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: Walk of Punishment
Director: David Benioff
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Summary: Tywin Lannister calls the first meeting of the small council since his arrival in the city. As a test for the councilors, Tywin sits at one end of the long table, with chairs on only one side. Littlefinger ambitiously rushes to the seat nearest to Tywin. Varys is content to take the second seat. Pycelle calmly takes the third. Cersei creates a place at her father’s right hand by moving her chair. Last of all, Tyrion Lannister makes a point of noisily dragging his chair to the far end of the table and taking up a position to mirror his father’s. Tywin is displeased that, despite their vast networks of spies, none of the councilors can locate his son Jaime. Turning to the war, Varys informs the council that Robb Stark has left Roose Bolton as lord of Harrenhal while he is at Riverrun. Tywin declares Bolton can have the ruin; Littlefinger’s titular position as lord of Harrenhal is enough to make him a suitor to Lady Lysa Arryn. As Lysa’s husband, Littlefinger will become the acting lord of the Vale and ensure the Vale does not support Robb. Tywin appoints Tyrion to replace Littlefinger as Master of Coin, causing Tyrion to points out his obvious lack of qualifications.
Later, Tyrion visits Littlefinger’s brothel to retrieve the royal ledgers. Littlefinger wishes Tyrion luck and thanks him for freeing Ros. He also advises Tyrion that finances are easy to manipulate once you realize they are just numbers on paper. Tyrion then rewards his squire Podrick with the services of three prostitutes, including a contortionist. Tyrion discovers that Littlefinger has borrowed millions in gold from House Lannister, as well as tens of millions from the Iron Bank of Braavos. Then Podrick returns with Tyrion’s money, which he explains the prostitutes refused to take. Impressed and confused, Tyrion and Bronn insists Pod provide them with copious details.
Jon Snow arrives back at the Fist of the First Men with Mance Rayder’s wildling army. They find the severed heads of the horses arranged in a spiral pattern, but none of the dead brothers Orell saw, and everyone realizes they have become wights. Mance orders Tormund to scale the Wall with twenty men and attack Castle Black from its exposed southern side when he lights a massive signal fire.
Farther south, Mormont and his remaining survivors seek refuge at Craster’s Keep. Sam follows the sound of a woman’s birthing pains to a small outbuilding where he witnesses Gilly give birth to a baby boy. Stannis Baratheon accuses Melisandre of trying to abandon him as she prepares to board a ship bound for a destination she claims will be revealed by the Lord of Light.
Theon is woken in the night by the cleaning boy, who releases him, gives him a horse, and tells him to ride east. After riding all night, he is caught and unhorsed with a flail. Moments before being raped by their leader, Theon is saved by the cleaning boy, who kills the soldiers with a bow. Helping Theon to his feet, the boy reminds Theon he is a long way from home, and winter is coming.
Barristan urges Dany to forget the Unsullied and hire sellswords in the Free Cities. Jorah continues that the Unsullied will not commit atrocities unless ordered. Barristan argues that men died for Danys’ brother Rhaegar at the Battle of the Trident because they believed in him, not because the were bought at an auction; he himself was proud to fight beside the last dragon that day. Jorah replies that, despite his nobility, Rhaegar died. Soon after, Daenerys asks to buy all 8,000 fully-trained Unsullied. Daenerys offers one of her dragons, prompting protests from both Jorah and Barristan. Kraznys demands the biggest one, to which Daenerys agrees. However, before leaving, Daenerys requests Missandei as a gift and Kraznys agrees.
At Riverrun, Lord Hoster Tully’s funeral is attended by his family and bannermen as well as Robb and his army. Hoster’s heir, Lord Edmure, fails three times to set the funeral boat ablaze with an arrow, so Hoster’s brother, Ser Brynden the Blackfish, takes over and skillfully makes the shot, shaming Edmure. Shortly after, King Robb chastises Edmure for disobeying orders not to engage Ser Gregor Clegane at Stone Mill, since he was hoping to lure Clegane. Later, Catelyn mourns privately with her uncle Brynden. She asks if he made peace with her father, with whom Brynden has feuded for thirty years. In the dungeons of Riverrun, Talisa treats the wounds of Edmure’s prisoners Willem and Martyn Lannister.
At the Crossroads Inn, Arya notices the Hound being loaded into a wagon and confronts him about the day he murdered her friend Mycah near this very spot, but he is taken away before she can get an answer. She and Gendry then say goodbye to Hot Pie, who has decided to remain at the inn as a cook.
Elsewhere in the Riverlands, Locke and his men are transporting their captives Jaine and Brienne back to Harrenhal. That night, Locke orders Brienne taken away for him to rape first. Jaime informs Locke that Brienne’s father is Lord Selwyn of Tarth, who will pay his daughter’s weight in sapphires for her safe return. Locke agrees and orders Brienne brought back. Jaime then tries to secure his own release by promising that his father will reward Locke with gold, land, and titles. At Jaime’s suggestion, Locke orders Jaime unchained and offers him a meal. However, the bribe has offended Locke, and he slams Jaime down and presses his carving knife against Jaime’s eye, sneering that Jaime is powerless with out his father. Then he hacks of Jaime’s right hand, and Jaime screams.
My take: This episode has two of my favorite bits, both wordless. The first is the funeral scene, and the second is the great scene with the chairs. So Edmure is just as impulsive and unable to see consequences as his sister. Between Catelyn, Edmure, and Lysa, we can see where Robb gets his massive streak of stupidity from. Jon is lucky he dodged that bullet. Hot Pie ends up where he will be safe. Littlefinger’s heavy borrowing has put the Crown in a difficult position and we have to wonder if he has something specific in mind or if he just does things to create chaos and then let the worst tendencies of his enemies ruin themselves. Now I don’t have a lot of experience with whores, but I don’t care how well Poderick fucked them, no whore works for free.
Changes from the books: Melisandre leaving Dragonstone to search for “a king’s blood” is a heavy condensation of Stannis Baratheon’s storyline in the third novel. In the books, his brother King Robert does have one acknowledged bastard son, Edric Storm, who was raised at Storm’s End. Stannis takes control of Storm’s End, and takes Edric Storm back to Dragonstone for safe keeping. After Stannis’ crippling defeat at the Battle of the Blackwater, Melisandre urges that she must make a blood sacrifice by burning Edric alive as an offering to the Lord of Light. Much of the Dragonstone subplot in the third novel revolves around whether or not Stannis will go through with sacrificing Edric Storm. Tywin’s Small Council has more members in the books. Mace Tyrell, his bannermen Matthis Rowan and Paxter Redwyne, Kevan Lannister, and the High Septon are all present at the first council meeting. Theon’s torture is not seen in the books until much later, and then only vaguely described
Nudity: Genna and Marei, two whores appear full frontal. The third, Kayla is a contortionist and remains clothed. Theon’s ass
Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Harrenhal, Riverrun, Winterfell, the Wall, Astapor
Death Count: Four of Theon’s would-be rapists, by Ramsey
Quotes: Daenerys Targaryen: Yes. All men must die, but we are not men.
Ser Jorah Mormont: There is a beast in every man and it stirs when you put a sword in his hand.
Tyrion Lannister: I’m quite good at spending money, but a lifetime of outrageous wealth hasn’t taught me much about managing
Ser Jorah Mormont: Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly. And Rhaegar died.
Mance Rayder: I’m going to light the biggest fire the North has ever seen!
Episode title: And Now His Watch is Ended
Director: Alex Graves
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Summary: In a surge of effort, Jaime manages to steal a sword, but he can barely stand, much less wield a sword with his left hand. Brienne moves to help Jaime, but is quickly subdued. Once Jaime has been beaten down, Locke promises to take his other hand if he tries again.
Arya and Gendry are kept hooded by Thoros of Myr until they have arrived at the secret hideout of the Brotherhood Without Banners, a cave known as the hollow hill. The Hound is brought with them to face their leader, Lord Beric Dondarrion. Then Arya angrily accuses the Hound of cutting down her friend Mycah. The Hound admits he did, but argues that he was Joffrey’s sworn shield at the time and in no position to question his orders. Beric admits that no one knows the truth of the charge, so only a trial by combat can settle the issue. The Hound taunts Thoros and Anguy to face him, but Beric declares it will be him the Hound fights.
Tyrion visits Varys to ask for proof that his sister was behind the attempt on his life, but Varys admits he has only whispers. Asking if Tyrion still wishes to know how he was castrated, Varys reveals that as a slave he was sold to a sorcerer in Myr. The sorcerer paralyzed him with a potion, but left him conscious as his genitals were cut off and burned on a brazier. Varys explains that his recurring nightmare is not of the sorcerer or his blade, but of the voice from the flames that answered the sorcerer’s call. As he finishes his tale, Varys also finishes opening the large crate he has been unsealing. Inside is the very same sorcerer who castrated him so many years ago. Varys urges Tyrion again to be patient and his revenge will come, if he has the stomach for it. Later, Varys visits his informer Ros. They are both perplexed by news of Podrick Payne’s prodigious sexual performance. Ros shows him a manifest that shows Littlefinger has prepared two feather beds.
Elsewhere, King Joffrey and Margaery tour the Great Sept of Baelor while Cersei and Olenna discuss the upcoming royal wedding. Joffrey is most excited by the tombs of Rhaenyra and Aerion Targaryen, who died cruel and unusual deaths. Cersei disapproves, but Margaery feigns great interest. Hearing the crowd gathered outside, Margaery convinces Joffrey to greet them. Appeased by Margaery’s charity and largely unwitting of Joffrey’s cruelty (which mostly happens out of the public eye), the crowd happily cheer for the royal couple. Cersei quickly realizes she has completely lost her son to the Tyrells. Later, Cersei meets with her father, in his chambers to ask if everything possible is being done to find Jaime. Cersei asks if Tywin has ever considered that she might be more worthy than her brothers. She claims she is the only one living by his principles of family and legacy, and suggests she might have the most to contribute. When Tywin humors her with a chance to contribute, Cersei expresses her concern that Margaery Tyrell can manipulate Joffrey. Tywin says he is glad someone can, since she obviously cannot. He adds that his distrust for Cersei is not because of gender, but because she is not as smart as she thinks. Cersei suggests Tywin should try to control Joffrey himself, which Tywin declares he will.
Varys meets Olenna. He fears Littlefinger intends to take control of Sansa. Soon after, Margaery Tyrell visits Sansa at her prayers and dismisses Sansa’s guards so they can talk in secret. After some polite smalltalk, Margaery invites Sansa to visit Highgarden some day. Sansa doubts Queen Cersei will allow her to leave the city, but Margaery replies that after the royal wedding she will be queen and if Sansa were to marry Loras her place would be at Highgarden. Sansa is very pleased by the idea of escaping King’s Landing and marrying her idol, so she agrees.
Sam visits Gilly who is distraught over the fate of her newborn son. Inside the keep, Craster continues to drunkenly berate the brothers. Karl comes in to complain about the quality of Craster’s rations and says he would prefer what Craster has hidden away. Craster lunges with his axe, but Karl blocks and stabs Craster under the jaw. Then Rast stabs the Lord Commander in the back. Sam and Gilly escape with the baby.
Elsewhere in the North, Theon follows the boy who rescued him. Arriving at a castle, the boy decides to sneak in through the drains since the guards are not to be trusted. While the boy fumbles with a locked gate, Theon laments that he was forced to choose between two families. Filled with remorse, he admits he had two orphans killed to replace Bran and Rickon Stark when they escaped, so he could keep Winterfell and make his father proud. The boy suggests it is not too late, but Theon insists it is because his real father lost his head at King’s Landing; he chose wrong, and now he has burned everything down. Then the boy lights a torch to reveal the same cross Theon was tortured on before; the boy has brought him back to his captors.
Dany and her entourage meet Kraznys and the other slave-masters of Astapor in a large plaza, where they have formed up all 8,000 Unsullied she plans to buy. She retrieves her black dragon from his cage and exchanges his leash-chain for the harpy whip that signifies ownership of the Unsullied. She asks if the transaction is done, and Kraznys declares it is as he struggles to rein in the dragon. To Missandei’s surprise, Dany calls the Unsullied to attention in Valyrian and proceeds to test them with basic Valyrian marching commands. Too distracted to notice, Kraznys complains that the dragon will not come when he commands. Dany turns back to Kraznys and declares in perfect Valyrian that a dragon is not a slave. She then orders the Unsullied to slay all of the masters, soldiers, and every other man who holds a whip. She also orders them to harm no innocents and to strike the chains off every slave they see. The Unsullied obey without question and attack the nearby masters and overseers. Kraznys frantically calls for Daenerys to be killed, but she uses the word “dracarys” to order her dragon to burn Kraznys to death. The dragon then proceeds to use fire to aid the Unsullied in sacking the city. Mounting a white horse, Daenerys declares they are free but asks them to stay and fight for her as free men. She leads her army of 8,000 Unsullied out of the ruin of Astapor. She drops the harpy whip on the ground and her soldiers trample it while her three dragons fly free overhead.
My take: It’s just started and I am already over Theon’s torture. I realize they want to keep Alfie Allen under contract, but there’s only so much I can watch, mostly because I don’t really care about Theon. I loved that Varys has a man in a box as well. The revolt at Craster’s brings up guest’s protection which will be important later this season. However, nothing beats Drogon barbecuing Kraznys. It’s probably one of the most satisfying moments in the show.
Changes from the books: On the way to Harrenhal, three of the Brave Companions sneaked at night to where Brienne slept, intending to rape her although Vargo Hoat forbade them because he believed Jaime’s lie about sapphires. Again, Jaime intervened in time to save Brienne from gang-rape: he yelled “sapphires” loudly enough for Hoat to hear him. The three thugs beat Jaime severely till he lost conscious, but his yell did the trick: Hoat came and stopped his men. Since then, Hoat put guards to make sure no one harms Brienne. Brienne thanked Jaime for his help. Varys told Tyrion the tale of how he was castrated before the Battle of the Blackwater, while they were discussing the strange circumstances of Cortnay Penrose’s death. In both versions Varys explained that he traveled around in several of the Free Cities before being castrated in Myr, but in the books, he also adds the detail that he was born in Lys. Varys never captures the sorcerer who cut him in the books. Tyrells planned to marry Sansa to Willas Tyrell, who is Lord Mace Tyrell’s eldest son and heir, not to Loras, who by this point in the books has become a Kingsguard and cannot marry. Before dying, Mormont told Samwell Tarly to go to the Wall, and to tell them “All. The Fist. The wildlings. Dragonglass. This. All. Tell my son. Jorah. Tell him, take the black. My wish. Dying wish. Tell Jorah. Forgive him. My son. Please. Go”.
Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Harrenhal, Riverrun, Winterfell, the Wall, Astapor
Death Count: Craster, killed by Karl. Lord Mormont, killed by Rast. Kraznys, incinerated by Drogon. Several Night’s Watch men, and the masters of Astapor
Quotes: Theon Greyjoy: My real father lost his head at King’s Landing. I made a choice… and I chose wrong
Dany: Unsullied! Slay the masters, slay the soldiers, slay every man who holds a whip, but harm no child. Strike the chains off every slave you see!
Lady Olenna Tyrell: Oh, no, please! Seduce away, it’s been so long. Though I rather think it’s all for naught. What happens when the nonexistent bumps against the decrepit?
Jeor Mormont: And now his watch is ended.