This episode is called “Dark Wings Dark Words,” but it is very much about new people, some of whom seem a bit dark or secretive themselves. As one of these new people (Thoros) says to Arya Stark, “You’re a dangerous person. I like dangerous people.”
Another powerful Tyrell takes her place of power in King’s Landing, the disarmingly honest Lady Olenna. This matriarch par excellence is Margaery’s grandmother. As we see from her tea-time meeting with Sansa and her granddaughter, Lady Olenna is probably where Margaery gets her charisma and skill at manipulation. Poor Sansa is dizzied and gently bullied into telling tales on Joffrey over cakes and cheese. It is a pavilion of smart women and snacks; if only we could get Sansa into this world full time.
Margaery takes this newly-confirmed knowledge of King Joffrey and uses it to begin to seduce him with promises of a bit of the old ultra-violence. She touches his fancy new crossbow and promises to kill things. Joffrey is such a creep, but I’ll take any excuse to see Margaery’s amazing people skills. The only person who isn’t eating out of her hand is Queen Cersei, who continues to make Joffrey angry when she tries to warn him. Or really talk to him at all.
Jon Snow, Mance Rayder, and Ygritte show the audience a new bit of magic in the show: a Warg which is a person who can borrow the senses of nearby wildlife. Ygritte uses this as a chance to yet again laugh at poor Jon Snow who has never seen a Warg before. She flirts in the classic style of a third-grader who repeatedly hits the object of his or her affection with rocks or books or whatever is handy. Maybe soon she’ll pass him a note that asks him to check a box indicating whether or not he likes her too. At any rate, the Warg info is highly relevant this episode.
Also up north, Samwell is almost forced into suicide by some jerk in The Night’s Watch, but it isn’t very interesting. Also, Theon appears super mysteriously and gets tortured a lot. Too mysterious. I need context.
More intriguingly, Bran’s dream visions begin the episode. He is in the forest learning to shoot, aiming at the familiar three-eyed raven. Dream versions of his brothers appear and re-offer advice they’d given him in previous sessions of archery practice that now seem like cruel echoes of what can never be again. They urge him to relax and shoot, and when he misses, Bran here’s the voice of his father briefly before his vision world takes on a new dimension. A mysterious boy just slightly older than Bran appears, and soon enough after waking, Bran, Rickon, Hodor and Osha meet this new boy in waking life. He has with similar powers to Bran’s which involve seeing the past, present (even faraway places), or future. This Jojen Reed (Played by Love Actually scene stealer Thomas Brodie Sangster) travels with a weapon-wielding sister (Meera), and the two of them put Osha’s nose out of the joint. Is it jealousy? Or does she have some reason to doubt this pair with their family ties to the Starks and their helpful new knowledge?
Robb Stark realizes that his men (represented by Rickard Karstark and Roose Bolton) have doubts about him and the cause. Basically no one likes the new foreign bride, Talisa. That’s a thing, Mr. King in the North. They also don’t want Robb to take the time to go to his grandfather’s funeral with his mom. Poor Catelyn. It seems nothing goes her way. In this episode, she and Talisa have a big talk while Catelyn takes her frustration out on a devotional spell wreath or something. It is revealed that Momma Stark blames herself for the entirety of the ills that have befallen her family because years ago she broke a promise she made to the gods. She promised to love Jon Snow as a small boy after she had wished him ill powerfully enough to make him deathly sick, and she repented, promising the gods to love him if they’d save his life. They did. She didn’t. It is a poignant and sad scene that shows how tragedies have tried this strong woman. It doesn’t however make me like Talisa more or care much about Robb. Sorry Stark-aholics. I’d rather see more Khaleesi.
Soon, we meet the Brotherhood without Banners in a scene that is more than a little reminiscent of all things Robin Hood. When Arya and her pals are attempting to trek across the country in a discreet fashion, they run across a band of talented archers with a taste for anarchy and the woods led by Thoros of Myr. These singing shooting outlaws scare the pants of off poor Hot Pie (who named that child?) but take everyone into their lair for a nice hot meal. This was about to be a nice scene until another group of the brotherhood brings in the Hound who is very grumpy indeed. So grumpy that he immediately identifies poor Arya.
Brienne and the Kingslayer are still walking and sniping at each other for much of their screentime. It appears that Jaime was just looking for a way to steal a sword and start an awesome fight, but just as Brienne schools his sorry arse, they get caught by dudes. Luckily these dudes are Roose Bolton’s men and therefore not about to give Jaime to the Lannisters. Whew.
The most romantic scene of the episode actually comes about because Shae wants to make sure Sansa will be safe from both courtly manipulation and the dishonorable attentions of everyone, namely Little Finger. She finds her little lion in his room in hopes of enlisting his help. There Tyrion accidentally walks into half a dozen girlfriend traps as he and Shae finally have their version of “The Relationship Talk.” No, he isn’t sleeping with anyone else anymore, though yes, in the past, he was quite the playa. (Does anyone else miss that side of Tyrion?) It appears that they resolve their relationship issues far more easily than Sansa’s safety, but still no nudity. I sincerely hope HBO’s game isn’t slipping. Seriously.