Bam. Arya's hardened gaze looks out on the iconic landmark that welcomes all to the greatest of the Free Cities, Braavos, the bastard son of Valyria. She is captivated by the Titan's colossus and the Braavosi captain of the vessel she boarded at the end of last Season notes how the Titan's horn blast lets the Arsenal fleet know whenever a ship is about to make port. He rows her through the Ragman's Harbour and Arya is fascinated with the local colour of the East, what with being a Northerner all her life. They wind along the canals and eventually make it out to the House of Black and White, where he tells her that who she seeks will be found. She walks up to the appropriately dichotomous front doors, knocks on them twice and before she can rap a third time, is answered by a rather old, gnarled and intimidating-looking male Summer Islander in a rough-spun hooded robe. After collecting herself, Arya greets him nervously. Silence. She tries for the old stand-by that always works! "Valar morghulis". Stone faced is his reply. Remembering with a start, the wolf pup presents her iron coin and tells him that Jaqen Hghar gave it to her, but the elder tells her there is no one by that name here and she should move on. Arya pleads, telling him that she has no where else to go, but he deadpans: "you have everywhere else to go" and closes the black door on her. Arya resigns herself to sitting outside on the temple steps repeating her kill list all throughout the rest of the day and into a stormy night. The following morning, she tosses her iron coin into the sea in frustration and leaves.
We cut to somewhere in The Vale, where Brienne, now with a new mount, and Podrick, still walking, arrive at a wayfarer's rest and they stop for bite. Co-incidentally, Littlefinger, Sansa and their Arryn entourage have stopped at the same inn, and Petyr mentions that the scroll we saw him open last episode mentioned the acceptance of his marriage proposal... His own? Podrick recognizes the pair, pointing them out surreptitiously to Brienne. The Lady of Evenfall quickly makes a contingency with her companion to get out of dodge, then stands up and confronts the men-at-arms. Petyr lets her through after making several transparently pointed remarks but undeterred, she kneels and offers Sansa her service as one of the only true knights in all the realm. The Mockingbird inquires into who truly murdered Renly, since she had in fact been accused of his murder by elements of the Southern Alliance. He then derides Brienne's honest but admittedly outlandish answer of a Stannis shade and swiftly turns Sansa against her. Yet allows for her to stay with them, as the roads aren't safe... the implications are quite clear. Brienne bulls past Littlefingers knights, knocks one down and rushes outside to where Podrick has the horses ready and cuts some of her pursuer's steeds free, slays one man then mounts up, culminating in a chase. Brienne is separated from her attendant, only to save Podrick at the last second, slicing up two of the pursuing soldiers like so much soft cheese, through mail, blade and plate, with Oathkeeper's magical properties. Podrick asks Brienne if she hasn't been released from her oath, seeing how both Arya and Sansa both personally rejected her vows of protection. Brienne answers that whatever Littlefinger is planning to do with Sansa, it can't possibly be a good thing, and she will not give up her promises.
Meanwhile in Kings Landing, Cersei and Jaime discuss a threat received from Dorne, consisting of Myrcellas necklace hanging from a stuffed snake. After another argument between the secret parents, it ends in a momentous decision for Jaime. He will travel near alone and retrieve Myrcella, his daughter, as he admits at last from Sunspear, before something terrible can befall her.
On a beach overlooked by Castle Stokeworth, Lady Lollys and an ever nonchalant Bronn chat together about their impending nuptials and his bride's mean ol' big sis, who will inherit the estate before them. But not if the Knight of the Blackwater has anything to say about it... Unfortunately for the retired merc, Jaime Lannister drops by on them, press-ganging Bronn out of luxury and into accompanying him as far south as south goes on the continent, in return, he'll find the wily sell-sword a better wife than the poor dotty thing Cersei offered; along with a much more prestigious castle, befitting the importance of his mission.
Above The Water Gardens next to the Summer Sea, Ellaria Sand watches Myrcella Baratheon and Trystane Martell larking about below, clearly smitten. She storms off to find Prince Doran Martell, brother to the late Oberyn and even later Elia and father to Trystane. She seeks vengeance for Oberyn, and her daughters, the Sand Snakes, are with her on this, as is the general populace. Yet when he makes it quite clear that open war is off the table, she settles for sending Myrcella, piece by piece, back to her mother in the capital. Doran is disgusted and spurns the suggestion point-blank, saying that it will never happen while he rules. Ellaria leaves, but warns Doran that he might not be ruling for long, to which Areo Hotah, captain of Doran's guard, responds by wordlessly running a finger along the blade of his glaive. Questioning whether steps have to be taken... Of course, Doran, unlike Petyr, is unwilling to consider going to such lengths against his countrywoman either.
Daario Naharis and Grey Worm patrol the back alleys of Meereen together, and Daario points out that the Unsullied are too conspicuous, unsuited to rooting out the insurgents threatening Daenerys's rule while his mercenaries blend in easily and are able to obtain information on the dissidents through shakedowns. Daario leads them to investigate a suspected hideout for the Sons, but they find it deserted. Much to Grey Worm's annoyance. Daario asks the General of the Unsullied if he is afraid, and Grey Worm replies that Unsullied fear nothing. As it was conditioned out of them. Daario points out that that is their problem as those who have forgotten fear have forgotten how to hide. He pulls his stiletto out and drives the blade into a dry wall, and the leg behind it, he pulls it free, causing the cubbyhole to crumble and for its occupant to tumble out. "Fear is useful that way." Daario claps Grey Worm on the shoulder and the Unsullied take the hobbled man captive, Grey Worm then discovers a couple of knives and a gold mask within the dead-drop, incriminating the man as a Son of the Harpy.
Daenerys's small council gathers to discuss the captive. Mossador urges Dany to have him executed, in order to make an example towards the other would-be Sons, Hizdahr zo Loraq expresses doubts that the man is even involved, while Ser Barristan advises restraint, as he may have valuable information, but Daario relays that the prisoner has already been extensively questioned. Mossador mentions that it has been widely known the lower rungs of the great families have been payed to perform unclean tasks by their betters throughout the city's history, alongside desperate slaves when they were in bondage and these two groups are most likely being bribed now to perform terrorist acts but Hizdahr scoffs at the notion. Selmy advocates that Daenerys should give the Son a fair trial whatever his actions against her, but Mossador says that the Meereenese slave holders did not recognise the concepts of mercy or a fair trial before Daenerys's coming and it will mean nothing to them now, they will only understand the spilling of blood. Daenerys must consider the matter in solitude before coming to a decision but Barristan remains behind.
- Ser Barristan Selmy: Your Grace. A word, please, I beg you.Queen Daenerys Targaryen: About what?Barristan: About your father. About the Mad King.Daenerys: The Mad King? You're here to remind me of my enemies' lies, consider me reminded.Barristan: Your Grace. I served in his Kingsguard. I was at his side from the first. Your enemies did not lie.Daenerys: (frigid) ... Go on.Barristan: When the people rose in revolt against him. Your father set their towns and castles aflame. He murdered sons in front of their fathers. He burned men alive with wildfire and laughed as they screamed. And his efforts to stamp out dissent, led to rebellion that killed every Targaryen; except two.Daenerys: (unsettled, sounding very small) I'm not my father.Barristan: No, Your Grace. Thank the gods. But the Mad King gave his enemies the justice he thought they deserved. And each time, it made him feel powerful and right. Until the very end.Daenerys: I will not have the Son of the Harpy executed without a fair trial.Barristan: (relieved) Your Grace.
In a coach, on a road through Essos Tyrion and Varys discuss ruling, Tyrions leadership, and their deformities and what baggage it has saddled them with. During the conversation, Tyrion notices he has been placed in yet another box and is going stir-crazy from the experience, and expresses his wish to at least be allowed outside for a small walk. Varys informs him that it will have to wait until they have arrived in safer lands, when they reach Volantis. As Cersei has promised a lordship to whomever kills Tyrion. In response, the Imp quips that Cersei can't seriously be planning to kill every dwarf in the world just to strike him down. How many can there be, anyway?
Back in Kings Landing, a dwarf's severed, mutilated head is presented to Cersei by two bounty hunters eager to claim the prize money. She rejects the token, and Ser Meryn Trant suggests throwing them in a cell for trying to deceive the queen. Cersei refuses as this might dissuade other hunters, and orders them to take the sight away. However, Qyburn asks for it, as he says that it might be... useful for his work.
Cersei attends the small council and sits in the Hand's chair. Kevan Lannister challenges her move, asking her if she is the Kings Hand. Cersei replies that she is advising her son until he comes of age. Mace Tyrell offers to be the Kings Hand, but Cersei cuts him off by telling him that the King has appointed him Master of Coin, in addition to his role as Master of Ships. Maester Pycelle offers as well, but Cersei snubs him by saying that Qyburn has been named the new Master of Whisperers. She cuts off his protests by addressing her uncle, informing him that the king has named him Master of War.
- Queen Regent Cersei Lannister: No man living better deserves the title.Lord Kevan Lannister: That is kind of you to say. I would like to hear it from the king himself.Kevan: He should be here, learning what it means to rule.Cersei: He is learning. On this occasion, in his capacity as ruler, he's asked me to speak on his behalf.Kevan: I returned to the capital to pay my respects to my brother. And to you. And to serve the king. I did not return to the capital to serve as your puppet. To watch you stack the small council with sycophants. Sending your own brother away so he wouldn't be present -Cersei: My brother has left the capital to lead a sensitive diplomatic mission.Kevan: What mission?Kevan: (astonished, then seething) I do not recognise your authority to dictate what is and what is not my concern. You are the Queen Mother, nothing more. (stands to leave)Cersei: (furious) You would abandon your king in his time of need?Kevan: If he wants to send for me, I will be waiting for him. At Casterly Rock. (walks out like a boss)
At The Wall, Princess Shireen teaches Gilly her alphabet in the library, while Sam researches the history of past Lord Commanders. Shireen and Gilly open up to each other and talk about Shireen's greyscale and Gilly's sisters, who were also afflicted with the wasting disease. Queen Selyse interrupts them and orders them to leave, before warning Shireen to stay away from Gilly as she's a wildling, and that the wildlings could strike at Stannis by striking at Shireen. Jon and Stannis discuss the free folk and who they would follow now that Mance is dead, and Stannis shows Jon a reply from Lyanna Mormont, the ten year old Lady of Bear Island, after asking her to commit her house to his cause. The message reads: "Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark." They then discuss the upcoming election for Lord Commander, and Stannis, knowing that Ser Alliser is likely to win and will make Jon's life even more of a hell on earth than it already is, offers to legitimize Jon and raise him to true-born status and eventually Lord of Winterfell, joining with him to crush the Boltons, just as Stannis' brother and Jon's father were allied years ago. Sam and Jon discuss this offer, and Sam says that Jon deserves it. Jon tells him that he will refuse the king's offer, as his oath to his brothers is sacrosanct and a disavowal would reflect badly on his ability as a lord. He is Ned's son through and through it would seem.
The election begins, and Alliser Thorne and Denys Mallister are nominated from the get-go, though it seems to be a sure victory for Thorne. Sam, however, decides to take a gamble and throws in a last-minute nomination for Jon by holding a speech listing Jon's multiple acts of great bravery in the service of the Watch to much applause from a good chunk of the present Brothers. But Thorne finally decides to put in his own two cents and points out that Jon's sympathies for the wildlings might be their eventual undoing. After Aemon stacks the voting tokens, it seems that there is a tie between Thorne and Jon, until Aemon produces a circular token for Jon from his sleeve, breaking the deadlock. Jon Snow is now the 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch!
In the streets of Braavos, Arya stalks up to a pigeon and chops off its head with a single swipe from Needle. While searching for a pot shop to cook her meal, three shady men approach her menacingly but Arya is having no more shit from anyone and tells them to turn around and go, pointing her Bravo's blade at them fearlessly.
- Ruffian: That's a nice little sword. Worth a hundred pigeons, a sword like that. (the shivs come out for him and his friends)Arya Stark: Nothing's worth anything to dead men.
Yet suddenly they see the old gent from the House of Black and White walking into view behind her and they instantly scatter, fleeing for their lives. Arya follows him back to the House, and asks him who he his. He, somehow, gives Arya back the coin she threw into the sea, and performs a feat of sorcery we've seen only once before, his dark skin seamlessly peeling away to reveal her old friend from Lorath, Jaqen Hghar. The Faceless Man reveals that his past name was a pseudonym and that in truth he is "no one. And that is who a girl must become." He opens the door for Arya, who enters the ominous House of Black and White while no-one closes the doors behind her.
In Meereen, Mossador and a group of like-minded followers enter the cell that holds the captive Son of the Harpy. The man, still bearing the signs of Daario's rough interrogation, remains defiant, even as he realizes what Mossador and his fellow freedmen intend to do to him, and with no shortage of spite he calls Mossador a traitor and tells him that the foreigner queen will never be his mother, no matter how many times he and her other supporters chant it. Mossador is impassive. We cut to day-break and the Son of the Harpy has been nailed to death and put on display, the final spike driven through his masked skull. Mossador is brought before Daenerys in chains. "Why?" she asks of him. He tells her that he killed the Harpy for her, and that she was tied by litigation the Masters didn't deserve. Dany reminds him that she broke the class divisions but Mossador asserts otherwise, telling her the tale of his family's escape and how the death of his father was the cost. He cannot allow them to fall back into slavery and invalidate that sacrifice. Though moved, Dany asserts that the Harpy's life was not his to take and that he has only made her position more difficult in her quest for impartiality; an example must be made.
A congregation is held, with most of the city turning up to see their queen. On one side of the stage stand the former masters, and on the other side, the freed slaves. Daenerys makes a speech to the masses, arguing for both freedom and justice, and that such egalitarianism must be blind. Mossador is escorted out and made to kneel. Dany tells the people of his crimes against a citizen, who was denied fair process by his actions and that the law is the law. Death. The freed men and women cry out for mercy for their brother, as they are all her children. Despite the will of her subjects and her own misgivings, Daenerys stands firm and decides not to play favourites like her father, though the decision is an unwinnable one and with one micro-nod from her, Daario beheads her former adviser. The lower classes are shocked silent and disillusioned for a brief moment, before they begin to hiss at Daenerys, adjuring her, cursing her. One picks up a stone and lobs it at the privileged, scoring a hit and causing a riot to break out between the factions, the event devolving into anarchy. While most of the agitators are restrained by Dany's Second Sons, certain pockets of the former slaves rain a barrage of fist-sized rocks down at Daenerys and Missandei but the Unsullied have formed a Tortuga formation over their queen and she and her handmaiden are shielded as they withdraw back to the Great Pyramid.
Safe in her quarters, Selmy declares that he will watch over and protect her, as will Grey Worm and Daario, but, shaken from the experience, she tells them to leave her for tonight. Alone, she hears a disturbance outside and walks out to her balcony. A low soft rumbling greets her and Dany turns to see that the most fearsome of her dragons, her black and red child has finally returned to her. Freedom agrees with him. He is massive. Easily the size of the Harpy statue that was recently pulled down, if not bigger. "Drogon." Daenerys exclaims in both gladdened wonder and a dash of understandable trepidation. But he purrs and snuffles gently as he leans down to greet his mother, it seems he has not forgotten her, and she responds tentatively, hushing the massive beast.
Hardly daring to hope, she reaches up to touch him and he inhales, almost allowing her to stroke his scaly nose, only to rear back and leap from the summit, soaring away over the city, leaving Dany more lost than ever as he files into the dark.
Tropes in this episode:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Brienne's Valyrian steel sword cuts through a solid wood reining post like tallow and bites past plate armor like paper, even breaking the blade of a sword wielded by one of Littlefinger's knights clean in half.
- Actually Pretty Funny:
- Jon Snow can't help laughing in response to King Stannis being told off by a ten-year old girl. The king is not amused.
- Maester Aemon gives a warm chuckle as Sam delivers verbal humiliation on Janos Slynt.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Lollys Stokeworth is thinner than her plump book counterpart, though still rather plain and not too bright.
- Adaptational Villainy: Ellaria Sand gets hit with this the hardest of any character in the series to date. In the books, Oberyn's death leaves her a Broken Bird who only wants the hostilities to end before anyone else loses a loved one; furthermore she wholeheartedly supports Doran's attempts to maintain the peace and refuses to support the Sand Snakes in their quest for vengeance. Ellaria in the show takes on the darkest tendencies of Doran's borderline warmongering daughter Arianne, as well as that of Ser Gerold "Darkstar" Dayne, to the point that she want to send Myrcella back to King's Landing a finger at a time to Make an Example of Them.
- Adaptation Distillation:
- In the books, the process of voting for a new Lord Commander takes much longer, is more complicated and involves Sam doing some chessmastering to get Jon elected. Here, it only involves some speeches and the casting of ballots, taking only several minutes, and Sam's messing about with politics is reduced to essentially running an attack-ad on Janos Slynt.
- The political context of Meereen and Dany's occupation of it is vastly simplified in the process of adaptation.
- Adaptation Personality Change: Ellaria Sand has the exact opposite personality of her book counterpart. In the books, Ellaria was the Only Sane Man trying to convince the Martells to let go of their feud with the Lannisters. Here she's a War Hawk who wants to march to King's Landing or, barring that, to send Myrcella home in bits.
- Adult Fear: The Lannisters receive an implicit threat from Dorne concerning Myrcella. Cersei and Jaime's daughter is thousands of miles from home surrounded by people who want revenge on her family. Cersei also brings up the fact that their eldest child was murdered right in front of them and their youngest child is betrothed to marry a woman they can't really trust.
- Ass Shove: A furious Ellaria Sand threatens to do this to Areo Hotah using the bodyguard's greataxe.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: When Jon literally becomes Lord Snow."Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow!"
- Big Damn Heroes: Brienne rides in just in time to save Podrick from the Arryn knight.
- Blade on a Stick: Carried by Prince Martell's bodyguard, Areo Hotah.
- Bounty Hunter: Cersei has offered a lordship for whoever brings her Tyrion's head. This has already led to the death of one innocent dwarf.
- Brain in a Jar: Qyburn asks to hold onto the dwarf's head for his experiments.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Sam reveals how he found Janos Slynt "in a puddle of his own making."
- Broken Pedestal: Daenerys always believed the rumors of her father's madness to be Malicious Slander, but Ser Barristan explains to her that they were actually true.
- The Bus Came Back: A man has returned from Season Two.
- Buy Them Off: Cersei does this with the small council, making Mace Tyrell the Master of Coin (as well as Ships), and Qyburn the Master of Whispers. Kevan refuses to play along, despite being offered Master of War, and denounces her for trying to stack the Council with sycophants.
- Cabin Fever: Being stuck in a luxurious wagon together is starting to fray the nerves of both Varys and Tyrion, whose chronic depression doesn't help matters.
- To "Mockingbird", when Jaime buys Bronn by promising him a bigger castle. Unlike his little brother, he's in a position to deliver. Also from that episode, Bronn implies Lollys' older sister might have a nasty accident.
- Arya hunting pigeons for food.
- Brienne pledges herself to Sansa using the same oath of fealty she used in "The Ghost of Harrenhall".
- Jaime says he's going "as far South as South goes", last said by some Night Watch deserters heading for Dorne in "A Golden Crown".
- Captain Obvious: Jaime looks at the viper sent in the mail with Myrcella's locket in its mouth and says "It's a threat." Cersei immediately lampshades this.
- Cold-Blooded Torture:
- Ellaria suggests sending Myrcella home one piece at a time.
- Daario mentions having 'interrogated' the captured Harpy, and the Second Sons found him in the first place by listening to drunken talk, then following it up with a few broken fingers.
- Continuity Snarl: Arya suddenly doesn't have Ilyn Payne in her revenge list anymore, due to the actor not being able to work on the show at present.note She's also left off Melisandre, Beric Dondarrion, and Thoros of Myr for unexplained reasons.
- Deadpan Snarker: When Hizdahr zo Loraq says Daenerys should have cut off the traitor's head in the privacy of the Great Pyramid, Daario casually replies that's exactly the advice he gave her regarding Hizdahr.
- Decided by One Vote: Though originally there were to be two candidates for Lord Commander, it was definitely Ser Alliser Thorne's post by a landslide. But then Jon Snow entered the field. The ensuing vote is very tight, right down to the end, and Maester Aemon is told it appears to be a tie. One almost expects there will be a run-off between the two leading candidates... until Aemon casts his own chit, for Jon.
- Declaration of Protection: Brienne swears to honor her vow to Catelyn to keep the Starks girls safe but Sansa rebuffs her, saying she doesn't want Brienne's protection.
- Defiant Stone Throw: When the Meereeneese crowd reacts negatively to Daenerys executing Mossador, one throws a stone and incites a riot between the former masters and the freed slaves. In the chaos, many stones are thrown at the queen too, but her Unsullied shield her as she retreats.
- Determinator: Pod points out that both Stark daughters have rejected her protection, so doesn't that free Brienne from her oath to their mother? Brienne is resolved to follow Sansa regardless, knowing she's not safe with Littlefinger.
- Determined Widow: Ellaria isn't technically Oberyn's widow because they weren't married, but she otherwise fits this trope perfectly. Garbed in black mourning clothes, she demands vengeance for his death.
- Dispense with the Pleasantries: Bronn cuts Jaime's chit-chat short, telling him to get to the inevitable proposal.
- The Dreaded: The young men harassing Arya flee in terror at the sight of the priest from the House.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Daenerys freed the slaves of Meereen, granted them far more privileges than they ever had before, and protected them from any sort of retaliation or re-enslavement from the former masters. That doesn't stop them from turning against their mhysa mere seconds after she carries out a just sentence on a freed slave for a murder he actually committed, which escalates to rioting and attempts to stone her to death. It is understandable that the Meereeneese sympathize with Mossador's motives and fear the possibility of a Full-Circle Revolution now that they are once again faced with a ruler publicly executing a youth. Overall, it is unreasonable that Daenerys' one unpopular act should negate all the positive things she has done for the city and suddenly make her deserving of death.
- Establishing Character Moment:
- We've seen Ser Kevan Lannister before, but here he shows his level head and his backbone when he basically calls Cersei and Tommen out for the Puppet King they are. Truly, he is Tywin's brother.
- Prince Doran makes it rather clear that he is not an impulsive or illogical man, as he refuses to go to war with the Lannisters (too high of a cost) and use Myrcella as petty vengeance. It is also clear that he is of a stoic demeanor, despite mourning for his dear brother, and does not wear his emotions on his sleeve nor does he wish to appear weak to anyone.
- Exact Words: When Arya shows up at the House of Black and White looking for Jaqen Hghar, the man there tells her "Nobody here [goes] by that name." Later on, when the man reveals himself to Arya, he explains that he told the truth: no man currently goes by the name Jaqen Hghar, for he has no true name.
- Facial Dialogue: Two antagonistic examples:
- With an oblique gaze, Baelish instructs his men to take care of Brienne after she is told off by Sansa.
- According to direct statements from the actress that plays Brienne, the script specified that Sansa is only making a show of telling off Brienne for Littlefinger's benefit, but contained the non-verbal instruction to the Sansa actress that while she's saying these lies she's shooting Brienne a desperate look with her eyes that says "I want to go with you, but you need to run before Littlefinger's guards kill you." The idealistic and naïve Brienne doesn't pick up on this or Littlefinger's looks to his guards until the swords come out.
- With a shake of his head, Doran tells his bodyguard to stand down and not to do any harm to Ellaria after she angrily storms off amid implied threats and challenges to his authority.
- Finger in the Mail: Ellaria wants to do this to Myrcella verbatim. Prince Doran won't have any of it.
- Gilligan Cut: When advised it best he not show his face outside of closed-doors because of an enormous bounty, Tyrion muses, "How many dwarfs are there? What's Cersei going to do? Kill them all?" The immediate next shot is a severed dwarf head (which vaguely resembles Tyrion's) being placed on a table before Cersei. One might conclude that this is not the greatest time to be alive for all dwarfs in Westeros.
- Glorified Sperm Donor: Cersei accuses Jaime of being this when he calls Myrcella his daughter. He answers by saying that if he'd been a father to their children, people would have found out their secret and had the children stoned for being bastards of incest.
- Gold Digger: Bronn doesn't even pretend to care about his betrothed Lollys and prefers to stone skip while she talks. That he's all about status, money and inheritance seems to fly over her clueless head. Jaime shows up and nullifies the arrangement, but entices him with promises of a better girl with a much better castle.
- Graceful Loser: Denys Mallister seems to be happy for Jon despite being in the running for the Lord Commandership himself.
- Honor Before Reason:
- Played with, when Jon declines Stannis's offer to legitimize him as Jon Stark and release him from his vows to the Night's Watch. While Jon refuses Stannis's offer for the sake of honor and his oath to the Watch, he also has more pragmatic concerns: while a king can technically release a man from the Night's Watch, it happens very rarely, and is always controversial as the vows are meant to be taken until death. Thus Jon doesn't think he'd be very useful to Stannis even if he did accept: no one would take his word seriously as Lord of Winterfell if he was perceived as worming his way out of the, in principle, lifelong vows of the Night's Watch.
- Despite being greatly outnumbered by Littlefinger's knights, Brienne insists on confronting Sansa then-and-there to offer her service.
- Hope Spot: Daenerys takes heart when Drogon returns, only for him to fly off again when she reaches out for him.
- I Am Not My Father: Invoked verbatim by Daenerys when Ser Barristan, in an attempt to avoid History Repeats, recalls the horrors of the Mad King, which she regarded as lies made up by their enemies.
- I Am the Noun: Averted; Mossador argues to his queen that She Is The Law, but Daenerys rejects the idea.
- I Kiss Your Hand: Jaime pulls out the charm for Lollys.
- Implied Death Threat
- Dorne sends a necklace belonging to Myrcella, suspended from the jaws of a model snake. No note is attached.
- Ellaria Sand makes a not-so-subtle threat to the Prince of Dorne. After she leaves, his bodyguard strokes the blade of his axe with a Meaningful Look, but Prince Martell silently shakes his head.
- Bronn reassures Lollys that her mean sister will get what's coming to her. In that case she's too dim to get the message.
- Impromptu Tracheotomy: Brienne stabs the last knight through the throat.
- Improvised Weapon: Subverted; Pod chucks a rock at Littlefinger's knight, but that just tells him that Pod is unarmed. The slaves also resort to stone-throwing.
- Irony: Sansa has finally encountered the selfless knight she wanted to protect her, but (as with her sister Arya) her Character Development causes her to reject Brienne's offer of protection.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Unsullied form a testudo with their shields to protect Daenerys from thrown rocks when her subjects start rioting.
- Machiavelli Was Wrong: Inverted. Stannis argues for the opposite.Stannis: Show too much kindness, people won't fear you. If they don't fear you, they don't follow you.
- Manipulative Bastard:
- Jaime offers Bronn a bigger castle, in exchange for him coming to Dorne. In case Bronn is reluctant, he's also arranged for Lollys to be married off to someone else, so he doesn't have any choice.
- Littlefinger keeps his cool when Brienne identifies Sansa and swears her protection. He instead brings up Brienne's role as a Failure Knight.
- Mundane Utility: Arya uses her waterdancing training to decapitate a pigeon for her next meal.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- Daenerys' attempt to enforce the rule of law only leads to rioting from what used to be her most fervent supporters, and is unlikely to have impressed the Masters either.
- For that matter, the above disaster would have been completely avoided if Mossador hadn't jumped the gun, and murdered the Son of the Harpy without trial (who would probably have been convicted and executed anyway).
- Not So Above It All: Maester Aemon, a man sworn to impartiality, can't resist chuckling when Sam exposes Slynt as a coward.
- Offered the Crown: Seeking aid in retaking the North, Stannis offers to raise Jon Snow as Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell. Jon refuses this longtime daydream because he took a vow and his place is with his brothers of the Night's Watch.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Littlefinger tells Brienne the roads are dangerous and invites her to stay with them. When his knights try to prevent Brienne from leaving, Brienne slugs and hacks her way out, fleeing with Pod on horseback.
- Off with His Head!: Mossador in Meereen, an unnamed dwarf in Westeros, and some poor pigeon in Braavos.
- Orcus on His Throne: Ellaria accuses Prince Doran Martell of this, as he stays seated in the throne apparently doing nothing while his family keeps being murdered. Played with in that Doran shows no villainy and she is the one who comes off as the evil one, even hinting at his dethroning.
- Out-of-Character Alert: Cersei putting words in King Tommen's mouth, using elaborate praise that a boy his age wouldn't use.
- Papa Wolf: Jaime decides to go to Dorne to bring Myrcella to safety.
- Pragmatic Villainy:
- Cersei chooses not to punish the men who brought the head of a random dwarf instead of Tyrion's, but only because she does not want to dissuade other hunters.
- Downplayed when Stannis deviates from his Principles Zealot routine for once and does not punish Jon for putting Mance out of his misery before he burned to death — partly because Stannis needs Jon to control the North.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: We don't get to see much of it yet, but judging by dialogue snippets and body language, Trystane Martell and Myrcella already seem very smitten with each other.
- Precision F-Strike: Bronn is astonished that Jaime Fucking Lannister has come to see him. Sure enough, it's not a courtesy call.
- Princesses Prefer Pink: Princess Myrcella is seen in the Water Gardens wearing a classic pink dress.
- Puppet King: Lampshaded by Kevan Lannister, who isn't impressed that Cersei is trying to pass off her decisions as the King's.
- The Quisling: The Sons of the Harpy, who view themselves as La Résistance, regard people like Mossador and Hizdahr as collaborators with the foreign invader.
- Rearing Horse: The unheroic version when Pod is dumped in the river by his horse.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Prince Doran Martell mourns his siblings but does not immediately rile up his people for war or antagonize the Lannisters, which is much more than most heads of state can say. It remains to be seen whether he is going to let these slights go for the good of his people or if he is merely biding his time.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- Littlefinger gives a rather nasty one to Brienne, prompting Sansa to refuse Brienne's offer of protection.Littlefinger: This woman swore to protect Renly, she failed. She swore to protect your mother, she failed. Why would I want somebody with your history of failure guarding Lady Sansa?
- Kevan lays into Cersei in front of the entire small council (in what's actually a quite toned down piece of adaptation, as in the book he also brought up her sleeping with Jaime).
- Littlefinger gives a rather nasty one to Brienne, prompting Sansa to refuse Brienne's offer of protection.
- Road Trip: Varys and Tyrion are on the road to Volantis... where they'll take the road to Meereen. They spend the trip inside their carriage, bickering as usual.
- Running Gag: Maester Pycelle is the Butt-Monkey again. He's curtly rejected as Hand of the King, and can only sputter indignantly as a disgraced ex-member of his order is placed on the small council, with Cersei implying Qyburn's loyalty is stronger than his.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
- Ser Kevan refuses to be a puppet dancing on the strings of Cersei, quits the small council, and returns to Casterly Rock, declaring he's willing to return if the King calls for him.
- While some of his knights pursue Brienne and Pod, Littlefinger immediately takes the remainder off on the Kingsroad. Sansa and Littlefinger are on horseback, apparently not willing to use their slow-moving wagon.
- Shame If Something Happened: The gist of Dorne's "gift" to the Lannisters: a taxidermy cobra with Myrcella's unique locket in its jaws.
- A Shared Suffering: Varys invokes this in an effort to get through to Tyrion, lampshading how they're the No Respect Guy, despised due to their deformities.
- Shoot the Dog: Mossador gives this as the reason he killed the Harpy, against his queen's orders.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Varys and Tyrion continue to snark at each other on the way to Volantis-then-Meereen.
- Spanner in the Works: Daenerys was to give the Son of the Harpy a fair trial and sentence, which would simultaneously send the messages that she is firm with enforcing her law but fairer than the masters that she deposed. This plan goes out the window when Mossador decides to take justice into his own hands...
- Stunned Silence: For a brief moment, the entire crowd falls dead quiet when Daenerys has Mossador executed. Then they start rioting.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Cersei, when meeting with the Small Counsel, insists that she only means to serve as an adviser to Tommen, not make a power grab. When members offers to step up to serve as Tommen's Hand, she rebuffs them. Kevan Lannister sees right through Cersei's charade however, and leaves stating that he will "return to the Counsel when the King calls for him."
- Swipe Your Blade Off: Brienne wipes her blade on her arm before sheathing it.
- That Man Is Dead: When Arya finally reunites with her old friend (with his old face), she asks why he denied being Jaqen Hghar when she first came to the House of Black and White. Because he is not Jaqen Hghar anymore.
- They Know Too Much: Littlefinger's knights try to kill Brienne and Pod after they identify Sansa. Fortunately Brienne is smart enough to see this coming, fights them the moment they lay hands on her, and has already had Pod fetch an extra horse for a quick getaway.
- Time-Compression Montage: Arya outside the House of Black and White, reciting her death list.
- Token Mini-Moe: Lyanna Mormont, the 10-year-old lady of Bear Island, is an offscreen example of this for the lords of Westeros. Stannis knows well to take her letter seriously, despite the adorably childlike handwriting.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Ellaria, formerly the feisty but still overall kind-hearted paramour of the Red Viper, is out for revenge. Her proposed plans for maiming Myrcella suggest grief has turned her Not So Different from the Lannister and Clegane lords whose methods her late lover loathed so much.
- Undying Loyalty: It is discussed once more how this is essentially the hat of the North. Regardless of which side of the Wall they're from, the northmen are intensely loyal to their own, much to Stannis' chagrin, who finds that everyone refuses to bend their knee to outsiders.
- Specifically, the majority of Northern houses are still holding out for the Starks, even without knowing that most of the Stark children are still out there (as Arya, Bran and Rickon are all assumed dead at this point). Stannis even acknowledges that the North will follow Jon — who is Ned Stark's illegitimate son — long before him because Jon is Ned's son, has Stark blood, and was raised at Winterfell by Ned himself. It really hits home when a ten year old girl responds to Stannis's claim as King with "eh, it's really Starks or nothing to be honest."
- Unexpected Successor: Jon Snow becomes Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
- Villainous Demotivator: Defied by Cersei, surprisingly. When two bounty hunters show up with another dwarf's head, she doesn't have them imprisoned, saying it will discourage the other hunters. It's implied she doesn't care how many dwarf heads show up at the Red Keep as long as one of them is eventually Tyrion's.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Jon Snow has the posthumous version where he wants to be Jon Stark so very badly, not unlike Ramsay Snow wanting his father's name.
- What the Hell, Hero?: All the former slaves in Meereen react negatively to the execution of Mossador.
- Worthy Opponent: Thorne seems to regard Jon Snow as something like this during the election of the new Lord Commander. Allister acknowledges that both are skilled fighters and courageous leaders, but he still questions the loyalty of Jon between the Watch and the wildlings.
- Would Hurt a Child: Ellaria suggests brutally mutilating Myrcella to get back at Cersei. This is ironic, considering how her late paramour and his prince brother...
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Just like Oberyn one season before, his brother Doran remarks how not harming little girls gave the Dornish the moral high ground over the Lannisters and their allies.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Varys gives a variation of this speech to Tyrion to snap him out of his Heroic BSoD. It doesn't work.