The episode begins with a scene at Oxcross in the Westerlands, introducing us to two Lannister soldiers, who live just long enough to make fart jokes, talk about one of the men's raging mancrush on Ser Loras Tyrell ("He's prettier than most women.") and to let us know that just about all of Westeros know about Renly and Loras's dirty little secret - and then as the fat soldier unlaces his breeches to take a piss, DIREWOLF. Robb Stark listens to the screams as Grey Wind rips apart the unsuspecting guards...then his men scream for him, and they charge into battle...
...and cut to the next day, and the battle's aftermath.
The Lannister army has been crushed by the Northern army, and we're introduced to Roose Bolton of the Dreadfort, one of Robb's top commanders. "Five Lannisters dead for every one of ours," he says as we're treated to a whole slew of dead and dying Lannister bannermen. Lord Bolton informs the King in the North of their logistical problems; too many prisoners, and barely enough food to feed their own troops. He believes the highborn captives will be of use, "privy to Tywin Lannister's plans," but Robb thinks otherwise. Lord Bolton suggests flaying the prisoners— "A naked man has few secrets; a flayed man none," but Robb is vehement that the Southern prisoners should not be tortured, and his father "outlawed flaying in the North". Bolton returns coldly that the "High road is very pretty, but you'll have a hard time marching your army down it." Robb explains that the Lannisters hold his sisters as hostages, and he does not want to give them any excuse to abuse them. Bolton relents, with a resigned nod.
As their conversation ends we see a terribly maimed Lannister soldier being held down by a Silent Sister, as well as another healer. They struggle to restrain him as they ready themselves to amputate his gangrenous limb, much to the boy's frantic assurances that he's fine. He doesn't want to be a cripple! Robb and Roose approach, with the latter informing the girl that one of the wounded Northerners deserves such treatment more than a Lannister. She retorts that "Your men are not my men, my lord." Robb helps the healer hold the boy down, offering him a cloth to bite into as they amputate. As his foot is removed, Robb's seemingly transfixed with the girl as she does her bloody work. Once it's all over, Robb speaks to the woman, who calls herself Talisa. She refuses to tell him her last name, and for what side her family fights on. She confronts him angrily about ravaging the Westerlands, and killing innocent conscripts — the boy that they just amputated was just a fisherboy from Lannisport, who "had probably never held a spear until they shoved one in his hands a few months ago." They argue about the war and its effects: Robb states that he wants to kill Joffrey, but has no intention to take the Iron Throne. Talisa replies that he's "fighting to overthrow a King, yet you have no plan what comes after?" The Stark replies that "First we have to win the war." As Talisa leaves, Robb asks where she's from. "Volantis," is her answer. Robb thanks her for saving the boy's life, saying that he was lucky that she was here. "He was unlucky that you were," she says.
And then we return to King's Landing. Joffrey, the charming lad he is has a massive crossbow propped over his shoulder, aimed at poor Sansa Stark. "You're here to answer for your brother's latest treasons," he sneers, no doubt referring to the Curb-Stomp Battle aftermath we'd just seen. Sansa pleads for mercy, as she had nothing to do with it. Lancel Lannister — remember him? He was King Robert's squire and was '''with''' Queen Cersei in Season 1! He reports that the Northern army savaged the noble Lannister host at Oxcross, feasting on the dead after the slaughter was over, much to the horror of the ladies and nobles of the court. Joffrey ponders killing his betrothed right there and then, but "my mother insists on keeping you alive." So he just gets his loyal Kingsguard, Ser Meryn Trant to beat her up (again), ripping her dress as well (the scene in the book was worse). Just as Trant's about to bring his unsheathed sword down upon her, it's Tyrion and Bronn to the rescue!. The halfman schools his reproachable nephew, and Bronn puts Trant in his place. Sansa's saved, but when Tyrion tries to console her she retains her courtly demeanor, insisting once more that she's loyal to King Joffrey, her one true love. Tyrion, seeing through the rather blatant guise remarks that Lady Stark might survive them yet.
While Sansa leaves, Bronn and Tyrion have a short exchange about Joffrey's rather vicious temperament. They entertain the idea of prostitutes to soothe Joffrey. Tyrion seems convinced. And then we see Sandor Clegane waiting patiently for his prince. "What are you doing here, dog?" asks Joffrey. He replies that his uncle has sent him his nameday present. "And? What is it?" Joffrey asks. "Look inside, your grace." He obliges. It's Ros again, and this time with another whore of her employ. "Touch her", he commands. Girl-on-Girl Is Hot, after all. But this quickly turns to Squick as he gets some sadistic thrills from watching Ros spank the other girl. First with her palm, then with his belt... when it seems to get uncomfortable, Joffrey's not sated. "Harder," he snaps at Ros. And then he hands her a large scepter/truncheon with the stag head of Baratheon. Poor Ros is visibly spooked and squicked out now, and her fellow prostitute is a quivering, sobbing mess. "Your grace... too much pain will spoil the pleasure," Ros pleads. But Joffrey's not listening. He's cranking up his crossbow. Ros then tells him that his uncle will find out...which is exactly what our little king wants. "You will bring her to his chambers and show him what you've done," Joffrey says. "Or the same thing will happen to you. Begin," he says, crossbow pointed at them. We get a Scream Discretion Shot with Joffrey looking pretty entertained. "HARDER," he says as the scene changes.
We're back now at Renly Baratheon's camp in the Stormlands. And an unexpected guest awaits him. "If it isn't my favourite whoremonger," Renly quips as we see Littlefinger waiting outside his tent. "Pray I haven't kept you waiting for long," he says. They talk, and Renly knows all too well of Littlefinger's serving of the Lannisters. "I don't like you Lord Baelish. I don't like the words that come oozing out of your mouth. I don't want you in my tent one minute more than necessary, so tell me. Why are you here? You can trust Brienne. Her loyalty comes without charge," Renly states his intent, and his massive army... Littlefinger as usual is out for himself. "I did not come today seeking your affection. When you march on King's Landing... you may find yourself facing a protracted siege... or open gates," he says. That sly Petyr Baelish is ready to switch sides whenever, isn't he. Later, we see Littlefinger speak with Margaery Tyrell, and they have a subtle exchange, with Littlefinger very aware of Margaery not sharing a tent with her betrothed, and her brother's... visits to the king's own tent. But she's not having any of his intimidation attempts, and catches Lord Baelish off guard with her already knowing of Renly and Loras' affair, and that she doesn't really seem to care. She blows him off easily.
We finally return to Daenerys Targaryen's journey in the Red Waste! Her host is ragged, parched, and tired... but her scout Kovarro returns with a new horse and gifts, from the resplendent city of Qarth. "Will they let us in?" she asks. "They said that they would be honored to receive the Mother of Dragons," he replies enthusiastically. She asks her old bear, Jorah Mormont what he knows of Qarth. "Only that the desert around their walls is called the Garden of Bones... every time the Qartheen shut their gates on a traveler, the garden grows..."
And we cut to Arya Stark with Hot Pie and Gendry. They approach Harrenhal, and it's a foreboding, mucky looking place — its fortifications look as if they've been weathered and sloughed off. "What kind of fire melts stone?" asks Gendry. "Dragonfire," she replies. "There's dragons here?" Hot Pie asks meekly. Gendry replies that they're all dead. The fat boy asks what the smell is. "Dead people", Arya says simply. Hot Pie quails and a Lannister guardsman shoves them to the side. We see listless prisoners watching as people are tortured horribly... one of the prisoners, an old lady remarks dully of the deaths of all of her family in the days past... the screams they heard just then were her son's. "They take someone every day," Gendry says. It's pissing rain in the next scene, and the roughed up prisoners are attempting to sleep. Arya whispers a long series of names... Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne to name a few. Just like Yoren did, as we learned in the last episode.
We're back in the Stormlands, and Catelyn Stark receives Littlefinger. And boy, does she not look happy. She knows how he betrayed her husband in the throne room, resulting in his death. "How dare you," and Littlefinger attempts to justify his actions. "You betrayed Ned," she says. "I trusted you. My husband trusted you. And you repaid our faith with treachery," Littlefinger tries to appeal to her, and it's clear he still has the hots for her. In his opinion, they're Star-Crossed Lovers: "I've loved you since I was a boy! It seems to me that fate has given us this chance t—" he's cut short as Catelyn pulls a knife on him, advancing upon him with an iron look in her eyes. She screams at him to get out. "Do you want to see your girls again? Sansa, more beautiful than ever? And Arya, just as wild as ever?" Littlefinger says. "You have Arya too?" Catelyn says, exasperated. "Both girls, healthy and safe. For now. But you know the queen. And you know Joffrey. I fear for their longevity if they remain in the capital." Catelyn drops her blade, quivering as she relents. "What do you want?" Littlefinger states the Lannister intent to trade Jaime Lannister for the Stark girls, but Catelyn's already aware of that. "You think Robb will agree to those terms?!" she says. But Littlefinger says he's not bringing the terms to Robb, he's bringing the terms to her. On Catelyn's angry retort that she does not keep secrets from her son, Baelish asks her to reconsider as Robb's skill on the field may not give her another chance. He presents Tyrion Lannister's gift of good faith... Catelyn turns, freezes... asks what he's brought. As she approaches she knows all too well: it's the bones of her late husband. She allows herself a faint smile, tears brimming in her eyes before commanding him to leave.
We return to Harrenhal, and Arya's awoken by the angry shouts of Lannister soldiers. They're "questioning" prisoners now. The Mountain, the hulk of a man runs an eye over the prisoners personally. They pick a random boy... and proceed to question him. We see Hot Pie's breeches expanding rapidly as he watches. They tie him down, place a bucket over his chest with a rat inside while moving a torch ever closer to it. "Where is the brotherhood?" one of them asks. The frightened prisoner repeats that he doesn't know, and the exchange continues until the rat begins digging into his chest and he gives in. "You've been very helpful," says the questioner, and they leave the torch to burn away the bucket as the frightened rat tears into the poor guy. We get another Scream Discretion Shot. It cuts to Arya sleeping again still reciting her list of people, and when she watches the same old woman feebly request one of the Lannisters, "Polliver" for bread, he brutally silences her. So Arya adds Polliver and the Mountain's names to her ever-growing list...
And again we're at the Stormlands, and the brothers Renly and Stannis Baratheon treat, with Catelyn Stark in tow. Renly shows his Deadpan Snarker side as he barrages his brother, who has arrived with his fire priestess Melisandre and Davos Seaworth. "You should kneel before your brother," Melisandre says. "He's the Lord's chosen. Born amidst salt and smoke," Renly replies: "Born amidst salt and smoke... is he a ham?" and Stannis continues to be unimpressed and irritated. Catelyn Stark attempts to remind them that they've a common enemy and are brothers, and Stannis confronts her for approaching Renly when Ned Stark supported his own claim. "The Iron Throne is mine, by right. All those that deny that are my foes," Stannis says. But Renly is adamant that the "whole realm denies it," from Dorne to the Wall, and from the death rattles of old men and unborn children. "No one wants you for their king," Renly says. Stannis offers his brother one last night to submit. "Strike your banners, come to me before dawn and I will grant you your old seat in the council. I'll even name you my heir. Until a son is born to me. Otherwise I shall destroy you," Renly doesn't look afraid. He reminds him of the hundred thousand strong army behind him, the combined force of the Stormlands' houses loyal to him and the massive conglomeration of the Reach. "We shall see Renly. come the dawn, we shall see," is Stannis' reply. Melisandre tells Renly Baratheon to "Look to your sins, Lord Renly. The night is dark and full of terrors," and Stannis' contingent leaves. "Can you believe I loved him once?" says Renly.
And we're back at Essos! Daenerys' rather pitiful looking band arrives at the gates of Qarth, and the city-state's austere-looking Guard and masters come to confront them. The Thirteen, a ruling council made up of merchants, are unwilling to welcome her into the city, despite having invited her to come, and none of Daenerys' bluster makes much impact on them... save Xaro Xhoan Daxos, a Summer Islander who decides to vouchsafe their passage with his own honor. And this is after Dany has made the grave faux pas of calling The Greatest City There Ever Was Or Will Be (TM) "Kwarth," instead of "Carth" as it ought to, so evidently this "Zaro Zohan Ducksauce" fellow sees something useful in our Targaryen barbarian. (There is an epic Deadpan Snarker and Passive-Aggressive Kombat match between him and the other members of the Thirteen.)
Over in Harrenhal, Gendry has been selected for tickling. His savior is the least-likely person imaginable: Lord Tywin Lannister, who rides in and immediately demands why The Mountain is wasting a labor pool. He also notices on first glance that "Arry" is actually a girl. He requisitions her to be his cupbearer and releases the rest of The Mountain's prisoners. Lord Tywin, not typically known for his sense of humor, is able to get in a few Deadpan Snarker moments of his own; he seems to consider himself Surrounded by Idiots and is not afraid to show it. It pays to be the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms, one supposes.
In King's Landing, Tyrion is paid a late-night visit by his cousin, Lancel "More Wine Your Grace" Lannister. He's been knighted since Robert Baratheon's death, possibly for being brave enough to fuck Cersei, and the confidence from in the sword in his hand and the sword twixt his legs has made him rather big for his britches. Tyrion plays him like a harp, getting him into the room with a cup of wine and then asking just how Lord Tywin's orders to Lancel, to obey the queen in everything, somehow transmuted into his becoming her bedwarmer. And what's going to happen when Joffrey finds out? Lancel crumbles, and Tyrion converts him into a spy, leaving him positioned under the queen for that purpose. Lancel is ushered out of Tyrion's chambers looking shell-shocked.
For our last scene we find ourselves somewhere in the Stormlands, aboard a Baratheon ship: it's got a stag figurehead at the prow, and it's also got Ser Davos and King Stannis aboard. Stannis asks about the little leather pouch the Onion Knight wears at his neck, and is surprised to discover that it has the remains of Davos's fingers, which Stannis chopped off. Davos keeps them for luck, and to remind himself that all that he is—smuggler and knight both—he owes to Stannis. Stannis charges him to return to his smuggler ways: he needs to bring Melisandre, the red priestess, into Shipbreaker Bay.
It's a boat built for two, and Davos is not at ease with his passenger; Melisandre displays both fervent faith in R'hllor and Black and White Morality, neither of which Davos (an atheist and a strong believer in relative morality) is fond of. Davos asks why they are going into a dark cave when she follows the Lord of Light. She answers that shadows come from light, not darkness, and that the brightest flames create the blackest shadows. She also seems confident in her sexuality, informing him that he wants to see what's beneath her robe. So she shows him. She is quite, quite pregnant, and she lays herself down on the beach to give birth to... some sort of... smoke-ghost-shadow-monster thing. Davos, horrified to find himself transplanted to LOST, looks on as the smoke-monster climbs free of Melisandre's womb and launches itself on its mission, which happens to be right behind the camera. Credits roll.
Tropes appearing in this episode:
- Absentee Actor: Notably, Lena Headey (Cersei) misses her first episode, the final actor not to appear in every episode.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Melisandre tries her best to hide her annoyed amusement after Renly makes fun of her "Born amidst salt and smoke" prophecy by calling Stannis a ham. She turns her head away quickly (a sign of defeat, as she is unable come up with a clever retort), and her facial expression pretty much says, "Well, Renly has got me there; that was a good joke, I have to admit."
- Adaptational Badass: Xaro Xhoan Daxos: From the Ambiguously Gay effeminate merchant prince to a sword-wielding merchant prince.
- Adaptation Distillation:
- In the books, Arya was just a serving girl under Tywin, and became cupbearer to Roose Bolton after Bolton had taken over Harrenhal. In this version, she becomes Tywin's cupbearer.
- The torture scenes in the book take place somewhere in the woods before the entire party moves to Harrenhal. Once at Harrenhal, little torture takes place.
- Stannis's decision to confront Renly and convince him to give up/join his brother before either of them attacks the capital is basically the cliff notes version of what happens in the novel. In the books,
- Adaptation Expansion: Robb's romance is portrayed in detail and expanded, while in the book series it's described second-hand, after the fact, in a few sentences.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Talisa the battlefield nurse asks Robb what he's planning to do after deposing Joffrey. The fact that he hasn't looked that far ahead clearly rattles him, as does her pointing out that his lack of personal hatred for most of the people who fight against him in his campaign doesn't actually help them when they're maimed and killed.
- Badass Boast: Daenerys learns they don't work very well if you've already admitted how desperate your situation is.
- Big Damn Heroes: When Joffrey orders Meryn to beat up and strip Sansa (note: Sansa's a teenage girl getting the crap kicked out of her by a fully grown knight who's hitting her with his armoured fists and the flat of his sword), Tyrion and Bronn stride in to make the save in typical awesome fashion."Bronn, the next time Ser Meryn speaks, kill him."
- Big Little Brother: As they are walking together, it's obvious that Loras is several inches taller than Margaery. Book readers (and probably most viewers) naturally assumed that he is the older sibling. However, Word of God has established that Margaery is the eldest Tyrell child on the show.
- Blatant Lies:
- Lancel's account of Robb's victory (that he used sorcery, turned his army into wolves and ate the corpses) is clearly rubbish, but it's unclear whether the horrified-looking courtiers actually believe it or are merely playing along.
- Sansa claiming Joffrey is her One True Love moments after being threatened by death, then stripped and beaten on his orders.
- Littlefinger claims that Arya is hostage along with Sansa, and tries to convince Catelyn that reports of his backstabbing Ned were greatly exaggerated. She does believe him about them having Arya.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Hot Pie wets himself when he realises that nothing the prisoners do makes any difference, and it is in fact totally random who gets picked.
- Brutal Honesty: Renly is usually snarky with Littlefinger, but in this episode, he is sick of beating around the bush, as their banter no longer amuses him.Renly: I don't like you, Lord Baelish. I don't like your face, I don't like the words that come oozing out of your mouth. I don't want you in my tent one minute more than necessary.
- Butt-Monkey: Poor Lancel really thought that his life was going to stop being a string of humiliations and unwanted orders when Robert died.
- The Caligula: Joffrey has always been deeply unpleasant, but his sadism and total lack of humanity really go on display in this episode. He seems to have developed a taste for having women beaten and threatened with death for his own amusement. The scene with Ros suggests he has little interest in sex, but plenty of interest in the pain of others.
- Call-Back: Renly takes a peach during his talk with Littlefinger.
- Cold-Blooded Torture:
- Creepy Monotone: The old woman has seen so many of her relatives get tortured to death that she doesn't even flinch when it's her son's turn, and makes the observation that the screaming man is her son completely emotionlessly.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Robb's victory over Stafford Lannister was one of these due to good planning and surprise.
- Deadpan Snarker: King Renly's acerbic greeting to Littlefinger, which begins with a false smile and ends with a Disapproving Look.Renly: Well, if it isn't my favourite whoremonger! Pray I haven't kept you waiting long.
- Disposable Sex Worker: How everyone seems to regard the girl that Joffrey brutalises (and may have killed) as his "Nameday Gift".
- Even the Guys Want Him: Two common Lannister soldiers believe that Ser Loras is prettier than Queen Cersei—and she's considered to be the most beautiful woman in the Seven Kingdoms.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: The gigantic, dilapidated castle of Harrenhal is a charred ruin. Its broken castle piece in the opening credits map is the only set with no "clockwork" animations. Fittingly, Gregor Clegane and his men turn it into a slaughterhouse by massacring Riverlands peasants for information on the Brotherhood.
- False Reassurance: Stannis tells Renly, "I will even name you my heir until a son is born to me." Melisandre gives a Psychotic Smirk at this, since she is pregnant with Stannis's "son," which is intended to assassinate Renly. It's unclear whether Stannis really intended to have Renly killed whether or not he surrendered.
- Fan Disservice:
- Melisandre is a beautiful woman, and it would be great to see her naked again, right? Not when she's used her magic to become heavily pregnant and ready to give birth to some shadow abomination.
- The way the erotic spanking of Joffrey's prostitutes quickly turns into a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown with a heavy, spiky stick.
- Flaying Alive: This episode features the introduction of Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort to the TV series, who suggests to Robb after a battle with Lannister forces that they extract information pertaining to Tywin's plans from captured officers via this method."In my family we say: A naked man has few secrets. A flayed man? None."
- We hear for the fisrt time about the mysterious brotherhood. Gendry's rather exasperated response is "I don't know what that is!"
- "Look to your sins, Lord Renly. The night is dark and full of terrors." Melisandre certainly wasn't joking about the last part. The payoff happens in the following episode.
- Funny Background Event:
- Loras is laughing merrily after Renly makes his ham joke, but as soon as Catelyn starts talking, the Knight of Flowers becomes annoyed and sighs heavily.
- Gregor Clegane's Quizzical Tilt when Lord Tywin points out that Arya is a girl.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Joffrey thinks so, but unfortunately he thinks that girl-brutally-beating-girl is even hotter.
- Gory Discretion Shot:
- Subverted. At first, a nightshot of Grey Wind lunging at a Lannister soldier is cut inmediately to Robb before fading to black - before cutting to broad daylight and show the same Lannister soldier torn open.
- The torture victims at Harrenhal, definitely a Nothing Is Scarier result.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: When they meet Stannis, Loras is the only member of Renly's Kingsguard who doesn't wear a helm.
- Humanoid Abomination: Melisandre's shadow child.
- Interrogated for Nothing: Gendry is tortured despite not knowing what The Brotherhood is.
- Ironic Echo Cut: Played for Drama. Right after Robb declines torturing enemy soldiers, partly on the grounds of not giving the Lannisters any more reason to take out their anger at him on his sisters... Joffrey is naturally shown taking out his anger at Robb on Sansa.
- Irony: Tywin arrives at Harrenhal just in time to save the two people the Lannisters seriously want dead or at least under their control - the last Baratheon bastard (Gendry) and missing Stark daughter (Arya). note He even specifically singles the pair out as useful and smart prisoners to keep around.
- Is That a Threat?: Meryn is given a lesson by Tyrion clarifying the difference between "educating" and "threatening".
- Kick the Dog:
- Joffrey has Sansa stripped and beaten in payback for Robb's latest victory, then after his uncle stops his fun forces Ros to savagely beat another prostitute and orders them to report to Tyrion afterwards to let them know what he's done.
- The Mountain and his men torturing villagers was already bad enough in the books. In the show, unlike the books, Gendry, Hot Pie, and Arya were captured with Yoren - nowhere near the village they were asking about - so the Lannister torture is just pure For the Evulz Dog Kickery.
- Living Shadow: Melisandre's shadow child appears to be able to take a smoky three dimensional form rather than being projected onto the wall, but it otherwise fits.
- Meaningful Echo: Robb and Tywin are both confronted with torture-happy subordinates. Robb dismisses it because it is dishonorable, and because he doesn't want to give the Lannisters reason to torture their Stark captives. Tywin dismisses it because it is a waste of resources.
- Mook Horror Show: Double Subverted with the two Lannister guards at the beginning of the episode. One is set up, but then it turns out to be a prank by one of them. However, right after that, it's played straight, as Grey Wind lunges at them.
- The Nose Knows: Tyrion smells lavender oil on Lancel, another clue that he's bedding Cersei.Tyrion: Ah, lavender oil. She always loved lavender oil, even as a girl.Lancel: I am a knight!Tyrion: An anointed knight, yes.
- Noble Demon: Not only is Tyron (by far) the most sympathetic of the Lannisters, he seems to be the only one who can actually keep Joffrey in check. At least for the moment.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Robb's victory over Stafford Lannister in the Battle of Oxcross: Grey Wind attacks a pair of sentries, there's a few shouts of "The King in the North!" over black (a sample of the Greatjon Umber's proclamation and the answer of a chorus of Northmen from "Fire and Blood"), and then it's suddenly the morning as Robb tours the battlefield and Roose Bolton informs him of their overwhelming victory. It's far more onscreen than the books, where we never get to see ANYTHING off it—-only hear the after action reports being delivered to the Lannisters.
- Open Secret: The rumours surrounding Renly and Loras are so widespread that even common soliders on the other side of the country mock their homosexuality.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Daenerys' confrontation with the Thirteen of Qarth has a lot of this. They're rather better at it than she is.
- Margaery and Littlefinger's entire exchange in the camp. Both of them are overflowing with genteel courtesy, while he needles her about her new husband's proclivities and she mocks him for his romantic failures while making entirely clear where her loyalties lie.
- Pet the Dog: Sandor covering Sansa with his cloak after she is stripped and beaten on Joffrey's orders.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Tywin Lannister is clearly not happy that Gregor is torturing and killing captives with useful skills rather than putting them to work.
- Punch-Clock Villain: The opening scene is of two sentries for Stafford Lannister's army, clearly old friends who first play "Who would kick whose ass" with some of the war's biggest icons, then one pranks the other. And then they're both torn apart by Grey Wind.
- Queer People Are Funny: Loras and Renly and their not so secret relationship are mocked by common soldiers.
- Samus Is a Girl: Boy named "Arry" is revealed to be a girl, to everyone's surprise except Gendry's. And the audience knew all along.
- Scenery Gorn: The wide shot of the massive melted towers of Harrenhal (the largest castle in the Seven Kingdoms and said to be haunted) as Arya and Gendry's band are brought in as prisoners.
- Scenery Porn: The short moment when we see the gates of Qarth open.
- Screaming Birth: Melisandre gives one which sound like screams of pleasure, possibly justified by the baby being some magical Humanoid Abomination Living Shadow thing rather than an actual baby.
- Shameful Strip: In addition to being beaten, Sansa is stripped as part of her punishment for her brother's actions.
- Sherlock Scan: Tywin takes one look at "Arry" and immediately realises she's a girl. Fortunately, he's never seen Arya before so can't identify who exactly she is. He also notes the castle-forged 'Needle' Poliver has confiscated and checks to see if any of the prisoners are armorers.
- Sibling Rivalry: Renly and Stannis are unable to come to an agreement during their parley.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Littlefinger tries to invoke this with Catelyn, starting to say that with her being unmarried again it's like fate is giving them a second chance. However, in light of the fact that he's the reason she's currently unmarried, Cat shoots him down pretty quickly.
- Stealth Insult: King Renly knows very well the kind of self-serving person Littlefinger is, and is disgusted by it.Renly: You can trust Brienne. Her loyalty comes without charge.
- Surrounded by Idiots: After the above-mentioned Sherlock Scan, Tywin calls Arya "smart" for disguising her gender while traveling, and mentions that it's more than can be said for his own men (see Pragmatic Villainy above).
- Token Evil Teammate: This episode has the first appearance of Roose Bolton, a Stark bannerman who immediately suggests flaying their prisoners alive.
- Trauma Conga Line: In this new season, Ros has seen a baby murdered in front of her, been threatened with something unspeakable if she doesn't do her job properly, and now she's being forced to seriously hurt one of her co-workers. We have yet to see whether she'll be able to recover from this latest horror.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Joffrey explicitly states that he wants Tyrion to see the result of his "pleasure" with the prostitutes.
- Villainous Rescue: Twyin ends up doing this for all the prisoners in Harrenal, and particularly for Gendry.
- War Is Hell: The above-mentioned Punch-Clock Villains as well as Robb's conversation with Talisa carries a very heavy air of this trope.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Talisa forces Robb to appreciate the fact that people are dying because of his actions.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Catelyn gives a bollocking to both Renly and Stannis for fighting each other. Stannis does the same to her for apparently siding with Renly when her husband got his head chopped off for being true to Stannis, who is the rightful heir.
- Talisa criticizes Robb for causing a massive amount of death and suffering in order to become king.
- White Stallion: As part of his regal image, King Renly rides one when he meets his brother.
- You Make Me Sic: While Davos is expositing about how Stannis removed four of his fingers as punishment for smuggling, Stannis corrects his use of "less" in place of "fewer".
- You Need to Get Laid: Tyrion and Bronn think that Joffrey might act less evil if he got laid, but things do not go according to plan.