. The giddy Tarly waddles off as Gilly returns to her chores.
Back at Winterfell
, we have Hodor! Maester Luwin ushers him to rouse Bran, as it's time for his lessons. As the lumbering stableboy enters Bran's room, we're treated to a close-up shot of the young Stark waking up in a cold sweat, staring straight into the amber-coloured eyes of his dire wolf Summer.
The scene cuts to Bran describing his strange dreams to Maester Luwin, which are apparently the same every night: he's walking and running, but he's not him — prowling the Godswood, running, sniffing, hunting and howling. He recounts the stories of Old Nan, who described magical people that could live inside animals. Luwin assures him that they are exactly what they are: stories. To Bran's quip that she was lying, the old maester tells him that magic and wargs are long gone from the world, along with much else. Bran insists that his dreams are different and true. Luwin shows him his Valyrian steel link, signifying that he has "studied the higher mysteries", and that in his youth he had a vested interest in magic and spells, but "got no more out of it than the 1,000 boys before me". With that, he tucks Bran into bed.
Elsewhere in the Stormlands
, we return to a familiar face, and a few new ones! Remember Renly from Season One? He's here! And there's a brutal melee going on in the center of his many supporters, the two combatants trading blow for blow with their choice of weapon. We see Catelyn Stark approach, sent by her son to treat with Renly in the last episode. The melee reaches its climax as the smaller warrior disarms his larger foe with his longaxe, only to be slammed into the ground
and forced to yield. It's Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers — Renly's lover from last season who's been defeated! As Renly proclaims this mysterious fighter the victor, he... it.. removes its helm.. and it's a woman!
to the surprise and distaste of much of the crowd as they murmur amongst themselves. This massive Action Girl
is known as Brienne of Tarth, and Renly is impressed with her defeating of the vaunted Knight of Flowers. He grants her a favor — she wishes to be part of his Kingsguard and he accepts. Loras Tyrell does not appear to be very pleased at this development. As the melee winds down, a Baratheon guard introduces Catelyn, and we're also introduced to Loras' sister and Renly's betrothed: Margaery Tyrell. Renly swears vengeance for the Lannisters' murder of Eddard Stark... when he takes King's Landing, he will bring her Joffrey's head. Tensions start to arise between Catelyn and Renly's sworn men.
Loras: Has your son marched against Tywin Lannister yet?
Catelyn: I do not sit on my son's war councils... and if I did, I would not share his strategies with you.
Loras: If Robb Stark wants a pact with us, he should come himself, not hide behind his mother's skirts.
Renly assures her that their war will begin soon. He gestures for her to walk with him. Brienne tails them as they converse. Renly's confident, as he has "all the might of the Stormlands and the Reach" — over a hundred thousand in number. Catelyn thinks that it's all a game to him, pitying his large force... "Because they are the knights of summer and winter is coming." Not wanting much more of this rather inconclusive diplomacy, Renly instructs Brienne to escort Lady Catelyn to her tent. He wants to pray. Alone. As Renly departs, Brienne and Catelyn get to know each other, with the former insisting that she is no Lady. Perhaps Catelyn sees a bit of Arya in her?
We're back at Pyke
, with our old friend Theon
inspecting his surroundings, furnished and comfortable. He's confronted by his sister Yara once more... because she lives there and he lashes out at her. "Are you angry with me, brother?" she asks coyly. "You lying bitch!" Theon's still raging at his rather lukewarm reception from his family, and groping who he didn't think was his sister. She quips that it wasn't her fault that he didn't recognize her, and Theon retorts that she used to look like a fat little boy. "Why didn't you tell me first?" he demands. "I wanted to see who you were first. *laughs* And I did." Balon Greyjoy enters the scene, flanked by several Ironborn guards. He announces that their invasion plan for the undefended North are ready: Yara will attack Deepwood Motte with thirty longships... while Theon will.. attack fishermen on the coast of the Stony Shore. At Theon's furious retort, Yara replies: "Be careful of their nets". After Yara and Balon put Theon down some more
, he tries again to plead his family to ally themselves with the Starks. "Why risk going against the North if they would be our allies?" Balon angrily reminds him of the Greyjoy words and their stubbornness... "We Do Not Sow". Theon reminds his father of how he was given away to the Starks, after he bent the knee to Robert Baratheon when the Ironborn were absolutely crushed in their attempted rebellion
. Balon's reply to his son is a swift backhand into a table. Balon departs, and Yara has one more thing to say to her brother: "Make your choice, Theon and do it quickly. Our ships sail with or without you."
And we're back to King's Landing
, where we have Shae complaining to Tyrion about being confined to the hand's quarters. Tyrion says he might be able to bring her into the castle kitchens to pose as a scullion — a kitchen wench... temporarily. "Is that how my lion wants to see me?" she replies angrily. Tyrion states that he wants to see her alive, and that King's Landing is incredibly dangerous, especially with his sister trying to undermine him wherever he goes. "I am NOT
a kitchen wench," Shae says defiantly before leaving. Cut to Cersei and her other children, Myrcella and Tommen supping with Sansa. Myrcella asks when Joffrey and Sansa will be married, and Cersei replies that after the war is over. The young princess enthuses over a new gown for the wedding ceremony and a feast... reminding Sansa of having to marry Joffrey
. She's frozen, mortified and unable to reply until Cersei snaps her out of it. Sansa says she can't wait until the war is over so she can pledge her love to the King in sight of the Gods.
Tommen asks if Joffrey is going to kill Robb. When Cersei responds with a "He might," and if he'd like that, he says "no... I don't think so." But regardless, Cersei says, Sansa will do her duty. "Won't you, little dove."
We return to Sansa's quarters, where we're introduced to her new handmaiden... Shae... And she's not very good at it, apparently.
Tyrion meets with Grand Maester Pycelle, first about some bowel problems and then something that he must keep secret: he's sending Myrcella to Dorne in order to secure an alliance with House Martell. But he must not tell the queen. As the scene plays out, Pycelle is replaced with first Varys, then Littlefinger
, with conversation continuous throughout
. However, every time Tyrion speaks to a new character, his offer changes: Pycelle hears of the Dornish offer; to Varys, he intends Myrcella to wed Theon Greyjoy for the Ironborn support; and Baelish is needed to bring the offer of her hand to Lysa Tully to finally sway House Arryn to their side... in return for Harrenhal. The scene can be hard to follow, but don't worry: his motives will become apparent!
And now we go to um, another scene
at Renly's Camp
, this time between Renly and his Knight of Flowers. "Praying alone," huh, Renly? Renly figures out that Loras is jealous of "Brienne The Beauty's" Rank Up
. Before Renly's about to go down on his lover, he reminds him that his men are starting to "snigger behind your back"... "Brides usually aren't virgins for two weeks after their wedding night". Renly knows what he has to do. Margaery enters his tent wearing... Vapor Wear
, really. She slips the gown off, and attempts to have sex with her betrothed, except Renly is having trouble. It's the wine, he swears. Margaery knows that he doesn't swing that way
, much to Renly's surprise. "There's no need for us to play games. Save your lies for court, you're going to need a lot of them", she says. Margaery offers some alternative copulation suggestions, and we see here that she's really willing to do whatever it takes, as the two fathering a child is the best way to secure the Tyrell-Baratheon alliance that they've created.
"Whatever you need to do. You are a king."
We return again to King's Landing
, and Cersei's found out about Tyrion's plan to send Myrcella to Dorne! Who sold him out? Cersei doesn't want Myrcella to be shipped off to Dorne the way she was shipped off to Robert Baratheon, especially since the Martells have a hatred of the Lannisters for their actions in Robert's Rebellion. Tyrion assures her that Myrcella will be a guest. "You won't get away with this," growls Cersei. "You think the piece of paper father gave you keeps you safe. Ned Stark had a piece of paper too." When Tyrion says that it's already been done, Cersei snaps, trashing the furniture and even shoving Tyrion to the ground in her fit of rage. She yells at him to get out, tears streaming down her face.
Meanwhile at Pyke
, Theon's written a letter — its contents are clear, warning Robb Stark of the imminent Greyjoy betrayal. We see Theon have a massive conflict of loyalties
as his gaze falls over his letter and the burning flames of the candle in front of him. With conviction, he burns his letter, his choice made
. Next we see him being baptized again by a priest of the Drowned God — What Is Dead May Never Die... But Rises Again, Harder and Stronger.
In King's Landing
we see Tyrion brooding as Littlefinger enters the scene, also furious. He's heard Tyrion's true motive with Myrcella, sending her to Dorne. "I don't appreciate being made a fool of, dwarf! If she marries the Martell boy then he can't very well marry Robin Arryn, can she?" Tyrion replies calmly as usual... and Harrenhal is off the table as well. Littlefinger, still outraged tells Tyrion to leave him out of his next deception, much to Tyrion's disappointment as he was supposedly to be the centerpiece of his next one. Tyrion wants Littlefinger to help break Jaime Lannister out of Northern captivity — through his mother, where Littlefinger would come in. "How would you like to see your beloved Cat again?" Tyrion asks. As Littlefinger wrestles with himself, the sound of footsteps approach and we see Bronn again, the newly promoted captain of the city guard. "Found him?" Tyrion asks. "Oh, aye. And he has company," Bronn replies. "Filthy old stoat. Almost hate to interrupt." Tyrion says nope, and Bronn confirms that.
We see none other than Grandmaeste Pycelle cuddling with another prostitute, shocked as Bronn and one of Tyrion's mountain clansmen burst through the door. The old man is apprehended and Tyrion reveals the nature of his earlier plan: since he gave each of them a different "secret" to keep, the secret someone else comes complaining about will lead him to the secret-keeper who snitched on him. "No! Never! It's a falsehood, I swear it! It wasn't me... ah... VARYS! It was Varys, the SPIDER!" insists the grandmaester. Tyrion isn't impressed, as he told Varys that he would be sending Myrcella to Pyke. With the betrayal uncovered despite Pycelle's constant moaning that he was a loyal servant of House Lannister, Bronn slices off Pycelle's magnificent beard and Tyrion has him thrown into a black cell. As he leaves he gives the completely dazed prostitute a coin for her trouble. Make that two coins.
Tyrion's sipping wine with Varys, who says that the small council grows ever smaller. Tyrion makes it clear that he wants no backstabbing of the Hand — he doesn't want to follow Ned Stark to the grave. Varys asks Tyrion if he likes riddles.
Varys: Three great men sit in a room: a king, a priest, and a rich man. Between them stands a common sellsword. Each great man bids the sellsword kill the other two. Who lives, who dies?
Tyrion: Depends on the sell-sword.
Varys: Does it? He has neither the crown, nor gold, nor favor with the Gods. .
Tyrion: He has a sword! The power of life and death!
Varys: But if it's swordsmen who rule, why do we pretend kings have all the power? When Ned Stark lost his head, who was truly responsible? Joffrey? The executioner? Or something else?
Tyrion: I've decided I don't like riddles.
Varys: Power resides where men believe it resides. It's a trick, a shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.
Both sip their wine, grinning as they do.
Finally we go to Arya and the Night's Watch recruits
, who are staying at a holdfast. She polishes Needle, seemingly the only one awake. Yoren enters the room, taking a seat. Arya tells him that she can't sleep, asking him how he does after seeing things... horrible things
. He gives her a story about how his brother was murdered, and every night he would repeat the name of the murderer in his head — a prayer, almost, before he returned to his town, and Yoren buried an axe so deep in his head he had to be buried with him. And that's how he became a brother of the Night's Watch. "Well, that'll help you sleep, eh?" he quips as a horn sounds. Men can be heard shouting outside: Yoren rouses the recruits, and Lommy sees Gendry's helmet
and takes it with him: "Hey! There's men out there who want to FUCK your corpses! Outside, NOW!"
As it turns out, Lannister men have accosted Yoren's party, led by Ser Amory Lorch. He demands that they drop their weapons in the name of King Joffrey, and Yoren refuses. He takes a crossbow bolt to the shoulder, staggers and remarks about how much he hates crossbows. And then he slashes the Lannister crossbowman across the throat and battle is joined. Yoren puts up a good fight but is overwhelmed and killed
, while the other recruits are quickly subdued. Gendry bashes a few foes with his hammer before being apprehended, Hot Pie... does what Hot Pie does and surrenders quickly. Arya tries to help Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge and Biter out of their cage due to a fire that had been set accidentally by one of the recruits. As she runs she's knocked down by Polliver
, who takes Needle from her. As the fight winds down, we find Lommy Greenhands downed with a quarrel through his leg. Polliver asks if he can walk, and when he states that he doesn't and needs to be carried, Polliver stabs him through the throat with Needle, much to the amusement of the Lannister bannermen around him. Amory Lorch restates his intent to find a bastard named Gendry, and if they don't say then he will "start taking eyeballs". Arya steps up quickly as the camera pans over the dead Lommy, Gendry's bull's head helmet next to him: "You want Gendry? You already got him. He loved that helmet," she says, and the episode ends.
Tropes appearing in this episode:
- Absolute Cleavage: Queen Margaery's gown. I don't know why she bothered.
- Adaptation Expansion: All the scenes in Renly's tent were created for this series. In doing so, Weiss and Benioff are able to sidestep or resolve some of the unanswered questions (Just how gay is Renly? Is Margaery still a virgin?) that fans of the books so enjoyed debating.
- Arranged Marriage: Between Renly Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell. Sansa's to Joffrey is discussed, and Tyrion plans to marry off Myrcella.
- Ascended Extra: Margaery's scenes in this episode is larger than her very minor role in A Clash of Kings.
- Bad Ass: Gendry shows his Baratheon heritage, smashing a few Lannister bannermen with his trusty hammer before being apprehended.
- Applies to Yoren as well.
- Batman Gambit: Tyrion talks to Pycelle, Varys, and Littlefinger about his plans to marry off Myrcella, and tells each of them not to tell Cersei. Except he tells each of them he's marrying her to someone different, to learn which of them will go running to Cersei. It's Pycelle.
- The Beard: Margaery very casually reveals to Renly that she's perfectly happy to be his, as long as it gets her family into power.
- Bling of War: It's revealed in this featurette that Renly's armour was the most complicated costume created for the first two seasons of the show.
- Bodyguard Crush: Loras, who is now part of his boyfriend's Kingsguard, has this for Renly. It's an unusual reciprocal example because they form a same-sex couple.
- Break the Haughty: Shae seems to be building on the high birth that was hinted at in the last season with her disdain for menial tasks, and poorly disguised insolence towards Sansa. Her grudging acceptance of a servant's position might indicate this is happening to her.
- Sansa seems to be zig-zagging on this trope; after being well and truly broken by the end of the last season, she seems to be trying to deal with her own horrible situation by being somewhat terse with Shae (though, as a highborn lady in medieval society, her behaviour wouldn't have been that unreasonable. Similarly, she has every reason to suspect Shae is a spy for Cersei and had just been at a rather stressful dinner with her).
- Cersei is devasted by Myrcella's Arranged Marriage: at first she yells that she's not selling her daughter the same way she was, and when she understands that there's no way out, she completely breaks down.
- Broken Pedestal: Jon learns that Commander Mormont is fully aware that Craster sacrifices his sons to the White Walkers, and doesn't do anything because he's too valuable an asset.
- Which later comes in handy for explaining to Mance Rayder why he wants to defect.
- Call Back: Loras' suggestion to Renly in Season 1 that he can crown himself king with the help of the Tyrells' armies and wealth has now become a reality.
- When Renly realizes that Loras is jealous of Brienne, it mirrors the scene from Season 1 where Loras notices that Renly is jealous of Ned because Robert loves his friend more than his own brother.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Theon calls his father out for handing him over to the Starks as a child, then accusing him of "becoming them" and humiliating him on his return...and is backhanded for his troubles.
- Though his facial expressions after Theon continues his accusations after being struck does seem to indicate afterwards that he thinks his son has SOMETHING of a point...just not enough to change his mind.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The bull's head helmet. It's not what gets Lommy killed, but it does help Arya to deceive the Lannisters into thinking that he's Gendry.
- Fans of the book will know that Arya does indeed have a "prayer" where she repeats the names of everyone she wants dead to help her sleep. Looks like she gets that from Yoren in this series.
- Children Are Innocent: During a dinner with Sansa and Cersei, both Tommen and Myrcella are totally oblivious to the rays of pure concentrated hatred Sansa is sending Cersei's way, and treat her like another sister. Myrcella talks about Sansa's wedding dress*, and Tommen:
Tommen: Is Joffrey going to kill Sansaís brother?
Cersei: He might. Would you like that?
Tommen: ...No, I donít think so.
- Composite Character: The bald-headed soldier travelling with Ser Amory Lorch's party who takes Needle from Arya and kills Lommy Greenhands with it (named "Polliver" in the TV series) appears to be a consolidated character of "Polliver" (who takes Needle) and "Raff the Sweetling" (who kills Lommy) from the books.
- Loras' speech to Catelyn belongs to Randyll Tarly in the books.
- Conflicting Loyalty: Theon, between his family and Robb. He chooses his family.
- Do Not Go Gentle: Yoren goes down fighting, even with a bad shoulder and taking a crossbow bolt to said shoulder. He takes a crapload of Lannister guardsmen with him, before taking Amory Lorch's sword down his spine.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Alas, poor Yoren. He always hated crossbows.
Yoren: I always hated crossbows... Take too long to LOAD! *lays open said crossbow shooter's throat with one single swordslash, then sends several of his friends after him*
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Discussed by Bran and Maester Luwin.
- Establishing Character Moment: Brienne tackling Loras after losing her sword in a tournament melee, forcing him to yield. And then we find out she's a woman.
- Face Heel Turn: Theon's baptism and burning of his warning letter to Robb show as much.
- Foe Yay: Yoren's description of the man who killed his brother.
- Get Out: Cersei to Tyrion, after he goes into detail on what will happen to her children if Stannis' army takes King's Landing.
- Graceful Loser: Pycelle and Littlefinger are very upset when they learn about Tyrion's trick, but Varys takes it completely in stride, respecting a fellow Magnificent Bastard.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Yoren gets speared a few times, and an unfortunate Night's Watch recruit gets run through by a Lannister soldier's spear as he's charging.
- Incompatible Orientation: Averted with Renly and Margaery. She's willing to do whatever it takes to produce an heir with her husband after she realizes that he's not the least bit attracted to her.
- Is That What They're Calling It Now?: Renly tells Brienne that he will "pray alone" in his tent. In his next scene, Renly is making out with Loras, his "object of worship," so to speak.
- Kick the Dog: A Lannister soldier kills an injured recruit of the Night's Watch.
- The Ladys Favor: Gender inverted when Sam gives Gilly his mother's thimble.
- The Leader: King Renly is a Type IV. His charismatic personality is what wins the support of Lord Mace Tyrell and his bannermen. He commands the combined army strength of the Reach and the Stormlands, which numbers around 100 000. He uses diplomacy to diffuse the tension between Catelyn and his two overprotective Kingsguards.
- Lethal Chef
Shae: Everyone who's ever tasted my cooking has told me what a good whore I am.
- The Magic Goes Away: According to Maester Luwin, it already has.
- The Mole: Grand Maester Pycelle is revealed to have been one for the Lannisters, as far back as the reign of Aerys II.
- Moment Killer: The foreplay between Renly and Loras is unexpectedly interrupted after Renly starts kissing the bruises on Loras' chest. This reminds Loras of the humiliation he suffered earlier in the day, and it kills the mood.
- Mythology Gag: Tyrion gets a laxative from Pycelle; in the novels he used it to put Cersei out of action so he could do his job for a short time without interference.
- Nice Guy: Renly is the only man who has treated Brienne with kindness and respect, and he's probably the only king who has accepted a woman into his Kingsguard. He did this despite knowing full well that it would shock his bannermen, annoy his wife, and piss off his lover. Renly praises Brienne's martial skills and her devotion when Loras confronts him about it.
- Nice to the Waiter: King Renly shows concern for the lowborn soldiers in his army, making the effort to remember their names (Gerald in the episode) and the nature of their injury if they have one.
- Not So Omniscient After All: Part of Littlefinger's rather uncharacteristic open anger seems to be because he was genuinely surprised that he got played, since normally he's the one in control.
- To be fair, his anger is much more subtle in the books. He never raises his voice and simply makes it clear that he will not be tricked again, making it seem like he'd never ruled out the possibility that Tyrion might have been playing a trick. The tv series rather dishonors him in this way.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Theon is sent after helpless fishermen with a single ship, while his sister does the real work.
- Samus Is a Girl: Brienne's introduction.
- Shirtless Scene: When Renly and Loras are kissing passionately in Renly's tent.
- Sore Loser: Although Loras doesn't do or say anything negative to Brienne after she wins their melee competition, he's shown to be bitter about his defeat when he speaks to Renly in private.
- Traumatic Haircut: Tyrion orders Bronn to cut off Pycelle's Wizard Beard, to encourage him to talk.
- Villainous Breakdown: Cersei impressively clears a table in her anguish over her daughter being sent to Dorne.
- Wham Line: "Do you want my brother to come in and help?"
- Wham squared when compared to the books, where there's no sign of Margaery even hinting at being aware of Renly and Loras' relationship (then again, it was just hinted at there instead of shown explicitly).
- Note that this is probably a good kind of Wham Line, as it could save Renly a lot of trouble with his wife, and she isn't likely to reveal his secret to anyone else. It could be a problem if Margaery found out about it from a source other than her own deductions. Moreover, even though Renly is shocked and uncomfortable that she knows about his affair with Loras, he does seem grateful that she's so understanding about their situation.