Tormund Giantsbane scaling The Wall via 2.bp.blogspot.com
We start this week's episode with Sam and Gilly, in their first scene since the mutiny at Craster's. Gilly is telling Sam how to properly keep a fire going, something that you'd think a man of the Night's Watch would know. Sam tries to impress her by showing her the dragonglass daggers he found at the Fist of the First Men, calling them buried treasure. He then describes the Wall to her, noting that it's so big you can't see the top at times as well as the daily routines that go on. Gilly is skeptical that something could be so large. Sam then sings a song to put Gilly's baby to sleep.
Somewhere in the North, Bran and Co. are making camp. Meera and Osha trade barbs, with Meera boasting that she knows how to make her own weapons, while Osha shows the best way to skin a rabbit. There is noticeable tension between the two, and Bran angrily tells them to stop fighting or they'll never reach the Wall. The two reluctantly apologize. Jojen then starts convulsing violently in his sleep. Meera states it's a side effect of the visions he has. He wakes up and tells Bran he saw Jon, but that he was on the other side of the wall, surrounded by enemies.
On the far side of the Wall, Jon, Tormund and the rest of their party are preparing to start their ascent. Tormund remarks that it's lucky for them that the Watch has neglected cutting the trees back away from the wall. Jon asks Ygritte if she has ever climbed the Wall. She answers no and reveals that Tormund has done it fifty times. She says she's afraid, but has waited her whole life to see the world from the top. The two strap antlers to their feet to assist in the climb. She tells him that he's a proper lover, and she knows he's still a crow at heart. She also reveals that it's her and Jon that matters, and it's implied that she would go with him if he leaves. But if he betrays her, she'll kill him. Tormund then instructs Jon how to use the climbing axe, and to not scream if he falls. The group begins their climb. Jon ignores the one rule for someone who's afraid of heights and looks down, seeing the ground stretch away from him. Everyone seems to be doing pretty well until Jon is hit in the face by a piece of falling ice and nearly loses it. Later, the winds pick up and make the climb that much more difficult. Ygritte's axe makes a crack in the ice, which spreads across to the two groups next to her. The crack grows, causing huge chunks to fall off, killing the groups. The crack also causes the Wall to fall away below Ygritte, and they are saved only because Tormund had to strength to keep them on the face of the wall. Orell starts to cut them loose, but Jon swings over to an intact section of Wall to keep them from falling.
With the Brotherhood without Banners, Arya is reciting her names as she practices archery with Anguy. Anguy says she's good, but too slow with her shots. He improves her form and says to never aim and trust her eyes. She prepares her shot, but notices a person out beyond the target. The Brotherhood goes to inspect, and it's revealed to be Melisandre and a group of riders. Thoros greets his fellow red priest in High Valyrian and asks why she has come. They bring her before Beric, where she inspects the wounds that killed him. She is astonished that he has been brought back six times, saying it's impossible. Thoros says the Lord of Light has smiled upon him lately, and that he had lost faith until the Mountain killed Beric and brought him back. After this, his faith was restored. Beric says that there is no "other side", only darkness. Melisandre says the Lord of Light sent her because they have someone he needs. It cuts to Anguy, Gendry and Arya discussing whether Gendry has the skill to smith bodkin tips. Melisandre approaches, and two of her men seize Gendry. The Brotherhood is paid for him, and Arya accuses them of only wanting gold and that they don't serve the Lord of Light at all. Thoros says they do it for both gold and the Lord. Gendry is understandably pissed, as he thought he had finally found a family. Melisandre tells him he is more than they will ever be, and make kings rise and fall. Arya goes up to Melisandre and calls her a witch. She sees something in Arya's eyes, and says they will meet again.
On his wooden X, Theon is awoken by the guy who betrayed him. He tries to ask for water, but the man pours it out on the ground. He then asks Theon which body part he wants the least. To persuade Theon to answer, the man suggests hunting the Stark boys, since Theon earlier revealed they weren't really dead. He then goes ahead and prepares to cut off Theon's little finger. He says if Theon guesses who he is he'll win the game, but he'll lose if he begs to have his finger removed. They begin and Theon guesses they're at Deepwood Motte, but is wrong and earns a cut into his finger. He eventually guesses Karhold, and the man relents. Next, he asks Theon who he is. He guesses that he is the son of Rickard Kartstark, another right guess. Theon says he's torturing him because he betrayed Robb. The man sits down in defeat, but jumps up again and tells Theon he forgot to ask if he was a liar. He starts peeling the skin off of Theon's finger, and says everything he had told him was lie and there is no reason other than his enjoyment for his torture.
In Riverrun, Robb is meeting with Lothar and Black Walder Frey. They report that the alliance between the two houses can continue, if some conditions are met. Lord Frey wants an apology from Robb for marrying a different woman, Harrenhall and its lands, and for Edmure to marry his daughter Roselyn to replace Robb. Robb, Edmure, Catelyn and the Blackfish discuss the terms in private. Edmure has no desire to wed the Frey girl, saying he did nothing to deserve it. He says there are no laws to compel a man to marry anyone, and the Blackfish tells him the laws of his fist are about to compel Edmure's teeth. Edmure says that when he refuses, Lord Frey will offer him a daughter of his choosing. Robb says he needs this marriage to win the war, and Edmure finally agrees.
At Harrenhall, Jaime (who's struggling to cut his meat with only one hand) and Brienne are dining with Roose Bolton. Brienne tells him of her orders to return Jaime to King's Landing, but Roose informs her that Catelyn was a prisoner the last time he saw her and the orders are no good. Jaime remarks that Roose must have something in mind, since he hasn't sent him back to Robb yet. Roose says as soon as they are healthy enough, he will allow them to go back to King's Landing, long as he tells Tywin that Roose had nothing to do with cutting his hand off. Roose informs them that only Jaime will be allowed to leave, as she abetted Catelyn's treason.
In King's Landing, Olenna and Tywin are discussing the marriage of Cersei and Loras. Olenna says it's impossible, as Loras is the most desired bachelor in Westeros, and Cersei is too old. Tywin confronts her on Loras' rumored homosexuality, which she doesn't deny, calling him a "sword swallower through and through". By marrying Cersei, Tywin says the stain will be removed from his name. She asks him if he never experimented with another man, as it's a natural thing, though Tywin says it must be a Highgarden thing. She points out the rumor about Cersei and Jaime, which he shrugs off as a lie. He says if she refuses to marry Loras to Cersei, he will name Loras to the Kingsguard, preventing him from ever marrying. Olenna relents. Elsewhere, Loras and Sansa are discussing their upcoming marriage. Sansa is way more excited than Loras, though he does his best job of trying to show Sansa he's straight. Tyrion and Cersei are revealed to be watching this sequence, and Cersei suggests killing them both so they won't have to marry them. Tyrion notes that Loras has the worst arrangement of the four, a dig at Cersei. Tyrion confronts her about whether or not she ordered him killed during the Battle of the Blackwater. Cersei remains silent, leading Tyrion to believe it was Joffrey who gave the order. Tyrion goes to speak to Sansa in private, presumably to tell her of the change in wedding plans.
In the throne room, Littlefinger and Varys are observing the Iron Throne and the blades used to forge it. Littlefinger boasts about how he thwarted Varys' plan of marrying Sansa and Loras. He also reveals he knew about Ros informing Varys about his plans. Littlefinger begins a speech regarding chaos, "Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. Some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is". During this, we see that Joffrey has gotten to use his new crossbow on a tied up Ros, riddling her with bolts. We also see that Tyrion did indeed tell Sansa that she won't be marrying Loras. Following the end of Littlefinger's speech, we see that Jon and Co. have finished their climb. They reach the top and collapse from exhaustion. Ygritte and Jon look out over the North, and she seems awestruck. The two walk to the edge and kiss.
Alright, I loved this episode. I could see how people could think this one was slow like the last one, but it didn't feel like it to me. Littlefinger's "The Climb" speech was awesome combined with the music and shot that accompanied it. The GoT crew really scored with this episode.
Next week: Jon confronts Orell about cutting them loose during the climb, Brienne looks to be in trouble, Arya and Beric discuss gods, Danaerys reaches Yunkai, Melisandre and Gendry return to Dragonstone and Theon gets tortured more.