We hear screams and see Maester Luwin run indoors and hastily scribble a note to be sent by raven. Then Theon Greyjoy bursts into Bran’s bed chamber and wakes him up to tell him he’s taken Winterfell. In the best question ever asked on TV, Bran blinks the sleep out of his eyes and asks, “Why?” Theon explains that he’s a Greyjoy and he can’t fight for Robb and his father both. He made his choice. He tells Bran that he will yield Winterfell to him in front of all the townspeople. Bran refuses, but Theon says he must yield to keep his people safe.
In the courtyard, Bran yields Winterfell to “Prince” Theon. Theon says, “you all know me,” and one of the men says, “We know you to be a steaming sack of shit.” So, basically, wherever Theon goes, he receives the same amount of respect. There should be a lesson in there for him, but he’s too thick to see it. Theon instructs Maester Luwin to send a raven to his father and another to his sister telling them of his conquest. Osha immediately bows down to Theon and addresses him as Lord, much to his great pleasure. When Bran asks her why she would side with Theon, Osha says, it’s his dream (of the sea wiping out Winterfell).
Two of Theon’s men bring in a bloodied Rodrik Cassel. He is furious with Theon, who was raised here in Winterfell along with the Stark children. Robb thought of Theon as a brother. How could he do such a thing? But Theon says his brothers are dead, dead from fighting the Starks. Rodrik said that war was on Theon’s father Balon had started. Ned had raised him among his sons. But Theon says he was a hostage, taken from home. Rodrik says he should have put a sword in Theon’s belly instead of his hand and then he spits on him. Theon tells the men to lock him up. But then a pivotal moment arises.
Dagmer tells Theon he’ll never get the respect (and fear) he wants if he doesn’t take drastic action. Kill Rodrik. He has to pay the iron price. Send a message. Be feared. You can see the conflict plaguing Theon and watch the moment where there is no turning back for him. He orders Rodrik killed. Maester Luwin tries to reason with Theon, but it’s too late. Bran is hysterical, he was promised his people would be safe if he yielded. Rodrik is not done with Theon. He reminds him, he who passes the sentence should swing the sword. And so Theon tries to act like Ned Stark but butchers the job, hacking away at poor Rodrik and then kicking his head in frustration. He manages to look clownish and not at all Princely while striving to earn respect.
The five rangers, and Ghost, are walking through the vast icy wasteland of the North, in search of Mance Rayder’s lookouts. They sleep by day and hunt by night. Jon suggests they could do they same thing, but Qhorin tells him they can’t. They don’t know the ins and outs of the terrain like the wildlings do. Qhorin gives him a speech about the life of a Night’s Watch ranger and how lonely and thankless it is and how he’ll give his life so those to the south can remain safe and they won’t even know about it. Not much of a pep talk.
Back at Harrenhal, Tywin Lannister is fed up with the men he’s surrounded by. He asks one if he can read. He sent information of troop movements that were supposed to go to Lord Damon of House Marbrand to Lord Marlyn of House Dormand instead. How exactly do you mess that up? He asks Arya to fetch him a book and just by the name she knows which one he wants, causing him to observe that his cup bearer can read better than this man. He painstakingly goes through the book just to point out how potentially egregious this mistake was and how many lives it could have cost had it not been caught in time.
A visitor is announced, Lord Petyr Baelish. Arya panics. He has seen her at King’s Landing, Littlefinger could identify her. It’s a nerve-wracking scene as we, and Arya, are expecting Littlefinger to out her at any moment. Littlefinger admits that he has come directly from Renly Baratheon’s camp. While Tywin has heard the rumor that a woman killed him, Littlefinger suggests that there might have been other forces…dark forces…at work. Littlefinger has brought a proposition to Tywin. The next most powerful family is the Tyrells and they have as yet to swear allegiance to any side in the current conflict. Margaery is newly widowed and wants to be queen. Littlefinger gets Tywin to agree to let him broker a deal between the two families. Littlefinger also tells Tywin that Tyrion had sent him to talk with Catelyn about a deal, exchanging the girls for Jaime.
But before we hear any more about that, we’re back up North of the Wall. Jon and the rangers have come upon a small group of wildlings. They attack the lookouts and as Jon is about to kill the last one, he takes its hood off and sees that it’s a girl. He is stopped in his tracks. He starts on about how they can question her, or take her prisoner, but he does not want to kill her. She says her name is Ygritte and she asks Jon his name. She tells him they should burn the ones they killed, but Qhorin says it’s a trick, she just wants the smoke to send word to her fellow wildlings. But she says that she wants the dead to stay dead.
Qhorin is done talking and wants her dead, but Jon stops him. He says he’ll do it. Qhorin says, hurry it up, we’ll meet you at the top of the mountain. The rest of the group leaves Jon to finish her off. But he can’t. She’s a ginger and isn’t that punishment enough? She keeps talking to him and confusing his teeny little brain. She tells him to do it, calls him bastard, but he just can’t. Seeing an opening, she knocks him down and runs away. He chases after her and eventually tackles her. But he can’t find his men and the two of them are alone on the mountain. The sun is going down and there is no help for miles.
Myrcella is being shipped off to Dorne to make a love connection with a member of the House Martell. She’s crying, probably because she’s the only girl in a boat full of guys and the trip can be very long. Cersei shows no emotion as one of her two good children is sent away, but she makes a very long, very powerful threat to get even with Tyrion for doing this to her.
Joffrey mocks his little brother Tommen for crying (“princes don’t cry”) and Sansa has the temerity to blurt out to Joffrey, “I saw you cry.” She goes on to say that her little brother cried when she left Winterfell. It’s a normal thing to cry. Joffrey is incredulous. Is your little brother a prince, he sneers. “Not really relevant, then, is it?”
As Joffrey leaves the dock and heads back to the castle, he is jeered by some of the common folk. Some call him murderer. Others bastard. Others call out how they are hungry and beg for food. Tyrion sees that things are already out of hand and has the guards take Tommen to safety. One of the townspeople lobs a cow pie that hits Joffrey square in the face and he goes ballistic, demanding they find and kill whoever threw it. He starts yelling, “Kill them, kill them all!” And his guards start murdering the townspeople. The Hound grabs Joffrey and takes him to safety.
Meanwhile, the septon (who had been doing the goodbye prayer for Myrcella) is taken down by the mob, screaming. His arm is ripped off and held like a prize overhead. Tyrion sees all this and he wonders aloud if Sansa has made it to safety. She is surrounded, chased down a hallway. Tyrion blows up at Joffrey for starting all of this by demanding murder for someone throwing a cowpie at him and slaps him again. He continues looking for Sansa, saying if she dies, Jaime dies.
Sansa is cornered and the men who have her are not about to show any mercy. They are about to take turns raping her when the Hound comes in and kills them all, one at a time in suitably gruesome fashion. “You’re all right now, little bird,” he tells Sansa. And he must be the most welcome sight she has ever seen. Tyrion thanks the Hound for saving Sansa, but the Hound responds that he didn’t do it for him.
Dany is cooling her heels, waiting for the Spice King. She has rejected the wealthiest man in Qarth’s marriage proposal, so she is now set to meet with the second wealthiest man to see if they can negotiate a deal that does not involve her having to marry a total stranger. She wants ships to cross the Narrow Sea to retake the Iron Throne and if he gives them to her, she will make him richer by far than he is now. But he does not think this a wise investment. She does not have an army or powerful allies, so no deal. She tells the man that she does have dragons, she is the mother of dragons. No one believed that dragons would live again, but she did. She dreamed it and it came true. She is no ordinary woman.
Arya sees a letter from Tywin about his war strategy and she’s reading it when Tywin notices. Who taught her to read, he asks. She says he father and Tywin remembers how he tried to teach his son Jaime, but he had trouble as he confused his letters (similar to how he now confuses sister with lover). Tywin asks about Arya’s father and she says your evil grandson took his head you bastard…I mean, he was a stonemason. But she does tell the truth when she answers what killed him – loyalty.
She asks Tywin about his own father and he says that his father was a weak man who nearly destroyed the family and their name. While he’s talking, she takes the letter about her brother. She slips out with it under a ruse of going to get more wood for the fire.
She runs into a Lannister knight, Amory Lorch, who asks her about the letter she’s carrying and doesn’t believe her story. So he says he will take her to Lord Tywin to tell him what she has and find out what the truth is. Arya is in a panic that she’s about to be found out. She runs away from him and looks for Jaqen H’ghar and quickly gives him the knight’s name. She says it has to be now, he’s about to tell Tywin and though Jaqen tells her these things can’t be rushed, he gets to Amory just as he’s entering Tywin’s office.
Robb cannot get enough of the hot nurse Talisa and he goes over to talk to her some more. He is totally smitten and while he should be making plans with his war council instead he is flirting with her. Who should walk up right now but the ultimate buzz kill – Mom. Catelyn makes small talk with Talisa and learns that she not from around here but Volantis. After she leaves mom gets right to the point, Talisa is cute but you are promised to Walder Frey’s daughter. Do your duty – following your heart is not an option. Roose Bolton walks up with news from Winterfell.
Jon is dragging Ygritte his prisoner around the great white nothingness while looking for the rest of his men, but he can’t find them. It’s getting late, so they must camp out there for the night. Ygritte suggests that to keep from freezing to death they’re going to have to snuggle and Jon is not in the mood for foreplay. She grinds and moves up against him to get a rise out of him and its easy to figure out which of them is in control of this situation.
Robb and Catelyn cannot believe what has happened in Winterfell. Why would Theon do this? “Because the Greyjoys are treasonous whores,” says Roose Bolton. They find out that Rodrik is dead and Catelyn is real helpful telling Robb “I told you not to trust a Greyjoy.” Not the best time for an I told you so, Mom. Robb wants to go directly to Winterfell to kill Theon but Bolton tells him that as king he can delegate some jobs. Bolton says he’ll give word to his bastard son at the Dreadfort to raise a few hundred men to retake Winterfell. “My son would be honored to bring you Prince Theon’s head,” says Bolton. He tells Bolton to make sure his son knows that Bran and Rockons safety is paramount and he wants Theon brought to him alive so he can ask him why – and then take his head.
Back at Winterfell, Osha is working her feminine wiles on Theon. As the saying goes, she cleans up well. Theon is powerless over his little Theon and he can’t wait to have sex with her. He promises her freedom in exchange for a romp in the hay.
Shae is tending to Sansa’s wounds, both physical and emotional. While she’s a terrible handmaiden, she’s better at just being generally helpful and supportive. Sansa is a wreck, she doesn’t understand why the men would hate her and want to hurt her. She’d help them if she could. And she hates the king as much as they do. Shae cautions her not to say that, what if the wrong person heard her? But I trust you, says Sansa. Don’t trust anybody, Shae tells her. It’s safer that way.
Speaking of not trusting anyone guess who was playing Theon? Osha! She slips out from his bed, kills a guard, and then helps Bran, Rickon, Hodor and their direwolves escape.
Dany is frustrated with how her attempted business dealings are going in Qarth. Though she can promise riches beyond their wildest dreams, none of the businessmen want to take a chance on a beautiful young girl with no army and some baby dragons she refuses to show. Go figure. She enters the gate where her khalasar was housed and finds them all slaughtered. She runs in, sees Irri dead on the floor and on the table, the cage where her dragons were is open…and empty. She screams, “Where are my dragons?”
Bran (to Theon): Did you hate us the whole time.
Ser Rodrik: Gods help you Theon Greyjoy. Now you are truly lost.
Cersei (to Tyrion): One day I pray you love someone. I pray you love her so much, when you close your eyes you see her face. I want that for you. I want you to know what it’s like to love someone, to truly love someone, before I take her from you.
Tyrion: We’ve had vicious kings and we’ve had idiot kings, but I don’t know if we’ve ever been cursed with a vicious idiot for a king
Joffrey: You’re talking to a king.
Tyrion (slaps Joffrey): And now I’ve struck a king. Did my hand fall from my wrist?
Dany (to the Spice King): I did not come here to argue grammar.