It's the dead of night in Volantis and a lucky fisherman has hauled in a basket full to the brim with a fresh catch as he beaches his little one-mast boat. His luck promptly changes when a huge fist flies out of the dark and knocks him into next summer. Ser Jorah Mormont has done the cold-cocking and he drags the poor sod away from the surf so that he doesn't drown, gives him a couple of coppers as recompense and goes to find his captive, Tyrion. Who is still trussed up and unable to escape, (though not from lack of trying), from where Jorah has embedded his poniard in the sand. Jorah treats the half-man like a sack of flour as he dumps him unceremoniously into the boat, pushes off, jumps onto the stern and sets sail.
On another, larger ship, in the slightly less temperate waters of The Narrow Sea, Ser Jaime Lannister asks the captain of the merchant vessel he and Bronn are travelling to Dorne on, whether that isle they're passing is Estermont, but it is actually Tarth, much to Jaime's subdued but still noticeable melancholy. Bronn is even more tetchy about their venture, about their transport, their odds of survival against the hot-blooded Dornish and what motivation could possibly make the Kingslayer risk such a scheme. Bronn reveals that the 'Baratheon' offspring being Jaime's is pretty much an open secret among, oh, I don't know... Everyone. And that he knows his employer wishes to fill a hole in his life in the place of the warrior he once was, by being a true father to Myrcella instead; and perhaps to atone for freeing Tyrion, which Jaime denies, claiming it was Varys acting alone. This laundry-list of denials just seems to amuse Bronn.
- Ser Bronn of the Blackwater: Well... If you ever see the wee fucker, give him my regards.Ser Jaime Lannister: He murdered my father. If I ever see him, I'll split him in two. And then I'll give him your regards.
In a lengthy episode at King's Landing, Lord Mace Tyrell, burdened with two offices of the small council is cajoled by Cersei into taking a trip to Braavos in order to negotiate repayment of a mere tenth of the Crown's enormous debt to the Iron Bank. A voyage, the dotty Paramount of the South is chuffed to accept. With the head of the Tyrell family out of the way, Cersei then petitions her new head of the Faith of the Seven, the High Sparrow, offering to rearm the Faith Militant as a purely generous and altruistic measure of course... What with the atrocities the War of the Five Kings has left in its wake, holiness is more important than ever and sin must be cleansed from every household, the lowest and the highest.
Throughout the city, the Faith Militant overturn merchant tables and smash alehouses, their civil violence ignored by the gold cloaks. The marauding crusaders bust into Littlefinger's brothel once again and assault both the patrons and workers alike; Olyvar also gets slapped around. Again. Seriously, he should stop mentioning Peter Baelish's name and expecting them to care, but as we see next, the Faith doesn't take very kindly to depravity, and when it comes to homosexual intercourse, they take it even worse. The punched-up portly poofter says he'll pay the militants off, unfortunately, their ringleader doesn't want reimbursement in gold as he draws out a wicked looking knife and Olyvar quite understandably runs for the hills as the man's hideous screams chase after him.
These pogroms on all the capital's perceived evils are inter-cut with a fanatic receiving his sigil of a red seven pointed star on a white field. Only... The mark is inscribed into their foreheads with a blade, and the one getting the latest star is none other than Lancel Lannister himself. Newly scarred, a mob of the fanatics catch Loras Tyrell during his cool down period between a sparring session and arrest him for crimes against both gods and men. When the Knight of Flowers demands to know who these bozos think they are; Lancel replies that they are justice.
Poor gormless Tommen, who was most likely duped into signing the proclamation rearming the Faith by his mother, is accosted by Margaery; furious at her brother's imprisonment. Anxious to please his bride, he goes to Cersei but she passes him off to her new ally, who is a lot more difficult to deal with than accommodating mummy. Though king, Tommen has the gentlest soul of all and has probably never in his life been confronted by a gang of ultra adherent zealots, let alone been confronted at all in his life of Riley. He is unwilling to spill blood on the steps of the Sept and is too intimidated to negotiate, untested as he is, when the High Sparrow refuses him an audience. The scattered shouts from the small-folk of his status as an "abomination" then unman him entirely. And he all but confesses his powerlessness to Margaery, who will send words to the Queen of Thorns for this attack on her family, bitingly insinuating that Tommen, though her husband - does not hold that place in her heart yet.
We cut away to Castle Black, where King Stannis and Queen Selyse watch over Jon drilling his men in the practice yard.
- Queen Selyse Baratheon nee Florent: You think highly of this boy?King Stannis Baratheon: Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.Selyse: And a bastard by some tavern slut.Stannis: (musing) Perhaps, but that wasn't Ned Stark's way.
Selyse once more agonises over her inability to conceive a male heir for her husband. But Stannis assures her it is no-one's fault. Selyse thinks otherwise, that maybe her daughter's deformity has something to do with it... Melisandre of Asshai objects to such incidental imprecation, as Shireen possesses near the same amount of Targaryen ancestry as her father, giving her the blood of kings and conquerors, regardless of her greyscale scars, and the same power within it... This causes Selyse to back off. The Red Woman inquires whether Stannis will take her with him to the siege of Winterfell and he confirms this; he will not allow Davos to sway him this time, not after magic has won most of his victories.
- Stannis: I need you.Melisandre: You only need faith, my king.Stannis: ... And you, my lady. What do you need?Melisandre: (watching Jon) To serve my Lord.
Jon and Sam sign and seal letters requesting supplies and manpower from many of the lesser known Northern houses. It is only when Sam places a paper that entreats Lord Bolton for surplus that Jon puts his foot down. Not wishing to kowtow to his brother's murderer. But Samwell convinces him of the painful necessity of the signature and Jon reluctantly puts quill to parchment. As Sam is taking the folder to be raven posted, Melisandre enters Jon's quarters and Sam hightails it. Jon inquires as to what he can do for her, like Stannis and Davos before her, she tries to convince him to aid in their taking of Winterfell; citing his knowledge of the castle's secret passages and other weaknesses. Jon falls back on his tired oaths but Mel asserts that there has only ever been one war. The war of life against death. And that no man can stay apart from such a conflict. She then brazenly tries to seduce him, citing his own hidden power within and that their joining can cast life, light and shadows. Much as she did with Stannis back on Dragonstone. Though clearly shaken with lust and more than a little willing, Jon manages to resist the redheaded shadow-binder's promiscuous advances with his memories of Ygritte, defeated, Mel uses the wildling girl's final utterance against Jon, much to his horror.
In his office, Stannis hears a knock at his door and Shireen enters. Concerned, he asks after her state of mind and discovers that Selyse was dead set against their daughter accompanying them to the Wall. Much to Stannis's disappointment in his wife's maternal affections. Shireen then poses something she's long wished to know: "are you ashamed of me, father?" Stannis looks as astonished as a man of his taciturn nature can look. He puts down his paperwork, stands up, comes around his desk and proceeds to tell his only child a story. When she was born he bought her a doll dressed in their house colours and placed it in her cradle for her to play with. He can still remember her happiness at the gift. But it hid something terrible, the contagion of the disease that nearly took her life. Though he burned the doll, the sickness had already taken hold and his household advised Stannis to send her away to Essos and live out the remainder of her short life with a leper communion, the Stone Men. But Stannis didn't let such a thing as a near fatal disease stop him from saving his first-born, dammit! Every medical resource was called upon and the tide was turned. Because she did not belong on the other side of the world, she is his little princess and she — is — his — daughter. In tears, Shireen throws her small arms around her father's waist, who, after a moment's pause returns the hug, breathing into her hair.
Beneath Winterfell, Sansa Stark lights candles for the statues of her ancestors and even finds the feather that King Robert placed in the hand of Lyanna's mausoleum effigy. Baelish discovers his niece in the crypts and Sansa remarks on how she would find her father down here, watching vigil over his sister's tomb and that she was beautiful beyond compare.
- Lord Peter Baelish: I saw her once. I was a boy, living with your mother's family. Lord Whent held a great tourney at Harrenhall. Everyone was there. The Mad King, your father, Robert Baratheon, and Lyanna. She was already promised to Robert. You can imagine what it was like for me, a boy from nowhere, with nothing to his name, watching these legendary men, tilting at the lists. The last two riders were Barristan Selmy and Rhaegar Targaryen. When Rhaegar won, everyone cheered for their prince. I remember the girls laughing when he took off his helmet and they saw that silver hair, how handsome he was. Until he rode right past his wife, Elia Martell, and all the smiles died. I've never seen so many people so quiet. He rode past his wife and he lay a crown of winter roses in Lyanna's lap. Blue as frost. How many tens of thousands had to die because Rhaegar chose your aunt?
However, Sansa believes in the popular claim that Rhaegar absconded with Lyanna forcibly, leading to Rickard and Brandon Stark's deaths and Robert's Rebellion. But Petyr smiles, evidently noticing the parallels between his own gambits and the dragon prince's; only he has been far more successful in his plots to secure his love. He discusses that Cersei has called him back to the capital, and that he must go so as not to bring down undue suspicion. Sansa is frightened at being left alone with her new, soon to be in-laws but Petyr says that Stannis may soon liberate the North and declare Sansa Wardeness; (though why he would want this, considering Stannis would execute Littlefinger on the spot for all his duplicity we can hardly know). If the reverse should happen and Stannis is skinned alive by the Boltons, then Sansa may still gain power by completing the unenviable task of controlling Ramsay socially. Sansa doesn't have much choice in the matter though and is left alone as Petyr prepares for his trip south.
Off the coast of Dorne, Jaime and Bronn, well, Bronn rows them to shore and they quickly sleep the rest of the night away. Upon waking, Jaime sees Bronn about to hurl his kukri knife into his face! But his real target was the deadly coral snake, likely about to bite the Kingslayer where he lay. The pair feast on the serpent for breakfast. Over their meal, they banter on how they would like to shuffle off the mortal coil and how no-one usually gets the kind of death reserved for the heroes of song and story. They break camp, (putting out the hilariously fake fire that would never have cooked that meat enough to be safely consumed). And Bronn cautions Jaime on how their Pentoshi Captain could easily sell their location out to the Martells, regardless of the heavy bag of gold used to bribe him. Unfortunately, Bronn is proven right, whether by accident or design and they are surrounded by four light cavalrymen, their tracks in the dunes easily giving away their position.
Bronn covers their asses with pseudonyms and a convincing tale of being stranded but Jaime's lack of knowledge on the local fauna pokes holes in Bronn's cover story and the Dornishmen demand that they give up their weapons. Bron gives Jaime the 'get ready' look, plants his sword in the sand, then whips out his kukri and with one smooth throw buries it in the leader's throat, toppling him from his steed. Bronn takes a second one out with no fuss no muss before forcibly dismounting the third by slashing at his horse's bollocks, then leaving him for Jaime while he deals with the fourth. However, the soldier is not slowed by his fall and quickly has Jaime on the defensive, his slow return strikes easily swept aside with scimitar molinetes. The Kingslayer is brought down, barely surviving as he rolls down the hill, his foe's elevation allowing him to batter Jaime's guard away and disarm him. About to have his skull cleaved in two, Jaime half raises his golden hand to shield himself and by some miracle the scimitar catches right between the thumb and fingers, trapping it. Gobsmacked, Jaime has time to retrieve his sword and puncture the Dornishmen through the chest, to then kick him down the embankment. Jaime is not too pleased at having to rely on luck and the greater skills of his sellsword partner in crime, so he sets Bronn to work in burying the bodies, less they raise questions that start a new war. To which a peeved Bronn gets down to the heavy labour while Jaime relaxes and swigs from his canteen.
Elsewhere in the country, Ellaria Sand meets with her daughter, Tyene and two of her half-sisters, Nymeria and Obara, the Sand Snakes. Oberyn's bastard girls. She informs them that Doran will not strive against the Lannisters and they alone must avenge their fallen family. And they can get to Cersei through Myrcella... Nym informs her relatives of a potential problem and whips a bucket off the sand to reveal the Pentoshi Captain buried up to his neck and tortured with Emperor scorpions. Obara was approached by him at Planky Town, but he has not received the reward he expected for his treachery. The Sand Snakes now know that Jaime is making his play to rescue his daughter and they will do everything in their power to stop him. And since they were trained by the younger prince of Dorne, and all decide to ally with Ellaria; Jaime and Bronn are now in big trouble.
Upon the waves nearing the The Valyrian Peninsula, Ser Jorah is growing tired of Tyrion's endless pleas to be untied through his gag. When the dwarf begins to sing non-stop through his muzzle, the exiled knight capitulates and removes the material roughly before returning to sit by the rudder lever. Tyrion asks who his captor is and whether he has any wine, only to be met with clipped responses that give nothing away. The littlest lion then realises that they are sailing east, not west and "the queen" that Tyrion fears is to the west, his beloved sister. Jorah becomes more talkative and reveals that he is taking him to the only woman he will ever call queen; Queen Daenerys Targaryen. Tyrion cannot help but cackle dryly at this turn of events and inform Jorah that he was heading to her in the first place. Jorah does not believe him but the clever Imp replies that he hates the head of his family as much as Daenerys must and that they are on the same side. But still, Mormont refuses to free him.
- Tyrion: (sulking, then sly as a thought comes to him, he starts scanning Jorah intently) A highborn knight from the North of Westeros, down on his luck in Essos. Dragon epaulets, bear sigil breastplate. You're Jorah Mormont. I have to ask. How exactly were you serving your queen in a whorehouse half a world away? Is it possible, that you were running? Why would you be running? And why would she have sent you away? Oh, wait. You were spying on her, weren't you? It's all coming back to me. I was drunk through most of the small council meetings, but it's all coming back. You passed notes to Varys's little birds. She found out, didn't she? Found out and exiled you. Now you hope to win back her favour with a gift. Risky scheme. One might even say desperate. You think Daenerys will execute me and pardon you? I'd say the reverse is just as likely.
Jorah slowly leaves the tiller, Tyrion looks pleased that he has convinced the exile to loosen his bonds. Instead, Jorah gives him a backhand bitch slap with his ring hand that thwacks the living daylights out of Tyrion, before returning to his seat and enjoying the sea breeze, free from the sound of pointed extrapolations from the mouths of irritating dwarfs.
We conclude the episode once again in Meereen, Daenerys is overlooking her Queensland, and notes to Ser Barristan that everything seems quiet and happy enough when you look down on the city from the pinnacle of the Great Pyramid. You wouldn't know that there was so much strife occurring beneath the surface. It is most likely unsafe for the queen to mingle with her subjects after the riot Mossador's execution caused. Selmy chuckles, warm and paternal.
- Queen Daenerys Targaryen: (bemused) What?Ser Barristan Selmy: I was thinking about all the times your brother, made me go with him down from the Red Keep into the streets of King's Landing.Daenerys: (curious) Why?Barristan: He liked to walk among the people. (sparkling) He liked to sing to them.Daenerys: He sang to them?Barristan: (fondly) Yes!Daenerys: (laughs, radiant)Barristan: Rhaegar would pick a spot on the Hook, or the Street of Seeds - and then he'd sing. Just like all the other minstrels.Daenerys: (rapt) And what did you do?Barristan: I made sure no one killed him. And I collected the money. (sees Dany's wry look of surprise) What? He liked to see how much he could make.Daenerys: (gladdened) He was good?Barristan: He was very good. Viserys never told you?Daenerys: He told me Rhaegar was good at killing people.Barristan: (shakes his snowy head) Rhaegar never liked killing. He loved singing.Daenerys: And what did you do with the money?Barristan: Well, one time he gave it to the next minstrel down the street. One time, he gave it to an orphanage in Flea Bottom. One time... We got horribly drunk.(both laugh together)
Daario enters to inform Dany that Hizdahr has arrived to petition her yet again, spoiling the familial atmosphere. The Queen of Meereen decides to grant an audience and offers Barristan a place at her side. But, seeing that Selmy looks tired of politics, Daario intervenes, saying that her Queensguard Knight will not be necessary for this daily nuisance. Much to the elderly warrior's relief.
- Daenerys: Go, Ser Barristan. Sing a song for me.Barristan: Your Grace.
In Dany's throne room, Hizdahr makes another plea for reopening the fighting pits, what with the annual season of the circuses beginning. Hizdahr goes on to explain that these traditions are one of the few things that will hold the warring classes and indeed the whole city together. And that though it may not be a permanent solution to every problem Dany's rule is beset with, it will serve as a bridge to eventual peace inside her walls.
But even as the head of a noble family pleads their case, members of the Sons of the Harpy congregate in the sewers in greater numbers than we've ever seen before. They launch an attack on a group of Dany's sellswords in the cold light of day while they drink and whore, easily dispatching them and luring a passing patrol of Unsullied to the attack site. One of the Harpies collaborators, the one responsible for White Rat's murder, points them to an old set of stone stables, where the perpetrators have fled. The squad of seven pursue the Harpies but are caught in a corridor from both sides with at least thirty more of the gold-mask wearing, assorted cleaver and sharp implement wielding psychos.
Though up against men trained from birth, the Harpies more than make up for their lack of martial skill with sheer resolve and greater numbers. Piling on and slitting the throats of two of the Unsullied and stabbing another repeatedly on the ground to death while the remaining four of Dany's army fight like demons. But they too are being overwhelmed by the sheer press of bodies. The Captain has dispatched four Harpies in return, until one armed with a machete forces him against the wall and knocks off his helm. It's Grey Worm. Dany's trusted General pulls the fanatic's neck against his own short sword. And quickly kills two more with his retrieved spear, but only he and two others are left in the fight now.
All over the city, paired patrols are ambushed by eight or more Harpies, held down by three or four at a time and shanked over a dozen times before they can even fight back.
Walking the streets, Ser Barristan hears alarm bells ringing and the sounds of men dying in combat. He unsheathes the sword he likely took from a fellow Kingsguard member back when he quit Joffrey's service from his battered old scabbard; marching towards the district from where the general populace of upper class citizens are fleeing en masse.
In the bazaar alley, Grey Worm is pinioned from behind and has a knife driven into his side as his men die around him. He bucks off his enemies and impales the Harpy who stabbed him in return, throwing the next man willing to challenge him onto the blunted end of the stuck spear. He then rips the short blade free from his torso and uses it to destroy his tenth foe that day, (that we've seen). Before challenging the others who remain.
Outside, homes are aflame and another three man squad of Unsullied, outnumbered two to one by the Harpies, are slaughtered gruesomely before the fanatics rush to help their brethren inside.
Now alone, Grey Worm whirls and spins at the circle of leering masks, killing yet another two, even when surrounded. The Harpies are unwilling to get close to the pride of the Unsullied. Yet eventually they manage to strike him from behind and, just as they are about to deliver the killing blows, they hear one of their comrades screaming for mercy and a beautiful note of steel on bone. They turn to see another Harpy getting his legs hewn out from under him to reveal Ser Barristan the Bold, bitches! Wait? Where's their backup? That's right, Selmy has already crossed eight of these fools off of his checklist.
A dozen advance on Barristan warily, all too aware of Ser Grandfather's reputation it would seem; and leaving four to deal with Grey Worm. A shaft of sunlight catches the Bold's implacable figure and his naked sword, bathed in Harpy blood as he levels it at the approaching mob, feinting a sudden move. Several try to rush past and get behind the elderly knight, but Selmy, (backed by a heroic variant of the Targaryen theme), leaps into combat like a man half his age. Within three precise moves two are already dead, one tries to shiv Barristan from behind only to find his fellow Harpy pulled around and thrown onto his own dagger. Selmy punts the shish-kebabed slaver and his accidental killer into their companions, keeping them from rushing him all at once. Jaime was not lying, the aged swordsman is truly a painter, a painter that only uses red. He lays one open from hip to shoulder, disembowels a second and with only his second expert parry of the entire fight splits a third's spinal cord in half with a lightning riposte before running a fourth clean through.
Grey Worm finds a new well of strength and lays into the four standing over him, unwilling to leave Barristan fighting solo. Selmy half decapitates a fallen Harpy, pulling his sword free with a squelch from his shattered collar bone, before one of the thinning ranks of his foes finally decides to grab onto the knight regardless of the cost. Although Barristan employs a half-swording vertical counter that bisects his opponent near clean in two from the front to free himself, the Harpy has given his allies the chance they need. One kicks the true knight square in the back, pushing him into the midst of his six remaining foes, he fights his way free with a single stroke but it is clear the heavy impact has offset his flow. Another practically lands on Barristan's sword point as the knight staggers back, trying to get back into the fray but the Harpy holds himself on the blade maniacally, Selmy manages to push him off in time to kill his next attacker, but his direction of the skirmish is truly shot and a Harpy dives in low and hamstrings Barristan with a golok.
Incredibly, the truest knight pays the Harpy back in kind, only his return slice is a bit higher, try, along the path of several major organs. Of the three Harpies left, the first, who has no weapon, stomps Barristan down and the other two jump on him with knives. Selmy gores one through the intestines and out the other side with his sword and just as he is about to be stabbed in the back, he shoves his poniard, which he drew from his belt while on the ground with his left hand, up under the Harpy's armpit and into his heart. At the last possible second, Selmy withdraws his sword from the dying Harpy to defend himself - he's won! NOOOOOO! The final Harpy drives a leaf-bladed dirk right between Barristan's ribs, causing the old warrior to unleash a heart-rending yell of agony. The last Harpy wrenches his recently acquired weapon free, unstoppering the knight's life blood in a great rushing flow, grabs his hair from behind as the queen's royal protector kneels, defeated, and prepares to draw the knife across Selmy's throat... And Grey Worm skewers the bastard before his arm can be pulled to the side and around.
The two comrades-in-arms fall next each other in the battle soaked straw, Barristan has already passed out from blood loss and Grey Worm quickly follows, but not before desperately trying to find out if the old Ser is alive. The walls are bathed in great patches of maroon liquid and even if they both die; they have sent nothing short of a heroic deal of their queen's enemies to the deepest circle of the seven hells this day... Seventeen kills to Grey Worm and twenty two to Ser Barristan the Bold as they lie among the corpses they've made of men, their own crimson pooling underneath them while the bells ring on and on...
Tropes in this episode:
- Absentee Actor: Ser Davos doesn't show up in this episode; at the very least, he should be around King Stannis (and keep an eye on Melisandre as well).
- Adaptational Badass:
- The Harpies in the books were back-alley thugs and terrorists, fantasy Ku-Kluxers who attacked their targets in guerrilla style sneak attacks. Here they go on a knife wielding Zerg Rush at a cohort of Unsullied and managed to take out most of them before either dying or fleeing.
- At this stage in the books, Jaime Lannister continues to gets his ass handed to him by his sparring partner, who is hardly a gifted swordsman himself. Here, while he's obviously still extremely lacking in his old skills, he manages to hold his own for a while against a Dornish warrior and eventually kills him. Possibly lampshaded by Bronn, who remarks that Jaime had a good teacher.
- Adaptation Distillation: The politics surrounding the arming of the Faith are a bit simplified and several characters from Cersei's arc have been Adapted Out. For instance, Cersei agreed to reinstate and arm the Faith Militant in exchange for the Faith calling off the Crown's debt to them.
- The Alcoholic: Tyrion insists that I Need a Freaking Drink, and isn't happy when Jorah refuses him.
- Amazon Brigade: We're introduced to Oberyn's daughters, the Sand Snakes, who are all warriors and working with Ellaria to get revenge for their father's death.
- Ambiguous Situation: Grey Worm is left severely injured after fighting the Sons and falls, but doesn't explicitly die. Poor Ser Barristan, on the other hand, has the ambiguity of his death removed by the next episode preview, which shows Dany and Daario standing somberly over his body in the palace.
- In-universe regarding Rheager and Lyanna. Sansa — who has only heard stories — believes Rhaegar Targaryen was a villain who took Lyanna unwillingly. Littlefinger — who was present at the infamous tourney — frames it as a more romantic case of him choosing Lyanna, and noticeably avoids agreeing with the comment that he kidnapped and raped her, indicating things were more complicated than Sansa believes. Ser Barristan — who knew Rheager personally — describes him as a compassionate prince who wanted to sing not fight, and loved walking among the small folk.
- Apathetic Citizens: Loras is seized by the Faith Militant just after he hands his sword to his squire. But neither the squire, or the armoured knight Loras was fighting, nor anyone else watching, try to intervene when the Queen's brother is manhandled by commoners. It may be they were warned off in advance like the Gold Cloaks (see Police Are Useless).
- Appeal to Force: Defied; King Tommen balks at ordering his Kingsguard to hack his way through the Faith Militant just so he can talk to the High Sparrow, with a hostile populace threatening to block their withdrawal.
- Armor-Piercing Question:
- Shireen asking "Are you ashamed of me, father?" prompts the cold Stannis to answer with the most heartfelt, reassuring speech he likely ever disclosed.
- Jaime says he wants to die in the arms of the woman he loves. When Bronn asks if she wants the same thing, Jaime doesn't have an answer.
- As You Know: One of the Sand Snakes tells the story of how she first met her father Oberyn and decided to go with him...an anecdote you'd really think her sisters and mother would already have heard.
- The Atoner:
- Bronn works out that Jaime's insistence on going on this mission himself is due to his part in causing his father's death by releasing his brother.
- Stannis' refusal to let his daughter die of grayscale may have to do with his staunch family values, but could also be because he inadvertently infected her, buying her a doll dressed in clothes that were infested by the disease.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Tyrion figures out Jorah's identity, his history with Daenery, why Daenerys exiled Jorah, and why Jorah is taking him to her — all within a three minute conversation.
- Barehanded Blade Block: As the Dornish cavalryman brings down his sword, Jaime inadvertently catches the blade in his golden hand. With the sword stuck in the metal, he's able to grab his own sword and stab the Dornishman while he's trying to free it.
- Belated Backstory: We learn a lot more than ever about Prince Rhaegar, Dany's eldest brother. He would sing for the common folk because he preferred music to violence. Littlefinger reminisces on the Tourney at Harrenhal, where Rhaegar snubbed his wife Elia Martell by bestowing a crown of flowers to Lyanna Stark, Ned's sister, after he won. Sansa asserts that he kidnapped and raped Lyanna and recalls how her father never liked to talk about his late sister, but would come down to the crypts to light a candle for her.
- Bond One-Liner: Discussed. Bronn tells Jaime to give Tyrion his regards if he ever sees his brother again. Jaime replies that if he does, he'll split Tyrion in half for murdering their father, then give him Bronn's regards.
- Bound and Gagged: Tyrion grunts constantly despite the gag in his mouth until Jorah removes it. Lancel having the Seven-Pointed Star carved into his forehead. The Pentoshi captain is buried up to this neck in sand and has a gag in his mouth to stop him screaming.
- Break the Cutie: Poor Tommen. He's lost control of the city, gets called a bastard and abomination, and his wife gets angry at him for not being able to free her brother.
- Butt-Monkey: Poor Lord Tyrell still doesn't have a clue of how unpopular he is or that he's constantly being Kicked Upstairs. He makes several jests that nobody laughs at, thinks that being Reassigned to Antarctica is an honour, and thinks brightly of having his own Kingsguard by his side.
- Sansa finds the feather that King Robert left with Lyanna's statue on the floor and puts it back in its place.
- To "Garden of Bones". Melisandre's "power to cast shadows" comment implies she wants another shadow assassin, this time from Jon Snow. That would solve the problem of Jon not being willing to desert his post, if a Jon-shadow carves up Roose Bolton in his stead.
- To "The North Remembers". During the raid on the brothel, the person in charge warns that it belongs to Lord Baelish to no avail, because the queen is behind both incidents.
- Bronn lampshades the connection between fighting and sex, just as he did to the other Lannister brother in "The Wolf and the Lion".
- This is the second time that a child king has been surrounded by angry smallfolk calling him "bastard" and "abomination" in King's Landing. Thankfully, unlike Joffrey, Tommen does not call for heads to be chopped off and thinks it wiser to back off before he gives the crowd a reason to riot.
- Pycelle notes that "the small council keeps getting smaller", just like Varys states "the small council grows smaller every day" after Tyrion, as acting Hand, deals Janos Slynt and Pycelle off.
- Upon being summarily dismissed as the head of the Kingsguard, Barristan Selmy proclaims to five knights, "Even now, I can cut through the five of you like carving a cake." Given how easily he took down a dozen Sons of the Harpy before he fell, he wasn't exaggerating. In the same episode, he also proclaimed, "I am a knight. I shall die a knight."
- Call That a Formation?: When Grey Worm's squad of Unsullied gets ambushed by the Sons of the Harpy, they noticeably do not hold to their famous unbreakable formation. This may because they are unused to fighting in small units and do not have the numbers to form an effective phalanx.
- Celibate Hero: Jon Snow tries appealing to his Night's Watch vows when Melisandre tempts him. She gives him a Meaningful Look, as she knows he's not a virgin and already broke that vow.
- The Chains of Commanding: Jon does not want to have anything to do with Roose Bolton, but Sam reminds him he does have to ask for help and recruits to the sitting ruler of the North.
- Church Militant: Cersei allows the Faith to arm itself, hoping to use them as a weapon against the Tyrells.
- Cincinnatus: Invoked by Cersei to convince the reluctant High Sparrow that someone who wants no power is best suited to have it.
- Composite Character: Mace Tyrell is sent to Braavos instead of the minor character Harys Swyft, Kevan Lannister's father-in-law. Swyft's guards are replaced by Meryn Trant.
- Conveniently Placed Sharp Thing: Averted; Jorah has stuck his sword through Tyrion's bonds to hold him in place while he steals the boat. When he returns, Tyrion is frantically rubbing the ropes against the blade, but hasn't had time to free himself.
- Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: The last Harpy is about to cut Ser Barristan's throat when Grey Worm stabs the Harpy from behind.
- Create Your Own Villain: Cersei turns the Sparrows into the Faith Militant in her bid to sow discord in Tommen and Margaery's relationship and get rid of the Tyrells. The only problem is the Sparrows directly question Tommen's authority as King, considering that by this point it's Westeros's biggest open secret that he's the illegitimate child of an incestuous relationship. Given this, it won't be long before the Faith Militant turn their attention to Cersei.
- Death by Adaptation: Ser Barristan the Bold is alive and kicking by the end of A Dance with Dragons. Even Ian McElhinney was surprised by the change.
- A Death in the Limelight: Ser Barristan gets a lot more focus in this episode than he did before. Sure enough, he ends up dying right after he and Dany bond over a fond story about her brother Rhaegar.
- Didn't Think This Through:
- Cersei's actions in rearming the Faith Militant may benefit her in the short run - but the repercussions for her personally are already beginning to show, as Tommen is blatantly disrespected and disobeyed, and flat out called a bastard and abomination. Since rumors of her relationship with Jaime are already widespread, how long will it be before the Faith turns on Cersei and her children? Not to mention, she just sent her most loyal bodyguard off to Braavos and the Sparrows already have one highly incriminating witness in their own ranks...
- Tyrion brings this up to Ser Jorah, as his plan to win back favour with Daenerys using Tyrion is not particularly well thought-out. For one, Tyrion was on his way to Meereen anyways to (apparently) decide whether he would aid the Mother of Dragons. Second, going back could result in him being killed on sight, as he was obviously exiled. Lastly, would bringing a drunken captive dwarf really make up for all the wrong he's done Daenerys, even if he is a Lannister? Jorah doesn't seem to have a good answer to any of this, besides punching him in the face.
- Bronn wonders how in the seven hells is Jaime Lannister expecting to succeed with a covert mission when he is one of the most recognisable faces in all Westeros.
- For Queen Margaery, putting a good-natured but indecisive king on the throne isn't such a good idea now that a certain amount of ruthlessness and political acumen is called for.
- Disposing of a Body: Jaime and Bronn have to waste valuable time burying the men they killed, lest their bodies raise questions on who killed them. Or rather, Bronn has to do the digging, because Jaime can't dig with only one hand.
- Dramatic Irony: Littlefinger's plan is actually very well thought out, except for one issue: he thinks the Bolton boy is smitten with Sansa. Littlefinger apparently has no idea that Ramsay is a complete sociopath, which may end poorly for Littlefinger's plan. That is, unless he has made a plan for that too. After all, this is Petyr Baelish we're talking about here...
- Dramatic Unmask: Ellaria after she dismounts, but more dramatically the Pentoshi captain after the bucket is knocked off his head. Loras taking off his helmet after sword practice, showing who the Faith Militant's main target is. Grey Worm in the melee.
- Dry Crusader: The Faith Militant start their war on sin by stoving in barrels of ale with axes and hammers.
- Due to the Dead: Sansa goes down to the crypts of Winterfell to pay respect to her ancestors.
- Enemy Mine: Jon refuses to ally with the man who murdered his brother, until Sam reminds him that the Watch needs men and supplies from the Warden of the North.
- Exact Words: Cersei doesn't have Loras in a cell. The Sparrows have him.
- Evil Costume Switch: When the Sparrows become the Faith Militant, they switch out their grey robes for black ones adorned with chains and seven-pointed stars carved into their foreheads.
- King Tommen's response to being defied is to back down and avoid a potential riot, unlike his Stupid Evil elder brother King Joffrey.
- Compare King Stannis story of the lengths he went to save his disfigured daughter because she was family, to Lord Tywin's tale of how he graciously decided not to drown Tyrion because he was family.
- Foreshadowing: Bronn comments that "two knights off to rescue a princess" makes a good song, while Jaime snarks back that he's heard it before. The episode is full of references to Rhaeger and Lyanna, whose tale ended with knights (one of whom was a loved family member) going to rescue a princess "trapped" in a tower except Ned never managed to save her. Not the greatest tale for Jaime to allude to as he's going to save his daughter...
- The Glomp: Stannis gets a well-deserved hug from his daughter. After a long pause, he returns it.
- Good Parents: When Shireen asks Stannis if he's ashamed of her, he tells her the story of how she became infected with grayscale from a doll that he bought for her. He refused to send her away and called every healer he could find to save her life. Then he affirmed his love and pride in her. Averted with Shireen's mother, who made it clear that she didn't want her daughter to come with them.
- Hero Stole My Bike: Jorah knocks out a fisherman and steals his boat, though he has the decency to leave a few coins in compensation.
- Heteronormative Crusader: The Sparrows murder (or maybe castrate) two men for having sex with each other. When Olyvar catches a glimpse of this, he immediately flees for his life.
- Hollywood Tactics: The Sons of the Harpy are essentially back-alley thugs with knives and they are fighting the Unsullied, the most disciplined warriors of Essos, skilled in the use of spears. In the books and in the earlier scenes, the Harpy managed to attack the Unsullied guerilla style after lowering their guard, here they attack them full-on in an ambush in a small area without any armour or significant protection.
- To be sure, the Unsullied pay them back in kind. In A Storm of Swords, they are described as "the lockstep legions of Ghis come again," implying the kind of formation work and bristling shield-walls audiences might remember from the hoplites in 300. But when out of formation, King Leonidas's Spartans did the sensible thing: they ditched their spears and drew their swords. The Unsullied seem to have forgotten to bring swords, leaving them extremely vulnerable to someone who is light on his feet and has only a short blade. Funny, that exactly describes the Sons of the Harpy...
- Honey Trap: This time it's the Second Sons who fall for it.
- I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Melisandre opens her robe to show her perfect breasts, puts Jon's hand on one and invites him to feel her... heartbeat.
- Impoverished Patrician: The financial state of the crown is not looking good: the Iron Throne cannot pay back even a tenth of what they owe the Iron Bank now that the Lannisters are broke. Mace Tyrell offers to assist with repayment, but Cersei hates anything to do with the Tyrells and refuses to cede any more ground to them. She knows very well how her father did exactly the same for Robert.
- Insistent Terminology: They're not kidnapping Princess Myrcella, they're rescuing Jaime's "niece".
- I Surrender, Suckers: Bronn gives up his longsword, then throws a knife into the Dornishman's throat.
- It's All About Me: If it wasn't apparent before, Cersei has become even more transparent in her attempt to dissolve the Small Council in-order to leave herself as the sole power. She sends Mace Tyrell off to handle their debt with the Iron Bank. Pycelle quips that the council keeps getting smaller, and Cersei fires back that it's not small enough yet.
- Judge, Jury, and Executioner: The Faith Militant carries out swift justice in a largely arbitrary fashion: certain "sinners" like Ser Loras are imprisoned, while others have their property destroyed abruptly or are brutalized or killed for engaging in whoring. None of these attacks come with warning or have any pretense of due process.
- Kick the Dog: Just how far will Cersei go to keep her power. She will humiliate her own son, Tommen, by wrecking his marriage and then daring him to try and be more than a Puppet King all so he would have no one to rely on but Mummy.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: The Pentoshi captain smuggled and then betrayed Jaime, so the Sand Snakes are punishing a traitor, but they go out of their way with the torture, having him buried up to his neck in sand with scorpions crawling over his head.
- Kiss Diss: Littlefinger kisses Sansa on the mouth and while she doesn't turn away, she doesn't respond either. Sansa then pointedly mentions that the next time they meet, she'll be married. Littlefinger responds with an enigmatic smile.
- Last Stand: Ser Barristan Selmy and Grey Worm, despite being greatly outnumbered by the Sons of the Harpy, managed to kill every last Son before succumbing to their own wounds.
- Longing Look: Jaime catches sight of a beautiful island on the way to Dorne. When he's told that it's Tarth — Brienne's homeland — he gazes at it for quite some time with a look that's almost lovestruck.
- The Lost Lenore: Jon is able to resist Melisandre's seduction because he's still in love with Ygritte.
- Lysistrata Gambit: Another low-key example from Queen Margaery, who dresses in one of her cleavage-revealing outfits before walking out on King Tommen, the implication being that he won't get any until she gets her brother back.
- Meaningful Echo: Melisandre stuns Jon Snow when she uses Ygritte's Catchphrase, "You know nothing, Jon Snow." Given her powers as a seer, she may well have done this deliberately.
- Meaningful Look:
- When Jon says he can't sleep with her because of his Night's Watch oath, Melisandre just gives Jon a look, knowing full well that he's already broken that one.
- Melisandre and Queen Selyse exchange a long look after the Red Woman says it doesn't matter about Shireen's deformity, because royal blood runs through her veins. Given what other things Melisandre wanted to use king's blood for, this cannot bode well.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: When the Faith Militant raids Baelish's brothel, several men (both patrons and prostitutes) are shown to be brutalized or killed while the female prostitutes mostly get struck and cast aside so that they can run away. Notably, they seem especially vindictive against male homosexuals.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Ser Barristan just taught Daenerys (and the viewers) everything he knew about her family history and proper ruling. Naturally this was the end of the line for him...
- Mythology Gag:
- The seven-pointed star that the Faith Militant members carve on their foreheads. In the books, the banner of the Poor Fellows - the humble faction of the Faith Militant, now composed mostly of Sparrows - was a red seven-pointed star. The self-scarification of course refers to the stars that Andal warriors carved on their chests during the Andal Invasion of Westeros.
- A more subtle one, but Jaime briefly asks the captain if the island he's seeing is Estermont. In the books, Estermont was the island where Cersei and Robert spent their honeymoon. Robert cheated on Cersei with one of the Estermont girls (a cousin as it happens!) which resulted in Cersei and Jaime beginning their incestuous affair in earnest and according to Cersei, resulting in the conception of Joffrey.
- No Social Skills: Once again, Stannis is visibly rigid when Shireen hugs him. However, this time he returns the hug after some moments.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Olyvar has this reaction when the Faith Militant prepare to kill two men for their homosexuality.
- Jon Snow is visibly creeped out when Melisandre repeats Ygritte's famous catchphrase: "You know nothing, Jon Snow."
- Jaime when the Dornishman gets to his feet after falling off his horse, and he realizes he's going to have to put his left-handed fighting practice into practice.
- One-Man Army:
- Ser Barristan Selmy (with no shield or armor) takes on at least 8 Sons of the Harpy by himself and manages to kill all except one of them before going down.
- In the same scene, Grey Worm manages to continue fighting while his fellow Unsullied fall, taking down as many if not more of the Sons of the Harpy than Ser Barristan. He even kills one with a knife that he pulled out of his own flank.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- Stannis finds it doubtful that Ned Stark fathered a bastard with some tavern slut.
- Margaery fails to balance her real anger and her sweet façade for a moment, and is actually taken aback by Tommen's naivety. She notices it in time to mitigate it, but her oblivious husband does not.
- Open Secret:
- Roose Bolton apparently didn't do a good job of ensuring his involvement in the Red Wedding (or the fact that he killed Robb Stark) was a secret, since Littlefinger, Sansa and even Jon Snow know that he killed the King in the North. A complete contrast from the books, where the Northern lords at best are sure Roose Bolton lies about his part in the Red Wedding but ignore he killed Robb.
- Loras's homosexuality is so common knowledge that the Faith Militant arrests him with no evidence.
- Pen-Pushing President: Downplayed. Jon Snow finds out that the position of Lord Commander of the Night's Watch involves a fair amount of desk-work and signing letters, much to his exasperation. This is probably furthered by the fact that he and Sam Tarly are among the few Night's Watch brothers who can actually read and write, so he can't just delegate the task to Maester Aemon. And to cap it all, he has to kiss up to the Boltons, whom he despises for killing his brother Robb, since without the support of the North, the Night's Watch simply won't be able to get the men and supplies they need to man the Wall.
- Pet the Dog: King Stannis reminds the audience that even though he can be cold, he still loves his daughter dearly. He's also quick to tell his self-blaming wife that it's not her fault that they don't have a son.
- Pity the Kidnapper: Played for Laughs: Tyrion keeps asking Jorah through his gag to untie him, then grunting The Rains of Castamere. This annoys the errant knight enough to un-gag his prisoner.
- Playing Both Sides: Littlefinger sets up a Xanatos Gambit in which Sansa will rule the North whether Stannis defeats the Boltons or not.
- Police Are Useless: As the Faith Militant attacks people in the street, one man cries out to the goldcloaks to restore order, but the goldcloaks just turn their backs.
- Properly Paranoid: Bronn tries to warn Jaime about the possibility of the boat captain knowing too much and alerting the Martells (who hate the Lannisters) that Jaime is within their borders. Bronn knows better than most that, no matter how much gold you give to someone to shut them up, someone else will probably offer them more to talk. Not long afterwards we see the same boat captain being tortured by the Sand Snakes after having tried to sell that information.
- Puppet King: Tommen tries to be more than one but finds out exactly how powerful he really is. He has no popular support, the Faith is entirely opposed to him and Cersei is pulling the strings as he and Margaery painfully discover.
- The Purge: The newly-revived Faith Militant sweeps through King's Landing to clean it of sin, storming brothels and taverns and killing or arresting sinners, including Ser Loras Tyrell.
- "Rashomon"-Style: Rhaegar Targaryen is discussed twice in the episode from two different perspectives. Ser Barristan says he was Modest Royalty who was more into music than fighting and Daenerys is happy at knowing that at least someone in her family wasn't an asshole. In the crypts of Winterfell, Littlefinger and Sansa discuss Rhaegar's actions at the Tourney of Harrenhal, where Littlefinger sees Rhaegar's "choice" as disastrously romantic while Sansa repeats Robert's story that Rhaegar was a rapist who brought harm to her family.
- Reality Ensues:
- No matter how good of a fighter you are, it is extremely difficult to fight outnumbered 10-to-1 and come out unscathed. Even though Grey Worm and Ser Barristan manage to kill most of the attacking Harpies, they sustain several nasty wounds from being ganged-up on that slay Barristan and very well might kill Grey Worm too.
- The Unsullied are feared for their iron discipline and spear-and-shield formation, making them seem borderline invincible. When patrolling the streets of Meereen, they are much more vulnerable when their flanks are exposed and their helmets limit their peripheral vision. The Sons of the Harpy take advantage of this and stage urban ambushes, where several individual Unsullied are simply caught off guard and killed quickly.
- Growing up being the Spare to the Throne and under a My Beloved Smother has left Tommen woefully unprepared for the realities of being king.
- A more psychological example is Shireen, who has spent most of her life scarred by the greyscale, away from other people and with an unstable mother. Despite her kindhearted nature, such a life hasn't been good for her self-esteem, and she feels that her father Stannis, who loves her, is also ashamed of her.
- Littlefinger's intelligence gathering network is shown to rival Varys, but he's gathered little information on the bastard son of a Northern house far from the center of power in Kings Landing.
- Rearing Horse: An Invoked Trope by Bronn, who causes the horse to rear by slashing at his legs. The rider falls off, making him an easy target for Jaime Lannister. In theory.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Cersei sends Mace Tyrell on a mission to Braavos in order to settle things with the Iron Bank. His escort for the long and dangerous trip? Her trusted brute Ser Meryn. At best, this is simply to get Mace out of the way. At worst, it could see Mace murdered by Meryn.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Both King's Landing and Meereen experience newly escalated trouble with brutal cult-like organizations: one is mainly religious while the other one is political. The Faith Militant operates out in the open, making examples of everybody whose lifestyle doesn't agree with their radical ideology, but apparently they don't scheme much. They don't make secrets about their identities or their hierarchy, so it's really obvious who they are and what they want. The Sons of the Harpy on the other hand are a much more mysterious group that operates anonymously and takes advantage of Meereen's narrow, crooked alleys for their assassination sprees.
- Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Littlefinger comments to Sansa that she's the only one with the Stark name left because, as far as they and most of Westeros know, nearly her whole Stark family has been killed — except for her known surviving sibling Jon Snow, but he is Lord Commander of the Night's Watch now and does not officially have the Stark name. However, few people are aware that most of her other siblings who are believed to be dead are actually alive (except for Robb): Arya has been missing since the end of Season 1, where she was last publicly seen as Arya Stark, but she is now hiding across the narrow sea. Meanwhile, Bran and Rickon are thought to be dead because Theon faked their deaths in Season 2, but they were able to flee Winterfell alive. Bran is now beyond the Wall while Rickon has been Put on a Bus with Osha.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: After trying to sell information on Jaime Lannister to the Sand Snakes, the Pentoshi captain is buried up to his neck in sand with scorpions crawling over his head, then gets speared in the face by Obara.
- Reveal Shot: We see a man getting cut into with blood dripping down the sides, thinking it's just the Faith Militant torturing some poor bastard. It turns out to be Lancel Lannister receiving his disturbing scarification star on his head to join the ranks.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Olyvar wisely just flees when he sees the Sparrows rounding up a homosexual lord and his lover and doing something awful to them.
- Sherlock Scan: With just a few visual clues, Tyrion is able to deduce he's been kidnapped by Jorah Mormont.From the books...
- Shield Bash: Seen as the Unsullied battle the Sons of the Harpy.
- Ship Tease: When Jaime is told they're sailing past Tarth, he gives Brienne's home a Longing Look.
- Shout-Out: Oberyn Martell giving his daughter a choice between tears or the spear as her Weapon of Choice, is a shout out to Lone Wolf and Cub.
- Sibling Team: The Sand Snakes, as they are all Oberyn Martell's bastard daughters and appear to work together.
- Smug Smiler: Cersei spends most of the time smirking and too pleased with herself, thinking she's dealt very cleverly with Mace and Loras Tyrell.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Jaime and Bronn carry on the noble tradition. Averted with Tyrion and Jorah, who just smacks Tyrion in the face after he makes one too many barbed comments.
- Stab the Scorpion: Bronn throws a dagger in Jaime's direction just as he's waking up...and it hits a snake that was slithering toward him. Then they cook the snake for breakfast.
- Stunned Silence: Littlefinger recalls how when Prince Rhaegar snubbed his wife Princess Elia in favor of Lady Lyanna, "all the smiles died" and everyone went silent.
- Swipe Your Blade Off: Bronn wipes the blood off his sword using a dead Dornishman's cloak.
- Sword Plant: Bronn does this when told to put his sword in the sand by the Dornish horsemen... which allows him to rearm himself very quickly after throwing his kukri into one of the riders.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Bronn drops plenty of hints regarding Jaime's inability to fight properly and alleged Twincest, while Jaime points out that, thanks to his disability, he really must leave the hard work of rowing and burying to Bronn.
- The Teetotaler: The High Sparrow states that while religious purity would seem like a good reason for turning down Cersei's offer of wine, in truth he just doesn't like the taste.
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Jaime invokes this on himself, insisting he has to be a part of Myrcella's rescue mission, despite all the logical reasons why he really shouldn't be. Bronn quickly figures out that he's making up for indirectly causing his own father's death.
- This Is Unforgivable!: Jaime says that when he finds Tyrion again, he's going to split him in half for killing their father. That would make Tyrion a quarter-man — just doesn't have the same ring to it.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: Lancel gives one when he gets up after his disturbing initiation ritual.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The next episode preview pretty clearly shows Dany and Daario hovering over Barristan's dead body, when in the episode itself, it is ambiguous whether Selmy actually succumbs to his wounds or whether he survives.
- Tranquil Fury: Queen Margaery is initially furious that her brother is locked up, but when she realizes that she's forgetting her "sweet, loving wife" act in front of Tommen, she puts it back on, but not enough to entirely hide her anger.
- Trash the Set: Littlefinger's brothel, courtesy of the Faith Militant.
- The Triple: "Power to make life, power to make light, and power to cast shadows."
- The Vamp: Melisandre tries, but fails, to seduce Jon into marching to Winterfell with Stannis and get him to father a shadow assassin with her.
- Waif-Fu: Obara can throw a spear with deadly efficiency without any of her book counterpart's muscle tone.
- Weapon of Choice: The Sand Snakes — Obara is a Javelin Thrower, Tyene is a Knife Nut, while Nymeria likes to Whip It Good. Happens In-Universe too with Obara's "tears or the spear" anecdote.
- Wham Episode: The Faith and the Sons of the Harpy make their respective moves in force. Ser Barristan, the greatest living knight in Westeros, dies in battle and leaves Dany's situation murkier than ever.
- Wham Line:Melisandre: You know nothing, Jon Snow.
- Why Are You Not My Son?: Selyse assumes that Stannis feels this way about Jon Snow and feels guilty about Shirreen. Stannis however asserts to Shireen that this is definitely not what he feels about her, much as he respects Jon.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: King Tommen shows that he's a sweet kid, but being idealistic combined with being totally out of his elementnote means that he has no effective power. He believes that the High Sparrow will simply listen to his King, and when confronted by both the Faith Militant and the angry smallfolk, he refuses to resort to violence and simply backs off.
- Wild Card: Littlefinger has a clever Xanatos Gambit in which Sansa will become Wardeness of the North no matter who holds Winterfell, Stannis or the Boltons. However, the "Roose wins" victory condition depends on Ramsay being smitten with Sansa so that she can manipulate him... and Ramsay is most assuredly not who Baelish thinks he is... or is he?
- The Worf Effect:
- A political version; the fact that Tommen, the king himself, can't free his own brother-in-law speaks to how powerful the High Sparrow has become.
- A straighter version with the Unsullied. They get slaughtered by the Sons of the Harpy, in some instances before they even get the chance to strike back, demonstrating the very real threat the Sons represent.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: There are only supposed to be seven Kingsguard at any one time. Jaime is Lord Commander, Ser Meryn is sent to Braavos, and we see five Kingsguard with Tommen at the Great Sept...apparently forgetting that on-screen, they sent Ser Arys Oakheart with Myrcella to Dorne back in Season 2? There are three explanations: 1 - One of those five was Meryn and he just hadn't left yet (unlikely, because Meryn is usually the point man of the Kingsguard, but instead they have another one speak to Tommen urging force), 2 - Ser Arys escorted Myrcella to Dorne, but returned in the TV version once she got there, 3 - The writers just plainly forgot about Ser Arys.
- Xanatos Gambit: Littlefinger plays a simple one: No matter who takes Winterfell, Sansa will be either married to the heir of Winterfell, or rescued from having to marry the most hated family in the North. Either way, she is put in a position of power.