I wrote these rewatches on the old site a few years ago, and now I’m posting them here. These recaps naturally contain spoilers.
Episode title: The North Remembers
Director: Alan Taylor
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Summary: The eldest living brother of the late King Robert, Stannis Baratheon, announces himself as rightful heir to the Iron Throne. He sends a letter to all the corners of the Seven Kingdoms announcing that Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella are not Robert’s true heirs, but rather the products of incest between Cersei and Jaime. Stannis refuses to seek an alliance with the other claimants, as he sees them as usurpers. Stannis has fallen under the influence of the red priestess Melisandre. Maester Crassen puts poison in a cup and asks Melisandre to drink from it after he has done so. While he dies almost immediately, the priestess swallows the entire cup unaffected.
During a tournament held to celebrate King Joffrey’s name day, Sansa saves the life of Ser Dontos’s by convincing Joffrey to make him a fool instead of killing him. Tyrion Lannister returns to the capital to act as Hand of the King in his father’s stead. When Tyrion learns that Cersei has let Arya Stark escape after the execution of her father, he mocks her for throwing away two valuable hostages, as he’d planned to trade the girls for Jaime. Joffrey orders the City Watch to murder all of King Robert’s illegitimate children.
Although Gendry was already out of the City, his old master smith reveals that he is in a caravan traveling to the Wall. Robb visits his prisoner Jaime, informing him that he has received Stannis’s letter about Joffrey being Jaime’s son, and the reasons why Bran was crippled and his father was killed.
Robb sends Theon Greyjoy to his father, Balon, to convince him to join them with all the naval force of the Iron Islands. Bran has a strange dream, where he sees himself as Summer, his direwolf, running in the Godswood. Osha believes the red comet means dragons have returned.
The ranging party that set out from Castle Black reaches Craster’s Keep. Craster provides information on the wildlings and their leader, Mance Rayder, claiming that Rayder is amassing an army in the mountains and intends to move south. Jon is disgusted that Craster’s daughters are also his wives. Danys is crossing the Red Waste hoping to find some shelter. She sends three riders with their remaining horses to explore in three separate directions.
My take: From the beginning we see the Hound kill a man in a duel, then come to Sansa’s aid. Poor Sansa speaks like a broken woman. Belle says that Dany wandering in the red waste is her “making the wrong turn at Albuquerque.” This is the first we see of Stannis, Milasandre, and Ser Davos, one of the few decent men in the series. There is also a great scene between Litterfinger and Cersei. We’re also introduced to one if the worst fathers in this show (and that’s saying something): Craster.
Change from the books: In the book, Stannis doesn’t receive the letter from Eddard saying that he is heir, because Tomard was killed before he could deliver it. The letter is intercepted by Cersei and used as evidence of Eddard’s “treason”. Stannis had already discovered the true parentage of Robert and Cersei’s children long before Eddard, as he had first taken these suspicions to Jon Arryn, and they had been investigating it together. In the book, it is Cersei who sends the Gold Cloaks out to kill all of Robert’s bastards, not Joffrey.In the series the Gold Cloaks under the command of Janos Slynt go to the brothel to kill the baby Barra, and when his man will not carry this out, Slynt takes the baby from her mother Mhaegen and does it himself. In the books Barra’s mother fights them and is killed along with the baby, the murders being carried out by Allar Deem, one of the Gold Cloaks.
Nudity: Several whores are seen in Littlefinger’s brothel
Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Dragonstone, Winterfell, the Wall, Vaes Dothrak
Death count: The Hound kills a man in the Tourney. Maester Crassen is poisoned. Janos Slynt kills a baby and at least three more are seen being killed.
Quotes: Milasandre: For the night is dark and full of terrors.
Tyrion Lannister: You love your children. It’s your one redeeming quality. That and your cheekbones.
Episode title: The Night Lands
Director: Alan Taylor
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Summary: At King’s Landing, Tyrion Lannister arrives at his quarters to find Shae and Lord Varys conversing. Tyrion and Varys trade threats before they both leave for a small council meeting, where Queen Regent Cersei Lannister reads Robb Stark’s peace terms, and a letter from the Night’s Watch Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, asking for more men to man the Wall. Later, Tyrion has a tense dinner with Lord Janos Slynt, which ends with Slynt’s removal as commander of the City Watch and being forced to take the black, and Bronn’s installation in the now vacant position.
Davos Seaworth and his son, Matthos, attempt to bargain with the pirate Salladhor Saan for the use of his ships in the coming war. Melisandre promises Stannis a son if he will give himself completely to the Lord of Light.
Theon Greyjoy returns to his homeland, and he is greeted by a young woman, who, unbeknownst to him at the time, is his sister, Yara. They share a horse ride to Pyke, the capital of the Iron Islands, where Theon receives a cold welcome from his father, Balon. Theon presents him with the offer from Robb Stark, but Balon refuses it.
Rakaro, one of Dany’s bloodriders’ horses return to camp, carrying his head in one of its saddlebags. Jorah tells her it is a warning from one of the other khals. Samwell helps Gilly when she is confronted by Ghost.
She and Sam confront Jon Snow about taking her with them when they leave Craster’s land. Later, Jon witnesses Craster taking a newborn child into the woods late at night. He follows Craster into the woods, only to see him returning, empty-handed. When he rushes to the aid of the child, he sees a white walker retrieve the baby, and leave. Before Jon can pursue it, Craster hits him in the head and he loses consciousness.
Two City Watchmen arrive at the caravan with a royal warrant, searching for Gendry. However, they are turned away by Yoren, after he threatens their lives. Later, Gendry reveals to Arya that he knows she is a girl. She reveals to him that she is a Stark.
My take: The sexposition continues while Theon plows the captain’s daughter which transitions right into the oddest sex sequence so far. Littlefinger watches a man getting blown who is watching another couple have sex. And we get the introduction of Poderick Payne! Gendry and Ayra have a great little scene. And we get to see Theon finger his sister, so that’s fun, as well sex on the biggest map ever! Seriously, wouldn’t that hurt to have one of those pieces underneath you?
Changes from the books: Yara is named Asha in the books. In the books, Bronn is not made Commander of the City Watch. That role is filled by Ser Jacelyn Bywater, he is the one to arrest Janos Slynt at Tyrion’s dinner. Slynt having been named to the small council and made Lord of Harrenhal, gives a list of six men who are possible replacements to head the Gold Cloaks. This list is given to Ser Jacelyn to be rounded up to go with Slynt by ship to the Wall, with special reference to Allar Deem (killer of baby Barra); the captain is to be told that it would not be amiss if a wave washed him overboard. It is Doreah, not Rakharo, who dies in the Red Waste in the novels. She dies of a wasting sickness, while Rakharo is still alive in the books. It is Jon Snow, not Sam Tarly, who rescues Gilly from Ghost. Ghost doesn’t corner Gilly because she is carrying dead rabbits in the book. Gilly set up a rabbit hutch and Ghost breaks into it killing the rabbits. Gilly yelling at him results in her being cornered, and Jon has to come shoo Ghost away.
Nudity: Theon has sex with the captain’s daughter on his way to Pike. Another scene in Littlefinger’s brothel with several whores. Stannis has sex with Milasandre on a table shaped like a map of Westeros.
Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Dragonstone, Pike, Winterfell, the Wall, Vaes Dothrak
Death count: Rakharo is is beheaded
Quotes: Yoren: I could shave a spider’s ass if I wanted to.
Tyrion: You perfected the art of tearing up papers.
Tyrion: I’m not questioning your honour, Lord Janos…I’m denying its existence