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 Ghost of Harrenhal
Director: David Petrarca
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Summary: Renly and Catelyn hold talks in his tent, with Brienne standing at vigil, when the shadow assassin borne by Melisandre suddenly storms the tent and violently murders Renly before disappearing. Two of Renly’s guard enter the tent and accuse Brienne of the murder, whom she then slays in self-defense. Catelyn convinces Brienne to escape with her so that she may at least avenge Renly someday; during their journey, Brienne swears allegiance to Catelyn so long as she never interferes with her vengeance on Stannis. Ser Loras holds Stannis responsible for Renly’s death and wants revenge, but Littlefinger and Margaery convince him that they must escape first before Stannis’ fleet arrives. Once Stannis reaches the camp, his dead brother’s bannermen swear fealty to him.
Lancel reveals to Tyrion that Cersei has been stockpiling massive amounts of wildfire, a dangerous explosive chemical. Tyrion visits with the official pyromancer Hallyne, who reveals a secret cache of close to eight thousand barrels of wildfire.
Theon Greyjoy has been made the captain of a single ship, the Sea Bitch, with orders to raid fishing villages on the northern coast. Theon’s first mate proposes an assault to the Northern fortress of Torrhen’s Square. Bran Stark receives the news that Torrhen’s Square is under assault, and urges Ser Rodrik to raise a force to defend it. Bran has a dream where Winterfell is destroyed by a monstrous flood.
The Night’s Watch continue to trek further through the north and rendezvous with Qhorin Halfhand, an experienced Night’s Watch Ranger, who is preparing a party to infiltrate a wildling camp and eliminate him. Jon insists on joining the group.
Arya serves as the cupbearer for Tywin, who discovers that she is a Northerner, but continues to be unaware of her true identity. Later, Arya encounters Jaqen H’ghar , whom she had rescued, and is now disguised as a Lannister guardsman at Harrenhal. Jaqen returns her past favor by offering “three lives” he will claim for her, as a compensation for of the three lives she saved. Arya decides her first victim to be “The Tickler”, Harrenhal’s cruel interrogator, and soon enough, he is later found dead with a broken neck.
Xaro Xhoan Daxos approaches Dany in asking for her hand in marriage in exchange for riches and enough military resources with which to take King’s Landing.
My take: I have to wonder how much Littlefinger has planned in advance or if he’s just that adept at rolling with the punches. When Margarey says that she wants to be “The Queen” do the wheels turn and his plans change? Davos continues to be the voice of reason, and Stannis’s refusal to listen to him hints that reason and Stannis are no kin to each other.
Changes from the books: In the books, the assassin appears out of Renly’s own shadow. In the books, Daenerys dresses in the manner of a well dressed woman of Qarth; this consists of dresses that leave one breast bared. The Tickler is not the first name Arya speaks to Jaqen in the books. It is one of Gregor Clegane’s soldiers, Chiswyck, who laughingly relates a terrible story of an innkeeper’s daughter gang-raped by Ser Gregor and his men, and her brother was killed while trying to intervene
Nudity: None. Really. The closest you get us a shirtless Gendry
Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Harrenhal, Pyke, Winterfell, the Wall, Qarth
Death Count: Jaqen kills the Tickler by dropping him over a wall. Renly is killed by the shadow baby birthed by Melasandre
Quotes: Tyrion Lannister: Schemes and plots are the same thing
Tyrion Lannister: Oh, Lancel, tell my friend Bronn to please kill you if anything should happen to me.
Tyrion Lannister: I remember reading an old sailor’s proverb. Piss on wildfire and your cock burns off.
Episode title: “The Old Gods and the New
Director: David Nutter
Written by: Vanessa Taylor
Summary: Theon has taken Winterfell and convinces Bran to yield after promising not to harm the castle’s inhabitants. Ser Rodrik is captured outside of Winterfell and spits on Theon, forcing him to renege on his promise and execute Ser Rodrik to save face. Osha seduces Theon, offering herself in exchange for her freedom. She sneaks out and she and Hodor to slip Bran and Rickon safely out of Winterfell.
Catelyn has reunited with Robb at his camp. Robb meets again with Talisa declines to reveal her identity. Robb later learns that Theon has betrayed Robb and taken Winterfell. Roose Bolton suggests that his son may instead recapture Winterfell. Robb agrees, but demands that Theon be captured alive so that he may understand his treachery before personally killing him.
Qhorin Halfhand and company capture a wildling called Ygritte. Qhorin orders Jon to execute her, but Jon however finds himself unable to execute her, which allows her to escape. Jon recaptures Ygritte, but now finds himself stranded from the main party. With the night fast approaching, and refusing to set any fires or allow Ygritte to find shelter, Jon forces them both to sleep out in the open. Ygritte convinces Jon to at least huddle next to her to share body warmth.
Myrcella departs for Dorne as part of her arranged marriage with the Martell family and to keep her safe. While King Joffrey and his entourage travel through the city, the king is struck in the face with manure hurled by the crowd. Furious, Joffrey orders his guards to “kill them all”, resulting in a riot. Tyrion slaps Joffrey for his foolishness and tries to take control himself. Several noblemen become trapped outside with the savage mobs and are literally torn to pieces, including Sansa who is nearly raped by several men before being rescued by the Hound.
Tywin discovers Arya’s ability to read, and she is nearly discovered after Littlefinger unexpectedly arrives. Arya is caught stealing a parchment containing war orders by Ser Amory Lorch. She escapes and begs Jaqen to kill Ser Amory before he can alert Tywin. He murders Ser Amory with a poison dart right on the doorstep of Tywin’s chambers.
Dany meets with The Spice King, but is rebuffed. Later she discovers that her dragons have been stolen and her handmaiden and friend, Irri, murdered. The dragons are then seen being ferried to a tower within Qarth by a mysterious hooded figure, crying out for freedom.
My take: Ser Rodrik’s death is hard to watch, not just because he’s a good man, but Theon does such a hack job of killing him, striking his neck four awful times before finally killing him. Theon can’t even do that right. And really no matter happens to him later, this is when Theon loses any sympathy. I wonder if Littlefinger recognized Arya and just didn’t say anything, but to what purpose? This is also where we see the start of the Lannister/Tyrell alliance. Sansa finds out how the 99% feel about her. Ever wanted to see Tonks naked? There you go. Get ready for half a season of “Where are my dragons? ”
Changes from the books: Rodrik Cassel is not killed when Winterfell is taken, and he is not killed by Theon. A messy execution carried out by Theon does happen, but with the kennel master Farlen, later. Littlefinger never meets with Tywin at Harrenhal. In fact he never sets foot in Harrenhal, being aware of its curse. Lorch never catches Arya with a stolen letter. He is not killed by Jaqen, nor does Arya name him as one of her three kills. In the book she names Weese, an understeward who frequently beats her. Lorch is actually killed after being captured and thrown into a bear pit by Roose Bolton and Vargo Hoat. The character of the Spice King does not exist in the books. In the books, there is no massacre of Daenerys’ people while staying in Xaro. In the book, Daenerys’ dragons are not stolen and Irri does not die in Qarth; she remains in Daenerys’ service.
Nudity: A woman is attacked and her robes torn off. Osha appears full frontal in front of Theon
Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Harrenhal, Pyke, Winterfell, the Wall, Qarth
Death Count: Ser Rodrik, beheaded by Theon. Irri and at least six others of Dany’s household, murdered when the dragons are stolen. Ser Amory Lorch, killed by Jaqen with a poison dart. The High Septon and many others during the riot, including three by the Hound while rescuing Sansa. Three wildlings killed by Qhorin. Osha kills a guard on the way out of Winterfell.
Quotes: Dany: Where are they? Where are my dragons?
Tyrion Lannister: We’ve had vicious kings and we’ve had idiot kings, but I don’t know if we’ve ever been cursed with a vicious idiot boy king!
Cersei Lannister: One day I pray you love someone. I pray you love her so much, when you close your eyes, you see her face. I want that for you. I want you to know what it’s like to love someone, truly love someone, before I take her from you.
Ygritte: You’re brave. Stupid, but brave