New location during the title sequence, Riverrun. Riverrun is the castle/seat of the House Tully, Catelyn’s family. Her father, Hoster Tully, has died and the funeral for him is being held there.
The boat carrying Hoster Tully’s body is pushed out to the Trident River as part of his burial and his younger son Edmure attempts, repeadtedly and unsuccessfully, to light the boat on fire with an arrow. It is an awkward, unintentionally morbidly funny scene. Finally, his uncle Brynden (aka Blackfish) takes over and hits his mark the first time. The boat (at last) ablaze, the funeral is over.
Edmure, fresh off his embarrassing attempt at archery, is in castle chambers boasting to Robb about his army’s encounter with the Lannister army at the Battle of Stone Mill. But his uncle Brynden and his nephew Robb both point out that this was an epic blunder on Edmure’s part. Instead of using their army to lure the Lannister armies west, towards the Riverlands, where they could be surrounded and defeated, he instead attacked the Mountain’s Lannister army at Stone Mill. While the Lannister forces there sustained great losses, the Mountain escaped and the bulk of the Lannister army, under Tywin, was free to return to King’s Landing just in time for the Battle of the Blackwater.
Edmure ignores the strategic loss and instead wants praise for capturing two minor Lannisters, Willem and Martyn, Tywin’s nephews, but Robb notes that they are not worth anything. They won’t bring them any closer to peace. And instead their army lost 208 men. Edmure tries to justify his actions by saying the Lannisters lost far more men, but Robb snaps at him how they need their men more than the Lannisters do. You know that drunk uncle that always embarrasses everyone at family get togethers, Robb would trade him in for Edmure in a second.
By far the most entertaining scene in the show thus far was the scene of the first Small Council meeting with Tywin Lannister as Joffrey’s Hand of the King. Watching as the members of the small council jockey for position, both literally and figuratively, as they take their seats around the table is a masterpiece of choreography, direction and acting where words are superfluous. Peter Dinklage may have won his Emmy nomination on his handling of the large chair in this scene alone.
We see so much of everyone’s character in this scene. Desperate Littlefinger hurrying for the closest seat to power, Varys acknowledging Littlefinger’s mad dash for the prime seat with bemusement, the “dottering” Pycelle pretending not to care where he sits so long as he has a seat, Cersei refusing to take the far chair, instead lifting the one next to Pycelle and walking it around to place herself at her father’s right hand, and Tyrion, making a big statement by saying nothing, but deliberately, slowly, noisly dragging the last chair around to the head of the table, opposite from and equal to his father. Add his blithe jokes about the new council room to break the tension and Varys’ receptive smile and you have a truly priceless scene.
First item on the agenda, what do they know about Jaime’s escape from Robb Stark’s army. Surprisingly, neither Littlefinger nor Varys can shed any light on Jaime’s whereabouts and Tywin is not happy about that. Varys tells Tywin that Robb and most of his bannerman are in Riverrun for the funeral of Catelyn’s father. They also know that in Stark’s absence, Roose Bolton holds (what’s left) of Harrenhal which (in a dig to Littlefinger) would make him the Lord of Harrenhal “in practice if not in name.” But Tywin doesn’t care, it’s the name he wants so that the Lord of Harrenhal (Littlefinger) can marry Lady Arryn and bring her bannermen under Lannister control. Pycelle notes that if that marriage were to take place, Littlefinger would move from nothing, to Lord of Harrenhal to Lord of the Vale. Littlefinger brushes the rapid ascension aside noting that titles breed titles.
Tyrion has a concern about this proposed match, primarily as it would entail Littlefinger leaving the capital and the small council. The upcoming royal wedding is expected to be the most costly one ever, not a good time for the Master of Coin to be unavailable. Varys practically gives himself whiplash agreeing with Tyrion. Tywin agrees – which is why he’s appointing Tyrion as new Master of Coin. Littlefinger cannot wipe the grin off his face, Pycelle fully endorses the decision and Cersei lets it be known that she was part of the discussion. While Tyrion is insistent that he’s far better at spending money than managing it, what’s done is done.
The men riding under the Bolton banner are singing “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” as they lead their prisoner Jaime to Harrenhal. Jaime and Brienne are tied together on a horse and this time it is Brienne who needles Jaime, telling him how she had heard so much about Jaime Lannister, the brilliant swordsman. He tells her it wasn’t a fair fight as he was starved, weak and bound, but she persists that he was beaten by a girl. Jaime switches the subject to something more serious – tonight, the men will try and rape her. He suggests she not fight, because if she does, they will kill her. She asks Jaime if he’d take the same advice if he were a woman, but he admits he’d rather be killed.
Gendry is helping Thoros with his armor but Arya is mad at him for helping the man who’s keeping them prisoner. Thoros says that they are not his prisoners, merely his guests. She’s free to go, but she wouldn’t be safe and should stay with the Brotherhood. They load the Hound into a carriage (as he is a prisoner) and Arya stops to ask him if he remembers the last time they were here at the Inn of the Crossroads (just before he hunted down and killed the butcher’s boy), but he says all inns look alike and continues on. They’re all getting ready to leave, but Hot Pie isn’t going. He’s staying at the Inn to work in the bakery, he’s payment from Thoros for all the free meals the innkeeper has given his men. Hot Pie gives Arya a gift, a loaf of bread shaped like a wolf. She hops on the horse to ride out of town, and calls out to Hot Pie, she’s taken a bite of the bread, “It’s really good,” she tells him. And as we pull away we see a big smile on his face. Awww.
Catelyn and her uncle Brynden chat in her old bedroom at the castle and she is happy to hear that her uncle and father made peace before he died. As she remembers back to when she was a child waiting for her father to return from battle, she wonders if Bran and Rickon had been waiting for her back at Winterfell. Now she fears she’ll never see them again. Blackfish says they could still be alive, but more importantly Robb needs to think they’re still alive.
Talisa is bandaging the wounds of the two Lannister teens who were captured by Edmure. One of them, Martyn, asks if the rumors about Robb are true, how he can turn into a wolf at night and eat the flesh of his enemies. All true Talisa says (and you thought Nurse Ratchet was scary). She says he has nothing to fear, though, because Robb doesn’t eat children. Unless it’s a full moon. Is it a full moon tonight, she asks a soldier standing nearby.
Up north, Mance Rayder and his men come across some more white walker art work – the ritualistically displayed remains of their kills. All they see are horses, no bodies from the Night’s Watch. The Warg had seen dead crows, but they’re gone now. There were some 300 men there, which means potentially 300 new undead walking the earth. Mance order Tormund (redheaded guy) to take Orell (warg) and twenty other men (including Jon) and climb the Wall. They’re finally going to war. They will sneak up on Castle Black and when Mance gives the signal – a huge fire the warg’s eagle will see – they’ll know it’s time to attack.
The survivors from the Fist of the First Men make it back to Craster’s Keep. Sam sees Jon’s direwolf Ghost, but it just pads away. Craster is not the most welcoming to the returning Night’s Watch. But eventually (after he notes some of them with their hands on their weapons) he lets them in. While there, he’s a delightful host. He questions why he’s feeding them when his pigs deserve the food more, he ridicules the woman crying out in pain for not giving birth as quietly as the pigs, then he mocks Sam for being fat. Sam leaves the tent.
Outside, Sam follows the sound of the girl in labor and it’s Gilly. She has the baby and asks what sex it is and it’s bad news, a boy. She looks up and sees Sam just before he runs away.
Back in the torture chamber with Theon, the boy unties him and frees him. Theon is exhausted but he gets himself dressed and the boy tells him he has to ride if he stands any chance. Theon escapes, gets on a horse and the boy tells him to ride east and where his sister is waiting for him. Theon promises the boy he’ll make him a lord of the Iron Islands for helping free him, but the boy says “we’re not in the Iron Islands.”
On the shores of Dragonstone, Melisandre is preparing to leave for the Riverlands. Stannis thinks she’s abandoning him because of his recent defeat. He asks her to stay and make another demon baby with him, but she refuses because if they do it again it might kill Stannis. She’s going to get something even more powerful to help him, she needs king’s blood. Then Stannis will prevail. He’s confused at first, he’s the rightful king. But she explains that there are others with his blood in their veins. He will sit on the Iron Throne, but first there must be sacrifices. Her god demands it.
Jorah, Dany and Barristan Selmy are taking a lovely stroll along the Walk of Punishment (if it were called the Rue de Pénalité it would sound so much better) in Astapor, past the bloodied, crucified bodies of the slaves, placed here as a warning to other slaves not to do what they were brought here for. Dany wants to give one of the men water, but the man has been sentenced to death and the water will only prolong his suffering. The two men hint that perhaps Dany isn’t up for the job of leading an army as her heart is too soft, but she doesn’t mind spilling the blood of her enemies, she only objects to the murder of innocents.
Her two advisers disagree about whether Dany should buy the Unsullied warriors. Jorah thinks they will be helpful to her. He tells Dany that the Unsullied are not typical warriors, they will not rape and pillage. If she buys them, the only men they will kill are on her orders. They will be less savage than a regular army. But Barristan doesn’t believe in using slaves as warriors, because they are not fighting for love or honor. Barristan says he fought next to Rhaegor Targaryen, the last dragon, and he and his men fought nobly for a cause they believed in. But Jorah notes that they also were defeated. And Dany notes that he was not the last dragon.
Inside the city gates, the negotiations for the Unsullied begin. Dany wants to buy all of the men. Kraznys mo Nakloz wants to drive up the price, selling as few as possible for the most money. He mocks her, he makes rude, sexist comments in Valyrian about her, all of which his interpreter graciously ignores. He has 8,000 men and Dany wants them all. Even the ones still in training. Maester Greizhen says they can’t sell the untrained, if they fail, it will besmirch the otherwise great reputation of the slavers at Astapor. He offers to sell her twenty in exchange for her ships, maybe a few more if she throws in the Dothraki she has with her. All the while, the disconnect between the vile things he is saying and the cleaned-up version from the interpreter in startling.
Dany tells Krazny that she has dragons and she’ll sell him one. Both Jorah and Barristan think she’s lost her mind and try and stop her from selling one of her prized dragons. But she is determined. She agrees to sell one, the biggest one, but she also wants his interpreter Missandei, who has done such an expert job, as a gift from him. The deal is struck and Dany goes to get her dragons, talking with Missandei along the way. She finds out that everything she’s heard about the Unsullied is true. Dany makes sure Missandei knows that she is putting herself into potential peril as they are heading to war, but Missandei replies “Valar Morghulis” (all men must die) to which Dany responds, true, but we are not men.
Tyrion is picking up the royal ledgers from Littlefinger, which he has kept in his whorehouse. Tyrion’s squire Podrick is accompanying him and a bit distracted by Ros. Littlefinger comments that this is a perfect place to keep the ledgers as it is the safest place in the city, but Tyrion adds “not for bastards” because he just can’t give it a rest about the baby killing. Littlefinger thanks Tyrion for his part in freeing Ros, who had been detained by the queen. But he is curious why the queen thought Ros and Tyrion had a special relationship.
After he is done with Littlefinger, Tyrion has a surprise for Podrick. For his services above and beyond the call of duty (i.e., one life saving), Tyrion has set him up with not one, nor two, but three of the finest whores in the Capital, each with her own special talent. And this time Tyrion knows his gift will be appreciated.
Tyrion starts looking over the ledgers and doesn’t like what he sees. Littlefinger has been borrowing money and the crown is now deeply in debt to Tywin Lannister. Bronn doesn’t see why that is bad, won’t Tywin forgive the debt? Tyrion is shocked Bronn would even ask. But worse than owing money to Tywin, they also owe tens of millions to the iron bank of Braavos. And if they don’t pay it back, the bank will fund their enemies. One way or another, the Bravosi will get their money.
While Tyrion and Bronn are chatting, in pops Podrick, all finished with his present from Tyrion. They tease him a bit about how long he was gone and the jaunt in his step. Tyrion is happy to hear that Podrick got his money’s worth…until Podrick hands him his gold back. Seems the ladies wouldn’t take his money. So what did Podrick do, they ask. “Lots of things.” Bronn is dumbfounded. Tyrion is shocked and intrigued. So they liked Podrick so much, they gave it to him for free? That’s what he’s telling them. Quickly, they pour him a drink. They’re going to need to hear all about this.
Theon has been riding and riding and is in the middle of a beautiful but uninhabited countryside. No Yara, no one. All of a sudden, an arrow whizzes just past his head. His captors have found him and the chase is on. They shoot arrows at him and swing their battle axes and eventually surround him and knock him off his horse. They come over and kick him, repeatedly, telling him they’re going to show him how they deal with runaways. They pull off his pants and one of them is about to rape Theon, when the attacker is shot with an arrow. More arrows are shot into the group and one by one the men chasing him are taken down. Who has saved Theon?
It is the boy who helped him escape. He gets off his horse and walks over to where Theon is still lying on the ground. There is one more of the attackers there, and the boy slowly takes aim and, after the man mutters, “You bastard,” he shoots him in the chest with an arrow. He then reaches his hand out to Theon, and helps him up, saying, “Come, My Lord. You’re a long way from home and winter is coming.”
It’s after dark with the Bolton men and Brienne is probably thinking about what Jaime told her earlier in the day. Turns out, he understands these men pretty well. They come over and start talking about what they’re going to do to her. She tries to explain that she’s a noblewoman and was retained by Lady Stark to transport her prisoner, but they don’t care. Their only orders are to bring Jaime back alive, they have no orders about what to do with her. They start to attack her and she fights back, but she’s bound and there are too many of them. So they drag her away to rape her.
Jaime hears her screams and is troubled by what’s happening. He thinks fast and tells Locke, the leader of the group, that she is from a wealthy family. The Tarths, of the Sapphire Isle, will pay her weight in brilliant blue gems (which, without being mean, is a lot of gems) for her safe, and unsullied, return. It works, and Locke demands they stop what they’re doing and bring her back.
Locke questions Jaime. Would his father pay his weight in gold for his return? Jaime assures him he’d be quite wealthy if he returned him to his father. He would be rich as would his sons. Jaime goes on to tell him the North will never win the war, the Lannisters have the gold and the men. Locke seems convinced. Jaime is feeling confident. He talked his way into saving Brienne and now it looks like he’s talking his way into getting Lock to come side with him. He tests to see where the boundaries are, will Locke untie him? Sure enough, Locke agrees to untie him. Jaime is smooth as silk and presses on. Yes, thank you, he’d quite fancy something to eat. Locke tells Jaime they have some fine partridge and he brings Jaime over to the table, telling one of his men to bring the bird and his carving knife.
All the time that Jaime is chatting up Locke, we see Brienne’s face and she looks terrified. Suddenly, the men grab Jaime and throw him up against the table, his arms spread out in front of him. Locke has the knife in his hand and starts menacing Jaime with it, putting the point up by his eye. Locke had enough of Jaime’s talk and let’s him know he’s not as smart as he thinks he is. He is tired of Jaime relying on his daddy getting him out of any trouble he finds himself in. He tells him, that his father isn’t there and he should remember that. He turns to walk away, then says, here’s something to remind you and takes the carving knife and CHOPS OFF JAIME’S RIGHT HAND!!!!!! WTF??
We go to black and then this kick ass version of The Bear and The Maiden Fair is playing over the end credits and I don’t know about you but I’m standing up with my mouth hanging open, staring at the screen and alternating between what the eff just happened and whoa, cool song. I know that a show that kills off the main character in season one shouldn’t be able to shock me, but I did not see that coming!
Barristan Selmy: We can find sellswords in Pentos and Myr.
Jorah: Is it “we” already Ser Barristan?
Jorah: There’s a beast in every man and it stirs when you put a sword in his hand.
Littlefinger (about Podrick): I hear you owe that boy a significant debt.
Tyrion: Only my life. Not all that significant, I’m afraid.
Tyrion: Any advice for me on my new position?
Littlefinger: Keep a low profile.
Tyrion: If I had a gold dragon for every time I heard that joke, I’d be richer than you are.
Littlefinger: Well, you are richer than I am.
Tyrion: Good point.
Bronn: Looks like dull reading.
Tyrion: You think all reading is dull reading.
Bronn: It’s an opinion I share with some of the finest men I know.
Tyrion: For years I’ve heard that Littlefinger is a magician. Whenever th crown needs money, he rubs his hands together and – poof – mountains of gold.
Bronn: Let me guess. He’s not a magician
Bronn: He’s stealing it?
Tyrion: No, worse. He’s borrowing it.
Bronn: I’ve never borrowed money before. I’m not clear on the rules.
Tyrion: Well, the basic principle is I lend you money, and after an agreed-upon period of time, you return it with interest.
Bronn: And what if I don’t?
Tyrion: Well, you have to.
Bronn: But what if I don’t?
Tyrion: This is why I don’t lend you money.
Bronn: What are you saying? That the ladies enjoyed him so much, they gave him the time for free?
Tyrion: Is that what your telling us?
Tyrion: Sit down, Podrick.
Bronn: We’re going to need details.
Tyrion: Copious details.