“Big men fall just as quick as little ones if you put a sword through their heart.” ~ Jon Snow
Last season on Game of Thrones, Tyrion Lannister used wildfire to gain the upper hand over Stannis Baratheon’s forces allowing Tywin’s army to sweep in and emerge as victors of Blackwater Bay. Robb Stark, King of the North, has remained undefeated as he takes control of much of the south while Theon Greyjoy’s army has turned on him leaving Winterfell ransacked as the young lords of Winterfell, Rickon and Bran, head north to find Jon Snow in the Night’s Watch. Jon Snow, however, has gained the trust of the wildlings and is being taken to the King-Beyond-the-Wall, Mance Raydor, who has formed a grand army of wildlings with only the Night’s Watch standing between him and the Seven Kingdoms. Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen has reunited with her dragons and is on her way to Slaver’s Bay for ships and an army to take her home and retake the Iron Throne.
Amidst blowing snow and freezing cold, Sam Tarly runs blindly in search of his brothers of the Night’s Watch only to arrive at a ghastly scene as he finds a beheaded corpse, cradling its severed head. A wight suddenly emerges from the storm wielding an axe and swings it at Sam’s head. Sam ducks and as the wight continues to attack, a direwolf pulls it back just as an arrow hits it, lighting it on fire. Commander Jeor Mormont steps forward with men from the Night’s Watch and asks if Sam sent the ravens. When Sam tells him he has not, Jeor turns to his men and tells them they must hurry on to warn the others of the impending attack by the White Walkers.
Meanwhile, Jon Snow continues forward with the wildlings to their encampment where he is presented as a traitor who has killed Qhorin Halfhand and wants to be one of them. Mance Raydor emerges from the back as the King-Beyond-the-Wall and dismisses the other wildlings, telling Jon he’s glad the Halfhand is dead and shakes his hand. When Mance asks Jon why he wants to be one of them, after stating that he wants to be free, Jon admits that during a stop at Craster’s Keep, he saw Craster take his own baby boy and leave it in the woods and that he saw what took it. But most disturbingly, when he told the Lord Commander what he saw, the Lord Commander already knew and didn’t care. Jon confesses that he wants to fight for the side that fights for the living. At that, Mance accepts Jon’s answer and welcomes him into his army.
Back in Knight’s Landing, Bronn is being entertained by a whore when he is rudely interrupted at the behest of Tyrion Lannister. As Tyrion awaits Bronn’s arrival, he receives a visit from his sister inquiring about his impending meeting with their father. They trade a few barbs and just as Bronn arrives and is about to fight Cersei’s bodyguards, Cersei emerges from Tyrion’s chambers and leaves. Bronn and Tyrion head to see Tywin Lannister where Tyrion asks about a reward for his contributions to Blackwater. Noting that Jaime is unable to inherit Casterly Rock, Tyrion points out that he is the rightful heir and demands Casterly Rock as his reward. Tywin is disgusted by his son’s request. He belittles him with insults, clearly showing his disdain for having to claim him as his blood and tells him that he will give Tyrion accommodations more suited to his name and a position to fit his talents and if he serves faithfully, he will be given a suitable wife, but Tywin would “sooner be consumed by maggots” than make Tyrion the heir to Casterly Rock. He angrily dismisses his son, leaving Tyrion with a warning that he will hang the next whore he catches in Tyrion’s bed.
While Sansa and Shea sit on the pier and watch ships depart, Sansa daydreams of an escape from Knight’s Landing when Littlefinger joins them. Shea and one of Littlefinger’s women, Ros, hang back while he talks to Sansa. Sansa inquires about a means to return home and Littlefinger tells her that he is waiting for word on an assignment and he may be able to take her, but she needs to be ready at a moment’s notice. Just as he’s about to leave, Ros warns Shea to watch out for Sansa, but most specifically to watch out for Sansa with Littlefinger.
As King Joffrey and Lady Margaery Tyrell make their way through King’s Landing in a transport, Lady Margaery suddenly makes them stop and emerges from her carriage despite warnings about the dangers in the area and foulness of the street. She shrugs the warnings off and heads into an orphanage where she talks to and comforts the orphans of the soldiers who lost their lives at Blackwater Bay. King Joffrey is initially upset, but afraid to leave his own carriage. He is somewhat in awe of her bravery, so does nothing as she visits with the orphans. When they return to the castle for the dinner Cersei hosts, he compliments Lady Margaery’s gown and defends her actions against his mother, clearly showing a growing interest in Lady Margaery.
Meanwhile, Davos Seaworth wakes on land after surviving the wildfire that destroyed his and the rest of Stannis Baratheon’s ships. When he sees a ship in the distance he flags it down and finds men loyal to Stannis, who take him on board. There he learns that Stannis has returned to Dragonstone where he is licking his wounds, only taking council from the Red Woman, Melisandre. Stannis will only listen to her and if anyone talks against her, they are burned alive, as are all of his prisoners. Davos believes he must stop her and insists that he be taken to Dragonstone.
When the boat drops Davos off, he seeks out Stannis and asks to speak to him alone. When Stannis tells him they are alone, despite Melisandre remaining by his side, Davos tells Stannis that he is the rightful king, not by blood but because he is honorable and just. He questions Stannis’ actions of burning prisoners alive and then says Melisandre is the enemy. Melisandre points out that she could have saved the men who died at Blackwater Bay, but because Davos did not want her there, she did not come and the men died. She taunts him about their deaths and Davos lunges at her, dagger in hand. The guards save her and Stannis orders them to lock Davos up as Davos yells about Melisandre’s evil intent and that she’s a mother of demons.
In the North, Robb Stark arrives at Harrenhal, where he finds nearly two hundred northmen slaughtered like sheep in the ruins. Catelyn Stark knows one of the men, but is unable to grieve at any loss or assist with the burials as her son is holding her prisoner for freeing Jaime Lannister.
Crossing the Narrow Sea, Daenerys heads to Slaver’s Bay concerned that her dragons are not growing fast enough and that she does not have an army. They land in Slaver’s Bay where she is shown an army of slaves, comprised of men who must kill a newborn baby before its mother’s eyes as an initiation into the army. She is shown a demonstration of their fortitude as the nipple of one of the men is cut off, proving the men fear nothing. Daenerys is bothered by this demonstration, but needs an army. As she walks through the port with Jorah discussing her options, she notices a child playing with a ball and begins following the child. Focused on the child and her conversation with Jorah, she doesn’t notice a cloaked figure following closely behind her. When the child stops and rolls the ball to her, motioning her to open it, the cloaked man suddenly knocks her down and the ball drops from her hand. A poisonous creature crawls out from inside the ball and just as it is about to strike Daenerys, the cloaked man fatally stabs the creature and saves her life. She realizes the child is a warlock from the city of Qarth and thanks the man for saving her. He removes his hood and steps forward, introducing himself as Barristan Selmy, the former Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. He tells her he has come to vow his allegiance to Daenerys as he had once sworn to protect her family and will do so once again in her Queensguard as he bows to her.
I loved this episode, but I guess that’s fairly needless to say. I love everything I watch, don’t I? There were some interesting points hinting to future storylines, though one of the characters I’m most interested in was absent! Arya Stark is probably my favorite character of the show, so I’m curious to see what will develop with her story, but alas that’s a recap for another episode and with so many characters to follow, it’s impossible to have them all covered!
I absolutely loved the barbs thrown between Cersei and Tyrion. Tyrion, though a Lannister and I really don’t like the Lannisters (who does?), is another of my favorites and usually has some of the best lines. The entire scene with Cersei proved that. With every line (proving her evil nature is truly innate to her as it goes back to her childhood) Tyrion had a quip to quell her. My favorite being when Cersei says that though he is a clever man, he isn’t half as clever as he thinks he is and he replies simply with, “Still makes me more clever than you.” I laugh at quite a few of his lines. It’s unfortunate that despite his intelligence and accomplishments as hand to the king, he is still completely disregarded by his father. I guess that kind of makes me like him a bit more and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what ace Tyrion holds up his sleeve to spite his father.
Speaking of aces, I’m curious about Lady Margaery and Littlefinger. Lady Margaery has worked her way into the castle and is newly betrothed to Joffrey, but I can’t help but feel she’s hiding something. It’s almost as though she’s just too good to be true, saving the kingdom with food, visiting and helping orphans and complimentary to everyone. Maybe I missed something or just forgot something, as I’ve mentioned before, my memory does suck, but she seems fishy! It’s interesting to see Joffrey with that permanent smug look on his “pinched little head” having a little humanity. He actually seems fond of Lady Margaery. How long will that last before she becomes another Sansa or at the least gets a good view of Joffrey’s true, cowardly and incredibly disturbing nature? And what about Littlefinger? Is he really going to help Sansa? I somehow doubt that, and if he should, it will no doubt be to his own benefit. It made me all the more suspicious about his true intent when Ros warned Shea about him. Weirdly, I still want to like Littlefinger, despite his betrayals!
Since I’ve mentioned the Starks, I’m wondering how long will it be before Robb begins losing those battles and his secret wife, Talisa, brings about his downfall? He was betrothed to the daughter of Walder Frey after all. What’s going to happen when he finds out that those two went off and secretly got married despite Robb’s oath to him? I have to say I had really liked Robb right up to the point where he started taking interest in Talisa. I’m also curious about what has happened to Robb’s brothers. Last we saw them, they were heading North to the wall. As we know, Jon is putting on an act to get in with the wildlings, so what will Bran, Rickon and Osha find when the get to the Night’s Watch? It should be interesting seeing their trek to the North as well! I’m also curious to see if Jon’s act will stay an act or he’ll change sides and ultimately join the wildlings. He is becoming rather fond of Ygritte and love makes fools of us all. Obviously, I’m not really fond of relationships, but Jon Snow is at the frontline to the White Walkers and the wights, so though I’d rather not know more about his interest in Ygritte, I definitely hope to see much more of his situation and where it will lead!
I’m looking forward to seeing Daenerys arrive with her army and dragons in Westeros as well. She seems the most fit to rule…or at the least, the most compassionate and just. Or is that just me? She’s young and makes mistakes, but her youth and heart make her genuine which seems to be a fairly rare find in Westeros. There are a lot of people fighting for the throne and a lot of stories to follow, but hers is probably one of the most interesting since it involves dragons! (Okay, I may be biased because of that.)
There are just so many characters and so much happens in every episode, it’s hard to cover it all, but I can’t wait to see what this season has to offer! Based on this episode, there will be a lot happening and it will all be worth watching!
On that note, be sure to tune in next week to see what Game of Thrones has in store in “Dark Wings, Dark Words” airing Sunday at 9/8 CT!