To Kill A…? No, wait…
Jon and company arrive back at Castle Black after their victory at Craster’s Keep, but Alliser Thorne is even more determined to contain the threat Jon poses. First, he orders Ghost locked up; next, he bats down Jon’s suggestion of sealing up the gate through the Wall, and as punishment makes Jon and Sam take all the night watches on top of the Wall until the next full moon — when Mance’s army are expected to attack. Sounds like a party! But what he’s doing must be blatantly obvious to the rest of the brothers, too: the election of the new Lord Commander should be interesting.
Speaking of command, Dany shows off her burgeoning leadership skills in several ways this week, but it seems like Daario got the better end than Jorah. When Daario sneaks into her chambers to complain that he’s bored, Dany gives him two jobs that accord with his two talents, war and women. For the former, he’s to go with the Second Sons to retake Yunkai; for the latter, he only has to take off his clothes.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a nice male butt in this series, and even longer since Dany had any sex, so I for one am not going to begrudge her a little amusement with Daario before he leaves. Jorah definitely is, though.
It’s poor consolation for him that he manages to persuade Dany of the value of moderation in Yunkai, sending Hizdahr zo Loraq as her ambassador before the Second Sons put the Masters of Yunkai to the sword. At least she’s careful to show Jorah that she knows his value, and wants Daario to know it too:
Tell him I changed my mind. Wait: tell him you changed my mind.
We find out why Melisandre stayed behind when Davos and Stannis took their little field trip to Braavos last week: she had work to do on Queen “no deed done in the service of the Lord is a sin” Selyse. First: dazzle her with magnificent breasts; second: tell her some inconsequential secrets about the little coloured jars; third, flatter her by telling her that she can see the future in the fire, too. What do they see? Something tells me that the Lord of Light doesn’t need Shireen to organise his birthday party…
Where is it they’re going, anyway? At the end of last season, we saw Melisandre all fired up (sorry) by that letter from the Wall, but they’ve spent a looong time just hanging around Dragonstone waiting for events to catch up with them.
Brienne and Pod arrive at an inn — in fact, the Inn, the one where Ned killed Lady way back in Season One, and Arya left Hot Pie in Season Two. At least life seems to have been good to the budding baker, who irritates, flatters, and then enlightens Brienne. He treats her like a knight, with no mockery: and he also tells them something that no one in King’s Landing knows: Arya is still alive.
Following on from Cersei’s statement of two episodes ago, it’s not just the suffering of girls like Shireen and Arya that we see in this episode, but that of little boys, too: whether they’re all grown up or not. Two of our most hurt in their various ways are Arya and the Hound, inching close to the Vale, having to scrounge food from dying peasants where they can. A little Irish in-joke, here: the un-named peasant who’s happy to spend his last breaths waxing philosophical with Arya is renowned Irish actor, Barry McGovern. He’s particularly famous for his performances in Beckett’s plays, and there’s a marked Beckettian flavour to the philosophy he and Arya bat about:
Arya: Nothing could be worse than this.
Man: Maybe nothing is worse than this.
Arya: …Nothing is just nothing.
The Hound gives him the ending he was looking for, and together he and Arya neatly dispatch the two men who attack them. Arya’s developing her own ‘code’: she asks for Rorge’s name before she kills him. The Hound is left with a bite mark that he tries, unsuccessfully, to sew up himself — but eventually lets Arya help him, after outlining to her exactly why the Mountain is such a dangerous man. At least now they know that Joffrey’s dead?
Jaime is spitting mad at Tyrion for turning down the deal with Tywin in such a spectacular way and for reasons that he sees as stupid. But Tyrion has his own reasons, reasons that Jaime, for all his suffering, can’t really get:
You could kill a king, lose a hand, fuck your own sister, but you’ll always be the golden son.
Tyrion here is echoing the accusations Brienne and even Locke threw at Jaime last season: he’ll never get it, he’s too privileged. It’s an accusation that’s repeated again later, this time by Bronn to Tyrion in turn. Cersei’s offered Bronn a noble wife and a chance at a landed inheritence: Tyrion can only offer the promise of gold, and it’s not enough for Bronn to risk his life and his future. They don’t part on bad terms, but Tyrion is left without his two champions, and it seems that he’s got no option but to try to fight the Mountain himself.
Salvation arrives in his cell in the person of Oberyn Martell, with his own tale of suffering — and Tyrion’s. Oberyn doesn’t believe Tyrion is a monster, or a murderer: he never has, even when Tyrion was a baby. But Cersei always has, as his story makes clear.
‘That’s not a monster,’ I told Cersei. ‘That’s just a baby.’ And she said, ‘He killed my mother… Everyone says he will die soon. I hope they are right. He should not have lived this long.’
Cersei’s been waiting for Tyrion to die all his life, and now she has her chance: it was Jaime who always protected him, and now Jaime can’t. But Oberyn will.
The Hound’s face notwithstanding, perhaps all the most damaged little boys and girls have ended up at the Eyrie. Robin Arryn, spoiled and paranoid; Sansa; Lysa, always the inferior sister; and Littlefinger, whose nursed his love and his grudges from childhood.
Winter has arrived at the Eyrie, and it reminds Sansa of home: she tries to comfort herself with a snow castle of Winterfell while knowing that the odds are against her ever seeing it again. When Robin accidentally destroys it, though, she snaps and hits him: he runs to his mother for comfort, and Littlefinger comes to Sansa with his own reassurances: about Robin, and about Winterfell:
A lot can happen between now and never.
Sansa’s feeling brave, and asks him the real reason he conspired to kill Joffrey. For Catelyn, he replies, and then shit gets way creepy:
You might have been my child… you’re more beautiful than she ever was.
But Lysa, summoned by Robin, is watching, and wastes no time in showing Sansa Robin’s favourite toy: the Moon Door. RUH-ROH.
Never fear, though, Petyr is here, and succeeds where no-one else could have in getting Lysa to release Sansa. As Sansa crawls away, Littlefinger acts to remove the threat to his new Catelyn:
I have only loved one woman… Only one, my entire life. Your sister.
Was getting rid of Lysa the plan all along, or was murdering her a momentary impulse? Notice also that in shouting at Sansa, Lysa seemed to implicate herself and Littlefinger in the deaths of more of her family: not only her husband Jon Arryn, but her father, Hoster Tully; and her sister Catelyn. Was Littlefinger really involved in the Red Wedding conspiracy? Would he really have sacrificed Catelyn — or was Lysa alone involved ? And where does this leave Sansa now? With four characters now on their way to the Eyrie, what kind of welcome might they find there?
ONLY THREE MORE EPISODES ARRGHH.
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