The episode begins south of the Wall with the scouting party heading towards Castle Black. They’re waiting for Mance Rayder to give the signal to attack the Night’s Watch. Ygritte teases Jon and the ways of his people and he puts up with it because she’s his first official girlfriend. Time to take a drink, Ygritte said, “you know nothing, Jon Snow.” Orell comes up and agrees with Ygritte, but Jon says he knows one thing – that Orell cut the rope as they were climbing. But Orell notes that Ygritte isn’t whining about it, because she understands the way things are. That people are there for you when it suits them, and they’re not when it doesn’t. She understands that and Jon doesn’t, which is why he’ll never hold on to her.
Rain is slowing Robb’s trip to The Twins and their party is making camp for the night. Catelyn is worried about being late and further irritating Walder Frey, that it will only heighten the tensions between the families. Edmure thinks Frey should be happy, he’s getting the wedding he wanted, but Catelyn says he wanted his daughter married off to a King, but that wedding he didn’t get. They all go back to their tents for the night, which gives newlywed Robb and Talisa some alone time. Afterwards, Robb tries to study his war map while Talisa starts writing a letter to her mother to tell her she’s going to be a grandmother! Robb is excited that he’s going to be a dad.
Who knew that Tormund Giantsbane was the Dr. Ruth north of the Wall. He has great sex advice for Jon Snow that involves dogs, wet seals and pigs. Meanwhile, Orell talks to Ygritte about Jon and love. This is what happens when you live without TVs, everyone gets involved in everyone else’s life. Whoa, turns out that Orell has a crush on Ygritte. But she loves Jon. Orell is jealous and angry, they always go for the pretty boys. She’ll regret this when she finds out “what he is.”
Sansa is upset – cursed by the old adage “be careful what you wish for.” When she was growing up in Winterfell, she dreamed of escaping the dreary North and moving to the capital. She is mad at that stupid little girl with stupid dreams who never learns. Margaery explains that women like them have to make the best of their situation no matter what. Sansa doesn’t know how to make the best of having to marry Tyrion. But Margaery is more practical. Has he been mean to her? No. Has he been kind to her? He’s tried. So what’s the problem? He’s a Lannister. Margaery correctly notes that he’s far from the worst of that lot! Sansa’s son would be Lord of Casterly Rock and the North. Not too shabby. Margaery points out that Tyrion is rather good looking, but Sansa responds that he’s a dwarf whereas Loras is a tall, golden specimen. Margaery says, basically, give it a go, you’ll never know until you’ve tried.
Tyrion is having his own bout of concern about the arrangement. Sansa is a child. Bronn retorts that she’s a foot taller than him, to which Tyrion responds, a tall child. Bronn doesn’t see the problem – she’s a lady, he’s a lord. Makes more sense than marrying a whore – which didn’t work out so well for Tyrion last time he tried it. Bronn tries to tell Tyrion he’s making this all too complicated – he can wed Sansa, bed Shae, put a baby in Sansa who will become Lord of Winterfell and Tyrion can rule the North. What’s so hard about all that?
Joffrey has summoned his grandfather/Hand Tywin to come before him. He tells Tywin that he’d like a report on the small council and his grandfather responds he’s free to attend their meetings any time he’d like. It has come to Joffrey’s attention that the meetings are now being held in the Tower of the Hand and not the small council chambers as before. So if Joffrey wanted to attend a meeting, he’d have to climb all those stairs to get there. Tywin is not afraid of Joffrey and is not interested in playing whatever game he has in mind, so he gets up in Joffrey’s face and suggests if the location of the meetings is a problem, someone could carry Joffrey to them. Joffrey quickly changes the discussion to something actually pressing, the news of Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons. Tywin wonders how his grandson found out about this and tells him that it does appear to be true. But he is not concerned because the last of the Targaryen dragon’s was about the size of a cat. Tywin does not believe that her dragons pose any threat at all. Joffrey is not convinced and for once he’s right.
Barristan, Dany, Jorah, Grey Worm and the rest of Dany’s army arrive in Yunkai, also known as the Yellow City. Barristan says that they don’t train soldiers there, so they’d be easy to beat on the field. But if Dany tries to attack the city, they’ll just hide behind their gates and wait out Dany’s army. Jorah tries to encourage her not to go there, there’s no reason to take the city. Dany says she has heard they hold slaves there, Jorah says maybe 200,000, so Dany says they have 200,000 reasons to take the city. She sends Grey Worm ahead to tell the slaveholders that she will accept their surrender, otherwise Yunkai will suffer the same fate as Astapor.
A representative from Yunkai comes to see Dany outside the city gates, carried in a litter by some of the Yunkish slaves. Missandei introduces him as Razdal mo Eraz, he is here to discuss peace terms. He begins by telling her that Yunkai is an ancient an noble city, much older than where she comes from, and that Yunkai is not easy pickings for her army. While he’s posturing, she feeds her dragons so he gets a sense of how large and powerful they are. She tells him that her new army could use a good fight and he retorts, “if blood is your desire, blood shall flow.” But, he says, why are we talking about blood (can’t we all just get along). The wise masters of Yunkai have brought Dany a gift – gold and lots of it, along with ships, as many as she needs. All they want in return is for her to get out of town and never return and let them live their lives. Dany looks at the two slaves kneeling next to him and she knows she can’t take the deal. So she tells him that she has a gift for him as well – his life and the lives of all the wise masters. She will give them that if they release every slave in Yunkai. He tells her she’s crazy, they’re not as easy to defeat as Qarth and Astapor and they have powerful friends (after he leaves, she asks Jorah to find out who they are). He threatens her and one of her dragons screeches menacingly at him. He should be careful threatening their mother. He tells his slaves to take the gold back, but the dragons don’t like that idea one bit. “My gold,” Dany explains.
So what do you get for your girlfriend after she finds out you have to marry (and impregnate) another woman? The woman she works for and cleans up after? Apparently not gold chains. Shae is furious about the wedding and no amount of explanation is going to make it any better. She suggests they run away to one of the free cities and Tyrion asks what is he supposed to do there, juggle? He’s “Tyrion Lannister of Casterly Rock,” he says, to which she adds, “and I’m Shae the funny whore.” When he’s tired of her, she’ll be nothing. No matter what he says, about buying her a house filled with servants and taking care of any children they have together, none of it makes Shae feel any better.
Melisandre is taking Gendry back to Dragonstone. On the ship, they pass by the destruction in Blackwater Bay which Melisandre hints would not have happened had she been there. Gendry is surprised to be back where he started. Melisandre asks if he ever wondered where his strength and talent for fighting come from, but he says he doesn’t know who his father was and his mother was no one special. Melisandre says her mother was a slave, and so was she, until the Lord of Light led the way. He doesn’t understand, was his father some nobleman? She looks towards the Red Keep and says, that was your father’s house. Finally, he gets it – he’s Robert Baratheon’s bastard son…and heir.
Arya is still mad at Thoros and Beric for betraying Gendry by selling him to the Red Witch. Beric tries to explain that theirs is the one true god and when he speaks, you must obey. But Arya says, he’s not her god. Her god is Death. Anguy comes with news – he’s spotted a Lannister scouting party with about 20 men, a day south of there. They decide to go after them, but Arya says, wait, you promised me we were going to Riverrun, which is not south of here. Beric says, they’re still planning on taking her home, this is just a detour. But she’s had enough with their breaking promises, and she runs away…and right into the Hound.
Brienne is being held prisoner by Roose Bolton. Jaime comes in to talk to her before he leaves tomorrow. He tells her that Bolton will also be leaving tomorrow to attend the Frey-Tully wedding at the Twins and she will stay behind with Locke. Jaime feels bad about this and says he owes Brienne a debt. Brienne says if he keeps his promise to Catelyn (to return her daughters to her) he can consider the debt paid. He swears he will. She says goodbye, and this time calls him Ser Jaime, not Kingslayer.
The next day, Jaime is ready to leave and head home at last. Roose Bolton sees him off and asks him to give his regards to his father. Jaime tells him to tell Robb Stark he’s sorry he couldn’t make his uncle’s wedding, but the Lannisters send their regards. Of course, Locke has to get a few more japes in at Jaime’s expense before he leaves and says something menacing about how they will take good care of his friend, which you know means bad things are in store for Brienne.
Theon is confused. Two beautiful girls have untied him and are treating him very well, sweet talking and rubbing him everywhere. He wants to know where the torturer is, but the girls say it’s just the two of them. One reaches into his pants to grab his penis, but Theon is afraid, this must be a trick. He asks them to help him, he’s scared the boy will come back. But the girls talk about wanting to make him feel better. One of them straddles Theon, naked, while the other kisses him. Then she disrobes and Theon is having the greatest sex of his life and suddenly he forgets about being cautious and forgets how he was punk’d before and falls into the moment. And then the bugle blows.
The torturer is back. He asks to see the c*ck everyone’s been talking about and Theon tries to run, but gets smacked in the head with the horn. The boy whistles and two other men come in as he asks Theon if his penis is his most precious thing to him. The good news is, he’s not killing Theon. The bad news is, he’s making a few “alterations.”
Jon and Ygritte are out hunting and she spies a deer which she plans to shoot. Jon tells her it’s too far away and she only grins knowingly. Next think you know, it’s venison on the menu. But while she’s skilled about survival, she has lived a very sheltered life as a wildling. They come upon a windmill and she asks Jon if it’s a castle and if some king built it. She is impressed to see stones stacked so high. Boy, she will plotz if she ever gets to Winterfell! They have more cute chatting about the countryside and the big city, and Ygritte versus typical girls and then…Jon Snow smiles!! But it doesn’t last. He’s worried about her. He tells her that her people won’t win. They’ve tried it six times over the last thousand years and six times they have failed. He doesn’t want her to die. And if they attack the wall, that’s just what will happen to them. To us, Ygritte corrects him. Then she kisses Jon and tells him, you’re mine as I’m yours. And if we die, we die. But first we’ll live.
Osha is tired of Jojen. His private conversations with Bran. How he fills Bran’s head with stories about black magic. Things do not improve when he tells her that there’s been a change in plans. They’re not heading to Castle Black anymore. Jon is not there, so they’re going North of the Wall where he is (Jojen needs to get his GPS adjusted, Jon was there but he’s heading south). Osha says no way is she going back where she came from, but Bran says he must find the three-eyed raven. It’s been calling to him since he fell. Maybe he fell for a reason, he has to find out. But Osha is adamant – there is nothing good north of the wall. She tells us something we haven’t heard before, how she was in love (I was his and he was mine) and how he left her one night. When he returned, he was a wight, skin pale, eyes shocking blue, and he tried to kill her. She had to burn the hut down to kill him. She’s not going back there, ever.
Jaime is traveling with Qyburn, the former maester who treated his wounds. Jaime asks why Qyburn was stripped of his chains by the Citadel, and he admits that he conducted experiments but he claims they have saved lives, unlike the countless men who Jaime killed whose deaths did not save anyone. But Jaime counters that his actions saved half a million lives – all the people in King’s Landing that the Mad King wanted burned. Jaime asks Qyburn if he knew of any ravens that went to Brienne’s father. He said that her father offered 300 gold dragons for her return, but Locke won’t take the deal because someone convinced him that the Tarths own all the sapphire mines in the realm and will pay much more. D’oh! That lie that worked so well on the road is now going to cost Brienne her life. But before they kill her, they’ll use her for their entertainment. Jaime thinks for a moment then decides, he has to go back to Harrenhal. He receives some disagreement at first, but in typical Jaime fashion, talks his way into getting what he wants.
They arrive back in Harrenhal and hear men singing “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.” Jaime goes running towards the sound and sees Brienne, in a small arena, holding a wooden sword and battling a huge bear. Locke sees Jaime, who he’d thought had long gone, and tells him this spectacle is worth more than all his gold. The bear is mauling Brienne, he has knocked her down and knocked away her sword, when Jaime leaps down to save her. He tells her to get behind him and at first – stubborn, proud – she refuses. Suddenly, the bear is shot with a crossbow by one of Lord Bolton’s men. He is on orders to bring Jaime back to King’s Landing alive, and that’s just what he’s going to do. Jaime helps Brienne up and then after she’s pulled to safety, she reaches down and grabs for Jaime. Locke again tries to stop Jaime from rescuing Brienne, saying he’s on orders from Lord Bolton to keep her, but Jaime pulls rank and Bolton’s men look like they would back him before Locke, and so he and Brienne are allowed to leave.
Ygritte: When Mance gives the signal and we hit Castle Black, we won’t be banging on drums to let them know we’re coming.
Jon: No, you’re just gonna light the biggest fire the North has ever seen to let them know you’re coming.
Bronn (to Tyrion): You waste time trying to get people to love you, you’ll end up the most popular dead man in town.
Tyrion: I don’t pay you to put evil notions in my head. The ones already there don’t need company.
Bronn: You pay me to kill people who bother you. Evil notions come free.
Melisandre: There is power in a king’s blood.