We begin in King's Landing, where Tommen Baratheon, first of his name is crowned King of Westeros, to applause. Cersei notices him exchanging smiles with Margaery and goes over to speak with her. Their talk goes oddly well. Margaery is not exactly convincing when she denies scheming for Tommen but Cersei doesn't seem to care. She thinks Tommen will be the first king in a half century to actually deserve his station.
Then we're off to Meereen, where Daenerys is being briefed on the Purple Wedding. Also, the Second Sons took the Meereenese Navy without orders — "I heard you like ships," says Daario — and Daenerys may well be in a position to take King's Landing, though not Westeros. They go back and forth on the odds of getting the Westerosi nobility behind them until Jorah imparts some very bad news. Yunkai and Astapor have overthrown Daenerys' rule and also re-instituted slavery.
She dismisses them all save Jorah. She admits that her liberation of Slaver's Bay is not going as planned. Mormont reminds her that she could set sail and leave this bloody business all behind. But Dany is adamant. Her name, legacy, and even her seemingly divine power of the Dragon mean nothing to the people unless she can govern wisely and well. How can she be considered a worthy queen of the Seven Kingdoms, she asks, if she can't even keep the peace in Slaver's Bay? So until her work is done on the continent, she is not leaving. She will stay in Meereen. And she will rule.
Littlefinger and Sansa, who is pretending to be Littlefinger's neice, arrive at The Eyrie via the "Bloody Gate", which is the only way into the castle. The Bloody Gate gets its name because the terrain restricts any enemy to march three abreast, making it a veritable bottle-neck that would stop any army in its tracks.
Lysa and Robin are waiting for them in the main room. The latter is ecstatic to see his "Uncle Petyr", who gives him a gift. Lysa reveals that she knows Sansa's identity. Robin reveals that he's still somewhat a Creepy Child, cheerfully asking Sansa if the Lannisters killed her mother and beheaded her brother. Sansa mentions that they killed her father first. Yeah, they killed my dad too, Robin replies, with poison. He enthusiastically babbles about how he wanted to throw Tyrion out the Moon Door (throwing Petyr's gift through it cheerfully to show what he means) when Lysa has him take Sansa to her room.
As soon as the two depart, Lysa kisses Littlefinger and proposes that they marry tonight. Littlefinger awkwardly protests that they should invite the Lords of the Vale. Screw them, Lysa says, because there's one Lord of the Vale; the rest are scheming vultures. And screw waiting! She goes on about how she loves him, how she murdered Jon for him, and how she lied to Catelyn for him. He agrees to marry tonight but by "tonight," she apparently meant "right now," as in she had a septon waiting outside the door. Littlefinger embraces her, but he does so carrying the expression of a man who has just been forced to swallow a particularity bitter pill.
At King's Landing, Cersei discusses wedding arrangements with Tywin. It's decided that Margaery will marry Tommen in a fortnight, and Cersei will marry Loras a fortnight later. Tywin's only wish is that the weddings are kept somewhat quiet and tasteful this time around. No jugglers, no grandiose staged plays, and especially no dwarves in costumes. Tywin then states that in spite of it all, he sympathizes somewhat with Cersei. He is not very fond of the Tyrells in general either, and he doesn't like Loras any more than he did her previous husband, but the arrangements are necessary. Because interestingly, the mines of Casterly Rock went dry three years ago, and the kingdom owes a tremendous amount of money to the Iron Bank of Braavos. Wars, as Tywin points out, aren't cheap, and the Tyrells are the only house with resources that can match the Lannister's own. The joining of the houses is therefore very important to the Lannister-Baratheons. Cersei assures Tywin that she understands how necessary all of this is, and tells him that she truly admires him and everything he has done ensure the family's survival.
Even more interestingly, Tywin refuses to discuss Tyrion's upcoming trial due to his judging it. Is it possible that the trial won't be an utter sham? Cersei leaves, but not before reminding Tywin of the harm Tyrion has done to the Lannisters.
Then off we go to The Riverlands where, like a good girl, Arya is saying her prayers before bed. Except it's that prayer, which now seems to contain every male character in the show plus Melisandre and Cersei. Sandor muses on their shared fondness for his brother. Finally, she gets to the last name on her list: The Hound.
At The Eyrie, Lysa is telling Sansa some nice stories about Catelyn's childhood. It seems she had quite the sweet tooth, and was especially fond of lemon cakes, like the ones they're eating now. Sansa asks where she got the lemons; you can't grow them in The Vale. Oh, Petyr brought them, Lysa says as the crazy starts to flicker in her eyes, he feels responsible for you. Why is that? Oh, well, he's always loved my, my family, tries Sansa. You mean your mother snaps Lysa, and then she just starts raving. Backpedaling, Sansa denies sleeping with Littlefinger and eventually starts sobbing that of course she's not lying, she's not smart enough to. The tears, whether sincere or faked, convince Lysa. She clicks back to "nice aunt" mode, hugging her niece and telling her that it'll be alright, and she will arrange for her to marry Robin soon.
On the King's Road, Brienne makes it very clear to Pod, who has trouble with his horse and is indeed slowing Brienne down, that he can feel free to leave anytime. She doesn't order it, though, and he makes no move to do so.
In the Riverlands, Arya is missing when Sandor awakes. He finds her by a river near their camp, practicing her "water dancing", which he finds ridiculously impractical for real fights. She is at pains to defend the badassery of Syrio Forel, despite his being killed by Meryn Trant of all people "But he didn't have a sword!" "Greatest swordsman who ever lived didn't have a sword?!", gloats Sandor. "Alright, you have a sword. let's see what he taught you. Go on, do it for your Bravosi friend. Dead like all the rest of your friends." Arya snaps, she pirouettes, builds momentum, and rams Needle into Sandor's gut. It stops cold in his armor. Clegane stands stunned for a second, then backhands her across the mouth, relieves her of Needle and holds Arya at sword-point. "Your friend's dead! Because Trant had armour and a big fucking sword." He returns the little blade and leaves Arya alone with another harsh lesson.
Back in King's Landing, Oberyn Martell is writing poetry, of all things. In comes Cersei for a walk and talk. She muses that they're both alike: both powerful and both unable to stop others from murdering the ones they love. Oberon asks Cersei if she thinks Tyrion is guilty; she replies that she knows Tyrion guilty. The topic of her daughter Myrcella, still staying in Dorne, comes up: Cersei hasn't seen her in over a year. Oberyn assures her that she was happy last he saw her and that they don't hurt little girls in Dorne. "Everywhere in the world they hurt little girls", she replies. Cersei asks a favor. She points to a ship and tells him that it was built as a gift to Myrcella. He promises to have it sailed to Sunspear, and to relay a message, that her mother misses her.
Somewhere In The Woods, Podrick fails gloriously at cooking dinner. Brienne is astounded that he didn't even skin the rabbit, and asks what on earth he did for Tyrion. Podrick reels off several things, noting that chief among them was pouring Tyrion a lot of wine, none of which are applicable to her current situation. She asks if he has ever done anything remotely relating to combat. He admits that he killed a Kingsguard to save Tyrion during The Battle of the Blackwater. This seems to work for her, and she lets him help her take off her new armor.
We spend the rest of the episode at Craster's Keep, which Locke has infiltrated. Claiming to be part of the Night's Watch rescue party, he comes across the shed where Team Bran is being held. Bran asks if his brother, Jon, is with them and Locke says he is. Meera is worried that Jojen is giving up, but he knows via his second sight that this isn't the end, at least not for Bran. He has visions of the tree and says that no matter what, Bran has to get there. Meera asks Jojen if they will know when the end comes for them, and looking with his second sight at his own hand, and seeing it engulfed in flames, he assures her that they will.
Locke reports back to Jon Snow: there's eleven men, mostly drunk, no guards posted. Locke, to prevent Jon from saving his brother Bran, does not tell Jon that Bran is being held as a prisoner in the shed. Instead, Locke guides Jon away from the shed by lying it has dogs inside, advising they avoid the western side so as to not alert dogs. It's agreed that they'll attack after dark, to take advantage of the new moon.
That night, Karl Tanner and two of his fellow deserters enter the wood shed. They mean to take Bran and rape Meera. Bran calls his brother's name but Jon, thanks to Locke, is too far away to hear him. Meera fights and Bran screams for them to stop and Jojen swears he can help him using his second sight. This last one seems to give Karl pause. Then he tells Jojen to use his sight to see what is going to happen to his sister. I've seen your death, the heir to Greywater Watch says suddenly, making no effort to hide a smirk. "You die tonight, your body will burn, and the snow will bury your bones." Jon's group comes charging Craster's Keep a few seconds later.
Locke battles his way to the prisoners in the ensuing melee. Then he puts a knife to Bran's throat and threatens to kill his friends if he screams. He carries Bran off into the night, but not before Bran wargs into Hodor. Bran!Hodor rips his chains out of the wall, chases Locke down, picks him up by his throat and snaps his neck open with his bare hands. Bran then returns to his own body, telling a stupefied Hodor to go free the others. Bran sees Jon in the thick of the fighting and calls for his brother but Jon is again too far away to hear him. As Bran tries to make his way toward Jon, Jojen returns and points out that Jon will do everything he can to protect Bran if he finds them and therefore, will not let Bran go seek the three-eyed raven. Torn between reuniting with his brother and continuing their mission to find the three-eyed raven, Bran agrees with Jojen to continue their journey north. He tells Jojen that they must be sure to free Summer on their way out.
Inside the main cabin, the bastard of Winterfell brings Longclaw to bear and engages a twin dagger twirling Legend of Gin Ally; who has just slain one of his Black Brothers. Unfortunately, Karl was not exaggerating about his street-fighting skills the episode prior. Constantly taunting Jon about his restrictive formal training, Karl is able to get his opponent on the defensive, thanks to him not being able to wield his hand-and-a-half sword effectively in close quarters. Jon brings his heavy style into the fray and for a moment the duel swings in his favor. Then Karl traps the Mormont family sword with his long knives and hawks a gob of phlegm into Jon's eye before kicking out his shin and bringing Snow to the ground. He brings his foot down on Jon's hand before he can recover, raises his pig-stickers to shank our hero to death and... a Craster wife saves Jon's ass, in the form of a blade in Karl's back. Tanner turns in a daze of pain, pulls the steel free, and is about to use it on her when Longclaw pops out of his mouth, having been driven through the back of his head by a Lord Snow who's been recently instructed on how to fight to win at all costs.
With the battle over, four Night's Watchmen lie dead, along with ten mutineers. Rast escapes the carnage, only to run into an escaped Ghost, who then reunites with his master. Craster's wives refuse to go to Castle Black, having been treated the same by both by their father-husband and The Night's Watch. They do consent, however, to burning the keep down, and "the dead with it."
- Absentee Actor:
- Advertised Extra: Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau's Jaime takes this trope to its logical extreme, being top-billed in Dinklage's absence but having no lines.
- Always a Bigger Fish: Jon invokes this to Craster's remaining wives to convince them to return to Castle Black, pointing out that Mance Rayder's army will reach the keep before long, not to mention the White Walkers.Jon: It's not safe for you here on your own. Mance Rayder has an army heading this way, and there's worse out there than Mance.
- And Then What?: When Daenerys is contemplating sailing to Kings Landing and sacking it, Jorah reminds her that seizing Westeros' capital isn't the same as conquering the continent and she lacks the manpower to complete the second objective (especially if the rest of Westeros unites to deal with another Targaryen invader).
- Armor Is Useless: Sandor Clegane mercilessly mocks this trope, gloating over Syrio's defeat at the hands of Meryn Trant (an admittedly mediocre fighter but still a man who was wearing heavy plate and wielded a broad sword). He demonstrates this when Arya tries to skewer him on Needle and it doesn't even make a scratch against his metal studded leather jerkin.
- As You Know: Lady Arryn explains to Littlefinger what evil acts he told her to do earlier. The viewer is the only one who didn't already know this.
- Asshole Victim:
- The mutineers of Craster's Keep, especially the psychopathic Karl Tanner and the cowardly jerk, Rast.
- Locke deserved getting his sadistic neck snapped brutally by Hodor.
- Attempted Rape: Of Meera. Who, it should be noted, has never had even remotely anything like this happen to her in the books.
- Authority Equals Ass Kicking: Jon personally kills eight of the deserters, including Karl!
- Awesome, but Impractical: The Braavosi fencing style of waterdancing is considered this by the Hound, who has a point: while it's flashy, it's so ineffective against armored combatants (you can't Attack Its Weak Point if there is no weak point) that even as poorly-regarded a knight as Ser Meryn Trant is able to (supposedly) defeat Arya's teacher Syrio Forel. Although Arya also has a point in that Syria didn't have his sword at the time.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: The coronation ceremony for Tommen is actually pretty well done.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Brienne is surprised to hear Pod recount how he slew a Kingsguard, in his usual meek way of speaking no less.
- Big Brother Instinct:
- Jojen Reed's evil smile at how Karl will die horribly and burn is driven partly by his powers and partly by his desire to protect his big sister from that creep who was planning to rape her.
- This is also the reason Jojen tells Bran, and Bran reluctantly agrees, not to see Jon despite how close he is: Jon would do everything in his power to protect Bran and keep him from going further north.
- Big Damn Heroes: The Night's Watch attacks Craster's Keep just in time to prevent Karl from raping Meera.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Sansa is visibly happy to be among her blood relatives again but while Lysa does play at the kind caring aunt at first, she reveals her true colors to Sansa very quickly.
- Boring, but Practical: Armor, according to Sandor Clegane. Sure, it isn't as flashy as Braavosi water dancing, but a knight with a proper sword and armor can definitely beat an armorless man with a wooden sword.
- Boss Banter: Karl just can't keep his gob shut during his climactic fight with Jon.Karl: Lord Snow. (mocking bow) Are you bringing me back for trial?Jon: (ominous head shake)Karl: We had a good thing here. We were free men. But you'll never be free. You'll never know what that's like. (first bout) Ho! Hah! heh! (elbows Jon in the neck) You learn how to fight in a castle? Hee! Hyagh! (stabs Jon in the hip) Some old man teach you how to stand? How to parry? (Jon rips knife out) How to fight with honor?!Jon: (blade lock solved with a punch to Karl's mug.)Karl: (Counters Jon's grappling move by bucking him off) You know what's wrong with honor? (spits in Jon's eyes and takes him down) This! (Traps Jon's arm as he reaches for Longclaw)
- Brutal Honesty: In addition to his fascination with throwing things/people out of the Moon Door, Robin doesn't appear to have much in the way of empathy... or manners. All said in a perfectly calm voice, like they're talking about the weather, while his mother is in the background, smiling at her little boy:Robin: (to Sansa) Mummy said they killed your mother and they chopped off your brother's head.Sansa: They did... and my father's.Robin: They killed my father too, with poison.
- In "Second Sons," Cersei made it very clear that she doesn't want to be called sister by Margaery. During Tommen's coronation, Margaery smugly proves that she isn't at all intimidated by Cersei's prior death threats.
- Also in Season 3, the Wildling Osha and the rather unconventional noblewoman Meera Reed have a vocal argument about proper rabbit skinning. Podrick doesn't skin his rabbit at all, and Hilarity Ensues.
- The Jon Arryn subplot from Season 1 is finally resolved three years later. For a long time, it was implied that Cersei and Pycelle had him poisoned. Now it emerges that he was murdered by his own wife, at Littlefinger's behest.
- After a Night's Watch member warns about Karl's skill with a knife, Locke responds "Have you seen what I can do with a knife?"
- When Lysa reveals her true jealous nature to Sansa, accusing her of sleeping with Littlefinger, Sansa begins to cry and calls herself "a stupid little girl", which is what she used to pacify Joffrey with back in "Blackwater". It is also the same lines she says after she finds out she's marrying Tyrion and not Loras Tyrell.
- Canon Discontinuity: In-Universe. Cersei refers to Joffrey as her first-born. In the second episode, when commiserating with Cat over Bran's injury, she mentioned the death of her first, dark haired child. It's clear that Cersei didn't count the first child, as it was Robert's, not Jaime's.
- Character Aged with the Actor: Robyn Arryn has aged up since season 1, though he's still as much of a Mama's Boy and a Creepy Child as ever.
- Chess Motifs: Cersei blocks Margaery's view of Tommen like they're queens on a chessboard. She then moves to where Margaery is standing to try to take her out of the game.
- Combat Pragmatist: Karl. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't follow his own advice and turns his back a downed (but definitely not out of the fight) Jon at a crucial moment.
- Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Done twice against Karl. The first time, he has Jon at his mercy, but he is stopped when one of Craster's wives stabs him with a kitchen knife. More annoyed than hurt, he then menaces her (for several agonizingly long seconds), and when his blade is inches from killing her, Jon stabs Karl through the back of the head.
- Creepy Child:
- Little Robin Arryn is still as spoiled and obsessed with making people "fly" as ever.
- Jojen Reed goes into this when he gives a creepy evil grin to Karl Tanner.
- Even Bran has a little of this when warging into Hodor to brutally kill Locke without a second thought despite Hodor's horrified reaction.
- Arya's death list is growing despite a couple of candidates having died since she started it. It even includes "good guy" characters like Beric and Thoros.
- Creepy Uncle: With his marriage to Lady Arryn, Littlefinger has become a literal creepy uncle to Sansa rather than just a creepy Honorary Uncle. Plus, she's pretending to be his actual niece, so he's a Creepy Uncle squared.
- Cultured Badass: Who would've known that Oberyn wrote poetry, much less to his 8 daughters whom he loves?
- Dead Guy Junior: One of Oberyn's daughters is named after his sister, and also happens to be the troublesome child. Cersei wonders if she's troublesome because her very name keeps inciting grief and anger in Oberyn.
- Didn't See That Coming: Littlefinger was prepared to marry Lysa, sure, but he clearly didn't expect to marry her right away, with Lysa taking the trouble to have a Septon ready for the occasion.
- The Dog Bites Back:
- A wife of Craster turns the tables on Karl by stabbing him in the back during his fight with Jon Snow.
- A literal example when Rast is killed by Ghost, whom he was seen tormenting last episode.
- Double Standard: Lysa definitely has some version of this going on, since she accuses Sansa of sleeping with Petyr but it never occurs to her to confront Petyr about it. Then again, Lysa is rather unhinged...
- Dramatic Irony: Bran kills the man who maimed Jaime Lannister, unknowingly avenging the man who crippled him for life.
- The Dreaded: Tywin Lannister, of all people, is deeply afraid of the Iron Bank:Cersei: There must be someone at the Iron Bank you can speak to. Come to some arrangement.
Tywin: The Iron Bank is the Iron Bank. There is no someone.
Cersei: Someone does work there. It is comprised of people.
Tywin: And a temple is comprised of stones. One stone crumbles and another takes its place. And the temple holds its form, for a thousand years or more. And that's what the Iron Bank is: a temple. We all live in its shadow and almost none of us know it. You can't run from them, you can't cheat them, you can't sway them with excuses. If you owe them money and you don't want to crumble yourself, you pay it back.
- Dual Wielding: Karl, the Legend of Gin Alley, likes to wield two daggers against a man with a Valyrian Steel sword. He acquits himself well... until he turns his back to his opponent; this serves as a Call-Back as well, to the first episode of the season, when Prince Oberyn said a dagger was a better choice in a close combat situation. Indeed, had it not been for the Craster wife interfering, Karl would have killed Jon.
- Duel Boss: Jon shuts the door of the keep behind him when he confronts Karl, likely to prevent anyone (friend or foe) from interfering. Though one of Craster's daughters who happened to be there ends up helping Jon.
- Evil Plan: The last piece of the puzzle has been revealed, and now it can firmly be said the War of the Five Kings was entirely due to Littlefinger's scheming. By throwing Westeros into chaos and war, he has gained a lot of power and is set to take over The Vale. Let us remember what Varys said of him: "He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes."
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Rast escapes the attack on Craster's Keep only to be killed by Ghost.
- First-Name Basis: This is the first time Daenerys calls Jorah by name without the "Ser" before it. This does not help the current Unrequited Love scenario thats going on between them though she uses the terminology as a sign of respect between them, he reacts as though she's flirting with him.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing: Jojen's second sight reveals to him Karl's burning dead body, which he tells the mutineers. Five seconds later, the Night's Watch group attacks and later burns the keep to the ground.
- Forced to Watch: Karl intends on raping Meera, then letting his men do the same, and making her brother watch. Fortunately the Night's Watch attacks before he has the chance.
- Funny Background Event:
- When we glimpse the throne room from Margaery's perspective, Loras is chatting with Oberyn. note Did those two men already hook up off-screen, or are they planning to do it soon?
- When Arya is listing the names of people she intends to kill, an irritated Sandor tells her to hurry up and finish so he can sleep. She does so, but not before adding him to the roster. Behind her, he turns his head to look at her, and you can almost hear him thinking "Seriously?"
- Genius Bruiser: Cersei brings up how Oberyn is not only feared throughout the land for his combat prowess, but also for his sharp mind, as evidenced by his knowledge of poisons, the human anatomy, and his poetry.
- The Good King: Cersei notes that Tommen would probably be the first to merit this description in nearly fifty years (which is kind of depressing, when you think about it...)
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: There are no sentries posted by the mutineers and anyone watching the perimeter would be drunk anyways, which is noted to be careless by Locke.
- Hates Being Touched: Invoked by Tywin, given the scowl on his face when he reminisces about Robert Baratheon patting him on the back a lot.
- Hidden Depths:
- Podrick displays some to Brienne when he reveals that he has seen actual combat.
- Oberyn seems willing to open up to Cersei about his grief in losing his sister, knowing how she must feel about Joffrey's death.
- I Choose to Stay: Daenerys now has the means to sail to King's Landing and sack it if she so desired, but instead chooses to deal with the mess she's made in Slaver's Bay first because she values her new subjects.
- Idiot Ball: The Night's Watch team's reaction to finding Locke's corpse is negligently weak (amounting to them barely wondering how did it happen). They don't know it was Bran!Hodor, so they should have been at the very least alert against another possible enemy in the woods waiting to attack them, as it had "killed" Locke. With this in mind, they also shouldn't have just let Craster's wives go their own way so easily, either.
- The Immodest Orgasm: Lysa proudly says she plans to make love to her husband so loudly that they can hear her in Essos; she delivers on her promise. Poor Sansa.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Jon stabs Karl from behind, driving Longclaw through the back of his skull until half the blade's length is protruding from his mouth.
- Impoverished Patrician: Tywin reveals to Cersei that despite their being renowned as the richest family in Westeros, all the gold mines of the Westerlands have actually been dry for years, and their continued lifestyle is courtesy of the Iron Bank, who will soon be expecting repayment.
- In the Back: One of Craster's wives backstabs Karl, who would have otherwise killed the outclassed Jon.
- In the Hood: Petyr tells Sansa to put up her cloak's hood in order to hide her distinctive red hair.
- Instant Messenger Pigeon: Presumably this comes into play off-screen, since Dany and her crew find out about the Purple Wedding far more quickly than they realistically should have done. Compare to Robert Baratheon's death, which they didn't learn of until nearly a season later.
- Jerkass: Sandor is in fine form, mocking Arya's Braavosi water dancing style and making fun of her veneration for Syrio (even issuing a few racist remarks for good measure).
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- Lysa gets very cruel when she's accusing Sansa of having slept with Baelish and is also perfectly aware of his undying crush for her sister. Of course, everyone in the audience knows about Littlefinger's Villainous Crush, and that there would be no way in hell he would refuse Sansa, if she had ever made the offer.
- The Hound has some useful, if coarse, words to Arya about her chosen style of swordplay. It's meant for use against unarmored foes, and Forel did quite well with just a stick against Lannister guardsmen with gaps in their armor; but the most dangerous people are the ones in full plate, against whom Forel had no chance. Never Bring A Knife To A Swordfight. He's also correct that she couldn't stab through plate armor if she tried the more direct approach.
- Karmic Death:
- Karl mocks Jon Snow for fighting "with honor". He then fittingly turns his back and gets stabbed to death; first by a knife in the back from one of Craster's wives' that he had abused last episode, and then a sword right through the mouth from Jon.
- Rast's mistreatment of Ghost earns him a ripped-out throat.
- Knife Nut: Karl really likes his double-daggers.
- Let the Past Burn: Craster's wives ask Jon and the Night's Watch to burn his keep (and all the bodies). They comply and watch the fires.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Not played for laughs when Petyr urges Lysa not to talk of her poisoning of her husband."The deed is done, faded into nothing. Only speaking of it can make it real."
- The Load: Poor Pod is slowing Brienne down, since he has no experience of squiring duties out in the field or on the road.
- Mama Bear: Cersei gets a subdued version in the crowning scene when Margaery is staring and smiling at Tommen, by sternly placing herself between the two. Surprisingly, their subsequent conversation is quite civil, and it is Cersei who brings up the possibility of Margaery and Tommen marrying.
- Mind Rape: Despite having good intentions, this is what Bran does to Hodor, as Hodor awakens from Bran's warging into him clearly frightened and horrified by the murder Bran made him commit.
- Mood-Swinger: Lysa, as part of her craziness. She goes from gripping Sansa's hands so tightly that it hurts while accusing Sansa of sleeping with Petyr to hugging her niece and telling her everything will be fine and she will be Lady of the Vale someday.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Hodor, when he regains his senses after Bran kills Locke using his body.
- Mythology Gag: Lysa talks about her late sister's hunger for sweets and their parents' fear for their firstborn daughter's weight. Guess who's the chubby Tully in the books.
- Karl's death resembles the way Biter is killed by Gendry in the novels.
- Neck Lift: Locke's death.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Daenerys is aghast to learn that her attempts to liberate Slavers' Bay have actually made things worse. Because she didn't follow up on her conquests but simply moved onward to the next goal, Yunkai has fallen back into its slaving ways under the remains of the Wise Masters, while the council she installed in Astapor has been overthrown and the city's now being ruled by a dictator. Oh, and they're all royally pissed at her and most likely treating the re-enslaved worse than ever.
- No-Sell: Arya with Needle versus Sandor with armor.
- No Social Skills: Little Robin Arryn isn't shy about confronting his cousin with her family's cruel murders. Although to be fair, he speaks of his own father's murder in the same detached tone.
- Odd Couple: Pod and Brienne's road trip is played for the expected laughs. The look she gives him when she returns to their camp and sees him trying to extinguish a burning rabbit by stamping on it is pure incredulouness.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Littlefinger, when he sees Lysa keeping a septon waiting behind closed doors.
- Cersei has a more subdued expression when her father tells her that their last working gold mine has run dry in the Westerlands.
- The Hound, when he wakes up to find Arya missing after basically telling him the night before that she hasn't forgotten she's going to kill him sooner or later.
- Rast, when he sees Ghost's cage open and hears Ghost growling somewhere in the night. You can practically hear him crapping himself.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- Cersei acts the loyal daughter with Tywin, encourages Maergery to discuss Tommen's marriage with her own father Mace Tyrell, and sympathizes with Prince Oberyn's anger over his dead sister. All three are clearly puzzled by this, but only Tywin calls her on the reason — she's trying to influence the three judges in Tyrion's upcoming trial.
- Meera, who has up to this point almost never been anything but stoic (if you don't count her snarky relationship with Osha), is utterly and completely terrified when she realizes she's about to lose her virginity by rape.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
- Baelish seems to talk in Aidan Gillen's Irish accent to Sansa, but reverts to (admittedly Irish tinged) RP when with Lysa.
- Kit Harrington's natural accent also slips out during the Craster's Keep scenes, noticeable because he is otherwise very good.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Cersei is still shaken up about her son's death and publicly mourns him. She's also aware that putting on this act gets her sympathy and uses that to ingratiate herself with her father and Oberyn, both of whom are aware at how obvious she is.
- Pet the Dog:
- Cersei asks Oberyn to tell Myrcella that she misses her and to take a ship made especially for Myrcella to Dorne.
- Littlefinger hugs Robin like a father returning from work and gives him a gift. Lysa Arryn later reveals that he bought three crates of lemons all the way from King's Landing to the Eyrie, just for Sansa. It's almost sweet.
- Politeness Judo: The conversation between Cersei and Margaery shows two black belts at the top of their game.
- The Power of Hate: Sandor agrees with Arya that this is a powerful motivator to keep moving forward.
- Pragmatic Adaptation:
- In the books, Littlefinger pretends that Sansa is his bastard daughter. In the show, she pretends that she's his niece, cutting out the need for an explanation about bastards and, just possibly, making things that slightest bit less creepy for the viewers. (We said slightest.)
- The Jon Arryn murder mystery gets revealed a while later in the books, in Sansa's presence. In the series there is of course no need for a POV character in the room.
- The book version of Tywin never had to deal with the Iron Bank of Braavos, as far as we know. The show version of him, meanwhile, is clearly worried about the Bank, continuing the plot thread concerning the consequences of war and ruinous spending.
- For that matter, there is no mention of the gold mines drying up in the books.
- Capturing the Meereenese fleet intact lets Daenerys pass up a viable opportunity to set out for Westeros quite a bit sooner than in the books, and without having to broach the complicated topic of Qarth's view of her conquest (not to mention find a way to get around what she did to Xaro two seasons ago).
- Prayer of Malice: Arya recites her death list, including Lord Walder Frey (for the Red Wedding), Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr and the Red Woman (for abducting Gendry). An annoyed Hound interrupts, but she makes a point of concluding with his name in his earshot.
- Pyrrhic Victory: It's been hinted at before, but now the state of the Lannisters is made clear: they may have won the war and gained control of the Iron Throne, but it's bankrupted them and put them in even more debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos, something that Tywin seriously worries will ruin them, which is why he's been pushing so hard for the dual Lannister-Tyrell marriages.
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Arya Stark glares at Sandor when he says, "Dancing?' Maybe you ought to put on a dress."
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Karl gives one to Jon as they fight (see the quotes under Boss Banter), mocking how his honor and his formal weapons training is doing him little good against a Dual Wielding cutthroat who fights dirty.
- The Reveal: The Driving Question of Season 1, "Who killed Jon Arryn?" is casually answered in this episode. It was his wife, Lysa Arryn, at Littlefinger's behest.
- Revealing Hug:
- When Lysa nuzzles Littlefinger's ear, it becomes clear once again that he would have preferred the other Tully daughter.
- When the smile slides right off Lysa's face as she hugs Sansa. This makes sense later when Lysa confronts Sansa about sleeping with Petyr (she's not): Lysa is a Clingy Jealous Girl in addition to being actually crazy and anyone who might be a rival for Petyr's affection is Lysa's enemy.
- Right Through the Wall: Poor Sansa.
- Rule of Symbolism: Loras' mourning attire consists of a dark grey tunic with dark green sleeves, while the torso section of Margaery's dress is laurel green and the skirt part is dark green (only Margaery's shawl is black). This signifies that their "grief" over Joffrey's passing is insincere. Their father Mace doesn't even bother to put on dark clothing.
- She-Fu: Arya finishes her water-dancing practise with a one-handed cartwheel. The Hound is not impressed.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: A rare villainous version. Locke, Bolton's number one henchman was set up as a great threat and The Mole inside the Night's Watch. He gets killed trying to kidnap the crippled Bran Stark by a possessed Hodor. His body is placed among the rest of the Night's Watch casualties with them grieving over him, thinking he died a hero.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Littlefinger gives one to Lysa. It's not a romantic gesture so much as a Properly Paranoid schemer stopping Lysa from blabbing on about his wrongdoings, even in private.
- Slasher Smile: A heroic version for a change. Jojen Reed gets very scary when he tells Karl that he's going to die in the very near future. Next moment, the Night's Watch charges at the camp, killing every mutineer in their sight.
- Spoiled Brat: Yeah, Robin Arryn is still very much this. Littlefinger gives him a present, and what does he do with it? Oh, only tosses it out the Moon Door!
- Stealth Expert: As if being a good fighter wasn't enough, Locke has an easy enough time creeping through Craster's Keep and remaining hidden when he scouts it out (though he admits there were no guards and everyone was drunk).
- Super Strength: Hodor's strong enough to easily rip a metal chain from a wall, break his metal bonds off-screen and nearly rip a man's head off with his bare hands, but he'd never hurt a fly unless Bran is controlling him.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: A lot of the earlier subplots are submitted to this by way of deconstruction:
- Podrick Payne is hailed by Tyrion for his loyalty, but he squired for a man in a city, who tended to be pretty hands-off and rarely travelled by horse. This gave him very little training for basic squire work - like riding a horse, or living on grass and the open field, which is all required of him when travelling with Brienne.
- Arya's interaction with the Hound. The Hound is pretty inaccurate as to Syrio's real skillsnote , but he does lampshade the technique's obvious flaws, how woefully unprepared, unskilled and untrained Arya is, and how little she knows of actual combat.
- Locke is a kind of parody of The Mole, going deep cover and waiting to kidnap Bran and stab Jon in the back during the chaos of a fight. He dies unexpectedly and numbers among the other four casualties. The other members of Jon's group mourn him with their three longer-tenure brothers, thinking he was a hero.
- Tywin Lannister lampshades to Cersei how precarious their position is despite winning the war, the fact that the Iron Bank of Braavos is not an organization that will submit to their usual bribes and intimidation tactics and that he's in a situation where he has to accommodate the Tyrells. The Lannisters are in a credit crunch after a devastating war that's drained their coffers dry and, even before that, funding Robert Baratheon's spendthrift regime. Having inherited his government, they can no longer call the debts they owe themselves, and their gold mines are spent. He even tells Cersei that Tommen's marriage is going to be a much more modest affair.
- After the euphoria of liberating Meereen, Daenerys comes to terms with the consequences of her actions. The "Wise Masters" won't give up without a fight, the council she set up as a preliminary government in Astapor have been killed and replaced by a dictator and if she leaves, it will almost certainly lead all the people she freed sliding back into the same conditions. She resolves to stay and consolidate her reforms.
- Sympathetic P.O.V.: A lot this episode. Epitomized with Cersei, as she talks about and shows her love for her children. She even finally admits - to Margaery no less - that Joffrey was a monster and all she could do was wonder what had gone wrong.Cersei: (on the verge of tears) Tell her that her mother misses her very much.
- These Hands Have Killed: Even Hodor is able to piece together what happened, when he sees his own bloodied hands and a neck-snapped man before him (and he isn't very happy with it).
- Took a Level in Badass: Jojen Reed of all people; after all, he was coughing from a seizure last episode. This time, he's foreseeing the future and gives Karl an evil grin when he sees that his end has come.
- The Unfettered: Lysa Arryn seems willing to do anything to get what she wants, not unlike Baelish. This includes poisoning her own husband (the Lord of The Vale) and indirectly setting the stage for a massive war just so she can marry who she really loves.
- Uriah Gambit: Slynt's plan from last episode failed in its primary objective (getting Jon Snow killed), but has achieved its secondary one: half the volunteers (and Locke) died during the battle with the mutineers, lowering Jon's potential votes when the time for the election comes.
- Warrior Poet: Oberyn, although he claims he's not very good.
- Weapon Twirling:
- Karl does this with both of his knives effortlessly to demonstrate his skill with them before he starts his fight with Jon.
- Sandor scoffs at Arya's elaborate and twirl-heavy waterdancing techniques, saying that it's a recipe for getting herself killed.
- Wham Line: Lysa suddenly admitting that she poisoned Jon Arryn and lied to Catelyn about the Lannisters being behind it comes without any buildup or foreshadowing whatsoever. What makes it particularly whammy is that she also says Littlefinger prompted her to do it, thus revealing him to be a chessmaster who planned the entire War of the Five Kings just so he could reap the benefits of the ensuing chaos.
- The Women Are Safe with Us: Jon's group doesn't do anything to Craster's daughters, but they refuse to come with the Night's Watch since they (understandably) don't trust the rest of them after what the mutineers did to them.
- Worf Had the Flu: In-universe. Arya insists that Syrio Forel would have beaten Ser Meryn Trant (armoured or not) if he had a real sword instead of his wooden one, since he was a badass. The Hound just sneers that dead because of a major situational handicap is still dead."The 'greatest swordsman in the world' didn't have a sword??!!
- Would Hit a Girl: The Hound, although Arya did try to stab him first.
- Yandere: Lysa becomes very harsh towards her niece once the topic changes to her sister Catelyn.
- You Do NOT Want to Know: When Cersei wants to know exactly what the Crown's debt to the Iron Bank is, Tywin only repeats that it's a "tremendous" amount. That even the normally blunt Lord Tywin doesn't want to state the amount should tell you something.