Beric Dondarrion vs. The Hound via img.gawkerassets.com
After the demise of Lord Commander Mormont and Danaerys making serious plays for her overthrow of Westeros, we're back again this week for another episode of Game of Thrones.
We open up with Thoros leading the Brotherhood in prayer to the Lord of Light before Beric and The Hound square off. Beric gives a blood sacrifice, which he uses to ignite his blade in flame, presumably with some magic help from Thoros. Probably a good tactic when fighting a man who's terrified of fire. The two go at it, and flaming sword seems to be doing its job, as The Hound seems for timid than usual. Beric even goes so far as to push The Hound into the campfire, enraging him. Beric appears to be getting the upper hand, driving The Hound to his back and pummeling his shield. He battles back, however, and is able to get back to his feet and back in the fight. Beric's sword, weakened by the fire, fails to stop The Hound's next blow, which bites through the blade and gets buried deep in Beric's shoulder. He falls, dead, and Thoros is all over him, praying to the Lord of Light to bring him back. Arya loses her shit and goes after The Hound with a dagger, but is held back. The Hound taunts her while Arya yells at him to burn in hell when a voice says, "He will". It's Beric! It seems that Thoros' plea worked. Later, when The Hound is preparing to leave, the Brotherhood refuses to give him back the gold they took from him upon capture. Despite Arya's anger that he's being let go, Beric claims they can do nothing since he is innocent in the Lord of Light's eyes. They throw a hood over The Hound's head and escort him out. After he has left, Gendry tells Arya he is going to stay with Brotherhood as a smith. Arya thinks he's crazy and that the Lannisters won't spare him just because he's a smith. He reminds her that the Lannisters wanted him dead long before they met the Brotherhood. She tries to convince him to smith as a member of Robb's army instead, but he refuses because he's tired of serving under men. In the Brotherhood, the men are more of a family than an a chain of command. That night, Arya recites her nightly list of people she wants dead, from Joffrey to The Hound. She asks Thoros of her fate, and he says they'll take her to Riverrun, receive a ransom and release her. Thoros says that Beric admired her father so much that he wants to return her without a ransom, but they need the gold. Beric walks up and reveals that Thoros has brought him back from the dead six times. He shows Arya the various killing blows he has endured. Every time he is brought back, he comes back a bit diminished. Arya inquires as to whether her father can be brought back, but Thoros is skeptical.
In the wildling camp, Orell decides to grill Jon Snow for information about the castles along the Wall, mostly concerning patrols. Jon tells him that Castle Black, Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and the Shadow Tower are the only three castles that are manned, with 1,000 men at Castle Black. Orell calls him a liar, and Jon threatens to kill him, with Ygritte backing him up. Tormund tosses Orell and aside a tells Jon that he likes him, but he'll pull his guts out through his throat if he lies to him. Jon sticks to his guns and repeats that there are 1,000 men. Tormund leaves, satisfied for now. Jon tells Ygritte that he doesn't need her help, but she points out the numerous times she has saved his life (stopping Rattleshirt, vouching for him to Mance). She steals Longclaw and says if he wants it back, come steal it back before running off. Jon follows her down into a grotto, where she wants him to prove that he's no longer a crow. Mainly, she wants sex. For how much Jon cares about his vows, he doesn't need much convincing and the two get down to business. Afterwards, we find out that they don't have oral beyond the Wall. The pair then discuss their sex lives, or Jon's lack thereof, before starting round two in the underground hot-spring.
In Harrenhall, Locke and his men return with Jaime and Brienne and bring them before Lord Roose Bolton. Roose remarks that Jaime has lost a hand, though Locke points out he still has it, just around his neck and not attached to his wrist. Roose is not amused, and has Locke discard the severed limb, while cutting Brienne's bindings and apologizing. As he leaves, Jaime asks if there is word from King's Landing. He tells him of the Battle of the Blackwater, and has a little fun by making it seem that Cersei perished in the battle, before relenting and assuring him she's fine and Tywin's forces were victorious. He then has Jaime taken to Maester Qyburn for healing. Qyburn cleans the festering stump and remarks that infection has spread, but can be cut away. Jaime asks Qyburn where his maester's chain is, and Qyburn reveals that the Citadel (maester college) stripped him of it due to them finding some of his "experiments". He says they may need to remove the arm, but Jaime grabs him by the throat and that's the end of that idea. Instead, Qyburn will remove the rotten flesh and attempt to cauterize what's left. Jaime refuses anesthetic, and Qyburn begins the process while Jaime screams. Later, he finds Brienne bathing herself and joins her. She's not too happy about that, especially when he gets in the same one as her despite there being many others. She cowers in one corner with him in the other, and Jaime assures her he's not interested in her. Jaime mocks her, causing her to become angry and Jaime actually apologizes for once. He wants a truce, saying he's sick of fighting and trusts her. He goes on to tell her why he killed the Mad King, and reveals that he used to burn people alive using wildfire. The Mad King was paranoid and placed wildfire caches all over the city in case of attack. When Robert Baratheon attacked, Jaime, along with many others, urged him to surrender but he refused. The straw that broke the camel's back for Jaime was when the Mad King ordered him to bring him Tywin's head and ignite the wildfire, killing everyone in the city. Jaime asks Brienne is she would have kept her oath even then, and that he killed him to end the madness. He then seems to weaken from his wrist, and Brienne calls for help for the Kingslayer. He says his name is Jaime, not Kingslayer.
In King's Landing, Cersei confronts Littlefinger and reveals her suspicions that the Tyrells are planning something. Littlefinger remarks that he considers facts a hindrance, which is good since Cersei has no facts. She reminds him that Tywin will help those who help his family, trying to persuade Littlefinger's assistance. Due to Littlefinger's professional relationship with the Tyrells, perhaps he could look into before departing for the Eyrie, and if he could do a bette job than when she asked him to find Arya Stark. He agrees. Later, Sansa and Margaery are watching Loras spar, and Sansa wants to know when they are to marry. However, Loras likes his squire and beds him. It's revealed that the squire is working for Littlefinger and tells him of Loras' engagement to Sansa. Littlefinger finds Sansa overlooking Blackwater Bay. He tells her he is leaving soon, and asks if she still wants to leave. Sansa says it may be better to wait, since it might be too dangerous. Littlefinger assures her it's up to her, and that they'll speak when he returns.
Meanwhile, Tyrion has summoned Lady Olenna with the intention of discussing the of the upcoming royal wedding. Tyrion feels that it's going to be too extravagant and expensive for a kingdom at war and deep in debt. The Queen of Thorns reminds him of all the extra soldiers and provisions that the Reach has supplied the crown, and that the wedding is just as vital to the realm as all that. The people crave distractions, and the wedding would be a safe one compared to what they might come up with. The two reach a compromise, with House Tyrell paying for half the expenses and the ceremony going as planned. Later, Tyrion meets with his father and, to his surprise, Cersei. Tywin says they have important matters to discuss, mainly the Tyrell's and Sansa. Sansa is the key to Winterfell, and Tywin has no intention of letting the Tyrells get away with wedding her with Loras. They must find a new husband: Tyrion himself. Tywin calls it Tyrion's reward for his help in the war. Cersei is gloating until she finds out that she is to marry Loras in order to secure Highgarden and put to rest the rumors of her incest.
At Riverrun, the captive Lannisters are awoken by the sound of clashing steel. Rickard Karstark breaks into their room and kills the two boys. Their bodies are brought before Robb. He orders Rickard and his men brought in. Rickard defends the act as vengeance for his sons that died in the war, but Robb is having none of it. Rickard goes so far as to accuse Catelyn as just a guilty as he is for letting Jaime go. He insults Ned Stark, which earns him a sucker punch courtesy of the Blackfish. Rickard is clearly unconcerned about his fate, sure that Robb will let him go and calls him "The King Who Lost the North". Robbs orders him to the dungeon and the others hanged. One of the convicted men cries out that he didn't kill anyone, merely watched. For his efforts Robb has him hanged last, so he can watch the others die. Edmure says news of this can't leave Riverrun to prevent Tywin from hearing and repaying the deed. Instead, Robb decides to execute Rickard, though Catelyn thinks that is unwise, as the Karstarks will not forgive him. Talisa agrees, as does Edmure, but Robb does not. Rickard is brought out to be beheaded, and accuses Robb of kinslaying, as they both share the blood of the First Men. Robb points out that that didn't stop him from betraying him. Robb carries out the execution himself, as his father would. Rickard's last words are, "Kill me and be cursed. You are no king of mine". He is beheaded with a single stroke. Later, Robb regrets the execution, as the Karstark men, nearly half of his forces, have left. He points out that Tywin Lannister needs only to wait to unravel Robb's forces. Talisa suggests riding north to take back Winterfell and wait out the winter, but he disagrees. Once home and in warm beds, his men will lose faith and not continue the fight. While going over the map, Robb has a revelation: attack them where they're weakest, Casterly Rock. Take their home. In order to attempt this, he needs more men and the only lord who hasn't sided with anyone is the one he has completely pissed off: Walde Frey.
We get our first look at Selyse Baratheon, wife to Stannis. She is a full-fledged follower of the Lord of Light. She assures Stannis that he will be king, but even he is losing faith. He confesses to his acts with Melisandre, but Selyse reveals she already knows and is okay with it because it was in service to the Lord of Light. We see the three dead sons that Selyse has birthed, and she is thankful that Melisandre was able to give Stannis a son. It is unknown if she knows that son was a smoke monster. Stannis wants to see his one remaining child, Shireen. Shireen is afflicted with greyscale which has disfigured her, so she is secluded. She asks where Davos is and we find out they are pretty good friends. Stannis tells her Davos is a traitor, and that he's rotting in the dungeon. He tells her to forget about him. Shireen sneaks down to the dungeon to see her friend and ask if he is truly a traitor. Davos says he is because he disobeyed Stannis. Shireen doesn't care, and wants to teach him to read. The book she brings him is about Aegon the Conqueror and his conquest of Westeros...
...so we cut to the new Targaryen who is attempting a conquest of Westeros. Jorah and Barristan are discussing the Siege of Pyke, and Jorah tells him of how Thoros was there, fighting with his flaming sword. After the battle, Jorah was knighted by Robert Baratheon. Barristan says Robert was a good man and fighter but a terrible king. Barristan says now he is fighting for someone he believes in, not a drunk or a madman. Danaerys is speaking to her Unsullied, who have chosen a leader among them: Grey Worm. The Unsullied are given new names after castration, to remind them they are vermin. Danaerys tells them to throw away their new names and choose ones that they like. Grey Worm keeps his name, as that is the one he had when she set them all free. The two knights are discussing how Robert wanted her dead because she was the last Targaryen. Barristan didn't advise him otherwise because he wasn't on the small council due to him killing many of Robert's friends during the war. Barristan believes that Jorah's reputation might also be damaged due to his selling men into slavery. Jorah defends himself by bringing up the fact that he was protecting Dany from assassins while Barristan was still bowing to Robert. Barristan is just another exile now, and Jorah takes his orders from Dany only.
Another strong episode this week, though I feel last week's was just a bit stronger. I really enjoyed the scene with Jaime and Brienne in the bath house. It was a nice bit of back story and made me feel sympathy for Jaime. What'd you think?
Next week: Jon and Tormund scale the wall, Robb negotiates with the Freys, Jaime threatens Roose Bolton and Theon gets tortured some more.