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 Rains of Castamere
Director: David Nutter
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Summary: North of the Wall, Sam and Gilly continue their march south. Sam tells Gilly he plans for them to cross the Wall using the entrance at the Nightfort, an abandoned castle along the Wall. South of the Wall, Bran and his group take shelter in an abandoned mill. Nearby, Jon and the wildling party raid an elderly horse breeder’s home, taking his horses and gold while the old man flees. While in the mill, Bran and Jojen Reed discuss how they plan to cross the Wall, before Meera spots the old horse breeder riding nearby. After the old man is captured by the wildlings, Hodor —scared by the thunder—begins yelling, which threatens to give away their location to the wildlings. Bran uses his warg abilities to enter Hodor’s mind and knocks him out. Outside, Tormund moves to kill the old man, but Orell tells him to have Jon do it instead to prove his loyalty. Jon is ultimately unable to kill the innocent man, and instead Ygritte kills the man with an arrow. Realising where Jon’s loyalties lie, Tormund orders his men to kill him, but Jon manages to defeat them. As Ygritte moves to defend him, Jon deliberately knocks her to the ground, allowing Tormund to hold her down and prevent her from getting killed, while he battles with Orell. Bran enters the mind of Summer, his direwolf, and aids Jon. Jon kills Orell while the wolves hold off the other wildlings, and is then able to steal a horse and escape, leaving Ygritte and heading back to the Wall. At night, Bran asks Osha to take Rickon to Last Hearth, the home of the Umber family, and they depart shortly after.
Planning their invasion of Yunkai, Daario tells Daenerys and her knights about a rear gate to the city, through which they can sneak in and open the main gate for her army. Ser Jorah is suspicious of Daario and his plan, but comes around when Daenerys seeks Grey Worm’s opinion. When night falls, Daario, Jorah, and Grey Worm arrive at the gate. Daario enters ahead of them, posing as a still loyal Second Sons commander. Shortly after being let inside the city, he signals Jorah and Grey Worm to follow him. Soon, they are ambushed by a group of Yunkai’s slave soldiers, and though largely outnumbered, manage to kill them and accomplish the mission. The group returns to Daenerys, and tells her that she is now in control of the city.
At camp, Catelyn counsels her son Robb, the King in the North, about his planned alliance with Lord Walder Frey and his planned assault on Casterly Rock, the homeland of the Lannisters. The Stark host soon arrives at the Twins, castle homeland of the Freys, where they are given bread and salt, a symbol of the “guest right”: a guarantee of safety when under another lord’s roof. Robb makes an apology to both the sarcastic Walder Frey and his daughters. Walder accepts the apology but insists on inspecting Talisa Maegyr, the woman for whom Robb broke his vow. Nearby, Arya, though still a captive of the Hound, journeys to the Twins to reunite with her mother and brother. When they come upon a trader and his cart, Clegane knocks him out and moves to kill him, but Arya manages to dissuade him, and he instead steals the cart of food. At night, Walder walks his daughter Roslin down the aisle to her future husband Edmure Tully, who is pleasantly surprised by her beauty. They are married shortly after, and the celebration begins. At the feast, Walder calls for the bedding ceremony, and the couple are taken to their chamber. After they leave, Lothar Frey closes the banquet hall doors, and a musician begins playing “The Rains of Castamere,” a Lannister cautionary song, both of which arouse Catelyn’s suspicions. Using the food cart as their reason for being at the Twins, the Hound and Arya arrive at the wedding. They are turned away at the gates, but Arya sneaks in. Catelyn notices Roose Bolton wearing chainmail under his robes which confirms Catelyn’s suspicions that they have been betrayed. Just as Walder signals his men to attack the Starks’ men, Catelyn tries to warn Robb, but before he can react, Lothar repeatedly stabs Talisa in the womb, killing her. As he tries to draw his sword, Robb is shot by crossbows. Arya, having sneaked past the gate, witnesses Frey men kill Stark soldiers and Robb’s direwolf, Grey Wind. She is saved by the Hound, who knocks her unconscious and carries her out of the castle. Catelyn, although wounded by a crossbow bolt, holds Walder’s young wife, Joyeuse, hostage and demands that Robb be allowed to leave. Walder refuses, and Roose Bolton stabs Robb in the heart, telling him “The Lannisters send their regards.” Catelyn screams and kills Joyeuse in retaliation, before Frey’s son Black Walder cuts Catelyn’s throat.
My take: The episode that launched a thousand video reactions. This was the sequence that upset me most in the book, and it changed what we thought was going to happen. Sure, Ned died, but we’ve been trained to expect the son to take revenge. David Bradley is awesome. Summer coming to Jon’s aid is pretty cool. And even though we don’t get Arya reunited with her family, we get the beginning of the wacky adventures of Arya and the Hound. I also enjoyed the trifecta of Jorah, Daario, and Grey Worm kicking ass.
Changes from the books: Before heading for the Twins, Robb issues a royal decree, by which he legitimizes Jon and makes him his legal successor. Catelyn objects due to her feelings toward Jon, but Robb insists. It is unknown what became of the decree. Robb orders Maege Mormont and Galbart Glover to travel north to Howland Reed. He might have given them the decree. The musicians at the wedding are noted to be terrible (since they are really archers in disguise), while in the TV series they are quite talented. A few of the wedding guests, among them Greatjon Umber and Dacey Mormont, fight the assailants, but to no avail. In the TV series, Greatjon does not attend the wedding. Roose Bolton’s last words before killing Robb are different in the book. In the book he says “Jaime Lannister sends his regards”, while in the show he says “The Lannisters send their regards”. Catelyn does not take Walder Frey’s wife Joyeuse Erenford as hostage, but his half-witted grandson Aegon aka Jinglebell. After Robb is killed by Roose, Catelyn keeps her word by slitting Jinglebell’s throat.Talisa/Jeyne was not at the wedding and thus did not die in the Twins. Robb and Catelyn decided that Lord Frey would take it as a slight if Robb’s wife made an appearance at the Twins. Thus Jeyne was left behind at Riverrun. Brynden Tully was not present at the Red Wedding, as he stayed behind to hold Riverrun. It is not Brynden Tully but Roose Bolton that excuses himself and exits in search of a privy.
Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Dragonstone, the Twins, Winterfell, the Wall, Yunkai
Death Count: Robb, killed by Roose Bolton. Catelyn, killed by Black Walter. Talsa and her unborn child, by Lothar. Joyeuse Frey, by Catelyn. Grey Wind, by crossbow. Several other northmen at the “Red Wedding.” A ton of Yunkai solders killed by Jorah, Daario, and Grey Worm. The horse breeder, by Ygritte. Wildlings, by Jon and Summer. Orell, by Jon.
Quotes: Roose Bolton: The Lannisters send their regards
Tormund Giantsbane: I hope so. Killing crows in their castle is tough. Killing them out here in the open, that’s what we do.
Walder Frey: I say he betrayed me for firm tits and a tight fit.
Episode Title: Mysha
Director: David Nutter
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Summary: The icy relationship between newly married Tyrion and Sansa is thawing slightly, as they stroll and banter about how to deal with the public mockery of their shared status as outcasts. They are soon met by Podrick Payne, who tells Tyrion that he has been summoned to a small council meeting.
There, Tyrion learns of the deaths of Robb and Catelyn Stark during the Red Wedding. King Joffrey orders Robb’s head brought to King’s Landing, as he wishes to make a gift of it to Sansa, the prospect of which makes Tyrion threaten Joffrey once again. Joffrey angrily threatens Tyrion in return, before rebuffing Tywin’s attempt to calm the situation. Tywin, showing Joffrey he does not fear him, orders he be taken to his room and sedated. When the other councilors leave, Tywin and Tyrion discuss the murder at the Twins, and the appointment of Roose Bolton as the Warden of the North, until the son of Tyrion and Sansa is of age; Tywin dismisses Tyrion’s warning that the northerners will neither forget nor forgive the role the Lannisters played in the Red Wedding. At the end of their conversation, Tywin chastises Tyrion for not having impregnated Sansa, and tells him about the day of his birth. Tyrion then proceeds to his bedroom to inform Sansa of the grim news: he finds her staring forlornly out the window with a tear-stained face, revealing she has already received it.
Varys gives Shae a bag of diamonds in the hopes that she will sail for Essos and make a new life for herself. Jaime, Brienne, and Qyburn arrive in King’s Landing, and Jaime immediately goes to see Cersei.
Shortly after the murder of their King, the loyal Stark bannermen fight a losing battle with the Freys outside the walls of the Twins. The Hound and Arya are horrified to witness several Frey soldiers parade Robb’s decapitated corpse around the entrance to the keep with the head of Robb’s wolf, Grey Wind, attached to it. Later, Arya and the Hound come upon four Frey men discussing the murder of the Starks. Arya slips off the horse and attacks one of the soldiers who claimed to have desecrated Robb’s body, stabbing his neck repeatedly. Before his allies can aid him, the Hound steps in and easily kills them. The morning after the wedding, Walder Frey and Roose Bolton discuss the previous night’s events, the escape of the Brynden “Blackfish” Tully, and their new positions as Lord of Riverrun and Warden of the North, respectively. Walder asks Bolton what happened at Winterfell to cause it to become a ruin, to which Bolton replies that he sent his bastard son, Ramsay Snow to take the castle back from the Greyjoys. Despite orders to allow the Ironborn safe passage in exchange for surrendering Theon, Ramsay flayed and killed the Ironborn.
Arriving at the abandoned Nightfort, Meera Reed tells Bran and Jojen that the castle is safe to enter. While around the fire, Bran tells the story of the Rat Cook, a Night’s Watch member who killed a guest under his roof, a sin the gods cannot forgive. Later, Bran is awakened by a sound, and wakes his companions. A large man climbs out of a nearby well and is attacked by Meera, but soon after revealed to be Samwell Tarly, who is followed by Gilly. Sam quickly deduces Bran’s identity, seeing Bran’s direwolf. Bran asks Sam to take him and his group north of the Wall, and though Sam protests the idea, he eventually relents and takes them through the passage. Before they separate, Sam gives the group the rest of his dragonglass supply, and tells them that it has the power to kill White Walkers. Sam and Gilly later arrive at Castle Black, where they present themselves to Maester Aemon and tell him of the events beyond the Wall. Recognizing Gilly and her son as refugees, Aemon permits them to stay and orders all of the ravens be sent with messages telling of the return of the White Walkers.
Riding back to the Wall, Jon stops to wash his wounds when he hears Ygritte draw her bow. Jon tries to talk her out of shooting him, but when he turns to leave, she fires, hitting him in the shoulder. Jon manages to get on his horse before she shoots him again, this time in the leg. She shoots him a third time as he flees, leaving Ygritte behind. Jon later arrives at Castle Black, having passed out from his wounds. The Night’s Watch brothers take him in, where Sam and Pyp discover his identity, and order he be cared for.
At the Dreadfort, Theon begs Ramsay Snow, the true identity of the mysterious boy, to kill him and end his suffering. Ramsay simply replies that he is more valuable alive, before giving him the nickname “Reek”, and beating him until he calls himself by his new name. Lord Balon Greyjoy reads a letter sent from Ramsay Snow, crudely detailing his demands to have the Ironborn soldiers withdraw from the region of the North under his control or be flayed. Along with the letter, Ramsay sends a box containing Theon’s severed penis. To the protests of his daughter Yara, Balon plans to refuse the offer and allow Theon’s torture to continue. Yara disobeys her father’s decision and takes 50 of the Ironborn’s best men and the fastest ship available to march on the Dreadfort.
In the dungeons, Davos visits Gendry and tries to relate to him by telling the story of how he became a lord. Later, Davos practices his reading with Princess Shireen, when he reads the letter sent by the Night’s Watch. When they hear the bells ringing, Davos leaves Shireen to meet with Stannis and Melisandre. Stannis informs Davos of Robb Stark’s death, which he attributes to Melisandre’s ritualistic burning of the leeches. Melisandre plans to burn Gendry as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light, and although Davos tries to get Stannis to spare Gendry, Stannis orders he be sacrificed. At night, Davos frees Gendry from the dungeons and gives him a boat to escape Dragonstone. Afterward, Stannis and Melisandre ask Davos if he freed Gendry, which he does not deny. Stannis orders Davos be executed, but Davos tells Stannis that he will need his assistance. When Stannis asks why he would need Davos’ help, Davos shows him the letter sent from the Wall. Melisandre burns the letter, and in the fire sees the war coming in the North. She tells Stannis that only he can save the North, and he will need Davos’s help to do so, thus preventing his execution.
Outside Yunkai, Daenerys, her advisors, and her Unsullied army stand ready to greet the slaves of the city and free them. When they arrive, Missandei tells them that Daenerys has freed them, but Daenerys tells the slaves that only they can take their freedom back. The crowd begins to chant “mhysa”, which Missandei tells Daenerys is Ghiscari for “mother.” Daenerys commands her dragons to fly and then passes her army to walk amongst the freed slaves, who lift her to their shoulders. Daenerys smiles and looks up into the sky as her dragons fly freely.
My take: One little bit that Belle noticed: when Poderick appears, two girls in the background whisper and point, gossiping about Poderick’s sexual prowess. Nothing bothers me more than seeing a body desecrated. The image of Grey Wind’s head on Robb’s corpse was an image that stuck with me after first reading the book. This is also the episode where Ramsey eats a pork sausage after castrating Theon. Davos pronounces the words “knight” in a Python-esque manner.
Changes from the books: Tywin expects that, with the tide of the war now firmly against them, most of the rebel Riverlands lords will bend the knee, and he plans to offer generous terms to those who surrender. Joffrey, however, wants them all executed. Tywin dismisses this as folly, pointing out that a lord who rebels should be crushed, but if he bends the knee, he should be granted mercy, or else no one will ever surrender to you again. After the Small Council meeting, once everyone else has left, Tywin and Tyrion discuss the murder of Rhaegar’s wife and children by the Mountain and Amory Lorch as Oberyn Martell has already arrived at King’s Landing seeking justice. Tywin reveals his intention to tell Oberyn that Amory, who has since been killed, was responsible for all three deaths, not just Rhaenys. Though Tywin admits that killing the Targaryen children was necessary to demonstrate the Lannisters’ loyalty as they came late to Robert Baratheon’s cause, he concedes that it was overly cruel and not necessary to kill Elia too. Tywin says he had not even considered Elia beforehand, and thinks that Clegane killed her because he had not been ordered to spare her. Varys never offers Shae a chance at a new life across the narrow sea. In the book, she never exhibits any feelings of loyalty toward Sansa. Asha/Yara believes that Theon is dead. She never intends to rescue him.
Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Dragonstone, the Twins, Winterfell, the Wall, Yunkai
Death Count: Four Frey men by Arya and the Hound. Hundreds of Stark men, by the Freys
Quotes: Tywin Lannister: Any man who must say, “I am the king” is no true king.
Tyrion Lannister: You just sent the most powerful man in Westeros to bed without his supper.
Yara Greyjoy: And I’ve made mine! I’m going to pick the fastest ship in our fleet. I’m going to choose the fifty best killers on the Iron Islands. I’m going to sail up the Narrow Sea, all the way to the Weeping Water. I’m going to march on the Dreadfort. I’m going to find my little brother. And I’m going to bring him home.