We begin at Winterfell, where Theon wakes up to an empty bed—several empty beds, as a matter of fact. There's a dead guard on the floor, of course, and several fled citizens. Theon questions one of his ironborn, a great lumpy potato of a man, about letting a child slip by, and the man defends himself by claiming the giant must have took him. Because, of course, giants are harder to detect than crippled boys. Theon keeps his temper with effort, but when Mr. Potato Head points out that Theon let down his guard along with his pants, Theon decks him. And kicks him for good measure. Then he calls for the dogs and begins the hunt, with most of his ironborn and Maester Luwin in tow. Luwin counsels him not to hurt Bran and Rickon, but Theon is determined to keep ahold of Winterfell.
Somewhere out in the countryside, Osha, Bran, Rickon and Hodor are making slow time. Osha complains that they didn't grab enough food, but Bran defends his choice, since they would have needed the help of the kitchen staff to steal anything more, and Theon would torture anyone who knew anything about their whereabouts. At a stroke of luck, they come across a farm where two orphan boys play—remember, the ones Bran sent out two episodes ago?—but can't decide whether to ask for help or not.
Somewhere even further north, Jon and Ygritte are cuddled up against the cold. Jon looks a little disturbed when he wakes up, especially when Ygritte asks, "Did you pull a knife on me in the night?" Jon springs away, tugging at his tunic. Even better, Ygritte manages to deduce that Jon has never done it before, and begins teasing him about it mercilessly. If one didn't know better, one might think these two were being set up for a Dating Catwoman situation. "Are there no girl crows? ...So the lads just do it with each other? ...Do you have sheep at the Wall? ...With your hands then? No wonder you're all so miserable." (In the books... )
Down in Harrenhal, Lord Tywin is randomly hanging men from his garrison to root out the assassin who killed Ser Amory Lorch, on the assumption (logical, though incorrect as it happens) that he himself was the target. Ser Gregor Clegane thinks (also logically, also incorrectly) that the assassin must have come from the Brotherhood without Bannersnote , and Lord Tywin orders him to root them out as well. Finally, Arya arrives with mutton stew, and Lord Tywin offers it to her instead. (Petting the Dog? Or checking for poisons?) While he monologues about his legacy and the fact that this will be his last war, Arya toys with the knife in her hand and eyes his neck. (There's more banter, particularly concerning the lore of Harrenhal itself—built by Harren the Black, who once sat the Seastone Chair which Balon Greyjoy's arse currently warms, and completed on the very same day Aegon the Conqueror set foot on Westeros; its towers are all burnt out by dragonfire—but suffice to say that Arya and Tywin have a bit of a Worthy Opponent/Friendly Enemies vibe going on.)
Sansa stops the Hound in the halls of the Red Keep, thanking him for saving her life. He's a typical Blood Knight about it. "Killing's the sweetest thing there is," he tells her. "Why are you always so hateful?" she asks him. "You'll be thankful for it someday when you're the queen, and I'm all that stands between you and your beloved king." Sansa, whose training did not cover the Care and Feeding of Antiheroes, has no answer to that.
Over in Qarth, Dany is still in a froth about her missing dragons, and there's little Daxos can say to calm her. And beyond the Wall, Ygritte is still trying to tempt Jon to turn his cloak and join the wildlings—or, as they call themselves, the Free Folk. There's some truth to this claim, as they live outside the feudal obligations of medieval society. It's clear Jon is tempted, but he tries to claim he knows better. "You know nothing, Jon Snow," Ygritte replies.
Head over to the Westerlands, where Robb has received Alton Lannister, who has returned with Cersei's latest terms. Robb doesn't really have time for him at present—and, even more amusingly, they've taken so many prisoners that he doesn't have any prison pens to store Alton in either. "Is there room for Ser Alton?" Robb asks Lord Rickard Karstark. "Does he need to lie down?" Lord Rickard returns with venomous sarcasm. They end up berthing him with the Kingslayer for the nonce, and Karstark's son Torrhen is assigned to watch over them. Roose Bolton then tries to get Robb's attention, but Lady Talisa diverts him. With two armies' casualties to look after, she's running out of medical supplies; as he's heading to the Crag tomorrow to accept a surrender from House Westerling, she would like to give him a shopping list to acquire from their maester. Instead, Robb invites her to go with him.
Back in the North, Theon's hounds lead him straight to the farm with the two orphan boys, but there the trail goes cold. Theon is very, very pissed about it. "It's better to be cruel than weak," he pronounces. It takes some knowing glances from Dagmer and a presentation of evidence—walnut shells—before Theon is satisfied. He sends Maester Luwin back to Winterfell, watching him go with a Kubrick Stare that is starting to become rather permanent.
In Qarth, Daenerys paces before her empty dragon cages as Ser Jorah comes puffing up. Dany is distraught not only over her missing children, but over Irri's death in the raid: "She died for me, and I couldn't protect her. I led my people out of the red waste and into the slaughterhouse." (Doreah is missing too.) The scene almost immediately segues into more awkward sexual tension; Mormont just can't take a hint.
Far beyond the Wall Jon and Ygritte are passing down through a large depression in the ice; Jon is pretty clearly still lost. Ygritte pulls out the Malicious Slander card: "What do you think they'll say when they hear about you and me? I swear it, O Master King Crow Ser, we were only close together for warmth! And then I felt it: right up against me backside like a club. I can show you the bruise on me tailbone!" (She sure knows how to put on airs, this Ygritte, kissed by fire. She's channeling a Southern Belle, and those don't even exist in the Seven Kingdoms!) "And before I knew what was where, his, his... Well, it was all out in the open, angry as you like, and I didn't want to want it, but oh!, I did. And he spread me legs and... Ruined. The shame of it. Now I can never marry a perfumed lord. What will my poor savage father say?" Jon can't help but smirking a little, but he tells her to turn back around. "And I thought we were done, but he said, turn back around." Now he looks irritated, probably because her impression of him is uncannily good. "Since it's going to be your word against mine, and you can't talk about it without blushing, we may as well just..." But Jon grabs his sword—no, Longclaw; sheesh, you guys—and she backs off. And then, while he's distracted, she runs. As it turns out, she's been leading him right into a wildling ambush. "Shoulda took me while you had the chance," Ygritte smirks.
Sansa lies abed in the Red Keep, having a Catapult Nightmare about her Attempted Rape. In the dream, one of the men has a knife, and she wakes up grabbing her throat. There's no blood there... But there is red on her thighs. Sansa Stark is a woman flowered.
They look up and see another handmaiden standing in the doorway. Shae has to chase her down and threaten her with a knife, which is pretty darn awesome... but when she gets back, the Hound has seen it all.
The next we see of Sansa, she's with Cersei, having The Talk. "I thought it would be less... messy." To Cersei's credit, she's able to manage with some gracefulness. "Try birthing a child." She talks some about her own labors, and how Robert would hunt in the kingswood while Jaime stayed by her side, and then provides this pearl of wisdom: "The more people you love, the weaker you are. Love no one but your children—a mother has no choice there."
Speaking of the Kingslayer, here we are in the Stark camp—specifically, Jaime's cage, where he and Alton chat. Alton admits that he squired for Jaime once, at the tourney for the wedding of Willem Frey. ("I went to Willem Frey's wedding?") Once Jaime's memory is sufficiently jogged, he thanks Alton for being a good squire, mentioning that when he himself squired for Ser Barristan Selmy, during the campaign against the Kingswood Brotherhood, he was constantly underfoot. Fortunately, one of the outlaws thought a sixteen-year-old squire easy pickings, which gave Jaime a chance to show what he could really do. Jaime, keeping an eye out for Torrhen Karstark, then confesses to Alton that he has devised a way to escape. Unfortunately, it's a one-man ticket, as the method involves Jaime bludgeoning Alton to death and using the corpse to lure Torrhen into the cell. He strangles Torrhen with his chains and makes a dash for it.
Jorah Mormont has tracked down Quaithe of the Shadow on the other side of Qarth and wants her help in finding Dany's dragons. Before she consents, she asks him an important question: "Will you betray her again?" She then tells him, "The thief you seek is with her now." ...Which is only so helpful, because Dany is in conference with all thirteen of The Thirteen, including Xaro Xhoan Daxos, the Spice King and Pyat Pree. Basically the only suspect Quaithe has managed to rule out is herself. Helpful, lady. Fortunately the thief is in a monologuing mood. Pyat Pree has struck a bargain with Daxos. Daxos declares himself king of Qarth, tired of the head-in-the-sand conservatism the Thirteen seem to favor, and Pyat Pree supports him by using his clones to assassinate the other eleven. He invites Dany to visit her dragons, which Daxos procured for him, at the House of the Undying at any time. Terrified, Dany and Dothraki bloodrider Kavarro try to escape, but are confronted by a Pyat Pree clone at the exit. Jorah arrives and stabs him in the back, but the body vanishes, leaving the clothes behind, and more clones appear.
Back at Robb's camp, Catelyn Stark is relieved to hear that Jaime has been recaptured, especially since Robb is away at the Crag. However, Lord Rickard is in a froth over his dead sons: Eddard died on the Kingslayer's blade at the Whispering Wood, and now Torrhen has joined him in the earth. He wants the Kingslayer's head, and it takes all of Catelyn's diplomacy to get him to back down. Meanwhile, she orders Jaime chained up. "And gag him!"
From one Lannister sibling to the other two as we jump to King's Landing: Cersei has, for some reason, invited Tyrion to dinner. The two make small talk about Stannis's oncoming fleet, which is due at King's Landing in five days or less, and the conversation moves from there to Joffrey's recalcitrance. Tyrion believes they need him on the front lines, which will be dangerous when the whole city seems to want him dead. We are greeted with the startling sight of Cersei actually in tears, realizing that this whole mess is basically her fault. Tyrion tries to move in and comfort her, but she glares him off. Ahh, sisterly love.
The Stark encampment is at a boil, with some willing to stand by Robb and protect Jaime, and others... not so much. Catelyn brings Brienne with her to confront him. Jaime defends his semi-honorable actions by pointing out the Logic Bomb created by all the oaths one must swear: "Defend the king. Obey the king. Obey your father. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. And what if your father despises the king? What if the king massacres the innocent? It's too much. No matter what you do you're forsaking one vow or another." (And pray recall that he's speaking from personal experience on all of this.) Catelyn still pronounces him a man without honor, and Jaime responds that he's never been with any woman besides Cersei, making him more honorable (in some ways) than Ned Stark was to Catelyn. "What was the name of that bastard he fathered?"
"Brienne," Catelyn commands. ("No, that wasn't it.") "Your sword."
At Winterfell, Theon strides back and forth before the assembled citizens of the castle, claiming that they brought this on themselves by refusing to cooperate. Maester Luwin looks on in horror as the bodies of the two boys, tarred, burned, and with one arm chopped off each, are produced. Theon has the grace to look ashamed, but that sure doesn't help Bran and Rickon out much.
Tropes in this episode:
- Affably Evil: Xaro Xoan Daxos and Pyat Pree during their murder of the Thirteen and the revelation of their complicity in the theft of Daenarys' dragons.
- Armor-Piercing Question:
- Quaithe to Jorah: "Will you betray her again?"note
- Jon Snow treats Ygritte's "Then why are you fighting us?" as this, even though, if he thought about it, the obvious response would be that the wildlings are coming south with a huge army that's likely to Rape, Pillage, and Burn all the people and places the men of the Night's Watch care about.
- Arya's question to Tywin about how many stonemasons he's met (see below) could also count, though he doesn't seem too bothered by it, and just treats it as insolence.
- Back for the Dead: The unnamed members of the Thirteen reappear this episode... and get killed.
- Bait the Dog: Jaime's interactions with his cousin.
- Big "NO!":
- Maester Luwin upon seeing Bran and Rickon's apparent dead bodies.From the books...
- Sansa when waking up and seeing she has started menstruating.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: How Pyat kills the Thirteen, allowing Xaro to become the first King of Qarth.
- Break the Cutie: Invoked in universe by Sandor Clegane. He explicitly states that the reason he's so harsh towards Sansa is so that she'll be better prepared once she's married to Joffrey. And now that she's had her first period, this may quickly become a reality.
- Catapult Nightmare: Sansa has one regarding the Attempted Rape from the previous episode.
- Catchphrase: Ygritte's infamous "You know nothing, Jon Snow" is finally uttered onscreen.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Hodor can crack a walnut open with one bare hand. Thank god he's on the Starks' side.
- Chekhov's Skill: Pyat's duplication trick.
- Cliffhanger: Theon has killed the Stark boys, while Catelyn is apparently going to kill Jaime Lannister in a moment of fury, which would condemn Sansa to death.
- Composite Character: Dagmer plays the role of the creature Reek here.
- Dead Guy on Display: Theon strings up the bodies of the Stark children over the Winterfell gates to demonstrate his victory—but curiously, they are burned beyond recognition.
- Deadpan Snarking at a Dragon:
- Tywin is impressed that Arya is well-versed in the women who fought alongside Aegon the Conqueror, and comments that he'd never known such an educated stonemason (in regards to her "father"). Arya is quick to respond:Arya: Have you met many stonemasons, my lord?
Tywin: [beat] Careful now, girl. I enjoy you, but be careful.
- Likewise Jaime can't resist antagonizing the only person in the Stark camp with a motive to keep him alive.
- Tywin is impressed that Arya is well-versed in the women who fought alongside Aegon the Conqueror, and comments that he'd never known such an educated stonemason (in regards to her "father"). Arya is quick to respond:
- Death Glare: As Jaime and Alton talk, a Northern guard comes by and tells them to shut up. Alton looks meek and obedient. Jaime's look may well have given the guy cancer—although since Jaime kills him off in short order anyway, I guess we'll never really know.
- Death by Adaptation: Alton Lannister (Cleos Frey in the books) is killed by Jaime in prison; in the books, he dies at the hands of outlaws with Jaime and Brienne on the way to King's Landing.
- Decomposite Character: In the books, Farlen is the one who leads the hounds in the hunt for Bran and Rickon. In the episode, a different character, presumably a member of Theon's crew, is the master of hounds.
- Embarrassing Damp Sheets: Sansa gets her first period, and she promptly tries to cut the bloodstains out of her bedsheets before anyone sees, so Joffrey doesn't try to take advantage of her ASAP.
- Face Death with Dignity: Jaime is as aware as any of them that he is likely to get killed by the mob that night, and continues to insult everyone around him. (Someday, someone is going to do a study of the Lannister family genome and discover that they're all born without the gene that makes them PHYSICALLY CAPABLE OF KEEPING THEIR BIG MOUTHS SHUT when they have the chance to say something snarky. This is neither the first time nor the last time it nearly gets one of them killed.)
- Funny Background Event: Despite himself, Jamie is clearly awestruck by the dramatic, impassioned negotiations happening in front of him by Lady Catelyn and Karstark. His head ricochets back and forth like he's watching a tennis match.
- Going Native: Catelyn Stark, according to Jaime.Cat: Take him to the stockade and bind him with every chain you can find!
Jaime: You've become a real she-wolf in your later years. [as he's dragged off] There's not much fish left in you!
Cat: And gag him!
- Grammar Nazi: How Tywin knows that Arya is a highborn girl. Arya makes a saving throw by claiming that her mother was a handmaiden to Lady Dustin and taught her daughter "proper... properly!" It's unclear whether Tywin buys the excuse.Tywin: You're too smart for your own good. Has anyone ever told you that?Arya: Yes.
- Irony: Sansa has gone from wanting to have Joffrey's children in "A Golden Crown" to dreading the prospect.
- I Shall Taunt You: Jaime tosses Ned's infidelity and her treatment of Jon Snow in Cat's face, presumably in the belief that he'll get a quicker death from her than the mob — there's a smile on his face when Cat orders Brienne to give her a sword.
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- Once again, the Spice King is a condescending prick, but makes a very good point. His statement that Daenerys' dragons will bring death and misery and that it would be better if they died could well be true. Sure enough, when Daenerys brings her dragons to Westeros a few seasons down the line, one gets killed and raised as a zombie to burn down the Wall and bring the Zombie Apocalypse to Westeros. And the big one turns King's Landing into a charred warzone.
- Jaime's rant about the multiple, often conflicting oaths of a knight is hard to debate. There's also his resentment over the fact that people like to taunt him with the epithet Kingslayer, while overlooking that the King he assassinated was a lunatic, pyromaniac tyrant who murdered innocent people in droves.
- Kick the Dog: Tywin has dozens of his own men hanged and sends Gregor Clegane to terrorize the surrounding countryside just to solve one murder, clearly with less interest in finding out who's guilty and more in sending a message about what happens when he's upset.
- Logic Bomb: Jaime cites all the contradictory oaths he had to swear as a reason for his breaking some of them. Catelyn and Brienne are not impressed.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The last time we saw Pyat Pree's duplication trick, it was unclear whether it was real magic or just a trick using a double. This episode quite clearly confirms that he does have real magic.
- Morality Pet:
- Further evidence that Arya is one for Tywin, and Sansa is one for the Hound. This episode also confirms that Shae is willing to stick her neck out for Sansa, too.
- Sansa also seems to become one for Cersei, oddly enough.
- Mythology Gag:
- Of course Robb invites Talisa to visit the Crag. The character Talisa replaces, Jeyne Westerling, grew up there.
- Cersei laments that Joffrey didn't end up as Jamie. "He looks like him... in a certain light." In the books Joffrey is the spitting image of Jamie, and it is one of the clues that led Ned Stark to realize that he was the biological father to Cersei's children.
- Negated Moment of Awesome:
- Jaime escapes his cell, only to be caught in a matter of hours and dragged through a gauntlet of Stark bannermen eager to kill him.
- Shae drawing a knife on an informant to cover up Sansa having her first period is pointless, since the Hound turns up soon after and finds out anyway.
- Never Found the Body: Dany's statement that of course the missing Doreah is dead. Possibly a wink to the fact that she actually is long since dead by this point in the book.
- No Periods, Period: Painfully and terrifyingly averted for Sansa.
- Oh, Crap!: Sansa when she realizes that she's started menstruating, which means that she can be married to Joffrey.
- Open Secret: In her conversation with Tyrion, Cersei doesn't bother hiding the fact that Jaime is the father of her children.note Similarly, Jaime openly admits it to Cat and Brienne.
- Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: Ygritte asks Jon if he pulled a dagger on her while they huddled for warmth.
- Papa Bear: Lord Karstark is determined to avenge the death of his son, regardless of the Kingslayer's value as a hostage.Karstark: Any man who stands between a father and his vengeance asks for death!
- Pet the Dog:
- Subverted. Jaime is genuinely supportive and encouraging to the young cousin who clearly hero-worships him. He then beats him to death to create a diversion which might let him escape.
- Cersei's genuinely well-intentioned advice to Sansa on how to best deal with her upcoming marriage to Joffrey. She later admits to Tyrion that her son is completely out of control, and she's regretting putting him on the throne. She also adds that while Robert was a drunk, a brute and a philanderer, at least he wasn't a sadist like his successor.
- In the latter moment above, Cersei nearly breaks down in tears and wonders aloud if Joffrey's cruelty is the price she and Jaime must pay for their sins. Tyrion awkwardly tries to comfort Cersei, telling her that Tommen and Myrcella are both good children. Things trail off rather quickly as neither of them have any idea what to say to the other, but it's nonetheless heartwarming to see Tyrion and Cersei actually managing a moment of human emotion together.
- Arya is already pretty well established as Tywin's Morality Pet, but his permitting her to eat his supper even after her impertinence is quite striking. However, it's implied he was making use of her as a food taster (following Lorch's poisoning) so possibly subverted in that respect.
- Power Tattoo: Quaithe draws a big one on a naked guy's back, because he must sail past Old Valyria and all who travel too close to the Doom must have protection.
- Precision F-Strike: Jaime needles Catelyn on the topic of Jon Snow.Jaime: The walking, talking reminder that the honorable, Lord, Eddard Stark fucked another woman!
- Rags to Royalty: Xaro Xoan Daxos finally achieves this even without marrying Daenarys, through the more expedient, though possibly bloodier means of murdering his fellow members on the Council of Thirteen.
- Reality Ensues: Theon finds out that punching someone is harder than it looks, as shown by his wincing after punching Black Lorren.
- Scenery Porn: Iceland again. As long as the story stays north of the Wall this trope will probably be in effect.
- Seers: Quaithe is implied to be one, as she strikes a conversation with Jorah regarding stuff she's not privvy to.From the books...
- Shaming the Mob: Played with. Catelyn manages to stop Karstark killing Jaime on the spot, but nobody has any illusions about Jaime's chances of survival when the mob gets increasingly drunk and restless that night.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Jaime says that his twin sister Cersei is the only woman he's ever been with.
- Slashed Throat: What the Pyat Pree doubles do to the Council of Thirteen.
- Smug Snake: Tywin is, as per usual, very pleased with himself for deducing that "Arry the cupbearer" is a highborn Northern girl. But despite knowing all this, he never connects the dots that she's Arya Stark, quite possibly the most valuable child in Westeros at this point.
- Spotting the Thread: Tywin can tell that Arya isn't the commoner she portrays herself as because of how she says "my lord" instead of "m'lord". Though Arya does try to excuse the mistake, Tywin doesn't seem to buy it.
- Talk to the Fist: Theon punches one of his men for snarking him, then winces in pain.
- The Unhug: Tyrion seems rather uncomfortable at the sight of his distraught sister, and can't work out how he should (or whether he should) comfort her. Likewise Cersei needs comforting, but is too proud to ask for it from her despised dwarf brother.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Discussed in-universe. Tywin comments on Arya's fascination with the dragon riders Visenya and Rhaenys, remarking that most girls would be more interested in romantic tales with flowers and fair maidens. Arya counters by saying that, in her opinion, most girls are stupid. Tywin chuckles and says Arya reminds him of Cersei (see below).
- Torture Always Works: Averted. Gregor Clegane has completely failed to find out who killed Lorch and where the Brotherhood is despite his best efforts to torture the information out of people.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension:
- The scene between Robb and Lady Talisa is crawling with it. Karstark has noticed it too, as he angrily points out that Robb took Talisa with him to negotiate a surrender with another castle.
- Ygritte deliberately tries to invoke it between herself and Jon. It's all just to distract him from the ambush she's leading him into.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: In the midst of their Friendly Enemy vibe is a moment where Arya clutches her knife and stares at Lord Tywin's neck while he's standing with his back to her.
- Vagina Dentata: Averted according to Ygritte.Ygritte: It don't have teeth.
- Virgin-Shaming: Invoked by Ygritte to Jon.
- We Need a Distraction: Jaime pulls his own version of the Sick Prisoner Ploy, by beating his cousin to death, then strangling the guard when he rushes into the cell.
- Wham Line: Tywin doesn't buy Arya's "stonemason's daughter" story one bit... m'lord.Tywin: If you're going to pose as a commoner, you should do it properly.
- You Remind Me of X: Arya reminds Tywin of Cersei. We don't see her reaction, but it seems likely that she would have taken it as a Compliment Backfire / Your Approval Fills Me with Shame.