I’m going to try something new and a little different this week: after all if you’re reading the recap I’m going to assume you’ve already seen the episode. So instead of summarising, let’s get speculating… (and fangirling).
On the Kingsroad
Arya is back, bitches! (She has graciously agreed to fight on after losing to McGonagall.) I have missed her.
Gendry: You shouldn’t insult people who are bigger than you.
Arya: Then I wouldn’t get to insult anyone!
And we also get our first look at Jaqen H’ghar (yes I had to check the spelling) AKA the man in the caged cart who constantly refers to himself using the third person. For non-book viewers – are you intrigued by him at all yet?
I love Yoren’s general kick-assedness when he tells the Goldcloaks to eff off, and his unexpected knowledge of anatomy.
People worry so much about their throats they forget about what’s down below.
I also love Arya’s reaction when Gendry reveals he knows her secret (one of them, anyway), and his consternation when she tells him who she really is:
You’re highborn, then, you’re a lady… and I’ve been pissing in front of you and everything!
But Arya doesn’t seem to have guessed his secret ““ and why would she? Gendry doesn’t know it himself; Ned never told her anything about his suspicions, and she won’t have heard about the murders of Robert’s other bastard children in King’s Landing. If the Goldcloaks do come back for Gendry, will he be safe from the rest of the recruits?
Speaking of multiple child murders, we’ve also found out that it was Joffrey, not Cersei, who ordered Janos Slynt and the city watch to do it – for which Tyrion has exiled Janos to the Night’s Watch, and replaced him with Bronn. This leaves Cersei in an awkward position. She knows killing the children was a bad idea, and as Tyrion pointed out, runs the real risk of turning the city against her – but she can’t defend herself against the accusation without endangering Joffrey’s position, which she can’t do either, as her position depends on his, their relationship is now strained, and she can’t control him. Lena Headey is consistently awesome for making me feel empathy for Cersei here – she defends Joffrey to Tyrion even though she doesn’t have to, and when she complains that Jaime and Tyrion never took power seriously, I felt for her. Tyrion has only just dipped his toe in to the business of power; she’s been living this life – uterus and all – for nearly two decades. She does go for a low parting blow with Tyrion, though, bringing up their mother’s death.
Mother gone for the sake of you… there’s no bigger joke in the world than that.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Tyrion, either. He found Varys in his bedroom, chatting Shae up, and a lot of fish pie/vagina euphemisms fly about, but underneath Tyrion knows Varys’s presence is a threat ““ Varys can tell Tywin that Tyrion disobeyed him any time he likes. Tyrion threatens Varys in return, but doesn’t have anything very substantial to back it up. I don’t think Varys will tell Tywin just for the sake of it, though: he’ll wait for some reason.
Robb’s peace terms have also arrived at the Small Council meeting, where Cersei, predictably, tears them up. The Small Council also ignore a letter from Commander Mormont in the Night’s Watch, telling them about the zombie attack and the wildling army, and requesting more men. Tyrion, the only one who’s actually been on the Wall, believes them, but gets no support from anyone else.
And elsewhere in the city, Ros is finding it difficult to do her job after the baby was murdered in the brothel last week. Littlefinger seems deeply sympathetic – soothing a disgruntled customer with another, freshly-wiped, woman, and bemoaning the methods used:
Sometimes those with the most power have the least grace.
But his sympathy is running short:
I hate bad investments, really I do, they haunt me.
and Ros has to get back to work or… well. Let’s just say her work is preferable. I like Ros, but I’m still wondering what part she’s going to play in the Game of Thrones. Will she be loyal to Littlefinger, or a free agent, and if the latter, what will her agenda be? (Given that she’s not a character in the books, this genuinely is an open question. Seriously).
Davos manages to draft his old pirate friend Salladhor Saan and his thirty ships into Stannis’s fleet – not for honour or for the Iron Throne, but for gold and the chance to have sex with Cersei. Lovely. At least Salladhor manages to say what we’ve all been thinking; Davos’s loyalty to Stannis is a leetle bit difficult to fathom,
A man chops off your fingers and you fall in love with him!
and neither of them believe in Melisandre’s god:
The one true god is what’s between a woman’s legs.
Davos’s son Matthos, on the other hand, it is a serious devotÃ© of Melisandre’s Lord of Light – Melisandre even singles him out for whispered advice about the best way to die, not that it’s currently useful. Is it a prediction? A warning? What did you think of this whole Melisandre/Stannis table sex thing? It’s dramatic, yes, but surely a little uncomfortable. Also, Stannis – ew. I think another review put it best: “[it] made this viewer feel like they were inadvertently watching their straight-laced uncle get it on with the next door neighbour’s glamorous second wife after a sherry too far.” Also: how would a baby in nine months, even if it is a boy, help Stannis now?
The Red Waste
Nothing much happened here, except we lost Rakharo – killed by one or other of Drogo’s former bloodriders. I’ll miss that man and his eyeliner – I also think it’s odd that the writers killed him off when the other two of Dany’s bloodriders who were sent were utter non-characters. Anyway. Linguist nerds can also read an in-depth translation of Irri’s mourning here.
Beyond the Wall
Can I just add Dolorous Edd to the roll call of characters I love this week? Because I do, mainly for this line:
If the gods wanted us to have any dignity they wouldn’t make us fart when we die.
And I already loved Sam, but I love him more for his defence of Craster’s pregnant daughter-wife Gilly, probably the first person ever to call him brave:
Jon: Are you in such a hurry to lose a hand? You can’t steal her!
Sam: I can’t steal her; she’s a person, not a goat.
Wait, women are people? Radical, Sam, radical. He also is game to deliver Gilly’s baby, because he’s read books about it. Bless. Gilly wants to escape because she thinks her baby is a boy, and she clearly knows what Jon wondered last week: what happens to Craster’s sons? And when he follows Craster that night with a crying bundle, he finds out: the baby boys are given to the Others. He also gets a crack on the head from Craster for his trouble… So do the Others eat the babies, or make them into zombie babies?
The Iron Islands
As the credits revealed, we got introduced to a new place in Westeros this week: the Iron Islands. Which Theon remembers as being bigger, as he hasn’t seen them since he was nine. Grown-up Theon is just getting more assholey, isn’t he? From telling the captain’s daughter to smile with her mouth closed, abandoning her to her father’s punishment for sleeping with him, and then patronising (and groping! As if we could forget the groping!) a woman who turns out to be…. his sister Yara, his father’s preferred heir to the Iron Islands. (I’ll be honest, I had to mute that scene. It was too vicariously embarrassing. I’m still cringing, and I knew it was coming.) And here was Theon thinking his father would welcome him back with open arms. Did anyone feel sorry for him? Even a little bit? And who is he more loyal to, Robb or his father: will he pay the iron price, or take the gold?
Balon Greyjoy: No-one gives me a crown, I will take my crown. I will pay the iron price.
Talk to me, GoT fans. Ooo, and it was announced yesterday that Game of Thrones has been renewed for a third season – as if there was any doubt.
Spoilers note: as before, anything from the first book or TV series is not a spoiler. Please spoilerise anything else using the [*spoiler*] and [/*spoiler*] tags. (Remove the asterisks to make the tags.)
Screencaps courtesy of homeofthenutty.com