New location, Yunkai, one of the three great city-states of Slaver’s Bay, located north of Astapor.
It is time for the case of the People v. the Hound. At the cave housing the Brotherhood Without Banners, Thoros of Myr is praying to the Lord of Light to show them the truth, strike the Hound down if he is guilty, give his sword strength if he is innocent, and give them wisdom “because the night is dark and full of terrors.” So they believe in the same red god as Melisandre, yet are not aligned with Stannis. Interesting. As part of the pre-fight ritual, Beric cuts himself and then seems to light his sword on fire with his blood. The sight of fire at first unnerves the pyrophobic Hound, but he quickly regains his killer instinct and the battle between the two rages. At one point, the Hound is on the ground and his wooden shield is set ablaze. He battles the flames and his demons all while the men chant “guilty, guilty” and Arya screams “Kill him!” But he must not be guilty, because he channels all of his power and rage and practically slices Beric in half. I must say, I’m liking this trial by combat better than the U.S. jury system, it’s cheap, fast and seems no more unjust.
As Beric collapses, dead, Thoros of Myr runs over, drops to his knees and starts praying to the Lord of Light to bring Beric back from death and darkness. “His flame has been extinguished; restore it.” Meanwhile, Arya is not happy with the results of the trial and rather than organizing a protest, she grabs a dagger and tries to kill the Hound but Gendry stops her. While she’s screaming at the Hound that he should burn in hell, someone says, “He will.” Who said that? Oh, what do you know, Beric lives!
Up North, Jon and his new wildling friends are getting ready for their attack on the Wall. Orell the warg sees (via his eagle) a patrol at the Wall and they ask Jon for details, which he gives them. But they want more, how many castles are guarded, how many men. If he really is a turncoat, then prove it and give up the info. Tormund and Orell are dubious about whether Jon is really helping them and they think Ygritte is blinded by lust, but Jon swears he’s telling the truth. Ygritte doesn’t like Orell talking to her man like that, so she threatens him. Tormund breaks it up and reminds Jon that he better not be lying to him.
Afterwards, Jon is embarrassed that his girlfriend went all macho in front of the other guys and tells her he doesn’t need her protection, but of course he does. He’s a pampered nobleman way out of his element and she’s a wildling who’s been “kissed by fire” (her red hair). She steals Longclaw, just to further prove her point, and then makes him chase her to get it back. This will certainly get everyone to stop suspecting there’s something romantic going on between the two! She takes him to an indoor hot tub and suggests he prove that he’s no longer a crow. She wants him to get naked and start breaking vows. They have sex and for once Ygritte doesn’t say, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” Apparently, he’s been reading the same manual as Podrick.
They hang out in the hot tub for awhile while Ygritte suggests they never leave. Nothing more really happens, but I needed an excuse to add another screen shot of these two good looking people. Because the next scene is back to the other cave…
The Hound wants his gold returned, but the Brotherhood intends to keep the money for now in exchange for a promissory note to repay the debt when the war is over. They need to fund their cause, after all. He’s not happy – didn’t someone say neither a borrower nor a lender be? – but he doesn’t have much of a choice. Arya is still complaining that he’s getting away with murder, but the Lord of Light has ruled for now. But if it makes her feel any better, Beric adds that their god is not done with him. A hood is put on his head so he can’t tell anyone the location of their hideout and the Hound is allowed to leave.
Locke arrives at Harrenhal with his prisoner, The Kingslayer, and presents him to Roose Bolton. Bolton notices the missing hand, which Locke quips is right there (around Jaime’s neck). Bolton is not amused; frankly, he’s never amused. He tells Locke to get rid of the hand and untie Brienne, to whom he apologizes. Jaime asks him for news from King’s Landing and Bolton realizes Jaime’s been out of the loop for some time. He tells him, slowly, painfully, that the capital was attacked by Stannis Baratheon, with thousands of men laying siege to King’s Landing, and your sister…your sister. Wow, if you can’t literally flay people any more, I guess you go the psychological torture route. Eventually he finishes his sentence…Jaime’s sister is alive and well. The Lannister forces prevailed. Hearing that, Jaime collapses, and Bolton tells his men to take Jaime to Qyburn.
Qyburn sees to Jaime’s wounds, which are badly infected. He says the safest course of treatment is to take the entire arm, but Jaime will kill him before he lets this man take his arm. So maybe suggest something else, Mae…wait a minute. Qyburn is not even a Maester. He admits that the Citadel stripped him of his title for some unorthodox experiments. He offers that he can take the arm at the elbow, but he is not hearing what Jaime is saying. He’s lost as much of his sword arm as he intends. Finally, Qyburn offers that he can just cut away and burn off the infected flesh and leave more of the arm untouched, but this will be excruciatingly painful. Jaime says, I’m a man, I can take it, I don’t want the milk of the poppy. And so Qyburn begins the painful process and Jaime is tough, but the pain ultimately is too much.
Cersei wants some information from Littlefinger. She suspects the Tyrells are not to be trusted, but she has no facts and her father is not swayed by her gut feelings. Littlefinger promises to look into for her. Cersei hopes he’s more successful finding information on the Tyrells than he was in locating Arya Stark and also gets in a veiled threat and Littlefinger is smug as usual and not that concerned with her threats.
Tyrion has asked Lady Olenna to come to his office to discuss the finances regarding the upcoming nuptials. He is concerned that they can’t afford such a extravagant wedding considering they are at war. Olenna is not to be treated like an idiot – she knows they’re at war (indeed she quotes chapter and verse of the cost of war AND the quite substantial contribution that the Tyrells are making towards the war effort). But she recognizes that a royal wedding affords a welcome distraction for the masses and keeps them happy and not wanting the king’s head on a spike. After giving Tyrion a hard time, she agrees that the Tyrells will share the cost 50-50 with the Lannisters. Tyrion did not enjoy that meeting at all, even if he were ultimately successful.
Arya finds Gendry repairing Beric’s armor and she questions why he’s helping him. Gendry says that he’s decided to stay with the Brotherhood and work as a smith. Arya wants him to stay with her and join Robb’s army. But Gendry is not interested in serving any side or any house any more. He served the smith who turned on him when it was convenient. The Lannisters have been trying to kill him. He’s done with it. He believes in the Brotherhood; it’s like the family he’s never had. But Arya says she could be his family. He chuckles a little and tells her she wouldn’t be his family, she’d always be “m’lady.”
Willem and Martyn, the two Lannister boys that Edmure had captured during his siege on the Stone Mill, are awakened by men charging into their cell. They think it’s someone coming to rescue them, instead it’s a small but angry mob led by Rickard Karstark who wants his pound of flesh and since he couldn’t get it from Jaime Lannister, these two young boys will have to suffice. It’s brutal and unnecessary and shows that Robb is losing his men and his men are losing their patience.
The bodies of the two boys are laid in front of Robb and he is quite angry and wants answers. The five men who led the raid to kill them are brought before Robb, with Karstark in front speaking for the group. Robb asks why it took five men to murder two innocent squires, Karstark fires back that it was vengeance, not murder. Robb says those two boys didn’t kill Karstark’s sons, but two dead Lannister boys for his two dead boys seems fair to him. Karstark says that Catelyn is as responsible for their deaths as he is; had she not freed Jaime, they could have taken their revenge on him. Robb calls what Karstark did treason, but the man replies that freeing your enemies (which is what Catelyn did) is the real treason. Karstark mocks Robb and calls him The King Who Lost the North. Now that he’s been called out for not sufficiently punishing the Kingslayer, Robb decides to go medieval on the men who killed the boys to show how tough he is. He says to put Karstark in the dungeon, but the other four are to be hanged – with the one who asked for mercy because he was just a lookout to be the last to be killed so he can watch the others first.
Robb is in a boatload of trouble. If the Lannisters hear he killed those children, they will rain fire on him. Edmure reminds him that a Lannister always pays his debts, and the murder of two innocents would likely fetch a very high price. Edmure suggests they bury the boys in secret. Robb is troubled by what to do with Karstark. He wants him killed for his acts, but his mother and wife both think that would be political suicide and would cost Robb the war. His uncle agrees and strongly urges Robb to keep Karstark a hostage and spare his life so long as his family continues their support.
It’s rainy outside, perfect weather for such a sad scene. Robb has decided to ignore the advice of everyone around him and to make Rickard Karstark pay for his betrayal. Karstark reminds him of how the blood of the First Men runs through both of them, how connected the Starks and the Karstarks have been, how he served his father and Robb so loyally. But Robb will not forgive this act and Karstark must be killed. As the one who passed the sentence, Robb will deliver the fatal blow. Karstark’s last words before Robb wields his sword? “Kill me and be cursed.”
It’s nighttime and Arya is staring into the fire and reciting the names on the ever-growing list of men who she wants dead. Thoros is still awake, so she asks him what his plans are for her. He says he intends to take her to Riverrun where Robb is. He’s sure Robb will make a contribution to the cause in exchange for her. She’s not keen on being sold like a hostage, and Thoros tries unsuccessfully to have her see it differently. Beric greatly admired her father and didn’t want to use her for ransom either, but Thoros prefers to think of it as more of a way to help the Brotherhood than a ransom.
Beric comes over to talk to Arya. He knows she’s mad at him for letting the Hound go, but he says it was the right thing to do. Arya is still confused over what she saw. She thought the Hound had killed him and he said he did. He then asks Thoros how many times he’s brought Beric back from the dead and Thoros said it’s the Lord of Light that brings him back, Thoros just says the words. And this marks the sixth time. Beric shows Arya the scars from the other times he’s been fatally wounded, including his first also at the hands of the Hound. But this dying and reviving is taking its toll and everytime he comes back, he’s “a bit less.” Arya asks Thoros if he could bring back a man who’s lost his head, but he tells her it doesn’t work like that. Beric tells her that Ned was a good man and he’s at rest and he wouldn’t wish his life on Ned, but Arya just wants her father back.
A woman is praying to the Lord of Light. A door opens and Stannis walks in. The woman says she’s prayed day and night for his return. He tries to apologize, explaining about the battle, but she’s already heard all about that from Melisandre. She pumps him up as the good wife that she is, telling him his claim is true and he will prevail. But he wants to confess to his wife that he’s been unfaithful. Not to worry, Melisandre told Selyse everything and it’s fine with her (on the next episode of Sister Wives…), since they did it for the Red God. Oh, look, crazy lady has her dead sons suspended in some preservative solution and she speaks to them. Wow, Stannis sure knows how to pick ’em. She thanks god everyday for bringing him what she could never give him, a son.
Stannis is there not just to see his psycho wife Selyse, but their daughter Shireen as well. Selyse tries to dissuade him from seeing the girl, but he goes. We hear her sing a sweet song and then we see her as she runs to hug her father. Half her face is disfigured from a disease called Greyscale. She asks him about the battle he fought, did he win? No. Did the Onion Knight come back with you? He did. She comments that he hasn’t come to visit her as he said he would. She misses her friend. Stannis says he won’t be visiting – he’s a traitor who’s been locked away in the dungeon for his crime.
Brienne is taking a bath, scrubbing the dirt of a long trek off of her, when Jaime comes into the room. There are other baths to choose from, but Jaime decides to join Brienne in hers. He asks if she’d pull him out if he faints, since he doesn’t want to be the first Lannister to die in a bath. When she responds that she doesn’t care how he dies, he reminds her that it’s still her responsibility to get him to King’s Landing in one piece. Of course, she’s already failed on that account. But not as badly as she failed Renly. That gets her very angry and she stands up, but Jaime realizes he went too far and apologizes, noting that she did do her best to protect him. He asks for a truce but she says a truce involves trust, and she doesn’t trust him.
Jaime is used to this. For 17 years he’s seen the same look on people’s faces. They don’t trust him, he’s the “Kingslayer” after all. The man who betrayed the king he swore to protect. He starts to tell Brienne about the King – about his obsession with wildfire, his delight in watching people burn, how he had the pyromancers place jars of wildfire everywhere throughout the city. He tells her the story of the fateful day when he was first labeled Kingslayer.
The day that Robert Baratheon marched on the capital, after his victory at the Trident, Jaime’s father Tywin arrived first with his entire army promising to defend the city against the rebels. Jaime knew something was up – his father was not one to pick the losing side. Jaime told the Mad King his suspicions and urged him to surrender peacefully as did Varys. But the Mad King wouldn’t listen to them. Instead, he listened to Maester Pycelle who told him he could trust Tywin Lannister. The Lannisters have always been true friends of the crown, Pycelle said. So they opened the gates…and Tywin and his army sacked the city. Again, Jaime went to Aerys and begged him to surrender. But the Mad King instead told Jaime to bring him his father’s head. (Again, the same theme from Episode 1, family versus honor – kill your father or disobey your king). Then Aerys turned to his pyromancer and said, “Burn them all. Burn them in their homes. Burn them in their beds.”
He asks Brienne, if Renly had demanded she kill her father and stand by while thousands of men, women and children were burned alive, would she have done it. Would she have kept her oath then? We know what Jaime did. He killed the pyromancer first and then, when the king turned to flee, “I drove my sword into his back.” Jaime is now fully back seventeen years ago, thinking of that moment, hearing Aerys say over and over “Burn them all.” He thinks the Mad King expected to burn along with everyone else in the city, only to be born again as a dragon and turn all his enemies to ash. But Jaime slit his throat to make sure that didn’t happen.
Brienne asks, if all this is true, why didn’t he tell Ned Stark. He asks, rhetorically, if the honorable Ned Stark would ever believe anything Jaime Lannister had to say. The moment he walked in and saw King Aerys dead and Jaime holding the sword, he’d made his mind up. Jaime collapses and Brienne grabs him, the calls for help. She calls out “the Kingslayer” (even after hearing his side of the story) and before he passes out, he says, “Jaime. My name is Jaime.”
Shireen goes to see her old friend the Onion Knight. Davos tells her to go back to her room, he knows she shouldn’t be down their in the dungeon. But she has some questions for Davos. Her father said he was a traitor and she wants to know if that’s true. Davos says it is true, he disobeyed her father the king and now he’s paying the price. But she doesn’t care, he’s her friend and she doesn’t want him to be bored all locked up. She’s brought him a book to read about Aegon and his dragons, but Davos tells her he never learned to read. She says it’s easy, she’ll teach him. What’s the worst that could happen if they’re caught – they get locked up? So she begins, at the beginning, with her reading lessons.
As Shireen reads to Davos about Aegon Targaryen and his conquest of Westeros, Daeneyrs Targaryen is leading her new army of Unsullied to the city of Yunqai. Along the way, her two advisers from Westeros, Jorah and Barristan, are exchange war stories. Jorah tells Barristan about the Siege at Pyke, where he was the second man to enter after Thoros of Myr who was waving his flaming sword. Jorah was knighted by Robert Baratheon after they put down the Greyjoy Rebellion. The two men talk about what a great man and great warrior Robert was, and yet what a lousy king. Barristan in particular laments how much of his life and service he wasted on unworthy kings, first Aerys, the Mad King, and then Robert. He says he did so because he took an oath and “a man of honor keeps his vows, even if he’s serving a drunk or a lunatic.” He hopes, before he dies, he can feels what it’s like to serve with pride, “to fight for someone I believe in.” He asks Jorah if he believes in Dany, and Jorah answers that he does, with all his heart. And we know that to be true. While he may once have been there as a spy, to curry favor and hopefully be welcomed back to Westeros, once he was given his pardon, he decided to stay with Dany.
Dany has asked for the leaders of the Unsullied to come forward and appoint someone to speak on their behalf. Their chosen representative presents himself to Dany and she asks his name. He tells her, Grey Worm. She is confused by the awful name until Missandei explains that new recruits are told to give up their real names and are given new names as slaves. Names that remind them what they are – nothing but vermin. Dany is of course appalled and tells him now that he is free, he and all his fellow soldiers can pick a new name for themselves, a name that gives them pride. But Grey Worm says he wants to keep that name, because it is a lucky name. The name he was born with was cursed, because he became a slave under that name. But as Grey Worm, he became free.
Jorah and Barristan are talking about Dany. Jorah asks why no one on the small council tried to talk King Robert out of trying to kill Dany, but Barristan explains that he was not part of the small council – since he had been King Aerys’ kingsguard before, King Robert didn’t want to take advice from someone who had fought for the Mad King. Barristan mentions that when Dany does cross the sea and gets to Westeros, maybe Jorah wouldn’t be the best person standing beside her. His reputation is, as opposed to their new army, sullied. Barristan thinks it best if Jorah stay in the background, but Jorah bristles saying he was on her side long before Barristan showed up. He raises his eyebrows, which is about as heated as Jorah ever gets, then tells Barristan that he’s not Lord Commander there and he (Jorah) takes his orders from the queen.
Robb learned a valuable lesson. You behead the leader of a family, you lose the family. The Karstarks pulled out and are no longer supporting the Starks. Next they’ll probably change their last name to Karhatesthestarks. He admits to his wife that she was right, he was wrong, but that’s not going to put Rickard’s head back on his neck, now will it? With that one mistake, they’ve lost half their forces. All Tywin Lannister needs to do to defeat the North is wait for them to completely unravel. Robb examines the map and none of the options look promising. If he takes his army to King’s Landing, they’ll be destroyed. If he goes back to Winterfell to retake it and regroup, his bannermen will likely head for home and never return. He decides the next move is to attack the Lannisters where they are not, which is their home, Casterly Rock. He’s going to take their home from them, like Winterfell was taken from him. But he needs more men, now that the Karstarks have pulled out their forces. The only one with that many men, unfortunately, is the very man whose daughter Robb was supposed to marry, Walder Frey.
Sansa and her new BFF Margaery are hanging out in the garden, watching Margaery’s dreamy brother Loras as he practices his swordsmanship (but not how he used to practice it with Renly). A new squire, Olyver, comes and brings Loras a drink after his practice. Loras is intrigued by the new squire and the feeling is more than mutual, because next thing we know they’re romping in Loras’ chambers. During their boys’ only party, they talk about how Loras is to be married soon and he hopes his intended does not find out about this dalliance or his predilections.
Immediately after their romp on the feather bed, Olyver makes a beeline from Loras’ room to Littlefinger’s office to tell him what he learned, including the name of Loras’ intended – Sansa Stark. Littlefinger wastes no time getting to Sansa.
Littlefinger tells Sansa the wonderful news – his ship is here and he’s ready to leave the city and take her if she wants. You want to go home, don’t you? But Sansa hesitates, suggesting maybe it would be best to wait. It would be dangerous, for both of them, and she wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to him. What’s the old saying, you can’t kid a kidder. Littlefinger lies for a living and he knows full well why she’s having a change of heart, and it’s not to protect him. He pretends to be touched by her concern, promises her his friendship, and, with a smile that reminded me of Kaa looking at Mowgli, he bids her adieu.
Tyrion is late for his meeting with Tywin, and is surprised to see Cersei there as well. He tells his father about his successful negotiation regarding the cost of the upcoming royal wedding, but Tywin has more important things to discuss. He has learned (from Cersei, from Littlefinger, from Olyver, from Loras) that the Tyrells intend to marry Loras off to Sansa Stark, thereby giving them the key to the North. Tyrion questions Sansa’s importance as there is still Robb Stark to deal with, but Tywin says his days are numbered. Moreover, Tywin believes that Theon Greyjoy murdered both of the younger Stark brothers, leaving Sansa as the next in line. The Tyrells can’t have her. Tyrion reminds Tywin of the importance of the Tyrells and thinks refusing to let Sansa marry Loras would be a huge mistake. But Tywin says this is a plot – this is something to do in secret. He knows that the Tyrells won’t try and arrange the marriage until after Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery. So they have to act first, and kill the union before it is begun.
Tyrion asks, how do we do that, and Tywin answers, by marrying her off to someone else. And then Cersei sits there grinning, with a couple of canary feathers sticking out of the corner of her mouth and Tyrion figures it out. He’s to wed Sansa. Tyrion has felt sorry for Sansa since she was forced to witness her father’s beheading and be subjugated to his nephew’s sadistic tendencies. He feels the poor girl has suffered enough, now a forced marriage to him? Whoa, cut down the self-loathing, dude. You’re a catch (okay, maybe not in the books where your physical description makes Golum sound hot by comparison, but the casting for the TV show makes it hard to feel sorry for Sansa). She’s a child, Tyrion exclaims. Okay, so maybe it’s the age difference that’s bothering him, that’s cool. But, Cersei has an answer for that, she’s flowered, she’s all ready to be wed. Tywin tells him, you wanted your reward for your service, here you go. Cersei is gleeful at the thought of making Tyrion uncomfortable and tells him Sansa is more than he deserves.
Cersei is really enjoying this moment, up until the next sentence her father utters. “Tyrion will do his duty, as will you.” Whoa, what? Yes, Tywin informs her, she will marry Loras Tyrell, thereby further solidifying the union between the two houses and giving Loras a consolation prize. If looks could kill. Tywin tells his daughter she’s still young, she needs to marry again and breed. She argues with him and he shouts her down telling her she will do as he says and once and for all quiet the disgusting rumors about her and Jaime. With that, Tywin out. Well, he has one more thing to add, “My children. You’ve disgraced the Lannister name for far too long.” At least Tyrion and Cersei may finally have something to bond over!
That scene between Jaime and Brienne is a potential game changer in how we view Jaime. We were introduced to Jaime Lannister by his nickname “the Kingslayer” and our first real glimpse into his character was watching him attempt to murder a child who caught him having sex with his own sister. Now, 24 episodes later we learn his side of the story of that fateful day when he killed the Mad King. And his story does seems entirely plausible considering what we know about Aerys Targaryen. Whose side should he have taken, the king who wanted to kill everyone including Jaime’s father? And what to make of the attempt on Bran’s life? Remember what Jaime said at the time,”the things I do for love.” There is no question that he and Cersei do love each other and have an intense bond. What he did was wrong, of course. But he did it for her, for love, for family. Jaime is a quintessentially complicated character.
The Hound (to Arya): Looks like their god likes me more than your butcher’s boy.
Qyburn: There will be pain.
Jaime: I’ll scream.
Qyburn: Quite a bit of pain.
Jaime: I’ll scream loudly.
Olenna: What good is the word extravagant if it can’t be used to describe a royal wedding?
Olenna: The people are hungry for more than just food. They crave distractions. And if we don’t provide them, they’ll create their own. And their distractions are likely to end with us being torn to pieces.
Olenna (to Tyrion): I was told you were drunk, impertinent and thoroughly debauched. You can imagine my disappointment in finding nothing but a browbeaten bookkeeper.
Jaime: You all despise me. Kingslayer. Oathbreaker. A man without honor.
Jaime: By what right does the wolf judge the lion?
Tywin (to Tyrion): You will wed her, bed her and put a child in her.